Craft time! Making cards!

by Christine on September 18th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I had so much fun today! A friend-of-a-friend holds this card-making class. For 20 cards, it costs $20, and she provides all the materials and card designs. All you have to do is show up! The cards are SO CUTE! This class was to make a set of four: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and New Years cards. (We’re getting together in November to make a bunch of Christmas cards!)

halloween card New Years card

Valentine's Card Thanksgiving card

Tonight we are going out to dinner with friends. I wonder what I’ll order. Hmmm.

Today’s food so far:

8 a.m.: Skim milk (100)
10 a.m.: A tiny little pumpkin spice muffin (50) (homemade) and some water
Noon: Four super thin slices of ham lunchmeat, rolled up with some lettuce, tomato & a little smear of mayo (75 calories tops), two bites of pasta salad (that’s like, what, 4 pasta pieces?) (20) and some diet ginger ale
4:30: Almonds (100) and some skim milk (100)

Total so far: 445 calories

I did not get a chance to talk to my friend Stacey about, um, friend-issues. Disappointing, but I keep telling myself that if she doesn’t care and doesn’t make an effort, then I really shouldn’t care, either. SIGH.

Off to read a book for an hour, then dinner! Can’t wait…I”m starving.



Friday food

by Christine on September 18th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Yesterday I had the above Ahi Tuna dish, with wontons. It was absolutely freaking delicious. We went to New World Bistro in Albany, and the food was fantastic.  The wait for a table took a while, but it was worth it in the end.

Food yesterday:

8 a.m.: half a dunkin donuts coffee (60) and an egg wrap (200)
2 p.m.: Salad (30) with white beans on top (55) and some dressing (30), water
4 p.m.: Some lemon drops (30) and diet coke
5:30: 1 beer (150)
7:30: Ahi tuna thing (200???) and a cosmo (150)
Midnight: Bowl of cereal with skim milk (30)
Total: 935

Weight this morning: 135.2


“Accommodations!” yelled a real-life angel

by Christine on September 17th, 2010

filed under Short Stories

I was 21 years old, fat, from a tiny midwestern town, but through a whole series of events I found myself living in Europe for a year. The first semester I lived in London, right in the middle of the breathtakingly beautiful Regents Park, attending a private liberal arts college. The second semester I lived in Paris, in an all-women residence and attending the extremely large La Sorbonne university. The two semesters couldn’t have been more different from each other, and my experiences were radically different as well. The biggest difference was that in London I had other classmates with me from the USA; in Paris I was completely and utterly alone.

After just a few short weeks in London, Fall Break was upon us. We had one week to go on “holiday,” and my group of friends and classmates decided that they wanted to do a quick tour of Continental Europe: 3 days in Rome, 3 days in southern Germany, and 3 days in Paris, then return to London.  We decided to leave London after our classes got out on Friday night. We flew out of Gatwick airport on this tiny little puddlejumper — my first but not final experience on a completely un-airworthy plane.

Unfortunately we arrived in Rome in the middle of the night. Ours was the last plane to arrive; the airport was completely shut down. We four women went outside, dragging our luggage behind us (oh, did my friends overpack!) only to discover that the buses had shut down most of their evening routes because the airport was closed. Oh no! We stood outside for nearly 2 hours, and by then it was about 1 a.m. We got on the bus and had to beg our way on board: because the airport was closed, we were unable to exchange our money to Lira.  The bus driver was at a loss for us because he didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Italian, so finally he just gave up and let us on board.

“City center?” he asked, and we nodded, and applauded. He understood!

He dropped us off at the Rome train station, which apparently is in the center of the city. However, the man must have had a sadistic sense of humor because it was gang central. After hauling our oversized luggage off the bus, we stood in the middle of the plaza area, looking around us in astonishment (we were in ROME, for heaven’s sakes!) and also in fear.

You see, we didn’t have hotel or hostel reservations. This trip was a spur of the moment idea, and it hadn’t occurred to anyone to make reservations.  For that matter, I was nonplussed about it; I hardly ever travel with actual reservations anywhere; I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl. However, I learned (the hard way) in this situation that just because that’s how I prefer to travel, that’s not always the safest method of traveling, especially when going out and about with a group of ignorant female tourists (myself included).

None of the four of us girls had even so much as hailed a cab before in our lives. (Cabs? We were from cornfield country, for heaven’s sake.)

There were gangs of young men standing on each corner of the plaza, standing in groups of about 10 people or more. They looked at us like we were lunchmeat. We looked at them open-eyed like cornered rabbits.

They started walking towards us.

I screamed. A little.

“WALK” I demanded, and my friends all looked at me with puzzled looks on their faces. Jamie had a map of Italy spread open on top of her luggage, and Rebecca was fumbling to get her camera out of her purse to take a photo of the city.

“WALK NOW!” I growled in my best no-nonsense voice. I picked up Amy’s massive suitcase, hoisted my own travel backpack on my shoulders, and started walking towards the nearest lighted street. I think that’s the first time my friends noticed the gangs of young men marching ever closer to us. They picked up their suitcases and started to jog after me.

The men were closing in on us. I saw some of them nudge each other with their elbows, laughter coming from behind me. There was a LOT of wife-beater tshirts, backwards hats, sparkling and oversized gold jewlery.  They spoke Italian so I didn’t understand what they were saying, but trust me, their intent was perfectly clear.

I was contemplating how I was going to chuck Amy’s suitcase into the face of the nearest gang member when, out of nowhere, a voice came ringing loudly and clearly.

“ACCOMMODATIONS!” the voice said.

I whipped around. The voice was coming from behind me. “ACCOMMODATIONS!” the voice said again.

“OVER HERE!” Amy yelled, waving her hand in the air.

