Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Adventure Wednesday at U.C. Sunnydale

Yesterday was a rough day. I think I was experiencing the grief that didn't show up Monday, which was the two-year anniversary of my mom's passing.  I could not shake bone-deep blues, even when I pulled myself out of the house to do a little thrift window-shopping.  Fortunately, Tom helped to get me going for class last night.  I was so grateful for all of my friends there. Especially Joanne, who surprised me with fresh flowers from her garden.  (Also Kat, who brought me a terrific photo of the first Oscars at the Biltmore.)  I tell you, Slimmons is the most supportive community a girl could ask for, exercise-based or not.

But today? Today is Adventure Wednesday, and I'm taking you on a journey to U.C. Sunnydale, alma mater of one Buffy Summers.

Well, kind of.  U.C. Sunnydale doesn't really exist, but it was shot on the campus of UCLA, where we recently accompanied David (of Keep It Up, David fame) to see the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra perform the scores for a few silent film shorts.  David had invited us after hearing that Tom was a big Chaplin geek (and me, too - to a less obsessive extent.) We were both thrilled to join him!

We are undoubtedly nerd-fans. Here we are with Charlie at the
Hollywood Wax Museum. Photo care of (and including) one Ms. A.R.H.
And... hey, we used to look different. This was last summer.

I'd never been to the UCLA campus before - it's beautiful.  Both David and I remarked that it reminded us of our own alma mater, University of Michigan.

The buildings are similarly classic-looking. This one is the library.

Here is Royce Hall, where we saw the orchestra perform.

It's home to all kinds of beautiful flowers.

Anybody know what these are? I'd love to plant them someday.

Lovely trees, too.

Not-so-lovely stairs. Mastering the art of the climb really needs to be my next fitness quest.

While we were there, the cheer squad was having their professional pictures taken.

I've heard of bare feet, but this is ridiculous.  Wokka-wokka-wokka!

We met up with David with just enough time to do the standard blogger portraits before the show started.

Tom in his dapper new haircut, wearing his grandfather's tweed jacket which fits for the first time in years.
I, with hair swept by the wind, in my vintage lemon necklace from Dazzles in Palm Springs.

Plus David looking sleek in his jacket.  Good we all had outer layers - it was chilly!

 The performance itself was really terrific.  The orchestra played beautifully, and in perfect time with the movies (A Dog's Life which I had seen before, and Shoulder Arms which I hadn't.)  They were introduced by Leonard Maltin, who is such a wonderful font of film knowledge.  And I think this marks the first time I've ever heard a hand-saw played live with an orchestra...  there's a dance hall section with a morose soprano, and the saw solo was amazing (and sounded very much like a morose soprano!)

One of my favorite parts of the evening was the opening short film, an Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoon by Walt Disney, which featured the premiere of a brand new score written for the occasion by Alexander Rannie.  The score was brilliant, and unlike the Chaplin scores, the Oswald score featured a very involved percussion accompaniment, with delightful (and delightfully complex) musical sound effects.  It was like watching a foley artist working live.  (Don't know about foley artists?  Here's a little video about one of Disney's foley artists.)

You can watch the Oswald cartoon, "Trolley Troubles," but it doesn't have the brilliant new score. I hope Disney will re-release it.

After our evening of silent film, we parted ways with David and headed to a nearby Persian/Iranian restaurant called Javan, which we'd found on Yelp.  Tom and I both enjoy Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern food, but we'd never tried specifically Iranian food before.  As always, we were up for an adventure!

When we sat down, they brought us a basket of nearly paper-thin lavash bread.

It came with  butter, and the strangest bread accompaniment I've ever seen: raw onion.
But it was the sweetest, lightest onion I've ever eaten. Amazing with the lavash, and so surprising.

Since I am a fan of Indian Lassi, I ordered a yogurt drink. I didn't realize it would
be salty and savory - so every time I drank, I had to remind myself that it was
not going to be sweet. Reminded me of the Crystal Pepsi experience!

We shared a small side of mixed veggie pickles...

...and a side salad...

...with feta on the side.  I only ate a little.

Tom ordered a roasted eggplant stew, which was tasty.

I had a chicken stew in this amazing pomegranate-walnut sauce. I expected it to be like Honey-Walnut Shrimp, but the walnuts were ground into the the sauce, which made for a really nice texture and flavor.

Plus basmati rice.

Here's another example of how the portion sizes of restaurants are jacked up.  I ate a half lavash with butter and onion, a cup of the pickles and a cup of the salad, plus 2 ounces of chicken, 1 cup of rice, and 1/4 cup of the sauce... which was a really filling.  And yet, here is what was left over:

The leftovers were about the same size of my healthy and filling portion.
You can see the yogurt drink was not my thing, but hey, it's an adventure!
Again, a trip to the restaurant shows me that I can eat healthfully when I'm out - provided I make the right choices and eat the right portions.

And speaking of right portions... here is part six of my week of food loggin'.  It's good to be back, because as you can see, I can adjust by the end of the night if I haven't gotten enough calories, or enough of a particular food group.  (In this case, fat/protein, thus the peanut butter dessert and the random dinner egg white.)

Tuesday, May 24 - 1409 calories
Breakfast - 1/2 cup greek yogurt, 1/2 cup rhubarb parfait, 1/2 cup honey oat cereal, 1 boiled egg
Lunch - 1 pear, Tom's "fried" rice (Pam, 2/3 cup rice, 1/2 an eggplant, 1/2 an onion, 1/2 cup mushrooms, 1 clove garlic, 1 tb ginger, 1/2 tb light soy sauce, 1 egg)
Dinner - chicken wrap sandwich (low-cal tortilla, 1 tsp Vegenaise, 1 oz brie, 2 oz chicken, 2 cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup spinach), 1.5 cups roasted cauliflower, 1 oz goat cheese, 1 cup strawberries, 1 egg white, dessert (1 tb natural peanut butter, 1 tsp powdered sugar mixed together, with 12 chocolate chips)
Beverages -12 oz skim milk, 44 oz water

All right.  I'm off to do some writing, and I hope you all have a lovely and productive day, too. Take care of you!


  1. Fesenjan! A favorite of mine. Ryan loves the yogurt drinks; me not so much. But then I love barberries, and he does not.

  2. The plant is lantana. I had one at my last house...I called it the froot loop plant. It also comes in purple, which we have in our current back yard.

  3. What a great picture of the two of us! And you get bonus points for using Crystal Pepsi in a blog post.

  4. What an adventurous day!
    I miss music, I played the flute for 13 years, haven't picked it up in years.

    Good for your for staying within your calories for dinner!