Day Forty: Less Time, More Rush

Again, another rushed post. I hope you guys don't mind that this may possibly be my pattern for the upcoming few months. There's way too much to focus on at the moment, and even I'm getting the feeling that this has become a side commitment for me. No kidding, it is a side commitment.

Breakfast: English muffin with egg and cheese
Lunch: Orange and sushi
Dinner: Chopt Avocado salad

Day Thirty-Nine: More Rushing

Here's a really rushed post. I know it's really making a bore out of this challenge for one hundred days, but bear with me guys! I'm doing my best!

Breakfast: Blueberry muffin and milk
Lunch: Orange and cereal
Dinner: Salad and chicken
Snacks: Guacamole with vegetable chips

Day Thirty-Eight: The Rush and the Madness

The city is just so rushed all the time. I'm telling you, it's like you would never have known. There's just so many places to be, so many people to see, so many things to do all of the time. I have never experienced anything like it and it's so refreshing to be around people who similarly feel the same way. Not the way where I feel overwhelmed, but the way where I can feel like I am doing something important. Like, somehow, somewhere, I actually count and that there is actually a purpose to my living here.

New York City is really more than just a city for me. Even though it's been less than a month since I've first moved here, it's become my new home in far less time. Somehow, I just find myself acclimating to everything that's ever defined it -- from the late night bodegas to the delis to the bagel stores to the old pizzerias, rusty shabby, their doors already falling off their hinges. I love the smell of the dew in Central Park, the sight of the majestic globe in Flushing Meadows, the chatter of hundreds of languages passing through Brooklyn, the sight of the skyscrapers and the beautiful High Bridge over the Bronx, the Staten Island ferry ambling its way across the river...

There's hope in this girl yet.

Breakfast: Fruit and yogurt parfait
Lunch: Chinese noodles
Dinner: Beef and various vegetables

Day Thirty-Seven: Time to Get Down to Business

I've got interview tomorrow and I'm really excited. I'm not quite sure what to expect, other than extreme anxiety, highlighted with a few dots of clever witty statements that could randomly pop up here and there throughout the interview. Or not. Depends on my lunch. Unfortunately, I don't have the best of luck from what I can tell.

Anyway, there are a lot of website telling me to get a good breakfast on the day of. My dad's planning on taking us to McDonald's for our breakfast, aka the most important meal of the day. That in itself makes me skeptical, but I love Mcdonald's fruit parfait (it's one of my guilty early morning pleasures ^.^) so there's nothing wrong right there. I just hope my nerves are able to calm down because it's almost midnight and I'm still up, pacing as urgently to finish my homework as ever.

One thing I've noticed about myself: I don't do time management. I mean, I can definitely finish every assignment you throw out at me, but when it comes to things like choosing homework or working on projects, I choose projects. When it comes to projects or Facebook, I choose Facebook. Of course, I'm at least good enough to pace the amount of time I spend on anything (no more than an hour a day, even though that in itself is quite a lot of time wasted on social media rather than spending it on my studies, like a good little Asian). Nevertheless, I'm just about as typical as any other teenager with way too much technology on their hands. What we need is more time, in a constantly rushed world full of priorities, deadlines, dues, and whatnot.

Breakfast: Greek yogurt
Lunch: Peaches and salad
Dinner: Pumpkin salad with enoki mushrooms 

Day Thirty-Six: Bodegas and Blasphemy

I was riding on the subway in Bronx for the first time today. I have to admit, compared to the stations in Queens and Manhattan (which are already pretty run-down in a lot of areas) most of the stations I saw were downright horrid. Now, don't get me wrong, I love NYC and almost every aspect of its hurried, incredibly rapid pace of life. However, there are quite a few things that get on my nerves and the disgusting state of the public facilities in the poorer sections of the city are some of them.

Some other things about the city that bother me:

Tourists calling it the "Big Apple"
I know it's the proper term and all, but I always get the feeling that they're mocking us, in some sort of subtle, convoluted way. I don't know, maybe it's just me. I always thought of it like when people intentionally slur "Beijing" and it comes out "BAY-tsing." Even I'm getting goosebumps hearing that in my head.

