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Showing posts from August, 2015

Race report: 2015 Chicago Triathlon (Sprint)

Everyone has been asking me how the race went and wishing me happy birthday. Thank you for your patience in getting details as I sent my oldest off to kindergarten today. My daughter cried the entire time. "I'm gonna miss him!" she sobbed as we stood on the playground lining up with his teacher. My son, on the other hand, couldn't wait to get inside. Good for him.

To answer the most common question first...yes, I'm sore! Apologies if you're a triathlete or Chicagoan reading this, I'm going to write it with non-triathletes from out of town in mind. It may get long, but I always like finding details in a race report...so here we go.

The Chicago Triathlon is the largest in the world with something like 7,000 triathletes in the Sunday races alone. It's spread out over miles of the Chicago lakefront and takes place in one of the busiest areas of the city. So it has long had a reputation of being a crowded, logistical nightmare (recent course and operationa…

We have a gun problem

First of all, thank you to all the readers of the blog over the years. This is the 601st post! Since I started it, over 40,000 of you have stopped by for whatever reason. That's awesome. 

I've noticed my social media filled with guns since last week's on-air shooting where the world got to see 2 people murdered on live tv while simply doing their jobs. And it's so refreshing to see people speaking out--because most of us want something done. These aren't people talking about how guns are awesome, guns will make us safer, and guns are the answer. They're people who have finally decided they've seen enough. We've had enough and we're going to speak up.

These aren't people who normally engage in the typical gun banter. They're not people who frequently make their opinions known about guns. But they're finally brave enough to stand up. Because, usually, people stay silent.

We're silent because no matter how a majority of Americans feel--…

Oak Park's Y2, Y3, Y4 overnight zones

Last night I spent about an hour each with two of my fellow Transportation Commissioners inside Oak Park's overnight parking permit zones as part of a study. In addition to the typical report done by village staff, the commission has divided the Y2, Y3, and Y4 overnight zones into "before school starts" and "after school starts" time blocks. As well as "weekday evening" and "weekend" splits so we get a feel for some of the different conditions that exist. Each of the 12 different zones/times has 2 commissioners assigned to walk the zone and report back as part of the attempt to fix a few of the parking problems in these heavily-used areas.

For those of you unfamiliar, the Village of Oak Park has long had an overnight parking ban where vehicles may not park on the street between 2:30am and 6am. There are, of course, ways around it with permits and passes instituted over the years. Much of the problem with capacity is related to Oak Park's…

But WHY is organic beef safer?

In case you missed it, this How Safe Is Your Ground Beef? from Consumer Reports should upset you. It's everything that's wrong with the US food system in one easy-to-understand (sort of) article and hits the nail on the head. But there's more to the story...especially if you didn't make it to the end or skimmed...when it comes to how these animals get to you. And definitely more than some critics have implied--that if you simply wash your hands and cook your meat completely you'll avoid problems. Never mind that "dangerous pathogens lurking in our food supply" issue. So, apologies, we're going to have to get into the gritty details of the dysfunctional US slaughter system. First, a few words about animal health though.

It's almost obvious that organic and grassfed meats would harbor fewer germs than the conventional counterpart. Organic and grassfed livestock systems are, by nature, more concerned with animal health conditions...and especially usi…

Favorite friends

My daughter, luckily, is still at the age where she wants to crawl up into my lap and read a stack of picture books. I let her pick the titles which means, unfortunately, it's sometimes less quality than I'd like. We had a very good one home from the library the other day--written by astronaut Mark Kelly--called Mousetronaut...the "partially true" story of a mouse in space. Though, for the most part, they're short books full of pop culture characters. Or I get to read flowers, princesses, etc..

That's all ok though.

The bright spot in our family reading has become the chapter books. Ok, I use "bright spot" loosely because sometimes they seem to be paying no attention as one of the parents reads aloud before bedtime. It's become a beloved ritual we all participate in together, however, and the kids absorb things even when they appear to be not listening. The literary characters pop up in daily life when we least expect it...with phrases and perso…

1st trip to the dentist

With my son starting kindergarten, our state requires a dental exam within a year for that age. So it seemed like the right time to finally use the expensive dental insurance we added to our family health plan. (We'll leave aside--for now--that I have to have my own separate health insurance because I'm denied my partner's insurance via marital discrimination.) For those of you wondering, "doesn't the ADA recommend that kids see a dentist for the first time between the ages of 6 months and 1 year?" I say..."bull." If you did manage to get your kids in a dentist's chair at 6 months, good for you. But the average age for a first dentist visit in the US is just shy of 3 years old and 34% of young kids have not. And 62% of parents say their child is "too young" when asked why they didn't go Then again, 1 in 4 kids in the US also had a cavity by age 4 (more about that later), so that leaves us nationally in a difficult place.

I'm de…

MIA

In case you're wondering where I've been, it's been a little crazy around here. I've got a list of blog topics about a mile long and no time to cover them. My son had his first birthday party. We had a backyard playdate. School is rapidly approaching. And we just returned from a trip to Minnesota complete with gorgeous vacation house on Lake Pepin. Not to mention that I'd planned to write something up about how much I hate these new "dine-in" movie theaters with the recliner seats and food service button. No, no, no.

Oh, and did I mention that I have a triathlon in about 3 weeks? It's been like that.

The most immediate time suck has actually been something from pretty far out in left field. We're submitting a competitive proposal to lease farmland in a national park in Ohio. Which is both exhilarating and frightening. Don't get too excited for us because I've read that last time they had an RFP each farm had about 20 proposals. (Not to say…