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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in BTRIPP's LiveJournal:

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Saturday, September 1st, 2018
11:53 pm
Lump, n.
1. : a piece or mass of indefinite size and shape

Or, what I've been doing a pretty good impression of today. I had wanted to get out of the house, but the hours just reeled off, and it was too late to make a lunch special, too late for meetings that I'd been contemplating, and heck, when it got to 10:30pm, I simply gave up on getting myself to the 11:11pm meeting at NTAC, opting for more "sitting like a lump" in front of the computer. Pretty much all day has been spent at the keyboard, or in bed, or sitting on the bed ... generally determined if I was interacting with the PC, the tablet, or the phone.

Bad Brendan!

In my defense, I did get at least a toe into a couple of projects that have been sitting around waiting for me to have the emotional solidity to get moving on them. Good thing I waited, too, as both parts were "Mongolian CF's" with tech issues that I have yet to solve. I suppose at some point (when I've gotten everything worked out and set up and OCD af), I'll spew about them in here (and yes, there will be links).

Anyhow, I was a lump today, and so there's precious little to bother anybody else with. The Wife was asking if I was going to be leaving my room at all (depression, ya know), and my only target (once I missed all the earlier stuff) was that late night meeting that I just had no ooomph left in me to proceed to walk to the El, take the El, walk to NTAC, sit through the meeting, and repeat same in reverse. No, I figure I'd stay pantsless and crank out this missive instead.

Lucky you (?).

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Friday, August 31st, 2018
11:34 pm
Well, hope that's all for that ...
So, last week I had the stent pulled (literally - not a happy procedure, albeit brief) following the third of the kidney stone operations I've had this summer, and today I was back down at the hospital for yet another CT scan, to see what's what on my innards (hopefully showing they got all the gravel out and won't be having to go in again).

As I have noted repeatedly, I'm incredibly lucky that I managed to have nearly no "kidney stone" pain during this phase, the stones were noticed in scans, the decision made to deal with them, and the procedures scheduled as needed (the initial plan was to have it all taken care of the first time, but that didn't work out). Now, I had a good deal of discomfort/pain following these, but nothing like having a full-blown stone passing involves (well, except for last Wednesday night ... something was wrong in there and it was approaching that sort of pain).

Since I like to go to the Friday night meetings down at St. James, which is just a couple of blocks from the hospital, I got the latest slot for the scan, 4:45pm, and figured I'd grab a bite in the food court, and then just wander over there for both the 6pm and 7pm meetings (see last night's post about doing multiple meetings). However, the #147 bus was not cooperating today, showing up about 10min later than the projected arrival at my stop, and then encountering a massive traffic back-up about a third of the way down the drive somewhere between Belmont and Diversey. On light traffic days, it takes as little as 7 minutes to get from Foster & Marine down to Michigan & Delaware - certainly the speediest option - but today we got into 2-3mph traffic, which sucked. Fortunately, I'd left a LOT of flex in my schedule, and ended up at the scan place just ten minutes later than my appointment (and I'd called to say I was running late), so my fears of having to reschedule were relieved.

The "grab a bite" part of the schedule was messed up, though ... as I figured I'd be late to the early meeting if I actually sat down to eat something, and the stuff I like (or am willing to afford) there is not conducive to grab-and-go ... which was not a "happy thing", as I'd neglected to eat anything since the early morning. Most of the meetings I go to are not in the traditional coffee-and-cookies mode of AA, but this one, thankfully, was - so I was able to take the edge off with more cookies than I would have typically even considered eating, which tided me over until I got back home.

Yeah, I guess another entry into the "nobody freak'n cares, you moron" file, but that's what's up with me.

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Thursday, August 30th, 2018
11:51 pm
Meetings ...
OK, so long-time readers of this space know I have a bit of the old OCD ... necessitating my making lists, spreadsheets, and idiosyncratic filing systems for many, many things.

One of these manifestations has been the track of my A.A. meetings. To refresh your memories: despite having quit drinking in the Summer of '85, I did not toe the line and avail myself of the AA support structure. This was largely due to the "God thing", which if one can't figure out an angle on, pretty much screws up the steps starting with numbers 2 and 3. However, a couple of years back, I was in such a deep depressive funk that I was pretty much grasping for straws, and I guess recalled the "restore us to sanity" part of Step 2, and ended up at a meeting instead of throwing myself under the El.

