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This Wonderful Life

July 31, 2009

This Wonderful Life: What you don’t know...

Whenever I am feeling dangerously chipper and optimistic about the state of life, the world and humanity in general, all I need to do is tune in to National Public Radio for my RDA of suffering and panic.



Because we don’t have cable television, we are blissfully sheltered from many of the ways news programming attempts to entice and ensnare users. For many years, I watched network morning news programs daily while I got my children ready for school and dressed myself for work. Now, without TV service, I have gone almost a year without seeing a single ``Today Show’’ segment on ``jeans for every body type,’’ ``health conscious summer recipes’’ or ``ordinary household objects that are likely to kill you.’’



Know what? I haven’t missed them.



But if you took away my access to public radio, I would miss it like I would miss a relative. Yet, as much as NPR is a trusted member of the family, it’s also a relative whom I have to silence at times during breakfast, lest my children ingest news of war crimes, civil unrest and dour signs of the economic times along with their cereal.



It’s like sitting at the family reunion next to that aunt who has no conversation filter at. One minute, the conversation is pleasant as can be, then without warning, she’s describing her colonoscopy in vivid detail. Yes, I want to be informed. I want news of the world delivered in a multitude of voices, and NPR does a fine job of that. But does it always have to be so scary?



Last week, I listened to an episode of ``Alternative Radio,’’ a program that features lectures and presentations by passionate experts in the various disciplines and ways in which the human race is headed to extinction in a handbasket.

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This Wonderful Life
  • This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes If popular culture is any indication, it seems women suffer from an epidemic inability to refuse additional responsibilities. Magazines, self-help books and therapists nationwide offer heaps of advice on how to assert oneself, draw boundaries and generally say No when asked to sign on for those things for which we have little time and less interest.

    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

    November 5, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: To Posey on her fourth So here we are, on the other side of 3-years-old, and it seems we both survived it intact. It wasn’t easy, but perhaps it made us both stronger.

    October 30, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A Posey by any other name... A few weeks ago, Posey gave us all new names. Or, to be more accurate, Posey gave us all one new name. Rose.

    October 8, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good? If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Who are these little girls? There are two children in my house who bear a striking resemblance to my daughters. They are adorable, smart and energetic.

    September 10, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

    September 3, 2009