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Commute 006-Therapeutic Shopping


Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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Monday, November 5, 2001

One of the interesting things about a consumer culture is how people use shopping as therapy. I have a friend who soothes herself by heading to a department store cosmetic counter when life gets bleak, to sample all the new colors and lotions. Another confesses to making an adventure out of buying a new pen.

Women are not alone in therapeutic shopping. Mens relationship with hardware stores is legendary. I remember a college professor who confessed to a fondness for the "fastener" aisle. Theres a certain male that Im close to who can be immediately cheered by my suggestion, real or invented, that he ought to head over to the hardware store for something we really need. The next thing I see is taillights.

I have a shopping obsession of my own: containers. I can spend an embarrassing amount of time in the aisle of little plastic cubes, boxes, circles, triangles, designed to neatly store everything from yesterdays mail to leftover pizza slices. Having two children under seven, Im amazed at the mysterious power of toys to appear at surprising locations around the house within minutes of being put away. The search for a perfect toy storage system has added meaning to my existence.

There was a store called Hold Everything! that I visited four or five times during our time in Michigan. I always went alone; companionship wouldve ruined what was a near-religious experience for me. The entire store was devoted to containers. Just inside the door was the latest in kitchen storage. Beyond that were bedroom closet organizer systems made up of tough plastic shelves, drawers, bins and hanger racks. My favorite section was devoted to office storage, even though Ive never worked at a well-organized desk, and the sight of one would likely scare me into a slump. I seldom purchased anything at Hold Everything! I just liked to walk around quietly, reverently, studying the containers.

It probably doesnt take a doctorate degree in psychology to guess that my fascination with storage containers is related to a deep wish that life can be organized, that all the debris can be neatly contained. We fantasize that life would be so much more full if we could learn to manage it neatly. But thats a lie. Life is messy and unpredictable, as we are reminded all too often.

You can make monthly house payments on a house to securely "store" your children, and still, at a shockingly early age, before you ever get .....
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October the Sports Solstice

Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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Monday, October 29, 2001

October is the month when the four major sports converge, meeting like some kind of Autumn solstice. Hockey players are on the ice, their sticks held high; basketball is just taking shape with the exhibition season und ..... 
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It's a Disaster!

Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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Monday, October 29, 2001

We see the birds flying in V's overhead with their long white necks stretched to their full lengths. We are close to our destination--Rieck's Lake, three miles north of Alma, Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. We r ..... 
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On the Move

Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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By John LevellMonday, October 22, 2001

The chill in the night air leaves little doubt that summer is actually gone. Area trees are trading their vibrant warm weather greens for more multi-hued autumn clothes. Our woodland ..... 
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How to Plant Bulbs

Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, November 5, 2001

If you still have a few bulbs lingering around in bags it's now or never time. They're not that hard to plant and it doesn't take long at all. You'll be glad you did come spring.

Two good rules f ..... 
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Take Your Time

Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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Monday, Octovber 22, 2001

Im all goofed up again. Daylight savings time, or lack of it, is the culprit. Just when a guy is getting used to it then we spring ahead or fall back. It makes sense in my mind, but my body just doesnt buy the reali ..... 
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Contemporary Bunkshooters

Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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Monday, October 1, 2001

The Rev. Jerry Falwell is what poet Carl Sandburg would call a bunkshooter. Pat Robertson is one too.

Full-flushing, bonafide bunkshooters. Conjurers, magicians, illusionists, pulling the wool over many people ..... 
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Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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Fri, Nov 2nd, 2001
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