Monthly Archives: August 2012

From East to West

Yesterday for my First to 500 work out (yes, I’m still trying to earn points) I decided to bike the river trail. A couple of weeks ago I did the ride in from Haslett, through MSU campus onto the river trail in East Lansing and onto the River Trail in Lansing. That trip I took the north route and rode to the very end just west of Tuner Dodge. I didn’t do any walking so I wasn’t really “allowed” to make it a City Saunter post. This time, though, I walked a section from my map that I was missing so I can count it! Yesterday’s trip I again rode my bike in from Bath Township, through MSU campus and onto the river trail. This time I cut left soon after Potter Park. This route takes you to Moores Park. I rode it to the very end there and stopped for a few photos.
It’s funny how you can travel parts of Lansing over and over and still find an area you’ve never been to before.
My section of street I needed to walk was Mt. Hope from Moores River Drive east back to Pleasant Grove. It ended up being about .81 of a mile. I think that counts! As I walk more and more areas I will have more and more chunks that will need to get walked. Using my bike to travel from one to the next might be my best option. I just wish I didn’t have to travel the 12 miles to get into Lansing first. I’m sure I will figure something out though! Good Travels!

Walking in the Rain

My intent today was to walk in the rain. I knew it was going to rain off and on today and I decided to use that to my advantage and add dynamic style to my photographs. It’s Thursday and our Lunch With a Purpose was scheduled at Lett’s Community Center. I still had some streets I needed to cover over there so I packed up and headed out two hours early.
After completing my walk and arriving back at the Lett’s Center, hair soaking wet (some from rain some from exertion), clothes clinging, shoes and socks slushing and map falling apart, I smiled at Lori Lanspeary from the Greater Lansing Visitor Bureau who was joining our group for LWP that day and said; “Sometimes an idea seems good until you actually do it and come back looking like this!” I then gestured to my appearance. We both laughed. It wasn’t that bad, though. I was on time for my lunch date, had walked for an hour, finished off that area and I saw a group of boys out playing football in the rain! All in all it was great!

For the next 45 minutes or so we packed items into donated blue LAFCU bags for Dream Camp; Sara Griffin’s brain child. I was able to speak to her for a moment about it and as exuberantly as a child anticipating the arrival of a new puppy she spoke about this event. She said the idea came in the shower. She then went on about collecting enough willing participants to make her dream a reality for the children in this community. She created it because she could. She got help because she asked and she provided it because she needs to.
I’ve also been on my own journey to create an amazing event. I’ve named it Peace of Lansing.
It will correspond with a global peace effort called Peace One Day. I started a smaller scale version last year and blogged about it. This year I have had the great fortune of collaborating with The Lansing City Market’s manager Heather Hymes. Without the fear of inviting too many people and not paying the rental fee, or not being able to offer bathrooms because I didn’t rent the pavilion, I really have been able to concentrate on the event itself. As it gets closer and closer I find myself acting more and more like a child explaining the arrival of a new puppy. There is something truly amazing with the idea that if you ask, people will help. If you invite, people will come. And if you give, people will give right alongside you.
Today on my way out of the Lett’s Community Center I was stopped by Heather Sheets and T.J. Duckett. They are both very active in community efforts including Lunch With a Purpose, Simple-T and New World Flood. I had been sending them information about my peace event for many months now. I listened to them tell me what they were thinking and willing to do for my peace event with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. The quote on their website states; “A single raindrop is the beginning of the Flood”. And as T.J. is often noted for saying on social media; it’s time to be rainmakers.

Here is the information about Dream Camp:
Dream Camp
Friday August 10th, 2012, Letts Community Center, 1220 W. Kalamazoo, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm, 483-4311
Be healthy, be strong, be determined, be kind, be giving, be happy, be unique, be successful, be the change, JUST BE YOU!
Join members of the community who are among the best at what they do & learn about everything it took to get there. Take a lesson in basketball, yoga/breakdancing, meditation, football, art, comedy, or hip-hop music & enjoy lunch by BRAVO! Cucina Italiana. Get your mind, body & soul ready for your best year yet!
“Every dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” Harriet Tubman

Where have all the Kids gone?

