Painting Poles

We don’t just live in a historic home, we live in a historic area.  Our streets have street lights and street signs just like every neighborhood, but our lights are very special. They are typical 1920’s lampposts made from solid cast iron and they’ve been illuminating our homes for over 80 years. Anything that old needs a facelift every so often, so we paint them every two years- north side on even years, south side on odd years. The problem is that we live in a city with very little finances for such up-keep, so the volunteer neighborhood association has to maintain them. We do this just prior to the annual home tour which raises money for our scholarship foundation and neighborhood events. Annually in March on a Saturday morning, a group of about 15-20 neighbors get together and paint the poles. One group cleans, one group paints, another group “manages supplies.” Alex insisted that we get involved in the neighborhood association early on and volunteer for this. I secretly think it’s because he loves to play with his ladder (that’s him below on the top step).

The first year, Alex and I were on a painting team and we were paired with another Alex, who lives on our most elegant street. He and his partner Mason own one of the younger historic homes which was designed by the owner of a Hawaiian hotel chain.  The house looks as if it could be plucked off the Waikiki shore, with waves washing up against the palm trees scattered around the front yard. Naturally his home is full of 1960’s Hawaiian splendor and has a lush tropical garden in back surrounding a huge pool. As a prerequisite to the painting, we got toIMG_0880 work discussing the history of our respective homes. Eventually we got around to painting. You can’t imagine the number of innuendos possible when painting light posts. As if that weren’t fun enough, imagine my delight when the “supply” team arrived with screwdrivers (and I don’t mean the tool type) and doughnuts. Fifty-ish poles later and we had made a notable difference in the appearance of our streets. Our poles were clean and shiny. We were dirty and slightly sauced. Good day.

How to be Neighborly: You have to get a little dirty for some good clean fun.

Bloody Screwdriver

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part orange juice
  • ½ part ginger juice (*)
  • 2 parts blood orange soda

Combine vodka, orange juice and ginger juice in shaker and shake. Put in glass with ice, and top with blood orange soda. Garnish with orange wheel and mint.

(*) See Ginger Juice recipe below


Ginger Juice


Enter a caption

This is the perfect mix in for a cocktail, not too sweet and just enough heat.


  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • 4 c water
  • 6 inch piece of fresh ginger, chopped into 1 inch pieces


Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until ginger has been pureed. Strain into 2 mason jars. Remaining ginger pulp can be saved for soups, marinades, or other uses.


2 thoughts on “Painting Poles

  1. Pingback: The importance of a theme… | Neighborly Life

  2. Pingback: Mix Mix | Neighborly Life

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