That meeting spawned a second meeting the next day, which ended up with me at a third meeting the day after that, at which a highschool acquaintance strongly encouraged me to do a "90 in 90", ninety meetings in ninety days. I am now about 780 days into that, but, due to the medical stuff this summer (and situations like last night), I have fallen a bit behind, being about 14 meetings short on my "meeting days" count (I have a long text file with all the meetings I've been to listed since 7/17/16), which, of course (via my OCD), makes me kind of twitchy. I have a number of opportunities during the week to attend multiple meetings (where meetings I like are back-to-back at the same location), so I need to start thinking more about those if I want to get "caught up".

Anyhoo ... I'm pretty sure nobody cares about the above, but it's heavy on my mind tonight (I just got back from my regular Thursday 10pm meeting down at NTAC), so I figured I'd spew about it here. Lucky you.

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Wednesday, August 29th, 2018
11:43 pm
Perks ... and their cost
So ... wasn't planning on any big adventures today, but ended up getting a call from my Evanston client when I was on the train to a therapist appointment this afternoon. She was wanting me to ride shotgun on a shopping expedition out to the suburbs, and we set things up to have her pick me up down by the doctor's office, where I'd be waiting outside at 3pm.

And I waited. And I waited. And I went into the Starbucks on the corner and waited. And eventually the client appears. It seems that there had been some events in downtown Evanston and she'd had a hard time getting going, and there was other traffic down by where I was. At that point she'd pretty much had it with traffic, and scrapped the "going to the suburbs" part of the agenda, shifting to the "going out for Korean" item on the to-do list (she'd wanted to revisit a place we'd been to out in Niles on a previous junket). I was assigned getting on Yelp to find a place to eat ... at 4pm. We tried on place, but it was closed between lunch and dinner, tried another and it was just a Korean soup/stew place (we were looking for BBQ), and eventually ended up at San Soo Gab San over on Western.

Since we were betwixt and between meal times (either having a very late lunch or a quite early dinner), went fairly light on the ordering (the client likes having a lot of leftovers usually), with Chop Chae noodles, Goma-Ae (disappointing), and Bul Ko Ki (yum!) ... which, of course, came with a dozen or so pickled side dishes (click on pic for bigger image).

As our agenda for the afternoon was blown up, we were deciding between just having her drop me off at home, or going back up to her place for projects there. I didn't want to have the day "wasted", so opted for the latter, as she had four small bookcases waiting to be assembled, which I figured I could get done and still make a late meeting. The bookcase assembly went pretty much as planned, but things dragged, and by the time we were mobilized to get back in her vehicle, it was pretty clear that I was going to be missing the 10pm meeting, so I just had her drop me back here.

A jumbled day (that I had no vision of going in), but a nice nosh.

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Tuesday, August 28th, 2018
11:02 pm
That was some storm ...
This evening I was headed over to a meeting by Sheridan & Catalpa, when I found my path blocked by this. At a distance I'd thought that somebody had been trimming trees over by the El overpass, and had left a pile of stuff in the sidewalk. But nooooo ... it was a tree that had come down (click pic for bigger image).

Strange weather today, this must have happened in the brief storm burst we had in the late afternoon. I wasn't out, but heard a loud bang of lightning hitting nearby (this tree?), then a bunch of wind coming up, and then 10 minutes or so of torrential rain before clearing up again. Later in the evening (thankfully, well after I got back in) there was once of those "bloody scythe" looking radar images where a storm front was sweeping through with intense red returns on its leading edge. Those are fascinating, as they don't last long, but you sure don't want to be out in them (and on a "heavy sigh" note, I'm reminded of how I could watch those sweep across the city in my old place).

For the previous 40 years I'd not been in places that didn't have central air, so one of my new "weather indicators" this summer is how the rain hits on the airconditioning unit in my room ... and that was going full Animal on and off through the evening. Glad I was able to get out, do a meeting, run some errands, etc. in the time between when the stormy weather was hitting!

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Monday, August 27th, 2018
11:43 pm
Baby you're much too fast ...
Ah, the Bánh mì ... Vietnamese sandwiches ... how you tease me.

Down by the "old" Dollar Tree in the little strip mall below the Berwyn el stop, there is the Little Saigon Baguette shop, which I always find tempting going by (due to the large pictures of their sandwiches up on the windows - along with their very reasonable prices). However, once one gets into the descriptions of what's involved in many of these (I'm no fan of "head cheese", and I'd really have to work my way up to a whole sub featuring shredded pork in fish sauce), one ends up approaching this a bit more gingerly.

