Saunter Sojourners

Friendly Photo Shoot 11/11/10

Rebecca was my first guest walker for my City Saunter project. We met up at REO Town and did a photo walk to the old train station there. When she’s not out performing volunteer work and #LoveLansing activities she’s working hard as Public Relations Director at Rizzi Designs. On her free time she also operates a photography business, ReelPhoto, using her new home town to capture gorgeous images of her clients with Lansing as the backdrop.




On April 1, 2011 I had the great honor of having Michael McCallum join me for my walk down Fairview St. Michael has been shooting films in Lansing for over a decade. Despite the pull to leave Lansing for greener pastures he remains fervently loyal to his home town. He, like so many in Lansing, feels that there is something incredibly special about our great town. He continues to write, direct and star in feature films shot on location in small businesses and city streets in the Lansing area. He also finds here a great supply of musicians, actors and other talents that help him create award winning films. Michael is the owner of Rebel Pictures.

On April 13, 2011 for my News Worthy blog I was able to walk and talk to the amazing Evan Pinsonnault from WLNS Channel 6 news. I had contacted him about his “Tell Me Something Good” segment. I thought my City Saunter Project was something he might be interested in and he was! I have since seen Evan many times at other Lansing events and he has never lost his charm!

I had the great pleasure of walking with Robin Miner-Swartz on April 27. She provided the perfect commentary as we explored the intricate streets within Lansing’s West Side Neighborhood. Robin is not shy in accepting her role as “Lansing’s Greatest Cheerleader”, in fact she revels in it. She can usually be found spending her Thursday lunch hour working on a Lunch With a Purpose non profit project. She was also a vibrant participant in Lansing’s first TEDx Lansing as well as having a lead roll in TEDx 2.0. In addition to all the volunteer projects she participates in Robin has a “day job” as Director of Communications at Capital Region Community Foundation.




Ground Breaking  Despite the possibility of more rain, I was able to convince Patrick O’Meara to come along for a quick walk around REO Town today, March 25, 2011. We were both attending the ground breaking ceremony for Board of Water & Light’s new natural gas power plant. Although Pat doesn’t appear much in my blogs for this project he has been one hundred percent behind me and this project. Patrick is my go to guy for all things programming, website and computers in general. I often call him the smartest programmer in the Lansing area, and as if wife I’m not partial at all:) As the lead programmer and owner of O’Meara Consulting he provides these services to multiple businesses in the Lansing area, New York and Virginia. His collaboration with multiple, local design studios allows him the unique opportunity to be involved with many Lansing area events. He also gets drug into my multiple volunteer adventures as a mostly willing guest. Born and raised in Lansing he is passionate about keeping Lansing strong and vibrant for his family.




Secret Garden

I was so happy to see Susan pull into Cooley Garden’s for City Saunter’s first Photo Walk on June 21, 2011. Susan is a fellow photographer that enjoys sharing her gorgeous photos of her two adorable kids. When not enjoying her passion she is deeply involved with her other passion; teaching. Susan is one of many outstanding teachers in the Lansing school district. She is also a fellow Eastern Quaker from the class of 1988 and is often assisting me with alumni activities as an alumni committee member.



My father in law J. Patrick O’Meara has joined me on two walks; A Simple Walk for Peace and A Walk in the Park. Mr. O’Meara, as I knew him while a student at Otto Middle School, has a Ph.D in education from MSU. He was a renowned teacher of history for 38 years at Otto. Nine years later I became his first child-in-law. I then renamed him to Pat, but after a while of the two Pats confusion I again renamed him to Dad O. My father in law is the type of man who I wish there was a lesson book to teach all young men how to act. He is loyal and committed to the many areas he feels strongly about, especially his family. There is a strength in him that is beyond admirable. I am very fortunate that his oldest son, my Patrick, has many of these qualities as well. I always appreciate the love and support they both have given to me and this project.

Emanuele Berry has actually joined me on my walks twice now. The first was July 2011 and covered in my blog Summer Storm. Emanuele is the news director for MSU’s IMPACT 89 FM student radio. Our July walk was an interactive interview; we walked, she asked questions about my project. That interview ran on the air later that month Click to listen to interview. At the beginning of this year Emanuele got back in contact with me for another interview. This one will air on Focal Point another MSU student produced news cast. It’s always exciting to get contacted by the media. It’s even more exciting when they join me for my walks!

You Gotta Have Friends
Shawn has been a close friend for a very long time. She was at one time married to my first cousin and our children are roughly the same age. Together we planned most of our holiday adventures together; trick or treating, Uncle John’s, Christmas. It has always been a special joy to have Shawn around. I am glad we’ve remained friends all this time.





