74 Days

I’ve mentioned previously that I listen to a lot of podcasts (e.g. last February’s post of my Top Twenty Podcasts).  I don’t know that I’ve ever actually quantified “a lot.”

I am current — for varying definitions of current, as the rest of this post will discuss — on approximately 225 podcasts.  Current means I’ve listened to the entire back catalog, except for current news and politics podcasts.  For those, I listened to the 10 most recent episodes when I started subscribing and then listened to current episodes from there.

I am also subscribed to many podcasts on which I am not current.  I haven’t counted, but there’s at least 400 of them between several categories — Catching Up, In the Wings, Limited Release, Abandoned, and Podfaded.  Theoretically, Catching Up means I’m currently listening to the back catalog.  In the Wings means I want to listen to those podcasts and will listen through their back catalogs after I finish the Catching Up list.  Limited Release is a podcast that, when it was initially released, the intention was to do a specific number of episodes and no more.  An example of Limited Release is the Presidential Podcast, which did one episode for each U.S. President.  Abandoned is all the podcasts I listened to at one time but which I decided I no longer wish to do so.  Podfaded is podcasts that are no longer produced.  I move podcasts from the Current list to the podfaded list if they do not release episodes from more than 12 consecutive months or when the makers announce that they will not be releasing new episodes.

I do not unsubscribe from podcasts that I abandon or that are podfaded.  I used to unsubscribe, but a couple of times I resubscribed to previously abandoned podcasts and then remembered I had listened before and why I no longer do.  Sometimes podfaded podcasts come back.  If I remain subscribed, the episodes will drop into my feed automatically.  Either way, if I try to subscribe to something that is on my abandoned or podfaded list, I’ll get a pop up message from my app telling me I’m already subscribed.  I can then find it on my lists and remember why I haven’t been listening to it.

So here’s my dirty little secret: I’m a 74 days behind on listening to podcasts.  I know this because I am subscribed to two podcasts which release episodes every single day — each episode is under 5 minutes long, btw — and that’s how many episodes my app tells me I have queued from each of those podcasts.

I usually listen to podcasts when I drive, when doing housework, and sometimes when crafting.  Any given day, the number of podcasts I listen to is somewhere between 14 and 16 hours of content.  Since I set my app to listen at 2.5x speed as a default, and the app has a silence skipping feature that gives me an effective listening speed of 3.0x, it takes me 4-6 hours to actually listen to 14 – 16 hours of content.  I learn a lot from some podcasts and am highly entertained by others. I also listen to some that are just meh or are repetitious of others or that I subscribed to just to have something to fill up time.h

I started thinking about why I’m 74 days behind.  What happened on those 74 days?  Or is it just an accumulation of days where I only had 2 hours to listen to podcasts?  I realized that the 74 days represents some of the best and worst days of the my life over the last 9 months.  I offer this inventory:

  • 7 days visiting Stacy in Indiana in April 2017.  Ever since she moved, I’ve visited Stacy once a year and attended a fiber festival with her (See blog posts from 20142015, and 2016.)  This year, I was there for a week.  We went to the fiber festival, watched Star Gate, read, and crafted together.  It was awesome, and there was definitely no time for solitary time, cut off with earbuds in my ears.
  • 14 days, sick with a terrible upper respitory infection.  I was just starting to be sick when I left Indiana and it turned out that I was the sickest I’ve been in a long, long time.  My energy was zapped.  I slept in the recliner in the living room because I couldn’t breath laying flat.  You’d think 14 days sick would be an excellent opportunity for listening to podcasts.  However, since I was so congested and my ears were swollen, it was painful to put earbuds in my ears.
  • 4 days helping my sister move and organizing paperwork.  I spent more than 4 days working on these projects, but since several of those days she was working while I was packing or unpacking, I am guessing that only 4 were days when I did not listen to podcasts.
  • 7 days for Hurricane Irma.  This includes a day of preparations, the day of the storm, and the 5 days after the storm when we did not have electricity at our house.  We were able to keep our devices charged with batteries, but we limited our use of them so I didn’t listen to podcasts.
  • 30ish days visiting my mother-in-law.  We went to visit for long weekends in July, September, and October, a week at Thanksgiving, and I was there for 6 days at Christmas.  While there, I might listen to podcasts for a short time after I woke up and before bed, but other than that I was too busy visiting.
  • 6 days traveling to and from and attending SAFF.  This was the third year in a row I’ve rented a house with a bunch of friends.  This year, Fredi and I drove together and several other people met us there.  While there, we are all busy shopping or taking classes.  In the evenings, we eat dinner together then gather around the fireplace for Show and Tell.  It’s a fantastic time.
  • 15 days (so far) in New Jersey for my mother-in-law’s funeral.  The days I have been here are days I have needed to be present, not cut off by my headphones.  Making plans for the funeral, hanging out with family and friends, sorting through paperwork, all mean that I have listened to podcasts for less than an hour a day the entire time I’ve been here.

This adds up to 83 days.  In addition to these days, there have been many times when I haven’t been listening to podcasts at times I normally would.  For example, my friend Shellee has been having eye issues and has had a limited ability to drive as a result.  When we are going to events together, I pick her up and we drive together.  If we were driving separately, I would listen to podcasts, but I’d rather enjoy her company!  The day I was Scouring Fleece recently, I could have listened to podcasts while working.  Instead, I did not listen to anything.  I simply enjoyed the beautiful weather and the work I was doing and the sounds of birds singing and children playing in the neighborhood.

Obviously, I’ve been able to catch up on some of the podcasts since I am less than 83 days behind.  However, I haven’t been able to catch up on much.  When I first started listening to podcasts back in 2014, I easily had 4 – 6 hours a day filled with activities that I could do while simultaneously listening to podcasts.  The fact that I am now 74 days behind is an indication that my life has changed since then.

I want more days and times in my life like those represented by the 74 days.  On those 74 days I was present, whether for the good or the bad.  I was engaged.  I need more of that in my life.

Today I started abandoning podcasts.  I only want the best of the best, the ones that are truly adding to my life.  Here’s to greater presence and engagement.

 

On the Road

When last I wrote, Tiger was about to start radiation therapy. I expected the weeks of radiation to be difficult for all involved, and for things to get easier after. While the radiation was challenging, Tiger came through with flying colors and I thought the hard part was behind us. I was wrong.

Tiger caught a cold. Then our other cat, Puck, started having health issues. Within a week, I thought we would lose both cats. Over the last month, I’ve spent many nights sleeping on the couch so I could provide medicine and food at all hours of the night, without disturbing Chris’s sleep. Tiger recovered and is doing fabulously. Puck passed over the rainbow bridge sometime last night. I will write a more detailed post about all of this, along with a slideshow tribute to Puck, in a couple weeks.

Driving and More Driving
Months before the cats got sick, I had planned an epic trip. I embarked on that trip this past Tuesday. The first leg of the trip was a 14.5 hour drive from Orlando to Greencastle, Indiana to visit my friend Stacy and attend The Fiber Event. My plan was to leave at 6:00 am, so that I could drive through Atlanta in the middle of the day when traffic is more likely to be light, and to drive as long as I remained alert. I expected to stop and stay in a hotel at some point.

I did leave my house at 6:05 am and arrived in Atlanta around 1 pm. I had no traffic slow downs in Atlanta — the first time I’ve had that happen when driving through the area. By 2:30 pm, I was in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and starting to feel too sleepy to drive. It seemed too early to stop for the day, so I pulled into a McDonalds parking lot and took a nap for 1/2 hour. I felt much refreshed, so I got back on the road.

I arrived in Nashville around 5:00 pm. I expected to be caught in rush hour traffic, but only slowed to a crawl once, when the road I was on split into two major roads. Once I was past the split, we were back up to the speed limit. At this point, I called Stacy to find out when she usually goes to bed. I started thinking I might drive all the way through.

I did end up driving all the way through, arriving at Stacy’s house at 10:15 pm. I had ideal driving conditions — a little rain in Georgia, but it wasn’t a deluge; the weather was beautiful for the rest of the trip; no slow downs in the construction zones, no accidents; no rush hour traffic. I couldn’t have asked for more!

Coming Attractions
Stacy and I have been doing some weaving on our rigid heddle looms. Tomorrow and Saturday, we will be at The Fiber Event. Monday, I’m driving to Kansas City, Missouri. I’ll be site seeing and visiting family for a couple days, then attending PLYAway, the first spinning conference put on by PLY Magazine. After PLYAway, I’m driving to Memphis to visit a friend, then driving home to Orlando. I plan to visit The Yarn Barn of Kansas, two Laura Ingalls Wilder sites (The Little House on the Prairie and the home Laura and Almanzo lived in for most of their lives), Graceland, and who knows what else.

I’ll be blogging as often as possible during the trip! I only brought my iPad with me, and I’ve discovered that the WordPress installation does some funky things when I’m using Safari on the iPad. As a result, the formatting of my posts might look a little different than usual. Hopefully, it isn’t too distracting!

Greencastle, Indiana: June 2015

Last year, I attended The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana.  I planned to attend this year also, but then Chris and I got to go to India.  The trip to India was at the same time as The Fiber Event 2015.

My primary reason for going to Greencastle is to visit my good friend Stacy, who moved there a couple of years ago.  We put our heads together to come up with a new date, and discovered the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival (a separate blog post is in progress; I’ve got to take pictures of my purchases), held about an hour from Greencastle on the first Friday and Saturday of June.  I changed my tickets from April to this past weekend.  I arrived in Indiana on Thursday afternoon and flew home Sunday evening.

At Work

Stacy was working on Thursday and Friday.  I spent most of my time, hanging out in her office, knitting.  She has these adorable sheep sculptures in her office.

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I especially love their happy little faces.

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Weaving

Stacy did attend The Fiber Event 2015.  Her mother bought her an early birthday present: a 10″ wide rigid heddle loom from Couch’s Little Workshop, an Indiana-based family business of handmade looms.  Stacy had not warped the loom yet and wanted to do so before we went to the Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival.  Couch’s Little Workshop was going to be at that Festival also, and she wanted to ask them questions or resolve any problems she might have with the loom.  On Thursday night, I taught her how to warp the loom and how to weave.

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Stacy took a three-hour rigid heddle weaving class two years ago, at The Fiber Event, but she hasn’t woven anything since then.  Her selvages are spectacular!

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First Fridays

During the spring, summer, and fall, Greencastle has a “First Fridays” program.  The downtown business group, of which Stacy is President, helps to organize First Fridays.  The town closes off a road next to the courthouse.  Vendors sell their wares and there’s music on the steps of the Courthouse.

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This month, a vintage car club came for the event.

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Several local clubs and civic groups attended this month also, including the Putnam County Spinners Guild, of which Stacy is a member.  I helped set up and take down the tables and chairs for the Guild.  The original plan was that I would finish spinning the Cormo and bring the bobbins with me so I could ply them on one of Stacy’s wheels during the event.  I didn’t get the spinning done, so I knit instead.

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The fiber in the box is llama that Stacy recently got back from processing. The fiber in the white bag on the right is unprocessed llama. The yarns on the table are all handspun. The full-size hanks are Stacy’s handspun and I believe they are all Nerd Girl Yarns fibers. The smaller samples were handspun and dyed by another Guild member.
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Guild members Sarah (spinning with a Turkish Spindle), Joy (spinning with an e-spinner) and Mary (spinning on an Ashford Joy wheel).
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Stacy chatting with a visitor to the Guild’s space.
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The girl in the middle of the picture came back to the Guild space several times during the event. She went to each spinner and asked questions about the method each was using.

The weather was perfect for this First Fridays event, though the sun was so bright that we had a hard time looking at people while we talked to them.  Stacy’s boyfriend, Lance, came to our rescue with Florida Gators baseball caps!  The vendors and tables part of First Fridays was from 5 to 7 pm.  We were going to stay for longer, but we had to move out of the way for the Antique Cars to leave, so packed up shortly after 7 pm.  The music continued until late, so after packing up we stayed and listened to music, and I got to meet several of Stacy’s friends.  It was a wonderful evening!