Wednesday, November 25, 2015

National Parfait Day!


I love parfaits!:iconinloveplz:Although, I don't like the ones that are popular in this region of the US that much. Layers of yogurt, semi-thawed fruit, granola that turns into chewy/soft lumps, etc. doesn't sound as appealing as some others. Other places use pudding instead of yogurt, ice cream, whipped cream, fresh fruit, cookies, etc. (I love those types of parfaits more.) There are a variety of different kinds. Apparently they're really popular in Japan, too. Yesterday was National Sardines Day. Sardines are really good, and relatively healthy. I like to cook canned ones in olive oil, capers, and garlic until they become super soft. Almost turn into a pate at that point. The bones dissolve, so you're just left with great flavor.:iconitalyplz:It's good over pasta, on crackers, by itself, or in specific recipes. 

I wasn't going to bring this up, but this has been said in the past before. (So, I just need to get this off my chest...) On Monday, I went down at around 7:15am to make breakfast. Someone said: "I wouldn't be up this early if I didn't have to." They probably didn't mean any harm by it, but again, it's been said in the past. It feels like a strange thing to say. When's a healthy time, for you, to get up? When's a healthy time, for you, to go to bed? And lastly, are you me? We're all different. Something that might be healthy for you, might not be for me. And, vice versa. Also, it wasn't that early. Not like it was 5am or something. I've noticed if I go to bed late and get up late; I feel groggy, have a hard time concentrating, seem to lack energy, and yet can't fall asleep easily. (I had a hard time sleeping for a while.) When I go to bed early and get up early; I feel energized, focused, feel like I actually have a day, it's easier for me to fall asleep and stay asleep, etc. I'm actually tired of seeing 11pm or 12am before I go to sleep. Even 10pm's starting to bug me.:iconpolandplz:If you go to bed before that, you're naturally (without an alarm) going to wake up early. (So, should I somehow force myself to sleep longer?) They say, on average, a normal amount of sleep is about 8-10 hours. I'm ok with 8 or 9. If this person's trying to discourage me, that's even more odd. Kind of like saying: "I wouldn't brush my teeth if I didn't have to." Or: "I wouldn't wash my hands if I didn't have to." Also, this sounds kind of like my health isn't important. When I'm trying to be as healthy as I can be, especially after being diagnosed with IBD, it's extremely important to me. It's more of a 'need' than a 'have to'. I'm trying to see what keeps me the most healthy.

We had some pretty wild weather yesterday.:iconwtfukplz:It was incredibly windy. It wasn't listed in the forecast, so it caught a lot of people by surprise. I think it was more windy than the storm we had a week or two ago. The one that they predicted. Half the time it felt like the house was going to be ripped away. The power went on and off about 3 times. Each of those times, it only lasted a minute or so. And then, around 2pm, it went out for the 4th and final time. It was out for a few hours. Felt like a lot longer, though. The internet was down as well, so we couldn't do much on our phones/devices. Also, I kept getting a 'no service' message in the upper left corner of my phone. (So, couldn't really call people either.) Most of the people in the county were without power. Rosie was going crazy during it. Running around the house, clawing at the cat tree, looking at us with big eyes, puffing up her tail, sitting in places she doesn't normally, etc. I think she somehow thought I could make it all better.:iconseychelles-plz:

So, I tried to play my clarinet at first during it. It was really hard to see, so I kind of gave up. I have a book light that didn't really help. I colored in my adult coloring book for a while. I was able to see enough to do it. Then, I read for a bit. The power came back on by the time I was thinking of making dinner. 

Rosie was having trouble with throwing up again. Last Friday, I got tired of her dry heaving (sometimes it was just clear foamy liquid) in my bedroom, and closed the door for the night so she couldn't come back in. (Throwing up clear liquid in the area on my bed I tend to lean in while I sleep, was the last straw.:iconinsultedplz:) She kept scratching the door frantically. I felt so bad about it. But, I kept her out of my room until Monday. I didn't remember that her 'carrot' (a soft toy that's shaped like a carrot, has catnip inside, and the leaves are feathery), and her mouse toys were still in my room during that time. They're her favorite toys. That probably also felt horrible to her. My heart couldn't stand her scratching on my door and the meows any longer, so that's why I opened my room up for her on Monday.:iconamericasadchibiplz:She still stayed away from it during the day. She managed to sleep with me, though. She's rediscovered those toys, too. She seems happier now. She's starting to come in more often, too. She hasn't thrown up since. So, maybe it's out of her system finally? I would think if it were a food allergy, she'd still be throwing up. So, I don't know.

