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Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Mug Shot

Yesterday was a just the cats day and me. I think maybe that would be what many of my weekend days would be like if I was still single and had moved independently away from my family in Michigan. I had a wonderful, productive and creative day, but I’m still so glad that on most Sundays I have David! I’m usually a much more social, people-person, but every now and then I like my alone time, time for just me that I can be lazy, that is spend the day in my jammas, and just do my own thing. Those are NOT days married people get often.

I’ll finish off the last school assignment for the week today. The official school week starts on Tuesday, so I had enough time to take a day off from school yesterday without falling behind at all too. In addition to laundry and some kitchen chores, I got 7 scrapbook pages done before dinner, 3 more after dinner. The three after dinner were done at the same time and they were photos from the same day with similar layouts that I did as a group, so It’s not like I created three solo masterpieces after dinner. Like I’ve said before, the layout and presentation is very important to me, but the art is the life the photos document, not the book! I’ll post a few of those layouts later.

David and I visited Grandma Saturday, so I’m going to go see her Tuesday this week instead of Monday. I woke up with a little bit of a sore throat this morning and I don’t want to make the 2-hour drive after taking Benadryl. So today will be the case studies form this week’s chapter, finishing laundry and then I’ll go to the grocery store if my knee still has something left in it after all of the laundry stairs! If not, dinner will be the ham steaks in the fridge. We usually keep the ham steaks, which have a hefty shelf-life being cured meat and all, on hand for the Nani doesn’t get to the store and David doesn’t feel like stopping on the way home nights.

This kinda segues into the mug shot pretty well!

Sleeping Bear Dunes Empire, Michigan

This mug has become one of memories of accomplishments and hopes, goals for the future. It’s mug everlasting mug of recovery encouragement!

In August of 2003, John and I took our niece Heather and Nephew Eddie for camping and dune climbing retreat. Heather was 15 and Eddie was 9. We camped and stayed at Interlochen Sate Park where we enjoyed flaming marshmallows the night before. Okay, I love to make marshmallow torches. I don’t like marshmallows, but I love burning them on sticks. That’s since childhood! Mom and Dad never let me have a second marshmallow. As an adult, I can make as many gooey bricks of charcoal as I want!

In the morning we learned a valuable lesson about charcoal! We probably would have been better off using the burnt marshmallows and cooking our Eggo waffles over the fire on sticks! I have always used Matchlight self-starting charcoal on my little grill for cooking. My Dad has always grouched about it, telling me I’d be able to taste the lighter fluid in the briquettes in my food that I cooked over them. Never has happened, until that morning! Now, in defense of Matchlight, the store was out of Matchlight when I bought the charcoal for our trip, so I bought a different brand. BIG MISTAKE! We found out what Dad had been grouching to me about. The waffles were awful! I put extra syrup on mine to drown the taste of the lighter fluid, but I ended up burping up that taste all morning. YUCK!

After striking our campsite and properly disposing of the nasty charcoal, the whole unused balance of the bag too, we loaded into the car for the drive to the National Lakeshore.

The climbing part of the dune is a sand face that extends 400 feet up to a beautiful vista looking down on the rolling sand hills that lead out to Lake Michigan. We went to the base of the sand mountain and began our climb, our attempt at reaching the summit. I made sure we all had sunscreen on a mildly hot and clear day. That close to the lake the sun was definitely a factor. John got the kids-size walking sticks for the two of us adults to kinda even out the age-handicap! Eddie took off running up the hill, leaving his older sister and Aunt and Uncle staring in amazement. All of that 9-year-old energy raced up the hill and upon reaching the top while we were still struggling or way up, he ran back down and started up again. He laughed and taunted us. He told us it was fun, which was the point after all.

About two-thirds of the way up, Heather and I stopped to rest. John had gotten about a quarter of the way when he went back to the gift shop and got the waling sticks for us. I had put my flip-flops in my bag with my camera and was carrying that backpack-style as I climbed. I sat in the two-thirds spot, a little out of breath, and took some pictures, thinking I might call it a done deal there and wait for the other three. But I thought to myself, that I didn’t want to fail without at least trying to climb a little further. So using the stick for leverage on the shifting sand, I resumed my ascent.

Now is a good time to mention that shifting sand. For every large step you attempt, gravity pulls the sand down and you with it about a half of the step you take. That can be frustrating. It’s great exercise, but you take about twice the steps you would to walk 400 feet on level ground! We kept climbing. Eddie ran down past us again and encouraged us to keep climbing.

We got to the level area just before the final ascent to the top about the same time Eddie made it up to that area a fourth time. He hadn’t been climbing the final, shorter section yet because he didn’t want to get too far away from us. We had an agreement about us being able to see each other at all times. When we got to the level area, we noticed that while shorter, that final part of the climb was steeper! We decided we’d let Eddie climb it while the other three of us rested at the “semi-top,” deciding that was sufficient for climbing. Eddie took of running for the3 final ascent.

As I sat there watching him run up a little slower on the steeper last part of the climb, I thought about what Mom had told me about that climb when we were getting ready for the trip. Eddie was going someplace I’d never been. When we went on the Dune climb when I was a kid, Dad climbed all the way to the top, but Mom and the kids waited on that same plateau. In my brain, as I looked at the steeper, but shorter last part of the climb, I thought “this won’t do!” I can’t let Eddie climb up there by himself. I started the steep climb to the top.

Eddie made it up to the top way before I did, of course. He never looked back until he got to the top. Then he saw me climbing up. He cheered, happy that someone was going to join him. He kept calling me, saying “You can do it, only a little more!” Then it became not just a desire for accomplishment for me, but I didn’t want to let Eddie down. He held his hand down to me as I reached the top. “Only a few more steps to go!”

I got to the top and Eddie hugged me. “Yay!” We stood at the top waving arms and shouting to John and Heather. We tried to coax them into joining us, but they vehemently shook their heads and said we were crazy. The view was cool, rolling mounds of sand and clear blue sky with the intense line of water in the distance. Totally cool. I pulled a bottle of water out of my bag and Eddie and I shared it before we began the, easier, climb down.

What a great sense of accomplishment! I was worried that I’d be SO sore the next day, but climbing a mountain of sand isn’t as hard on the joints and muscles as walking on pavement, or even dirt. The shifting sand absorbs a lot of the impact! I actually felt great the next day when I went to the park at home for my afternoon walk.

I did it! I made it all the way to the top of Sleeping Bear Dune. I have that sense of accomplishment because I reached that goal, but I have a new goal too. I want to get my knee back up and running and in shape that I can attempt it again. Even if I don’t get all the way to the top, like in 2003, I want to feel lie I can give it a try again.

For having raced up and down the dune four times, including all the way to the top the last time, Eddie finally did run out of energy. We have photos of him asleep across the menu at dinner to go with the triumphant pictures of the two of us at the very top!

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