Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dream: Problem-solving

I just remembered that last night I dreamed that I was taking an algebra class and there was a test and my score was -129. I saw on my test paper that my teacher had written: "Good grief! This is not the way to solve this problem."

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dream: Koi suicide

I remembered last night's dream! I dreamed that I was with my best friend Sherwil at a village club that had a pond and a pool. In one corner of the pond area, there were buckets filled with koi.

One particular fish jumped out of the bucket. Sherwil picked it up and showed it to me as it lay still, breathing, in her hand. "Look," she said, "I have had to learn how to do this." I shuddered, imagining shiny scaly slippery flesh squirming in my hand.

Sherwil threw the koi back into the bucket -- and it leapt out again, landing with a thump. They kept at it several times, then Sherwil left.

The rest of the fish started jumping out of the buckets. There was a puddle nearby, so most of them landed in splashes of muddy water. I ran around the buckets, forcing myself to pick up fish and put them back in the buckets -- only to find them jumping out again.

They were calm about it too, as if they had decided to end their lives. They didn't thrash about on semi-dry land; they just lay there, gills drawing air, waiting to dry out.

I thought that maybe they hated living in the buckets, so I decided to transfer them to the pond. One by one, I threw them in the pond and watched them swim away.

But then the pond fish started leaping out of the water and staying on the rocks. I saw koi and shubunkin and even one tilapia. I ran around the pond, tossing them back in. I saw a silvery, long fish that had already dried up, but I still splashed it with water in a feeble attempt at reviving it. Its carcass stared back at me with one eye completely white.

When I was done with the pond fish, I saw the glints of golden orange around the swimming pool: baby koi, no bigger than my finger, leaping out of the water, beaching themselves, calmly waiting to dry.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Trying to be vegetarian this October

Looking at my blog archives, I see a long history of trying to eat healthy. Some years ago, close to ten, I tried a 30-day juice fast. Then I intermittently stayed away from refined carbs and sugar. More recently, but also too long ago, I also tried eating raw for 30 days. I believe I also avoided red meat for close to a year. I also tried intermittent fasting (14:10) for a couple of months.

Both 30-day experiments were more for cleansing than weight loss, but I did lose a couple of pounds along the way. Still, considering my overall health now, everything that I did hasn't led to any long-lasting success. Eating healthy has, and always will be, difficult for me. I should consider myself always in recovery.

While I have managed to stay away from a lot of bad sugar and junk food since I arrived from the US (that was early in July), I still ate a lot of bad food (bacon, my forever Waterloo).

Then there's the matter of exercise. I've tried going to the gym, boxing, and walking. I also recently bought a refurbished folding bike (I've been using it, though I haven't gone very far). Exercise worked for me, but I also didn't last long with it.

Recently, I've been feeling my age. I'll be 38 in a few weeks and I have to admit I am in my worst shape ever. I want to put a change to that.

Also, I've been considering veganism after meeting up with my old college friend, Jimple, in Albay last April. He's now a vegan, and I marveled at his compassion and discipline when we ate out several times. Another old friend, Joel, whom I've known almost as long as Jimple, is also vegan.

Then more recently, I got to talk to two vegans at a trade fair in Festival Mall in Alabang. They were giving out samples of "Seacharon," seaweed chicharon, and I had a quick chat with them about their lifestyle. One of them invited me to the Manila Vegans Facebook page, and I've been a member since.

I've asked a couple of questions on that page, and I've also been reading up on other vegan's posts. I agree that eating should be cruelty-free and that animals are sentient beings, like humans. My heart breaks at the discovery of the extremely cruel conditions of the animal food industry. But I do not know yet if I can be vegan.

First, I use a lot of leather. I like leather. Second, I do not know if I can let go of eggs and dairy. Most important of all, I am still not convinced that it is unnatural for humans to eat meat. Cruel, yes, but unnatural? I can't wrap my head around it yet.

So, in attempt to improve my health and check if I can live happily as a vegan (as I also try read more literature on it and talk to more vegans about their experience), I am committing to 30 days as a vegetarian (with some room for dairy, eggs and some seafood--if it's part of a spring roll that's largely plant-based).

I'm on Day 4 today, and I've learned that I should definitely learn how to prepare more vegetarian dishes. If my taste buds are happy, I can definitely go veg.