We're halfway through Passover now. It feels like it's going quickly so far.The in between days (from the 3rd day to the 6th day) are called Chol Hamoed. Chol Hamoed is lit: 'the day of the week of the holiday'. The first and second nights tend to be a bigger to-do, with having 2 large seders/meals. The 2nd day is the start of the counting of the Omer, which ends on Shavuot. (That's 49 days.) An omer is an old measure of grain. Shavuot marks when we received the Torah.
I think this was the first time that I did most of everything (no one else had to cook/put together anything extra) for our seder. I did the matzo ball soup, charoset, salad, hard-boiled eggs, popovers, etc. Dad got a store-bought roasted chicken for the main entree. That worked out pretty well with everything. She wanted to make a Greek lamb and potato dish from her new Greek cookbook, but didn't have time. Which is all fine and understandable.
The cake turned out interesting. They didn't tell me to grease the pan, and I forgot to do it as a precaution. So, the edges really stuck to it.The middle seems to come out fine. So, I probably should just eat it from the middle out. It's really good.Kind of has an outer crunchy 'shell', the walnuts turned into little candy pieces (kind of like pralines. There was quite a bit of sugar in the batter), and the middle of it is really soft and a bit crumbly. The middle seems like it'd be close in consistency to fudge. I think I've had this cake in the past.It tastes familiar. It's better than I expected. Apparently, Dad doesn't even want to try it though...Oh well, more for me!Although, it makes a lot, and is pretty heavy. We'll see how much of it I can go through.
The kosher for Passover peppermint patties are good, too. They're like dense and more intense versions of the original kind. The chocolate chip macaroons are pretty tasty, too. Normally we get the almond and/or chocolate kinds. The red velvet one is good. I think that was new last year. The chocolate covered orange peels are good, as well. The packaging is always interesting. The top looks like a blossom, after untwisting it, it turns into a Mogen David or Star of David. The candy is wrapped up in plastic, and that sits in a white lacy fruit holder. (The kind I see holding things like Asian pears. To keep it from bruising.) I don't remember what that's called...The whole package is pretty nifty.Everything went well that night for our seder. Although, Rosie (one of our cats) came close to eating my gefilte fish and hard-boiled eggs.
The next day, I got a haircut. It was the first time in a couple of years. Just wanted a trim, and to make the length even throughout. Apparently, this wasn't the same person I had last time. I thought it would be. I think I liked this one more. The products she used for my hair felt good for about a day. Then, it felt weird. She used a lot of different things, I only use 2 products for my hair. I think it felt 'caked' on the next day.She also did what she called tight 'bundles' of curls, that I was supposed to be able to 'unravel' once my hair dried with running my fingers through it. Half of it did, and half of it didn't. The ones that didn't, looked kind of like dreadlocks...I don't think that's good for my type of hair or really my 'style'. Once she was done trimming it, I also felt lighter and 'airier'. That part itself felt, and still feels, good. Overall, it felt nice to get it done.It still looks decent with the products I normally use. I'm also not catching on as many things as I normally do.
She gave me a few more tips, as well. Not sure if I'll follow all of them, but they're good to know. I've been washing it more than I probably should, so I'll try to wash it only every 3 days like she said. Usually by the second day it's all poofy and frizzy, though.So, we'll see how this'll work out. It might not. I'll just go back to how I was doing it before, if it doesn't. She said to help with the poofing up and a bit of the frizz, I could do simple big braids before going to bed and sleep with it like that. In the morning I could undo them, and supposedly it'd keep my 'style' more and cut down on frizz. I've never braided my hair. The way she suggested seemed simple. Not sure if I'll go that route, though.
About 3 hours later, we went to our friends' seder. (My hair was still wet when we got there.) I didn't expect that there'd be so many people. They didn't tell us how many people would be there, so I made just one extra batch of popovers for it. There's 15 popovers to every batch. Ended up being 16 people there. They all wanted some. I think the 2 kids who were identical twins shared one. But, everyone wanted more than just one. Hey, it's not my fault the hosts didn't tell me about the number of people going!The salad went by quickly, too. Since, again, we didn't prepare for that many people.
There were 3 people we hadn't seen in years. One was my sex ed teacher in junior high. She seems to forget how old I am, because she said she probably retired before I hit junior high...(She retired in 2001. I probably had her in '98 or '99.) But, she did that with someone else who was there, too. She also remembered me as a little kid, and we've certainly seen each other since. I think the last time was like 9 or 10 years ago. So, maybe her memory's getting a bit foggy. Kind of sad. Naturally, it's been a while since I've seen her husband, who is usually with her at these things. He's pretty nice too. A bit shaky, but still has his wit.
