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Interesting Humans

Arts & Culture Podcasts

There are 330 million Americans. Social scientists tell us we know on average 600 people. All around us are interesting humans. People who in their everyday lives create, solve, move, teach, and love. The Interesting Humans podcast is a deep dive into the mindset, the philosophy and the achievements of the people around us who have fascinating narratives to share. Join me as I explore the challenges they've faced and overcome, how creativity drives them and how ordinary people are not so ordinary.


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There are 330 million Americans. Social scientists tell us we know on average 600 people. All around us are interesting humans. People who in their everyday lives create, solve, move, teach, and love. The Interesting Humans podcast is a deep dive into the mindset, the philosophy and the achievements of the people around us who have fascinating narratives to share. Join me as I explore the challenges they've faced and overcome, how creativity drives them and how ordinary people are not so ordinary.





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April Sawicki is a 19 year old woman from New York who lived during high school in a broken down motor home in a vacant lot at the edge of town her father won in a poker game. Her mother left her father when she was young, then her father left April at 16 to fend for herself when he went to live with his girlfriend and the woman’s son. April, a budding singer-songwriter, ran away by stealing a neighbor’s car, and went on adventures up and down the east coast playing in bars and coffee shops and gradually and serendipitously finds connections and forms deep relationships she lacked growing up. April’s story is the invention of talented writer, novelist and essayist Allie Larkin. Larkin’s book, The People We Keep, tells the story of April’s growth from a lonely, confused teen to a young evolving woman who learns to trust once again in deep relationships. Not just another conversation with a writer. Larkins book is also a tale of perseverance and heart. The backstory of The People We Keep is also about a writer who refused to simplify her work to make it more formulaic and commercially mass-market palatable. In essence, Allie Larkin stood by her own sense of her work and her protagonist. Her other novels include Stay, Why Can't I Be You, and Swimming for Sunlight. Her fifth novel, Home of the American Circus, is expected to be published this year. She lives with her husband Jeremy, and dog Roxy in San Francisco. In our conversation not only does Allie talk about holding fast to her belief in her story and her characters, but she unveils her writing process, how much she loves dogs and how important they are to her writing, and how she has developed awareness and workarounds for her Attention Deficit Disorder. Like her main character, Allie also is a musician and there are several places where art and reality overlap. Besides being a talented writer Allie is a wonderful human. She has just started the Truehearts Collective, an online community of writers, musicians and artists to talk about their daily struggles living the creative life. Links: Instgram: Web: Books: Musician Peter Mulvey: Musician Chris Pureka: Website: Instagram:


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I met singer-songwriter Reese Mayfield here in Raleigh last fall. Friends had invited me to what has become known as the Five Points Music Festival. It's a gathering of local musicians performing on an impromptu stage set up in the driveway of someone's garage. it's a fundraiser for a local school. Reese was one of the musicians performing that day. As the various musicians worked through their sets of covers and original music, I became intrigued by Reese, the youngest of the musicians. She's an 18-year-old high school senior with a pedigree in music; her father played in various bands growing up and still plays today. Reese's parents have supported her and encouraged the Raleigh native each step of the way in exploring her creative talents. In our conversation, Reese reveals how she got started in music with a drum kit at age 2 and took off from there. She plays piano, violin and is self-taught on guitar. While she loves learning chords on those instruments her real love is singing. She explains how she uses poetry to bring words from her heart that sometimes become songs. She talks about how the experiences of her young life feed her creativity in music, painting, and poetry. She also talks about performing locally and her plans to pursue music in college and possibly beyond. We talk about the significance of social media for musicians today in promoting their work. Reese is a bubbly, vibrant, and sweet young woman who is making the most of her passions. She even sings a couple of her original songs. Links: Reese's Instagram: Reese's website: Reese's YouTube: Website: Instagram:


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Gordon Darr: How Sexual Trauma Became A Boulder Blocking My Life

