Monday, March 2, 2015

National Banana Cream Pie Day!


Yay! One of my fave pies!:iconinloveplz:Really specific too...I pretty much like bananas in anything. It seems like such a unique fruit to me. Cream makes it even better.:iconawwwplz:
This is my wallpaper for March. It features Sebastian again from Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler. This is in his usual 'form' (not chibi-fied or over simplified) with a mask, though. Thought this was very fitting, considering Purim is only a couple of days away.:nod: 

Purim starts Wednesday night, and ends Thursday night. For places like Jerusalem and other 'walled' cities, they celebrate Shushan Purim a day later instead. Anyways, we observe it by wearing costumes, masks, getting candy, eating Hamantaschen (or filled cookies in triangle form), throwing carnivals, drinking a lot of alcohol, watching skits or plays based on the story behind it, and more.:iconranranruuplz: 

Purim lit. means 'lots'. Like, you're casting lots. It's based on the story of Esther. We're required to hear the story every year. It can be retold in many different ways, though. Also, every time a name is read, the audience reacts in some way. Like, for Haman (the villain of the story), people boo, stomp their feet, use groggers or noisemakers, etc. Some write out his name in chalk on the floor, and every time his name is said, stomp and move their feet over it. (Some spit on it, too.) 'Blotting out' his name. For Esther, they might say 'ahhh' or 'right on!'. For Mordecai, 'yeah!'. He's considered one of the heroes, too. (Esther is definitely a heroine...:iconhongkongplz:) With the king, 'duh'. It can be pretty fun. The adults are told to drink so much that they can't tell the difference between Haman (the villain) and Mordecai (the hero). That's a lot!:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:I can't drink, because of my meds, so this doesn't apply to me. Pretty entertaining to watch other people who can, though.:iconenglandispervyplz: 

Also, Hamantaschen are triangles that represent the shape of either Haman's triangular hat or his ears. It can be filled with a variety of fillings. Savory or sweet. I love the apricot, chocolate, and strawberry ones. Another popular one is poppy seed, which I hate.:iconnataliaplz:I'm thinking of making some this year. I have an idea that might make it much easier than when I did it a couple of years ago. That time I made the dough from scratch, and it yielded over 50 cookies. Too much for me...:iconwtfukplz:If I get to do what I'm thinking, it should be a lot better. Maybe I'll add melted margarine to each corner as a 'glue' to keep it from opening as much as it did then. 

My Paris calendar features the Musee de Louvre, aka The Louvre Museum. It's one of the world's largest museums, and is a historic monument. It contains more than 380,000 objects, and displays 35,000 works of art in 8 curatorial departments. Bringing in around 10 million visitors a year, makes it the world's most visited museum. 

My Jewish calendar's main pic's of a tribute to the opening of a factory called Hollandia. It's a tile panel, made by NV Plateelbakkerij (PBD) Delft, out of ceramic and wood, from Hilversum, Netherlands; 1917. Not sure why this would be featured in a Jewish museum's calendar...:iconusaplz:The artist might be Jewish? And/or maybe the company made specific Judaica products? Can't really tell what they made from the scenes depicted. The museum in located in Amsterdam, so maybe it's a local thing? Interesting. Cool to see an interesting somewhat old piece (the majority of the items that are shown in their calendars are older), still. The 2nd pic's of a megillah (lit. 'scroll'. There are technically 5, but most people think of the Purim one) or scroll of Esther, which holds the whole story. It has an anonymous maker, made out of silver and parchment, Jerusalem, Israel; 1926. A lot of the older megillot (plural form of megillah) have a decorative case, similar to this one. This one has a crown at the top, and an interesting weave and flower like pattern throughout the rest of it. It's cool looking.:iconchibihungaryplz: 

The month-long holidays are: National Celery Month, National Flour Month, National Noodle Month, National Peanut Month, National Sauce Month, International Women's Month, Irish-American Heritage Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. Interesting food-related holidays. Women definitely should have a month! Yay!:dummy:I'm part Irish, so it's also my month that way. 

