The 5 Podcasts I Can't Live Without

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I've been big into podcasts since Serial got me started, and I've gone through quite a few to find my favorites. I especially like to listen to them while I'm driving to and from work (this crazy "motivational speaker" guy we had to listen to at a work event called it "Traffic College," which was the one thing in his speech I could get behind) and while I'm taking long walks. A few times a week, I'll listen while I'm getting ready for work. It really depends on how heavy or heady the podcast and episode are.

In descending order of "most excited to tap," here are my tops:
  1. Bitch Sesh: A Real Housewives Breakdown: Hands down, the funniest podcast I've ever listened to. The caveat is you have to be at least mildly addicted to Bravo, but even if you aren't, the cohosts' personal stories are enough to keep you entertained. If this one isn't posted on time each week, I frantically scroll Twitter to find our why. That's how much I need it in my life. It should also be noted that Raz laughs at it, too, and for a dude who cares as much about all things ESPN as much as he does to laugh at a totally chick-centric podcast really says something.
  2. Dear Sugar Radio: I've loved Cheryl Strayed since I read Tiny, Beautiful Things years ago, which is a compilation of her best Dear Sugar columns. And, no, I do not love Wild. I resisted that one for a long time and then I read it and I felt about it just as I knew I would--well-written, but not my vibe. Of course I watched the movie, too. Same. Cheryl and her cohost, Steve Almond, read and respond to listener letters on interpersonal topics mostly related to family and romantic relationships. They don't always agree. They bring on excellent guests. They feed my soul.
  3. The Tim Ferriss Show: Honestly, I hadn't heard of Tim until we hosted a dinner with him at ChefSteps while I was working there and I was voluntold to bartend. He was so engaged with the guests at the dinner and deeply curious about each of them, which was amazing to see since they were all superfans of his. I was actually in charge of rounding him up to go out to drinks with our CEO and couldn't find breaks in his conversations to politely give him hints to move on. For someone of his caliber and public presence, I thought that was really great. Awkward for me in getting my job done, but fantastic for each of them--they all walked out of our kitchen with huge grins on their faces. He gave them all a big gift that night. Since then, I've listened pretty eagerly to his podcast. This guy goes deep, and it benefits us all. The episodes are long, but they're nothing close to boring. They cover everything from personal finance, to finding your gifts, to the best way to train your dog. My entire Amazon wish list is now made up of books recommended on his show.
  4. Death, Sex, & Money: The premise of this one is things we think about a lot and need to talk about more. The host, Anna Sail, gets in it, with all sorts of guests--regular folk to celebs alike. How they recovered (or didn't) from alcoholism, how they blew their millions (or didn't), and so on. I've abandoned some podcasts because the hosts are just excruciatingly annoying. Anna is calm and charming and interested--I love listening to her explore all that is taboo with her guests and getting them to go there.
  5. Anna Faris Is Unqualified: Anna Faris is a charmer. Her podcast is what got me through ten days alone in the UK walking to and from the Amazon offices. I know that sounds like a total white girl problem, and it is, but binge listening to her celeb interviews kept my spirits up when I was far from home and on assignment for a new job...while secretly eight weeks pregnant. She's self-deprecating and very, very funny. She is also from the Seattle area, so I always appreciate her little nods to home.
Honorable mentions go to The Moment with Brian Koppelman; 10% Happier with Dan Harris; Hey, Cool Job; Here's The Thing with Alec Baldwin; and StoryCorps.

I'd love to hear about the podcasts that give you life. Please be lengthy and fearless with your reccos!

Throwback: Riding Around in Cars without Dads

Thursday, February 2, 2017

This post popped up in my Facebook memories the other day (ohhh, the many "memories" we wish we could forget, amirite?) and it still resonated with me, so I thought I'd repost it here. It's from my Tumblr blog I now use for inspo photos. Anywayyy, often years pass, and you still feel exactly the same, or remember exactly how you felt in that moment.

We don't have my CR-V anymore, and we do have a sexy Russian minx (okay, I think she's technically Japanese, but she looks like a vampy Russian spy) named Natasha my dad would love. My SUV life lives on. And so does he.

My dad got me my first CR-V to combat what we Idahoans called “The Highway of Death” which ran between Boise, ID, through McCall and up to Moscow, where I went to school at the University of Idaho. I had been driving my mom’s Chrysler Sebring. Convertible. In the winter. On black ice. On two lane highway. No guard rails.
The day after he bought me my first CR-V, I drove the HoD back to school, waving to him in the rearview mirror. He did not like that he had to buy a new car he couldn’t play with. So, each time he came to Moscow (my dad is from there and visited more often than the mandatory “Dad” or “Mom” weekends), I’d walk out of my sorority house to find him parked nearby, walking around the car, kicking its tires or cleaning the leaves from under the wipers. I once called him to reinforce how grateful I was for the car, said “I really love the rear windshield wiper.” He responded: “Are you keeping it clean? Leaves can get stuck in it and scratch the glass.”
I've said it before and I’ll say it again: my dad loved cars. It was one of our bonding things. He liked everything about them. I liked looking at, dreaming about and shopping for them. He liked all of the above + maintenance, washing, waxing and whatever else the male species can love about cars. They were a hobby and point of pride for him. Whenever he got bored, he would buy a new to him vehicle and spruce it up. He liked the human connection of a purchase - he’d buy only from people who had bought the car new, even if they'd purchased it 20 years prior. He did the same with our house in the Tri Cities, which was built in the 1950s and lived in by only one family before us.
So, after my first CR-V was crushed into the curb by a 19-year-old drug dealer after I had so excellently paralell parked it, I stood on the sidewalk in the spring rain at 11 p.m. and called him. “Dad, I have bad news,” I told him. “The car’s been totalled. I wasn’t in it, no one is hurt, but it’s been knocked off its frame and looks ugly. I’m really sorry.”
“I’ve had a lot of cars, bud, but I have only one Whitney,” he told me. “We’ll figure it out.” He was so amazingly calm in those situations. It was always about family instead of things for him. This would annoy me at the grocery store when he refused to buy me magazines from the check out line, but I appreciated it every time we spent weekends eating spaghetti and watching movies.
A week after my first CR-V was totalled, I flew to the Tri Cities, my dad picked me up at the airport and we bought a car. He’d already driven the lot and picked it out. It was one year newer than my previous CR-V. It had had one owner before us. It had butt warmers. It would keep me safe. It was perfect. I drove it home that weekend, waving to him in the rearview mirror.
He had already been diagnosed with cancer and was going through treatments at that point. Whenever he and my mom would come to Seattle for an appointment, he’d insist on driving the CR-V. Each time, he would pat the dash and say “Boy do I love this car.” I’d roll my eyes and offer to trade him, but he’d always refuse, saying, instead, he’d visit again soon and tinker with it.
So, when my second CR-V hit 60,000 miles last month and Raz mentioned we had to do or get some work done on it, I felt sad. That’s something my dad would have loved to do himself. Thankfully, Raz has every boy hobby that ever existed and also wanted to do it himself (they say you pick one who’s like your father…). We drove it to Portland so he and his dad could work on it in his dad’s garage. They changed the oil, rotated the tires, changed the brake fluids and a bunch of other boy/car things. They saved me $500. As we were preparing to drive back home to Seattle, I told Raz’s mom how grateful I was to him and his dad for wanting to take the 60,000 mile project on. I found myself getting weepy and nostalgic. It was such a gift.
We passed five months on Wednesday and when I realized it, I couldn’t believe it. Five months already? We’ve done a lot to cope, but it will always be weird without him. Some days it makes me very crabby. It’s been harder lately. The more successful I am at the office, the funnier Mittens is, the time I want to burn just catching up - it all piles up into this “Hey, Dad” depository in my brain. I wish I could call and dump it all, but every day that passes is just 24 more hours spent convincing myself that he’s not coming back. This is my outlet. This is how I know he will never die. He is my hero. He will be remembered.

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