Monday, July 25, 2016

Parents' Day!

Mood: 

This holiday was actually yesterday. Cool that there's an actual Parents' Day rather than just Mother's or Father's Day. I feel strange about either of those holidays, now...πŸ˜…Parent is neutral, which is nice. For the US, the holiday started in 1994. In South Korea, they started it in the 1930s. 

It was also Cousins' Day. I have a lot of cousins!😳 I hope they're all doing well. I've never lived close to them. I did have a first cousin twice removed live in the southern part of the state, close to the border. Both his kids and himself were the closest in terms of distance. He was my maternal grandpa's cousin. Not really my immediate cousin. Most of the rest of my cousins live on the other side of the country. I've connected with a lot of them through facebook, which has been nice and interesting.😊

Today's Video Game Day. I still have my Sega Genesis, and several games for it. Works pretty much like it did when I got it. I have Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Ecco the Dolphin, and a couple of others I'm blanking on. I really liked Sonic and Ecco. Still think they're of the best ones I've played on there. I've never finished Ecco all the way. Got to the last level, though. Sonic is quite a bit easier, but I never got all the gems for the special side levels. I also liked Morrowind for the PC. RPGs can be fun. Fable is another fun one. If I play a video game now it's usually the Sims 2 Seasons. Occasionally, it'll be Fate. 

Well, it's been really warm outside lately. So, I've had my desktop turned off for about a week. It's in my room, and my room tends to get the hottest in the house when it's hot out. Having a computer on in there can make it even hotter, and is probably not good for the computer itself. I haven't posted much on here mainly because of that. I'm trying a new thing this time. Blogging on my iPhone instead. It's just through the desktop site (or 'web version'), not an app. I was thinking of the app, but with the average rating of one star, doesn't seem worth it.πŸ˜’ Seems ok so far. A bit more awkward, but doable. Might post more often to this in the future this way.

Emailed my gastroenterologist, and she made a phone appointment to talk more about what's going on with me last Tuesday. She was 45 minutes late. πŸ˜”At least, she managed to call me. She said it sounded like the pain on my side is pancreas related. Apparently, it's rare, but azathioprine can affect the pancreas. Sometimes causing pancreatitis, and other issues with it. Yay.😞 She said that my colon and small intestines could be inflamed, and the pain might be from that. It doesn't sound like azathioprine's really for me...She said either way I might need to change to another med. The only ones left are heavy ones like remicade and humira.

She wanted me to get a blood test done as soon as possible, and I did that the next morning. She sounds really worried about this. 😨She wanted me to take dicyclomine for the pain. Apparently, Dad takes it and has the rare side effect of euphoria. I haven't had that yet. The side effects I've experienced so far are: dry mouth, numbness in my mouth, an odd warm relaxed feeling in my gut, and drowsiness. At least, I'm finally able to sleep now. The pain in any part of my gut hasn't really changed. She wants me to have a bland diet for the time being.

4 of the tests have come back, and I'm unsure if there will be more. The lipase and amylase tests were normal. They're enzymes that break down fats and sugars, and are produced in the pancreas. So, maybe that rules out my pancreas?😯 I hope so. My general blood panel was normal, but many of the values were the lowest ones I have on record. Barely within normal on those. My body either was (and is) fighting something, or azathioprine reduced them. It does suppress the immune system. 

My sed rate was back to being high.😣 It measures inflammation, and is an indicator of remission for IBD. Remission range is 0-20mm/hr. Last time it was finally down to 20. This time it's 32. It's the biggest difference so far between blood tests. At least it's not at 44, which was the highest it's been. It is halfway there, though...😨I had the same exact result back in September. It's like stepping backwards for me. It's sounding more and more like azathioprine is not helping anymore. 

