Um, so...I got kind of distracted by having fun in Chicago and Madison (slow wireless in my hotel plus my inability to use the mousepad on my laptop didn't help, either), and didn't keep up with my blogging. But, onward!
Days 2&3 of the workshop were fun. Going to Wrigley Field on Day 2 was more fun. I love baseball. I love being surrounded by friendly people who don't need the joy of baseball explained: the man beside us had surprised his bride of 18 years with tickets, the little boy with glasses in front of me wasted no time high-fiving me at the first Cubs home run. I love listening to the ebb and flow of the fans' chanting. Most of all, I love being with a crowd, in a place where you don't have to be quiet, where chomping on popcorn is welcomed, and where I don't have to worry about pissed-off patrons.
The workshop was really interesting. But by day 3, I was D-U-N done with conference-speak/schmoozing. I have determined that I am missing a gene; commonly known as the networking gene, it is found in development directors and most of the people at the workshop. The perfect weather outside didn't help, either, so once the workshop was over I hightailed it back to the hotel, dumped the software geek paperwork and made like a tourist in my jeans and sneakers, strolling through the Grant/Millennium Parks (which is which, by the way?) and along the waterfront. Spectacular. Saw Jersey Boys that night, and the drama of my attempts to get to the theater far outshone the drama of the show. Thanks, Broadway in Chicago, for giving me the wrong address, and thanks (seriously) to my I-Phone for showing me the way. As for the show, I don't get why everyone loves it so much, but I can't deny the music was awesome.
Thursday brought a full day of Chicago fun. I slept in, bought a duck for the Special Olympics Duck Race, and had lunch with a friend at Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses one of the coolest exhibitions I've ever seen. However, my attempts to describe it to people have been met with quizzical incomprehension, so I'm going to simply revel in the fact that I got to see it, and you didn't. Sorry. The Architectural Boat Tour was less than I'd hoped for, and I made a bit of a distance judgment when I thought the cab fare to the Museum of Science and Industry would be cheap. Not so. Also made an idiot out of myself by trying to give exact change to the bus driver on the way back, but hey, I was a tourist. I reserve the right to leave my brain at the hotel.
Friday brought lunch with a friend, and a road trip to Madison. But the big find of the day was Sirius XM Radio - On Broadway. I never realized there were so many obscure shows out there; and it's obvious why they were obscure. Lunch on the Terrace with the fantastic Andrew Taylor, author of The Artful Manager, then a stroll up State Street, then a Mallards game (well, sort of), followed by beer with another friend. Then, up early the next morning for the incredible Madison Farmer's Market. I can't help it; I compare all Markets to the Madison one, and they just don't stack up. For one thing, they are lacking the dozen or so cheese booths that feature samples. Lots of samples. Mmmm.
So, over the week, I got my ration of local cuisine, including deep dish pizza, brats, cheese curds and Spotted Cow, saw a bunch of friends from different walks of life, and remembered why I loved summer in Madison so much. It was a great break. Getting off the plane to icky humidity and the faint smell of manure was a rude welcome home, but I am ready to dive back into the fray. We'll see how long the refresh lasts.