Monday, July 5, 2010

July 4th fun, or you never know...

....what a day will bring.  Yesterday morning started out fairly normal -- I was outside scraping paint off the siding, my neighbor had come over to chat while I worked, said he was ready to clean out the crawl space if that was OK with me (he needs the money to get his truck fixed).  He has a great Tyvek crawl suit and that literally covers every part of him aside from the face, and he wore a mask.  I'm not sure how much he got done because I ended up leaving before he was through.  At that point, he had maybe three-quarters of it finished but thought he'd have to do the rest today.  I'll have to check it out later.  Now, I have a big bundle of it out on the curb awaiting pickup.  Cool.

While I was scraping away my phone range.  I almost didn't answer it, because I had to run around the house and get to it before the machine picked up, which is a dash, but I made it.  My cousin Ken was on the other end, inviting me to a big get-together at a friend's house, and I wasn't about to turn down that opportunity.  I worked a bit more on the siding, about three hours total, but time was telling me I needed to go about the process of cleaning up my dirty body, so I put things away.  It'll be there waiting for me next time I feel the urge.  A few weeks ago a friend gave me an old drill to use in the process -- I just need to get a chuck for it, then one of those wire brush attachments and a long power cord.  I haven't had the $$ to do that lately, but when I do it should make short work of the paint that doesn't come off easily.

But, on to the fun side of life.  After a few wrong turns and after asking a couple of people how to get where I was going, I found their wonderful house out in the country and the three of us took off for the party, a good long drive away at a home on this lake.  Life is good.

I know some of you out there believe I'm the devil's spawn but here is proof that I came into this world in the usual way -- I have kinfolk!  This is Ken's son and daughter-in-law. Ken is the son of my first cousin which, according to my know-all genealogy software makes him my first cousin once removed.  For some reason, it doesn't tell me what his kids would be, but I'm guessing they're first cousins twice removed. 

It's too bad the fish didn't cooperate and show his width, and I know it looks a bit on the small side,  but for a bream (pronounced 'brim, for you Yankees out there), it's a pretty good size.  They caught quite a few of these in the course of the day, but put 'em all back.

This is Ken's youngest grandson, from his daughter and son-in-law who I didn't manage to capture on film.  You couldn't get this boy out of the water!

Fishing with granddad (papa).

Half of me had an urge to get out and paddle Ken's kayak, half of me didn't, and the lazy half won.  One of these days!

One of the guests had been an extra in a movie filmed in the area last year and her tales were fascinating.  Called "Get Low", it stars Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek and is due for release this month.  Here's what IMDb has to say about it: "A movie spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about the mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who famously threw his own rollicking funeral party... while he was still alive."  Should be a fun movie, and it'll be nice to see the local scenery.

One of the highlights of the day was the low country boil.  Again, for you Yankees, this is a dish from the Georgia and Carolina coastal areas that will make your heart sing if you ever have a chance to try it.  The cook was very kind to allow me to follow her moves with the camera.  It takes awhile to cook, but is oh, so worth the wait!

First, the potatoes boil, since they take the longest.  I'm probably going to have the sequence a little off, but I think the sliced  lemons and limes went in next and there's a big bag of seasonings that goes in at some point, too.  Eventually, the citrus slices come out after they've flavored the water then the corn goes in, then a mess of fresh Andouille sausage.  When those come out and into a container to keep warm, the shrimp go in for about two minutes, then everything is dumped onto one huge table and everybody digs in.  My plate was rather meager, I'm afraid, because I'd snacked on chips and dips earlier and because my appetite still hasn't fully returned from when I was sick last week, but I had to get some of everything to try.  My goodness, it was good!  I was sorry I couldn't eat more but I sure enjoyed what I had.

And, what's a Fourth of July party without fireworks?  The kids, not surprisingly, had a great time with their sparklers, as well as the fireworks.  I had the camera set on 'fireworks show' (imagine that) and was rather pleased at the results.  I'm still not sure how to best use that feature -- when I press the shutter, the screen goes blank for awhile and I'm not sure whether to hold it in place at that point or not.  Mostly, I didn't hold it there the entire time it was blank, and it did just fine.  

I had problems with timing the bursts of the fireworks, but some of them turned out fine.

Before the fireworks began a couple of guitars came out and a songfest was happening inside so I hunkered down to listen.  Some fine singing in this bunch!  There was a young woman who is auditioning for American Idol in a couple of weeks, and she was really good.  All in all, we were up waaaay past my bedtime, but I got my second wind during the fireworks.  The old clock was edging up on midnight when we left and was right at midnight when I drove away from Ken and Lynn's place.  I had a lonesome, hungry kitten waiting for me but she didn't get much attention, I'm afraid.  Naturally, by then I was so wide awake that I didn't sleep much, but that's fine -- I can nap later and sleep tonight.  I wouldn't have missed this for the world!

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