Another job for seniors – DoorDash

By Jane Bokun

‘How hard could it be?’ I stupidly thought.

Go to a restaurant, pick up a food order (with a mask) and deliver said meal to its new owner. No real friendship making or hand holding and it takes about 15 minutes to deliver an order. That’s if the order and the restaurant are in proximity. Some can be miles away from each other and there’s a time limit. There also are lots of people waiting to give you a good or bad review.

“Be kind,” I told one Indian gas station worker when I delivered his chicken dinner. “It’s my first time.”

I’ve decided to always end my deliveries with “it’s my first time” even when I’m a grizzled door dasher.

I’ve seen lots of young people, my own recent Northwestern graduate and more, do the DoorDash and seemingly not have a problem. But I’ve done it three times now and my heart is still pumping out of my chest. I delivered a meal to a man who asked me to leave it outside within a massive apartment complex and I’m still not sure he got it.

“I made $40,” my son told me.

“That’s pretty righteous bucks,” I said.

Even DoorDash, in its brochure, says it might not be easy.

“Our goal is to grow and empower local economies, according to Door Dash literature. To do this, we start by helping the merchants – the local businesses that create 60%+ of the jobs in every city.”

They stand behind their newbies, too. I recently left an establishment because I couldn’t figure out the order. They didn’t even scold me.

It’s clear. For the person in between jobs looking to quickly make some money with very little commitment, it’s a natural progression. For seniors who are bored and like a little chump change, and still drive, it can’t be beat.


Healthcare costs after retirement can be doable

By Art Koff, Banana Peel guest columnist and consulting aging expert

“Aargh,” what do you do when retirement is just around the corner and you have no idea what it will cost. You always figured you’d have this figured out by now. But you don’t…So, here’s a few ideas…

How much will you need to spend on healthcare after you retire?
What are the risks that could jeopardize your retirement plans?
What might you do now to help avoid these risks?

Fidelity Investments estimates that a 65-year old couple who retired in 2019 would spend an average of $285,000 on health care and medical expenses throughout the combined remainder of their lifetimes. The Employee Benefit Research Institute found that a 65-year-old couple could need nearly $400,000 to meet lifetime expenses in a worst-case scenario. These big dollar estimates are misleading because retirees won’t be spending this money all at once – that is, they don’t need to have it all on hand at the start of retirement; however, the totals are far more than most people planning their retirement expenses realize.

These estimates are total expenditures for healthcare that will be spread across 20 or more years of retirement. They cover the cost of Medicare deducted from your Social Security, your supplemental healthcare insurance, co-pays and drugs and other items not covered by insurance plus necessary over-the-counter healthcare needs.

Prescription drugs
Medicare Part D insurance covers most routine prescription drug costs however there are some prescriptions which are not covered and if you need one of these very expensive drugs your out of pocket costs can be huge. 

You also need to understand the next level of coverage the so-called coverage gap, or doughnut hole. After Medicare has paid their yearly maximum you must pay 100% of the cost of your drugs until your reach the next stage where once again you pay only copays for covered medications.

Traditional Medicare does not pay for most dental, hearing care or glasses. Medicare also does not pay for care in a skilled nursing facility after a patient is discharged from a hospital unless the patient was admitted to the hospital as an inpatient for at least 3 days. Observation days do not count as part of these 3 days.

Note: Do not let the emergency room administrator move you out of the ER until you are officially admitted. 

Make sure you sign up for Medicare at the right time to avoid late enrollment penalties and lengthy coverage gaps. Medicare requires enrollees to sign up during a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) that includes the three months before, the month of, and the three months following your 65th birthday. The one exception to this is if you are actively employed at the time of your IEP, or you are on the health policy of a spouse who is actively employed. In other cases, missing the IEP triggers late-enrollment penalties that continue for life – and possibly expensive, long waits for coverage to start. 

After you enroll in Medicare there is often savings for you shop your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage every year, or at least every couple years, during the annual fall enrollment season that runs from October 15th through December 7th. Even if you are satisfied with your current coverage it is a worthwhile investment of your time to look at other plans during open enrollment. Be aware that your prescription drug plan coverage can change annually and the Advantage plans can make changes to their networks of healthcare providers.

Your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can assist you and provide free help with selecting the best health insurance for you. The Medicare Rights Center also offers free counseling by phone
1 800-333-4114.


My dad turned 89

By Jane Bokun

A few weeks ago my father turned 89 years old and my worry went up a notch – if that’s even possible.

He’s in relatively good health, but he can’t walk and he can’t figure it out and he won’t use any walking devices. Therefore, he’s always falling, which he thinks looks more manly. He also can’t access the time he lays in the street or on the floor because he falls into his bedroom wall every time he gets up in the morning. If you go into his bedroom, you’ll find many head imprints.

