When I felt suicidal, I never called. Here's why. (Check on your strong friend.)

You’ve probably seen this number a lot this week: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Call 1-800-273-8255. And that’s good. People need to know there’s help. There is.  But also know, asking someone who is in the depths of depression to take any step at all is like asking them to move a mountain. Making a phone call... Read more »

Snow flurries in April are actually the frozen tears of Chicagoans

Those flurries you saw floating from the sky this mid-April morning? They were not snowflakes. Those were actually the frozen tears of Chicagoans whose greatest wish right now is to pack away their winter coats. (Read: send them to the dry cleaners and forget to pick them up until you need them again, say in... Read more »

Chicago's holiday season is just like a Christmas carol. Plus, a new twist on a classic, from my dog.

Shopping and parties and baking, oh my! The holiday season is in full swing. Here in Chicago, neighborhoods are decked with the lights and colors of the season. The CTA Holiday Train is spreading shrieks of joy, and adding more bustle to rush hour. Theaters big and small are putting on festive plays. Choirs are singing.... Read more »

Saving on the gas bill with a cat: a winter's poem

The snowfall is near Gas bills are rising Yes, winter is here   Cover windows with care With plastic and curtains There’ll be no more fresh air   Slip on  your slippers Wear sweaters indoors And sip warm sippers   Set the thermostat low Change the air filter, too Save on energy, boo   But... Read more »

If Thanksgiving has a side hustle, it's reflection.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. Primarily because food is my hobby and passion, and Thanksgiving is a holiday that puts food at its center. At Thanksgiving, it’s not a feast and gifts, not a meal to celebrate or remember, not food and religion. The feast itself is the celebration, a symbol of our... Read more »

Yeah, me too.

Yeah, me too. My first reaction to the instructions on Sunday was, “Who hasn’t?” The phrase “at the very least” kept coming to mind. As if there’s a scale on which we are supposed to rate how bad harassment or assault is. And isn’t there? Isn’t there this implicit understanding among women that there’s a certain... Read more »

We're living in the airplane scene from Bridesmaids, and can't get kicked off the plane

Does anyone else feel like they are constantly Kristin Wiig in the airplane scene of Bridesmaids these days? “This should be open because it’s civil rights,” we scream. “This is the 90s.” “It’s not. You’re in the wrong decade,” they say. What decade are they living in? “No, you are,” seems to be the only... Read more »

Recalling the cherub trend

As I’ve settled into the fourth decade of my life, I’ve become accustomed to noticing a group of teenagers and thinking, “Oh, that’s cool again?” The plaid grunge thing; sunflower prints; neon: we did that first. And we swore we were original, and not distinctively trendy. We were just being ourselves. On the CTA last... Read more »

I've been dreaming of being a hero in a dark world

My subconscious has been incredibly active lately. It’s also been incredibly dark. I’ve awoken or been disturbed in my sleep by scenes of violence or suspense. I don’t know what this means about my psychological or spiritual state. It probably isn’t good. Here’s the interesting thing: I’ve been in positions of strength in the dreams–at... Read more »

If the Cubs were a Southern team

“When the Cubs win the World Series it’ll be a warm day in November.” I’m certain that’s how the saying goes. Right? If the Cubs were a Southern team, there would no doubt be a number of odd sayings associated with the team. But the Cubs are a decidedly Midwest team with solid Midwestern beliefs... Read more »