Seeing the other side: Funeral director turned artist creates Umbrellas for Peace

I read obituaries because I love people and I love stories. I’m often left with regret that I never crossed paths with the fascinating person who just died, so sometimes I keep a copy of the obit out of respect.  Take Matt Lamb, who died in 2012, whose name I recognized as a funeral director... Read more »

The Facebook HIDE button: Saving friendships right and left by taking a Politics Break

If you declare to a friend that you have to take a break from your friendship because you are getting to know them a little too well, then good luck and goodbye. But nowadays, the strategic use of the Facebook HIDE button can prevent it from going that far. Of course, Facebook both causes and... Read more »

Robin Williams and Mrs. Doubtfire: Comedy and tragedy entwine

I saw “Mrs. Doubtfire” twice, first in the movie theater, second on a rainy Saturday afternoon alone at home. The first time I saw a comedy, silly, implausible, bold. The second, I saw the tragedy underneath, and cried the entire length of the movie. The plot was the same each time of course – a... Read more »

Friend gets married in her sixties - myths busted and hearts warmed!

The bride advances down the aisle in a short, bejeweled, salmon-colored dress, wearing a Fascinator in her hair (more on that later), glowing as brides are supposed to glow. This is Chris, my long-time friend, single all her life until this moment, the one who has lived in New York, London, done business in the... Read more »

Is time still on my side? A babyboomer misses my unlimited future

This month’s ChicagoNow BlogapaloozHour assignment: Write for one hour about a person, place, or thing that you miss. This should be easy for me, the grief counselor. I’ve got a pretty good acquaintance with loss – people like my parents and friends, places like our family’s old home place, things like the many lost earrings... Read more »

Grief, the Ukraine plane crash, and me: I've been there

I have two things in common with the surviving relatives of those killed in Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, shot down over Ukraine: I am (partly) of Dutch heritage as are many of the survivors – in fact when I am there, people come up to me and ask directions, I look so much like I... Read more »

Do you smell something? 15 steps to a skunk-free basement

When you wake up in the morning, you never know what life is going to present to you. Today, it presented me with a skunk, rattling around in the window well outside my basement window. So today I learned the 15- step process for skunk removal. I feel bad for the skunk – he didn’t... Read more »

7 more ways to relish summer in Chicago, but hurry!

Fellow ChicagoNow blogger Carol Kuhrt Brewer  has raised the alarm – we’d better get busy if we are going to make the most of this summer. Before we know it, Bed Bath and Beyond will be glutted with mother-child pairs buying shower caddies and XL twin sheets for the freshman dorm, the mother’s eyes haunted... Read more »

What's the matter? Give me a smile

I stood on a side street in New Orleans, around the corner from St. Louis Cathedral, waiting for my husband. I guess I was staring off into the distance, maybe thinking of my two young kids at home in the care of grandparents, or maybe just letting my therapist-stress level abate. A man approached and... Read more »

My Love Letter to the Iowa Summer Writing Festival: My summer camp

I never went to sleep-away camp when I was a kid. I was good with Beverly Day Camp and my white T-shirt with green pictures on it, and quite satisfied to excel in archery (and only archery) while returning home to sleep in my own bed, thank you. I was a shy girl, and chicken.... Read more »