Tuesday night I decided to make 2 Yummly recipes. One was a garlic lemon chicken crockpot recipe, and the other was a chocolate cobbler recipe. The chicken also had rosemary, thyme, chicken broth, and a little salt and pepper. I used half the meat and half of the other ingredients. They said to have the crockpot set to high for 4 hours with it. Since I was using half the amount, I decided to have it at 2 hours on high, and 2 hours on low. It made the house smell amazing!:iconchibispainplz:It turned out just about right when I checked it at the end of those 4 hours. The chicken was tender and slightly falling apart. When I checked it, the chicken looked like a giant ball in the middle of the liquid. They said to cut it into strips before putting it in, and I did. Maybe it was supposed to be that way. It was like a flavor explosion with the first bite. I served it with stuffing, and peas. I was going to make mashed potatoes instead of stuffing, but we didn't have enough of the instant stuff. I was going to put some dill and olive oil in the peas, but was too tired at that point. Still ended up good. 

For the chocolate cobbler, I kind of messed up.:iconlietplz:They said to use a round 8-inch pan, and the only one I could see was the spring-form cake pan that's the same size. I thought if it was on tight enough, I wouldn't have a problem. So, I went about putting it together. The 'topping' seemed even bigger than the batter was. The topping only had brown sugar and cocoa powder. They tell you to pour a lot of water over it, and not to stir it. I did, and without putting anything under it, I put it in the oven. Then, I started to smell and hear something.:iconwtfromanoplz:The liquid started to seep out all over the inside of the oven. So, I immediately took it out and put the thing in the sink. Meanwhile, as I took it out and carried it, it made a trail of watery chocolate in its wake.:iconawkwardplz:So, I cleaned up as much as I could. Then, I thought I shouldn't waste it, found another pan (it was square instead of round, and I was already half thinking of using it at the beginning), and transferred what I could to it. Then, I threw it back into the oven. It basically looked like brownie batter, so if there's less liquid, I thought maybe it'll just be a big brownie instead of a chocolate cobbler. Well, the topping ended up on the bottom and made kind of a chewy layer. I forgot to spray the pan before I transferred it, so it's a bit more difficult to get that chewy part out. It did end up being like brownie other than that, though. It was pretty good. Just very rich and dense. I added some water to a piece last night, and heated it up to see if it'd be close to what it should be. I think I may have liked it more this way, but I might have added too much water. It's an interesting texture this way.

I still haven't responded back to my gastroenterologist's nurse. I'm thinking of sending out a new message all together today, and hopefully it'll go directly to my gastro. They did say she was in this week. I might say that I'm not entirely satisfied with the answer I got, ask about the next blood test, mention my symptoms, and tell her about what I'm doing with the azathioprine. I won't be able to order another batch until the 30th, so I'm kind of rationing them. I went from 3 a day down to 2. Even with this, I think I'll probably finish it right on the 30th. That leaves a couple of days without...(Since it takes a couple of days to get through the mail. It's cheaper by mail, by the way.:iconhanatamagoplz:) I probably should not go down to 1 a day, but I'll see what she has to say about it. Also, she still hasn't changed the prescription for that. I changed to having 3 a day about a couple of months ago. (It was her suggestion.) But, it still is set at 2 a day on the bottle. So, instead of lasting a month, it's only going for 20 days. That's a bit difficult. I have to order them more often, and they're more expensive this way.:icondisgusted-hongkong:Unless she says she wants me to go back to 2...I don't know. 

Tomorrow we'll be going to that couple's place for Thanksgiving again. They've been family friends for most of my life. The same people who threw a party for their wedding anniversary and Halloween. Should be fun. I don't know how many people will be there. Some years it's just been us, and some years it's like a packed house. The husband usually smokes their turkey. It's pretty tasty. They usually do sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top (something I really don't like), make their own cranberry relish (I usually don't like this either. Too much orange rind in it. So, they usually have canned cranberry sauce for people who don't like it), stuffing (sometimes they make 2. One with chestnuts, and the other without. Sometimes they tell people to just pick the chestnuts out if they don't like them. I'm one of those people. It's good otherwise), they make their own pumpkin pie (it's pretty good), their own whipped cream (usually doesn't have enough sugar, but I give them props for effort), and a few other things. I do like a good amount of their food, though. Other guests bring some good things, too. A lot of the time it's good to just be there to talk and have fun with them. The food might be just a chunk of it. A good chunk, but it's not the main thing. (We don't have relatives in the area, so they're kind of like family.) They sometimes have pickled herring and crackers as an appetizer, too. There's usually sparkling apple cider. I think at least the wife doesn't drink alcohol, so she has that available for everyone who doesn't drink, too. I don't drink alcohol, so it's nice to know it's there. Usually we play Trivial Pursuit afterwards. If there's time, we might play other games. 

