Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Some random wonderful things I have seen:

1. A flock of one million red wing black birds in early spring, turning on a dime, showing their "red wings" all at once!
2. A sunset in Berks Cty that looked like a Maxfield Parrish painted sky. It was so beautiful it took  my breath away.
3. The birth of a beluga whale.
4. The birth of an elephant.
5. Watching a mother wren teach her 4 babies how to eat from a bird feeder.
6. A baby deer running across our field in Oley to come investigate me. She came within 10 feet until I heard her mother grunt to her and call her back. She ran back to Mom!
7. Saving a birdhouse of baby barn swallows which had fallen down, and I carefully put it back up on the pole. Momma bird came back and took care of them!
8. Six or Seven years old, Dad showing us a nest of baby bunny rabbits in the back yard.
9. Two otters frolicking and playing in a stream in Pacific Rim National Park in Washington state.
10.  The horseshoe crab migrations and egg laying nights in Fortescue, NJ.
11. Seeing a tornado from far away when I was about 10 driving through Nebraska with my family during one summer.
12. Any good lightening storm.
13. A flock of over 20 wild turkeys "crash" landing at Colton Point Park up at the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon.
14. Over 10 turkey vultures feasting on a dead dear carcass along the Brandywine River.
15. Niagra Falls.
16. The Colorado Rockies
17. A red crested pileated woodpecker in my backyard the size of a chicken!
18. Mesa Verde cliff dwellings
19. A South Dakota sunset
20. Galloping pronghorn antelope in the wild
21. The Badlands in South Dakota.
22. Standing on a dock in the middle of the Perkiomen Creek surrounded by over a dozen bats feeding over the waters, not once did one ever hit me, but they flew awful close!
The list could go on and on. I am very fortunate to have seen all of this!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No Sibling Rivalry Here!

My sister celebrates her birthday this next week. She will be turning ??. (Wink Wink). Let’s just say she is my older sister. Sheryl and I have lived in the Philadelphia area for over 20 years. Through these years, we have become close friends … best friends. And as I think as siblings who are best friends, no one knows me better. She knows me better than most of my closest and oldest friends. We are in constant contact, at least once a day, finding out how the day is going, what’s happening, what’s new and exciting, etc.

My brother Adam is just as close with Sheryl and I. It is a rare and wonderful thing that siblings can remain this close as they get older and develop their own lives. And believe me, we do not take this lightly. Our vacations each year invariably involve family. That is how we like it. That is what we have always known and wanted. My parents, Robert and Abby, instilled this strong sense of family in us as we grew up.

I think we became that much closer when Mom passed away. We all realized that our main link to each other, the matriarch of our family, was gone. She had been the one to call and remind all of us about birthdays, anniversaries, and ask rather demandingly, “Have you called your sister/brother lately???” Now it is up to us to keeps these familial bonds close and tight. And we do.

Not a day goes by where I do not talk to my sister or my brother. One of us talks to the other and passes info onto the next. If we don’t talk, email, or text, a red flag goes up and we get in touch with the other sibling to see if they talked to he or she. Confusing? Maybe, but not for us, we have it down to a science. Many of our friends are amazed that we keep in touch as often as we do and are as close as we are. I honestly have never thought to have it any other way. What I do realize now, though, is how truly lucky and blessed I am to be this close with my brother and sister. Mom was proud of this fact, that she created and instilled such strong family bonds in her children. I like to think that she is smiling down on us from Heaven, beaming at how close we have become.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Natural Diet continues!

I am a week into this "natural" diet and am feeling changes which are interesting, uncomfortable, but ultimately satisfying. The first couple days have been a little uncomfortable. I have suffered from mild carb and refined sugar withdrawal.  Just some headaches, belly aches, hunger pangs, and tiredness. But after a week on this diet, I have more energy finally, am eating less, eating better, and actually enjoying new and different food combinations. The drawbacks are that I have to spend more time preparing foods. It takes time getting used to not having the variety of processed food items. I am learning to enjoy fruit more though. Just the juiciness and sweetness of it is so satisfying. And happily, I am starting to loose weight! A couple pounds here and there. But I have to tell you, I am not as sluggish, feel less bloated, and as I stated before, have more energy!

On to the second week!

What does is mean to be disabled?


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Natural Diet

So John and I have started a “natural” diet for 2 weeks. We discussed out eating habits and realized that we were eating too many processed food items, and that old fried “bar menu” was becoming a weekly staple of our diet. Not to mention pizza night and Chinese food night. Sure you can have healthy pizza and healthy Chinese food (the vegetarian “Buddha” delight comes to mind) but who wants to do that when all you want is a pepperoni pizza with extra cheese or General Tsao’s Chicken!

This diet is based on an all natural food diet by Todd Soura, the owner of the Doylestown based Action Personal Training. I found it in the 2010 late spring edition of Bucks Magazine.  The corresponding print article comes with the subtitle “What life would be like if we removed the assembly line from the grocery store.” He is quoted the following from the article:  “This is my 10-day Non-processed Food Plan. The basic aim: cleanse the system of refined sugars, flour, bread, and artificial sweeteners.” John and I decided to follow it, not to a T, but to what was do-able for our crazy lifestyle, and see what effects it would have on us after two weeks. Todd recommends 10 days and states that some people have dropped 5-7 pounds in that time period. I figured I could go two weeks. John agreed and so on July 5th, we started our “natural” diet.

