Posts Tagged With: neighbors


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Normally, if I’m a member of an organization, I like to contribute  by attending meetings, taking on a job and helping out. Because of my traveling lifestyle, I make it to two or three meetings a year. I enjoy that Len, a club stalwart, is always there to play music while others chat and visit. He learned to play accordion as a child and transferred that to piano and organ. He played When The Saints Come Marching In for me.

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Club members are a fun bunch and my dinner partner, Earl Randall, worked in Judge Connit’s court, Alameda County,  and knew practically everyone in the Sheriff’s Department that I knew, including having met my husband and his best friend Jack Baugh. It is such a small world. The Elks Club Dinner was Wednesday night.

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Last night, Suzy and Ron Hayes, invited Karen and I to have dinner with them before I leave today. I could not ask for better neighbors and I treasure them.

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Ron and I share similar philosophies of life and we like to rail against our ineffective politicians as in fire them all and start over. I always tease Suzy that I’m going to marry him when she’s done with him.

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Karen and I usually have one dinner together. I try to see all of my friends when I get home. I managed pretty well this time despite unexpected issues to take care of.  Karen often cooks dinner and brings me a plate to share. She took me out for tacos at Sidewinder, but as close as we are, living in the same house, we didn’t manage a sit down dinner together until we got to Suzys.

Today, I leave for Incline Village to have a belated Christmas with my family since not everyone could make it to Calaveras County in December. We’ve rented a condo and almost everyone skis. Ahh! The card games and cooking together, the loud banter, just seeing everyone under one roof is very precious to me.  Then, transitioning to my rambling life with Jim and leaving the busy chaos of home behind for a while. I’m grateful to have such plenteous choices and two distinct lifestyles.


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Neighbors always gather at the party animal’s house. That’s Jan, (a non drinker) whipping up a batch of margaritas. Her own recipe is tequila, vodka, rum and sugar on the glass with limeade for the mix. Basically a let’s clean out the liquor closet margarita.

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She was shocked when the worm actually “jumped” out of the bottle and into a glass. I guess she thought the worm was somehow guaranteed to stay in the bottle. You have to know Jan. It didn’t taste like a margarita, but it was pleasant to drink.

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We snacked on the deck before the main event. Neighbor Brian, a gourmet cook, brought a parmesan tart with tomato and a leaf of fresh basil. Excellent. He is currently playing with mole sauces with chocolate. I’ll miss it since I fly tomorrow.

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Jan’s pond is much bigger than mine and she attracts more large animals looking for water, often cougars and even a bear. I told her about wildlife certification and she agreed to apply.

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Neighbor Atilla and his daughter Kera played pool. I hadn’t seen Kera since she graduated High School. Now, age 30, she was visiting her parents and joined the party.

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Kera’s mother, Patty. Great cooks, all. Maybe that is why we like to party.

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I made a salad niciose, without the green beans. There were none in the market. Like the margarita, it is a clean out the fridge kind of salad with olives, baby spinach, arugula, papaya, red pepper, eggs and marinated red potato slices. Hardly true to the original, but no one cared.

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Jan’s grandson preserved her a turkey wing from his hunt in Montana. Jan spent a year with her daughter from March 2012 to March 2013.

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Before the berry pie, everyone had a turn at pool. Jan and I avoid playing pool together because we can’t take the game seriously enough not to cheat. I never cheat at cards or other games, but I LOVE cheating at pool. Of course, we warn everyone in advance. She reminded me about an obnoxious boyfriend she lived with for a year who was a poker fiend. Her friend Sally brought a second deck, cheated, and took all of his money. At the end of the game, Jan asked, “aren’t you going to tell him?” She smiled and said, “Nope, he deserved to lose.”  Ya’ gotta watch these women.

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We watched the sun set on the small town of Iota but everything was closed up tight on Saturday. Sunday morning, we headed  to Chicot State Park for a five day stay since it is fairly central to Eunice, Iberia and other smaller towns we can visit on day trips.

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After we got settled in, I took a bike ride around the park while Jim napped. (His bike has a flat tire.) Flowers seeded into this puddle and braved the cold.

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The woods have few leaves but plenty of moss.

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The park is huge. It has a boat launch, lake, arboretum, swimming pool, lodges and cabins. And a lot of wood. Many people in camp have or had fires.

