Weighing in on the weekly meme:
Do you celebrate 4th of July (or some other holiday representing independence?)
Sure. I live next to a lake, and some of my more affluent neighbors are fond of spending biiiiiiig bucks on professional (and illegal in my state) fireworks; their spontaneous fireworks displays over the water are longer and more impressive than the official celebrations around here. The hard part is finding a good vantage point, surrounded by the woods as I am, without being eaten alive by mosquitoes and deer flies. A mitigating factor: the presence of fireflies; so you have kind of an entertainment double-header going on, with colorful fireworks sporadically bursting from above the treetops, while the fireflies put on their quiet and leisurely show below.
Reading over the Constitution and Bill of Rights ain't a bad way to celebrate either. And listening to some Sousa.
When was the first time you felt independent, if ever?
Believe it or not -- the first time I ever bought my own bed linens for my first-apartment bedroom, for some reason it made me feel as if I'd finally arrived as an independent adult.
If you're hosting a cookout, what's on the grill?
I'm picnicking, not grilling, this year...but if I were grilling I might reprise the margarita chicken I made on my contact grill the other weekend: marinate some chicken in a half-cup of thawed nonalcoholic margarita mix, a quarter-cup of lime juice, the grated zest of a lime, two minced cloves of garlic and a grind of mixed pepper; sprinkle with salt (the coarse kind, if you're into the aesthetics of the thing) and grill. Muy tasty -- I sliced it over salad greens tossed with orange sections and avocado, and offered it with a choice of ranch dressing or homemade dressing made from more thawed margarita mix, lime juice, garlic and olive oil. Now, if I had to choose between burgers and hot dogs, I'd go with burgers. (I don't even care what kind of burgers -- chicken, pork, veggie, salmon -- all good in a bakery bun.) If my choice is between hot dogs, I will pick skin franks (Kogel brand rules) over skinless franks every time. And as for soy dogs -- soy dogs are best buried in the flower beds for extra nitrogen, in my humble opinion, because they're fit food for neither man nor beast, and this is coming from a dedicated Birk-wearing, food-coop-lurking type.
Strawberry Shortcake -- biscuit or sponge cake? Discuss.
This is probably traitorous to admit...but I could never stand the little supermarket shortcake spongecakes, which always tasted stale to me. My mother switched to pouring the strawberries over yellow box cake, which I enjoyed a lot more. But now, in adulthood -- I want either a biscuit with my shortcake or, if I'm feeling righteously healthful, a slice of angelfood cake.
Fireworks -- best and worst experience
The best experience was when I was a little kid, going with my aunt and uncle to the fireworks show in a neighboring town...the excitement of being around all the other "oohing" and "ahhing" people just as much as the actual show, I think. I don't think I have a worst experience, except for one summer when I was home for the holiday and had to comfort my parents' terrified dog during our neighborhood fireworks extravaganza.
Alas, no bonus points: While I've seen 1776 several times, Ben Franklin was the only memorable character for me. (And for some reason, in trying to recall the details of this musical, all that comes to mind is music from Damn Yankees. I guess this is what happens in middle age.)
P.S. In case some of you are checking in to see what sort of pretty flowers (or, as an old high school friend who grew up in Indiana might say, purty flars) I am posting for my Friday bloom bloggery -- I couldn't find my camera cable this morning. This is not a good thing. But if I find it I will post a pic.