Saturdays Are Best: Podcast Edition

podcast, podcasting, podcasts, listen, podcaster,

Do you listen to podcasts? Which ones are you really into these days? What topics interest you?

Podcasts are wonderful. I love them. They are excellent for when I am working and need the exact right level of distraction. They’re great for listening to when your eyes just need a break from the work of the day. They can be used to motivate, encourage, and inspire. A good podcast will have you smiling, nodding in agreement, and occasionally talking back to the podcaster who – let’s be clear, here – can not hear you. The best ones will most definitely leave you thinking.

If you have been wanting to get into a good podcast and weren’t sure where to start or what the heck you should be listening to, fear not! I am here for you.

I have found myself listening to a lot of podcasts lately and I definitely lean towards the ones that are uplifting, cheerful, happy, or helpful. I also love to learn new things, so if there is an educational component, of course, I appreciate that, too.

I find podcasts that are about 30 minutes in length are just about perfect for me. I can almost always find 25-30 minutes (give or take) to listen. A half an hour is also a great length for people who listen on their commutes. Obviously lots of people have much longer commutes, but mine is super short and even if someone is taking transit from the burbs to downtown Halifax, for example, it isn’t too much longer than 30 or so minutes. Regardless, I enjoy a nice, crispy, short, podcast.

In fact, some of my very favourite episodes are super short bonus type episodes. Some little golden nuggets that simply must be shared by the podcaster. Despite the fact that I am loquacious by nature, I appreciate succinct things. It’s true. I do.

So if you are a podcaster or are thinking of starting a podcast, know that those little nuggets are a good idea. Definitely keep that up (or include it).

I prefer shorter podcasts, but don’t get me wrong, there are a few I enjoy that are far from short. I’m cool with people’s artistic choices. I might suggest, in the most respectful of ways, that it’s okay to spread some content out, though, to have parts or miniseries when your topic is just too darn amazing to contain to one episode.

I’m here for it. Really. I promise I will come back and listen to the second, third (and possibly, fourth, fifth, and sixth, parts.) (You know who you are.)

Without further ado, I give you a list (in no particular order) of some of my favourite podcasts to actually listen to from beginning to end on a regular basis.

Riding in Cars with Cats by OneRedCat Media

3 Books with Neil Pasricha

The Quote of the Day Show with Sean Croxton

Distraction with Dr. Ned Hallowell

WTF with Marc Maron

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations

Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard

Changing the Narrative

Under the Influence

I have listened to five of the podcasts listed above today (several episodes of each, actually) and will spend some time catching up on the longer ones on Sunday.

So, what do you think of my lineup? I’d love it if you took a bit of time to check these podcasts out and let me know what you think. Also, if you have the time, I’d love to hear what you are listening to these days. If you’d like to share your favourite podcasts in the comments that would be great. Go for it!

I hope you have had a spectacular Saturday. Here’s to a sunny Sunday!

 

 

Credit where credit is due: Photo by Yingchou Han on Unsplash

Signs

austin-chan-275638

Well, hello there!

Are you still here?

Wow!

You are a really kind person.

Thank you for that.

I sincerely appreciate your presence.

Obviously, I have been absent from this space for quite some time, but you know what? I miss it. I miss you. I miss this space. I miss being able to simply pop in and say hello, share a part of my day, ask how you’ve been, and wait in quiet contemplation and anticipation for any sign of life.

So thank you for all the times you have swung by.

I am eternally grateful for your silent support. I am also grateful for your LOUD support.

I’m not picky.

Fire: bad. Bread: bad. Support: good.

So maybe I needed a sign.

Maybe I needed to seek one.

Maybe the sign I was looking for was so blatantly obvious that I couldn’t see it.

Sometimes we see what we want and it seems so far away when what we need is sitting right in front of us.

It’s like lusting after a pair of Louboutin’s when what you really long for is a wicked cozy pair of fuzzy slippers.

One might make people go “Wow!”, but will it make you go “Wow!”? No. No it won’t. Well, I suppose I can only speak for myself, but one of those would make me go “Oww!” not “Wow!” and is simply not my style, so why bother? I can’t afford the shoes or to waste a single second of my very limited and precious time on this planet trying to make someone else go “Wow!”. Can you?

Allow me.

No. No you can’t.

So …

All this to say, thank you for reading.

I hope you continue to stick around.

I have vowed to post every day in November with the hopes of getting my groove back and forming a new and improved writing habit.

My sign?

November is National Blog Posting Month. (This is where, if we were cartoons, an anvil – or perhaps an old timey typewriter – would fall on my head.)

Yup.