I’ve noticed it before. Places that should be clamoring with exuberant little people are empty. Parks that would normally be host to yelling and laughing children are silent. Streets that should be bustling full of youthful bikers, chalk artists and jump ropers are desolate. My last walk around Gier Park I was strongly aware of the barrenness of its jungle gyms, swing sets, and baseball fields. Today for an hour I walked in a neighborhood that should host a multitude of children, yet it was shockingly without play. I saw a few older people working in the yard and one lady jogging by. That was it. Quinten Park? Empty. Elmhurst Park? Empty. I caught a glimpse of one girl on a bike but she was gone by the time I got to the corner. Maybe it’s the heat? This has been an awfully hot summer. Maybe everyone has just gotten trained into staying out of the over hot sun. Yet today, at 85 (a typically hot day in summers past) was quite pleasant given that we’ve had more days closer to 100 than not. Maybe most families are two income and the children are all away at day care or grandma’s house? Maybe they had plans out of town. Maybe they are cooling off at one of the local pools or water play areas. Maybe they are at the zoo. Maybe they are playing a game of hide and go seek, waiting for the perfect moment to spring from their hideout. I hope it’s something like that. It would be a shame if Lansing was losing its kids.

To see more empty parks check out my City Saunter Facebook Page
**Update to this post. As I was looking for some photos to post I went back through all of my months of walking. When I pass a park I take a quick photo of it. I tend to think Lansing’s parks are a huge asset. After rechecking those park photos I came to a huge realization that the majority of my photos of parks (20 out of 21) didn’t have any kids playing on them. WOW. I’ve rethought about my walks and unless I am on the river trail or part of some festival or event there really isn’t many people out and about. How could I not have realized that before?

To Have and to Give

To be able to give, you first must have. I really don’t see any way around that. You cannot give away something that you don’t have. Interestingly my walk today started out on Nottingham Rd adjacent to The Country Club of Lansing. Nottingham of course calls to mind the tales of Robin Hood, who took from the rich and gave to the poor. Some today may even believe that those behaviors are still alive and strong in our taxation system. Whether that is true or not, or even whether I believe the rich have a responsibility for enhancing the welfare of the less fortunate or not isn’t really what my point is. As I walked today through gorgeously manicured streets meandering through this prosperous neighborhood and then later joining the MarketLansing group at The Country Club of Lansing, I became very aware of how much I appreciate the success of others. Without the people who are doing well and accumulating some type of wealth there would be no giving. Sometimes that wealth can come in non monetary forms as well such as time or connectivity, but it is still something that they’ve made choices to acquire. It’s through their ability to have just a little more than they need for themselves that so many great things are accomplished. And as I make my way through Lansing and learn more and more about the generosity of the community that I realized I appreciate what they have to give.
At today’s luncheon the speaker was David from Pure Michigan. He spent almost an hour showing us how he and his staff promote Michigan; the lakes, the beaches, the sports, the night life. He played Pure Michigan ads one after the other showcasing all the glorious places Michigan holds. He didn’t promote the downtrodden or the unfortunate. There wasn’t a boarded up house anywhere. He definitely didn’t let us know how many kids are on welfare or how many veterans are homeless. To do so would take away from what they are trying to do which is bring tourists to Michigan. We all know those things are out there. We know that not every Michigan resident is in a good place. Just like when you meet someone for the first time and are getting that first impression you don’t want them to tell you that they have an ingrown toenail, might be suffering from hemorrhoids and that their hair is thinning a bit. You want to know if they’ve been healthy and happy. You want to know if they’ve got kids or a good job. You want to know about the good stuff first. Sometimes our goal is to puff something up; to explain to others what the good things are so that they aren’t immediately turned away without giving it a chance. So as I walk everywhere, I’ve come to really appreciate the lovely places, the well to do places, the hopeful places and all the people who can and do give. It really makes my City Sauntering worth sauntering.

Urban Gardens are located throughout Lansing and help the community

Rizzi Design’s office. With help of the Land Bank they were able to return this School of the Blind administration building into a spectacular office suite.

Urban Garden as part of Village Summit. The micro center owner used his retirement as a teacher to fund both areas. 

The Marshal Street Armory was recently restored by the Gillespie Group to house multiple non profits in one unique environment.