Wednesday, August 10, 2016

International Cat Day!

Mood::iconeestiplz:

This holiday was on Monday. Yay, for cats!:dummy:They deserve their day, and then some. One of our cats is named Rosie, and is a tortoiseshell tabby. Natasha or Tasha is a Turkish Van. She has long rabbit-like hair, is polydactyl (many toed), can bark like a dog when startled/excited, has a small head (small looking compared to her body), and tends to sulk on the banister over the stairs. Rosie has short hair, sticks to me like glue, doesn't know how to control her claws (which scares the other, because she doesn't have any), likes to scratch at things after using the litter box (instead of covering), doesn't like high places, is very playful, and talkative. Their personalities are so different.:iconseychelles-plz:Kind of wish they got along more. Although, they're a lot better than they used to be. I can tell Rosie just wants to play with Tasha most of the time, but Tasha sees it as: "Oh no! She's going to kill me!" Sometimes, Rosie gets irritated herself, and just walks away.:iconkikuplz:I think if she really wanted to harm her, she would. Today's National Banana Split Day. I think of this as really decadent, for big occasions, or for tragic events. It was one of the first things I had right after my mom passed away. Cheered me up a bit.:icontinoplz:I haven't had it that often. I find it hard to understand one person eatting the whole thing by themselves, as well.
This is my wallpaper for August. It features the main characters from Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge, or Tanaka-kun is Always Listless. I just finished the series recently. It was surprisingly good. The colors, art, Tanaka's 'listless' personality, the opening song, etc. was oddly calming. There were quite a lot of surreal moments, too. Tanaka tries to use as little energy as possible, and often falls asleep. He's the one on the far right. Shiraishi, who's 2nd from the right, has a big crush on Tanaka. She also tries her best to seem cool, because she was ridiculed in the past for her appearance and personality. She loves to make macaroons, and Oota loves them. (He loves sweets.) Oota is seated in the middle. He helps Tanaka often, and Tanaka relies on him a lot. They're extremely close friends. In fact, Tanaka mentioned he'd like to marry someone like him. Since he's so helpful, smart, and has a good heart. Echizen is 2nd from the left. She used to be a 'yankee' or gang member. Her personality seems to be the opposite of what the stereotype is for someone like that. She's really into cute things, but tries to deny it. She has somewhat of a crush on Oota. They were childhood friends, too. Miyano is on the far left being lifted up by Echizen. They're extremely close friends, too. Since Miyano is so short, and seems at times immature, Echizen thinks she's cute. Miyano might have a crush on her. She came out to Tanaka and Oota, and said her true love is Echizen. Some people think she just means they're very close, but we don't really know. I kind of feel like those people are just uncomfortable thinking that a character might be lesbian...Which is very sad. She considers herself as Tanaka's apprentice. She really admires him, but she's one of the most energetic characters. Kind of the complete opposite of him. She's also trying to help Shiraishi get together with Tanaka. At times, cheering on the sidelines. All of the characters are very likeable. I also found a bunch more wallpapers from shows that aren't from the ones I usually find and use.:la:This seemed like the most August-like to me.

My beagle calendar has a very proud looking beagle at what looks to be a beach. They also give tips on caring for them. Things like exercise, taking care of their coat, teeth, nails, and feeding them. They also have a pretty lame beagle joke at the bottom.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:I will spare you from the lameness of it.

My Jewish calendar features a parochet or an arc curtain. The arc is what stores the Torah when not in use. They can be very beautiful, and the curtains can be as well. This one had an anonymous maker; made out of velvet, copper, cotton, and metal threads; Harlingen, Netherlands; 1898. This one has silver stars of David at the top. 2 golden looking (the color is used throughout most of the design along with little bits of red, blue and white) lions with crowns are guarding a banner with another lion within it. Just above that banner there's a huge crown. Below the banner with the lion there's another banner with Hebrew. I think it reads as keter Torah. Keter means crown. The lions have an interesting stylized border around them, and there's another star within it. There's a lot of Hebrew on the bottom part. I can't read the Hebrew on there too well. There aren't and vowels, and some words are squished together. The Torah doesn't have vowels written out in it, and they don't have them written out in Israel either. You kind of have to memorize the words beforehand.:iconpolandplz:It's even harder when it's stylized. Cool to see such an old one. Also, it has a green background. It also features a pin, it has an anonymous maker, made out of metal, Netherlands; 1965-70. It has a huge star of David, 3 pieces of wheat (I think), olive branches, more Hebrew (without the vowels) at the bottom, and it looks like a giant globe is in the background. Looks cool.:iconchibigilbertplz:The last one they feature is a Torah mantle (goes over the Torah), had an anonymous maker, made out of velour and embroidery; Leiden, Netherlands; 1850-75. Seems like it's still in very good condition. It has more lions with crowns, the main 10 commandments (or mitzvot, we have 613 altogether) on tablets, and there's more writing below that. Has a lot of branches in the design, too. The background is red, and the design looks like it's golden in color. 

The month-long holidays are: National Panini Month, National Peach Month, National Sandwich Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. Not very many this time.

I still have a pain in my side.:iconlietplz:Although, it seems like a deeper and slight burn type of pain. It gets worse at certain times of the day. I can't sleep very well with it. Even if the pain is somewhat manageable, I feel like something is flopping around on the inside.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:So, I feel very uncomfortable sleeping on my fave side. If I try to sleep flat with my back on the bed, it feels really strange, too. So, I can only stay on my left side to be the most comfortable. However, I tend to toss and turn when I sleep, and end up in those other positions by the morning. So weird. I don't think whatever is going on is normal...:iconwtfukplz:

It got pretty bad last Saturday night, and I went to Urgent Care the next day. Since that's what my gastroenterologist told me to do. It was hard to understand the doctor that saw me. He had a very thick German accent. He didn't even check out the area that hurt the most.:iconusaplz:He just lightly tapped on my kidneys from the back. He thought I might have an infection with one of them. So, he gave me antibiotics (like they do when they aren't sure what's really going on), and naproxen. Naproxen is the same as ibuprofen. (That's what they told me.) I was told to stay away from that, and only take tylenol. It could disrupt my system otherwise. The doctor and the pharmacists looked confused when I brought up I had IBD and that I'm not really supposed to be taking that.:iconnataliaplz:Also, on other questions I had related to it. Most antibiotics make me feel sick after a couple of days being on it. I already started to feel sick a day after starting it. Have had a huge pressurized headache that has been off and on for the last week or so. Not sure if related to that, but yay if it is!:iconhanatamagoplz:Finished the antibiotics a couple of days ago.

My gastro told me that as soon as she got the results from the blood tests, before the ones I got at Urgent Care, she'd email me back about what to do next. It's been a little over 2 weeks since I got those test results, and I haven't gotten an email from her yet.:iconromanoplz:

She had scheduled a phone appointment for last Tuesday. Noticed this as soon as I got home from Urgent Care. I thought maybe that she was going to check up on me, because I went there. Also, maybe she needed time to research what to do next for me. These apparently were too optimistic.:iconohboyamericaplz:I waited 2 hours past the time she set, and the appointment disappeared at that point. 

These are phone appointments she schedules herself, it's not like I schedule them. For the one before this, she was 45 minutes late. That should have told me something, too. She seemed genuinely concerned after that call, though. 