That – in conjunction with a few other doozies from the Universe – is most definitely a sign.

Do you believe in signs? Does the Universe speak to you?

Feel free to tell me a ‘signs from the Universe’ story in the comments. You know I’ll be replying because the Universe told me I have to be here every day in November. It’d be awesome to have something to do. 😉

 

Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Motivation Monday {Silly Saves Me Edition}

It will come as a surprise to no one that I have been having a bit of trouble feeling motivated lately, but this morning I am feeling determined to be the one in control of my feelings – and some other stuff, too. Motivation has come home and, much like the prodigal son, I will embrace it and feed it and give it its old room back, and cherish it like never before in hopes that my appreciation for its return will have some big returns for me! Yay, motivation!This is how I operate apparently, so I had better learn to live with it*, right?I am not leaving this laptop without hitting publish. (Because motivation makes me make promises to myself and motivation also makes me keep those promises. Isn’t motivation rad, you guys?)This will be an extremely short post, but I feel like I am in a rip-the-band-aid-off sit’i’ation and I just have to hit publish. This will hurt me more than it will hurt you. Believe me.My point is, I have so much to say and so many ideas and they have just been stagnating, or being forgotten – because of course I won’t remember that great post idea if I don’t have a pen (mine!) and paper (also, mine!) to write it down in a way that will make sense to me at a later more convenient time! I am busy, distracted, worried for the world. Kids come with outside obligations that require my attention. I have to make dinner. I haven’t had coffee yet… You know? ALL the things that everyone faces pretty much every day and somehow manages to live with.Yeah. When the normal stuff of life gets in the way of happy-go-lucky  I am not – wait for it – happy-go-lucky! I do not like that.So I am fixing it little by little and right about now, just after I rip off this bandaid, I will have fixed it just a little bit more. Thank you for your patience and sense of humour. I am happy you stuck around.My tens of readers are actually extremely important to me. I appreciate you.So, while I work out the rest of my day, this week, this month, an editorial calendar that will bring me back here more often, and my entire life going forward**, I will leave you with this beautiful motivational quote.

You can tell it is inspirational*** because it is a nature photo and there are words on it.

That’s all it takes, right? 😉

How are you holding up? No really. I’m asking. How’s your motivation these days? I know I am not the only one who feels the way I do.

What do you do every day, week or month to keep your motivation revved up? What do you do to spark it if ever it drops?

You should know that Thing 2 just walked in my room *juuuust as I started that second sentence with pen (mine!) and paper (math test) saying, “Sign.”. I replied, “You’re interrupting me.” and explained further, “If you enter my room and see me very obviously trying to do something with this (points to face) look on my face, please do not make demands. Leave your things for now and I’ll sign them momentarily, but going forward this is not ok.”

So, I’d like my adulting sticker and a gold star, now, please and thank you.

**No pressure.

***Source: Deviant Art.****

****Full disclosure! Inspiration for this inspiration: A silly, yet completely honest, conversation on Saturday with a dear friend wherein I succinctly ahem nailed my annoyance with certain habits of certain online presences.

 

My Current Mindworm {A Semi-Regular Series} : Ain’t It Fun (Paramore)

Paramore, Ain' It Fun, living in the real world, the real world, happy music

love this song!

Every time I hear it I get happy. It’s a perfectly catchy pop song with just the right amount of sass. LOVE!

The video is pretty interesting, too. Check out all the ridiculous world records Paramore broke while filming it. Isn’t that hilarious? There’s bonus footage of each record being broken. You have to see it to believe it. Silly! (And you know I love me some silly!)

I am also sharing this right this minute because I am thinking about my friend Sarah (HI SARAH!) who is diving into the (so-called) real world today. GO, mamma! Go!

You got this!

I hope this makes you smile. Then I hope it goes into regular rotation on your Happy Music playlist because it totally is happy music. Right?

I think so!

Do you have a Happy Music playlist?

I definitely have a running list of songs that will always make me smile, giggle, then laugh, burst out into song, and whip up a kitchen dance party like nobody’s business.

Maybe it’s time to add a new tab up there labeled “Happy Music”. What do you think? (Fully aware that music posts don’t bring a lot of traffic. Don’t care. I care to share because I care. If one person is inspired to dance in the kitchen, then yay!)

What’s your mindworm today?

Source

Five (more) Fun Facts For (the last) Friday (in February)

Friday facts fun facts kindness

I am so happy today is Friday.

This week has been so weird. I didn’t know what day it was, we had some crazy windy and rainy weather, and I was working really hard on being healthier and more productive.