2 cool Kekkai Sensen (Bloodline Battlefront) amv's:

5 Gintama amv's (2 are funny. The rest are pretty serious, but are amazingly done. Some are centered around recent story arcs. The last one has one of my fave characters that rarely shows up in the anime, and therefore there aren't many amv's with him in it. But, he certainly leaves an impression every time he shows up, and is one of the main characters. I didn't find all these in one day. Just slowly over a month):

Thursday, November 19, 2015

National Baklava Day!


This food holiday was actually Tuesday. Interesting that there's one for baklava. It's really good.:iconfrancisplz:It has layers of filo, filled with chopped nuts, and syrup or honey soaked into it. It originated during the Ottoman Empire, and apparently there's some dispute between where exactly. It's popular in Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East. I also read that it's apparently an ancestor of what is now the modern strudel. Very interesting. Strudel's awesome, too! It somewhat makes sense that it was related. It was also Homemade Bread Day. Nothing beats homemade bread.:iconfeelingfullplz:I remember when my mom used to make her own challah every Friday. (Challah is a braided egg-type bread. It's commonly eaten during Shabbat.) The house smelled amazing! It tasted much better than the store-bought stuff, too. Maybe someday I'll get up enough courage to make my own at least once. 

It seems like the weather's getting colder now.:iconitsfreezingplz:Yesterday morning I saw a thick layer of frost outside. I also saw in the forecast that it might snow next Tuesday and Wednesday. We're already having lows in the high 30's lately. I do remember that we usually have some snow around Thanksgiving time. Sometimes it's a little, and sometimes it's a full on blizzard. So, I guess we'll see if either actually happen this year...It was very windy and rainy on Tuesday. Many places were flooded out. People lost their power, too. Ours only went out for a few minutes that morning, but flickered the rest of the day. I kept thinking it would go out, so I was prepared at least.:iconherotimeplz:A couple of days before that we heard about 3 loud booms, and the power briefly went out after each time. Sounded like transformers were blowing up. The power company must have been really on top of it during that. Scary sounding, though.:iconchibichinaplz:

I'm still doing 25 sit-ups twice a day, and haven't missed a time since I got back into it. Yay! I don't think Rosie likes when I do them, though. I've also kept up with the amount of calories I've set for myself. And, have tried to have a good portion of each meal be protein-rich. I already feel lighter, and better about things. Haven't gotten back to doing my walks, but hopefully I will soon. It gets more difficult as it gets colder. 

I've been going to bed earlier, and getting up earlier for close to a week now, too. It's like what I mentioned a while back, about basing when I get up to when I go to bed. Setting things for 8 or 9 hours from when I go to bed. So, for example, if I go to bed at 10pm, I'll try to get up at around 6am. I think I'll give myself a slightly longer time during the weekend. I feel a lot better, though. It feels more 'normal' or natural, and my body's already getting used to it.:iconranranruuplz:Sometimes I get up a little before I want to. This way it's also like I don't have a truly set time to get up in the morning, yet I feel I still get a morning this way. Also, that I feel I go to bed at decent times now. I remember my grandpa told me, last time I talked to him, that it's good for the body in general to go to bed early and get up early. 

I got half my contacts through the mail on my birthday. I had ordered a year's supply, which is 8 boxes in total. So, I only got my left eye's contacts. I thought maybe they needed to do 2 separate deliveries or something, so I waited. Nothing else came, and on Monday I called the optical place. They said there was some glitch, they immediately fixed it, and will be sending my right eye's contacts through express shipping. I thought, ok cool. As long as I get them, and it doesn't cost more to correct this mistake, it's fine. I didn't realize when they said 'express', it would arrive the next day. It wasn't even 24 hours yet since that call, and I got it the next morning. Pretty fast.:iconshockplz:So, now I have the correct prescription in both eyes, and am seeing things a lot more clearer. It's amazing to see how much better a prescription it is than my previous one. I didn't know my eyes had changed that much. 

