Happiness Self Reliance

On the Alerts

My Google Alerts serve me well. For example, on the day the news story broke, I learned that Timothy Cox was sentenced for 2nd-degree murder. That’s the driver who recently widowed one of our friends. I understand some might think it odd to stalk stories in this manner, but I prefer to be in the know.

My friend Shelley wished someone had informed her that one of her “Grannys” had passed. How unsettling to walk into her nursing home room and find a different face. Although it would be nice if a family reached out to their loved one’s caregivers, I imagine this is low on their priority list when faced with funeral arrangements and estate management. An emailed obituary notice would have given Shelley some warning.

In a similar situation, I was able to help my mother search for a childhood friend. She hadn’t heard from Ann in months and was worried, so I set up an alert and eventually Ann’s story was revealed.

It’s easy to set up an alert. Type your search into Google, and click on the “News” tab. Refine your search to your liking, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Create alert.”

One of my 2019 goals is to increase comprehension and retention, particularly in regards to current events. I took out a subscription to The New York Times, signed up for some of their newsletter with links to dozens of stories, and began taking their Friday News Quiz. I also get newsletters from the The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and The New Yorker. I had a lot of catching up to do, but the big picture of world news is finally coming into focus. No more getting left behind in adult conversation.

However, I’m definitely ready for something innocent after immersing myself in the top news stories. This is where my google alert on Pittsboro steps in and provides relief.


Small town news is a refreshing break from deposed cardinals, economic disparity, global warming, nuclear armament, despots, war, and hunger. In fact, I’ll go it one further. I’ll keep the good news flowing with an alert on some of my favorite things, beginning with:

I would love to hear what topics bring a smile to your face. Which news stories make you happy?

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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