Fireworks on iPhone

Canada celebrates its national holiday on July 1, the United States on July 4. The holidays, like the countries that honor them, are as similar as they are different. We share many of the same ideals, hopes, and dreams… even if Canada still has a Queen.

Rene has this weekend off. Since he lives across the street from the parades, fair grounds, and fireworks, I like to think he'll be spending the next few days enjoying the true north festivities with beverages, barbeque, and his loved ones. But, who am I kidding? He's probably just going to spend it making more videos. Sigh.

In the U.S., I'm celebrating Independence Day later in the week by gathering with my friends and family for an evening of backyard grilling, cold, cold ones, and a nighttime spectacular usually hosted by yours truly. We don't go in for the big stadium fireworks. I start stocking up on Safe 'n' Sanes (most fireworks are illegal in California with the exception of a type of explosives that meet "safe and sane" regulations) at my nearby stands as soon as the popups are open. In fact, as I write this, firework stands are all starting to open up (a bit earlier than usual this year).

My favorite firework is the Friendship Pagoda. It's a ground spinner that, at the end of its run, pops up to reveal a paper pagoda. If the process goes well, there won't be many burn marks and most of the paper tissue windows are intact. Usually, however, my pagodas looked like they'd been through war. I would usually get two of them; one for myself and one for my bestie. Unfortunately, none of the firework stands in my area carry Friendship Pagodas anymore. So now, I usually get those funny little paper tanks that drive around until they catch fire.

There's something both grand and humbling about getting together with friends from all walks of life to celebrate our country's birthday. Some of my friends' parents were born in different countries, while other friends can trace their lineage to the fleet that sailed for the Americas in 1776. Even though we may have completely separate family histories, we call out, "Happy Fourth of July" as we light up the sky with our mini explosives with the same passion for what makes us love this country.

I am lucky to live in a country and during a time when girls and women are encouraged to be whatever we want to be. I knew from an early age that I didn't want to be a housewife or to raise children. I can make those choices. I've had incredible experiences in my life playing in bands, going on tour, and even running a small record label. I love technology and playing with gadgets and have somehow managed to convince others to let me write about that love for a living.

I've been able to do the things I'm passionate about because I grew up in a country and at a time in history that allowed me to figure out what meant the most to me and to pursue it. When I was asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up," no one ever said to me that I couldn't someday be that if I put my mind to it (my preferred career goals changed a lot when I was a kid; candy store owner, horse trainer, fighter pilot, broadway star, rock star).

As the U.S. and Canada both celebrate what makes our respective nations brave and strong and free, Rene and I would like to remind everyone to thank the men and women that have blazed the trails that we now stroll down and protected the land that we call home. Happy Birthday, Canada. Happy Birthday, America.

Until next week!

Lory & Rene