The other person I hadn't seen in a very long time, was someone that I went to Sunday school with. Although, she's 5 years older than me, I saw her briefly when I started until a couple of years into it. We know her parents pretty well, too. They were there, like most years, for Passover. But, I don't think I've seen their daughter for about 12 years. I know it's been longer than the last time I saw the person who was my sex ed teacher. She used to be very moody, and I thought for a while that she didn't like me. She'd be nice one minute and really mean the next. She was quite different this time, and she seemed enthusiastic to talk to me, and ended up talking to her for a while. (I think she wanted an even longer time to talk...) It was nice.
With another person that was there, I remember going to his Bar Mitzvah and he tried to help as much as he could with Hadassah meetings. Especially when it was held at his parents' place. Hadassah is a Jewish women's organization, but men can help out. They can even become 'associate' members. (I'm a lifetime full member of it. Membership was given to me as a present.) Anyways, he's a very nice guy, and his parents are nice too. He's apparently getting close to graduating high school now. He seems to be aging quickly...Talked with him quite a bit, too. He kind of body slammed me as a hug for when he was about to leave.It hurt. (Maybe he was nervous?)
His mom suggested that I try a local congregation, that we used to be members of, again. Telling me its changed a lot since they got a new rabbi. I'm still iffy about that. They're growing quickly, as well. About the same amount of families as when I was in elementary school. It was close to half that for a while. She said he does more of a conservative service. I'm looking into modern orthodoxy, and conservative is closer to it than reform is. They're also doing more Friday nights, along with every Saturday morning. I really want a congregation that does every Friday night, and all of Saturday. That's including the morning, afternoon, and Havdalah services for Saturday. I really want to know what it's like to go to all of them regularly...But, no congregation on this side of the water does that. The other local congregation does like 1 or 2 Saturday morning services, and occasionally a Friday one. They meet less often. She said she'd drive me to see how much the congregation has changed, if I wanted to. I feel more of a connection with the one that meets less often, though...So weird.
Another older couple came with their identical twin granddaughters. The kids were cute, and were well behaved.We're pretty close to their grandparents, too. They also felt odd about the congregation we used to be members of, and have become members of the other one.
And, then there was just Dad and I, plus the hosts. We've known the hosts for a very long time. They invite us to their place for one of the seders every year, Thanksgiving, New Year's Eve, and I think occasionally Hanukkah. It's nice to celebrate the holidays with people who have basically turned into family over the years.(Especially when we live so far from other family members.) I think the first time we went to their place to celebrate a holiday might have been when I was about 6 or 7. So, we've known them for quite a while.
Sunday night, Dad got to make her lamb and potato thing. We had a salad with it. It was really good.I normally have to be in the mood for lamb, or it's too fatty, or something. This wasn't very fatty, and the seasonings on it were good. Potatoes were good, too.
I'll also make a lamb dish soon. Probably on Wednesday. It's Nanaeya, which is lamb meatballs with a sweet and sour mint sauce dish. I'm thinking of having it over kosher for Passover plain couscous. To be in a similar 'theme'. It sounds good, too. I'm also hoping to make a spinach and feta matzo pie, potato and leek patties, and an orange chicken stir-fry for more dinners or lunches. (I'll probably make one of them as a lunch.) They sound so good.
I've gotten back into my sit-ups. I'm doing 15 twice a day. I thought instead of adding 5 sit-ups twice a day each week, I'd up it that much every month. It'll be a more gradual increase. Probably healthier that way. It feels like it's working again. The highest amount I ever did was around 100 twice a day. That's probably not the best thing to do. It might have bulked me up a bit with that many. Maybe I should set a limit to how many I can do in one round, and then maybe start from the beginning again?
Trying to get back to walking again, too. Getting better about it every day. Sometimes I only get to one of the two 2-mile walks. That's ok, because at least I got to one.I did one for today, and hopefully after my afternoon snack, I can go for another. It feels so good afterwards. It's like my natural gym. Especially with the sit-ups added to the mix.
Also, trying to keep close to how I want to eat. A range of 1200-1600 calories a day, split into 5 meals. It's helped me a lot. And, not just in losing weight. Although, it's been a major factor. (From my heaviest weight, I've lost over 100 pounds.) I still get to eat what I want, just in smaller amounts. And, I can always have some of those leftovers a little later with the next meal. It's given me a view of how big things really are, to listen to my body a bit more, and to tell myself that it's ok to not eat it all in one sitting. With ice cream and such, where things won't keep well, I have to tell myself that it's ok not to finish it. I shouldn't force myself to finish it just because it won't keep. That's silly, and doesn't help me in the long run.It's harder to keep when I've felt sick, though. (I was sick during most of February.) But, I apparently have been eating this way long enough that I can't physically eat nearly as much as I used to. I try to be a bit more lax during a holiday like Passover, too. Especially the first 2 nights. A lot of the food is filling, but I'll be hungry again like an hour later. It goes quickly through my system.
