Measured Extravagance

24 April 2004 - 11:45 a.m.

Back from Chicago. System more than a little off-kilter due to not enough sleep and too much single-malt in the past 36 hours, but, all told, it was a fine break.

More details later, if the spirit moves (and as access permits - my laptop started having seizures even before my plane left BNA, and had to be DHL'd to Memphis) , but here's a quick gabble-down of the week that was:

Friday (the 16th) - the annual STUD/Watsonians banquet ("STUD" being a standard abbreviation for "A Study in Scarlet" and thus apparently sufficient excuse for a bunch of Chicagoans to form a scion of the Baker Street Irregulars), featuring a debate on whether Holmes intended to turn the writer of "Rache" over to the police. Cool swag - my favorite is the mini-lava-lamp-esque keychain.

Saturday (the 17th) - the 45th "Running of the Silver Blaze" at the Hawthorne Race Track. I win a few bets but end up with a net loss of around $20 - but, really, how could I resist staking $2 on "Cosmic Snowman"? (30-1 odds in the book, descended from "Milky Way Gal," white garlic bulbs on the silks. . .came in dead last. . .) Gorgeous day, sun on my shoulders - and, there being TVs everywhere at the track, I also got to watch the Preds lose to the Red Wings (sigh) with the couple from Detroit.

Sunday: brunch with the Sherlockians (including an extended chat with a fellow Unitarian from New York), then a trip downtown to the Spertus Museum of Judaica, some time sitting outside reading, and dinner at Russian Tea Time, where I tried a flight of house-flavored vodkas (wasn't enamored with the lime, thought the black currant tea was interesting, and liked the coriander variation very much - so much that I'm thinking of attempting my own), the duck strudel (a bit dry, definitely rich) and the "legendary beet caviar" (roasted beets pureed with walnuts and garlic and mixed with mayo. More elegant and tasty than it sounds).

The hotel had a heated swimming pool with 24-hour access, which meant I could swim laps by myself (i.e. without crashing into families just wanting to splash around). Very nice having my body back.

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