Thursday, June 28, 2007

Friendly Neighbors

Hi! I'm Karen's Neighbor, Palm Tree # 5,000,000,000

Hi! I'm Pet's Neighbor, Cow # 21


Whether you live in the country or the city you always have neighbors, some very near and some far away, some dear and some not. While the bulk of my neighbors are mostly four footed females, lovely dairy cows, black and white Holsteins to the right of me, sleek black Angus breeding stock to the left, I do have a few who stand upright. Following Tennessee tradition, they always wave from their cars, bikes, tractors and four wheelers.


You won’t be surprised that there’s not much waving around here. LA runs a close second to the Big Apple in friendliness. And the only four legged friends that live around here wear cute little coordinating outfits and go to the doggie day spa.


What’s this about New Yorkers being unfriendly? An urban myth for sure. On a recent overnight to New York, DD, DS and I found the city dirty, crowded, noisy and expensive. We loved every minute! Riding the subways to our destinations, we searched maps trying to figure out routes. On both trips we were interrupted by our five-minute neighbors, standing or sitting near, us who told us the best way, the best bakeries, the best restaurants and a good deal of their life history. Friendly neighbors indeed.


Well, guess your New Yorkers were friendlier than the ones I encountered on my last trip to the Big Apple. Growing up in upstate farm country, I always had a bit of apprehension whenever I hit the big city. Big and glamorous no doubt, but also packed with people and had the unmistakable fragrance of eau de garbage. The kind of fragrance I was used to in upstate was from the huge cow flops that covered the local main road, a major byway for the cows as they crossed the road morning and night to go from the barn to the meadow and back again. After a day of baking in the sun on the hot pavement, they don’t make a car freshener big enough!


The cows are a vast improvement over my last neighbor in Florida who would park his motor home in the empty lot next door and turn on the engine for hours only to gas us out of our own house. No stopping him since that was right after the hurricanes and all RV restrictions were off. We had to move so as to be surrounded by the surprisingly un-smelly herds.


Actually I have some of the best smelling neighbors around. They always have the latest hot home fragrance wafting from their windows. They even have fragrance parties. After attending one I was informed that freesia would be a perfect match for my home. Whether you want it or not, you can get your whole house decorated for free. I came home one day to find a series of paint swatches and a note stating how fabulous my living room would look in Jade Romanesque.


Now that's what I call good neighbors. I could use some decorating advice, not my strong point. My farm buddies show their friendliness by supplying food, booth cooked and uncooked. Since DH always overcooks, we are glad to reciprocate. One of my neighbors stopped his pickup in the road while I weeded the front bed last night. We got to talking about the drought and he said the well that supplies water to his herd shows signs of drying up. And each of his 200 plus cows drink 20 to 30 gallons a day!


Wow that's a lot of water!!!!!!!! There is a new water trend in LA because it's becoming a dog town like Paris. Lots of restaurants with bistro dinning have large water bowls for dogs by the front door. Have even seen people with their dogs on their laps feeding them from their plates and letting fido drink from their glass. Ugh! Guess with celebs like Paris Hilton cruising town with her little pooch in tow it's become chic to dine avec dog.


Fourteen-year-old Herman is a welcome member of our neighborhood. He can count on getting petted wherever we walk whether it be on local roads or in the parks. At his age, 98 by human standards, his favorite activities are sleeping and getting petted. But he has to stay in the car when we eat out. Farm folks have a different attitude towards pets, and dinning out with them is definitely not accepted even if they are as handsome as Herman.


Speaking of handsome, I think I have some of the nicest looking neighbors anyone could ask for. They dress to the nines but surprisingly on a budget. Loehmann's and Target are some of their favorite haunts. Of course it does make you a bit uncomfortable when everyone is so amazingly put together and you aren't. But my neighbors are diplomatic about it. "So Karen, don't you think sage green is more flattering with your complexion than puce?" I better get going, I'm off to lunch with the girls. Which reminds me, I better rethink the outfit I have on.


Bon Vivant said...

I've been living in Los Angeles all of my life – I was born in Santa Monica at St. John’s Hospital. I get up in the morning with a beautiful view of the San Gabriel mountains from my deck in the hippest area in Los Angeles. I then walk my two pure-bred German Shepherds around Silver Lake. Later, I get my cafe con leche at Cafe Tropical on Sunset Blvd. I then drive my grossly expensive and insanely over-powered BMW 3.8 miles to my work: I am on the 28th floor and have a view of the ocean and Catalina. And finally, I leave work early to pick up a picnic dinner at the Cheese Store of Silver Lake to take to my private box at the Hollywood Bowl where I enjoy great jazz and drink limited production Zinfandel from boutique wineries in Napa.

Carol Ericson said...

Hi Pet and Karen!

In L.A. it all depends on where you live and how you live! I live in a "small town" in L.A., tucked right next door to LAX. Our town is often called "Mayberry." We have just 15,000 people, our own school district, fire dept., police dept, and mayor (thank goodness!). Yesterday the police came to our block twice (big news!) - once for a suspicious car parked on our block and once for a homeless guy sitting at the end of our block (the police sent two cars for the homeless guy). Seems like bon vivant doesn't have kids, since we're more likely to head to Dodger Stadium or the Home Depot Center (home of the soccer team, Galaxy) than the Hollywood Bowl. We drive an SUV, not a Beemer. The last time we went to Robek's for smoothies (no coffee houses for us), we saw L.A. Laker Kobe Bryant! We don't just have a "view" of the ocean - we live less than a mile away and trudge down there every weekend in the summer to boogie board and hunt for sand crabs. No real wildlife here, Pet, unless you want to count the foxes in the sand dunes or the possums. Point is, L.A. is so huge and sprawling with each neighborhood so different, it's hard to characterize it. Enjoyed your posts!

Carol E.

Lucie Simone said...

Well, since we're all talking about our LA lives, I thought I'd better give my take, too! I've been in the City of Angels for 14 years. I live in Hollywood and actually have a view of the Hollywood sign. I reside in a small, trendy neighborhood near Paramount studios. My neighbor is one of my closest friends and we spend many nights cruising our neighborhood, walking up to Sunset and Vine to catch a flick at the Arclight and grab a martini and a cheese plate afterward. People DO walk in LA. I also love spending Sunday mornings riding my bike at the beach (all year round), and once a month or so, you can find me sprawled on my aesthtician's table as she wipes the years of sun from my face. I don't drive a BMW or an SUV. I drive a cute little Matrix which zips effortlessly through traffic, fits into tiny parking spots, and can hold my entire beach cruiser in the back. There are great and not so great things about LA, but I believe you have to make the best of things with what you've got. And that's how I live in Los Angeles. Loving every minute of it.

Diana Holquist said...

Hi guys. Great blog! How fun. Love the concept. I also left upstate NY for the city (Philly) and I mostly miss my 1,294,624 deer neighbors. They were so gorgeous in my backyard, eating my lettuce, my tulips.

Ok, I don't miss them all that much.

Keep on blogging!

Make Me a Match, in stores now
Sexiest Man Alive, coming Oct 2007

Linda said...

Interesting bon vivant since I was also born at St. John's Hospital but spent most of my formative years living in Huntington Beach. Now further south in Murrieta where I have 4 Starbucks in easy driving distance but can also drive only a couple miles to see cattle and llamas and horses.

And since I spend so many hours on deadline I don't get out the way I want to.


ShawnaMoore said...

Hi, Pet and Karen --

What a stark contrast of neighbors :) Loved reading your blog posts and witty banter. As someone who adores Herman, I can attest he's a perfect pooch and delight any time of day :) Karen, I'd love having a dining room done in the shade I'm imagining for Jade Romanesque. Absolutely lovely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, girls :)

Author who once considered becoming an interior decorator,


Chaos said...

I'm a Texas girl, now living in LA, so I can totally relate to what you're talking about. I can't believe I'm going to write this, as I'd never thought I'd feel this way, but I kind of miss the cows on my grandpas farm, and the grass, oh the grass...What I wouldn't do for soft green grass. Granted, the beach is just a short walk away, but nothing smells like fresh cut grass. Great blog.