Fasting, an Experiment

Update 04/17

Plan changed.

Intermittently, I tried to fast during the day this week. I wanted to see how fasting feels. It feels quite different. It was easy on the first day. I skipped breakfast and did not eat until noon, then I stopped eating after 8pm. It’s one of the online formulas. When I tried again the following day, it was a little difficult. I started craving food. I realize I am one week before my next period, when my body chemicals tell my brain to stuff my mouth with food.

Food dances in front of my eyes. I am the only one who can see it. I seem to be able to taste it even though it is only imagined. I drink some tea. I chew the tea leaves in my mouth and imagine those leaves are chicken wings, crab legs, omelet, fried rice, … I talk about cooking with friends. It helps. It feels like I have already eaten all the food I pronounce in the air.

I learned there are YouTube channels where people show they eat food. They eat, film their eating, post their videos online. They make money from it if they get enough viewing. They can eat food from restaurants who are willing to sponsor their YouTube career. They get to eat free food and the restaurants get advertised. Win win! All they need to do is to eat and show how they do it. How nice! Another way to bring income. I am already full just talking about it. Go for it, Eaters! Eat all you can for us who are fasting.

So the revised plan is like this:

Vegetables and tea for Tuesday and Wednesday

Juice and tea for Thursday and Friday (Real Fasting Time!)

Eat lightly on Saturday and Sunday

IMG_2220.jpg

(This is one of the best green tea ice cream I’ve ever eaten. From a Thai restaurant in Medford)

 

Update 04/12

Research puzzles:

1. I found some intermittent fasting plans included skipping breakfast. This contradicts with what I was told before that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

2. While I learned about the effect of fasting on menstruation pain relief from the paper copy of a nutritional book, I did not find any online articles that say the same thing.

I made Laure a button pin today. I hand wrote the word “love” in transitional Chinese. The character has a heart in the middle and a friend underneath. I can’t think of anything better than love and friendship when thinking about how she graciously invited us to her home when we were in danger from flooding in Eugene.

When I close my eyes,

I examine how I feel.

Am I happy?

What made me happy?

How can I continue to feel awesome?

If I’m unhappy,

I try to figure out why,

and change it.

For quite a while, I have been contemplating the concept of happiness and how to measure it.  Is it wealth, marriage, age, education, location or time? These can all seem possible. However, there is one other factor that plays a critical role in the measurement of happiness.

Pain.

The more pain one feels, the less happy (s)he will be. At least, this is true for me. In this sense, I’d like to replace this saying “No pain, no gain.” with “No pain, you gain.” What you gain from having no pain is a welcome to become a happy person. Your choice.

Having experienced pain by various causes, I am now motivated to do many things which my younger self would think is odd and boring. Such changes mostly involve diet.

I’ve reduced the amount of food intake, increased the vegetable portion and decreased meat. Binge drinking is not in my dictionary any longer. I don’t actively drink cow milk, but I do eat yogurt and cheese. I avoid super spicy food. I cook with ingredients as fresh and whole as possible. Tea is my water and I drink a substantial amount daily. These methods have helped eliminate pain I felt at night and sometimes in the morning. Success!

But there is one pain that is still challenging my methodological mind. It’s the pain from menstruation. Even though there are only 12 months a year, 12 is a lot! I’d like it to be zero. Could it be possible?

I welcome you to an experiment journey with me to this rather ambitious and complicated project. I am not biologically, medicinally or psychologically trained, but I have a curious mind. I’m gonna give it a try, by doing something new. Fasting!

This is my plan:

April 8-15 (Research)  – Any ideas are welcome! Click here and write to me.

April 16-18 (Plan and Preparation)

April 19-21 (Fasting)

April 22-26 (Report)

I will keep this blog active throughout this trial period by updating content in each phase as I go along with the experiment. So, stay tuned!

PeriodCramps_Graphic-3

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Woman and Poetry

She responded

To my Good Morning

Loud with a smile

I was impressed

And asked why

I hadn’t seen her before.

