Friday, April 19, 2013

Sweet Concoction

The cider vinegar and honey mixture is an age-old concoction used as a medicinal base, called oxymel, as well as a refreshing drink when mixed with water.

I always use Bragg's Cider Vinegar and some cheap, locally-made honey sold in Tanduay bottles because the imported ones are so expensive. I found that there is actually a ready-made mixture from Wescobee being sold at some posh grocery stores, which I intend to try some day.

It's well-known for it's numerous benefits from curing arthritis to increasing the immune system (by helping the body's alkaline/acid balance). Personally I use it as a remedy for moderate cough and cold and sometimes as a ritual drink. I like the taste by itself but occasionally I have fun with it by mixing it with calamansi, fresh oregano, or mint. When using fresh herbs, I would steep the crushed herbs in a glass of hot water for a few minutes, then adding the honey-vinegar mixture in as a sweetener. My friend, the herbal witch Eric swears by putting some small garlic into the jar of the honey-vinegar mixture to give it flavor, and putting a teaspoon or two of the mixture in a glass of fruit juice.

Even with no colds, no coughs, or no arthritis, it's still nice to have a jar of this mixture around. It lasts long, and it can be a healthier alternative when you're craving for calories.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


"The joy of life consists in the exercise of one's energies, continual growth, constant change, the enjoyment of every new experience. To stop means simply to die. 
The eternal mistake of mankind is to set up an attainable ideal." 
- Aleister Crowley

During the past three months I have thrown and given away enough stuff that could fill a mini-van.

Stuff that I used to own: exercise equipments, furniture, catholic statues, magical tools, old clothes, bags, four pairs of shoes, tons of books, dozens of CDs/DVDs, a desktop computer set, and other knick-knacks from inside my room. I have also cancelled club memberships and credit cards and I'm not even done yet.

The past few years have all been same-ish to me and every time I come up with a new year's resolution I'm always wishing to have a Big Positive Change™ in my life - that is, while I'm still mustering enough courage and fortune to quit my job and live my dream to travel to places.

I realized change wasn't happening because I was holding too much on stuff. And I began to feel how my life is full of so much needless clutter. These things in my room, they aren't really me anymore. To Hel with you, things, I'm not going to let you define me no longer. So good riddance.

Some stuff were very easy to dispose of, but a few required moments of pondering before going into the garbage bag. Interesting how throwing trash can be an introspective and enlightening activity.

Do I really need this? Why am I keeping this? What, so I could use this in the future? Will I let that future happen? No, I don't think I want that kind of me anymore.
Once I got rid of material stuff, I felt like I just freed up something inside me. It kind of feels refreshing.

Much of what I own now are things I have chosen to be important to me, and there's finally space for something new. Somehow, I'm already hearing that Big Positive Change™ coming this way.

Kali Durga, great spirits of change. Beltane 2011

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Can Finally Swim!

Our P.E. class in second year college was swimming, which I never attended at all. I was afraid of the water - I did not know how to swim - and I was very uncomfortable with the idea of having to wear skimpy trunks in a public pool. My non-attendance cost me a slot in the dean's list, but meh, I thought, better that than die of drowning or humiliation.

Every time my friends or co-workers go out on a swimming excursion I end up wading in the shallow parts of the pool while being totally envious of those who were frolicking freely in the water. I got sick of it.

Almost spontaneously, I dragged my ass one weekend to enroll in Bert Lozada Swimming School.  My first challenge was actually wearing a pair of tight-fitting Speedos. Actually learning how to swim was another matter entirely though. I found that it was harder than I expected thanks to my aquaphobia. By the end of ten weekly sessions I only got to learn how to float and to swim like a drowning cat.

Philippine Columbian Association
FQS, EVF, SPL, ape index, stroke rate.. I had no idea swimming could be so technical! 
I just wanted to reach the other end of the pool. 

I wasn't content so I decided to take it further. I enrolled in Aqualogic, which is reputedly a top-notch swim school. The price, though, is quite top-notch as well, being more than double than what I paid at Lozada's. But every centavo was worth it for me. I had really awesome coaches. At the end of the lessons, and after a several practices at public pools on weekends, not only was I finally able to swim, but I was immensely enjoying it too! The orgasmic joy I had after finishing my first 25 meter lap over 10 feet deep water was priceless.

So swimming is the first sport that I actually learned and I can't believe how I love the water now, though I still have a long way to go to become really good at it. My skin has gotten darker and my butt is now whiter than the rest of my body but I'm actually liking my new color - it means I'm going out more often now and spending less time living vicariously through the computer.

Pool surfing

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