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Posts Tagged ‘Sleeping Bear’

If you know me, you know that I hate summer. It’s my least favorite season of all. I don’t like being hot, and I hate being chased by inquisitive, brave insects (especially those doggone wasps!). Don’t get me wrong, I love having longer periods of light, but I really just hate the hot, sticky days of summer and all those mosquitoes just waiting to bite my poor body.

Instead of grumping the whole time through summer, I try to see the positives. Summer is the time when I can hang out with my friends in a local park while my husband plays onstage with the town’s municipal band. It’s great dress-wearing weather, and I have more ability to walk outside, especially once the sun starts going down (and not freeze, that is).

Music is a super important facet of my life. Oftentimes, songs will evoke certain imagery in my head (and I try to draw them out) or the reverse will happen – an event that occurred while that song or band was playing will imprint itself on the song, and it will always have an association with that song. That’s happened quite a bit, even in the summer.

With that, here are the best 25 summertime songs for me (arranged alphabetically by title):

“A” – Barenaked Ladies: Simple, simplistic, witty, and fun. This song makes me think of driving on roads surrounded by cornfields with the windows down, for some reason.

Always” – The Boxer Rebellion: This band is actually a pretty new find for me, so I’m probably going to associate a lot of their stuff with late spring/early summer (that tends to happen to me, really!). “Always” is a speedy little song that is just perfect for jet-setting out on the interstate with no true destination in mind.

Behind the Lines/Duchess” – Genesis: Okay, this is actually two songs, but for me, they’re inseparable. I actually remember the date I bought Duke – July 16, 2003, just one day before my nephew’s birth. I buried my head in my headsets the night before, listening to these first 2 songs while reading my first volume of Yu-Gi-Oh! I took my portable CD player with me when my parents drove me to the hospital, waiting for my nephew to be born. I can’t NOT think of that kid without hearing these songs, especially “Duchess” – that song was playing when we were told he arrived. Aside from that, “Behind The Lines” is the perfect song for a beautiful, sunny summer day, and “Duchess” encapsulates the rainy, stormy summer days that grace us in June and July.

Dodo/Lurker” – Genesis: I was obsessed with this song for probably half a decade, so much so that I desperately tried to write out the parts of the band so my high school band could play it in concert before I graduated. I didn’t succeed – I only got to the trumpets, trombones, clarinets, and a little bit of flute, and that was it. Still, this song makes me think about driving through town with the windows down with me blaring it and singing out the lyrics as loud as possible!

Effington” – Ben Folds: My husband and I have a fun little tradition – every time we pass Effingham, Illinois, we play this song. We don’t go by there very often, but it’s fun every time we do! Also, I don’t particularly want to live, die, or be buried in Effingham, just so you know. πŸ˜›

Feeling That Way” – Journey: There are a lot of Journey songs that evoke thoughts and memories of summer, but this one does it for me every time. It’s fun, energetic, and light-hearted, and it’s also my favorite Journey song, so it takes the cake!

I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” – Genesis: Peter Gabriel-era fans, rejoice! This one made the mark! There’s just something about this song that makes me think about the oppressive summer heat of July and August and doing whatever goofy thing you can to take your mind off the heat. (Also, the reason that Gabriel-era Genesis doesn’t pop up here much is because I associate a lot of those albums with winter! I love both eras of the group unconditionally. ^_^)

If You Love Me” – Steven Page: My best friend James (he’s the guy who helped me get this blog started) put Steven Page’s solo album on at work a few summers ago in June. Once I heard this song come on, I was hooked! There’s just something about this song that makes me happy. It’s energetic and fun, and it just makes me want to get up and dance whenever I hear it, no matter how crappy my day is! πŸ™‚

Keep It Dark” – Simon Collins: I discovered Simon’s music in the summer of 2007 and haven’t looked back. This song, a remake of an old Genesis song from 1982, is powerful, driving, and fierce, and I LOVE it! (By the way, he’s the son of Phil Collins, and he’s AWESOME! Check out his stuff!)

