Thursday, 4 August 2011

Summer is more than half over!!

This summer has felt like a year by itself - a very long, trying, hot year.  I'm sure that feeling won't so much let up when the hot goes away being that I work in a climate controlled office building.  If anything I'm sure it'll drag even more.  But hey, it's better than life flying by while you blink.

I'm going to ignore the hugely crappy parts of this summer and just say that I'm damn proud of myself for hanging in like I have and actually having some fun when April 11th all I really wanted to do was curl into a ball and cry until I fell asleep and never wake up.  I've kept myself busy, it's helped.

So first thing, I got a job for a Japanese sales office.  I hate it, but it pays for now.  It's no where even near the career path I want to be on, and I know how to get where I want to be, so I'm okay until I find something better... unless it's 6:40 AM when I have to convince myself that, yes, I do actually have to get in my car and drive to a job I hate, again.  Hour at a time, it goes by eventually.  I don't know how people manage to live happy lives doing nothing but pushing paperwork and emailing people about products and money neither party ever touches because that's the accounting team's job and the parts don't actually go to America, they go to Brazil or Mexico (yeah, I really don't get it...), but whatever.  If I keep telling myself it's a job, it pays better than no job, and it's just a stepping stone with an end in sight, maybe at some point the mantra will stick and I won't have to work so hard to convince myself that it's okay.

Other than that I'm almost finished with my summer night class.  Two days a week, four hours (which means two days a week I'm sitting 2+ hours in the car, 7 at work, and 4 at school, no wonder none of my pants fit me... T__T but I will not say I hate my job.... even though I really want to).  It's remedial US history.  I haven't learned much new in class, but the papers have been interesting to write and I learned a lot with them.  And I need the credits.  In the fall I'm taking pre-1877 US history, historical research and writing, and Africa in the 20th century, the second two down in Ypsi again.  The goal with this?  If I take all of these and four in the winter semester (yeah, I know I'm nuts) I'll have enough credits for a second major on my bachelor's degree.  And it will get me a step towards teaching again.

Which brings me to my next thing, I'm applying for Americorps this month.  I'm completely geeked about it.  I can't really describe how excited I get when I think about the program.  It's like God said "Here you go, here's how you get to where you want to go."  Makes me excited, makes me cry, makes me really wish the applications were over and I knew if I got in or not.  I know I have a good background for it at least.  That doesn't come until November though, at the latest.  If I don't... I'll bawl like a baby and apply for grad school (and probably try again next year).

That's all future stuff though.  I think about it a lot when I have, you know, time to breathe.  It doesn't happen much unless I'm supposed to be sleeping, but what with being a chronic insomniac and all, there is plenty of that. :P

So what else have I been up to this summer?  Over memorial day I visited Fay in Northport.  I spent most of the time outside reading since she had to work all weekend.  Still had a great time though.  Almost didn't come home...



The shoreline of Lake Michigan.  This was from Peterson Park.  I spent hours there reading Once and Future King (which reminds me, I've added four books to my list of read since spring).  It was my congratulations on getting a job gift to me.


Fox kit on the side of the road.  There were two of them.  I think there was a den in the ditch right there, because this little guy disappeared into it when a car came from the other direction.

Oh! And I'm not sure how I could possibly have even almost forgotten this!! I saw a bald eagle!!!!!! Not in flight though.  But I was driving on I-75, north of West Branch.  I left at like 4AM on Saturday morning, so there was nobody in sight for hours up there.  Suddenly I see this giant white head on top of a brown lump poking out of a ditch off the shoulder.  Holy crap was that thing huge!!  I was sorely tempted to stop and gawk, but uh... dead or not, I-75, plus it looked like it could break my window with its beak if it wanted to.  It was enormous.  It was amazing!  I didn't even know we had bald eagles in Michigan.  It was I think about 7AM... I totally called and woke my mom up to tell her.  I had to tell somebody, I was busting with "kyaaaaaaa!!!"  Also that night I saw a really bright shooting star.  It was a good day.

I went up again over the 4th of July.  Fay and I went to Leeland and saw fireworks on the 3rd, watched the sunset over Lake Michigan again on the 2nd (we've watched it at least once every time I've gone up there), and it was pretty epic because you can really see the sun moving when it's near the horizon.  It was pretty hazy that day, so it looked like there was space between the sun and the horizon, so it looked like this hazy nothing just gobbled up the sun.  Once it set, like as soon as the ball was completely below the water/haze, a really cold wind gusted up off the water.  It was cool.  I've read about those winds, but never felt one.