I have a feeling that unless it's super bad, like it was when I was being diagnosed, she doesn't want to do anything.:iconinsultedplz:Watching a webinar and reading about it, they've said that this can be life threatening. Part of the treatment is to, at the very least, keep up with maintenance or make sure it doesn't get worse in any way. Only through that does it become more of a possibility to go into remission, and stay there. It's a major part of it, and she doesn't seem to care. Also, my inflammation going up by 12 mm/hr seems like something. (Granted, not astronomical, but something.) I could see if it was just by 2 to 4 or something, because for a while it was moving between those increments. (Also, they don't list a margin of error, so that must be incredibly small itself.) That should have warranted an email in that way.:iconsighingplz:

So, I emailed my primary about all this on Sunday. I remember bringing up that I wasn't really sure about my gastro before, but I wanted to give her a chance and see if she really isn't good for me. She had referred me to someone at the time, but it was a just in case thing at the time. I asked her if there was someone in Tacoma that I could see, instead of Seattle this time. It might be easier to get to. There are apparently no gastros around locally. They're all in big cities around us. (However, there might be a gastro center about 20 minutes away, out of network. I might be able to ask if I can be referred there.) I remember bringing up the issues I had with my gastro at the time with my primary, and she said all of them will probably be like that. This time I hoped she'd think differently.

I also asked if I can have some sort of imaging done on both sides of my abdomen. Maybe the entire thing. Imaging, like ultrasound, x-ray, etc. I can feel a new thing happening on my left side. The pain started on my right. This new pain seems lower in my abdomen, though. I've never had my small intestines looked at through imaging. Many people with IBD do almost right after the endoscopy/colonoscopy. Just to make sure nothing is up with that area. It's the only way to really tell. So, another thing my current gastro didn't really do like she should. Anyways, if I could get the imaging done, it could put my mind at ease. Even if it showed something. In fact, if it showed something, I might feel better. Like it's not just an 'infection' and I'm not just imagining it. Then, my primary could see what to do from there if it's not really related to my IBD, and if it is I could see the new person she'll hopefully recommend. Hopefully, something can be done.

She responded on Monday, which was quicker than I expected. It was very short, and some words were entirely capitalized, which felt odd.:iconchibiswedenplz:She said she forwarded my 'concerns' to the GI team in Seattle for them to respond to my very 'specific' questions. Apparently there isn't a gastroenterology department in Tacoma. (At least, through Group Health.) It ended with that she feels confident that the Seattle 'team' will be able to schedule a follow-up for me with another provider. The first name at the end of the email was different than the one I know, and what's listed. Same last name. So, it went from Mary Beth to Bess. Something doesn't seem quite right.:iconchibijapanplz: I thought she'd at least request the imaging to be done.

The Seattle gastro department left a voicemail message this morning, saying I should call them back to set up an appointment with someone new. I'll ask about a possible referral to that place that's 20 minutes away, instead. If I can't, at least I asked. I might ask about the imaging, too. Either way, at least I'll get a new gastro soon.:iconranranruuplz:

Sold 11 copies of Alliance during Smashwords' July promo. 3 of them in one day. So, that was at least one good thing.:iconheroamericaplz:I think my 2nd novel is better, so I'm a bit surprised they went for that one. Although, with the coupon, the 1st novel was free. Maybe they'll tell their friends about it? So, in a way, it's another form of exposure. Also, promoted my 2nd novel a bit through a horror group on Goodreads. We'll see what happens with that. 

I'm somewhat thinking about having either novel free for a while, and switch to the other being free for a bit. When I'm ready to switch them, maybe have them at lower prices than they were before, and just increase them over time. Might get people interested first this way. I think they say people can and do switch strategies for promoting their books over time. Makes sense. I'm also thinking of writing a sequel to Alliance. Not sure if I mentioned this before. I still have to go over more of the first one. Maybe I'll make a revised version of the first one after I go through it? It might be better this way. We'll see.

I had a lot of Jdramas on hold, because those shows weren't entirely available when I started watching them. I noticed most, if not all, were available now. So, I went through some of them. With a couple of those shows, I had watched everything but the last episode. That really irked me at the time.:iconprussiaplz:I started with those. 

Those were Smoking Gun, and 11 Nin mo Iru or Odd Family 11. Both of these were pretty good. Smoking Gun had a very bittersweet ending, and 11 Nin mo Iru had a lot of bumps but ended up with a good ending. Still kept it's humor up until the end, too. 

