Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bikram Perseveres

Counting that our neighbors recently sold their house and construction is most directed across my window, plus I'm quite allergic to dust, plus the weather's been acting up....

I got myself sick. BAD. Sneeze-five-times-in-succession bad.

So I was wondering if I should still attend to my yoga practice. I was thinking of chickening out, but a fellow yogini said, "Push 'til you die! Besides, the heat'll be good for you..." Against my mind's protests, I went.

And I conquered.

I did it! I did it! Sure I took it slow, sure I felt like I was mindless following through fog, and sure I had a mountain of tissue beside my mat, but I did it! I didn't have to stop =) OK, so I fell out of two poses, but I went right back in! Yey! I feel so proud of myself, and accomplished. But I've really realized now to always, always, regulate the breath. I believe that's why I also had such a difficult time the past several classes: I wasn't breathing right!...or as usual, letting it hitch, or go all over the place. Sigh: pranayama is mandatory, indeed.

So fine, I'm back to being sick now. But I also think that, more often than not, if one sees himself as sick, then that person will continue to be sick. I'll try not to fall into that trap...plus I think that per another friend's advice, I'll have to move rooms, for now. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in this case. ;)

On a sidenote...

There are two new teachers in class: a guy and a girl.

The guy's pure energy (he was my teacher this evening). He kept me going, and was fast so as to prevent me from thinking, I guess. But it worked, 'coz I finished the class with energy to spare, and without feeling my creaky joints plus wanting to pass out the way I felt before the class. Then he finished with an incredibly soothing and relaxing cool-down. He was able to make us visualize, and thus actualize relaxation.

The girl, when I took her class, was calmness and serenity personified, flowing from one posture to the next.

I guess I needed the guy's style today. And it was great. I miss our former teachers, but hey, I always believe we should be open to new styles, new ways, new people. So I'm glad I came in with no preconceived notions, just openness and trust. I hope I can be one of them, someday: hopefully someday soon. :)

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Road Less Travelled

So I formally graduated this October, but academically, last May. I worked for an animal rights organization last summer, and part-time for the university English dept. after that 'til September. Anyway, I've been sitting in in three Lit. Cultural Studies classes, and I noticed that I (1)disliked research and (2)liked fiction, and reading...and writing creatively. A professor and I were discussing if I should try another university's MFA-CW program instead (as my university doesn't have it), and for a while, I junked the idea, but as my friend Nikki pointed out, I am a lit person through and through. Ack. I would also like to be either a certified Bikram yogini (to teach), or a holistic nutritionist afterwards, but to be an RD (registered dietician), I have to study AGAIN--Chemistry, the whole shebang, which aside from years gone, also means more $$$! The yoga course costs several thousand dollars, as well(!!!). So must start saving. However, Mom seemed OK with my applying to the Bikram Yoga course certification which is a good sign. So I'm still doing some soul-searching now. I've been job-hunting, but it's slow season. I’d been interviewed by a magazine company, but they said they’ll “call me if ever,” which is usually not a good sign. I was also interviewed for a web writer position, but when my Mom learned of the hours, she vetoed it. I have yet to go to a flight crew interview, as well. (Hey, if it pays the bills...) I'm grasping at straws, so I also sent my curriculum vitae to the Ayala Foundation, as well as applied to some companies from JobStreet.com. 'Coz when it boils down to it, I really am griping about $$$$$: if my decisions now will pay off later, stemming from the fact that my folks have so far been paying for EVERYTHING! And I feel guilty/indebted to them for that. So a lot of what's scaring me is really the risk and potential monetary consequences involved :( Basically, I just felt like running away, travelling and hibernating for a while. But that sounds like a cop-out, and again, $$$$, thus proving to my folks I can't fend for myself and am still a kid, hence should be treated as such. Besides, I can't do that forever. So I feel pretty numb right now: a contradiction right there.

On an added note, I also got to thinking about my veganism, how I'd like to grow in a very vegan-friendly environment. That, to me is Portland. So I looked at creative writing offerings there and I found two: The University of Oregon (though this is in Eugene) and Portland State University. BOTH do not need GRE's! :D

Thing is, as I heard of high unemployment and homeless rates in Portland, I need to know about stable housing and employment, or I'm done for. :( However, I have relatives in Toronto, the DC area and San Diego, meaning I can stay with them. So I wonder if I should try those first. But dang, I like how Portland sounds!!!!!

If ever, I should of course also look into scholarships, but there appear to be none at the moment. Ack. What to do, what to do?

Maybe make vegan shirts:
Silkscreen shirts, a potential hobby! Hmm. Maybe not now, though.

I've been told that I'm young and can still afford to make mistakes, but I don't want to =( I don't like risks, actually: they scare me.

A bright spot in my day, though, is that I got mentioned (the first in the voicemail segment!) on the VF Podcast #50! Eeeek!