I was halfway through Thursday when it was brought to my attention that it was, in fact, Wednesday. Blarg. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? That set off a whole well-if-today-isn’t-Thursday-then-that-means-tomorrow-isn’t-Friday general malaise and it went downhill from there.

The upside of the confusion was that I gained a whole day. The downside, obviously, is the exact same thing.

All in all, it was a good week. It was 14 degrees Celsius on the Thursday that was really Wednesday. In February. In Canada! It also rained an insane amount overnight Wednesday into Thursday with high winds and it was a hard wake up for early band. We made it, mind you.

The rainy day was dreamy in a way though and after work and school when we’d all normally be doing typical after work and school stuff – like making dinner – we all fell asleep! That hasn’t happened in a very long time. I guess we needed a little rest. It was kind of nice, actually. I am a terrible napper, so it was nice to snuggle with Thing 2 on the couch for a little while. The fact that I zonked out and actually slept was awesome. Then I made dinner while everyone else snoozed.

Anyhoo …

Before Friday becomes Saturday (I have had enough of days becoming other days for one week!), I give you five fun facts for Friday.

  1. I am a February baby. (My birthday happened earlier this month.) If I were a Leap Year Baby*, I would be celebrating only my 12th birthday this year. I think that is so fun! If I were a Leap Year Baby, I like to think I would have fun celebrations every four years. Wouldn’t that be fun?
  2. I have a lot of friends who are Valentine’s Day babies! Seriously, it’s uncanny. I can think of at least 6 people right off the top of my head (without a Facebook Birthday reminder or anything). Remarkable!
  3. I have been on a real spinach kick lately. Is that weird or what? I mean, who craves spinach? (This is the point where I hope at least one of you is reading in George Costanza’s mother’s – or Estelle Costanza’s -voice) What kind of person craves spinach? Well, I know some people do. Am I becoming the kind of person who craves spinach? Where will it end? Will you soon find me in the grocery store caressing the kale,  looking to get my Freekeh on? Well, now I’ve gone too far, haven’t I? Besides, Freekeh is actually quite gluten full as it is made from roasted green wheat. Whew! That was a close one.
  4. Thing 2 was down with a very yucky virus for a full week. The poor thing! She was sick for Valentine’s Day and Heritage Day.** She doesn’t get sick very often (thank goodness), but when she does it always seems to fall on a special day. She had to miss out on some fun and so we all followed suit and had a very low key Valentine’s Day and spent our Heritage Day at home.
  5. I have a really good Doctor. (I got to see her today because Thing 1 had a check up.) She is kind and funny. She is smart and always has a minute to spare to be nice to my kids – and to me. I had some stuff to deal with and I thought I’d have to make an appointment next week when I got a chance, but after my son’s stuff was squared away, she turned to me to ask, “And you? How are you?”. It was unexpected and so cool of her, really. I tried to deflect any concern and said I’d be back, but she basically said, “We are here now. Let’s talk.”

It sometimes feels like no one cares in this world, but we can’t let that be the norm. We really have to seek out as much good as possible. It sure is nice when the good is present during stressful times. I really appreciate kindness.

Don’t you?

*Also known as Leaplings. How cute is that?

**That’s Family Day to some of you. The February, Monday holiday. In Nova Scotia this year it was Joseph Howe Day.

Five Worthy Causes For Your Kind Consideration On Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday.

What’s Giving Tuesday?

Well think of it as the Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) of charity.

Giving Tuesday is like “opening day of the giving season.”

It is a day to think about others and to take advantage of a doubling of your dollars because many charitable organizations have a “matching” sponsor. This means that you literally double your donation in some cases.

Give $20 and your organization receives $40.

Donate $50 and voila $100 goes to your favourite fund.

How cool is that?

You can learn more about Giving Tuesday here (please do!) but I want to quickly share with you a handful of my favourite organizations, in case you want to make a donation before midnight!

Free The Children Free The Children is the brainchild of Craig and Marc Keilburger and you can read all about how they founded this amazing organization and the subsequent We, Me To We, and We Day awesomeness here.

David Suzuki Foundation – I have been a fan of David Suzuki for as long as I can remember. A few years back, he actually stepped down as the head of his own foundation to take attention away from his own struggles with a government that seemed determined to paint him as a radical. Oh! He’s radical alright! Radically awesome!

World Wildlife Foundation (Canada) – I hope you know about WWF Canada, for the love of our planet. This organization is famous for its symbolic wildlife adoptions (which make fabulous gifts for Things of all ages), Earth Hour, and many other initiatives. I wear my feelings for WWF Canada on my sleeve and I make no apologies for it. I wrote a guest blog way back when. I have written about it here on my blog and also here. We have one home. It’s the planet we live on. It’s time to show it the respect it deserves, isn’t it?

