Murica

Land of the free, home of the brave. Without getting political and opinionated about the term "freedom", I'd like to simply say that July 4th has always been to me about one thing only -- freedom to eat hot dogs. Grill em, toast em up real nice and crispy. Slather some ketchup and mustard on there, a touch of relish and a warm toasty bun. With a side of corn and bacon-wrapped asparagus (because vegetables need more protein), this meal is one to celebrate. Independence Day in Burlington this year was sunny and hot, a good change of pace from the month-long rainstorm that has been keeping my skin from ever seeing the sun. Boats lined up along the choppy shores of Lake Champlain to watch a heroic display of fireworks that spark, sizzle, and fall back into the water. A gaggle of us watched from the rooftop of El Dorado, aka the Mansion, filled to the eyeballs with beer and food. Not a bad way to watch the sun set over upstate New York.

Oh, and we made a 200-foot slip n' slide. There was a giant swan involved.