The length of time it takes to pave roads.
To be honest, these construction projects can stretch on for years. Literally. I've seen barely-miles of road in working process for over three years before.

How summers turn into winters.
The seasons have always fluctuated, but there's nothing like New York weather, especially when the school year's starting and you're already getting a cold.

People always ask me to say "coffee," "dog," "talk," and "walk." Oh, and occasionally "Staten Island."

Houston St. vs. Houston, Texas
There's actually a difference in pronunciation. Similar to the issue above, but now reversed. If only tourists would learn!

The price of food downtown
I love all of the sophisticated and chic eateries downtown, but the prices kill me. $10 for a lunch at Shake Shack actually sounds like a good deal, now.

Do you guys have any other anecdotes to share about pet peeves and whatnot? Leave a comment below and I'll be sure to get back to you!

The Day's Eats
Breakfast: Cream cheese bagel and orange juice
Lunch: Tuna salad wrap and bean salad
Dinner: Fish sandwich and melons

Day Thirty-Five: Exciting Weekend

I'm looking forward to this weekend. It holds promises of exciting people, places, and events I have never had the chance to experience. I am going to take part in my first prep school interview, which in itself is already a milestone for me. Taking part in the interview when it is on Columbia University's campus -- one of the premier universities in the world, as well as one of the Ivy League -- makes this all the better.

Anyway, I won't be able to post my usual articles on healthy eating, so I hope you guys remember all of the facts and figures I've been shooting out at you. I admit, this entire "no junk food" approach is becoming quite difficult to handle, especially when I was walking past the Shake Shack earlier this week. The deathly smell of the cheesy crinkle cut fries, of the Shack Burger, of the churning wheels out behind the counter stirring great vats of shakes, custards, and cements was making me salivate so much I hurried on past with my eyes averted. In other words, crisis averted.

But I wanted to end on a happy note. I've been feeling pretty good lately, and I don't know if it's actually this ban on fast food working or if it's just the natural high I get from my first week of high school. I have to admit, I'm loving my high school! It's so interesting to be in an environment where everyone craves learning, the teachers are genuinely passionate about their craft, and there's so many choices to pursue your interests. If only my entire educational life had been like this!

Breakfast: Sausage, waffles, fruit juice
Lunch: Tuna sandwich, chickpea salad
Dinner: Pumpkin salad
Snacks: Figs (our tree out back is starting to produce a skimpier harvest. I have a feeling the season's about to end. I sure am going to miss my supply of figs.)

Day Thirty-Four: Body Image in Ancient Rome

I've always heard stories about how Rome was so much better than we are at this entire deal with body imagine. After all, don't all of the famous classical paintings portray Roman women as voluptuous and -- shall we say -- thicker-skinned figures than the super models of today's society? Wasn't being larger and curvier cherished as a sign of wealth and fortune, because only the rich could afford to dine in gluttony? Wasn't there even a portrait of Venus -- the goddess of love and beauty -- emerging from the sea, a pleasantly plump figure with golden locks, the epitome of beauty?

This may be true, but surprisingly, historians have uncovered an unsettling fact: Early Romans did have an obsession with body image.

Yes, they may not have had a culture that was so obsessed over starving our women until they were more like drug-addicted alcoholics than the beautiful healthy women of a past era, but there is certainly evidence that men in ancient Rome weren't so nonchalant. They may have been the minority, but there was certainly a voice in the population that called for much of the same standards that people call for today.

