Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 4th - Food, Fireworks & Family Fun

The Fourth of July - one of my favorite holidays, occurring smack in the middle of summer, and full of summer sun, picnic food, barefoot relaxation and beautiful explosions of light in the summer night sky. This year was especially poignant for me as our son Scott and wife Ashley will be moving to Texas in about 3 weeks, thus making July 4th the last holiday spent together before they blast off.  Now every last one of our children will be out of state.  I know I shouldn't feel sorry for myself - there are plenty of people in the same boat - but both my husband and I grew up having our families around us, and it will be hard getting used to having the kids (and grandkids!) all scattered.  Travel is expensive too,  and not one of them, except one, live in the road trip range.
But that said, we all had a good day together.  Scott and Ashley arrived around noon, and we went to the pool and had ourselves a little picnic: ham and brie sandwiches, and BLT's with fresh mozzarella and guacamole on focaccia bread.  BBQ chips, drinks, and fresh baked cookies made it like a real celebration.  I'd bought myself a new hat to wear in the sun, and I sported it at the pool.  We pay lots of money for that beautiful hair color - no sense letting the sun fade it, I say.



Unfortunately, Ashley (who manages a Sunglass Hut) got a call from her store, and had two employees fizzle out on coming in to work that day.  So off she trudged to take over.  Sometimes it's no fun being a manager...  Scott and L and I continued to enjoy the pool, until finally L had had enough.  Scott started playing with a couple of little boys in the pool, throwing balls to them and throwing the smaller one.  It reminded me of when Scott was 10 - we had just moved there, and Scott just loved any adult who would play with him in the pool.  He was really kind to those two little boys - made my heart happy.  The older one told him his dad was in "the bad place" (jail?) and so Scott gave him a little extra attention.
Back at the house, we cooled off and just sat and talked.  I could talk to Scott for hours.  His limit on talking to me is probably less, but he was a good sport yesterday.  Soon, though, it was time to start getting dinner together, and so he went up to do some writing on his website on my computer.  I was down in the kitchen chopping and stirring.  Earlier in the day, L and I had made a blackberry cheesecake, and that was in the fridge chilling.


For dinner we had grilled chicken, fresh corn, and blueberry salad.  It includes everything I've just said, plus celery, red onion, and blue cheese, barely covered in a really light dill dressing.  We had a bunch of fingerling potatoes that we wrapped up in foil with garlic and rosemary and roasted on the BBQ.  I'd also made zucchini fritters.  The potatoes were kind of a swing and a miss - it was hard to get them evenly done on the BBQ.  But the fritters were really good - lightly flavored with lemon zest. We had to kind of rush dinner because it was after 8:30 by the time we finished.  Dark enough for fireworks to start!



As it turned out, the kids (Scott, Ashley, and Ashley's brother Ben) took off to a local secret spot that is good to watch the fireworks from, and that you can also escape quickly without getting caught up in foot traffic and jammed up streets.  L and I stayed and cleaned up, and then walked upstairs, sank into chairs in front of our bedroom window, and had a wonderful view of another fireworks show being shot off at a local park a couple of miles away.  It was a win/win to have a few minutes of peace and quiet, watch the amazing display, and collect ourselves before the kids got back wanting dessert.  As I watched, I alternated between feeling love for and pride in our country, and feeling sad because I'm going to miss the kids when they move.  That's what it's like being me - my mind just won't relax and let me totally enjoy anything.  Not very often anyway.
The kids came back, and L brought out his secret stash of sparklers and small fountains he'd bought earlier that day.  We had fun out on the patio waving sparklers and watching the little cones go off.  I found it interesting the different ways people wave their sparklers.  It kind of reflects their personalities:

Scott had big, expansive waves

L's were tightly controlled circles

Ashley's were complicated patterns

But any way you waved them, it brought out the kid in all of us.  It reminded me of being small and watching my dad light the pinwheels (those horrible things that would break loose from the tree and chase you all over the yard), or the snakes, or the big fountains, and the wonder in our eyes as we watched them.  Sparklers were always the last thing we lit (don't step on a hot one in bare feet!)  And so it was last night.