I love to bake. I feel it's like make magic every time. It's a journey, indeed. Call me weird, but that's how I feel ;) And the first thing I ever baked was with my Mom, which was banana bread. However, that had eggs and butter and milk--VERY *NOT VEGAN.* But Dino Sarma comes to each veganfreak's rescue, and in my case, he dishes out a recipe of banana bread, ganked from VegWeb. I altered it a bit. I hope this easy recipe helps ease the vegan sweet tooth, and the depressive bouts: Banana has tryptophan, so there you go :)

Banana Bread, non-omnisub style...almost! (Easy-peasy!)
3-4 overripe medium-large bananas OR 6-8 small bananas (1 pound's worth)
2 Tbsp. oil (I used Rapeseed)
2 cups flour, sifted!
1/2 tsp table salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sugar (I used muscovado)
1 cup oatmeal (the quick-cooking variety)
1 cup soymilk (as mixture was getting too dry)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla essence

1. Mash bananas with wooden spoon or potato masher, until it gets really smooshy. (I used the latter)
2. Mix into the bananas the rest of the ingredients
2. Preheat oven to 350 F
3. Bake mixture in loaf pan or casserole dish for 1 hour, coated in about 2 Tbsp’s of oil (mine took 1 hour 15 minutes!)

Product should be crusty on the outside and moist on the inside. At least this is how mine turned out. Happy baking!
Banana bread. This brings fond memories: it was the first "baking experiment" Mom and I did. It also used to be my Lolo Billy's favorite, whose mind is no longer with us. It is a food of my childhood, which is probably why I love it so.

And with the abundance of bananas we have now, I think this recipe is perfect. =)

Monday, October 09, 2006

War and Peace

I hate it...

when there is conflict.
when I have to mediate.
and when it isn't even necessary
at all.

And yet,
and yet--

it is a way of letting things out:

But what of me,
no-conflict-please me?

For under conflict,
there are more

Words can rent the air and rip the soul
but the lingering gaze can paint
still more.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Mantra: no expletives, no expletives, no expletives.

But I'm so tempted to junk that mantra. Nonononono. But really, today (fine, the latter half of the day) was just extremely trying.

I'm thankful to Q, though, for providing us with Sleater-Kinney songs to download! :) However, that was before the day turned sour.

It all started when traffic was at a standstill for a stupid, drawn-out San Miguel Oktoberfest parade, complete with dancers, drummers, San Miguel Corp. reps waving from semi-vans, basketball players and Efren Bata-Reyes included, and GET THIS: a costumed pig and chicken, looking happy, waving too. Filipinos know very well that San Miguel has as one of its major components, besides beer, meat products, or in my view, massacre by-products. And the waving pig and chicken create AN ILLUSION of HAPPY ANIMALS, when they're NOT! People are thus fooled into believing that meat comes in plastic/styrofoam packages. They are absolved of all violence, when in fact, they directly support and propagate it! Would the cow happily moo when she is sent to slaughter, or when she is kept pregnant so people can have cow's milk, meant for THEIR babies, which incidentally, if female, grow up to be raped like their mothers, or if male, end up as choice meat. Nonetheless, it all boils down to THEIR ALL BEING KILLED, ANYWAY. So smile away.

That was bad enough. Despite that time-consuming, inconsiderate traffic jam, my friends, C and M, and I made it to the movie (Step Up), even with time to spare to go to the loo and see some trailers! For those who said it was nice, I didn't find anything special with it, other than regretting I stopped ballet when I was 8, plus thinking, what if I had pursued my musical roots and applied to maybe UP College of Music, majoring in voice? But I didn't.

Afterwards, M felt the need to check out the shops, and when she asked me my opinion on a top, I bluntly told her not to get it if the only reason she wanted to buy it was to buy something. She didn't. C reminded me M's having a date with her beau on Saturday, so she was in a dither to buy something new. My point is, if you don't need something, or don't really WANT it, why buy it? Plus the boyfriend she's with? They seem to be going nowhere: the guy seems to have no drive to achieve anything. Seriously. So where's the future in that??? Then they both flirt with other people! In her case, she enjoys the attention heaped on her, so to me, what's the point in having a relationship?!?!?! But they're OK with their illusion, so fine. Now what clinched getting my goat was when she asked C and me if she should ask her Mom if she can go with him out of town, despite having a dinner with him and his family(!) that night. C and I were uneasy, and C was very careful to reserve her opinions, but given my fatigue and progressively worsening mood, I told her I didn't think it would be wise to go out with him TWICE in one day, one being out of town, to boot. C reminded her it is customary for her to visit her grandparents on that day, but she said she can move it. For my part, I reminded her of propriety: spending a WHOLE DAY (extending to the evening!) won't look too good on her good girl image. Really. She protested she'd have to do it one of these days, be "independent." And I wanted to shout at her that boy, is her concept of freedom screwed or WHAT? Peter Parker's Uncle Ben nailed it on the head when he said, "with great freedom comes great responsibility." She seems not to see this, forgetting that everything she has comes from and is paid for by her family's money and hard work: her laundry and ironing, her food, her gym membership and other activities, her tuition, her car and the gasoline it needs--in short, EVERYTHING. And at the rate they're going, I don't think her boyfriend's even remotely thinking of providing for such things. And she talks about freedom? Well, think of that, girlie, plus you're already 21.