She was new

About five months newer than me

In the neighborhood

She spoke English

with a familiar accent

She has been learning English, Spanish and Chinese

I told her her English was good

She enunciates well

She let me hear her stories

Taking down a 200lb person with ease

She had learned the technique

from Taiji

With a name I do not remember

She demonstrated the moves to me

with her hands and arms

She is a natural teacher

She showed me a picture of the flowers

she had painted

from her phone

She said she wished she had more time

painting

Three jobs

she worked

One of them paid

a number

Big enough for a hand to show

She didn’t seem to be complaining

I was instead

Speechless

I continued

to listen

To her stories that can be only written

In poetry.

Inspired by a recent bus conversation.

195th Day in Eugene

I asked Laure if she would want to do yoga with me. We were going to do it in her living room, surrounded by a big screen TV, a piano, three giant pieces of her Eugene trails paintings, antique furniture with state of the art carvings, a few yoga blankets and blocks. Her dog Sierra and a seated Buddha were going to watch us. It felt peaceful to ask. Like how I sometimes pick a friend to share a pot of tea, doing yoga together calls for the right chemistry, too. And we had it.

After yoga, we left. I felt I had the mental power to deal with what was ahead. We took the RV to Les Schwab, Pit Stop USA, Car Wash, Arco and uHaul. Eugene continued to rain while we were out running errands.  From the first winter I had learned, if I want to wait till the rain stops to do something, I will never get anything done, because the rain doesn’t really stop. Walking dogs and jogging in the rain are regular scenes on the street. Wet shoes and pants are the norm. The hoodie on the raincoat is my umbrella.

It didn’t help when I found out I had broken a mini-dehumidifier. I had had it plugged it in and forgotten to unplug it when I should have. It was plugged in for five straight nights, totally dry and vulnerable. Poor thing. I tried to rescue it but failed. I rescued a turkey though.

The turkey was trapped between the fence and dead blackberry vines. It kept bumping its head at the fence as if it could all of a sudden open up the fence and be free. I walked away, not wanting to encourage more violent contact the turkey had with the fence, but thinking the poor turkey would eventually knock itself out and die from its fantasy of breaking the fence, I walked back.

There was no way I was going to remove the turkey. I was a little scared, too. I would need more yoga to dare to carry a frightened turkey in my bare hands. Instead, I reached over, removed the blackberry vines, created an opening. I was hoping the poor turkey would stop hitting its head at the fence, and realize “Hello, there’s nothing behind you. Look back!”

I walked away, giving the turkey a chance to calm down. I smiled when I heard the sound of flapping wings. I kept walking and thinking of the turkey. Maybe there was a lesson there for me to learn. I should perhaps change directions now and then, so I wouldn’t injure myself like the turkey was about to do.

My 8:14am bus 51 driver is a woman with the coolest spirit. She whistled all the way from River Road to 11th one day. It felt good to hear cheerful morning tunes on a whistle. On another day, the traffic was slow and we were late as the bus approached the Eugene station. She announced which Bay she was going to park the bus. All bus drivers do this, but she did something different. She finished her speech with a gentle apology. She said, “Sorry, we missed the 9 o’clock bus.”

She was speaking to those of us who needed to transfer to other buses in the Eugene station. Buses usually leave the station on the clock. I had missed some buses over the last few months and had to spend extra time at the station for another bus. In a few near misses, I made a bus catcher friend. Her name is Shari, from Hawaii. We had the same bus routine and both raced a few times. We shared the victorious smiles of securing the bus to our destinations. So when the 51 driver said sorry because her bus was late, I felt extra warm.

I needed that for the flood this past week. Friends offered delivering sandbags and sharing their homes with us, asked if we were okay, followed our progress one step of the way towards recovery. Their quick and caring responses made me feel less threatened by the weather and less frightened by living in a place where had gone through two natural disasters within two months. Other than the rain that one needs to get used to in Eugene, being flexible about change is another requirement. The good thing is, in unfavorable conditions, it is easier to spot who is on the same side. I would want to get to know them, learn from them, and continue to discover myself in the journey of learning. IMG_2349.JPG

(Hileman Landing County Park, inaccessible)

 

 