It was a good day, and a good evening spent together.  I'm going to miss these two so much.  But I've never been to Texas, so now is a good time to make it's acquaintance.  Sometimes I think that our kids have moved to so many different places to give us the chance to explore places we're not familiar with. Blast us out of our comfort zone here in California.  So good luck to Scott and Ashley, as they prepare to start their new adventure.


Happy belated Fourth to everyone.  We live in an amazing country.  Lots to love, and much to be proud of, starting with our flag.  Love may she wave.


30 comments:

  1. Let me be the first to welcome Scott and Ashley to Texas! Y'all's celebration and food sounds like it was wonderful! My hubs and I kind of did the same thing you all did. We live in a very rural area, and a naval base was having a fireworks celebration about 10 miles away. We pulled the pickup around, lit only by the moon and stars, and watched the glorious fireworks from the best seat possible.

    I drooled some looking at your cheesecake-

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    1. Wow- what a way to watch fireworks! I'd love to try that sometime.

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  2. It doesn't matter how old you get - sparklers are always fun! It sounds like a great day.

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  3. Trains and bloats and planes are passing by
    They mean a trip to Paris (Texas) or Rome
    For someone else but not for me
    The trains and the boats and planes
    Took you away, away from me

    Great post, karen! As Burt Bacharach, Hal David and Dionne Warwick remind us there are trains and boats and planes to reconnect you with your kids and grandkids; yet it's understandable that you will feel the pangs of separation anxiety. Such is life and you are not alone in your situation.

    Fireworks are inspiring. They fill good and decent people like you with patriotic pride. Unfortunately the 4th brings out the worst in some. Locally a man watching a fireworks display was hospitalized after a bullet from "celebratory gunfire" dropped from the sky and went through his nose, lip and chin. On New Year's eve there was a similar incident. A bullet from celebratory skyward shooting came down through the skull of a young boy nearly killing him.

    I'm very happy to know that you and your loved ones enjoyed a fabulous 4th, dear karen. Enjoy your evening and weekend!

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    1. I hate it when people do stupid things like that. Unfortunately, there will always be folks with no sense... We had a great 4th - you too?

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  4. I really do know how you feel, Karen. My kids all live away from us. It's VERY difficult being a long distance grandparent, for sure. But the good news is, You.Will.LOVE.Texas. What a great place to visit. What area of TX will they live? Each area is very different from the others. . .Your 4th of July celebration sounds perfect and your photos were amazing!

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    1. They're going to Austin. I'm looking forward to visiting there- I've heard great things about it.

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  5. I love the sparkler pics..very creative! I didn't know you could make blackberry cheesecake..If they would hold up I'd send you some from my woods! It looks beautiful and yummy! Our 2nd son and his family is moving to Oregon in a month. That was a big surprise. I was very sad too when we found out. They've been within driving distance for 10yrs and now we'll have to fly..which I hate..to see them. And it's expensive so I know the visits from us and from them will be much less. I'm happy for his great new job and my sweet DIL will now be close to her family, but my heart hurts too. Oh well, I'll adjust I think! Glad you had such a wonderful 4th. Jack spends every 4th (for the last 23yrs) at Boy Scout camp for the week. So I spend it very quietly here!

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    1. Im sorry to hear about their move across the country! At least it's to a nice place you'd maybe enjoy visiting? (takes some of the sting out...) but it's hard when you've had them so close.

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  6. Sounds (looks) like a WONDERFUL day!! I know what you mean about talking to Scott...some people you just connect with!! You pics are so much fun...love the one of the moon!! You should enter it in a contest!!

    Thank you for all your encouragement of late...I am doing pretty well and am on the downhill slope of round one!

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    1. I'm thrilled that you're doing so well! I've been thinking about you a lot.

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  7. Looks like a wonderful fourth! We stayed fairly low key around here. No littles to make it fun!

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    1. Yes they DO tend to add pizazz to any occasion, don't they?