I did stop in there this afternoon, when I figured it was already too late for my other lunch options, and got a #12 featuring pork belly. This appeared in yet another form than what I've had previously ... sort of like sliced bacon, but more red like BBQ pork. This topped with a bunch of shredded veggie items, lending an odd, yet distinctive, taste to the whole.

If I was down by there more frequently, I'm pretty sure I'd grab sandwiches there more often, as the ones I've had were all winners, and one can hardly argue with the price (which ranges from $3.95 to $5.95). Aside from the sandwiches they have other more "mysterious" offerings, wrapped up in rolls and blocks, that I think one would need a "local guide" to steer through. One thing I really DO need to check out is their sesame "doughnut", which for a buck is a pretty substantial looking piece of fried goodness!

It's too bad that they didn't choose a single-syllable city name (like "Hue") to use instead of Saigon in the title, because "Little Hue Baguette" would scan beautifully to Prince's Little Red Corvette (come on, can't you hear the clap-clap?) ... or am I the only guy going around re-writing songs in my head to fit my surroundings?

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Sunday, August 26th, 2018
11:30 pm
What month was it again?
OK, I'm not one of those people that live for the summer, I'm a Fall guy myself (no, not like that), and enough of a "fogeygoff" to have a deep affection for the concept that Everyday Is Halloween.

However ...

My seasonable sensibilities have been assaulted with a one-two punch in the past few days, the first shot being running across a "pop-up" Halloween store getting stocked on Belmont, just east of the El ... TWO MONTHS before Samhain ... which I think is only just on the outer edge of being calendrically OK ...

And then there's the haymaker of CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST!!!

Yes, arriving a full FOUR MONTHS in front of Sanity Clause (a third of a year), the folks at Dollar Tree already have the Xmas swag out. Really? REALLY??? Who buys this stuff this far out from the holiday?

C'mon ... that's like having the Fourth of July stuff out prior to St. Patrick's day (although, come to think of it ... Dollar Tree might jump the gun on that one equally as much). It's JUST NOT RIGHT. And, after all, it's not like you're saving by shopping early there ... every freak'n thing in the store's a buck ... sure, you might get first crack at wrapping paper you favor, but what other purpose is there in doing any of that stuff until after Thanksgiving?

Sheesh! Well, pardon my rant, but I was quite taken aback by this all. As usual, clicking on the image over there will get you to a larger version, just in case you wanted to wallow in the horror.

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Saturday, August 25th, 2018
11:00 pm
Why no new book reviews?
Oh, come on ... somebody out there had to be wondering.

It's been since the end of JANUARY since I got a book review up. And I hate myself for it. However, the level of chaos that had been intruding in my existence just shut that down. Hell, since the time of the move, I've only read thirteen books (see pic) largely because all my places to read are now 7-8 miles away, and I have yet to find "suitable replacements" up on this end of town - which really sucks.

What really really sucks, though is the DISASTER that struck in the move. I had boxes ready to go to storage or to get moved over here, but The Wife was hell bent on getting stuff thrown out and on the day when both the movers and the 1-800-JUNK guys were around somehow the box that I had my to-be-reviewed books in (and choice picks from my to-be-read piles so I'd have stuff to read here) got thrown out. Now, this was not the worst of the losses suffered in the move (not by a long shot), but I went from having 16-20 books awaiting my words of wisdom, to just a couple still in the bag with my netbook (although, obviously the to-be-reviewed stack has regenerated itself).

The other issue, similar to the one on finding a place to read, is that I've not found a place to write. As I've no doubt mentioned numerous times before, I find it nearly impossible to write book reviews at my desk. My old system was to grab my "review bag" and go the block from my old place to the big Starbucks at Rush & Oak at around 4pm, and then write on through till when they kicked me out at 11pm. Most of the other folks vying for spots at the big table were orientals working on med school work, or the like ... nice and quiet and focused. Up here, there's a Starbucks a couple of blocks away, but it closes at 9pm, and is stocked with burn-outs and other crispy critters who are more interested in loud arguments about who has the least comprehensible delusions ... that is, when they're not working the room for hand-outs ... NOT an environment to get any work done. :-(

My hope is that the new "library" here will provide the space/environment I need. The old library was tiny, and hardly a good work space, and existed in what had initially been a cloak room in more elegant age. The new library space has been part of the commercial area, most recently the lair of a seamstress/designer, which will include a small "air space" patio. I'm hoping that I can scope this out as soon as it's accessible, and figure out what space in there might work for me, and be the old guy who's always there, clacking away on his netbook. Anyway, I'm hoping that September will bring the reviews back again.

