Yesterday I went through with what I call â€˜weather head,' a fullness that I occasionally feel when the outside barometer goes up while the inside barometer in my head is still heading down, or vice versa. Better this morning.
Great day in the office. Eight office calls, several featuring favorite patients who I have tended to for literally decades. What a delight it is to grow old with a good patient! To see their children mature and develop; to see the lines and wrinkles and gray hairs develop on their faces and they on mine.
Dinner tonight will be at my brother's place. He and his wife have a delightful little one-year-old son, Alex.
Ally-Boy, as his proud godfather prefers to call him (as opposed to Andy-Boy, a brand of broccoli) is a true child of the â€˜info-toy' generation. By this I mean the battery-operated, push-button, stimulus-response and â€˜educational' device toys everybody gives kids nowadays.
Now at age one, Alex thinks everything that looks like a button should produce some sort of computer voice, light or music tone when he pushes it. How insulted he gets when his best effort to twiddle a knob or dial on an unplugged radio or push a knot or whirl pattern in a piece of furniture is repaid with stony indifference!
On my way out to my office (which sits behind my garage) Martha passed me a news article from the NY Times about a man who is suing the estate of Robert Atkins and the company that promotes his dietary products.
A group with the improbably highfalutin name â€˜Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine' (PCRM) but who are actually a veganism and animal rights support group is actively assisting the plaintiff. The lawsuit seems more of a publicity stunt and is not surprising, since the PCRM has maintained an â€˜Atkins-watch' website for several years now, where people can report adverse reactions to the use of animal products in their diet.
Apparently Mr. Jody Gorran, a wealthy manufacturer of solar panels and swimming pools, and who ate quite a bit of cheese and cheesecake while on the Atkins Diet, had his cholesterol increase from a rather low 146 to a potentially hazardous 230. This resulted, he claims, in a 99% blockage in one of his coronary arteries, requiring angioplasty.
From what the article said, most law experts do not believe the lawsuit would get anywhere, and even the plaintiff said he contacted the PCRM â€˜because they are familiar with publicity.'
So I guess this is where the Great American Diet Debate eventually winds up.
Not that I believe for a second that this will end matters. In fact, I'm certain that the heavy-handed manner of the PCRM will eventually boomerang badly, since they in turn leave themselves open to litigation from any ex-vegan who goes on to develop cancer or some other ailment supposedly prevented by their vegan diet.
Blades cut in two directions.
But who knows? If one-year-olds can eventually adjust to their lack of results in expert knob twiddling and button-pushing, then perhaps there is hope for Mr. Gorran and the PCRM.
My son has run the past couple of nights. Since he was a baby he has showed this Type O characteristic. He needs lots of exercise, especially after a rainy afternoon like we had yesterday. I was interested in running with him last night, but my husband really discouraged it. He was right. My son would have quickly outpaced me and left me in the dark.
I knew that our vacation activity for today was a mostly sedentary train ride, so I set the alarm for 30 minutes early and ran this morning. I started toward downtown Estes Park, but spotted a trail along the Big Thompson River, and turned onto it. What a lovely run! The air was cool and the other people out early walking their dogs and running were friendly. I was pleased that the altitude didn't bother me at all. There was one hill, where I had to slow to a walk, but other than that I ran my regular pace. I don't know how far I ran, probably close to the 2 miles I run at home. On the way back to our motel, I passed a trail junction for a 3.75 mile loop around Lake Estes. My son wants to run that tomorrow morning.
We rode the historic Georgetown Loop train with a long time friend who lives south of Denver. Afterwards we ate at Mama Sannino's Italian Restaurant in Denver. Everyone was ordering pasta. I chose an Italian sandwich with thin sliced beef covered in grilled peppers, onions and Mariana sauce. I put the bun in the bread basket where it was quickly gobbled up by others. I was feeling proud of myself that I had found such a delicious Type O meal in a restaurant full of wheatâ€¦then our friend ordered cheesecake for everyone. I could have protested; I could have called the waiter back and said, "None for me;" but I didn't.
We took a 4 hour horseback ride through Horseshoe Park. It started out as a beautiful cool, sunny day. At the half way point we got off the horses to stretch our legs and have a snack. I had packed walnuts, pumpkin seeds, dried pineapple, and prunes; plus a bottle of water. As we ate our snacks we saw clouds forming over the mountains. We were glad we had started our ride at 8 am, and that we would be back at the barn before a storm hit.