Dad on his 89th birthday

“I was only down for about a half hour before someone helped me,” he says.

“OMG, he was down for about two hours by the time I found him,” the neighbor says.

I always tell him, “you’re lucky you’re only hitting your head (because it’s so hard, get it?)”

Partying with grandpa

If that isn’t enough, he also drives a big Cadillac and he won’t stop. I found some laughable ideas on the internet that may help.

They include: disabling their car, selling their car and telling them you can’t find their car keys after you’ve hidden them.

None of these ideas will actually work and I find I need help. How did you stop your elderly parents from driving? Please let me know at


New BeBrielle CBD oil adds style along with health

By Jane Bokun

A new product tastes like maple syrup and packs a punch.

In fact, the CBD product is being brought to market by two female entrepreneurs who have found a new way to combine elegance and CBD oil in a probiotic combination called Brielle PROPRIETARY probiotic CBD OIL.

Samples are available. Go to

Unlike other CBD oils, Brielle CBD Oil includes proven probiotic properties which aid in digestion and keep a healthy environment for the body. The product was aided in its creation by CEO Maria Smithson and her sister and company President Kate Smithson. Its uniquely designed bottle showcases a whole new look in the packaging of CBD oil.

Maria is based in Chicago after acceptance in the Illinois School of Professional Psychology’s Neuropsychology Doctoral program. She decided to pause pursuing her doctorate to start Brielle. Maria and Kate grew up culturing probiotics. They are from a family of medical doctors and their brother owns two CBD companies. Kate has a degree in behavioral analysis and a background as a wellness coordinator.

How does Brielle work?  Its proven properties ensure a healthier gut. For example, scientists noticed a while back that children with diarrhea had a different bacterial makeup of their digestive tract. Normally functioning, or good bacteria, prevents bad bacteria from taking root in our gut making us feel poorly. In extreme cases, such as E-coli breakouts, bad bacteria can be deadly.

Brielle uses 3rd party lab testing. Products are made from hemp exclusively grown in the United States. Unlike Brielle, the FDA recently found that only two of 24 CBD products contain the labelled ingredients. All Brielle products are lab tested because of the company’s commitment to medical excellence.

Brielle is located in Chicago. Right now the product is available for pre-orders. For more information access


Small treasures

By Jane Bokun

I recently joined a group of about 14 women, 13 of whom, I’ve never met before.

One of the women, Maile Peterson, a beautiful woman who doesn’t know her vast worth (like all of us), came up with the genius idea that each of us who were lonely and afraid during the Pandemic, would form a bond by sending each other a small gift. There were no rules just full anticipation and damn it, happiness.

This idea was great for me because I haven’t felt really happy in years. When I’ve laughed it’s been a shock and it doesn’t make up for my true mind-numbing unhappiness. I talk myself down from ledges almost every day and I no longer feel like the line I use to reassure others: it will all be okay.

Maile carefully compiled the list and put it on Facebook messenger for all of us to access. While I am not a crafty person, I went to Michael’s craft store and thought about making some jewelry as my gift for the other women.

I felt like a diva out of water while looking through the beads.

“How do you get them on a string?” I thought. “I better buy elastic string.”

In the end, I made toe rings! And only one. The others I sent were actually my own jewelry!

I have to get better at crafts, but I’ve received the absolute best gifts at a time when I really needed them. They include, crocheted wall hangings, a 2021 planner, puzzles and much more.

Now, when I run to the mailbox I’m pretty sure there is something special in it. I recommend everyone try this friendly group exercise. Let me know if you want in on my group at


Try take-out Ramen noodles in Chi-town

By Jane Bokun

Super bored like I am during Covid? Try Ramen noodles.

Ramen noodles, once a staple of college campuses before everyone worried about salt content, have found a home and some true believers throughout the city of the big shoulders. Variations run from basic chicken to a gourmet Ramen dinner. It’s so in demand that in the past two to three years, the not-your-grandmother’s Ramen shops have become wildly popular for take-out of course.

