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My Podcast Recs

I often enjoy a good podcast. For me, it’s a way to learn something new while I’m multitasking, whether that’s driving, exercising, or cleaning. My podcast consumption has decreased significantly now that I’m never commuting anywhere, but when I can sneak them in, here’s what I like to listen to most often:

Best of Both Worlds is hosted by Laura Vanderkam and Sarah Hart-Unger who are two working moms who discuss career-related and family topics. My caveat is they and their husbands all have well paying jobs, so many strategies discussed involve utilizing financial resources. I like their dynamic and the topics covered. I recently added to my “to read” list after episode 147: Summer Reading with KJ Dell’Antonia.

Freakonomics is hosted by Stephen Dubner, co-author of the Freakonomics books that I devoured ages ago. I enjoy how topics are explored in depth during each show with one or more interviews. Most often, the psychology of human decision making and the effect of unintended consequences is covered in a thoughtful and engaging way.

No Stupid Questions is a new podcast that’s a partnership between Stephen Dubner from Freakonomics and Angela Duckworth, university professor and author of Grit. These two co-host friends informally discuss a number of questions about human behavior. I feel like I’m sitting at a bar listening to friends chat. It’s a great mix of the banter I love from Best of Both Worlds and the intellectual simulation I enjoy from Freakonomics.

This American Life is hosted by Ira Glass. It is an extremely popular public radio show that covers a topic a week in good depth, typically featuring multiple stories centered around a theme. I recently listened to episode 709: The Reprieve, which explored how medical staff at one hospital in Detroit have been impacted by COVID-19, and episode 706: A Mess to Be Reckoned With about Lissa Yellow Bird, a woman who searches for missing people.

Reply All, hosted by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman, has been a favorite in the past, but I haven’t loved some of their newer episodes. Too often I’m been on this hour-long journey in the podcast to have an unsatisfying and rather incomplete ending, which I find beyond frustrating. However, check out the archives. I really like their Yes Yes No episodes where their producer brings PJ and Alex a tweet he doesn’t understand and PJ and Alex give the background and explain it. Super tech support episodes are also good, like episode 147: The Woman in the Air Conditioner.

I’ve even introduced Mr. 7 year old to podcasts, and now the kids have a list of favorites I’ll have to cover in a future post. Let me know if you have any podcasts recommendations for either kids or adults. I’d love to explore more of them.

Photo by Juja Han on Unsplash

Posted in Blog

Friday Fav: Video Chats and Parties

Apps like Zoom, Facebook messenger, Skype, and Facetime have been a lifesaver for me the past few weeks. They have kept me and my family sane by connecting us with families and friends. The kids can have play dates, I can have virtual happy hours, school sessions occur, and my work gets done.

I think many of us were familiar with these tools and used them in various ways, but perhaps not as frequently or with the same groups of people. Now they are often the best way to share and communicate with others.

If you haven’t already connected your young kids to their friends and young family, I recommend giving it a try. I can’t follow Mr. 7-year-old’s conversation about Pokemon or whatever video game, but his friends and cousins can and seem to love catching up. I’ve seen kids playing video games together online, somehow playing hide and seek, connecting via Facebook Messenger for kids, and separately but somehow together having Bakugan battles.

Relatives can read stories, play board games (with the kids taking their turn for them), and sing songs. Sometimes just giving the kids a new audience is all they need to lift their moods (and give mom and dad a few minute reprieve).

My husband even uses such tech for online DnD sessions. We are all finding our way online to stay connected to each other. I hope you are too.

Photo Credit to Sergey Zolkin from Unsplased

Posted in Blog

A Little Introduction

I’ve always been a planner. I was that kid in high school starting a two-week project the first night it was assigned so I wouldn’t get behind. I planned a solo weekend trip to London when I was studying aboard in Ireland just because I wanted to go. I plan projects daily at work, making sure tasks get done well, on time, and within budget.

I plan beyond the big stuff. I’m thinking about doctor’s appointments, summer camp schedules, meal plans, to-do lists, errands to run, gifts to buy, etc., etc., forever. It is often exhausting, but I realize that most of the time I like it.

I’ve humorously suggested to my husband that I’m the Director of Home Operations while he’s the Director of Special Projects. Anything that breaks or needs irregularly maintenance in the house or with the cars is all my husband’s domain — thank goodness! I focus on keeping home operations running smoothly.

I recognize that this division of responsibility isn’t an option for everyone or the best way to do it, but it works well for us. I’ve come with techniques that have worked well for me in this role of Director of Home Operations. I’ll be sharing them on this blog as it continues on topics like bedtime routines, the morning rush to school, summer camp planning, and coordinating after school activities.

The other half of this coin is work-related planning and organization. Work includes topics like planning performance goals and managing work priorities. I look forward to talking about all of these topics.