Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Being a Quitter

I recently finished reading "Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job" by Jon Acuff. (Check out his blog here.) It's all about... well, I think the title gives you an idea.  :)

Jon Acuff currently works as an author and speaker with the Dave Ramsey team. (Dave Ramsey is an author and radio show host who specializes in personal finance and works to help get people out of debt.) In his book, Jon talks about how he kept quitting jobs, year after year, because they weren't what he was looking for. In the meantime, he was working on his dream job of speaking on the weekends, flying in and out of town. He spoke to Dave Ramsey's team several times before Dave personally offered him a job. Now, Jon has his dream job.

In his book, he talks about how you too can go after your dream job. His first piece of advice is not to quit your day job--yet. He talks about how that job can actually help you achieve your dream.... and not just financially (because, you know, you do have to keep paying your bills while you pursue your dream). He says you have to learn to like your day job as you pursue the job you love--the dream job. You can't spend the day being unhappy and a bad employee at work, then go home and just suddenly become a happier, more productive person. You have to use your day job as a chance to practice for your dream job.

He also talks about starting small and waiting while your dream develops, working hard at building your dream, and, eventually, quitting your day job (or "being a quitter") to continue forward with your dream job.

I don't want to say too much more about the book, but if you're trying to figure out how to make the jump from what you do all day to what you'd like to do all day, then the book is definitely one you'll want to check out.

I'm currently trying to pursue my dream job. Well, technically, I'm trying to figure out what exactly my dream job is (I have some ideas) so I can fully go about pursuing it. Unfortunately, I don't have a day job, and I didn't even get a chance to be a Quitter and quit my day job--I got laid off first. But I guess that means I have a little more time to continue working to pursue my dream.

Oh, and Jon hosts a Quitter Conference as well. More on that soon...

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Super Bowl comes to Indy

Super Bowl XLVI is being held in Indy on Sunday, and after years (literally, years) of planning, the city is all set up and ready to go!

The Super Bowl Village is downtown, not far from Lucas Oil Stadium, where the game will be held, and includes all kinds of things, like ziplining, music, food, drinks, giant heaters (hey, it's January/February in Indy, and even with a mild winter, it's still pretty chilly out there), ice sculptures, and much more. Then there's the NFL Experience, where you can try to kick a field goal and get your time for the 40-yard dash, and the NFL Pro Shop, where you can buy your favorite Giants/Patriots/Super Bowl gear

Yesterday afternoon, David and I headed downtown to check things out. Although it was nearly 40 degrees and sunny, it was very, very windy (in fact, we heard some tents were closed later due to high winds), and therefore, very cold. But we went anyway.... after all, how often does your city play host to the Super Bowl? We walked through Monument Circle, where the "XLVI" Roman numerals were set up. On the way back, we stopped for a picture:


Sorry for the photos not all being of the best quality.... I took them all on my phone.

The street near the Roman numerals is closed and lined with racecars, each decorated for a different NFL team. It was pretty cool to see all the cars down the street.

There was a lot to see at the Super Bowl Village. Because of the cold, I didn't get as many pictures as I would've liked, but here are a couple. First, ziplining:


This was so cool to watch! Every few seconds, you'd see someone just whizzing by on the zipline. It reminded me of Maxwell the pig and his pinwheels on the Geico commercial. (And, as I mentioned in #15 of my intro post, I really love that commercial.) It was something we'd considered doing, but we'd heard wait times could be as much as three or four hours (there was quite a line when we were there yesterday), and considering the whole thing looked like it took less than 30 seconds, we decided against it.

Here's a picture from where ESPN was setting up:


Shows like Mike & Mike, SportsCenter, and other ESPN shows will be broadcasting from here all this week.

We also went into the NFL Pro Shop and looked around. Being Colts fans, we knew we didn't care about a Giants or Pats shirt/hat/whatever, but it was still fun to look around (plus, it was indoors and therefore heated!). We passed by curling (yes, curling!), cornhole (a favorite around here), and ice sculptures (so cool, literally and figuratively), and stopped for a second under the heat lamps to get warm.

