My weekend with Morgan Freeman & John Williams

by Christine on August 22nd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Saturday I had the fantastic opportunity to go to Tanglewood to see the Boston Pops play, with the amazing John Williams conducting, in an event called “Film Night.” This is the second year we have gone to Tanglewood to see John Williams conduct. I have to admit: I rather idolize John Williams. His was the first autograph I got when I started my autograph-collecting hobby (I now have hundreds or thousands of autographs), and his autograph is proudly displayed in my living room.

For those that don’t know John Williams — he’s a music god, especially in the film industry. He wrote the music for nearly every memorable, modern block-buster movie: Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Jaws, Close Encounters, Jurassic Park, Superman, Sabrina, E.T., and so many others.  He conducted the Boston Pops for many years, and he is invited to come back as a guest conductor in the summertime at Tanglewood. So exciting!

They had all kinds of film arrangements: a “Hooray for Hollywood” compilation, with snippets from many different movies. They did a montage of Western movies and music, and they also did an Audrey Hepburn celebration to the music of Sabrina. They performed a few pieces from Schindler’s List.  They also performed two of my favorite film scores: the John Dunbar theme from Dances with Wolves, and Por Una Cabeza from Scent of a Woman.

But there were two highlights of the evening for me.  The first was a special reading by Morgan Freeman. He came on stage to read snippets from Henry Faulkner’s “The Reivers.” While Morgan Freeman was reading, the Pops were playing a John Williams original score in the background. Freeman would pause at key spots, and the music would take over and carry the story along. Oh, it was fantastic!

And of course…the end of the evening culminated in the Throne Room Theme from Star Wars, with images from the Star Wars movies and images of Williams recording the music with the studio orchestras in from the 1970s-2000s.  Fantastic!!

It was a busy weekend, even aside from the concert in Massachusetts. On Saturday afternoon we went down to Kingston to the Hickory BBQ Smokehouse for a birthday lunch for one of Aaron’s friends.  (I had a salad with BBQ pulled pork on top. Delicious!)  On Sunday I went out with a friend to Northampton, Mass to hit a few wineries. We ended up at Godard’s Red Hen Farm Winery to sample some wines.  It’s a new winery, but the wines were surprisingly good, and the owner was fantastic! He told us all about his process, his equipment, his grapes. He even gave us a tour of the back room where the magic all happens. A nice little place to stop if you’re in that neck of the woods. We also stopped at the Northampton Brewery for lunch. The beer was very hoppy (if you like bitter beers, this is a great place to stop!)  I had a cup of clear brothy soup that was fantastic, plus a green salad that was a big disappointment.

My weight today is up another pound today, even though I didn’t consume a lot of calories on Saturday and Sunday. It’s starting to get me down, and I think I’m going to schedule another fill with my doctor for another week or two.  It’s very frustrating.



Vermont visit, Job interview

by Christine on November 1st, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Good morning Revolutionists! I hope that everyone had a nice weekend and a fun and safe Halloween! It’s been a busy couple of days for me. After our murder mystery party that we attended in Connecticut, I came home and just kicked back and relaxed. Made a healthy dinner: about 1-2 oz tilapia (half a filet), pan-fried, about 4 bites of couscous, a little mashed cauliflower with peppercorn dressing mixed it, 1 beer. We bottled up our homebrew beer, which took about three hours because of the need to sanitize everything!

I actually slept wonderfully well on Saturday, and by the time I woke up and got motivated on Sunday, we headed off to Vermont for a little jaunt. First stop was Bennington, where we visited a brew pub and did a little sampler of all their beers. We also ordered some hummus with veggies to dip with it. Really good! Then we went to Wilmington to another brew pub and I had a 10 oz beer. Then we went to a winery outside of Wilmington and sampled 3 red wines (bought 1 bottle…delicious Cabernet!).  Can you believe that it was snowing in Vermont? Nothing was sticking, but it was flurrying very prettily. When we were sitting at the Wilmington brew pub, several trick-or-treaters came in, and we helped the bartenders pass out candy. It was fun!  If you’ve never been to Vermont, let me assure you: it’s just as picturesque and quaint as you imagine it to be. Everywhere you turn, it’s like a postcard staring back at you. I always enjoy a drive through Vermont, and yesterday was no different.

