Port Replacement Surgery Scheduled!

by Christine on June 22nd, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

Take 2!! My new surgery date is July 6th. This will replace my obviously dislocated port. Woohoo! I’m so glad they could squeeze me in SOON!  The doctor said the port replacement surgery will not involve any Pre-Admission Testing (aka: that super-disgusting barium drink. UGH!) and will be a 30 minute procedure using a local anesthetic.  Obviously I’ll have to take that day off from work, and I think I’ll take the next day of work too (although that would probably be unnecessary???).  Doc says no heavy lifting or anything for about a month after surgery.

I am relieved that the surgery date is on the books! They are still checking to ensure that my insurance will pay for the procedure.

In other news, I was doing a lot of running around for work these past few days.  I work for an engineering company, and we’re demonstrating a new remediation technology to a bunch of important clients. Today I was running around a sand quarry in a torrential downpour, overseeing the putting-up of a tent, the catering delivery, schmoozing with the important people, etc. I love being out on site, whether that’s at a construction site, checking out a completed project, etc. It really gives me a great sense of appreciation for what we do, the clients we serve, and the kinds of projects we do.  However, running around and schmoozing leaves me dead tired, not to mention always a little frazzled. “Did I do enough? Did they like me?” Ugh, I hate the second-guessing game.  I stopped at home for lunch and made a pot of tomato soup (with skim milk).

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First day at a new job!

by Christine on January 4th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Today was my first day at a new job! I’m a new Director of Marketing for a small engineering firm. Today was easy-peasy: just meeting my co-workers, reading some old proposals, talking to senior staff people to find out their priorities for my marketing department. I’m formulating some ideas and plans and to-do items, but I have plenty of time to work all the details out and finalize my game plan for the coming months. Overall, I’m THRILLED with the new job! They are so flexible and down-to-earth. I think I am going to be really happy there.  The pay is good, the benefits are good, there is a lot of trust and respect and enthusiasm for me and the marketing department.  I have a large, windowless office that I can play music in and work to my heart’s content. I had plenty of visitors in my office, so I won’t be lonely like I was in my last job. I still need to sit down with the President and Vice-President to ensure that they have reasonable expectations of me (I know my direct boss does, but I want to make sure the senior staff people know that I can’t start bringing $12 million worth of work in the first year) but that will come in due time.  I’m very happy!

I still have to figure out what my game plan is going to be regarding food and eating at my new job. Today I was so busy I did not get a time for a mid-morning  OR afternoon snack, which is very bad.  They are flexible about my hours, so I’m free to take a longer lunch if I want to, which is nice. Today I went to a local diner for lunch and had part of a bowl of chili, maybe 150-200 calories worth. (I thought it was a little strange that nobody offered to go to lunch with me today, but maybe *I* just have strange expectations? What do you think?)  There is a large kitchen with a big microwave so I can certainly bring in some food to heat up and eat at my desk. There is also a vending machine with a bunch of junk in it, and I’m trying very hard not to even NOTICE that monstrosity taking up room in the kitchen.

In the summertime, I’ll be able to walk at lunchtime, which is nice. There’s a cute pond outside the building (great for picnics!) and a sidewalk for safe pedestrian walking. The sidewalk ends at a Wendy’s, so perhaps I’ll try to find a few healthy menu options there and walk to get my lunch. There’s a recreational path along the Mohawk River that is located within just a few blocks of my work, so I can rollerblade or ride my bike after work, too.  Since I have flexible hours, when the weather gets nice I can come into work early/leave early and get a few miles in on my bicycle while soaking in the view of the river. I’m really excited about it!

My job is going to involve, to some extent, schmoozing clients. The types of clients we serve (government agencies, highway superintendents, university planners, private businesses, contractors, builders, miners, and construction crew) are a brawny, rowdy bunch that enjoy good food and lots of drink. That type of job will be dangerous to someone looking to lose or maintain their weight, so I will need to come up with a plan for handling these events when they begin to arise.

Today was a good day. I hope today is a good day as well.

Happy Tuesday, Revolutionists!

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Moving to NY weeks before Sept 11

by Christine on September 12th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates

Just three weeks before September 11th, 2001 I moved to New York from my hometown in Illinois. I moved out to New York to go to graduate school. I got a full scholarship + teaching assistant (TA) position worth $30k a year, and it was an ivy-league quality school, so I was pretty stoked. I was basically getting paid to go to school. It was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life.

My TA position landed me as an editor at the Writing Center. On the morning of September 11th, I woke up in my teeny tiny little studio apartment and used AOL dial-up to check my email. When I logged in, I saw photos and an announcement about the plane flying into Tower 1.  I shrugged, thought to myself, “Crazy terrorist crap happening yet again. What a violent world we live in,” then continued on my way to check my email. I showered, got dressed, and went to work on campus.

When I got to campus, several people came in to say, “Did you hear about the plane?” Yes I had, whatever…just a bunch of moron terrorists. The Center was pretty quiet, so I used the computer to log in again. I saw the notification about the 2nd plane hitting Tower 2.  That’s the first point when I thought, “Huh. Maybe this is worse than I thought.”

But then I remember the secretary of the department coming into the center. She had tears running down her face. “My husband left home at 4 a.m. to do business out of town. He had work in the World Trade Center today. I can’t get a hold of him!”  I felt her panic.

A student called on the phone. “I’m from NYC,” the student explained. “My dad works in the World Trade Center. I have to cancel my appointment, I”m sorry. I’m trying to find my dad.”

Two hours later the President of the school closed campus. I walked down to the campus center to find a HUGE crowd of students grouped around the one TV in the lounge.  It was dead silent. Most were looking stoically at the TV, but a lot of the students had tears running down their faces. I heard a few people murmur about the people they knew that worked in the World Trade Center or at the Pentagon or somewhere in Pennsylvania.

My school wasn’t in NYC, but it seemed like everywhere I turned, someone knew someone that had a link to the WTC.

It took me several hours to really understand the gravity of the situation and to understand that the attack happened on our soil. But there’s always been a big part of my brain that wonders why this particular terrorist attack has had such gravity and world-wide impact when there is fighting in the middle east every day, innocent people dying, but that news doesn’t rock everyone’s world the way that September 11th did.  What about Rwanda? Darfur? Burundi? Most people haven’t even HEARD about the genocide that happened in these locations. Shouldn’t we mourn all innocent people that die from terrorism and hate? Isn’t this a global world, where everyone is our brothers and sisters? I never really understood why September 11th was more tragic that other terrorist events, but that’s just me.

Later, when I worked for the architectural firm, I was so excited to get work on the World Trade Center/Freedom Tower reconstruction project. (The work involved doing the interior design of 24 floors of Building #4, where the Port Authority’s offices will be located.) It was one of my proudest work moments.  The client invited me down to NYC one time to get a personal, behind-the-scenes tour of the “bathtub” that was the pit of the two towers.  It was really awesome to see all the reconstruction work.

(That staircase in the 2nd to last picture…that’s costing them $3 million to leave in place and work completely around. It will be one of the focal points in the September 11 museum.)

September 11th is one of those moments in history where you’ll always remember where you were, how you heard, and how you felt. What are your memories of September 11th?

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