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Sunday, September 30, 2018


Aloha Everyone,
Karin from Seattle in her recent email mentioned that she and her boyfriend went to Kona on staycation and met her mother from Honolulu. Cleverly meshing words “stay" and "vacation" staycation refers to a period in which an individual or family stays home and participates in leisure activities. Often people take staycation within driving distance of their home and no overnight accommodations is required.  
In the UK, staycation refers to a holiday spent in one's home country rather than going abroad. Further research indicate that staycations achieved popularity in the U.S. during the 2007-2010 financial crisis.  
Whether you reside in a big city or small rural communities, there are activities single person, a couple or family can engage in with little or no costs. You will be surprised to find out some of the natural attractions only a couple of hours away from your home. Have a happy staycation!
Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Managing an RV Park

Aloha Everyone,

Over casual lunch at Lupita’s, Gail discussed about what it takes to run her Red Ledge RV Park.  

She wears multiple hats: takes care of finance, maintenance, office work, booking clients and paying taxes. When called for, Gail will tackle light repair & construction on her property. As with other tourism related businesses, Gail monitors weather and economic trend that could adversely affect her bottom line.

Prior to getting involved in managing the RV park, Gail has owned and managed other small companies. She told us that running your business means you have to work with no real time limit and put in long hours. Sometimes her phone would ring at midnight. The caller is making a reservation.

Interesting information Gail shared with us is the shifting clientele profile. She used to see snowbirds passing Kanarraville on their way South and again on their return trip North. But now, she is noticing an increase of weekenders. People who like to get away from the heat of Las Vegas, for example, arrive Friday afternoon and stay for a couple of days to enjoy the outdoor activities of hiking or biking. They love making bonfires and sleep in tents.

Gail’s greatest pleasure is planting and gardening. She has been cultivating attractive miniature gardens for herself and for her guests to enjoy.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Nature's Castles & Fortresses

Aloha Everyone,

Travelers to Europe or United Kingdom will undoubtedly see hillside castles and fortresses. You might catch a glimpse of it as your fast train or bus speeds by the fortification.

Sometimes it is a large building as in Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany and others are a group of buildings fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements, towers protected by a moat, river or the sea.

United States does not have European style fortifications. But as J.J. and I travel the southwest of the country, we are delighted and impressed in seeing nature’s castles and fortresses. Please enjoy.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Capitol Reef National Park

Aloha Everyone,

One of the renowned features of Capitol Reef National Park is a long wrinkle in the earth known as the Waterpocket Fold. Layers and layers of orange, gold, tangerine, amber, vermillion and russet color sandstones rising high against turquoise colored sky is sure to inspire artists, poets, writers and yes, iPhone photographers.  

Every canyon and rock formation is unique. J.J. made several stops at turnarounds on the main road so I can capture some unforgettable images.

White sandstone domes are what inspired the “Capitol” portion of the park’s name.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument

Aloha Everyone,

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument encompasses spectacular cliffs and terraces across the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau. For geologists and archeologists the area offers the opportunity to study and explore monoliths, slot canyons, natural bridges, and arches.

For biologists, paleontologist and historians and those of us who are curious about the world we live in, the monument offers opportunities for exploration.

Except for a Highway 12 that connects Bryce Canyon National Park and Capitol Reef National Park, and Highway 89, there are no public roads within the Monument. This is an unspoiled western frontier left for those who love hiking, backpacking and exploring on foot. What the Monument offers is a place for solitude and quiet reflection.

The name Escalante comes from the Escalante River which in turn took its name after Silvestre Vélez de Escalante, a Franciscan missionary and the first known European explorer of the region. Historical accounts referred to as the Dominguez-Escalante Expedition, Escalante and his party became the first white men to enter Utah.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is under the umbrella of The Bureau of Land Management.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, September 24, 2018

To Bryce Canyon National Park Via State Route 14

Aloha Everyone,

After purchasing provisions in Cedar City, we took State Route 14 towards Bryce Canyon National Park. It was a 40 miles drive on Route 14 before we switched to Highway 89. The mountain road is steep and winding, but it is also scenic with many photo opportunities. Forests of Aspen wearing fall colors as we approached the Markagunt Plateau were absolutely breathtaking.

The two of us had a roadside picnic lunch overlooking Navajo Lake, a small reservoir in northwestern Kane County in southern Utah. At 10,000 ft elevation, air was cool and conducive for J.J. to take a brief nap. My lunch was primarily salad while I added large cooked shrimps for J.J.

KOA Cannonville is located about 15 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park. We are happy to be able to find a site for Honu surrounded by a stunning desert canyon.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Steve, a Vegan Extraordinaire

Aloha Everyone,

J.J. and I met Steve at the Red Ledge RV Park. From his large frame, it is easy to surmise Steve as an all-American meat and potato man. The surprising fact is Steve is a vegan. In his own word, Steve became vegetarian 27 years ago and for the past 7 years, he has been a consistent vegan.

A vegan does not eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs or dairy products. Steve’s daily diet consists of 2 ounces of peanuts for breakfast. That is sufficient to give him energy for his morning work out that includes lifting weights, working on abs, biceps, triceps, leg and back. Steve has modified exercise machines to suit his own requirements.

Stretches is followed by a long walk during midday to take advantage of natural vitamin D from the sun’s UVB rays.

Steve’s lunch is a salad consisting of kale, red cabbage, red pepper, onion, and carrot. His dinner is a can of beans and a can of corn. He does not consume coffee, but drinks weak tea.

Since adopting the vegan diet, Steve told me that he is happier and healthier.

Interested in history and politics, Steve stays away from television, internet and smart phone. He is an avid reader and passionate conversationalist. Finally, I consider Steve extraordinary because of what he carries in his wallet: a fading copy of the Ten Commandments and an equally worn out copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. He reads both on a regular basis.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Dangal, Bollywood Movie

Aloha Everyone,

Our son Jeff is a high school Social Studies teacher. He has started his own tradition of hosting students one Saturday per quarter for pizza and a movie. The students need to obtain written permission from their parents or guardians.  

The first time Jeff began this tradition, the Principal was astonished to learn that over 50 of Jeff’s students would show up to spend about 4 hours in his classroom. His students receive extra credit for showing up. It is also a novel way for students to spend a Saturday evening with their peers.

Jeff carefully chooses one of the popular Bollywood* films.  Bollywood is a commonly used word for movies produced in India. The term combines Bombay and Hollywood.

For today, his choice was Dangal, the highest grossing Indian film. The title is a Hindi word used for wrestling competition. Per my conversation with Jeff, he stated that the film really is about life, family, responsibility, respect, human kindness and relationship all of which his students can relate to even though the story takes place in India.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, September 21, 2018

Lupita’s Mexican Restaurant

Aloha Everyone,

This morning J.J. and I went to Intermountain Hospital Cedar City to get our lab works done. Since we had fasted for 12 hours, we asked the hospital guest relations officer if she could recommend a good restaurant. She suggested Lupita’s Restaurant.

Lupita, is a nickname for Our Lady of Guadalupe a.k.a. the Virgin of Guadalupe. According to tradition, Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec convert to Christianity. She appeared twice requesting that a shrine to be built for her on Tepeyac Hill. When proof was demanded by the bishop, Juan Diego was was told by the apparition to bring roses from a nearby field. This was during the winter when flowers don’t grow. During the second audience with the bishop, Juan Diego opened his cloak and dozens of roses fell to the floor revealing the image of Mary imprinted on the inside of the cloak.

Our server Mela:

The Basílica of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world, and the world's third most-visited sacred site. (We are planning a future trip to Mexico City and this Basilica is on our bucket list.)

J.J. and I enjoyed our very late breakfast appreciating the ambiance of this place. Through posters in the wall, we also learned that Lupita’s is used as a venue by Cedar City Police Department for a Christmas fundraising called “Tip a Cup for Children.”

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ban of Plastic Bags & Straws in California

Aloha Everyone,

When J.J. and I are in California, I remain extra conscientious about carrying reusable shopping bags to supermarkets. In 2014, California banned free single-use plastic bags. While I applaud our daughter-in-law carrying reusable bags for all her shopping, how many people are as diligent? According to a report released in 2017 from the academic journal Science Advances, as of 2015, only 9% of plastics was being recycled, 12% was being incinerated and the other 79% was ending up in the environment.  Stores will sell you reusable plastic bag for 10 to 25 cents.

California Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that bans full-service restaurants in the state from handing out single-use plastic straws to customers. There is a caveat. If a customer asks for one, they still give out plastic straws.
Even before Governor Brown signed the bill, our granddaughter encouraged us to stop using plastic straw. I believe she was affected by the video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw up its nostril. The video went viral circa July of this year and made many of us rethink about the disposable plastic items we use on a daily basis.
Even many of our clothes are made of plastic.  We must carefully read the labels and whenever possible, choose natural fibers. Each one of us should be more cognizant and mindful that simply washing them can pollute the oceans.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Dash, Poem by Linda Ellis

Aloha Everyone,

This is an inspirational poem. Basic gist is: “It's not the date you were born, or the date you died that really matters. It's "the dash" between those years and what you do with it that counts.”

In 1996, an announcer read Linda's Ellis's poem “The Dash” aloud on a syndicated radio program. As a result, it became an instant, overnight success.

Many spiritual leaders have been preaching the same profound message for eons. Perhaps it is the simplicity of her message that reached and still impacting worldwide audience.

I am truly grateful that significant section of my dash is being spent with J.J.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant

Aloha Everyone,

The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant traces its humble beginning to a small cozy restaurant in Maitland, Florida. 

Today, it is a franchise operation in 34 states with 141 restaurant. (From the company website) The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant also has expanded to 1 in Canada, 1 in Mexico and 1 in Qatar.

Tracing its origin to Switzerland, fondue is a dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot. Traditionally, fondue is eaten by dipping small pieces of hard bread into the heated cheese using long-stemmed forks.

The Melting Pot Fondue Restaurant has elevated the stature of fondue from what J.J. and I enjoyed at casual farming community dining in Switzerland to a special occasion theme restaurant in the United States.

We began with bread and fruits dishes followed by salad, individual choices of a main dish which included a selection of meat, fish or vegetarian. The finale is dessert which our granddaughter said is the highlight and we would absolutely agree it was the best part. Our son mentioned that when they have out-of-town visitors, this is where they take them.

With our attentive server, Nick from San Francisco, it was truly a memorable evening and also a delightful way to celebrate our 47th anniversary.

Aloha -- Cathi