Also, since I hadn't heard anything from my gastroenterologist after I got my most recent test results, I decided to message her about it. Normally, she sends out a message to me after she reviews the results. Even if it looks fine, she still sends something out. So, this felt odd to me. I got a reply from one of her nurses thanking me for the 'update', and said they'd send it to my gastro. Odd, because that email address is supposed to go directly to her. I got another nurse's reply back. This time it was more detailed. Saying she won't be in this week, that the metabolite I was worried about is just slightly elevated and most patients still get benefits from it (slightly high? It seemed quite a bit higher), suggested setting up a phone appointment or seeing her in person, and asked about my current symptoms. I think it'd be a waist if I had a phone appointment just to talk about this one thing. Even more so, if in person. The messaging system is supposed to go directly to the doctors/other medical professionals, and patients are usually encouraged to use them instead. (During my last actual physical visit with my gastro, the nurse encouraged me to use it as often as I could, too...) Especially if you have a question about something that could be talked about rather quickly. Understandable they'd ask about my symptoms, but that seemed like an afterthought. I don't know, this sounds suspicious to me.:paranoid:I was able to immediately contact her about ordering the lab work earlier, so why can't I now? Also, this blood draw was right after I was put back on health insurance, so I wonder if she even got it. She normally messages me about the next blood draw, too. I'll message that nurse back about it later. 

Global Day of Jewish Learning was on Sunday. It's a day where Jews from around the world give lectures based around a certain theme. This year's was on 'love'. The year before that, it was on 'heroes and villains'. This event started in 2010. They schedule these lectures throughout the entire day. The lectures are through Youtube videos. There are some that are just in Spanish, some in Russian, some in French, some in Portuguese, and the rest (the majority) are in English. I only watched the first one during the actual event. The speaker for that one was Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, and his topic was titled: "Love: Seeing Through All the Veils". It was very interesting. Basically comparing different types of love, and exploring what makes them different. Like, loving a certain type of food, romantic love, parental love, friendship, self love, etc. Interesting that for his location he has it as 'worldwide'. He's the only one that listed it that way. Also, apparently he's like the head of the Aleph Society which created/sponsors the event. (They have a surprising number of other Jewish organizations that sponsor it as well.) So, it does make sense that he'd be first. I read that he just wants to make Jewish works/knowledge accessible to all Jews regardless of their backgrounds, gender, where they come from, etc. That's pretty cool.:iconchibihungaryplz:I might watch some of the others in the future, since they archive the videos. 

Also, he puts out a daf yomi every day on the Aleph Society's site. Daf yomi lit. means 'page of the day' or 'daily page'. It's a page or section of the Talmud that's read, studied, and discussed. Talmud lit. means 'study'. It's a record of rabbinic teachings and laws that spans about 600 years. Starting from the 1st century CE, up until the 6th and 7th century CE. He has the page/section, his interpretation, and some questions to ponder/study. Some people read/study a section every day, and it takes 7 and half years to complete one cycle. The Talmud is huge. It's about 63 volumes/books long. Depending on which version you get. You can study it throughout your entire lifetime, and never run out of material. There are modern rabbis now that have extra commentary to go with what's already written down. Most of it is commentary on top of lots of other rabbis' commentary. So, even those books and what's in them, don't quite make up all of it. I would like to learn more about Talmud stuff, so it's cool he has something like that. I think a few other sites do it, too. 

I finished a version of the cover art for Sweet Endless Terror. (My nightmare anthology.) I'm thinking I'll make another one with a few more tweaks to it. Like, the skull looks like it's positioned a little too high on the page, the title position might be slightly off, etc. I like the color and font I chose for the title. It's clear to read, and the color is similar to the flame of the candle. I decided on just having a black background with no effects, too. I want it to be simple, and not too cluttered or too much to see at once. I most likely won't even shade it in, or add a glow to the candle. But, I did smooth/color over some of the white specks that the colored pencils missed. So, it looks a lot more uniform. Now that I know more of what I want, the new version shouldn't take as long. Then, I'll go over everything again. Just to make sure everything's the way I want it. Also, edited more drawings of my original character (from Alliance) Junko. These are for an expressing emotion meme. I'm now to the last 'most extreme' version of the worried category. Blushing will be next, and there's only one more after that. Each one has 3 different levels of that emotion. So, like this category, the first is slightly worried, then just worried, and finally extremely worried.