Then we raced home and passed out treats to perhaps six groups of kids. We don’t get a lot of trick or treaters because we live on the corner of two dead-end streets, but we recognized a few of the neighborhood kids. They were cute!  All told, I think I had about 770 calories yesterday, so I was under budget, but my calories were not quality ones. We ordered a pizza and it just didn’t go down well, and I barfed it all up. Perhaps I was distracted; around 8 p.m. I headed off to see an alternative band called Matt & Kim in concert. (If you watch the tv show “Community,” that’s a Matt & Kim song in the intro.)  The whole crowd was totally dressed up in costumes, and there were several really awesome ones. I had been on contact with the band’s manager…we emailed a few times (he’s very down-to-earth and nice!) and he sent me a few autographs of the band.  I’m sad that I didn’t get a chance to say hello to him at the concert. The concert was really fun, danced around a lot. Came home around 11 p.m.

Today I have a job interview. It’s with a semi-conductor fabrication company, as their marketing and communications specialist. It sounds an awful lot like the last organization I left, but I’m trying really hard not to pre-judge the job. I’ll find out more about it today at 2 p.m.  This morning I need to get my portfolio in order, which means running off to Staples and trying to get this printer to work. I also need to scrape these fake tattoos off my arm, which believe me, isn’t going easily!  Please wish me luck on the interview, but more importantly, cross your fingers that it’s a nice organization with nice people and reasonable expectations of their staff.

Last night hubby and I had a fight about the job, already. He wants me to take the job, regardless of whether I like it or not, because he’s stressed out about money. I told him I’d rather make shit money at Starbucks but enjoy what I do than spend 9 hours a day at a job that I hate although the money is decent. His push for me to have a job (any job!!) has me feeling majorly stressed out about this interview. That’s a bad sign, because I always interview better when I’m lackadaisical and relaxed about the interview. Now I’m uptight about it, which means that I’m going to blow it–which means hubby will be very upset and disappointed in me. Even thinking about it makes me want to run for the Halloween candy, and I’m not being facetious about that. Not one bit. In fact, I will start taking my anti-depressants again today, because this job interview has triggered a whole lot of not-so-pleasant feelings inside of me, depression and feelings of worthlessness being among them.

I haven’t weighed in a few days, but I feel confident that the scale is WAY up. I’ve been eating far too much Halloween candy and enjoying too many alcoholic beverages and not getting enough real nutrition otherwise. It’s nothing that can’t be fixed and rectified, and I’m not sitting here feeling bad for myself, for the few days of bad eating. Not at all! But I’m aware that my diet needs to improve, and it will–immediately!


Dirty Heads Concert & Meeting the Prophet of Washington Park

by Christine on August 27th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, Exercise

TGIF Revolutionists!

What a busy day I had yesterday! Here’s a sampling of what went down!

Finding food

After work, I had plans to grab dinner with my friend Peter, then go to the Dirty Heads concert with him. We have similar tastes in music, and he loves concerts (my hubby does not), so Pete and I try to see as much live music as possible.  When I arrived at his house, our first question was: what do we want to eat tonight?

I didn’t want to go out to dinner; I wanted to have a picnic because the weather was so nice.  I didn’t want to go to the grocery store to pick up food, either. Wasn’t there some kind of local deli in the area that might have hot food and salad fixings?  After a little searching we found a little Italian deli called Cardona’s on Western Ave. It was newly renovated (by my architect friend, too! Lacey Covertino Architects) so it was a good excuse to check it out. What a delightful little store! There must have been easily 30 varieties of olives soaking in baskets, and another 40 or more varieties of Italian cheeses. There was a gentleman there offering samples of his middle-eastern fare (falafel, hummus, tabouleh) so we sampled some yummies and had some samples of cheese. It was so much fun exploring the store, and everyone was very nice there. We’ll definitely be back!

Picnic in the Park

We took our bag of food, plus a cooler of beer, to Washington Park in Albany.  Now Albany, NY is a very curious place architecturally. The downtown area is a strange mashup of concrete nastiness and some awe-inspiring gothic architecture. Near the state offices (Albany is the capital of New York, after all) is Washington Park. It is purported to have been designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who was the landscape architect that designed Central Park in NYC. Indeed, the park has the same Central Park feel to it, although it’s much smaller. It has “neighborhoods” and sections within the park. There are lots of shady trees and lots of areas to relax on the lawn. There’s a playhouse and bandshell, a pond, sculptures, fountains, beautiful sculptured gardens, playgrounds, and so much more! It’s surrounded by beautiful brownstone buildings, so even walking along the periphery of the park is a joy. Here is one nearby building, a firehouse designed by famous architect HH Richardson. (In case you haven’t picked up on it yet, I find architecture really interesting and joyful!)

We busted out our food and chowed down. We had chicken marsala (white wine sauce with mushrooms); tomatoes and mozzarella with tomatoes in pesto sauce; some pasta fazioli soup; Blue Moon beer. It was all very yummy! Here’s how much I ate (nope, I don’t eat much):

Meeting the Prophet of Washington Park

While we were relaxing in the park, this older gentleman kept waving to Peter, and eventually hollered over to us, “I really just want to talk to you for a second. Can I intrude and stop by?”  Amused, we said, “Sure, why not?”

He comes over to us, and starts with the story, “I’m an old man, and I’m having surgery next week,” and immediately I think, “oh dear. He’s going to ruin our picnic by asking us for money.” How cynical of me, right? I hate to remind myself sometimes that not everyone is a criminal or panhandler or whatever. People are, after all, people. They deserve respect and love and kindness, regardless of their walk of life, gender, skin color, sexual preference, whatever, right? Mental check.

I’m glad that we took the opportunity to welcome him over. He starts telling us his mini-life story, how he grew up in NYC and worked for a valet parking garage for 35 years, and oh, he didn’t want for anything while he worked there, hallelujah! He told us about his wife and kids. He told us how life goes by so quickly, and to just enjoy the moments because they just go by so quickly. He told us how important it is to love one another, treat everybody with the same respect that you’d treat your own family.  My favorite story, he told us how he was picked on when he was a kid; all the neighborhood boys would tease him, call him names, beat him up. “Oh, I thank god every day that I was teased,” he said, “because I grew up spending so much time with my elders. My parents. My grandparents. I would have missed out on all that if I weren’t teased. Oh lordy, I miss you SO MUCH grandma,” he said, crying right there. (Yes, I believe it’s that kind of perspective that Sean was talking about in his blog yesterday.) “All those bad experiences, and isn’t life just full of them? They just make you stronger and stronger,” he said. “Me, I’m going to live to 500, I’m so strong!”

Oh, this guy kept talking and talking. And some of it was just rambling. I think the man was lonely and needed someone to talk to. But a lot of what he said really was quite profound. Afterwards Pete and I laughed that we met the Prophet of Washington Park. Indeed, I think we did. I’m glad we took a few minutes to listen. My only regret is that I didn’t turn my video on to record it for later. (I thought of it, but thought it would be rude.)

Dirtyheads Concert

After the sun went down, we picked up our mess up and drove to Northern Lights to see the Dirtyheads play. Oh, what a tremendous concert! We had SO MUCH FUN! We danced a little bit, waved our hands in the air, jumped around, and drank more beer. Their music is so much like Sublime (in fact, they are touring with the reincarnated Sublime band) but with their own sound. It was a great time! If you like the Dirtyheads, I can definitely recommend that you check out a show next time they are in your town.

Here’s a video if you want to hear their music:

Stand Tall

Sports Bra

The other day, Dr. F recommended a sports bra. Her recommendation came from yet another blogger that recommended the same one.  The claim: The bra doesn’t pull on over the head: it hooks like a real bra in the back. Also, it doesn’t squish you down and give you the uni-boob. It gives you two real breasticles. BUT they don’t move. And the sports bra has an underwire.

That doesn’t sound like a sports bra at all! I was definitely curious. Now, here’s where I’m coming from. I’m a TWO SPORTS BRA kind of girl. When I jog, I don’t want my shit flying all over the place and wacking me in the chin.  I also prefer not to disturb the poor people jogging next to me. I strap my ta-tas down with two sports bras to ensure maximal control.  Now, having lost 88 pounds…I’ve lost a lot of boobage. I’m not entirely sure what my biggest boob size was because I never really got measured for a proper bra, but I suspect I was something like a 42 DD.  These days I’m a 34C. So I really don’t NEED to strap them down so much, but I do, mainly out of habit.  (Okay, my brain hasn’t wrapped itself around my weight loss quite yet.)

The bra is a Moving Comfort by Maia. And it works. Check it out. It’s a little expensive at $46, but so far I declare it worth it. I wore it last night to the concert, and I danced around a bit…and no moving. Two separate boobs; NO MOVEAGE. Astonishing.

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