27 February 2007

My Buddy (but not like that creepy commercial from 10 years ago)

Today marks two years to the day for me and my little grey shelter cat. Based on my perception of everyone's interest level, I'll keep this short, but it's eye-opening how far we've come. Just compare the hissing ball of fire behind the couch (same couch - two years younger) to the warm (slightly fatter) little ball sleeping in my lap tonight. Now, wet food did play a role in the transformation (though who *doesn't* like wet food?), but just the same, I appreciate the way my hard work has been rewarded.

We'll be celebrating her third birthday later this week with some birthday tuna. Here's to you, kitty.

25 February 2007

Lost In The Moment

Busy week. Among the festivities was the Sugarland concert at the Chicago Theater, which was fantastic. Not only does country radio play fewer commercials (than pop radio...I guess that's not a huge surprise), you don't really have to worry that country singers are going to sound crappy outside the studio. Sugarland sure didn't.

Anyway though, the concert represented yet another journey in my apparent quest to become one of "those girls". Though I wouldn't say we behaved inappropriately (we held it together during the songs and besides, it *was* a concert, right?), we were, shall we say, a bit rowdy. Very rowdy considering we were up in the balcony and were essentially only heard by the rather annoyed college students in front of us. Among the gems were several cries of "WHERE'S THE FAT GIRL?" precipitated by the fact that Sugarland apparently used to have a not-nearly-as-hot-as-the-frontwoman female member of the band. You get the idea...

Maybe next summer when the girls behind me at the Sox game are driving me nuts, I'll take it easy. Or maybe not.

--Speaking of transformations, check out the newest song by Big & Rich (that's right, the same boys who graced us with 'Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy'). Where do you suppose that came from?

15 February 2007

Reaping, Sowing, All That Good Stuff

I was at a…group setting…recently and ended up talking to two girls I went to high school with and have seen a few times since. One spent time living in New York and the other in LA and they were talking (I was mostly nodding politely) about how much they missed their respective former homes. They felt that no one went out in Chicago, that you always have to call people to make plans, no spontaneity, you can’t walk anywhere, the winters are so cold, blah blah blah.
Now, like any good Chicago girl, I feel quite a bit of contempt for New York and LA (or Indiana for that matter, but that’s another story) anyway, but cry me a river! The Chicago metro area holds about seven *million* people and…a lot…of square miles – you reap what you sow, ladies! Also, it’s *known* for its walkability. Why do you think people are so attached to their neighborhoods? They don’t have to leave!

I guess I could stand to take my own advice on that though. In the reaping what you sow category, I’m mildly sick of my job. Again. Already. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better than the old job, but I’m still getting small pieces of someone else’s work that I could do half-asleep. And I can’t help but think that if I’m going to be bored fifty hours a week, I may as well be making more money. And long term, I don’t want to live for weekends – there just aren’t enough of ‘em!
As tempting as it is to blame that on someone else (college career center sucked, people lied about their own work experiences and made me expect some kind of perfect job in the sky, importance of meeting people at work was underemphasized….the list goes on), I guess I’m the only one with the power to change that.

Always learnin’ ;)

12 February 2007

*Does* The System Work?

Can you feel it? It’s just about time for everyone to get back into politics. In honor thereof, two quick (non-partisan) political tales.

There was a legislative hearing a few weeks ago on the topic of a chronic disease that is the focus of one of the organizations I help manage. It was a really terrific event with testimony from doctors, epidemiologists, activists and, most notably, parents. One parent told of carrying her blue-lipped son from the ER (where they had been informed, though he was a generally healthy seven-year-old too tired to walk under his own power, that his case was not technically an emergency and would therefore need pre-approval from a primary care doctor to get treatment) to the doctors office and finally back to the ER, where he was admitted and spent an entire week in the ICU.

Wow, what a great way for the state senators to get some perspective on their constituents, right? Unfortunately though, of the four we were expecting, two didn't show. One called to say "something had come up" and the other didn't even bother to come up with a lie.

The city's support of the Bears in the week leading up to the Super Bowl (yes. they lost. turns out that if you bring a mediocre quarterback to a super bowl, he plays...mediocre...ly.) was remarkable. Nearly every building on the skyline had some sort of marker: orange spires on the Sears Tower, a bear in lights in the west loop, an 20 foot orange and blue rim around the top of the Merchandise Mart...awesome. I got a little perspective, though, when someone asked me what I thought would change if the same kind of recognition, spirit, and significance surrounded election day.

Unlike some people, I didn't think the Bears hype was necessarily misplaced - that kind of unity is valuable regardless of the source. But I have to admit that our priorities may be a little skewed. If we don't care, if we don't put our energy into things that matter, how can we expect our elected officials to do the same?

07 February 2007

Uphill Both Ways

I'd like to point you back to July, when I...ahem...mentioned that it was hotter than I preferred and opined that the big problem was not the heat, but the extremes, that while the summer was over 100 degrees, the winter could easily be ten below zero. Well, it took seven months instead of five, but here we are. The temperature Monday morning was a crisp nine below (and my heat didn't work, but that's fixed and neither here nor there).

While I'll admit that this is a rather long cold spell (five days and counting with lows below zero!) there's something fortifying about a good old deep freeze. Unlike the cat, who has solved the problem by handily growing even more fur--unfortunately becoming the epicenter of my apartment's appalling static electricity problem in the process--, we humans just have to bundle up and bear it.

And while I could deal without the threat of the car stalling and boy am I sick of my gloves (I've basically never lost anything in my life except winter accessories, of which I have to have lost dozens), I'm proud to be a cold-weather dweller. Stop and meet someone's eyes (you can find them crammed between the hat and scarf) while you're both ice-picking off your windshields and I think you'll find some camaraderie there. Because you can handle it.

*I started this post in earnest, but now as I read it, it sounds sarcastic. Take what you will, I guess.