Oh, a month after Purim is Passover or Pesach. Pesach usually requires quite a bit of planning for the food and seder part. It's a week long, and there are restrictions on what we can eat during that period. I'm thinking of trying to make a lot of the things I like for myself, instead of getting it store-bought. I love to make my matzah granola for breakfast. (A lot better than store-bought Pesach cereal...:iconannoyedgin-plz:) It's good stuff!:iconitalyplz:Glad I'm the only one that'll eat it now. (Means more for me!) I probably could eat it all year round. I'll make the popovers again. Our friends will probably want them at their seder. There's a bunch of other stuff. I also have to remember that I'll be the only one eating most of this stuff during the week.:iconkikuplz:Plus, we're thinking of just having a family seder for ours this year. It'll just be Dad and I. I like both the ones where we have guests (like last year), and ones where it's just us. They both have a different 'feel' to them.:iconthailandplz:We'll probably still end up eating a lot. Dad's thinking of making a Greek lamb and potato dish for it. Normally, it might be something like roasted chicken as the main dish. Sounds good, and fitting in a way. Anyways, I still need to make a list of what I want/need, what I might make, and look at what stores are selling online. The last part might help with finding good deals on some items, and remind me of others.:iconberwaldplz:One of the big named companies is Streit's, but they're going out of business. So, their stuff might be really cheap for Pesach. Also, Amazon had some interesting items too, from when I briefly glanced at it. 

I got my Hanukkah present a bit late this year, but at least I got it!:iconheroamericaplz:(Got it last Tuesday.) It's the Sims 2: Seasons Expansion Pack. I've had the Sims 2 for a while, and thought it'd be cool to actually have some seasons added to the game. It's been really fun, and there were a lot of added challenges to it. Now you can grow your own produce, too. You can earn gardening badges. There are quite a bit of clothes added to it, as well. Apparently, your sim can now die from being too hot or cold, so you have to watch their thermometer. There's a penguin that's been showing up when it snows or rains, too. By the way, they can now be struck by lightning, if they step outside during a storm. My sim that I've started off with in the new neighborhood, now has an aspiration to be struck by lightning...:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:There seems to be sunsets now, at least during the spring. They added a couple more career tracks, too. They really went into detail with this expansion, which is really cool.:iconeestiplz:I can have my sims from before experience the seasons, too. That's been interesting. I'm happy overall with it, and I'm finding new things every time I play it.:la:

I'm feeling a lot better than I did for most of February. I really do think I ate something weird, or it was from something in the air.:paranoid:Imodium really helped me. Hopefully, I won't need to take it again for a while. Even though it would briefly hit my tongue, it still left a nasty taste behind. Plus, it was so large, it would get lodged in my throat occasionally. Letting out some of that nasty taste as it slowly melted and made its way down.:icondisgusted-hongkong:I felt like throwing up just from that at times.

I'm slowly getting back into my fitness stuff. Already kept up with doing my sit-ups twice a day for the past week again, and starting with the second week now. This time I'm restarting them at 10 each time. I went back to the way I was eating before, today. That's 1200 to 1600 calories overall a day. I end up with 5 small meals. It's really helped me, and I don't feel deprived.:iconchibinitalyplz:Especially because I can eat what I want, but in small portions. Plus, I know I can savor the leftovers later. And, it won't be that much time in between each meal. I'm hoping to get back to my 2 2-mile walks tomorrow. Might start with doing one a day for the rest of the week, then doing both next week. Kind of ease into it. We'll see how I feel after the first walk tomorrow.:iconpolandplz:I like to plan the first one around when I get up, like right after taking a shower, or before, or (if it's not a shower day) after/before washing my face. The 2nd one is usually around sunset. That way I end my day with a beautiful view, and it makes me want to keep doing it.:iconyayhanatamagoplz: 

I went through my mom's Jewish books recently. There was a lot of them, and it took up most of the day. I think I kept only about 10% of it. There were a lot of paper stuffed between/inside books. Some were her Sunday and Hebrew school's homework, some were from when I went to Sunday and Hebrew school, some were misc. printouts of things, and more. Also, found my grandfather's Tanakh that was given to him from his congregation as a present for his Bar Mitzvah. A Bar Mitzvah is when a boy becomes an adult in Judaism, so a coming of age for them. It's when they turn 13. Usually there's a ceremony. The female version is a Bat Mitzvah. Having a ceremony as a Bat Mitzvah hasn't been around for very long. It's when they turn 12 or 13. Mine was when I was 13. It seems traditional that the president of a congregation the person's a member of gives a Tanakh to them. I got one too. Also, found my mother's for when she was a Bat Mitzvah. I think it was around her generation (maybe just before hers) when girls were finally able to have a ceremony of some sort. It's cool to look at all 3 generations' Tanakhs. They all have different commentaries and/or interpretations. (I don't think mine has any commentary. Which is kind of rare...:iconseychelles-plz:) There were a lot of interesting reference books that I'll be keeping, as well. Since I'm interested in looking more into modern orthodoxy, a little while ago someone recommended some books that I didn't think we had. Lo and behold, I found them in that bookcase! Yay for me!:iconginsmileplz:I didn't remember most of these books, because she would put books in front of books, and then pile more on top of them. (kind of like book inception...:iconawkwardplz:) It was a mess. 

