Waterfalls & Amazing Food! Weekend trip to Ithaca, NY

by Christine on July 25th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning Revolutionists! Did you all have a good weekend? I hope you were busy, active, and staying away from naughty summer foods!

I had a wonderful weekend away with a friend of mine. We went to Ithaca, New York, which isn’t really known as a “destination location” but turned out to be a fantastic weekend getaway locale! I hadn’t been there in about 15 years (and even then, my trip was brief) and I had a great time exploring new places!

Saturday

We kicked off our trip on Saturday morning. It was a three-hour drive from the Albany area, but I-88 is a beautiful, scenic highway, so there was plenty to look at along the way. Our first stop, as we rolled through town, was the Six Mile Creek Winery.  The wines were great, the venue was cute and convenient, the views were fabulous, and our bartender was really nice and helpful. It was a great way to start our weekend trip!

Ugh, this weekend I discovered that either my legs are still fat or they have a lot of loose skin that I probably will never loose. Sigh.

Look at those healthy grapes! So lush!

After that we made a pilgrimage to one of the places I was most looking forward to seeing: The Moosewood Restaurant!  Moosewood is famous for its line of cookbooks featuring vegetarian recipes. Oh, the food is so incredibly flavorful! Of course, that doesn’t always mean low-calorie; on the contrary. But it is vegetarian and delicious. I was thrilled to check this place out live and in-person for the first time! (Check out the website for some recipes.)  I had the Bavarian Vegetarian Soup with dill and sour cream as well as some kind of bean/spinach/garlic dish served over rice, a little bit New Orleans style. Delicious and well worth the visit!

After lunch we walked around town and window-shopped to stretch our legs and digest our food. There’s a closed-off, paved section of downtown Ithaca that has some hippie stores. Think tie-died shirts, bongs and glass-blown pipes, and incense for sale, and yup, you’ve got the picture of downtown Ithaca. We passed a family (mom, dad, and two kids under 10 years old) who were chanting some kind of meditation thing and passing out half-dead flowers to strangers. Funny stuff.

When we had enough of that, we headed out to west side of the lake to hit up a few more wineries. We hit up a few….Americana Vineyards and Sheldrake Point and Lucas Vineyards.  I particularly enjoyed Sheldrake Point vineyard. The venue was really lovely (they have three tasting rooms to accommodate all the tour buses, which is really nice) and we shut the place down, being the last people in the tasting room that day. We bantered with the bartenders for a while and enjoyed the old-school Rolling Stones playing on their system. Great group of guys! Americana Vineyards had really delicious cheeses and fudge on sale in addition to the wines.

After getting our tastings on, we decided to check out one of the local waterfalls. There are a lot of parks, gorges, and waterfalls in the Ithaca area.  We passed by Taughannock Falls State Park and drove up to the scenic overlook for a view of the falls.  It was lovely of course, although I prefer Albany’s Thatcher Park/Indian Ladder trail personally to this particular waterfall.

When we got back to the hotel room to clean up for dinner (we were hoping to go swimming at the hotel) we discovered that our air conditioning was broken! BOO!  We had to sit around for an hour and a half while the maintenance people fixed it (meanwhile sweating our asses off in the room…it was HOT that day!). Then it was a frantic shower and dash out the door to make dinner in time. No swimming for us, boo! Needless to say I don’t recommend staying at the Holiday Inn if you have a choice. It wasn’t cheap, either.

For dinner we went to Just a Taste. It’s a tapas restaurant with an ever-changing menu. The restaurant was recommended to us by about four different people, and it did not disappoint. Tapas restaurants are really band-friendly because they offer such small portions! We ordered four dishes and split it: caesar salad, grilled fish, shrimp, and steamed vegetables. The food was delicious! I really wanted desert but couldn’t fit it all in my tummy. We had a drink at the hotel bar when we got back (I had a Diet Coke…I was soooo parched!). The restaurant bar seemed pretty nice!

Sunday

Sunday we got up early and headed to the Ithaca Farmer’s Market. Oh the fresh veggies looked so amazing! I wanted to buy a ton of great veggies, but knew that I don’t eat enough to benefit from that, nor would they sit well in the car all day. Bummer. We had breakfast at the market though, at one of the little stands. I had an apple streudle thing (it was small; fit in the palm of my hand). It wasn’t very good though, so I took 2 bites and threw the rest out.  What I really wanted were some of the fresh apricots! They were only selling apricots by the pint and half-pint. I asked the woman if I could buy 2 mere apricots for $1 (a huge deal for them) and she refused, so I didn’t get any fresh fruit. BOO!

