Sleepless in the Land of Lincoln

I am writing this entry at 12:30 a.m. CDT from Rockford, Illinois. For four of the five nights I’ve been in the States, I haven’t slept very well. It’s the worse jet lag problem I have ever suffered through. I go to bed around 10:00 feeling sleepy, but then wake up two hours later, not being able to get back to sleep for another 4-5 hours. What's worse is that I had to get up at 6 each morning, and I haven’t really had a chance to nap. Later today (less than four hours from now), for example, I need to catch a 4:20 am bus to O’Hare airport, so that I can board a 7 am flight to Atlanta. Oh, why didn’t I take that Ambien along that V. recommended?!

Part of the problem is that my mind has been racing as I think about the events planned for the next day. And when you’re packing in each day like I am, there is much to think about. Recent highlights include a fantastic dinner in Chicago with my old friend Tiffany at Topolobampo, an exceptional Mexican restaurant part-owned by chef Rick Bayless, who has a line of cookbooks and television shows devoted to this cuisine. Tiff and I each ordered a sampler menu, which was comprised of five courses, each paired with the perfect ½ glass of wine. The mole sauces alone put me in a state of unbelievable gastronomic ecstasy. Oh, Rick, please think about opening a restaurant in Australia!! On Saturday night my conference had its big social event at the Shedd Aquarium. Our group had the entire place to itself, where we first sipped drinks while we watched the dolphins and beluga whales swim, and then were later treated to a buffet dinner surrounded by dozens of large aquariums. On Sunday I spent most of the day with my two brothers and their families. They each have two daughters in the age range of 5-9. We played Sorry! (the old board game) and some sort of shoot ‘em up video game. We also watched the Vikings beat the Bears, and then enjoyed an early Thanksgiving dinner put on for me by Betty. More than anything, my brothers love to laugh, and the constant kidding that goes on between them (and me) has been a part of our lives since childhood. I also briefly talked to my mom on the phone, who lives in Oklahoma. My family is currently scattered over a large section of middle America, so it’s always going to be difficult for me to create an affordable itinerary to see everyone on these trips.

Well, I am feeling a little more tired now. I had better try to sleep again so that I can get another two hours in. My next entry will come from Georgia. Good night!