Category: Household matters

Five-C's criteria for my condo

Spending more time than usual at home, we might be feeling as bored with our dwellings as with ourselves. The blahs can bring on an itch to redecorate. I had hardly changed anything in my South Loop condo after making it livable when I moved in seven years ago. Before scratching the redecorating itch, though,... Read more »

How long can I live like this? I'm not talking about the pandemic.

This is really looking for a silver lining: If there was ever a good time for isolation, it’s now for me because it coincides with a worsening of my cat’s inflammatory bowel disease. For both health and aesthetic reasons, it’s best to not have visitors. Lizzy has chronic diarrhea. She also doesn’t always use the... Read more »

Decluttering up to a point

Although my annual attempt at decluttering is nearly finished, there’s still more I could take to a thrift shop. But I feel good about the effort. I don’t have to model Marie Kondo. I don’t have to purge as if a move were coming up. Kondo’s book and TV program, along with decluttering advice from... Read more »
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Vitamin D needs are bones of contention

Maybe you’ve heard reports that many people are now deficient in vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” as we’ve tried to ward off skin cancer by staying out of the sun or wearing sunscreen. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Sunlight used to be our bodies’ main source of vitamin D, its ultraviolet rays... Read more »

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 »
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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 »
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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 »