Out of the shadows came this wrinkled 80 year old man. He walked with a cane. He had white hair, a collared shirt, and very practical shoes.  He smelled like prune juice. He walked quickly, considering his hunched back. He was old, but the man was solid as a rock.

The effect that he had on the gangsters was something out of a movie. Every last one of them stopped in their tracks. The nearest group of men parted like the Red Sea to let the old man walk through their group. In an instant, every last gangster disappeared into the shadows, melting away into the darkness as if they had never been there. It was like it was part of a dream.

My racing heartbeat told me that it was no dream, but I was having a hard time believing my eyes.

“Accommodations?” he asked again, smiling at us.

“Yes, please” I said. “Grazie, grazie. Oh my god, thank you so much!”

“I know just the place,” he said in broken English. “Hotel Pelicioni. It’s not…how you say…rich…but you are students, yes? Not much money? Hotel Pelicioni is perfect. Follow me. Owner is my friend; I get discount for you.”

And with that, this wrinkled old man grabbed Amy’s oversized suitcase out of my hand and started speed-walking down the street. I had to literally jog to keep up with him. I’m not sure that he actually walked, but floated.

True to his word, Hotel Peliconi was only a few blocks away, and “charming” would have been a rather quaint way to describe the place. The wall paper hadn’t been changed in about 200 years, the facade was crumbling, there were holes in the walls, and the bedroom door didn’t shut (or lock) quite properly. But the hotel was quiet, clean, and most importantly, safe. Plus, he got us a deal on it: $20 per night.

I grasped both of his hands. “Thank you SO MUCH,” I said to him. He brushed me off. “Nothing, nothing,” he replied.

“No, I’m serious. Thank you so much. You saved our lives tonight. I can’t thank you enough. Please tell me what your name is. Who do you work for?”

“Bruno!” the old man said, smiling, and walking away. “I am volunteer. Tourisma. Good night ladies.”

And with that Bruno vanished into the darkness of the street.

When we finally returned to London after our 10 day grand tour of continental Europe, I looked on the internet for the phone number for Rome Tourism.  I called them on a pre-paid phone card, and I was put on hold numerous times as they tried to find an employee that spoke English.

“I had to tell you how grateful we are for your employee or volunteer named Bruno. He’s an old man, maybe 70 years old. Last week he helped us in a very dangerous situation, and he helped us so much.  We are so grateful for his help,” I tried to explain as simply as possible.

I could practically hear that woman on the end of the phone shaking her head. “No, no Bruno here.  You sure it wasn’t Iaccopo?”

“No, definitely not Iaccopo. He said his name was Bruno.”

“No Bruno here, sorry.”

I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m definitely not Catholic. (Even though we enjoyed attending two masses at the Vatican in the three days that we were in Rome.)  I do honestly believe that I met a real-life angel that day.

Thank you Bruno, whoever you were.

That’s the story I remember when I see this “before” picture above. This was the four-some dumb enough to venture into Rome in the middle of the night: Rebecca, myself, Amy, and Jamie (Left-Right).  We’re practically screaming to get mugged.


Friday afternoon

by Christine on September 17th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

It’s Friday afternoon. Can you believe I forgot to weigh myself today? I got caught up paying bills this morning and totally forgot. Weird.

This morning has been frantic at work! I can’t believe it’s 2 p.m. already. I’m just sitting down to eat my lunch (a salad of greens, tomato, and some white kidney beans. YUM.)  Unfortunately I’m starving, so I’m eating too fast and I’ll probably barf half of this up. Oh well…go slow…I keep telling that to myself. I’m going to be way behind in my calories by the time I leave work; I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time for my mid-morning snack or my mid-afternoon snack.

It appears that a great solution for my overcoming the binge-monster is to pre-plan my meals. I’ve done that for the last two days — preplanning everything from wake-up to sleep-time, and I’ve done great! Perhaps I should utilize this strategy more often, eh?

Tonight I’m going to a Ziggy Marley concert. I’m not expecting greatness, but it should prove to be a good time nonetheless. I wonder how much “fun” I’ll choose to have at the show. Hmmm. Decisions.

More later! Thanks for all the lovely comments on my pictures the other day. Allan, you’re totally right: people will come out of the woodwork for half-nekked pictures, but I’m lucky to get one or two comments on some bigger issues and better thought-out posts. Curious.  I’m grateful for all your comments though and all my “followers,” so thank you all, each and every time!



Pics – Look at that port!

by Christine on September 16th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

135.0 pounds
5 foot 2 inches
24.7 BMI
Size 4 pants; size small top

Me, January 2008 (below) at maybe 200 pounds:

Part of me looks at the first pictures and says, “My goodness, what an improvement!”  I’ve lost 90 pounds. I’m thinner than I’ve ever been. I’m wearing clothes in a size smaller than I’ve ever been. When I look at the pictures I see my collarbones, my pointy chin, my shoulders sticking out, and all those things make me happy to see! I’m healthier, fitter than ever better. I FEEL great, and ultimately that’s what matters, right?

But the other part of me looks at those pictures and sees how much further I have to go. I have always said that I want to lose 100 pounds even, so that means I have 10 pounds left to lose. Will 10 pounds fix all the flaws that I see in those pictures? Nope. It probably won’t even get all that close.  I look at those pictures and see the lumps, bumps, that awful port site sticking out. I see the stretch marks, the sagging skin, the terribly fat lower belly (you’d think I had 4 kids but I’ve never had any!) I see all the areas I want to do plastic surgery on, and the worse spots aren’t even in the photos — the droopy boobs and the flabby legs. UGH.

Am I being completely vain? Do you hear me complain and think I’m a total bitch? Or do you look at the photos and go, “Ugh, yeah, I see what she means”??

I have no perspective at all.

I’m not 18 anymore, and I can’t expect my body to look like it. But can’t I expect better than…this?

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