Displaced

A turkey was running on campus

alone and terrified

She was looking for a place

to feel safe

How did one turkey end up being on campus

How did we end up

sleeping on our friends’ driveway

This week I’m learning to understand rain

what it can make a river do

taking fun away

from those who breathe nearby

how it can create

opportunities for people

to connect

to reproduce joy

that balances what was lost

in the rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traveling East

“East” and “West” are as confusing to me as “Left” and “Right”, especially when they mean more than directions. On the map, Dalian is west to Eugene, on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, but my first reaction to describe where I travel is to travel East. Thankfully, the earth is round! What appears to be in the West will eventually become the East, if we turn the globe for a few more degrees. Is that why people call Asia “Far East”?

By the time I board the plane to China this summer, I will have been away from home for 42 months. I notice I call my destination “home” but my home isn’t really there. I am only visiting a place where I used to call home. On my first school break from college, I went back home because I had nowhere else to go. Grandpa said something which I feel I had just heard yesterday. He said, from now on, our home is your hotel and you are a visitor.

Since then, I have been on a journey searching for a place to call home, where isn’t going to be a hotel. Home and hotel, as I look at these two words, are kind of close.

Today in China is the Tomb Sweeping day, a public holiday. Most people have a day off so that they can return home to pay respect to their ancestors, cleaning their tombs, sending them ghost money.

A circle on the ground is a family, a portal to the other world. In 2014, I was with Dad and Haihao, burning the yellow paper, transferring the ghost money to my grandparents, telling them our stories and hearing theirs in our dreams. It was the last time we three had been together.

Fake Forest in Berlin

I went to Berlin for my spring break. We stayed in a neighborhood where, quote Linda, was “just like the one we had been last time.”

Restaurants and stores were just around the block. Ethnic food was everywhere. We had Ethiopian the first day, Korean the second and Korean again the third. Linda wanted the ginseng chicken soup and the Koreans made the best. I ordered dolsot bibimbap with tofu as protein. We ordered two dishes but they served much more than that. There was unlimited side dishes of kimchi, tofu salad, greens, squash, potatoes and bean sprouts. We had food for next day and a crispy rice snack to enjoy on the road. It was the best Korean meal we had ever had since we met!

(Photo: Finishing my dinner while chewing on my crispy rice snack! Don’t the Koreans know how to enjoy food?)

At our Airbnb, Leonore, our host speaks both English and German. She lived through the war period in West Berlin. She didn’t need to climb the wall like people from East Berlin did. Leonore is in her 80s. She reads German books and goes to German opera. A wise and humorous woman, we feel home with her. She is a good shape, too. She said, each year the doctors tried to talk her into taking some pills but she never did.

(Leonore’s garden)

Our trip to Berlin this time is for me to show how the Chinese birds sing in the Fake Forest Museum. It is an annual bird singing event. Birds get together and share what they have found out in their journeys of migration. Next year, birds are coming to sing in Eugene. I’m glad I won’t need to travel as far as going to Berlin.

In the Fake Forest Museum, were trees of different colors, white, black, chocolate and yellow. Trees here grew hairs on the top and they were moveable, fueled by energies provided at the cafe station. Unlike the trees in Eugene, no one wore lichen on them. I figured lichen couldn’t survive in a fake forest. It needed real air, not the conditioned one in the museum.

Inside each tree lived a bird and birds with common interests were grouped into individual sub-forest zones to demonstrate their singing skills.

I went to a sub-forest zone where birds had special interests in framing grievances. One bird sang about those who decide to be vegan – “how do they decide not to eat worms anymore?” Another chanted about green death for birds, in comparison with the traditional and environmental unfriendly cremations.

My tree had a little unexpected condition as I was about to sing. Cramps!

“Really? Cramps! You picked this perfect moment to act up? YOU, are part of this performance! You don’t remember, do you? DO YOU?”

I wasn’t sure if I was speaking the language she could understand, but the cramps continued. My tree was discolored. It went pale.

I would probably have applied some lipstick if I had packed one. One beautiful thing about living in Eugene is I have forgotten all about the feminine symbols like cosmetics, earrings, rings or bra. When I look at my fellow birds who wear high heels, I feel I am from a different world from them, a world that comfort comes first and high heels mean misery.

