Posts Tagged ‘neighbors’

I missed Autumn in New England when I was away.

Leaf peepers visit from all over the country and the world to experience the changing foliage. It’s so beautiful.

And who doesn’t love bright orange pumpkins?

I remember, when we lived in Kuala Lumpur, my neighbor Jean’s husband got very creative one Halloween night. There weren’t any orange pumpkins available in our tropical environs so he got his hands on a watermelon and carved it accordingly. Made me chuckle but also realize how humans acclimate.

When our children were young it was always fun to visit the pumpkin patch and pick out the perfect pumpkin. We’d bring it home to decorate and/or carve it. Scooped out the innards, rinsed the stringy seeds, dried them and later roasted them in the oven.

Here is an old photo of Hannie and her carved pumpkin when we lived in California. 25 was our house number at the time. Placed by the front door to greet trick or treaters. Snagged the idea from my old friend, Betsy. Visit her site Farmhouse Wares for cool home and garden items.


Hannie is a bit older now and in her second year of university. She came home for a weekend in October to celebrate my birthday. So appreciated! Of course, we went to find the perfect pumpkins.


Some things have changed since then. Like the number of our house. But some things remain the same. Like our happiness while decorating pumpkins.


Consider this as #2 on my previously mentioned “cheerful list.” The things that add a bit of brightness to my day once the days of summer have passed. Even though it really is more than just pumpkins. It is time spent outdoors. Togetherness. Creativity. And yes, eating pumpkin seeds.


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I loved the parables of Jesus when I was a little kid. Whether it was the nuns sharing with us or curled up with the glossy covered kid’s books reading on our own time.

My husband also heard parables or stories when he was a child but they were not about Jesus. They were about the Prophet Mohammad.

Same appeal.

He loved the childhood stories just as much as I did.

There was one he told me that I enjoyed.

The moral of the story, in my husband’s telling, is very important.

Each day a Jewish neighbor deposited trash on Mohammad’s doorstep. And every day Mohammad would pick it up and bring it to the dump.

Every single day.

Then one day Mohammad found that there was no trash on his doorstep.

Wait. What?

No trash?

Should be a good thing.

But it was unusual for this neighbor not to leave trash on the doorstep.

Mohammad went to check on the neighbor and found that he was ill.

This is a very important story. Religion, in my opinion, doesn’t have anything to do with it. That was just my jumping point. This is about the human connection.

Everyone in the neighborhood where I grew up knew everyone else’s business.

Knew when people pulled up their shades in the morning. The school and work schedules. Meal times. When someone had company. Which Mass families attended. When vacations took place. And when the shades went down at night. Usually after the late news or a bit of  The Late Show.

People know these things without realizing. It was just the usual daily routine.

When one of those things didn’t happen, according to the norm, it was a cause for concern. Something just wasn’t right. People checked on each other.

We all live in different neighborhoods and types of communities. Everyone has neighbors. I always say that one doesn’t need to be best friends with their neighbors (that’s a bonus) but we should care about each other.

Each person has a role in building up a strong community. Knowing your neighbors and caring about them can be the very first step.






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We just moved into a new home in New England. Still dividing our time between India and the U.S. but wanted a place here to hang our hats.

Loving it. Even though it’s the middle of winter.

Our next door neighbor hosted a dinner party for us last Saturday. They invited three other couples. So a total of ten.

It was so nice. We never would have met these people during this wintery season. Most people are hunkering down indoors.

Now we know a bunch of nice folks.

One of the neighbors told me that when she moved here in October another one of the neighbors also hosted a dinner party to welcome them.

How very thoughtful. How very kind.

I thought to myself, “This is fabulous. I will do this for the next person who moves into the neighborhood!”

Kindness begets kindness.

We sometimes forget the rippling effects of kindness.

Have a great day and go create some ripples.

I am on my way to my new neighbor’s. She’s hosting a ladies’ coffee for me.

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A childhood memory popped into my head. Made me laugh.

My best friend, Diane and I were just little kids and sitting under a tree in front of her neighbor’s house across the street.

Portuguese folks lived there. Not unusual in our town.

We had twigs in our hands and we waved them around like they were cigarettes. And spoke animatedly in Portuguese while we “smoked.”  Just nattered on and on in front of this house.

We probably only knew three words or phrases in Portuguese.

Cale a boca. Shut your mouth. We pronounced it like collabuca.

Va’ para casa. Go home. Our pronunciation was Vapadagaza.

Maybe a couple of others.

I’m sure there was a lot of gibberish filler under the tree that day.

Everyone had a parent who smoked back then. But I do not remember the Portuguese moms ever smoking. So I’m not sure where we picked up that scenario.

This memory made me smile for a few reasons.

Because we are still best friends and love each other dearly.

Because our kids are friends.

Because we were a couple of goofballs.

Because I can actually remember something so clearly after forty two years.

Sadly, neither one of us ever learned Portuguese. A pity since we had such promise! 🙂 

Have a lovely weekend. I hope you all remember something that will make you laugh or smile. 







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I was sitting here this evening while my middle school friend/neighbor Jayda was showing me her school presentation about animals. It was sort of horrifying. Rhinos and elephants with their tusks torn away-leaving gaping, bloody holes.

Okay, so much for happy hour in the hood.

My stomach was upset as a result.

But one thing struck me. One of the poachers stated that they were hungry. That was the driving force. I get that.


Okay, this is the craziest thing you have ever heard.

Should any person in this world be hungry? There is enough food. We all know that.

To those of you reading this. Probably never felt hunger. Real hunger.

It’s Good Friday and my hunger is nothing compared to not knowing when the next meal will present itself.

I had this wacky thought. In total honesty, I have had this thought in the past.

What if we all reached out to our neighbor?


If every person reached out to their neighbor what could we accomplish?

Maybe we could avert disaster? Hunger? Assist a child in despair? An adult in despair?

Truly think about it.

If we all reached out to our nearest neighbor wouldn’t we eventually , as a human chain, make our way around the world?

We could ensure that no one goes hungry. That no one is abused. That folks are educated.

Who are your neighbors? Do you know them? Are you willing to reach out to them? So that they can reach out to others?

Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing ever?




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This past weekend my husband and I were chatting on the patio. Talking about this and that. And the conversation veered toward that hot topic that comes up now and again.

Where will we live next? Where should we buy a house? Texas? California? East Coast?

Not owning a place in our home country causes us a bit of agita when we get thinking about it. We try to keep the heartburn at bay by thinking about the insurance, taxes, maintenance, etc. that we would pay in absentia.

But we lobbed the pros and cons back and forth across the table just the same.

Texas makes the most sense. California beckons.

He says, “I’m going to call Jim.”

This is after we reminisced about our place in Dana Point, California and our beloved neighbor Jim.

We did a bit of googling also.

Husband says there’s a house for sale on our old street. It looked like Jim’s.

Jim had been talking about downsizing in the past. He has another place in Arizona.

If we bought Jim’s place it would be in absolute pristine condition because he is a bit of a neatnik and a fanatic about everything being just so. Maybe that’s a Scottish thing.

If it wasn’t Jim’s place for sale then we’d have him as a neighbor again and that would be even better.

He ended up sending Jim an email telling him that we were reminiscing about our fabulous neighbors.

In the evening my husband said, “Jim hasn’t replied to my email.”

It just so happened that Jim had been on my mind all week.

My neighbor Nancy, here in Malaysia, had a rat in her kitchen the previous Saturday. She called me. And I ran over to her place. Not knowing what I would or could do. Laugh out loud.

When we lived in Dana Point, the city had cleared an embankment of brush to avoid the infamous California wildfires. It resulted in roof rats/Norwegian rats losing their stomping grounds.

Yup, we soon had those furry visitors in the attic. And Jim was my man. The neighbor I called. My go to guy.

And he always responded promptly.

My first thought? He was most likely visiting family or spending the weekend in Arizona.

Second thought? Jim is going to be absolutely thrilled that we are even considering buying a place in Southern California.

Good neighbors are a true blessing. And even better if they are your friends.