I've been playing my clarinet on a more regular basis now. I haven't done so in a long time. It feels good.:iconheroamericaplz:I'm getting better each time, too. The flexibility in my hands is slowly coming back, as well. I'm still doing the 40 minutes each time. I might up that to 45 minutes next week. Played some klezmer, Mozart, and one piece from my regular solo book. I'm trying to do more of the pieces in these books. I tend to play the ones I like more often, but I can improve even more if I play the others, too. I also realized a couple of the ones I skip over normally I used to love. So I'm also rediscovering things. 
I studied the common compounds that were listed for , and the kanji . (差 in general means: distinction, difference, variation, discrepancy, margin, balance.) 差異 or さい (sai): difference, disparity, gap. 差遣 or さけん (saken): dispatch, sending. 差別 or さべつ (sabetsu): discrimination, distinction. pronounced as さい (sai): side dish. As (na): greens, vegetables. 野菜 or やさい (yasai): vegetable(s). Did pretty well this time with quizzing myself on JapaneseClass' site. Actually managed to get a lot of the new stuff correct, and remembered things I haven't seen in a while. Translated more of that You Maga article, too. 

Read an article from RocketNews24's original Japanese site. This time it was on discount bentos or packaged lunches at a discount supermarket. They couldn't believe how cheap they were. They tried 3 of the most popular kinds. Each one had a hefty portion. One was with Chinese food, another fried food, and the last one was with grilled mackerel. They all sounded really good. They said they really anticipated the taste of the Chinese one, but it was a lot more bland than they expected. They said it would probably be better suited for an older person. But, they seemed to like the others, and recommended them to people. I practiced some sentences in Japanese, too. Again, the topic was still on my birthday stuff.

dA faves:
I did not make these. I just want to share them. (Haven't done this in a while...:icontinoplz:Adoption This painting illustrates an interesting concept. What if cats (or maybe pets in general) adopted humans instead? Scp-093 This one's from an interesting artist I watch. His stuff is usually very surreal and somewhat creepy. The first thing I saw of his was a painting of a huge pet spider with its owner taking it out for a walk at night in the rain. For some reason, his stuff doesn't creep me out. He does it in such a way that it seems more creative, interesting, and cool than creepy. The 'monsters' in this one are interesting, and it makes you wonder what happened beforehand. Moomin Box This one's made by another artist I watch. They sometimes do Moomin related paintings. Moomins are central characters in a series of books and a comic strip by Swedish-speaking Finnish illustrator and writer Tove Jansson. With all the books and comic strip, the original series was released from 1945 until 1993. There was an anime in Japan based on it, and they became popular in that country soon after that. It's mainly popular in Scandinavia, Russia, and Japan. This one's kind of cute. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

National Sundae Day!


Most of the time, I love sundaes!:iconinloveplz:They're so simple, and you can make your own with various different toppings and ice cream. It's a pretty good go to thing for parties, and can be fun. (I think we had them quite often at sleepovers and birthday parties when I was little.) I've only had one bad one, that I can remember, at a restaurant. They put chunks of ice in the ice cream. Maybe it was freezer burn or something, but it's rare to find large chunks of it lodged in there.:iconawkwardplz:The chocolate syrup was watery, too. But, most of the time, you can't go wrong with it. I like fudgy chocolate syrup, butterscotch, or caramel on top of mine. Whipped cream and a cherry make it good, too. Nuts are ok, but seem like filler for something like this. Toffee chunks can kick it up a notch, though. Cookie pieces are good on it, too. The ice cream doesn't have to be vanilla, either. It's also Veteran's Day.

Rosie seems 100 times better than what she was a couple of weeks ago. She's pretty much back to her old self.:iconranranruuplz:She's energetic, cleaning herself like usual, eating (maybe too much now...:iconhanatamagoplz:), drinking, meowing (she's normally a talker), tripping everyone, etc. All her normal things, but feels good now since she was lethargic and not doing most of these for so long. Her nose isn't dripping green liquid, and she's not drooling profusely anymore either. Yay! So, whatever she had seems to have gone through her system. 

