Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rosh Hashanah 5777!


Rosh Hashanah, our New Year, started Saturday night. Rosh Hashanah literally means: Head of the Year. It's the year 5777 on the Jewish calendar. People tend to eat sweet things for a sweet year. Apples dipped in honey are one of the most recognizable sweets that we eat. My mom used to make a honey cake. It was amazing!:iconchibispainplz:It also had coffee grounds, citrus peel, chocolate chips, and a few other things. Couldn't taste the coffee, especially because it seemed like such a complex flavor. It probably just added to the depth. I wanted to make it this year, but I kind of forgot until Saturday morning.:iconhanatamagoplz:It probably would have been best to have it made the night before. Also, I'm still in quite a bit of pain, so something like that would've probably taken a lot out of me. I could probably still make it during the rest of the year. 

I also love teiglach. It's another sweet eaten during the holiday. It's usually more of an east coast thing. Many people over here didn't know what it was when either my mom or I talked about it at either local synagogue. Mom used to make it, and I've made it a couple of times. It's surprisingly easy. It's little nuggets of dough cooked in a honey and citrus peel sauce with walnuts sprinkled on top. The citrus can be either orange or lemon. I think I liked the orange one the most. Turns into something similar to a candy. Very messy, but good. I remember one year Buster, our beagle, decided to tip a platter of it onto the floor.:iconawkwardplz:That took a long time to clean up, and was disappointing. He liked it, though. Maybe I'll make that sometime in the near future, as well.

Also, there's a round challah. It symbolizes the life cycle, and can be interpreted as a crown. Many people dip it in honey, too. Same symbolism with that as eating the sweets. Some people have fish or goat (I think) heads, to symbolize the 'head' of the year. Some families have stuffed foods, to symbolize a year full of good things. Interestingly, Dad made Armenian stuffed peppers/tomatoes the first night of it. Reminded me a lot of when Mom made them. People also might have pomegranates. The pomegranate is said to have 613 seeds, corresponding to the 613 mitzvot or commandments. (A mitzvah is more like a good deed, too.) There are many more symbolic foods. Since many can be customary/traditional to certain areas around the world (maybe even just within families), I think I hear about 'new' ones every year. Really fascinating. The holiday ended last night

However, Rosh Hashanah is just the start of the High Holy Days. Including this holiday, it's 10 days long, and goes until the end of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur is also known as the Day of Atonement. It's the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar. (RH comes in second.) You're supposed to fast. No food, water, gum, etc. for 25 hours. Except if you are: elderly, pregnant, have a medical condition that requires meds, a little kid. If these people fast, it's considered a sin. I fall under this group. I can't go without my meds, and food also is important to keep me balanced with what I have. Almost every med I take says to take it with food, too...:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:If I don't eat the way I should, it does affect my IBD. I usually feel guilty that I can't fast. It's a weird conflicting feeling when you know if you do fast, it's a sin. I like that there's this 'rule', though. It goes with the idea that life trumps everything else.:iconthailandplz:We can still make the holiday meaningful, too

Went to RH services online this time. It was with Central Synagogue in New York City. They live-stream every service they have. Even the ones for Shabbat. It's a huge synagogue, too. Beautiful inside. They acknowledged people who were watching the live-stream during the beginning services of RH. They even had a video of people from around the world, that watch, wishing people a shana tova. Shana tova lit: Good Year. It's a greeting for the holiday. There's also l'shana tova (for a good year), which is short for: l'shana tova tikatev v'taihatem. It means: May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year. Actually felt like I was there that way.:iconheroamericaplz:People can even listen to it on their phones. There's a hotline to call into. It's great for people who are immunosuppressed (like me), stuck in a hospital, in a place where there isn't a synagogue anywhere near them, etc. They say they reach people from over 100 countries. They have captions in multiple languages for the live-stream, too. 

