July 4, or every kind of day

I hope my American readers had a good Independence Day!  I received text messages from the parental units saying that they did another 5K race this morning and were looking forward to 100+ F weather in Las Vegas.  I skyped (while driving!) with Teya and Ammon, who told me about their plans to watch fireworks over the river tonight.  As for me, my July 4th ended up being part weekend, part holiday, and part ordinary workday — roughly in that order.  
The “weekend” part technically started last night when I got home from work.  Since I didn’t have to go into the office today, and since Amanda was leaving for Spain this afternoon, I decided not to work last night or this morning.  Instead, we went out for some Vietnamese food, watched TV while Amanda packed, and then turned in early.  We got up early, as well, to get a good morning workout in before the heat came — I did a quick 20-mile bike ride; Amanda went to the gym in my apartment building.  The rest of the morning was spent packing, watering plants, cleaning, cooking, travel planning, etc.  Things that I typically have time to do only on the weekend.  Then it was off to the airport and fond farewell to Amanda — she’s off to a week of volunteering in Spain before we meet up again in Madrid and take of on our Iberico-African adventures.
My “holiday” started after the airport.  Some friends from church had invited me to an Independence Day barbecue at their place.  I came bearing jalapeno poppers for the grill (they had been such a hit when Amanda made them for the beach barbecue the other day that I thought I’d give them a whirl, too) and an appetite that wasn’t disappointed:  Jon had spent all morning grilling delicious ribs, and the rest of the spread was equally tasty and oh, so July 4th-y.
Note the little bowl of cornichons! A result of my proselytizing.
Melysa, Jen, Spencer, David, Somelea, Jon

It’s too bad I didn’t get a picture of myself.  Having been deputized to carve the BBQ-sauce covered ribs while wearing white pants, Somelea had given me an apron with the words “Queen of Everything” emblazoned across the front — a sentiment with which, gender aside, I tended to agree…

I enjoyed the food and company for a couple of hours but then had to go home and work.  My workload has gone through the roof lately, and I have not been able to keep up while also hosting a house guest (even a guest as understanding and forgiving as Amanda), planning an international trip, and trying to maintain a semblance of personal/athletic/social life (all pretense of which went out the window this week as I canceled my gym sessions and abandoned my early morning weekday rides).  I have several big deadlines tomorrow and Friday (not to mention the giant stack of projects that will need to be finished before I fly out next Friday) and, from my increasingly stressed perspective, the expanse of an uninterrupted “holiday” evening was too good to pass up.  So while everyone else was out watching fireworks and enjoying time with friends and family (or, in Amanda’s case, sitting at JFK airport), I was on my balcony reading contracts and listening to the din of fireworks in the distance.  It’ll get worse before next Friday, I’m sure, but I just keep reminding myself that it can only last a week — then I’ll be riding camels in the Sahara desert and out of reach of work.  THAT will be my Independence Day.

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