Category: Uncategorized

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 »

Intrusiveness vs. showing interest: how to ask questions

In the December issue of Chicago magazine there’s a short piece on how to make small talk at parties. Anne Libera, director of comedy studies at Columbia College, suggests asking, “What’s the weirdest food your family eats on a regular basis?” or “Tell me about the most exciting thing you ever did as a teenager.”... Read more »

Having an undecorated Christmas

Having an undecorated Christmas
December 18, the calendar says. Only a week until Christmas, and I haven’t put up any decorations. I may not.  Has a bah-humbug attitude overtaken me?  I don’t think so. I’ve happily gone to the Chicago Greeter and my building’s holiday parties. I eagerly read the cards that are arriving and will email holiday notes... Read more »
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For the elderly, giving effortless food is a winner

Christmas shopping for 90+-year-olds whose home is overflowing with stuff is a challenge. For years I gave my parents gifts from Omaha Steaks, but they still had to cook the meat, along with side dishes. As they’ve gotten older, it seems better to reduce their work. This year I decided to check into whether Omaha... Read more »

Before moving on from the big 70 . . .

Since the last two posts were about turning 70, maybe I’ve milked the topic ad nauseam. But those posts mostly reprinted other people’s thoughts, and now that the big birthday is past, my own feelings are clearer. * Friends and family made it one of my best birthdays ever. The wishes via text, email, phone,... Read more »

Other people's thoughts on turning 70

I wasn’t going to pressure myself to write a post on my milestone birthday, but while waiting to get together with friends this afternoon and evening, I felt that reading others’ thoughts about turning 70 would help me. Thanks to the fellow septuagenarians quoted here — not just for their wisdom but also for making this an... Read more »
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Reluctantly, I’m giving up on overwintering tender perennials indoors

By September the sweet potato vines had spilled a foot or two down the sides of the railing planters on my balcony, creating a dense cascade of lime green leaves.  The plants were flourishing too well to let die when cold arrived. Of course I had to bring them inside to overwinter.  “If you have... Read more »

Are you advising relatives about college applications?

College application season is under way. Though the topic seems ill suited for a blog titled Retired in Chicago, you may have children or grandchildren you’re advising about college.  Having worked at universities for 30 years, and having recently observed my two nieces’ experiences, I have opinions about applying to colleges. (Apologies to my nieces... Read more »

The frustration of proving I’m me to Equifax

You may have heard that as of September 21, the three major credit reporting bureaus are offering free credit freezes. Unless you’re planning to apply for credit in the near future, a freeze is advisable. It makes it harder for identity thieves to open accounts in your name. At the end of September, I started with... Read more »
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Renting a car for no reason except to drive

Do people take Sunday drives anymore? When I was a kid, we’d eat Sunday dinner at my grandparents’ house on the East Side of Joliet, and then all eight of us would pile into the car for a trip to Pilcher Park, always stopping at the greenhouse and the artesian well. Sunday drives have largely... Read more »