Me & Sarah Jane” – Genesis: Perfect for a drive during the summer nights or on a rainy summer day. There’s just something about it!

No Reply At All” – Genesis: There’s a reason that there’s quite a few Genesis songs on here (and from mostly 2 albums). One summer night in 2002, I was sitting in my room playing Yoshi’s Island on the SNES with the radio on. Then this song came on, and I remember thinking, “Hey, I like this! Sounds like Phil Collins…” And the announcer said it was from Genesis. I had liked Genesis as a kid but was only familiar with Invisible Touch and We Can’t Dance. This was the night I started getting into the band on my own and really delving deeply into different albums!

Out On the Playa” – Simon Collins: Found this gem back in the summer of ’07! It just has a fun beachy vibe to it. Heck, even the word “beach” comes up in the title (Playa is Spanish for “beach”)!

Paradise” – Coldplay: I’m not really a fan of Coldplay, but I like this song! It takes me back to the time I visited the Upper Peninsula and drove through Paradise, MI (and saw my first peek of Lake Superior up close and personal!). It just makes me want to go north whenever I hear it. πŸ™‚

Pickerel Lake” – Sufjan Stevens: A fun, breezy-feeling tune! Okay, the lyrics might not be very fun, but the music sounds very carefree!

Portugal” – Walk The Moon: Not my favorite Walk The Moon song (I like “Work This Body” and “Tightrope” best, thank you very much), but this song definitely sounds like it was just made for a hot night on the town in the summer! πŸ™‚

The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades Is Out To Get Us!” – Sufjan Stevens: I know a lot of people rave about “Chicago,” and rightfully so. It’s a gorgeous song! But many forget about another beautiful song – this one, which was loosely based off one of Sufjan’s experiences at camp when he was a kid. It just makes me think of standing in a field of prairie grass in the late afternoon in Northern Illinois. And because I’m terrified of wasps, I try really hard not to think about it and focus on the music instead. πŸ™‚ (By the way, the live renditions of this song are out of this world and full of hilarious banter and stories. Check out my favorite here!)

Promises” – The Boxer Rebellion: From the first few measures, this song stole my heart. It has a lively, wind-swept feeling to it, and it just makes me think of running in the summertime evenings… which, I never run, but it just has a real carefree feeling to it all. Just drop your worries, make different promises, and run, run, run, run, run. πŸ™‚

Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie” – Sufjan Stevens: Okay, this might not be very fair because I visited these 2 beautiful places 3 summers ago. My husband and I totally blared both songs when we arrived at our destinations, and I will never forget the beautiful sand of Sleeping Bear and Traverse City beckoning me to come and stay a while, nor will I forget the fascinating locks of Sault Ste. Marie. I can’t wait to see those places again!

The entirety of Smallcreep’s Day by Mike Rutherford: For those not in the know, Mike Rutherford was the guitarist/bassist (depending on songs and personnel) for Genesis. He wrote an album called Smallcreep’s Day – a friend of mine sent it my way in the summer of 2008, when I was just started living on my own and was preparing my lesson plans for my first year of teaching. I drove to Springfield, my state’s capital, a lot that summer with this album blaring out of my car window, so hearing any of the songs on this album makes me think of that time in my life. ^_^

Solsbury Hill” – Peter Gabriel: Want to hear a funny story? NO? Well, tough! When I was about 5, I heard this song come on the car radio when my mom and I were running errands around a neighboring town, and I really liked what I heard. The rhythm was fun and different for some reason (I would learn later that it’s in 7/4), and even though I had know idea what the guy was singing, I just loved it and waited for it to come on the radio all the time, which wasn’t too often, sadly. Fast forward to the summer before my sophomore year in college. I was a new Peter Gabriel fan and noticed people talking about how awesome “Solsbury Hill” is. I had never heard of it, so I was curious. I found it online (which was a miracle because this was just before the dawn of YouTube), and I was amazed to hear the song that I adored as a little kid! I immediately ordered it through Borders (*sigh* I miss you, Borders!) and played it in my car all the way back home. I also played it on repeat on my headsets throughout a good portion of the family vacation that summer, so there’s that! Cool, huh? No? Okay, I’ll be quiet. :/

