Tuesday, June 21, 2016

World Music Day!


Yay for music!:iconyayhanatamagoplz:I can't imagine a world without music. Even when I'm not playing my clarinet, it's still a big part of my life. I don't think I'd be here without it.:iconhongkongplz:It can affect your mood, the way you think about something, bring back memories, etc. It's powerful. Yesterday was the first day of summer. I'm kind of glad the days will start to get shorter now. I think the amount of sunlight has affected my sleep a bit.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:But, summer can be fun.

On Sunday, I went to the local Pride Picnic at a park. There were cabins and a lodge there, too. There were so many rainbow flags!:wow:The main one was huge, and draped over the main building. Quite impressive. In front of it, they laid out some tables with food. Near that was a BBQ, where they were grilling up a bunch of burgers. Both the regular beef kind, and a vegetarian kind. The table had the finished burgers, buns, their fixings (including pickles), potato chips, watermelon, and cookies. I actually could eat most of it. Yay!:dummy:

There was music coming from a lodge across a wide open field. People had brought chairs, and were sitting out there. Some were playing frisbee, volleyball, etc. We brought some really old camp chairs that are kind of flimsy and small, but still usable and relatively comfortable. We sat next to a family that Dad knew. It was great chatting with them, eating, and listening to some of the music. Although, occasionally they blared the music a little too much, than made it too quiet, than finally went to a normal level. It didn't happen that often at first, but maybe they were trying to figure out the perfect volume.:confused:

After a while, Dad and I hiked a trail that wound around a lake. There were so many dragonflies! All sorts of sizes and colors. They were beautiful.:iconchibihungaryplz:I'm not used to seeing so many at once. Some of the really big ones followed me, and whenever I paused they would land near me. I think they were trying to figure me out. Maybe I smelled interesting to them...Eventually, the trail opened up to part of the beach near the lake. There were canoes and kayaks. They had told us before that we're more than welcome to use them. We didn't, but that's kind of cool. After going a little further on the trail, my right knee really started to act up. More than it has for the last month or so. Felt like my kneecap and other parts of it were actually separating from each other all at once.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:I even tried stretching that knee, but it just got worse. So, I had to stop and go back early. Dad kept going. I was kind of disappointed that I couldn't go further. As I was almost back to where the trail started, a group of guys blocked the path, stopped, turned to me, and said: "It's really beautiful out here, isn't it?" I was in a lot of pain at that point, and just really wanted to get back to the parking lot (or at least back to more stable ground). I tried my best to do a fake smile and quickly said: "Yeah, it's really great." They eventually moved and I was able to go through, but it was rude in a way.:icongermanyplz:It would have been different if they didn't block the path to the point where there was no way around them. 

I managed to get back to the car, and waited. I thought, at first, it'd be good to just rest a bit. That maybe my knee would calm down a little that way. Felt that if I sat down, it would hurt more, so I stood. Then, I thought that Dad would come back around to the start of the trail, and if I stayed near the car she'd see me. Not necessarily that we'd leave, just a familiar landmark, I guess. Turns out the trail probably ended in a loop somewhere else. So, she never met back up to that area. I did think about calling her, but the reception was horrible. Anyways, I eventually noticed she was talking to a couple of people I knew somewhat near me. I noticed my knee was slightly better, and joined up with them. A bit later, Dad went off to do the labyrinth while I chatted with those 2 people we knew and sat at one of the picnic tables. That was nice. Also, gave a bit more time for my knee to calm down. 

All in all, I did have fun there.:iconthailandplz:The event was supposed to go from 12pm until 5pm. We were there at around 12 until around 4. That's a good chunk of time, but again, it was nice. I might go to a couple more Pride events. The local Pride organization is doing 20 events this year. (I think it's something about 20 events marking the 20 years its been around.) That's a lot.:iconawkwardplz:There's also Seattle Pride. Should be interesting. I think I went to my first Pride a couple of years ago. And, I've only gone to about 3 or 4 events for it in total now. 

Also, I'm starting to realize I might be one of the letters of the LGBT 'alphabet soup', as they say. Not the main 4, but one of the lesser known ones. I didn't even know much about it before. I had heard about it, but never really looked into it until recently. I didn't know that I was 'that way'.:iconthinkinghkplz:I might say what it is at some point on here (some might get hints, and know about it even without me coming out and saying it), but I want to learn more about it for the time being. Almost everything I've researched so far sounds pretty much like they're talking about me. Which is creepy in a way. It's weird to think you were one way, and then find out you truly were something different.:icontinoplz:Thinking I was supposedly the 'norm'. I think it'd seem more normal if I was one of the main LGB letters. Within each of those groups, they make a bigger population than people like me alone. There are about an equal number of T people. Also, the T in the main 4 letters is not a sexual orientation. It's a gender thing. For some reason, some people get that confused...Although, T's can also be in the same group as me. That's even a smaller percentage. Also, I know some people have told me in the past that one of the A's stands for ally, and that I was apart of it that way, but that felt odd in a way. I was of course proud to be an ally, and still am to the other 'letters', though.:iconherotimeplz:Now that I might actually feel like I'm more into that alphabet soup, it still feels weird. Not sure what to really make of it.:iconseychelles-plz:There's a spectrum for what I'm pretty sure at this point that I am, and it'd be interesting to find out where I land in it. But, it's also not a huge thing to know exactly right now. There are a lot of different interesting symbols/flags/etc. with this one, too. Knowing more about this kind of feels like I'm learning more about myself. Seeing the similarities are interesting. It makes so much sense. Actually makes me feel better to know other people are like that, too.:iconheroamericaplz:I might try to find more info at Pride events. I don't think I'll find much, though. I do know there's an organization for it in Seattle, and I think they'll be at Seattle Pride. It'd be nice to meet people who are similar. I think they also have a 'meetup' group. There's also a big online forum that promotes visibility and education. I might join that. Also, found that there are some dating sites geared towards people like me. So, it also helps to know when it comes to dating and such. There are youtube vids, as well.

Finished Mayoiga on Monday. It was a very interesting series. Not perfect, but had a lot of interesting things going on. Very philosophical. I think many people thought that it would be a horror-type anime. That might be why they seemed to be so turned off by it. It was more of a mystery. Although, there were 'monsters' in it. These monsters, or as they called them nanaki, were really psychological scars or traumas come to life. So, one character's nanaki was a stuffed penguin ripped up a bit on top, with his mother's eyes moving around in the ripped up section. He heard her voice as well. Another one had a giant hornet come at her. Some of the others were a train, an abused grandmother that was like a giant, an imaginary friend, a giant version of one of the other characters, a deceased daughter, etc. They were supposed to confront them. If they did and ended up accepting them, but ended up still having a residual 'scar', it was ideal. You would disappear from the village and reappear back in the 'real' world. These monsters were essentially a piece of them that they needed to accept. Not run away from, find a way to 'get rid' of, nor ignore them. There was a person who made it back to the real world before this group made it there, but he completely got rid of his. In doing so, he started aging very rapidly, and felt like he lost part of his personality. He didn't understand emotions like anger or depression anymore. So, even though he was happy, he could feel a vague feeling of regret. The ending was a bit weird. Didn't seem like an actual ending. About a third of the group decided to stay behind in the town. The rest somehow managed to accept their nanaki, and ended up suddenly appearing back on the tour bus. All of the ones on the bus seemed slightly happier, but they still gave off a creepy vibe. Even sang the same creepy song they sung on the way to the town. We don't know what will happen to them or the people who stayed behind. It seemed very abrupt, too. Some of the characters were annoying or cringe-worthy at times. But, there were quite a few that I really liked. For some reason, this show gave me a similar feeling as Shiki. That one was a mystery involving vampires. Yeah, there was more violence and more of a horror feel, but it still had a similar 'vibe'. Not really my cup of tea, but still interesting and unique.

