Podcasts – 10/30/2019

I am a recent listener of Podcasts. The first one I heard was an edition of 99% Invisible while riding in the backseat of eldest son’s car on the way from their house to the Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA to see my first play there. I am not a daily listener, I don’t follow but a few and I don’t listen to all the episodes, I pick and choose. I follow 99% Invisible, The Moth, The Way I Heard it, and some of the Ted Talks episodes. I also follow a local sustainable farmer’s podcast, Can Your Beans Do That?

Some daily/weekly tasks around the house I enjoy and find meditative, cooking and the prep is one. Some I find very onerous, laundry being one. Some get neglected until I can’t stand the dust or dog hair bunnies and then pull out the dust cloth or vacuum. That task is one that is neutral. To get through the more onerous tasks, I often listen to a Podcast. Folding T-shirts and socks seems to go more quickly if my mind is otherwise occupied.

On morning when I am up a couple hours before my spouse, and have finished the daily animal tasks, I will sometimes sit and listen to a cast or two through headphones so as to keep the house quiet until we are both moving about. When I am home alone, the television never is turned on, instead music or podcasts provide my entertainment and sometimes a level of education.

On a visit to son’s house, I asked how he downloads them to listen offline as in the car. When traveling I listen to NPR until I lose the station and then switch to downloaded music. I thought listening to a few of my favorite Podcasts might make the trips seem shorter. He gave me a lesson, I thought I had it and prior to my last trip up to help them, I downloaded 5 podcasts to help pass the 3 1/2 hours it takes to reach them. Alas, as I stopped for an iced tea to travel with, I turned on my Podcasts to play through my tiny Bluetooth speaker, the only way I can hear downloads from my phone (my car is 14 years old and the sound system lacks Bluetooth, the cassette play no longer works, the CD player is intermittent) . There were no downloads there. I must not have learned the lesson well. I guess I will get him to try again next time we are in the same location together. It would have been nice this morning as I cleaned the chicken coop. My WiFi doesn’t reach that far, so the one I was listening to while folding laundry was suspended until I was back in the house.

When time comes to replace one of our ancient vehicles, it will come equipped with technology that far exceeds our current knowledge and a new learning curve will be presented.

No Reason – 9/11/2019

We live a few miles from Blacksburg, Virginia, home of Virginia Tech, thus home of many home sport events. Each of these events bring large numbers of visitors to the town; alumnae, parents of current students, visitors from the other teams. Being a large university, there are organized social groups, such as fraternities and sororities and some not so organized gatherings, tailgate parties, and both legal and underage drinking.

Blacksburg also has some beautiful and some unique features. Each spring the roadway medians are planted with seasonal flowers. A bit later in the spring, large hanging pots of flowers are hung from the lamp posts. The medians are well cared for with new flowers planted as the seasons change providing blooms of color to enjoy. Also placed around town are “Hokie Birds,” fiberglass statues about 5 feet tall painted by local artists in varied themes and sponsored or owned by businesses and individuals.

I don’t know how many of them there are, but you see them everywhere. Over the years since they were erected, several have been stolen or vandalized, usually around home sporting event days.

The original town of Blacksburg had 16 blocks and those blocks are designated on signage. A couple of years ago, a local artist produced 16 bronze frogs based on the local green frog and they were placed around town on walls, concrete pedestals, and the curb type edge around some of the flower beds.

One of the frogs was stolen from in front of the Lyric, the local historical movie theater in town, right across from campus. Then another disappeared, reducing the number to 14. Last evening as we were taking our daily walk, this time on the Huckleberry Trail, we spotted this:

The little green frog that sat on a substantial concrete pier is gone along with the pier. Taken during or after the home football game. The path is used by many to get from local parking to an access point to the stadium. The football goers have caused enough property damage to private properties abutting the trail, that the town had to erect a 48″ wire fence to prevent shortcuts through peoples yards.

Most of the stolen and vandalized Hokie birds have been recovered and repaired, but the 3 frogs are gone. This is a crime, not a prank. It troubles me that anyone would even consider stealing or vandalizing the art. They certainly can’t display it in their home and they have deprived others of the enjoyment of seeing it in passing.

Though we don’t live within the town, we consider it our town too and such theft and destruction hurts, that people can be so inconsiderate and crass.

Memory – 9/10/2019

The brain is a miraculous organ. It keeps our bodies functioning even when disease robs us of our memories. We use only a portion of this amazing living computer. Sometimes an accident or illness cause it to glitch.

There are many historical events in my life that I remember with clarity, where I was, what I was doing having lived through 7 decades so far. I was sitting in typing class in high school when the P.A. crackled to life to tell us that our President had been shot, it was the day after my 16th birthday and a party had been planned and then cancelled. I was an occupational counselor in a high school when the space shuttle Challenger blew up over our country on re-entry and all activity stopped as we watched on the handful of TVs in the library. The 9/11/2001 terrorists attacks occurred when I was a high school counselor in a brand new High School and Technology Center with a TV in every classroom and public place in the building. In a city that was a major military hub of the east coast of the USA, many of our student’s having parents working in the Pentagon as we watched horrified as the Twin Towers burned and fell and the Pentagon burned from the strike on it. There are dozen of events etched in my mind, Nixon resigning, Saigon evacuation, Reagan shot, Bobby Kennedy assassinated, the Cuba missile crisis, etc.

But a glitch in the form of a ski fall a few years ago resulting in a concussion, followed by an auto accident this past February with another concussion and now I can’t remember a simple 8 line knitting pattern that I have knit 3 prior times. Every line has to be marked as I knit. It is not a complicated lace, simply remembering which end of the row to increase until the 8th row, binding off some stitches and then repeat. It is frustrating, it is making doing more complex lace pattern almost impossible. Most of the symptoms, such as headache and dizziness are rare now, some simple tasks like releasing the parking brake on the car before backing up have resolved, the occular migraines are much less occurrent, but basic math functions require a calculator, and knitting requires a magnetic marker. I don’t know if these functions will ever fully return or if I will have to keep my knitting simpler and keep my smart phone nearby for it’s calculator function (who still has a real calculator except high school and college math students.) I hope it heals, but at least I have tools to help me through.