Four Excellent Podcasts

I’m dedicating a post to my favorite podcasts, which make it possible for me to clean my house and wash dishes each night after my baby is in bed. (Wait, you say it is possible to do household chores without listening to podcasts? That humans have been doing it for generations? Nonsense!) If you have a favorite podcast (or anything else you love listening to), please share it in a comment.


History of English  My brilliant brother Logan introduced me to this podcast (and podcast-listening in general). Each hour-long episode is a lesson in linguistics, history, anthropology, and literature all at once. (Oh, and it’s completely ad-free!) Attorney and English language scholar Kevin Stroud reveals mind-boggling etymologies, takes you back to the herds and movements of the Proto Indo-Europeans, examines the contributions of Greek and Roman to English, illuminates Beowulf, and introduces you to the earliest bards and Catholic kings of the British Isles.

There are 81 episodes and counting (I’m currently on episode 49). Some good ones to try: Who Were the Indo-Europeans?Sounds Like Old English, and Not Lost in Translation. But to really enjoy this podcast you should start at the beginning and listen to it all the way through.

My whole family has gotten geeked out on History of English; with each week’s new episode we hash out the historical tidbits and new etymologies we’ve learned. Prepare to have your mind blown.


Revisionist History  To quote a fan on Twitter, “If you’re not listening to Malcolm Gladwell’s, podcast, Revisionist History, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.”

Revisionist History is everything you love about Gladwell’s books–fascinating behavioral economics, social science turned on its head–in podcast form. Gladwell’s voice virtually sings with energy and passion as he examines historical events through a new lens and tackles compelling and controversial contemporary issues. (His podcast is having a moment as he takes on the problem of educational inequity in America.)

Great episodes to try: Saigon, 1965, examining cultural bias in the Vietnam war and in current conflicts with groups like ISIS, and My Little Hundred Million, in which he audits the moral bankruptcy of billionaire elite universities. The only downside I can see to Revisionist History is that, for the present time, it’s slated for only ten episodes. Malcolm Gladwell is brilliant; to say that America has an intellectual crush on this skinny Canadian would be an understatement.


The Art of Manliness  If you’re a reader of The Art of Manliness, you know that husband and wife team Brett and Kate McKay cover every topic imaginable: not just on recovering the lost art of manliness, but on how to be a good human on planet earth. In an internet world filled with lame clickbait and SEO-laden recycled content, Art of Manliness stands apart as an encyclopedia of impeccably-researched articles on everything you could ever want to know.

The podcast is as good as the blog, mainly because of Brett’s professional interviewing style and the wide array of authors and social scientists featured. Two episodes to try are Love Factually with Dr. Duana Welch for a fun and fascinating look at the science of dating and relationships, and C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the Inklings Mastermind Group on the literary club and men’s group called the Inklings and the influence they had on The Lord of the Rings, and western literature and society. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this one, but I love how Art of Manliness podcast comes out biweekly so you don’t have to wait a full week to be enlightened by the guru of manliness.


Happier  I’ve been a fan of Gretchen Rubin‘s work since I first read The Happiness Project on my honeymoon three years ago. Since that time she’s released another book and launched a wildly successful podcast with her sister, TV writer and producer Elizabeth Craft.

Gretchen and Elizabeth compare life in New York City and Los Angeles and discuss habit formation, family, healthy living, and happiness research. I wish this podcast had fewer ad breaks, and sometimes the issues addressed are, irrefutably, “first-world problems”; yet I like the overall message of choosing to act intentionally in creating a happy life. And when you’re loading the dishwasher at 10 pm and want to listen to something fun and light, Happier is just the thing. Episodes to try: Holiday Episode: Cornucopia of Try-this-at-Homes from Listeners, and Thoughts on Decorations and Enjoy Your Home’s Special Features, Arianna Huffington Talks About Sleep, and the Pleasure of Children’s Literature .

99piUpdate, January 2017: Since posting this, I’ve unsubscribed to Happier but I’ve found a new favorite podcast: 99 Percent Invisible, in which the witty and original Roman Mars scours the world for fascinating stories about the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. The episodes are pithy and compelling and will make you see the world around you in an entirely new way.

Be back soon…


I’ve been cleaning out my study this weekend and currently it looks like this. If you turned me upside down and shook out the contents of my brain, you’d see a similar chaos. But I’ll be sorted out and back to posting soon!

Back in the saddle again!

Because I’ve been doing this off and on since January of 2008, because I want to document this lovely phase of newlywed life we’re living (not to mention the house we’re renovating), because I’m a writer and have an inborn need to write and share things, because I have in-laws and family and friends spread out across the country, and because I think of blog posts and things I want to share every day, I know that it is time to start blogging again!

After a long blogging hiatus I always feel a little sheepish when I start up again. Especially now, since there are a lot of catch-up posts that I want to do (house projects, road trips, adventures, and milestones from the last several months). But if you don’t celebrate the beautiful things in life and remember them, then it’s like they didn’t happen. So here’s to my best efforts to start documenting those things again—I have to start somewhere!