Isn’t it Grand! I had the great job of taking my grandparents out on one of my walks. We chose to start on Cooper Ave., a street all three of us owned homes on at some point. I have many memories of their home; walking to get ice cream, staying up late, their chiming clock. They now reside in Florida so a visit from them is extra special.

csIMG_0968_noleafjohn  It is always a special walk when I get to walk with family. On this lovely day in August my family joined my husband’s brother’s family for a great walk in Groesbeck. One of my favorite photos was created during this walk. I am so appreciative of the support this family has shown me over and over, not just for City Saunter but also as a photographer. Sidewalk to Heaven

csIMG_8129heatherHeather was on a journey of her own. She and Todd Duckett had started a new non profit called New World Flood. This non profit was working diligently to “flood the world with service”. This group hosts backpack giveaways to school aged children, created Battlefield Brawl that raises money for charity, and collected truck load of supplies to be donated after hurricane Sandy his the east coast. They were even gracious enough to support my Peace of Lansing event that first year. Heather was trying to bring attention to this wonderful group by walking 9 miles every day for 90 days. It was an extraordinary feat yet she was more than eager to do it. Have I mentioned Lansing has some amazing people in it? Heather joined me and I joined her on an 8 mile walk on Lansing’s north side. 

csIMG_1560stephanieStephanie and I have been friends for quite a few years now. She’s one of those people I always run into at networking events, volunteering activities and mutual friends’ events. I honestly can’t say I remember “meeting” her for the first time, she’s just always been there. There are people you meet while being active in the community that you just mesh with. You have similar personalities, likes, dislikes and friends.  I feel Steph is one of those types. I hope she enjoys me as much as I enjoy her! Steph and I had a great walk around her home on the north-east side. Read about it here.



Zig contacted me the spring of 2013 to join me for a walk. His mother had shared my blog with him and he’s been a follower ever since. Not only did Zig join me for a walk on the west side he also very graciously offered me a chance of a lifetime. Zig had won an auction as part of the Michigan Historical Society. His price was 10 tickets for an exclusive tour of the Capitol. This is the type of tour that few get to partake of any longer. I was so honored and thankful to join him and his friends on this memorable tour. Here are some of the photos I took. This journey brought some amazing people to me and Zig is definitely one of them.

csIMG_5271maryWhen I ran into Allan Ross, who works for Lansing City Pulse, at Art Attack it wasn’t the first time I had tried to get them to write about my City Saunter Project. In fact it was about my 6th time. This time it stuck. Within a week I was meeting writer Mary Cusack who wrote for their newspaper. She asked all the normal interview questions plus a few different ones. Then she immediately asked when we can go for a walk. She felt she would get a better feel of what I did if she joined me. We scheduled our walk a week later on the south side which was all I had left to walk now. Before beginning our walk from Washington Park she told me how she checked out my blog and was totally intrigue by the scope of this project. I was so excited to have a journalist excited about my walking. When her write up came out the Wednesday before my final walk and gallery exhibit opening I thought I might burst! What perfect timing. I think I’m glad they didn’t write about me before that. There couldn’t have been a better way to finish off that last week. Thanks Mary & Allan! Read her article here. She has an unedited version here.

csIMG_5461nickWhen my friend Nick told me he wanted to join me on a City Saunter walk and he was bringing his dog with him, I knew exactly where we would be walking; Baker St. Of all the various locations around town that I was told more than once not to walk, it was Baker. At one time this street was considered the most dangerous street in Lansing. With the strong recession that came through and many of the homes in this area vacant now, I’m not sure it still holds that title but it is still a pretty scary place to walk alone. I was glad to have Nick and Zap with me, especially when we strolled down a dead end section and a man came running out of the yard into the street with a gun. Of course Nick knew it was a fake and that the man was just playing “shoot’em up” with plastic guns. It was good to have that section completed and even better to have walked it with a good friend.

csIMG_5125laurel     I met Laurel in 2011 when I covered the Capital City Dragon Boat Races for this blog. Laurel is one of those behind the scenes heroes. She works extraordinarily hard to bring to life the projects and events that she’s created or participating in. She also has a long history with Lansing. When we spoke she had been a part of events that I remembered from many, many years ago. I’m not trying to divulge her age but rather how incredibly devoted she is to the hometown she lives in. After working with her on the 2012  Capital City Dragon Boat Races we became quick friends. She has supported my efforts with City Saunter as well as Peace of Lansing. And I must truly say that without her push over the summer I never would have finished this project in time for my gallery exhibit. Speaking of exhibits, Laurel came to the rescue there as well. She helped Pat and I put up all the framed art, set out decorations, bought bubbles for the kids to play with and even brought the sign in book which I had completely forgot about. She is a true friend.  I am so thankful we met!



4 responses to “Saunter Sojourners

  1. Pingback: Have you heard? | David & Rebecca

  2. Would greatly enjoy joining you on a walk in Lansing.

  3. Pingback: The End of a Year | City Saunter

  4. Pingback: You’ve got to move it, move it. | City Saunter

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