Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring Wealth

The television is back on, but who wants to stay indoors and watch it?
We have tulips, rhodendron, phlox, and the apple tree in bloom. The daffodils are done but the bluebells are still pretty; lily of the valley and sweet woodruff are springing up with promise, and tiny grape hyacinth stud the grass with their miniature purple spires. Violets dot the yard like stars stud the sky, and as if that weren't enough, there is a tiny bird making a nest just outside our bedroom window.
What more do we need to be rich?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Questions, Not Answers

Four days into National Turn-Off-The-Television week and I have more questions than successes.
I've not turned on the television myself – except for one moment of panic – all week, and I've tried to ignore it when someone else in the house turns it on (that would be my husband, who declined to participate.)
But the questions are piling up: if I miss something on television, is it cheating if I watch it later, online?
How do I establish structure in my day without the orderly procession of television programs?
Why does a television set feel like company? To put it another way, why do I turn the television set on for company, when I'm not really watching what is on?
Why do I always tell myself I mostly watch public television? Don't I pay attention to just how much commercial television I'm actually watching?
Why isn't radio better?
So far I have a lot of questions. Not so many answers.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Turn Off the TV Week . . .

Tomorrow, April 21, starts National Turn-Off-The-Television week, and I'm scared.

Am I up for the challenge? How will I get along without Matt Lauer in the morning, Brian Williams as a dinner date, or – well, maybe it won't be so bad.

But wait – the Pennsylvania primary is Tuesday – how will I get along without Tim Russert? How will I know what's going on?

Once when our kids were small we put our television away for about six months. Captain Kangaroo was the program I missed most; he was the reason I was able to shower each morning. I trusted him with my children!

After six months we allowed the television back into the living room, but with severe restrictions which, over time, we relaxed.

Looking back, though, I'm glad we tried giving up television. Our kids responded well. They complained, of course, but how could they not? Once they'd vented, they found lots of other things to do. Ask questions. Play games. Read books. Get into things.

Over the past few months, we've watched less and less television. The writer's strike was part of it, but a bigger part of it was just weariness with the sameness of news broadcasts (and the in-depth reporting of things we were interested in on our local NPR stations.) We were bored with the crime/forensics/legal/medical dramas that make up so much of television, and we quit watching most “comedy” shows a long time ago, when we realized we were not amused, just embarrassed by them.

So what will we really miss? Probably our local public television stations. We have basic cable so they are our source for the nature, history, and local programming we enjoy. The Jane Austen series is over, and “Carrier” doesn't begin til next Sunday.

I know – The Weather Channel!

How about you – do you dare take the television challenge?

Let me know, and I'll keep you posted about how it's going.

Friday, April 18, 2008

In the News Today . . .

Today's excitement is an earthquake in the midwest, a 5.2 shaker centered down around West Salem, Illinois.

We don't get them too often, so when we do it's big news, even if it isn't a particularly big quake.

We would have slept right through the whole thing except for our new dog, a 2 year old yellow lab/collie mix named Jasmine, who suddenly started barking about the time the quake was happening. We shushed her, so she came over to my side of the bed and alternated between putting her face on my pillow and licking my hand. Every few moments she added a soft whine.

We assumed she was just antsy about some wayward animal in the yard, but what do we know?

Apparently not quite as much as Jasmine . . .