Archive for tag: wea

Happy Halloween

Do you have your costume yet? Are you going trick or treating?

It's that time of year again and my mind wanders back to the smell of fallen leaves and the colors of the trees. It's a time of pumpkins, little kids wearing plastic masks (at least when I was growing up), and hyperactivity from too much sugar. Many of the neighborhoods around here do a TON of decorating for Halloween. You'd think it was Christmas, with all the lights and accoutrements.

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Someday I'll do all of this stuff again. I used to go all out with decorations for every holiday. There's one house in the Crescent Lake neighborhood (where these pictures were taken) that gives away polished stones and wishes. It's pretty cool.

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Tell me the truth. How much candy have you eaten already? I always try to make it through the season without eating any Halloween candy. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. There's been candy floating around at school already. I think this year qualifies as a failed evasion. I'll try to keep it from going further downhill. It might not be that bad. Of course, trying to combat it with the gym and some otherwise healthy eating will be a definite must. I'm on it!

The temperature has dropped temporarily, which makes it "chilly" (upper 50s-60s) at night and not quite as hot during the day. I understand that it's only temporary, as it's supposed to be in the mid-80s by the middle of the week. This is the time of year when I realize I have absolutely no "warm" clothes. None whatsoever. I have to stop myself from going shopping to buy these things--as the cold snaps are USUALLY only temporary and don't "stick" until late December/January and stop by mid-February. Layering is helpful. I must admit that seeing my fellow students in the interactive sessions in Lombard walk into class in their coats and sweaters makes me both sad and glad that I'm someplace warm.

How did midterms go? We have one more on Wednesday and I think we're done for a couple of weeks. We have several right before Thanksgiving again--big projects and exams. I can't believe how quickly it's all gone by! It'll be Christmas before we know it. I'm not going to lie--last week was tough. I think it might have been one of the toughest midterm weeks I remember having. Three radiology exams in one week do not make for a low-stress life. This week should be more low key.

So, if you were trick or treating in Crescent Lake, and stopped by the Fairy's house--what would your wish be? Think about it, and get back to me.

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Experimental Pumpkin Brain Surgery

Have an amazing, responsible candy-eating Halloween Week. And if you dress up, send me a picture. Maybe I'll dress up and post one--or maybe not.

Hanging Onto Summer

I walked into the store this weekend and saw Christmas decorations. Can you believe it? Christmas decorations?!?! I never know whether I should be excited and festive or mortified at the consumerism of having things out 3 months in advance. Seriously. Who starts buying and decorating for Christmas 3 months before the holiday? I guess it's just a reminder, though, that the end of the trimester will be here before we know it. We're already looking at midterms. My first one, in lab diagnosis, is this coming Friday.

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Banyan Tree on Beach Drive in downtown St. Pete

I hear that the rest of the world is starting to cool off in honor of the season--but here in Florida we're still averaging upper 80s or lower 90s. It's. Been. Hot.  I find I'm a little envious of my friends and loved ones that are donning sweaters and complaining about it being chilly. I haven't owned a sweater in nearly 8 years. The closest to needing one has been dealing with crazy air conditioning issues in the Annex. Sometimes it gets downright chilly in there! We're threatening to bring teapots and mittens. I can see it happening. It might start cooling off by the end of October. For now, even though we're technically in Autumn, it still feels like Summer--rain, heat, and all.

I'm getting into the Marketing project with planning my future clinic. I spend a little bit of time every day, it seems, pondering how things will be--how I want them. I know I need to do a lot more research on my geographic regions and desired demographics, etc. It's actually a pretty big project--but I think it will help me tremendously when the time comes. I've even been working on putting a logo together. I have no idea if that's what it will end up as--but I think it's a good start.

I've started clearing the yard for a fall garden. I'm wondering how long the growing season will be. I've never had a fall garden before--having grown up in the Midwest. I will let all of you know how that works out. If all works well, I could have fresh herbs and veggies around Christmas. Maybe I'll decorate with them instead of glitz and glitter from the store.

I'm still working on some pretty intense research topics. My Pubmed list grows just about every day. Here is a listing of my topics: oxytocin, C reactive protein, eicosanoids, anti-inflammatory diet, food allergy, gluten, celiac, botanical, functional medicine, vitamin D and asthma, stress, and naturopathic medicine. There may be a couple of others--ones that I don't get search returns on daily. There's amazing research that comes through every day. Pieces of the puzzle come together. I'm learning things about bloodwork that I never knew, how biochemistry is affected by nearly everything, and what we can do (and what we're doing and not doing) to fix it all. Fascinating.