I think the pain on my side might be because the inflammation could be in my small intestines. One section could be really bad, twisting over itself, and moves around when I stand up or walk. It makes sense to me, and she did suggest something like that. I haven't heard back from her, yet. The longer I don't hear from her, the scarier it feels.😱

I was going to get back to cooking from cookbooks last week. Doing that for my lunches was my plan. But, when my gastro said to go on a bland diet for the time being, I decided to put it on hold. Although, I might look more into what I wanted to make, and see if it's bland enough. If not, maybe I could make it that way, too. I'm going to go through each of my own cookbooks first. I have a lot of Asian-related cookbooks, so I might be having a lot from that region. However, it's a pretty diverse area.😊

The first one I'm using is one of the newer general Asian ones. I've made a chicken and broccoli soup, and a chicken and cashew stir-fry so far from it. The soup was very simple, yet tasty. The stir-fry was full of flavor. I also saw some interesting noodle ones, salads, egg dishes, etc. 

I'm also going to try to make desserts more often. Most of the cookbooks in my room don't have very many dessert recipes. One of the few interesting ones was from the Chinese Kosher Cooking cookbook. It was for a Chinese steamed cake or fa gao. Made that the same night as the soup. It was really good, and was interesting to make. It had almonds, brown sugar, and vanilla. Made for a unique and delicious taste.😌I might make 'toffee apples' next from the same cookbook. Although, we don't have apples at the moment. So, making Passover muffins might be next. I do have some of the Passover stuff that I could use. Plus, people can have Passover food all year round if they want. I could add more flavor to them as well, if they need it. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

National Pecan Pie Day!

Mood::iconsleepygreeceplz:

One of my fave pies!:iconinloveplz:I think it's a difficult one to get just right. Some are too sweet, some barely have any pecans, and some have way too many (making it extremely dry). But, when it's a perfect balance, it's amazing! Apparently French immigrants living in New Orleans baked the first American pecan pies. 

I marched with the local Pride group in a 4th of July parade. There was also the trans support group represented within it. Kind of like there was a mini Pride parade within the regular one.:iconranranruuplz:I got to hold a huge Pride flag, along with about 6 or 8 other people. It was quite impressive. Before deciding to help hold it, I checked to see if they had any ace flags. I was a bit disappointed when there wasn't any.:iconpolandplz:There were quite a variety of different flags for people to hold individually. I think one of the Pride organizers said that he saw it in the office they store them in, but forgot to bring it. Oh, well.

It was cool, weather-wise, at the beginning. It warmed up as soon as we started, and there wasn't much shade. At least, it wasn't as warm as last year. Like last year, we went to Starbuck's afterwards. I needed something cool to drink (that being an iced chai), and some sort of snack (a sugar cookie). It was at the newer, louder, busier one. Surprisingly, not very many people there. This one also has a drive-through. Kind of weird.

I still haven't emailed my gastroenterologist, yet. She told me to do so 2 to 3 weeks after our phone appointment. It was the 4 week-mark yesterday. I don't know why I'm reluctant about it.:iconhanatamagoplz:Especially, after she clearly seemed to want to help me during that appointment. Unlike how I felt when my blood test results seemed to indicate remission, but I still had symptoms. She seemed to ignore them that time. But, she's different now. I still haven't done that nasty test she wanted me to do. I'll email her today or tomorrow, even though I haven't done that test yet. 

Woke up in the middle of the night (early Monday morning) with the worst sharp stabbing pain in my right mid-abdomen area. I actually screamed a few times.:iconawkwardplz:It came in waves. Scared me, too. Hurt to even breathe. I called the 24/7 nurse hotline about it after brunch that day. It really feels like they ignored the actual problem. They think I'm constipated. Yet, I'm a lot better than I was about a month ago. I didn't have this sort of pain back when I was the most constipated. I'm not 'regular' yet, but I'm certainly better. That doesn't explain why the pain in my side has suddenly gotten much worse...:iconlietplz:I still think it has to do with an organ or a section of my small intestines. 
I'll go with their suggestions for now. Which is to go back to having Citrucel twice a day, and take Milk of Magnesia. I absolutely hate Milk of Magnesia.:iconwtfukplz:Also, my gastro recommended it as a last resort. Actually found a bottle yesterday that has its own dosing cup, and is cherry flavored. Tasted like pepto-bismal. (Better than the last time I had it.) Had a full dose last night. The nurse said if the pain doesn't improve in that area after using it, I need to see someone. In the email I'll send out to my gastro, I'll mention this stuff, too. See what she has to say. Right now the pain in that area's a bit duller. But, I do have 'attacks' where it turns spiky throughout the day. (Not sure if attack is the right word...:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:)

I'm also having some lower abdominal pain, still dizzy quite often, feeling sick to my stomach, etc. I'm getting really really tired of this!:iconromanoplz:We'll see what my gastro has to say, though.