I got back into cleaning this past Friday. This time was the bathroom again. I'll continue with that room this coming Friday. I was amazed at some of the stuff I didn't see last time. Some of it was down right scary.:iconchibichinaplz:White mold that looked crystallized in the door frame (at least I think it was mold...), and a giant old spider nest that looked like a big rock blocking part of the upper window tracks, were just some of the crazy stuff I saw. Once I got the spider nest out, the windows were able to move freely. Apparently, the mold was affecting the door so that it became harder to open from the inside. Now that it's gone, I can move the door freely, too. At least I was able to gather up my courage to take care of them.:iconrunrunrunplz:

Decided to try some new spreadable cheese from Safeway. It's garlic and herb flavored. It's really cheap, and looked interesting. Just tried it, and it's pretty good. It's only 30 calories a wedge. The wedges are huge!:wow:I'm really surprised at the amount of calories it has. Might try their other flavors in the future.

Went to Red Lobster Saturday night. They've changed their menu. I can't have the 4-course meal deal anymore, because they pretty much got rid of everything that I could have, except the very few options for the entree and dessert.:iconinsultedplz:Plus, they made it more expensive. Olive Garden's new 4-course meal deal is much better with it's options. And, it's cheaper than what Red Lobster originally had it as. I got the parmesan encrusted chicken Alfredo with broccoli and pasta. It came with a salad option, so I got a Caesar salad with it. Got a dessert, too. It was the apple crostada. It's one of the best desserts on their menu. So tasty!:iconchibispainplz:All that except the dessert, plus the Cheddar Bay biscuits made for quite a lot of leftovers. I couldn't finish the dessert. It normally comes with ice cream, but I thought that would be a lot of empty calories (plus it's not usually the best ice cream) so I got it without. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

National Almond Day!


This was on Monday, but why not keep celebrating it? Almonds are very versatile. They can be cooked in so many different recipes, and are great by themselves. You can have them plain, roasted, salted, seasoned, etc. There's even such a thing as almond 'milk'. (If it doesn't have actual milk in it, I feel odd about calling it 'milk'.:iconkikuplz:But, it's good.) It's very healthy, too. It was also Presidents' Day. 

I hope people who like Valentine's Day had a great one. I was going to say 'those who celebrate', but it sounded weird.:iconwtfromanoplz:I've always felt odd about the holiday for many reasons. One, I was dumped on Valentine's Day over the phone several years ago...So, that's kind of soured it a bit for me.:iconnataliaplz:Another reason is that it really is a 'religious' holiday. No matter how commercialized its gotten (and I know it's over-the-top with that), it still has those origins. There's a reason why 'Saint' is in the name. Since it's not apart of my religion, I feel even weirder about it.:iconhanatamagoplz:Some Jews will ignore the whole thing because of this. Jews already have a similar 'love' holiday, but it's a very minor one. (It's Tu B'Av or the 15th of the month of Av. Some refer to it as the Jewish Day of Love. It's in the summertime.) The only thing good I see in Valentine's Day is the sales on candy/chocolates. 

I still haven't been feeling too good.
:icongermanyplz:I'm a lot better than when I went to Urgent Care at the end of last month. But, whatever I have, seems to be lingering still. The Imodium has really helped. I followed the first dose's instructions with taking 2 pills at once. Couldn't go for about a week...:iconwtfukplz:Then, the 'problem', pain, and nausea came back after that. So, I took one pill after waiting a little while. Thinking things would equal out on their own. No such luck. With one pill, it was a lot better on my system. It felt more normal. I might have to take another one soon, though. That stuff is powerful!:iconusaplz:Maybe whatever I have really is on its way out, but it's just taking its sweet time.:iconannoyedgin-plz:

Went to the support group last night. Had a really big turnout. A lot of people hadn't been to a meeting for a while. Interesting discussions, too. We went to Shari's, like usual, afterwards. Had their turtle sundae. A 'turtle' is chocolate, nuts, and caramel combined. There was a very large brownie at the bottom with caramel and nuts mixed in. On top of that, there was a HUGE scoop (more like a mountain) of vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream topped that. Chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, and pieces of nuts were drizzled/sprinkled over everything. The brownie was amazing!:iconchibispainplz:Way too much ice cream for me...:iconromanoplz:If it had an amazing flavor to it, I might feel otherwise. 

