Monday, July 5, 2010

Lazy Days of Summer

Mondays can be nice, I think. They're especially nice when you don't have to work. Since it was Independence Day yesterday, we were lucky enough to get today off. It's a lovely feeling to know that it's a Monday morning and you don't have to get up. Extra long weekends are wonderful things. I only wish we could have them more frequently.

Still, it's best not to be greedy, especially when the past extra long weekend was so nice. It was a perfect 4th of July weekend, weatherwise. It was breezy and cool-ish on Saturday; tolerable, even in the sun. Sunday, being Independence Day itself, was very hot. The coolness faded, replaced by a warm, sultry breeze that was only slightly refreshing. Even though my family is British and thus really don't celebrate July 4th, we decided to do a traditional thing and have a family barbecue.

It was my dad's idea and so he was in charge of the grill. The thing with my dad is that I think he secretely likes to compete with mine and my mum's new love of cooking. Thus, instead of just having hot dogs and hamburgers, he decided to also make marinaded steak and salmon steaks. The salmon steaks were grilled in a sauce that was Asian-inspired. He put me in charge of potato salad and guacamole.

Mostly, the food turned out ok. The salmon, I admit, was not to my taste and I think we would have been better served to keep things a bit simpler because only half the food was ready at the same time. This meant my sister, the lone vegetarian in the family, didn't get her protein- the salmon- until long after the rest of the meat was ready and she'd had time to eat all the sides.

Still, for the most part, it wasn't bad. There were a few slight annoyances. For example, my mum and I spent quite a lot of time getting the patio furniture set up so that everyone had a place to sit on the deck which was very pleasant since it's under trees and always has a pleasant breeze. It didn't just entail moving the patio furniture but meant we had to get it out of the storage shed which has a door that doesn't open. After much effort, we got the door open wide enough to get the furniture out and set it up so that all 14 people who would be at the barbecue would have a nice outdoor place to sit and eat.

We tried to tell everyone that we'd be eating outside but, alas, for the most part, everyone wanted to stay in the air conditioned house. Thus, only my older brother's family, my mother and I sat outside. I get that it was cooler inside but it was a barbecue and, well, isn't the point of a barbecue to eat outside?

Nevertheless, it was a pretty pleasant evening. My mum and I cleaned up. We don't have the type of family where people say, "I'll clean up." No, everyone sort of just...left when it came time to clean up. They actually went to sit outside.

Yes, I groaned.

Still, it was a fun, very traditional July 4th for the "American" members of our family and it's the first time we've all been together since Christmas. It's nice to see how the children play together. It's also sort of interesting to watch them fight because it makes me look back on how my siblings and I must have acted when we were young. We were always bickering as siblings. We still bicker as adults but we no longer are able to scratch or bite one another the way little children seem to do so freely. Sometimes, I think that might be best- we'd get it out of our systems instead of silently sulking and harboring resentment for something that ends up being rather silly but seems significant enough at the time it upsets us. I do think my sister would look twice if I reached over and poked her repeatedly with a sharp pointy straw the way my nephew did to his older sister though.

I did end up watching fireworks with my sister and her husband and brother and his wife. I'm the lone unmarried in my family which bothers me at times but no so much at others. Thanks to the magical Off Mosquito Fan, I didn't get bit whereas my siblings did. Yes, I was a little smug about it.

The fireworks were pretty but never seem as exciting when you're watching them as you think they're going to be. It didn't help that we had a surprise rainstorm about ten minutes before the city fireworks were supposed to start and the rain came down hard and heavy enough to flood the streets for a few minutes.

In the end, it turned out to be a pretty good holiday, even though it was hot and humid. Today was also hot but it was one of those 'lazy hazy days of summer' where it was hard to find the energy to do anything but sit outside and enjoy the breeze. My mother and I made a point of sitting on the patio furniture that we dragged out yesterday.

All in all, it as a lovely long weekend. It also is lovely because it means it's a short work week this week and another weekend isn't too far away. It's supposed to be hot again but given that it is summer, that's not wholly unexpected. It's not really unwelcomed either, despite the fact that it's not always comfortable out there.

After all, what would summer be without a little heat?

Happy Tuesday!

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