On the 4th I had to leave early, so we got up at 5:30 to watch the sunrise at Northport Marina.... only then we realized we weren't far enough north to not have another part of the peninsula blocking us to the east.  Unfortunately I won't be able to go back up there again this summer, but we were going to try to watch it from the lighthouse next time.  Still got some cool pictures though.



Back in June we made plans for Fay to take a day off and I would come up and we'd go kayaking.  Well that happened two weekends ago.  I didn't get any pictures, but I did lose my moderately offensive non-PC Mickey cowboy hat T___T.  Fay lost a sandal.  If it hadn't been so much fun, I may actually have cried, because I'm still homesick for Tokyo and I really loved that hat.  But it was amazing.  We went on the Upper Platte river.  My kayak was terrible.  We ended up switching at some point and Fay suddenly realized that, no, it wasn't my fault I was having so much trouble steering.  The first two times I flipped were pretty stupid and entirely my fault.  Shallow though, but fast.  There were a lot of trees and dams (I saw three beavers!!! and a bunch of Kingfishers... not related to dams though), and with the non-steerable kayak I kept running into them.  I was stupid and attempted to push myself off of one.  Under I went.  The second time I was trying to rescue my paddle, which had gotten caught in a giant tangle of dead tree, quite literally in the middle of the river.  I was trying to avoid a huge spider web or I wouldn't have flipped.  Fay flipped around the same time - I don't remember which of us was going after whose paddle first.... but we were both chasing paddles and flipped.  Fay lost her shoe then.  The third time was really bad, because the river was really fast and clogged.  That was when I lost my hat.  This canoe with a little kid and her parents in it was right smack in the middle of the river going really slow.  We'd given it a lot of space in front of us, but kayaks are way faster than canoes, especially a canoe not really rowing.  This one bend was really fast and I caught the current.  I tried to back paddle, but the back paddling against the current pushed me right to the edge, smack into the lower branches of a tree, completely sideways.  I tried to push myself to the side of it, but I was still on the current.  I flipped really fast and got pinned under the kayak, kayak pinned under the tree.  When it finally made it past the tree I was able to hold myself up just by standing on my knees, it wasn't deep at all, but it freaked both Fay and me out a bit.  A bit after that the river got deeper and there were less trees blocking the way, and the canoe got off at some point.  We kept passing and getting passed by a bunch of other kayakers.  They were fun.  They rescued my water bottle after the third flip.  I got it back about an hour and a half later. :P  We were out there about four or so hours, and of course, the last stretch was entirely against the current.  Neither of us was in the shape to do that, but oooh boy I'd do it all again... maybe minus getting pinned under the kayak.  We went to look at the dunes, but with the whole Fay missing a sandal and wearing the extra pair of mine that were too small and us both being fried from the knee down (we very intelligently put sun screen everywhere.. but our legs... I was wearing capris and Fay rolled her pants up at some point... we fried), we weren't going to try to climb.  Plus it looked like rain by evening.  So we went to the historic town there (Empire, maybe?  I don't remember its name) and watched the blacksmith and Fay asked fun questions and the guy was going to let me play with the toys but there were younger kids there so I felt bad and deferred - totally wanted to play though!!  And by toys I mean 19th century tools that drilled holes in iron.

And tomorrow we're going camping!!  It's kind of our last hurrah for the summer because she starts school in, I think, two weeks (?).  So she's going back to the UP.  Probably won't see her until Thanksgiving after this weekend, WAH!!!! T_________T  But it should be fun, even if it rains.  We're going up somewhere in the thumb to see the petraglyphs.  And write, because neither of us has had the time to write in weeks.  And attempt to see the sunrise over Lake Huron. XD  And wear plenty of sunscreen on exposed legs.

So yeah, that's been my summer.  Apologies for the radio silence.  Lack of internet access kinda makes it a pain to keep up a blog even when you have epic kayak trips to write about.  I have decided though, once I have my credit cards paid off and a steady income again, I'm getting a kayak.  This time was only my second time - I've done canoes and row boats before, but not much kayaking.  I'll fully admit I probably wasn't ready for that river, and I won't go on one any faster than that, but I really want one.  They're so fun and so relaxing, even when you do flip and have to lift a giant chunk of plastic full of water over a log.... repeatedly. :P  I miss the water though.

And I really have to end this.  Food time then study time because I have a dentist appointment Monday right after work, school right after that, then Tuesday is a meeting for substitute teaching, and I haven't finished all of the lectures for that yet (...yeah, I haven't even started them), and another dentist appointment, then Wednesday is my final exam..... Off I go!

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