The flight up was remarkable for American Airlines, with whom I've always had bad luck: we arrived early, had no weather problems or turbulence, and the flight was only about half-full so I had a whole aisle to myself. Friday and early Saturday, I helped do some prep work for the smörg while Doug & Andrea did the heavy lifting, and despite the huge amount of effort that goes into the party, it actually went off quite well, and thanks to Andrea's rigorous color-coded schedule, everything was ready by the time people started to arrive.
I drank a tremendous amount of liquor, which is really nothing new, and the food was outstanding (I swear, that vodka-marinated sirloin went down my vodka-marinated gullet like it was manna), but the best thing about it all was getting to see so many of my friends, which is just exactly what I needed. Doug & Andrea were kind enough to put me up for the brief time I was there, and I got to hang out with them a lot, which is fantastic, because I miss them very much. (I also miss Chicago a lot more than I thought -- the minute I got on the ground, the character of the city just returned to me like a thunderbolt, and I almost misted up when I got outside and saw snow and lights everywhere.) But I also got to see the lovely and talented doraphilia and picodulce; I met the vivacious happinesstogo for the first time and the insightful fengi for the second; I spent plenty of time (although much less than I would have liked) with old friends like my wonderful ex-roommate thaitea and my very good friends Lara & Jeff; and lots of other swell people were there, like (Boston) Rob, Jon, Sean & Michelle, Kurt, and thevulgartrade. Most surprisingly of all, (Chicago) Rob Novak, an awesome gent and all-around rock star who I haven't seen in years, came by and I got to hang out with him for a good while. I got presents (from Cori, Lara, Jeff & Tim), I gave presents, I gadded about and behaved oddly, and I just had a hell of a fucking time.
Thanks to my gracious hosts, and to everyone I got to see. The rest of you, I wish you could have been there. I'm back in San Antonio now, which is as tasteful as ever, but my heart's still in Chicago. More later.