She decided to sit on my lap for close to 2 hours on Friday. Half sleeping, and then just watching me and purring loudly. She's not normally a lap cat. I think the last time she was on my lap was 2 years ago on Halloween night. We weren't giving candy out to the kids, it was cold, and we were watching scary movies. Maybe she was cold and scared at the time? But, why wouldn't she be at other times? This time it was the day before my birthday, so maybe she somehow knew and that was her present? Or, maybe she knew we both had just gone through a lot...Either way, it was really nice.:iconthailandplz:I only lightly pushed her off, because I was hungry and needed to switch the laundry over. Hasn't done it since, but I hope she does it more often. It was kind of a bonding experience, too.

I had a really fun birthday on Saturday.:party:Went to a local brunch place called the Oak Table. It's an amazing place, and I decided to go to their new location. They only have 2 or 3 stores. (I'm not sure if one of them is closed or not.:hmm:) I hadn't gone to the Oak Table in a long time. Since they're so popular, there was about a half hour wait, but it was worth it. I got their famous apple pancake, which is more like a souffle. It's huge! (I don't know how anyone can finish it in one sitting.:icondisgusted-hongkong:) It has a burnt caramel/cinnamon glaze on top, and an apple filling. It comes with an apple/honey/cinnamon syrup on the side. You don't really need it, though. To offset the sweetness, I had a side order of 'breakfast' potatoes. They're sliced up and piled high on a plate. Again, so much food! I had hot chocolate with it. I think we had 2 waitresses. One of them seemed to have a slightly rude attitude. But, she did try to be nice. Almost like she was having a bad day. It was a little off-putting, though. I made 2 more breakfasts with the leftovers. It was all very good.:iconfrancisplz:

Then, we went shopping. I wanted to go to Fuego, which is a cool kind of eclectic store at our local mall. I always seem to find interesting jewelry there. I got a pair of silver realistic looking octopus earrings, a pair of gold cobra earrings, and a seahorse necklace. After that, I noticed they were having a sale on slippers at Sears. My old ones were really ratty looking. I found some nice fluffy red ones. I'm not used to it being open in the back, but it might be easier to move in and out of. I think I can get used to it pretty quickly. After that, we went to a cafe at the mall and hung out for a bit. I got one of my fave drinks, chai.:iconheroamericaplz: 

Saw the Martian in 3D after that. It was better than I expected, seemed more 'real', and I liked the attitude of the main character. Also, the 3D part of it made it really cool to see.:iconchibihungaryplz: 

Had a nice spaghetti dinner at home after that. Dad made the sauce from scratch, like she sometimes does. I had some of the nice Italian cookies we still had. They seem a lot better than the Belgian cookies we occasionally get from Costco. These were also from there, and were actually cheaper.:iconusaplz:There are some puff pastries along with some regular cookies. Some of the cookies have fillings. 

I didn't have birthday cake that night, because it wasn't ready. We went to the local market to pick up a Black Forest cake Friday night, but they didn't have any. It's my fave cake. What's better than my fave fruit (cherries), chocolate, and whipped cream put together in cake form?:iconitalyplz:Anyways, one of the bakery ladies said they'd be happy to make one for me. When we told them it was for my birthday, they seemed excited about it. They asked me some questions, and said it'd be ready on Sunday. 

On Sunday, when we went to pick it up, another person from the bakery pulled out a cake thinking it was for me. She said 'Happy birthday, Ashley!', but I told her that wasn't my name.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:And, glancing at the cake she pulled out, it didn't have anything that they told me it would have. So, we said it was for me under Dad's name, she went back in, and found the right one. They said it was unusual that there would be 2 of the same type of cakes, being ready at the same time. I'm not sure how popular that type of cake is. But, the other person certainly has good tastes, too.:aww:The text was in red frosting. My fave color is red (preferably, the darker the better), although the frosting looked more pink than red. I hate pink, which is interesting, because it's just another shade of red.:iconseychelles-plz:But, I know that this was as close as they could get to being red, and it wasn't a pepto-bismal or bubblegum sort of color. There were lots of flowers and vines along the edges. Really looked nice. Very tall and huge, though. Even skinny slices are huge because of the height. It came in a very flimsy cardboard box, so I decided to transfer it to a platter. The only problem was that the cake was slightly taller than the cover to that platter. So, when I closed it up after slicing it, I had to squish everything down a bit. It wasn't by much, though. And, some of the frosting actually stayed in place. We still have a few more days' worth of the cake. 

I'm doing 25 sit-ups twice a day this week. I'm feeling it a bit more. It's a good feeling, though. I've gone back to really sticking to the way I want to eat again. The 1200-1600 calorie range, and that split into 5 meals. The closer to the 1200, the better. I don't ever want to go below 1200, unless it's for a medical thing. The only thing that's different this time is I'm trying to add more protein into the mix. If you limit your intake of things, you might have less nutrients, too. I already have problems with getting enough protein. Even the normal amount.:icongermanyplz:I'm supposed to try and have a bit more than normal, too. Especially, because I don't absorb it too well with my IBD. So, along with trying to have full servings of fruits/vegetables, I'm going to add full servings of things that are packed with protein. This limits my other foods, though. This morning, I tried out this new 'method'. I had 1/4 of a normal serving for a granola-like cereal and a tiny bit of milk mixed with it, then 3 small maple chicken sausage links, and a banana. The cereal part looked almost comical, but interestingly, it was still pretty satisfying.:icontinoplz:I had almost forgotten about the sausage, and it was sitting in the freezer for a couple of months, but was still good. I might explore other sausages (of course, without pork)/proteins in the future. I had peanut butter on challah, and Gatorade (it's helped me, and I get the low-cal version) for snack. That seemed a pretty decent add, too. I might have some of the walnuts that we got recently to go with my snacks, too. I don't have as much of an issue with protein for lunch and dinner. Hopefully, I'll get to my walks soon. It's been rather cold lately, so the motivation to do it isn't as strong...:iconlietplz:

I got that metabolites test back that I mentioned that I was waiting for last time. I'm a bit better with one of them, but still under what I should be. The other one doesn't look too good. I ended being about 4 times the amount I was last time they ran it. I was in mid-range back then. They say if it's higher than the range, there's a risk I might have liver damage. It's quite a bit out of range.:iconraivisplz:At least, it didn't have 2 H's. I'm still waiting for my gastroenterologist to email me about the results like she usually does. I'll also bring up a few things that have seemed unusual for me. Not sure if they're related, but it doesn't hurt to tell her.

I've come up with some more ideas for my cover art. Also, already in the process of putting my colored-in drawing onto the background. But, I might change the color of the background, and leave a tiny bit of what was the background color as in outline of the drawing. Kind of like it's glowing. Then, I'll see how I can make the candle 'glow'. Should be interesting to see what it will look like at the end. 

Played my clarinet for the full 40 minutes again. If I do it often enough, I can increase the time to 45 minutes. Hopefully, I'll eventually make it to an hour-long practice time.:la:That used to be my normal amount for practice. I sounded pretty good this time. Not perfect, but good. I played some tunes from my general clarinet solo book, some Gershwin, some Duke Ellington, some pieces from my advanced classical clarinet solo book, and some tunes from my jazz book. Edited a bit more of a drawing meme that featured one of my original characters, Junko, from my first novel Alliance. I still have a few more to go through before I'll put them in the meme, and post it on deviantART.

I studied the common compounds for . 好き or す.き ( liking, fondness, love. (I didn't think this was a compound, but it was listed under it, same with this next one.) 好き or ず.き ( (suf) -phile, enthusiast (for), love (of); being attractive (to), to tend to be liked (by). 好物 or こうぶつ (koubutsu): favorite dish, favorite food. 良好 or りょうこう (ryoukou): favorable, satisfactory. 愛好 or あいこう (aikou): love, adoration. 友好 or ゆうこう (yuukou): friendship. 嗜好品 or しこうひん (shikouhin): luxury grocery item, indulgence. 好感 or こうかん (koukan): good feeling, good will, favorable impression. Also, quizzed myself on JapaneseClass' site. Did pretty well. They threw a lot of new stuff at me this time.:iconshockplz:Interestingly, there's been a surge of new users from Taiwan on there. Someone on facebook had mentioned it, and apparently all their friends joined. Then, some of the friends of those friends joined. Kind of set off a firestorm, but threw a lot of people off. That person must know a lot of people. The front page was full of little Taiwan flags. (The area where they list new users. Most users input where they're from when filling out their profiles. Always interesting to see how many people are from what country, or an unusual flag.) It was quite impressive to see.:iconchibiaustriaplz: 

