Tuesday, November 28, 2017

My Favorite Podcasts

I didn't really get elbow deep into podcasts until a bit over a year ago.  So I felt pretty late to that party.  

Sure, I would listen once in a blue moon.  But I always switched over to music instead.  I never really got into a series enough to listen to more than a few one off interviews.

But now I flip flop between music and podcasts pretty regularly.  And often prefer podcasts when I am in the garden or taking long walks.  It's fun to have variety in my ears.  Especially with so many awesome choices available these days.

When Tricia mentioned recently that she didn't even know where to find podcasts, I giggled.  Because y'all are missing out if you aren't using that feature on your phone.  It's a great way to pass the time on a long car ride or while working out.  

So for starters, look on your phone.  The app came with your iphone so you don't even need to download it.  It's purple and appropriately titled Podcasts.  

Did you find it?  {You can also listen in iTunes and Spotify.}

Now let's talk about the beauty of podcasts.  They can be anything.  From a recording of a concert to an interview to a scripted series.  Do you have a favorite celebrity or author?  Type their name in the search box and chances are good you'll find something.  A topic you're into like cooking or religion or politics or parenting or exercise or books or or or?  Type it in and poof you will be presented with options!

Here's a bonus of podcasts.  While they do use up storage space {so be sure to delete them after listening}, they don't require wifi once downloaded.  So you can listen on a plane or train or car ride that is without a wifi signal.  

Three of my recent favorite crime mystery series are Accused, Dirty John, and S-Town.  I highly recommend all three as they keep you intrigued and really into the stories of these long forgotten unsolved crimes.  And at this point, S-Town is part of pop culture so definitely give that a listen.  {Though I liked Dirty John better if asked to pick between the two.}

I am so into Queery and Nancy!  I've listened to every episode of both and can't recommend them enough.  They are different, but both center around LGBTQ topics.  Both should be listened to by everyone.  I can't say that enough.  They are so well done and are important to share so that we all stop living in our little uninformed bubbles.  Plus, I really like the hosts of both series.  

Nancy is short.  So if you like a quick 15-20 minute podcast listen, this is for you.  It's pretty light and easy to listen to {for the most part- there have been a few heavier episodes} and has done a great job of bring new ideas and topics to the front of my mind.  

Queery is long.  Episodes are about an hour in length and each interviews a single other human.  So you really get to hear some deeper and broader topics discussed between Cameron and her guest.  Lots of heartfelt moments and lots of laughs and lots of oh wow I never thought of that before moments.  It's thoughtful and introduces a great mix of discussions.  If asked to pick my current favorite podcast, I'd tell you without hesitation that it's Queery!

If you're looking for a bit of daily life and politics, This American Life and Pod Save America are for you. This American Life has been around for ages and is hosted by Ira Glass.  The topics covered are incredibly diverse from cars to stories of people and everything in between.  Pod Save America is hosted by four former President Obama aids and if you were a fan of Obama, you will love it.  

Now for the one I want to ask you about.  My Dad Wrote a Porno.  It's British and about a guy reading the terrible porno book that his dad wrote and self published.  The first few episodes were hilarious.  The son plus two hosts add in side busting commentary.  My question though is if anyone has listened past episode seven?  I was a little {lies...all lies...a LOT} disturbed by where the story went.  It's kind of {lies again...it's definitely} horrifying.  The commentary is so funny.  But I am not sure I can get past the porn's story line, even though the series is about mocking it.  So if you've listened, give me the skinny. Should I keep going or just abandon ship?

So what are your favorite podcasts right now?  Have you listened to any from my list?


Monday, November 27, 2017

An Attitude of Gratitude

My Thanksgiving week was low key and lovely.  And I'm so grateful that stress and drama were kept at bay.  I find this time of year to be rather gloomy and difficult, so when one of the holidays comes and goes without a fuss, I let out a big sigh of relief.

I'm not a Scrooge.  I don't hate the holidays.  I just never manage to really get into them.  To me, they feel like they are intended for other people.  People who have people.  Not me.  

