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trying to get down to the things that matter

I've been going too fast lately.  Steven said I'm always tired, and it's true.  I'm so torn, because I really love Chicago these days, and as always, I hate thinking I'm missing out on things.  But I'm so busy I have to plan doing laundry over a week ahead of time, and my weekend two weeks from now is already filled up with cool stuff I have wanted to do for weeks.  I need to go buy underwear, but I have no time.  And what I really want to do is plan my yogurt cart.  That actually is coming together, so I'll keep all of you (probably very few, but perhaps dedicated?) readers posted.  

In the midst of my whirlwind, I want to share a few things that matter to me. 

One of those is Ben, my amazing friend who is an intern in Ahmedabad, India.  He writes a beautiful blog, and his most recent post I thought especially honest, tangible, and timely.  Check it out: it's about keeping your morals, your sense of what is right and wrong, while opening yourself up to new experiences in new places.  Some things are not okay wherever you are in the world, whatever the cultural norms or taboos, and I agree with Ben - poisoning yourself and the world around you is one of those things.  

Another thing that matters is public transit.  And no, that's not a jump - the less cars there are on the road, the more people are biking and walking, the happier people and their neighbors and communities become, and the safer and healthier everyone is.  It's a win-win situation.  Read this great blog post about how texting while driving is not a problem of texting, it's a problem of our auto-centric culture.  

Next comes something a little closer to home: my local farmers' market, at 61st Street at the great Experimental Station, takes food stamps, and it's gotten some great recognition for it.  Here's some more!  It's actually about a new bill in Illinois Congress that would make it even easier for farmers' markets to accept food stamps - the investment and bureaucracy can be a real barrier, as I've seen here at Open Produce.  I can't wait until spring really comes and I can actually go shop at the market!  More importantly, though, there are plenty of people who argue for bringing farmers' markets to food deserts in many parts of south Chicago.  The real problem with this proposal, however, is usually that a hamburger at McDonalds or a bag of chips at the local gas station is almost always cheaper than fresh fruits and vegetables from a market.  It's hard to convince a farmer that it's worth their time to risk going to a new market in a neighborhood where people can't afford to buy their produce.  So, I'm crossing my fingers this bill passes, the sooner the better!  Hooray for steps to eliminate food deserts in south Chicago!  

Beautiful things still matter, like this photo: 

An elderly Afghan man sits outside his farm house as a bird flies nearby in Marjah, in Afghanistan's Helmand province on Thursday Feb. 25, 2010. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

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