Monday, September 21, 2015

National Butterscotch Pudding Day!


This was actually Saturday, but why not keeping celebrating it? Butterscotch is one of my fave flavors for most desserts. Pudding makes it feel nice and smooth, and almost like you're being hugged by it.:iconwarmandcomfyplz:For some reason, it was quite a curiosity to me as a little kid. 

Well, last weekend was a bit crazy. That Saturday was probably the busiest. In the morning, Dad and I went to the local farmer's market. I found a nice looking melon (which went bad before we got a chance to eat it...:iconsadnessplz:), and a huge 'Chocolate Love' cookie. Dad got some green peppers, a small thing of salsa (turned out it didn't taste very good. Was really just chopped up tomatoes and onions:iconinsultedplz:), and a huge ginger cookie. The lady at the honey stand complimented me on the cat earrings I was wearing. Everyone seems to like them. I'm not used to that.:iconkikuplz: 

After that, we went to the grand opening of a maritime museum downtown. It was small, but very interesting. The mayor was there. When I tried to get by someone, they grabbed me and said: "Let's dance!" Then, patted me on the back. She was a grandmotherly type. It felt really awful to me.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:First of all, she's a complete stranger. Secondly, I don't like being touched suddenly. Thirdly, I have to be careful with being in contact with people now. I'm taking an immunosuppressant, after all. It was really crowded there. 

Next, we went to Sears to order more contacts for Dad, and I wanted to make an appointment for my annual eye exam. It took a while with everything, because their computers were slow. (Yet again...Seems like they always are.:iconsighingplz:)

Went to Barnes & Noble's cafe after that. Kind of to rest a bit. I got my usual tall iced chai. Ate half of the cookie I found at the farmer's market, too. 

We went to the Tacoma Mall to get alterations done on some clothes Dad had gotten recently. Mt Rainier was out, and it was so clear and cool looking.:iconawwwplz:I had wanted to go to the Night Market and Moon Festival in Seattle for a very long time, and we headed out there next.

Stopped at a Japanese restaurant for dinner before we really started going through the festival stuff. I wanted to go to Maneki's, but they were booked for the night.:iconhanatamagoplz:It's one of my favorite restaurants there. We tried Bush Gardens instead. It seemed deserted at first. The food was pretty decent. Didn't like that their salad had shrimp in it, and my dinner combo had to have California rolls. Things I can't eat, but I gave them to Dad. At least they wouldn't go to waste this way.:iconpolandplz:The portions were a bit smaller than I expected. Their miso soup was the best I've had in a very long time. The local Japanese restaurant we occasionally go to, has almost tasteless soup. But, the flavor in this one really came through. 

After that, we looked around for some dessert from the food trucks. Found a donut place, and got some mini cinnamon and sugar with vanilla icing donuts to share. I think they gave us 6, which was nice since we could share them evenly this way. They were heavily covered with stuff. It was really good, but messy.:iconfrancisplz: 

I was disappointed with the festival part.:iconnataliaplz:There were so many people there you couldn't do much. They had very interesting vendors, though. Food trucks made a good portion of the festival. Lots of interesting smells walking by them. There was a concert in the beer garden. I think you had to have a ticket to get in, and it looked even more packed (if that were possible). 

After lingering around it for a while, we went to Uwajimaya. It's a huge Asian supermarket. Amazing place.:iconinloveplz:Majority of the stuff is Japanese, but they also have a lot of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Thai stuff. There are even a few Eastern European things mixed up in there. Especially some from Russia. I took pics of what I saw, for the first time. Started out in the produce section as well, which we rarely get around to looking at. Such a wide variety of stuff! Really interesting. They even had durian. I've heard horror stories about the smell and such with that.:iconawkwardplz:It didn't smell there. It might need to be cut open in order to smell. Looked at their seafood section, too. They had a ton of quail eggs there. Interestingly, there was squid ink, as well. Took a pic of their live tilapia, too. It's a pretty impressive tank. Went through some of the bakery section, but didn't see much that popped out at me enough to take a pic there. Dad and I were both tired after that section, so we decided to go through the checkout and make our way home. Saw that they were selling moon cakes as we made our way out of the store. (Huge display of them.) I want to try them sometime in the future. They sound like they'd be pretty tasty, and they look interesting. The parking spot was quite a ways, so when we got to the car, we both were exhausted. But, it was good to get out there.:iconginsmileplz:

