Fireworks and Squirt Guns: the 4th of July in Southern California

Husband and I spent the long weekend in Yucaipa, California — a town about two hours east of LA, in a region of the state called the Inland Empire. Husband's aunt and uncle live in Yucaipa and invited us down. Two of three cousins were also present, and we all had a really good time.

Kyle and Ellen (the aunt and uncle) have a huge and beautiful house with a huge and beautiful pool. I haven't spent much time in a pool since puberty, and I was amazed by how much fun I had. We spent the better part of three of our four days in the pool. We had handstand contests, a marathon Marco Polo game, and innumerable shot contests with a floating basketball hoop. This basketball game is a lot harder than it seems, but given the lack of backboard and the constantly changing location of the hoop due to the movements of the water, it is embarrassingly difficult. 2 shots out of 20 was the average for the weekend. The record stands at 7 out of 20. I won't tell you who holds the record because it would sound like I was bragging. But I will tell you that it's not this guy:

I think one of the reasons that I had such a good time, or maybe it's better to say that one of the reasons that I, and many women, have avoided swimming for the most part since we were 12 is the stupid swimsuits and the wearing one in front of people. What a terrible thing to do to a girl — strip her down to her underwear and put her outside with her peers where the sun highlights the flaws in her pasty white skin. What a nightmare!

But I'm older now and more comfortable with my body. I have a swimsuit that I like and to top it all off, I now have a 42-inch waist that's cute. This weekend was the first time that I can remember wearing a swimsuit without worrying about holding my stomach in. Not being able to see my thighs over my belly helped too, I'm sure.

In addition to swimming in 35,000 gallons of water while 1,400 wildfires burn and the state is riddled with drought, we celebrated America's independence by super-sizing as much as possible. I had two venti (that's the big one, right?) decaf mochas from Starbucks. We went to Costco.

And we got the big popcorn and the big soda when we went to the movies to see WALL-E. For the most part I do my best to minimize my consumption, buy locally, and avoid Milk Duds, but today, I will happily admit that I had a wonderful time. Happy Birthday America!