Tag Archives: neighbors

I Think My Neighbors Are Stalking Me. And This Time, They Have Just Cause.

Or at least they’ve found me out.

You know my obsession with clean trash cans? (No? Read about it here. It’s ok. We’ll wait.)

And you’re well aware of my fascination with Google search terms. (Here and here. Again, take your time. We’re a patient bunch.)

Well, apparently, people are still finding my blog when they search for: random acts of kindness (A number of posts on this topic as it is near and dear to my heart), burka (Just one post on this topic, I promise), traffic signals, josef albers, joy suckers (Hey! That’s just mean!), wrinkled boobs (Even meaner!), hornyteens (Written just like that, all one word — and I’ll say it again. Ewwwwww!) and now……..

Wait for it……

wait for it…..

OCD About Trash Cans.

Wait! I can explain.

It’s just that we recently had another incident. And this time, it was my husband’s fault.

You see, I’ve turned #1son into an OCDer. Fingers crossed that he’s come by it honestly. He’s my son through adoption so I’m hoping it’s nature, not nurture. Because I know how debilitating OCD can be. And I shudder to think that I’m the cause. And I don’t want to see him on Dr. Phil in 20 years, shouting to the world that it’s all my fault. But I digress….

We, meaning my #1son and I, had just cleaned the trash cans last week. He was helping me pull them to the house and he said, ever so sweetly, “Mom? These cans are stinky. Maybe we should clean them out?”

Ahhhh. He warms the cockles of my heart.

So, we got to it. Spraying. Lysoling. Spraying some more. Air drying. It was heaven.

Sparkling clean trash and recycling cans tucked safely away in the garage.

Check.

This week, I went to the curb and grabbed the trash can handle.

Ouch!

Something bit me.

I look down and the handle, the ridge of the can and inside the can is covered with red ants. Upon further discovery, the bottom of the can is swimming with sweet, sticky liquid. Could it be……beer?

I don’t drink beer. My kids don’t drink beer. My husband. He drinks beer. And he broke rule # 173: Do not put loose trash in the trash can and rule #92: Put recyclables in the recycling bin. (Duh!)

So, two weeks in a row, I’m outside, cleaning the trash bin. And my neighbors saw me.

And the very next morning, in my WordPress Site Stats, I find that someone has found my blog by searching: OCD about trash cans.

Oh. I am so busted.

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Filed under All In A Day's Work, funny, How We Roll

My Neighbors Could Be Aliens. Or In Witness Protection. Either Way They’re Not From MY World.

“I think my neighbors might be aliens”

That was an honest-to-God search term that found my blog. And I could have honestly entered that search term into Google. Except the more probable search would be: “I think my neighbors might be in witness protection.”

We all seek like-minded people. I love differences. It’s what makes the world go ’round. But I prefer to be surrounded by people with similar values. I have pretty high standards, so in our neighbor’s defense, I’ve set the bar high.

They haven’t met it. Not even close.

We moved in first. A new subdivision, we were alone on our little hill for a while. Then new neighbors moved in. Please let them be nice, we prayed.

And they were. Nice. Or so it seemed. Chatty. Friendly. She asked where the bus stop was. Right in front of our house, I told her. And when school started a few weeks later, the bus stopped in front of her house. The bus driver told our daughter that was the new stop. Later, I found out she had complained that her 14 yr. old son had allergies and a torn meniscus. He couldn’t walk “all the way” over to our house.

The dad works from home. When my husband asked what he did, he was very vague. “A computer based business,” was all he said. We waited for clarification and he just stood there and smiled. She’s a stay at home mom. He works from home but he’s often outside working in the yard, running or playing basketball with his sons when they get home from school. His work days appear very short.

Just before dusk, we often see them walking down the street with a few golf clubs in hand. Sneaking onto the course at the 5th hole. Stealing course time.

And then, there was the fence. We got a puppy. We decided to fence the yard. In our neighborhood, there are designs to choose from and you have to get your neighbor to sign off  that they have no issues with your choice. Of course, our neighbors had issues. They wouldn’t sign. They showed us what they liked, because they were considering a fence, as well. At first I was annoyed. But as luck would have it, I liked their choice better. It was a little more expensive but it looked a lot nicer. We agreed. We also agreed to share the side that cut down our two properties and share the cost. We shook hands.

The company wouldn’t lay the fence until both parties signed a contract. Our neighbors stalled. We prodded. They stalled some more. Our puppy was growing. We put up with their indecision for 3 months. Finally, we had to go on without them. 