Started writing out another section of that You Maga article. I'll get to translating each piece of it next time. Read on RocketNews24's original Japanese site about the Starbuck's cup issue. Funny how it's traveled even to Japan. Some are angry there because it doesn't have the Christmas mood or 'spirit'. Seems a bit odd to me.:iconnataliaplz:Even odd with the weird people from here having a fit about it. Once you think about it, they're still in Christmas colors. The main part of the cup is red, the logo is green and has some white parts. There are also Christmas songs being played across the radio in many of them, there are advent calendars, a Christmas blend, etc. They aren't taking much away. For someone, like me, who doesn't celebrate that holiday it can be stifling and feels like I'm being slowly smothered to death.:iconwtfukplz:It's everywhere. You can't escape it. (Unless you stay home during the whole thing. And, even then, you might hear a Santa saying 'ho ho ho' riding on a fire engine while the siren's going off, like our neighborhood does.:iconhongkong-wantsursoul:) And, they're angry that the cups are plain when they have so much Christmas stuff around them anyways. It doesn't make sense to me...:iconsighingplz:It gets kind of scary for me this time of year. Sometimes I can't stand to be in certain stores for too long because of the music. (If it's your holiday, all the more power to you. I just don't want it constantly around me for so long.) Anyways, the reporter didn't understand the outrage either, but tried to figure it out. I think they failed in that endeavor.:iconohboyamericaplz:

Practiced some more sentences in Japanese. This time my topic was on my birthday. I tend to think about topics that are current to me to write about with them. Watched some Japanese news clips. Some pretty crazy stories. Some of them made me cringe just watching it. The more I watch, the more I understand it, though. 

Looked at the top charts for Jpop, Kpop, and Cpop. Nothing really stood out for the current stuff for me. I sometimes look at it to see if I want to look at the bands' other songs, but none of them appealed to me. Interesting how most of the time Cpop is kind of sad, Kpop is more like party music, and Jpop has its own thing. This time, there was a lot of country sounding Jpop songs, which kind of surprised me. There were quite a few hard rock songs on that chart, too. I might look more into what's trending on the site I go to for it. A great placed to be introduced to more music.:iconeestiplz:

Read a bit more of Day of Atonement by Faye Kellerman. That's been getting interesting. Before, I thought that the missing kid was kidnapped. But, turns out that that might not be the case. He might be an apprentice to the killer. 
Started watching IS today. IS stands for intersexual. The tagline reads: Otoko demo Onna demo Nai Sei. Essentially, Neither Man nor Woman. It's very interesting. There aren't many dramas or movies out there about intersex people. I've heard things about them, and I think I've met a couple. This was originally a manga. I'm kind of curious about that now, too.:iconberwaldplz:It seems 'real', showing the troubles faced by Haru, who's intersex. But, there's also some good points in their life. It's not really depressing, just frustrating at times for Haru. Their parents are really cool and understanding. They just want to do what's best for them. When Haru was born the doctor said the parents needed to decide what gender the baby should be, and to have surgery to 'correct' them. The parents were extremely upset about it. In fact, the mom was so upset, while still in the hospital, she took Haru with her up to the hospital roof. She was going to jump taking Haru with her. The dad stopped her. And, eventually they said they want Haru to decide for themself which gender they want to be. The doctor found out that Haru had testes and they were lodged in their intestines. (At the time, Haru had both ovaries and testes.) So, of course, they agreed to take them out. But, they didn't want to do anything else to Haru. Thinking it would be cruel. They had to choose a gender for Haru's birth certificate, and decided on female. They thought that they can change it at some point if they wanted to. They started raising Haru as a girl, then noticed Haru had certain male tendencies and characteristics. So, they switched to raising Haru as a boy when they were about 3. Haru seems to identify most with being male, although half the time he doesn't feel like he's either. He wanted to enroll in a high school that had a good cooking program in order to become a pattissier. (His father is one.) But, when they had a private meeting about Haru being intersex, they said since Haru looks very feminine, he must present as a girl in order to attend. He said he'd do it, even though he's not happy about it. He feels he'll try to 'pretend' to be a girl for 3 years. He has a sister, too. She seems cool with it, as well. There's a strange girl he meets while going to his first day at the new school. She asks him: "Do you feel lucky you were born a girl?" He didn't know how to respond, and it seemed very wrong to him. He also didn't tell her about it. I have a strange feeling that the girl he met might be intersex, too.