Monday, October 1, 2012

September Close Out

I had a pretty awesome weekend. I spent most of it outdoors enjoying the crisp Fall days, and beautiful sun. My weekend started off with a gluten-free dinner with my girlfriend and ended up filled with walking, poop and pizza (I'll explain the poop, I promise).

Saturday began with a 5 mile walk through a beautiful nature preserve in efforts to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The walk was leisurely, and filled with lots of stops for pictures. I have been away from art (drawing) far too long, but felt truly artistic (in some fashion at least) to be able to snap some of these pictures below. God and nature, after all, are the best artists.

Later that same night, I participated in the Rosehill Crypt 5K in Ravenswood. While the event itself was amazing (running through a candlelit cemetery built in 1864, at night with a full moon!) I have to say I was disappointed that I couldn't run it, but rather had to walk it. So many times I wanted to burst into a jog, but, for hopefully the greater good of my back (degenerative disc disease) and bruised tailbone (Tough Mudder fall), I walked. I can only liken this feeling to that of bringing a racehorse onto a track, and then not letting him/her run...ugh. It's ironic, I started my 5K's ten months ago and HAD to walk them because I wasn't in shape, and now, returning to that state (hurt, not out of shape) is so disappointing. I have to keep in mind however, and be grateful, that I'm still able to move and walk, and that's more then some people.

After a twelve mile Saturday (almost a half marathon!), I got to spend Sunday with my Zoo Crew. One of the easiest topics to share with guests is Endocrinology, also know as poop! As a volunteer with the zoo's education department, I talk to/teach guests about a variety of topics ranging from Poop, to Prey Adaptations, to Zoo Diets and Enrichment, but my favorite is comparative Human/Animal Anatomy. Despite ALL the fun topics I cover, it's always the "poop cart" that turns the most heads. Peoples' reactions range from total disgust and avoidance, to "OH, can I touch it?!" (It's fake rubber models, by the way). Kids and their parents can play a matching game where they match the poop to picture of the animal they think it came out of. This is paired my spiel about how valuable poop is to the zoo in efforts to maintain the health of their animals. Poop is used to monitor general health, pregnancy and stress hormones! Despite the gross sounding topic, this gig is pretty amazing and I love all the new people I've met and get to interact with!

After the zoo, a late lunch was enjoyed outdoors. I splurged on a gluten-free pizza, and enjoyed every last bite of it, along with the sunshine and cool breeze. I have to admit, up until now I didn't know how much the food I had been eating, despite being healthy for me, affected my body in a negative way. I have (knock on wood) so much more consistent energy throughout the ENTIRE day, and feel like a fog has lifted now that I am eating gluten-free. Trust me, gluten-free is definitely not the easiest diet to follow, nor do I consider it a fad (it's too damn expensive!). Rather, it truly has eliminated (another knock on wood here, please) my stomach issues, and makes me feel like a different person - in a good way! I am loving feeling like a human again, without extreme intestinal cramps (I'll spare you further details), constant muscle fatigue, and over all exhaustion.

My night ended with me relaxing in front of the TV and watching my favorite (next to "Drop Dead Diva") TV show's second season premiere - "Once Upon A Time". The writers are so inventive in their ability to overlap well known fairytale characters and their woes into a modern day world. If you haven't seen it, I suggest watching it!

In closing, I sure hope your weekend and close of September was as good, or better than mine! Happy October readers!!!

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