The only thing I usually feel odd about is how many rabbis they have. They have, what looks to be 4, and one of those is like a retired rabbi that occasionally comes in to sing or give a very quick sermon. (His singing voice is amazing!:la:) Or, even the 2 cantors that are up with them. It seems a bit crowded on the bima.:icontinoplz:They also have several people from the board and guests of the community, sitting next to them up there, too. I'm mainly used to one rabbi and one cantor up there...Also, not used to a choir with a bunch of other musicians, but it sounded nice. Normally, the cantor might play an instrument or two for Shabbat. Occasionally, there might be one or two other musicians that play during High Holy Day services. It's never like what Central had. The main rabbi is interesting, too. She's one of the first, I think, Asian-American rabbis. She has Korean ancestry. She's a convert. I think she said she converted early in life. People would tell her things like: she couldn't be a Jew if she was Asian, she didn't 'look' Jewish (whatever that means...I've had the same thing said to me:iconwtfukplz:), she's not Jewish because her mom isn't Jewish, etc. The thing is those people didn't know that there are Jews from all over the world, including Asia. She talked about this in the first night's sermon or drash, and said that it wasn't very Jewish of them to say. We're told to love and treat the stranger as yourself, as you were strangers in a strange land. So, to treat others like that, let alone a fellow Jew, goes against it.:icongermanyplz:I like a lot of the general things she brings up, too. Has a great singing voice, as well. I'll 'attend' their services for Yom Kippur.

Yesterday was also National Taco Day. Tacos are great!:dummy:I can't really have the normal corn tortilla (there's the flour kind, at least), or any other product of corn in it. It still is really good, even without that stuff. I can still have the meats (like beef, chicken, fish), cheese, light seasoning, some salsas (not too hot, because of my gut...), some vegetables, etc. Corn upsets my gut. I've found the 'harder' forms of it are the most difficult to digest. If I don't have it too often, I might be able to tolerate a tamale. That has a softer form of corn. I think I've read that things like corn are hard to digest normally, because of how hard the fibers are. They can scrape up an already affected and inflamed digestive system, too. (Like with IBD.) That in turn makes it more inflamed and painful. Many people have problems with corn. Yet, it's so good!:icondesperateplz:I miss popcorn, too. Especially kettle corn. The popcorn with salt and sugar. I can't have certain sausages that I love, either...For some reason, my system has such a hard time digesting those, that my belly fills up with air.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:I end up feeling like I'm going to burst at some point like a balloon. It's different than with the corn. I should really pinpoint some of them more. I know for sure beef summer sausage has this effect. I think others do, too.

It was also Kanelbullens Dag or Cinnamon Bun Day. The cinnamon bun apparently originated in Sweden. It's a Swedish holiday that started in 1999. I love cinnamon buns!:iconinloveplz:They're fun to eat. The Swedish version is a bit different than the Americanized version. It has cardamom in the dough. They tend to not have the heavy icing, either. Instead, they sprinkle it with a little sugar, or a very light glaze. They also don't fry them like they do in America.
This is my wallpaper for October. It's Atsushi from Bungou (Literary) Stray Dogs. I try to pick more contemplative, or more serious, wallpapers with the month that the High Holy Days fall in. It's usually either September or October. We have a lunar calendar, so it seems to move around on the solar calendar. I might change it when Sukkot rolls around to one that's more Halloween-like. I love Halloween, too. Anyways, Bungou Stray Dogs was really good. Every character was based either on a famous author, their work, or a character from those works. (Sometimes all 3.) Very fascinating idea for a show. Most of them have some sort of power. One of them doesn't, but has remarkable deduction skills. Atsushi is based on a Japanese author of the same name who lived from 1909-1942. His ability to turn into a white tiger is based on his most famous work, Sangetsuki or the Moon of the Mountain. They call it Beast Beneath the Moon in the anime. The main character in that one is a scholar who goes crazy in his quest to become a great poet, and then transforms into a tiger. A 2nd season of it starts soon. I didn't think it'd be so soon, but that's awesome!:iconawwwplz:

My beagle calendar has a beagle standing in a field of leaves. In a similar pose to what Buster used to do when something caught his attention. The blurb this time is about heroic tales of beagles. The fun fact mentions that beagles are sometimes used as therapy dogs, because of their gentle demeanor and funny personalities. 

