Aloha, Mahalo

Returned from a week-long vacation on the Big Island of Hawaii, my husband’s wow-did-he-do-good surprise to take the sting out of turning 50. Thankfully, we missed the earthquake, the hurricane, and the tsuname warnings. He was most disappointed not to see lava flowing when we stayed overnight at the only hotel inside the Volcanoes National Park, but steaming craters were quite exciting enough for me.

Unbelievable, though, was this “autograph” tree near one of the waterfalls, where grafitti has been condoned at a new level of tackiness… I guess scratching one’s name into a rubbery leaf has become an integral component of hiking and sightseeing. It just left me scratching my head.

During one of our day hikes, we spotted this tree. Don’t these roots look astoundingly like giant versions of a certain male protruberance? Even my husband was rather awed by their stiffness and “hairy”ness:

While we’re on the subject of awe-inspiring sights, it has been many years since I last saw a night sky as filled with stars and a staggeringly clear view of the Milky Way. In our rental convertible (Was that ever fun!) we could tilt the seats all the way back and star-gaze into the seemingly infinite heavens.

Most of the island seemed incredibly unspoiled and non-touristy compared to a visit we made some years ago to Oahu. We swam in clear ocean water on white sand beaches, ate fresh fish, hiked through rain forests filled with flowering ginger:

And amazing orchids clinging to and growing out of the rain forest trees like the epiphytes they are meant to be:

And these gigantic, prehistoric-looking fern:

We ate ever more fresh fish, hiked to 800 foot waterfalls, ate still more fresh fish, and hiked across a volcano crater that was as desolate and parched as a moonscape:

In the course of the week, we drove around the entire island, stopping in whichever little town caught our fancy along the way. It has been a very long time since I last felt so relaxed.

Maybe others are already aware of them, but I’d never seen a gecko up close before, and damned if they aren’t the cutest little critters! Kind of wish I had suction pads on the soles of my feet like they do.

I gotta ask, however, what’s the big deal about Kona coffee? Feh. Did nothing for me. I’ll take a good strong cup of french roast any day.

Returned home to the Attack of the Killer Pear Tree, which keeps hurling ripening pears onto my head whenever I pass by, kind of like those nasty apple trees in The Wizard of Oz. To get back at it, I’ve made pear jam with figs and ginger, as well as many giftable jars of pears Belle Helene (thinly sliced pears with orange and lemon zest and juice, cooked down with 70% super-dark bittersweet chocolate into a saucy jam the consistency of edible velvet). And pear tarts, and pear butter. Not to mention eating them fresh off the tree, sliced into wedges onto which liberal dabs of blue cheese are applied before they end up in my mouth… Yum!

So did I knit, you ask? Well, yes, but nothing I can show off yet. Especially since I, who should certainly know better, ran out of a particular yarn in mid-project. Decided at the last minute to use the yarn for a scarf that is three inches wider than the one I’d originally intended to make, and that was all it took. Now I have to wait until my LYS gets it back in, which they have assured me will happen the first week of September. And since it is a Mountain Colors yarn, I don’t expect there to be any dye lot consistency anyway. The perfect excuse to start another project. As if I needed an excuse!

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