Hiking Pinckney

Matt and I had originally planned to head up to Mackinac Island this past Sunday.  Long story short, our bikes weren’t ready in time, so we opted to save a little money and find something to do locally, instead.

After attempting to fix his bike.

After attempting to fix his bike on Thursday night.

My friend Becca, ultrarunner extraordinaire, likes running trails at the Pinckney Rec Area.  I texted her on Saturday afternoon asking if the park was good for hiking.  She said it absolutely was, so Matt and I made plans to spend Sunday there, instead.

I didn’t get back from my mom’s house until pretty late on Saturday, so Matt and I went to the grocery store around 11pm to get some things to bring for a picnic on Sunday.  The store at that time of night was pretty empty, which was kind of cool.  We grabbed some corned beef, swiss cheese, and rye bread for sandwiches, along with premade macaroni and potato salads, raspberries, and blackberries.  Then we had fun picking out insulated lunch boxes in the back-to-school section.  In other words, he chose something right away and I spent a long time worrying that I would somehow choose the “wrong” one.

On Sunday morning, we slept in till close to 10 o’clock.  We had chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast before heading out around noon.  It was a half hour drive to the park through as country as it gets in southeast Michigan.  When we arrived, there was no wait for park entry.  I just bought my state park pass (which is now good until my license plate tabs expire next year!) and we were on our way.  Parking was a piece of cake and we got out on the trails right away.  We left our phones in the car, so I didn’t get any pictures.  I just wanted to enjoy the hike and not worry about technology. 🙂

We started off on a three-mile foot-traffic-only loop.  We didn’t see anyone else the whole time, until the very end when we were exiting the trail and someone else was entering it.  For the most part, the trail was just wide enough for two people to walk side by side.  It had plenty of hills and, to me, it almost felt like we were out in the wilderness.  I believe I actually said, “This is Pure Michigan.”  The hike reminded Matt of going to cross country camp in high school, so we had a very interesting conversation about that.  I wish I had had the experience of cross country in high school, but what’s done is done, and I had many other unique opportunities. 🙂

After that first loop, which took about an hour, we went back to the car to use bug spray (we forgot for the first trail and the flies were eating me alive) and to grab our lunches.  We found a nice picnic table up on a hill in the shade by the lake.  The lake area was pretty crowded, so plenty of people-watching opportunities abounded!  My favorite was the little girl carrying a raft as big as she was on her head.

After lunch, we went back out onto another trail, this one about five miles long and partially open to mountain bikers.  We saw a lot more people this time, mostly runners and mountain bikers.  Everyone was very friendly, and luckily the trail was usually just wide enough for us to get out of the way.  Just when we were starting to get annoyed by the mountain bikers, we stopped seeing any.  I do think it’s really cool to watch them do what they do, but it can be a little frightening to be a hiker on a trail where they are moving quickly.

The second trail was even hillier than the first, or maybe my legs were just more tired.  No matter what, I loved the challenge, and it felt so good to be out there.  However, by the end, after 8+ miles of hiking, along with walking to and from the car multiple times, I was more than ready to go home.  We stopped at a gas station so I could get a donut and Matt could get a slurpee.  Then we drove to Matt’s house where I relaxed for maybe half an hour before getting hungry again.  I went home, made dinner, and fell asleep at 8:30pm.

All in all, it was an amazing day, and I would love to do it again.  There’s nothing quite like that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day after challenging myself.

Milford Memories

On Saturday, I drove over to my mom’s apartment, where I met up with her and her friend to go to the Milford Memories art fair.  I had a really bad knot in my glute and/or a really sore right leg from my run the previous day, so I was honestly worried I would be doing more waddling than walking, but thankfully the slow walking up and down the art fair served to loosen it up. 🙂

I took $40 out of the ATM on the way over, with the intention of using up to $20 of it at the art fair.  I saw a few things early on that interested me, but all were out of my price range.  I especially liked the Michigan-shaped cutting boards I saw.  We ended up coming across a tent selling needle felting crafts.  They had many ornaments of all kinds of different animals, as well as sheep made from wood and sheep’s wool, and sheepskin mittens and gloves.  The sheepskin mittens were selling like hotcakes and I probably should have been practical and taken a look at those, BUT two little sheep caught my eye and I just had to have them both.

Growing up, whenever my family went to art fairs, my brother and I would try to find “the pewter guy,” an artist who sold pewter figurines.  Our favorites were his medieval characters.  I looked for him at the Ann Arbor Art Fair this year, but did not find him.  Lo and behold, after I made my purchase at the needle felting tent, I continued down the street and the VERY NEXT BOOTH was the pewter guy, Heekin Pewter.  I got SO EXCITED and probably sounded like I was eight years old when I pointed it out to my mom.  Of course I had to buy more pewter.  I took forever, so my mom and her friend kept going and I took my sweet time.

I thought about buying a pewter elephant or a skeleton warrior, then I considered buying the war mammoth with its removable dwarf, and of course I eyed the castle towers.  I ended up opting for a skeleton warrior and a goblin archer, since they remind me of Skyrim… proud fantasy geek right here.  My Skyrim character is an orc that I specialized in archery and the skeleton reminded me of a draugr, a common undead enemy in Skyrim that is in pretty much every dungeon.  (I haven’t played Skyrim in a long time and never beat the main questline because I got burned out putting soooo many hours into various side quests, but I still love it!)