If you don’t share a side of the fence, the fence has to be laid 6 inches inside your property line.  A week after our fence was installed, they asked to hook up to ours. We said, “Sure. Sharing the cost would be xxx amount of dollars.” They said, “We’re not paying for half of that fence! It’s on YOUR property.”

We said, “Ahhhh….No.”

And then, of course, there is the dad – who has more than a healthy interest in our teenage daughter. She has always said, “He gives me the creeps.” And we’ve always pooh-poohed her perception. She is our “Little Victorian,” after all. But one day, while sitting on our back porch flipping through a magazine while the boys played in the sprinkler, he leaned over the fence. “Having fun boys?” My ears perked up. They told him, yes and he said, “Where is your sister? Doesn’t she want to get in her bathing suit and play too? Or is she too shy?” I stood up and said, “She’s not here. Can I help you?” Evidently, he couldn’t see me through the screen. He turned a few shades of red, stumbled with his words and then commented on the weather and made a hasty retreat.

They never have family visit from out-of-town. They’re vague about where they’re from and what brought them to our area.

Sneaky. Weird. Vague. Strange. Creepy.

Aliens learning a new culture, trying to assimilate and learn our values and norms? A mob snitch forced into witness protection? I have no idea.

I DO know this. They’re not from MY world.

34 Comments

Filed under Observations

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Part III

About three months ago I started a series (well, it’s NOW a series since we’re into part III) of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” posts. I described the Blog World which I reside in a few hours a day as a wonderful new neighborhood where I get to pick and choose my neighbors. And then more neighbors moved in. I’ve had this post sitting in my draft queue for some time, hesitating to hit publish.  Because, in the mean time, someone else used the same title for a wonderful meme introducing us to new blogs. A great idea. And I didn’t want to step on toes. Or have any confusion.

So this post has been sitting, gathering dust in my queue because I was trying to think of another name or another way to re-introduce what I started in early November. But I can’t. Or I won’t. (I can’t decide.) We both borrowed from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. And I like it. And since we’re both piggy backing off of Mr. Roger’s success I’ve decided to keep the name. Just please don’t confuse it with the fun new meme of the same name that appears on Fridays. And to help avoid confusion – I’ll never post this thread on a Friday. Ok? Ok.

Some new neighbors have moved in and I want you to meet them!

Angelcel at AC’sScrapbook - Sparkling conversation is what drew me in while walking my dog to the park. She invited me to sit on her porch and we talked for hours. She shared with me her love of photography, music, cooking, the list went on and on. The pictures in her “home” are beautiful. She captures moments in amazing ways. Her porch is so welcoming and is decorated with her own creations. The wicker chairs outfitted with comfy pillows. The side table always has a fresh pitcher of tea. And I always meet a new and interesting neighbor while I’m there.

ck at Bad Mommy Moments - I love her “motto” – She “celebrates the days of motherhood that SUCK. Because it’s often after our worst moments that we realize just how lucky we really are.” Well said, ck. Rising from the ashes – that’s how I feel most days. I met ck at the playground and immediately was drawn to her. Her sense of humor, her view on life – how she is always able to see the rainbow at the end of the storm. And an amazing story-teller. I get lost in them, nodding with mouth agape. On my bad days, she helps me to see that I’m not alone. On my good days, she helps me to appreciate all that I have that much more. Thank goodness she’s only a few blocks away.

Aidan at Ivy League Insecurities - I believe I met Aidan at a social event here in the neighborhood. She was interesting, kind, articulate and whimsically philosophical. I loved what she had to say and I had to hear more. So we met for coffee one afternoon and became friends. She takes a simple, pure event and turns it into a compelling, delightful inquiry. She invites discussion. Her dining room table turns into a round-table with all of us laughing, crying, sharing and most of all, enjoying each other’s company.

Unabridged Girl - Wise beyond her years she is a lovely young woman. I probably met her at book club. She is a lover of books, words, conversation and life. Her home is filled with books, diet coke (I bring my own Classic Coke), and fun friends. We all poke fun, playfully argue and always agree that visits with her are never dull. She is curious and refreshing. She shakes the cobwebs off my 40-some-yr-old mind.

There you have it. More wonderful new neighbors to meet, if you haven’t met them already. Make sure you tell them I said hello!

