Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GR's - graduation, great times and gratitude

I'm determined to get a re-entry post up today...I got back from Atlanta Saturday afternoon via air, while hubby drove home with the newest addition to our family???...!!!  I have so much news and so many pictures that it's kept me from posting because I didn't know where to start.  So I'm just going to go stream-of-consciousness and meander all over the place.  You know I can go on and on when I have nothing to say, so this could get lengthy.  Perhaps I should do installments, which my work day may necessitate.

First, on the weight front, on Sunday morning after getting home from the 8 days in Atlanta and an eating day of travel (why do I always feel binge-ish when I'm on the way home from a trip and the evening following...?), I weighed 206.6.  Actually that's the lowest I've been for awhile, so I was really pleased.  I ate well BUT sanely the whole time in Atlanta until the last morning.  I ate healthy food along with some indulgences, but I didn't graze over the course of the days as I can settle into at home.  Hmmm...because I was with people most of the time?  Coinkydink?  I think not.  Anyway, the new low has definitely motivated me to get into Onederland for the last time, and soon.  It's entirely possible, doable, and IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

Second, I ended up not meeting with Tammy and Tina for dinner while in Atlanta.  We had Wednesday evening lined up to go to one of my favorite places - The Cheesecake Factory, when one of my 3 favorite sister-in-laws (I only have 3, how lucky is it that I love and am loved by all 3!) who had a work meeting that night suddenly called saying she was free.  It was my only time to see her other than at a big family party where there's no time for a REAL visit, so I couldn't resist.  Not getting to be with Tammy and finally meet Tina was the only disappointment of the trip.  I'm so sorry it didn't work out, ladies.  By September I'll be back to visit and there will be no big events or celebrations to woo me away - so hopefully we can do it then.

Okay - so already I've hit a snafu with this intended post...I was going to pull up some pictures I'd uploaded from my new iphone into my work computer - and they won't appear!!!  Very irritated and will try to upload them again or wait until I get home and hope that my laptop charger has arrived by fed-ex (that I left in Atlanta), so I can insert pictures after the fact.

***Crisis/snafu averted.....

So - we got to Atlanta Saturday late afternoon and immediately picked up our youngest (and soon to be graduate) and took him to dinner.  It was great to see him and spend a lot of time with him all week.  He's stayed on for about 10 extra days with some of his house mates but will be home by the end of next week.  This kid has worked hard in college and done very well.  It really seems like all my kids are much more together and grounded than I was at their ages.  Thank goodness!  And if you'll allow me a proud mom moment, Mark had a 4.0 average for his senior year, and an overall 3.82 for the 4 years.  He's always had a great work ethic when it comes to schooling.

Sunday was Mothers' Day, and Mark and his 5 roomies had a big barbecue for all their families and friends.  It was really fun, and the boys went to great lengths to recognize their moms and express thanks to us.  They even got a cake from Whole Foods and had all the moms' names spelled out on it...hopefully when you read this there'll be a picture of said cake!  They cooked all kinds of good stuff on the grill, including veggie burgers and asparagus.  We were impressed.  One thing I didn't eat was the baked beans, because though homemade by one of the girlfriends, Mark warned me they were loaded with Jack Daniels.  Mom losing 19+ years of sobriety on baked beans would have been quite a drag =)!  Below is a shot of a few of the guys and their proud moms:

Monday was the actual graduation - at 8 in the morning.  Janet Napolitano of the Department of Homeland Security was the commencement speaker.  She was okay - pretty non-controversial and with a less than awe-inspiring speech, but at the end she gave a great piece of advice to the graduates:  "Don't let yourselves become cynical over the state of politics, government, economics...".  That made me realize I needed to check my own cynicism at the door!  I was actually sitting there thinking about how hard it was going to be for so many of the grads to find jobs in this still sluggish-at-best economy - and then was gently reminded that cynical negativity is not a desirable or productive state of being.