Yummy Ramen noodles

Jinya Ramen is a Japanese chain serving noodle soups and other foods in a modern restaurant with a Ramen bar right in the middle. The chef at Jinya told us that his favorite food is Schezuan Chicken, but he serves other favorites such as a variety of tonkotsu-based ramen but also offering variations on paitan (chicken-broth-based ramen), a few sides (or “tapas”), and rice bowls. Jinya Ramen also features pork based varieties of Ramen with honjuku egg and wood ear mushrooms. In fact, Jinya Rameen is fast becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing ramen chains in North America, with some 17 stores in six states and Canada. LBD Hours are Monday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 553 W Diversey Pkwy, (773) 857-5140. $$$

At Momotaro in Chicago Chef Mark Hellyar spent time living in Japan and got immersed in its culture. The upscale restaurant features a farm to table Japanese concept, Hellyar says. In fact, he said he sources the food from fresh Japanese markets throughout Chicago. His colleague, Chef Jeff Ramsey – the only American-born chef to receive a Michelin Star in Japan – heads up the sushi bar. Momotaro also contains a subterranean Izakaya and an elegant second floor private space that overlooks the main dining room. We tried the Unagi Don which is barbecued eel rice, shiitake, kanpyo, and sansho pepper. The healthy restaurant also offers traditional fare such as the Alaskan King Crab with red chili kosho butter. D Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5 to 10:30 p.m.; Friday 4:30 to 11:30 p.m.;  Saturday 4:30 to midnight; and Sunday 4:30 – 10:30 p.m., 820 W Lake Street Chicago, (312) 733.4818. $$$$

Looking for the next big thing? Pokiology may become known as the science of eating this delicious raw fish salad and Hawaiian staple. In fact, the new restaurant recently opened in early August at 4600 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite C in Chicago. Here, the poke bowls, which generally feature cubed raw fish in a marinade will surely be the next big thing in fast food. The new culinary phenomenon, Poke, has landed on food-trend lists for 2016, with people liking its convenience and healthy ingredients. We tried the ahi tuna over brown rice which was both tasty and a feast for the eyes. Bowls come with additions such as avocado, crab meat, wasabi and more. Drinks here include healthy juices such as apricot and guava. The meal itself or Poke, has a protein served over rice or salad. No guilt in this trendy eatery. Meals range from $10 for a regular portion to $16 for bigger sizes. Pokiology, open for L, D from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. (773) 961-7624. $$

If you like your Ramen with a touch of elegance try OIISTAR in Wicker Park.  Here, the ladies that lunch can enjoy a full bar and even cartoons. There is danceable house music that makes patrons want to sip their Ramen a little bit faster. Here, there are homemade noodles with broth made daily. We tried the Goki, bbq beef, lettuce, cilantro, onion, sriracha, and cream fraiche. We also enjoyed the Ramen Tikkamen dish with chicken, masala, bean sprout, nori, and roasted sesame. Oiistar owner Chef Sunny Yim combines traditional Japanese ramen noodles with French and Italian touches. The daily-made pork stock is cooked for almost a full day to create four signature ramen dishes. Those looking for a tasty start to their meal will be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of appetizers and signature steamed buns. L,D Lunch is Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday – noon to 3 p.m.; Tuesday / Wednesday – 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Thursday – 5:30 to 11 p.m.; Friday / Saturday – noon to 11p.m.; Sunday – noon to 10 p.m.; closed Mondays, 1385 N. Milwaukee Avenue 773-360-8791. $$$$


The “What I love” winner

By Jane Bokun

My last blog talked about how I came to terms with my true love, or what I think about most during Covid quarantine. I asked you to tell me what you love and I heard from you. The most interesting note was from Dan Matthews and I’m shipping a lovely purse for his wife for his trouble.

This is the lovely purse gift for telling me what you love.

Matthews said he always wanted to be an artist and a body builder, but took a blue collar job instead to pay the bills and make more money.

“I love body building,” Matthews says.  “But I really like playing guitar and drawing. I should have gone to school for athletic training, but I messed up by taking my dad’s advice to go into some form of management.”

Indeed, Matthews went to Purdue University and received his bachelors in business.

“I loved the classes, but hated being a manager when I got my first job as a health club manager,” he says.

“While there, I really wanted to help people train with their workouts,” Matthews says.
He also really liked the training and development of people, but could never find a job in corporate America. 

Matthews say he probably never fit the “Bizzness” suit guy look. 

“I’m more of a blue collar wearing boots guy. ”

Matthews is worried he missed his calling in life, but has decided to take some art classes and go back to bodybuilding.

Albert Einstein said, “You never fail until you stop trying.”

People like us should never stop trying and one day, we’ll feel we made it, if only for our perseverance.


Love in the time of Covid

By Jane Bokun

The months have been going by slowly since this pandemic reared its head and my emotions are no longer anything I can control.

When I’m doing my job doing stories, I forget about everything that’s going on in this chaotic world and I think that’s called passion. During Covid-19 we’ve all been forced to at least think about the idea of passion, or true love. What do you love?

