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July 04, 2005: Up in the air

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In honor of it being the Fourth of July, we decided to get some uniquely American food for lunch. So while I was cutting up peaches and apples and turning them into crumble pies, Richard went off to procure lunch, and we ate it in front of the television, while watching John Q. When we were growing up my family always watched The Great Race, and then 1776 on the Fourth, and while I adore 1776, for some reason we never think to rent a copy in time. So instead Richard and I watched something from our Netflix queue. And I think maybe 1776 might have been better because it is significantly more upbeat, on the other hand, what could be more American than a movie about the impossibility of the current health care system for the working class poor. As Richard pointed out, there were no bad guys in this movie � only a lot of people who had their hands tied by the beaurocratic mess created by the rising cost of health care and the inability of corporations and HMO�s to look at people as human beings and not as numbers and expenses to be cut and boxed and shoved aside.

I spent several hours today knitting (and did not once touch my Civilization game, either � go me!), but there was also much time spent in preparation for the big family gathering later on. We decided to do something fairly easy for dinner, so we had tri tip and chicken and lamb, all marinated in various sauces, and we put out huge bowls of cut red and yellow bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms and told everyone to build their own kabobs. I�d asked everyone to bring a side dish, so we had lots of berries with cream, and pans of cornbread, and an extremely festive jello mold of red, white and blue layers, shaped like the American flag. Along with the two pies, I�d also found a recipe for a cinnamon chocolate bread pudding in a recent issue of Cooking Light, and what better time to try out new desserts than when you have a large crowd of people who cannot escape, and who always have the option of just having known quantities like pie anyway.

I invited my knitting mom over as well, since both her daughters and all three of her grandchildren were off doing other things for the holiday, and while the rest of the family all sat downstairs and listened to Alice�s Restaurant, I took her upstairs and we both poked experimentally at my new knitting machine and managed to get it to do a few rows and we compared yarn stashes and where they are stored, and got all our knitting geekery out of the way without annoying anyone else. So that was good.

The neighbors behind us put in some rather fast growing trees, such that we had to choose our positions in the yard carefully in order to see the fireworks display through the openings. It was a little saddening to know that this may be the last time we can all just congregate in our backyard with our lawn chairs, but I cannot really ask my neighbors to hack down their trees just because one day out of the year I want to see fireworks. I suspect that next year we will all take our lawn chairs and make a very short trek to the bike path that runs directly behind their yard, where we will hopefully still be able to avoid the larger crowds at the park where the fireworks display is actually put on. It�s just that none of us likes dealing with crowds, and it�s been so nice to be able to just go right out the back door and look up into the sky and see all the lights and the colors and the sound.

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