Take It Easy

One of the many things living with a chronic illness has taught me is to not sweat the small stuff.

Tomorrow is a BIG DAY at our house.  My house will be filled with family in the afternoon followed by a large number of guests from our church.  It’s an annual event.

Our house is right below where they shoot off the fireworks in our town.   The tradition began with a piano student I had about ten years ago (maybe longer, I’m getting too old to remember!).  His grandmother was a little hesitant one day at his lesson.  I knew she wanted to say something, but I didn’t know what.  Finally, she got up her nerve and asked me if her family could bring lawn chairs and come to our house to see the fireworks, so I said “Sure, why not.”

It was just my family and theirs the first year.  And then the word got out, about how fabulous our yard was and how much fun they’d had watching the fireworks.  It turned into the whole church, everyone being invited the next year.

There were a lot of families back then, with lots of kids.  We did water balloons, volleyball, slip and slide, giant bubbles, squirt guns and fireworks in the streets. Usually, somewhere in between are visits to our cochin chickens, and the kids and grown-ups alike getting a kick out of their feathered feet.  They look like they’re wearing bloomers.  Our geese also receive visits from the kids while the older folk enjoy checking out our fruit trees, the sumac forest (our nickname for a small grove of sumac trees), the vegetable garden rimmed with a mix of bright red poppies, white yarrow, blue bachelor buttons and fragrant mint.

The clematis are blooming now, a deep purple, a magenta and my favorite a white almost star shaped climber.  Hollyhocks and daylilies  are joining the exhibition too.

Since this is my blog, and I can :), I’m going to take a moment and brag on my husband.  Part of the reason–besides our location–that people want to come for the 4th of July is because my husband keeps a beautiful garden, and mows an acre and a half of beautiful lawn with a push mower, not a rider.  We have this beautiful stretch of green that is uncommon in our high desert area, full of dirt, sagebrush and junipers.  We also have large trees which provide awesome shade if the weather is blistering hot.

People visit, bring a lawn chair and their favorite ice cream.  Then at dusk, it’s blankets and chairs in what we call the big field, half an acre of lawn, and the kids go outside the fence into our quiet little lane and light the fireworks they bought at Bi-Mart with their parents.  We have hoses ready and a burn barrel, although we’ve never needed them.

Then it’s the fireworks.  But the grand finale is supposed to be the hillside catching on fire (which used to freak me out).  If it does, the whole town cheers.  And if it doesn’t, the whole town boos.  Really…it’s the whole town…and it’s LOUD! Yes, I am aware that this is a strange tradition.

As you can imagine, having fifty or so people show up at your house for an outdoor party can be a little nerve wracking if you’re interested in making a good impression.  I used to clean my house spotless before our guests arrived and make sure our patio looked just right, and the front porch.  I also picked fresh bouquets and had them in every room of the house.

Until this year I have also always made two different kinds of homemade ice cream too, from my Ben and Jerry’s cookbook.

Tomorrow I will be keeping it simple.  My house is clean, but not to the extreme.  I will vacuum in the morning.  I will buy ice cream, and my only contribution to lunch is a potato salad and a watermelon.  I might pick flowers for my kitchen table if I feel inspired to, but impressions just don’t matter to me any more.  Living in a relaxed way and getting rid of stress is what matters to me.  I plan to work on a few final touches in the morning, and then enjoy my day.  I plan to enjoy all of my friends and family…and this year I won’t be too tired and worn out, running on adrenaline and bogged down by stress.

Happy 4th of July everybody!  Enjoy your day!



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