Useful Objects

Lesson from my alarm clock…

I’ve written previously about how much I enjoy listening to podcasts and specifically mentioned Gretchen Rubin’s “Happier” as one of my favorites.  I was thrilled last week when Gretchen and her co host sister, Elizabeth, read an email I sent them on the air. I became so excited that the drivers around me in traffic must have thought I was having some kind of fit.

Another listener had previously complained about how they couldn’t get up in the morning, they just repeatedly hit the snooze button.  This was something I struggled with myself, sometimes hitting the snooze for hours (really!) each morning. Of course, I was always rushed and it was no way to start each day.  I tried different things, but finally went out and bought an old fashioned battery powered alarm clock with big bells on top, one that doesn’t have a snooze button. I know when my alarm goes off now that I must get up- no more nine minute reprieves.

This simple solution has been life changing for me.  In fact, it was such an easy fix that I hesitated to even offer it, but it made such a difference in my morning that I sent it in to the podcast as an email suggestion.  I never dreamed that my favorite podcasters would read it on air.

There is a bigger lesson here for me.  I often hesitate to post something on my blog or make a suggestion in a work or church group.  I think to myself, “no one wants to read about that,” or “this has probably already been tried and rejected as a solution.”  I need to push myself more to venture outside my comfort zone. I shouldn’t worry about possible judgment and be willing to showcase my ideas.  There may be some (or many!) that are duds, but I shouldn’t let that hold me back.  


Discovering Podcasts…

Photo by Mike Bird on

During the week I commute by car about 35-60 minutes one way to work each day and finding something to occupy my mind has been a challenge.  I like music, but even with satellite radio, I found myself frequently switching channels trying to find a song I wanted to listen to.  I’ve started using my Amazon app for music, but that sometimes isn’t enough to distract me. I used to listen to news channels, but now that’s become so ugly and depressing.  Audiobooks were a possibility, but I don’t always want to make a commitment beyond my immediate trip to work. Podcasts have become the perfect choice.

My coworker was an avid listener of podcasts long before I gave them a try. I had played with the app on my phone, but really wasn’t sure what a podcast was.  Her enthusiasm finally won me over and once I started listening, I wanted to find more.

I was listening to Half Size Me, a weight loss podcast, which I found positive and uplifting, and Heather, the show’s host, mentioned a podcast called My Favorite Murder.  So I tried that one, and uh, no, it’s very popular, but was too disturbing for my tastes.  I couldn’t even finish the episode.

Several of the people I knew in online weight loss communities talked about Gretchen Rubin and her book The Four Tendencies. She has a podcast called Happier, so I tried that next.

It’s funny to talk about it now, because I’ve become such a big fan, but when I listened to my first episode, I didn’t like it and thought her followers sounded almost like members of a cult.  I’m glad I gave her another chance.

Gretchen does the podcast with her sister, Elizabeth Craft, who is a TV producer in Los Angeles and one of the best parts about the podcast is their relationship.  I can tell they genuinely care about each other and want to build each other, as well as their listeners, up. There is no drama.

In the past several months I have built up a small library of favorites that I listen to every week no matter what the topic is. Satellite Sisters is great because it’s so optimistic and I can relate to them in their midlife adventures and The Popcast with Knox and Jamie is another top choice. It’s kind of silly, but really upbeat.

I have others that I enjoy, but pick and choose only the specific episodes I want to invest in.  I also like mixing it up by looking for new listens to add to my library. I try to stay away from the darker topics, just my preference, but I did like the suspense of Dirty John and the well acted drama of Homecoming.

My long commute is now much more enjoyable and I am able to experience all the things I liked about talk radio, without the downsides.