The next night was erev Rosh Hashanah. Or, the start of the holiday. I was by myself for services at the synagogue that night. A chair next to me was vacant, which I think was because the person on the other side of it wanted a place for her High Holiday prayer book or machzor. (Usually there are 2 different ones, one for Rosh Hashanah, and the other for Yom Kippur.) Also, they gave us various handouts and stuff. Anyways, it felt a little weird, but understandable. One of the edges of that chair was missing a 'cap', so it was really sharp. I didn't think much of it, and every time I bent over to grab my purse or get something from my tallit bag, I ended up cutting my arm on it. Took me a while to realize that was happening. Kind of disturbing.:iconwtfukplz:I should have told them about it. 

The congregation managed to get the new machzors from the Reform movement. This is the very fist High Holidays that they've ever been used for. So, a lot of congregations are excited about it. Apparently, the Rosh Hashanah ones are gold in color, and the Yom Kippur ones are silver. Interesting. There are already quite a lot of interesting new meditations, interpretations, and poems. The shofar part of the service is more interwoven throughout the rest of the service. It was pretty nice. 

It was nice to see people I hadn't seen in a long time. Some were new faces, too. There was a big dessert oneg (lit. 'delight'. Essentially a social after services. Usually with food, and maybe singing) afterwards like usual for Rosh Hashanah. Some congregations make it a potluck, but this synagogue has some members that volunteer to help make it each year. So, it's already provided. There was a big round challah with chocolate chips (round for many reasons. One being the cyclical nature of the year), a huge sheet cake (chocolate with a raspberry filling), apples and honey (for a sweet new year, most people eat this during the holiday), a honey cake (didn't get around to it. Interesting that there was only one this year. My mom used to make an amazing one. Maybe I should try to make it in the future?:iconheroamericaplz:), brownies, melon, etc. There were so many things to eat, I tried to eat off to the side so I could eat it quickly. People found me anyways.:iconusaplz:Someone new wanted to talk to me a lot. She was very nice, but once we got to really talking, the cantor (who's studying to be a rabbi and who I've known for years), decided to join us. When I talk to people I tend to only focus on the conversation.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:Makes it really hard to eat stuff at the same time. I got through most of it before I had to leave, so it was ok. I like talking to others, just not when I'm about to eat some great desserts...

A couple I've known for a very long time, picked me up and we all went to services together the next day. They also picked up someone else who I've known for a little while. (Maybe 2 years?) It was her first time at this synagogue. In fact, it seems she hadn't been to any services at other synagogues for a long time. Maybe since she moved to the area. 

The 'morning' service ended at around 2:30pm. I wanted to do tashlich with the rest of the congregation, but realized it was really late.:iconlietplz:The couple that had driven me there didn't want to go because of that. Which makes sense. It would have been too long for myself without being able to eat something. I have to eat at certain times in order to take my pills, and regulate those meds in my system. So, we headed back the way we came. They needed to mail something at the post office, so I waited for that. 

The other person they had picked up, invited me to her place for lunch. She lives pretty close to where I am, so I thought why not? The only downside to that is she's not the best cook. Even though she seems to always be cooking. There have been several disasters in the past with what she makes. This time she made apricot jelly chicken thighs, kasha, had store-bought challah rolls, and cole slaw. I had lemonade with it. Ate lunch at about 3:15pm. The latest since I started the azathioprine. It was surprisingly pretty decent. The cole slaw was weird, but tolerable. It's been a long time since I've had kasha, and it was ok. She had made apple cake, but apparently forgot to serve it. She made a big deal about telling us how she might have messed it up. She made a big deal about telling us how whenever she boils eggs they fly right out of the pot...The sauce to the chicken overflowed onto the floor of the oven, resulting in a massive amount of smoke at one point. The fire alarms were all going off for a while. Hurt my ears.:icondisgusted-hongkong: 