I still need to figure out what to do with the 16 or so books that I don't have on hand (with my bookmarks and notes) to do reviews of. This, especially in relation to a potential 2018 collection ... I'm going to see if I might be able to crank out at least a few hundred words on each from blind recall, or something like that.

Yep. Sucks to be me.

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Friday, August 24th, 2018
11:02 pm
Almost back to normal ...
I'm still feeling a bit "under the weather", but at least I'm more functional. The right ureter is sore, something that hadn't happened previously, and I'm peeing out what I am guessing to be small clots (you did want to catch up on all the details, yes?). I'm back to peeing through the sieve thing so I can catch any stone fragments coming out - but very little has been showing up. The stuff that has been there so far has "smooshed" when I've tried to pick it out with the tweezers, so I'm pretty sure those aren't stones ... certainly nothing like the "gravel" I collected previously.

I finally made it back out to China Palace for lunch ... I think the week between meals there was the longest I've gone not dining with them since we moved up here. I was still a bit "off my feed", so ended up going with something I don't typically order, their BBQ Pork & Rib(s) (it's written plural, but on the lunch special you just get one). I'd recalled this as being a smaller amount of food than it was, but since I was looking to heal, it was providing a boost of protein (and sugar, which I certainly don't need).

I rolled out of there and just caught the #36 bus to get down to Walgreens to pick up some other pills the urologist was adding to the mix (and re-order my Victoza injectable - wonderful drug, but painfully expensive, and it seems like every month I need to have the pharmacists do battle with both the insurance and the manufacturer ... who is supposed to be knocking the co-pay on that to no more that $20 per "pen", but in recent months it's been coming in at almost twice that).

I ducked a "self hatred" session this evening ... I'd planned on going down to my "regular" 7pm Friday night meeting at St. James, which, if the #147 bus is playing nice, can be just 20 minutes door-to-door, despite it being nearly 7 miles away. However, when I got out to the bus stop with a half hour to get to the meeting it was showing no bus for 15 minutes - which wasn't just "cutting it close", it was pretty much guaranteeing that I would be late, and beating myself up (for not checking the bus times earlier and, and, and, and ...) all the way down there. So, when a #151 bus showed up, I opted to hop that to get down to the Rec Room a half-hour early for their 7:30 meeting. Not ideal, but I have to grab glimmers of sanity where I can find them.

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Thursday, August 23rd, 2018
11:26 pm
Whoa ...
Almost ended up at the ER last night.

There was just something "not right" about the recovery from this latest kidney stone procedure, and yesterday the pain was getting worse instead of better. Sure, the muscle aches were fading, but the kidney was not happy, and it felt like the stent was digging into it or something. Now, I probably made an error in judgement to go ahead and clean out the turtle's tank, as it was in dire need of my doing so, but the heavy lifting and bending over and stuff like that obviously caused problems in my plumbing.

I could barely walk without shooting pains up my right side, and I was finding it difficult to even lie down without pain ... in short, the stent was acting like a kidney stone stuck in the ureter. My guess was that it was some of the "shrapnel" still left in the kidney from the laser blasting last Friday that had gotten stuck on its way out (given that the stent was filling up the tube), and when my urologist called me late last night, his thought was there might be clotting around the stent that was blocking the ureter. Fortunately, I'd already been scheduled to come down to the hospital this afternoon to have the stent removed, so the doc suggested that I take the rest of the pain pills, and try to get some sleep ... hoping to not have to send me along to ER.

