Monday, January 5, 2015

Happy (Belated) New Year!


It's a little late, but it's my first post of the year...:dummy:I hope I'll get to posting more on here this year. 2014 had the fewest posts since I started. Sad.:iconsadnessplz:Hope everyone's 2015 has been good so far.
This is my wallpaper for January. It features Sebastian, Ciel, Finny (or Finnian), and Tanaka from Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler. They're kind of deformed 'chibi' (chibi just means small, but is also considered to be 'cute' versions of anime or manga characters) versions of themselves. Although, Tanaka most of the time appears in chibi-form in the series, unless there's a serious situation. Ciel doesn't look too happy while he's having tea.:iconhanatamagoplz:If characters are drawn in this form, I like when they're cute and deadly/have personality/funny. If it's just 'cute', I'm not into it as much.:iconpolandplz:Sebastian looks like he's annoyed with Ciel about something. Finny looks concerned about it all. Probably should pay attention to what he's doing with those garden shears...:iconchibichinaplz:Tanaka looks like he usually does with the same expression, only he looks a bit taller. He's usually seen with a cup of green tea, and saying 'ho ho ho' quietly. He kind of deserves to do whatever he pleases, because he was once the Phantomhive's butler. He was there the day Ciel was kidnapped, and his parents were murdered. He was stabbed repeatedly in the back while protecting Ciel. Sebastian looks up to him, and has a lot of respect for him.

My new 'regular' calendar features Paris. It's supposed to be like a guided tour to different places in the city each month. In fact, it came with a mini map that highlights some of the places as well as others. It's supposed to be a tour you can do on foot. They list restaurants, malls, small shops, etc. It looks pretty busy, but I'd expect that of Paris. While I was in high school, I took all of what was available for French, and loved it. (I think that was 3 semesters or 1 and a half years.) The teacher was awesome! He knew at least 3 languages. Obviously English, French, and Norwegian. (We live in a place nicknamed 'Little Norway', and have many people that either come from Norway itself, or have ancestry that comes from there. Also, from the entire region of Scandinavia.) We did a lot of fun things in that class, too. Like make crepes, have our own fashion show, learn some popular children's songs, listen to official French radio stations, watch French news, etc. I still kind of feel connected to it. So, it's a treat for me to see. This month's main pic features a snow covered Institut de France. They have a story about Pont des Arts, which is a pedestrian bridge which crosses the Seine linking the Institut de France and the Palais du Louvre central square. The footbridge is a fave of couples. They attach padlocks to the bridge with their initials, and then throw the locks' keys into the Seine below. Apparently, the increasing number of locks has caused safety concerns. There's a lot of damage to the guardrail mesh. The second pic's another one of part of the bridge during the day. the first pic had a view of the Institut de France from the bridge head on at night. The 3rd pic's of a model in a winter fashion show. So far, it's interesting.

My Jewish calendar is put out by the same museum as last year. It's based in the Netherlands, so it's interesting to see some of the stuff that comes from that area. They have things from other places, too. The main pic's of 4 tallit corners. They have an anonymous maker; it's textile with silk, metal, and metallic thread; Netherlands; 1850-1900. Tallits (or technically 'tallitot') are prayer shawls. All for corners have a patch of cloth that usually the tzitzit are pushed through or buttoned on. Kind of keeps that part together. Tzitzit are like knotted tassels that come off of it. (I think that's the best way to describe them...) The gematria for the word 'tzitzit' comes out to 600. There are 8 strings and 5 knots for each tzitzit. That added to it is 613, which represents the 613 mitzvot or 'commandments' in the Torah. It's to remind us when we see them. On the corners in the pic, there doesn't seem to be a hole for the tzitzit to hang from. Maybe it never got to that point. They have Magen Davids or Star of Davids in the middle, and grapes and wheat around the edges. The 2nd pic's of a Shabbat clock. It has an unknown maker; made out of stone and metal; Netherlands; 1920. I don't see these too often...There's a certain time that Shabbat starts and ends. It's Friday night until Saturday night, but there are specific times for where you happen to be in the world. And, it changes from week to week. Nowadays, if you're so observant that you follow the exact correct times, you can look online for those times beforehand. It's pretty simple, and even most Jewish calendars list it for major cities on the back. The 3rd pic's of a fancy looking candle holder that still has a candle in it. Made by Zelig Segal; Jerusalem, Israel; 1993. Looks like it's made out of metal. Funny how they don't list that... I'm not as fond of this one, and it's pretty recent.:iconhongkongplz:I find the older stuff more interesting and fun, because I get to see what they used back then and what 'styles' things were in. 

