Monday, March 29, 2010
Oops, I owe you all a month in review post. In fact, I think I missed it last month.
Anyway, here goes.
This has been quite an eventful week in terms of numbers, even if it's been quiet as I'm still trying to get over a cold and now my husband is getting it, too. My main goal is to be well by Friday, when I am meeting with a serious work prospect. Now, don't get all hope-y. The prospect cannot pay me. This is, as they say, the ground floor of a startup. But it's a way to continue to enhance my presence and if it comes to something then it's a good thing. Plus, if nothing else, I need to be able to field such things.
But on to the numbers.
Oh.My.God. This morning: 173.4 lbs. I'm only .4 lbs. away from having lost half of my starting weight (yes, I have a song specially planned for that). Pretty amazing. This all happened in about 2 years, 2 and a half months or so. Not too shabby.
BMI is 28. And, I'm finally smaller than Mr. J. And so I hope we stay that way.
Happy news here, too.
Bicep: 12.5" (originally: 19") down 6.5"
Bust: 36.75"; 1/2" above personal best (originally: 55") down 18.25"
Band: 33.5" 3/4" above personal best (originally: 47.5") down 14"
Waist: 34" (originally: 49") down 15"
Belly: 36.25" (originally: 59.5") down 23.25"!
Butt: 41" 3/4" above personal best (originally: 64") down 22.25"!
Hip: 41" 3/4" above personal best (originally: 54.5") down 12.75"
Thigh: 19.25" 1/2" above personal best (originally: 32.5") down 13.25"
Average of all eight measurements: 15.66" off.
Average of six measurements (no bicep, no thigh): 17.58" off
These past two weeks are somewhat misleading due to my cold. I'm not sleeping too well and am headachey on and off so that's throwing everything off. But I'm spending a lot of time reading and learning. In some ways it's a good thing, as it's keeping me inside in order to do website work. I was able to go to the gym once last week and twice the week before. I had been going at a three times per week clip but that's not back yet. The gym is fine but not while I'm this sick. Plus I think I overdid it in the beginning of last week and feel I may have extended the cold accordingly. Feh!
While it's not a part of my weight loss it does occupy a great deal of my head space so I suppose I should report on it. My two chief activities are networking and building a website. I am still reading about website building and right now networking is suspended until I'm better. Hence I'm back to job applications, which tend to be far lower margin affairs. Fortunately I have nothing specifically planned until Wednesday, which I can blow off if I have to, and Friday, which I really want to attend. Then next week I have doctor's appointments so, if I'm still sick, I can step up treatment. These are planned visits and just so happen to coincide with the cold. Oh and on Sunday we have Celtics tickets. :)
Other Health Issues
I think my surgery issues are more or less all resolved but it's hard to tell as I am taking OTC meds for my cold. These contain Tylenol so it's tough to say whether the Tylenol is only going to my headache or if it's hitting me where I had surgery.
My right breast still has the seroma and that does not appear to be going away. It might be smaller, but it's not easy for me to ascertain that as I look at it every day. My other issues are fine; wounds are all closed and scars are, well, they're no worse. I'll have scars forever; it's really just a question of them fading in time.
My abs are more or less resolved although I do still feel them when I get up from a prone position. I am back to situps and those are okay. At the gym, it was hard for me to use the ab machines. I'm not back to chest exercises yet as I still have the seroma. I'll ask the surgeon about it when I see him a week from today. I suspect I'll be able to go back to chest work but I want him to confirm that.
I've still got tons of reading to do and I've still got a cold. I know that building my own site is key for me getting the kind of work I really want. I am really hoping to have something up soon. Perfect? Of course not. It will be a work in progress for, for, well, potentially forever. But I want something up there already. Somewhere to point people to. Somewhere to call home. Content swirls around my head, and sometimes it butts up against design. And SEO seeks a place at the table as well.
It will be a LOT to do. I am going to be acting like my own development team, my own marketing team, my own PR team and my own writing team. The only one I really know how to do is the last one, and I have to be sure to not let it dominate everything else. What's the use of great content if no one sees it, or if the site is hard to use?
But I also feel this will be, ultimately, incredibly rewarding. Even if I don't see a dime from it. A site. Made by me. With my own grubby lil paws. My quirky self, all on display.
It must be the Nyquil talking.
Monday, March 22, 2010
But I won't know -- or at least you won't -- until I get it all online.
Huh? I hear you saying.
I've bought a half a dozen domains. Two are my name (variant spellings, e. g. with and without the hyphen in my last name). One is my userid on this site. Another is the name of my chief team on Spark. The other two involve results and effects. All are dot-coms.
I have zero content right now, so there's no reason to go and look. Nothing to see, nope.
But there will be,
See, I am looking for social media work. And I end up putting a huge number of links into any cover letter. And I finally realized -- duh! -- I'm giving Hiring Managers far too much to do. Better to just give them one link. This way, everything can be coherently organized. Plus I can (once I've figured out how to do what I need to do) show my stuff.
I am not intending to become a programmer or a web designer or developer but I am looking for a role whereby I can speak to such people intelligently. I figure that building my own site will do just that.
I spoke with a man who's successful in the Social Media space and he said he thought it was a good idea. It's a way to bring order to the party. It's a way to not just say I can do things, but to actually demonstrate that.
I have so much to learn. I have books on Web Analytics (I started this one first as it's the longest one), AdWords, Drupal and SEO. The HTML book is on its way. Hopefully the weather will get good again and I can sit on the front porch steps, read and take notes.
But even if the weather is lousy I will be reading and absorbing. Right now, it is very chicken and egg. Do this, oh, wait, first do that. No, this other thing. Which depends on the first one. And around and around we go.
But I've done the first part: parked the domains and paid for them and hosting.
Now onto method. Then comes content, although I already have ideas about that. Then design.
I like projects and this one is a beaut.
Will it get me work? I have no idea. But it's useful no matter what. And, yes, there will be a weight loss/Spark portion. And a blog. But no, I won't stop blogging here.
I guess I'd better go and rest -- a cold is coming on. Perhaps I will dream of cascading style sheets.
Monday, March 15, 2010
We were watching public television the other night and there were musical acts from Ed Sullivan. And I was reminded of how much I like today's song. And thinking about, it held more resonance for me. It means more now.
I just need the city. I can't explain it; I suspect people who need the country or the mountains or the sea have similar feelings. But I've got to have buildings and concrete. It doesn't mean that I don't like green. Hell, I garden. But I guess I need the excitement.
Several years ago, I worked in voice recognition, doing research. It was an interesting job and the people were amazing (I'm still friends with, still in touch with, almost all of them and it's been over 5 years since we all worked together). But it was in Burlington, Mass. This isn't exactly the sticks (the Bedford Air Force base is maybe two exits away on Route 128) but being away from Boston was maddening.
Hence I've got to have, well, Boston, specifically, for work. I can work from home (if I can find such a sweet gig) but still need to be able to get in every now and then, no matter what the reason is. Any job I take must have Boston or its immediate environs (e. g. Cambridge or Brookline or Newton) attached to it.
This is a part of what had been bothering me when I was really in nasty shape -- being kept at home and away from it all. Don't get me wrong, I like a rest like everyone else does, plus I'm not exactly a party gal. It's not for the bars or the culture. Just to be there.
So I went today.
And, as importantly, I went to the gym.
First time since two days before surgery. Six (yes, you read that right) weeks AFTER I'd originally thought I'd be back. But I went. I was there for the full hour, and did my usual stuff. But I lifted 30 lbs. instead of 40, and went on the treadmill only up to 2.7 MPH, not the 4 and 5 MPH I've done before. Smaller weights on the machines. Oh, and the ab roller thing? Not 140 or so reps. More like 45. Oof.
But I went, despite my less than perfect abs. Despite the pouring rain seeping ever more quickly into our basement. Despite the time change making me want to stay inside and just do crossword puzzles all day long.
So maybe I'll see you there
We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares ....
Monday, March 08, 2010
I've had an odd week, and I'm trying to process it and make it coherent so here goes.
Last week, I had a meeting with a potential employer-type person. Well, he has no job. But he did buy me lunch.
Sigh. Story of my life these days. Seems like there's interest but it's not going anywhere.
Hence I've got to (a) get more proactive and do a lot more networking and (b) take some sort of classes. I've often had good luck getting work after getting more education. Seems silly as I've already got a dang doctorate, but there you have it.
In the networking department, I'm trying to attend more things and also have reached out to another dozen people to see if I can have meetings with them. At a certain point, it will become not so financially viable for me to do such things. But that time has not yet arrived. It's only coffee. I'm also being far more selective. The less driving (and parking fees) I do, the better, and the fewer lower margin people I meet, the better. Of course I don't always know who can do the most for me, but I'm trying to at least prioritize my time better. And that means meeting people who are somehow connected to companies or jobs I'd like. There's time enough to meet other people -- right now I have to concentrate and try to make it all count.
Plus this week is nuts. Today I went to the doc's (I don't have to go back until April 5th -- my right breast is still not, heh, optimal, but it's better and should be improved by then). Tomorrow I have a breakfast (I won't eat there) meeting with people I used to work with, mainly it's for moral support. Tomorrow night is Tech Tuesday techtuesday030910.eventbrite.
com/ . Wednesday morning is Cambridge Open Coffee (those are the people I owe $5 to) www.meetup.com/OpenCoffee-Cam
bridge-Meetup/ . Wednesday night is Mass Innovation Night massinnovationnights.com/even
t-rsvp/march-2010-rsvp-list (my Twitter ID is @shrinkingjes, listed there). Thursday for lunch I'll see two guys I worked with at a different company. And Friday is the Community Roundtable thecrboston19.eventbrite.com/
Next week will be personal meetings as Tech Tuesdays are monthly and Mass Innovation and Community Roundtable are every other week (plus I won't see my doc for a while, and the former coworker meetings aren't regular events), so next week I'll just have Cambridge Open Coffee.
I figure I'll bombard the world with my resume and my business cards and my networking profile.
Pity the printer has decided it's time to die.
Perhaps Mr. J and I will spend the weekend printer shopping. I'm okay for now, and I can order cards from www.vistaprint.com if I absolutely have to -- it's just an expense I didn't want, particularly seeing as the printer is going to be an expense anyway.
The training will most likely happen here: www.hubspot.com/inbound-marke
As for my weight loss journey, suddenly it's going well again. I continue to bloat up every time I even think about salt (and, since surgery, the bloat is all in that area -- feels like I'm wearing a corset -- most uncomfortable), but the acid reflux seems to be gone and I'm back to lifting 30 lbs. and have even returned (with my doctor's blessing) to situps. All that's left to get me back to my previous level of conditioning/working out is to up the weights to 40 lbs. (in a few weeks or so), go back to chest exercises (won't do that until the last of the wounds are healed, but I'm down to only 2 band-aids, yay!), return to my gym (ditto) and start running again (ditto again).
So -- after all of this semi-coherence -- what the heck does the song have to do with anything?
It's, well, it's about focusing. I am focused, I suppose, on my weight loss again. It was a long time there where I was fully absorbed in my recovery. Understandable, as things were distressing and they hurt. But that seems to finally be subsiding so it's time to turn toward kicking off the final 31 lbs.
And the focus is on the job search as well. I am not in too much active pain and things are covered up enough and even enough that I don't spend all of my time worrying about being lopsided or something moving out of place. And at least, thank God, I finally know what I really want.
I have online community management experience. I blog, I tweet. I have been online in some capacity for over a decade. It's about time I did it all as a career.
So what do I want to be when I grow up?
A Social Media Specialist/Expert/Manager.
There are jobs out there. I know there are. If I focus in like a laser beam, I will get one.
As is said at the end of the first (yeah, it's the fourth, A New Hope, but it's the first one that came out, so sue me) Star Wars film, when Luke is aiming at the special little place on the Death Star, the dispatcher or maybe it's the squad leader keeps repeating, "Stay on target. Stay on target."
And so I shall, and in both aspects of my life, no matter how dull or discouraging they can get. And we all know that they indeed can.
Stay on target. Stay on target.
Monday, March 01, 2010
This blog entry is going to be kind of all over the place because of a number of things that have been happening lately. Hence the two songs (the other link will be near the end of the entry).
The week started off with me black and blue and with a hugely distorted right breast. It hurt. It felt like an egg or half of a tennis ball was hiding under there. On Monday I saw the doctor, he aspirated some blood out with a needle and we talked about next steps. The blood was, not to be too gross about it, a dark purple. A plum, a puce, blue-violet and crepuscular.
And it was just going to hang around unless we did something about it. So he proposed, essentially, vacuuming out the hematoma. OOookay. He gave me a prescription for Valium and told me to take that and Oxycodone, then come over in the morning. Fortunately, this was done at the Brighton office so I just walked over. And, well, that was quite an experience. I was awake during the entire time, but, after he gave me some Novocaine, I didn't feel a blessed thing, except I was a tad loopy. We (he, the physician's assistant and I) had a lovely conversation about, er, something. I have no idea what, possibly it was about Cape Cod now that I think about it.
He took out about 100 cc of stuff (hard to say exactly how much as he was also hydrating at the same time). He put in a straightforward little drain and sewed it in place. Watching and listening to such things, particularly when you are doped up, is, like I said, an experience. He told me, just keep expressing out the fluid, change the dressing whenever you think you need to, see you in a few days. The assistant kindly drove me home.
Well. I've been through all kinds of wacky things now but the drain seems to have freaked me out more than anything else. I guess it's because I can see it and feel it. That night, I had a meltdown (hence the first song for today's selection).
I felt awful. I was scared. Things still felt huge and hard and painful. Still bruised. Still angry. Plus I had a drain sticking out of me. Nothing felt right. All I could think was, what the f*** have I done to myself? How stupid I've been. What vanity! I'm being punished for being vain and foolish and overly grasping. How wrong. How painful. How deserving I am of such horrible things.
My husband stood back and kind of let me go at it. His main comment was, I'm kind of surprised you haven't melted down before. And he was right. I've tolerated a lot. And perhaps this was a small thing, but it was that final straw.
The next day, I saw the doctor again. His first move was to write me a prescription for a painkiller called Ultram (Tramadol). This was/is more heavy duty than the Tylenol I'd been taking, but wouldn't constipate (er, sorry for the TMI) me like the Oxycodone does. Hallelujah. He also explained that I really have to express the stuff out, and it won't happen overnight. But it will.
Okay. I was better. I could handle it.
So I went home and did as told. Every time I worked out with weights, I'd stick my arm over my right breast. Extra 20 lbs. on top. Push down. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This morning, I saw him again, and we agreed that things have improved considerably. The purple is gone, replaced with (more TMI) yellow, not only in terms of what is, er, coming out, but also in terms of the look of the overall bruise. My right breast is no longer an inch and a half bigger than my left -- it's about the same.
Tomorrow, the drain comes out. The surgical binder is off. My navel is healed, plus I can start ab exercises next week. This is all in time for Wednesday. I'll elaborate on that in a moment.
Because now it's time to talk about the other piece, the other song.
I interviewed for what was essentially my dream job on January 28th. Yes, I was bandaged up when that happened. The interviewers pronounced my story "inspiring". Uh, okay.
And then I waited. And waited. And waited some more.
And today I finally received word that, yes, my story is still inspiring. But they gave the job to someone else.
I wrote back and asked about where the disconnect was. After all, I want to learn from the experience. If they tell me, great. If not, shrug, that's okay.
If it had been early February, I suppose I'd be a lot more upset about the whole thing. I'd be angry and saddened and depressed. But I'm not. It just dragged on for so long that I realized, independently, that they were doing whatever they could to find someone else. And so they did. And that's that.
One of the reasons I had wanted this one so badly was because it was Community Management (which I've been doing as a volunteer for 7 1/2 years) for a healthcare company. The whole wellness vibe fit in so nicely with my health and weight loss journey. Plus -- and here it's going to look odd, but I'll explain it in a moment -- I didn't have to say I liked Michael Bolton's music.
Huh? You say. Well, I'll explain. The Michael Bolton reference is to a film called "Office Space". In it, there is a character named Michael Bolton (not the singer). The guy's a pasty white software engineer who loves gangsta rap music. But they're having layoffs at the company. And so, in order to try to keep his job, he not only compromises, he completely and thoroughly subsumes himself in order to, he thinks, get on the good side of the outside consulting firm hired to perform the layoffs. He says he likes the music. He is laid off anyway.
And, for me, a lot of my job interviews -- hell, MOST of them -- have involved my having to say I liked the music. This one was one where I didn't have to. I didn't have to give up myself. I didn't have to pretend I was someone who I'm not. But I know that there are other places where I don't have to say I like the music. It does not have to be that way.
And the dream which burns up is something of a false one, I feel. Dreams shouldn't be quite so flammable. And so, Phoenix-like, a new one rises from the ashes.
I have a lunch meeting on Wednesday, for a possible job. And so the new dream will begin. And I'll be damned if I tell him I like the music -- but I don't think I'll have to.
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