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Filed under People

Trading Spaces With One Of My Neighbors

Today I’m trading spaces with one of my neighbors! As a part of a new meme that Amy over at The Never-True Tales is starting, neighbors in Blog World are trading spaces, sprucing up each other’s blogs with some fresh material (in the eyes of the new neighbors, anyway). We’re slapping up a fresh coat of paint, moving the furniture around – just shaking things up a bit. I decided to give it a try since it falls in line with the posts (here and here) I started a few months ago about moving into my neighborhood. Sounds like fun – so on with the show!

The Kitchen Witch is a blog I read regularly. Here’s a secret….lean in…closer….closer….good…..she’s not really as witchy as she pretends she is. But don’t tell her I told you. Bookmark her, read her posts and then you decide. I love, love, love her posts. She’s funny. She’s thoughtful. She’s real. She’s the friend you can count on when you’re feeling crabby and you need a lift (thanks, TKW!) She’s the friend you can count on for amazing recipes for every occasion. You can also count on her to bravely tell of failed recipes, rough moments in parenting, or tough life experiences. She doesn’t judge. She doesn’t preach. And she’s amazingly supportive of her family and friends. She’s shared a post with us today that I know you’ll enjoy. So sit back, enjoy the fresh coat of paint. And welcome, TKW, to my home!

Orange Potato Salad and Other Family Oddities

Admit it, you have some strange food skeletons clanking in your closet. Every family does. Maybe it’s white trash food, or scrapple, or liverwurst on toast at midnight. But somewhere in your past, guarantee ya, you’ve got some embarrassing food lurking in the corner.
 
I do, too. And for some reason I’m not just embarrassed about the weird food I’ve eaten–I’m embarrassed about the weird food my family’s eaten as well. There’s some strange guilt-by-association thing going on there. If I see my dad eating slices of raw salted potato for a snack (which he does) shame just seeps outta me. Which makes zero sense–it’s not my freakshow snack, it’s my father’s.
 
Food and family are so closely intertwined it’s scary. Take Thanksgiving, for example. The food that ends up on your holiday table says a lot about you and yours. Illustration: cornbread stuffing. If you eat cornbread stuffing on a certain day in November, I’m betting there’s Southern knocking around somewhere in your family tree. Creamed pearl onions? Yankee. Green jello mold with shredded carrots and pineapple in it? Hello, Midwest.
Now some of those family foods are stamps of pride; my Grandmother’s fried chicken was legendary. It was so crisp, so perfectly Grandma-seasoned, so juicy…the day she died, fried chicken died too. I’ve never eaten it since, because she owned fried chicken. I can’t look at a chicken without mourning her loss and knowing that never, not ever, will I eat fried chicken that perfect again. Ditto for Aunt Lee’s Chocolate Cake. Maybe in your case it’s your Nonna’s Marinara or your mother’s stuffed cabbage. Those are the family gems, the heirlooms you guard passionately because they are your history.
 
But just like that one cousin you had with the buck teeth and the donkey laugh and the ears that didn’t match, some food appeared on your family’s guest list that made you squirm. And darned if you aren’t as ashamed of that as you are proud of Dad’s bbq sauce. Because those oddities say something about your family too, and they’re not always fun to examine.
 
I recall dying of embarrassment in 6th grade when a playmate and I walked into the kitchen just as my father was whipping up his favorite little afternoon refresher, a tall glass of saurkraut juice mixed with V-8. “YARGH,” was all the horrified kid could sputter, eyes a-buggin. I wanted to vaporize into thin air.
 
In fact, my German father had plenty of little doozies in his arsenal. The strips of raw turnip, salted to death, which he snacked on during football games. The wedges of watermelon he salted, peppered, then ate. The hideous Braunschweiger roll he smeared on crackers. The bologna he sneaked from the package, rolled up and popped in his mouth. The peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Embarrassments, all of them.
 
My mother’s diet was pretty plebian in comparison, but she did make her famous potato salad, which she toted to every potluck and party of my youth. The Orange Potato Salad. I remember one 4th of July when a kid next to me in the buffet line said, “Who the hell brought orange potato salad?” And I replied, “No idea.”
 
Orange Potato Salad was one of my mother’s “experiments.” Experiments happened when my mother, missing an ingredient or two from a recipe (in the middle of a North Dakota winter), decided to improvise rather than drag two young children to the supermarket in 8-inch drifts of white misery.
 
In the case of the potato salad, my mother was out of vinegar and had a scant cup only of mayonnaise. Normally, she tossed the cooked potatoes with a drizzle of vinegar and let them cool before dressing. The hot potatoes absorbed the tang and salt of the vinegar and resulted in some spunky salad, let me tell you.
 
