Mr. Darcy, step aside for Henry Tilney

Fans of Jane Austen, who is your favorite Austen hero? The repentant Darcy, the honorable Knightley, the gallant Wentworth? Did you think of Henry Tilney? He is overlooked because Northanger Abbey, a spoof of the gothic novel, is not usually ranked near the top among Austen’s novels. As I embark on a rereading of the... Read more »

Are you supposed to love volunteering?

I was telling someone about being disappointed that my latest volunteer gig has not turned out to be a “this is it” experience. I don’t dislike it, but I’d rather be doing something else. She (let’s call her Carol) said that I have the mistaken impression that we’re supposed to enjoy volunteer work. Her comment... Read more »

Day trips add up to a vacation

Are you thinking about what you didn’t get to do because of COVID? Reframing may be able to turn a negative into a positive. It was disappointing to cancel a summer trip to Glacier National Park when COVID created a number of impediments. I expected to not have a vacation this year. But after visiting... Read more »
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Looking for the right dentist

By retirement age, many people want to have established relationships with healthcare providers. I’m changing both my doctor and my dentist — one by choice, the other because she retired. Switching to a Rush Health physician makes sense: Rush has a spanking new clinic a half-mile from me, and it now accepts my Medicare Advantage... Read more »

Making healthcare choices for a parent: a sad example

“Get me out of here.” “Please take me home.” “I don’t understand why I have to be here. Other people fall and aren’t sent away.” It is agonizing to listen to a parent say such things. It is impossible not to feel guilty for putting her in a rehab facility. My 94-year-old mother fell in... Read more »

Use shoes or lose ’em

Remember the images of Imelda Marcos’s rows of shoes? I wonder how many of Marcos’s reported 3,000 pairs were ever worn. It’s not good for shoes to be always in closets instead of on feet, not that Marcos likely cared. But who am I to talk? I have a bad habit of saving footwear until... Read more »
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A reader’s observations about the Alden-owned Tribune

I kept my daily subscription after the Chicago Tribune was acquired in late May by hedge fund Alden Global Capital, known for decimating newsrooms. Here’s what I’ve noticed about the paper since then: • There are more op-eds from outside contributors, filling space previously taken by Tribune writers. Longtime columnists like Eric Zorn and Mary... Read more »

If you're falling short of 10,000 steps

People who start tracking their steps might be discouraged to find that they’re nowhere near 10,000 daily steps, the commonly accepted goal. Before I got a Fitbit device, I thought that a half-hour brisk walk on most days was enough aerobic exercise. My weekly total exceeded the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise recommended by the... Read more »

The anxiety about misspeaking with people different from oneself

Recently a person I’d just met accused me of being intrusive when I asked where she lived and whether she’d returned to working in the office yet. Although I didn’t think the questions were too personal, she said I’d crossed a line and was interrogating her, soliciting information and not sharing anything about myself. I... Read more »
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Criticize US, but don’t despair

A June Gallup poll found that only 43 percent of Americans, and just 31 percent of Democrats, are extremely proud to be American. This Democrat isn’t surprised. A pandemic rages, yet in some states only one-third of adults have been vaccinated. Most of the unvaccinated say they won’t be vaccinated, arguing for a right to... Read more »