Kay Catlin of St. Charles has fought off a couple of rounds of cancer, but she admits the fight has brought her "bucket list" to the forefront "in case my luck runs out one of these times."
That bucket list includes putting together a booklet called "137 Things You Don't Have to Learn the Hard Way."
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"People have been bugging me about this particular project for years," Catlin said. "Apparently, I talk in 'sayings,' and I finally wrote them down."
Catlin had only 100 booklets printed. She handed a few out but has different plans for the others.
"Any copies I don't give out will be distributed at my funeral so I can have the last word," she said. "For some reason, I find that funny."
So will the folks at her funeral, if the first item in the booklet is any indication -- "If you want to make a good first impression, invest in a good coat, not great underwear. More people will see your coat."
A very smart store: Many commuters riding Metra trains out of Geneva get their coffee fix at the Perk Up coffee shop at the station.
The owners of the new Smartstore at the station aren't trying to compete with Perk Up, though they do offer coffee in their small shop.
The Smartstore touts "convenient and healthy" as its key attributes, and it certainly offers a few things commuters find helpful.
The store, which owner Reji Kothari opened a month ago, has snacks, coffee, juices and soft drinks to go along with sandwiches and pastries.
It offers charging stations for phones or computers and other things that commuters find useful, such as newspapers, batteries, lip balm, aspirin and antacids, to name a few.
"We're stressing partnerships with other downtown businesses," Randy Peterson said during his morning work shift.
Michael Angelo's Deli provides sandwiches for the Smartstore, while the Sugar Path provides the sweets, Peterson said.
The store plans to have digital advertisements on display inside to promote its business partners, in addition to its big-screen TV that airs daily news shows.
Bring on carts: Count me among those who think it would be a good idea for Geneva to allow merchants an occasional tent, kiosk or cart in the downtown region. These merchants could peddle anything from hot dogs and cotton candy to jewelry items.
Obviously, you don't want to junk up the atmosphere, and city officials are carefully debating the rules by which such merchants could operate.
With merchants having credit card readers available to attach to their phones, it is becoming more common for businesses to extend their wares to city streets and festivals.
Plus, I've never bumped into a hot dog cart I didn't like.
Don't panic ... yet?: Sure, the parking lot at the Geneva Commons seems pretty full on weekends, and the restaurant locations get new tenants fairly quickly if current operators go belly-up.
But trouble at other shopping regions around here, namely the long-gone St. Charles Mall and the current ghost town called Charlestowne Mall, started with word about potential money woes with the owners.
It sounds like we shouldn't panic when hearing about the Commons' owners defaulting on a loan, but what really happens next in these scenarios? Generally, someone else buys the property.
You can't help but get at least slightly uneasy, especially because of the way things have gone with retail locations and storefronts the past four or five years.
Jumping for a cause: The Living Well Cancer Resource Center will benefit when horse lovers unite June 1-2 for the annual horse show at Bull Run Equestrian Center in Elburn.
The cancer resource center will receive a portion of the proceeds from the event, which features beginning to advanced riders competing in the Hunter Derby and Jumper Classic for cash prizes.
Another canoe note: The Fox Valley Park District sure tries to make participating in the Mid-American Canoe Race as easy as possible for the paddlers.
Jeff Long, public relations manager for the park district, said the option of providing participants with a shorter 6-mile route that starts in Batavia has been good for first-time entrants and young families. The longer trek starts in St. Charles.
Long has added a nice touch to the race, working with canoe rental vendors to make rentals available through the park district.
"Instead of putting the onus on the participants to pick up and drop off their rental boats, we arrange for the vendors to have the boats waiting at the start and they'll pick up at the finish," Long said.
"If you rent a boat, all you have to do is show up -- your boat is waiting," Long added.
Such an arrangement allows participants to enjoy the post-race party at the Aurora finish line, because the vendors take back the boat at that time, Long said.
A true "Energizer Bunny": Don't even ask how the guy does it any more. Melvin Peterson of St. Charles has defied all odds by being an active participant on the Baker Community Center board for 70 years. Yes, you read that correctly. He's been around darn near since the board's inception, and he's been in charge of taking care of the building and property nearly the entire time.
Thursday's meeting will mark 70 years for Peterson, but he still gets excited about anything that helps improve the center.
"After four years of being in the budget, we finally found someone to fix the grandfather clock in the center and it sounds beautiful," Peterson said.
Waited too long: I tried some of the food samplings from Tavolino Restaurant in Geneva during the Festival of the Vine last year, and I promised myself I had to stop in at some point.
I waited too long, considering the place has been open for seven months. The restaurant on State Street has closed, as it appears too many people waited too long to give it a try.