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Banyan Tree in Crescent Lake
One of the biggest I've ever seen (a little bit like the "Tree of Life" from Disney)

Since I'm boycotting Christmas trees for at least another two months, here are some Banyan tree pictures. Banyans are actually fig trees and sometimes known as strangler figs. In some places they're considered invasives. Here in this part of Florida, we've got some Banyan trees that are OLD--REALLY, REALLY old. There are several places around town where Banyan trees can be seen--there's even a "Banyan Tree Motel"--although the only Banyan tree there is on the sign. I've always found them to be majestic, spirited trees that are absolutely beautiful.

Have a great week everybody!

It's Springtime, Right?

Well, you wouldn't know it by looking outside. We've had a few really nice days, but it's expected to be in the 50s one day this week. It's almost April! What is going on? I know everybody up in the Midwest has had snow. I just keep looking out the door bewildered and checking the Weather Channel on my phone. I never know what it's going to be! Bundle-up or flip-flops, or my personal favorite, blue toes in flip-flops? We just take it day by day. 

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I thought for sure that I'd make it outside for something this weekend, but it didn't happen. I did, however, make a cameo at the Gluten Free Expo at the St. Petersburg Coliseum. Grey and I showed up about an hour before it was over, wondering if they'd have some great speaker at the last minute or some new revolutionary products. There were, of course, TONS of giveaways and coupons and brochures. I did grab a few business cards from vendors and talked to a health coach while I was there. 

I must say, though, that I was disappointed. While I'm grateful that I now have free snack fodder for the boys' lunches for the next month plus, I'm not sure how healthy it all is. There's just so much processing going into gluten-free products these days. Nothing they were giving away or selling was anywhere near simple or resembling anything homemade. 

I talked to a baker about Paleo cooking. She said that the biggest problem for them was cutting out the sugar. She wanted to substitute Stevia--which in some Paleo circles is forbidden (no artificial sugars or regular sugars). Although I'm not sure what other ingredients she was going to substitute, the sugar, I think, was the least of their worries. 

In Diet and Nutrition, Dr. S has been teaching us all the pathways and extolling the dangers of grains, sugars, and indirectly, processing. We've linked all these starches, Omega 6s, and sugars to everything from heart disease to Alzheimer's. Of course that doesn't make it all so easy to give up, but the argument is getting more and more persuasive. So I have to think--just because something is gluten-free, that doesn't make it healthy. Whether it's the canola oil, the high fructose corn syrup, or the ingredient that I can only dissect with a piece of paper and a chemistry textbook, it may still be gluten-free, but it's also a science/health experiment. I know for a fact, that gluten-free can still be simple. The more ingredients, the more likely that there might be a problem, and that doesn't work for anyone. 

I'm beginning to explore the ins and outs of the Paleo diet and trying to marry it with my own sense of nutrition. I suspect I'll be more restrictive in many ways than what the standards are. I still can't see/justify eating huge amounts of bacon. Something just doesn't seem right about that. I'm not sure whether it's the huge amounts of fat, the salt, or the nitrates. Yes, I know that all of those are available nitrate-free, but last time I checked--we were all students, yes?--I also know that I will never eat beef or eggs again. I think there has got to be a way to balance nutrition and our evolutionary developments with the limbic system. Otherwise, we'll all end up eating only 35 cups of Romaine lettuce with steaks wrapped in bacon. And between you and me, none of that sounds all that appetizing. 

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Last but certainly not least, I want to congratulate everyone on making it through midterms. We finally had our last one on Thursday. I'll spare you all the drama involved, but I know we are all extremely glad that that is over. I want to offer Dr. Ott my undying gratitude for being, perhaps, the coolest-headed professor I've ever come across. I must find for you, Dr, Ott, 5 million gold toilet stickers. You deserve them. (And if you want to know the story about the gold toilet stickers, you can email me). 

Everyone also deserves congratulations for making it through Mercury retrograde. Thankfully, Mercury went direct on St. Patty's Day--and not a moment too soon. I was tired of fixing everything, fighting and mediating fights, and just generally being in a funk.

Happy First Full Week of Spring to everyone and Happy Easter, Ostara and a Blessed Passover to all who celebrate.

This week's pictures are from Lake Maggiore--which is not far from my house. I was hoping to get some gators in there, but it was a bit too cloudy. If you enter through Boyd Hill and take the trails, I PROMISE you'll see some BIG gators. To my classmate Lauren, here's where you (don't) want to go. :)