Monday, April 21, 2014

7th Day of Passover!


The holiday technically ends when the sun goes down Tuesday night. People in Israel only celebrate for 7 days. The Jews in the 'diaspora' have a day longer. (The diaspora is Jews living everywhere except in Israel.) Some reform Jews only do 7. You don't technically have to stick to it that last day. But, people can be left with a dilemma.:icondontunderstandplz:One of my friends on facebook, who's a rabbi (and close in age to me), says it's like deciding between being the hero and continuing on; or getting that much closer to having bread. (According to him.) There have been years where we just do it for 7. I think there has even been a couple of years where we had a very difficult time just getting to the 5th day.:iconshockplz:I'm thinking of going the full 8 days. Although, facebook seems to be tempting me with the ads on the side and pages that I'm connected to. For some reason it's all about bread...:iconsighingplz:(Maybe they know?) I try to distract myself sometimes thinking that Passover food is really good. It is, but you start to crave the other stuff.:iconchibiswedenplz:

It's been a long time since my last post!:iconlietplz:Passover started the night of the 14th. Hosted my first seder at home. We ended up with the original 3 people that I invited. Which was just about right. If you have too many people there's a lot of side conversation, people can't hear each other, you have to cook more, plan things more, etc. With just the 5 of us it worked out well.:iconchibinitalyplz:I wasn't entirely ready when people started coming. They were like exactly on time. Which is good, but kind of made me a bit nervous not having everything set yet.:icontinoplz:But, they managed to talk amongst themselves, and asked me a few questions until we started. 

For all 3 people it was their first time going to a seder. So, that was interesting. They seemed to really enjoy it, and said it was an honor to be invited. I was going to have a playlist put together for it. But, the recordings were apparently very quiet, so I only had it for a few songs.:iconwtfromanoplz: 

For the roasted egg, I accidentally made the first one explode in the oven.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Interesting science experiment, yet frustrating at the same time. It just wouldn't get spots and crack like they say in the directions. The second turned out perfect. So, at least it worked with one. 

I used a ton of other eggs in prep for the holiday, as well. I managed to successfully make my mom's almond and cream torte.:iconeestiplz:I thought it would end up horribly. It uses 6 eggs. The only other ingredients were ground up almonds, sugar, whipped cream, and almond and vanilla extracts. (Added a few strawberries on top as a garnish, along with more slivered almonds.) Not much to it. It took a few hours to make, though.:iconseychelles-plz:It might have actually turned out better than I remembered it being.

Also made Passover popovers. (They're like dinner rolls, only kosher for Passover...So, they taste a bit different.) Did 2 batches, so that used 6 eggs as well. I was too tired to do anymore batches. I think it turned out just right, though. My charoset turned out better this time, too. It's a mixture of peeled then chopped up apples, crushed walnuts, grape juice (since I don't drink wine), and a little cinnamon. 

Made my favorite Passover granola, too.:iconchibihungaryplz:It has matzah farfel (little matzah chunks), honey, oil, crushed walnuts, raisins, and dried apricots. You mix up everything but the fruit, then bake it (stirring occasionally), and add the fruit at the end. It's so the fruit doesn't turn to stone. You can have any type of nut and/or dried fruit you want. I think I needed a touch more oil this time, because it was slightly more difficult to chip out every morning. It helps with keeping things from sticking too much. It still ended up awesome.:iconitalyplz:Far better than a lot of Passover cereals that are store-bought. They tend to taste funny, and as soon as you add milk it disintegrates or becomes very soggy. With this, it tastes almost like candy (sometimes better than the regular granola), and certainly keeps its structure. In fact the milk kind of helps with softening it a little so it's not rock hard when you bite into it.:iconusaplz:So, it works with the milk in other words. It's so good, I could probably have it at other times during the year.

I also hard-boiled a bunch of eggs. Some were for eating as kind of like an appetizer during the seder meal part. Also made it so I could make some egg salad sandwiches with matzah. I decided to use the horseradish sauce we just got from QFC in it, along with some relish like usual. It made it zingy, and was a very good addition.:iconheroamericaplz:More eggs were used for the matzah ball soup, which Dad made. They were really good, too. So, yeah, there was quite a lot of eggs. I was going to make potato kugel for the dinner, but at the time I didn't have anymore eggs. It's the only kind of kugel I'll eat. It's similar to a casserole. So, think potato casserole. The 'traditional' kugel has a weird taste to me.:iconnataliaplz:It's too sweet and has an odd combo. It's cold (the potato one is served warm), and has noodles, raisins, cottage cheese, sugar, and a few other things I can't remember. (I hate cottage cheese, which might be another reason why I don't like it.) 

