Category: Household matters

A story for tomato season

And now for my annual report about container gardening on the balcony . . . Unlike earlier failures — growing annuals in railing planters, keeping container perennials alive outdoors over the winter, and keeping plants brought indoors alive over the winter — the 2019 gardening season was looking successful. The floor planters were thriving, with... Read more »

What's in my masala dabba

Indian cooks keep a masala dabba in the kitchen. It is a round, stainless steel, tightly closed container that holds seven little bowls of spices and a small spoon or two for dispensing them. The spices vary with the cook and are supposed to be those she uses most often. Traditional Indian cooks include salt,... Read more »

On architecture and two lighter topics

What do architecture, spelling, and window cleaners have in common? Not much, except this post. Snippets solve the dilemma of not having enough to say on a single topic. ***** ARCHITECTURE FOR ALL OF US Without featuring all kinds of skyscrapers in a city known for its architecture, my Chicago Greeter tours of the Loop... Read more »

The difficult task of sentimental decluttering

Other than Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi, the person whose name it seems we’re hearing the most at the start of 2019 is Marie Kondo, author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and focus of a new Netflix series. Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo began this month, inspiring people who made new... Read more »

Don't tidy your place for me

For the last few of my building’s monthly game nights, only two of us showed up. Before he moved out of town in mid-December, my game-playing partner invited me to his apartment for a meal and a last game of Scrabble. The invitation for that evening was issued spontaneously during his workday, so he had... Read more »

In containers, creeping charlie is not a weed

In containers, creeping charlie is not a weed
“My definition of a weed,” the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Tim Johnson wrote in his Chicago Tribune gardening column, “is a plant that is growing where it is not wanted.” I had started to compose a post that began the same way: The best definition of a weed is anything that grows where you don’t want... Read more »

An indelicate topic: Is cat poop a health risk to humans?

The headline on Advocate Health Care’s daily health email — “Is poop everywhere?” — made me chuckle. I live with a cat that has inflammatory bowel disease. I had just finished walking around with a solution of Nature’s Miracle, a sponge, and a scrub brush when the email arrived. I wrote about Lizzy a couple of... Read more »

Grab bars in tub are a top safety recommendation

One of the best gifts I got for Christmas last year was a grab bar for the bathtub. When they went with their mother to shop for it, my teenage nieces thought it was for their then-89-year-old grandmother. “Aunt Mar, what do you need a grab bar for?” one asked as I opened the package.... Read more »

Planning cold-weather protection for potted plants

Last year I groused about not succeeding with container gardening on a high-rise balcony. (“Sure is hard to garden up high in shade and wind.”) The annuals — coleus and impatiens mostly — didn’t grow or outright died in the railing planters. In the balcony floor planters, the perennials looked more promising, provided they survived the winter.... Read more »

A ministep in getting rid of stuff

Before moving into my current condo four years ago this month, I dejunked a lot but could have done more. Decisions about many “keep or toss?” items were left for the unpacking stage. Anxious to stop looking at boxes once I was here, however, I stashed everything away. In the last few weeks I finally... Read more »