Duty bound.

I always kind of consider July 4th and July 5th to be one holiday, my personal holiday weekend/days. Cookouts on July 4th? Are for me. The fireworks are most definitely for me. The fact that most of my friends have the day off is an extra special bonus for me because we get to grill and watch fireworks together. (I am not so delusional that I think that other people care about these things. But you should know that I do.)

In addition, I gave up trying to separate my birthday from the national holiday many years ago. I embrace the red, white, and blue and have no problem with an American-flag themed birthday party. I hoped that my friends felt that way, too, at my birthday party this year. Because we had a lot of food. And, to quote the illustrious Erma Bombeck:

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.

We had our share of overeating on the 5th when, to celebrate my 30th birthday, we had people over for barbecue (for those of you not from around these parts, I do actually mean pulled pork, not that we grilled out) and various and sundry other things, including the cupcakes that I made from scratch. From scratch, y’all. I have never done that before. And Melissa said they were good. She would tell me if she didn’t like them. She would tell me if they were dry and mealy. But, no. She asked for the recipe.

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(We don’t even have to get into the part where I tell you about all the icing drama. Let’s just say I had planned on making chocolate icing and vanilla icing but the vanilla icing turned into lemon instead. The best part? It was fabulous and I loved it. But I can’t give you the recipe for the lemon. Sorry. I doubt it could be recreated.)

Anyway, there was much eating and much rejoicing, and therefore there was much patriotism. I love a good patriotic excuse for overeating as much as the next person, so thank you, Erma Bombeck. And then we watched The Muppet Movie on the projector outside when it got dark enough, which is still as smart and clever as you wish that all of your childhood favorites could be. So that was pretty awesome. It was great to spend the evening with friends and family who are important to me.

Many people have asked me about turning 30 and have reassured me that the 30s are awesome. I would like to share this story with you about my very first experience as a 30-something. Saturday night, after the most gorgeously mild July 4th I can remember, we went to our super-secret location and watched the fireworks with our friends. It was awesome. We came home, got a few things ready for Sunday, and went to bed. At approximately 2:57 on the morning of the 5th, the teenager who lives next door (and seven of her closest friends) decided that it would be a great time to have a little fire in her driveway (which is pretty much right next to our bedroom), talk loudly, and throw those little snap firecracker thingies. It woke me up. It did not wake Mike up. I woke him up to point out how horrible it was that they were waking me up. Because that makes sense, right? And then I marched outside and (politely but firmly) pointed out that it was three in the morning and that they were right next to my bedroom and that they had to stop with the fireworks. To their credit, they apologized profusely and then went inside. I, therefore, also went inside and crawled back into bed. My wonderful husband who made my birthday so special and who never ever misses the chance for an excellent punchline put his arms around me and said, “You just turned 30. And you’re already old and cranky.”

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