daily walk: pineapple on plinths

Dear Internet,

Consider the pineapple.

In Michigan, where pineapple is definitely not a native fruit, you may think seeing pineapples on plinths at the end of driveways and walkways would seem weird and out of place. So why on earth would those in ye olden days use pineapples decoratively? Why the pineapple and not say a banana, or an apple, or grapes?

Glad you asked!

While the past is a bit murky and conflicting of when pineapples were introduced into the western world, what is clear is that the social history of the pineapple exploded during the Georgian era, as due to their rarity, pineapples were considered luxurious and heavily desired goods. Having access to a pineapple, either by renting it or owning it, cemented the pineapple’s owner of their high status in society. The same pineapple would often appear at numerous dinners, to be admired and never eaten, until the fruit itself went to rot and then the process would start all over again.

England is not the warmest of countries so special techniques were formulated to successfully grow pineapples in English soil in special greenhouses called pinerys.  This of course raised their value even more as only the wealthiest could afford the time and the money to build and maintain what the pinery required.

So how does this connect with pineapple on plinths at the end of a walkway in good old Grand Rapids?

pineappleonplints

Distance: 1.12 miles
Walk time: 23:20 minutes
Pace: 20:71/mile

Well, it could be a couple of things.

The first is as most of the houses in my neighborhood date back to the mid 1800s, it’s not a leap to imagine a local captain of industry and his family made various Grand Tours to the continent. The wife (or hell, even the husband) saw pineapples used decoratively as they travelled – pineapple as a motif was seen in paintings, china, wallpaper, building design and more. What up and coming Grand Rapids socialite wouldn’t want to be considered the height of European fashion by having her own pineapple plinths?

The second, and probably the most probable, is several social historians suggest that Carib peoples, native to Guadalupe, would put pineapples at the entrance of their village to let visitors know they were welcome at anytime. When Columbus and his dudes took the fruit back to the continent, this same practice started appearing at the entrance European homes. It was also apparently a huge todo here in the colonies to have replica of pineapples built at the entrance of your home to indicate to all that entered  would be given the utmost in friendliness and hospitality.

We’ll never really know the story of the pineapple on plinths for this particular sliver of land in my neighborhood. As the historic register requires all modifications and rebuilds to be period specific to the origin of the house, when a home has been destroyed and cannot be rebuilt for whatever reason, the land becomes  small parks.

And this particular place, all that is left of that once stately home, and the history that once surrounded it, is a pair of pineapples on plinths.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 1999

daily walk: pleasant park

Dear Internet,

I am a dilly-dallier.

When my alarm goes off in the morning, there is usually a minimum of two snoozes (18 minutes), then I check the weather to suss out the days outfit. At that point, I should get out of bed, do the walk, and then start the rest of my day. But then I need to figure out my route because I change it up everyday. Then I need to do a hundred different things and instead of getting in a walk at 730AM, it is now 9AM.

Pleasant Park - coming July 14 near you.
Pleasant Park – coming July 14 near you.

Distance: 1.54 miles
Walk time: 31:19 minutes
Pace: 20:25/mile

Pleasant Park is located down the block from Throbbing Manor. It is a city initiative to turn an old parking lot into a 2 acre green space. The project has been plagued with financial problems from the start, since this started before we moved here in January 2011.

Last year we took to the polls to approve a $500 per property owner tax in the adjacent neighborhood, levied over 10 years, to pick up the financial slack. Because of all the setbacks, the park that was to open last year is finally opening this month. We hope. But right now, it doesn’t look like much.

Because of the problems I had yesterday with everything crashing and my phone had been sluggish as hell as of late, I did a restore last night which seemed to have cleared whatever problem was ailing it. I also figured out the sequence of which apps to run when so everything works harmoniously.

Until I got home and saw the Walkmeter recorded my time, but definitely did not record pace or milage.  There was a lot of, “Are you fucking kidding me?” as I stood in frame of the front door.

At least I know how to use a calculator.

When I had my arthritis surgery a few years ago, they cut the fascia of my right tendon in my calf (warning: not for the squeamish) to lengthen it because I was having problems with cramps and locking up when I was doing couch to 5K plans. So now my right calf is like, “I CAN WALK FOREVER,” while my left calf is, “BITCH, PLEASE.”

Thus, when I sorted out two walks this morning figuring I would choose the one at the split on how I was feeling with my left calf. I thought the shorter walk was barely a mile, while the extra few blocks would push me more towards the 1.25 mile. Nope, I was wrong — the first walk was 1.25 while the additional blocks pushed me closer to 1.5 miles. About half way in, the tightness of my left calk was getting pretty unbearable, there was a few times I almost cut the walk short, but after a few more blocks, the pain started to lessen so when I came to the split, I opted for the long way. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I saw how far I had walked today – – profanity in front of my house of a piece of shit app notwithstanding.

Hey! Looks like the latest Fitbit app update now does the same thing. Sorry, Walkmeter. I am going to have to quit you.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010

daily walk: meyer may house

Dear Internet,

The recent spat of sporadic rains have not helped with the 93% humidity and high 80s temps. TheHusband and I cracked and turned the central air on Friday, which has been fabulous, but the minute we head out, we melt. Yesterday TheHusband went out to stake our poor tomato plants and I was hauling recyclables out to their respective cannister when I got tagged by some sun. That burned. It was painful. I quickly tossed the recyclables into their cannister and booked it back inside, vowing to never let the Daystar graze upon my body again.

TheHusband, who had the beginnings of heat stroke on Saturday night, was outside for roughly 20 -30 minutes and was nauseous when he got back indoors. Sleeping last night was painful for both of us: His back, including his shoulders and his upper arms, are burnt while the top of my thighs, chest, and arms were burnt. I could sleep on my back, but couldn’t sleep on my side or stomach. He could sleep on his stomach, but not on his back or sides.

We’ve been drinking lots of water, rubbing ourselves down with aloe, and eating ibuprofen to help with the pain. And this is why we never leave the house! Too traumatic!

meyermayhouse
Meyer May House

Distance: 1.17 miles
Walk time: 20:38 minutes
Pace: 16:70/mile

This morning’s walk took me past Meyer May House, which is spitting distance from our house. It has a cousin a few blocks in the opposite direction that was completed by some of Wright’s acolytes.

In the 3.5 years we’ve lived in this neighborhood, we’ve never done a tour of the house.

The rest of my walk was kind of a clusterfuck. The Walkmeter app froze and only recorded half of my walk, so my times above are estimates based on previous walks. My podcast app also froze, as well as the Spotify app, so the last half of my walk was music less. I was getting overly distracted by all of the world around me, I need the music to keep me focused. Music keeps my brain from overheating from the ping ponging of thoughts and ideas, which is super important when I am exercising or doing an activity that requires physicality or else OOOHHH SHINY.

And of course when I got home, everything started working again perfectly. Of course.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: