Or: Who Are You Protecting. This is from the first Rurouni Kenshin OST. I featured the original version a while back. So, why not this one? There's also an acoustic version, electric guitar version, and a 'hard' version. The original and the strings versions seem the best to me. This is one of Kenshin's character themes. All of the different versions for this fits him really well. I finished the anime a while back.
Started watching the 1st live-action movie version of Rurouni Kenshin today. I'm about a quarter of the way through, but it's already much better than I expected.(It's a little over 2 hours long. Didn't really want to sit through the whole thing at once.) It really does translate over to the 'real world' well. The fights have been a bit dramatic, like the anime, but well done. The actors have been spot on so far. The one who plays Kenshin would seem to have the toughest role. Considering he has a split personality. Also read that the actor that plays him did all of his own stunts. He has the vocal quirks down, too. Interesting considering the original voice actress that voiced him made him sound so unique. Not sure if I like the way Yahiko looks, but I've only seen him in one scene so far. Very briefly. They changed the plot a bit, too. But, that kind of thing makes it more interesting. Also, read that the original mangaka (manga creator) loved it. That's a good sign. The music is really good, too. The cinematography is gorgeous at times.There are 2 more live-action movies for it. All of them seem to have good reviews. I might watch them slowly in order.
I started prednisone last Thursday. I'm having some strange side effects, but nothing really big or life-threatening.Also, those side effects change depending on how long its been since I took the dose. Right away I feel sleepy. Then, a little while later, I feel like something really heavy is weighing down on my shoulders and chest. A little after that, I seem to have a semi-energy boost (not much...), and a warm feeling. Then, I feel antsy and there's a weird pain in my chest. Sometimes I've felt very frustrated at that time. Then, I become relaxed and sleepy. It's a weird whirlwind of side effects. But, I have noticed that my joints seem to be feeling better. I'm not as nauseous, but that might be because of decreasing my azathioprine dose. I've decreased my balsalazide dose as well. Feels nicer just to take 1 dose a day now. 3 huge pills is better than the 6 a day. (Right after my colonoscopy, it was 9 of those huge pills a day...)
So far I've gotten 8 test results back from my blood draw. I don't really know how many there will be, or if these are all I'll get back. My sed rate is better than last time. It's 30 instead of 34. Sed rate shows how much inflammation there is, and can be indicative of remission. 0-22mm/hr is the normal range. My highest was 44 back at the end of June. I was slowly going down into normal range, and then it suddenly increased last time. Not by much, but it was the first time that it started to go back up. I'm glad it's on the decline, again. Really good sign.Hope it continues to go down. Had a test result for tuberculosis for the first time. It came back negative. That's a good thing. I think they have to test for it before you take prednisone. Everything else came back normal. Although, a few of the test results were the highest I've ever had before on, I think, the 'general panel'. They were the highest I've ever had them last time, too. They're just barely still within normal range. I'm a little nervous about that.Especially considering that's not truly my norm for them. (My actual norm, where I hover around usually, might be different than the general population's norm.) I guess we'll just have to keep an eye on those.
For Shabbat, I did 'unplug', and tried to start and end it on time. It was a really nice relaxing, yet refreshing, experience.I was only a few minutes off with starting it, but it was still before sunset. A lot more 'on time' than I normally would do it. I finished it exactly on time. I got in as much time with my electronics beforehand, and cleaned up as much as I could, too. I don't normally get to cleaning the dining room table beforehand, so that was good. I was a little late with starting, since we were still at the grocery store. I think if the candles are lit within that 18 minute time period, it's pretty much still on time. That's 18 minutes before sunset. I also made sure my computer was off beforehand, my phone was somewhere away from me, put my mp3 player out of sight, etc. That I think helped a lot. It felt like a completely different atmosphere.