Afterwards we drove towards Cornell University, which is on the side of the hill in Ithaca. The Cornell campus is huge and lovely, with a strange mix of old-beautiful buildings, new-ugly buildings, and one or two new-modern-lovely buildings.  We passed a beautiful building and I said, “Stop here! I want to check that out!” It turns out that it was the Cornell Arboretum, which is free to park at (on the weekends) and walk around the grounds. The grounds were extensive (we barely saw a 16th of what they had there, and we were there for an hour) and sooooo beautiful! What a little treasure!

After walking around for ages — and oh! It was really warm outside! — we were hungry. We stopped at Subway and picked up lunch to go. (For me: salad with tuna fish on top) and we headed to the other side of town to Buttermilk Falls State Park.  I definitely prefered this park and waterfall to the Taughnnock falls we visited the day before. We parked kind of at the wrong end–on the top of the hill. Parking fee was $7. We ate our lunch and then started on our hike. We followed gorge trail–which is really scenic and beautiful, but hard on the knees. You descend about 600 feet in 0.5 miles, so it’s pretty steep, but you follow the gorge the whole way. There are signs not to swim in the water holes, although it was really warm and people were swimming in every section of water! It was so fun to watch everyone having fun!

At the bottom of Buttermilk Falls is a designated swimming area (with life guards) and about a bajillion people and sunbathers, etc. It was very hot at the bottom of the gorge. Then we realized, oh no! Now we have to go BACK 600 feet up the hill! I’ll tell you what though–the workout felt amazing. I felt so energized and sweaty and ALIVE! We did the trail on the other side of the falls, which isn’t scenic at all but was much easier on the knees (no stairs). I think we went UP faster than we went DOWN, probably because we didn’t stop to take pictures every two seconds!

By the time we got back to the car, I was super-sweaty and gross!! But what a great workout!

Do you see all my sweat? Yucky!

The only thing left to do was head home and…yes! Stop for ice cream! I got a blizzard at a little farm stand, but all I really wanted was a taste. I only ate half and threw the rest away. Wasteful, yes, but they don’t sell blizzard/flurries in teeny-tiny sizes unfortunately, and I didn’t need all those fatty calories! I just wanted a little treat!

It was 3 hours back home, just in time for dinner.  First thing hubby wanted to do was go out for dinner, so we got back into the car and went out to a restaurant. (I would have prefered to cook at home after a weekend away, but we didn’t have any food at home). I had some grilled salmon and some grilled zucchini. nom nom!

It was a great weekend filled with adventure and new sights and great food! I highly recommend a weekend to Ithaca for anyone looking for something to do!

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Heat!

by Christine on July 21st, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Everyone is talking about the heat wave on their blogs. It’s the middle of July, and that’s what happens in July–it gets hot.  My relationship with heat has changed a lot since I’ve lost 100 pounds. Heat feels a lot more comfortable these days than it did when I was heavier. Today is supposed to be the hottest day of the year by us (104 degrees with the heat index) and there’s going to be nothing comfortable about it.

I get to hit the road today and visit a client and help him out with a presentation.  I look forward to being out and about (especially since I have my in-law’s truck–with air conditioning–to drive). Unfortunately I have a lot of office paperwork to get through, and being on the road isn’t conducive to getting that finished!

I’m back to solid foods after my fill. I had soup the last two days following my fill. My favorite is always Panera’s Tomato Soup. Last night I had a little leftover pork chop in my homemade Tuscan bean soup and the meat went down, albeit slowly. Tonight I’m hoping to get some fish for dinner. Sounds delicious on a day like today.

What are your favorite foods to eat on the days following a fill?

Have a great day today everyone, and stay cool!

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Fill #10 or something

by Christine on July 19th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Today I had a follow-up meeting with my surgeon (the marvelous Doctor P. who can perform miracles, I tell ya!) to see how I’m doing since my port replacement surgery.  This trip to the doctor’s office was a really weird experience. I remember the first time I went to my surgeon’s office.  I felt so orka fat going in there. I mean, I was seeing a doctor that specialized in fat asses like mine. When I got to the waiting room, I remember being so relieved that all the seats were the extra-wide ones. I could sit comfortably while waiting for the doctor, imagine that!

I remember seeing other people in the waiting room. Other fat people. People that took up every inch of those extra-wide seats. I remember sitting there distressed, realizing that I was one of them. I belonged there, waiting to see the Fat Doctor. It was a very eye-opening and humiliating experience. I was also terrified those first few visits to the doctor’s office. I was scared of what this process would all entail. I was scared that I wouldn’t qualify for the surgery. I was scared that the surgery would fail me, like all my diets and exercise failed in the past.  Scared and humiliated; that was me.

Two and a half years later, the change was astounding. I walked in the door and went to the receptionist, who looked at me like I was from another planet when I told her I had an appointment with Doctor P. “What is this for?” she asked me. “A follow-up visit after my surgery 2 weeks ago,” I told her, and she stared at me like I was insane.”Are you sure?” she asked me.

