Last night had a later dinner with Diane out at Trocadero where we enjoyed seats in the breeze by the fountain outside and did our level best to turn sad into happy. She had lost her friend Robin to cancer last week and had another thing bringing her down, and so joked that she looked so down and "off" that everyone would think that I was a boyfriend who was breaking up with her. I proceded to dramatically gesture and break up with her in various ways throughout the night, which kept making her laugh, which was much better. Her sister had missed her plane from North Carolina and so, since I was going to keep her company until she arrived, we had much more time together than she thought she'd get. After going back to my place we played on Match.com together for a while and laughed about that bizarre convention (which I'd talked her into trying) and then we watched the bulk of Before Sunrise, which I've been trying to get her to watch forever. Then her sister, who had ended up flying into Chicago Midway and jumping into a rental car to Milwaukee with three guys she'd met on the plane – the kind of hair-raising thing Diane's younger sister apparently does all the time, just to keep Diane's heart racing – we headed off to the airport to grab her, and so I met Sarah for the first time.
Tonight capped off my fun at home with dinner out with Julie on Brady Street at Coco Bella Trattoria, an Italian place with an interesting wine list through which we were guided by Phillip, one of Julie's former colleagues in Marquette's improv comedy group, the Studio 013 Refugees. We tried a Spanish red that was strangely sweet and fruity on the tip of the tongue before becoming much more a full-bodied wine further back on the tongue, from Almanza, I think, but I've lost the name. Drat, now I realize I also cannot remember the name of the stronger pinot noir/zinfindel mix Andrew and I went for later. Whatever. I'll look it up later and edit this entry. Who's Andrew? Well. We were joined by Jules' roommate Jackie, and their summer roommate Andrew, who's staying with them while he's working for the U.S. Attorney here in Milwaukee before heading back for his second year at Harvard Law. Jackie and I had been chatting for a few months about her joining me and Julie on one of our outings, having heard all about one another, and as she had just returned from traveling in Malaysia and Cambodia, this was our first chance. It really turned into a lot of fun, with conversation with the two who were new to me being pretty easy as the evening went on. Andrew and I talked some about Entertainment Law and Constitutional Law, and I managed to start drawing Jackie out on her trip after her initial "how can I describe this to anyone?" reservations. It helped that we ran into one of her old PoliSci profs outside as we were leaving, and who had visited all of her same places with his wife on a recent sabbatical. That had stories and comparisons pouring out of Jackie with great gusto and turned into a fun, fairly long sidewalk conversation. Our waiter Phillip finally joined us as Andrew had gone off to another engagement, and the four of us walked back to their place on Prospect Avenue, with Jackie and I talking one-on-one for the first time at length while Jules and Phillip chatted. Jackie's looking at some years abroad doing NGO work, and we got to talking about the sacrifices that life calls for as regards romance, and we talked about my experiences Stateside in that kind of long-distance relationship. We winded up fairly early at their place, since they're on much more "daylight" schedules than I tend to be, but now I'm getting to packing for J.P.'s wedding this weekend, and so that timing worked out pretty well for me, too. All good times.