Category archive for ‘Columnists’ rss

  • Make America “safe” as it used to be? Careful what you wish for

    Who doesn’t long for those lazy, hazy days of their childhood?

    I was raised in quiet Elmwood Park, just a stone’s throw from Chicago’s Austin neighborhood, and I have always thought of my 1950s childhood as idyllic, calm, and peaceful.

    And yet…

  • Murder on the Orient Express – derailed by the accent

    It may surprise you to learn that Agatha Christie is the best- selling author of all time. Her novels have sold over two billion copies so far, and still going strong. Her books have been translated into more languages than any others, save the Bible and the works of Shakespeare.

  • Ask an Angel: November 16, 2017

    Mom lives alone, but I am her caregiver, checking in on her daily with a phone call or a visit at least on the weekends. We will be traveling during the holidays and I don’t think I can leave her alone. What options are out there?

  • Ask the Woodchucks: November 16, 2017

    We have Moen faucets in the bathrooms of our Pulte built home. The handle (hot) on one faucet has become very loose and wobbly. I’ve attached a short video. It works fine but will likely get worse in the future.

  • Tips for extended stays away from home, Part I

    Each year our family heads to Galena for the 4th of July holiday. The rolling hills, patriotic parade and rich history of the town offer us a chance to reconnect. Prior to leaving I go on a cleaning spree. As my family can attest I cannot physically leave the house until the beds are made, the floors are cleaned, and the clothes are all washed and put away.

  • “Famiglia” style … not

    A long, long time ago, on a Del Webb day trip far, far away, as we were passing by a restaurant, our friendly escorts Jan and Jerry suggested we review it. We put them on the “fast track” and only three short years later, we finally found the time to do it.

  • ‘Tis the season for hay, straw, and a sweet-smelling dog

    It’s autumn, and as the Halloween-and-Thanksgiving season approaches, folks in my Illinois neighborhood like to decorate their front porches with pumpkins and corn stalks sitting on hay bales.

    And every time I see that, I can’t help but think of Schatze, the sweet-smelling dog of my youth.

  • A Polska Tradycja

    Over the Labor Day weekend, we were invited to an “end of the summer” party. Jim must be slipping in his old age, since it took him a while to nonchalantly drop the fact that we are the Dining Duo into the casual conversation with other guests. As a result, we did receive a lot of good recommendations and were asked several questions. One inquiry was about a new Polish restaurant in Hoffman Estates called Tradycja (Tradition).

  • Ask the Woodchucks: Fall Maintenance

    As winter approaches, you should remove all hoses from the outside faucets, drain them, and store them in the garage to prevent them from freezing and damaging the hose. If you have a basement with a sump pump, be sure to remove the extension hose from the sump pump discharge pipe on the outside of the house. This is a black hose that directs sump water away from the foundation.

  • Let it snow outside and let it grow indoors

    Life can be stressful. We all experience the stress of family, money, and health. My current angst is that of being a mom of 3 teenagers. While I used to be their most loved and admired person, as they naturally grow up and away, I am now that out of touch person whose IQ level keeps decreasing as their age increases. My beloved husband has realized that a walk around the block with me will cure any amount of stress that I experience with our children.

  • Suburbicon: What goes around comes around

    American filmmakers the Coen brothers have a long list of movies they have written, and in some cases directed. They have won and/or been nominated for a number of Oscars and may be the best known team of writers in Hollywood. I have not seen all of their films by any stretch, but those I have left a lasting impression.

  • Ask an Angel: November 2, 2017

    Please tell me what types of care options are available to seniors. I see lots of construction going on, but I’m not sure what these communities offer.

  • I’m either desperate, fed up, or both

    I go to dozens of movies every year. I go for three reasons.

  • Welcome to America, where it looks just like it does on TV

    My buddy Mike just got back from a week in France, and we took to the links for a quick nine holes so he could tell me a few lies and tales about his trip. His wife, Sandy, had been there before, and they were meeting an old college friend of hers with whom she had spent some time in France years ago, hoping to recapture a bit of the fun they had way back then.

  • How many batteries does your house have?

    As electronics move into every corner of our lives, most of them require batteries to operate. As these batteries die the consequences can be from a minor annoyance to a catastrophic failure in your house when the heat goes off and the pipes freeze. In order to avoid these problems, large and small, you need to know where all the batteries are located and when to change them.

  • Ask an Angel: October 19, 2017

    I’ve noticed my mom’s vision is getting worse over time. She is a proud person and has never wanted help around the house. However, her home is not kept up in the way she typically keeps it up. It seems like she is letting things go, but I think it is because she can’t see well. How can I help without overstepping?

