As usual, the reality of the travel situation was not nearly so bad as I anticipated.
I came to an agreement with my beloved friend and charming host, John that I would have five minutes to change and primp before the party, so I didn't have to worry about mussing travel clothes.
Indulged myself in one of my favorite things, a boot shine, at the airport. Listen, if you are going through the United terminal at O'Hare and your boots or shoes are scuffed, go to the shoe repair shop and ask for Ned. The man is an artist. 50+ years of experience. My boots were so shiny they reflected right up my jeans. I wish I'd remembered to wear underwear.
The party was a scream. People here are so friendly (at least on the surface) that I find it genuinely alarming for about the first 3 hours. When you live in Chicago, you don't often encounter strangers who rush up and say "Hello!" with a big smile unless they're either insane or soliciting for an organization that chants a lot.
Once I get used to it, though, I like it. At least seven people to whom I was introduced said, "We're so happy to have you here." And they said it convincingly.
The party itself was beautifully set up, with the most gorgeous floral arrangements I have ever seen. Masses - I mean masses of roses with yellow freesia and cymbidium orchids. And wonderful subdued lighting that made everybody look 20 years younger.
Of course, the majority of the partygoers were either major donors, creative people, or models. It is somewhat daunting to mix in a room where everyone else is richer, better looking, or more successful than you. Or all three at once.