Thursday, June 24, 2010

Animals and Wildlife 
APRIL 2010

This post is about the wildlife and domestic animals. There is not as much wildlife in the Middle East compared to what as I see in my own backyard in New Jersey. Horses and camels belong to humans, lizards are the only wild thing that I saw there, except for fish and birds :)

Ostrich at a Farm in Negev Desert

Akko Port - Arab Boys with Their Ponies

Camel Near an Arab Village

Camel in Petra

Lizard in Cesaria

Camel Somewhere Near Jordan

Another lizard - this one looks like a dragon, so scary...

To be continued with more pictures from Akko, Haifa, Tel-Aviv and other places in Israel...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sunday in Tyler Park, PA

Tyler State Park near Newtown, PA is one of our favorite places. The park consists of 1,711 acres in Bucks County. Park roads, trails, and facilities are carefully nestled within the original farm and woodland setting. Neshaminy Creek meanders through the park, dividing the land into several interesting sections.
The info from the park web site:
Before becoming a state park, the land was owned by Mr. and Mrs. George F. Tyler who purchased the land between 1919 and 1928. Their first purchase was the Solly Farm, currently leased to Hostelling International at the north end of the park. The Solly House served as the Tyler’s country home until the mansion was constructed. The mansion is now a part of the Bucks County Community College.
The Tylers developed one of the finest Ayrshire dairy herds in the county. In addition, they raised poultry, sheep and pigs, and had a stable of about 25 fine riding horses. The productive croplands were mainly used to supply feed for the livestock.
Old original stone dwellings in the park stand as fine examples of early farm dwellings of rural Pennsylvania. Some structures date back to the early 1700s. You may wish to look for the date stone (1775) on the house located by the bicycle trail north of the pedestrian causeway in the center of the park. Ten original farm dwellings are currently being leased as private residences.
The park land was acquired by Project 70 funding and has been developed using funds from Project 500, the Pennsylvania “Land and Water Conservation and Reclamation Act.” This act has provided for the planning and development of many public outdoor recreation lands including Tyler State Park. The park officially opened on May 25, 1974.

We have to cross the NJ state border and get to Pennsylvania, but it is very close, only half-an-hour drive from our home, and the trip is definitely worth it.
During our daughter's recent stay we took a lot of pictures of her in the park, and last Sunday we went for a 3-hours walk. I never get tired of this place, it has so many trails and beautiful views, and an abundant wildlife. Even after 11 years in the US the wildlife living in a close proximity to people never fails to amaze me.

You already know my motto - "a picture is worth a thousand words'', so my photo reportage is presented below.

She is Watching Us!

Help Us Lord...

Snake on the road. This is a frame from a video clip.

Horse Rider

Horses Crossing the Road

Old Trees

Tiny Toad

Neshaminy Creek

Dancing With the Shadow

Warm Evening

Weight Loss Story, post #2
(continued from my previous post)

Two weeks passed after the last report about of my weight-loss program, and now my weight is 102.8 kg.

I'm loosing this burden slowly, I was hoping for doing it more quickly... But I feel good, I eat healthy, and I'm happy. The mouse on the scale is moving!

June 15th, 2010:
I've lost 1.2 kg (2.65 lb), and I have to lose 7.8 kg (17.2 lb) to reach my target weight.
7.8 kg (17.2 lb) sounds much better than 9 kg (19.84 lb), isn't it?

June 3d, 2010:
I've lost 3 kg (6.6 lb), and I have to lose 9 kg (19.84 lb) to reach my target weight.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Weight Loss Program Just Started!

We had a very busy time, because my younger daughter came to visit us for the Memorial Day all the way from Minnesota. She spent 10 days with us, and we have visited many places, and took tons of pictures! It will take a lot of time to get them all in order.  One of her pictures taken at the ocean is below. She looks like a cover girl, isn't she? My little baby girl...

We also have been eating out a lot, almost every day during her visit, and she was worried about gaining weight, and was ordering very healthy items from the menu. She  made an effort and lost a lot of weight during this spring, coming from size 7 to size 4 or 3, and did not want to put it back. Looking at her I've realized that I totally abandoned my weight loss program that I started 2 years ago, and gained 4 kilos  after this winter alone. So thanks to her I started thinking about my weight now.

When I came to the US 11 years ago, I weighted 80 kg (176 lb). A couple of years later it came to 95 kg (209 lb), several more years of unhealthy overeating, and in 2007 I was at dreadful 107 kg (235 lb)! I'm tall, so this weight was not as visible as it wood be on a shorter person, but I felt it when hiking, my heart was jumping out of my chest, and my blood pressure was high.

I have been yo-yo dieting since, and the best result achieved was 2 years ago,  I've lost  26 pounds and saw 95 kg  (209 lb) on my scale.  It took me 2 months to loose this weight, with a lot of limitations in my food intake, of course - no sugars, no butter or fats, etc. I used my steamer a lot, to eliminate fats and oils when cooking. The most difficult part for me was to cut on bread. I'm a bread person, I bake bread myself and it's kind of hard not to eat it. Normally I bake this whole wheat bread with raisins and nuts, but thinking about reducing the calories I had to eliminate those raisins and nuts and use just water, salt, a little bit of sugar, yeast and flour.
My husband was really supportive of me, he did not ask me to cook steaks and he was eating the same healthy food I was cooking for myself. Good for him, because he easily lost 12 kg, and gained back only 4 kg since. 

So after our daughter left, we both decided that it was time to start over, and starting from June 1st we began this new chapter in our weight loss program. We walk for 40 minutes early in the morning, at 6 am, to jump-start the day. We both sit at the computers all day long, and then go for a walk in the evening. We always try to walk during the weekends, usually we go to a boardwalk down the New Jersey shore, or to a State forest or park, weather-dependent.

Our diet does not include anything special, we don't take any supplements. Vegetables, fruits, reduced portions of lean proteins, mainly fish, and very small overall portions lead to a successful weight loss. 

I'm not exactly counting the calories, it's too much work, I just try to eat minimum amounts of food, having only coffee or tea for breakfast, soup for lunch, fish or chicken with steamed or fresh vegetables for dinner. Some fruits or veggies in-between, like grapefruits, apples, carrots or cauliflower.
I did it once already, so I know I can do it. And I try to drink a lot of liquids, I usually make herbal tea in a thermos, and drink it all day long whenever I feel hungry.

Even at 95 kg with my stature of 5.5' (168 cm) I still will be overweight, but I can't put unrealistic goals, so I will start with baby steps.

I also will be having a maxillofacial surgery tomorrow, and I am not supposed to eat before the anesthesia. After the surgery I will not be able to eat normally for some time due to the sutures, and it will help me to shed some pounds.

The scale below that is in Russian will be showing my progress. I will update it weekly, so let's see if I can do it this time! It has a maximum gained weight on the left (107 kg, or 235 lb), the mouse is showing my current weight (104 kg, or 229 lb), the goal weight on the right (95 kg, or 209 lb), and it says '3 kilos (6.6 lb) lost so far, 9 kilos (19.8 lb) to shed for the goal weight'. 

t is kind of scary to write those numbers reflecting my current weight, but they are true, and to see those numbers is really motivating me to reduce them ASAP.

I found this scale on the web site, which means 'let's loose weight here'.  The site is about different diets and contains testimonials of people trying to lose weight.

I'm writing about my weight to motivate myself. The pen is mightier than the sword, and looking at this page and this scale may help me stay focused on a weight loss.

I will update my weight scale in a week, so see you then!