The couple who were going to bring a salad forgot it at home. They had it prepared and everything.:iconohboyamericaplz:The other person I invited brought a jello with a few mandarin orange slices in it. I was weary as to if I could actually eat it.:icongermanyplz:I thought they'd bring a fruit platter, or even just a bunch of cut up pieces of any fruit. Fruit is great for dessert. She apparently had forgotten to tell us about it until she was about to leave early. We got 2 roasted chickens from the market, as kind of the main part of the dinner. We had gefilte fish at the beginning as well. (Just the jarred kind.) So, for the actual dinner part, aside from the beginning stuff, we just had chicken and popovers. Not very substantial.:iconkikuplz:Would've been better with the potato kugel and salad. Oh well. We had plenty of things to eat for dessert. I finally started the fruit slices tonight. Tonight I also had the first slice of the marble cake I love so much that we recently got from QFC. It was just as I remembered, really moist and tasty. 

Just as people were leaving our seder we noticed a commotion outside. There were roughly 6 unmarked cars with their lights turned low parked in a straight line from the stop sign in front of our house on. We saw a police officer outside of our neighbor's house across the street. I was kind of wondering if I should ask what's going on. But, everyone thought it might be a drug raid. Found out in a local newspaper that it might have been a 'criminal trespassing'. I wish I knew more about it...:iconpolandplz:It was kind of creepy. They stayed outside for a long time. Other than that, it seemed like a pretty good seder, if I do say so myself.:iconfrancisplz:

The next night's seder was at our friends' place. There were about 12 people. Quite a lot. One made me feel bad at the beginning by judging me a bit (I managed to quiet her), but the rest of the night seemed ok. One of the other guests seemed to be in her own world. I like her, she just seemed more out of it than usual.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:Had interesting conversations with the people around us. There was brisket, a vegetable bake thing (didn't care for it), salad (we brought it, but forgot the dressing), popovers, matzah ball soup, gefilte fish, and I think that was it for the meal. For dessert, we had a bunch of chopped up fruit, Passover cookies (their homemade kind is awesome!), chocolate, macaroons, and fruit slices. I think on Passover we tend to eat a lot of sweets...:iconhanatamagoplz:

The following day we spent in Seattle. Met one of dad's friends for a late 'lunch' or snack at a restaurant first. I was worried that I wouldn't find anything. But, I managed to get their potato skins appetizer. The skins actually have quite a lot of potato left on each one, and they're baked not fried. They don't use breading for it. It had like a garlic sauce on top of part of the potatoes, cheese on top of that, and some pico de gallo on top of that. It originally comes with black beans on the potatoes too, but I told them to leave it off. It tasted really good.:iconchibispainplz:It was nice to meet Dad's friend too. 

After that, we went to a friend's place. (We've known her for a while.) She's a pretty cool person. I met her brother who's trans. He's pretty cool too. We had some tea and macaroons as we chatted. She had the almond ones and red velvet ones out. I had never tried the red velvet ones before. They were pretty good. We decided to go to a local trans support group meeting after. We were, I think, at the time going to eat dinner there before we left. (We were a bit late.) But, that's ok. She said she doesn't go out for too long during Passover, since restaurants aren't technically pesadich (kosher for Passover). 

This support group has a break out session every other week. There's a group for trans men, trans women, gender fluid, allies, etc. I can talk to other allies, so I really like going to the break out ones. I mentioned my Gaia support thread for people in similar situations as me (having parents who are trans), and I didn't expect everyone to be so into the idea.:iconchibiaustriaplz:Even when we were doing the intros with the group as a whole before we separated into our groups, people were asking me a bunch of questions about it. Since everyone on Gaia just says 'Gaia', I forgot that the full name is Gaia Online.:iconrelievedplz:But, I also kind of thought they'd just find it, and realize that mistake. I'm thinking of going to that group's website, including another one's, posting the link and saying where it is, just so people know what it's under. I really thought people wouldn't be interested, because it's just a forum. But, I do know it can help people. Even just to know that there are others just like them. 