Before that we went to Taco Time for a quick dinner. We had been out for most of the day. I haven't been there in a long time. I got my fave, which was the bean soft burrito. It's so good!:iconitalyplz:It has pinto beans mashed up, lots of cheese, and quite a bit of enchilada sauce stuffed inside a flour tortilla. It's huge! At least to me it is.:icontinoplz:Since I got the combo, it comes with some mexi-fries. They were pretty good too! It all was so satisfying, I was fighting off sleep afterwards.:iconfeelingfullplz:I looked it up later, and found out the burrito is a lot less calories than I expected. The mexi-fries were almost as many calories. It's good to know for in the future.:iconberwaldplz:Maybe I'll just get the burrito and a drink next time, too. I only had 2 meals plus that brownie for the entire day. Knowing that, I think it was probably a good idea to eat everything I got for dinner. I still have to be smart about how little calories I might have, too. 

We went on various errands for the rest of the day. Dad had a 4-day weekend. I finally deposited the check my grandpa sent with a Hanukkah card during the holiday. I just have to figure out what I want for a Hanukkah present for myself, now that it's in the bank. I'm thinking of the seasons expansion for the Sims 2. There will actually be seasons for them. As it is right now, it's like a perpetual spring with no rain.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:With this, there'll be rain, snow, falling leaves, changes in temp, other types of weather, along with the seasons, etc. They also get more clothes, new items, new house furnishings, plants, etc. I was also thinking about the pets expansion, but if it's just enough for one, I'd rather have the seasons one. Seems like so much more to it.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul: 

Managed to write more of the 12th short story to my nightmare anthology. I've seemed to break through my block on it, and have more of a clearer picture as to how I want it to go. Not sure how it'll end up yet, though. 

Last week I also managed to practice my clarinet. It felt so good to get back to it!:iconfrancisplz:Hopefully, I can get back to it on a regular basis. Did some jazz and Irish tunes. Played well enough that Rosie sat up close on the bed next to me. She usually loves it when I play. It feels a bit weird, yet nice, to have a furry fan like that...:iconchibihungaryplz:

Also, got around to studying more kanji. The more I learn, the more interesting it gets.:la:One of them had its handwritten short-forms listed. It has like 16 strokes, so it can get tedious to write out over and over. So, they have some simplified versions for writing it. Looks nicer and cleaner simplified, too. Also, did pretty well with the practice part and quizzes on JapaneseClass' site. I'm going to look into the Japanese version of RocketNews' site. I love their English version. Sometimes the English one has translated articles from the original Japanese one, but most of it's original. So, there will be more stories on the original. It may be more interesting to read than asahi's or mainichi's site. Trying to cover more of the reading part, too. 

Scanned all of the drawings of my original characters' outfits/accessories, and the Hanukkah themed one. (It features Shadow, who's the main character from my novel, Alliance.) I'll go over them a bit in Photoshop, but it probably won't take long until I post them to dA. Still trying to decide if I want to post each characters' stuff individually, or by page. I technically have 20 characters, but 2 of them have 2 different 'forms'. It ended up being 5 pages of characters...:iconseychelles-plz:I guess I'll decide on it at some point. Getting closer to finishing with editing the exaggerated emotions meme with Junko (another character from Alliance) in Photoshop. It's taking longer because I didn't color it in, and the smudges/marks/etc. show up more that way. So, there's some cleaning up to do. But, it seems to be getting easier. After the editing, I'll get to put each drawing into the correct spaces on the meme. There's 24 of them. The number of small drawings might also be another reason for it taking so long...

The movie/special I'm watching now is Oriento Kyuko Satsujin Jiken or Murder on the Orient Express. (Last time I watched Pandemic.) It's a 2-episode special, but each episode is like 2 1/2 hours long. So, I'm breaking them into chunks. Watched the 1st episode. It's an interesting adaptation of the original Agatha Christie novel. I don't particularly like the detective's voice, but the rest of it has been good. I like Agatha Christie stories. They're fascinating. I have a video game called And Then There Were None based on the novel of the same name. It's interesting, too. Haven't played it in a while. 

