Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gratitude

My family always had a tradition to go around the table and say what we’re all thankful for. Figured I’d share with you all.
J
Yes, more gushing on him. He is truly my partner in crime and I’m amazed to have met someone who matches my personality so well. I can’t imagine life without him!
Family
Both J and I have great families who are supportive of us. We may not be close in miles, but close in every other way. My family has lots of health issues this year, and while it has been tough, it’s reassuring to know we can be “there” for each other and stay strong.
Friends
It’s great having friends strewn across the country because usually no matter where we travel, there’s someone to visit. And I love catching up with my girlfriends at random times; it’s usually the time I need it the most.
Jobs
We both enjoy our jobs on most days, but it’s just reassuring to have A job in this economy. Fingers crossed for the future.
Health
Being a health care writer, I read about the most horrible diseases. And I’ve seen some of them first-hand with my own father. But, I am thankful that I am pretty healthy.

I know this isn’t the most invigorating post I’ve written, but I wanted to wish y’all a Happy Thanksgiving and tell you thank you for reading my blog!!!!

In the meantime, Mama Fashion and SILMeow will be arriving shortly for our Thanksgiving celebration ... let the eating begin.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

One more thing ...

I blog as a way to procrastinate my writing assignments. Can you tell?

So I just wanted to note some observations about the restaurants in N'awlins.
*There's far too much seafood on the menus.
*They always bring you bread in a bag.
*Three servers are assigned to each table--one for drinks (too bad I always order water), one for the meal and one for desserts. I'm not sure what it accomplishes, but I would hate to have to share my tips like that!

Okay, back to finish my last story from the conference.

It's time to go home

I've been in New Orleans too long ... someone on the street asked ME for directions when I was walking home from my afternoon session today. I was able to correctly give them the directions!

I miss this guy ...

Oh, and this guy ...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Pop goes my ears

My ears tend to pop when I fly. Well, I feel like I've been flying everyday this week. Did I mention I'm back in the Bayou for business? Been here since Wednesday and leaving Sunday. Different hotel, different conference, different coworker. Anyways, I am staying on the 34th floor in this hotel and every time I go up and down, my ears are popping!

Centennial

For my 100th post, I give you this ...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Town politics

I know I give my husband kudos for his job publicly often, but it is with good reason, so bear with me one more time.

I have to give a little background before getting into my little story, so here goes. J is the recreation director for a small town. He is his own boss, except for the fact that 5 Selectmen run the town. This is the form of government in most NH towns. They meet each Monday and essentially drive all the big decisions in town. J’s town is very nice. I would even go so far to call it upscale. The school system is just about the best in the state (the governor’s kids go there) and there are a just a lot of benefits to living there. Recreation is one of them. The department is fairly new (<6 years) and used to be run by volunteers, but then grew too big for just volunteers. It continues to grow under J’s direction. But lately, he’s been hitting some brick walls.

I mentioned that it is budget season, so J is fighting hard for his department. His proposed budget first went through Selectmen cuts. He walked away with a 2009 budget that is a 6 percent decrease from 2008. Now his budget goes to a budget committee, who will definitely make more suggested cuts. Once they make those decisions, it will go to town meeting in March for the people to decide. For the most part, the town supports recreation. The problem is not with the townspeople themselves, but with the chairman of the Selectmen.

The "problem child" selectman has been circulating emails trying to break down recreation support, among other town highpoints (like the free ambulance service!). He keeps claiming he is pushing for these actions only because he wants to lower property taxes, but the truth is, taxes are high everywhere in NH, not just this one town. And by cutting some of these perks to living there, he is essentially diminishing the quality of life. Really, his attempts just seem like a personal vendetta, for whatever reason, again recreation.

Monday night was another long and dreaded Selectmen meeting. J went to the meeting for something other than the vicious emails, but there were others there demanding some explanation from the big bad wolf. I think I realized why this “stress” never bothers J. It’s because other people get fired up enough for him. Monday’s meeting was a true display of the kind of support J has in the town. People stood up and sung his praises for the kind of recreation he provides. No, seriously, he got a standing ovation for the hard, underappreciated work he does. The tax clerk, who has been in the position for a gazillion years, called this man out on his lies and asked him to step down. Boy did that get a roar from the audience!

So while J still has to deal with the Selectmen, at least he can know of the support he has from the town. It’s really nice. We keep our fingers crossed that this continues for town meeting in March, should anything big come up for cutting.

Overall, J does love his job. But it is challenging, especially in an economy where “luxuries” like recreation are put on the back burner. We laugh that he is gaining incredible experience from working in a small town with this unique form of government. When he applies for his next job and they ask what his biggest challenge was, he can seriously say "take your pick …" Maybe it was that his senior center was burned by an arsonist while it was still being built. Or maybe it was that certain people were fighting to have his position eliminated. That ought to show his ability to work well under pressure!

Monday, November 17, 2008

An unexpected visit

SILmeow called us last week and said she would be in Boston on business Friday. We actually had nothing going on (wow.), so she extended her stay through Sunday! We met up with her in Salem, Mass., intending to tour the witching town. But, because our lazy butts couldn't get out of bed early enough Sat morning and because we hit a lot of traffic outside of Boston (big surprise), we only had enough time to watch the film in the visitor center and eat (and sample beers of course) at a local brewery.

