Wednesday, July 29, 2015

National Milk Chocolate Day!


This was yesterday. My favorite type of chocolate!:dummy:I like dark chocolate in recipes, but not so much by itself. I can only take a little at a time if it's by itself. Milk chocolate isn't as bitter, and has a nice smooth sweeter taste. To me, at least. Not as rough a flavor. Parents' Day was this past Sunday. I didn't realize it until Monday...:iconohboyamericaplz:It became an official holiday in 1994. They should advertise it more or something. Especially with how I've felt about Mother's and Father's Days.:iconhongkongplz:Nice that there is a 'Parents' one. In South Korea, they've had a Parents' Day since the 1930s. Interesting. Video Games Day was this past Saturday. I still have my Sega Genesis and several games for it. They're still in pretty good condition. I should have played my first game on it this past weekend...:iconkikuplz:Oh, well. My first game was Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Maybe I'll play it sometime soon. I have Fate (which I haven't played in a while) and the Sims 2 (I play this one a lot more often) for PC. In fact, I recently got the Seasons Expansion Pack for the Sims 2, as a present back at the end of January. It's made it even more enjoyable.:iconfrancisplz:2 of my other fave video games: Morrowind and Fable. I miss them.:iconcomebackplz:Last Friday was Cousins Day. I have so many cousins! I've lost track of how many.:iconusaplz:That's including the kids my first cousins have. I have around 20 first cousins. And, there's a wide range of ages. Oldest one is around 50. Old enough to be my uncle or something. I think the youngest first cousin might be in their late teens or early 20s. Of the first cousins' kids, there are several that are newborns right now. Not sure how old the oldest one of my cousins' kids is. But, I know that many of my first cousins have more than one kid. It's crazy! Would have been even more interesting if I had lived closer to them all. 

The weather's been nice and cool. It's rained a couple of times. Everything's been so dry, so it was a more than welcomed sight. Today and throughout the rest of the forecast, they're saying it'll be in the low 80s. Not too bad. Nothing like that long heatwave streak we recently had. 

I've been getting back to doing both my 2-mile walks this week. Monday morning's was really muggy. I was sweating like crazy halfway through.:iconhanatamagoplz:That night and yesterday's walks were a lot better. I'll probably only get to one walk today. But, at least it'll be one!

I'm also trying to get back to going to bed early and getting up early. Feels like I actually get my mornings back this way. Also, I'm more in tune with the natural rhythm of things during the day.:iconthailandplz:Monday, I wanted to get up at 7am, but I was wide awake at 5am. Yesterday, I slept about a half hour longer than when I wanted to get up, but that's not bad. Today wasn't too bad either. I'm trying to go by 8 hours from when I go to bed. This way I get roughly the right amount of sleep, and still get up early. Before, I was always trying to get up at 6am no matter the time I went to bed at. Wasn't very bright.:iconwtfromanoplz:But, this way I can feel more rested and normal about it. Also, means my days might vary as to when I wake up. That might be fun. This new 'system' might be good.

Had my blood drawn Monday for the multiple blood tests my gastroenterologist wanted, and one my primary care doc wanted. Apparently, my gastro ordered so much that the lab tech had to draw several vials worth.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Lots of labels for them, too. My primary just wanted to make sure one of the meds I've been taking for years isn't damaging anything. Haven't had that specifically checked on for a while, so it's probably a good thing to do. I was nervous and didn't want even the hint of passing out I got last time, a month ago. The person who was there this time was able to get me into chatterbox mode, and I barely noticed things were happening. She also kept asking me questions. Probably mostly to keep me distracted. It took a while to fill all of the vials up. Longer than what I'm used to. She bruised me pretty badly, too.:icongermanyplz:

I got 5 of the tests back that night. One thing seemed unusually low for me, but within normal range. The rest of those were normal. Which is good, but I was a bit discouraged because I didn't/don't feel 'normal'.:iconromanoplz:I got another test result back this morning. This time it was about my red blood cell sedimentation rate. (Or 'sed rate' for short.) It measures how fast the blood cells drop in a test tube. They drop faster if they're sticky and clumped together. It's one of the indicators for inflammation. Many who have inflammatory diseases use it to check on the progression of the disease and to see how well treatment's going. The high end of normal range is 20 mm/hr. Last time mine was 44mm/hr. This time wasn't much better with 40mm/hr. I'm oddly relieved it's still not normal.:iconseychelles-plz:Probably because, like I mentioned before, I don't feel like I'm back to normal. This might also mean I'll have to go on more meds like my gastro started to talk about over the phone towards the beginning of the month. But, they may help me feel better. Other stuff I was really 'off' on last time were my eosinophil count (it was through the roof! Even PatientsLikeMe online kept warning me about how it was beyond their scale), vitamin B12 (it was very high too), sodium was a bit low, and a few other things. I have my appointment with the gastro early Friday morning. That should be interesting. I have quite a few things to ask her that I hope I don't blank on.:iconawkwardplz:Luckily, I did start a questions list.

The music store called recently saying they're done with looking at my clarinet, and I could pick it up at any time. I realized I won't be able to get there until the 1st. So, I called them back asking if they could hold onto it until then. The response was so quick, I almost didn't hear him.:iconshockplz:All he said in response was: "That's fine." So, just to be sure, I rephrased my question. He still said it was fine. I thought they would need to get my name at least, and make a note that I won't be there until the 1st. Just in case they would've thought I had abandoned it or something. Hopefully, they didn't have to do a lot, and it'll feel like new. I keep getting that 'itch' every so often to play. It'll be nice when I do get it back and start playing again.:iconchibihungaryplz: 

I've been getting more into Netflix's Instant Play. I can watch anything in that library on my phone, or project it onto the Apple TV. It's pretty cool. I've watched a couple on my phone before, but didn't actually look much into it until now. The ones they recommend for me are actually interesting. Some I would never watch, some I haven't heard of before, and some I've been hoping to watch but didn't think they'd have. I didn't use their 'My List' feature before. I would just search around for a while seeing what I felt like watching at the moment. A lot of the time that search was fruitless.:iconpolandplz:But, now whenever I see something I want to watch, I can add it to my list. That way in the future, when I feel like watching something immediately, I can just look at that list. 

They have a surprising amount of Korean, Chinese, British, Spanish, and French stuff. Not too much in the way of Japanese movies/dramas. They seem to think that most Japanese movies/dramas are from the horror genre. That seems very lacking to me.:iconswissplz:I love watching international movies and shows, so it's still cool to see the ones I found from the countries I mentioned before. I saw The Host before I started the list. It was a surprisingly good Korean monster movie. A lot of the movies from Spain and France are food related. I might be hungry after watching those.:iconitalyplz:Although, there's a French movie I heard about before called the Rabbi's Cat. I think one of the Jewish newsletters I'm on mentioned it when it came out. It won quite a few awards. It's an animated film about a rabbi's family from Algeria. His cat, after swallowing the family parrot, suddenly gains the ability to speak. He's skeptical of Judaism at first, and starts talking more to the rabbi. The more he learns, the more he wants to convert. Sounds...unique. There's an English detective show called Happy Valley that looks interesting, too. There's an Irish movie about a monster who only attacks sober people. I'd be in trouble, then.:iconlietplz:I can't drink alcohol because of my meds, and most of the time I have no interest in it anyways. Maybe for cooking, but not actually drinking it. (Looks funny, but in that sense, it might be scary to me...) Some of the Chinese ones I want to see look beautifully done or I like to say 'artsy'. Like the costumes, scenery, etc. Some of the ones I have seen in the past have a similar feel. Very interesting. All the ones I've found so far sound really interesting, have won at least one award, and have somewhat good reviews. So, that should be a fun adventure as I go through the list.:iconherotimeplz:

I managed to narrow down the possible titles for my nightmare anthology. Apparently, this sort of anthology is rare. There are few 'horror' anthologies out there, and not many of those are actually based on nightmares. I find that interesting, and slightly intimidating. But, I went through my long list of possibilities, and checked out if there were any novels that had those titles by doing a Google search. Surprisingly, I didn't eliminate too many this way...But, going over and over it, I finally narrowed it down to 2 possible titles. I'm still a bit stuck on which of those 2 I want to use. At least I narrowed it down by a lot.:iconranranruuplz:

Finished reading the manga version of Hitman Reborn. Didn't really like the last couple of chapters. They were kind of pointless. They left so many things hanging and unexplained. Maybe there'll be a sequel in the future? I really liked it, besides those last couple of chapters. It seemed to have a lot of unique characters and situations. Kind of wished Chrome was able to really show her own power more. They were just starting to towards the end of the last arc. I didn't like that Tsuna still, after all he's gone through, denies that he's rightfully the 10th boss of the Vongola. Even the previous generations have accepted him. He basically already is, whether he likes it or not. He's even won trials that are specifically about determining who will be the next Vongola boss. Reborn even suggested changing the title to Neo Primo of the Vongola, which actually makes a bit more sense in more ways than one. I think Tsuna's just kidding himself, and doesn't really get it. I liked that they were able to lift the curse at the end. Lal was able to turn back into her adult self, because her curse was the weakest of the group. The others have to physically age over time from their baby forms. Which kind of sucks, if you have an adult mind still. But, at least they'll live and eventually be who they once were. Hopefully, they won't die once they hit the age they were before they were cursed. That'd be horrible. But, then again, we'll never know if there isn't a sequel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

National Ice Cream Day!


This was on Sunday. Ice cream's awesome!:la:There are so many different types of flavors, types, etc. out there. Even some that are cool with people who are lactose intolerant. It's relatively easy to make, too. I still remember when my high school chemistry class used liquid nitrogen to make some. (Kind of like an end of the semester fun thing.) It was awesome to watch.:iconawwwplz:My fave flavors are probably: cookie dough, Ben and Jerry's Karamel Sutra, fried (I like both the Japanese and Mexican versions that I've tried), rocky road, mochi (lots of different flavors of this...), chocolate with brownies, and many more. Yesterday was National Lollipop Day. Lollipops have always been a little weird with me.:iconusaplz:I either love them or feel just meh with them. Depending on my mood, the flavor, etc. When I am in the mood for it, caramel apple is a good one. It was also International Cake Day. To say 'cake' seems even more vague than ice cream. But, it's good stuff, too. 

It was really hot this weekend.:iconitshotplz:I think I saw it get up to around 99 degrees Sunday. Some were saying it might have broke 100.:iconwtfukplz:The day before, wasn't much better. About 93 to 95 degrees. Kind of similar to what was happening a couple of weeks ago. Only I think it cooled off faster back then. Sunday night at around 10pm, it was still in the mid 70s. Even with the fan blaring in my window it was hard to go to sleep at a decent time. Yesterday ended up being about 10 degrees warmer than they predicted, but nothing like the day before. It made it to 80. Pretty big difference. Today was expected to be 68 and rainy. Ended up being 70 and cloudy most of the time. It feels downright cold compared to what it's been the last few days. A lot closer to our norm, though. I wish it would stay around normal. 

The day before yesterday, when it started to get really warm, we went to a Starbucks at Barnes and Noble. I got their iced chai, and blueberry scone. The day before we did the same thing. That time I got an iced chai, and a red velvet cupcake. The cupcake was dry around the edges, but good otherwise. It was a good place to keep cool in.:iconsleepygreeceplz: 

Saw Jurassic World on Sunday. I think I liked it. Might have been the best sequel in the series, maybe better than the first. Not sure about that.:iconswissplz:Of course, there were some flaws to it, but it was an enjoyable ride of a movie. I thought the mesosaurus was going to do more during the movie. Although, it did have a key role. The ending was surprising. They even tried to explain away the inaccuracies. Felt like more of an homage to the first one. I thought the newly created dinosaur was interesting.

Since it was still hot out, we decided to eat out for dinner at a local restaurant called Elmer's. I got their fish and chips. It comes with coleslaw. It was pretty good overall. Slightly greasier than I expected, but good.:icontinoplz:Had a slice of their lemon meringue pie for dessert. We stayed there for a while after waiting for it to cool off a bit more. 

