At week’s end

Phew….I made it. This has been a very tough week for me, and I’m glad to be officially entering the weekend now. 

*Digression: my husband has just returned home and told me that during his routine doctor’s visit he was told that he had a mild case of “the flu” and prescribed Tamiflu. Great, this is just what I need to end a crappy week: a sick husband who can pass me a contagious virus that will make me miserable. OK, back to the normal whining.*

I’m not finding much energy lately for my job. It’s not that I hate it, but I just am having a hard time looking at it as much more than…just a job. And this type of work is best done with lots of enthusiasm. I’m supposed to be managing a team of 4 people here in the U.S. and guiding projects for another 6 people in India, and I can barely muster the enthusiasm to respond to my email lately.

Maybe this ennui will pass as my body moves through it’s usual hormonal jig.

*Digression again: I love the word ennui. I think I first ran across it in a book when I was about 12 or 14. I looked it up because I had no idea how to pronounce it, although I had some idea of the meaning from it’s context in the book I was reading. (This is why reading is so great for vocabulary development, by the way. The reader can learn a lot about words and sentence structure from context.) Ennui \än-wē\: a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. Such a poetic-sounding word! I can say it over and over again and feel almost happy just because it sounds so good, so right.*

Anyway, here I sit at home with a martini and some peanuts — a vodka martini (Kettle One vodka), with a splash of vermouth and 3 blue-cheese olives. I rarely drink martinis, and even more rarely drink vodka, since many vodkas make me feel extremely ill after just a sip or two. Kettle One is not of that variety, of course. (No, I’m not being paid by Kettle One to advertise; for fairness’ sake, Skyy is another vodka I can drink without feeling like my body has been poisoned.)

I sit here feeling quite dis-attached from work, now. And glad to be away from it. While also feeling guilty that I’m not still doing it, since it is never-ending.

And I’m glad it’s the weekend now. Yes, I’m glad that I can spend the next few days with a low-energy, sick husband who wants to lay around and nap all weekend. That sets the bar pretty low on my personal performance scale, and leaves me plenty of room to just veg out.

Excuse me now. I need to get up, put away the chickens for the night, and make myself another martini.

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Time to get serious

I’m on a business trip this week. That means I’m having the whole business travel experience (flight delays, overpriced hotel, exhorbitant fees for in-room Internet service,  etc.), which includes a free copy of USA Today newspaper.

While getting a bit of work done in my hotel before heading to my meeting, I opened the paper and see a story in the Money section that gets me really worked up: Global demand lifts grain prices, gobble supplies.

This story touches on so many things that are just plain wrong with how we look at food and food supplies these days.

  • Using food crops to fuel our guzzling vehicles
  • A global food culture that is overly dependent on a small number of crops of limited varieties: wheat, corn, rice.
  • A national food culture that is fully dependent on processed foodstuffs, that are likewise fully dependent on just a few of these limited varieties of crops. [Read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma if you want to understand just how much our national “food” is dependent on corn; pretty scary.]
  • The perpetuation of our dysfunctional national food culture on developing countries, who are abandoning their native food cultures that emphasis more sustainable, wholesome foods. [I’m a huge fan of Michael Pollan and am reading his latest book, In Defense of Food, which goes into this issue.]
  • A bit of sub-text: we are breeding out of control and are unable to produce all the food needed to feed these teaming hordes. [OK, this is my personal read on the situation, but just ask yourself: where are all these hungry people coming from?]

My business trip brings me to New York City. Last night, I wandered out of the hotel in search of a sandwich and found myself in the middle of consumerist territory: Times Square. My meetings are in mid-town, so I really need to stay in this general area so I can walk back and forth. But I must say it sickens me to see all this *stuff* promoted through all the signs.

And this isn’t just a New York phenomenon. I had a similar reaction two weekends ago as I walked through a shopping plaza running errands. As I saw all these cars driving around and around to park, yet few people walking from store to store; as I carried my canvas tote around to the shops, declining plastic bags to the bewilderment of clerks; as I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of crap (plastic flowers, plastic beads, etc.) in Michaels that will likely end up in a landfill within the next 2 years.

I’m really struggling to keep participating in this culture and lifestyle. It disgusts me and makes me feel sort of hopeless, too. Anyone else feeling this way?

Generally disagreeable

It’s Super Tuesday and I started out my day at the polls, like a good citizen. I won’t get into my politics here, but I will say that I voted for a totally non-traditional presidential candidate today (e.g. not another white male), which I think leaves it obvious that I was not voting a Republican ticket!