Because I Am A Girl – I am! You might be. Thing 2 is. My sister is. My mother, too. You either are one, have one or were made by one. Girls matter! Educating girls improves the lives of everyone. BIAAG Canada is taking this knowledge and sharing it around the world. You may have heard about their Pink Lemonade Stands and their using small actions to drive big change initiatives. How wonderful! We are big fans and my face goes all gigantic grin every time Thing 2 emerges from her room in the morning sporting her pink BIAAG T-shirt. “Girls’ rights are human rights.” Your darn right they are!

BIAAG, Thing 2,

Malala Fund – Oh Malala! What a wonderful human being! If ever there was a person with a higher purpose than she ever could have known, it is Malala Yousafzai. Malala is an education activist and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. She was in school when the call came that she had won. She told her teacher she would finish her studies for the day. Malala is walking the talk. I am a fan. Her book is beautiful, the children’s adaptation is great, and now there is even a movie!

So, whether you donate, share, learn or do some small act of kindness today you have taken part in Giving Tuesday and you have made a difference.

What you do matters.

I, for one, appreciate it.

Thank you!

BB In The Bucket

BB in the Bucket, Advent fun, play

Sometimes I just do stuff, you guys.

True story.

It happens.

I don’t always share the stuff I do.

My kids get most of me, you know?

Oh sure! I share a lot of stuff online – here, there, and everywhere – but I don’t share everything.

I think this is worth sharing for two reasons.

1) It’s easily adaptable and anyone can do it.

2) It’s my way of celebrating what I love, without dissing something I dislike.

Ready?

Okay!

Ta daa!

BB scroll, BB in the Bucket scroll,

BB in the Bucket, day 1, hiding in plain sight, scroll

BB-in-the-Bucket

Thing 2 finding BB, BB in the Bucket, Advent, Christmas Countdown

BB explains it well, Thing 2, reading, BB in the Bucket

BB in the Bucket

It’s December 4th and look who is here!

It’s BB! But wait. What’s this I hear?

She’s wearing a hat with a sparkly ball

There’s a sparkly scarf too, but that is not all!

BB’s so festive, she’s ready to play

So you’ll have to find her everyday.

There’s only one rule, you must not forget it

Don’t skip it or shun it or you might regret it!

When you spot BB you give her a HUG

You squeeze her and keep her as snug as a bug in a rug.

Yes, Christmastime is the Season of Hope

It’s certainly no time to pout and to mope.

Imagine, you finding such a cute thing

and having to wait and just look at the bling.

Yeesh! That would be awful and terribly bad.

I just can’t believe in something so sad.

So people can keep their elf on the shelf

I’d rather have BB, her wonderful self.

Wouldn't you?, BB, BB in the Bucket, Advent,

Wouldn’t you?

So, there you have it!

Rumour has it that BB will have a sparkly red hat with a white glittery pompom this year.

No one knows for sure though.

We’ll just have to wait and see because as I said these things just happen.

How do you celebrate Advent?

Do you have a special ritual?

Do your kids enjoy the countdown to Christmas?

How do you spend the days leading up to the Holidays?

*I cleared this with the Things before posting it here. It’s late in the game, now, but this is something you could do at any time of year just for fun. Make stuff up, guys! It’s rad!

Thankful Thursday: American Thanksgiving Edition

coffee cup thankful Thanksgiving Fall decor

Happy American Thanksgiving Day!

I know it’s late, but I have been busy celebrating.

If you want to know how we spent the day I think the quickest way for me to show you is by directing you to this post, “How To Celebrate American Thanksgiving In Canada”, I wrote for Life In Pleasantville. 

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Tom Turkey

It went pretty much according to plan, except we didn’t eat any pie! That is a travesty!

I have a friend in Texas who hosted a 100% pie Thanksgiving today. How amazing is that?!?

And here we are stuffed like the turkey with no room for pie. Oh! The shame!

We’ll have to train harder for next year.

In the meantime, my unending quest for awesome American side dishes (You know they are amazing, right? Oh, you really must go read my post!) I asked my very best imaginary friend, Sheila (Hey Sheila!) for a recipe to share with you and being the awesome friend that she is she came up with this gem!

Sheila’s Corn Casserole
Shoepeg corn, 2 cans, drained
French cut green beans, 1 can, drained
Sour cream, 8 oz.
Slivered almonds, small pkg.
Chopped onion, half – whole (depending on your tastes)
Ground pepper, to taste
Grated cheddar cheese, sharp or mild,
1-2 cup Cream of something** soup (celery, mushroom or chicken.)
Mix it all up in a casserole dish sprayed with Pam
Topping
Tube of Ritz crackers, crushed.
Stick of butter, melted.
Blend crackers and melted butter and spread mixture on top of casserole.
Cook 350 for approximately 30 minutes, until bubbly and top is browning.
(Brown to your liking.)

