A neighbor of mine, a really nice, sweet woman who homeschools her children (a whole another subject) invited me to join a Bunco group she was organizing for the women on our street. If you have never heard of Bunco you aren't missing much. It's a strange suburban phenomena, spawned from a desire to have an excuse to go out (to the spouse), but not want to learn the rules for bridge or some other card game with too many rules, like gin rummy or canasta. I had scoffed at Bunco for years, and here I was accepting this invite, because, although she homeschools her children, this woman is very nice, down to earth, friendly and a neighbor. I like getting to know my neighbors. It's what makes my neighborhood so damn popular (as I watch our appraisals/taxes skyrocket). We like each other, watch out for the kids, water plants, feed animals for each other. It's a Mayberry-ish enclave in a big city. Boy, I really digress.

So, last Fall, I started going once a month to different neighbors' homes for dinner and Bunco. I was skeptical, I was suspicious, but I was also interested in meeting my neighbors. I loved seeing all of their homes and seeing what wonderful food they prepared. And, I made some wonderful friends. I can't believe I have lived on my street for almost 7 years, and did not know these women. They are wonderful. And, best of all, we all laugh at Bunco. It's just an excuse and a date (like date-night for your girlfriends).

Well, last night was my turn. We rotate from house to house each month. So this week found me stressing that no one would show up and, god forbid, that I wouldn't have enough food. So wonderful husband cooked 3 chickens (he wanted to do 2 - for 12 women, what!) a la beer can chicken! I made my cold carrot salad, spinach salad and bow tie pasta with a Rachel Ray (sort of) tomato sauce. There was enough food for 20 people. The didn't make a dent in the chickens. Then of course, we had Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake for dessert-white chocolate raspberry truffle, I think. It was amazing.

The night went so well, even though I am not a good hostess. I don't mean that I don't love having people over, I do. I just stress way too much. I don't remember the details, so I always feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. And I don't think about making sure I have all of the stuff you need to throw a dinner or party. I don't have lots of serving utensils. I had paper plates (not enough of the same kind, of course) and no plastic utensils, so I had to use real forks and knives, a mix of our every day with the good silverware. Nothing matchy matchy. It's beyond me.

But, all in all, it was fun. We laughed and I got to catch up with some of my favorite neighbors. Some of these women have incredible stories to tell about what they've done. You wouldn't believe it to look at them. I'm always so amazed (I shouldn't be, I know). I have a little bit of ageism and a bit of disbelief that non-immigrants can have interesting backgrounds. Some of them are behind me on the age/life curve, pregnant or with younger kids. It's fun to be able to give them advice, pass on some ideas, clothes, toys, etc. It's nice to be on the other side sometimes.


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