A Few Favorites

 I am pretty crazy about listening to either music or podcasts. There are various times during each day that I turn on one or the other. Weather permitting, I try to walk most days and love to listen while I walk (honestly, it helps distract me so that I walk a bit longer!) When I am working on a project that doesn’t require a lot of focus or when I am cooking, I will turn on a podcast. These bits of my day add up to lots of opportunity to listen during the day. Fortunately for me, there are about a billion amazing podcasts available.

While there are many amazing podcasts that are related to crafting, sewing or quilting, these are (surprisingly) not ones that I listen to regularly. Most likely, this is due to the fact that I read blogs on those subjects rather obssessively. I love the blogs I read and think that the visual media normally included with a blog post is perfect for those topics. Instead, I subscribe to a variety of non-sewing related podcasts. I wanted to share a few of my favorites. Maybe you’ll try one and love it. Or, possibly you are already listening to some of these and can share your favorite episodes in the comments.

My all time favorite is This American Life. This well known podcast is hosted by Ira Glass and subscribed to by millions of listeners. For years, TAL has been recording essays on various topics that are part of life in America.  Some of the episodes are politically based, some are hilarious bits of humor, many are just based on day to day life. They are creative and highly entertaining.  Essays have been done on compulsive gambling, summer time, Santa, holiday traditions, the process involved in selling cars, the abuse of the disability insurance system, what is a sociopath, siblings, babysitting, inner city high schools in Chicago; the list is both endless and fascinating.

It has only been a couple of months since I began subscribing to 99% Invisible. This fantastic podcast is hosted by Roman Mars. The podcast explains the origins of things that you never really think about and are then surprised to hear how they came to be. Examples of recent podcasts are the origin of consumer credit and credit cards, the origin of the Monopoly game, how fortune cookies came to be (and why they are standard fare in American Chinese restaurants but you won’t find them in China), and what the ‘use by’ and ‘sell by’ dates really mean on our food. I love listening to Roman talk about such ordinary parts of life, explaining how they came to be. It is fascinating. Remember back in the 1980’s when pictures of kidnapped and missing children were printed on our milk cartons? There is an excellent podcast on how that bgane and whether or not it was effective. So very interesting.

OK – here is another one. I love listening to Note to Self, hosted by Manoush Zomorodi.  Topics that Manoush covers are related in one way or another to technology. While I am not one to buy the latest and greatest gadgets and devices (case in point, my laptop weighs a ton. It is huge and several years old, but it basically works – so why replace it?) I do like knowing what is going on and how things work. Recent favorite episodes discussed how much is too much with regard to social media, whether multi tasking is actually helping us (it doesn’t help me – I tend to flit around and accomplish less if I don’t stay focused on a task), teens and sexting (that was a crazy good episode), video games and how they are developed and what the developers are trying to achieve (this one reminded me of the original behavioral psychology experiments with Pavlov’s dogs.) Another current episode talked to the people that coined the acronyms FOMO and JOMO. I had never heard of these and found it interesting to listen to them talking about the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) vs the Joy of Missing Out (JOMO). I won’t go into detail here; it is better to listen to them. Are these acronyms that you have heard of? Am I totally off my game here? Anyway, all of the episodes are relatable, current, and important.

Just one more – I also like the podcast, Death Sex and Money.  The title clearly describes the subject matter covered by Anna Sale on this podcast; important topics that aren’t always easy to discuss. I like this podcast and listen regularly though there have been a very few episodes that I skipped over. I am not into raunchy language and there are (just a few) episodes that were a little bit crass. Most of the topics are really interesting though. Some of my favorites include an episode about growing up and working as an undertaker in the family mortuary business, the story of a very young woman who adopted her sister’s six children, a heartwrenching interview with Jonathan Clark who lost his wife, Laurel, in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle explosion, and an interview with a ‘sex worker’ where they talk about why she does this sort of work, what it all means, and how it makes her feel.

There are many more podcasts out there but these are at the top of my list lately. They both enlighten and entertain me.It is the perfect way to balance my sewing time and listening time. Watching TV or movies while in the sewing room doesn’t really work for me; I find it too distracting. Listening to podcasts is perfect. There are lots of ways to access them and instructions are on each of the websites. I use a podcast app on my phone which makes it easy to access them when I want.

I would love suggestions for other podcasts. Be sure to let me know if you already listen to any of these and which episodes you’ve enjoyed!