What I know about trauma is that nearly all of us carry something in our psyches. Almost everyone you know has some part of their past that overwhelmed their emotional capacity to understand and process it and became trauma. Not all trauma is the horrific kind of rape or shooting or a tragic accident. These are the kinds of events plastered across the news that garner the most public attention. Sometimes the experiences are more subtle but no less hurtful. I've known today's guest, Gordon Darr, for three decades. But what I didn't know about my friend is astounding. For most of Gordon's adult life, from age 19 to only a few years ago, Gordon kept quiet about an experience so horrific but which he buried so deep inside him, that, as he says, "changed the trajectory of my life." As Gordon shares in this episode of Interesting Humans, a visit to a highly respected physician at the University of Michigan, turned into a traumatic nightmare that impacted all aspects of his life for the next forty-plus years. As a 19-year-old UM student, he visited a doctor who was then head of the University of Michigan's University Health Services, Dr. Robert Anderson, for what he was told was gonorrhea. He didn't see Anderson in a patient room, but in his office, where the doctor allegedly sexually molested him, not once but three times before Gordon canceled further visits. He confided in a UM nurse practitioner, who dismissed his concerns. When Gordon brought it up with a few other students whom he thought might also have had similar experiences with Anderson, they refused to talk about it. Anderson, who died in 2008, was the subject of a probe by the University of Michigan police, who turned their investigation over to the Washtenaw County prosecutor. Anderson was accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of Michigan students, mostly men and many of whom were UM scholarship athletes, during his time as head of health services from 1968 until he retired in 2003. Anderson was never prosecuted despite the statements from hundreds of former UM Students because, according to the County Prosecutor, the statute of limitations on the alleged offenses expired. The University has proposed a $490 million settlement to Anderson's alleged victims. The case bears an uncanny resemblance to similar cases at Michigan State, Ohio State, and the University of Southern California where innocent and sometimes naive students and student-athletes were sexually assaulted by medical authorities under the guise of appropriate medical examinations. He reflects on how the experience impacted his interpersonal relationships in his career, his marriage and divorce, and even to how he raised his two daughters. I hope you connect with this kind, humble man who shares for the first time on a large scale publicly the details of this one terrible event and its impact across the decades of his life. Gordon's is a tale of deep hurt and of redemption through hard work done in counseling and with the help of close friends, and eventually through the blending of his passion for music and teaching in the founding of his successful Website: Instagram:


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Gordon Darr: How a Sexual Predator Transformed My Life (TRAILER)

Trailer for Gordon Darr, a victim of Dr. Robert Anderson, the doctor at the University of Michigan who allegedly sexually molested hundreds of students and student-athletes as head of the UM's University Health Services. Anderson was never prosecuted but the University has proposed a $490 million settlement to more than 1,000 alleged victims of Anderson, who died in 2008. Gordon tells his complete story and weaves the thread of how his experience of being sexually molested affected his entire life. Coming soon to the podcast. Website: Instagram:


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Andrew Lafferty is a 20-year-old stand-up comedian learning the craft. He wants to become a comedy writer. After graduating from high school during the pandemic, he now the University of Pittsburgh, where he studies political science. Now three years into his journey as a comedian, Andrew has made people laugh everywhere from basements in the dorms at Pitt to tents, to clubs from Ann Arbor to Maine to LA. He has appeared at the Gotham Comedy Club in Manhattan and at improvs and Jazz clubs in LA. He opened for a rock band and even appeared on Wheel of Fortune this past spring. In this episode, Andrew talks about the genesis of his desire to become a comedian, growing up with a funny dad, and how leaving home opened his eyes and helps fill the pages on which he writes his comedy. He explores the craft of becoming a comedian and about how being dumped by a girlfriend gave him usable material for his routines. Every new experience is fodder for his punchlines. He is thoughtful, self-deprecating, and, as you will see, very funny. You can find Andrew: website: Facebook: Instagram: Youtube: Website: Instagram:


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When Kassondra and Will Lambert’s son Ethan was about two he was diagnosed with an extremely rare genetic disorder referred to as KAND. The couple had noticed early in their son’s life that he wasn’t progressing physically as expected. Ethan was unable to hold a bottle himself and wasn’t starting to verbalize took them more than two years to finally get a diagnosis of this disease so rare only about 300 people worldwide are affected. Uncovering Ethan’s condition set the couple on a nearly impossible journey through the maze of hospitals and labs and testing and health insurance reimbursement that often bankrupts well-meaning families, not to mention the emotional roller coaster of trying to raise a toddler with multiple physical challenges. Kassondra’s story is one of frustration and compassion that includes a $6000 wheelchair and jumping through the same hoops time and time again with big insurance companies and caregivers. This was true, she says, even though she had navigated social services in her job as a foster care advocate. In our conversation, Kassondra talks about how difficult it was to get Ethan diagnosed and why the diagnosis is such an important piece of information in the world of health insurance reimbursement. Kassondra also talks about how she turned to social media to find emotional support and community as a parent of a child with such a rare and often fatal progressive neurodegenerative disorder. She found others on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, and connecting with other parents helped her and Will find the emotional ground to keep going. LINKS: KASSONDRA on Facebook: Instagram: What is KAND: Ethan's campaign on Help Hope Live: Website: Instagram:


