Thursday, July 5, 2012

4 July

I didn't get to sleep in on this particular holiday but in the fun factor of our nonstop day made it worthwhile. Dandiville's annual parade began at 9a this year, an hour earlier than in years past. Some years it's miserably hot and, while this wasn't one of them, it was nice to be out of the sun by noon and before the strongest sun of the day was upon us. I was teary-eyed much of the time watching the floats honoring our troops. I also like seeing old friends and neighbors both march in the parade and be spectators. Not much is cuter than little kids dressed in red, white and blue waving the American Flag. 

While I was doing a rare two-hour commute home from The Silly Valley on Independence Day Eve, Dave and our friends scoped out a good spot the parade route and we were able to watch from the comfort of our shaded chairs 12 hours later. Eldest Daughter especially enjoyed the parade social scene this year.

After the parade we headed up to a party in St. Helena. Our friends have decided to take a year out of the rat race and spend the next year living in Rome. They leave in August, in time for their three children to begin the new school year. Meanwhile, they are readying their ranch-style house among the vineyards with gorgeous gardens and pool for a year-long rental. If you know someone who wants to live the wine country dream for a year, I'll put you in touch. I'd move there in a second.

The husband told me about this New York Times article on being busy, which only served to validate their decision. Their kids will take a bus to school and the husband and wife will have time to read the paper and drink coffee out, explore the city and plan weekend trips. I am jealous. Yes, I am happy for them but I am jealous, too, of them going to Rome and stepping off the treadmill.

I do not like being busy. I need a lot of time to myself and I hate it when people brag about how busy they are. Do they enjoy the pace? Are they Tiger Moms and Dads? Are they afraid of being unscheduled to the point they don't know what they will do with downtime? I chatted with a couple, parents of two, at the parade and they told me that they go for a five-mile hike together every Saturday morning and it forces them to have an extended conversation. Brilliant.

Our friends have a big extended family and the gathering was perhaps 40 kids and adults swimming, BBQing, throwing around balls, drinking and playing in the hammock and treehouse. I took the picture below at their house. The husband challenged the kids to create a place to hang the flag. Success! I like these kinds of events -- a few people I know, most I don't, activities to keep the kids happily occupied and a diversity of backgrounds and opinions. It was great to catch up with the friend who links us to the St. Helena couple. Much of him remains the same as when we met, 30 years ago.

We were going to spend the night in Napa and come up to Tahoe Thursday but instead decided to head out that night. Our risk was rewarded with arriving at Donner Lake just as their fireworks show started. We lucked into a prime vantage point on Hwy 80.

Today I woke up in my own bed at Squaw. We've not been here since ski season so there is zero to eat in the house. I headed to Starbucks for caffeine and breakfast while everyone else slept in, and am now banging away at my laptop with a pine-infused set of lungs and big smile. It's pure magic in the early mornings at Squaw. People walking their dogs. Ambituous hikers and bikers. Nerds like me on laptops. Later Dave will take the kids golfing and give me a whopping on the tennis court. Paradise!

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