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The sweet ‘height’ of summer

I always consider the 4th of July celebration… parade… picnic…. Party and open house at our home… to be the ‘height of summer’…the middle….the culmination of many weeks of planning, organizing and cleaning. My husband, Rob and I have done this big summer celebration as far back as….hmmm…. when the parade route through our small town of Caldwell, Idaho…. starting marching down the street in front of our home. (15 years maybe?) We open up our “historical home” to friends and neighbors…. We encourage everyone to bring a lawn chair and come and sit and watch the parade with us. I laboriously pour over patriotic music to make a “Playlist” for background music during the parade itself. Each year I bring more and more ’goodies’ to the table for our guests to enjoy during this early morning tradition. (Things like fresh, hot coffee… have expanded into muffins, (both gluten free/sugar free and homemade mini muffins…as well as popcorn and maybe water and lemonade… it just keeps growing.) Finally our friends and family are invited to stay and enjoy a traditional 4th of July bar-b-que with hamburgers and hot dogs…their only entry fee is a pot luck dish that they provide. I have all of the paper plates/fancy patriotic napkins/forks/ice and drinks and of course the favored sausage dogs along with ‘bun length’ hot dogs and ¼ lb. hamburgers. Then we put together the ‘condiments’ tray with everything you can think of to go on the dogs and burgers…. It is nothing short of miraculous that any of this can be accomplished by only the 2 of us these day. Now that my children are grown and gone out into the world with their own lives…we rely on our closest friends and family to help kick off this ‘shin-dig’ of a party every year. We work tirelessly weeding the gardens, potting new plants and trimming the grass back to resemble a golf course; as well as cleaning the house top to bottom and stuffing away all of those tacky little knick knacks that sit out year round, that only I enjoy because one of my children probably made them in elementary school. It’s a big ordeal, the opening of your home for ‘inspection’ by your friends…’s a little stressful at times. As a yoga instructor, you would think that I had that ‘stress issue’… down cold.. you know… I meditate, I try and breathe deeply, and especially don’t let little things set you off. HA!...little things definitely set me off… just like the leak in the upstairs bathroom that cascaded its way down through the living room ceiling the week before the Independence Day Celebration. With plastic covering the large square hole in the living room ceiling… we trooped through lots of friends who had never seen the house before….we ate and drank our way through tons of food, and luckily for us… my son Nick, who lives in Boise, and a couple of close friends, stayed to help us clean up after the party this year. The birds ate up the scattered popcorn… and the cats were busily munching down on any leftovers found in the grass amongst the ice cubes we dumped unceremoniously from the ‘cold ice table’. As we sat down with a glass of wine in the late afternoon, contemplating how we would find the energy to even go to the fireworks display later in the evening….we talked seriously of… “Is this the last year to do this type of gathering” (Rob doesn’t like for me to use the word “Party”…. So I instinctively use the word “gathering” over the last 32 years whenever we entertain!). I don’t know if this is the last year… or maybe we will be changing it around… and just enjoy the parade and ‘brunch’…. special treats with friends and family…. However it turns out… will be fine. I will stress and Rob will be calm and our friends will think it’s the best party ever… then I’ll plan not to do it the following year… but we’ll do something… we always do…. Yep, we always do. The height of summer is now headed toward Fall… I feel more relaxed, there are no more deadlines (except for yoga school classes that I still attend)…these are definitely the “dog days of summer” now….less stress, who cares about the gardens now… the heat is taking the flowers anyway….the lawnmower is in the shop and I seriously need a haircut-no worries. As for planning another 4th of July celebration for next year… well….all I can do.. is … “Just Breathe”… and think it about next year. Namaste'

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