I may have missed the cute boys, but at least I'm back at the business of real life.
A friend wanted to meet for dinner, so she picked me up in her warm car and we took the scenic route to Tio Pablo.
I say scenic because we drove by the work-in-progress Jackson Commons that has the neighbors' panties in a wad.
It pays to stay up on what's going on in the neighborhood.
Further east, we found rock star parking in front of Julep and moseyed down the block for Mexican.
Our purpose was twofold: to enjoy a gluten-free meal (a necessity for her) and to introduce her to the world of tequila.
As it turned out, for the second time in two days, I also introduced her to tongue.
We began with Espolon, my new favorite well-priced tequila, and moved on to tongue tacos, carnitas and an array of sides.
Guacamole, grilled onions, nopales and black beans provided more side dishes than we could finish.
I watched her take a solitary bite of tongue to gauge the taste (our bartender had described it as "pot roast" and that's not far off) before devouring the whole taco.
Another tongue convert. My chest swelled with pride.
The music was awesome, ranging from "What's Going On" to a Spanish version of "Be My Baby," and all played at a volume that, as she said, kept others from overhearing us.
Conversely, I liked that it was loud enough to add to the overall vibe so we didn't have to listen to other people's chatter.
At one point, we were deep in a discussion of the local food scene, how simple men are and how tweeting sucks the life out of a person.
Being a confirmed non-tweeter, I wouldn't know.
Suddenly her eyes widened as someone walked by and before I could formulate a thought, she said, "I think Yoda just walked by."
Not true, although the tiny man did have a certain wizened look.
Once my friend had conquered the nuances of smoky Espolon Reposado, we decided to try a second tequila to further broaden her horizons.
"86 Cazadores," the bartender told the staff moments before I tried to order one for us to share.
We settled for Hornitos Reposado, which my friend found greener and with a livelier mid-palate taste.
I was just pleased that she was finding tequila to be up her alley, although there's no telling where that might lead us in the future.
We concluded our gabfest with tres leches cake because they offered a gluten-free version which thrilled my friend no end.
Me, I was just happy about the icing.
By the time our conversation wound down, it was us and one table by the door and the bartender was bored enough to be going on smoke breaks in between telling us how she liked to alternate good tequila with white zinfandel.
You can't buy that kind of entertainment.
One thing the tequila had done to the first-timer was finish her off for the night, so she deposited me at home and I promptly went out for music.
And thank goodness we're far enough out of the holiday season that music was even an option.
Balliceaux was hosting the Richmanian Ramblers, our local purveyors of Romanian gypsy music, with Allison Self also playing.
I walked in to find a couple of good friends holding court up front, but I moved on to the back for music, sure they'd follow.
There was a stop at the front bar, where the barkeep introduced me to a handsome man with an accent, saying, "I don't know how you two haven't met before."
I guess because I don't force myself on absolutely everyone.
Lead singer Antonia is in the last month of her pregnancy, so I was surprised she was even willing to do a Ramblers show, but there she was, looking fit and fab in a non-maternity dress stretched over her perfect little baby-laden body.
Everyone must have realized that this was our last chance for gypsy music for a while because I found friends and strangers galore in back.
The photographer (using his phone rather than a camera tonight), the favorite musical couple just back from a six-month tour, the horn player switching places with me because the tallest man in the room decided to stand right in front of me, the bluegrass king, assorted Listening Room regulars.
Taking the stage, the band introduced themselves, saying, "We're the Richmanian Ramblers and we're going to play for the next 42 minutes for you."
They kept their word, moving from drinking song to toll bridge song to dowry song.
A guy came up and stood next to me at one point, leaning over to say, "I feel like people should be dancing."
It was true; with tavern music of this caliber, we should all be dancing, but sadly, no one was.
I say sadly because far too many of them were chatting over the sound of Antonia's exquisite voice singing in Romanian.
It was easily the most inattentive Ramblers audience I've yet to experience.
I'm going to cut them some slack and guess that they were just glad that they were out at a show and not still home with relatives.
But that meant they missed when the band did the "sheep love song," which Antonia defended as "not dirty" when it began with a few bars of "Mary Had a Little lamb."
Leader Nate finished by saying that he didn't know when the band could play again because Antonia's bedtime was now 8:45.
Quickly, she corrected him, reminding him that he'd wanted to schedule a show for January 28th, or roughly her due date.
Men, her look seemed to say, are such simple creatures.
During the break, I found my road tripping friend, hearing his stories from their recent tour.
We covered Chincoteague, quirky small towns, sleeping naked and nudist with shoes and socks on, all before Allison Self took the stage.
Wearing a black dress and tan cowboy boots, she proceeded to dominate the room with her big voice.
There were all the usual suspects - Carter Family, "Your Cheatin'Heart," Loretta Lynn, "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' with Lovin' on Your Mind" as well as original material.
At one point, two thirds of the band Arise, Sweet Donkey! was onstage when Laney of Lobo Marino came up to join her former bandmate Allison for a couple of songs.
"Three years ago, this was your accordion solo," Allison told Laney mid-song.
We did at least get some harmonizing from the two before the set ended, always a real pleasure given how beautiful the two voices sound together.
And maybe that's all I needed, to hear some music to feel like things are finally righting themselves after the holiday.
When I got home, it was to a message from a girlfriend, saying, "I know it's last minute, but I'm having aget-together at Gallery 5 tonight, so come out! It's over by 11, free booze, cute guys. Wear a mini-skirt!"
That's a hell of an invitation, but I was a bit late to consider it.
Although I was already dressed perfectly for it.
Fortunately, the season has restarted, so there'll be other offers.
About damn time.