My Jewish calendar features a Torah shield, made by Koninklijke Begeer, out of silver, from Alkmaar, Netherlands; 1878. Still looks like it's in good condition compared to how old it is. It has the tablets with the main 10 commandments, trumpets and shofars coming out its sides, a plaque below the tablets with a lot of Hebrew that I can't read, a big crown at the top also with Hebrew I can't read (there are no vowels, and I can't make out those words without them), and a floral design of things hanging from it. It looks like there are clouds behind the tablets. Cool effect. It's one of the cooler looking ones. It also features a Torah finial (finials sit on top of the Torah scroll's rollers), made by Pieter van Hoven, out of silver and gilt, Amsterdam, Netherlands; 1717. This one's even older, and still in great condition. At least, from the pic. There are bells around it, vines, a crown on top, and a spire on top of that. The last one that's featured is a tzedaka box (box for charity), has an anonymous maker, made out of iron and copper, Netherlands; 1900. Oddly, it's not as old as the others, and it looks more beat up. Might be a good sign that it was well used. It says something in Dutch on a small plaque on the side. There's also a number plate in it that has the number '84'. Don't know what that means, but interesting. It's rather plain besides that. 

The month-long holidays are: National Apple Month, National Caramel Month, National Chili Month, National Cookie Month, National Dessert Month, National Pasta Month, National Pretzel Month, National Seafood Month, American Cheese Month, Bat Appreciation Month, Corn Month, German-American Heritage Month, LGBT History Month, National Cookbook Month, Pizza Month, Sausage Month, Spinach Lovers Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. A lot of them this month. I'm part German, so yay!:iconranranruuplz:A part of my heritage is being celebrated. LGBT history is important, too. Asexual Awareness Week is towards the end of the month, so that'll be another good thing. 

I probably would have finished this post yesterday, but something was slowing my computer down. Turns out Google decided to try to get me to fill out a survey about this blog. Firefox kept blocking it. So, again, Google has somehow figured out a way to slow things down...:iconsighingplz:Since the survey popped up today, and I filled it out, things have been running much faster and smoother. Someone assumed it was a problem with the computer itself. Nope, it wasn't. I actually really like my computer. Things run so much better, most of the time, without Google products. I know Google owns Blogger, but it's just a site, not something like their browser or Google Earth. (That survey was rare.) I still also use their search engine, my gmail, youtube, etc. through my computer. I might even try using youtube more often on here, now that things are much better than they were. I usually look at youtube through my phone. So, we'll see. I also still use their browser on my phone, but that's a different thing.

Google also emailed me recently saying some of the links I listed came back with an error code, and may cause a bad visitor experience. Something like that. I like how they called me a webmaster.:iconseychelles-plz:I suppose I am for this blog. It doesn't like that I listed links (not very many of them) that had just http, and no 's' at the end. I kind of figured I'd get something like that from them. I mentioned in my last post that to go to those links, you can click them, and it'll redirect you to a page saying it can't find it within my blog. Then, just take out my blog's url in the address, and hit return or whatever and it'll go to those sites. Or, people can just search for those sites by using the names of them. I don't like that their new thing is they won't go directly to those sites unless they have that 's'. There are quite a lot of sites that haven't switched to that yet. That policy just started at the end of last month. I read somewhere that that will change soon. Like, they're upgrading the system. I hope so. 

I managed to get the 2 x-ray views done. It was pretty late, and no one was at the radiology check-in area. One of the receptionists at Urgent Care helped me out, and talked to someone who was in the radiology department. It was really quick. I hope something that's easily handled shows up. I want something to show up, because if it doesn't, it's even harder to pinpoint why I'm in so much pain. I asked if I could get the results, and they said the radiologist has to look at it first. My gastro might show me it to go over what's shown, and then I might be able to get a copy of the results. I still have to schedule the MRI. I'm kind of nervous about it, and the High Holy Days have been on my mind.:iconwtfromanoplz:I'll call them tomorrow. 

