Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Love Podcasts

One item I brought back from the US was an Ipod my son bought for me. I had the idea that I would like to listen to music while gardening and other chores. And I read a little about podcasts and audio books. The surprise was that I just love the podcasts. And I am sometimes obsessed with finding the best ones. I download some and can decide whether to continue or not, and newbie that I am, I have found many that have become my favorites. And what a joy when I find an especially good one. I will list my favorites here and add to it as I go along. But I have a few worth mentioning right away.

The odd thing, I think, is that ipods and mp3 players are mostly geared to music listening. While that is pleasant, I really enjoy listening to the podcasts while doing daily chores, weeding or washing dishes, laundry etc.. I have a variety to listen to, depending on my mood. There is a lot on the internet about audio books but I especially enjoy podcasts of 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours so far so I haven't tried the books but I really enjoy the audio short stories. There are classic short stories and new short stories and old Bela Lugosi style horror stories. I like to listen to the news and there is a variety to listen to-many sources have posted their own podcasts. I enjoy politics and there are many choices there as well. And comedy-this is more difficult to find but some of the more amusing ones are also surprising. New podcasts are discovered all the time, and some were started with the podcaster simply stopping. Podcasts are mostly free. All of the ones I listen to are free and I use itunes to keep organized, adding and dropping podcasts. Podcasts are simply a version of radio(especially public radio) and tv shows for the most part (although some are people making their own podcasts) but you can transfer them to your mp3 player to listen to whenever you like.

So, here are some that I enjoy, in no particular order.

The Moth Podcast. I just love this one. The first story I listened to, for some reason, was not memorable but I listened to another later and was so impressed that I listened to some more and now I can't wait for another. These are stories told live in front of an audience, and told by all sorts of people from all walks of life about all kinds of things.

Democracy Now. What can I say? I love Amy Goodman and her crew and can always look forward to interesting, mostly political news and discussion.

New Yorker Fiction. This is only monthly(darn it) and is writers reading other writer's short stories along with some discussion. Very nice.

"Horror stories". No link because I don't know the website-I use Itunes for all my downloads. These are old time Bela Lugosi style-you probably won't die of fright but I think it's fun to listen to.

Wait wait, don't Tell me A fun show. A new radio show as good as an old one.

PRI selected Shorts. Short stories

Wiretap. I can not explain why but this one really makes me laugh.

This American Life I also love and look forward to each new episode. Real stories about real life.

Bill Maher has a great podcast, also 60 Minutes and Frontline but I believe all are on break.

Fareed Zacharia has a great podcast, also in video. I think he is one of the smartest men on the planet.

Many more at itunes which is free to download and they will save what you want there so it's not necessary to keep everything on your mp3. It takes a little time but you can peruse the podcasts and decide what you like from day to day. There are reviews and suggestions but Isuggest picking a few and trying them. Then adjust them to suit you as time goes by.

And yes, I have music on there too!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Back to Chile

So, back to Chile. Six weeks in the states flew by. And it's summer here. I've been baking some Christmas cookies and now I remember-chill the dough overnight or the cutout cookies will dissolve in the heat. I have some fairly misshapen gingerbread men-and women-but you can't tell the difference.

And I weed. Everything grows so well here, including the weeds that threaten to take over my prized flowers and choke the life from them. The trick is get outside as early as possible, water the appropriate area(earth dries hard like rock) and weed until you are too exhausted to continue. Summers are dry and nearly rain free. More humidity on cloudy days but rain, nada. So, I keep busy.

Everything looks terrific but past experience now tells me there will be days with no water in the canal(ditch) and we won't understand why. And flowers will die. And I will mourn them and keep plugging away trying to save others.

But I brought computer games so we have entertainment at night when we've tired of our truly awful(but at least we have it) internet. In the states, I surfed merrily on my son's wireless network. A world away where you never get kicked off and everything is fast. But I do have internet though the usb variety where I get disconnected every 10 minutes at peak times and more often now at non'peak times. I'm guessing servers are completely overloaded here. Anyway, the computer games consist of the Agatha Christie type mystery. And a few board games made for computer play. And many paperback books. The books are exciting to have-why was I not excited to have many books before-when I still lived in the US? That's another post but really, I appreciate a lot of stateside stuff more than before.

I like both countries. Really. I don't like some stuff about both countries. There is no better or worse except in specific areas like healthcare, for instance. Both countries now have cheap crap made in China. But the US has better cheap Chinese crap. Really. And it costs less, mostly. Chile has a better healthcare system(and that will be true if they pass the most current legislation).
Chile has a true government option and no one in the system pays more that a certain percentage of their paycheck. They also have a healthy private system. But I digress.

I do love Chile. I love gardening and siestas. I love the adventure. Perhaps I enjoy both countries more now that I've had time to define the differences more clearly. The most wonderful thing would be to spend the warm months here and then the warm months in the US.

And it's December(and it's cold in the US)

I last posted in September. And it's December-how can that be? The photo is in the US, not Chile-it is summer here!

The end of September, I flew back to the US to visit my son and his wife and their adorable and intelligent little girl-my granddaughter. It was unbelievably nice. There was an October wedding(that was everything a wedding should be) and early snow. Followed by a later October storm and a huge snowstorm. I was snowed in with my granddaughter and we had such a good time watching Elmo and sesame street and Disney classic movies. We ate grapes and cookies.

Not long before the storm, we swept leaves off the back deck and examined them and when the breeze made the leaves rustle on the trees, I said "listen to the leaves" and cupped my ear. And she did too. After that, she was the one to look at me and say "leaves." And she cupped her ear.

We played Hide and Seek although she is not quite two. I would count so she could hide and I'd look down to see this little person counting below me, face and arms against the wall, copying me! Eventually, we learned the basic game and she would run to find me and I would look for her. I always hid behind one of three doors and she soon learned the three places to look. At one one point, I decided to make it more difficult and hid on the other side of a door. She walked up and down the hallway, calling "grandma, where are you?" in her little voice and my heart melted-again.

I felt a little like chocolate chip cookies are contraband as my son and his wife are very health conscious(a good thing). But really, there is nothing that replaces a cookie! I gave JJ a cookie once while they were out and forgot to scrub the chocolate evidence from her face(uh oh!) They laughed and I bought chocolate covered grahams which are even worse(chocolate face wise).

We ate lunch and dinner together many times and I, in an effort to encourage her intake of food other than grapes(which she loves) did the airplane game-the age old practice of moving the forkful of food around and around while making "airplane sounds". She thought it a wonderful game and did it herself with motions and sounds and a big smile, at which time I had to convince her to eat one herself, followed by feeding Grandma. That seemed fair to her.

After the snowstorm, a trip to the zoo followed as the nice weather returned. Of course, there is nothing like a trip to the zoo with a little person. JJ says "look at that", "right there"(or here) and "wait, wait' on a regular basis and her voice is like a song to me.

We became such friends and playmates and I carried her as we walked in the airport, holding her as she looked at me as though it were any other day. Just as I entered the maze of security, I heard her say "wait, wait" as though she had realized it was different after all. And that is the voice I hear over and over. "Wait, wait". And I couldn't.