Volcano” – Jupiter One: My buddy James showed me this group last summer, thinking I would like them. He was right! And really, c’mon, with a title called “Volcano,” how can you not think of summer and all things hot?

Watching the Northern Lights” – Barenaked Ladies: This is something I want to do someday. Go up to the Upper Peninsula (or Canada or Alaska), lie down on the ground at night, and watch the northern lights play across the sky. I hope I can do this for real someday!

The West Side” – Phil Collins: So once my mom and I embarked on a road trip to North Carolina to see my brother when I was around 12. When we were driving through West Virginia, Phil’s “Hello, I Must Be Going” album was on, so now I always associate the album, and this song especially, with summertime travels on the highway. πŸ™‚

Won’t Be Afraid” – The Cat Empire – I’m not really a fan of this band personally, but I do enjoy this song! It’s fun and breezy – I can kind of see myself chilling by a huge ocean with this song playing in the background.

Which songs remind you of summer? πŸ™‚

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On my way to work the other day, I decided to put in one of my favorite discs, Greetings From Michigan, The Great Lakes State! by Sufjan Stevens. It’s one of those discs that when played, especially in nice weather, it takes me back to that wonderful place in time in which my husband and I visited the beautiful state of Michigan. One song particularly took me back to two of my favorite locations in Michigan – “Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie.”

I really feel as if Sufjan does a fantastic job capturing these two fantastic locations, places that I can never forget for many reasons. Since listening to the song, I long to stand on the warm, soft sands of Sleeping Bear, west of Traverse City. I desire to stand on one of those beautiful sand dunes to see the glorious Lake Michigan below me. I’d give about anything to slip silently into the lake once more and allow it to gently jostle and move me around in its undulating waves.

I’m sad that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to in either location. I would’ve scoured the western beaches of Michigan and stolen a few hours away to swim and lounge by the lake. I would’ve dug a bit deeper into the very old history of Sault Ste. Marie, and I definitely would have gotten my passport and traveled for some time into Canada, visiting the “other” Sault Ste. Marie. I would have taken more time to take in all of the smells, the hues of the sky and the lakes, and the feel of the wind blowing my hair in the breezy, mild July weather. I would give anything to go back.

But until I do get the opportunity to journey northward, I must allow myself to bask in the happy memories that I shared with my husband. I will look at the bottles of Lake Superior sand on my desk with great fondness. I will gaze longingly at the photos I took of the beautiful state. And I will listen to this disc again and again and again, especially to this song.

Take a listen to this tune and see what you think!

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Happy Birthday, Michigan!So today is Michigan’s 176th birthday! Dang, Michigan, you’re old!

As many of you probably already know, my husband and I visited this beautiful state for the first time this past July, and it really turned out to be an even more beautiful state than I had imagined. So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today, I want to quickly recount 5 of my favorite Michigan experiences!

1. Climbing the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes Near Traverse City – This was probably the biggest event in my life thus far that really tested my physical (and mental) fortitude. My goal was to climb the giant sand dune, thinking that we’d see Lake Michigan right on the other side. Noooooope. Not even close. I dragged my poor husband up and down 3 more gigantic sand dunes, and I went on down and then up one more mountain-like sand dune by myself to see if the lake would be right there. It wasn’t, unfortunately, but I could see it. I think I was maybe half of a mile away from the shoreline. Instead of pushing onward against the setting sun, I stood still and took in my surroundings, letting the serene silence soak in everything around me. All that could be heard was the gentle breeze tangling through the grass and tree limbs and maybe an occasional buzz of a lazy insect.