The month-long holidays are: National Candy Month, National Egg Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Meat Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Soup Month, International Creativity Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. Interesting that I only found one that wasn't food related. Creativity's very important! Soup can be a bit odd with me. I find most of the time that it's not as satisfying as stews or other meals. It's just full of liquid. There are some that are very filling, but not many. I love oatmeal, meat (of course, no pork products...But, I love beef, chicken, turkey, etc.), tea, eggs, and candy. I'm trying to get back into drinking more tea. Having water most of the time can be tiring, and gets kind of blah at times.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:I don't drink soda, and have taken it out of my diet for a while now. Not sure how long its been. On rare occasions I might have something like root beer at a restaurant. Sometimes I'll have a sparkling fruit juice of some sort too, but again it's not that often. I mostly just drink water and tea. (Every Friday night I'll have at least one glass of grape juice. I don't drink alcohol, and many people have wine during Shabbat. Grape juice is the alternative to that.) I feel a lot better because of it.:iconeduardplz:

For New Year's Eve, we went to a friends' place. The couple has been friends with our family for a very long time. Besides the hosts, Dad, and I; there were 3 other people. 2 of them were a couple that I've known for a while. The wife is always amazed at how much weight I've lost. The first thing she said was: "You're half the person you once were!" Felt a little odd, but nice at the same time.:iconkikuplz: 

The 3rd was someone we only met a couple of years ago. She's very nice, but sadly, things seem to be a little 'off' with her.:iconlietplz:She has a lot of physical issues, and has a hard time walking. And, the fact that most of the people that were attending were Jewish seemed to go out the window for her.:iconwtfukplz:She's Jewish herself, although apparently lax about it. She brought dates wrapped in bacon. She looked at us like we were crazy when we asked if it was turkey bacon. Bringing a pork product to a party where the majority of the people are Jewish and it's pretty well known; is kind of similar to bringing something with beef to a party that you know the majority will be Hindu. Some of the people may not be all that strict about the dietary laws, but it's just wrong...:iconhongkong-wantsursoul: The latkes and applesauce she brought didn't look very good either. 

She made her own birthday cake, and warned us that she didn't have enough sugar for the recipe. Also, that she kept adding cream cheese to the icing. I took a bite of the cake part, and immediately chomped down on a piece of pineapple. She said that she started to throw in a layer of mixed fruit in the middle of it. Everything about this cake was wrong!:iconsighingplz:Well, the brownies on the outside were good, but I think those were store bought and she just stuck them with toothpicks to the cake. The strawberries dipped in chocolate that were skewered with toothpicks as well, were super mushy. I had a hard time eating them. Barely had any of the cake and other parts of it before I gave up on it. She thought it was pretty bad too, and dumped most of it out while we were there.:icongermanyplz:

We brought some pickled herring, multigrain crackers (to use with the fish), and 2 bottles of fruit spritzers. We mostly had the raspberry and grape one while we were there. (I think the other one was pear and apple mixed.) It's really good. The couple that we know pretty well brought noodle kugel (like a sweet noodle casserole), which is one of the things I don't like. I love potato kugel though. (It's a savory potato casserole. Super good!:iconfrancisplz:) But, it looked impressive. The host family made cheese puff pastries, which were really good. They also had cheese, more crackers, 3 different kinds of 'almond roca' (original, dark chocolate, and cashew roca), and I think that's it. Last year we brought sushi, herring, and the crackers. So, we weren't all that different this time. 

We talked a lot. Occasionally the conversation would turn into a really heated debate. Although, there was usually only one person who became uncomfortable or 'heated'. That was the one who brought the cake. I kind of felt sorry for her. Didn't seem like her night.:iconohboyamericaplz:We were going to play some games, but ended up talking the night away. We watched the fireworks together on TV. That was fun. All in all it was an interesting night. 

On New Year's Day I had brunch at a local restaurant. I got their reuben sandwich and fries. It was really good.:iconitalyplz:They apparently added chicken to it. Hearty helping of sauerkraut as well. The only problem I had was how soggy the bottom got. But, that's really not that bad. We went out shopping afterwards for our monthly stocking up run. Went to Costco as part of that. 

Got some 'Tokyo-style' frozen chicken shoyu (soy sauce) ramen bowls there. (There are 4 bowls to a box.) Decided it'd be interesting to try something closer to the way they traditional have it. They're really good, but since the broth is soy sauce based, it's about 48% of the sodium intake that's recommended for the day.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:So, I have to be careful with it even though I don't have a problem with salt. I don't want it to become one, either. It has pretty big strips of grilled chicken, corn, green beans, red bell pepper, scallions, carrots, and of course the ramen noodles. The noodles are shorter than I'd like, but they're pretty tasty. Maybe more so than the bagged Top Ramen stuff. I like that they have a decent amount of vegetables, too. They give you ideas as to how to enjoy it more. Showing you how to slurp (which is the polite way to have soup there...:iconenglandispervyplz:), suggesting things like gyoza to go with it, to use chopsticks and a spoon, etc. It was very interesting. The company is based in Tokyo, so I guess it really is Tokyo-style.