Call me paranoid, anal, a shrew for thinking about these already, but I do. I see all amorous relationships as a building up, not building down. Hence, I don't believe in flings. I view risks very suspiciously, and quite fearfully. So yes, I've been in a dry spell for a long time now, but I prefer not to compromise. Ironically, though, that is the risk I will have to take.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Oof Ouevre

I'm having such a hard time expressing the whirling events my self is assimilating. But if I don't, I'll feel worse. Ngunit nag-aalinlangan pa rin ako, dahil hindi ko siguradong mailalabas ito ng tama. Hay, buhay. Te, waay man madula con tilawa lang anay. Mayhap this will make sense, mayhap it won't. But I can't vacillate forever.

My iPod died yesterday. [So what; my feast day was two days ago]. No, but seriously, Zeke[Ezekiel], my beloved iPod that has recorded events, lessons, goofs, uploaded all my music and podcasts, travelled with me across continents over the year and a half we were together: Zeke, my beautiful boy, I'll miss you, sweetheart. Despite blanking out on me sometimes, you'd always return to me. But now, it seemed you had found your El Dorado and decided to stay. It'd cost 8,000 to call you back, but then they said you'd be totally different: your brain won't be Zeke's anymore. So rest in peace, darling.

Went to the dermatologist and ENT, as well. The former saw my little sudden breakouts[plus my ears, which she said were flaking from allergies from my Mom's pearl earrings *sob*] and said while injecting and squeezing the buggers all the while, "Ah, you must be stressed," to which I shrugged. The latter stuck both nostrils with anaesthetic-soaked cottonbud toothpicks, then siphoned my mucus, which was clogging my nasal cavity, causing my constant fatigue[complaining I'm always tired] the mucus build-up blocking my eustachean tube and potentially triggering my migraines[now he says it's vertigo]. He then prescribed me medicines which would clear my allergies, but made me sleepy just like that. The mucus got out, all right: I was sneezing the entire time I was in the mall [coz I didn't make it to yoga, boohoo]...but I finally bought the navy slip-on Converse sneakers I was dreaming about! THEY HAD MY SIZE. Thank you, Lord!
Later, over dinner, Dad said my breakouts are probably from all the "weird hippie[aka vegan] stuff" I eat. O_o Um, NO. Mom says not to stress, because it must be stress, but with the new, more peaceful yogic consciousness I have imbibed [but sometimes fail], I didn't really notice it. But who woldn't be stressed, I guess, with completing community service, geting cleared only to find out from the boss[which I never got along with] that my old job[that I was told would be open for me again] was no longer open. At the same time, on the last leg of community service, I was late in meeting the parentals fetching me, thus deeming me persona non grata/cold-war with my Mom, even banning me from the activities I like[which have already been paid for, too, but who cares, right?] in all her manipulative vengefulness. This is until she needs me to stay with her while she's operated on to correct a bad tooth job many years ago. So I stayed: for 7 hours, on the day before class, in the middle of the blackout, post-Milenyo. Oh, and we weren't talking while Milenyo was raging: the weather battle mirrored our family battle. Go figure. But at least Dad[who was the one who should be mad, as he lacked sleep, not she] was talking to me, and had already paid the electric bill I thought I had to pay, for their new apartment that also suffered the typhoon's wrath. Anyway, after the 2-hour prep, 2-hour operation and 3-hour recuperation, she talks to me as if nothing happened. WOW. Then after dinner, she imperiously says, "You're forgiven." WHAT?! The nerve! The night before Milenyo struck, R. and I were making plans to just go away from all the dealings with people close to us who just hurt us because they know how to. But first, I said, I have to set up a bank account. As and I were talking about all the stressors, I guess, she and I agreed: bago tatakbo, kinakailangang may gasolina ka. My mom's sister and a friend-cousin of hers, as well as her own mom all agreed that though what she did was wrong, to forgive her anyway. But my personhood was violated. Truly. It's been going on for as long as I can remember. No person should be treated that way. It'll take time again to rebuild that bond of mother+friend. And if she wrecks it again, I hope to be ready then. Even if my life will not be as comfortable, it will be mine.

So yeah, I guess I was stressed. That plus B, a good friend from Germany who's like a big sister to me, is inviting me for a two-week Ayurvedic cure in Sri Lanka. And I should leave on Monday. Too little time: I don't even have a visa yet! So I don't think I can. Plus all the requirements, and a presentation for a class I hope to get credited next year :-s Eeek. Looking for a job, too, 'coz now, I am an official citizen of the unemployed: official, at least, 'coz I am no longer a pending undergraduate. For the next sem, I will be an official[graduate] student, as well. What joy. Hopefully, things are looking up.

No more rainclouds, please.