Moving Out of my Old Orbit

It is panic-inducing yet thrilling to be writing this.  For five or six years I have communicated with my husband's "family" on his web site under the banner "Janet's Planet".  I am still there, as far as I know.  But when the Tribune asked if I wanted to blog on the Chicago Now site, I made the leap of faith.  It is not because I think that I am special; it is because I know I am ordinary. Most of us lead fairly undramatic lives, centered around our jobs and our families.  This does not mean that we do not face issues of enormous consequence- if you are lucky enough to have a long life, there will be knots and brambles, gifts and joys.  Some are profound and universal: births, deaths, illness.  Some are individualized and of a small scale:  a funny joke, a cute picture, great pizza.  I hope to write from both ends of the spectrum.

What qualifies me to try this experiment? I hope it isn't just that I am Steve Dahl's wife, though I have been an appendage of the Steve Dahl Experience for 33 years, in one form or another.  I have been an English teacher and am a non-practicing attorney. I have 3 sons, all grown and on their own. Most relevant to this new adventure is the fact that I am a rabid consumer of the printed word.  I love to read.  We get 4 papers every day:  Sun Times, Tribune, USA Today and Wall Street Journal.  Sundays we add the New York Times.  We subscribe to two local papers.  Steve used to laugh at the fact that I would devour so much information without an occupation to use it in.  But I DO use the information in my jobs as a mother, wife, and citizen.  I am not the only one who clips columns and forces them upon friends and family.  Now I can forward stories in e-mail form to my contacts, or fold them into this space, so generously loaned to me by the Tribune.  Yesterday, before I had my login, I came upon a story about a raccoon that hitched a ride from my hometown of Detroit to Chicago.  I had to post it at  Today, this gem could be yours!
Newspapers represent and advocate for their communities. We crave local stories because we crave a sense of belonging, and being a part of a large organism.  The voices on Chicago Now reach out to this community, and welcome discourse as long as it is civilized.  They offer a place to indulge one's passions:  gardening, cooking, exercise, sports, books- so many interests.  And then there is me; I do not expect to indulge anyone's passions, but I would like to be part of a circle of friends, living life, laughing and sometimes crying together.   Bookmark me, and we will navigate good and bad times, sweet and sour tastes.  I am officially open for business. 


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  • You are a wonderful writer and I am glad you are being recognized for your talents!

  • And when I figure out the fine points here, I will make sure to encourage people to visit your blog. I love visiting your world!

  • Congratulations Janet -- we're looking forward to reading your new blog! Georganne & Rich

  • Good to see you blogging again. I've missed you at

  • Mrs. Dahl:

    Your gift of using the written word to convey your loves, passions, events, hopes, dreams and happinesses and sadnesses is phenomenal (sp?). You have made me laugh 'til I cried and cry 'til I laughed, especially describing the parental journey.

    Best wishes on the new project!

  • In reply to bradensdad:

    Janet, please. And thank you.

  • Congratulations Janet! The warmth oozes out of your writings, and I thoroughly enjoy reading them.

  • Love u, Love ur family...Now that that's out of the way, a list of your favorite books and what ur reading now would be great. I'm pretty sure we have the same taste in books. Looking forward to reading more...

  • In reply to entyss:

    I am collating my summer list. Right now I am reading The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan. It is a memoir about having cancer/watching her beloved Dad fight cancer. Not maudlin- very witty and wise. Like Anna Quindlen, my personal hero.

  • In reply to entyss:

    Janet, I am so happy to find you here. I have been a fan of Janet's Planet from the start. I so admire your talent. Your family could be mine. I would be first in line to buy your book, when that day comes.

  • In reply to entyss:

    Janet I am so glad you have a medium where you write more often , granted, I know that your Planets were the best, but you sometimes went a long time in between and I miss your writing, kind of like having a good friend you dont see, but love to hear from.
    Your writings of your dad and his passing made me relive the 3 years prior when my dad passed, and I laughed and cried with you. I hope you find peace within you as time goes on. I look forward to reading you every single time you blog, and have always taken your book recommendations, Im on Amazon now searching for your latest book. Good luck and thanks to the Tribune, although they used to own the Cubs, for giving you your well deserved opportunity.

  • Janet you're the best. I absolutely love the way you write, even when I don't care about your subject. That's talent.

    Do you feel it's at all ironic that you love newsprint so much, but your stories feed the Internet content monster? In olden times you would have gotten a page 2 column in the Trib (God knows they need to replace Kass), now it's a blog.

  • In reply to CodyJarrett:

    I DO understand the irony. I am not sure what to make of it, though. Maybe they will create loyalty to the brand by extending the community of the Tribune to everyday people. I guess they will bring traffic to the site, which will sell alternative advertising revenue. For me, it is a new adventure. And a dash of discipline. I can use both at this point!

  • Good for you Janet, I have always enjoyed your insight into life you
    keeping it on the ground, for us little people.

  • I will bookmark you, I love to read what you have to say!

  • Hey Janet!!
    How exciting for you!! I'm a huge fan of Janet's Planet. I'm excited that now I'll be able to leave comments. Congratulations!

  • In reply to cookieob:

    And I am excited that I will get to reply! Nothing will ever get done at the house. My kids call my gift of time wasting discussion Janter.

  • Janet, I'm so glad you have this forum. I love reading your posts at "The Planet" and will continue to do so here. Your writing has brought me to tears many times and also chuckled at how you've navigated life with Steve. I look forward to details on Mike's wedding and hope for more grandbabies for you than just Walter the dog. Thanks to you and Steve for sharing your family with us.

  • great blog, mom! although that low budget header they've whipped up for you doesn't quite match the quality of your writing! i'll make one for you and they can replace it.

  • In reply to mattdahlrocks:

    Hey, Matt- thanks for visiting. Truth told, I look best blurry. But I would be grateful for any help. Pat caught a typo!

  • Janet it is so nice to be able to read your words again! I have always enjoyed your Janets planet and look forward to reading what you write here! :)

  • Janet, you are so deserving of this opportunity. Your writing is a joy to read and since I have been a fan of your husband since the DAI days I do feel a part of your family. Welcome.

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