Category Archives: podcasts

Real Life is Lifing…

As the kids would say…

And I’m officially living a life that’s more real than anything I’ve encountered so far. I’m journaling more than usual, remembering my dreams less but still listening to music all the time. I finished a book (The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry) I didn’t expect to read a few days ago, a book I would never have read if not for my childhood TV fave, Claire Danes. It’s strange how one can escape the pain and confusion of present day in the pain and confusion of a bygone era. It’s safer I guess. The book is written. Based on the Apple TV series I already knew pretty much where the story was headed and what it was really about.

My husband and I closed on our first home the beginning of 2022. My mom moved in with us a few weeks ago and is settling in nicely. I find myself in a new position of caretaker and personal shopper, and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it or even if it’s important how I feel. I just do. Because I have to. It does feel very satisfying when I can find things from my mom that she wants and needs. I’ve mostly gotten over that feeling of panic I get when I feel like I’m going to disappoint. Because I never want to disappoint anyone I love or even like. But I’m the hardest on myself when I “fail” myself. My husband is just the greatest with me. He really is. And for him, because he is patient and tolerant and endlessly helpful with me, I try harder not to be an a-hole. I try to temper my dripping sarcasm which is just compensation for being lousy with uncertainty and fear of facing the unknown.

I still have a weird hybrid work schedule that allows for some flexibility I really am grateful for. The world is in a tailspin of denial about Covid and it’s variants, the cost of which will not show up in concrete numbers until the Winter. And generally the country/world is up against the threat of an urgent climate emergency, unprocessed collective trauma, mass shootings, and an effort to back pedal into the dark ages to name just a fraction of our collective challenges.

Unmasked white men ask if they can “squeeze in” between me and others during daily commutes and I feel assaulted in a way unsolicited requests to smile from street strangers never have.

I made a list of things yesterday that ground me. Things I didn’t have to think about but which I know I enlist to immediately bring me to some center, peace and a sense of stability.

Music – It’s magic still works on me the same as it has since I was a girl. And there’s always more to discover. I will never hear it all and that fact baths me in relief and soothing, excitement and inspiration. Music is the free thing that contains an endless multitude of worlds and universes to access and they can lead you to places within that cannot be discovered any other way.

Skincare -In the morning but more so at night when I’m unwinding, my skincare routine continues to be the thing I do no matter what is happening in my head. It is the constant daily ritual I never skip. I’m usually playing music while I go through my steps. It’s probably the only time in my day when I’m fully conscious that I’m caring for myself and myself is grateful for it. An excuse to touch, wash, cleanse, exfoliate, rinse, massage, slather and apply to my skin lovingly, gently.

Reading -I used to be an avid bookworm. Reading was my first love, my first teacher outside of my parental instruction. Much like music, it helped me to escape, to discover, to understand, to broaden my understanding of differences, to travel and explore, to connect. I haven’t been reading in print anywhere near as much as I used to but while reading “The Essex Serpent,” I was surprised to remember how easy it is for me to disappear and forget the world outside while entering a strange, raw, muddy, foggy, tough but beautiful coastal landscape in the Victorian age. To be able to disappear into a book. I haven’t done it in a while, let alone in a book by a writer outside of my small cannon of favorite writers. And I needed it like a shapeshifter forced to remain in one version of itself for too long.

WTF with Marc Maron-I love listening to podcasts, and there are several that I love but none that I’ve listened to as long as WTF. Maron is raw. Maron is funny. He’s got problems and knows it and doesn’t pretend to something he’s not. He lays it all out and I continue to appreciate that. I root for his happiness even though he’s not good at being happy. He shares so much personally with his audience that it’s hard not to feel like we know him intimately. He’s taken care of cats most of his life and the two that remain with him play such a defining role in his life that they spill over into his show merchandise and comedy tour branding. Sometimes I’ll just listen to his opening monologue if I’m not interested in the person he’s interviewing because I just like hearing his take on things, even if I don’t agree. I’ve been listening to him ceaselessly for over a decade as my love of other podcasts come and go. I don’t like to think about what life will be like when he’s gone.