Lazy Christmas vacation morning in Ventura.

Lazy Christmas vacation morning in Ventura. Just keeping it real.

To anyone who has ever doubted.

“True love we are absolutely giddy about—as I am about Sister Holland; we shout it from the housetops.”
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

It is possible, as I have learned again and again, to be in one’s place, in such company, wild or domestic, and with such pleasure, that one cannot think of another place that one would prefer to be—or of another place at all.
Wendell Berry  

Oh, this is how it starts/lightning strikes the heart/
It goes off like a gun/brighter than the sun 

Colbie Caillat

“I’m in love! I’m in love! And I don’t care who knows it!”

Buddy the Elf

To anyone who has ever doubted,

True love is real.

I promise.

By this point, you’re starting to wonder: Am I searching for something that doesn’t exist? Is everyone just making this whole thing up? And mostly, as you stare at the dark ceiling trying to fall asleep, you wonder, is it ever going to happen for me? 

You ask yourself if you should just settle in the relationship you’re in. You try to talk yourself into being happy enough. You’re safe. And you’re so very tired of being lonely, and alone.

But true love! When true love strikes like lightning in your heart, when it falls like a shooting star and lands into your lap, when it explodes like fireworks and illuminates what was once the dark midnight of your lifeyou’ll be so happy! 

True love is the man who spend his entire Saturday fixing your car, while making your kid brothers feel like they’re real auto mechanics helping him. True love is the crinkles on the corners of his warm green-brown eyes when he smiles. It’s finally finding the person that feels like that place of peace and rest. 

He’s the man who promises that when you’ve had your eight babies and have stretch marks all over your belly he’ll only think you’re more beautiful because you bear the marks of bringing souls into this world. He’s the one whose letters reach the soft wounded parts of your heart (the parts you swore no one would ever touch again) while you’re in the lonely desert mountains of Argentina. 

When he loves all your people as completely as you do, when every motorcycle ride is actually a journey into a fairytale land, when you find the one who feels like home, that’s how you’ll know.

Hope this feeling lasts the rest of my life.


A little catch up…

Evan is home from Germany! I’m so glad to have my smart, tough, hilarious, handsome, quirky brother home again.

On Saturday Logan, Evan, and I took the little kids (minus Violet) to hike to the Y and watch the Stadium of Fire fireworks. We stuck Julia in the baby backpack and Evan carried her. About halfway up she said, “Hiking makes me tired. I need to take a rest on your shoulder, Evan.” Yep, life’s tough when you’re two years old. 🙂 Also, we brought Natalie’s friend Megan with us, and Julia called her “Bacon” the whole night. Megan, Bacon…they’re interchangeable, I guess.

I hiked Maple Mountain for the first time with my brothers last week. (Yes, I’m a little ashamed of myself that I’ve lived in Springville almost half my life and had never climbed it!) We made pretty good time–we started hiking at 6:00 and summited by 9:15. Then we were back off the mountain by 11:00, so I still had time for a half day of work. Maybe I should hike Maple Mountain every day.

This week should be an adventure. Logan, Evan, and I are going to make an attempt at Gannet Peak, which evaded us last year because of terrible blizzarding weather. I hope we get a chance at the summit! Gannett is Wyoming’s state highpoint and is considered the second-most-difficult state highpoint (after Denali, of course!). I hope I’m ready for this.

I went to Samantha‘s bridal shower with my mom last week. Samantha has been one of my best friends since I moved to Springville and I’m so excited for her and Brandon (and I really really hope I can make it back to Springville in time for their reception on Saturday!). The funniest moment of the bridal shower was when Samantha pulled a beautiful framed picture of the Manti Temple out of a bright pink Victoria’s Secret bag. “Sorry! That was the only bag I had to wrap it in!” said the lady who had given it to her.

So, life is good. I exchanged e-mail addresses with a potential Jewish genealogy client at the FHL last week (if any of you guys have Jewish friends interested in genealogy, please direct them to my website), hung out with my awesome friend Jana, coerced BOTH my brothers into bearing their testimonies in sacrament meeting, had a good lazy Sunday with my family, cut Wendell’s hair today and didn’t make him look terrible, and went running a LOT.

Life is good.

I am a dirty hippie.

I haven’t shampooed my hair since the 7th of June. It’s true. More than four months. I just rinse it with baking soda once or twice a week and then follow up with apple cider vinegar as a detangler. You should all try it. Here are four good reasons why:

1. After a few weeks of not washing your hair, it stops getting greasy. Since you don’t strip the natural oils from your scalp by shampooing it, it stops producing so much oil.

2. Most shampoos contain sodium lauryl sulfates, which are probably bad for you. And definitely bad for the earth.

3. It makes taking care of your hair so much easier and faster. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

4. When the end of the world comes and we’re all living off the canned chili and buckets of wheat in our food storage, you probably won’t be able to go buy shampoo, will you? Make the adjustment now.