A letter to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published in 2000 reports the following entry:

Garner et al. (1985) wrote about the present unprecedented emphasis on thinness and dieting‚ which is one factor responsible for the increase in anorexic and bulimic disorders. It is generally believed that dieting in pursuit of a thinner shape and slimness as a standard for feminine beauty are modern attitudes. However, a clear account can be found in the ancient comedy Terence Eunuchus. 
Terence (Publius Terentius Afer) (c. 190-159 BC) was a Roman comic poet. His 6 surviving comedies are Greek in origin but describe the contemporary Roman society. Eunuchus was probably presented in 161 BC. In this comedy, a young man named Chaerea declares his love for a 16-year-old girl whom he depicts as looking different from other girls and he protests against the contemporary emphasis on thinness: 
"She is a girl who doesn't look like the girls of our day whose mothers strive to make them have sloping shoulders, a squeezed chest so that they look slim. If one is a little plumper, they say she is a boxer and they reduce her diet. Though she is well endowed by nature, this treatment makes her as thin as a bulrush. And men love them for that!"
 Then he describes the girl he loves: "Unusual looks . . . a natural complexion, a plump and firm body, full of vitality."
So he opposes vividly the typical thinness of the girls of these times to the blossomed body of the girl he loves.
This Roman pressure on girls to diet to meet the social expectations for thinness represents a clear precedent for the current emphasis on thinness. It is clear that in Ancient Rome, as in today's society, there were multiple factors related to the development of body image concerns which today are often a precursor to eating disorders. These include cultural pressures to strive to develop and maintain a particular body shape in order to be considered attractive and then valued as a woman. Here, Terence mentions Chaerea's preference for a plumper girl, while mothers usually wished their daughters to be thinner. Although the media influences that today are critical in influencing images of a perfect body were not present in Ancient Rome, it is clear from this part of the text that pressures concerning appearance existed long before the 20th century.

How unsettling is it that mothers would have expected their daughters to remain slender? I can only imagine the reaction of the men, who -- even today -- could not care less whether a girl was 120 or 125 lbs.

Breakfast: Kashi cereal, milk, peaches
Lunch: Turkey sandwich, pineapples
Dinner: Cucumber salad, figs

Day Thirty-Three: Timing is Best

Metabolism plays it's part well.

The human body has a history of starvation. Namely, primeval humans had to work for their foods, so the body eventually became equipped to difficult labor, coupled with a constant hunger for food. After all, when you don't know when your next meal is, your body is bound to start giving you signs.

However, these days there is hardly any work involved in feeding your body. Minimal work is needed to earn the money to buy food, and even for people who don't earn enough, there are volunteer and charity organizations to distribute food equally among all people of the population. Essentially, in most of the domesticated world, the hunger problem has been resolved.

However, there are still people who don't have regular eating schedules. People who are often busy, waking up at the brink of dawn and going to sleep late, haphazardly snatching naps throughout the day while working all night long, having no sleep for days on time -- these unnatural patterns can cause distress to the circadian rhythm of the natural body.

It's best to leave nature to do its own part, but when there is so little that you can possibly do in order fix up your life, the sad truth is that your metabolism is what pays. You may remember this from high school biology -- the way the body takes in nutrients and turns it into energy. This is where all of those calories you had consumed throughout the day go to do their work and show off how important they really are. This is where you find the strength to stay awake and basically perform all of the functions necessary for life.

So, what about people who don't have regular diet schedules? The best course of action is to develop a plan where you can have regular meals around 3-4 hour intervals. Otherwise, your body naturally sets itself in "starvation mode," essentially messing up your metabolic rates. The way the body processes energy is that the more it intakes, the more it outputs. When there is more regular meals, then it's able to function at its highest capability. On the other hand, feeding your body too much at a time is like stuffing a funnel with a thick, viscous liquid. Eventually, the opening jams and nothing comes out. 

Anyway, there's a lot of different ways to approach this issue. One way I've found to my liking is the "French Diet." Dubbed a mystery by many dietitians, it's based on the idea that although the French eat many carbs and sugars, i.e. croissants, brioche, crepes, they are able to maintain a relatively healthy diet. The main idea that has been thus theorized is that they eat regular meals and they don't snack in between. This way, their metabolisms are able to function at their best and thus process the food as a healthy body should.

I apologize if these ideas came as random spurts, but I've been having these thoughts for a while. There's a trend going on among over-achieving high school students to skip lunch and I was wondering just how terribly this could mess up an entire day's diet. Skipping a meal sets your body to believing that food is scarce, and thus it tries to retain its fat. This is essentially starving yourself, even though it may not seem so at the time, but there is evidence that not eating throughout the day can impact your performance -- negatively. Nevertheless, the lunch issues is definitely a debate that should remain internal to high school students. 