The day before that, I took my clarinet to a music place to give it a tune up. Basically just to have someone check it out. No one's looked at my clarinet like that for years. (Might at least be 6 years...:iconlietplz:) The guy I used to bring it to, would tell me every time that my keys were bent. That was basically the only issue I had. The instrument is getting old enough that the guy who checked it in said they might need to replace some of its pads. I've had it since I started playing when I was 10. It's still in roughly good condition, just needs a little maintenance done. Feels like I left my baby behind...:iconcomebackplz:But, I know afterwards it usually feels brand new again. I know the last time I played it, it didn't quite 'feel' right, so this might fix that too.:iconthailandplz: 

The guy we used to go to had his own instrument repair shop that was connected to his house. He was kind of crotchety, took a while, and was pretty expensive.:iconromanoplz:Most of the time he was very nice, just seemed to have a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Scared me at times. I didn't want to go back to him. Not sure if he's still doing it, either. I think I remember hearing the last time he looked at it, that he was thinking of retiring from repairing instruments. He's pretty old, and makes me wonder how he kept it all up. (Way passed retirement age it seems.) Apparently, I've read that it's best to have someone look at it at least every 2 years. I've been bad about that...:iconkikuplz:

The music store said it'll take 3-5 business days, and that the most it'll be is $100. (The least being $22.) Unless, they call me to tell me otherwise. That seems a lot more reasonable than what the previous person charged. I'd be happier if it was close to the minimum price amount...:iconhanatamagoplz:It's not like it's broken or anything, so it shouldn't be too much. 

They apparently think it's a professional clarinet.:iconseychelles-plz:I was told when I got it that it was a 'student' one. The only difference is that the pro ones tend to be better made, higher quality, easier to get a fuller sound, etc. But, it doesn't necessarily mean anyone who plays it will sound like a pro or one of the best. People with the cheaper student ones can still get to that 'sound' or be at pro level. It's just supposedly slightly harder to do. It all depends on the player ultimately. The brand I have is a Jupiter. When I started out people used to tell me that it was a horrible bottom-rung type brand. They kept saying that in junior high and high school, as well. When I told them that's what I have, they didn't believe me. Simply because it didn't 'sound' like one. That it sounded too good for it.:iconpolandplz: 

I looked up a bit more on the brand and when my instrument came out, a couple of days ago. Turns out all the ones that were assembled in Taiwan of that year were of higher quality and could be considered pro level. The company's based in Taiwan, but the cheaper student instruments tend to be assembled in China. The ones from Taiwan, have parts that come from around the world. Some of the countries were: Germany, UK, USA, Taiwan (of course), etc. My instrument's like a globe trotter.:iconchibihungaryplz:They had details on which country made what component. Really interesting and cool. I didn't know much about it at the time. I think maybe the company just had an undeserved bad reputation. Although, the only thing that's really weird with it, is apparently the only ligature that fits the mouthpiece is a sax one. (Ligatures hold the reed to the mouthpiece.) But, to me that just makes it unique.:iconchibinitalyplz:

While I was in junior high and high school, people also didn't believe me that I essentially taught myself how to play. I didn't have a tutor. Many people get a tutor at some point, especially at the beginning. I just used the instructional music books everyone starts with, what we were taught in general in band, practiced like crazy, etc. I wasn't totally on my own. I don't think anyone can be.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:I loved to practice, so I practiced more than what some of my other fellow band members did. My average was an hour a day. Sometimes my hands/fingers really hurt, but it felt good. In junior high, we had to write down how many minutes we practiced every day and week. They thought people should do at least up to 20 a day. (Many didn't even do that much.) It was laughable to me even back then.:iconlaughingplz:I just love playing, and when I took 2 years away from it, it was really tough for me.:iconsadnessplz:Now, I try to do 30 minutes each time. I want to work my way back to an hour, though. Plus, since I don't have my clarinet at the moment, I feel a huge urge to play. It's like an itch you can't reach.:iconrunrunrunplz:Kind of sad...But, I'll have it back soon. 

