My trip to Chicago last week was eventful. It all started with my Megabus leaving from Minneapolis, breaking down 50 miles into Wisconsin--and about 100 miles outside of Madison, our first official stop. We had to wait two hours for the next bus to come along and pick us up--but on both legs of the trip I had two seats to myself which was very pleasant
. The view of Wisconsin from my stalled Megabus .
Madelinepicked me up when I arrived in Chicago at 9:45pm. We made good time through the city from Union Station, found fantastic parking and arrived just in time to make a fashionably late entrance into the party being hosted by the lovely Lindsay. I was met in the doorway by a group of wonderful, smiling friends with arms outstretched ready to give many hugs. Valya and Ellen were there as well as Trillian and Kyle visiting from Philadelphia, which made the party even more fantastic. Our favorite musical darlings Bittersweet Drive played a beautiful acoustic set while Peter Sagal looked on, nibbling chickpeas while Braden and Tia shared their dance skills. It was a little bit surreal.
Whiskey punch was given to me in a tiny tumbler, and then champagne. I made sure to eat some food before I moved on to red wine, my choice for the rest of the evening. I sat in the kitchen with Madeline and Kyle and talked about art and making connections, and it was lovely to revel in knowing such amazing and creative people, while enjoying a casual party where we could all just be ourselves.
There was also plenty of talk of knitting, with my friend Shannon working on a cowl pretty much the entire night. That girl has some amazing gauge and tension--all my knitting friends will understand! Trillian brought out a baby blanket that was almost completed, and we discussed some finishing techniques I am happy to have found worked for her well after she returned home.
I wanted to get a chance to talk to Peter Sagal again after I met him last March at the Gene Wolfe Gala and told him I listened to his show every Sunday after I finish work. He had asked me what work I did and I sheepishly said I was a deli cook--it doesn't sound very fancy when admitting it aloud with the likes of Gene Wolfe and Neil Gaiman standing mere feet away. This time I wanted to tell him that I am now running a kitchen, but the opportunity did not present itself--but it would have been a neat, full circle sort of thing. In case you are reading Mr. Sagal, that is what I am doing now.
It was just a really, really good party that ended with overall silliness and love. On the ride home Madeline and I listened to "Baby Got Back" and "Gansta's Paradise" while Valya sat quietly in the back seat with her lovely husband, contemplating the meaning of broken glass.
The next day, I spent a part of the morning drinking coffee with Valya while petting cats, until her three fantastic children returned home. The eldest, Maya, had a Broadway Musical choral recital at her school that day, so Valya and I went--it was a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The grades performed songs from different musicals--and Maya had "Fiddler on the Roof"--which I still haven't seen, but must now watch. After the recital, we did a little shopping for dinner and watched most of "Singing in the Rain" until it was time for the children to go to bed.
Lana, Myself, Maya and Liam being silly in the kitchen!
The next day, January 28th was the Bicentenary of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Madeline, Valya and I would all be participating in a live reading of the book at Block 37 in downtown Chicago.
From left to right, Valya, Viki, Myself, and Madeline. photo by Deb Miller
Four of us read for an hour, which was about three chapters. My group covered the scenes of the ball at Netherfield Hall to the proposal of marriage to Elizabeth Bennet by Mr. Collins. We had assigned sections, and I read the lines of Elizabeth--which was exciting, but also taxing. Valya had Mrs. Bennett--which she did fantsastically--it was a fun thing to do in honor of one of my favorite books, and I would like to investigate the Jane Austen Society of North America more and see if there is a chapter near Minneapolis.
A view of Block 37.
Deb Miller organized the reading.
After the reading, Valya and I said our goodbyes--but always there are adventures brewing in the future. With a few hours to spare, Madeline, Ellen and I took a walk downtown to visit Loopy Yarns, where I found some deliciously squishy Madelinetosh fingering weight yarn. It will become a thing of beauty I am sure--and it was the perfect way to end the weekend. My Megabus ride home was uneventful--again having both seats to myself I was able to read further into Stephen King's "The Stand". I treasure my travels to Chicago and the time spent with these friends who help me feel a little more like myself. It really does help remind me why.