Archive for February, 2011

Welcome to the Neighborhood (again)

February 25, 2011

Dear Readers,

Hello once again from the Newton Booth Neighborhood.  It’s been a long journey back, but I hope this time I can write more consistently, and make this blog into something that will last.  Thank you for checking in.

Maybe I should start here with a little background information.  Since I haven’t introduced myself in these posts for a while, my name is Dairl Helmer, I’m 41 years old – and as the first sentence to this post suggests, I live in the Newton Booth Neighborhood of Sacramento, California.  I moved to Sacramento in 2000, and have lived in the neighborhood since 2003.

When the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association Board (of which I am a member) first asked me to create a blog for the neighborhood back in mid-2009, I was hesitant.  I like to write, but my particular interest is in the printed word, not the ephemeral posts of a blog.  But for a time, I gave it my best shot, covering various neighborhood events and trying to learn more about the neighborhood we live in.

Unfortunately, in the summer of last year, my posts for this blog dropped off, and then ceased for a while.  The reason was stress in my personal life from the closure of the law firm for which I worked, the loss of my job of eight and a half years, and a period of unemployment that followed.  (Thankfully, in December I found a job once again, and as of now it seems to be going well.)

By the way, I apologize once again, that it has taken me such a long time to make a new post to the blog.  As I’ve discovered, posting to a blog consistently is a little bit like going to the gym consistently:  If you stop for even a few weeks – no matter what the reason – it can be very hard to get back into the habit again.  Not impossible, but very hard.

But I’ll tell you why it’s important to me to start this blog up again:  Connecting to a neighborhood is a way for people to engage with their community; and engaging with community is the first step toward creating a better community.

Like the first time the NBNA Board asked me to create a blog, once again this time I hesitated.  Isn’t the internet one more device for keeping people in their houses, eyes glued to a screen, I wondered?  Shouldn’t people be out walking, meeting their neighbors, going to local restaurants and coffeehouses, instead of sitting at home in front of a computer?  And wouldn’t I perhaps be contributing to the problem, even in a small way, by starting up the blog again?

Those points are well-taken.  Yes, we all should get out and enjoy what our neighborhood and community have to offer, and by all means we should get together with people face-to-face, in order to satisfy the need for human contact and community.  But I don’t think my writing a blog about the neighborhood is adding to the problem, unless we all stay in front of our computers all day and do nothing else.  Like many people, from time to time I like to surf the internet, go on social networking sites, read news, watch videos, enjoy humor, and occasionally (though in my case infrequently) read a blog.  This has not prevented me from going out for walks, going to events, and actively engaging with my neighborhood.  It’s just a matter of keeping a balance.

In short, what I would like to accomplish with this blog is to contribute, in some small way, to the fostering and growth of community in the Newton Booth, Poverty Ridge and Alhambra Triangle neighborhoods.  If reading this blog encourages you to get out and enjoy more of what this neighborhood and the community of Sacramento have to offer, I will be very pleased.

Please don’t hesitate to leave comments, ideas, suggestions, or constructive criticism on these posts.  This blog is for all of us, the neighbors of Newton Booth, Poverty Ridge and Alhambra Triangle; and if there is any way the blog can serve you better, I’d like to know.

Thanks again for checking in.  I’ll be posting again soon (I promise!), so please come back again.  Welcome to the neighborhood.