Getting back, however, was so much harder. It was a breeze to clumsily trot down the sand dune, but the climb up was perhaps one of the most tiring thing I’ve ever done, especially since all I had in my stomach that day was half of a cheeseburger from McDonald’s and sparse amount of water, and of course, I brought nothing with me. My limbs were so weak and shaky as I crawled up the insanely steep dune, and I wondered for a short while if I would die. Luckily, I was able to make it back to my worried husband, and we trudged our way back to the car in the dying light.

Those dunes showed me that I am much more capable of doing pretty much anything I set my mind to, and I am forever grateful for that, especially since at that time I was suffering from a significant lack of confidence. I will forever love those dunes. πŸ™‚

2. Crossing the Mighty Mac – Did I ever mention how afraid of heights I am? Well, if not, know this – I am TERRIFIED of heights. Even if it’s just a few feet off the ground, I feel really uncomfortable. When I learned that the Mighty Mac was 5 miles long and 199 feet above the straits, I got a bit apprehensive. What if the wind is really bad? What if there’s a traffic jam on the bridge and we’re stuck on it? I get so anxious when I have to sit on bridges over bodies of water, especially if it’s raining and I’m surrounded by semis.

When I first saw the bridge in the distance, I was in awe and fear at the same time. I was hoping maybe to stop in Mackinaw City to get myself ready to tackle the scary bridge, but before I knew it, we were traveling to the U.P. on the bridge, leaving the ground and hovering above the Great Lakes. The special radio station that talked about the bridge played tinkling, easy-listening piano music as the narrator softly talked about the features and history of the bridge. I got the courage to look around me, and what I saw was breath-takingly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. The bridge was a little scary, but I’m much, much less afraid than what I used to be and would be happy to cross it again if the opportunity ever arrives. πŸ™‚

3. Staying the Night Right Beside Lake Huron – After crossing the Mighty Mac, we stopped in our next destination – St. Ignace – a place that was named after my patron saint (St. Ignatius of Loyola). Our hotel was located RIGHT on the shore of Lake Huron. Though it was near the end of the day and was a drizzly icky day, the view was gorgeous. The laps against the shoreline made it seem as if we were right next to the ocean. For hours, we were able to keep a window open as we watched the Tigers game and ate Yooper pizza, listening to the gentle Lake Huron lap a stone’s throw away.

4. Checking Out the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie (and Waving Hello to Canada!) – I’ll admit it. I was kinda unconvinced at the time about the Soo Locks. I thought it would be kinda lame to see them. I’ll have to say, though, that it was super cool to see tour boat and a huge ship come through the locks and travel into Lake Superior. My husband said that he really enjoyed seeing how the locks worked and was happy we stopped. It was also really cool to see Canada so close to us. I have never been to Canada before, and I hope to do so sometime! We also watched all of the cars packed on the International Bridge coming in and out of the countries. Before leaving the Soo, we stopped in a store across the street and grabbed a bunch of states magnets, grabbing all the ones we visited. Reluctantly, we left westward through the remaining peninsula, waving hello and then good-bye to neighboring Canada and vowing to be back someday to visit.

5. Finding Out the Detroit Isn’t Nearly as Terrifying as I Thought –Okay… I know I’m very inexperienced about cities, especially Detroit, so please don’t be mad at what I’m about to say. I think Detroit gets such a bad rap. Sure, some things are kind of sketchy there, and yeah, there’s a decent amount of crime, but I believe there are still many good things that happen in that city. When we were getting ready to visit Detroit on our 2nd day of being in the state, I was so apprehensive. I had never been there and didn’t know what to expect, worried that we’d be accosted by someone. Once we got there, though, we went to Comerica Park to just walk around and check out the store, even though it was the park itself was closed that day. It was great to see the giant tiger statue and all the cool baseball stuff. Though we didn’t stay very long in Detroit (let’s face it – we only went to Comerica, drove around downtown for a bit, and that was about it before we almost accidentally went into Canada), I would give it another shot. The city was quiet and clean in the parts we were in, and the people we talked to seemed really pleasant. It seemed a lot like St. Louis, a city that I’m pretty used to, and I would definitely come back. πŸ™‚

Oh, and I definitely want to see a Tigers game in the Motor City.