After group, we went with a bunch of other people to a Mexican restaurant for a late dinner. Probably one of the worst places to go to during Passover. I got their chicken salad. I thought it would just be a salad. It came in a tortilla bowl instead.:iconromanoplz:(Kind of like a tostada salad.) So, I tried my best to not eat around the edges. The chicken was really good, and was smoked. The salad part was just ok. It had lettuce, olives (I didn't expect them to be like the canned sliced black olives. Sounded like they'd be different), carrots, and nuts. The person who sat next to me on my right seemed a bit antisemitic.:iconhongkongplz:She was talking about her friend who's Jewish and 'of course' is into money. That alone was offensive, but she eventually referred to him as a derogatory term for a Jew. (I'm not typing it out...) It was so late, I had just finished talking to someone, and I couldn't believe my ears. It only sunk in when we were waiting for the ferry home. Even the people around us had looked uncomfortable. I had just talked to someone about Passover a little earlier, too. She apparently didn't hear it, though. It was kind of creepy. I suppose if I see her again, and she does it again, I'll give her a piece of my mind.:iconswissplz: 

On Thursday I noticed I had a few messages from one of the people that went to the seder. She's gluten intolerant, and I had told her during my seder that she could have the gluten-free matzah. (It's apparently not ok for me to have during the seder.) I forgot about it. The messages were asking for it and the shank bone I had for a Christian version of the seder. I gave her the gluten-free matzah, and told her that I'd feel uncomfortable giving the bone to her. It's about 12 years old, but we freeze it during the rest of the year. So, it's kind of petrified by now. I thought it might be too brittle/shatter easily if it was moved around too much. She was surprised at how old it was, because it looked new. It's interesting because it still feels a bit oily when it's left out on the seder plate during the whole thing. It's pretty cool. I'll probably continue to use it that way. A Christian version of a seder sounds very weird to me.:iconawkwardplz: 

I was feeling pretty exhausted by now, because almost every night of that week I went to bed super late. But, I luckily had a break from it all. We were thinking of going to a different support group on Friday, but realized it was every other one and they meet at the next Friday. So, I stayed home while Dad met with another friend. For Shabbat I had some of the leftover chicken cooked a little more in the orange sauce we got at QFC, and put it over chicken-flavored Passover couscous. It was really good, but there was a lot of competing flavors. The orange sauce also had some apricot and peach in it. It was pretty interesting and tasty. (Still have some of it left.) I had one of the last slices of the torte for dessert along with a couple of candies. Obviously had matzah in place of challah. (Not as great tasting.) Most of it ended up tasting pretty good.:iconthailandplz: 

On Saturday, we went to a social for people of the trans community in Seattle. (Trans community also encompasses allies. Although, there weren't too many at this one.) They apparently meet every Saturday for lunch. The places can change, and they said they sometimes move around to another place during one meetup. We went to another Mexican restaurant with the group. This one was much better. I had the steak and eggs with potatoes and onions underneath. The sauce was at the bottom. Normally it comes with tortillas, but I asked for it without. It was pretty good. And, I could eat it during Passover.:iconyayhanatamagoplz:After that the group went to a cafe. I didn't order anything. I was too full, and had a lot of tea at the other place. (I was full even though I only ate half of it. Made for a good meal the next day.) But, I at least got to talk to people. There was actually more people that showed up at the cafe. It was an interesting group, and we might go to more of them in the future. I like to be social, and some of them sound like they'd be good friends in the future.:iconchibisitalyplz: 

We were thinking about getting an iPhone for me on Sunday, but the mall was closed because it was Easter. I know some people don't follow a religion, so why not have them work and earn more money in the process? Kind of feels weird when you're of a different religion. I'm all for people celebrating their holidays, and it's really great. But, it feels like other people are forced to bend to their whim. I hope my friends and family who celebrate Easter had a great one, though. 

So, it was a wild yet fun ride this past week. I tried to get back into my normal exercise routine today.:iconberwaldplz:I got my morning sit-ups in for the day, and my afternoon 2-mile walk. I don't think I'll get to the second 2-mile walk, but I also did my laundry today. That has a bit of added exercise, plus it made it so I got dressed later than the rest of the week, which means less time to get out there. Oh well, at least I got one walk in. I think I'll get my evening sit-ups in. I decided to restart this week with 50 sit-ups both times. I think it's a good starting point for getting back into it. Tomorrow I'll get the 2 walks in. I have more of a chance to. It's fun when I get back into it. Feels good.:iconeduardplz:Also, went to bed earlier, and stuck with my usual early time to get up. That feels good, too.

