I wrote a thing about family-friendly podcasts

While I only listen on occasion nowadays, the increase in podcast listening for me definitely spiked when I was commuting to Redmond via a shuttle. The fellow commuters around me were doing all sorts of things. Some were doing email, others were playing games or social media-ing. Of course there was that one woman that ALWAYS took a conference call. UGH. I did all of those things, but usually while I was listening to something.

That’s the nice thing about podcasts: you can listen AND do something else, like knit. Or workout. Or drive. Or you can just listen.

Finding podcasts that I could listen to in the car with my kiddo was a bit more challenging, but during the peak of her Greek Mythology phase we discovered Greeking Out which is super-engaging for young and old audiences.

I also love The Anthropocene Reviewed, which has the distinct honor of airing an episode that made my cry while I was working out at the gym.

Anyway. All this to introduce a story I wrote for ParentMap, where I listened to a bunch of fun kid-oriented podcasts, and some podcasts for the older set. Give it a read, and a listen!

Great New Podcast Recommendations for Kids & Families

Great New Podcasts Recommendations for Kids and Families via ParentMap

I wrote a thing about what I read when I was a kid

Quick background to share about this piece I wrote for ParentMap earlier this month. I got a puppy while writing it, and at one point I was so sleep deprived from waking up every two hours in the night to let the puppy out to pee that I was nervous I would not finish it. But I did, and here it is:


Some more background. I informally polled friends on social media of what they remember reading when they were in 4th thru 7th grade. A lot of my elementary school friends came out of the woodwork to share books I remember us all reading and loving. It was fun to see many patterns emerge from around the nation. Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary were among them, but also Baby-Sitters Club (which truthfully, I missed out on, but have enjoyed catching up with via the graphic novels and Netflix series) and Sweet Valley High. Also lots of old-timey stuff, like Anne of Green Gables, Nancy Drew, and for some more “mature” readers, V.C. Andrews and Danielle Steele! Oh yes, I did read Flowers In The Attic, but it wasn’t quite something I could write about for ParentMap.

Anyway, give it a look. And tell me what you read when you were this age!

Hey, look! A new header

My first site update in years. The pic on the left is from Carkeek Park which I took a few years ago. The middle pic features some excellent oatmeal-raisin cookies I baked last spring. So good I blogged about them (of course) and shared the entire batch with the husband in a couple of days. Yum. That last one is from the Seattle Century ride I did last summer. Well, half-century. Fun times. I love that pic because if you look closely you’ll see that my bike doesn’t actually reach the ground. It’s that small. Or rather, I’m that short. Not cycling as much these days but I’ll be back out there in the spring.

G’night, all.

These are a few of my favorite reads

I had planned on doing a “favorite-books-I-read-this-year” post but instead just ranted about Twilight. So here is that list that has been running through my head for the past few weeks. These are just books that I read this year, not books that were published this year. In fact, I think just one of these was published in 2009. I’m not saying these are good (because let’s be honest there is a lot of debate going on concerning the quality of my first pick, and I could argue both sides). These are just memorable.

In no particular order:

Twilight. Have to mention it but won’t say anything more since you can read my previous post about it.

The Hunger Games/Catching Fire. See above.

American Wife: A Novel. Curtis Sittenfeld’s third (and best, IMO) novel that follows the life of the fictional First Lady Alice Blackwell, who is patterned after Laura Bush. I loved this book so much I promptly checked out the Laura Bush biography that Sittenfeld used in researching her novel, only to sadly be reminded that fiction is way better than real life. I also loved it so much that I promptly checked out her second novel (but was disappointed again.)

What is the What, Dave Eggers. I picked this up over a year and a half ago while on jury duty. The cover said Dave Eggers and I was hooked. However I spent my seven days on jury duty reading Obama’s The Audacity of Hope (which, sadly, I still have not finished) and never got around to reading WITW until this spring. I had my misgivings when I saw what it was about but was entranced by Valentino’s amazing story. His true-life account, combined with Eggers’ effortless storytelling was a terrific mix. Again, enjoyed it so much that I took out my copy of AHWOSG to re-read. Only to learn that I didn’t love AHWOSG as much as I thought I did (I think it must have been the time in my life that I read it that touched me more than the book itself).

The Education of a Coach, David Halberstam. This was suggested by my former classmate, Jeff Kelly Lowenstein, in his book blog, (alongside a bio of Tom Brady, which was far less interesting, even for me, a huge TB fan). I’ve always enjoyed the Halberstam that I’ve read and this was no exception. He was one of the finest reporters America will ever see, and his stories and in-depth reporting for this was impressive and inspiring. This biography of Bill Belichik was a great suggestion to kick of the NFL season. It was fascinating to try to get inside the mind of what some call a football genius (and yes, despite the 4th down call vs. the Colts, despite the odd treatment of Randy Moss just last week, I still think he’s pretty wicked smart). Plus, you can’t go wrong when you’ve got New England prep school experience, right?

My Life in France, Julia Child. I picked this up randomly at the library (was going through a food book phase), not realizing that this was part of that Julie/Julia movie that came out later in the year. Julia Child’s book was fun, her cooking experiences tantalizing. It had me wishing I could visit France, but not today’s France, Julia’s 50s France. I quickly checked out the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously and, once again, was quite disappointed at how plain bo-ring that was compared to Child’s memoir.