I also got the miralax, which I still hate, but am trying to take at least one dose a day. I think I remember her mentioning that it might be best to try for 2 doses, but I can only tolerate one right now.:iconlietplz:I also got a probiotic, like she recommended. This one is a gummy version. When I tried probiotics years ago, I got the huge chewable tablet ones. They fizzed in my mouth as soon as I started chewing. Kind of felt and tasted like candy. The gummy ones are interesting. They don't fizz, and pretty much taste and feel like the fiber gummies I used to take. I don't think I'll get tired of them, at least. Apparently, each dose has 500 million 'viable' cells. That's a lot. They apparently lie dormant in the gummy, and then once the stuff hits my intestines, they 'wake up'. Interesting. Hopefully my system doesn't kill them all off. 

I tried to get the levsin, which is supposed to be an alternative for bentyl, if that doesn't do anything. Read that it's more potent, too. Turns out my insurance doesn't cover it, and only 9 days is like almost $30. I can't justify in my head getting something that expensive.:iconhongkongplz:It may or may not work. Also, apparently there was a recent recall of it. So, I've decided to go back to the bentyl I still have, and occasionally have tylenol. I figured if bentyl makes me sleepy, and I'm still having issues with sleep, I might as well take it for that. It has helped with that a bit. The tylenol only takes the edge off when I have 'mild' pain. Doesn't do much at all when it's bad, which is quite often now. 

Started a new cheese of the month yesterday. Barely had much of the gorgonzola last month. Turned out I didn't like it...At least I tried it. This time, it's a Welsh cheddar. It's made inside caves. The last cheddar I had, I think, was from Ireland. This one's pretty good. It's a bit stronger/sharper. I'm not used to the sharper stuff, but that's ok. It seems to go well with mustard. 

Went to Costco to start our big monthly grocery shopping on Saturday. They had a big thing of madeleines, and a 5-pound box of Dutch butter cookies. Got both of them. Probably will take a while to get through both of them, but they're really good. Got a few other things we were totally out of. Also, got to taste their chocolate covered pumpkin seeds. It was surprisingly good. Went to Trader Joe's, which I haven't been to in a while. That's where I got the cheese. It was relatively cheap. Most of their international cheeses seem cheaper than many places. Also, got a broccoli and cheese quiche. Haven't had a quiche in a long time. 

Looked around a local market for a round challah. They normally have 2 different challahs for Shabbat. I usually like their bigger one. Anyways, I looked for them in the usual place, and they weren't there. Dad found a display for one of the brand's versions. Really cool that they had it on display.:iconfrancisplz:I didn't think they would, and that's probably why I didn't see the table of them at first. They've come a long way from when my mom tried to educate them...They had either plain or raisin, and I got the plain. It's nice and big. Comes from the same company that does the larger normal Shabbat ones.

I'm thinking of being a pirate for Halloween. Interestingly, going by my current measurements, I can fit into most brands' 'normal' sizes. Just to try them out, at least, would be interesting. When I was at my heaviest, I felt horrible that even the 'plus' sizes wouldn't fit, if they had it. So, this is like a new frontier for me.:iconchibihungaryplz:Also, the only time I really remember actually coming into contact with other aces, was at a Pride event years ago. (Not sure where.) I was scared of them, because a lot of them were dressed as pirates, and acted like them. This was before I knew I was ace. The pirate thing apparently came from a meme saying something like: Ace pirates: we don't need your booty. Then, people ran with it. (There are even jokes about how we'd be immune to sirens.) Reading about that kind of gave me the idea of being a pirate for Halloween. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to be before that, so why not? I was a pirate for Halloween when I was really little, so that will be interesting in that light, too.

I've been watching some of Pieces of Ace's vids on youtube. It's a group of aces who talk about ace-related things. They're from England. They started with just 3 guys, and I've noticed they have a girl added to it now. Which is good. 2 of the guys are engaged to each other (they're cute together), the other guy is aro/ace (aro is aromantic, which means he doesn't experience romantic attraction), and I'm not sure where the girl falls on the romantic spectrum but she's ace as well. I watched most of the first couple of episodes, and a couple of the most recent episodes. They've had some interesting topics lately. Things like fetish/kinks among the ace community, how family members feel about the person who's ace, and coming out stories. The fetish/kinks thing can be a bit weird for the community. We see it in a different way. Some consider it taboo, some are surprisingly really into it, some aren't really sure. For the family members one, they had the aro/ace one's brother show up, and talk about how he felt. Very interesting to hear his point of view. They also have people call, email, there's a chatroom, or text in during the show, since it's live-streamed. They have a site where they post surveys, and have recently created a forum on there. They used the anonymous survey to ask people about their fetish/kinks, and talked about it on air. The newest survey is about coming out. They'll read some of the responses next time, and that should be interesting, too. They usually end each broadcast with a cake tasting. They ask others, who are watching (or listening to the podcast version), to try a cake of their own and text/chat/etc. about it. It's been interesting to see what kind of cakes there are in England. For some of the ones they've tried, I've never heard of, but sound really good.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Revamped Blog!


Did a huge overhaul of this blog.:dummy:First time modifying it since I started it.:iconhanatamagoplz:Really needed it. When I started, I didn't know what it would turn into. Didn't expect much, and was somewhat unsure how long it would be active. 

Also, thought it would be interesting at the beginning, to have quotes as titles for posts. This morphed into song titles and holidays. It was better to me than possibly just repeating titles or having boring ones.:iconpolandplz:Plus, I could share some of the songs I found. For the holidays part, I thought it'd be fun to learn about food related ones, about my religious holidays, etc. I still like these ideas for titles. Doing the quotes made the title too long, that's why I stopped doing them.:icontinoplz:

The template was so old, blogger wasn't really supporting it anymore.:iconawkwardplz:So, I applied a new one. It's made in such a way I can add my own pics to the background in the future. Totally different color scheme, too. I made it a lot wider than it was before. I had one column on the right side for 'gadgets', now there are two. With one, things started to get crowded and long. With two, it seems more even and not nearly as lengthy to me. They have the option of adding a third column, but I think that would be overkill.^^;

I also changed my avatar, and cleared out my About Me info. The avatar is one I use with several other sites. Made it a while back (didn't make the actual image, just cropped and resized it), and have loved it since. It's Hong Kong as a kid from Hetalia. One of my fave characters, and didn't appear much from what I've watched and read. The avatar before that was a 'chibified' version of Katsura from Gintama. Gintama's my fave anime. Katsura's not necessarily my fave from it, but I liked the mood of it. I've made other avatars in the past (again didn't actually create the images), and haven't used some of them yet. Maybe I'll change it in the future. The info for that About Me section seemed too wordy and got in the way. I did update my info on that, and people can still click the 'view my complete profile' link in that section to see it. It's a lot more succinct, too. 

Changed the flag counter, too. It didn't restart, but the old code was outdated. This looks more simple, too. I like seeing where people are from when they visit.:iconheroamericaplz:

Apparently, Blogger has decided to do away with the 'link list' gadget.:iconwtfukplz:So, I made a new 'fave links' list using a text gadget. If the link doesn't have the 's' in https and someone clicks it, it will now look for the link within the blog. They think http isn't as secure. People can still go to those links after being redirected to searching the blog for it. Just take out the url for this blog at the beginning and search. You'll still get to it. You can also search by the name of each link I posted. It's only a few that are like that. Blogger has also changed the 'search' feature to only search within this blog. I kind of like that, though. 

I decided not to add some of the links I had before, and added some new ones. One of the ones that I'm not listing anymore was my Wordpress blog. I haven't gone back to it since 2009.:iconusaplz:So, it's not active. One day, I might go back to it. It was about exploring Japan. Its culture, music, language, food, movies, and more. It was a lot more extensive than I remembered, when I briefly checked yesterday. The idea of it is still interesting. 

I added a few links on Judaism. JTA is more like a news site. Aish is orthodox centered, but has some interesting stuff. Aish means fire. My Jewish Learning is more neutral in its affiliation. There's lots of interesting articles about Judaism itself. It has some news, there are recipes, and more. I'm Reform, so good to have a link to their main site. Although, I'm still leaning a bit towards Modern Orthodox Judaism...That's a different story. They also list synagogues that live stream their services. That's handy for someone like me who's immunosuppressed. Especially during the High Holy Days. 

Added AVEN to it, too. Might think about adding the Asexuality Archive. Although, I'm not a big fan of it.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:

Also, added PLM and CCFA. One's essentially patients sharing each others health info. You can record a lot of your test results, journal about how you're doing, make friends who are going through similar things, keep track of all your medical related stuff, there's a forum, etc. Pretty handy. I haven't been on there in a while, though. CCFA's a good resource for people who have IBD. They have lots of articles, webinars, a forum, videos, quizzes, and more. Just a giant hub of it. :iconchibigilbertplz:

I've also added direct links to my deviantART and Pinterest. That should be fun. I have a lot of art that I might not show in other places besides dA. Pinterest has a lot of interesting stuff. I'm getting more in touch with my 'style' fashion wise. There are some interesting recipes. There are a ton of other things that I pin. 

Updated my lists, too. Finished Fukigen na Mononokean or the Morose Mononokean. It was much better than I expected. I thought they'd address the special powers Ashiya suddenly had while in the Underworld for the first time. It was briefly, and he was very pissed off. Also, felt like there could easily be a 2nd season. So many other unanswered questions...Fuzzy was really cute!:iconchibihungaryplz:He was the first yokai or demon they exorcised, but he came back to basically be Ashiya's pet. He really cared for him. 

Finished reading The Forgotten by Faye Kellerman. It was pretty good. Didn't entirely like the ending, but I shouldn't say much about that, because I'll spoil it. Just in case anybody wanted to read it. The next one that I have of the series is Stone Kiss. Barely have gotten into this one. Luckily, it's also the next book in the series, so no skipping books this time!:la:I think I only have 2 more books of the series. 

Finished reading Tegami Bachi or Letter Bee. It had a very trippy end. It was pretty good. Felt like the manga would never end. I've watched both seasons of the anime as well. Very interesting series overall. 

Finished reading A+B or Angel+Blood. This one was extremely short. Could have gone on for a while, too. They introduced a couple of big characters, and ended it like that. Maybe it was axed before they got very far? It had a lot of potential. 

Almost done watching Servamp. Servamp is a combo of Servant and Vampire. It's better than I expected. The vampires were created by a human, and there's supposed to only be 7 of them. An 8th was made, though. (Not sure why yet.) All, except that 8th, have names that correspond to a 'sin'. The main one is Sloth aka Sleepy Ash. He's the oldest. These vampires have 'Eves' who are human. The Eves use them in battle. They're basically their slaves after they've made a contract. The vampires can turn humans who are on the brink of death into subclass vampires. They're not as powerful, but get enough of them, and they can do damage. The main vampires also turn into animals. Sleepy Ash turns into a cat, there's a hedgehog, there's a bat, there's a butterfly, etc. All 7 of the main, along with their Eves, are in a battle against the 8th vampire, Tsubaki. He has an army of subclasses, and I don't think he has an Eve. He's kind of crazy, and loves to kill humans. Some of the scenes he shows up in, it's raining blood. 

I might find some new emoticons in the future. It would've been great if Blogger had its own set.:icongermanyplz:Right now, I've been using some from dA. Getting kind of tired of them, though...We'll see. Might not be for a while.