I did manage to get about 3-4 hours of sleep per pill, which was good, since I had a fairly busy day. I had a 10am therapist appointment, following which I took the #151 bus downtown (didn't want to play with the stairs at the Lawrence EL, or the six block walk down to 4th Pres from the Chicago & State EL) and was just a smidge late for the 12:15 meeting there. After hanging out and schmoozing for a while (the 4th Pres crew hadn't seen me in a while), I gingerly walked myself the 5+ blocks down to Northwestern Hospital. I had about an hour to kill before my appointment, so I grabbed fries at GRK Greek Kitchen (the best deal in the hospital food court!), and then got myself upstairs. It was a LONG wait up there, and I didn't get in until an hour past my appointment. As usual, the procedure to remove the stent was very unpleasant, but relatively quick. I was expecting that I'd be pain-free in my kidney once that was out, but there must have been some residual damage, because I'm still hurting (although nowhere near how I was yesterday - thank goodness!) several hours later.

Something else to chalk up to the "not fun" file ...

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Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018
11:09 pm
One word ...

Details to follow ...

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Tuesday, August 21st, 2018
11:51 pm
Since it was becoming obvious that doing "mobility-based" activities today was unlikely to happen, I opted to do a deep dive into my new cell phone, trying to get it loaded up with stuff that I was in the habit of using on my old iPhone4S, which up and died last week. Now, I think I've mentioned here that I have a lot of difficulty with processing audio information (making podcasts useless for me), and one of the things I find extremely frustrating is voice mail, as I will typically have play a message over and over just to get the basics. What the old phone had, that I really wanted for the new phone, was a screen that showed you the number, when the call was, how long it was, and then gave you options for playback. Simple, right? Common, right? I guess not.

I first went to the AT&T web site and dug around in there for quite a while trying to find anything about this sort of option. Nada. Then I clicked on the help chat button, only to discover that the first level of this is a chatbot that really doesn't know more about anything than what is on the web site, and kept sending me links to pages with little to nothing to do with my problem. To its credit, it eventually kicked me up to a "live body" help chat person ... although said person had no better grasp on what I was looking for than the chatbot had. Again, to their credit, they kicked me up to "expert" help before I had a chance to type in "can I speak with a supervisor?". Unfortunately (and you saw this coming), the new person on the other end of the chat had no more clue of what I was trying to get than their predecessors had, eventually telling me that there wasn't anything like that available.

So, after about 2 hours of mounting frustration, I gave up on AT&T and went to the Google app store, sort of expecting more frustration. However, there were several possibilities there that fit exactly what I'd been talking about, including one BY FREAK'N AT&T!!! Do you think there might have been SOME awareness of the existence of AT&T Visual Voicemail on some level of the "help" I was dealing with? A mention on the web site? A page provided the chatbot? Resources provided the live body help drones? No search terms got me anywhere near it on the site, and long chat sessions doing my best to describe what I was looking for (obviously, I never used the right key words, or something) just got me having a discussion of how I'd code it if I had to after being told there wasn't anything available. Sheesh! That's almost like contacting Coca-Cola and wanting to find info on how they source cola nuts, and being told that they're a beverage company and don't sell nuts. How do companies like this survive?

Needless to say, I'd recommend they hire some experienced thinkers ... but who the hell wants those on staff. :-(

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Monday, August 20th, 2018
11:22 pm
Probably T.M.I. here ...
Of course, one of the downsides of taking the heavy-duty pain killers is that it makes you constipated.

Now, part of me would just love to write out a detailed memoir of my time spent on the toilet, but who, really, would care to read that?

I did have a plan for doing stuff today (therapist at 10am, meeting at 12:15, lunch following), but largely due to issues related to the above, I opted to just head back home after my therapist's appointment (frankly, only going there because they charge so much for cancellations).

For each of these procedures I missed four meetings, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I had hoped that this time I could have reduced that to 3, but that wasn't happening. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be in better condition to get stuff done (and maybe actually grab some lunch).

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Sunday, August 19th, 2018
11:15 pm
Bleh ...
As noted yesterday, nothing seemed to be doing anything for the pain (which, again, was largely muscle/tendon aches from having been strung up in unnatural positions for several hours), but the heavy-duty pain killer they sent me home with at least was making me sleepy, so I opted to basically "check out" as much as possible today. I once or twice tried doing stuff at the computer, but that wasn't working - except as an alternate place to nod off. Ain't MY life exciting?

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Saturday, August 18th, 2018
11:51 pm
Ow, ow, owwww ...
Now, I realize that the pain I've been dealing with is nothing compared to actually passing a sizeable stone (remember, I went through that a quarter century or so ago), but one of the worst parts of dealing with these procedures is the muscle pain that follows them.

