The feeling of a red-letter day

4 02 2013

When I have a red-letter day, like Saturday was, I try to try to savor and remember the feeling. It’s sweet incentive for living and loving life to the fullest. Then I may be open to welcome the next time. Because the feeling is amazing.

To that end, I’ve decided to turn over another leaf by resisting the urge first thing in the morning to reach for an electronic device to see what happened overnight while I was sleeping. I will wait until after I practice tai chi—currently the saber set, breakfast without the TV news or the sound of a ball game, and a walk with the dogs on the beach. I will eat healthy foods, exercise, and meditate.

Saturday began with three neighborhood girls and one boy arriving at the studio at 8 a.m. for their first art class with Aunty Rebekah. I am offering the same basics to youth as to my adult Bucket List painting students: ball, cube, cylinder, and cone. The kids were great and kept me on my toes. It was nice to have 10-year-old-boy energy in the studio.

His mother wondered if perhaps he wouldn’t like the class if he was the only boy. For the exercise of drawing a ball, Jefferson filled a balloon with water and inflated it. Of course, the balloon eventually popped, but we agreed beforehand he would have to clean it up. I think he likes the girls.

A couple of the kids hadn’t eaten breakfast, so I’m glad I had two oranges in the set. When I cut them into slices to show ellipses, their eyes grew wide with appetite, and we all had a refreshing snack. The dogs Alice Brown and Pua were in heaven during recess with all the attention. Later, to get the kids to finish their drawings, I brought out some cones—sugar cones that DH thoughtfully bought when he saw me searching for a cone shape for the lesson—and a carton of ice cream.

“What is this?” I asked. They shouted, “Cone!” “And what is this?” I followed, scooping out vanilla. “Ball!”  Mission accomplished. 😉

Then I went to play at the annual Punahou Carnival. It’s the famous fund-raising event of my alma mater where I perform with the Punahou Alumni Glee Club, sometimes provide paintings for the Art Gallery, and work in a booth with my classmates. Punahou School is super organized and makes money for the student financial aid program—how my parents could afford Punahou for me—by getting the junior class, their parents, and the alumni to donate goods and volunteer their labor.

I adore the camaraderie of the glee club, not to mention the chance to sing and dance. We rehearse weekly, and our director is skillful at getting our choir to peak for our performances. We sounded good and had an enjoyable time with the music.

The Class of ’67 . . . what can I say, except that we are tight. For example, Christine flew in from Arizona just to help serve laulaus for 3 hours. Every year we rendezvous at the Carnival to see each other briefly, hear our classmate Henry Kapono Kaaihue entertain in the cafeteria, and then go our separate ways again. It’s so nice to see everyone.

That would have been plenty, but the surprising joy of the day was the sale of my paintings by the Art Gallery! It was exciting! I painted the scene of the Ko‘olau Mountains from the spot where I go often with my painting group. It began on a spectacular clear day with hardly any clouds to hide the top ridge. The panorama was breathtaking, and I decided to turn it into a diptych of two horizontal paintings side by side.

“Lanihuli Diptych” is my most recent art work. I didn’t plan on taking anything to the Carnival because I’d not been successful in sales any previous years there. But my glee sister Tamson Fox, a full-time fine artist, reminded me in January the event was coming up. I’m so grateful to her for changing my mind.

Still giddy with delight and with my new earnings burning a hole in my pocket, I headed to the Diamond Head end of the midway and bought myself a present—a bling-y Pāʻani top with a night-blooming cereus flower.

DH and I hung out to catch my cousin Sunway’s performance with her band before it was time to go home. We negotiated with the “O” men in the produce tent over the script price for the avocados. They let us keep enough to buy one malasada doughnut each for the ride home. Yummy sugary goodness. Never mind the resolution to eat healthy. I’m celebrating!

It was the perfect ending to my amazing red-letter day.