Breakfast: Coffee, cereal
Lunch: Broccoli, peaches
Dinner: Yams, pumpkin, cucumber salad

Day Thirty-Two: First Day of High School

Most people don't get to experience too much on their first days. Sure, it's new and exciting, and there's so much going on at once that you can hardly tell left from right. Fortunately, my adrenaline was coursing enough throughout the hectic day that even given all of my apprehension, I managed to survive to tell the tale.

Then again, the typical start of freshman year doesn't include a protest that attracts the mayor of the city:

It was both a frightening and invigorating experience. To see the upperclassmen -- the same kids who will undoubtedly be hazing us in future weeks -- protesting and holding up their rights is kind of amazing. I especially love how it completely derails the school's typical atmosphere as a compliant school of nerds and geeks. There's so much more hidden underneath the surface, and this is only a scraping of what is yet to come.

Anyway, I'm falling with exhaustion, but hopefully that's only my nerves. There's still an entire year left, and I couldn't be more excited to see what it has in store.

Breakfast: Hard boiled egg
Dinner: Mushroom salad and baked fish
Snacks: Melons and longans

Day Thirty-One: Why Salads Cost So Much

It's got to be some sort of conspiracy. Somehow, stores like 7-11 and Wawa have been able to make a huge profit even though the items they sell -- often foods and other convenience goods -- are completely overpriced. Not even bringing in the pricing of wholesale clubs, their yogurts often fetch prices twice as high as normal supermarket prices. It's not uncommon to see bananas sell for a dollar, when a pound at any regular supermarket could cost less than 50 cents. Why are these stores able to survive in such an economy?

I think the answer's hidden underneath the layers of conception. There's no reason people would go to a gas store to buy food -- unless they were in a rush. Imagine, for a moment, that you're cruising along a highway. There's nice weather, nice sunlight, and you decide to take a look at your gas meter. Suddenly, your blood goes cold -- the little arrow is pointing strikingly near the ominous empty area. You desperately look up, hoping to find a cheap gas station nearby.

While you make your pit stop, you eye the little convenience store. You know that everything inside is bound to be overpriced, but you take a look at the refreshing soft drinks displayed in the window. The tempting bags of chips. The mouthwatering hotdogs and pizzas looking so succulent in the laminated posters. Your stomach begins to grumble...

Before you even know it, you're walking out of the store, food in tow, and ten dollars poorer than you were going in. Such is the power of convenience.

One especially notorious example is the salad. Even at fast food places, salads often fetch higher prices than their unhealthier counterparts -- burgers and fries. Trust me, I've been through this dilemma plenty of times before. For instance, McDonalds offers the McDouble at a nice and friendly $1 off their Dollar Menu. Meanwhile, the last time I checked, the cheapest salad that wasn't a side salad cost about $5 including tax. There's so much wrong about this picture, that I was bound to do some research.

The unfortunate truth is that, despite the general consensus that meat ought to cost more than vegetables and other plant-derived foods, the opposite holds true in today's market. Lower grade dairy and meat products such as cheese, hamburgers, and hotdogs, have been steadily decreasing in price over the years. Meanwhile, vegetables and fruits -- the very same foods that the federal government has been so promoting -- have only been increasing.

Although this chart may be a few years behind in the statistics, there is an obvious trend. The unhealthier foods -- butter, beer, sodas, and meats -- are far cheaper to mass produce than fresh vegetables and fresh fruits. Why so, however, when basic science calls that vegetables and fruits provide so many more nutrients for our bodies?

Our government, unfortunately, has a bad history tied into the food industry. The truth is, they have been subsidizing the meat and dairy industry far more than the fresh produce. Only in recent years has there been a boom for healthier eating, and even hardly casts a shadow on our growing health problems in America.