Finished watching Guu Guu, the Cat. It was a pretty good miniseries. The mangaka (creator of the manga) had a very active imagination. It looked like she was hallucinating every so often. Occasionally, I couldn't tell what was 'real' and what was imaginary.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Anyways, Guu Guu lived to be 15 years old, and he died just before the mangaka was going to receive an award for her work that was based on Guu Guu. It was bittersweet that way. She ended up with 13 cats. I don't see how people could take care of that many...:iconshockplz:This is based on a true story, and they gave out the real life info about the mangaka, Guu Guu, and her cats at the end. Guu Guu helped her overcome depression, and got her motivated to draw again. In real life the mangaka was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at some point, and she feels she wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for her cats. They gave her the courage to keep living, and to be adventurous. They slightly hinted about the cancer in the miniseries. She seemed rather bitter about it in the show. Partially because she would never be able to get pregnant. She became depressed again once Guu Guu passed away, but with looking back at all her cats, she couldn't feel that way for long. They cheered her up. So, it was a bittersweet, but good, story. I'm kind of interested in the manga now. Can't find it anywhere, though.:iconswissplz:

Since I noticed some of Smoking Gun's missing episodes were up, I'm back to watching it. The only one that's still not up (from when I last checked) is the finale. But, I'm hoping that by the time I get to it, it'll be up. It's a good show, and I'm glad that I might finally be able to finish it soon.:dummy: 

Ouroboros has only gotten better. It's not nearly as 'cheesy' as it started out as. (Someone commented that it seemed too cheesy after the 1st episode.) It has a lot of depth to the story, and the characters are very interesting. It seems like with each episode they get a very tiny clue (seemingly insignificant until the next episode) about what happened the day their teacher from the orphanage was killed, and who was behind it. Their teacher had some dark secrets, too. They usually have this view that she's very pure, but that changed with Ikuo remembering what happened just before she was shot. He had blocked out the memory until a recent case brought it all back. 

Parasyte has been awesome!:iconheroamericaplz:With the most recent episode, they messed with everyone's emotions. Apparently Reiko, who's a parasite, ended up with a maternal instinct that most parasites haven't expressed before. She was more into studying humans, and finding out why they behave in certain ways. Her host ended up pregnant, and she kept the baby after she gave birth to it. It's a perfectly normal human baby. At first, she was turned off by it, and thought several times about 'getting rid' of it. But, something kept drawing her to it. Over time that feeling grew. Parasites so far aren't known to possess emotions like humans do, so she surprised herself. She even picked up laughing. Her maternal side became so strong, she refused to let a private investigator kill it. She stabbed him immediately through the heart and grabbed the baby. The detectives on the case caught up with her, and started firing their guns at her. She was able to lengthen and harden her hair that wrapped itself around the baby, protecting it. She didn't resist or fight the detectives. Shinichi was there, because she asked him to meet with her, saying it was important. He was watching it all unfold around him, and as she's still being shot at, she tried her best to walk towards him. Eventually, the detectives realized she wasn't fighting back, and stopped firing. She gave Shinichi the baby, saying that he should protect and take it to a safe place. With that, she passed out and died. So sad. I didn't expect her to end up being a 'good' person. She was pretty vicious towards her own kind the night before...But, they were going to kill her. I think she was very misunderstood, too. Shinichi was picked up by the police to give his statement about what happened. They found his father and he's under their protection now. They know that he knows about the parasites. But, they certainly don't know about Migi yet. Migi is a parasite that only made it to Shinichi's right hand, instead of traveling to his head and gaining control. He seems to be very intelligent, and has a wicked sense of humor. Migi's cells have intermingled with Shinichi's in other parts of his body, and it's affecting him physically and mentally. The police wanted Shinichi to identify if a convicted serial killer at their jail is a parasite. They told the serial killer to tell them if Shinichi is one or has some sort of special ability against them. At the very end of the episode, there was a possibility that Shinichi and Migi may have been found out. The convict knew something. But, they left us hanging on that. It's like one of the worst cliffhangers ever!:iconpolandplz:

Dad got an amaryllis plant bulb recently as a present. The plant's been growing in the kitchen ever since. It's gotten so huge! It finally has bloomed, too. The flowers are bigger than I expected as well. They're a pretty red color. It's been interesting watching it grow.:iconchibinitalyplz:I have this weird feeling that it may take over the entire kitchen. It's pretty impressive as it is.