Getting my historical geek on

by Christine on October 6th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

I had a lovely time visiting the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, even despite the rain.  I got to the Visitor’s Center, and of course it was empty–I expected it to be, mid-week on a rainy day like this. There was a HUGE black cat stretched out on the heater. I think he had the right idea on a forelorn day like today.

I paid my $4 for my tour, and it was well worth the money! I was the only one in the tour group, ha ha. That was fun! I remember touring the Breakers in Newport, and I think there were 30 or 40 people in the group. Of course I’m short, and everyone else in the world is taller than me, and it was impossible to see anything in the roped-off rooms. This was a vastly different experience, and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.  The tour guide was very nice and knowledgeable. I asked her all kinds of questions about Schuyler, the house, the Revolutionary War, about general society and how households were run during the time, etc.  She was delightful to talk to, and I enjoyed her personal commentary, such as how “ridiculous” a “house like this” could be built “in a climate like this” — I think she was referencing the large, under-utilized rooms that would have been extraordinarily costly to heat during the cold New York winters.

I got a kick out of her description of an attempted kidnapping that occurred in the house. Supposedly the house was stormed by Loyalists during the Revolution. The family heard the raiding party coming, so they ran from the sitting room downstairs and locked themselves in the bedroom upstairs. However, in their flight, they forgot the baby in the sitting room! The middle daughter bravely offered to sneak downstairs to get her little sister. As she was sneaking back up the stairs, the raiding party broke down the door. There were indians in the party, and one Native took his tomahawk and threw it at the sisters creeping up the stairs. “And that,” said the tour guide, “Is how this particularly large gash on the staircase supposedly came to be.”

I looked down at the exceptionally large cut in the bannister and had to laugh.  Too bad CSI has jaded today’s generation of any possibility for the really juicy gossip. The gash in the bannister clearly faced the wall; there was no way a thrown tomahawk, coming from the direction of the doorway, could have made that particular directional mark. I laughed, and the tour guide laughed with me. “It’s part of the folklore, but clearly it’s a bit of made-up history,” she explained. “Still, it adds a little romance to the house!”

The place was a beautiful Georgian mansion, with four large rooms downstairs and four large rooms upstairs. It was spacious and grand for its day, although I have to imagine that the formality would have been stifling.

It was a really fun outing! I hope to visit another local historical mansion of the same time period in the coming weeks.

Schuyler Mansion upstairs


148.8 (76.2 pounds lost): To share or not to share?

by Christine on May 14th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Yesterday I had a networking function to attend after work.  These commitments are remnants of my past job. The event included a tour of a project site (the adaptive re-use of a former funeral home into a modern library, including the process of getting it certified LEED Gold) followed by a cocktail hour. I have been advocating for project tours for nearly two years now, and I’m glad that the event was a success with more than 30 people attending. I look forward to the organization (SMPS) doing more tours!

The cocktail hour included one free drink and appetizers. I had a glass of white wine and gazed longingly at the appetizers. I did partake by having one small pita with a dab of hummus (30 calories at best), but I steered clear of everything else. Chicken wings, teriyaki meat skewers, potato wedges, etc.  I’m afraid social functions leave me a little uncomfortable when it comes to food and drinking.  As I was standing there, a colleague made some comment like, “What, are you losing all your weight by not eating? You haven’t touched a thing.”  I laughed and replied that on the contrary, I eat all the freaking time!  But I was a little uncomfortable because I was aware that they were aware that I wasn’t eating anything.  The feeling is that it’s downright unsocial to not partake in the festivities!

To rectify the situation I drank.  Not only did I have three drinks, but I did so on an empty stomach. Oh, I was starving! At least I had the presence of mind to excuse myself from the gathering after two drinks (before I got drunk), then went to a restaurant with a friend. At Applebees I ordered a grilled steak, steamed veggies, and some mashed potatoes…and another drink. I ate until I was stuffed, but I still have enough leftovers for three or four meals. Leftovers plague me!

When it comes to drinking, sometimes I just don’t make the smartest decisions, I guess.  I’m not sure that I can say “I won’t do it again,” because I will. I enjoy an evening out, and I enjoy having a drink. I don’t drink every day – maybe once a week? I’m not sure what the balance should be.  Never drink at all? Go out, but only have one drink? Or is having three drinks okay, assuming I don’t do it very often?

This socializing question has me wondering something: I haven’t shared this website with any of my family or “real-life” friends. Should I?  I’ve been trying to do my best to increase traffic to the website (thank you for being here and reading this!), and I’m sure that if I shared the website with, for example, my Facebook list, that some people would check it out. The problem is that I feel like I would have to watch what I say here in order to accommodate family, coworkers, friends, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone close in my life knows about my efforts to lose weight, and they are all remarkably supportive. It’s not that this is a secret. My issue is more about the openness and sharing aspect.  If you’re reading this, and if you have a blog and website….do you share it with your friends, family, co-workers, facebookians, etc?   How do you balance the content to make sure that nobody gets offended and everyone stays happy?

I found this post from a year ago:

Today Aaron woke up early to go golfing with all the boys. I woke up and finally had some QUIET TIME! I went to the mall and did some clothes shopping. How depressing! I haven’t gone clothes shopping in a while because I have been hoping that I’d just go down dress sizes, which I HAVEN’T! Grrr! So I don’t really have many summer clothes that fit my fat ass, so I bought a pair of shorts and a super cute kackhi skirt and some shirts. And black flip flops! Nothing exciting but I needed the clothes. Then I came home and put some jazz on and enjoyed the quiet time!

How funny! I hadn’t gone down any clothing sizes this time last year? Oh my, how far have I come! I’m wearing my last tub of clothing (I went from a size 22/24 to a size 8/10).  Do you have any idea how expensive it was to buy clothes in all those sizes as I was gaining weight? That’s thousands, THOUSANDS of dollars worth of clothes!  Now that I’m on my last tub, I need to start budgeting for more clothes in smaller clothing sizes. How funny that I hadn’t lost any clothing sizes! They started to melt off me shortly after this time, I think.

Look what I came to work to today!

Namaste, Revolutionists!

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