Wednesday, May 31, 2006

SWEET HOME CHICAGO. I mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve just returned from a week-long trip to Chicago. And now that my body has caught up with four of the seven time zones that I flew across, I feel somewhat empowered to tell my story.

Not that it’s an especially interesting story, but I suspect that most of you have grown tired of reading my recycled Expatica posts and would welcome any change of pace.

The reason that I was in Chicago was that my employer—Acme Low Carb Tongue Depressors, Inc.—held its Legal Department Olympics at the corporate headquarters. This meant that it was the best kind of business trip—one for which I had no responsibilities, other than to stay well-behaved and awake.

But alas, staying awake wasn’t much of a problem, because the conference was fabulous. And I’m not just saying that because my boss (a) organized the conference, and (b) is a regular reader of this blog. Although you might be forgiven for assuming as much.

We sat through a number of top executive presentations on the state of the low carb tongue depressor market and its latest technological trends. Did you know that low carb tongue depressors can also be used as shoe horns for people with narrow feet?

And as shoes for people with flat feet?

And when burned at temperatures exceeding 350º, they smell like rosemary? The tongue depressors, that is; not the feet.

Midway through the week, our entire department took a field trip to downtown Chicago to (a) see the brand-spankin’ new Millenium Park and its Frank Gehry-designed sculpture, “The Bean;” (b) eat a great Cajun dinner at Heaven on Seven; and (c) swing to the vocal-stylings of the talented and foxy Dena DeRose at the Jazz Showcase.

BTW...when was the last time you saw the word “foxy” used in someone’s blog?

But the best part of the conference was having the opportunity to hang-out with my colleagues not just from Chicago, but also from Singapore, Ireland, Finland, Indiana and California—some of which I haven’t seen in four years, and others that I hadn’t previously met at all. And I don’t just say that because some of them are regular readers of this blog. Although you might be forgiven for assuming as much.


At 10:54 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

Really ... I just came here because you used the word 'foxy'...

I'm not a fellow employee nor am I your boss and I know nothing about tongue depressers although ... I have to confess (being catholic and all) that I'm slightly suspicious about your product claims ... smell like rosemary, uh huh sure.

At 11:29 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

But they do smell like Rosemary Clooney.

BTW...I leave town for a week and look what happens to your Flat Stephanie page. Poor Gert. He's been translating overtime. Your Flat efforts put mine to shame, Lady Di.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger woman wandering said...

It's funny but I don't feel like I'm quite doing enough for Flat Stephanie. Gert's been off work for a couple of weeks and I've hesitated to get strangers to hold Steph for photos ... chicken I be :)

But the blog does make it so much easier to process visits and things.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger christina said...

foxy...nope, haven't heard that one since the 70's when I took a disco dancing class (I was pathetic, BTW).

Low Carb Tongue Depressors Legal Department Olympics, eh? The jokes abound, but I won't even start. But I can bet that Sal won the gold medal in the 50-Yard-Dash-

I love that sculpture! Before I read the whole post I was trying to figure out what it was.

Great that you got to spend time with old and new friends and colleagues.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger cream said...

Sounds like you had a great time!
Food, music, wine and friends....
Ahhh....And then a giant bean!
But what kind of bean?
It looks like coffee from where I'm sat....

At 4:15 PM, Blogger euro-trac said...

Cool Bean!

At 4:21 PM, Blogger ironporer said...

Hopefully you had time to take a few collegues down to LaSalle Ave and have a bottle of Garnacha and some (real) Spanish Tapas at the Cafe Iberico ( )
while there...rather than all that nasty Chicago food- italian beef/sausage sandwiches, hot dogs with the kitchen sink and everything else on them, with an ice cold Blatz.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Catalonic said...

Fantastic ex-Pat blog Sal. I too am a US citizen relocated to Spain, or Catalunya for those of my neighbors who consider it there very own little country.
Our business school, IESE, held it's version of pre-corporate Olympics this last weekend in Paris, with many of the other European MBA schools from Oxford to INSEAD. Now I understand the relevance, as it seems to be a true representation of the real business world, at least the business of tongue depressors.



At 5:41 PM, Blogger The Big Finn said...

Sal -
I have very narrow feet, so I tried using a tongue depressor that I happened to have handy as a shoe horn. Now I have splinters in my heels and I'm forced to walk on my toes. Did I do something wrong?
Also, I hope you weren't putting any ketchup on any Chicago hot dog you might have eaten during your trip.

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Mrs. TBF said...

Sal - After helping TBF remove deep splinters from his heels I read your post. On a completely different topic than tongue depressors why is it that most men that I know struggle to travel over time zones and most women I know have no problem? Is there a genetic reason...does anyone out there know?

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

Mrs. TBF: It's all a matter of benchmarks. Women compare the misery of time zones with the misery of epidural-free childbirth. Men compare it with the misery of having to drink beer that's a little too warm. Get it?

Mr. TBF: I certainly did not put ketchup on my hot dog. And I hope you didn't put any on your 28€ omelette.

Catalonic: Hey, a new commenter. That's always a reason to open a bottle of cava. I remember my MBA years. Man...there was a lot of math involved. Much easier to be a lawyer. Bona nit.

IronMan: When I lived in Chicago, there was a two year period during which I'd go to guitar class at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturday mornings, and then go to Cafe Iberico for lunch. It is indeed the best and most authentic Spanish restaurant in Chicago. But do you really, REALLY think I went to Chicago last week to eat Spanish food? You KNOW what I went to Chicago to eat.

Cream: What kind of bean? Dude...I think you've been spending too much time in your restaurant.

At 12:13 AM, Blogger christina said...

Hey, I've experienced both the misery of time zones AND epidural- free childbirth (twice, even) and I have to say that of the two, I consider jet lag to be much, much worse. Knocks me out for a week every single time, coming or going. I guess that makes me the exception to Mrs. TBF's rule.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger GC PHILO said...

I did a google search on "foxy" "blog" "haggis" and guess what? You're top of the charts my friend!

At 11:03 PM, Blogger Sal DeTraglia said...

GC: What? You mean that I'm the "Foxy Haggis King?" My God! My life HAS amounted to something. Thanks for that ego boost.

Christina: I really can't believe what I'm reading. I can't wait to tell the next woman I meet that, "Childbirth is nothing...try flying from Chicago to Spain."

At 5:13 PM, Blogger CanadianSwiss said...

Foxy?? Uhhm. I guess when I was a pre-teen? Oh, and Sal? I'll do jetlag before childbirth. I don't have kids, but I'm not willing to try that out just for the sake of comparing ;-)

At 6:21 PM, Blogger tatiana said...

Sounds like you had a fantastic time. You checked out the right things... though, I wish I would have discovered your blog sooner.. I could have directed you to so many great places..... but, you did good for the short time you were here..... Millenium park is quite nice..... and I love the "bean" - the architect of the bean actually finally acknowledged it as the "bean" (as for a long time, he refused to call it that!! The "bean" is what us Chicago natives nicknamed it, well, b/c it looks like a big bean!!)


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