What Are You Listening To?

I mentioned in my Bird Brain post that I listen to podcasts when I’m stuck walking along the sidewalks and roadsides. Don’t worry, I can hear traffic and other noises through my headphones! If you see my laughing or giggling as I walk, or looking particularly perplexed, it’s because of those little voices in my ears. I thought I’d share a few that I have found interesting.

Timothy Ferris rounds up high achievers and performers and learns what makes them tick in his weekly podcasts. Ferriss is the author of the Four Hour Work Week, Tools of Titans and other books and calls himself a self-experimenter. Best Tim podcasts I’ve listened to recently: Conquering Fear and Reducing Anxiety – Caroline Paul and because I’m an animal lover, Susan Garrett — Master Dog (and Human) Trainer.

Another one to get your thinking is Waking Up With Sam Harris. It won’t get you giggling but it will get you thinking.

Have you heard of CRISPR? I didn’t until I listened to  Radiolab. These podcasts make me realize how small and sheltered my life really is.

A quick drive to the grocery store–a 15-minute trip is just enough time to listen to  Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame The Way I Heard It,

Another short podcast I like that’s fun and interesting is Good Job Brain. The podcast is part quiz show, so sometimes it makes me feel smart, sometimes not.

And the one I listen to most often, that makes me laugh and think and shake my head as I”m walking down the street is Real Time With Bill Mahr. This is basically a rebroadcast of his HBO show.  Mahr is blunt, and if you’re offended by four letter expletives, prepare to be offended.  You can also watch the show on YouTube.

I listen to all of these through my Google Play app. But there are lots of other ways to find them. The links above take you directly to those that have them on their websites.

So, what are you listening to?


Birthday Month

June is birthday month. Both my son and daughter were born in June. When my daughter was very little, she was miffed that her brother’s birthday was celebrated before hers, even though she is the elder of the two. Of course, they get homemade cards. Here’s a very simple one I made for my son made in Cricut Design Space, for his 25th birthday. It has a camo background behind the knock-out text.

25th  birthday card made with cricut explore
Happy 25th Birthday to my son. 


Subscription cut file link :https://design.cricut.com/#/landing/user-project/61958158

A Quick Picture and Spring Poem

With the two day heatwave we’re having and thunderstorms to bring the sudden heat to an end tonight, I’m afraid my tulips will not last long. So here is a quick picture (and a quick spring poem). The world is a greening, unfurling, sweet urgent leafing thing today!
The tree trunks are drizzled black.
Raindrops reflect in tiny parabolic mirrors on the opening petals of tulips.
Under the earth thousands–millions–of secrets send tentative shoots towards the tomorrow sun.
This is a nativity, nature born in the cool wash of spring rain.

A Disease Diagnoses

I’m not sure what type of Throw Back Thursday post this is. Surely not uplifting or lighthearted. I’ve been hesitant to write about my husband’ disease. Perhaps because we live it everyday,  I have no energy to relive it in writing. Nevertheless this is what I remember of when we first learned my husband had Parkinson’s Disease.    I’m not even sure I’m remembering this all correctly. This will seem disjointed as I dig up small details from a time that already seems distant. A stiffness in one hand and arm. A slight limp. We attributed it all to sleeping in an awkward position and a fall on the ski-out at Sunshine in April of 2005. A chiropractor that finally admitted he couldn’t do anything to fix these problems, and suggests a visit to the GP. The doctor makes a referral to a local neurologist. July 2005 and My husband goes to the appointment alone. A mistake. The neurologist diagnoses Parkinsonisms.  I know what you have, he announces. He says it like my husband has just won a highly improbably lottery. My husband, at that first appointment hears only Parkinson’s. This is not news you should face alone.

If I could use one word to describe the weeks immediately following this news it would be blackness. 

I believe it was the second appointment when the neurologist prescribed medications. There is a chair for my husband and I  stand with my back to the wall in a corner of the office. I already dislike this doctor, who has made me feel like an inconvenient interloper. From where I stand, I read the computer screen. The diagnoses is actually Multiple Systems Atrophy. 

My husband takes two weeks off of work as he ramps up the medication. The medications however, quickly prove more troublesome than the symptoms they were  to alleviate. He is unable to drive, is paralyzingly fatigued and suffers from mental fog. He spends most of the day laying on lounge chair on the deck.

He still doesn’t know about the original diagnoses of MSA, a disease with a lifespan of less than ten years after diagnoses, and still doesn’t. And probably won’t unless he reads this blog. That’s okay.

The Summer Birds are Arriving

It’s been very un-May-like. Yesterday, I caught myself dating things April 9, 2017 several times. We’ve had torrential rain and it’s been cold. I have to remember this is Ontario, where we have seen snow on the Victoria Day weekend. But, hopefully, it’s a sign that warmer weather is coming when the summer birds start appearing. We feed year ’round, so we always have chirping and twittering in the backyard–not to mention squirrels and chipmunks who practically beat on the back door when the food runs out. The American Goldfinches are always here, and they have finally traded their drab winter khaki to bright yellow again.

The first spring birds back around here are Canada Geese and redwing blackbirds. Robins stayed all winter this year, so they almost don’t count as spring bird. As soon as the snow has melted the woodcocks start making their ‘pneet’ noise. And the killdeer return. The Northern Flickers soon follow. I’ve been counting mergansers, swans, kingfishers, cormorants and the other water birds and sending my counts to eBird since the ice melted.

But the birds that like the warmer weather hold back. Barn swallows returned about ten days ago. Yesterday while driving, I saw a Brown Thrasher. This morning, at the hummingbird feeder we put out about a week ago, a Baltimore Oriole was feeding. DH and I have a bet who will see the first hummer.

It’s a colourful backyard this morning. The brilliant yellow finches are dining on nyjer seed, a pair of Northern Cardinals are at the big feeder, and the Orioles are dining on orange slices. Meanwhile, the squirrels are battling, plotting how to pillage the feeders.

An Oriel. The squirrels trashed this feeder. What a troublesome bunch.

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Whatever I buy I always try to buy “green”. I look for the environmentally friendly, not tested on animals, recyclable stuff. It’s part of my personal strategy to try to leave as small a foot print on this bedraggled old earth as I can.

Recently my strategy backfired a little. I went to an office supply store to buy pens. Now, if you are looking for environmentally friendly writing instruments pickings are slim.

Everything, including some pencils is made from plastic. Where else do those plastics end up but in the landfill? I’m not sure that plastic pens are a major contributor to overflowing landfill but, I figure every bit counts. And, I am a writer so I need pens

Imagine my joy when my eyes alighted on a shelf wobbler advertising “Green Pens”. Perfect. No doubt they were pens made of a recyclable plastic or something. And, they were on sale. I grabbed a box and went on my way.

Your brain probably works faster than mine does. You’ve figured it out. But, I had to get home and start writing to find out the pens I had bought were green pens-with green ink-a whole box of them. At least they were on sale.