Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: driving

More Episodes, Traffic, and Whiskey: A Podcast Roundup

How many episodes? Oh, you’ll see. Traffic goes without saying in Southern California, but mention it anyway. And… Did you say “whiskey?!”

Long title, I know, but I’m short on ideas this morning. The Podcast Roundup is officially BACK! I know you’re excited, as am I.

Last week’s podcast roundup, as I mentioned, was more of a single podcast sum up than a round up, mostly because the podcast was so long and had so much great stuff in it. This week, I listened to shorter episodes and had more time to listen thanks to some delightful drivers that decide to drive their box truck full of shoes on the far left, through a construction zone with narrowed lanes, at many miles-per-hour over the speed limit. They crashed, took out several cars (that were probably trying to get around it on the right going even faster), and dumped a load of shoes and destroyed the truck, scattering shoes all over the freeway.

Yeah, it was fun. It didn’t look like anyone was hurt, amazingly. A tow truck was there and highway patrol. There were people trying to pick up the shoes and put them back into boxes onto a pickup truck. It took me an extra hour to get home, BUT I got to listen to a whole podcast that I had meant to listen to last week when I ran out of time. So, as usual, everything works out in the long run.

Except for those people that smashed up their cars, of course. That would suck, but maybe it kept them from a worse fate. How can we know? I’m not sure if you can feel this through my words, but I have no sympathy for people on the freeway lately. You all drive like maniacs. I do not wish you harm, but sheesh…people…please.

On with the podcasts!

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos – “How do I stop negative self-talk?”

Chatter: The Voice in our Head (And How to Harness it) by Ethan Kross

This episode was beautiful. Yes, I bought the book. Hindsight: having Amazon on my phone is probably a bad idea. “Mental chatter stops you from focusing on what you love right now, right in front of you.” This podcast was filled with helpful ways to use your mental chatter in good ways. Even if you don’t buy the book, listen to this. Or, if you’re not a podcast listener, get the book. You won’t regret it.

Quillette Podcast # 193: Understanding Wokeness as a Make-Work Strategy for the Privileged Class

Wokeness, the Highest Stage of Managerialism by Malcom Kyeyune

I didn’t want to listen to this. Freakin’ Socialists…but he had some very interesting things to say, ideas that had never occurred to me. I wanted to know more, so I linked to the article he wrote. I’ll be reading that later today…if I have time. New word, or phrase: “Productive Class” Those who create something someone else needs or solve a problem through work. I like it much better than “working class.”

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast #325: Kerri Sullivan

I always love listening to Brendan O’Meara. I don’t know why. He just gets my heart. I never know the writers he talks to, and I rarely want to get the book they wrote, but I do like hearing their processes and thoughts on writing and publishing. This one was about New Jersey stories. I have one. Maybe I’ll write it this coming week!

Favorite new words added to my vocabulary:

“Metabolizing” all the input, the ideas, and thoughts that you’ve been actively gathering. A time to sit and be quiet. It’s all part of the work. A part that doesn’t look like working but it is.

“Snacky” kind of reads. Those books of shorts stories, poetry, and magazines. Not something you have to spend time preparing for and processing after, a between meals kind of read.

The Minimalists – Emotions from Childhood are Holding You Back

The link here isn’t to the episode. They don’t have it on their website. It’s one of the little ten-minute tastes between full episodes. “You can’t get through life without getting hurt. You just need to know you’ll be ok when you do.” This is what secure attachment teaches us and we learn it early in life. It’s what that toddler is doing when he wanders away from his parent and looks back, or when she looks up to her caregiver when she falls.

Conversations with Coleman – The Pride Generation with Katie Herzog

Blocked and Reported Podcast

This one… I have never heard an episode on this podcast that didn’t help me to see an alternative point of view in ways I had never suspected were out there. This one did not disappoint. I immediately wanted to share it on my Facebook feed, but ultimately decided against it for fear of putting up a “friend” sorter kind of article. You know those, right? The ones where you know most people are going to read the headline and then react in not so nice ways? Ways that make you wonder why you associate with these people in any way.

This one would probably be a bonus. It would piss off my far-left AND my far-right followers. For those of us in the middle, the ones just searching for information and perspective, attempting to live in a fair and kind way to as many people as possible, this podcast is a gold mine.

I’ve linked to Katie Herzog’s podcast as well and added it to my favorites list. I haven’t listened to any episodes yet, but I’ll be trying it out next week.

Well, that’s all there is today. Nearly five hours of podcast time, thanks to the traffic. And every bit of it was good for me. I hope you find something you’d like to explore when you read these. If you do, let me know what you find on your travels. I’d love to hear from you.

Wait…one more thing.

