My flight from Rochester to Indianapolis had a layover in O'Hare. I was exhausted, lonely, homesick, and texted my mom when I landed. "I'm actually in O'Hare for a 90 minute layover right now, so hello. I'm tempted to delay my last leg to Indy and come home tonight, but that also strikes me as nuts."

My mom called. "We're actually driving near O'Hare right now," she said. "Skip your flight and we''ll drive you to Indianapolis tomorrow," she said.

"Are you sure? That's a 3.5-4 hour drive..."

She was sure. So I went home, and we cooked - broiled boneless bangus (a Filipino delicacy; it's a fish) and baby kale stir-fried with one of the many pungent, salty Asian sauces involving fermeted seafood; edamame pods and pork-and-mushroom potstickers, properly sticky rice unlike the boiled-like-pasta nonsense I too often see in dining halls.

We texted my cousin Mark and my childhood buddy Randy and they spontaneously stopped by with cherry pie and helped consume the food; my dad started singing selections from "Jesus Christ Superstar" at the dinner table, my mom explained the current stone sculpture she was carving, I inherited the old kitchen table because my parents had gotten a new one (they had been near O'Hare at the time I landed because they were bringing the table home from an estate sale). We watched "Funny Girl" (Barbra Streisand's performance is brilliant; the final song is particularly heartbreaking) and then I stumbled off to bed.

Sometimes I need these parts of my life too, the parts that aren't all about work. It's hard for me to remember the non-intellectual sides of myself when I'm alone. But that's what friends and family are for.

Today we're driving back to Indiana with my "new" table, and then I have several days of furious study and writing. So many thesis papers! So much to do! Then Wednesday I fly out to Stanford to work with my brother Jason on a project. More on that when it comes.

As a side note: the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester has an amazing video games collection and magazine archive behind the scenes. Insane amounts of thanks to Steve Jacobs for taking me and Spot and Luke there. Holy cow.