Hello Animal Lovers

I know this is a difficult time for many of us; it may seem like it’s crazy to ask. The reason I’m reaching out is because Friendship Pet Food Pantry would like you to simply tag us in a post and send this along to anyone else who might do the same. We’re doing this in conjunction with National Dog Day, which was Wednesday, August 26. We also happily provide food and litter to close to 200 cats a month.

Vet Clinics and other businesses haven’t been able to run pet food drives, events where we volunteer in order to raise funds are cancelled. Yet the need grows. The number of pets we’re providing food for has grown over 20 percent since March. 

A simple tag and sending this along to others or posting on Facebook and Instagram is all we’re asking. Donations are always welcome, as well.

– Dara Salk
Friendship Pet Food Pantry
on Facebook: Friendship Pet Food Pantry

Random Acts of Crochet Kindness

Recently on one of my almost daily walks with my husband in the neighborhood, we spotted a little surprise on the way back just as we reached our building. Perched on a low windowsill was a rainbow-colored crocheted frog, with a tiny note attached. The note read “I am not lost, just all alone…if I made you smile, please take me home!” I remembered seeing something online about small crocheted creatures being left for people to find, so I took it home. In fact, the note instructed me to go online and say thank you on the Facebook page of a group called “Random Acts of Crochet Kindness.”

On their page I learned that people all over the world are doing the same thing: creating small, cute crocheted items such as bees, butterflies, and flowers, and leaving them for others to find. Sometimes they are left in nature, such as hanging from trees on a scenic walk, or they are left in urban areas. The fact that this is a global phenomenon amazed me and made me thankful for the small acts people are doing to make a happier world. Indeed, the little frog makes me smile everyday!

Facebook Page of Random Acts of Crochet Kindness

By Janice Katz

Bad Hair

In the era of YouTube celebrity, a lot of people have a lot to say about cutting hair, styling hair, coloring hair for people, dogs, Barbie dolls… And yet so many of us really have no clue. (For the record, not all of the YouTubers do either.) But the difference is that they’re willing to take that leap onto the world wide internets and fake it ‘til they make it. That’s something we’re all going to need to do as long as hair needs to be cut, and it’s a huge risk to go to your favorite salon or barber shop.

What does NPR have to say about it?

Some really bad haircuts

Women with Bobs

Women with Short Hair

Men with Clippers

Podcasts will Make You 10% Happier

How to Access the Wonderful World of Podcasts

If you were born after the advent of television or maybe you were very young when that technology took over the planet, you might have never depended on your ears for entertainment. Oddly enough, in this highly technological age, listening is back, and it’s all free

People are too busy to sit down and watch a show or read a book. They need to be multitasking. Doing dishes while there’s a podcast in the background can help us stay up to date on the news. Listening to your favorite comedian while you make a bed or fold laundry turns it into something you look forward to, instead of something you dread.

Listening as a “second task” is enjoyed in many different ways. Some like to listen to sports experts while they do something else. Some people listen to politics and news. Others like a good crime drama or a how-to podcast. Everyone has a podcast these days. Oprah has a podcast. NPR has about a dozen podcasts. Even Rudi Guilani and Joe Biden have podcasts.

But how do you access this wonderful world of listening? It can seem like it’s another world, if you’ve never done it. Here is a guide to accessing podcasts.

How to Access Podcasts: Step-By-Step

  1. Choose your device. You can use a smartphone or a computer. All of these links work on both. If you use your smartphone, you will be more mobile. Identify if you have an Android or an Apple phone. On a computer, do you have a Mac or a PC?
  2. The simplest app option is right on your smartphone. You have a “Podcast” app, whether it’s Apple or Android. You can Search your phone for that app. On Android, you can also use Google Play Music. There are other apps that you can use on your computer or smartphone: 
    • Stitcher
    • Spotify
    • Pocket Casts
    • Overcast
    • Podcast Addict
  3. Within that app there is a Search function. Look for a podcast that sounds interesting, and you’re off to the races. You can “Subscribe” or just listen to one episode. Unsubscribe anytime.
  4. One note of caution: if you find that the memory on your phone begins to fill up quickly, don’t be alarmed. Delete podcast episodes you know you won’t have time for or make sure to unsubscribe from any podcasts you no longer listen to. This will free up memory for other things.

