Neighborhood Watch

I attended two parties in one night, though both of them started early in the evening. I hoped the second one would run late.

The first was at Brick by Brick. Astra Kelly, a DJ from KPRI, organized a preshow party before an event called “Homegrown Live,” which would be sets by local bands.

When I showed up at the Bay Park club, the bands were setting up. A few people were smoking on the patio. I overheard some of the female singers talking about changing their hair for the show. I tried to think of something funny to say, such as, “Does that mean you’re a hair band?” I made a comment about women always standing around talking about hair and make-up.

I walked over to the musicians that were setting up and asked the drummer how long it takes him to set up his kit. “It depends how slow I’m walking.” I said, “How slow are you moving tonight?” He replied, “I’ll have this thing set up in 17.2 minutes.”

I overheard one guy at the club say, “Look at that musician? He’s trying to look tough in his black leather jacket, but he’s short and looks like Ben Stiller.”

I saw a few other DJs from KPRI, which was a pleasant surprise. When I worked in radio in the early '90s, you wouldn’t see DJs at a co-worker’s event.

I saw singer/songwriter Cathryn Beeks, who does a lot for the local music scene. I got to see her perform when she got on stage with Astra Kelly during a soundcheck.

After a half hour, I realized that I had arrived too early. Hardly anyone was here, so my date and I took off to grab some dinner around the corner at Tio Leo’s.

After dinner, we had to drive from Morena Boulevard up to Carlsbad for the second event.

Lynn, a woman I met at a party a few years back, gives me the heads-up on interesting parties.

One was at a wealthy woman’s house, who was selling clothing to attendees. Another was a wedding in Julian that featured several exotic animals.

This one was a block party that Lynn and her neighbors were having in Carlsbad.

When we arrived at the neighborhood, there was no parking available around the cul-de-sac where the party was happening. But I was glad to see that it was still going on when we showed up at 9:30.

A table was set up near the entrance of the street for nametags. Addresses were printed beneath the name. I was told this would make it easier to get to know neighbors from surrounding streets. One lady said, “It’s not like the ’50s, when you’d bake the new neighbor a fresh pie or cookies.”

I then saw, among the tables of food, one with pie, cookies, and cakes. The woman working the tables, Chrisi, would be one of those neighbors who brings you goodies when you move in. She has a company called Chrisi’s Creations, and she caters desserts for events. At this event, the neighbors really scored.

There was a crowd of people arguing about which was the best dessert. One lady said, “I’ve never had anything better than her Coca-Cola cake.” Another said, “Well, you didn’t try any of those gooey lemon bars because they ran out. You’d like them more.”

I tried three different things, all of them delicious. At one point, I saw Chrisi go inside to bring out more cookies. She had a busy night. I noticed that she had her garage set up like a kitchen you’d see in a restaurant.

There was a live band playing, and when I took my eyes off the desserts, I realized that it was made up of a group of ten-year-olds. I was shocked because the covers they did sounded good. I heard “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Louie, Louie.” When they did “Kryptonite,” the singer’s voice cracked.

I heard someone say, “Those kids already have groupies.” I looked to where the guy was pointing and saw a five-year-old girl dancing under a tree.

After the band’s set, I asked them their name. I was told by one of their fathers, “They’re called K-2 because they’ve all known each other since kindergarten.”

When one of the girls who sang a few songs with the band left to get some food, I asked one of the guys, “Did she leave the band to go solo? Gee, they’re already having creative differences.”

The bass guitar looked huge in the kid’s hands. As they finished their second set, I thought how convenient it was to not have neighbors complain about the noise.

The drummer put on a helmet and got on his skateboard and took off. The keyboard player’s father was helping him break down his equipment. I saw him going over some things with his son. It looked like a father teaching his son how to hit a baseball.

I noticed that there was a contest going on to help the neighbors get to know each other. You had to get signatures from a neighbor with the longest last name and from neighbors who attended Carlsbad High School. There were other things on the sheet, including someone that ran the Carlsbad Marathon.

I laughed when I saw the section that said to obtain a signature from someone who owns a dog or dogs. I remembered Lynn is a dog lover with four or five canines. When I mentioned something to her about it, she took me to her house to see them all — a mailman’s nightmare. We walked up to the sound of big dogs barking.

They were all friendly, though. As Lynn showed me the dog items that she’s collected, I couldn’t believe the ceiling-fan light she had. It had dogs that looked like butlers hanging from it. It was the ugliest thing I had ever seen, but she loves it. She talked about how expensive it was and how she would often pass by the place selling it and go in and ask about it. She finally bought it on sale.

As I left her house, I saw a couple posing for photos. I took out my camera to take a picture, and they said, “Wow, all these people are taking our photo.” I said, “Now you know how Britney Spears feels.”

Someone approached me and said that one of the fathers of a kid in K-2 was trying to get the kids together to play a few more songs for me to hear. I said, “I already heard them. They were great.”

Some of the kids were enthusiastic about playing again, while the others just wanted to run around and play with their friends.

As I was getting ready to leave, I saw that Lynn had brought out one of her dogs, as did another neighbor. I said, “This is turning into a Michael Vick party.”

Nobody laughed.

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