I no sooner gloat over doing a full week of Holidailies entries, than I miss two days in a row. Considering that I finished and posted Friday's entry on Saturday, I suppose the "in a row" part is up for debate. Regardless, my perfect attendance record is shot. Ah, well. Story of my life. This entry is going to be a short one, too, since I'm deep in my methods chapter and my head is spinning too quickly to write anything requiring actual brain cells. (Not that my entries typically rate high on the intellectual scale, but the thing is, writing is hard. Just ask the WGA.)

Last night I went out to dinner with a candidate for an administrative position at my school. One of my committee members was charged with dinner duty, and she invited me along. Since the first rule of graduate school is "never turn down a free meal," I gladly accepted. We went to a restaurant I'd never been to or even heard of, but I'd like to go back. It's an Italian restaurant, but I didn't have the pasta--not out of snobbery, but because they had an artichoke soup that I just had to order, and I apparently the Italian eating system is still firmly enough ingrained that I'm unable to order two first courses back to back.

The restaurant was in a lovely space, a mix of contemporary and Olde Philadelphia. The lower portions of the ceilings had lovely stamped tin, one of those architectural elements I absolutely adore. The fireplace was made of what looked like the original bricks. But the dining area had a vaulted ceiling with obviously modern beams and wood paneling, and some unusually shaped skylight windows. It hit the exact right note of comfort and elegance. We all agreed that we would love to have a living room in that style--except with fewer dining tables, and a sofa or two.

I got there a little early, and sat at the bar sipping an okay-but-not-great Shiraz while I waited. That was an out-of-pocket expense, since I wasn't sure whether the school was allowed to reimburse for alcohol. In this state, even a glass of so-so wine will set you back quite a bit, but I figured ten bucks was worth the chance to just sit, sip, allow myself to be hypnotized by the fireplace flames, and think blissfully of nothing at all. Since the blissful nothingness was followed by a pleasant meal and charming company, I think I definitely came out ahead.

After dinner, we went on a little drive around that area of the city, looking at the boathouses, the Art Museum, and whatever else was visible in the dark. Since I live quite a ways in the other direction, they dropped me off at City Hall. I caught a cab, but not before walking a couple of blocks in the cold and rain--on purpose, and slowly. Just because I could, and because I may find myself longing for cold, rainy weather at some point, and I wanted to be able to remember what it felt like. It was actually kind of wonderful.

Back to the daily panic attack grind.