Since I’ve been stuck in the house (no job, no vacations no anything, except the grocery store and DSW) I’m always thinking about ways I can make my situation better. My sister-in-law took up crocheting and now makes beautiful blankets, some people take up a new language, and me? I just wish I could.

A typical day in Covid

What’s stopping me? I certainly have the time, but I’m lacking the passion. I once went to London and visited the Victoria and Albert Museum there. It was filled with so many beautiful items, my head was spinning. The Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, as well as sculpture. It has a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

What was I stuck on looking at?

The Royal wedding dresses and the jewelry collections. It took me hours to walk away from them. I was mesmerized. It was a true love that I had never felt before.

“That’s what I like,” I thought. “Fashion.”

And so it was. In the newsroom I always dressed to the nines. My shoes were cutting edge and still are (see above DSW). Everyone said I was the best dressed and thought I was a huge diva. I didn’t care. I knew they didn’t have the love of fashion that I did.

What is your passion? Email me at or access and let me know. I will send you a very nice gift and write a blog about your passion and you.


Rejuvenating during COVID 19

By Jane Bokun

I’ve been stuck in the house during the pandemic, laid-off, and been prone to beating myself up everyday for moving back to my hometown to take care of my mother who died of cancer.

What I miss most about other cities I’ve lived in is spa access. Here, in Indiana, a spa day seems like a day you don’t have to fix your plow. There are no super relaxing, elegant spas that smell good and are handled by trained professionals.

That is until a little card came in the mail that has changed my tepid life here for the better. It’s called The Rejuvenation House Mega-Spa LLC and offers everything from my fave, Injectable Fillers (Juvederm, Restylane, etc.) to Botox which is used to treat wrinkles.

They even have the latest specialties like the Kardashian-type facials like micro-needling using your own blood platelets and putting them back in you own skin. I’m sure the Kardashians are way past this facial. They probably are using robot body parts to replace those that are imperfect. At The Rejuvenation House, I recommend starting with the signature facial before progressing to other treatments. It’s a great start for the over-50 who have not frequented spas, but should – even during a pandemic.

Ask for Bridney Hayes at The Rejuvenation House

The expert staff also use dermoplaning, oxygen facials, and much more. For men, they offer the Mancho Pack (with a side of brewski). This is an invigorating facial that includes skin script Charcoal Refining Mask that’s formulated with anti-microbial, skin detoxifying and pore cleansing ingredients. This massage is coupled with all-natural, plant-based Smokey lumberjack beard oil and balm.

During the pandemic, The Rejuvenation House takes great precautions to avoid any type of germ contact. Clients must call from their cars signaling they are ready for a spa treatment and are let in one at a time. Consultants wear masks, gloves and are always sanitizing. For more information or an appointment, call The Rejuvenation House at 219-515-2667 or access the website at


Nuts & Bolts – A Lesser Sign of Aging

By Kathy Bryson, Banana Peel guest columnist

Aging is a funny thing. It sneaks up on you, small and ignorable. You think you need the gym when you get thicker around the middle, but you don’t worry about it because you’ve finally gotten to a point in life where you can afford a gym! Then suddenly you pull a muscle, and two days of ice packs and Advil remind you that you’re not as young as you used to be.

For me, the eye-opener came after a day’s recovery from painting.  That’s when I started to plan home improvement, starting with buying a mesh garden cart to haul heavy things. I found one online and had it delivered. I’ve built IKEA furniture. How hard could it be?

A model of Kathy putting together IKEA furniture. Time, tide and IKEA wait for no man.

I didn’t make it past the 1st step. Whether it was lack of strength or loss of dexterity, I could not screw the nuts on the bolts. I thought, “Oh man, they sent the wrong size” and fired off an email complaint to the online store. But, since I didn’t really want to send everything back, I also called my brother.

My brother is actually improving with age. He’s gone from being a know-it-all to being an invaluable resource.

“Send me a picture,” he said and then explained, “That’s a locking nut. It’s not too small. It has a rubber gasket inside to keep it from coming off.” Then he explained how to use two wrenches to get the thing on.

Well, that was good to know. The fact that the locking nuts have been around since 1931 was a little harder to take. I mean, I have put together a lot of IKEA furniture and have an impressive collection of Allen wrenches to prove it. It should not take me three hours and two phone calls to put together a little cart. But then it occurred to me that I’d moved pass college-age furniture into the adult leagues and felt better – until I realized I owed the online store an apology!

About Kathy Bryson – As the writing tutor and sometimes professor, Kathy Bryson works regularly with students who reminder her not to be an old fart. She’s also an award-winning author of tongue-in-cheek fantasy who appreciates a good joke. You can learn more about her work – academic and ironic – at