Photo Friday

Not Christmas exactly but the days leading up to which are really the most exciting!

Apparently Santa was staying at the historic Riordan Mansion in Flagstaff.

No snow while we were in Flagstaff but we found some leftovers in the shady areas.

The North Pole, really!  We went through the magic tunnel to get there!

Not our actual train.  This one is retired and just does photo shoots for the Grand Canyon Railway.  🙂


Cookies for Santa.  I love the single eye on the tree.

The Elf’s last hangout spot before heading home.

Keep your focus!

Observe Your Neighborhood Day

I love this idea! No helicopter parenting for me, I can be Drone Mom!

Years ago I took a terrorism awareness course for the military. One of the key points that really stuck with me was that you needed to know how things normally look in order to tell if something is wrong.

I walk my dog every morning around my neighborhood and frequently one of the adjoining neighborhoods as well. (We live on a loop about 1/2 mile around so my definition of my neighborhood is easily defined for me.) Over the years I have picked up a lot of details without  consciously trying.  I know which houses are rentals, which ones are currently empty and which have part-time snowbirds living in them.  I am familiar with vehicles and where they are normally parked. I know a lot about the people that live near me, even if I don’t know their names.  I know nationalities, if they work at home, kids and the schools they go to. In a nutshell I know who belongs in my neighborhood and can tell if something looks different or out of place.

I am not particularly worried about a terrorist event in my neighborhood but I would like to think if someone started up a meth lab or was dealing drugs that I would notice. (Though hopefully those won’t happen either!) But with a nine year old freely roaming the neighborhood I want to be aware of his surroundings.

When I was a kid we knew all our neighbors and they knew us. Of course our neighbors didn’t change very often which helped. We knew that if we did something wrong or stupid or unsafe someone would yell at us or tell our parents.  Times are different now but knowing a little bit about the people in your neighborhood is not a bad thing.

Take a walk around your neighborhood today or this evening and see how much you know.  If papers started piling up at a house would you know to check on the elderly woman living there alone?  Do your kids know safe houses to run to in case of an emergency?

The house across the street and the house right next to us are both rentals so we get new neighbors every two to three years. I always make a plate of cookies and my son and I deliver them shortly after they move in. I introduce ourselves and get their names and usually learn a thing or two. It also gives me a good chance to get a first impression of them and see if I feel any warning flags. (None so far, the last two renters across the street have been military and next door is a family with three children, two of whom walk to school with my son.)

Become more active in your neighborhood watch, expand your circle of awareness a few more houses. Maybe even take the next step and get to really know one or two of your nearby neighbors better. Cookies make a great ice breaker!

That’s supposed to be a kitty cat face, in case you can’t tell!