Despite the pain and symptoms making me feel less motivated to do my walks, I think I'm still losing weight. In fact, if I do any type of exercise like the marching or doing the garbage, it seems to be coming off of me even faster. I'm not sure if that's really a good thing. I still like to think as long as I'm not underweight, it's good for now...It doesn't seem normal, though. I'm still trying to stay within the calorie range I've set up for myself. Even with that, I'm slightly more lax than usual lately. Maybe I need more calories? I don't know. 

Decided to enroll both my novels into the July promo on Smashwords. It's only through them, and goes until July 31st. With the coupon, Sweet Endless Terror: An Anthology of Nightmares will be 50% off. Making it $0.99. Alliance will be free with that coupon. I've sold 4 copies of Alliance so far. 2 were sold today. One early in the morning, and one in the afternoon. (Kind of adds on the excitement for me to have 2 in one day!:la:) For a while, it seemed to be one copy sold every other day. It's good that they were free copies of Alliance. They can read it, possibly review it, and tell their friends. It will probably take them a while to read...:iconusaplz:It is categorized as an 'epic'. I think Smashwords was the one to put it under that. Must be if they reach a certain amount of words. By the time they tell their friends, it might be after the promo. Who knows? And, even if they're still able to take advantage of the promo, they can tell their friends, as well. The other one is an anthology of 12 short stories based on my recurring nightmares. I'm not sure if that's a turn-off, though.:icontinoplz:They might be more interested in the fantasy one, rather than the horror one. (Although, Alliance does get pretty dark, and there are slight horror moments as you go through.) Here's Sweet Endless Terror's direct Smashwords' link: SET And, here's the other: Alliance

I'm also thinking about writing a sequel to Alliance. Hopefully, won't be as long. I ended it with a huge cliffhanger, and creating their world was fun.:iconheroamericaplz:There's a lot more I can do with this one. I think I'll reread the whole thing beforehand. I never make outlines of what I write beforehand, which makes the story open to the many different directions it can go. However, it makes it a bit difficult to remember the main story line after not reading it for so long. I'll probably take notes/make an outline of Alliance as I read. Kind of backwards to the way some people do things, but oh well.:iconseychelles-plz:I do brainstorm before I write things, though. With Sweet Endless Terror, I wrote one-liners about the recurring nightmares that I might use. That triggered memories of them, and I didn't have to write much for that to happen. With Alliance, sometimes I would brainstorm made up names of places, people, etc. Sometimes, would write out ideas for just that chapter. Or, of building designs. Also, on character backgrounds. I guess it depends on what I was writing about at that moment. While I'm writing I usually make a mental map of the story. I can remember tiny details, and bring them back in at some point. So, things aren't all over the place. There's certainly a framework and logic to it. But, when I'm done, I kind of forget about it all. I have a lot of other ideas for novels, too.

I'm also thinking about using Youtube's vlog or video blog. I normally hate seeing myself in media, but maybe I could get myself to be more used to it and/or comfortable. I've always felt weird around being photographed, on video, hearing myself in a recording, etc. Many of that stuff got worse when I was at my heaviest. It's gotten a lot better now, though. So, maybe it'll help a bit more. I'm not expecting a lot of subscribers, although that part should be interesting. I already have 6 right now. The only vids I've posted in that folder were a couple of them testing my iPhone camera with Rosie, and one of a fountain with no noise. (Should be another way to test my iPhone's camera as well.) Maybe those 6 like what I fave, and the playlists I make. I think of any of that sort of stuff as a social experiment. The only thing I don't want are the infamous trolls.:iconraivisplz:I can block those people, though. Also, moderate the comments before they're posted. But, I would still have to see at least some of it to determine if they're trolls. Some people don't allow anyone to comment on their vids. I'll probably start with an intro series. Eventually, it'll just be things going on at that time, or topics that pop up in my head. It might be weekly or biweekly. But, hopefully not a longer time in between. I don't think I want them too long, either. If the vlog is supposed to be like a blog, why not use it like that? Hopefully, they'll be somewhat short. Also, might be another way to get the word out for my novels.:iconlaughingplz:

Went through my desk for the first time in a long time. Found 2 really old cameras. One was my first camera. Not that great, but ok for the time I got it. It was one where you had to turn a dial to take another pic. Also, used a roll of film. There were 17 pics on it, but I don't really care what they were of. So, I tossed it. I don't know how many places would actually develop the roll, anyways. The other one was a step up, and I think only took black and white pics. It wasn't that great, and I think I had it because I was taking a photography/video class in junior high. I think they wanted us to explore different techniques, and I decided on doing a series of black and white pics. I loved that class.:love:It had a dark room, so we could develop our own film. Anyways, it's not that great, and uses rolls. So, I tossed that one, too. 

Found 2 large photo albums filled with stickers. I was really into them as a kid. Plus, everywhere I went, they gave me a sticker. They gave them out at banks, after seeing the dentist, sometimes at grocery stores, etc. Kind of fun. A lot of them were '90s designs. The more recent ones were from a friend in college (I think?) that gave me a ton of Chococat stickers. I think they're made to be put on envelopes when you send letters out to friends. Chococat is a Sanrio character. I think he's the counterpart to Hello Kitty. He is kind of cute. I don't write letters, though.:iconswissplz:In fact, I had a heard time with writing them when they were more popular. My grandparents used to urge me to write to them, but most of the time I forgot. To me, it's a lot easier with email, messaging (through Yahoo, facebook, forums, etc.), and texting. It's instant, too. So, I never opened the Chococat ones. I also found several different kinds of stationary. I'm keeping most of that stationary and the sticker albums for the time being. Some of the stationary are different kinds of Thank You notes. That might still come in handy.

Also, found some sewing stuff. 2 big plastic containers, that I think were originally used for jewelry. They have divided sections in each one. They're filled with different types of threads. I think one of them has some needles, too. Nice, but might be more than I would need in the future.:iconkikuplz:

Also, found the 2 fringed shawls I had been planning to turn into tallitot (plural for tallit or prayer shawl). One has really fancy feeling material, and the other seems slightly tacky to me. The first one feels kind of like silk, is cream colored, and has an interesting clear beaded pattern. The other one is a bright pinkish fuchsia color, and looks a bit more rough. My mom and I made a tallit for my Bat Mitzvah. I chose the materials, did the cross-stitch of the atorah (an area near the neck), and the tzitzit (basically knotted tassels on each end. There are a certain amount of knots it has to have). Mom used her sewing machine to sew the atorah on, the stripes on, and the corners on. (I think she also made button holes for the tzitzit in the corners.) It already had a fringe. Mom continued to make many more tallitot after that. I thought I would try to fully do my own at some point, too. So, I found these 2 shawls. Maybe I'll get to them in the future.:iconchibiswedenplz:I think I still have the instructions on how to make your own. Also, have a really old sewing machine in my closet. Never used it, but that would be interesting. Found some cross-stitch projects as well. Hopefully, I'll get to them eventually.

Also, had to toss most of the pens and pencils I had collected. They were either broken, or the ink had dried up. Oh, well. Now that I've gone through my desk, it's a lot more roomy.:iconeestiplz:I now have a designated writing/novel drawer. Everything related to either novel will be there. That includes notes, promo ideas, some of the drawings, and printouts of both stories. I only have up to the 8th story printed out for Sweet Endless Terror. There are 4 more. I have all of Alliance printed out. Nice to have some physical part of them. But, those last 4 of SET are still just floating in my computer and at online retailers.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:I'll get to those at some point. Found another unopened black ink cartridge, so that would help.