  • To everything there is a season (and an appropriate choice of foliage)

    “Tag, you’re it. A wonderful young man disguised as a grumpy teenager it headed your way,” was the text I sent my daughter as my son’s plane took off. Christopher was headed to Kansas State University to spend the weekend with Mary.

  • No holds barred at Bar Louie

    Nancy and her bowling babes were bummed out when they realized one of their favorite lunchtime haunts, Uno’s Pizzeria in Schaumburg, was closing. They were un-bummed out when they found realized “Bar Louie” was taking over that location. Her bowling babes said, “You’re the trained professional, go check it out.” So Nancy took off her bowling shirt. I put on my loose fitting work pants. We both hopped in the Dining Duo Mini-Mobile, and off we went to Bar Louie in Schaumburg.

  • Getting to know your EquiFACTS

    It is becoming all too common these days.

    Each day there seems to be another instance of another security breach. Makes me nervous, you? As a tax preparer for the last 25 years, I know that identity theft issues are on the rise. What makes the most recent Equifax breach so alarming is the fact that they knew about it for six weeks before any announcement was made.

  • Yeah, that’s right, I’m talking about you, dummy

    You’re probably a complete idiot.

    Or if not, then I’ll bet you’re a dummy.

  • Waterlogged: keeping track of plant hydration

    Our actions are often meant to achieve a specific goal. Being a former teacher, my underlying goal for each of these columns is to educate. Over time I have used humor, personal stories, and observations as a conduit for information. I have tried not to lecture or use this forum as a virtual soapbox to tell you what to do. Frankly, there are many readers of my column that have much more gardening experience than I do. Who am I to tell them what to do?

  • Ask the Woodchucks: October 5, 2017

    I went to check the number of covers (dryer vent and bathroom exhaust vents), and to my surprise I found that a bird had got stuck in the dryer opening and had died. I bought what I needed at Home Depot, and the one I bought actually had a clasp to open it and gain access to the dryer and bath vents without removing the whole unit. Where do we get a similar cover for the microwave vent that is larger (10” high x 9” wide)?

  • Battle of the Sexes – tennis match or soap opera?

    The evening I saw this was a first for me in a number of ways. 1) First time I ever sat through a movie as the only person in the theatre. 2) First time I ever phoned anyone during a film. 3) First time I ever watched a football game while the movie was playing, (Bears-Packers), which actually many of you would prefer to forget. 4) First time I ever took my antacids during the movie rather than wait until I got home.

  • Ask an Angel: October 5, 2017

    My husband has always been very active in sports and fitness. Over the years, his memory has declined and with that, he is not very interested in being active. We used to do many activities together, but now it seems like we just exist. I’d like to help him stay in shape as well as participate in what he has always loved to do. How can I motivate him?

  • @ Bangkok Thai & Sushi is where it’s @

    A time-honored tradition in most neighborhoods in Sun City is the monthly or bi-monthly ladies luncheon. One person is chosen as a scout to scour the countryside for a restaurant to descend upon. They make their choice, they send out the invitations, wait for the responses, and then let the games begin.

  • Learning to speak American is a piece of cake

    Some years ago, as I sat chatting with a young couple from the Netherlands who spoke fluent English, I took a quick glance at my watch. I had a job my boss wanted me to do, and my time was running out.

    “Sorry,” I told them, “but I’ve got to take care of this. You know how Ed is. I don’t want to get called on the carpet.”

  • Ask the Woodchucks: September 21, 2017

    We have the Fox model and there is a vent in the rear of the house toward the bottom of the siding, and the flaps are breaking off. I’ve been looking all over and can find anything to replace it. There is a grid behind the flaps. While we’re at it what is it used for?

  • Ask an Angel: September 21, 2017

    I have taken on the role of caregiver for my mother. I have been doing this for only 3 months and I am already overwhelmed. I can’t seem to keep everything straight. Between doctor visits, medications, and her daily needs, I am slowly fizzling and feel like things are chaotic. How do people care for their family member with success?

  • Lighting the way to creative lanscaping

    The leaves are turning color, the morning temperatures are cooler, and the sun is setting earlier. Fall will soon be upon us. With fall and inevitably winter, our sunlight will diminish and we will begin to rely more and more lights to help us see.

  • It’s a beautiful day in “The Neighborhood”

    It was a beautiful day in our neighborhood, and we decided to pay a visit to the new Niko’s Tavern & Neighborhood Grill in Pingree Grove.