Have you ever heard of how corn is literally in everything? Ever since corn had begun to be mass-produced, everything the food industry has thrived on originated from that humble plant source. From high fructose corn syrup to the cheap feed for livestock and poultry, most of our government's fundings in the food department have been going towards making more and cheaper goods for the population. Goods that do not necessarily translate into healthier lifestyles.

I guess in a middle class world, the awful health rates is largely due to the decisions we make ourselves. However, don't you think there ought to be something done about the pricing of salad?

Breakfast: Hard boiled egg and Bagel
Lunch: California roll sushi
Dinner: Korean kimchi salad

Day Thirty: Asian Bakeries

I know there's a lot of different places to visit while you're in Korean Town, but you can't deny that Asian bakeries are a conception sent straight from heaven. The intoxicating smell of bread, butter, sugar, and all of that cakey goodness always comes rushing straight towards me.

It's more of a nostalgic feeling than anything else. I'm sure there's something coursing through my veins that sings angelic tunes whenever I push open the double doors to a Fayda or Sun and Mary. A crow of wonder that sounds as I enter Paris Baguette. A magical fanfare for the Chinese inside me when I meet face to face with a rack full of steaming, fresh red bean buns.

It's nothing like a boring western bakery. Even French patisseries have something to stand up to when they are compared to a typical Korean bakery at its busiest hour. The macarons, rolls, buns, and loaves of bread are no match for anyone with a weak heart.

Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese
Lunch: Bean burrito and edamame
Dinner: Banchan and tofu seafood soup

Day Twenty-Nine: Freezing Fruits

Did you know that flash freezing fruits preserves most of their nutrients? You can actually retain most of the health of fruits and vegetables by freezing them properly, plus you get the benefit of being able to access all of those delicious fruits even when they're out of season!

Lately I've been on a crusade to freeze all of the figs growing outside. Did you know that fig trees actually have the best root systems for weather in hurricanes? My sister did a science project last year comparing the various root systems of trees in New Jersey, and she was especially interested in the reason our trees kept toppling over. Evidently, maples are really weak. Fig trees are the hardiest. Now just imagine that - a town full of figs trees. That would be enough fruit for everyone to pick off the trees.

Breakfast: jam and toast with a latte
Lunch: turkey sandwich
Dinner: fruit salad and rice

Day Twenty-Eight: When Situations are Tight

It's actually been a pet peeve of mine. Things not getting your way. Actually, in hindsight, I'm willing to bet that it's a pet peeve of everyone. I'm sure no one appreciates their efforts being wasted, especially when there's so much to be done all the time.

In case my explanation had been too vague, I was referring to my Bites and Blogs situation. I've been giving myself a lot of leeway lately, and trying to say that since it's an anti-fast-food campaign, it's perfectly fine to indulge every now and then. Unfortunately, this creates some pretty dramatic scenes for myself, and these don't usually play out very well.

For instance, today I was in a situation where dinner's only option was pizza. It was either eat the cheesy dough or skip a meal. Since I really didn't want this entire campaign getting out of hand, I ate the pizza. And it was delicious, so no regrets there. It's just that I get apprehensive -- what if I'm ever faced in a situation where there really is no other choice? For instance, I'm lost in the city during my 100 days and there's only fast food restaurants everywhere I go? Or I only have enough money for a fast food restaurant, which happens to be the only option I have for lunch that day? Do I skip or do I take the food?

Yes, I'm making this far too big of a deal, but I'd like to analyze this situation more in the future. The best way out of a situation like that is to simply choose not to take the food and to eat beforehand. I've heard of vegans doing this whenever they go out to eat at a restaurant that's not known to cater vegan dishes, as most restaurants happen to be. Ignoring the reason why a vegan would be at a restaurant if they couldn't eat anything there, perhaps the best idea would be to simply ask the server to bring something more to their tastes. Then, of course, there's the awkward situation where you have no idea how rude you may be portraying yourself. It's a clever conundrum, indeed.

I'd like to hear your thoughts on this. When situations are tight, do you suck things up, get your way, or take the middle road and prepare for the worst? If I know anything, though, it's that Murphy's Law is pretty reliable: If there's anything that can go wrong, it will go wrong.

