Monthly Archives: December 2012

On Top of the World

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The end of every year is a flurry of activity. We have the multiple day Christmas celebrations, which may include at least one day before and or after the actual day. Sometimes, if it’s a crazy busy year we might even have a celebration the week before. Then the fifth day after Christmas is my birthday. This is what I call the eve, of the eve of the New Year. For over a decade now I’ve celebrated the eve of the eve with my in-law siblings. We usually take in a movie, most times a meal as well. It’s always a good time. However, by the time I get my thinking back it’s the last day of the year and I’ve made no plans; never! We try to make plans but nothing culminates. This year we had a set of good coupons; Free Biggby Coffee, $10 Kohl’s bucks and $10 off from a $30 purchase at World Market. What a better way to end the year than with free stuff!! Unfortunately the stress of trying to fit it all in with two kids that haven’t eaten a balanced meal in a week, overwhelmed us. By the time we got home the grown-ups were annoyed with each other. Being self employed means you get to decide when you don’t work but also allows you to work on a normal holiday. So off Pat went to work.

Fine.

I then decided to take the twins on my last walk for the year. Nothing too much, maybe we could find a park. I checked out the map and sure enough there was Poxson Park. I could walk the streets while they played.
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After playing on a giant climbing rock for about an hour Ellie finally made it to the top and yells out as loudly as she can; “I’m on top of the world!!!!” She has so much excitement; so much happiness; so freeing. Her youthful voice echoed off every house in the neighborhood. At first I thought to hush her; don’t bother the neighbors. Then I was like, forget that! I wanted everyone to know that I’d dragged my kids out of the safety and warmth of our house and we were playing. We were laughing as we formed palm-sized snowballs and chased each other around that fake boulder. After a good snowball fight we then went for a walk through the park. When we made it back to the car they made mini snowmen to take home and begged me to make them hot cocoa as soon as we got home.
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I am so grateful that they never let me forget that I really am on top of the world.
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Happy, Happy New Year everyone!
Check out our walk

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Rough Spot

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Today I walked a “bad” neighborhood. The only problem is; it wasn’t. Yes, it was in one of the areas of town considered a bit rough and tumble but it didn’t seem that bad to me. Maybe it was because I was walking through this area on a very sunny, early December, Wednesday morning. I suppose living here might be different. Maybe there are stories that I could be told by residents. However, the more I continue on this walking project through Lansing the more I learn that there really isn’t a typical “Bad” neighborhood. Many times what I find is that there are a few “bad” houses that may or may not affect the area. On this walk, I passed residents and they smiled and said “hi” when I smiled and said “hi” to them. Yes, my pace might have been a bit quicker, I kept my camera discreetly hidden away and I perfected my nod and smile routine. I’ll admit that when I walked up a quaint dead end street that nestled up to the edge of the highway with only the one way in, I was a bit relieved by its isolation. But I also noticed some of the signature signs of a “safe” neighborhood: lawn ornaments, cars in good working order, cleanliness, flags, landscaping and nice people. These houses were just as ornate and positive as any “good” neighborhood. Despite all the negativity about Lansing, it seems that it doesn’t really have this heavy level of destitute and poverty that might be found in other hard hit recession Michigan cities. In fact, the more I walk the more I find quite the opposite. I find community centers that help provide services to the neighborhoods. I find non profits encouraging good and healthy behavior. I find neighborhood groups building urban gardens and promoting good habits. I also learn of family and friends buying houses in these “bad” neighborhoods and liking it there.
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Now, I know it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. I did notice the abandoned belongings of homelessness under the overpasses. I know many people are without good paying jobs. I know drugs are a big issue on the streets. Maybe it is dangerous out there. Maybe my being out there is playing with fire. I was warned excessively when I first went public with this project that I was being too risky; walking in areas that are known for trouble. I trusted that I would be safe out there. I trusted that the crime issues wouldn’t really get me while I purposely walked from street to street without causing any trouble. So far Lansing hasn’t let me down. I don’t necessarily like walking in these rougher parts of town, but so far these nefarious parts haven’t lived up to their negative reputation. I hope it stays that way.
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