N is for Neighbors with Fancy Cocktails

NI wonder if I stood on the sidewalk in front of my house with a pitcher of fancy cocktails, if I would be able to get to know my neighbors.

As of today, I have lived in my new Ohio home for 264 days and have yet to have a significant conversation with the people who live in the houses next door. In fact, if I were to pass them in my friendly neighborhood Kroger, I doubt I would be able to recognize any of them as having a street address close to mine.

When I moved to Louisville almost 17 years ago, I had met and had a conversation with every person on the block by lunchtime. By dinnertime, I had a plate of fresh-baked brownies, a basket of muffins and an invitation to share a home-cooked meal. A few years later, we somewhat reluctantly moved across town and were greeted on moving day with a footrace through the yard as new neighbors rushed to welcome us and offer to carry in the furniture.

I did not anticipate that relocating a mere 114 miles north would take us to a completely different culture. We have, however, crossed the invisible line between the “friendly South” and the “hostile North”, and I am definitely on the wrong side.

We have made plenty of attempts to learn more about these people who call themselves neighbors. We smiled and waved to those who strolled past the house in those early days  only to be rewarded with cautious glances and hurried footsteps. The Young One and I spent hours in the driveway shooting basketball, hoping the sounds of the bouncing ball and laughter would bring out other children and their mommas. We’re still waiting.

Sangrita

It’s as tasty as it looks.

We’ve invited the neighbors to housewarming parties, college football rivalry parties and a Super Bowl party. The only people who showed were other transplants like ourselves who are equally perplexed by this strange world of un-neighborly neighbors. As soon as we get together, the first question asked is, “Guess how many of the neighbors have said, ‘Hi’?”

“None!” we all shout at the same time and clink glasses.

Aside from finding other neighborhood children for my child to play with, I’m not really sure why I want to forge some kind of relationship with the people next door. I suppose I’d like to be sure they aren’t doing illegal things over there. Plus, I think it would be nice to know I have someone close by who actually cares…

Cares enough to ask how I’m settling in…

Cares enough to ask after the MIL’s health…

Cares enough to know my dog’s gotten off her leash…

Cares enough to buy the obligatory box of Thin Mints from the Young One…

Cares enough to ask how the Older One is doing and how I’m doing while he’s so far away…

Last weekend, my Transplant Support Group did our usual toast with a delicious round of Sangritas, a delightful combination of sangria and margaritas whipped up by yours truly. That’s when I started wondering about bribing my neighbors with fancy cocktails.

I think I’ll go make a sign and set up a table next weekend…”Free Fancy Cocktails! Free Friendship! No Strings Attached!”

Rhythm of Summer

The rhythm of life changes today with the arrival of the summer solstice.

herb garden

My herb garden the evening the Young Oneand I planted it. Today, it is a sea of green leafiness!

Cooking in is happily traded with grilling out. My menu flexibility opens with the abundance offered from my newly planted herb garden. Meals are more flavorful and quicker to prepare, and my wallet is slightly heavier with the savings generated when I harvest from the back deck instead of the local supermarket.

T-ball practice is replaced with swimming practice and with it a welcome switch from metal bleachers to pool-side lounge chairs. The monotony of an endless practice schedule is suddenly much easier to tolerate.

swim

Swim team practice is just plain fun!

Swimming, in general, gives us more options when the Young One inevitably breaks out with a chorus of every momma’s favorite tune, “I’m bored.” Bored with jumping in the water? Here’s a raft…float a while.  Don’t want to float, any more? Try some dive sticks. Need a new game? Take this water blaster and soak your Daddy! All the while, I’ll sip my iced tea, rearrange my towel, and try to remember where I was in my book.

Yes, maybe, I can be enticed into the water too. I might even get my hair wet! Who cares! It’s SUMMER!

Days are longer. Bedtime for the Young One is later. Playing is simply more fun when the weather is warm.

Cherry Margarita, anyone?

Cherry Margarita, anyone?

For the grown ups, reading by the fire is replaced with cocktails on the deck. My personal goal for the summer–test a different drink recipe each weekend.  So far, we’ve sampled pomegranate martinis, cherry margaritas and blueberry mojitos with homegrown mint! And yes, seasonal fruit is a prerequisite for all recipes.

And speaking of fruit…getting healthy nutrition into my pickiest child has never been easier.  Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, oh my! And don’t forget watermelon, cantaloup and plums. Yum!

Summer is here!

Finally!

I am so looking forward to sitting back, relaxing and letting the rhythm of the season slow my hectic pace.

What’s your favorite season?

five-minute-friday*This post was brought to you today by Five Minute Friday and the word “Rhythm”. Join the fun on Lisa-Jo Baker’s site. Come on! You know you want to.