Dinner at Chaat


-- चार हजार दो सौ और अठारह --

Pretty much all of my evening yesterday went to shopping and, in a last minute decision, going out for dinner in Bellevue.

I stopped at a few stores during my walk home from work: a shop inside Pike Place Market; Target; Bartell Drugs. I found two stocking stuffers and am officially done with my Christmas shopping. There's a couple of friends I would have liked getting a present for but never did, and that's fine -- I don't get them gifts every year. My general rule there is that I just get one if I come across something I feel they should have, but if that doesn't happen, well, I'm not going to get something out of nothing more than obligation. I don't expect anything from them either anyway.

The higher priority for me is Shobhit, of course, and also Ivan -- it was with Tommy the one Christmas he spent living with me as well. I just don't feel right not including someone who actually lives with me, and so both Tommy and Ivan get gifts and their own Christmas stocking -- something that really seemed to make an impression on Tommy for Christmas 2015: he even hung his stocking up on the wall in his bedroom above the head of his bed. This will be the third and final Christmas with Ivan around, and that was always the expectation as of this current stint with him living with us, since even when he first thought he'd be leaving later, he still stated "fall," which makes it before Christmas.

I did have to buy Ivan another new stocking last year, because at the time he first moved out in the beginning of January 2015, I threw away the one I had used for him for Christmas 2014, having no reason whatsoever to think he'd ever live with me again. Life can sure surprise you. So anyway, even though he really doesn't engage with the holiday much at all on his own (he always works, and this year even volunteered to work a 16-hour shift), just as I do with Shobhit, I pull him into my Christmas orbit -- I did in 2014, again in 2016, and one last time in 2017.

The two stocking stuffers I got last night were for Shobhit, though. He gets more, obviously -- indeed, the most. And beyond Shobhit and Ivan, the only reliable annual gift giving I do is the calendars, which I make for my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. Thank God none of my siblings are still having new children -- ten of them is enough (and currently I only give them to nieces and nephews now living on their own, so that excludes Christopher's three boys, and Angel's youngest, Alex). I draw the line at grandnephews and grandnieces. Of course they are all still very little, but they won't always be -- but they aren't likely to care as much about these things fifteen years from now anyway. In any case, those kids have plenty from their parents and grandparents anyway.

The calendar thing really has turned out well -- I don't ever have to fret about what to get those people for Christmas, and by and large they seem to love them and look forward to them every year. I've really carved out a nice and workable tradition for myself there. This is the eleventh year I've made them -- and actually the twelfth year since I started them, because I skipped 2012 (for Christmas 2011) in lieu of the "In Memoriam" collection of home videos with Grandma McQuilkin that I made in the wake of her passing in late 2011. I can hardly believe it's been six years now since that happened. Also? People were openly disappointed, even though I had made that video instead, that they didn't get a calendar that year. I shan't make that mistake again!

Anyway. I had regular necessities to get at both Target and Bartell Drugs, but I did find a cheap yet useful gift at Bartell's. By the time I was leaving there, Shobhit was on his way home from work, and after I fed the cats I met him downstairs so we could drive straight down to do some shopping at one of the Asian grocery stores. He was looking for pumpkin with which to make more pumpkin pies for Christmas, and I was sure no one would have them -- they are pretty much out of season now. We called Mayuri, the Indian grocery store in Bellevue, though, and they said they still had some "yellow" pumpkins. (They're actually orange but whatever.) I was skeptical that they were even accurately idenfifying what Shobhit wanted, but we got right onto I-90 and drove over to Bellevue.

At first it did look like they did not have pumpkins -- and, indeed, Mayuri Foods didn't have whole pumpkins. What they did have was shrink-wrapped pumpkin pieces cut into quarters, which worked better for Shobhit's purposes anyway. He got two of those, and did a bunch of other shopping since he was there.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और अठारह --


-- चार हजार दो सौ और अठारह --

And that was how we wound up at Chaat House, a new-ish vegetarian restaurant in the area that Shobhit discovered not long ago, and was taking me to for the first time (although he did bring it home once as take-out a few weeks ago). It was nearly 8 p.m. by this point and was super busy -- a very large, cafeteria-like dining room, and you order first, then pick up when your number is called.

We sat down and I realized I was the only white person in there. There could have been 200 other people in there, all of them South Asian. Shobhit noted that Indians tend to eat dinner later. The food was very good, if a little spicy -- but it cleared my sinuses, at least. When we left, we passed a table by the door that had a couple sitting down, and the woman was white. I guess there's only room for one white person in there at a time. Incidentally, that woman wansn't exactly fat, but there were an Olympic competition for double chins she would take the gold. She didn't have a whole lot of chins, just the one double -- and it was very wide and long, like it doubled as her neck. It was, weirdly, almost mesmerizing.

We then drove home and Shobhit made chai again, and I had a cup with scotch in it to help me sleep. I have now entered the coughing stage of my cold, with a bit of sinus congestion, and it's a tad annoying. Hopefully it'll be mostly better by Sunday, which is Christmas Eve. Or even a little better by tomorrow, as I'm to spend the late afternoon and early evening with Gina and Beth visiting Seattle.

I can even pinpoint when it first started -- the feeling of a tickle in my throat on Monday, slightly worse on Tuesday, better on Wednesday but with the clear feeling of it turning into a broader cold, as it tends to. I was slightly less cough-y yesterday than I am today. It's a pain in the ass, in any case.

-- चार हजार दो सौ और अठारह --


[posted 12:32 pm]