Water– Being in it, walking beside it, listening to it, seeing it. Seeing bodies of water is always a blessing to me. Water is a great rejuvenator for me. A powerful element of yielding, submerging and force. Hypnotic, mysterious, awe inspiring and sensual. My dream home includes a deep old copper or porcelain tub in a wet room with a skylight or a high landscape window letting in natural light. It also includes an outdoor path leading to a wide lake or beach. Water instantly takes me to peace. I don’t need to try to find it. It’s just there.

Cats- My cat can make me smile through just about anything. Me and my husband rarely fight or argue but when we have, it’s the cat that we lay down our disagreements for. The cat doesn’t give a shit what we’re arguing about. Watching my cat watch the world, clean himself, eat, drink from the tub faucet, meow at me, stretch, sleep, make biscuits, sit in my lap and a million other little things does wonders for my blood pressure. If he’s okay, I feel better about myself, about life in general. Brushing him. petting him, sparring with him, talking to him, brings me back to center, to purpose. He has his own inner world, motivations, irritations and things that sooth him which I will never understand. Cats are charming weirdos and I enjoy the routine and stability he has provided in our lives and the way my husband and I share time with him.

Nature– The difference between being depressed and looking at the view of the side of another building across the way vs. sky high pine trees in the yard is huge to me. Huge. walking through Isham Park every week during the Covid shut down saved me from total despair and engulfed me with hope and regeneration I needed to get through the pain of isolation and languishing.

I made this list of things I engage with often, if not daily as a way to keep things in perspective and also to remind myself that there’s so much to be grateful for as I navigate a path that for me is still unstable and unknown. Home ownership, aging, caretaking, budget managing, “adulting” and more is some real ass shit. Something always get’s missed, dropped, forgotten. God bless people who do this with children.

Another Favorite Podcast Hosted by Black People

You know what made commuting to a so so job and walking through a potentially disastrous blizzard this morning easier for me? Laughing my ass off until there were tears at the latest episode of “The Read” with Kid Fury and Chrissle. My girl Cece over at plussizeprincess.com put me onto this podcast when she stopped by for a visit at 3K last weekend and my husband and I have been listening to it ever since.

The Read
Kid Fury and Crissle

As I may have mentioned in the past, I’ve had trouble finding Black people who podcast. It’s like anything else. Photography, fashion, “The Bachelor.” It’s not always easy to know what search term to use when you’re looking for something basic that most people are into but is created, owned and put out there by people of color. Because obviously, we’re not all going to put, “I’m black” in our tags when we create content. It’s not that I only want to listen to or consume content by Black people. It’s that I want to know where they are!!! Like, I want to hear, see, feel, touch, experience content created by Black People at the same level and sometimes higher than that which is always readily available to flood my skull every fucking second that is created by those who identify as White. If that came off sounding a bit hostile at the end, that’s because that’s how I feel about it.

So anyway I’ve only just started listening to “The Read” and for me, it’s not only entertainment and information. It’s research. Like Tea with Queen and J it is a two person hosted podcast which I really love. I like it when two people have this dynamic chemistry that is both engaging, authentic, entertaining and provocative. While they primarily tend to address popular Bossip and express their own personal views and opinions which are always arguable, they also have a “Black Excellence” bit where they give a shout out to Black achievers and entrepreneurs which they select from emails sent in or tweeted by listeners. I love that. They also respond to emails from listeners seeking advice in an sort of advice column format.

“The Read” is not for the meek or sexually repressed. Fury and Chrissel can get a bit raunchy and sometimes ratchet and they keep it pretty real. But if you’re a snark and shade junkie like me you will feel very at home there. I was doing the zombie walk of the half awake into midtown this morning while listening to this latest episode and I just busted out laughing, this loud, high pitched, involuntary sputtering laughter as I emerged from the subway. I love that about good podcasts in general. I kinda wish like 65% of commuters would listen to podcasts that make them smile and laugh and take notes so that we could just give each other better energy when we’re crammed together everyday making our way towards the heaven or hell of our own making. I want to see more people laughing and smiling or nodding to themselves or even just feeling anything but apathy, doldrums and misery. There is zero potential for positive connection when we’re routinely in the pit of commuting despair. I feel the same way about reading.