Me and my glee sisters perform at the Carnival. (Photo by Joyce Pavlis)

Me and my glee sisters perform at the Carnival. (Photo by Joyce Pavlis)

Members of the Class of 1967 in a publicity shot with classmate and music recording artist Henry Kapono Kaaihue.

Members of the Class of 1967 in a publicity shot with classmate and music recording artist Henry Kapono Kaaihue. Which one looks like the star? (Photo courtesy of Carlyn Tani, Punahou Bulletin)

Lanihuli Diptypch, left panel

Lanihuli Diptych, left panel, sold!

Lanihuli Diptych, right panel

Lanihuli Diptych, right panel, sold!

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke

Punahou Carnival 2011

31 01 2011

This Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4 and 5. All the fun is bounded by Punahou Street and Wilder Avenue in Honolulu, from 11 a.m to 11 p.m., and I’ll be there. If you’re visiting, this is a great travel tip!

The big tent and the thrill rides are up, and they’re getting ready for the Punahou Carnival again. I’m here to plug my alma mater, with notes on my contribution and my favorites. It’s a humongous fundraiser put on by the junior class to raise scholarships. First-timers wonder how they do it. I’ll tell you how.

The school ropes in all the parents of the junior class and alumni to donate their time, labor, talent, and supply goods so that everything spent at the Carnival is profit for students.

The Carnival is such a bonding experience, you remember it for life and return every year to support it. There’s fun for all ages.

Banyan in the Park, an original oil on canvas by yours truly, for purchase at the Punahou Carnival Art Gallery. 16″ x 20″.

My contribution

For the past several years I’ve placed my paintings in the Art Gallery—50% of sales goes to the school, and put my time in at the Hawaiian Plate “booth.” I also help serve up the meal (5 to 8 p.m. Saturday).

Last year my graduating class was the second oldest still working the Carnival. We report to Dole Cafeteria and don aprons and hats to plate the meal of Hawaiian food. For anyone not of school age who isn’t interested in the midway carnival rides, it’s a nice place to relax because there is air-conditioning, there is continuous live music, and there are real bathrooms.

We used to prep and cook the food, and in years before that we worked the famous malasadas booth with Mr. Bowers until we were banned for making non-regulation sizes and shapes ;-). And frankly, I don’t remember what we did prior.

My favorites

Usually I carpool with DH and his daughter, also an alumna. We each arm ourselves with an empty shopping bag and an umbrella. We go to a secret parking place if the lots on campus are full. Tip: take the bus if you can or prepare to park and walk from neighboring streets.

These are some of our favorites:

  • Silent auction—Items vary from year to year, and sometimes we’re lucky. We scope this out first.
  • Art gallery—Always like to see what other island artists are doing; it just makes me want to paint more, though. A great collection.
  • Plant booth—I’ve donated bromeliads and small avocado trees. For my garden I’ve bought herbs, red and pink ginger, native Hawaiian species, water plants, and turf grass. They will hold your purchase for you to retrieve later, if you wish.
  • Malasadas—Of course, with a hot cup of coffee at night.
  • Jams and jellies—E.g., red pepper jelly and mango chutney. I think it sells out in the first hour on Friday 😦
  • Books—At the end you can fill up a bag and get it all for something really cheap.
  • White elephant—Quick survey. You never know what you might find.
  • Food—Whatever your heart’s desire, a separate booth for each. Gyros, corn on the cob, fruit smoothies, fried noodles, pizza, teriburgers, veggie stuff, Hawaiian food, chicken, Portuguese bean soup, ice cream, saimin and meat sticks … oh la la.
  • Produce—A crew goes to the Big Island to pick. I do my next week’s fruit and veggie shopping here.
  • Games—The kiddie games are a world apart. It’s fun to watch the little ones. I think it’s time to take Miss Marvelous there. There are games for older students and teens too. My Facebook friend Yo and her husband are parent chairs of the prizes this year.
  • Will call—You can check your loot here until time to go home.

So c’mon to the Punahou Carnival, alumni or not. Spend your money. It’s for a good cause!

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

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