16 thoughts on “A Few Favorites

  1. Colleen

    Podcasts I am way way behind the times, I’ve listened to a very few ;fly lady and pat Sloan but I don’t know how to subscribe or if it is possible as with blogs if I can have it show up in my email I can not wait to read it .
    I do listen to audio books in my car and old time radio shows when I am out I am listening to Johnny dollar and Sherlock Holmes
    Your pod casts sound very interesting
    Raining in Benicia

  2. Cassandra

    I listen to podcasts during my commute. I also love This American Life, though I am very behind. My favorite episode is “Birds & Bees,” about talking to kids about hard topics (racism, consent, death). It really moved me. Mystery Show is pretty good, especially the one about Britney Spears and another about a belt buckle. I recently read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (didn’t love it, a little too woo woo for my taste) and it led me to her podcast (“Magic Lessons.”) I’ve only listened to one but it was great: an interview with author Cheryl Strayed of “Wild” fame. I highly recommend. That led me to Dear Sugar, the advice podcast Strayed does with Steve ? I do also listen to The Crafty Planner podcast and of the sewing podcasts I’ve tried, I like it best. The interview with kathy Doughty stayed with me. I related to a lot of what she said. I’m going to check out your suggestions!

    1. Bernie Post author

      hi…. Thanks for the suggestions. I will check out Mystery for sure. I hope you find one of those I suggested to be interesting. If I had a daily commute, podcasts would definitely be my entertainment. I can’t read while traveling – makes me queasy. There is another one that you might like, The Longest Shortest Time. It is about parenting. I don’t think she is making any new ones but there are lots in the archives. I thought they were pretty good but I am sort of out of that stage of life since my kids are older now. Might be a fit for you tho with your little guys.

      Take care Cassandra. Hope all is well! Are you still buried in snow?

  3. MrsB

    If you download Stitcher you’ll have a zillion podcasts to choose from. They’re an aggregator. I love Books on the Nightstand. Brooks Gladstone’so The Splendid Table. And Freakonomics. Too many mention.

    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi: Thank you for the reminder about the Splendid Table. I had that one scratched on a list somewhere after hearing about it on NPR. I will add it to my podcast app today. Freakonomics is another one for me to try. I loved that book when I read it some years back. I appreciate the suggestions!

  4. Rosemary Bolton

    I have never listened to podcasts.
    I would love to learn how to listen to books on tape. Is it free, or must you sign up
    I know nothing about this. I guess I am still living in the 90’s – how frightening
    I will try to learn a little about this.

    1. Rosemary Bolton

      okay, I just whimpered to my hubbs about how ancient I have become since the past two years taking care of my parents has really consumed my brains.
      He said he would show me how easy it is to do.
      Thanks for the reminder about life out in the world

      1. Bernie Post author

        haha… there is always something new to learn, right? Luckily, it isn’t a huge deal to figure out the world of podcasts. Send me an email if you have any issues and I’ll help.

        Totally worth figuring out as there are podcasts for any mood and on most subjects. A wealth of information out there!

        Take care Rosemary. Hope your mom and dad are well.

  5. Allison

    I listen to a couple of podcasts here in the UK, both from BBC radio stations. There’s a whole wealth of free downloads to be had – just go to the BBC homepage and search podcasts ☺ Your description of This American Life reminded me of Alistair Cook’s Letter From America. That was a weekly broadcast on BBC radio long before the invention of podcasts and really opened a window on some of the ‘mysteries’ of the US to British listeners.

    1. Bernie Post author

      Allison, That sounds like a good one. It would be a fun perspective to hear. Any episodes that you especially liked?

      What sorts of cultural mysteries does America hold for you? For me, I have to say I love the lilt of a British accent. It is so pretty.


  6. Linda

    Very interesting – I don’t listen to any, but you’ve made me curious about them. I think I would like the same podcasts you listen to. 🙂

    1. Bernie Post author

      You never know, you might enjoy it. I find them slightly addicting. Hope all is well with you. We have some warmer days ahead so that is a bit of a treat!

  7. Diana @ Red Delicious Life

    I also like to listen to something, or put something on netflix in the background. I tried 1 podcast – Serial – but if I tuned out for just a minute, I’d have to go back and re-listen again. Maybe I’ll give one of these a try. I like the sound of 99% Invisible.

  8. erin

    Oh I love listening to Podcasts, have you tried any of the Gimlet Media Shows? Reply All? Surprisingly Awesome? I also enjoy Death, Sex, Money, great way to think of things you may never have thought about before.

    P.S. I came to your blog via your comment on my Valentine’s Day giveaway.

    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Erin- glad you stopped by! I have heard about Reply All- thanks for the reminder. I will add your suggestions to my podcast app. So enjoying these warm sunny days- I am sure we will be back to winter weather soon tho. Have a great day!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.