There was a woman in the waiting room. She was a much older lady–60 years old or something, much older than the usual weight-loss surgery patient. She had to use a walker to get around. Her weight was clearly hindering her ability to move, even to walk or stand at the counter. She kept looking at me and smiling at me, but was clearly puzzled. Why are you here?

There was another woman in the waiting room. Maybe 35 years old, probably a mother of 2.5 kids and a soccer mom to boot. She looked like most of the patients I have seen sit in that waiting room. She stared at me the whole time I was in the room. Glaring at me. Seriously, if looks could kill I would be dead. I wanted to tell her, “Do everything you can to make this surgery work, lady. I was you two years ago. This shit will change your life. It’s for REAL.”

I felt uncomfortable. Out of place. A stranger in a land that I used to be a member of.

The waiting room chairs seemed so big today. Like I could fit 3 of me in them. When did they get so BIG?

Then the nurse called me into the consult room. I was thinner than her. In fact, I was thinner than the ladies working at the front desk, and the woman working in the office down the hall. I was the thinnest person in the building, aside from Doctor P himself. Weird. The nurse was very nice, very complimentary, remarking on my weight loss. She smiled a lot and made me feel more welcome, and I appreciated that.  She told me that in her experience, the success weight maintenance patients are the ones that come in for regular visits (like once a year) and keep tabs on their weight and progress. I weighed in a 134 pounds on their scale (fully clothed, a bucket of water in my system) which was only 1 pound more than last time I weighed in in March. That surprised me.

Doctor P came in to see me. He took the bandage off my tummy and oh my! The incision is so small! The new incision is exactly 1.5 centimeters wide. I took out a ruler and measured it.  The freaking port is bigger than that! How do they do that?

Sorry for the gross pic, with my stretch marks and crap on there. Still, it shows how small my scar is, and how well it has healed in just 2 weeks!

While I was at the doc’s, I asked him for another fill.  He warned me about the dangers of over-filling (like he always does) and then he agreed to give me one (like he always does.) He gave me a whole 0.5 ccs in my band this time! That’s a lot! I asked him how much fluid I have in my band currently, and he said “more than 10.”  I thought I had a 11 cc band, but maybe mine is bigger. That means I’m nearly tightened to the max? It doesn’t feel that way.

I took my gulp of water, which went down just fine, and I was on my way. I made sure I gave Doctor P a hug first. A man that helps to give you your life back deserves at least that much, right?

It’ll be a soup night for me tonight, as it always is after I receive a fill!

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Bloodletting!

by Christine on July 18th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning Revolutionists! I hope you are all doing well. It’s a busy few days for me here, as you could see from yesterday’s post. This week at work will be a busy one, too.

  1. My car is on the fritz. Again! I thought buying an Acura meant that it would be better built, but apparently not. My air conditioning stopped working today, and today I was quoted $1400 to fix it. Cripes!!! It’s very very difficult to get ahead financially sometimes, you know? We’re exploring much, much cheaper options to fix it.
  2. Tomorrow I have a follow-up appointment with the bariatric surgeon. I’m healing nicely, so I don’t expect any bad news on that topic. I am, however, very eager to get a fill. I hope he will accommodate my wishes!
  3. Tonight we’re going to see Harry Potter! We’re also going out to dinner with friends. It’s always very important to pre-plan your meals if you are eating out; otherwise you will forget your commitment to lose weight and order something dumb like nachos or pasta with cream sauce.  There are a variety of salads and fish dishes at this restaurant that I like. I will order those, and then ask for a bunch of stuff to be replaced or removed to cut down on the calories even more. It’s picky, but it works!

Despite the issues with my now-shitty-POC car, I’m feeling pretty good today! I slept well, nothing hurts or is broken on me. I’m grateful to have a job and a paycheck, a husband that loves me, friends that put up with me, a house that hasn’t burned down, etc.

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Boat tour on Lake George

by Christine on July 17th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Today we took the nicest boat tour on Lake George! It is a sunny, hot summer day here in Upstate New York, and a ride out on the lake is exactly what a day like this calls for!!

Lake George Village

Loveliness on the water

Our friends we went out on the lake with!

Me! Smile!

Me and my hubby; Our friends.

Scruffy but adorable hubby!

The Sagamore, from the water.

After our little boat tour we stopped in town at the Adirondack Pub & Brewery for a bite to eat. I had a healthy, delicious salad and half a beer. Yum!

Tonight we are grilling out, and I’ll have some more leftover salad. Healthy & tasty! Just need to watch the portion sizes. No indulging!

I hope everyone reading this had a nice weekend, too! Did you do anything fun? Share with me!

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