Is it Just Me, or What? Community, Neighborhoods and Crime…

I’m not feeling safe. There seems to be a spike in violent crime in my city and more importantly my neighborhood lately. A home invasion less than 3 blocks from my house,  a domestic/drug related shooting literally behind the parking lot of my youngest’s elementary school less than a mile from the house (and a neighborhood wide lock down complete with staties and K-9 patrols while the suspect was at large) And just last night an 18 yr old drug dealer stabbed a 30 yr old downtown – also less than a mile from the house.  The Viking was walking the dogs in that area literally minutes before the incident.  I think he dodged a proverbial bullet. Having the dogs with him probably provided him with a measure of safety – or at least distance.  See below for links to the related articles.

Last summer the Viking was awoken to the sound of Sophie and her “Big Girl”,  “I Mean Business” bark.  He checked around and didn’t find anything or anyone. But the next morning he noticed the living room window screen had been completely slit through at the bottom.  Good Girl Soph!  Two summers ago we had a rash of break ins in the neighborhood where women’s pocketbooks left in their kitchens were rifled through and money/credit cards stolen.  Please note: this is a very blue collar neighborhood and section of town.  We aren’t well off by any means and we ALL work very hard for what we do have. Not sure why these neighborhoods are being targeted – other than propinquity.  And if that’s the case then the offenders have obviously never listened to the old adage about not pooping where you dine.   Our dogs provide at the very least a good alarm system but frankly I do worry about my Mom and Stepdad down the street, and others in the area who either can’t afford an alarm system or don’t have a dog.

For years now, I’ve kind of scoffed at my mother for locking her doors during daylight hours when she is home – but I am now seeing the great sense in this. Most of my life I’ve been relatively fearless after taking reasonable precautions.   These days, I’m feeling much more insecure.  Is it aging?  I’m certainly not 25 – but I am in much better health than I was at 40 – so maybe?  Or maybe not. These are our streets, and I would like to be able to sit on my front stoop and watch the world go by – without thinking that every person walking by my house might be casing the joint.  Not that I have anything in here valuable enough to steal – but still…. its mine.

Is this type of crime an unintended consequence of the current generation’s sense of “self entitlement” ? In other words, “I want it, don’t care if its not mine, I’m taking it….” Are we not teaching our children proper boundaries?  Does it harken back to valuing things that are worked for; not handed out?  I’m taking an educated guess here, but I’d say yes to all of the above.  And these days  I often think we are more focused on blaming circumstances /bad parenting etc than on holding offenders accountable for their actions.  If you break the law, there are consequences, period.  That’s the way it should be anyway.  Too often theres too many excuses and not enough restitution or justice.

Which brings me to another point: If greater pride was taken by the neighborhood community perhaps the crime rate would decrease.  So:   How do we instill a sense of pride in our neighborhoods when we barely speak to our neighbors? The Northeast has a pretty frigid reputation when it comes to being neighborly. The lack of fluency in English makes it difficult to communicate well with the increasing number of immigrants in the area. They are often not willing to embrace “American” culture, either. They certainly do not trust the police.   Hardly anyone on my street allows trick or treaters at Halloween anymore – the kids have to go outside the neighborhood.  Another good example is our neighbors across the street hanging their laundry – including unmentionables on the shrubbery in front of their houseQuite the eyeful as I sat here on my front porch, I must say. Repeated requests from all the neighbors went unheeded (a communication issue perhaps), but finally our community police officer had to tell  them in no uncertain terms to hang their laundry in their backyard…. But anyway – we are isolated in our home bubbles.  Going to work each day, coming home, doing our yard work and chores etc and focusing internally.  I  have never ever been to a block party or community party in my neighborhood, and I only know my neighbors a few houses up or down the street on either side.  Which is kind of sad, and admittedly at least partially my fault.

So here’s what I AM going to do.  Continue being nice, first.  It costs nothing to smile after all.  Increase my vigilance and awareness of whats going on in the neighborhood. Including getting out for walks with the Viking and the puppies more often.  The more familiar I am with things, the more likely I am to spot something out of whack. I’ll be checking on our elderly neighbors.  And lastly – we’ll be making sure the canine alarm system stays healthy, and will definitely be locking our doors even when we are home during the day. Any other suggestions or comments would be  most appreciated. Thanks all!

