Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Ironically, I Feel The Need To Hug It Out

Our lil cul de sac displays luminaries on the evening of January 1st - a tradition that began last year thanks to our neighborhood organizers. In addition to being lovely, it provides a nice way to casually gather with neighbors as we help to set up, light, then clean up the luminaries.

A couple of days ago, as I approached the organizer's house to help fill bags with sand and candles, I saw another neighbor already there. As I leaned over to observe her process for filling the bags, she pulled away quickly and exclaimed, "No hugs! I'm fighting a cold!"

I was NOT going in for a hug, but I'm also not very good about responding to things like this when I'm caught off guard, so I didn't say anything and simply let the awkwardness hang in the air for the rest of the bag assembly period. 

Of course, I texted another neighbor I'm friends with about this later and asked her, "Have I EVER hugged a neighbor? Do I have a reputation as a neighbor-hugger?" She assured me I do not. 

I also let her know that more neighbors showed up after this uncomfortable exchange...and that I hugged none of them. 

Embracing the awkward (<--- see what I did there?),


Monday, January 01, 2024


We were recently invited to our next door neighbor's holiday cookie swap...and we were very excited to go. They're the third set of neighbors who have lived in the house since we've been in the neighborhood and all have been very good next door neighbors. (The turnover is probably not our fault.)

They're extremely considerate, have an adorable four-year old, and decorate for all holidays, which we admire and enjoy but never seem capable of doing ourselves. 

The cookie swap began at 4:00pm to accommodate little ones' schedules and me, my husband and daughter made the short walk next door a few minutes past, passing a large, inflatable gingerbread lawn decoration in their front yard in the process. 

And we had a blast! Other neighbors were there who are in the midst of a major home reno project which has required them to have a porta potty in their driveway for the construction workers. While they were decorating their house for the holidays, they went ahead and strung some lights on the porta potty, too. (One hopes they will capture the magic of the holiday season by capturing a family photo in front of it.)

After a couple of hours, our daughter left the party to meet some friends. We stayed a little while longer, then packed some cookies in a bag and headed out for the (now, dark) walk next door. About five steps in, my foot got tangled in the cord for the gigantic inflatable gingerbread man and I stumbled, threatening to take us both down. I righted myself, but when I stepped forward again, I again stumbled, and he bent, but did not fall over. I finally extricated myself from the gingerbread man support lines and escaped with at least the decoration intact. (My pride, not so much.)

Later that week, I was setting up the heating pad for my daughter, who had a sore back. After I plugged it in, I almost tripped over the cord, and it reminded me of the gingerbread man incident which I shared with her, laughing. 

To which she proclaimed, "NO WAY! When I left, I did the exact same thing! Except I fell and the cookies and one of my shoes went flying. I stood up, picked up all the cookies, looked around to determine if anyone had witnessed this, and then muttered, "welp" out loud to myself before walking home."