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Happy 2013!Well, 2013 is finally here, believe it or not! I can’t believe how quickly 2012 came and went. It only seems like yesterday that it was July or something.

2012 was really a wonderful year for me. It was a year of personal growth, vanquishing my fears, and accomplishing a few dreams. Here are just some of the things that occurred in my life in 2012:

*I celebrated my 2nd year of marriage with my wonderful husband.*I followed baseball for the first year ever, cheering on the Detroit Tigers as hard as I could.
*My husband took me to visit Michigan for the first time. For a few years, I had wanted to visit the state so badly to see what it was for myself and to prove the naysayers wrong. I found that it is a very beautiful state full of wonder. I think I left my heart in the northwest corner of the lower peninsula. ❀
*I learned that Detroit isn’t as scary of a place as most people think… and the people I encountered there were pretty nice! I’d visit again.
*I got to swim in a Great Lake for the first time in my life – Lake Michigan in Kenosha, Wisconsin. For a good chunk of my life, I had wanted to swim in one of the Great Lakes. I gotta say, there’s nothing like the feeling of swimming in Lake Michigan. That day, a storm was slowly encroaching from the west, so the waves were a smidgen choppy, but I have NEVER seen such a beautiful body of water full of deep blues, turquoise, and greens. I’m so happy and grateful that my husband let me swim for the time that I was able, and I can’t wait to go back again! This girl loves her Great Lakes. πŸ™‚
*My heart was stolen by the sparkling waters of sweet Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula.
*I climbed the sand dunes at Sleeping Bear near Traverse City, Michigan. It was a harrowing climb for me as I had hardly any food and liquid within and nothing with me besides my husband. The dunes were unbelievably steep yet gorgeous and worth every step. I didn’t get to the edge of the lake like I hoped I had, but I was able to go through 5 HUGE dunes and stand and see the lake in a distance, enveloped in silence.
*I proved to myself that I am much stronger than I think I am. I owe my thanks to the Sleeping Bear sand dunes for that one.
*I learned to let go of the haters in my life.
*I was able to see my favorite animal, wolves, for my birthday about 2 and a half weeks ago and hear them howl. It was one of the best experiences in my life, along with the Michigan road trip.
*Two of my close friends got married, and another set of friends gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. It’s the first birth in our group of friends. God, I’m getting old!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like making resolutions for New Year’s. I used to do it, but like several people across the nation, I lose my resolution by about March or April. Instead, I’m trying to set goals for myself! Here are some goals I have in mind for 2013:

*Get back on the horse and continue to exercise. I was doing pretty well until about Thanksgiving, so I need to just get back to it. I didn’t fail; I only had setbacks.
*See the Detroit Tigers play somewhere nearby.
*Go on another great adventure somewhere with my wonderful husband.
*Figure out how I want my landscaping to look this spring/summer. Oh, and um, I’ve never done this before, so it should be INTERESTING.
*Donate to the wolves in Eureka, Missouri somehow this week. Or at least see them again!
*Keep up this blog and keep on writing.
*Be more fervent in reading, writing, and drawing and painting instead of sitting on my butt after work and goofing off online.
*Focus on being present in the here and now and less worried about the future.
*Go through my closets and drawers in the house and organize myself.
*Continue to be the best wife I can possibly be for my husband and support him in every way I can.

I’m very much looking forward to a wonderful 2013. I hope you are, too!

What are your favorite memories of 2012? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions or goals for 2013? Go ahead and leave me a comment! πŸ™‚

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