I'm slowly starting to realize that she's ageist and sexist.:icongermanyplz:I don't really like to look at people I know this way, which might be why it took me so long to realize. She loves to make fun of people who are much younger than her. (Like my age and younger. I'm sure even if I was 10 years older she'd do the same thing...) She said she loves to ask them certain questions, and thinks they can't possibly know the answers. That's just mean. She also treats them all like little kids that wouldn't know anything in general. The weird thing about that is most people learn the stuff she asks in school or online. It is the information age, after all. This time she asked me about some jazz musicians that were popular around the 30s and 40s. I'm not only a musician, I've taken several different types of music history classes in college. So, when I told her I knew about them, and talked about them in detail; she immediately got this surprised look and said 'sure...' and kind of rolled her eyes. I don't think she expected me to know what I was saying. She's done several other things that were ageist towards me. Next time I'm calling her on it when it happens.:iconhongkongplz:She's been rather sexist towards men, too. Saying things like: "Oh, you know how guys are!" Or: "They're all the same." She's said a lot more things even while one of the people around her was a guy. It's just cruel with that combined with the ageist thing. Men and women (as well as people who are gender nonconforming) should be treated equally. So, I might call her on that too, if no one says anything again. I'll probably see her again during Thanksgiving or something. She's also friends with the couple that holds that at their house. I just thinks she needs a little waking up or something.

Early next (that Tuesday) morning, I woke up around 4:30am. I was in extreme pain in my abdomen and what felt like around my lungs. That pain reminded me of when I had pneumonia several years ago, so it really freaked me out.:iconchibichinaplz:When I had pneumonia, I was hospitalized for a week. They weren't sure if I was going to make it right away, since my lungs had been filled to the brim with fluid. In order to get that fluid out quickly, they poked a hole in one of my lungs and let it pour out into liter-sized bottles. I think it ended up filling a couple of them. Very painful, and had a hard time breathing normally for a long time. The difference this time was I didn't have a fever, I could take deep breaths, and the pain ebbed away with water and pain killers. Thank goodness the pain eventually went away completely! I think the pain was from taking my meds super late the day before. 

This also made me realize a few things. I remember being told, and reading the few papers I've gotten on azathioprine, that I should be very cautious of sick people, cuts, hospitals, etc. (Since it's a mild chemo med, and an immunosuppressant.) I was around a lot of people that weekend. Many people could have been sick or were carrying something and didn't know it. The synagogue was packed with people in such a closed-in small space, too. It didn't dawn on me until that Tuesday morning that sort of environment might not be wise for me...:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:Accidentally cutting myself with the sharp edge of the chair at the synagogue, made a mark and scared me. (The cuts weren't deep enough to draw blood, but it felt like it.)

Another realization was that High Holiday services are usually pretty long. I mentioned I ate lunch at 3:15pm Monday, and I had my first 'batch' of pills then. I normally have it at a reasonable lunch time. Had my second 'batch' at around 8:30pm after a small snack. Normally it's after dinner. This threw me off for a while. 

I'm somewhat glad I decided not to go to the 2nd day of services. It's not as big of a deal that day. I ended up finding a live streaming directory that lists Reform congregations from around the country that stream most of the services. They also archive the vids, so if you couldn't watch it while it was happening, you can watch it when you can. I tried out one of those congregations for the 2nd day stuff. It was like I was actually there. (I even put it on Apple TV.) I did everything I would have done if I was there, too. It just took out the social/interactive aspect. I think it's really good for people who might be immunocompromised, too. I might be using a lot of them for Shabbat services as well as other holiday ones. I'm kind of rotating through them at the moment. So far, I think I've tried out 3 of them. 1 for 2nd day Rosh Hashanah stuff, another for Friday night services, and another for Saturday morning. Apparently, none of them do Havdalah (the concluding ceremony for Shabbat), but that's understandable. Some synagogues are huge and quite ornate. Very interesting to see.:iconchibihungaryplz:

I'm thinking physically going to Yom Kippur services won't be a good thing for me. It's usually even more crowded at the synagogue. This is upsetting to me, because I usually get a lot out of it, I see people I only see once a year, and it feels like an obligation to go.:iconohboyamericaplz:It seems even bigger than RH is. It was hard enough to not fast during the holiday. I have to have food with my meds, and it's considered an even bigger sin for people with health issues to not eat on that day. But, I shouldn't compromise my health for physically going to services. I'm sure other people have had to do this. At least I still have options with going to live streaming ones. 

On that Thursday, I had lunch with a friend I haven't really talked to for a while. I've known her for a very long time. She also has IBD (specifically Crohn's), so it was nice to talk to her about that, too. I don't know too many people who have it. (So, it was even more valuable for me to talk about it with her.) We went to Elmer's, and I got their maple apple French toast, chicken sausage, and scrambled eggs. We talked for a while, and then decided to go see a movie. We saw A Walk in the Woods. It was interesting, and made me feel like going hiking again.:iconherotimeplz:We talked a bit longer when she parked on our driveway. Had a lot to catch up on, and to share our stories with IBD. It was fun, too. It'd be fun to do that kind of thing again soon. 

Got an email from my gastroenterologist on Friday. She said my inflammation appears to be slowly getting better.:dummy:She wanted me to increase my dose of azathioprine, because one of the metabolites from one of the test results was flagged low. That meant the azathioprine wasn't up at a therapeutic level. So, she wanted me to go up to 3 pills instead of 2. Also, she ordered another blood draw for at the beginning of next month. She asked about my hair loss, and how I'm doing overall with things. I like that she seems to really listen and care what I think. I messaged her back on Sunday. 

Her nurse messaged me back saying my gastro won't be available until next week. But, he said that'll be ok to increase my azathioprine to 1 pill 3 times a day. My gastro was suggesting things like 1.5 pills twice a day. I don't want to have to cut a tiny pill every day. I think I'll start the increased dosage tomorrow. We'll see what happens with that. He said I should keep the same dose for balsalazide. It's the stuff that I feel like I'm eating huge chunks of plastic every time. Went down to 6 pills instead of 9 after I talked to my gastro last time. It's the stuff they gave me right after my colonoscopy, and it's an anti-inflammatory med. He said after a month at the new dose of azathioprine, I could ask her again about the balsalazide dose. She was the one that asked me about that in the email...Oh, well. I'll just have to be patient with that.:iconchibiaustriaplz:

For a while, I think it was during the week of the 7th, I did my best to do 3 of my 2-mile walks a day. Added another 'set' of sit-ups in the afternoon, too. It felt so good to do, and I didn't think I could do it. I want to get back to that again this week. Today I only did a partial walk (did most of it, at least), and I'll get to my 2nd set of sit-ups later. At least it's something. And, there's more to the week.

Hopefully I can get back to posting more often on here...:iconchibinitalyplz:People are liking the pics I posted on deviantART yesterday and today. All of them are of the stuff I saw on that Saturday when we went to the Night Market and Uwajimaya. Always interesting to see what people like, too. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mr. Cool


By Snook. Snook was a Swedish rap duo group. They debuted in 2000 and were active until 2009. Snook is Swedish slang for 'nose'. The group often made fun of traditional rap, and tried to reinvent it. Both the members, Linnros and Adams-Ray, met in high school. Mr. Cool was one of their biggest hits. I first heard it in a Gintama amv a long time ago. Fits the main character, Gintoki, really well. It's apparently about a guy who thinks he's too cool, gets into some trouble, and somehow everything turns out ok. There's a part in the song where they slip up and mention Snook, but then catch themselves and say: "I mean, Mr. Cool!" Sounds like they're mocking themselves...:iconlaughingplz:Gintoki certainly has his cool moments, but a lot of things backfire on him. It's hard to find translated lyrics. With the ones I've seen, the translator mentioned that there are some words that have no meaning throughout the song. This is that amv:

This is my wallpaper for September. It features Gokudera from Hitman Reborn. He used to play the piano. I think he stopped after his sister kept poisoning him with her cookies after each performance. Don't remember if he went back to it at some point. This is his future self playing in the reflection off of it, too. In the future arc, they go 10 years into the future. They can't exist in the same space or time, so they personally don't see who they become. But, other characters do. In fact, Tsuna (the 10th generation boss, whether he likes it or not...) met the future Gokudera first. Once that one disappeared, the current Gokudera appeared. It would have been interesting if they could talk to their future selves face to face. I also chose it because the High Holy Days are during this month. Kind of a time for reflection, and it's not necessarily joyful. Kind of a bittersweet time. It's like he's 'reflected', and doesn't look too happy, but not really sad either. There's another one I like to use for this month, but I haven't used this one before. So, why not use a new one this time?:icontinoplz:

My Paris calendar features Ile de la Cite. It's one of the islands that sit in the middle of the Seine. All distances in Paris are measured from the center of this island. The most famous landmark on the island is the Notre Dame Cathedral. There's a small uncrowded park called Place Dauphine.

My Jewish calendar's main pic features Torah finials, unknown maker, made out of silver, Netherlands; 1820-1850. Torah finials sit on top of the rollers of the Torah scroll. They're basically fancy ornaments. Some are similar in shape to pomegranates, which have many reasons behind it. Some have bells, and others have tower-like shapes. Some have some sort of combination of all these. These are kind of tower-like with 3 different levels to them, and they have bells. Cool to see such old ones.:iconchibihungaryplz:And, they seem like they're in good shape. The second pic's of a New Year greeting card, anonymous maker, made out of cardboard and ink, Netherlands; 1930-1940. Rosh Hashanah is our New Year, so that's what they're referring to. It has the traditional greeting in Hebrew, flowers next to that, a meadow-like scene that leads up to a town, and at the top there's a star of David with some sort of design on the inside with big flowers around it. It's kind of hard to see since it's a small card, and there's a lot of detail to it. Really cool to see. The last pic's of a shofar, anonymous maker, ibex horn; 1850-1900. A shofar is a musical instrument made out of a horn that's blown during the High Holy Days. Usually it's a natural ram's horn. It can be a bit difficult to get sound out of it, let alone playing the notes/beats that need to be done during the services. It sounds cool though. We have our own shofar at home. Many families play it every morning for a month leading up to the holidays. (I've kind of forgotten about doing it this time...:iconohboyamericaplz:) It's essentially to wake our spiritual selves up for the holidays. This one looks fancier and longer than ours. There are some really impressive looking ones out there. Interesting that they don't know where it came from...

The month-long holidays are: National Biscuit Month, National Breakfast Month, National Chicken Month, National Honey Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Piano Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun.

It's been a bit of a strange week for me.:iconusaplz:Dad started her new job, and says it's been a dream so far. Which is great, and I'm really happy for her.:iconthailandplz:Interesting that it's at my old high school. 

I've been feeling kind of weird ever since I've noticed how much hair I've really lost.:iconsadnessplz:It doesn't look good down anymore. So, I've been putting it up in a bun for the last few days. Every time I see it down, I feel kind of bad about it. At least, it looks better than it used to up. If I still don't look good with it down after I use the hair products I just ordered, I'll just have to talk to a hairstylist. Hopefully, they'd have some ideas. 

I've been having a bit more abdominal pain lately. I have to be careful with certain pain meds now, since I have an IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). The pain I'm experiencing doesn't have to do with the IBD, but it's a bit more than I'm used to.

I've been thinking more about my mom. We're going to have her memorial/headstone unveiling soon. (Not sure on specifics yet.) I wasn't there when Dad chose the design, but it sounds good. They're in the process of making it now. I hope to be able to take a pic of the headstone while I'm there. I have no idea how I'll really feel...:iconwtfromanoplz:I haven't been back there since her funeral 3 years ago. 

Saw a rainbow Wednesday night. It was on our way to group. Looked cool with everything else looking dark and gloomy. I had to take a pic. It might have been the first time I took one in a moving car. We were going to eat at the new Sonic that opened in town for dinner. But, there was a ton of people. It would have taken too long to get our food. I didn't think it'd be that popular...:iconkikuplz:I visited their site online to see what they had. Didn't know that their hot dogs are all beef. That's pretty cool!:iconranranruuplz:I think I remember going to one once or twice. I barely remember some of what they had. I think I had a milkshake from there before and it was pretty good. We went to a Safeway that was near the group's meeting place instead. I grabbed a chicken Caesar wrap, and bottled water. The wrap is usually pretty good. It was the same this time. 