The new spring anime season has started.I tried to watch Vampire Holmes. It sounded like it'd be really good. The animation was horrible, there wasn't really a plot, and the first episode only lasted 2 minutes. Not even the norm of 5 minutes for most shows that have short episodes. It was like someone tried to troll us. I tried Kekkai Sensen or Bloodline Battlefront. I thought it had a pretty good first episode. Reminds me a bit of Hamatora, Gintama (with the idea of living with aliens), and Men in Black all rolled into one. Seems 'unique' in some ways, too. After watching the 2nd episode, I might say more about it. It has a lot of promise, but I'm still a bit cautious about it.
Also, tried Heroic Legend of Arslan. The manga's supposed to be wildly popular, and it's done by the same person who created Fullmetal Alchemist. I think FA ended quite a while ago. I've watched the first anime series and the movie that corresponded with it, a very long time ago. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was the 2nd series based on the manga, told the story differently, and followed closer to the manga. I didn't want to rehash the whole thing, and didn't watch that one. The 1st series was really good. It was 51 episodes, though. So, just based on the way characters were and story development, maybe this new series will be just as good. It's a totally different story. The animation is amazing. Some of it feels 'real', but in a beautiful way. The main character's interesting. I like it so far, and after the 2nd episode I'll say more about this one, too.
Gintama's (or lit. 'Silver Soul') coming back tomorrow!It's got to be one of my all time, if not number one, fave anime. It took a 2-year hiatus. They made it seem like they were never coming back, though. They've pulled that before, and after trolling fans so often, it's hard to believe that they'd end it like that. It's such an awesome show! The humor is great, has awesome fight scenes, can make you cry at the drop of a hat, the stories may seem ordinary (and sometimes childish) at first but end up being much more than they appear, the main plot is great, the characters are amazing (each one is unique and full of personality), music is usually great, and so much more. It's a very well done series. Even the seiyuu or voice actors are really amazing, and are known for their performances in the series. Every episode is better than the last. The first episode of the series was kind of mediocre and threw me off a bit. A couple of episodes in, and you can see the awesomeness shining through, though. The 1st 'season' is 201 episodes, and the 2nd one is 64 episodes. (I hope this 3rd one will be longer than 64 episodes...The story could probably go on forever.) There have been 2 feature-length movies, and both were great. They could stand on their own, even if you've never watched the show before. There was a 2-year hiatus between the 1st 'season' and 2nd as well. The manga's still ongoing, and started in 2003. (Thought the anime stuck pretty close to it, so I stopped reading it early on.) The 1st anime 'season' started in 2006. I'm so excited for this one! I don't know much about Etotama and Kyoukai no Rinne, but I'm thinking of trying those out, too.
I'm almost done with the 1st season of Kuroko no Basket. I think the 3rd season is happening currently, but of course I'll start the 2nd season before watching the 3rd. I might not start watching the 2nd season for a little while, though. It's a good show, but there are some good looking new shows, and I kind of feel like going back to some of the stuff I put on hold beforehand.
Kamisama Hajimemashita's 2nd season was really good. I think better than it's first season. I just don't like this dancing around their feelings thing. Nanami has confessed to Tomoe a couple of times already. Tomoe only confessed to her when she was half-asleep and when they were stuck in the memories of her childhood. He's jealous of other guys who fall for her and are forward with their feelings towards her. Half upset with himself because he doesn't have the guts to tell her when she's awake. I don't like when a show tiptoes around it for so long. But, she may have remembered what he said while they were trapped in her childhood afterwards during the last couple of minutes of the finale. So, maybe if they came back for another season, it'll be better that way. The new characters for this season were interesting.
Fairy Tail is finally getting back to the main plot. There were a lot of side stories for a while. The animation, colors, clothing, overall mood, etc. seems to have changed, too. I like their new clothes, except for Lucy's extremely short shorts...This arc is apparently going to be about a village that's been frozen over. Everyone's alive, but encased in the ice. They worshiped an eternal flame, but even that was frozen solid. One of the infamous wizard saints specifically wants Gray and Natsu on this job. But, many of the other members accompanied them. (The usually ones. Lucy, Erza, Happy, Carla, and Wendy.) Gray uses ice magic, and Natsu uses fire. They don't get along too well, but they might be able to find out why (and save) the city was frozen over with their abilities. It seems like a lot was given away with the opening theme sequence. But, I don't know much about it at the moment.
