"The researches of so many eminent scientific men have thrown so much darkness upon the subject that if they continue their researches we shall soon know nothing."

- Artemus Ward

“If you aren’t confused about health and nutrition, then you haven’t studied it long enough or deeply enough.”

- Matt Stone

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bird Walking

It's funny how our childhood conditioning sticks with us. Eagle Rock Reservation is a county park not far from where I live. When I worked in West Orange for 17 years I used to drive through Eagle Rock every day (except in bad weather when the park roads were closed) to get to and from my office. The view of Manhattan is wonderful from there. But I have never actually been in the park much itself. In my childhood we used to drive through there too, but my mom would always warn us that we should *never* actually go into the park itself. She constantly told us that sex maniacs in the form of rapists and rapist/murderers lurked along the trails of Eagle Rock waiting to prey on the unwary who ventured off the road.

So I have enjoyed birding in many other country parks in the area, but have *never* ventured into Eagle Rock, even though it's been more than 40 years since mom made her dire warnings. Yet, as I've driven through the park I've noticed one parking area often filled with cars, and the people getting out of the cars heading into the park have been people with dogs, families with toddlers - quite normal, unmaniacal looking folks. So on Friday I was coming home from 1) my acupuncturist, and 2) my picture framer, where I had one of my paintings framed - and I was passing through Eagle Rock. And it was a glorious day and leaves were all ablaze. I had my binoculars and camera with me, and decided to stop and go for a walk! The vista above is what greated me as I headed down the trail and into the woods.

As I went further I came up along a ridge where there were breaks in the trees showing the Manhattan skyline. I had meant to walk just a short way in to check it out, but it was so marvelously lovely that each turn of the trail brought me to something else I needed to check out, and so I kept going and going - until suddenly my trail ended, giving out onto a suburban street. Where was I? I found a sign saying I was at Afterglow Ave. in Verona. Wow, I had no idea the park even went there. At that point I had to turn around and go back again, but the way back was just as lovely. I walked for 90 minutes, and saw maybe a half dozen other people on the trail, all quite normal folks. Except for one asian man with a huge camera with a foot-long lens all the other walkers had dogs with them. Everyone nodded politely and said hello, not a maniac among them. And I saw two new life birds! A hermit thrush and a ruby-crowned kinglet, bringing my Life List up to 135 birds.

That walk was so lovely that today I decided to take a walk at Rifle Camp Park(in the photo above), another park I've often driven through, but have never gotten off the beaten path of the road before. And it was lovely also. No new life birds but I saw birds galore, including multiple yellow-rumped warblers, and white-breasted nuthatches, and another ruby-crowned kinglet, and a northern mockingbird, a downy woodpecker, a goldfinch, tufted titmice, an eastern phoebe, 9 wild turkeys, several crows and blue jays - 18 species in all.

As I walked along the crest of the hill I also got a wonderful view of the Manhattan skyline. It was a bit hazy today, and the skyline does not show as clearly here as it did from Eagle Rock the other day.
So I used the zoom lens on my camera to show you what I was seeing! Anyway, not really FOOD related, but it is HEALTH related. Eating real food is what helps give me the energy to go on walks like this. When I used to eat JUNK, like sugars and refined grains and processed foods, I never had any energy. I dragged myself to work in the morning and then home again at night, and would occasionally drag myself to things in the evening or on weekends. But that's what it was, a drag! Now I WANT to do these things. I love doing them. The weather is glorious now and I'm already envisioning trips to the Great Swamp and to the Meadowlands.

And I think I'll even go back and explore more of Eagle Rock!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Water Weight

Okay, this photo may not seem to have much to do with the title of this post, LOL, but there is a connection. So I have to backtrack to begin my story.

My dad died on December 31, 2009. My mom had died almost exactly 5 years early on December 18, 2004. When she died my dad just kept all her stuff, but when he died we had to go through all the stuff, and that included my mom's jewelry.

Now my mom was never one for expensive jewelry, most of her stuff was costume stuff, but my two sisters and I divided her stuff up based on our likes. She had one ring that I sort of liked, although it was filthy dirty, and missing a stone right in the center - though it had two pretty red stones on the left and right, and it also fit me, so I decided to take it. But of course it was sort of unwearable with the center stone missing, and filthy as it was. I didn't think it was worth much but it had sentimental value, so I took it to a jeweler to see if he would be willing to clean it, and repair it and find me a third stone - which I assumed was actually just glass.

So imagine my surprise when he told me the two stones actually still on the ring were quite nice quality *rubies*. And he said it might take him a while to actually find a third ruby that was of similar quality, clarity and color as the other two, and I would be talking $$$. But I decided to go ahead with it since the ring was an inheritance, and I picked it up from the jeweler yesterday. And a lovely job he did on it too - cleaned and brightened, and repaired the prongs, which were rather loose (undoubtedly how the middle stone had gotten lost). And he did a wonderful job of finding a stone that exactly matches the two end stones still on the ring!

So many thanks to Craig at Valley Jewelers in Upper Montclair, NJ.

It was rather loose on the ring finger of my left hand, so I moved it to my right hand (which has a slightly larger knuckle) and it fit fine there.

So to come back to the blog focus a bit - I was away in Canada last week, and got home Friday afternoon, so weighed myself at home Saturday morning for the first time in almost 10 days, and I was down at my lowest weight of the last 4 years, which was quite nice to see on the scale.

And then yesterday I was out and about and busy most of the day, with barely time to eat! A small protein shake and 4 brazil nuts for breakfast, and then for lunch I barely had time to eat a can of sardines, and that was it all day until 7:30 PM.

But I was out for the afternoon with friends, and we decided that we would stop at the local Whole Foods and buy food from the salad bar, and come back to friend's house and watch a DVD and eat our dinners. So that was what we did. I selected some pulled pork and bacon, and some various veggie dishes, and the ingredients all *sounded* quite acceptable.

But then this morning my scale was up *three and a half pounds* from what it had been the previous morning. One can hardly gain 3 1/2 pounds of fat overnight. It had to be water weight. And the proof seemed to be in the ring. This morning I went to wear it for church, and I could barely squeeze it onto my right ring finger, so I ended up transferring it to the left where it was comfortable.

But as the day went on it began to feel looser and looser on the left ring finger. Finally I ended up transferring back to the right finger. I'm still wearing the ring, but now even on the right it's feeling loose enough that the stones keep slipping to the underside of my finger as I type.

So the moral of the story seems to be "be careful what you eat" as if we didn't know that moral anyway! Clearly something from Whole Foods must have caused me to retain fluid. One more argument for doing your own cooking from fresh whole foods, as opposed to Whole Foods, LOL.

I made a really yummy Langostino Florentine for dinner tonight with nice CSA spinach, and langostinos from Trader Joe's. I'm hoping the loose ring fingers mean the scale will be back down again tomorrow!