Well, hope everyone has a great year!Can't believe it's 2012! Crazy! It's also National Buffet Day, the Rose Bowl, Tournament of Roses Parade, and National Cream Puff Day. A lot of holidays going on.
This is my wallpaper for the month. It's Gintama themed, with Gintoki and Hijikata celebrating New Year's. There's a traditional Japanese decoration in the front for the New Year, called Kadomatsu or literally pine decoration. They're normally placed in pairs in front of homes to welcome ancestral spirits or kami of the harvest. They're considered temporary housing for these 'spirits' until January 7th. It depends on the region, but they're usually made of pine, bamboo, and sometimes ume tree sprigs. Which represent longevity, prosperity, and steadfastness. After January 15th these are burned to appease the kami and release them. Theirs has a little Justaway in it. (A running gag in the series.) Just like a lot of other places around the world, there's a lot of drinking. (Hence, the sake cup and bottles next to Gintoki.) They don't seem too enthused about it though.
For my Jewish calendar, it's a challah cover from Israel made in 1930-1940. The smaller pic's of another challah cover from 1875-1900, they don't know who made it or where it originated from. Kind of cool.
Here's the month-long holidays: Apple and Apricots Month, Artichoke and Asparagus Month, International Creativity Month, National Get Organized Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Soup Month, Oatmeal Month, Tubers and Dried Fruit Month, National Candy Month, National Meat Month. Some are important causes, some are to make you think and appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. This month has a lot of them!A lot of fruit/vegetables for this month that I really like. Soup, tea, and oatmeal are pretty awesome, too.
Things got crazy the last week or so. I didn't have much time to post. I got my last 2 presents for Hanukkah. Earth by Jon Stewart, and another book called Japanese Sentence Patterns for Effective Communication by Taeko Kamiya. Earth has been hilarious so far!It's basically a textbook for aliens about the planet. Supposedly, humans have died off, so this is like a handbook for what we were, the animals that were here, etc. It goes over evolution, life, our anatomy, cultures, religions, hygiene, etc. The second book will help me a lot with conversation stuff.And, maybe reinforce some things. So, all and all, I've had some awesome presents!A pen set, a clarinet stand, Earth, and the Japanese study book.
Last Tuesday, we went to a funeral service for a congregant. Didn't know him all that well, but he was a big part of the community.He was feeling so good just before it happened, too. So, it was a bit more of a shock. It was a nice and sweet service. There was a short service at the shiva later that night. Shiva's a week-long mourning period for close relatives (wife, daughter, son, etc.) of the person who passed away. Other people drop by their house during this time, bring food, comfort them, share memories, etc. People shared memories of him after the short service, and then we all broke away to chat with people and eat. There was a lot of people!
Got into cooking a bit again! The top's a salmon chowder. Probably won't make anything out of that cookbook again.But, it was interesting. It tasted pretty good, it's just the directions are weird, and uses what was available in the mid '60s. Things have changed. Probably would have been better with fresh, instead of canned, salmon. But, at least I got some experience with it.
Middle's an Irish bread and butter pudding with brandy sauce. It was sooo good!Instead of golden raisins, I used dried cranberries, regular raisins, and chopped up dried apricots. Used brandy, instead of whiskey, in the sauce because we didn't have any. Turned out really tasty though! The brown sugar on top was a nice touch.
Bottom's a Finnish sausage sauce or Makkarakastike, with pasta and green beans. This was really good!It's an online recipe from a Finnish site. Might make some more things from it. It uses just a tad too much pepper, and was a bit thicker than I expected. If I do it again (which there's a high possibility), I'll just use less pepper and add some water. I used smoked turkey sausage, since we don't eat pork.
Been off and on with practicing my clarinet last week. But, I plan to get on top of it everyday again!I sound so much better when I do. I was going to do a Hanukkah-themed short story, but never got around to it. Maybe next year?Also, didn't get very far with my Hanukkah-themed drawing. Might go back to it sometime in the future.
I did get around to going over some Hanukkah-themed kanji. 戦 or battle, war, fight, to shudder, shiver, shake, flutter, or struggle. It can be pronounced as ikusa, ononoku, soyogu, tatakau, wananaku, or sen. It all depends on how you use it/the context. 焼 or bake, burning, grill, frying, roasted, sunburnt, flame, blaze, sear, flare, char, kindle, or incinerate. Pronounced as yaki, yaku, yakeru, shou. Some people might be familiar with teriyaki or yakiniku, it's used with those. Teriyaki literally means sunshine or luster grilled. It refers to the sauce, that should be shiny or have some luster. Yakiniku literally means grilled meats or barbecue. Kind of of fun. War and fried foods have a lot to do with Hanukkah (not that we promote the war part, but it's there), so this was a nice little fluff thing for me.
We didn't go to our friends' place this year for New Year's Eve. Just had a quiet party with the 3 of us, snacking and watching TV most of the night. As a 'dinner' Mom and I had some spanakopitas (Greek spinach pies), and Dad had a pot pie. We all had some spring rolls with it. Later, we had chocolate covered raisins, pickled herring with some small rye bread slices, potato chips with some dip, garlic stuffed olives, and probably something else that's not coming to mind. Don't get a chance to snack on junk food like that too often, so it was nice.Also, watched the local fireworks on TV.
Found out that we have a distant relative on my father's side that lives pretty close to us. Both my parents are into genealogy, so it was interesting when this person contacted my dad. They're into it too, and they've been comparing 'notes' so to speak. Apparently, I might be part Dutch. Somehow that seems really weird to me. Cool, but weird.
Watched Rio. It was cute, but a little too kid-like for me. Also, realized they had one of my fave horror movies, Black Sheep, on demand. So, we watched it. It's a New Zealand movie. A lot more raunchier/gruesome than I remember.But, I still like it. It's hilarious at times, too. I mean the premise itself is funny. New Zealand's a big sheep country, and to have them go on a zombie-like murderous rampage through part of it, is just perfect.Even funnier if the main character is afraid of sheep to begin with.
deviantART fave: Original Character MEME I did not make this! It's an interesting meme. You show the oc you're going to work with, then draw their love interest, best friend, powers, pets, etc. in other bubbles. Sounds like I can develop a character a bit more with this.