The diet is all about natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, and seafood. It is easier for the purposes of my blog to state what you CAN’T eat: processed foods; flour products such as breads, pitas, bagels, tortillas, muffins, pizzas, cookies, pancakes, waffles, crackers, and pretzels; deli-style lunch meat; high-fructose corn syrup; candy; white rice; pasta; processed meats including hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausage, pepperoni’ and salami; diet drinks with artificial sweeteners; store-bought fruit juices; refined sugars and artificial sweeteners of any kind. UGH.

Two days into it and I am following the diet very well. We have given up all bread and pasta products. I have had eggs for breakfast, salads for lunch, chicken and turkey burgers for dinner, and fruits for dessert. We are modifying it a bit. We are allowing lean pork, home-made farmers cheese (as it’s not store bought processed cheese), and plenty of alcohol :). You are also allowed coffee, tea, and homemade fruit or vegetable juices. The plan actually does allow for alcohol: beer, wine, liquor but with no mixers, and limited to 7 drinks over a 10 day period. Uh .... yeah right. I am using raw sugar in everything instead of artificial sweetener. This plan does get you to read labels though! I never realized that high-fructose corn syrup was in so many products!

I do feel a little bit tired, though. I think I am beginning to feel the withdraw effects of no high-fructose corn syrup and no carbs. Friends who I have talked to about this and have told me the first 3-5 days are the hardest as your body reacts to no refined sugars and carbs.

With this change in eating habits, I am starting to exercise regularly again. Trips to the pool and gardening have helped out a bit. Since Mom passed away, I have allowed myself to skip working out regularly and have noticed that my beer consumption went up a bit (the beer belly has started). I weighed 150 right before Mom’s accident and have gained a fluctuating 10-15 pounds over a year and a half. So as I turn 40, I have taken a hard look at my diet, and my lack of exercise, and am working on changing this. Wish John and I luck! And any advice anyone can offer I would surely appreciate!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Birds in the early morning

I actually enjoyed waking up his morning at about 5:30 am. The birds always seem to sing the loudest and are most energetic at dawn. I fell back asleep after about 15 minutes of listening to them.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fashion Choices: Are we unfair towards others?

How do we perceive others around us? We often look at others and knowingly or unknowingly judge them with regards to what they are wearing. Why do we do this? Is it correct? Are we being unfair? While I was sitting at the airport bar waiting for my flight to San Diego, I spied a 60-something woman with what I thought were the most garish earrings. Another man was wearing a shirt which looked like he wrapped himself in the American flag. One other elderly man looked like he woke up that morning and thought, “You know what? Today is a great day to wear denim from head to toe!” Lastly, I looked upon a woman with two daughters who were dressed rather conservatively. She, on the other hand was dressed like someone spray painted spandex clothing on every inch of her frame and then she felt that a pair of Lucite heels would be the best way to top off that outfit! How and why do people choose what they wear?

A great many of us are influenced by fashion. This influence comes from TV, movies, fashion mags, music, and the world of celebrity. But still, there are others who get their influence from the unknown god of bad fashion choices. Who decides what is a fashion do or don’t? Is it fair? That woman in the airport with the garish earrings seemed to love those earrings. You could just tell. No one choose something in my mind so hideous and know that they were hideous. I know that is harsh, but my point is that she truly must have at least like them. They were, to me, just a bit … large, loud, and SHINY. The man with the American flag shirt really liked his shirt too. He wore it, as one would say, “Proudly.” People wake up each day and from their closet, pick out what they are going to wear. They do so hoping, and feeling, that they will look good. No one puts on an outfit thinking that they are going to look like crap. Some days, I admit,  I leave the house in sweats and a ripped t-shirt not caring what I look like. And other days, a certain older man picks out that denim shirt and denim pants and may say to himself, “Now THAT will make a great outfit.” The woman in the Lucite heels, though, DOES NOT get a free pass.

So why then do we feel that we can make these subjective view points and stand by them, sometimes to the point of ridiculing others? It is not fair of course. But we all do it at one point or another. My sister raised a good point, “What if someone walks through the airport in a bathing suit and he or she really loves that bathing suit? Is it fair to judge he or she?” I explained to her that I felt this is different, as then you are crossing those moral and ethical bounds on what is appropriate to wear in a public place. It really has nothing to do with their fashion sense as it has to do with what they are wearing at that particular place and time.

There is a lot of advice which is dictated by women’s fashion magazines. Some people follow it religiously while others pick and choose which trends they like. I admit that I love following fashion, but I also think it can be quite ridiculous that some designer’s whim of having the 70’s make a come back on the catwalk helps to determine that bell bottoms will be in for the following fall! Oh, but who am I to judge? I still like wearing my old ratty t-shirts which should have been tossed out ages ago.

So in the future, I vow not to be so judgmental on other’s fashion choices. An outfit that I may think is not attractive may be the "look" that someone likes and was going for. The woman who wears that hat may just love that hat. It may be her favorite, or maybe it was her mother’s hat and has certain sentimental value. The same thing may be said with Aunt Bunny’s hideous flower pin or your coworker’s ugly tie. One last point which may sound a bit judgemental. I still do NOT give that woman with the Lucite heels a free pass. NO WAY.