Dystopian imaginings

I can’t avoid the news forever, so I’m occasionally reading some of the summaries and articles about the president-elect and the cabinet appointments he’s making. These are truly dark times (and I’m not just talking about the return to Standard Time and shortening day length).

As bad as it may seem to have Trump as president-elect, I’m actually more worried that the only option would be to replace him with Pence. Unless these seemingly cockamamie claims that the Russians hacked the election are true and audited results change the election outcome, if Trump is found unfit to serve as president we’ll get Pence as our POTUS. Trump may be a buffoon and a profiteer, but Pence is a scary, scary guy.

The litany of strong social conservative positions he’s championed or made law in Indiana is long. He believes in conversion therapy for LGBTQ people, and is vehemently anti-choice. This is the guy who inspired the Periods for Pence (now Periods for Pols) social media group and inspired Indiana women to call his office and report on their menstrual periods.

I have high school friends in Indiana who have first hand experience with living in a state run by this guy. One friend is the mother of a transgender young adult. She’s angry and scared that her child will suffer under a Trump/Pence administration.

Trump is already showing signs of being unlikely to rise to the demands of being POTUS. The crazy conspiracy theory part of my brain is thinking that maybe this was always the plan of the Republicans: use Trump to win the election since he’s able to appeal to the masses, then replace him with Pence as the real president. We truly have a situation of bad to worse here even if there are no grand schemes in play.

Thinking sunny thoughts

It’s a gray, wet day here in Chicago. We started getting rain over night that is washing away the snow from the last storm. For folks who love snow, though, the news isn’t all bad. The rain will turn to snow later today or tonight, leaving us with about an inch on the ground.

So, I’m thinking about sunny places today. Sometime in the past few days I saw an ad for Puerto Rico on TV and now I’m tempted to go there. I’ve promised myself a short vacation after the divorce is final, and since we will be in the depths of winter a trip someplace sunny is a must. After all, I have to do all I can to boost my lagging Vitamin D levels, right? Wonder if I could write such a trip off on my taxes as a medical necessity…hmmm…

In other news, our governor is a making national headlines for being taken into custody by the Feds. What an idiot. Trying to sell a Senate seat and holding up public funds until he gets campaign contributions are the signs of a true douchebag.

The folks in this state have been disgusted with G-Rod’s knuckleheaded behavior for some time, so we’re more than ready to get him out of the position. It would be great to get a decent governor in office again. Almost as great as a trip someplace warm and sunny.

The chicken struggle continues

After a long, busy weekend I've picked up the fight to keep my hens. My sleep is uneasy at night and I'm feeling pretty tired, but I just can't give the girls up easily. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune (with considerable help from Mark) and it is appearing on the web site now. I'm hoping this means it will be in print tomorrow since it wasn't in today's paper.

Meanwhile, the hens are oblivous and continue their carefree lives of eating and scratching around the yard. I linger a bit longer in the morning with them thinking that the days of doing so may be numbered.

Yesterday, I felt pretty mopey and cried once or twice. It's pretty easy for me to come to tears when I think about having to give them up. How would you feel if you were told it may just become illegal to keep your dog or cat and you'll have to get rid of it next month? Wouldn't you feel sad, too?

I have a very full week at work and then Mark and I are leaving on a vacation to Esalen in Big Sur. It's remote and isolated, and when we booked the trip I was looking forward to the peace and the opportunity to let go of my incredibly busy life for a short time. Now I'm just feeling anxious that I won't be able to keep in touch with what's going on back here regarding the future of my hens. And, I keep thinking that it is a week I will miss seeing them, too.

At Esalen my Treo won't work, so I won't be able to make calls or check email. The closest Internet is a few miles away up Highway 1 at the Henry Miller Memorial Library, and if we want to make a phone call we'll need a phone card. (Amazing how a phone card seems like such an outdated thing!)

I definitely need this trip. And, maybe it is the best way to deal with this maddening situation: now that I've done all that I can, I just need to let it unfold the way it's meant to. It's so hard for me to feel like I'm giving up control on this or anything else.

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Chickens on TV!

Hooray for city chickens!

A reporter for Chicago Tonight visited with me, Maisy, Betty and Selma today. The report that aired on TV tonight was quite flattering, although the girls weren't looking their best since it was a cold, rainy day. (Soggy plummage just isn't as impressive, you know.)

I don't think they post video excerpts on their website as a general rule, but it may be possible to view something.