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A couple of days ago there was an Amber Alert issued for a thirteen year old girl who went missing from her nice Portsmouth, Rhode Island home.

It was amazing how quickly word spread. The radio, television and social media was hot, hot, hot.

This is not, however, a posting about how I wish all children were created equal and would receive the same media attention in this same situation. Another day.

Or a posting about how it is imperative we monitor our youth’s cyber activity. Another day.

And this is also not about how the technology that might have been used to find her is possibly the same that could have assisted in her disappearance. The internet. Another day.

Thank goodness she was found. Did not take even twenty-four hours. Not sure exactly how she was found. Most likely good old-fashioned police work. But I don’t know yet.

She was found in the New Jersey apartment of a twenty-seven year old man. Seems they might have met on-line. Alleged on-line predator. Seems he also might have assaulted her. 😦 I hope not.

But what my posting is about today is this.

Two people in her neighborhood gave a very good description of the man that she left her house with that day.

One was a neighbor and the other one was the lawn guy. They gave a description of the car, plates, and guy.

We can all keep our eyes open in our own backyard. If something or someone doesn’t seem right then it probably isn’t. Take note and then call the police. The police are getting paid for this sort of thing. It’s not your job. But they will appreciate the call.

I think we all have a responsibility to our families and communities to be involved and engaged. We might all laugh about nosey neighbors but read any crime novel or newspaper article and the first people the police speak with are the neighbors.

I still don’t know how on earth three women could have been kidnapped and held in a Ohio home for a DECADE without ANY neighbors noticing anything awry. That blows my mind. Really.

Know your neighbors. You don’t have to love them. Just know them and watch out for them. They might save your life one day. Or you might save theirs.

Let’s start really caring about the communities in which we reside. This disconnection in our society really needs some fixing. Let’s start today.

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I just got off the phone with old neighbors of mine. We are getting together for lunch before I fly away.

We were only neighbors for a little more than a year. But during that short time we became friends. They attended Norah’s graduation party. He was interviewed by Hannah for a school project. He is the inventor of the silicon wafer. If I called him because I saw a rat or had an overflowing anything he was over in less than a second.

He is an older Scottish fellow and we hit it off from the very beginning. I was having a look at the outside of the house we would soon be leasing. My brother-in-law was visiting at the time so I had him in tow.

My soon to be new neighbor was poking around the sprinkler in the lawn between the two houses.

He looked up and said, “Don’t mind me. I’m only checking on this. Not checking on you.”

I replied, “Yeah, right, sure you’re not.”

And we both chuckled.

I introduced myself and my brother-in-law and said that he was visiting from Syria. The neighbor said some welcoming things to him, then looked at me and said, “Well, you’re not.”

I said, “Not what?”

He replied, “From Syria.”

So, we ended up chatting about this and that. His wife was half Irish and half Scottish. He invited us to his back deck so we could see the view from there. My brother-in-law couldn’t believe the immediate friendly interaction.

A month later we moved into the new home and we were back and forth between their house and ours. If either one of us were in the yard we would yell out to each other.

They were good humored and could always get a chuckle out of me.

One afternoon I saw him with some of his Scottish friends on the deck and I said to them, “Lordy, is it happy hour already?”

They yelled down, “It is! But since we’re Scottish it’s happy minute!”

Or the time his wife told me that while visiting Ireland they were on a bus with “no smoking” signs plastered everywhere. But there was one Irish fellow having a cigarette just the same.

Someone says to him, “Can’t you see there’s no smoking allowed inside the bus?”

And the Irish lad looks at them incredulously and replied, “Sure, and can’t you see I’m blowing it out the window?”

Anyway, you can see I enjoyed them. As I have enjoyed most neighbors I have had through the years.

Back to the present. I asked them how they liked their new neighbors. They told me that they never see them. And when they do there is hardly a wave or even a smile. Never been in the house and never even met the lady of the house.

And I thought that was just too bad. I understand that not all neighbors will be friends. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be good neighbors.

But how would you know unless you got to know them? Just a little. Those new folks don’t know what they’re missing.

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