I found a new whiskey and it is delicious. I don’t have the palate or words to describe one whiskey from another but if you like ones like Jameson or Glen Fiddich, you’ll like this. I got it at Total Wine on the way home and when I arrived home, a generous glass was poured while I related my day’s adventures to my husband. Cheers!

Aggression or “Don’t Drive Angry!”

My dear reader, the aggression that I see on the roads has got to stop. Really.

Yesterday, I was telling you about how I had disconnected myself from the news media completely. I posted, and then got in the car to drive down the hill, still thinking about it. I started to shuffle through my list of podcasts but set it aside. I needed to think quietly a while, so I set my notebook out with my pen ready just in case I needed to capture anything that floated by.

I started thinking, “You know, Michelle, everyone is going to think you’re crazy.” I kept imagining the questions and the scoffs. I’m not new to this. I’ve attempted to explain before. But I always come up short-handed. I can’t seem to get my ideas through.

I jotted down, “principles: there’s a list of principles I go by when considering information” and then I sat in traffic trying to get out of the basin and my thoughts were scattered.

My town, and the surrounding area, is filled with extremely aggressive drivers. Do we not understand the basic rules of the road? Am I mistaken in believing that the point is to get where you’re going safely, not get there first? I didn’t know we were in a race to the finish. I watched people vie for pole position, pass me (in a no passing area due to major construction at 30 mph over the posted speed limit) almost forcing me into a wall when they hit the turn, and aggressively not allow other cars to merge into traffic as if they were in line for a prize and would miss out if someone “cut in front of them.”

I started to wonder (as I sat in the twenty minutes of stop-and-go caused by a lack of understanding of traffic patterns, something easily fixed, but you know, screw those people), is our driving aggression a reflection of how we are all feeling right now?

It reminded me of Groundhog Day.

Aggression in drivers.

I get it. Life is complicated. We’re all a tad upset and unnerved these days, but do we need to make it worse by attempting to kill each other on the way to work, school, and the grocery store?

Apparently, the answer is yes. I can’t change that, but I can drive defensively, respond not react, and let things go. Which brings me back to those principles I was thinking of when I started.

Not devouring the news doesn’t mean that I don’t care about what’s happening in the world, but there are natural limits to everything, and I choose to put my energy resources only into things that I can do something about personally.

When something comes into my life, I research what I should do about it, do what I can, and let the rest go. I am not always successful. There are times when I become overwhelmed. I hear something, google it, start to read news articles, and then start to panic. How will this affect me? What will happen? Will my loved ones get wrapped up in this? What can I do? We have to do SOMETHING! Rally the troops! We’re going to war over this!

Ugg. It gets ugly. But I am getting better at it. The space between receiving information and responding to it is getting wider through practice.

In the same way that I’ve chosen to deal with traffic, I deal with rest of the world around me. I limit my news sources to those that seem the least inflammatory and urgent, like printed magazines and books. Once a week, I listen to a few choice podcasts, interviews and conversations mostly. Online, I limit my interactions to those that are fun and entertaining, and I share only that which I am personally experiencing. That’s my version of “defensive.”

I try to respond to the world around me in peace instead of reacting in anger and frustration, as much as possible. I am human, so I fail often, but I do learn.

And the rest…I let go.

This is what is bringing me more peace. This is what is making me a better person than I was. And this is how I’m trying to make my surroundings better than how I found them.

Travel Anxiety Ended: Podcast Roundup #3

Oh, my goodness, you guys! Another Podcast Review is here already! Are you excited? I am. I have successfully ended my trouble with travel anxiety through technology.

I have a lot to share, but this time I’ll do it slightly different. It took some effort to get the computer out and get started today. I’m tired after yesterday’s adventure. It was worth it though! Breakfast on the pier with a friend and then a walk around Balboa Park and a fancy lunch with my son. Not to mention, the six hours of podcasts I got to listen to. Bonus!

Let’s see…getting out the playlist on my phone…

This time, since I heard I’m going to write ONE sentence about each of the nine episodes I listened to, but there was so much more.

Practicing Human – Simplify This Moment

You can’t see the whole movie at once, only one frame at a time through until the end.

Secular Buddhism – 142 – Wisdom and Fear

The point isn’t to be fearless, it’s to be brave.

Rationally Speaking – Understanding Moral Disagreements with Jonathan Haidt

You CAN understand other people’s ways and needs without accepting them as right for you.

Practicing Human – Energetic Discharge

After a traumatic experience (physical or emotional) we all must rest, and then move.

EconTalk – Don Boudreaux on the Pandemic

The science doesn’t tell you what to do, it simply gives you data (risk assessments) that humans must use to make decisions and judgements.

People I (Mostly) Admire – 35 – David Epstein Knows Something About Everything

Shortcuts that show us instant visible progress hamper our long-term development.