The graduation lasted 5 hours, and by 10 a.m. it was HOT and brightly sunny.  That's why they start so early in the south - beat the heat of the day. It was a lot hotter for the grads in their black mortarboards and gowns than those of us looking on adoringly in the wings.  Our Mark's portion was about 20 seconds of crossing the stage as his name was called, receiving his diploma and then mugging a big grin as I stepped in to get a picture.  Following the ceremony, we took a zillion more photos with friends, and then took Mark to lunch at an awesome barbecue place that had the BEST. Fried. OKRA. EVER.  It was incredible - entirely not greasy - with a light cornmeal base coating.  I could have eaten the whole crop of okra prepared that way.  But I digress - and where else?  To food.  Oh me.

That evening was a family party at the SIL's house where we were staying, and it was a lot of fun.  Since I have not one single family of origin member living, I really appreciate having a big in-law family of which I feel truly a part.  Lots of laughter, great food, and enjoying each others' company.  I was aware in the moment of how thankful I felt to be in the mix.  Seems like my skin was fitting okay last week, and it felt good to be in it.  Hasn't always been like that for me.  My gratitude abounds.

The rest of the week was mostly visiting with different family members, some shopping, lots of eating out, and chill-axin'.  Very therapeutic to have a week off work, being far away from my usual digs, and with not much responsibility other than leisure engineering.  I'm pretty accomplished at EASE, and plenty was available.

And finally, not the biggest, but definitely BIG news (that requires a little background info) is that we are again co-habiting with a canine member!  As of last Friday, while still in Atlanta, we have rejoined the fellowship of dog owners.  The story will follow, *but * since it's now 5:30 p.m. and I'm just getting back to this post, I'm going to save the story of our canine acquisition for tomorrow.  Maybe I'll wise up and write it tonight so I don't get overwhelmed at work and not get to it.  It's a good story with a happy (so far) ending - so dog lovers stop back tomorrow.

It's good to be back.  Home, and in blogdom.


  1. Glad the picture snafu was averted! Love the cake!

    Can't wait to hear about the dog! :-)

  2. Fried Okra. Oh my. I love that stuff. For real.

    Sounds like a near perfect trip Leslie - can't wait to hear the rest of the story.

  3. Anonymous18 May, 2011

    Well, congratulations on the graduate! weighing in after a celebration week away from home at a good weight! and the dog!!!

    Ya know, it would've only taken a second to tell us the breed. Just sayin'

    I'm glad all went so well!


  4. Welcome back:) Kudos to your son; you clearly done good mom.

  5. Congratulations, Mom! Good job. I'm so happy that your trip was a success. You seemed so much less stressed when you headed out and it sounds like other than missing the meet-up, you had a wonderful time. Welcome home, I've missed you.

    I can't wait to hear about the newest addition. Oh, and a big Woo Hoo for your son and his stellar academic achievement. That is awesome.

  6. So glad to see you back and that you've had a great trip! I've missed you!! Can't wait to see the pictures of the new addition!! :)

    Jodie (don't forget me over at biggerthanababyelephant.....)

  7. Congratulations to the graduate - you are right to be so proud of your hard-working son! Feels good to watch them walk the stage, doesn't it? Love the Mother's Day cake - what sweet boys!

    I can't wait to hear all about the new dog, but you probably figured that already. ;)

  8. Welcome home. Congrats to all the graduates and what a great cake!

    Sounds like a wonderful time! I am so glad you are posting again. :)

  9. loved the pics, glad to have you back, very happy you had such a good time.

  10. Anonymous20 May, 2011

    So happy to catch up on your life Leslie!! My favorite line of this post?

    "Seems like my skin was fitting okay last week, and it felt good to be in it."

    That made me smile! Congrats to your son and can't wait to see the new dog pictures!!

    Have a great weekend Leslie!

  11. Hi Mom,

    I'm dying to see some pics of my baby dog Wally. Be sure to mention that his breed is what Dominicans call "viralata," which roughly translates to "knocks over tin cans."

    Love to you and the pup,