But she didn’t have any vinegar, so she went shopping in the refrigerator and came up with Kraft French Dressing (yeah, the neon orange kind). She had about 3 tablespoons of it left in the bottle, so she tossed the hot potatoes with that, let them cool, and then tossed in some celery, onion, seasonings and that scant cup of mayonnaise. Orange Potato Salad was born.
 
Crazy thing is, as unsightly as that crayola-hued salad looks, people love it. It’s different and un-boring (and admit it, most potato salad is boring). People started asking my mother to bring Orange Potato Salad to parties and she was happy to oblige. “Ah! You brought the Orange Potato Salad!” neighbors would announce, and she would beam.
I guess it could be worse–at least Orange Potato Salad was a crowd pleaser. Mrs. Mondry always brought oyster stew and nobody wanted that, so I shouldn’t complain.
 
This Father’s Day, I had my parents and the K family over for a barbecue. Mom called earlier in the week to ask what she could bring. “Orange Potato Salad,” I said. Of course. Orange Potato Salad may be an embarrassment, but it’s our embarrassment and what’s a family without a few quirks?

Mom’s Orange Potato Salad
serves 6-8
2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled
3 tablespoons Kraft French Dressing
1 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1 scant cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
salt and pepper to taste
Boil potatoes about 15 minutes or until easily pierced with a knife. Drain potatoes and cool until warm enough to handle. Peel potatoes, chunk them and toss with French dressing while still warm. Cool.
Whisk mayonnaise, pickle relish, mustard seed, salt and pepper. Add celery and onion to potatoes, then toss with mayonnaise mixture. Make a few hours in advance to allow flavors to blend, and re-taste for salt/pepper before serving. If salad seems dry, add more mayonnaise.
Serve to non-judgemental people who love you.

*** Giveaway alert!*** If you post a comment/confession below, you will be eligible to win a 1-year subscrption to Everyday Food Magazine, courtesy of TKW! I really like this magazine because the recipes are simple, fresh and delicious. And maybe, just maybe, you might not be stuck eating cereal for dinner again!

You can find me, Jane, over at The Kitchen Witch’s site today! Pop on over for one of my favorite (and TKW’s, as I found out) blog posts!

15 Comments

Filed under Observations

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Part II

Remember about a month back when I posted about the wonderful blog neighborhood I’ve created for myself ? Well, I meant to get to this sooner but the hustle and bustle of the holidays got the better of me. I was strolling in my neighborhood the other night, enjoying the lights and decorations you’ve all put up and I wanted to share with you a few more of my wonderful neighbors.

I’ve noticed, while commenting on other blogs, that we DO seem to run in the same circles, in the same neighborhood, if you will. And I just want to say, especially at this time of year, how grateful I am to have you all as neighbors and friends. Thanks for sharing your ideas, opinions and thoughtful posts. Thanks for your interesting, funny and kind comments. Thanks for visiting me, for welcoming me to the neighborhood – I still feel a bit of a newbie. I enjoy our time together and look forward to seeing you whenever we all sign on!

Maureen at Island Roar is the big sister I never had. She’s warm. She’s funny. She has kids just a bit older than mine so I can learn from all of her mis-steps and successes. Her youngest daughter and my oldest would be more than cousins – they’d be great friends and mischief makers. And the fact that they live just around the block from each other would make for some sleepless nights on my part. But Maureen would calm me down, just after gently chewing them out, of course – as only a favorite aunt can do. Holidays would always be brighter with Maureen around!

Faemom lives just down the street. Our boys are around the same age and we have great fun during the playdates. And then she blogs about the same playdate and I crack up because she’s noticed something and re-told it in a way that makes it seem fresh all over again. She’s insightful and wise. She finds humor in the simple, beautiful moments of our lives. Her life is about to get that much richer because she’s expecting and I’m just so excited and happy for her. We’re going to have to have a bloggy baby shower for her!

My dear friend at Burp and Slurp is a young student at the local university. She is a beautiful spirit. I love the stories she tells before sharing her food adventures. She is wise beyond her years. With a love of photography and good food, she shares wonderful recipes using ingredients that help me to stretch my culinary talents. My taste buds love to hear when she’s in town!

Country-Fried Mama is who I visit when I need a dose of reality. And although I’ve been in the south more than half my life now she’s who I turn to when I’m perplexed my some of the eccentricities of this beautiful place I call home. She makes me laugh. She makes me pause. But her love of her family is what I like most about her.

There you have it. Four more neighbors in my favorite neighborhood. I hope you enjoy visiting them as much as I do!

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Filed under off topic