Maybe one day I will feel invited to this whole holiday spirit thing.  But for now, I am just happy to glide through them unscathed.

The best news is that the weather was amazing!  Wednesday and Friday I spent 4-5 hours each day down in the garden.  I did it!  I managed to mulch in the whole thing, add new T posts for a new tomato row next year, move a few plants, and tidy it all away for winter.  And then on top of all of that, i planted 200 cloves of heirloom garlic, which should grow into 200 heads of garlic next year!  

I would like to squeeze in another half hour this week just to make sure everything is truly squared away.  But beyond that, the 2017 garden season is officially over for me!

Family is complicated.  So this year, dad and I opted to have our own tiny holiday together.  Free of stress and drama.  On my chosen schedule.  I watched the parade {which...don't hate here...but if that ever gets cancelled, I won't care...it's just kind of a thing to have on as far as I am concerned}, the dog show {now that is something I can get into!}, cooked a giant meal, cleaned up, and we were able to see a 6:20 movie.  It's the perfect little Thanksgiving! 

But...did you know it's impossible to cook a small Thanksgiving meal?  It is.  But that's okay, because my personal favorite holiday is the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Not because of the shopping, of which I did none.  But because it's Leftover Day.  All the joy and none of the work.  Yum!

Also, apple pie was always an acceptable breakfast in my house growing up.  It's mostly apples...so practically a health food.  

I did a bit of shopping and bopping about on Small Business Saturday.  My beloved city, Troy, NY, has an ever growing downtown shopping area with great stores and antique shops.  It was a delight to see how many people were at the Farmers Market and in all of the stores on Saturday.  As much as we all love Amazon and free shipping codes, I do believe that people love shopping small just as much.  

Sunday the weather turned cold, windy, and gloomy.  But my father asked me earlier in the week to go with him to my grandparents' and great grandparents' cemetery to bring out the Christmas wreath.  I hadn't been in years and had nothing else that was pressing so it was the perfect day to drive out to the country.  

This little old red barn is just in front of the entrance to the cemetery and I love it.  The wooden star is so sweet.  It's hard to see in this photo but there's a lovely creek that runs behind it, too.

I often post photos on Instagram of my walks in a beautiful historic cemetery in Troy.  Which is fully of towering monuments and mausoleums. The people who were buried there once upon a time were clearly from great means.  

This little cemetery though, is way out in the country.  It's humble and sweet.  With some really beautiful stone walls that make me swoon.

Every time we go, which admittedly is not very often, my father points out where a general and his horse are buried.  And every time he says this, I ask "a general of what war and why is his horse there?"  Dad has never given me an answer.  For all I know, the bit about the horse could be an urban tale from his childhood.  But...I hope it's true.  I like the idea that a man and his horse are in the middle of this rural spot.  Everything is better with a dash of quirk.  Even a cemetery.

Snow flurries started to come down as we were standing there talking about who was here and who was in the various other spots.  Apparently I'm related to a lot of the people here.  Which I find comforting and endearing.  

I've decided that a Thursday holiday is ideal.  I wish Christmas could move to a Thursday every year too.  Having Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to play really feels like the perfect amount of time.  Someone should look into that!

How was your holiday?  Did you head to a big family meal or host a big {or small} meal at home?  Regardless, I hope you were with people you love and went to town on the turkey and pie!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide For Your Everyday Needs

I took some time to collect some must have, very affordable, holiday gift ideas.  Just a few every day items that are both practical and fun.  These are sure to check off all those hard to shop for gifts this season.

Like a tin can.

I kind you not.  You could open a can of crushed tomatoes {I'm looking at you, Mermaid} or you could head over to Tiffany & Co to pick up their Sterling Silver Tin Can for the low low price of $1000.  One thousand dollars.  

Where do you buy your balls of yarn?  Michaels for about $5 or Tiffany & Co for...wait for it...$9000.  Nine freaking thousand dollars.  American, not Monopoly, dollars.  Nine.  Nine thousand!

Have you ever shopped at Tiffany?  You know the complimentary cup of coffee they give you in a small paper cup, coated in their signature blue color?  Well you can also get one in bone china.  Comparatively though, this one is actually a total bargain.  

A pill box...so big enough for tiny pills...in the shape of a Chinese food take out container is less of a deal.  Though to be honest, I know people collect pill boxes so I suspect this one will be a big seller.  

But let me ask you, dear friends, where you store your band aids?  I slovenly store mine in the generic Target store box that they came in.  Gasp!  Proper ladies likely store their {store brand because let's be honest...how else are you going to afford this thing} band aids in sterling silver band aid boxes lined in Tiffany blue.  Oh how I wish I could one day be a proper lady!  

And my final gift suggestion is something we all need.  A rose gold bendy straw.  For $350.  Which better make your Diet Coke taste about $347 better than the plastic two cent variety!

So there you go.  Top tips for all you gift giving needs this season!  You're welcome!

Seriously though...I want to see a list of people who buy that tin can, bendy straw, and ball of yarn!  While I am of the belief that everyone has the right to spend their pennies as they so choose...no one needs a sterling silver tin can.  No one.  I'll take a blue paint pen and DIY that shit for you.  

Happy Holiday Season, friends!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Winter Blues: Struggling With Mental Health and Missing Sadie

Dear Sadie,

I've really struggled this week.  More than I have in ages.  Gasping for breath from crying so hard and telling you that I love you and just hoping against all hope that you can hear me.

You were more than just my fur baby.  You were my best friend and buffer from all the negativity in the world.  You gave me a reason to get up every morning and keep a routine every day.  You were a constant, daily source of sweetness and giggles.  You listened to my secrets and kissed away my tears.  I made millions of mistakes as your momma but you never once stopped loving me.

You taught me how to love and be loved.

A man, who I still can't figure out how I know, came up to me on Tuesday and asked me how my Sheltie was doing.  You.  He asked about you.  I said you passed away a year and half ago and he seemed shocked.  He mentioned seeing my dad, your Poppy, walking you for me and how sweet you were.

All this time later and you are still leaving the loveliest impression on people.  You were the very best little baby bunny!

As much as I miss you, I know that part of my emotional struggle this week has been the sudden change in weather.  It's quickly turned very cold and very gloomy here and even an amazing election night hasn't been enough to pull me out of my funk.  Between the darkness and coldness and looming holiday season, I feel like I am treading water just to breathe.  

I hate this feeling so much.  

I feel heavy, sad, and incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin.  I'm unsettled and foggy.  But also exhausted.  

When you were here, our routine would keep me on track.  Three walks a day at a minimum.  Pets and cuddles and conversations and meals.  

You saved my sanity.  And I owe you the world.  

But what the hell do I do now, without you here?

Not a day has gone by in the one year and six months since we gave each other our final kisses that I haven't missed you.  Not one day has passed without me thinking of you and sending up love to you.  And not many days have gone by in a row without me shedding at least a few tears.  

You were and will forever be my very best baby bunny.  And I am so grateful for all of our years together!

But for all of my preparation for your death, I never figured out how to make this part, the all consuming, gut twisting, heart stopping, breath blocking, body shaking pain of missing you, go away.  

Six months until spring.  Six months of darkness and gloominess.  I know I can do it.  I know I can grit and bear it.  Because I did it without you last year.  I just might need a friendly reminder now and then though.  Because I can feel myself slipping into that dark, quiet headspace.  And that scares the crap out of me.

Six months.  Saying that feels weighty.  Expect me to talk to you incessantly, Sadie.  But I'll find my way back to spring.  And smiles.  

I really miss you, sweet girl!  But I know you're on the best side of this life.  So live it up and eat bowls of whipped cream and run and leap all day and take naps in the sunshine.  

I love you and miss you to the ends of the earth!

XO Momma


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