Breakfast: Hard-boiled egg, Greek yogurt with cinnamon and nutmeg
Lunch: Turkey and lettuce wrap, grapefruits
Dinner: Pizza (It wasn't fast food, so I'm still on track.)

Day Twenty-Seven: Food Poisoning is Bad!

So we all know what food poisoning is. If not, here's a quick infographic to inform you about the facts and stats of these awful germs.

Recently, I've been reading a book called Microbe Hunters and it deals extensively with these germs and bacteria. To be honest, it was actually a summer reading selection -- one of two -- and I was required to read and write a report on it. It turned out to be more interesting than I'd originally presumed, especially since there was such a huge waiting list for it at practically every public library I checked. Anyway, that got me thinking about how there's a lot of things about life in general that we take for granted.

For instance, don't you hate when there's an ice pack in your lunch box? You don't have an ice pack? Not too many people do. I'm not going to give a fake number, like a lot of publicists enjoy doing to market their blogs/books/articles. The fact is, though, ice packs are gross and sticky. And they only get worse when you stick them in a warm lunchbag for hours, let them thaw, and then open them up. All the moisture may have kept your food cold, but it's a pain to smell the stench wafting up every time you open your bag.

I remember one time when I was in elementary school, back when we still used "lunch crates." These were big recycling boxes that we would fill up with our lunch bags. There were always two "lunch crate monitors" who would literally have to bring all of the lunch bags downstairs to the cafeteria, because our classroom was upstairs that year. Anyway, one day I remember removing my lunch bag, starving for my lunch, and noticing an odd smell. And when we checked the rest of the lunch bags, it was discovered that smell was originating from a particular lunch bag. Which happened to be soaked. In spilled ice pack gel. 

And ever since then I've had this odd repulsion towards ice packs. 

Anyway, ice packs are still a necessity of life. It's they who keep your food cool enough to not succumb to food poisoning. But couldn't they make them smell nicer?

Breakfast: Greek yogurt, egg
Lunch: Granola and turkey wrap
Dinner: Salad and rice
Snacks: Frozen cantaloupe

Day Twenty-Six: When Not to Be Sweet

So I've lately fallen heads over heels for Nectresse. It's one of those new organic, natural sweetners and the best part is that it's calorie free! I mean, that is if you're on a diet -- I personally just love how its flavor is so much sweeter than sugar and yet it has this strange sort of satisfactory flavor. When I sprinkle some into my morning coffee, I don't actually get a sugar high like I do over cream and sugar. Instead, I just feel this warm pulsing inside, telling me that this is really good.

I'm really hoping that's just me. Anyway, the only downside I've been able to find about this sweetner is the expense. It's made from the concentration of monk fruit, which is a fruit I've only been able to find dried and even that's only in obscure herbal medicine houses in Chinatown. It's basically like a melon, but it's supersweet and delicious. My family, all native to Fuzhou, has this tradition of boiling it into a soup and then drinking it whenever they're sick. That's something funny about China. Here in America, we have soups, bisques, stews, you name it. In China, though, soups are usually for medical purposes. They have clean-colon soup, low-sodium soup, soups that supposedly help ail your progression through a cold, etc. And the combinations they put in are really exotic, from starfruit and pig's feet to monkfruit and wolfberry. You don't eat the ingredients, either. Per tradition, the juices sort of seep into the boiling water and that's where all the magic happens.

I'm not really one to criticize, though, so I'll continue on my ode to sugars. There's so much variety in the world -- I'm sure everyone's fed up by now by all of the colored sugar packets. What do they mean anyway? I've gathered a pretty good understanding and although my list is far from comprehensive, here's what I know so far:

White Sugar -- This is the processed, refined sugars you usually see. It's commonly used in baking it's the white packet
Brown Sugar -- This is the less processed version of white sugar. It's kind of sticky, and goes great with oatmeal!
Raw Sugar, aka Sugar in the Raw -- If it's available, it's in the brown packets. It's the completely non-processed sugar and the best for organic foodies.
Molasses -- This is a bit different from regular sugar. It's like honey in thickness, but it's usually made from sugarcane.
Corn Syrup -- Obviously, this comes from the sugars of sweet corn. It's usually best in moderation.
High Fructose Corn Syrup -- Worse than regular corn syrup, but it's often used in manufacturing
Saccharin, aka Sweet n Low -- Research has shown that this low-calorie chemical sweetener may be a cancer-causing carcinogen. Proceed with caution.
Sucrose, aka Splenda -- Contrary to popular belief, Splenda actually contains calories. What's more, it may trigger responses from the body to consume more, which could be detrimental in the long run.
Aspartame, aka Equal -- This is also a nasty carcinogen, with side affects including nausea and stomachaches. Avoid this sweetener.
Sugar alcohols -- Including xylitol and sorbitol, these are in liquid form and found in manufactured products. They're usually safe to consume.
Honey -- This is the digested nectar and foodstuff of bees. It's also really healthy and unprocessed.
Agave Nectar -- Recently, its low calorie count has been noted in the media. It's also a natural sugar.
Stevia -- Coming from the stevia plant, it's a zero-calorie sweetner.
Nectresse -- Comes from the monk fruit and it's also zero-calorie.

As for my's certainly been interesting. I'm actually looking forward to seeing my new high school this coming week. I hope your first days back are smooth, too!

Breakfast: Greek yogurt and hard boiled egg
Lunch: Turkey lettuce wrap
Dinner: Mango salad
Snacks: Frozen figs, saltine crackers and swiss cheese

Day Twenty-Five: A Playdate with Nature

So I had always been somewhat ashamed of that fact that I lived by the Jersey Shore and yet I never visited the shoreline in the summer. There was the exception of last summer, when I had been frequenting visits to the beach as part of a summer camp, but otherwise we never voluntarily went fishing, LBI (Long Beach Island, a popular vacation spot around here), crabbing, motorboating, or anything of the sort. For instance, we're one of the only families in our area who still haven't gone fishing, not that there would be any need for instructors, since pretty much everyone around here has grown up beside the shoreline.

My parents figured a little culturing couldn't do us any harm. I wasn't sure what happened next, but I was soon on the Keyport Promenade, watching an elderly couple fling over some crabbing wire cages and another couple setting off into the distance on their high speed motorboats (I can only hope those were environmentally sound, especially since the Jersey  Shore is such a vulnerable area for pollution).

Actually, there is a lot of things I found out that I don't know about the Jersey Shore. One thing, for instance, is our severe lack of improvement following Superstorm Sandy. The towns along the coast have been so optimistic about the recent recovery that I completely forgot about those few communities without the budget for repairs. I was seeing broken homes, broken families, broken boats and yet feeling a strange sort of optimism because these same people figured it would be a good idea to spend their Labor Day out on the coast as opposed to inside their homes. That's the thing about Jersey, we don't let small things get to us. We take everything like the ocean -- with strength, determination, and a singular focus.

So, my Labor Day was pretty relaxing. Afterwards, we went to the Hudson Trail for about two hours running and walking. My mom didn't feel like driving over with our bikes, so my brother was pretty upset the entire way through. At any rate, there was great wildlife -- some deer, a turtle, and adorable baby bunnies. The communities around here are so lax, so warm, and so adorable. It seems like the perfect place to retire -- by the shore, where the seagulls never stop soaring.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, hard boiled egg
Lunch: BLT wrap on whole wheat (we went to Cheeburger Cheeburger, but luckily there was something that didn't count against me as "fast food")
Dinner: Salad, poached bass, grilled chicken
Snack: Frozen banana pops!

Day Twenty-Four: Yet Another Quickie

I seriously have to get better at this daily blogging business. Look at me, it's almost midnight and I'm still not able to cram in even a small paragraph. We're biking the Hudson Trail tomorrow as part of our Labor Day activities for this year, though, so I'm pretty excited! Maybe I'll finally get those pictures I promised uploaded!

Breakfast: Cantaloupe, coffee, and a hardboiled egg
Lunch: Berries and yogurt
Dinner: Pickled vegetables and salad
Snack: Frozen figs