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When I was a kid I would often accompany my parents on Saturdays to a store that was both a grocery and department store, a bit like Costco is today. Sometimes my father would give me some cash and I would hotfoot it to the toy section to grab one of the latest models of these miniature cars called Hot Wheels. I was obsessed with building my collection. I would make my purchase and then was faced with the immediate question that I realize now was a precursor to similar questions I would ask as an adult. What do I do with what's left? Most often I would go straight to the jewelry counter and purchase with what change I had some cheap piece of costume jewelry for my Mom. I don't know why this was my pattern and perhaps there are deeper aspects and another set of questions. The point is that I had choices each time: Give what was left back to my father; Make this purchase for my Mom, Save it for another day. Which do you think would have been the smartest? How you answer that question has a lot to do with your philosophy about this thing we call Money. The Saturday trips to the store with my parents helped form my lifelong relationship with money, along with observing how they spent and spoke about money in our household. And, like a lot of people, my relationship with money is strained at best. Today's guest, Mark Willis, takes a stand against the many commonly held myths about money. In fact, Mark, a certified financial planner and the founder and principal in his own firm Lake Growth Financial, is a paradigm breaker. He is the host of the popular financial podcast, Not Your Average Financial Podcast, in which explores and challenges widely held as fact ideas about finances. In today's conversation, Mark offers a counterintuitive approach to our relationship with money. He challenges whether a house is an asset or a liability, whether it's smarter to defer taxes to retirement, and even the sacred cow of 401(k) as the best place to park our money for retirement. He questions the worship of "financial gurus and money personalities" on network television and social media who prescribe mainstream money views without question. But Mark is no heartless bean-counter. He starts each relationship with prospective clients with a deep examination of that client's fears, concerns, and history with money. He even tells us that financial conversations, if done right, "should feel like those best late-night conversations about life." Today's conversation is a wide-ranging and enlightening look into the work of a heart-based financial planner whose central tenet is a Bank On Yourself philosophy that puts the most value into our own deeply held desires about money in our lives rather than following the herd. So hold on. You’re probably going to get uncomfortable because this conversation strikes at the heart of how our core beliefs about money are really core beliefs about our lives. Thanks for listening. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Mark Willis. Mark Willis website l Facebook l online community l podcast Bank on Yourself principles and founder Pamela Yellen Website: Instagram:


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Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” I was thinking about Picasso’s words during my conversation with today’s guest, Haven Tunin, a young potter I met at a show in Ann Arbor last fall. Haven comes to pottery by way of discovering a gift for art, specifically painting and drawing, during high school. In college, she fell in love with pottery. She recently decided that her passion for pottery is so great she intends it to be the way she makes a living. Since she started throwing, Haven has become fascinated by the way pottery feeds her creative drive. She can come to the potter's wheel, she says, and even if she’s not in an especially great mood, working the clay begins to lighten her. She loves listening to rap music as she works creating unique mugs, bowls, vases, and lately, sculptures, which she talks about. She also talks about the business of art which is something a lot of creatives who want to make a living off their craft discover is not easy. Haven learned through trial how to account for her supplies and price her work. Though young, Haven has the presence of an older soul too. She has a perspective that seems to be borne out of maturity. For example, Haven takes each piece to its maximum form but also says, “Not every piece is destined for this world” meaning, she knows the pieces can also fail their promise and that’s okay. You can always start over. Haven is as engaging and funny and humble as any artist I’ve met. I am encouraged by her perspective on art, creativity, and the world. I hope you are as well. Links: Haven on Instagram: On Shopify: Intro & Outro Music by Wildes: Website: Instagram:


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CLINT ROE: What makes a good man today?

What, really, are the qualities of a good man today? Toughness? Grit? Courage? The reliability of the one who comes home after a long day at the office, even if that office down the hall or in the basement, and earns the money that pays bills then expects dinner to be on the table? Is it simply the man who takes out the trash? What sorts of exchanges are men and women making in the day to day bargaining of marriages and partnerships and how are they changing? What models do we have of good men in today’s Instagram-worthy world? I started this podcast as a way to capture pieces of extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. I don’t travel in the same circles as Joe Rogan so the discussions I have are with friends and colleagues who lead “ordinary” lives. Yet they often yield extraordinary wisdom. These people share insights that seem to carry Universal weight. A couple weeks ago I had just such a conversation. Clint Roe, a colleague, who appears in today’s episode, shared some things going on in his life and I shared some things about my life. During the conversation Clint revealed that he grew up one of three kids in a single-parent household led by his mom. In today’s episode, Clint wonders about the impact of growing up without a dad, nor close male role models, on him, his 26-year marriage and on his kids. As a single dad Clint has been reflecting on how to convey what he believes are the true core qualities of good men and how to be that to his two sons and daughter and in today’s meme-driven society. Clint isn’t holding himself up as a paradigm of a great man; In fact you might think he has antiquated ideas about men. In our conversation, Clint reflects on his experiences in the military, the failure and triumphs in his marriage and his parenting and come up with a story about what he thinks being a good man is about. In 1990 the poet Robert Bly wrote a NYTimes bestselling book about men called Iron John. It was an immensely popular book about the fable of Iron John. I’ll read the first paragraph of the original preface. He says: “We are living at an important and fruitful moment now, for it is clear to men that the images of adult manhood given by the popular culture are worn out; a man can no longer depend on them. By the time a man is thirty0five he know that the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man which he received in high school do not work in life. Such a man is open to new visions of what a man is or could be." What Bly wrote more than 30 years ago is again appropriate. I believe that aside from a few numbskulls who think a man is being a tough guy and treating women as objects instead of equals, a lot of men are confused about how to be. The images I grew up with — the Marlboro Man, the Archie Bunkers, Hulk Hogans, the James Bonds — don’t work anymore. Nor do the men expressing their feminine sides. This confusion coincides with a cultural shift that impacts both men and women. Men are confused about their roles in families, in romantic relationships, as parents and in the workplace. Today is the first of what I hope will be more conversations about men and women and their interdependence in this changing world. Clint is open and even gets a bit choked up. He reveals mistakes, how numb he was to the news of his absent father’s death when he was just eight and how a mix between old fashioned values with a nod toward modernization has helped him find his pl Website: Instagram:


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We’ve all heard about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, often referred to — and even minimized in today’s lexicon -- as PTSD. It is a psychiatric disorder that sometimes occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a horrific event, such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act (think 9/11) war or combat or rape, or who have been threatened with sexual violence or serious harm. Our grandfathers and great-grandfathers may have come across PTSD in the form of combat fatigue or shell shock. But trauma doesn’t just befall combat veterans. In today’s podcast episode, Dr. Tanner Wallace, in her most transparent and beautiful self, explores how trauma experienced as a child from abuse or neglect impacts our lives as adults in our relationships with our spouses and lovers, our children, our friends, and colleagues. Unrealized trauma experienced as children wreaks havoc on our adult lives, often toxifying the very relationships we hold the most dear. “Trauma is always context-bound,” she says. Tanner spent 20 years studying human development before she pivoted to work exploring the nature of childhood trauma. The pivot came about as a result of big problems in her second marriage and her parenting in which Tanner’s own trauma resurfaced from sexual assaults as an adolescent and teenager and some abuse at the hands of a parent. The realization sent Tanner off on a completely new path, utilizing what she learned about human development. She created a platform called the Relational Healing Lab. She uses her podcast and Instagram to talk the language of childhood trauma. Tanner has unlocked the voices for thousands of childhood trauma survivors. Ultimately, Tanner says, you can heal from childhood trauma through the right kind of work. I’ll let Tanner explain. In our conversation, Tanner is brutally honest about her own struggle to heal and what she learned about the immense difficulties of healing. This conversation is very personal and that is probably why it is among the most transformative conversations I’ve ever had on Interesting Humans. For the past six months, I’ve been in therapy to address some difficult challenges in my personal life. I’ve uncovered my own unrealized childhood trauma caused by neglect from my parents, including anger and violence from my father, who is now deceased. I’m so grateful the universe sent Tanner across my radar. She offers insight, hope, and love on the way to finding peace for childhood trauma survivors. I hope you enjoy meeting Dr. Tanner Wallace. Links: Dr. Tanner Wallace's podcast: Relational Healing Podcast Dr. Tanner Wallance on Instagram: @drtannerwallace Gabor Mate film: The Wisdom of Trauma (to be released December 2021) Richard C. Schwartz, founder of Internal Family Systems approach to trauma therapy Pete Walker, From Surviving to Thriving, a book on addressing childhood trauma Justin Martin, IFS therapist Intro and outro music provided by WILDES Website: Instagram:


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I've known Lisa Hesse for decades. When you live in a community like Ann Arbor for as long as I have and also are part of a smaller, tighter community--the running community--one is bound to bump into the same people from time to time. I knew Lisa coached runners, particularly women. And I knew she was a Girls on the Run coach as well. What I didn't know is the depth to this person and the many challenges she's faced. Lisa is a 59-year-old runner who expresses with absolute certainty that running has been her North Star. Running has been the activity that has helped her through any number of "lifequakes", those messy, twisty challenges of life. It has been, she says, both her superpower and kryptonite. She is a Nationally Board-certified Health and Wellness Coach, an ICF Professional Coach, a "neuroscience nerd," and "a big believer in the idea that it's never too late to change our narrative while honoring what we bring with us from the past." She also is the founder of the Southeaster Michigan Chapter of Girls on the Run in 2001. Lisa started running at age 13. She has 19 marathons, including four Boston Marathon finishes, to her credit. Lisa now is a Life and Mindset coach focused on helping women, particularly former women athletes, rediscover the athlete inside each of them. Her approach is one of self-discovery. I believe that people who have been through life challenges with understanding, compassion, and empathy make better coaches. But one of the things I admire about her approach to coaching is that she does not apply her own life experience as the template for what she advises her clients to do. Rather, as she says, it allows the space for her to help her clients change their narratives. Just after this podcast was recorded Lisa let me know she has been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder known as Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy or CIDP. It is a disorder of the peripheral nerves characterized by gradually increasing sensory loss and weakness associated with loss of reflexes. CIDP is caused by damage to the covering or sheath of the nerves (myelin). "I know, without a doubt, that because I see my world through the lens of my body, I caught this early," she wrote to me. Now in another of her own "lifequakes" Lisa is facing a potentially existential threat to part of her identity: Athlete. "It's yet another threat to my sense of Who am I? " I hope you enjoy my conversation with Lisa. Where to find Lisa: LinkedIn profile: What is CIDP?: Book and website, The Body is Not an Apology with Sonya Renee Taylor Intro and Outro Music by Thank you for listening. Website: Instagram:


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Abby Rosenbaum is as passionate as any artist about her craft. What I noticed Abby possesses better than some artists is a sense of the practical side of her photography. The opposite of the image of a fantastically talented and engaged artist who is dead broke and starving might emerge for some. Abby had a successful photography practice focused on weddings for more than 15 years. Successful in the sense of being in demand and earning the living that supported her family. It didn't start this way: Abby graduated from the University of Michigan and planned to be an intrepid photojournalist, traveling the world shooting the kinds of dramatic pictures we see on the front pages of newspapers and magazines. Along the way she was introduced to a very successful wedding photographer and Abby took a role running the back-end of the business. It was there that she learned more about what it takes to create a sustainable practice with mundane things like paying estimated taxes, scheduling and marketing to clients, all the stuff that takes place outside of looking through a viewfinder and clicking the shutter. Fast forward to pre-pandemic COVID. After years of working up to 45 weeks a year--aka every damn weekend shooting weddings -- Abby realized she was losing her edge, becoming ever so slightly less interested in the stories she was helping to capture. Something was missing. She did some digging and outreach and learned about a trend nationwide for creatives. Many photographers in places like San Francisco, LA, and New York were creating brick and mortar spaces--studios-- in which to work. But that's not all. They were collaborating with other creatives to use these spaces as much as possible. Enter Studio Studio, a former drycleaners that has been transformed to Abby's own studio and a space for other photographers, painters and sculptors to showcase and talk about their work. It's also doubled as a place for companies to do photo shoots of their products (there's a kitchen!) and for yoga and community talks. In addition she's cut back on the number of weddings she does so she can be with her family and attain more creative balance. Abby sees it as a win-win. Our conversation is broad and deep and Abby is filled with tips creatives can follow if they are curious about managing the back-end of their business. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Abby Rosenbaum. Webiste: Instagram: @abbyrosephoto StudioStudio: StudioStudio on Instagram: Intro and Outro music provided by WILDES (@wildesofficial) Theme song is "Illuminate" You can watch a video here: Emma's website: Official youtube channel here: Website: Instagram:


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We are currently in the throes of August here in North America. The days are lazy, hot and long. Light is plentiful. In fact we still bask in more than 14 hours of daylight. And for some that still is not enough. Today's guest, JANE SLADE, isn't saying we need sunlight less. She says we need to appreciate darkness more. The constant barrage of man made light form our devices to how we light our homes, businesses, streets and highways is not only harming man and animal. It's changing the way we think and approach our problems. Jane is a DARK SKIES advocate, one of a handful of people who range from professional and amateur astronomers to health experts to poets who fear not the dark but the light. The overlighting of the planet is causing foundational changes in the behavior of animals from bats and butterflies and birds to invertebrates like zooplankton on which our lives depend. In fact, according Jane, light pollution is the biggest climate change danger we are not talking about. In today's episode, we discuss the origins of the Dark Sky movement, the detrimental effects of too much man-made light on our biology and on wildlife, as well as ways cities and lighting designers are starting to mitigate overlighting's effects. We also discuss how too much dependence on light--the kind on our screens, TVs and in our homes--actually limits the possibilities in our thinking and our ability to come up with solutions to our problems. Jane talks about a number of things we as individuals can to to reduce the effects of too much light and how we can begin to introduce the benefits of natural darkness into our lives. For example, Jane talks about a ritual she has incorporated into her life she calls a "Dusk Reverie" where she formally acknowledges the fading light of the day and the passage into evening and eventually night. JANE is also a writer and is working on a book about the benefits of returning darkness to our lives. She expects to release the book, entitled Starving for Darkness, sometime next year. She is a yoga instructor, writes and sings music and loves Instagram. In fact she talks about how her Instagram feed is one of her most prized and authentic creative outlets. I challenged Jane on this and she swears by it. I hope you find this walk into darkness enlightening and enriching. Here, now, is my conversation with Jane Slade. Enjoy. Links: Light pollution map: Jane Slade's podcast, Starving for Darkness Jane on Instagram: Anatomy of Night Others: Skyglow The International Dark Sky Association Effects on wildlife: Website: Instagram:


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ALETHA VANDERMAAS: Design soul sister and Midcentury Preservationist

ALETHA VANDERMAAS is friendly, approachable and funny. She laughs easily. but don't let that easygoing style fool you. Aletha is a significant player in the trend in midcentury interior design, both in her home state of Michigan and in social media. I first met Aletha through my wife Elin Walters, curator of Exactly Designs. Aletha and Elin are "design soul sisters" who both have created successful separate interior design businesses in the midcentury design, Like Elin (I/H Episode 12) , Aletha through her business True Home Restorations is especially passionate about midcentury modern style. Aletha describes herself as a preservationist. She works with clients to maintain as much of the authentic aspects of midcentury homes, including materials, spaces and textures, while also updating them for modern times. We talk about the distinctive qualities that are hallmarks of Midcentury Design, from the rooflines, materials, and architecture. In our conversation we talk about her approach to midcentury interior design and creating a business as a solopreneur. Aletha started in publishing and then was a wedding planner for 10 years before she found her way to interior design because, she says, she "loved houses." It started with a blog in the early 2000's and has since grown to thousands of followers in social media as well as choice midcentury home projects throughout the state of Michigan. Aletha is humble, kind, and a lively conversationalist in addition to being steeped in the specifics of midcentury modern and midcentury modest design. Our conversation is a class in this trend. Links: Aletha on Instagram: Aletha/MidModMich: Atomic Ranch article on Aletha and Greg's Home: Aletha on LinkedIn: Aletha on Twitter: Emily Henderson/designer: Mandy Moore: Karen Nepacena of Destination Eichler: Website: Instagram:


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HELEN NEWMAN: Holocaust child and Grand Dame of the Fitness Apparel Industry

I first met today’s guest, Helen Newman, about 10 years ago. I was traveling to Chicago with my wife Elin who was the buyer for a local fitness studio and she was meeting Helen for the to see the fitness lines she represented. Her showroom was in a warehouse in Chicago’s garment district that had been converted to sales offices. I knew the first time meeting her she was special and a class act. Years later as I was putting together Interesting Humans I knew I wanted Helen to be a guest on the podcast. After connecting with her on Instagram and following her for a while, I was thinking that we would discuss her foray into fitness apparel and the challenges of being a sales rep during the coronavirus. Boy was I surprised when I found out her history. Not only was she an accomplished pianist as a child, she is the daughter to parents who survived the Holocaust. She recounts in our conversation how her parents were subjected to unreal hardship in one of the most notorious of death camps, Auschwitz, and both survived. She remembers the day at about five years old when she first learned about the Holocaust and how as time went on her parents and relatives opened up about the terrible suffering during that time and the losses of loved ones in the death camps. I see our conversation as a real life history lesson in the insights into her upbringing in the very close community in Chicago as well as some of the characters who played big roles in her life. And l loved listening to her talk about how the be-dazzled young woman she was started in sales with no order forms no idea of how to do sales to how she has weathered the ups and downs as a successful self-employed sales person for 35 years, much of the last half in the fickle fitness industry. LINKS: Helen on Facbook: Some of her top fitness lines: Alo: Wolven: Bella + Canvas: Thrive Société: Beach Riot: Website: Instagram:


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As New Year’s Eve turned to 2021, for the first time in a while I felt a real energy and excitement for a big period of growth. How about you? Are there things you are looking forward to? And speaking of, how are you doing on those New Year’s resolutions? Been working out at the gym to lose that extra 20 you’re carrying? Started that side hustle? Mended those fraught relationships with the Uncle who sits on the other side of the political fence. Mastered your finances and gotten out of debt? Yep, I thought so. Today’s guest, Krisstina Wise is a self-made multi-millionaire who has made it her life’s work to master money. After nearly losing her life in 2013 to catastrophic illness and spending almost half a million dollars to recover, Krisstina got out of her bed and made it her mission to inspire others to build extraordinary wealth and optimal health. Rising from a challenging childhood where she and her brother were essentially abandoned by her parents when she was 10, Krisstina rose to become one of the 100 Most influential Real Estate leaders in the country and has been recognized by Apple and Evernote for her creative leadership with emerging technologies. She is a go-to financial coach, author of Falling For Money, a top rated best selling “romance novel for your bank account", host of the Wealthy Wellthy podcast, and leader of Sovereignty Academy, an online money school that helps people get their arms around all things money for your household and your business. In our conversation, Krisstina opens the veil into her life from her childhood living with two alcoholic parents in a mobile home, going to school and being bullied for her life circumstances to the woman who grew into an overachieving Realtor with the material trappings of success: multiple cars with prestige nameplates, fancy homes and an extravagant lifestyle. It all came crashing down in 2013 when she was diagnosed with metal poisoning and a hormonal system that was shutting down. Her efforts to recover took her far and wide inside and outside of traditional and alternative medicine and half a million dollars to get well again. She emerged, like a phoenix, with a completely different perspective on what’s truly important in life. “I was in a very dark place,” she says. We cover how challenge builds character, how learning to love money is not idolizing currency itself but loving in the universal sense, how our spiritual lives connect our finances and our health, and how we can make deliberate choices to transform our lives around money and in every other aspect as well. Krisstina imparts wisdom for the soul, This is an important episode if you have mastering your life and your finances on your 2021 radar. Besides being a PhD in managing money, creating a business and teaching others, Krisstina is warm and open . Links: Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World Joseph Campbell, The Hero's Journey Twitter: @krisstinawise Instagram: @krisstinawise LinkedIn: Website: Instagram:


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"I love relationships. I like observing them. I like thinking about them. I like back in the olden days going to the coffee shop and sitting there with my coffee and my laptop pretending to write and watching people around me," today's guest, Liz Crowe, tells me. Liz Crowe is a novelist who has published more than 25 books with two more coming soon. Her focus is romance but before you put her in a box of stereotypical romance authors, you'll have to wait. Liz is a serious writer whose books push the parameters of conventional romance novels. As Liz says her characters get into "messy situations" and she's not into HEA, short for "Happily Ever After," which is most often a requirement of romance publishers. At the core of every novel she pens is this fascination with relationships and how the evolve--or don't--and how they affect people. For her writing process, Liz admits to being "a 100% died-in-the-wool 'pantser'." What is a 'pantser'? (You'll have to listen). Liz decided she wanted to write romance because she fell in love with the work of Charlaine Harris, who is especially known for Sookie Stackhouse series picked up for the HBO True Blood series. Liz’s characters are both snarky and humorous—much like she is--as well as authentic and, she admits, troublesome. In our conversation we discuss her craft, how she approaches creating the characters who populate her books, her writing process, some of her roadblocks and she offers advice for others who might want to start writing their own fiction. We also discuss how Liz got into writing and how her stints traveling from the States to Istanbul to Japan to London, helps inform her writing. We also discuss her love/hate relationship with horror giant Stephen King, who, while she hasn't loved everything he has written, is a "master of internal dialogue" of his characters and obviously well-loved the world over. Much like Stephen King and other authors in the horror genre, Liz says there are accomplished authors in romance who don't get credit for their mastery of storytelling and writing craft. Our conversation is a deeper dive into the process, the challenges, and the mindset of an authentic, original character who happens to be a published novelist on an upward trajectory. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Liz. Links: Firebrew Other writers Liz loves: Marian Keyes Olivia Dade Talia Hibbert Neil Gaiman Other mentions: Fermenta, Fermenta is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit trade group initiated by women, committed to education, networking, diversity, and empowerment within the fermented beverage and food industries. Annette May, Cicerone Liz on Instagram Liz on Facebook Intro/Outro Illuminate graciously provided by Wildes Website: Instagram:


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Hey everybody. How‘s it going out there? I truly mean that. It’s not just a rhetorical question. How is your health, particularly your mental health? Let’s be honest. These have been times for which there is no context. To date, there are more than 61 million coronavirus cases and more than 1.4 million deaths. In the US alone we’ve seen more than 13 million cases and just under 270,000 deaths. We are still in the Thanksgiving weekend and more than 3 million people travelled. Scientists are expecting a flurry of new coronavirus cases and deaths in the next three weeks due to people being exposed to the virus over this very weekend. Couple this with the political upheaval the past six months, particularly since the US election, and it’s no wonder people are feeling, well, mentally taxed. I don’t know about you guys, the collective weight of the coronavirus, the lockdowns and the political upheaval the past several months has taken its toll on my mental health. I articulated this impact on my mental health in an essay I wrote for my blog recently at I thought I was well prepared from an emotional standpoint to weather all of this stuff, you know, maintain a healthy distance from all the shenanigans going on in Washington and be disciplined enough to reap benefits of a more deliberate and slower life due to the lockdowns. But I was wrong. I see it all around me. Family, friends and colleagues are much more affected by everything going on than many of us anticipated. In fact, I suspect there will be deep and far-reaching impacts beyond the current president leaving office and the eventual demise of this virus. I’ve wanted to have someone on Interesting Humans who could intelligently talk to this specific thing—the potential long term mental health ramifications of political upheaval and the pandemic on all of us. With today’s guest, I got this and so much more. Diann Wingert is a mindset and productivity coach for female entrepreneurs who identify with the traits of ADHD, officially diagnosed or not. During her 20-year career as a licensed psychotherapist, Diann saw many brilliant and ambitious women struggle with unidentified ADHD, including Diann herself. Since her own mid-life diagnosis, she now mentors women who are “driven but distracted” to overcome procrastination, perfectionism, and people-pleasing so they can craft a life they love. We talk about how she helps women of significant talent and drive achieve their desired outcomes, and about how her podcast gives her a platform to talk about challenges that have come up both during her therapy past and her coaching present. In between Diann offers some nuggets that I hope might help you navigate your life, whatever challenges. Website: Podcast: Facebook: Instagram: Linked In: Freebies: 6 Steps to ADHD Mastery: Driven Woman Roadmap: https://www.diannwingertcoa Website: Instagram:


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So we had a pretty big event called over this past weekend. The US Presidential election was called on Saturday in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden. I don't know about you but the sense of relief and joy in our home was palpable. It's as if a dark cloud had been lifted on our spirits. Not it's time for the transition to a new administration. With all the weight of politics in the US the past six or seven months, I thought it would be pleasant to take a break. I don't know about you but this year has taken a toll on me psychologically. Today's guest is Artist Mia Risberg. Born in Sweden, Mia came to the US as a young adult. She attended Hunter College (NY) where she received a BA in Fine Arts. My conversation with Mia is a deeper dive in to the creativity of a painter. Mia likes to experiment with different formats, styles and mediums as a painter. She says it helps her keep a fresh perspective with when she translates works on a larger canvas to something smaller, like 6x6. Mia is a painter who also likes to investigate the nuances of a vision. She doesn't just do one painting and call it good. Mia says she likes to explore moments--Glimpses she calls them--in series of paintings. She currently is exploring a cache of photographs from her past and starting to paint from these. While she started out as an abstract painter, she says her work turned figurative as she mines emotions from scenes and memories. Mia and I talk not only about creativity in painting but also practical matters, like what the hell do you do with works in process and when finished--framing canvases, wiring, packing and storing. When you work for yourself as a creative you find out you need left brain and right brain skills. And she reveals she has a music playlist she likes to have on while she paints. We also discuss how the coronavirus has impacted working as a solo artist--she has some ideas about how the pandemic has affected the art world, including galleries--and what the future might hold.. Our conversation is a window into the world of a working creative: her focus, her challenges, her loves and her concerns. I hope you enjoy meeting Mia Risberg. Painting of George Floyd for Hatch Art (online exhibit): The Mandali Exhibit at the Ann Arbor District Library (curated by Mia Risberg): Call and Response, A Collaboration with photographer Jessica Chappe: Working with Artist Jennifer Pochinski Admiration for Artist Yakoi Kusama On Instagram: Facebook: Website: Instagram:


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SANDY RIGUZZI: The Blog as a Window to Understanding Life

On the surface, today’s guest, blogger Sandy Riguzzi, seems like a perfectly ordinary mom and grand mother from suburban New York. Yet the depth of her experience, which she mines as the source of her writing on Sunday Morning with Sandy, is anything but ordinary. Sandy is deeply reflective of the challenges she has faced growing up and raising five children. And from what I’ve seen she has faced plenty—abuse, disease, divorce, alcoholism and parenting a child with Down Syndrome. On her blog, she elevates the real day-to-day heartbreak and fears and the small victories of life to heart-felt, honest prose that feels like graceful literary commentary. In some ways, Sandy is the perfect model for my efforts in this podcast to get us all to notice, to raise our awareness of the extraordinary presence of ordinary people all around us. As I look back, Sandy is the most extraordinary of the extraordinary Interesting Humans who’ve been guests on this podcast. Our conversation is a lot like the transparency of her blog and I found it deeply refreshing and instructive and we talk about the ways one’s life experiences can feed our writing. With a matter-of-factness that you will realize is very authentic, Sandy discusses her unique writing process that sometimes has her staying up all night on Saturday just to hit publish on Sunday morning. She reveals how she approaches blogging about her own very personal struggles with abuse as a young girl and again at the hand of her second husband and how those struggles have deeply affected her relationships with men. And we cross over discussing blending experiences like her daughter’s COVID diagnosis, her eldest son’s substance abuse issues, embracing her ex-husband’s wife and daughter as her own family, and her joy in what she calls “the glue that holds this family together,” her son, Joe, who has Down Syndrome into blog posts. Her blog is her life. Though not much is out of bounds for her writing, Sandy says there are still some things she has chosen not to write about “until my kids are older, those will be in the book.” Frank, warm and engaging, Sandy is a thoughtful and wise conversationalist. I came away from our conversation with a respect for how she walks that tightrope of respecting the family she writes about and writing authentically. So grab a cup of coffee and go sit on your favorite chair and listen to my conversation with Sandy Riguzzi. Hope you enjoy today’s episode of Interesting Humans. Where to find Sandy: Web: Sunday Morning with Sandy Instagram: Sunday Morning With Sandy Facebook: Sunday Morning with Sandy Pinterest: Sunday Morning with Sandy One of my favorite posts from her blog: Website: Instagram: