Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Trip to Hawaii

So a little more than a month ago now Scott, Jen, Paul, and I packed our bags and went on a week-long trip to Hawaii. We rented a car and stayed at a cute little rental home in Po'ipu, which is on the Southeastern side of Kauai....

Just down the road from our home were some beaches and a fantastic view of the ocean...

Every morning at around six, we were roused by sweet bird song....

The local wildlife had taken roost in our backyard. In fact, we're pretty sure it had taken roost in EVERYONE'S backyard.

Oftentimes, we gave up on the idea of sleeping in and decided to try to catch the sunrise over the ocean.... Apparently we were on the wrong side of the island for a fantastic sunrise view, but really we weren't about to complain.

After a day of relaxing and adjusting to the Hawaiian lifestyle, we decided to go on a road trip to see the Barking Sands. The road was washed out, so we went to Glass Beach and another beach that was less touristy. There I collected nuts that had been washed up by the ocean....

We caught a beautiful sunset while at this beach, but Jen has all the really great photos from it. I'll have to nag her for some of them. At any rate, Scott and I snuck off and cuddled on a log as we watched the sky turn bright red.

The next day we went hiking in the Na Pali mountains. It rained throughout most of the hike, but luckily the clouds managed to clear up just as we reached our destination...
The photo doesn't do it justice. The views were fantastic! We were very glad to have made it there and back before dark, as the trails got confusing at points.

One day we decided to drive up along the east coast to the north side of the island. We checked out a bird reservoir where the blue-footed boobies nested...

Here's a baby wedge-tailed shearwater...

AWWW! It's like a fluffy bunny, but with a beak!

After that we went to Secret Beach, which was surprisingly hard to find considering it's one those openly discussed and very popular secrets. After missing the correct turnoff and then having to push the car out of a ditch, we were relieved to discover that the trip had been worth all the effort....


What I particularly enjoyed about this beach was the fact that you had to hike through the woods to get to it.

While we were at the beach we found a coconut that had fallen from a tree. We could hear the juices when we shook it. Scott carried it all the way up the hill back to the car so that we could later enjoy the fruits of his labor. Mmmm. Fresh coconut....

It was getting to be later in the day when we made our way to Queen Anne's Bath. We hiked down to the ocean and climbed over some rocks. I was wearing a skirt and flip flops, which was not ideal. I like this picture Scott took. It looks like I'm dancing. More likely I was trying not to fall over.

This was along the hike to the bath...

The Queen's Bath was a place where the rocks carved out a little protected, pool-like space. The water in the bath was very clear. We could see fish swimming underneath us. We watched the sunset. It was very peaceful.

One evening we went to see a luau. The poor dancers got rained upon, but it made the performance very dramatic! Oh, and see the person on the far right? That's Scott!

(Just kidding... He's on the left.)

One of my favorite parts of the trip was when we went on a boat ride around the West Coast of the island.

We went into a few caves along the coast....

We saw some Spinner Dolphins (or, as Scott calls them, Sniper Dolphins). These are miniature dolphins that aren't very smart. They swam along with our boat for a while.

Apparently these little fellows have a very developed sonar sense such that when a pregnant woman is in the water, the dolphins can "see" the fetus. Unfortunately, the dolphins are also stupid, so they mistake it for a dolphin fetus and surround the woman to protect her. Any person who tries to approach the woman while she's surrounded will immediately regret it, apparently.

My favorite part of this boat trip was when we went snorkeling in an alcove where the sea turtles hang out. A large sea turtle rose to the surface for a breath right next to me. For a moment he just hovered there and looked me in the eye. Then another one came to the surface, and we swam side-by-side for a time.

These were the highlights of my trip. I hope you enjoyed glancing through them. Really, the most amazing views were the ones I beheld under the water. I wish I could share them with you! I have never snorkeled before, so it was a very eye-opening experience. I hope to do more in the future!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trips and Visits! - Mount Rainier Pics

Clearly, I have not updated my blog for some time. We had a very fun and active summer, with lots of family visits! First Scott's sister Angie and her family came to visit. Then Scott's mother and stepfather came up, and we went out to the Olympic National Park together. When my sister and Chuck came up to visit, we took the ferry to Bainbridge and checked out a very cute winery.

By the time Dad and Jody came to visit, Scott had his fancy-shmancy iphone. This proved to be very convenient, as he always has it with him and it takes some surprisingly good pictures! Scott and I drove down to meet Dad and Jody at Rainier National Park. Here are some photos from this camping trip. (Most of these pictures are from the Paradise Lodge/Summit, which had incredible views.)

There were beautiful wild flowers everywhere.

Me, posing in front of Mount Rainier on my way down from the tippy top!

A blurry pic of the troup. (Scott's holding the cam- er.. phone.)

Jody pauses to rest and admire the spectacular view.

This view reminds me of Vermont...

Powerful rushing waters such as these have recently flooded and damaged much of the land lining the rivers at Rainier. It's a powerful reminder that nature is as destructive as it is creative.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Kara's Exciting Weekend

I had an exciting weekend, and I simply had to share!

First of all, I chopped off my hair!

Second, I bought a snowboard! Didn't see that one coming did you? Well, neither did I! The story goes that Scott and I were browsing through the local thrift store when we happened upon what I thought was a really sweet-looking board. It had artwork that was reminiscent of "The Little Prince," my favorite book.

Since I've been wanting a snowboard for a few years now, I whimsically picked it up to see if it was the right size. It came up to my chin: just about the perfect size.

Then I looked, and in a rack nearby I saw some cute snowboarding boots!

They were size seven, but when I tried them on they didn't seem too loose. They were K2 boots; Scott informed me that this was a really good brand. I was slightly concerned because the board had traditional strap bindings whereas the boots were step-in, but I couldn't feel the metal bits at the bottom of the boot when I wore them strapped into the board, so I didn't think it was a problem. We called a friend of ours who had just bought a snowboard and boots, and he told us what to look for in a board. Apparently, this one was in good condition -- no huge gouges or anything along those lines. It was solid, yet flexible, and the bindings were in excellent shape.

It was a match made in heaven. Not only was everything in good condition and the right size, but I really LIKED the look of the board & boots. And here's the clincher: between the boots and the board I spent a grand sum of $25!

Thursday morning I will be taking my new board in to REI to be waxed, edge-sharpened, and adjusted. I think I will also get something to help my $10 K2 boots fit better. Apparently, there are devices such as "butterflies," "tongue pads," and "ankle straps" which will help keep my heel from slipping up when I'm on my tip-toes. Then this weekend we're hitting the slopes (and doubtless I'll spend most of the day on my butt)! Woopie!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Tonka Craze!

I know I've already posted about our kitty, but she's growing so fast, and I want to share all the pictures!

In the above picture you can almost see her beautiful, multicolored eyes. Her eyes are golden around the edge with emerald rings around the pupils. Here, I'll try to edit the photo so you can see better...

The shot below is also a nice one, though you can't see the green of her eyes as well because her pupils are so huge.

Kitty likes to pose in various cute locations. She particularly seems to like Scott's messenger bag:

We love our kitty!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tam Lin Performance 2008

Tada! Kara has learned how to create a podcast! Now I can post audio on this blog that you can listen to.

Above is a live recording of a performance that took place on February 26th, 2008. I was presenting a piece of mine called Tam Lin to the Seattle Chamber Music Society in hopes that they will incorporate it into one of their programs for children. This was a very casual event; there were more performers than audience members!

This piece musically delivers a celtic fairy tale, and I talk a little about the composition and structure of the piece before and after the performance. The entire piece is 20 minutes long and has six movements.

Flute: Wendy Wilhelmi
Cello: Paige Stockly Lerner
Piano: Hartwig Eichberg
Percussion: Denali Williams

I hope you enjoy the listening!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Kitty!!!!!!

Please forgive the pixely pictures -- I could not wait the length of time it takes our camera batteries to charge, and had to resort to using the computer camera. Introducing the newest family member of our household... TONKA!

She's giving you the squinty eye! ...Doesn't she kind of look like a little gray fox?

We adopted Tonka a week ago from Meow Cat Rescue. Her mother was abandoned while pregnant and gave birth at the shelter, so 6-month-old Tonka has spent her entire life in the shelter's care. I think this environment did her some good -- she seems really comfortable with new people. She fell asleep in my arms the first time I met her! Tonka follows us around the apartment and cuddles next to me on the bed. Her favorite places are in my closet (hiding in my clothes) and under the bathtub. Her favorite toy is the laser pointer -- She gets really excited whenever she hears the button for the laser click or hears the keychain jingle on the pointer. She loves having her belly scratched.

Belly shot!!

(Ain't she beautiful??)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Here are the much-awaited shots of the ocean that I promised a month ago:

Hi Andy!!

The Art of the Ocean

Ryan, Paul, and Alex did some rock climbing. I figured that the view of the beach was nice enough from where I stood....