Thursday, July 28, 2011

Freedom

I love to watch nature cams.  The kind that produce a live feed of the wildlife in focus of the lens.  

This past spring, I found a live feed of an eagle nest in Virgina.   Norfolk Botanical Gardens has been home to a breeding pair if eagles for several years.  This year, they produced three eggs.  Mother Eagle sat on, and incubated her eggs, and all three hatched.   The pair took care of these eaglets with such amazing tenderness.  Father Eagle hunted for fish, and sometimes carrion, he delivered it to the aerie, and mom fed the little ones.   Week by week they grew, and grew.   It was amazing to sit and watch every morning, afternoon, and evening.

Sadly, on April 26th, Mother Eagle was struck, and killed, by an airplane, while she hunted along the river between the botanical gardens, and an airport.   It was decided that it would be too much for one single parent to keep up the feeding, and care of these eaglets.  So, on April 27th, they were removed from the nest, and taken to the Wildlife Center of Virgina.   There, they received amazing care.  

We could watch, on a live cam that was installed in the eagle pen, as they were fed.  We watched them grow, and fledge.  We watched them learn to fly, and grow stronger with each passing day. 

Yesterday, July 27th, two of the three eagles were released into freedom.   One of the eagles was stressed, and overtired, and sadly was caught again.  She was brought to the wildlife center to rest up, and will be taken back to the site of release day, to be sent into the blue yonder, and soar towards freedom. 

As I watched the video recordings of the eagles soaring through the air, flapping their wings to dizzying heights, tears sprang to my eyes.  How beautiful life, and freedom is .  These eagles captured the hearts of so many.    On the day the mother was killed, I sat and sobbed for what seemed to be hours.  Out of sadness, so many strangers were joined, and yesterday, many were joined again by happiness, and joy, as we watched these eagles soar to freedom.  

You can read about it here - Wildlife Center of Virgina   and watch the live stream of the eagle pen here -Wildlife Animal Cam  .

I hope you'll take a look.  There are links there to watch video of the release, and there are pictures of the eagles.    Also, look at Norfolk Botanical Gardens Eagles and on the lower left side, you can see recorded video of the egg laying/hatching, and parental care.   It's a sight to see!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Me - my journey

Over the years, I've not worried much about my weight.  I mean, sure, I have said that I need to lose weight.  I have complained about buying clothes because it was such a chore.  I have complained about aches, and pains.   I've been tired, and unmotivated to get out there and do things.  

Then, there were some health issues that started.  November 2009 - I was still grieving the death of my father.   I was so, so tired.  Seriously tired.  I could sleep all night, and then get up, send the kids off to school, and go back to bed - only to sleep for another 5 or 6 hours.   I would look in the mirror, and I looked 'grey', tired, sick.

There was a day, though, that changed things. 

I was driving with my daughter on the Southern State Parkway, I was so tired.  I remember thinking to myself - I just want to close my eyes for a moment, just rest a little while.   I did NOT do it, though.  I told Jen that we had a change of plans, and drove straight home.  I called the doctor, and got an appointment for that day.    My blood pressure was high, really high.  The exact numbers, I don't remember now - but it was around 196/90.    I was put on blood pressure meds, had blood drawn, was sent for an echocardiogram. Thankfully, all of the tests came back with good results.   Just the high blood pressure.   Just...the silent killer.   It took about two weeks for me to start feeling better, but, better I felt.  

Anyway - fast forward to this past May.   I had been dealing with back pain.   Day and night - it was constant, for months.   I went to the doctor, and had an x-ray.  Nothing there.   We talked about other tests I could have done, and then, we discussed my weight.   Oh boy!   My weight is a heavy topic. ; )    He said that my weight was essentially destroying my body.  All of the joint pain, back pain, tiredness.    Now, my tiredness is from lugging around this body.  My blood pressure is 110/70 - nice and steady (but controlled by medication).   So - rather than go through more tests, I decided to do something about my weight.

This is me - July 15, 2011.  261 pounds.   I have lost 17 pounds in 7 weeks.   My starting weight was 278 (ugh! I know!!)  

Nice picture, not bad for a self portrait.   Only thing missing, the duck lips that the young girls do.  But, hey, I'm not a young girl. ;)     When I tell people, they ask what have I changed.  Well, the biggest thing was that I stopped drinking soda.   I used to LOVE my daily Diet Coke fix.   BUT - only fountain soda.  No bottled, or canned soda.   The first week or so was rough.  I'd hit a proverbial brick wall, every day around 3:30pm.  I could feel my body slam into the tiredness - but I resisted the cravings, and the urge to get a soda anyway.  

The next thing I did was actually start eating all of the fruits, and veggies, I was buying.  I stopped eating ice cream, and cookies.   I eat much better.  Fish, chicken, brown rice.  Very little bread is in my diet.   Oh, and I started drinking...yes, drinking lots of water, and home brewed green iced tea.    I've heard it's good for the belly fat.   I hope so, anyway.

When you change the way you eat, and then backslide a bit, it can be very bad.    I went to a scrapbooking event with my sister-in-law, and had a pepper and egg hero.  BIG mistake.  First of all, the carbs from the bread threw me into zombie land about 30  minutes after eating.  Carb overload that my body was just not used to anymore.  Then, the peppers and eggs, and oil that was probably used to prepare the food sent me into intestinal distress.  :(    That was not fun at all.    So, big lesson learned.      I have to just prepare better for events like that, and pack my lunch, or just get a salad instead of a hero.

The best part - about three weeks in, and 10 lbs lost, I realized that my back pain was almost gone.   Yay!!   I don't see much of a change in the way I look, though, other people tell me they can see it.   I do feel the difference, so that is something, I guess.       There are days I want to eat things like I used to.  Sometimes I will have a treat, and other times I will just grab some fruit.      The point is, I am sticking to it.    I have to.   I have children - who are all young adults - to watch me either succeed, or fail.    I want to be around to enjoy life with them, because we have so much fun together.   I love them, and even though they wrinkle up their faces when I want to take a nice picture - I know they love me.   That's Joey - he's 19, and such an amazing young man.      In this picture, we're down at the South Street Seaport - and we did a lot of walking that day.    But, by the end of the day, I could still walk, and it was HOT that day.   Just a few months ago, in April, we had gone to the city for the day, and when we got off the train at the end of the day upon returning home, walking to the car was so hard, I could barely walk. 

It's going to be a long road to get where I want to be.  But, I did not get to where I was when I started this trip overnight.   If my journey to a healthier me arrived overnight, I don't think I'd stay there forever.  If I get there slowly, my changes of staying there are better.  

So - there you go.   Maybe some of my friends who haven't seen me in a while will be surprised by how I look, and I'm sure there are people who I have never met before, that will  have nothing nice to say.    To my friends, I say I'm working my way back!  To those who don't know me, I say if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all.    I am fat, yes.  Someday, I won't be. :)