A Chat With the Dog Over Tea

It’s been raining for hours and hours and there are little floods everywhere. I’m thinking nothing should surprise us anymore. Pandemics can do wonders for building our resolve and resistance and since 2020 we have had one long season of extremes. This fact is mostly lost on Yoda. 



For him, it’s been better than usual. Three walks a day, lots of company at home and most recently, snow! As I write this, he has fallen asleep during our chat and is now dreaming up a storm next to me. Twitching paws and then alternating deep and shallow breaths. He actually makes for a good companion in this way. I love feeling him next to me.

It hasn’t been all good for him though. He lost his favorite sidekick this year. As I scroll through years past in my Facebook memories, I come upon photos of them almost daily. It’s been just a little over four months since we lost Gus. His absence remains noticeable and I still expect him to come walking around the corner every morning and climb up my body like a ramp. I miss his purr and the feel of his heart beating against my chest. 



I’ve got a puzzle on the kitchen table, still in the box, and I can’t bear to crack it open. I haven’t been able to have a puzzle here for years. Gus would never allow that. He quietly set the rules about such things and it was never worth the frustration to challenge him. I’ll lift the lid and begin one of these days, just as someday I’ll uncover my water glass and bring home fresh flowers. I think I’ll know when it’s time. Today is not that day. 

Yoda sits with me during the day and quietly goes along with whatever I have chosen to do. He has beds in every room and takes full advantage of every napping opportunity. He tolerates my music and conversations with myself. We have had a news blackout around here that has been in place since early 2017. I turned the TV news off. I won’t bring that negativity into this space. I won’t ignore the world but I won’t indulge it all of its craziness either. My home, my sanctuary.

This actually brings me to one of the reasons I sat down to write today. I have a growing pet peeve and I’d love your feedback. Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the most extreme loss of the country’s collective innocence. Insurrection Day. It gives me chills to even think about and I find myself wanting, not to wallow in it, but to try to understand it. So I go looking for some thoughtful reporting about that day.  And therein lies my dilemma. 

Pay walls. I hate them. 

I’m retired now and looking for ways to shrink my monthly expenses. I recently gave up my subscription to SiriusXM radio in favor of free audiobooks from the library. Libby has saved my life these past couple years and the library has taken on a completely new significance. Did I mention I can listen for free?

Here is my pet peeve about pay walls: If I want thoughtful, accurate, in-depth reporting on the issues, I have to pay. 5 bucks a month won’t break me, but 5 bucks a week is steep. How could I afford that for all the worthy sources? And how do I decide on just one? Actually, the bigger question I have is this: What do the people who most need to hear this kind of reporting, and who can least afford it, do?  Aren’t we creating a really dangerous scenario? 

People who can’t afford to pay for truthful, thoughtful reporting are left to get their news from what’s available to them without cost. If we worry about people getting their news from one source, aren’t we just perpetuating the problem by blocking their access to reporting that might make a meaningful difference? 

Sigh. 

Even the likes of CNN has become a circus-like atmosphere for “reporting”. It’s entertainment in the way FOX News has always been entertainment. The news is there if you can survive the “breaking celebrity news” and pop-up ads, but you really have to dig deep. It’s true that sensationalism sells.  I’m not questioning whether or not sites like the NYTimes, WaPo, Atlantic Monthly or WSJ are worth paying for. I think they all are. What I question is whether or not we are creating a system whereas only those with a certain disposal income can get educated news on the stories making headlines today. 

I’ve been moving away from the CNN’s and toward the BBC and REUTERS. I follow my local NPR site and look for documentaries that help me dig deeper into issues, but that doesn’t solve what I see as a bigger problem: ACCESS. 

Yoda is non-plussed by our chat today. He has that same bewildered look as he does when I talk to him about death planning and downsizing. But what about you? Any thoughts? I don’t think our economic circumstance should be the thing that determines whether or not we get meaningful information about what’s happening on the planet, in our country or in our own back yard. 

I’m off to check on the birds. 
Yoda is resting up for an afternoon walk.

Thanks for sharing my cuppa tea this morning. Please do share if you have a thought. You can also follow my blog by email. Just enter your email address into the box on the right. I am excited to learn who my 200th email follower might be!