I really enjoy going through our reader surveys and compiling our Best of the West results each year. It’s always interesting to get our readers’ perspectives on their favorite things about living in the western suburbs. I have been doing it for so many years now that I have a pretty good id…

I’ve never been a big fan of running just to run. I’m OK running when there is a ball to catch or a basket to be made or when it is part of virtually any sporting activity. Because then there is a reason to run beyond running itself — it is a means to an end. 

 I’m a big supporter of area restaurants embracing the concept of BYOB, or Bring Your Own Bottle (see our feature on page 44). It’s not that I have any vested interest. 

I  have never bought anything online. Actually, that’s not completely true, I’ve purchased airline tickets and made hotel reservations and such. So what I guess I really mean, is that I have never bought any thing online — nothing tangible like clothing or any of the myriad of other stuff th…

W here were you 50 years ago? OK, I’ll help you with the math, because if your were alive back then, like me, you can probably use the help. The year was 1969. I was in grade school at the time. And since it is October, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say I was still in mourning. After being in…

I have never been terribly artistically inclined. Case in point, when I was in about third grade I took my first piano lesson, after which my teacher told me to quit. OK, not in so many words, but apparently I was looking out the window throughout the lesson. So when my mom came to pick me u…

I  have some great memories of participating  in picnics over the years, though few have been of the classic bring a basket of food and throw your blanket on the grass variety. Many have been more like informal cookouts, including one with a group of friends on the rocky shores of Michigan’s…

Sitting on my sofa at home, I blurt out random words at the TV. Corkscrew. Jupiter. Ottawa. "How do those people not know those answers?" I think to myself, convinced of how much better I would be doing if I were in their place. 

I’m going to really miss the Cascade Drive-In. And that admittedly might seem a bit strange, considering I had never actually been to a movie at the longtime outdoor movie theater off North Avenue in West Chicago. I had, however, truly and earnestly intended to go each and every summer for m…

It’s officially spring, but not because of the annual vernal equinox, which this year occurred on March 20. No, for me, spring actually arrived 10 days earlier, more specifically at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10th when we transitioned to Daylight Saving Time. I mean seriously, while I’m a big f…

Often imitated, but never duplicated. That’s how I like to describe our annual Best of the West reader survey results, which you will see starting on page 35. A reader favorite since its debut in the magazine 23 years ago, Best of the West offers an intriguing list of west suburban superlati…

I’m not one to brag, but I think it’s clear that kudos are in order to our crack editorial team for once again identifying and being on top of an interesting emerging local trend. I’m referring, of course, to our cover article on the explosion of craft brewing in the western suburbs. 

There is a magnetic attraction for children to fountains. At least there was for me. As a child, I recall going to a favorite park with my grandfather and him giving me a few shiny "make-a-wish" pennies to throw in the fountain. I also remember trying to informally calculate how much money l…

The faucet to the kitchen sink of the old house we had recently purchased was leaking. We were relatively new homeowners at the time, so we were still blissfully naive of the implications of the little drip, drip, drip sound the leak was making. No problem, we thought. It’s just a little lea…

One of the challenges of putting out this magazine is managing the myriad details involved throughout the production process. There are so many components from a variety of sources that need to be kept track of, information that needs to checked and double-checked, and then everything has to…

I love naps. Always have. And I’m good at them. From a very young age, I’ve just always seemed to have the ability to nod off when and where an opportunity arose. When I was in college, this innate talent was especially useful — no, not for dozing off in the back of a large lecture hall, tho…

Exactly 10 years prior to the day of the recent shooting rampage that left 17 people dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida, a similar attack occurred at Northern Illinois University on Feb. 14, 2008. Five students were killed, four of whom lived in the western suburbs. Do you remember?

As a parent, it is often difficult to know what messages are registering with your kids. You invest lots of time and effort in exposing them to experiences and providing them with opportunities that you hope will resonate with them in a positive way. But since kids are often less than talkat…

As I write this, it is a beautiful Indian Summer type of day, unseasonably warm, but welcomely so. The weather has been so pleasant the past few months, I can’t help but believe it is not likely to continue. I truly hope I’m wrong, because fall — my favorite season — is all too short, even w…

Some of my best memories revolve around ice cream. As a kid, I fondly recall summer visits to my grandparents in Memphis, Tennessee, where seemingly every evening my grandmother would dish up a generous serving of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. It was your basic chocolate sundae, bu…

It’s been a number of years since I traveled abroad very extensively. Raising kids has a way of reigning in youthful wanderlust and then when you do take trips, seeing the world more often means Disney’s version, not visiting a foreign country. That’s OK, I have fond memories of our family t…

I gave myself a little injection of youth last month by taking on a job that I had very much enjoyed doing 25 years ago. It was as energizing as I remembered but also more than a bit exhausting . . . and a little dispiriting as well.

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. Never made any, probably never will. But I do try to use the end of the year as a time to reflect and re-evaluate my priorities. Was I a good steward of my time, resources and abilities? Is there anything I would have done differently and are there an…

As the holiday season approaches, I often find myself reminiscing about the youthful days of my past. Not so much about my early childhood, though I do have many fond memories of spending the holidays with family and doing all the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas-related activities. No…

While I have always really enjoyed going to the movies, I haven’t been to as many as I would have liked in recent years. I’m just not that enthralled by films involving super heroes, super villains, zombies or other outside forces that are threatening the world as we know it. And for quite a…

Several years ago, one of my high school-aged daughters came home enthusiastically talking about a field trip one of her classes had gone on to some kind of "wolf ranch." It sounded like an unusual and interesting place, but I didn’t think much about it until several years later. That’s when…

    I think I may be the only person I know who doesn’t drink either beer or coffee. The reason is quite simple, I just never really liked the taste of either. Early on, I was told by proponents of both drinks that they were acquired tastes and that I would "learn to like them" if I just kept tr…

      As an avid sports fan, baseball falls fairly low on my list of favorites. Perhaps that’s because I grew up in the 60s and 70s, when it was hard to muster up much passion for either the Cubs or the Sox, since they were seldom competitive.

      I love pizza. I’m actually not even that picky. I’d choose virtually any kind of pizza over most other meal alternatives. That’s probably partly due to the fact that, living in the Chicago area, we are blessed with some of the best pizza in the world. So whether thin crust or deep dish, New …

      Many things have changed in the 20 years since we started this magazine. But the best place to get a hotdog is not one of them. It was Portillo’s then and it is Portillo’s today — though fans of Jean & Jude’s in River Grove will undoubtedly beg to differ. 

      A number of folks have come up to me in recent weeks congratulating me on the 20th anniversary of this publication. A few others have written congratulatory notes. Even though we trumpeted our 20-year milestone on the cover of our last issue, these acknowledgments, while gratifying, have tak…

      In spite of — or more likely, because of — the fast changing environment in which we live, the desire to maintain a sense of community seems to be stronger than ever.

      When it comes to information, more is not necesarily better. In fact, less is often more, especially when information is filtered qualitatively. With that in mind, what I believe is gradually happening on the web — and I'm hoping the trend will gain traction quickly — is a flight to quality.