A subtle, sentimental sign of love at the Metra train station

I was sitting in the window of my favorite coffee shop drinking a latte while reading the “Ask Amy” column in the Chicago Tribune. Behind me, I could hear a couple walk in, and quietly order two coffees to go. I love quiet people early in the morning. They whispered to one another as comfortable couples... Read more »

Man's most delicious gift to the world: Parmigiano-Reggiano

Leave it to those Italians to be the pure food purveyors of the perfect food to gorge on. Italian food, by nature, is simple, no fuss fresh bites of pure bliss. Parmigiano-Reggiano isn’t called the “King of Cheese” for being confused with Velveeta. I could eat a wheel. History can trace its origins to the 1200-1300’s.... Read more »

Do you tip the housekeeper when you stay in a hotel?

I didn’t use to. I don’t believe my parents did either, although growing up we stayed more in fishing lodges rather than hotels. But things change. You become educated about the working conditions of the housekeeping staff in hotels and motels. The more you travel your perspective expands. Housekeepers are on their feet all day with multiple... Read more »
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A letter to my daughter on her birthday

March 20, 2018 Dear Dolly, Thirty-two years ago, Dr. Janice Johnston, within the walls of Piedmont Hospital on Peachtree Street uttered, “It’s a girl!” Back then ultra-sounds were primitive so your birth was an unexpected surprise. Everyone had told me I was having another boy because of the way I carried you. You proved them all wrong. We took you home... Read more »

Jeez, where is Niklas Hjalmarsson when you desperately need him?

I almost had a stroke last June when the Blackhawks General Manager Stan Bowman traded our beloved defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to the Arizona Coyotes. Come on Stan, what were you thinking? And now the Blackhawks sit dead last in the Western Conference Central Division. Playoffs are just around the corner. Those bleak statistics are due to this armored-bodied... Read more »

6 Splendiferous Things to do on a Snowy Saturday

It’s January. It’s bitter cold. It’s snowing. It’s Chicago. Before you know it, the trees will be budding and your salt-stained boots will be stored away until December. Instead of fighting a snowy day, relish the thought of never leaving your home. Not even to get the mail. Here are 6 things to do to pass the... Read more »

The extraordinary life of Teddy Tucker: Barkeep at the Jamaica Inn for almost 60 years

The extraordinary life of Teddy Tucker: Barkeep at the Jamaica Inn for almost 60 years
I believe everyone in the town of Ocho Rios knows Teddy Tucker. Probably everyone in St. Ann’s Parish. Let’s not stop there. Everyone in Jamaica knows of this man. Let’s go a bit further. Everyone in the Caribbean must have heard of this legendary barkeep. Teddy began working in the bar at the Jamaica Inn... Read more »

Would you come clean over 99 cents at Jewel?

I did. I had to. Julie was just too darn nice. I hurried into the Fox River Grove Jewel on my way home. It’s not my “normal” Jewel, but I was driving right by and needed a few items. While putting away my groceries in the kitchen, I noticed the head of garlic was missing. I needed it for a beef and... Read more »

Sorry Brian Urlacher, but I liked you better bald

When did a bald head become offensive? Recently, while driving into Chicago on I-90, the tollway was littered with billboards for Restore by Katona, a hair transplant facility based in Oak Brook. I never pay attention to billboards. I’d rather see trees and wildflowers. But no one asked me to run the Illinois Tollway and God knows they’re... Read more »

Solitude, Packer jerseys and drinking a shot of bitters on Washington Island

Ah, Washington Island. Just a thirty minute ferry ride from Gills Rock at the northern tip of Door County in Wisconsin. We needed to get away and unplug. And that we did. Sporadic cell service, no agenda. After the summer swimmers and boaters departed but before the fall color crowds. We pretty much had the place all to ourselves. To... Read more »