Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!! Last Saturday we went to downtown Chicago to witness the Chicago River going green and after that we walked to Grant Park for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which started at noon. The parade lasted for about 3 hours, which was really too long, but it was still fun. Lots of groups gave out free stuff (like green hats, beads, candy, etc.) and it was a sport trying to get as much as you can (we didn’t get much though).
(see part 1 for the beginning of this saga) It’s been over three weeks since I was instructed by the Illinois I-Pass service desk to send my I-Pass back. I had received it in the mail last month after ordering it online, but the activation code and account number were missing. When I called the service desk at the end of last month they told me to send it back and they’d send a new one. I included a cover letter explaining what happened. After three weeks I had still not heard back from them. I called them yesterday and this time another person, who seemed be more knowledgeable than the first one, explained to me that I-Passes ordered online are already activated! She put me on hold for about 15 minutes as she searched for my I-Pass and letter, but never found it. She was surprised that I didn’t understand that I-Passes ordered online are already activated and told me that I should not have sent it back. WTH?! More »
The last few months we’ve had to make do with the standard broadcast television stations. Using the built-in antenna in our Vizio TV we’ve been able to get about 15 channels including CBS, NBC and ABC for free. I’ve been really impressed by the quaility of these free HD channels. I am blown away by the details when we watch our favorite shows like Lost and 30 Rock. Now that we’re moving into another house we’ve decided to sign up for Comcast high speed internet and try out their cable TV as well. Costs for this is going to be around $80 per month of which $40 is for the digital starter TV package. It’s one of their smallest packages with only about a hundred channels. We have seriously thought of not getting cable TV and only watch our free broadcast channels and our favorite shows online. We’ll give this a try and cancel the TV package if we’re not watching it enough. More »
So bad that the United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) website has made an embeddable search widget. You can search for which peanut butter products are included in the salmonella outbreak. OMG, really?
Yesterday I received in the mail our I-Pass transponder for the Illinois Tollway. The I-Pass is a little electronic box that we’ll attach to the windshield of our car. It allows you to drive through toll booths on toll roads without stopping, and you only pay half of the normall toll. If normally you have to pay $0.80 when you pass a toll then with the I-Pass it’ll only take $0.40 off your pre-paid account. Pretty good deal, and the transponder is basically free. You pay a $10 deposit for the device and have to charge it with $40 to start off. What could possibly go wrong?
Back when he was an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama made an appearance on WTTW Channel 11’s restaurant review program “Check, Please!” The show never aired… until tonight. Local viewers can check out the full episode on Channel 11 tonight at 8pm or the rerun on Tuesday (that’s Inauguration Day!!) at 4pm. Meanwhile, here are two clips from the shelved episode.
I came across this fun site called Poke My Name the other day. You can enter any name and see how popular it is in the United States. During my entire school career, even when I was in grade school classes of just 12 total students, there was always at least one other Amy in my class. And I never knew anyone named Arthur until I turned 26. So I was very surprised to find that Amy is less popular a name than Arthur! More »
Happy new year and gelukkig nieuwjaar!! We wish everyone a prosperous, healthy, peaceful and generally awesome new year. May all your wishing come true. It is now 12:23am here in Illinois and we’re watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest on ABC. New Year’s Eve is not as exciting here as at our old home in the Netherlands, where everyone does fireworks outside. No fireworks here, except for on TV. That’s a lot safer, though! 😉
Photo by TravISU
Today we visited Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve in Highland Park IL, just 20 minutes from here. The 250-acre preserve is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline at the site of the former Fort Sheridan army base. The area features rolling terrain, bluffs, ravines and trees set against the shoreline. There are a few scenic trails that wind through the preserve to the sandy shores of Lake Michigan, providing the first official public access to this section of shoreline since the Fort’s military operations began in 1887.
Everything outside is beautifully white and quiet from the 20cm blanket of snow that fell this morning. The normally busy road outside the house is much more quiet as fewer cars are carefully driving on the slick roads. I don’t think that I have seen so much snow since our trip to Evenstad in 2002.
We just made a fun walk to our nearby grocery store. What follows below is a series of photographs with highlights from that same walk this morning:
Not so busy road