What podcasts are you listening to? And no, I won’t be annoyed if they aren’t hosted by Black people but you do get like 100 points in my book if there are podcasts made by people of color you highly recommend. I’m just saying.

Day off Interlude

Day off Interlude

I have no particular point to make here. I just wanted to share what I did today on my day off from the morning to this very moment perhaps so that you can learn a bit about me.

I watched two episodes of “Project Runway” on my phone while in bed on the Lifetime Channel app. I live for people making things and I when I saw the commercial for “Threads” the Jr. version of PR I lost it. Shows about kids cooking and making clothes or anything. I live for it.

I wished everyone in my Facebook network a “Happy Indigenous People’s Day” and responded to a status update I made last night that “Goldilocks was mad rude.”

My mom has been visiting with me for the last couple of weeks so I got up, sat and talked with her for over an hour while crocheting a hat and watching “Wendy Williams” and “The View.” Among the topics of our discussion were, Heidi Klum, Kimora Lee Simmons, marriage, gay marriage, and several things that came up related to guest on both shows. I’m not into Wendy but I paid attention when Betsy Johnson was on because I adore her. I love how spry and youthful she is at 72! I also love that she has her daughter walk the final walk at her shows and that now she brings her granddaughter with her as well. I just love that whole image.

Next I paid attention on the View because Russell Brand was on and I really dig him. He always brings a certain element of anything can happeness around him and it always keeps interviewers on their toes. I like that. And I love comedy and I like his politics most of the time.

After that mom went out to do her thing and I got myself reluctantly together to go to Chelsea and get my eyebrows threaded, a ritual that I enjoy because when I do it it’s usually all I do. It’s a laid back day.

It was so cloudy out I almost convinced myself I wanted to stay in but I am so thankful I didn’t. It was very nice out. On my iphone, I played WTF, one of my two favorite podcasts at the moment and lost myself in it as I rode the train. I listened to Marc’s ranting and venting and sadness and totally wished I could be there and tell him it would be all right. It’s usually a cross between that and wishing I could tell him GET OVER IT! Then I listened to his interview with the second Black Comedian he’s interviewed since last week with Ms. Pat. Today was Larry Wilmore. I found I could totally relate to his humor influences as a young person (as a girl, I also loved Groucho Marx and Monty Python) and that, like him, I am also a “contrarian.” That’s not a good or bad thing. Just an accurate assessment. In not all but many ways, I aim to always to be going the opposite direction from everyone else.

After my brows were done wonderfully because my favorite lady, the only one I ever want to see, did them, I decided to stroll down to 14th Street. When I’m listening to podcasts, walking alone is great. And although Chelsea is covered in dog shit, I somehow always like to walk down there. I like taking photographs of building and things I find in the side streets.

At 14th Street I hoped on the uptown express to head home. The podcast ended somewhere around 116th Street. I had my eyes closed because I’ve had a period headache (I can say period to you right?) all day. I ended up smiling because Marc played the show out unexpectedly on his acoustic guitar. It was really nice. Music is really important to me and I really liked the spur of the moment improvisational feel of what he played because it sounded like it came right from his insides. I like how he shares.

When that was over I played Hugh Masakela’s album “The Lasting Impressions of Oooga Booga” where I had left off listening in the apartment earlier that afternoon before I left. There’s this track that always plays on one of my hundred Pandora Stations called “Mas Que Nada,” Masakela’s cover of the Jorge Ben song and it lays me out every time. I mean I think it’s magical. After hearing it like three times over the weekend, I finally broke down bought the entire album on iTunes last night.

I’ve known about Hugh Masakela all my life and have certainly heard “Mas Que Nada” many times before because my parents played him in the house while I was growing up. But this happens to me all the time. It’s like one day something that was all in the background of my upbringing just comes to the forefront and a strong definition takes shape and I feel it in my core. It speaks to me. This song speaks to me. The entire album is fucking brilliant but I just want to get on my knees and give thanks for “Mas Que Nada” even if it is a cover.

When I got home I heated up some Roti my mom made last night and continued listening to Masakela on my stereo and then I started writing this.

I’m really glad to have had this day off.