Finished the writing part of the 12th short story to my nightmare anthology.And, technically the last writing part of the whole thing. This story was a bit difficult to finish. But, good that it's over with. Now I have to do another once over for all the stories, edit, add chapter/story titles, reformat so everything is together in one document and in the format Smashwords wants it in, and send it to Smashwords. I think the hardest part is over with now. I brought this anthology up at the seder with some people. Apparently it was very interesting to people. Most thought it was a good idea. I ended up talking a lot about nightmares in general with someone at the very end. He seemed excited to talk about it. I didn't think it'd be that interesting to others. I thought it was interesting for me to go over some of the original nightmares, thinking about how marvelous our brains can be for making this stuff up. It kind of gave me more insight into them, and makes me feel even better about myself.I haven't really been terrified by my recurring (or new for that matter) nightmares in a very long time, and I mostly find them entertaining now. That might sound weird, but when you've had them most of your life, eventually you do get used to them. The first story is based on my earliest recurring nightmare which started when I was 2. So, you can see how far back I've been having these. Each story is one based on the original nightmare. Some nightmares are short, and some incredibly long. So, I've had to come up with something around it to elongate it or shorten it.
The last story isn't actually based on a nightmare, but on a problem I occasionally get with my ears. One time it sounded like a ghostly choir in my ears, and that's the one it's based on. Most of the time I have fluid that moves occasionally through my ears that I can hear and feel. It doesn't usually sound that way. I've always had a problem with wax buildup in my ears, and too much loose fluid. I have other issues with my Eustachian tubes, too. Like, certain changes in pressure can make me feel sick.It might be really slight, and not many people will even feel it, but I most definitely can. In the past, every time I went to the doctor, the nurse had to clean my ears out. Now I have a little home kit I can use. I think a nurse told me a while back that it was a good idea, but I should do it at least once a month, if not more. I have a hard time remembering when I did it last...But, it feels amazing afterwards. Everything's so clear sounding, too. That wax kind of protects it, so in a way every time I clear it, it's better than it would have been. I'm one of the few people that doctors tell to use a Q-tip in their ears, too. Probably because of all that wax. Anyways, what I heard that one time, is kind of like a real nightmare. Even though it didn't really do anything, it was scary at the time. I think it actually lasted a week. That's rare, too.
I studied a bit on JapaneseClass' site. I actually did pretty well with the practice, going over my oblivion lists, and weak kanji. Some new stuff was thrown in, too. I rarely ever glance at the 'social feed' they have on the front page, but decided to look through it. Someone said 'Happy Easter!'. Which is great. But, the visible comment under it wasn't so great.They were trying to figure out a better way of saying Easter in Japanese. Someone from Italy suggested 'Pesach' (even typed it out in Hebrew), and equated them to mean the same. Like I've mentioned before, Pesach is Passover. Passover is very different from Easter, and they're from 2 different religions. I know they have what they call the Paschal Lamb, but that's a thing, not a name of a holiday to them. So, this is equally bizarre to me.They also said 'Jew' and 'Hebrew' were the same in Italian. They shouldn't be. One's a people, the other's a language. I looked it up just now, and they are slightly different. So, the person who responded to me was wrong...The other person said that they say Passover to mean Easter with their friends, and they don't have a problem with it. Yeah, and they're not Jewish...So, just because someone (who's ignorant) says it's ok, it's ok? What kind of logic is that?I tried to educate them. I love to educate people, but some are incredibly ignorant and hard to deal with. I tried to be as calm as I could be with it, too. Both didn't respond to my last post, and I hope that means they understand a little bit more about it and why it was a bit unsettling to me. I know some people call Easter, in kind of a joking way, as Zombie Jesus Day. But, that actually makes sense, and I'm not sure exactly what that'd really be in Japanese. (Maybe: ゾンビイエスの日 or Zonbi Iesu no Hi?) I should have suggested it, but I think they would have thought I was being disrespectful.
Tonight's group, and I have an idea of what I could do if we go to Shari's after. I can get their fruit platter, and scrambled eggs with cheese. I can't have ketchup or BBQ sauce (they both usually have corn and/or soy derivatives) on the eggs, but salt should be good enough. That way I can enjoy my time there, too. Although, it'll be slightly tempting to see what everyone else gets.I'll have something similar if we go somewhere else.