Tuesday, September 2, 2008

how i spent my summer vacation, and what i'm doing now

[This is a long post, people. I tried to cut it down but, well, you'll see.]

For the past decade or more, Camden's family made a habit of converging in San Diego every summer to spend time together as a large, boisterous, jovial unit. The first time I went with him we carpooled with his cousins, all classic American road trip, griping over the price of gas ($3.15 a gallon, I think - it seems so quaint now) and listening to painstakingly crafted mix CDs and stopping to get tacos from the ubiquitous white aluminum trucks parked at every rest stop in Southern California. It's always fun.

This year, though, they decided to change the destination.

The first thing that struck me about Kauai, other than the heat and how white everyone's teeth looked because everyone was so freaking tan, is how fantastically green it is. California is a pretty, fertile state but it is by no means tropical. I didn't even really comprehend what that really means, "tropical." Kauai is "tropical," as in "paradise," as in "jokingly planting a watermelon seed in the lawn after dinner and seeing that it's sprouted two days later," as in "they filmed Jurassic Park here." (And rightly so, judging from the size of some of the bugs that appeared around the house during the night.)

The house we stayed in, a historic estate whose foundations date back to the 1800s, was a holiday all on its own. The kitchen was gorgeous - almost bigger than the entirety of my apartment - with a powerful Viking range and two dishwashers (oh, the luxury of having a dishwasher, I miss it sorely now that we live without one) and Camden's family is a family of cooks and adventurous eaters, so believe me when I say we took full advantage of the amenities. The porch wrapped around three sides of the house so you could watch the sun set over the expansive, meticulous lawn.

Oh, did I mention the house was right across the street from the ocean?

After a couple days my schedule was as follows:

6am: Wake up. (I woke up obscenely early more often than not, partly out of fear of squandering the time we had and partly because there are feral chickens all over the island that all seem to wake up around six. Except for the handful that crowed spottily throughout the afternoon, presumably after rooting around in someone's garbage so long they thought it was a new day by the time they emerged.)

8am: Go off for some big adventure. (Memorably, this included my first snorkeling experience, which was basically the best Snorkeling 101 any novice could have had. We saw three different kinds of eels, almost every variety of tropical fish native to the island, and AN ENDANGERED GIANT SEA TURTLE. It basically could only have been better if we saw a mermaid.)

Noon: Beach on the beach.

1pm: Lunch.

2pm: Go into town for some shaved ice.

3pm: Adventure and/or beach.

6pm: Dinner.

10pm: (Yes, dinner often lasted that long) Keel over and await the next day in Eden.

Oh, and all the bedrooms were beautifully furnished. I admit, I ended up choosing our bedroom despite its lack of privacy partly for the antique globes and maps displayed all over the walls. I'm kicking myself for not getting any pictures - I suppose it'll have to wait til next time.

So: what am I doing now?

Knitting and cooking, mostly. In another installment of biting-off-more-than-I-can-chew I've decided to try making all my holiday gifts this year, so I've already started testing patterns and recipes. Even though it's still unseasonably warm in my neck of the woods I'm feeling the holidays pretty hard already.

Also, I've been working.

Until October 20th (when all my transfer applications and financial aid forms are due, more or less) I've been taking little steps - one silhouette here or there, working in sketchbooks but leaving more ambitious projects for later - so I'm hoping I'll be able to just let go once all my paperwork is in.

Sorry for the grainy picture - this is an unfinished and long overdue piece for a family friend. As I mentioned before my scanner doesn't synch up with my new laptop, so until I can afford a new one it's going to be lots of blurry closeups, alas. I've been trying to use more negative space in my silhouettes, which has largely been facilitated by the purchase of a swiveling Exacto knife. Modern technology, I tell you.


  1. Thank you! I actually just visited your blog, your photography is lovely.

  2. This is a long way past when you posted, but I had to write! A. Beautiful work. B. Isn't Kaui incredible! I went there a few years ago and still think its the most amazing place I have ever seen. Thanks for the art and tropical memory!