Jun 15, 2004

The last week has been a busy blur, full of sneezing, crying, flying, family, and meat. Lots and lots of meat. I was still sick during the plane flight to Virginia last Wednesday...the plane flight that took off TWO HOURS after we boarded and departed from the gate. I brought a full box of tissues with me and landed in Virginia with a nearly empty container. Yes, I was an enjoyable passenger to sit next to. You bet. I guess I got what was coming to me during the 8am flight back, with a screaming two year old sitting a mere 3 rows in front of me. My eardrums are still ringing, and I'm swearing off kids for at least 10 years now.

My little brother graduated high school cum laude, performed a voice and guitar solo of the class song in front of the 400+ graduating class and their 5,000 guests in the gym, graciously and humbly accepted his graduation party gifts...and ate lots of meat. I am so proud of him, I cried constantly during the ceremony, and once or twice during the rest of my visit. He has his whole life in front of him, and more talent and opportunity than I could ever hope for. While living under a single father's roof, I practically raised my brother from age age 6 to 14. I feel like his second mother, and for that reason I cried with joy as my little guy took the next giant step in his life.

I'm still in a meat coma thinking about all of the dead animals we ingested on our many celebratory restaurant visits and at-home meals. I think we hit about every major animal: we had fried shrimp, broiled fish, pork ribs, pork bbq, beef bbq, chicken wings, peking duck, stir fried lamb, bratwurst, hot dogs, chipped beef, sausage gravy, turkey sausage, lobster, pepperoni, ham, eggs, and I'm sure I'm leaving something out. My families love them some meat, I tell you, and my father sometimes has trouble putting the grilling tongs down. At a 40 person party we had enough food to feed 200, I kid you not. My dad and step mother are the ultimate carnivorous hosts. Should I ever become a vegetarian I would have nothing to eat at my parents' house.

I was in my element almost all weekend, hugging and catching up with grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings. I was raised in a large family with large get togethers, and this was the first time in years that we were almost all in the same place. It was nice to be able to include my husband in my family's tradition of gathering and grazing. I often look at our different backgrounds and wonder how we'll handle these occasions when we have kids. Only time will tell, and I look forward to it, but don't hold your breath. Although cranky, tired, and still sniffly towards the end, I very much enjoyed visiting with all of my families. I'm incredibly sentimental and cheesy, and this weekend full of celebration with friends and family has left me in an excellent place, although left me here with a serious lack of sleep and an overdose of protein.

My bro arrives at O'Hare tomorrow to spend a week with us in our new apartment. It will be nice to get to know who he is, at almost 19 years old. I knew him well at 12 when I left for college, and have known the major ups and downs of his life since then, but I am eager to spend time alone with him to learn about who he is now.

So now I'm off to prepare, clean, entertain, learn and have fun. And resist as much meat as possible.

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