So, the witches will be explored some other day.

J got wind of another lobster sale in our local grocer (it's been happening quite often lately), so we decided to cook some lobsters at home for dinner. The lobsters were ... wait for it ... $4.99/lb! We got 3 lobsters for $18.99. Most times in the restaurants you pay $24.99 for one 1-lb lobster! Woo woo!

Here are J and SILmeow doing the happy lobster dance:


And here we are sending the lil guys to their death. I look horrified, but really I was excited! Such is the nature of the food chain and they were extremely yummy in my tummy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A picture of health

Since I’m surrounded by cardiologists this week, I decided to get a blood workup health assessment. J and I were just talking about how we probably should get our cholesterol tested since we don’t watch what we eat in terms of low-fat products (mayo, butter).

Good news everyone. I passed with flying colors. My cholesterol, triglyceride, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels are all well above average. Which is good because I am very excited to eat some of the banana bread J made for my homecoming tomorrow!

And J got his blood pressure tested at his senior center the other day and was totally fine. Very surprising since it’s budget season for him and he spent 4.5 hours at a Selectmen meeting Monday night defending his severely cut budget. I would think that’s enough to negatively impact anyone’s BP, but not J’s!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Feeling a little nostalgic

This post is to pat myself on my own back.

I am covering the annual meeting for the American Heart Association this week. You may have seen some news coverage on the research presented here in the past few days because it is one of the biggest conferences around.

Anyways, it was, indeed, my very first conference coverage back in 2002. Imagine this. Sent to Chicago to cover the conference. Not only my first business travel trip (first time taking a taxi!), but new city for me at that time. The conference itself was just huge and overwhelming (and still is. Today, there were about 5,000 people in one of my sessions). Just 2 months into the job, I was still unfamiliar with any medical terms, let along the 100s of acronyms used in cardiology and the 100s of complicated drug names. Couple that with the fact that being this is one of the largest conferences around, people from all around the world come to it. This means lots of speakers with foreign accents. Not good for the lil girl who doesn’t even understand the basic terms in plain English. Big gulp.

So here I am 6 years later and I see how far I’ve come as a medical writer. I am still frantically writing notes when attending sessions, but I don’t have to hyperventilate (as much) when the speakers start spewing off acronyms like STEMI, TVR (not to be confused with DVR) or CABG. In case you’re interested, these stand for ST segment elevation myocardial infarction, target-vessel revascularization, and coronary artery bypass graft, respectively. Oh, and when the speakers pronounce myocardial infarction without the “r,” I just smile and know what they are trying to say.

You go girl!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Catchy commercials

One of my many quirks is that I secretly love certain commercials. I mean, there are times when we're watching TV and will mute through all the commercials, but sometimes I can be mesmerized by a silly commercial! Catchy jingles, funny story lines, I eat it up. For example, I don't remember what phone company it was (see how effective advertising is on me), but I L.O.V.E. the commercials when the person's phone drops the call at a crucial point in the conversation. And the Apple commercials. Oh, and the Travelocity nome commercials crack me up. You get the point.

My latest love-hate relationship has been with the Toyota commercial with that song, "Saved by Zero" by The Fixx. At first, I was all, this song is cool. Now it just gets stuck in my head and is annoying. I also read an article that is has actually enraged others! Interesting.

Oh by the way, I'm in N'awlins for business. This is why I am procrastinating, I mean working very hard, on the computer on a Sunday night. But I do love the food here so it makes it all worth it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

10:30 in the PM

What will you be doing at 10:30pm tonight? Probably getting ready for bed, or in bed sleeping already ... Not us. Because the stupid people who make our soccer schedule have us playing a 52-minute game at 10:30pm!!! WTF?

Crossing fingers that our whole team shows up because that would be some fine dedication. Not to mention worth it for the rest of us who dragged our lazy butts out of the house in the rain for the game!

Damn we're going to be tired Friday ...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Celebrity Sighting

Raise your hand if you know who this is!
Friday night (Halloween), we were eating at Limoncello in the North End (Boston) with MamaFashion, who was there on business. In walks Frankie Avalon to sit at the table next to us! Even though I knew of the name Frankie Avalon, I couldn't really tell you what he sang, other than "Beauty School Dropout" from Grease. We were trying to encourage MamaFashion to flirt a little bit, but she only drooled. I did speak directly to him as I was walking out. He nodded and wished me a good night. How dreamy. I was pretty excited to have a celebrity sighting. I'm fairly certain it's my first . . . if I've had others, they didn't leave an impression on me!

Great food at Limoncello's, by the way. We actually had a great time in Beantown. Had dessert at a nice cafe while observing some very creative Halloween costumes on North Street. Then ate at a neat hole in the wall, The Daily Catch.

While I'm talking about the weekend, I'll just fill in the rest. Sunday we took our first trip to Mohegan Sun Casino in CT. It was a J-sponsored trip for "work." Cough.