Next, was Jigoku Sensei Nube, or Hell Teacher Nube. It's based on a manga, and is very campy. I think the campiness is kind of part of its charm. Even the background music was over-the-top and funny. (Sometimes with random yells.) It had a good ending, as well.

S- Saigo no Keikan, or S- The Last Policeman, was really good. Almost like a good action-packed thriller-type movie with each episode. The last episode had a lot of twists and turns. Many things that were suspected were revealed. The 'villain' they were after for so long was ruthless. Not nearly as ruthless as the actual main one. With the way it ended, they could easily make another season. Probably won't happen, though.

Finished watching Bitter Blood, as well. Much better than I expected. Although, sometimes the bickering between the dad and son detective duo got out of hand. It got irritating during those moments. The rest of it was good, though. The theme song was really catchy and fun. The background music was pretty much spot on. Although, sometimes they made it sound more dramatic than what was actually happening. 

Delicious Gakuin, or Delicious Academy, was also one that I picked up again. I'm close to finishing it. Any show related to food immediately grabs my attention.:iconfrancisplz:The students have cooking battles against their teachers every week. Both the teachers and students aren't allowed to go off campus, until they win the most battles, 'graduate', or the principal somehow decides to let them go. Nobody has actually seen the principal. It's kind of dark that way. It's also based on a manga, if I remember correctly. A lot of the ones that are based on manga tend to be campy or exaggerated. This one's not as exaggerated/campy as some. It does make me a bit hungry after watching each episode. There's a theme to each battle, too. Most of the teachers have different cuisines they specialize in. One specializes in French cuisine, another Japanese, another Chinese, another Spanish, and I think the main teacher is the one that is used to cooking in many different styles. The judges seem to be random, and from various different countries. Some are harsh, and some are just plain weird. I think the teachers and students are pretty much tied with the battles at this point. It's interesting, and would be even more interesting to see what happens when people finally get out, and how they go about it. They haven't explained that too well. 

Also, went back to Call Center no Koibito, or Call Center of Lovers. I had only watched the first 2 episodes before, so there's quite a bit left. It's really good. I'm not exactly sure where the 'Lovers' part of the name comes from.:iconchibirussiaplz:It's about a group of people who work for a call center. They get the customers who are calling about complaints, and can't easily be dealt with. It becomes more than just apologizing for a product not working the way it should. Like the most recent one I watched, was about a woman with dementia, and how the 'new' flashlight she just bought wasn't turning on. It was really a 16 year old model, and they had to go digging to find the original manual for it. It was a hand cranked one. The woman was scared, in the dark, and didn't know where she was. Her daughter was desperately looking for her. Eventually, the people at the call center were able to talk her through it, and get the flashlight pointed towards the sky. This way her daughter could find her more easily. The flashlight had a penguin design that was reflected in the light when you turned it on. Kind of cool. 

Getting close to the end of Omukae Desu, or Welcoming Death. It's been surprisingly good. Sachi isn't as annoying as I thought she would be. It's interesting that Madoka is slowly getting in touch with his feelings. He seems to think that feelings don't matter most of the time. Some think he's robotic and cold this way. In reality, he just doesn't know how to express how he feels about things. There are a lot of familiar actors in this one, too. 

Started watching the anime Mob Psycho 100. The series is created by the same mangaka that created One Punch Man. It has a lot of the same type of humor, which is great. It took me a little while to get used to this one, because I'm not used to that type of art style. It's different than the way One Punch Man was. Mob's psychic powers are extremely powerful, kind of like Saitama's extremely powerful physical strength. Some say they're 'overpowered'. It seems no one can stand a chance against them. In fact, the only villain that lasted longer than a few seconds during a fight with Saitama, was the last one and he was an alien. At least, in Mob's world the towns have actual names. Unlike how in Saitama's each town has an English letter to it. Like A town, B town, etc. I think there were zone numbers, too. In Mob's world you get town names that seem to be related to food in some way, like Salt Town. Instead of expressing certain emotions, Mob's psychic powers go up by a certain percentage. Like if he's really angry, it might go up to 45%. It only increases until he reaches 100%. He only tries to use it against the supernatural, or when he's in a life or death situation. Even when he's at 0% he's really strong with it. Sometimes his psychic powers are so powerful, they kick in when he doesn't want them to. Like while eating, he'll accidentally bend and break dozens of pieces of silverware. Or, ropes around him will suddenly untangle. His brother is very jealous of him and his abilities. It seems the only downside to Mob is that he's not physically strong. That's why he also joined a club that improves one's body. They took him in like one of their own. They're actually kind of cool. 