Friday, June 17, 2016

National Strawberry Shortcake Day!


I love strawberry shortcake!:dummy:This holiday was on Tuesday. Seems kind of early to have a day devoted to it. It seems like a mid-summer fair-type treat. The day before was National Cucumber Day. Cucumbers are awesome! Even just eating them plain is good. Yesterday was National Fudge Day. Today's National Apple Strudel Day. So much good food!
This is my wallpaper for June. It's another Pandora Hearts one. The series is already heavily influenced by Alice and Wonderland, so it's interesting to see one where they try to parody it. There are a lot of differences between the two stories, but they have a lot of the same elements. Even nicknames for characters and their chains might be the same as names from Alice and Wonderland. Heck, the main character of Pandora Hearts is named Alice. Oz is the other main character, and towards the end of the manga we found out who or what he is. Really, both the pocket watch and the rabbit make so much sense for him. The concept of time keeps popping up throughout it, too. The Abyss is like the rabbit hole. Although, the 'world' down there seems even more messed up and demented than the one in Wonderland.:iconitalyishorrifiedplz:Break's 'chain' is called the Mad Hatter, and he's sometimes referred to as that himself. He certainly fits that character. A cat that was originally Alice's mother's (her name was Lacie) turned into the Cheshire Cat in the Abyss. I'm not so sure about Sharon being the Queen of Hearts in this wallpaper.:icongermanyplz:Her chain is Equus, which is a horse that can teleport people back to safety. If I'm remembering correctly, there was someone who had a chain called the Queen of Hearts, and they kept muttering things like: "Off with their heads!" They seemed like a side character. Important, but was only mentioned briefly. They were the ones who were decapitating people. They should have picked that character instead...I'm not so sure about Gil being the March Hare, either. His chain is the Raven. Apparently, there was a minor character named The Monstrous Crow in Alice and Wonderland. 

My beagle calendar features another cute beagle.:iconawwwplz:This one barely seems older than a puppy. His whole body is shown in this one. His tail is sticking straight up. The info blurb this time is about 'the Beagle Brigade' that patrol baggage-claim areas at over 20 international airports. They successfully seize tens of thousands of items every year. Also, that a beagle's coat is water resistant. 

My Jewish calendar features 2 pics of what looks to be parts of the same chuppah. Chuppah is like a canopy that a Jewish couple stands under during their wedding ceremony. They have the same info with both the pics, too. Made by Saskia Weishut-Snapper; out of velvet, tulle, paint, metal threads; Epse, Netherlands; 1991. Interesting designs that seem a bit difficult to really pick out the scenes. The other pic features a mizrach, made by Abraham Yakin; paper; Jerusalem, Israel; 1987-88. A mizrach can be an indicator of where east is. People in the diaspora, or those not living in Israel, face east while praying. So, there might be a special painting or other piece of art that indicates where to pray. I don't see these little 'indicators' too often. Odd that one would be made in Jerusalem itself. While there, people pray towards the Kotel. Wherever that is in relation to where they are. Maybe it's used in that sense, too. This one is colorful with a menorah, Star of David within a circle, branches stretching out, two deer that seem to be kissing, a meadow, and flowers. Looks really busy, but nice.

The month-long holidays are: National Candy Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Seafood Month, LGBT Pride Month, National Camping Month, National Oceans Month, National Rose Month. Some are for important causes, some are to make you appreciate things you may take for granted, and some are just for fun. 

Well, it's been a lot longer than I expected it to be since the last time I posted.:iconawkwardplz:It seems my symptoms were (still are) worsening, and with recent events like what happened in Orlando, it all threw me off for a bit. Also, there were some days where it was unusually warm for us, so I turned my computer off during those times. Hopefully, despite what might happen, I'll post more often on here.:iconberwaldplz:

I emailed my gastroenterologist last week about the symptoms. Interestingly, I didn't have a lot of the same ones when I was diagnosed. I guess that sort of thing can evolve. Some, not all (others were kind of a bit tmi...:iconhanatamagoplz:), of the symptoms I mentioned in the email were: being fatigued almost all the time, frequent waves of nausea, joint pain (particularly in my right knee), strong abdominal pain (stronger at times than what I've been 'used to'), lightheaded, ears are ringing a lot more often (I think that's usually like an internal alarm for me that something's not right when it happens), heavy and acidic stomach pain (I didn't have that much stomach pain when I was diagnosed, the pain was mostly in my lower abdomen), a lot of pain just before eating and just after, and more gurgly than usual. Recently, about 3 days ago, I've had stabbing pains on the middle right side of my abdomen that radiates across my back and towards my spine. Also, some weird chest pain that just started about 2 days ago.:iconchibichinaplz:

Anyways, I mentioned how this didn't sound like I was in remission. I've read that when you are, you have very few symptoms, if any. One of the goals to go into remission is to take care of the symptoms first. My last blood test results and the sigmoidoscopy indicated that I was in remission. The sigmoidoscopy was done at the beginning of April, and the most recent blood tests were done at the beginning of last month. I mentioned at the end of the email that I wouldn't mind having a phone appointment with her to talk about these symptoms. She emailed me back a couple of days later, and she agreed that we should discuss it further through a phone appointment. I thought she would ignore me or not take it seriously, since the last batch of tests indicated I was in 'remission'. Also, because of the way I felt at the end of my last physical appointment with her. She didn't really take one of the symptoms I was feeling at the time seriously.:iconusaplz:

Had the phone appointment Monday morning. She was surprised by all the symptoms, and agreed that they weren't normal or what people usually have while in remission. To her, some of the symptoms sounded like they might be caused by the azathioprine. So, she wanted me to go from 2 pills a day to 1 1/2 pills a day. This scares me a bit, considering it's the only med that I'm taking that's specifically for it.:iconwtfukplz:I do remember that when I was taking 3 a day, it caused some nasty side effects. I'm wondering if maybe my body doesn't like to be on it for too long. It takes a while for the azathioprine to build up in your system and to actual start to kick in. Maybe I need to switch to another med. But, that might mean trying a biologic like humira or remicade. Pretty much the heavier meds are the only ones I know about that are left.:iconraivisplz:

She also wants me to do another test to see if my small intestines are affected, and it will also show if my colon is starting to get inflamed again. Not to gross people out, but it's a stool sample test. It's nasty, and I was only able to do it once.:iconwtfromanoplz:The lab tech 'prepared' the samples for me. (Many of them prefer people do it with a kit at home, but you supposedly can do it there, too.) Hopefully, they can do that this time. It's still gross. But, if it gives a better view of what's happening, I'll try. 

They haven't looked at my small intestines yet through any sort of testing. It's all been about everything else on my digestive tract. I've been curious about that area since I had my endoscopy/colonoscopy last summer. It's somewhat of a tough area to test. It would be nice to have them look at it through imaging. To get even a better idea of how it's doing. I might ask about that after doing/getting the results back from that test she wants me to do. One thing at a time is probably good with that.:iconswissplz:I've read that some of my symptoms correspond a bit to what people might experience if their small intestines are affected. So, that should be interesting. I know my gastro can't exactly pinpoint which IBD I have (either Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis), but what if I have both? This might be why she can't be entirely certain. I've read that some people do have both, although it's more rare.

She said I could try 2 over the counter meds for a couple of my symptoms. One I had already, but she recommended I have more than what they say is the highest dose you can have in a 24-hour period. I think the other one my mom used in pill form. But, my gastro said the powder form would be a lot more effective for me. At least, she didn't insist on taking miralax still. I tried it twice before. Didn't work, and couldn't stand the smell or taste. This new powder reminds me a lot of Tang.:iconseychelles-plz:Haven't actually had Tang in a very long time, but this stuff smells and tastes like it. Which is like 1000x better than the other stuff I was trying. It actually tastes good.:iconyayhanatamagoplz:Hopefully, it won't be addicting. The only downside to it, that I noticed, is you have to have a lot of water with it. You have to drink it fast, too. 

She wants me to email her back in 2 to 3 weeks about how I'm doing. She might email me sooner if something is really out of whack in the results of that test. She was a lot more helpful than I expected. If she hadn't been, I have a referral to see another gastro, just in case. Even have it on paper. I'll keep it, and see what happens. I watched a webcast on CCFA's site about treatments, plans, what remission really looks like, etc. A lot of what I learned from it weren't even touched on when I saw her in person or even on the phone. They also mentioned that at any time, if you don't feel satisfied by how your gastroenterologist is treating your case, you should get a second opinion or entirely switch to someone else. They said there are great risks to you as a patient if you essentially don't advocate for yourself. This also means that you have to be clear, update them on new symptoms as soon as they come up, stay in contact, etc. So, it somewhat works both ways.:icontinoplz:There were several months where I basically tried to ignore it, but the symptoms were more difficult to deal with because of this. I'm trying to be better about it.

Since I've been feeling so crummy lately, what with events happening like Orlando and my symptoms, I decided to put makeup on for the first time in a very long time. It usually makes me feel better, if I look better than I feel. I didn't just put lipstick on either. I put foundation, blush, mascara, a little eye brow pencil, and eye shadow. I used about 4 different shades/colors of eye shadow (white, sparkly gold, light blue, and a light beige), but they seemed to blend well. It was fun picking out which ones to try. Certain eye shadows don't show up very well on my eyelids. They kind of disappear.:iconnorwayunimpressedplz:The lipstick was called Fuchsia with Blue Pearl. It's kind of got a metallic sheen to it. Seems to glow in dim light. Apparently, people loved that color on facebook. It's one of my favorites, but it feels like it might not go with too many things. I was wearing a light blue sweater. 

There was only one comment that was somewhat upsetting to me. This person made a similar comment the last time I posted a selfie. That was, I think, in March. I don't do selfies that often. Anyways, they said they see my mom through me in that photo. That seems especially creepy since my mom passed away 4 years ago. In that sense, they might be trying to comfort me, but sort of ending up doing the opposite in the end. I'm also me. I'm not my mom. I'm a different person. I have different tastes, interests, personality, etc. There are also very very few similarities with the way she looked and the way I do now in pics. So, this is weird to me. The person who said it is a really nice person, so I know they mean well. It just doesn't really come across that way to me. I certainly don't mean to be rude or hurt other people's feelings. Just the way I view it.:iconthinkinghkplz:

I also did my nails. Haven't done that in a while.:iconchibihungaryplz:The nail polish I used is called Scarlett O'Hara. A really nice bold sparkly red. One of my newer ones. I normally like stand out sort of colors. So, if I do red, it has to be bold and different. I have some metallic blue ones, metallic purple, light creamy blue (they call it blueberry), frosty colors, orange, very dark purple with glitter to put on top of it, and more. 

For the past few weeks I've joined the bandwagon in posting 'TBT' or Throw Back Thursday posts. For one of yesterday's pics I posted one of me when I was 4 months old laying in a big tub(?) chair. Drifter, one of the cats at the time, was on the back of the chair watching on like a statue. The other one is of me when I was about 16 (the note on it said it was a month before or the month of my birthday that year, close enough) in my high school marching band uniform holding my clarinet. I was in marching band from junior high up until a couple of years into college. Only stopped because of an accident during practice where I nearly broke my tailbone. They couldn't actually tell, because there was too much blood internally obstructing what the x-ray could show. Hurt like hell for months after. It had to heal, and after that I couldn't high step. Sad, but I have a lot of good memories of it.