Monday, November 21, 2011

Passing of the Unicorn: A new day!

Last week I blogged about moving on, and as it turns out it is actually happening. Wow.

Passing of the unicorn to M Cowen
I've tried to keep this hush-hush, as I'm not for sharing the details of my life. You might say that I blew my cover when I blogged about moving last week. Au contraire mon fraire! A dirty secret about social media is that no one reads blogs.That was one of my top posts. It had 28 hits.

My ostensible reason for writing this post has to do with the US Masters Swimming team I've been pleased to be a part of for the past the six years, the Chicago Smelts. Master's swimming is hardcore, competitive swimming for adults who like that sort of thing. Right. Maybe you're asking where I fit? I've devoted myself to working behind the scenes, not to competing. Like in my professional life, I make sh*t happen and I do it pretty darn well.

Warning: Somewhat emotive portion of this post-  I've met some of 'my people' here. Really. The sort of friends that aren't temporal or limited in scope. They've welcomed me into their lives and vice versa. I'm better for it, and I hope they are too.

So it's time to pass along the unofficial 'mascot,' the unicorn.

A symbolic gesture, but not a hollow gesture. Tell me about a time you've passed your own 'unicorn'....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Miss you; maybe

I'm moving on which is good. I'm ready for a change, a new city and new opportunities.

Miss you; maybe
Sure I'm leaving behind good friends and family. But they might not like me so well if I stayed. I'm looking at this as a two year posting, then I'll assess from there. Nothing is forever, and besides friends and family can visit. Jeepers, call me every day if you want. You don't now, but you can start.

As my time in my familiar spaces grows shorter, and I think, 'Self, what will I miss?' That's an interesting thought, when you stop to examine. Would it make more sense to think of the things I won't miss? I don't want to write screed, so I'm going to avoid that.

But let's start by considering what it means to miss something or someone. Here's my perspective- I always like to think that if you miss something, that means you liked it in the first place. It (whatever it is) brought some pleasure, reassurance or satisfaction. I've got a long list, which is a good sign. Best to leave on good terms with fond memories. Right?

Here's a list in no particular order:

Dirty secret- there are some things about the above I won't miss. But definitely missing more than not missing.

I'd love to hear from you. Have you moved a lot? What do you think of the concept of missing?

Let's discuss...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Only in Pilsen: Dia de los Muertos and Environmental Rights

How many times have you pledged to explore in your home town? How many times have you?

Dia de los Muertos participants
Right. So on Nov 2nd, I found temperate weather and my bicycle pointed towards Pilsen's Dia de los Muertos procession. As you'd imagine, the event didn't disappoint. Mexico, its people (home based or diaspora) and culture have a penchant of turning the mundane into the sublime.

I was also reminded of an issue that looms in this dynamic neighborhood. That is the drive for clean air, and the right to have unfettered access to clean air. Enter the Pilsen Environmental Rights and Reform Organization (P.E.R.R.O). Clean air- and access to it- are precious and precarious. In Pilsen the air quality has generated citations from the EPA.

The issue hasn't gone uncovered by the media- periodically generating local coverage of the Clean Power Ordinance and PERRO's advocacy (along with Chicago Clean Power Coalition) to pressure Midwest Generation to close or significantly reduce emissions from the Fisk and Crawford coal plants. Midwest Generation owns and operates the old coal fired power plants that were sold by ComEd (Exelon). Coal is nasty, and it has severe affects on communities- from its extraction to its burning. Sulfur dioxide is perhaps the best known by product, and it leads to respiratory ailments, acid rain etc. Yet, like me, you probably expect the lights to work in your home, and for it to stay heated during the winter months. Consider me guilty of those expectations.

The Clean Power Ordinance (see above) haltingly working it's way through the local legislative grinder. However, elections/politics/vested interests have a tendency to delay, obfuscate, and/or alter the final law.

Ofreda at Dvork Park Field House
You might say that for the residents of Pilsen, there is no delay. Most of us need to breathe regularly. And we seem to have little trouble funding wars, business tax breaks, TIFF's etc- and fully recognizing each of these as disparate issues, but air pollution is entirely rectifiable.

Ultimately this will be resolved- the right thing will be done once all other options are exhausted. So explore your city. I for one love finding something else when I'm busy looking for something.