Three Countries

Today’s blog prompt asked me to write about three countries I’d like to visit and why.

This is actually kinda hard for me to narrow down.  I mean, can I count Europe as a country?  No?  Alright then.  Well, in no particular order:

Ireland For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to visit the Emerald Isle.  All the green, all the people, all the history…  I know that part of it has to do with me wanting to be more in touch with my roots.  My mother always told me that her father was half Irish and half English.  I don’t know how true it is, but I’ve always felt closer to that side of the family when I’m wearing my Connemara marble jewelry.

France Again this has to do with history, culture and family roots.  We can trace my maternal grandmother’s family back to France, and both paternal grandparents too.  But it’s not just the roots here.  I want to go to the museums, wander around and see all the architecture, and just have that taste of what it is to live in France.

Australia This just looks like a fun place to visit.  The cities mixed with vast open spaces, the adventures, the wine tasting, and those lovely accents.  It would be the memory of a lifetime.

Post-a-day for 2011?

Hmmm…  am I up for this?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I can try, right?

See, WordPress has challenged us to post every day for a year.  They’ll provide the topics and we can use them (or not) for inspiration.  I’ve been doing pretty well at posting regularly, so I’m gonna try for this.  It may not work so well when I’m traveling, but the most important thing is to try, right?  Right.

So, I hereby promise to attempt to post every day in 2011.  Maybe I’ll learn something about myself along the way, ya know?

Want to join me?  Check out the rules here.

Blight

I drive down my city streets and I am mostly embarrassed by what I see:

  • Long boarded up buildings covered in graffiti and overgrown weeds
  • Piles of rubble
  • Muddy roads where streets used to be
  • Pot holes that will swallow your car
  • Day laborers on every corner
  • Opportunists trying every car door as they walk down the street
  • And so much more

This isn’t the city I grew up in.  This is a city that nobody cares about any more.

The roller skating rink closed down when I was a kid.  The property wasn’t sold, leased or redeveloped in any way.  It was left vacant for almost 20 years.  Each year it looked a little sadder, a little droopier, a little more neglected.  Inevitably squatters came in and set fires in garbage cans to keep themselves warm at night.  Three years ago it burned down.  There has been a pile of rubble in its place since then.

The bowling alley closed down about 5 or 6 years ago.  It’s not that it wasn’t turning a profit, it’s just that the original owner gave it to his son who decided that he didn’t want to “bother” with it any more.  He tried to sell the building and the land.  It has been vacant ever since.  Well, vacant if you ignore the prostitutes, drug dealers and vagrants who call that property their home base.

I often wonder if I’m looking back at the city I grew up in with rose colored glasses.  You know how it is: things were always better “back then.”  But then I see pictures of the way it used to be even just a few years ago and I know that my rose colored glasses theory is a fallacy.  Things really were better back then.

I know I don’t have all the answers, but I do wonder why our city doesn’t do more to address the problem of blight.  The city’s leaders claim they want to bring business and people to our community but I don’t see them doing anything to attract either group.  If I were to open a business, I probably wouldn’t open one here.  Why would I open a business in a community that doesn’t care enough about itself to look nice?  If I were to buy a house, I definitely wouldn’t do it here.  With all the rowdy people living in my neighborhood, crazy people, and the murders (can’t forget about those) I wouldn’t want to make my life here.

The people in a community have to want a better life for themselves too.  I say this, because I know that there’s only so much the leaders can do.  But I do believe that our leaders need to lead.  They need to get the ball rolling because most lay people see all this ugliness and despair as too big to handle.  If you lead, the people will follow.

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