I thought I would get bored without electronics during that time. So, I looked online to get some ideas for what to do beforehand. There were a few that got me a little more inspired about it. I already had some ideas, but it was good to see what others might do. I wrote a lot of ideas down, but interestingly I didn't get to everything. I, of course, wanted to do my own Friday night service, Saturday morning service, afternoon service, and a Havdalah service. I thought that would still leave quite a bit of time left. Put together, Shabbat is about 25 hours long. Friday night to Saturday night. I went over the Torah portion and Haftarah portion, like I wanted to, as well. Looked through my mom's Tehillim (Psalms) book. (Or, was my mom's. It's mine now, but I'm just getting used to that idea still.) It had the psalms categorized in the table of contents, and each weekday/Shabbat had a certain chunk of them designated for it. The categories were things like: for when you or someone you know are sick, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, death, success, gratitude, etc. They also had prayers before and after you read them. It was very interesting.
I also read a lot of the book, Day of Atonement by Faye Kellerman. I was close to halfway through it before reading it on Shabbat. I finished it just a little after. Didn't know I'd get to reading so much of it.It was good, but at times, really graphic. There were no pics, but she writes so well, you can easily imagine those scenes. When I stopped reading it to go to bed Friday night, I had stopped at one of the most gruesome murder scenes. It kind of seeped into my dreams. Yay!This one had a bittersweet ending. They found the kidnapped kid, but the stuff that the killer made him do, made him go crazy. Or more like, made him feel like he didn't deserve to live. Didn't deserve to be loved by his family. So, he was alive, but he seemed an empty shell of who he used to be. He ended up caring more about his family, though. And, Peter Decker was welcomed into his biological family. He was struggling with it ever since it dawned on him that he finally met his biological mother. He didn't want anyone but her and Rina to know. His biological mom told his step siblings anyways. And, there was a touching scene at the airport just before Rina, him, and the kids were going to leave. All 5 of those new 'siblings' hugged him, sang, danced, cried, and called him brother. He wasn't expecting it, smiled, and started to get teary eyed. When he was a teenager, he always wanted to know about his biological family, and signed up for a national directory that had a list of adopted people that wanted to find their biological families. No one contacted him, so he grew bitter about it. Thinking they wouldn't be his real family anyways. The mom said that she didn't contact him, because she felt ashamed for what she was forced to do. But, she wanted to have some sort of relationship with him now. He felt sorry for her, but refused it up until close to the end. They're an orthodox Jewish family, too. So, quite different than the Baptist one he was raised in. All the books in the series have Jewish themes, which makes it really interesting. It's not a 'religious' series, but there's the cultural, customs, and traditional aspects that are thrown in. I guess the series is really a detective/mystery series with a Jewish twist.
Anyways, the next book I have of the series is called Sanctuary. It looks thicker than the one I just read. I'm missing 2 books in the series that were in between Day of Atonement, and Sanctuary. That's ok. It'll probably still be easy to dive into again. Also didn't have one book that was in between Sacred and Profane, and Day of Atonement. They apparently had the wedding in that one. But, at least in Day of Atonement they recapped that a bit. So, the next one's going to be about a rich orthodox Jewish family, and the father dealt in the jewelry business. One day, they all disappeared. Should be interesting.
Also, took a nice walk. I'm going to try to get at least one in during each Shabbat. That also means I won't be bringing my mp3 player on those walks. I went with Dad this time, which was nice. If I take one by myself, then it still might be nice. I could focus more on the sounds around me, go slower (or at least a nice leisurely pace), go further if I wanted to (could do this part while walking with someone, too), several short ones, and more. After the main part of our walk, we went to see how much of the greenbelt was demolished behind us. They're apparently building a 2-way street back there. There will also be sidewalks and bike lanes, supposedly. It was a pretty thick greenbelt behind us, and stretched quite a ways on either side of the backyard. Now there's a huge hole halfway through where the trees once were. Like it suddenly just opened up. I don't know if they're actually going as far as the part of the greenbelt that's right behind the house. The farm and farmer's fence (I think) are still up. But, the house to the left of us, already has quite a bit of the greenbelt stripped away on their side. I've never seen it this way. There are huge piles of tree debris, too. They might be waiting for drier weather in order to set them on fire. That might not be good for the atmosphere, and might get into people's homes. Doesn't sound healthy.I also don't like the idea that the animals we normally might see, might have been driven out of their homes.There was a large multi-generational family of raccoons living back in that area. Occasionally, they'd come through with their babies. Now, it's less likely we'll see them. I don't know if the coyotes (or wolves?) are leaving now, too. Although, they always sound so far away. It's just sad to see.
