When Petunias Score Higher Ratings than CNN…

by Debra Chappell

View from the basket at Home Depot:


Mood Reading:  ZZZZ’s (slept pretty well after gardening all day and staying up past my normal bedtime to watch the finale of “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS)

Okay, Okay! I know it’s been weeks since I posted my last blog and I am thrilled several of you have apparently noticed and told me so. I owe you an explanation – and I wish I had a good reason.  But I don’t.  The truth is…I have several.  For anyone following this space regularly, you know (or have figured out) that I’m normally a somewhat chirpy, sarcastic, sometimes witty (if it’s a good day,) mostly upbeat person with a wise ass streak that matches my girth. Several things contribute to what I like to call my “sassy” mood…namely the amount of sleep I’ve had the night before, morning caffeine, evening Sauvignon Blanc, or the reverse of those if it’s been a particularly rough week.

images-1But the news of these past few weeks screaming from the television and internet headlines has been particularly disturbing and has sapped my chirp and dampened any remnants of fleeting wit, and my ass is alas, none the wiser (or smaller).  My increasingly somber mood started with the Boston Marathon bombings and its horrific reports of casualties and lost limbs, with the so-called “breaking news” lasting well into two weeks of nightly broadcasts of police-chase-come-reality-entertainment, wild speculation disguised as analysis, calamitous on the spot reporting that proved to be inaccurate propagation of previous false reports, and evening broadcasts suddenly marketed like laundry detergent complete with branding, music, and it’s own tag line. And rather than naturally ebbing, it flowed for several weeks right up to the recent hideous (and unnecessarily graphic) reports of a deranged, particularly sadistic, whacko psycho bastard holding 3 women captive for 10 years in his dilapidated Cleveland house, the facts of which images-2have been gleefully doled out in titillating detail in consecutive nightly “special reports.” (And what better way to secure a salivating and eager audience than to warn viewers ahead of time that “the following might be graphic and disturbing”??)

In between we had the disheartening failure of simple, common sense gun regulation regarding assault weapons which “turned” my already retching stomach, and all was washed down with a more than healthy dose of CNN’s non-stop, obsessive “coverage” (using that term  loosely here) of the trial and sentencing of one mildly attractive sociopathic scorned ex-lover who butchered her paramour images-3in the shower…which included 6 weeks of graphic, sexually explicit, and self serving testimony by the media savvy and manipulative defendant herself,  spawning at least 3 new prime time cable news shows in the process. Geesh, whatever happened to the art of good, solid journalism and your average ol’ news cycle:  a grisly murder here, a political scandal there, a tornado/hurricane touchdown, a  celebrity divorce or two, and the ever present dysfunctional congress with their self righteous pontifications for comedic relief?  It’s enough to make a grown girl….

well, turn off the TV, unplug from the internet, go outside and actually enjoy the spring that quietly crept in photo copy 6between the chemical bombings in Syria and the double mastectomy of Angelina Jolie.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing…consulting my  list of favorite “ings” of the season and engaging in them: digging, weeding, planting, watering, hiking, biking, walking, cooking, gabbing, drinking, socializing, running, photo copy 5reading, gazing, daydreaming, kibbutzing, gossiping, etc. etc. Who knew that getting out to the local hardware store and shopping for the specially marked six-pack annuals could be so relaxing, invigorating, and restorative to my sanity? (don’t snicker, if you knew the measure of my sanity to begin with then you’d know how perusing the petunia aisle at Home Depot could restore it.)

photo copy 7Even for a news junkie like myself, the morning paper with it’s day old news, the radio on occasion and a quick glance at internet headlines is plenty sufficient to get all I really need to know.  I have decided I don’t need the help and vision of some media mogul sitting in a darkened room deciding what is or isn’t crucial in my daily life.  It could be well into fall before I tune in and invest any more of my most precious commodity in Anderson Cooper, Dr. Drew, or Diane Sawyer et al. Breaking news can stay broken for all I care.


**Note:  Many of you commented on my past blog from last summer about my Mother in Law’s 90th birthday.  I am sorry to report that since December, she has been engaged in an uphill battle against cancer.  She has faced this challenge in the spirit she has lived her life…with courage, spunk, and an iron will. I can only hope that as her sun slowly sets, she knows and is comforted by the love of her family and friends, and understands what she has meant to countless others that have benefitted from her charitable work. In her honor, I am re-running her birthday blog from last year.  You can read it by clicking on the link below: