Summerized Blog

Other stuff I should have blogged about sooner…

My sister and Michael got married this summer. The wedding took place on my parents property — a beautiful wooded hillside with views for miles. It was a gorgeous day, and everyone had fun, enjoying the wonderful quirkiness of their wedding. Boston terrier Rufus was one of the groomsmen. Brittany and Michael played paper rock scissors to decide who said vows first.

Everyone danced at the barn reception.

Dad got to show off progress on his Germanic chalet.

And Dan wore a praying mantis.

Jason and I went to Ireland briefly this summer too. We visited Newgrange, a Stone Age burial and religious site with Adam.

The swirling carvings on parts of the structure were very interesting. They may symbolize multiple things, including being an abstract map of the local geography.

Toward the end of the summer, we camped near Santa Cruz with Lisa and Wai, and several of their friends.

With that many foodies, there were lots of tasty things to eat, like Tom Yum chicken skewers, salmon grilled on a flavorful board, and sour plum filled rice balls.

Wai showed us where he surfs every weekend too.

Hawaii Big Island

This summer, we went to the Big Island of Hawaii for a week and a half. Can't believe I'm blogging about it this late, but here goes.

We stayed on the west coast, in Kailua Kona, in a mildewy apartment, with a courtyard suitable for a Filipino inmate new Michael Jackson routine. Fortunately there was a lot to keep us out of the apartment.

 

Tattooing services were offered below our apartment.

And the Islands' oldest church was next door.

Walking around town, we occasionally saw a small weasels running around. They are one of many invasive species on the islands. Regardless, they are cute.

Our favorite meals were at a hole in the wall restaurant called Rappa Nui (which is the Polynesian name for Easter Island). Run by a New Zealand ex-pat and his American wife, they served delicious Asian fusion food with strong Indonesian and Malaysian influence. Really good nasi goreng! And the limited dessert menu was inventive; we liked white chocolate truffles with wasabi and coconut.

It was fascinating how the island's climate varied from one area to the next. North of Kailua, there were lots of lava fields, like this one, with varying levels of vegetation, depending on when the lava had covered the land.

There were also several world class beaches north of Kailua. Sigh.

South of Kailua, the climate was jungle-like, with some of the world's best coffee plantations. This is where Kona coffee comes from. We drove through the verdant landscape to Kilauea Caldera, to see the famous volcano. Unfortunately, there was no lava that day. But the steaming crater was impressive nonetheless; you could feel its power.

Hiking through the jungle near the crater, one trail went through areas that had recently been covered by lava. It was stunning to see the contrast between lush jungle and moonscape lava field — you could literally stand with a foot in both.

The Big Island has a lot of historical Hawaiian sites as well. As we
toured the Place of Refuge, the ranger showed us how to play the
traditional Hawaiian nose flute. We loved his tour.

Diving off the Big Island was lovely. The waters are the calmest in the Hawaiian Islands, and it was nice not to deal with any chop. We saw some great underwater fauna, including a few nudibranches. The fried egg nudibranch looks like its namesake. Orange gumdrop nudibranch was my favorite.

A live conch about the size of my fist, had its pink mantle wrapped around the shell. Having only seen conch shells, I didn't recognize the live animal.

On a manta ray night dive, we hoped to see a herd of Volkswagen beetle sized manta rays gliding right above our heads. Unfortunately the mantas were elsewhere; at least we got to see one in the distance.

The daytime dolphin swim was more successful. We swam with a pod of about 50 wild dolphins for an hour and a half. Snorkeling in the clear deep water, they surrounded us. At times there were 10 in a row, swimming many feet below us, or three off to the side, or a mother and baby at the surface. Their staticky calls and R2D2 yips filled the water. I swam hard to be next to 3 of them, and was beside them for most of the minute, before I had to catch my breath. They were close enough that I could see little nicks and scratches in their skin. We didn't bother with pictures that day.

At one crowded public beach, we were immediately greeted by large green turtles, the minute we put our heads under water. Snorkeling in general was pretty great on the big Island. At another site we saw so many adult and baby puffer fish, several varieties of triggerfish, and many other fish.

I spent the last day at a calm little beach in town. Perfect.

Felt Cocoons and the High Line in New York

I went to New York for a couple of days last week. It was great to catch up with a few friends, see some exhibits, eat great food, and do a little shopping. We're really sorry we didn't get to see everyone; we're trying to see different people on each trip, as it's just impossible to see everyone we want to in a few days.

The Fashioning Felt show at the Cooper-Hewitt had some lovely pieces, including this cocoon-like installation. It's a great place to sit and decompress.

Walking around the lower East side, I was surprised to see lots of small galleries. And the southern part of the neighborhood is a lot more gentrified than I remember. Tea and pastry at Teany was tasty.

Isabel, Catherine and I watched Isa's a friend Brassy sing at Duane Park. She was quite good.

We were lucky enough to have a couple of delicious homemade meals at friends homes.

And we indulged in a few new culinary adventures, the most exciting of which was deep fat fried Oreos at Cafeteria. Recommended. Artisanal
bacon gravy at Char Number 4 in Carroll Gardens wasn't too shabby
either. And it was nice to check out the old neighborhood.

Dan and I went to the Model as Muse exhibit at the Met. He thought I should see all the fabulous mod fashions on display. He was right. I especially loved the planar mini-dresses constructed from sheet metal.

And the Roxy Paine installation on the roof was stunning. It's made out of regular old hardware store pipe, yet is so graceful. A combination of natural and artificial that reminded me of Terminator trees, it creates a great interplay of sky, people, park and New York skyline.

And we arrived just in time to see the newly opened High Line
park. The High Line started out as a very short elevated railway that
transported food and manufactured goods from factory to warehouse,
within Manhattan. It was abandoned in the 80s. When my friends and I
would gallery-hop in Chelsea, the High Line cut an eerie silhouette
against the night sky — an overpass carpeted in tall wild grasses
swaying in the breeze. I was always slightly tempted to climb up.

After much finagling by Friends of the High Line and others, the abandoned High Line was saved from destruction, and converted into a one-of-a-kind park, featuring wild flowers and plants growing amongst railroad tracks. The design team included Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The High Line stretches for blocks, giving you unique, gritty views of the city and the Hudson River. We really enjoyed walking along the park, and it made the Hudson feel ever so slightly like a Riviera. What an amazing achievement.

Thanksgiving

We had another Oregon Thanksgiving this year. Unsurprisingly, it was rainy and gray, but it was nice to see the fam. We finally saw Brittany and Michael's new house, which is charming and comfortable. Brittany needlepointed, Jason Blackberried, and Michael strummed. Lacking a conversation partner, I attempted to learn to crochet.

Michael's mom hosted dinner this year, and it was tasty.

Dad's been making lots of progress on his house. The first floor is now taking form.

Mom and I went to a local craft fair, and saw a woman spinning soft rabbit fur (not directly from the rabbit though). She also makes cat and dog yarn.

Oregon Weekend

I’ve truly neglected my blog in the last weeks… there’s been a lot to do on an online prototype Kat and I are building.

Several weekends ago, Jason and I visited my parents in Oregon, which was a fun, relaxing time. They plied us with delicious Swiss potato soup and pot roast.

My dad recently broke ground on the house he’s building, so we got to see the future foundation and basement. The house, which he calls Deerpath Lodge, will be fashioned after a Germanic chalet, and will use some European building components that are kind of like Lego bricks that slide over rebar. You pour cement into the cavities of the blocks, and it makes the wall truly solid.

The house will be located atop the hill, several hundred feet up from the existing house. Dad’s digger looked like a teaspoon, in relation to the size of the hole; it took him quite a while to dig it all out. The rock and clay that’s at the site is beautiful and kind of pliable, in shades of red, orange and yellow. It was interesting to see all the strata that was exposed.

Jason and I walked around the grounds some, and saw a cute spotted deer sproinging up the hill, and a yellow and black snake.

My high school friend Tonya and her family came to dinner on Saturday. It was fun to see how much her kids have grown.

And Mom and Dad took us to an indulgent brunch at a winery Sunday.