I decided to eat in the dining room during Shabbat, too. I normally eat on the couch in the family room in front of the TV. Seems too tempting when you want to 'unplug' to sit over there to eat.Also, Shabbat is supposed to be 'separate' or different. I also had tea with almost every meal. Used the kettle on the stove, rather than the microwave. The microwave is another electronic...So, I didn't use it. Almost everything I had during the day was either cold or room temperature. Except for the tea, and a few chicken sausage links for breakfast I cooked in a frying pan on the stove. It was actually nice.
I also thought it'd be a good time to play games. Like card or board games. I decided to play some rounds of solitaire. Won 2 out of about 5 rounds...It used to be one of my fave games. Next time, I might ask if Dad wants to play a board game with me, and/or I can play some trivia games. When I do have my 'electronics', I feel I don't have time for those. But, I could go back to them, if I keep this up.
I think it was my 2nd or 3rd Havdalah done by myself. When Mom was around, we still didn't do it that often. Havdalah is the service/ritual that ends Shabbat. It's very short, but nice. I used the special Havdalah candle I got from Tzfat or Safed. This type of candle is braided, and has many wicks. Mine's a rainbow of colors. The shop where I got it at was really cool. They had huge sculptures made entirely of wax on display behind glass, they handmade the candles in front of the customers, had many different types, and more. It'd be cool to go back there someday. Mom made a 'spice box' herself out of a glass jar that's filled with all sorts of spices, and a metal lid with holes in it on top. Kind of like a short parmesan/red pepper shaker you might find at a pizza place, only with a variety of spices inside. On top of the lid, she added a piece of plastic wrap to go over the holes, and a big rubber band to keep it down. To keep it sealed up until the next time we use it, too. She also painted designs on it. It's really cool. Feels even more special this way, too.I used grape juice instead of wine. I can't drink alcohol, and they say grape juice is just as good for it. (Just has to be 'fruit of the vine'. Doesn't mean it has to be fermented.) It's kind of hard to have only one person doing it all.The candle's held the entire time (occasionally raised up a bit), there's the custom of putting your other hand up to the candle to see the reflection on your fingernails (you don't have to, though), there's the blessings to follow along in the book, there's a part where you drink the 'wine' (so you have to hold the candle, drink, and say the blessing...), and then there's the spices you're supposed to smell (while, again, still holding the candle). But, I was able to do it! Yay!I just forgot the beginning melodies for the first blessing.At least, I managed to say that one.
I really do think I'll continue doing this for Shabbat. It felt really good. For some reason, even just the feeling of not looking at something electronic felt comforting or relaxing. Felt more focused, too. My eyes didn't feel as strained or tired by the end of the day. The only thing I did use that was really electronic was the stove's clock. I didn't use the timer part or anything, but I needed it to see what time it was...I don't have a working analog watch anymore. But, I know some people say if something was turned on before Shabbat and you don't mess with it, it's ok. So, I'm going with that. I didn't touch it during that time. I still think that's being 'unplugged', too. I think it might be healthy anyways to have a day set aside to be unplugged. Felt like I actually observed Shabbat. Definitely felt more of a connection with it. Similar to a connection or feeling that I haven't felt in a long time. Hard to describe. So, there was obviously a spiritual part of it, as well.
Rosie kept following me around. I think she realized I wasn't doing my 'normal' stuff, and wondered what was going on. Wherever I went, she ended up guarding me really closely. I think she liked what I was doing, but again, seemed confused by it.