Seeing a pattern here? Wishing I could recreate something I’ve just read and loved and always falling short.

Ah well.

My other favorite books:

other books I have read

other books I have read


P.S. If any new mothers out there are wondering, how in the world does this person read so much, it’s not too difficult when you commute by bus every day. On top of that, for a while pumping milk at work also afforded me an thirty or more minutes a day.

P.P.S. I love reading! And hope that Lily will enjoy it as much as I do.

The Library: Check it out

At “Next Months” last week the babies were getting fussy so it was decided that we should sing to them. We sang “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” and I realized I didn’t know the words to the song. I had to later look them up in a Nursery Rhymes book I took out of the library. “Like a diamond in the sky?” Really?

What cracks me up is the previous night I had been singing to Lily. The husband and I sang “American Pie”. Not the entire song, for pete’s sake. But just the one verse that I’ve been able to memorize. “Did you write the book of love and do you believe in God above …” Hopefully I have now successfully gotten one of two songs to repeat over and over again in your head. Because that’s what happened to me.

Speaking of the library … LOVE it. I recently got my Seattle Public Library card, and am actually using it! The Northeast branch is about 6 or 7 blocks from our house. Of course, four of those blocks happen to be uphill on the way to the library, and it’s hard pushing a stroller up. Thank goodness for the Baby Bjorn. The library has CHANGED since I went as a kid in West Hartford. First, I can go online at home and click here and there and hold books that I want to take out. Then, they email me when they are available (or I can go online and check the status). Walk in, find my held books and check them out. Even the check out is automated. I can renew online. Those stamped cards with the due date listed is a thing of the past. They also have CDs and DVDs of recent stuff. I am kicking myself for not getting back on the library bandwagon sooner. Will have to make a trip to the downtown library soon (the new one has been open for how long now?)

Cool pic of the Library downtown (but not the one I frequent)

Cool pic of the Library downtown (but not the one I frequent)

I am also singing “American Pie” right now … “And good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye …”

In the Nursery, the Mighty Nursery, The Lion Sleeps Tonight

A few people have complimented me on my amazing artistic skills as seen from the walls of the nursery. I have to set the record straight that a smiley face emoticon is about the best artistic skills that I have. This jungle scene comes courtesy of blik Wall Decals. This particular theme is from wee gallery. They are removeable, too, so when we tire of the jungle look, we can go for something else … clouds, farm animals, robots, etc.

Nursery via chattcha on flickr

walls of the nursery

This was not my original intention, btw. My aunt created a beautiful paper cut-out art piece that I had hoped to have framed and hanging from the wall. It is done in a beautiful blue and would have fit perfectly with my hopes for a primary-colors look. Unfortunately it also cost over $600 to frame (and I’m talking the cheapest of the cheap frame from Michaels), and at this point we just didn’t have the funds to do it. These decals cost  about $50.

wall decals - the lion sleeps tonight

wall decals - the lion sleeps tonight

Shout out to Eva, who suggested finding some wall decals in the first place. Vanpool discussions are the best. She is a true interior designer.

Apparently everyone does not love a holiday potluck

This was the lede for the NWMonday section of the now VERY lame Seattle Times newspaper (the print version, that is. I still know folks who work on the Web site, which I find to be informative and easy to navigate and nice job all you NM folks):

Holidays are no picnic for those grossed out by potlucks

No comment on whether I am a taster or not. But now I’ve got to think twice before digging in to the next potluck. Thanks, anal retentive eaters. Thanks a lot.

This just in … whimsy & spice has arrived

whimsy & spice

Friends of my brother have recently started a boutique confectioners business. Aware of my fondness for food blogs, Ray sent me the link to their blog right away (why are all these great food blogs out of NYC, anyway?). Sweet fine day is an ongoing tale of a couple starting a family and a business, at the same time. Drool over incredible photos of dulce de leche brownies, and view interesting posts about the trials and errors of creating the perfect marshmallow, the right shortbread cookie, etc. Throw in a few Asian recipes, some photos of very cute kids and you’ve got a reason to check in every day.

So imagine my excitement when Ray informed me that whimsy & spice had opened an etsy shop! As soon as they were available I purchased some caramel-infused marshmallows. Along with it came chocolate marshmallows, and samples of nut and spice biscotti and shortbread cookies. I was so excited I nearly forgot that I eschewed desserts for the rest of the week. Then again, if I eat this for breakfast, it’s not exactly breaking any rules.

I can’t do the food photography justice, so you’ll have to visit their etsy shop, their Web site, or their blog and see for yourself.

Thanks, Whimsy & Spice. I love the marshmallows. I’m bringing them to work, a) to enjoy with my morning cup of coffee, and b) to show off and instruct everyone to get buy their own.

If I lived in Brooklyn I would visit you at the Flea, but since I don’t I’ll continue to enjoy your find shipping services.

my whimsy & spice shipment

By the way, the marshmallows. They taste … like marshmallows. Incredibly light, fluffy and fresh marshmallows. I shall have some hot chocolate tomorrow specifically to enjoy with a light, fluffy and fresh marshmallow.