I hope this helps our case with the city!

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I thought I lived in a progressive city, but I guess I'm wrong.

Listen to this. I can't understand how the City of Chicago could actually consider banning pet chickens in residential areas of the city when so many other cities are now allowing and encouraging it.

I wasn't at this city council committee meeting having my say because I didn't even know the meeting was taking place. The meeting date was posted only 3 business days in advance, and if I hadn't been contacted by a reporter I had previously reached out to, I likely wouldn't be up late tonight writing emails and posting notices on all the chicken forums.

I'm quite angry that I've been denied my due process, but am pushing hard to make sure I get my say. I was interviewed by the reporter today for an article to appear tomorrow, and I am hoping to get interviewed on film tomorrow for a local PBS news show, Chicago Tonight.

Below is an email I sent to my alderman tonight. I also plan to attend the alderman's next open meeting, which will hopefully be next Monday night.

Alderman Levar,

Concerning proposed amendment to ordinance 7-12-387 extending the ban on raising pigeons in residential areas to include chickens, I live in the 45th Ward and I’d like to continue raising a few hens as pets and for fresh eggs. The proposed amendment would make this illegal.

The City of Chicago would be taking a giant step backwards from other progressive cities in North America if this proposal is passed by the City Council. In recent years, as issues of Green living, eating locally grown foods, recycling, and food security have gained popularity, cities and towns all over America have been relaxing their chicken laws to encourage carefully tended, backyard pet hens for fresh eggs. Media stories on raising chickens in urban settings have been increasing, including a recent story on National Public Radio about raising chickens in the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

The amendment proposes to address filth and animal slaughter in residential areas, issues that are already covered by city ordinance 7-12-300, which bans the possession of any animal for purposes of slaughter. Numerous other ordinances already address public nuisance. If enforced, these existing ordinances more than adequately address the concerns of the proposed amendment. Chicagoans who comply with existing ordinances keep chickens in safe and clean habitats and deserve to own and care for these animals.


Pet hens are calm, docile, and affectionate pets. They come when called, eat from their owner’s hands, like to be held, are quieter than dogs, and don’t smell. Chicken droppings make amazing compost for the garden and they eat kitchen scraps, helping to reduce food waste that attracts rats or goes in landfills. Keeping pet chickens is fun, educational, healthy, and environmentally sound.

I strongly encourage you to oppose the proposed amendment, and support Chicagoans’ efforts to live natural, cleaner, more environmentally friendly lives.

Linda Nxxx




And, here's what I'm sending to the local public radio affiliate, WBEZ, who posted the audio linked above.


Regarding Shawn Allee's comments that pro-chicken advocates "dropped the ball" today, perhaps that's because the city council was playing keep-away!
If I had known that the meeting was to be held today, then I would have been there adding my testimony in favor of continuing to be allowed to raise my pet hens in my Chicago backyard.
I was first alerted to this issue on October 10 by a story in the Chicago Sun-Times. However, there was no information available about what happened when it was proposed at the September 27 meeting: was it sent to committee? was it tabled? what exactly had happened? I contacted my alderman's office, but they could not advise me of the details. Alderman Lane's office declined to offer any help, too. Calls and visits to the City Clerk, Aldermanic Offices, and City Council Services offices also yielded no clues. I was advised to await the update to the Journal of Proceedings, which should happen before the October 31 city council meeting.
So, I checked the City Clerk's website every few days. October 31 came and went, but no Journal of Proceedings for the September 27 city council meeting were available. I finally found the updated meeting minutes from September 27 on the website on November 2. No worries, though, since the minutes noted this had been referred to the Committe on Health, and my frequent checking of the City Clerk website had not indicated any Committee of Health meetings that had taken place in October; nor were there any scheduled for November as of the last time I checked the website the week of November 5th.
As I found out today, a Committee on Health meeting was posted on November 15 and held today, November 20. How can the city post notice of a public meeting only 3 business days in advance, and expect to provide a fair hearing? Give me an opportunity to speak up and share MY opinion on keeping chickens in the city.
My pet hens do not attract rats. There are other responsible chicken owners like me who want to continue raising hens as pets and for the fresh eggs. We are interested in reducing our impact on the environment, in obtaining more food security, and in just enjoying our gallacious friends zest for life as they roam the yard eating weeds and bugs.
I may be contacted at this email address or my mobile phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx.
Linda Nxxx
This really stinks, to put it mildly.

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