After group we went to Shari's like usual. I got their apple pie in a jar. It's really good!:iconchibispainplz:It's got chunks of apple pie with clumps of vanilla ice cream crammed into a mason jar. Whipped cream is on top with some cinnamon dusted on top of that. My first bite was a bit more intense than usual. It had a lot more cinnamon, caramel sauce with the pie, and the ice cream all in one spoonful. Really good, but I made a noise of surprise and happiness. Someone looked at me and said it must be good. I was slightly embarrassed, but certainly didn't regret getting it. It made me feel better about my hair when someone told me I looked good there too.:iconcblushplz: 

Got my blood drawn today. My gastroenterologist told me that I should do it at the beginning of this month. Before the lab tech started, she said that her computer gave her an alert to ask about what new med I'm taking, and what dose I'm at. I told her I'm taking azathioprine, and couldn't remember the exact dosage. I have it on my phone, but I didn't have it with me. So, she put that part as unknown. Shouldn't they have that info already? She thought it was a weird alert, but once I told her that it's an immunosupressant (as well as a chemo med) she understood it a bit more. I've also been told that I should bring it up with all medical professionals/staff. Apparently, they have to be careful while I'm on this. I kind of feel like I'm fragile when I think about it that way...Not a good feeling to me.:iconwtfukplz:

The lab tech distracted me by talking about my 2nd novel. She said she wants to read it now. Kind of hard to do if I haven't published it yet.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:People seem to be really interested in this one. Maybe it'll be a big success. One can hope. I'm going to try to do a better job at marketing than I did last time. It's a lot easier to explain what it's about, at least. 

I have to remember to add more protein to my diet than I used to. And, it seems a bit difficult for me. Some things I think have a lot of protein, don't. I'm surprised with some things that do. I might be losing other nutrients as well, so I have to stay on top of everything.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:The blood tests will not only see how my meds are doing, but to monitor more of these nutrients. I remember that my gastro said my protein levels are very slowly improving. So, hopefully it'll be much better this time...I did notice I'm losing less hair, but that might be because I have less hair compared to before. So, there's less to lose...:iconpolandplz:

So, as you can see it's been strange this week. Not that bad, just weird. Even the weather's been abnormal. We're a lot cooler than usual. At least it's raining occasionally now. It's cold enough today, I'm wearing one of my heavier fleece winter shirts. Even with that, it still feels cold.:iconitsfreezingplz:

The High Holy Days are coming up. It's 10 days long and it starts with Rosh Hashanah, and ends with Yom Kippur. As I mentioned before, Rosh Hashanah is our New Year (it lit. means 'Head of the Year'). It starts the night of the 13th. Technically it goes until sundown on the 15th. Many people will end it on the 14th, though. These holidays are always on the same day on the Jewish calendar, but seem to move around compared to the 'normal' secular calendar. The Jewish calendar is lunar, while the secular one is solar. Hence, why our holidays always start at night. The New Year can be both happy and slightly somber. We wish people a sweet New Year with having sweets. Things like honey, pastries, candies, etc. We're happy we've made it to see another year, but it's also the start of reflecting on your previous actions from the past year. Some people think about what they can change for the coming year. Some apologize for anything that they might have done wrong to others. There's a custom that we toss our 'sins' away at the end of the day services for it. The sins are represented by bread crumbs, and they're tossed into a body of water. Kind of like the fish and wildlife will eat our sins.

Yom Kippur means Day of Atonement. It's considered the most important holiday on the calendar. Most are important, but this one's especially emphasized as such. It'll start the night of the 22nd, and goes until sundown the next day. People are required to fast, unless it'll affect you're health in some way. So, pregnant women, little kids, the elderly, etc. are told to not do so. I can't because of my meds. All my meds, including the new ones, have to be taken with food. It's also especially not good with having IBD to fast, so it's like doubly important for me to have food.:iconhongkongplz:My other 'condition' won't be balanced either if I were to do it. It's actually a sin for people with health issues to fast during it. Funny how it's a sin for everyone else if they don't fast. I still feel bad about eating during it.:icongermanyplz:It felt interesting after fasting during it when I could. The holiday ends with a break-the-fast potluck at the end of the day. There's often a rush to get to the food at that time. Most things disappear before you get to them, if you're not fast enough.:iconshockplz:There have been times when the stuff we've brought were gone by the time we got to them. There's usually a big dessert oneg after the Rosh Hashanah night service. We fill up on a ton of cakes (usually honey cakes), honey and apples, candy, etc.