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Opinion / Guest Commentary

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Paying it forward, one burger at a time

It's not as if my teenage son needs more reason to be embarrassed of me, but at lunch recently, I know he wanted the earth to swallow him alive, right there at the cash register. I... — Updated 3/3/2021


Mails, emails and paper trails

I confess I've been reading other people's mail for many of the past decades. No, I've not been opening stuff misdelivered to my mailbox. I'm talking about the letters of people... — Updated 2/24/2021

 By Susan OByrne    Opinion

Life not entirely devoid of surprises

Remember the old cliché about insanity - doing something over and over again, but expecting a different outcome? That's, frankly, kind of the way I've been behaving for the past... — Updated 2/17/2021


Coming in from the rain

In my last column, I wrote about getting drenched. I said that the sky above our family was falling and our roof was leaking. Since that column, our monsoon has thankfully passed.... — Updated 2/10/2021


My generation is out of touch with love

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I have started paying extra close attention to the way the definition of love has changed over the last few decades. Over dinner the... — Updated 2/3/2021

 By Beth Smits    Opinion

'Life-changing magic' of library

When I moved my household from Washington, D.C. into storage, I got rid of about 100 books. Some were obvious choices, like the global trade textbook that was required for a class... — Updated 1/27/2021

 By Bret Conway    Opinion

Plant-based diet has grown on me

In September 2019, I thought it would be wise to get my doc's clearance prior to running 26.2 miles on a Sunday the following month. In my check up, he asked something typically not... — Updated 1/20/2021

 By Susan OByrne    Opinion

Novel adaptations soothe trying times

T.S. Eliot's J. Alfred Prufrock once famously stated that he had "measured out (his) life with coffee spoons." In these parlous times, however, I've found myself measuring out my li... — Updated 1/13/2021


Bid this trio farewell for a happier 2021

From a global pandemic to a tumultuous U.S. presidential election, 2020 has wreaked havoc on our minds, bodies and spirits. It was a soul-crushing year, yet - despite it all - I've... — Updated 1/6/2021


In with the new never felt better

2021! It’s almost here, and I’ve never been more excited to welcome a new year. New Year’s is usually a pretty ho hum holiday in my book, but not this year, no ma’am. It’s... — Updated 12/29/2020

 By Amy McCauley    Opinion

Miles don't dim light of Christmas Queen

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been the queen of Christmas. Perhaps your family has its own Christmas queen or king? Someone whose love for the holidays is so... — Updated 12/22/2020


Peace and joy, come to you

The sky is falling. At least our sky is falling, over our home, and within our family. Health concerns of beloved family members have my husband and me scrambling to help. I used to... — Updated 12/16/2020


The 'driving around' phenomenon

Behind the steering wheel of my 2016 Toyota RAV 4 Hybrid, I've made some of my best memories. From hearing my favorite song on the radio for the first time, to driving to the city... — Updated 12/9/2020

 By Beth Smits    Opinion

Learning to listen one benefit of 2020

It's time to look back at the year that was and reflect on lessons learned. Of course, learning a lesson is not the same as applying it, and I am far from skilled at practicing... — Updated 12/2/2020

 By Bret Conway    Opinion

A November decluttering project

With politics dominating the headlines, I am consciously - but maybe not subconsciously - steering well clear of any partisan chatter. You'll get your share of that during... — Updated 11/24/2020

 By Amy McCauley    Opinion

The chocolate pie that saved the day

The happy frenzy of the holiday cooking season is coming. It would seem that Thanksgiving is all about the traditional turkey, but in our house I know better. Everything I make is... — Updated 11/18/2020


Why grit is the best indicator for success

Growing up, I always believed that attaining higher education and possessing an above-average IQ were strong indicators of success. I believed that a class schedule full of AP... — Updated 11/11/2020


Girls and boys and lessons in optimism

Early into the school shutdowns this past spring, I got reassured by the two girls next door. Not missing a beat, Caroline began Zooming ballet, younger Julia hip hop. Caroline... — Updated 11/4/2020

 By Susan OByrne    Opinion

Pandemic prompts summer road trip

It seemed like 2020 just couldn't stop dishing out nasty surprises, so this summer I went rogue and took a 1,400-hundred mile road trip to Arizona with the kids and the dog. I'd not... — Updated 10/28/2020


Standardized tests a whole new ballgame

Picture this: you're walking into Wrigley Field and see the Sox playing. You check your tickets and nope, it's not the Cross Town Classic. That is the same feeling every single... — Updated 10/14/2020

 By Beth Smits    Opinion

Thoughts on returning from the Emerald Isle

Finally - after being apart since February, I was able to see my partner Patrick in person. We spent the month of August in Ireland, after waiting through various July deadlines to... — Updated 10/7/2020

 By Bret Conway    Opinion

Your old road is rapidly aging

Bob Dylan once sang about prior generations turning a cynical eye to youth activism. Fifty-six years later, when recent Hinsdale Central grad Maiwen Amegadjie organized June's... — Updated 9/30/2020

 By Amy McCauley    Opinion

'Dream house' is in the eye of beholder

Every home has a story to tell. We live in an orange brick 1960s colonial revival. Our Realtor affectionately called it the "Leave It to Beaver House." Our house was well-loved,... — Updated 9/23/2020


Nothing bigger than the little things

If there's one thing that the pandemic has taught me, it's that the over-scheduled and over-consumerized lifestyles that we were once living is not sustainable. The societal... — Updated 9/16/2020

 By Susan OByrne    Opinion

Kid favorites have adult appeal

You see them everywhere these days. Their names are Max, Tillie, Sadie, Dixie, Leo, Rocky, Pepper. They are joyful, bounding around on lawns, their entire little bodies vibrating... — Updated 9/2/2020


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