Side Note: As I sat in 15mph traffic, I saw a sign that said “60mph Zone Will Be Enforced” and laughed out loud at the image of someone panicking, attempting to get around people and stay at 60mph to avoid a ticket. Those comical signs are all over the freeways, as I drive ten miles an hour over every week while people angrily blaze around me. How exactly are they doing this “enforcement”? It’s not trivial. I may write a whole post about just that in the future.

Practicing Human – Growth, Death, and Birth

Death makes room for birth, both of which are uncomfortable.

The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O’Meara – Episode 266: The Expansive Nothing You Have to Fill with Kristen Radtke

Do the bad work to get to your good work.

No Stupid Questions – 59 – Do Dreams Actually Mean Anything?

It’s the feelings that we continually dream about that we should be concerned about, not the objects and people we see in our dreams.

I did it! I didn’t think I could for all of them. There were a few that I started to apologize about and just write two or three sentences, but I sat back and thought again. It was possible to put it into one, concise sentence. The cooler part is that there was a lot more to those episodes that I took notes on and might write about in the future. And I found at least three new books to add to my TBR list!

Yes, I went back and added up the hours/minutes of each episode. And, yes, it was hard because I’m not that bright when it comes to numbers. It totaled up to almost six hours, give or take few minutes. I spent a lot of time in the car and not a minute was agonized over.

Technology has ended my travel anxiety and made driving much more peaceful in so many ways, but that is another post my friends. Have a great day and go listen to some podcasts while you get where you’re going. You won’t regret it!

Want to read more about the podcasts I’ve heard? Go back to the beginning and check out my first Podcast Roundup #1. At the bottom, you’ll find links to more.

Eyesight

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I didn’t know I was having vision problems until the DMV pointed it out to me. A pair of glasses fixed it.

Driving at night was becoming a problem for me. I wasn’t sure if it was the desert darkness on the highway late at night, worn out from long rehearsals, or just the fact that I was getting older, but it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to see at night. The glare of the headlights coming in my direction made it impossible for me to focus. My sons would keep an eye out on the road for people walking along the highway at night. Why people would choose to do that, I will never understand. For self-preservation alone, why do they not carry a flashlight or have something reflective on?

I continued to make the drive, carefully, only because I didn’t need to read the signs to know where to go between the theater and home, but I was starting to limit my excursions to daytime activities. Driving in unfamiliar places in the dark was becoming impossible. This must be part of getting older, I thought, although I would never have admitted it out loud.

As my 40th birthday approached, I found a driver’s license renewal from the DMV in my mailbox. Opening it, I figured I was going to have to pay the fee and be done with it. I’ve never gotten a ticket or been in an accident. To my dismay, I found I’d have to go in for a vision test. No problem, I thought, at least I don’t have to take the test again. Don’t make fun of me, but I barely passed the written and behind-the-wheel test when I was 16! I live in mortal fear of the day I have to study and take it again.

I made an appointment at the DMV and headed into the city the following month. I covered one eye and read the letters on the board ahead of me, as instructed. No problem. When I covered the other eye, the world went blurry. I could only read the first and second line! The DMV employee had me read it off the computer. “Sometimes the computer screen is easier.” She told me. I still couldn’t read it.

It was the strangest feeling. I’ve never had vision problems. My mother always wore glasses and I used to tease her when I was a teenager. Coming home in the middle of the night, knowing she couldn’t see the clock without her glasses, I’d tell her it was only 10:30 when she would groggily ask from her bed when we had woken her. My brother and I thought we were so clever.

I stood there at the DMV trying to focus on the letters to no avail. The DMV worker was so nice about it. She passed me but suggested that I get glasses right away. I made an appointment the next day. My vision was that bad. When I got my new glasses a few weeks later, I was absolutely amazed at how much better I could see. At night, the lights no longer fuzzed out and blinded me and during the day, I could see read the signs so much sooner.

Strange to think I hadn’t noticed my vision getting worse, that I believed I was seeing the world as I had always seen it. How could I have not noticed such a dramatic change?

That’s how we see life. The world around us is only our personal reality, shaped by time and experience that only we can have. No one else sees it just the way you do. It builds up slowly, day after day, experience after experience. And at any moment, something can come along to change that perception, someone can alter your perspective with a word. One experience can show you that you are missing something, and another can offer you new insight. Your whole world changes.

I could have stood there and argued with the DMV worker. There must be something wrong with your machine! Maybe there was something in my eye, I was tired, or it was allergies. I could have stood there holding tightly to my own perception of reality and never gotten any help. I could have continued to squint into the night and cause an accident or gone through life not knowing that there were trees on the top of that hill.

Hold lightly to your perceived reality, it makes it so much easier to change. There is so much we miss by holding on to the past and what we believe to be true, never changing.

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