But this was not an ordinary summer thunderstorm. The clouds turned black, the wind picked up, and light rain started falling. Suddenly there was a loud crack of thunder, and the horses shied. The wrangler tied the horses on one side of the trail, and sent us to the other side. We were caught in a hail storm. We had raincoats, but only our daughter had a hood. Our clothes stayed fairly dry, but our hair was quickly drenched. Lightening was striking much too close for comfort.
Finally the hail stopped and the lightening moved on down the valley. We got back on our wet horses. Our hands were so cold we could hardly hold the reins, but the ride was even more beautiful in its own way. The hailstones turned the ground white, and it looked like fresh snow.
Before we could picnic, I had to go to the grocery store. I was standing in line with cherries and oat bread, wanting something warm to eat. I thought of sweet potatoes. There is a microwave in the motel office. I got out of line and picked out two sweet potatoes, one for me and one for my son. They were so delicious. I had brought sushi nori wraps from home. I had one wrap with roast beef and one with sesame butter. My family is curious about the seaweed, but not curious enough to try it yet. They had their sandwiches on oat bread.
An old hymn is running through my head, "I've seen it in the lightening, heard it in the thunder, and felt it in the rain. My Lord is near me all the time."
We took a 5.4 mile hike from the Wild Basin trailhead to three waterfalls. Most of the way we were within the sound of rushing water. It was physically strenuous, but emotionally peaceful and relaxing. Copeland Falls is in two steps: an upper and a lower falls. Calypso Cascade takes a long drop, then tumbles down further over rocks. Ouzell Falls has lots of water and creates lots of mist. All three were beautiful in their own way.
My daughter and I were ahead on this trail. We had a really good conversation about high school issues - the kind of conversation that is hard to initiate at home, but comes natural on the trail.
Dinner was at Timberline Steakhouse. I ordered liver & onions. It came with three side orders: a salad, a steamed vegetable medley (fresh green beans, carrots, yellow squash and zucchini) and potatoes. I was not going to eat the potatoes, but someone else at the table couldn't stand to see them go to waste and snatched them.
It would have been an ideal Type O dinner, except they cooked the onions with bacon. I discarded the bacon, but could do nothing about the bacon grease that was on the onions. This was the first major avoid food on the trip. It was disappointing because I had tried to order carefully.
Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake brings back a song from my college years:
I'm on the top of the world
looking down on creation
and the only explanation I can find,
is the love that I've found
ever since you've been around.
Your love's put me at the top of the world.
At the Alpine Visitor Center we took a short trail to an overlook. It is a steep trail that climbs to an elevation of 12,005 feet. Three years ago I had to stop several times, and was breathing hard when I reached the top. Today I was amazed to find that I am in much better shape. I kept a steady pace (10 pound camera bag and all) and was not winded when I arrived at the top. The view is indescribable - you really are at the top of the world.
Rare tundra plants are identified along the trail. My husband pointed out Alpine Parsley and said, "Here's something Mom hasn't tried yet to feed us on that Blood Type Diet." Ha Ha - very funny.
After we crossed the Continental Divide, we saw a moose grazing in a swampy area near the Beaver Ponds. I've seen moose in Canada and Wisconsin and Wyoming, but there are only 50 in Rocky Mountain National Park, and it was a thrill to see one. On the return trip, we saw five big horn sheep grazing above timberline, another rare July sighting.
Lunch was at the Boardwalk Cafe in Grand Lake. I ordered a veggie omelet and substituted a side salad for the hash browns and toast. What an outstanding salad it was, containing several different greens including fresh spinach and dandelion. There were chunks of broccoli, carrots, celery, and even a generous helping of jicama. I had a little bottle of extra virgin olive oil in my backpack to use for dressing. The owner worried that the omelet looked lonely on the plate without the traditional breakfast starches, but I assured her that I was very, very happy.
We picnicked in our motel room and watched a movie tonight. Seedless black grapes were on sale at the local grocery store. I had never tried them, and they were sweet and delicious. My son had a turkey and roast beef sandwich; my daughter peanut butter and jelly; my husband soy cheese with a little turkey. No sandwich for me! I mixed a small can of spinach and a can of tuna with a little olive oil.