Thursday, April 7, 2016

National Caramel Popcorn Day!


One of my fave types of popcorn!:dummy:Kettle Corn is another awesome type of popcorn. Its got a sugar and salt coating. Too bad I can't really have either of them anymore...They affect my guts. But, other people should enjoy them!:icontinoplz:It's also National Walking Day. That's a good thing to celebrate. Not only is walking healthy, but you can find some interesting things out there. 
This is my wallpaper for April. It's Ciel and Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler again. Kind of thought it was funny and 'different'. It seems like they're surprised at what I'm doing every time I see it. I think I remember that there was a scene like this in the anime. Can't remember what they were looking at, or why they seemed shocked...:iconusaplz:

My beagle calendar's pic features 3 beagle puppies in a cart of some sort near a garden. It's cute. The info blurb mentions their hunting history. They were used for hunting rabbits and other small animals by the English. They're known to be friendly, and according to them, aren't a good choice to have as a guard dog. I kind of beg to differ on that one.:iconwtfromanoplz:Buster was very friendly, but if he felt someone was threatening/intruding, he would attack/defend himself and us. That might have been because of his background, though. He was very strong. The tip of a beagle's tail is always white. It was to help the hunters find them in the bushes or deep in the woods.

My Jewish calendar's main pic features a painting titled Passover Seder, by Jacobus Hermanus Otterbeek, oil on canvas, The Hague, Netherlands; 1877. This is one of the rare paintings they feature that I actually like. There's a family gathered around a long table with the seder plate in the middle. (Including a baby, there appears to be 8 people.) There's an interesting candlelit chandelier. Some people are leaning towards the left with pillows. That's actually what's encouraged during the holiday. To show that we are free enough to sit comfortably. (I think it was the way the Romans supposedly sat. And, it was considered a leisurely way.) The 2nd pic features a pillow case, anonymous maker, made out of linen and cotton, Elzas (it's now the Alsace region, Germans call it Elsass), France; 1745-1775. Some people do use special pillows if they use them. This one seems to have Adam and Eve next to the tree of knowledge, and a snake curled around the trunk, in embroidery. Adam and Eve are oddly shaped...:iconwtfukplz:That story isn't apart of the seder, though. Cool to see how old it is. Still looks like it's in great condition. The 3rd pic features a seder plate, by Tepper Pottery, Paris, France; c. 1850. It's in black print. It has 'matzah' written in Hebrew in the middle. Then, there are several different scenes for each spot. Very detailed. Kind of cool and fancy looking.:iconchibihungaryplz:

The month-long holidays are: National Garlic Month, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, International Guitar Month, Jazz Appreciation Month, National Garden Month, National Pet Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. 

Went to my gastroenterologist's appointment on Monday. It was really early. Ended up getting up at about 5am.:iconlietplz:We were in the area an hour early, though. So, we went to the Starbuck's right next to it until it got closer to the appointment time. I felt like an overstuffed sausage.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Had to walk slightly slower than usual, because it hurt to go faster. Kind of annoying. We talked about that, meds, how the blood test results came back better, etc. My sed rate is really close to remission level. I think it was 26, and remission's at 20. I thought, and still think, that was just mainly the aftereffects of the prednisone. Like it gave me a boost to help. It was still in my system at that time. She wants me to do another blood draw soon to see. 

She thinks azathioprine needs a little more time to work. She's wants me to go to 2 and a half pills a day. 3 were too much for system. 2 might be a little too slow. 2 and a half might be just right for it. She wants to wait and see a bit longer with this med at that dose, before making a decision to go on heavier meds. 

She did say that it seems I've lost quite a bit of weight. (This is while I felt really bloated and full. So, I probably weighed slightly more than my current usual.:iconheroamericaplz:) She even asked me if I was planning to beforehand. She had my actual weight, and I usually don't like to see it. I go by sizes instead. I don't think any of the doctors I see like that too much.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:But, interesting to hear from her that it's 'real'. It didn't seem to concern her too much, which is good. I also forgot to ask her about seeing a nutritionist.:iconhanatamagoplz:I'll try emailing her about that. 

She seemed to think what might be causing my pain and symptoms was the constipation. Not the colitis part. Also, I noticed that she had my diagnosis as Ulcerative Colitis this time. Despite how almost everything pointed to Crohn's and she felt that it was before. I still forgot to ask her what I really have...It's bugging me now.:icongermanyplz:This weird back and forth. I'll probably email her about it, too. At least we know it's IBD. 

She wanted to know what was happening with me on the inside, and made an immediate appointment for a sigmoidoscopy. It was scheduled for about 45 minutes after the appointment. I really didn't want one. I'm not used to enemas, and they made me do 2 beforehand.:icondisgusted-hongkong:They were in liquid form, and you're supposed to be able to squirt it up there. I needed to have some help. (So embarrassing.:iconawkwardplz:) They told me I'd feel like liquid was filling up the front of me on the inside. I didn't. (Probably a sign of how blocked up I was.) About 2 minutes into both times, I did start to feel a lot of abdominal pain. After all that, I got onto the bed, and the main nurse tried to put an IV in me. The needle really stung, and she said as long she doesn't see any physical damage, it's ok.:iconinsultedplz:It hurt even more when she started the fluids. I think she thought my veins were too hard to find, and she didn't want to go searching for another. Still, that's kind of disturbing. I just noticed today that she really bruised me badly. I don't think all the fluids were actually making it through...

I was in and out of it during the procedure. They told me before it that I'd be asleep the entire time. Hence, another reason why I don't think it all went through.:iconsighingplz:I occasionally couldn't take my eyes off the monitor. Interesting to see my insides. The only time I felt I actually fell asleep was in the recovery room. No one was around me, and there wasn't much noise. So, why not?:icononionlullabyplz:My gastro showed us the results after I woke up, had some apple juice, and got dressed. Apparently my colitis is much better. There doesn't appear to be very many ulcers or bright spots. It's not a deep red, either. Good that it seems to have made progress. I just don't 'feel' it yet. 

I also feel a bit strange about all this.:iconswissplz:I don't remember if that little section they looked at was affected before. They only looked at the 'sigmoid' part of the colon for this procedure, which is a small section of the lower left part. I know part of my stomach, a little part of my duodenum, and part of my colon were affected before. The colonoscopy showed this. Only Crohn's shows up in patches. So, what if that one section didn't have much of a problem to begin with? What about the rest of it? Also, I don't suddenly get so constipated out of the blue. I know prednisone might have played a part, but it's out of my system now. I didn't change the amount of fiber I take in. Pretty much eat the way I did before. So why? My hair is starting to slowly fall out again, nails are getting weird, etc. So, I know I should see a nutritionist about how I'm apparently still not absorbing things too well. Oh, and to suddenly have it go back to this. Maybe my body's giving me signs before the tests indicate it. Something just seems off to me.:iconkikuplz:She also started talking about something and how it's been a year. It hasn't been a year. The 8-month mark for azathioprine just hit a few days ago. I was 'diagnosed' a few days before I started azathioprine. To me, that's not close enough to be called a year. (Maybe at 10 months...) She's also been somewhat slow in getting back to me on these things. I kind of felt the only thing she took really seriously was my constipation, but in a strange way. I'm still very frustrated and confused about what's going on with me.:iconromanoplz:I really want to feel normal, but I don't yet. Makes it even more frustrating to see good blood test results. I'll email her about a lot of this stuff. Plus, maybe the blood draw coming up will indicate something.

After that, I was very hungry, although still in kind of a weird drug-induced haze. So, we went to IHOP. I got their Banana Foster's Brioche French Toast combo. The sides were turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, and hash browns. I was so hungry, I ate the whole thing...:iconseychelles-plz:I also hadn't had food since about 5:45am, and it was around 1pm. So, makes sense that I'd be hungry. It was all very good. Not sure if the meds made it taste even better or something, though. 

Next, we went to a QFC that's not far from where we were. We did our annual Pesach (or Passover) shopping. This place seems to have the best selection of kosher stuff in general, and Pesach stuff, in the region. It's pretty awesome.:la:Pesach starts the night of the 22nd, so there's not that much time left. There are dietary restrictions. You can't have anything leavened or risen like bread. If you're Ashkenazic (Jews that came from Germany and eastern Europe), like me, you can't have what would be considered kitniyot, as well. Things like beans, rice, corn, etc. Sephardim (Jews that came from Spain and the Mediterranean. This group is actually larger) aren't restricted as much. They can eat kitniyot. There's been some fights in the past about it, and many people think avoiding kitniyot is stupid. Others fire back saying it's tradition. I find both of those cultures' views on it interesting, though. Pesach is 8 days long, so you have to plan for that amount of time.

I'm going to lead the first night's seder at home. It'll be just Dad and I. Less cooking this way...:iconranranruuplz:The 2nd night's seder will be at a friend of the family's place. Same place we go to every year. There's usually a lot of people there. They usually ask us to bring the popovers I make for Pesach and a salad or vegetable. Last year we ran out of the popovers really quickly. I think I thought one batch for their seder and one batch for ours would be enough. This time I might do 2 batches for theirs and one for ours. I didn't remember they were going to be that popular, and they didn't tell me the amount of people that were going. If I don't know, how much should I make?:iconchibiswedenplz:The popovers are essentially just matzah meal, margarine, salt, and eggs. Very simple, they come out nice looking, and seem puffed up. They cook and cool rather quickly, too. I found a tasty sounding salad dressing that might be good with a salad if we bring it. It's 'zesty' garlic dressing. Many times if other people get a salad, they bring a not kosher for Pesach one, so this would be handy to have.:iconchibinitalyplz:Even if we don't bring a salad. Some of the people that go aren't Jewish, and some of the ones that are aren't that strict (or they might be Sephardic, therefore it won't matter to them). 

I'll try to make my granola again for my breakfasts during it. It has honey, matzah farfel, nuts (usually walnuts, but could be any nut), raisins, and oil. Matzah farfel is just broken bits of matzah. The recipe's flexible enough you can essentially put whatever nut and fruit mix you want in there. It's all mixed together, and then thrown into the oven to bake. Have to move it around a bit so it doesn't scorch, but it's really good in the end. Kind of like candy. One batch lasts me most of the holiday. Not sure about too many other meals during the holiday yet. Last year, I seemed to have been a lot more on top of it. I had planned most things a month beforehand. I at least got to looking at one of my Pesach cookbooks. Have a few possibilities from it.
I tried a new thing from Costco that are chicken and vegetable Korean steamed buns. (They say they're Chinese-style and look like small baos...) They're really good. A tray of 6 and dipping sauce is one serving. The box has 6 trays in it. It's not that many calories, either. Each serving has 15g of protein. That's a lot!:wow:

I also got their brand of mozzarella. It comes in 2 logs. It's the cheese I'll have for this month. Also, basically the smallest portion of cheese I could find there. Every other cheese was huge. Hard for only 1 person to eat. I thought since it's 'fresh' it wouldn't last a month, but the label says best by sometime in May. That's not even an expiration date. Maybe it stays fresh for longer than I think. It's pretty tasty, and I can put it on or in so many things.:excited:

Also, got honey and balsamic mustard at a place called World Market. The mustard comes from France. World Market has a lot of interesting food from around the world. Lots of European stuff. Some Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, and Indian stuff as well. There's a few other places things come from, but these seem to be the main ones. They also have hard to find spices. I found 2 of the ones that are used frequently in my Jerusalem book. Good to know they're there. They also have soup mixes, pancake mixes, German sausages, candies, potato chips, drinks, simmer sauces, honey, chocolate, cheeses, alcohol, coffee, etc. from those places. The mustard that I got was a sample size. About $1.50. Not bad. It's tasty, too.:iconfrancisplz:

Watched the finale of Gintama last week. I didn't want it to end, but they basically said at the end of the episode that they'd be back. Also, they said the end is only the beginning. The shinsengumi (the police) were forced to leave the country. Not sure where they're going, though. The Yorozuya (Odd Jobs- Gintoki, Kagura, and Shinpachi) will stay behind to protect Edo. Although, they're also in a very vulnerable position. It seems like the new government is slowly crumbling, though. There were hints that the citizens will eventually revolt against the Shogun, and they'll make a new government without a Shogun that's just for the people. I hope that actually happens. The manga is pretty far ahead, but the mangaka (creator of the manga, and he has had a say with the anime version) said recently that he's thinking of ending it soon. So, maybe they're going to wait until the manga's finished. I kind of hope he's joking about it, but I don't think he is. Things have changed so much already with the last couple of story arcs in the anime, it makes sense they wouldn't be able to keep this ever changing atmosphere up for too long. It's never going back to what was 'normal' for the series. The usual inside jokes and such. It's amazing how long this series has lasted already. The mangaka really is awesome and brilliant.:iconawwwplz:He's one of the few mangaka I feel would be really amazing to meet. Him and the mangaka behind Kuroshitsuji. She's amazing, too. (It'd be interesting if they ever did a series together...2 brilliant minds would make something epic.:iconfinallyplz:) Maybe he'll come up with another cool and hilarious series in the future. When both the manga and anime officially end.

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