We also passed by The Huddle, which is on the first floor of the old Nordstrom building and serves food and drinks and is a good place to go to warm up. There's also a beer garden and another big shopping area with NFL and Super Bowl merchandise. And there's even a club! That's right.... you can go to the lounge and have cocktails at Nordstrom. And that's not all..... there used to be a Borders down the road from Nordstrom, and it closed when Borders went out of business. That building is going to be used for a club/lounge as well. I think the cover for the Borders one is $125. Crazy, right? We thought the idea of clubbing at Nordstrom or Borders was pretty funny.  :)

It was crowded downtown, but the crowd seemed to all be in good spirits. Since it was a week till the game, I think most people there probably lived in Indy, but I can only guess how crazy it will be later this week, as more and more Giants and Patriots fans arrive. As for the football players, the Pats came in town yesterday, and the Giants arrived today.

It's pretty cool to see all the city has done for the Super Bowl. There are going to be concerts and all kinds of events throughout the week. And, of course, there's a football game on Sunday. Like any good Colts fan, I'm cheering for the Giants. Apparently a 2-14 record isn't enough to get you to the big game, or even to the playoffs.  :)  But if Peyton can't play in the Super Bowl (or at all), then I'll be cheering for his brother. Go Eli, go Giants, and go Indianapolis!

For more information about the Super Bowl events, visit www.indianapolissuperbowl.com.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

How I fixed the Internet

OK, so this might sound like an exaggeration, but yesterday I fixed the Internet. Well, I fixed the Internet in our house. It was a long time coming--roughly eight months, to be exact.

Last spring, my husband, David, and I registered for our wedding. One of the places we registered was Bed, Bath & Beyond. A day or two later, I realized there were a couple of changes I wanted to make to our registry. I tried to do it online, but the website was down. It stayed down for the next several days, and it wasn't until I was able to access it at a friend's house that I realized that it was never actually down at all. Well, outside our house, that is. I shrugged it off as one of those weird things and moved on.

A month or so later, I tried to visit the Starbucks website. It, too, was down. It didn't take me as long this time to realize that it was another website that wasn't working on our network (but ONLY on our network).

Since I'm not a coffee addict or in the middle of redecorating my house, I didn't worry too much about these things. But then, last week, the situation took a turn for the worse. After being laid off, I was eligible for unemployment. I have to file every week and, you guessed it--the website I needed wasn't working at our house. The next day, David tried to start work on our taxes, only to discover that Turbo Tax wasn't working. A quick trip to his sister's house confirmed that both of those websites were, in fact, up and running.

Now, towels and lattes are one thing. But taxes and unemployment claims are another. This problem had to be fixed. (No disrespect meant to BBB and Starbucks. I happen to love both stores and their products.)

Since these websites worked on our computers everywhere but our house, and since other people's computers mysteriously stopped being able to access the Internet when they brought their laptops to our house, it seemed clear that the problem was not our computers, but the network at home. It was like there was a big, anti-BBB, -Starbucks, -Turbo Tax, and -unemployment bubble surrounding our house. That, at least, may have been easier to fix. But I digress.

I called AT&T, who provides us with our Internet. I spent roughly two hours on the phone with a man who was extremely nice but, sadly, unhelpful. He did reiterate to me several times that AT&T and the network were NOT the problem, because we could access the Internet.  Point taken. However, we couldn't access ALL of the Internet. We couldn't find ANY website we wanted. And a couple of those websites, we really needed. So, we still had a problem.

After I got off the phone with AT&T, they called back. This time, it was a woman in San Francisco who had checked the signals and assured me they were coming through clearly. She suggested I switch browsers. I told her I'd already tried but that it hadn't worked. She, too, was very nice but ultimately not very helpful. I gave up.... at least for a while.

That night (after going to my sister-in-law's house to file for unemployment for the week, and after David had tried calling AT&T and got disconnected and did not get a return call, despite their taking his number in case of a disconnection and promising to call back immediately), I spent another hour or so chatting online with an AT&T rep, who tried yet a few more things to fix the problem, all to no avail. We gave up, decided I'd go to Best Buy in the morning (the employees there have often been able to solve my computer problems, even those not directly related to their products or services) and went to bed.

I was about to doze off when David said, "Maybe it would work if we unplugged the Ethernet cord and plugged it directly into the computer."