Some Podcasts We Love

This list will take you to a website, and the website will take you to the Podcast app on your phone to listen to the podcast. Warning: if you prefer not to hear the occasional expletive, make sure you check closely for “Explicit Content” ratings in the Podcast app before you listen.

  1. NPR has all of your favorites for you whenever you want. Did you miss the first 10 minutes of Terry Gross? No more planning your weekend around Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me. In fact, This American Life has won Peabody and Polk Awards. These are the winning episodes.
  2. Politics and news are big topics for podcasts. Some are from NPR and all of them feature great personalities that you will grow to love.
  3. Mysteries are also popular options. One of the most popular podcasts ever is called S-Town about a small town Alabama eccentric who thinks someone in his town got away with murder, and then someone ends up dead. It’s amazing that it was even recorded. Other mysteries include: 
    • Serial – High schooler, Hae Min Lee, has been murdered and her boyfriend, Adnan Syed, is the prime suspect. Did he do it? This is a series of 12 episodes, but there are three seasons, each dealing with a different crime.
    • My Favorite Murder – This “true crime comedy podcast” features the best murders ever committed, with great commentary from two women who are rockstars in the podcast world, with sold out tours all over the world. The beautiful thing about podcasts like this is that they are always adding new content. You can go back to the beginning and listen to a trove of great, timeless content, whenever you have time. 
  4. History podcasts are enriching. Public radio produces great content, but they come from every corner of the internet.
    • Making Oprah is from right here in Chicago by WBEZ’s former star, Jenn White. She followed that up with Making Obama and Making Beyonce. These are amazing gems. (The webpage says “Making Beyonce” at the top, but all three podcasts are on this page.)
    • Malcolm Gladwell is a well-known author of great books like Outliers, Blink and The Tipping Point. His podcast, Revisionist History, goes “back and reinterprets something from the past: an event, a person, an idea. Something overlooked. Something misunderstood.”
  5. Comedy podcasts can introduce some badly needed endorphins to your body. Podcasts are such a trove for great humor, from big stars to little-known prodigies.
  6. Sports are normally fun to follow on podcasts. Get the breakdown of NFL, MLB, NBA games. Figure out who to draft for your fantasy teams. Find out how to play Fantasy Sports. It’s also fun to hear about the game you just saw from a new perspective or with a comedic twist. A favorite website for sports (and pop culture fans) is
  7. And of course, we cannot forget the podcast that inspired this blog post, 10% Happier by reporter Dan Harris.

If you have questions about podcasts, please reach out

My Block, My Hood, My City

For Jahmal Cole, founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, struggle is nothing new. Long ago he learned how to pull himself out of any dark space: serving others. In his new book, Cole explores the power of building community and helping your neighbors — and lets you know how easy it is to get started. 

This month, Block Club is joining Cole in asking this question: “What’s something simple I can do that will have a positive impact on my block?” Do you see a need you can fulfill on your block? Do you have an idea for a project that would improve the block for your family and your neighbors? 

Submit your ideas here by December 31. Then, the My Block, My Hood, My City team will give out $25,000 in grants so dozens of you can put your vision into action. Looking for inspiration? You can buy Jahmal’s book here or check out incredible community service projects from his organization here.


“Memories of an Apple Tree” by Steve Borzcik
Click here to buy this art.

Bridging the days and years.

The games we play and the toys we enjoy are helpful as we move through the years. In my childhood years I lived in a small village with many pastures and trees. My home had a grove of trees in a small cluster. My brothers and I made the grove into rooms. The rooms changed depending on the story of the day. One brother wanted to be a cowboy so we often lived in the old west. Some days we lived in the world of knights and kings. We took good care of our homes. Gathering sticks and stones to build furniture and utensils and chasing away the bad people, we cared for our imaginary children. The hot days of summer were filled with our imaginary tales.

Our parents were happy to ignore our adventures. We allowed our imaginations to run across history and spaces. The entertainment was cheap. The stories were dark and tantalizing. The days flew. They were bridged by creative thoughts and developing brains. The grove is still at the old home place. Now different young children live in the space. I am hopeful they are bridging their lives to the stories and dreams of other spaces and places.

Did you ever use your toys to build imaginary worlds?
Who did you play with?
What is your best story?
Let me know.
Bridging the days in thoughts and imagination.

– Tana
Dr. Tana Durnbaugh lives in the Ravenswood area of Chicago. She co-houses with her son and his family. She loves stories and her little dog, Bess Truman.

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