Yesterday, I finished watching Sakamoto desu ga, or Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto. It was pretty good and funny. I wouldn't say it was on the level of being hilarious, because I've seen much funnier ones. (Like, Gintama or One Punch Man.) Pretty entertaining to say the least. The last episode was a lot more emotional than I expected it to be. There's a lot of speculation by the fans about what was really going on, too. Most of them are pretty depressing, and deeper than the anime appeared to be. Although, everything Sakamoto did had a reason behind it. I'm not sure I'd go along with what some of them are saying. They make sense in some instances, but part of me is thinking if it were true, how could he physically do all the things he did. Also, the remark about how he only regretted not knowing how many holes were in the nurse's room's ceiling, meant to me that he thought the person he was talking to was eavesdropping while Sakamoto was in there earlier. Not that he was used to hospitals. Also, even though the nurse was out, the door was open. So, he only got the first aid kit stuff, and took care of his wound. Nothing much to read into that. That's only on those points, though. The alien theory makes sense, too. I don't know. Supposedly there might be another episode that's turned into a special that'll be out in a couple of months. Other people were saying that this was all that was in the manga, so I don't know if I believe there will be something more like that. 

Recently, I got a 'lucky' bamboo plant. It seemed like an interesting thing to get. Haven't killed it yet, either.:iconberwaldplz:Seems to be absorbing water faster every day. I'm not sure if the vase it came in will actually end up being big enough. The tag says it can get up to at least 3 feet tall. It can get up to 8 feet at most. Not sure what I'll do if it gets that tall...:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:It's short right now. It seems there's a very short piece, and one piece that's quite bit taller in relation to it. It's sprouting leaves, too. I have it on top of my tall dresser. (Rosie can't touch it this way.) I let quite a bit more sunlight in than usual, have been giving it plant feed once a week, and try to keep the water a little above the pebbles. It'll be interesting to see how much it grows, how long I can keep it alive, and what it ends up looking like.

I also went through the old Jewish cookbooks my mom had. She had a lot, and I don't think she used half of them.:iconswissplz:I only wanted to keep about 3 of those. I decided that with some of the others, I just wanted a small amount of the recipes. I didn't like all of what was in those cookbooks, and they're big and heavy. With some of them, I only wanted 3 of the recipes. I think I ended up finding 30 recipes in total that I wanted from those. I'm going to scan and print out those 30 recipes, and then put those cookbooks on the 'to go' pile where the others are. Some of the ones I didn't care for at all, had some really messed up and hard to read designs. Also, way too wordy, or had like 40 pages talking just about a specific region before each section.:iconhongkongplz:Too much for me. (A little intro is ok, though.) With the scanned copies of the ones I wanted, it'll save up shelf space, and it'll be easier to get to immediately. The cookbook my mom used for when she made challah, is one of those with the weird layouts. I wouldn't be able to follow it like that. So, reluctantly, I'm not keeping it.:iconwtfromanoplz:I might find a better challah recipe. In fact, with the ones I'm keeping, I think there were a couple of challah recipes in them. I could try those in the future when I want to start making challah. It'd be interesting if they turn out better than what I remember hers tasting like.:iconfeelingfullplz:I'm actually getting more curious about making my own. I know homemade is usually better than store-bought, might be cheaper, and would be fresher.

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.