In Fairy Tail, they decided to have one group compete in the final Grand Magic Games competition, and the other group set out to find and save Lucy. The one that's competing in the games has been awesome this round. Their leader is the ghost of the first Guild Master, Mavis. She's awesome. A very good strategist. Also, in this current round they have it as if you knock out the leader of an opponent's team, you get 5 points. Only Fairy Tail members can see Mavis. So, that's a good safeguard, too. The group that went to save Lucy found her, but fell into a trap and are now in a strange place nicknamed Hell. Apparently the princess who's the daughter of the king who created the games, willed them somewhere. She didn't seem too happy about it. So, it's getting exciting again. 

I went back to reading Toraneko Folklore. They finally updated the rest of the series (I think). So, I can finally finish it.:iconfinallyplz:I think it's been a very long time since I read it last, but I still remembered most of it. It's interesting. I still like the idea of it. I'll see how it progresses.

Wrote some more of the 7th short story of my nightmare anthology. I haven't written anything for it in a while. Felt good to get back into it. Might be getting close to the end of this one. I promoted my first book a bit on Gaia last night, and it seems like people are looking into it. Also, I finally came up with a better description for it.:iconranranruuplz:Posted it on facebook, too. Now it's up to 49 free downloads. If those people would buy it, it'd be awesome!:icondancingrussiaplz:I might look more into Amazon. It might go quicker on there. We'll see.

Played my clarinet. It's been a while since I played last. It wasn't too bad, but it sounded like it had been a while. Sometimes I don't pick it up for a while, and I come back to it I sound better than I did before. Other times, not so much. It wasn't horrible, but not the best either. I'll get back into it as well. 
Studied the compounds listed for , and the kanji . 好物 or こうぶつ (koubutsu): favorite dish, favorite food. 本物 or ほんもの (honmono): genuine article, real thing, real deal. 物語 or ものがたり (monogatari): tale, story, legend. 食べ物 or たべもの (tabemono): food. 着物 or きもの: kimono. 動物 or どうぶつ (doubutsu): animal. 果物 or くだもの (kudamono): fruit. 見物 or けんぶつ (kenbutsu): sightseeing, watching, viewing. When is pronounced as ひら (hira): something broad and flat, palm of the hand; common, ordinary. As 平ら or たい.ら (tai.ra): flatness, level, smooth, calm, plain. It's sometimes pronounced as へい (hei), ひょう (hyou), びょう (byou) in compounds. They don't seem to have a meaning if by themselves. The only compound it had was: 平仮名 or ひらがな: hiragana. Hiragana is their main writing system or syllabic alphabet. (Kanji tend to represent words (except in some cases where it's just the pronunciation of those 'words' that make a new word that has nothing to do with its components), and those words are first found out through hiragana. It's used for pronunciations too.) Katakana tends to be used for foreign words, emphasis, company names, etc. Kanji are Chinese characters. Some are actually altered a bit in the Japanese form. I'm not sure if I ever saw hiragana written out in kanji...Kind of funny in a way. Especially because it's usually the other way around. Also, it's more common to write out the word for hiragana in hiragana.

I'm thinking of looking at synagogues in Seattle. Hopefully more inclusive and nonjudgmental ones. We'll see where that takes me. Also, I want to try pastoral counseling. I've never heard of it until recently. I know clergy can give advice and such, but didn't know they could be actual therapists. I'm hoping to find a rabbi who does this. I need someone who understands where I'm coming from, and maybe how to delve more into my religion. I feel like I need 'more', but I'm not sure what that is.:iconthinkinghkplz:(Felt this way for a while.) I feel a little weird, but modern orthodoxy sounds somewhat appealing to me at the moment. But, I also don't agree with some of the roles women have in it. (That's kind of why I feel weird about it.) So, I don't know...I also need someone who can do the regular therapy 'stuff', so we'll see. I feel like I'm on some sort of journey now. (I guess realizing this stuff kind of jump started it.) The friend that both Dad and I know is going to help me find synagogues, and might be able to help me with finding a therapist like that. She might try to help me that way temporarily.

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