There isn't much pain the day of the operation, as one is still riding the crest of the general anesthesia, but the next couple of days are horrible ... no doubt because one is strung up and strapped down (as seen in the pic here ==>) in a position that's convenient for the medical team, but involving leg and arm angles (as well as gut and sides stresses) that one is unlikely to be accustomed to. For hours ... as they have various pieces of equipment shoved up one's boy parts as access to the kidneys.

I've pretty much spent all day in bed, trying to find a position that doesn't hurt, while playing games on my new phone, and watching The Bears. While I'm OK when standing, and reasonably OK when sitting, making the transition feels like being pulled apart on the rack. No fun. What's even less fun is that the pain meds they sent me home with are only vaguely working, and I tried to go to Alleve, but a dose that will usually make my back shut up when it's hurting isn't doing anything either. Bleh.

However, I realize this just muscle pain, and within 3-4 days it will have faded into a bad memory ... but in the meanwhile I'm one cranky SOB. Be warned!

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Friday, August 17th, 2018
11:24 pm
Glad that's over with ...
I am assuming that after one procedure on my left kidney, and now two procedures on my right, that I'm done with this whole kidney stone thing (well, except for the follow-up to yank the wire out that's running from my kidney to my bladder).

I know, I really shouldn't bitch about it, as, aside from the residual aches from the surgery, I have had zero discomfort, let alone pain from all of this. Having "had a kidney stone" 25 years ago (waking up in screaming agony all up and down my left side), I'd just as well not have that experience again ... and this summer's "hospital time" was based on stuff seen in assorted scans that was not bothering me in the least, but freaking out my urologists. Needless to say, it's better to have that stuff out, but if they hadn't run the tests I would have been blissfully unaware of the stones ... until I wasn't.

Anyway, that's me waiting to go in ... which was a LONG wait, almost 8 hours in the queue. Of course, once "it's on", it goes real fast (for me), a gurney ride down various hallways, transfer to a table, and lights out with the general anesthesia ... and then a groggy coming back around (which reminds me - I may have mentioned this previously - but I always thought the Green Day song "When I Come Around" was about regaining consciousness rather than visiting folks ... I guess I never saw the video back in the day).

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Thursday, August 16th, 2018
11:56 pm
Cruel, but the usual ...
While it's not my least favorite part of this fun kidney-stone-removal game, it is one that I find quite irritating. That is, the dictate that one is not allowed to eat anything after midnight on the day of one's procedure ... and nothing but clear liquids (yes, in the old days I would have asked if that included Gin - waka waka) from midnight until two hours before one arrives at the hospital.

As anyone who knows me from "meatspace" for at least the past few years will attest, I almost always come with beverage, usually via a thermos clipped onto my shoulder bag. So the "no liquids" part will be a shock to my system.

Pictured here, however, is my very late dinner, obtained at the Subway up on Belmont after a late-night meeting at NTAC. The Subway up there stays open until 4am, so it's always a back-of-mind option for food in the "wee small hours". I just hope I'll be still full in the morning, so I'm not crawling the walls wanting breakfast (or, considering they want me in there at 11:30, lunch).

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Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
11:50 pm
Well, that sucks ...
You've heard me grumble about my cell phone. It's an iPhone 4s, so is fairly ancient in terms of iPhone versions, if only being six years old or so chronologically. It just died. I suspect the rain, but I'm not sure ... it's currently nestled into a baggie full of rice, hoping that some desiccation might revive it.

It was working just a few hours ago ... I went to an evening meeting close to the Jewel and Dollar Tree over on Broadway, and shopped at these two afterwards. It had started raining when I was in the meeting (despite my checking and it not being "due" for several hours), and was going between drizzle and rain while I was out. I had been in both stores and just missed the bus that would have taken me to Sheridan, and thence home, and checked my phone for when the #36 bus was arriving, so I know it was working then. But by the time I'd walked to the #36, took it up to Bryn Mawr, walked the 3-4 blocks home (carrying multiple 2 litre bottles of soda - ugh), and went to plug it in at my computer, there was no response.

No response to being plugged in, no response to the power button, no response to 'nuthin. Dead. Pining for the freak'n fjords. Grrrrr!

