First Podcast Ever


Here is the link  for my first podcast, which is about the vacation we took in February 2014 to Maui.


Transcript and Show Notes:

Hi this is Kathy and this is a podcast about our awesome Maui vacation. We were there for 10 days in February, 2014.

We got up early one morning (2:30 a.m.) to drive approximately 2 hours to the Haleakala to view the sunrise. What a crazy thing to do, right, getting up at that unholy hour on our vacation to look at a sunrise? Well, it was worth it.

The Haleakala Crater is almost 11,000 feet above sea level. According to, Haleakala means “house of the sun” and, legend has it that the demigod Maui lassoed the sun from its journey across the sky as he stood on the volcano’s summit, slowing its descent to make the day last even longer.

We arrived at our destination about 4:30 a.m. and had about an hour wait before first light. We were above the clouds The sunrise was absolutely spectacular. What a treat to see it at almost 11,000 feet! To see it rise above the clouds was stunning. Rarely, even in Calgary with our proximity to the mountains, would we have an opportunity to view a sunrise at that height, unless one was traveling by airplane.  My husband and I both took plenty of pictures and got some great shots. My favorite shot was of a bank of clouds, pillowy softness.

Boy though was it cold. We’d been warned of the cold in advance by friends of ours who’d gone the previous year. Packing winter clothes for a tropical vacation struck me as somewhat ironic, but pack them we did, and were grateful to have them. Despite wearing three layers on top and two on the bottom as well as gloves and a hat, I was freezing.  Heck, I thought, I’m from Calgary, I know cold. I shivered uncontrollably as the wind and humidity sliced through all my layers.

After the sunrise, we meandered down the volcano to have our second breakfast. Then, on to the Lavender farm where there are several species of lavender growing there. The lavender was just starting to bloom and the air was slightly fragrant. We wondered around for about an hour. There were other local species of flowers growing and I took many pictures.

We eventually made our way back to our condo after lunch and took a nap.

We took a snorkel trip on a catamaran with a group of folks to the Island of Molokini. There were not many fish in the area; however, we were very privileged to see several humpback whales, including a baby humpback whale with its mom. The captain spotted these whales well enough in advance to cut the engine on the boat and we coasted close to them. He cautioned us to be very quiet, saying this is a rare opportunity. We watched in silence (except for the clicking of the cameras) as mom and baby loped along just ahead of our boat.

We actually saw quite a few whales as our condo was located right on the ocean. One day, my husband even spotted sea turtles hanging out.

My husband and I love coffee. We enjoyed samples at a tasting at Maui Grown Coffee in Lahaina. As the name implies, this is locally grown coffee. Another highlight was our self directed coffee farm tour at kanaapali coffee farms. Coffee bushes were in bloom and the air was fragrant. We parked the car and walked over to a treehouse-style lookout where we could survey the entire region, right down to the ocean. According to kanaapali coffee farms website, this land used to be a sugar cane plantation. Now it is comprised of smaller coffee farms. When Ka‘anapali Coffee Farms was started, four varieties of coffee were identified that grew well on Maui and produced a high quality bean.

You can own a piece of this coffee farm paradise. 4 – 7 acre parcels are available. Coffee is grown on your land but you won’t have to lift a finger – local farmers grow, harvest and market the coffee grown. With the cheapest lot listed for $560,000, as awesome as this sounds, it’s not going to be part of our paradise anytime soon unfortunately.

Our vacation also included beach time, great local food, wonderful jazz at a piano bar in Wailea, and several trips to buy shaved ice – a lovely refreshing concoction of ice and flavored syrup.

Hope you enjoyed some of the highlights of our vacation. Thanks for listening.


Sources and credits:

Music track from:

Magazine World

Taken outside Granum, Alberta

I’ve decided I want to live in Magazine World.

It’s a parallel universe where, apparently, everyone takes the whole summer off to vacation at the cottage, can afford expensive items for their homes – vacation or otherwise – such as a $200 IPOD Toilet Tissue holder, buy designer clothing, and host fabulous – and catered – parties.

Reality Check

20% of North Americans either don’t take  vacations or use all their vacation time.  In part because we (Canadian and Americans) receive the fewest paid vacation days per year in the world at approximately 10 days, respectively and also in part because of fears of job security.    By contrast, the Danes receive 31 vacation days per year. [Denmark is a very enlightened country!] [vacation statistics from]

Of the North Americans that do take their vacation days, some spend their vacation days in such restful pursuits as visiting family members or completing the ‘honey-do’ list.  Others spend the “vacation” “working from home” – and in this case, a change is not as good as a rest.

Oh and that cottage Magazine World talks about?  A mere 9% of Canadians own cottages according to one source.

This lovely angel tops our tree at Christmas

But no time of year is more glorious and storybook-like in Magazine World than Christmas.  In Magazine World, everyone has a wonderful family and spends the month of December merrily going from fabulous party to fabulous party and has the halls decked to look like the cover of a magazine.  The only problems in Magazine World’s Christmas are how to manage your hangover and keep off those holiday pounds.

While it’s a myth that suicide rates increase at Christmas (in fact, statistically suicide rates decrease in December, nonetheless, Christmas can be and is a very stressful time for a great deal of people.  Loneliness, depression, financial strain, family conflict and alcohol abuse can all intensify at Christmastime.

To make it through December relatively unscathed, the Center for Suicide Prevention in Calgary, Alberta, Canada has these tips:

  • Plan to take time to identify your feelings about Christmas.
  • Be realistic; look at what you can afford to give (for tips, see:
  • Choose to celebrate with people who make you feel positive and hopeful (for many of us that would exclude, rather than include, family members and in-laws).
  • Let go of your expectations and make time for what is important to you.

Or, you could move into Magazine World….

Covered Bridges and Lighthouses: A Fascinating Part of the Pacific Northwest

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In 2004, we travelled with our 5th wheel to Washington and Oregon, going as far south as the Dunes area near Florence, Oregon.

Part of our trip included a visit to some of Oregon’s covered bridges and lighthouses.  There are 50 covered bridges in Oregon and 12 lighthouses.  Near Cottage Grove, we saw the Mosby Creek Bridge, which is Lane County’s oldest bridge.  Built in 1920 for $4,125.00, it was named for pioneer David Mosby who arrived in the area in 1853 and claimed 1,600 acres near Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Mosby Creek Covered Bridge

The Currin Bridge, pictured below, was also named for an early pioneer family in the area and is also known as the Row River Bridge because it crosses the Row River.  Built in 1883 by Nels Roney for a total cost $1,935, the bridge was replaced in 1925. County employees re–built it for $4,205 saving taxpayers $2,495 [the lowest outside bid was $6,250].

Design elements for the Currin Bridge include single-piece hand hewn chords, cross-wise planking on the approaches, and a corrugated metal roof.

We also toured lighthouses in both Washington and Oregon.  The Yaquina Bay lighthouse located near Newport, Oregon, is pictured below:

From “The story of the lighthouse began in 1871 when Yaquina Bay was a bustling port, the most populated along the West Coast between San Francisco and the Puget Sound. The Lighthouse Board determined there was a need for a lighthouse to guide traffic into the bay and in April 1871, 36 acres were purchased at the north entrance of the bay from Lester and Sophrina Baldwin, original homesteaders, for $500 in gold.”

Newport, Oregon is located on the Central Coast of Oregon and is a charming town, with many attractions including the Oregon Coast Aquarium.   It has numerous shops, restaurants, accommodations to suit every budget and taste and miles of sandy beaches.

Yaquina Bay Bridge: This masterpiece and Oregon coast landmark was designed by Conde B. McCullough – one of numerous functional and beautiful bridges he designed in Oregon in the 1920’s and 30’s. The bridge is at the south part of Newport, Oregon on US Highway 101. []

For driving directions and maps, visit:

We also made a stop in Port Townsend, Washington.  Port Townsend is a historical town situated at the northeast tip of the Quimper Penisula. It is an artist’s hangout and boasts many art galleries. Many boatbuilders making their living there due to its active marina.

Port Townsend has numerous choices for accommodation ranging from camping right on the beach to private home-style vacation rentals and everything in between, including a hostel.  The Fort Worden State Park has two campgrounds, the upper campground and the beach campground.  The upper campground has 30 water and electrical sites (and a dumping station); the beach campground has 50 full service sites.  Non-serviced sites are also available at both campgrounds and each campground has showers and restrooms.   source:

Port Townsend hosts a jazz workshop every summer and musicians play all week at the various clubs and bars in Port Townsend.

For maps, driving directions and more, see:

The Point Wilson lighthouse [left] is located at the Fort Worden State Park.  It was built in 1913 and is a working lighthouse.  Fully automated in 1976, it is run by the Coast Guard from Port Angeles.  Tours are available from May to September on Saturdays from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

For more information on lighthouses in the Pacific Northwest, visit:

Pictures courtesy Randy Dueck.

Covered Bridge statistics from
©2008 Kathy Dueck and Big Noise Writing