I heart podcasts

Jay left me a nice comment explaining that she also enjoys podcasts while sewing. I was going to just reply to her comment, but I was going on and on, so I figured I should make a post about it.

To me, listening to a good podcast while sewing (or driving or grocery shopping when I’m alone) is like heaven. Especially if it’s good. I feel the same about a good audio book, although, I’ve been picking duds lately. So I thought I’d share all my favorite podcasts with you. I hope you’ll share a favorite here too if you don’t see it listed! I included links to most of their websites, but I get all my podcasts on iTunes.

Here are my free favorites in the strictly audio category:

My favorite video podcasts are Zaproot and Threadbangers. And sometimes, I love Veracifier, but I don’t like to subscribe anymore, because they post a million podcasts, and I can’t keep up with them.

For crafting, Sew Forth Now is cool because she highlights good links on the internet for sewing. I find it frustrating because I’m not usually near a computer when I’m listening to a podcast. But her blog has all the links.

I’m testing out some new Sci Fi podcasts – Escape Pod and Pod Castle. I haven’t listened to much, so I’m going to reserve judgement, but I like the idea of good Sci Fi stories on my iPod.

Finally, Slate has a cool textcast called Slate Magazine’s Today’s Paper. Someone writes up and summarized all the major headlines from the day’s big newspapers – NYT, WSJ, LAT. I like to keep a few in my iPod so I have reading material if I’m stuck waiting somewhere. Textcasts are a little tricky – you press the center button on your iPod 3 times fast, and the text pops up, and you can scroll through and read it. I kind of wish they’d just read it, then I’d keep up with the news in a more timely fashion, but I like the idea of it.

new sewing finds

Guess how I found that awesome neighborhood in Historic Riverside. I was looking for a Singer Sewing shop. And I found it – in a nice lady’s garage in my favorite new neighborhood. I guess she owned a Singer repair and sales shop for a long time and retired, but kept selling from her converted garage, where she has an awesome Gammill long arm machine. It’s a really nice setup. Anyway, she was super helpful. I got a walking foot (finally), extra needles, and the all-important little key to open my bobbin case for cleaning.

Her shop was a great find. The next closest Singer shop is over an hour away. They’re both pretty far, but this one is a little closer, and it a much more awesome neighborhood.

Then I headed over to Joann’s and found a bunch of cool fabric, fun notions (like denim rivets and fancy buttons) and a ton of good white and black cotton pieces in the remnant bins.

Which brings me to my real topic. Budgeting. David and I are going to follow the budgeting and planning advice of the money management lady on Oprah – we’re going to each get an allotment of cash each month and that’s all we can spend.

I guess I’m going to have to join a stash-busters group online, because I won’t be buying any fabric for a while. Unless it’s in the budget, of course ;)

my new favorite neighborhood

We’ve had a big weekend of house shopping. Well, window shopping for houses. Meaning that, as usual, we really have no intention of buying a house. BUT I found my dream neighborhood yesterday. Historic Riverside. I LOVE the houses. Today, I dragged my husband there – it’s a pretty good drive – and we saw one house for sale that was built in 1904. It was so gorgeous. I needed a lot of work, but wouldn’t that be fun? You know, if you had unlimited funds and perhaps some architectural and interior design expertise :) We have none, of course. The dreamy part about this neighborhood is really the trees. Just imagine, the trees have been growing in that neighborhood for 100 years also! I just love it. There’s even a kind of creepy cemetery right in the middle of the downtown area. It’s awesome.

Then, in the opposite extreme, we found a KB Home Martha Stewart community in Perris. Suprisingly, Perris is one of the most undesirable areas around here. (No offense, Perris.) It’s just not that great to us. It certainly doesn’t scream Martha Stewart. But the houses are really nice. They’re pretty standard KB homes, but the models were all furnished with Martha furniture, the walls were painted a pale Martha blue, the kitchens were pristine. I loved them. I even loved the plasma tv mount. I would buy a Martha model house in the dismal town of Perris if it came as is!

step it up and dance

I’m predictably addicted to this dance reality show on Bravo, Step it Up and Dance. But the best part is that on Bravotv.com, they have something called dancealongs – where the choreographers break down the dance for ME! In my living room! Check it out:

Dancealong on bravotv.com

Oh yeah, and counting down to So You Think You Can Dance…May 22!!! Woo hoo!

my tv addiction

My name is Blabby and I’m addicted to television. I’m also addicted to fabric shopping, yarn shopping, food shopping (but not cooking) and book shopping, but those are matters for another post. My topic today is TV addiction. Cable companies make it so easy these days to feed addictions. Take Cox television. From Cox, you can get a Cox bundle which includes high speed internet (another addiction), phone and cable. Along with that, you can add other cox services like a dvr…now I have a Tivo, but I used to use Cox’s DVR, and I loved it. The only reason I got a Tivo is that I moved to an area that didn’t offer DVRs yet. This has been remedied.

Now, here’s how my addiction manifests. I turn on my cable and hit the guide button, and I’m shown a wonderland of choices. Hundreds and hundreds of viewing choices. Do I want to watch a documentary on the Battle of the Bulge on the military channel? Sure, I love the part when Gen. McAuliffe says “Nuts!”…or how about The Antiques Roadshow? Absolutely! (Oh man, she thought that crazy armoir she hauled to the convention center was going to be worth WAY more!) Can’t find something? There’s always an episode of CSI or Law and Order on somewhere.

Why am I talking about this? Well, TV Turn Off week is April 21-27. Will I comply? I’m not sure I can. This isn’t denial, this is honesty. I heart my TV and I don’t care who knows it!

serious as a heart attack

I can’t tell you how nice it was to spend a little time with my dad and step-mom, and watch them enjoy my son. He’s still small and cute and fun, and he doesn’t annoy my dad yet. (My dad has little patience for rambunctious kids – he’s a little crotchety these days.) But of course, as was the time I spent with my grandma and aunt, the trip was much too short.

Today, my husband’s boss’ father-in-law (did you get all that) had a heart attack. When my husband told me, the first thing I did was call my dad. My dad smokes and has a rum and diet pepsi each night. He takes medication for high blood pressure. He’s had a couple emergency room visits when his blood pressure got too high. He’s been a nurse for almost 30 years, and he still behaves this way.

So I called him to tell him I love him and to quit smoking. I’m not naive enough to think that not smoking would solve all of his health problems, but I can’t see how it would hurt. He’s quit quite a few times, and plans to quit again on his birthday this year. It’s becoming an annual event. The quitting, I mean.

It doesn’t matter. I’m proud of him every time he quits. Then he starts with a cigar a few months later – or sometimes a year later, but it always starts with a celebratory cigar.

Apparently he’s smoking organic cigarettes now. I’m not sure what this means. Are they still just as carcinogenic as regular cigarettes? I’m sure they cost more, but are they any better for his lungs? Are the harmful chemicals in the tobacco, or are they additives, or both?

It seems a little like switching from vodka to wine coolers when you have liver disease.

I don’t want to lose my dad. Ever. It terrifies me to even think of it. Losing one parent was hard enough, and I appreciate my dad so much more now as an adult than I ever did as a kid.

Ouch!

extreme rage gogglesOn every military base I’ve ever lived or worked on, there’s been a paintball course. Some are really elaborate – hay bale walls, lots of structures to provide cover, cool layouts, etc. Most of them outsource the equipment rental part, and they’re not always open because they usually have a full time job somewhere else.

I have a few friends that are serious paintballers. They took matters into their own hands, and purchased all their equipment. One friend in particular is a little addicted to his collection of supplies, much like I am to my craft supplies. He refers to his Tippman paintball guns with the same reverence that I refer to my Heather Bailey fabric stash.

I have ventured onto paintball courses a couple times in my life. Twice as part of team building exercises – first in college with ROTC, and then on active duty in the Army. Both times, I had fun, but walked away with serious bruises. Is this fun? Actually, yes.

I think everyone should try it once. You’re a little more invested than you would be in say super-soaker wars or laser tag because those paintballs actually sting a little, and you really don’t want to get hit. Of course, there’s a lot of pride involved too. And it’s nice when you really nail someone.

Like most fun things, it’s not free. But you can get good prices on paintball equipment online.

Remember, paintball guns are serious, so aim for safety first! (Hey, I’m a mother. I’m allowed a certain amount of cheesiness.)