After going to the music store, we went to Barnes and Noble to cool off. I found a cool 'adult' coloring book. The designs are by a tattoo artist, and some of them are really cool and unique. Even though I won't get a permanent tattoo for various reasons, doesn't mean I can't appreciate their artwork. Parts of the designs are colored in with black, gold, and gray. But, there's a lot of coloring space. It makes the finished product have an interesting effect.:iconchibiaustriaplz:I've already finished the first 2 things. I wanted to use my colored pencils, and possibly markers with something and this gives me that opportunity. Good for color practice for future drawings. I have a lot of both pencils and markers (I tend to only remember a fraction of them), and they're just sitting there. It'll be nice to get back to them. Maybe it'll encourage me to draw more often, too. We stayed at the cafe in there after that.

Then, when it was dinnertime, we went to a local Japanese place called Hakata. Dad and I shared the sushi platter. It had 8 different types of nigiri, and tuna rolls. There were quite a few I was able to have. It was pretty good. Got their yakisoba, which was a lot better than last time. (That was a while ago...) Since we ordered 3 'entrees' we got 3 sets of pickled bean sprouts, and miso soup.:iconnorgeplz:The sushi was actually under appetizers, but apparently they treated it like a 3rd entree. I love their sprouts! I could eat them all day, everyday!:iconinloveplz:There are worse things to be addicted to...I got their fried ice cream, which is my fave. It's vanilla ice cream wrapped in a marble cake, then dipped in tempura batter, and then fried. So good!:iconchibispainplz:Probably not good for me, but having it every so often isn't bad. I only had about half of the yakisoba, but it just meant that I could savor it more for lunch the next day.

My appetite has been fluctuating between normal and not much of one.:iconsighingplz:It feels kind of like a roller coaster that I can't get off of. Sometimes I have a hard time eating what I should at the minimum amount I set for myself, and sometimes I'm fine with it. I'm going to bring this up with my gastroenterologist on the 31st. Along with some other things. The mini leg cramps have kind of turned into just having really stiff legs when I lay down. It's weird, but feels a bit better than those cramps. I still feel like my legs could go into a full cramp at any moment, though. Also, noticing my hair seems to be really coming out lately.:iconshockplz:Took a shower today, and a lot more came out than usual. Normally, a bit comes out because it's long curly/wavy hair and it collects and holds in the loose ones over time until I take a shower. I've got quite a bit of hair to spare, but I might bring this up, too. I think it might just be from stress or being nervous about it. That weird side rash I had seems to be fading away. I'm concerned about these red spots that I feel they don't really care about...:iconannoyedgin-plz:Also, I want to ask her about pain killers. I've read that ibuprofen isn't good for people with IBD, and I want to know what's ok as an over the counter one. She might have to prescribe something for me. I'm having more pain lately. I'll get that blood test done next Monday. I'll probably know more before my appointment about which IBD I have. That'll come in handy, too. 

Ordered more of the balsalazide, since I'll run out of it before the appointment. I don't want to stop something until I'm told to. And, she might try 'weaning' me off of it, anyways. I am taking 9 of them a day.:iconawkwardplz:If she prescribes another med (which is likely, and might be in addition to the one I already take), I don't want to go on one that has the side effect of weight gain. I had that with another med in the past, and I gained a lot of weight very quickly. I only recently got rid of most of what I gained. I don't want that hell again.:icondisgusted-hongkong:Even if it was my last resort. I'd rather have any other side effect but that. Looking at some of the meds that they usually recommend to treat it online, they sound like really harsh ones in general. Many go with immunosuppressants which suppress the immune system, so it can stop attacking itself. The main problem with that is that you can easily get sick this way. Not only that, but once your sick it can hit you harder than other people. (Since your immune system won't be as strong as normal people's.) Supposedly, it's hard for people on this to go to the hospital because they become sensitive to catching things. I'd rather have that mess than the weight gain, if there's one that doesn't have that side effect and I have to take it. Just would have to be extremely careful.