Of course, I have been drifting towards changing my phone. Hell, I bought a new phone a year and half ago, getting matching units for me and The Wife (for Xmas) so that I could trouble-shoot hers. However, she decided she was scared to shift from the iPhone to an Android unit, and ended up getting a new iPhone (which is costing us a chunk of money monthly), so I never had the impetus from that end to make the switch. And, as regular readers of this space no doubt recall, in the dictionary, next to "averse to change" there's my pic ... so I wasn't in a big hurry to replace something that was "working just fine" with something that I'd have to climb a learning curve for.

(Heavy Sigh) I guess I'll run down to the AT&T store on Michigan Ave. tomorrow to have them swap the SIM card to the new phone (I don't have the itsy-tiny star-shaped screwdriver thing that you need to get into the guts of the iPhone), and start to figure out how different it's going to be using Android. As usual ... sucks to be me.

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Tuesday, August 14th, 2018
11:20 pm
A very strange day ...
So, since I had medical stuff on the calendar for Monday and Friday this week, I had decided to go up to the Library to work on the Technical Writing course on Tuesday and Thursday, even though the schedule works better the other way around (when I can get in three hours or so of work and then go grab lunch), as TU/TH they don't open until noon. I was running late on top of this, and was on my way up to grab lunch before hitting the library (and then leave from there to get to a meeting), when I got a call from my Evanston client.

She was needing me to accompany her on an errand down to Northwestern Hospital (like I'm not seeing enough of that place this week), and then to a couple of other stops, and ending up over in Greek Town. She initially said she was bringing the same friend from the lobster dinner thing a while back, but then said she couldn't make it, but then said she was going to be there. "In all the confusion" the time they swung by to pick me up (China Palace was right on the way), had slipped much further into the afternoon than was the plan. So, while we were able to take care of the stuff down at the hospital, the part of the plan that was including swinging back up north to Skokie by 6pm sort of fell by the wayside, and we headed over to Greek Islands.

Needless to say, MY plan of "grab lunch, work 3-4 hours at library, hop El to meeting, go home" was totally shot.

Oh, and because I was running late up front on this, I had called in my lunch order to make sure it made it in before 3pm to qualify for the lunch deal, so I wasn't able to just blow off that. As it was, I ended up hanging out up at the restaurant for over an hour before they showed up, and we just made it in time for what she needed to deal with at the hospital.

Now, it's been a long time since I had dinner down in Greek Town, and was happy for the opportunity (on the clock), but less enthused than I would have been had I not had Chinese food (well, about half of my usual) a couple of hours before. One thing that my client ordered for the table were these lamb riblets that were amazing (sorry, no pic), but I was only able to make a gesture at consuming them - I need to keep that in mind for some later date where I'm looking for something caveman-ish.

And, if putting my schedule in a blender and hacking it to shreds wasn't enough, her friend was having "feeling poorly" issues and we almost had to get her a Uber or something to leave mid-meal (at least this time it didn't involve an ambulance). All of this took time and effort and psychic strain, and I decided to sit down and write instead of turning right around and trying to get to a meeting tonight - meaning that I have another "missed meeting" day to make up for.

Oh well, rung up some additional paid hours, got some Greek food in my face, and tomorrow's another day.

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Monday, August 13th, 2018
11:54 pm
Well, that was disturbing ...
I never knew how badly diabetes could mess with one's eyes before. However, while in the waiting area that I was deposited while my pupils did the dilating thing, I was reading a pamphlet about it, and it's scary - especially since it seems like there isn't any thing to do about it once the damage hits. Yikes.

The good news was that the eye doctor, who spent quite a while with a bright light and a mirror thing looking all around inside my eyes, said that I had NO signs of any diabetic damage. Hopefully with the improvements I've been having with the Victoza, I'll be able to avoid that altogether (with the weight loss side effect of the Victoza, there's a chance that I might get to the point - in another 60 lbs or so - where the diabetes might go away on it own).

The bad news is that she said I had the beginnings of a cataract in one lens. Fortunately (in terms of "if you're gonna get something"), this is such a common condition (about half of all people who make it to 80 have them), that the corrective surgery (replacing the natural lens with a plastic one) is nearly the most frequently done procedure out there. Not that I'm looking forward to getting to the point of needing that ... as I'm a total baby when it comes to my eyes ... I hate that pressure check thing in the exam, I couldn't tolerate contact lenses, and I'm sure not going to be happy with somebody messing around with a knife in there!

Anyway, another thing to add to the "getting old ain't for sissies" file ... all in all, not having any diabetic issues in there was a big plus up against the minus of the start of cataracts.

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