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Lavender Blue

My  English Lavender has finally established itself after two years and is taking over from the day lilies next to my deck and patio. Instead of cutting it back last year I left it completely alone, and this spring it ran amok!  Amok! Amok! Amok! 😉  IMG_8923 watermarked IMG_8937 watermarked IMG_8953 watermarked IMG_8974 watermarked I actually was able to smell it the other afternoon when my allergies were giving me a break. It was divine! And the bees love it.  They go about their business busily while I snap pictures. Unfortunately, they are too quick for me to get a good picture of them, but I’ll figure it out someday….. laughing!

And Just for Fun:  Both of my grandmothers used to sing this to me and my sister when we were little – its derived from a very old English Nursery Rhyme – that has MUCH bawdier origins. This version won Burl Ives an Academy Award in 1948, and was his first major chart topper.  Here’s the song reference:

 

Formal Florals

I decided to get crafty yesterday and this morning and try some flower arranging. Then, I tried to see if I could capture my efforts for posterity. The Roses and the Lavender are direct from my garden; and the conch shell was brought back from the Caribbean by my father after he took a Windjammer cruise – back in the 80’s. Originally he had planned to make a nightlight out of it. Somehow it ended up at my house. The Viking learned how to sound a conch in Hawaii back in his younger days – and occasionally he greets the sunset with a blast or three. It really does work,and we’ve gotten calls wondering what the noise was! 😉 Here’s how the photos turned out.  Please let me know what you think, and what your favorites are if you have any!IMG_9200 watermarked IMG_9203 watermarked IMG_9212 WATERMARKED IMG_9215 watermarked IMG_9242 watermarked IMG_9245 watermarked IMG_9257 watermarked IMG_9255 watermarked IMG_9251 watermarked IMG_9252 watermarked IMG_9311 watermarked IMG_9313 watermarked IMG_9321 watermarked IMG_9327 watermarked IMG_9326 watermarkedI’m including this youtube video because it came up on my playlist while I was editing this. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today so it fits! Enjoy the Kingston Trio!  The answer to the question is apparently  “My House!”  Hahahaha!!!

Selena’s Peonies

These were Selena Jacques Lahue (my Great- Grandmother)’s peonies.  My Grandpa dug them up and brought them to his front garden when she passed away, and my mother brought them to her backyard when Grandpa left us. Peonies also happen to be my sister Susan’s  favorite flower.  I went over to my Mom’s this morning and together we managed to get these photographs. Mom held up the blooms with a stick since they are so darn top- heavy.  It was great to share this time with her, and listen to a couple of the family stories while I snapped away.  I’m normally not a fan of white flowers per se, but these have a spattering of red to boost the visual interest; kind of like an artist lined the center whorls with crimson.  Nature, gotta love her  -even when she’s off her HRT. 😉IMG_8551 watermarked IMG_8566 watermarked IMG_8570 watermarked IMG_8558 watermarkedI hope you enjoy these!  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Chasing Dreams

UP, UP AND AWAY

Music and Lyrics by Jimmy Webb

The Fifth Dimension – Up, Up And Away – Digitally Remastered 1997

Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
Would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
We could float among the stars together, you and I
For we can fly, we can fly
Up, up and away in
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon


The world’s a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon
We can sing a song and sail along the silver sky
For we can fly, we can fly
Up, up and away in
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon


Suspended under a twilight canopy
We’ll search the clouds for a star to guide us
If by some chance you find yourself loving me
We’ll find a cloud to hide us
We’ll keep the moon beside us


Love is waiting there in my beautiful balloon
Way up in the air in my beautiful balloon
If you’ll hold my hand we’ll chase your dream across the sky
For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
Balloon…
Up, up, and away…..

Sweet Summer Vintage

Sunday was a lovely day for a bbq picnic with friends. While attempting to capture the fast paced action of a scratch whiffle ball game, I managed to find some wild grapes in the outfield by a fence. The fruit smelled strong and sweet. Warm and musty in the dappled, mid-afternoon sunshine.

Afternoon Rest

Image

 

We saw this on the side of the road on Route 9 between Hillsborough and Keene NH. Sitting in an overgrown meadow – forgotten, and rusting quietly in the drizzly mist.