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  8. Several things going on here -- the grandkids moving off. That's harsh. It's time like this you wish you could win the $320 million dollar lottery and pay the kids to....do anything, except move the grandkids away.
    Next thing, I licked my screen when I saw the picture of the blackberry thing.
    And lastly, I love the photos you have on your blog. There. I've said it :)

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    1. Thanks - that's a true compliment because I LOVE your photography!

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  9. I think they will love Texas... Austin anyway... it's a wonderful town... My daughter's husband is from Huntington Beach (they live here now) ... and he loves this city. Hope to see YOU someday too!!! How fun that would be!

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  10. Awww, dang I just hate it when those grown kids start leaving the area. I know you are gonna be a 'travellin' girl' visiting all your wonderful family! Just got back from Richmond and DC seeing some of our 'out of towners'!
    Hang Loose Mother Goose and you'll enjoy your time visiting the ducklings!
    Hugs~
    PS Great Photos!

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    1. Yes it IS hard to have them all so scattered but I'm trying to view it as a series of new adventures. Sometimes it works...

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  11. What a beautiful spread of delicious food. I'm so happy that you have this memory of togetherness on independence day. I would have a difficult time staying in the moment and feeling the fullness of the celebration too, Karen. I know it has been painful for my mother to have all three of us in different states. Just this year, one of her sons moved back and lives only an hour away. One day I'd like to be able to have the kind of lifestyle that would allow me to visit more often and stay for longer periods of time. My Emily, just 18, finally graduated and then chose to stay up north with her dad and take on full time work. Elliot told me to keep believing she'll come back. I wish I had his sense of hope and seven year old optimism. I'm sad for families who have to go through such long periods where they cannot connect face to face. It's just not the same. So, I'll be holding you in my heart and thinking of you when it's hard to endure.

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    1. Ah... You DO understand... Thanks for that Jenny.

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  12. I really loved this post Mom, probably because it mostly about me. :) Those pictures were way cool and loved how you pointed out that they were indicative of our personalities. I couldn't agree more. That being said, why didn't we get a picture of you waving one?

    I enjoyed our conversation too. I can talk just as long as you can, you know this. I will always be your baby boy. :) We will miss you guys when we move. But like you said, another place to visit.

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    1. I'll have sweet memories of that day! No pics of me because I had the camera- haha! Yes, you'll always be my baby... But in a good way.

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  13. sounds like a delightful time with family! good for all of you. there is something about sparklers that is fun no matter what your age!! good luck to Scott and Ashley!

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  14. Love your sparkling method of analysis...

    ;)

    PS. Beats out Rorschach, right?

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  15. Yes, I think my analysis was absolutely correct! If you knew each one of them, you'd agree...

    Everyone: I replied to each comment on my I-Phone but instead of going under each comment they went separately at the bottom. When I look at my comments on my computer, there is no button for "Reply." Can anyone tell me how to get that on there? Or is it just my browser that's the problem (Safari)? It's kind of driving me crazy.

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  16. Your 4th of July sounded splendid. The pool picnic had my mouth watering and the dinner sounded absolutely scrumptios!

    It is just so fun to be with family and expecially so on special holidays. Like you, I have always loved the 4th of July. I get teary eyed whenever I see the flag. I used to go to parades and loved it so much, but I haven't been to one in years.

    We had a pretty nice one too, just had some friends over for dinner, just a couple, and we had a cold dinner that I had prepared the day before, so it was really easy for me. It was ham, potato salad, corn on the cob(the only thing that had to be cooked) melon balls and for dessert key lime pie! We watched the program and fireworks from Washington D.C. and then went out in our driveway and watched 20 minutes of local fireworks. All together, it was a very nice day, but it would have been so much nicer if we could have had some of our family here.

    Really loved hearing about your wonderful day and I enjoyed all the pictures too!

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    1. Thanks Darlene! I mde your key lime pie for my parents. They came to dinner the weekend before the 4th. It was a big hit and you're right - its the easiest recipe ever! Thanks again! I even gave them their own pie to take home. My dad was VERY happy about that!

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