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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):

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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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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. 🙂
*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! 🙂

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