But I got to do something about these cramps! I fed my tree with some pain killers. That usually helps but this time, it didn’t!

Since I don’t usually sing in public, a little blushing helped increase some color on my face. Then the magic of music came. As soon as I started to sing, I forgot all about these physical needs. I showed the audience how birds from China sing in polluted air. Linda said the US birds were with me and they were interested in what I was singing.

This forest was hot! The museum should have done a better ventilation job. Birds started preening sweat off their wings, trees began to bend, the forest started to smell like an boiled egg. But nobody wanted to leave because they were obsessed by the singing on the stage.

Two ancestor birds who wrote grandfather music theories for millennial birds were giving a talk. They were talking about how important for birds to sing to those who did not sing. Doing public singing is to involve more grassroots birds in the musical movement. Birds in the audience were listening, sweating, fainting.

The bathrooms in the museum were gender neutral. It took me some get used to, to pee properly when knowing there was a different sex peeing next to my stall. Walking into a bathroom with a man felt a little odd. I knew why I felt this way. First time was usually strange.

(Sunset at the reception dinner in downtown Berlin)

Birds seemed less canonical at the reception dinner. Some changed into evening dresses and suits, more fun to look at. They schmoozed around, greeting other birds, stretching their wings, tilting their heads towards their new friends. Some feasted at their poles only, chirping with birds that were only familiar to them.

The food was diplomatic. I only pecked on some strawberries and watermelon. I met a fellow bird who was interested in political songs in Poland. She said she would want to explore how the birds in Poland sang in polluted air. We exchanged contact information, planting the seed for a possible collaboration of a duo performance in the future.

I love Berlin! It is an inclusive city that embraces a diverse group of birds like us. Spending time with our host Leonore is a bonus, too. Did I mention she had a bidet for us? Because of the bidet, I spent more time than I should in the bathroom! I just didn’t want to leave that warm seat and that cleaning love. You can’t go wrong with a host who has a bidet in the house!

(Heido chills in Leonore’s garden)

Last night in Berlin, we went to eat sushi. The lesbian couple next to us ordered a dish with real fire! We complimented their top notch ordering skills, gave them our discount card. Then they told us their plan to move to Oregon, wanting a more inclusive environment to live. I think we just made two sushi loving friends.

(My forever in love Chirashi bowl!)

😁Happy April Fool’s Day!

Exploring Eugene

Pussy willows bloom.

Allen’s hummingbirds perform,

right outside our room.

My first spring in Eugene.

I’m learning,

something new.

Adeline was pregnant

the other day.

She picked

all my pussy willows

out of my jar.

She delivered

five puppies yesterday.

SEVEN!

“She had two more

inside her

when she was feeding

the five.”

How did she hide

seven puppies

in her small body?

I thought of how heroes

helped civilians flee

from East Berlin.

I had seen

some breathtaking techniques

of hiding people

in the Museum

of Checkpoint Charlie.

(Photo from https://rarehistoricalphotos.com/heinz-meixner-defect-removing-windshield-1963)

At the Cascades Raptor Center,

I learned

about birds of prey.

“Are they birds who pray?”

“Yes!”

Linda closed her hands, praying.🙄

At the Cascades Captor Center,

Let me try again.

I was able to

finally

tell the differences,

among an owl,

a hawk

and an eagle.

They are all

in the “ying” (鹰) family.

They were all 鹰 to me.

I need

another field trip,

to learn

about goats,

sheep

and lamb.

They are all

in the “yang” (羊) family.

They are still

all 羊 to me.

(Photo by Kris Wright)

Like how I felt

the falcon wing,

I need to touch

smell

hear

an object,

so I know

it’s real,

so I can

remember.

I need

to be there,

so it becomes

my truth.

You

find your truths, too.

Yours

don’t have to

be mine.

Mine

don’t have to

be yours.

But we can share,

in the most friendly manner

possible,

over a gentle bottle

of wine,

Or a pot

of intelligent tea,

so we may be open,

to more truths,

out of this living world,

of confusion.

One day,

we may all

be the truths

collected

in a museum.