Ta daa!
I am definitely making this side dish next year.

Pumpkin Patch turkey thanksgiving wreath

It’s late and I must sleep because Friday will be a very busy day.

I want to tell you a bit more about our Thanksgiving dinner conversation with Thing 1 and Thing 2, but it will have to wait until I have a bit more time. I wish I could tell you right now! I assure you I will share as soon as I can.

Thanksgiving dinner turkey stuffing dressing mashed potatoes carrots turnip rutabaga gravy peaches and cream corn

I will tell you all about Friday’s busy-ness tomorrow night. Promise!

Meanwhile, pie for breakfast!
I kid. I kid.****

How did you spend your Thanksgiving?
Did you double up on this holiday of gratitude?

What are you thankful for today?

**Can you see now why I love Sheila?
***They all work. Celery is what original recipe called for.
****Kinda sorta.

Christmas, Naturally.

It was a very rainy and windy weekend, but for a little while today the rain stopped and I went out to run a few errands.

First stop was at the local farmer’s market which is undergoing major renovations, so it looks at once dilapidated and delightful. It’s confusing, really. I can no longer even imagine what it will look like in the end.

There was a point last year around this time when it stared to feel cozy and nice, but yesterday the makeshift roof was leaking and dripping rainwater on all the things.

I looked around for a minute at the nice, simple homemade, natural wreaths, with their red ribbons and berries, then at the winter holiday planter boxes filled with evergreen boughs, glittery twigs, ribbons and bright red ornaments (which I was coveting, if I’m being honest) and pickles (yes, that’s right) and it just felt odd, but I digress …

Where was I?

Oh, yes.

Outside, where I parked the car on the new makeshift (?) parking lot there was a table filled with plain evergreen wreaths. They were so festively fragrant I wanted to just stand there the whole time. I took a photo to try and capture it. Can’t you just about smell Christmas?

Then just before entering the building there was another table covered in these gorgeous, bright red, bunches of berries. I don’t know what these berries are, but I know I want all of them. They look so festive, don’t they? These were used in some of the wreaths and planter boxes inside the market.

I have always found the idea of a simple Christmas very appealing.

Every year we say we will keep it low key and simple and we typically do a good job of not going over the top, but when I see things like naked Christmas wreaths and – what I am going to call – winter berries, I am convinced that I would love nothing more than a house in the middle of the woods, filled with the people I love, a real Christmas tree decorated with our treasures and memories and a few homemade additions from nature, and an honest-to-goodness old fashioned Christmas.

That’s the problem with simple. It never really is, is it?

15 Things In 15 Minutes (and not a minute more)

15 in 15 fifteen minutes

It’s 11: 44 and I have to hit publish by 11:59.

Here goes!

I am exhausted.

We were away for the weekend and with the exception of one thing I simply couldn’t get done most of the things that needed doing were completed.

We didn’t turn the radio on for the entire drive to New Brunswick.

We arrived in the dark on Friday.

We managed to take advantage of not one, but two BOGO Starbucks Holiday beverages. Oh yes! Today there was a Peppermint Mocha and there may or may not have been a Cranberry Bliss Bar. Who’s to say? It’s a mystery, really.

The Things were thrilled to spend some time with their cousins this afternoon.

We celebrated a special Birthday today!

We were extremely entertained by our nephew and his mad candle lighting skills, but we especially appreciated his Dad stepping in to really get the show started. (Have you ever seen a musical candle that blossoms with fire and sparklers? We have!)

I think our gift was a hit (though who can ever be sure, really?).

We were treated to an amazing feast of Persian food and I really would like to learn to cook all the Persian things right now.

We left for home in the dark tonight.

It was completely and utterly pitch black out. No stars to be seen, yet the cold night air was crisp and seemed to make the visibility better than usual. There was no haze or fog at all. Unheard of!

We made it home in record time because all the traffic seemed to be going with the flow in the same direction as us and there was nary a dingbat on the highway the whole way home.

Thing 1 managed to study for a science test and upload a video to YouTube after we arrived home. (Motivation is a wonderful thing.)

Thing 2 didn’t get to share her violin playing with her Nanny, even though she made a point of bringing both her violin and her music with her all the way to Moncton. (She will just have to book some time in December. Maybe by then she will have a Christmas carol in her repertoire.)

C’est tout!

Goodnight!

Source