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I happened on this gravel road and took it for about  two miles and found three lodges, empty of guests; neatly painted. A nice, quiet place.

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I’ve seen this flower before, but never attached to its stem and leaves. Not only beautiful but fragrant.

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I ran into a couple taking each others picture and offered to take theirs together. They were just cooking gumbo and invited us to join them for dinner. I took a picture of Shawn stirring the pot.

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Huge pieces of chicken and a rich gravy. I could have sworn I took a picture of both Shawn and his wife, but I took three of them with their phone and thought I’d taken one  on my camera. Dang!

They left the gumbo to finish cooking and went kayaking for the afternoon. They wanted to check their yo-yo’s and hopefully find a couple of catfish to bring home.  I had no idea what yo-yo fishing is. Annette explained it as a bobber that is like a yo-yo. You pull the hooked string and it dangles in the water. The yo-yo itself is tied to a nearby tree. When the fish bites, the string zips up to the bobber and hooks the fish.

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At six p.m. I walked over without Jim to bring the California hippy salad I’d promised for dinner. (Jim wasn’t feeling well.) I expressed my regrets but this Italian Cajun cooks a mean gumbo and she insisted I bring some home. “You gotta eat it with potato salad, that is tradition in our family. The potato salad goes right in the gumbo”, she emphasized. Absolutely delicious. We didn’t have a chance to visit long. She is a grammar school teacher. Shawn works testing and xraying welds on the pipe lines. They leave this morning and I didn’t even get their last name. Double dang. Some days you forget to take your brain with you.  The weather is supposed to be wind, rain, hail, possible tornado. We’ll probably stick close to the park.

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Terrific friends and neighbors are those who share their secrets with you. Meet Ron and Suzy, conventional people. Both have their own business. We went to visit Suzy’s open house for her Beauty Control  Spa. We sipped wine and nibbled and talked and looked at her stuff. While visiting we discovered the unusual, both Ron and Suzy own a blow-up doll kept  hidden under the bed. Suzy pulled her “friend” Ward out, blew him up.

What do you do with a blow-up doll?

He can’t even sit up by himself on a chair.

One of their goldens  got very upset when she teasingly hugged the doll. The cat was very curious and took a swipe at him.

Suzy received Ward from her girlfriends at a bachelorette party when she and Ron married. Ron recieved his from an uncle when he divorced his first wife many years ago. Now we know what people do with them. Haul them out now and then for a few laughs.

However, Japanese men take their dolls seriously. I blogged them previously if you want to have a look back at the following link:

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Yard sales are a regular business for some folks. They gather  stuff  DELIBERATELY and do this!!  It takes fortitude. One nice thing, I met neighbors I haven’t visited  in a long time. Several stopped in for a bit of chit-chat.

The other bright spot is watching my partner, Jimmy the Huckster. If it wasn’t for his salesmanship, half of what we did sell would still be  in the yard.  He has a great philosophy,” If you put it in the sale, you want it gone, unless you like hauling all this stuff back where you got it from.”  Kind of puts a thing in perspective. I’ve had an old rear truck bumper someone left at my house in the garden like an ornament around the plants. Jim hauled that out, we cleaned it off, and several people were interested. It will sell today, I’m sure. If someone even looked interested, he would give a spiel and knock the price down. Help them load it and send them on their way.

Jimmy the parking lot attendant ran out and showed people venturing up my long driveway  where and how to park so no one got jammed up in the yard.

Then, Jimmy the good Samaritan,  helped one woman test her power steering fluid, and helped another with her gas additive. He looked up items on the internet previous to the sale for an idea of what various items were worth.

We had  a steady stream of customers all day. Even so,  people are not parting with their dollars easily. One guy let his dog run around for a while. He said, “Don’t worry, he won’t get lost. We feed him. I call him glue.  Here, Glue! Here, Glue!”

We started this sale with Neighbor Jan across the road and one customer said to me:  “You have one hour to bring that lady across the road a cocktail!”  When I had a break I managed to bounce over with a bloody Mary, and a stick of celery in exchange for a hug and some laughter. One of her customers asked:  “Where’s the  bar!”

Today, it will end. Hospice will pick up what we didn’t sell. The wallet a bit fatter and the good feeling of ridding myself of un-needed items someone else can use. Ahh!   All in a day’s yard sale!   (But, never again!)





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