Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I've recovered from Lucia's birthday party, and am happy to report that all of my garden plants are still intact. Yesterday, Bede dug a spot for my blueberry and red raspberry bushes. Today, I weeded extensively in the back yard (North) and the West side of our house, planted some new shade and part-shade plants, and dug out a lot of broken glass. Our neighborhood has experienced a lot of crime over the past decades and is in recovery mode now. Our neighbors who have lived here for several generations are concerned about gentrification. I don't want gentrification, but I do want beautification. I pick up a lot of discarded bottles, cans and candy-wrappers on our street. Every time I dig in the yard, I gather large glass shards that have worked its way up from the soil. I feel committed to staying in this neighborhood-- I did plant rhubarb after all-- but there are times when I'm wistful for a setting with fewer issues.

We live in a multicultural neighborhood, and that's the kind of setting in which I want my daughter to grow up. Still, our neighborhood is considered to be "in transition." Many of us have had things stolen from yards, cars broken into, or houses robbed. Some of us have had to deal with other crimes, too. Bede, Lucia and I can take walks in the evening and feel reasonably secure about our safety (as much as anyone can), but Lucia is not allowed to play alone in the front-yard. At one point, some of our neighbors had children, but they've all moved away.

Why do we stay?

1) We bought our house during the 3 seconds that it was a buyer's market in Seattle. At this point, we could easily sell our quirky little house, but we wouldn't be able to afford anything else in the city.
2) We can walk to the library, grocery stores, coffee-shops and other small businesses. We live on a street that has a direct bus-line to Downtown, and most of the time, we need only one car.
4) There is a plethora of Ethiopian restaurants in the area. I grew up in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and Ethiopian food was a staple in our family.
5) It takes five years just begin to get settled into one place.


Lady K said...

Glad you've recovered! Gardening is such great therapy!

It's really true ~ once you get settled somewhere, it's really hard to leave. Maybe that's why I stay here. Hopefully your crime level won't keep going up.

limpy99 said...

Just give the kid a gun and send her out to the front door. The you can send a book idea to Garrolous MacKenzie about "The Apple Dumpling Gang Moves To Seattle And Busts A Cap In Someone's Ass"

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Lady K: Thanks! What I would really like to do is to find out some way of helping the people who keep breaking into homes. It stands to reason that if you're happy with your life, you're not going to risk ruining everything by becoming a criminal. (The people who break into homes are repeat offenders--they've been caught, held and released so many times.)

Limpy99: Believe it or not, Garrulous MacKenzie is quite anti-gun. He is on the poop-list of the NRA.

bookbk said...

I bet I've been to some of those Ethiopian restaurants!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Bookbk: If you have some specific recommendations, please let me know! We often bring home take-out from Mesob on 14th and Jefferson.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Bookbk: If you have some specific recommendations, please let me know! We often bring home take-out from Mesob on 14th and Jefferson.

Rhea said...

Transitional neighborhoods. I am familiar with that. When I moved to mine in 1994, I had drug dealers and muggings practically in my front yard. But it was where I wanted to live. Luckily it's calmed down a lot.

cloudscome said...

I think you should treasure the neighborhood - it sounds great! Safety is a state of mind. I think it's wonderful that you have invested in improving the land and the neighborhood. You will reap the rewards of that for years.

Lone Star Ma said...

Break-ins do happen everywhere. Both my next-door neighbors have had them (I like to think we've been passed over because we keep everything so trashy that the thieves know they can do better). I love our neighborhood of old houses with hardwood floors. It is very multi-class, with working class, middle class and even a few rich folks all together in one place which is what I love. Our house is 57 years old, has only 1 bathroom and 1250 square feet and, since we are not handy, could use some serious attention, but I love having it, even if people like ourselves really have no business being homeowners. Sadly, I think we got the last of the affordable housing. In 1999, we paid 65K for our house (stop hyperventilating - it is usual for folks in TX with college degrees to earn in the 20s, 30s if lucky, 70s if you are an engineer, that sort of thing.), but now houses on our street are actually selling for 130K or so (rather than just being listed at that and selling in the 70s). Some of our neighbors think this is great but where, I want to know, are the teachers/social workers/nurses/middle class folks who spent years and money in college supposed to live exactly? It's sad.