Favorite Five: Podcasts: Part 1

I am always behind when it comes to new technology. (I’ve only been on twitter for about a year.)  When my husband started using the word “podcast” in our everyday conversations I had no idea what he was talking about. And because apparently I tune out what I don’t know, for a long time I didn’t even ask.

However, when we started traveling and were facing eight to nine hours of driving a day he brought them up as a way to pass time.  I enjoy talk radio such as This American Life so I took him up on his suggestion.  After four or five hours of driving, multiple stops, missed exits, and miss-read maps, our conversations tended to become contentious. That is when we would turn on a podcast and calm and order would be restored.

My husband helped me find a few to start listening to and pretty soon I was hooked. Nowadays I listen to podcasts almost everyday. I can listen to something humorous if I need a laugh or distraction while I am working out, I can catch up on current events when I don’t have time to sit in front of the TV or I can listen to food podcasts while I am making dinner; they are so easy incorporate into your day.

Here are my favorite podcasts and some of my favorite episodes. Since it is hard to do all of that and keep it short I’ve decided to make this a two-part Favorite Five post.

Here they are; as always, these are in no particular order.





Stuff You Missed in History Class

This was the first podcast I listened to. My husband was wise to suggest it as I love history. Its been around since 2008 and I enjoyed it so much I went back to the beginning and have listened to all of the episodes.

History was my favorite subject in school but textbooks can only cover so much and I was left wanting more. This was back before the internet and sometimes it could be hard to find additional information on a particular subject. This podcast is just what I needed back then. Sometimes it covers something you have never heard of; other times it discusses events you have heard of but didn’t really know the particulars on. I especially enjoy the podcasts about historical figures because the hosts give you information on who the person was, not just the important thing they did.

Here are some of my favorite episodes.

Polio: The Dread Disease. My grandmother, who is 95 and still kicking, had polio has a young child. She told me she can still remember waking up one morning and not being able to walk.  As the illness continued her father began massaging her legs every day. She said she doesn’t know if it really did anything but she felt like it helped. Her family was very poor and couldn’t afford professional medical care so I imagine her father felt like he had to do something and massaging her limbs was the one thing that he thought of that kind of made sense. She ended up fully recovering but has had a few health issues later in life that link back to her struggle with polio.

Because of her experience I’m always interested in learning more about polio. This podcast did a great job of explaining how it started and spread and what it was like to live through this outbreak.

The Christmas Truce. This podcast is one of my favorites because it covers one of my favorite stories from history. I love the idea that in the thick of war people could still find some Christmas spirit. If you don’t know what I am talking about listen to the podcast! Maybe while sitting in front of your Christmas tree, sipping hot cocoa.

The House of Worth and the Birth of Haute Couture. I love Victorian clothing and it doesn’t get much more Victorian than the House of Worth. Do yourself a favor and Google “Charles Worth” and look at some of the images. I seen some of his gowns in museums but didn’t know much about him or how he got started. This man was a much bigger part of fashion history than I realized.





Death, Sex and Money

I enjoy the frankness of this podcast. The host, Anna Sale, interviews all kind of people about all kinds of things but mostly, as the title suggests, she covers death, sex, and money. Here are some of my favorites:

Living Alone and Liking It. Sometimes.

Sometimes she asks us, the audience, to email or call in with a personal story for an upcoming podcast. This time it was about people living alone; some are loving it, others not so much. It brought me back to my 20s when I almost always was living alone, and pretty much loving it.  Even after moving in with my husband I was still on my own a lot, even at night because he was working as a paramedic. I enjoyed the memories this podcast brought back and it made me appreciate my current situation even more.

I Love You but There’s This Money Thing

Money can be a very contentious topic to bring up in a relationship. My husband and I don’t argue much but when we do it is usually about finances. If you and your partner aren’t on the same page regarding money, spending, and saving you are doomed. That may seem overly dramatic but you will have issues if you don’t figure that out. I enjoyed this podcast because she was able to find some humor and levity in a serious subject. She emphasizes that while not the most romantic topic, its a topic that needs to be discussed.

This Senator Saved My Love Life

A young couple, separated by distance, is brought back together with the help of a Senator. Sounds strange but it is a lovely, heart warming story and I hope you listen to it. The older couple speaks about love and life with a frankness and wisdom that only comes with age. I think that our society does itself a disservice when we collectively ignore older people. If you are willing to listen you almost always will learn something from them. They aren’t perfect, and do not pretend to be but they are not afraid to say what they think, and why they think that way. I love hearing another generation’s opinion on life.

Next week I will have the other three, along with my favorite foodie podcasts. I hope you take a minute and listen to a few of these. Let me know what you think!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! Stay warm!












Key West: The Historic Side

A lot of the older homes have been turned into businesses in Key West.

A lot of the older homes have been turned into businesses in Key West.

When you walk down the streets of Key West you are surrounded by history. Key West has a varied and fascinating history and although a lot of the island seems to cater to the partiers you can still find a interesting historical buildings and tours which is a nice break from all the partying.

Almost everyone who visits Key West stops by the Hemingway Home. At least it felt that way the day we were there. He’s famous, his house is famous but I didn’t really enjoy it that much.  I always feel like something is lacking when I have to fight masses of people just to look in a room. By far my favorite part of the tour were the polydactyl cats. But then again I love cats so not much a stretch there.

Sleeping Hemmingway kitty.

Sleeping Hemmingway kitty.



There's an extra toe there!

There’s an extra toe there!

My favourite historic place we went to was the Audubon House. First of all we were the only people in there for most of the time we were there. Also, it was air conditioned. But, historically it was a beautiful and interesting house and had lovely grounds. I loved learning about the family that had built it and their connection to John James Audubon. They had a lot of the original furnishings on display that give you a glimpse of life in Key West in the 1800’s.

One of Mr. Audubon's pieces.

One of Mr. Audubon’s pieces.

Side view of the Audubon House. The plants are so big its hard to get a good picture!

Side view of the Audubon House. The plants are so big its hard to get a good picture! I can almost feel the warmth of the sun in this picture.

My husband and I also walked around the Key West Cemetery. There are a lot of interesting gravesites there. Be forwarned there isn’t much shade so visiting it in the middle of the afternoon (like we did) will definitely shorten your exploring. I would love to go back in the morning when its cooler and have a longer look.


A cemetery rooster. Roosters and chickens were everywhere on the island.

A cemetery rooster. Roosters and chickens were everywhere on the island.

There are a lot of above-ground vaults due to flooding during hurricane season.

There are a lot of above-ground vaults due to flooding during hurricane season.


Lastly we went on a Ghost Tour. I realize that might not necessarily seem “historical” to some people but this one was. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a bit about Key West’s past and be entertained. It also was nice to be driven around to areas you might not see when you are just driving/walking to Duvall street. It was fun, educational and not very scary so it was right up my alley.

Overall I would suggest taking an afternoon away from the bars and get to know the historical side of Key West. After all, its past is what makes it what it is today!

Hope you all are having a good weekend!