But that’s not the disagreeable part of the day. 

After casting my vote, I continued onwards to catch a train to work. That’s where the situation became unpleasant. 

I climbed the stairs to the train platform, and as I ended on the platform, I had quite a surprise. Click here if you’re not squeamish.

For those of you who couldn’t bear to click the link (and for those that did and just can’t make sense of it) that’s the remains of a deer that has been struck by a fast-moving commuter train. I think my exact reaction was: oh my god!!!

Yes, it is really gross. And this is what I and the many, many other passengers at the Forest Glen Metra stop got to stare at this morning as we waited for our train. One of the passengers said she notified a trainman last night about this mess. She and her friend said it was much worse then, as the kill was rather fresh and there was blood splattered all down the platform.

The poor deer likely was disoriented by the heavy fog that rolled in yesterday afternoon and evening and just couldn’t figure out how to get off the tracks in time.

Looking at this carcass for a good 10 minutes this morning led to some reflections:

  • Didn’t the train operator realize they had hit a deer? I guess not.
  • Looks like it was quick, at least.
  • Now I understand why people who really want to kill themselves jump in front of a moving train; I’d hate to be the moritician that has to try putting them back together.
  • What happened to the rest of it?

I’m not a vegan or a PETA member by any means, but this just seems so…disprespectul. Why not pull this poor deer off the tracks? If it’s there again tomorrow, I’m going to make good on my threat and email this to Metra.

Moving on

It if seems like I haven't been publishing much here lately, it's because I've become a blog nomad yet again. Now I'm moving over to WordPress.

Maybe I seem fickle since I just started blogging in Vox less than a year ago, but I think WordPress may be better for me. No flashy ads and less "blog bling" is really what I'm more comfortable with.

I had orignally moved over to Vox after I'd had enough of Blogger functionality. I was taking just as long editing the code of my posts as writing them. For some reason, whenever I added photos it made the line spacing go crazy. And I like to add photos to my posts.

Vox has been great for multi-media and is pretty idiot-proof. No need for me to mess around with code, and interesting widgets available. But, it's just not me.

I like the plain, straight-forwardness of WordPress, so I'm going to stick with it for now. Too bad I can't import my Vox posts, though. *sigh*

On WordPress, I couldn't get *exactly* the same blog name or user name, but it's close enough:

A Windycitygal: my blog on WordPress

Come on over and see the new me!

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Snow Day

Snowy morningYay!!! It’s snowing!

Just when I think I can’t stand anymore winter, something like this happens to make it magical again. I love the snow. It quiets the city beast and forces everyone to slow down and respect nature for a bit.

This snow started yesterday and has just steadily continued for the past 12 hours. I think it’s supposed to stop this afternoon. So far, we seem to have about 5 inches of snow here, but it’s hard to tell due to the blowing and drifting.

Take another look at this scence (minus the pretty snowflake reflections from the flash).

Where's the Eglu?

 I think you can see my dilemma. The Eglu is nearly buried! I had to carry a shovel out with me to dig out around the entrance in order to open it up. I learned from the last snowfall that I need to cover the entrance to keep snow from blowing inside the run, so I added some sheets of cardboard across the front.

Buried Eglu entrance

It may look as if the snow nearly comes to the top of the Eglu, but it’s not quite that bad. I had placed some bags partially filled with leaves in front of the cardboard to keep it in place, so the snow has built up on top of that. 

Once I got the Eglu entrance dug out, I was able to add fresh provisions of food and water for the ladies. Here’s a peek at the results.

Excavated EgluI highly doubt that the chickens will be roaming the yard today! The door to the run is open in case they choose to venture out, though.

Inside the run it’s sort of dark with all the snow covering it, but at least it is dry and snug.  

I’m not really on a snow day. I still have to work, but thankfully I am employed by a fabulous, progressive organization and am able to telecommute today. So, I’ll have a chance to go out and check on the ladies during the day. Maybe I’ll slip them a bit of black oil sunflower seeds to brighten their day.

While out digging out the chicken coop today, I heard one of my neighbors across the alley digging out around his garage. At one point, he seemed to be in a jam (based on the expletive he let fly), so I asked if he needed a hand. He couldn’t really see me through the fence that well; there was a bit of head bobbing and waving I had to do so he could see me and not think he was going a bit nuts. After he acknowledged seeing me and nicely declined my help, he paused for a moment. “Hey, are you the lady that was in the paper about a month ago?,” he asked. Yep.