Didn't really get to cleaning on Friday.:iconnataliaplz:I was going to do the kitchen dining room, and then maybe start on the living room. I was hoping on having Sundays as my 'make up' days if I miss a Friday, but we went out shopping again. I got some new socks, which are super comfy.:iconwarmandcomfyplz:I was running out of foundation, and it was really old. Looked weird, too. So, I found a new one that looks promising. My skin is kind of a weird color.:iconwtfromanoplz:I'm very pale, but have yellow mixed in. Some parts of my skin have more of a yellowish hue than others. That can make it slightly difficult when looking at makeup. But, for foundation, I apparently run between a warm 'soft ivory' or 'porcelain'. Makes me sound like a doll or something.:iconseychelles-plz:Anyways, I hope to try it soon. Maybe my eye shadow will pop out more. 

Apparently a lot of the current anime that I watch all skipped last week up until now. It's probably because it's around New Year's. But it surprised me. Parasyte, Log Horizon 2, Naruto Shippuden, and Fairy Tail have all skipped. Those are the ones I look most forward to right now.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:But, Kamisama Hajimemashita is going to have a 2nd season starting today or tomorrow! So, that's something to look forward to. The first season ended 2 years ago. That's a long time in between.:iconawkwardplz:It was a pretty good show, and if I'm remembering correctly, it ended with a lot of things that were unresolved. Also, there's a new anime coming out called Assassination Classroom in a few days about an octopus-like alien that's become a teacher after destroying part of the moon. The students are apparently supposed to kill him by the end of the year, or he'll destroy the world. The hard part is they consider him to be the best teacher they've ever had. It sounds quirky, funny, a bit dark, and interesting. I read somewhere a while back that World Embryo would have an anime version for this season that's starting up, too. But, they got my hopes up, because I don't see it on the lists anymore.:iconruncryplz:Maybe in the future...

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (Severing Crime Edge) finally had an update for its manga version!:la:It's been a year since the last one. A year chapter.:iconshockplz:Maybe they've picked it up again and will update sooner. I hope so! 

Kuroshitsuji has been pretty good. I'm 4 chapters away from the current chapter. So, I'm getting close. There was a point where I thought Ciel was going to be eaten by Sebastian, but it was more of a wake up call for him. When asked with how sure he was about succeeding in eating Ciel's soul, he said 90%. So, he didn't really think Ciel would snap out of it enough and in time. Ciel had lost his eyesight after being 'cursed' or infected with something. While he was blind he tried to runaway from his past, and had horrible flashbacks to when he was kidnapped and used in a weird ritual. He wanted it all to go away. He rejected Sebastian, and clung to Finny. When the Queen sent an urgent letter addressed to Ciel, Sebastian knew he had to get him to come to his senses. So, he did the harshest thing he could think of, and threatened to eat him if he didn't follow the Queen's orders like he should. Their whole thing is based on revenge for what happened to Ciel, and the Queen's the one that'll help him with it. If he rejects her orders, Sebastian felt like it was like him ending the contract. As soon as the contract ends, he promised Sebastian that he can have his soul. The Queen's people were able to analyze the plants that were affected by the miasma. And, apparently it's not 'magic' or curses like the witches keep saying. They wrote the chemical composition out, and the Queen wants to meet the Green Witch. The Green Witch really wants to see the outside world. Seems like that would be a win-win, but there also seems to be something more the Green Witch isn't telling them.

I hope to get back to my fitness routine soon.:iconberwaldplz:I'm already back to doing 10 sit-ups twice a day for the week. Starting over, because I've missed it too often. Tomorrow I hope to get my 2 2-mile walks in. Trying to get better about eating again. I wasn't bad, but I could do better, with having the smaller portions and making sure I'm getting a certain amount of calories. 

I'm still having a bit trouble with sleeping.:iconusaplz:I think the pure cherry juice is wishy-washy with me. It's starting to taste like cough medicine, too...:icondisgusted-hongkong:I'll go back to the chamomile tea. I have to remember to have a little something with it, too. The funny thing is even though I can't sleep (or at least for some nights, can't sleep very well), I feel exhausted every time I go to bed.:faint:

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