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 http://www.jntplnt.com/ 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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