Decided to try the Pokemon Go app for iPhone last night. It seems like it'd be a fun app. Gets people out there, and they can explore the area around where they live. Or, explore other places. Kind of fun to be able to interact with something that isn't really there, but still interacts with the environment. I have 7 pokemon so far. I still remember the Pokemon craze in the '90s. I wasn't very into it, but some of my friends were. Kind of the same thing as with pog back then. I've noticed a lot of people around my age are into it, along with some teens. Some people who are much older than me are into it, too. I think with my generation, it's kind of like a touch of nostalgia. Some people say it's helped them get more exercise than several actual fitness trackers have. I can definitely see why. I think turning learning or fitness into games, is smart and helps people. It makes it fun.:iconchibihungaryplz:It's a lot more encouraging. I noticed that there weren't any pokemon in our neighborhood. (Unless you have incense.) There's a PokeStop at a Mormon church just outside of the neighborhood. Not sure what's beyond that. I haven't actually visited that area while playing the game. I pass the church during my regular walks, though. I noticed while we were at Shari's last week, two of the people we were with were playing it for the first time. There was a pokemon on the table, and a couple others in other places near us in the restaurant. It's probably good for when you're waiting for a table or in line for something, too. 

Finished watching Spec, and I'm unsure if I'll watch the next season. The last two episodes were really good. The only time I felt it was well acted. I kind of predicted that the one who was the real villain wasn't who he said he was. He could erase memories and write new ones, if he touched your head. He continuously did this to Toma. Making her think that they were in a relationship, and that her brother died in a fire along with the rest of her family. In reality he was a creepy stalker, and had manipulated her brother. Her brother was poorly misguided and was made to look like a villain. I think he went crazy towards the end. Killing people left and right. I kind of hope they didn't really kill him off at the end. Both him and Toma realized the truth by then. I kind of feel like the organization that's full of spec users were actually behind Toma and the others killing the main villain. They wanted him to be eliminated, but it had to be in a way that he didn't see it coming. He was annoying, so in that way, it was a good ending. I'm not sure how there could be another season, but I might try it.

Finished watching Koutetsujou no Kabaneri. It was pretty good. Left it open for another season. The opening and ending music were lame, to me. Opening sounded a lot like the Star Wars theme. Both were overly dramatic, too. 

Finished Bungou Stray Dogs. I loved this one!:iconfrancisplz:This is going to have a 2nd season coming up in the fall. It was witty, most characters were based on real life authors, some were based on an author's famous work, there was and still is a lot of mystery, interesting powers, one character doesn't have powers but seems to be very powerful anyways, every character is packed full of personality, and more. It was fun to watch, even when it was supposed to be serious. Apparently, most of the scenes were based off of real places in Yokohama, too. Someone did a comparison, and they were pretty spot on.

Finished reading Prayers for the Dead by Faye Kellerman. I think it was one of the longest ones I've read of the series so far. It had a bittersweet ending. Not much having to do with Judaism in this one. Most of the books in this series have a Jewish theme. Some have it more subtle than others. This was the 5th book I've read of the series. The next one that I'll read is called The Forgotten. From the synopsis, it seems to be somewhat Holocaust related. I'm skipping 3 books this time. It's the next one that I had. In total, I've had to skip 9 books. Maybe sometime in the future I'll find and read those others. 

Started watching Fukigen na Mononokean, or The Morose Mononokean. It's pretty good so far. Reminds me a lot of xxxHolic. Only, the person who exorcises things is a guy. The 'demons' are cute so far. Kind of feel bad for them. 

Started watching 91 Days yesterday. I'm unsure about this one. I'm giving it one more episode. It takes place during the Prohibition Era in America. The main character has been plotting his revenge on a mafia family for over 7 years. He plans to carry out this revenge within the next 91 days. (Don't know why that number exactly yet.) That mafia killed his entire family over a misunderstanding. His friend is a bootlegger. Apparently makes good enough alcohol that the mafia wants him. It's very dark, violent, depressing, not much humor, etc. so far. I like 'mature' shows, but this doesn't really have a good mix of things. The art is beautiful, and at times very realistic. It's interesting that it's based in America, too. I know that's a very dark time period, anyways.