OK, that was different ...

Sort of back to some semblance of my "normal" today ... but still feeling "a bit off my feed", so really hadn't eaten all day.

I didn't make it out to the Tuesday afternoon meeting that I sometimes go to up by Loyola (... met her in a club down in North Soho ... oh, wait, that's different), which often includes a run to the Taco Bell that's up there, but one of those five buck boxes was definitely still on my mind. I opted to shoot for the 8:30 down at NTAC with the "grab bag" format that's an interesting variation (rather than the 7:30 at a walking-distance church that I've been to the past couple of weeks). Much contrary to my usual "out at the last minute", I was ready to go two hours before I needed to be down to Belmont, so I had food options. I had contemplated going to Subway and trying to get some reading done around scarfing down a sandwich, either up here or down by NTAC, but that had all sorts of baggage with it (I hate getting pan-handled while trying to eat in a place), and I wasn't much in the mood for that kind of crap. So, I figured I'd take the #147 up to Loyola and get Taco Bell, then hop the El there and get back down to Belmont with plenty of spare time.

However, the transit gods interfered.

A month or so back, we all went out to see Ant-Man at a theater up on Sheridan, where the #147 should go, but we found ourselves on one that terminated at Devon & Sheridan, instead of heading north from there. The movie night was a pain, as I had to drag my gimpy knee a half mile or so from where the bus let us off, and one would think that I'd learn to check the destination display on the bus (like the #151 that in the evenings has some buses that only go to Foster), but nooooo.

I had been kicking around for a month or so a hankering to go back to this amazing Pakistani place, Ghareeb Nawaz, which is up on Devon, a block past Damen. If they weren't "cash only", I'd probably have made it one of my regular places, but tonight I knew I had a ten on me, so this was a possibility. So, there I was, having been dumped out at the bus stop for the #155 Devon bus, with plenty of time, and a rare supply of sufficient cash. Hey, I can take a hint.

I'd forgotten how huge the servings are up there. Pictured are my $5.49 order of Green Chili Chicken Biryani, plus my 75¢ side of Tandoori Nan. Yum! If I hadn't splurged on the Mango Lassi (at a whopping $1.59), this meal, that I could only make it about half-way through, would have come in at under seven bucks! Such a deal!

Anyway, I dragged my extensive leftovers out with me, caught the #155, took it on back to the Red Line stop, and got down to NTAC with about 20 minutes to spare. One advantage also of going to the earlier meeting is that I get in at a kinder hour than some of the late-nite ones.

Now I just need to triangulate having cash on me more often ... would like to make Ghareeb Nawaz a more frequent dining spot!

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Well, that's an interesting way to spend a holiday ...

Just shoot me.

It appears that the fancy-schmancy deli potato salad The Wife picked up at Marianos was "off", as after I had some last evening, I was dealing with pronounced gastric distress. I really wish it had progressed to puking or pooping, but nooooo, it just sat around and made me miserable. And, sitting around and being miserable was pretty much the theme of the day, except that I was asleep for the vast majority of Labor Day.

I don't typically sleep more than 5 hours or so, so it's notable if I'm sacked out for long periods. I tried to get up and functioning about 8am, but ended up dry heaving, so opted to crawl back into bed. Every time I woke up, going back to bed seemed the best option, so I pretty much stayed under for most of the day, eventually feeling good enough to try to do minor stuff on the computer around 8pm. Needless to say, I did not get out for a meeting today, adding to the whole self-loathing load, since what kind of a pointless sack of shit doesn't force himself to press on with scheduled intents despite feeling ill ... what are these feelings doing running my maggot-like existence?!

I guess, however, I did not miss much. I was sufficiently cognizant of the outside world that I registered the fact that we were getting pounded with thunderstorms, and I had at least a glimmer of "gee, it must suck for those planning outside activities" run through my mind. Not that I had anything planned (other than going to a specific meeting).

Still, it was very strange getting that much sleep. I'm in much less discomfort now, but don't have much of a "second wind", so will probably just head back to bed. Mighty exciting post, eh?

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Nothing much to note ...

Well, was at least able to get myself out of the house for a bit today ... went for lunch up at China Palace (yum!), then ran down to the dollar store, then back home for a bit before making the easy shot back and forth on the #151 down to the Rec Room for a meeting. Pretty much lump-ish otherwise ... sort of like Lady Miss Kier locating the groove, but in my case it's more like "the lump is in the heeeeaaad".

Wish I could locate a groove.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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