My purchases

My purchases

After the pewter tent, we walked around some more, looking for a leather bracelet for my mom and potential pet photography clients for her friend (if you live in Michigan and want high-quality photos of your pet, let me know and I’ll put you in contact).  We stopped for ice cream and I had a scoop of strawberry in a waffle cone–heaven in the heat!

Once we got back to my mom’s place, her friend headed home, my mom and I had some leftovers for dinner, and then we went to my mom’s storage unit so I could go through the few boxes I had remaining there.  For the most part, I took everything back to my apartment, but I did throw away a few things after having a good laugh at them.  Here are some of them. 🙂

A horrible crocheted chicken stuffed with newspaper.  I think this was the first amigurumi (crocheted stuffed animal) I ever made.

A horrible crocheted chicken stuffed with newspaper. I think this was the first amigurumi (crocheted stuffed animal) I ever made.

"The Cheesers"

“The Cheesers”

My brother and I sometimes made our own Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Here we have the "Noodle Guardian."

My brother and I sometimes made our own Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Here we have the “Noodle Guardian.”

One of my old butt pads from when I used to figure skate.

One of my old butt pads from when I used to figure skate.

Butt pad.

Butt pad, side view.

I also found the rest of my glass figure and pewter collections in the storage unit.  When I got back to Ann Arbor that night, I set up little displays on my dresser and desk.  I need to find a better way to display them all because this is going to make dusting obnoxious, but for now, this will work.

Giant loving sheep and their flock?

Giant loving sheep and their flock.



I would like to grow this battle scene.

I would like to grow this battle scene.

I was going to write about Sunday as well, but that will have to wait for another post.  Hiking Pinkney, coming soon to readers near you. 🙂

Lesson from the Gardens: Obsession

On Friday at lunchtime, one of my bosses took some of us at work to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens to see an 80-year-old agave in bloom.  It was great “professional development” time.  I’m a web developer.

They had a panel open and Mr. Agave was growing out of the ceiling!

They had a panel open and Mr. Agave was growing out of the ceiling!

The venerable Sausage Tree.

The venerable Sausage Tree.

A surprising number of people in our group (three or four of us) are into gardening and know quite a bit about different kinds of flowers and plants.  They would point out things they owned, things they wanted to own, things they tried to grow, etc.  On the way out, one of my coworkers asked my boss, “So, you are into gardening?”

“I used to be.  I tend to do things until they become MY JOB.  I’m taking a break now until it becomes fun again.”

I just yesterday wrote a post about how I am sick of training for races and how I might want a break from running until I can return to the primal fun-ness of it all.  Obviously running will never be my job, just like gardening is not my boss’s job, but the principle applies.  I’m aware I have an obsessive (addictive?) personality and I do tend to get very into things only to do them so much that I get sick of them.

Two years ago, I was incredibly into knitting and crochet.  I haven’t touched my knitting bag in a long time, except to move it.  Admittedly, the summer I was super into yarn crafts was the summer my apartment had bed bugs (they were there before I moved in and I wasn’t told…) and I did most of my work sitting on my bed, so I’m still a little freaked that there could be bugs surviving in there.  The other day, I was actually thinking about how it would be nice to knit something again, but how if I did, I would probably want to get all new things because of the bug potential, which is really too bad because I still have some good unused yarn.

Maybe I actually will hit the knitting shop this weekend and pick up some new yarn.  At least I can still use my old hooks and needles.  Anyway, I digress.

Lately, after working on a puzzle up north two weekends ago, I have been obsessed with puzzles.  I walked around to six different stores downtown last Monday but couldn’t find any, so I picked a few up when I went to the grocery store the next day.  I got a four-pack of 500-piece puzzles and a 1000-piece puzzle.  So far, I have finished one of the smaller ones and have the 1000-piecer about three-quarters of the way finished.  Like I said to Matt the other day, I’ve been doing puzzles so much this last week that soon I’m never going to want to do one again.

Finished about half of this one Tuesday night and the rest on Sunday.

Finished about half of this one Tuesday night and the rest on Sunday (500 pieces).

I took this progress picture on Saturday night. I finished a lot more of it last night. :)

I took this progress picture on Saturday night. I finished a lot more of it last night. 🙂 (1000 pieces)

And yes, in case you were wondering, I AM one of those people who will play a song over and over again until I hate it.  Luckily, that seems to take a very long time for most songs.  There is an album that came out almost a year ago–The Death of Me by Asking Alexandria–that I still listen to all the time and is still a staple in any playlist I make.

Sometimes, people talk about a line between dedication and obsession.  That line might not exist for me for some things, but I’m only obsessed with things as long as they are FUN.  Running by myself is NOT FUN right now, but I’m getting pretty psyched about all the social runs I have plans to go to in the future, and I’m probably going to do a local 5k this weekend FOR FUN.  No pressure for a time, no pressure to race, just having fun and contributing to a good cause.