Category: Living downtown

Chatting with a locked-down parent

Many of us likely make lists before important conversations. As a journalist, I would jot down points before interviewing someone to make sure everything important would be covered. But a list to talk to your mother? My mother has been in coronavirus lockdown in an assisted living residence for 11 weeks. No visitors, no leaving... Read more »

Busy but still missing a purpose

Nancy Pelosi is 79, Bernie Sanders 77, Joe Biden 76, and Donald Trump almost 73 — all older than I. There has been plenty of commentary already about whether they’re too old for the jobs they have or want, and this isn’t going to be another one. If seventysomethings have the energy, more power to... Read more »

South Looper looking for a winter hangout

The biggest lack in my condo building is a community room, and the lack is especially felt when we’ve had it up to here with winter. There’s no where to go inside the building when you’re climbing your own walls. On days without plans, I’ve been putting on winter gear and venturing outside to hunt... 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 »

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 »

Help the homeless through these charities

I was walking in River North early Sunday morning when a man who looked to be 30something approached to ask where to get the South Shore train. After I gave him the bad news that he was about a mile away, he said, “Thanks for talking to me. You’re the first person who did. People... Read more »
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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 »

Making friends in a new location

My niece is a freshman at Indiana University, and like most freshmen, Alex wants to make new friends. While many people from her hometown chose IU, none of her best friends did — and besides, she wants to branch out. Alex said she’s met a lot of nice people, people she has gone out with,... Read more »

Bliss on the balcony

As I walk around my neighborhood looking at all the high-rises, it surprises me how few people are out on their balconies, even on beautiful weekends. The balconies look like places for grills, not for humans. My balcony is my sanctuary. It’s not exaggerating to say that a little more than 60 square feet of... Read more »
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The risky business of walking

I fear it’s only a matter of time before I’m in a traffic accident. As a pedestrian. Since reading recently about a rise in pedestrian fatalities locally and nationally, I’ve been noticing hazards more when I step outside in downtown Chicago. At intersections, especially those with left-turn arrows for drivers, assuming a walk sign means... Read more »