I was almost asleep, so I think my response was something like "Mmmmmm." But his words did come back to me the next day after a trip to Best Buy.

I've always gotten good help from Best Buy employees, and this time was no exception. The guy told me he'd never heard of this particular problem but suggested that a new router might be the key. We'd bought a new modem a few months before and knew that our router was on its last leg. Why the router would have this problem, and why a new one would fix it, no one was sure, but it seemed worth a try.

I spent $40 on the new router--which, I was assured, could be returned if it wasn't the solution--and headed home. I set it up without too much trouble. There was only one small problem--it wouldn't connect to the Internet. David and I both have laptops and have a wireless Internet connection. I had to plug the Ethernet cable in to my computer to set up the router, and when I unplugged it when I was finished with the installation, the Internet connection was gone. What good was a laptop without a wireless connection? That reminded me of David's comment the night before. Turned out he had been right... but we still needed a wireless connection.

I called Netgear, the maker of the router, to see if they could help me. The call turned out to be shorter and more successful than the one to AT&T the day before. I'm still not entirely sure, but I think the fact that I'd named the new network the same name that it had had from the old router was the problem. It also didn't help that the password I'd chosen hadn't come up. At the Netgear rep's instructions, I deleted the old network and changed the password again to the one I wanted, and.... IT WORKED. I couldn't believe it. I'm sure the Netgear lady thought I was crazy to be so excited, but I couldn't help it. As soon as I hung up with her, I called David. The conversation went something like this:

Him: "Hey, what's up?"

Me: "IT WORKS IT WORKS IT WORKS! IT'S WIRELESS, AND ALL THE WEBSITES WORK! ALL THE WEBSITES! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! IT REALLY WORKS!"

Him: "That's great! You fixed it! Way to go!"

Me: "IT WORKS! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! IT WORKS!"

Him: Silence. Probably wondering what the crazy person on the other end of the line had done with his wife.

I realized later that years (literally, years) ago, someone else had exclaimed the same sentiment that I had: ALL the websites worked, and they worked wirelessly! This was several years ago, when wireless networks were invented. And here I was, saying the same thing.... years later.

Oh well. I don't care.... I'm just excited that now ALL the websites work, and that I can file for unemployment and file my taxes while reading about lattes and new towels and sheets.

Ah, it's the little things...

Monday, January 23, 2012

New shoes

David texted me to tell me his favorite brown shoes had bitten the dust. He said he'd have to throw them out when he got home.

At first, I thought he was exaggerating, but then he sent me this picture:



I guess we'll be going shoe shopping this weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

30

I suppose this is the "introductory post" for this blog. I read many blogs, and if I find them interesting, I'll go back and start at the beginning. I like when the blogger introduces themselves and talks about their reasons for starting a blog and what they plan to write about, so I decided to do the same.

The purpose of this blog is simple: to give me a place to write. I enjoy writing and have been told before that I'm good at it, but I haven't done much of it lately. I have all the usual excuses: I don't have time, I don't know what to write about, etc. But I've decided it's time to make time and think of some things to write about. Even if it's just day-to-day stuff, why not? I enjoy reading other people's blogs about their day-to-day lives, so perhaps someone will enjoy reading mine as well. And of course, having the blog out on the Internet where anyone can read it (rather than in a journal in the back of my closet) will hold me accountable and keep me writing regularly.

Why now? There are several reasons. I've been thinking about starting a blog for at least six months, but have used the usual excuses (see above paragraph) as reasons not to. But last month, I decided it was time. I turned 30 in December, and a couple of weeks later, 2012 began. It was a time of beginnings: a new year for me, a new decade for me, and when January rolled around, a new year for everyone. It was the perfect time to start my new project.

Last week, I had an additional reason to start the blog--I was laid off from my job. Long story short, one of the company's big accounts (one that I worked on) had cut back, and the company was forced to reorganize. I was one of a group of people that they had to let go. While it wasn't a good thing, for obvious reasons, it quickly became apparent that being unemployed would mean some more free time, which meant it was definitely blog time. Unemployment is one more "new" in my life, and I'm sure it's one I'll document on this blog (although I don't plan to write solely about unemployment).

So what will I write about? Well, I have lots of ideas. As of now, I see this blog as being a place to share my thoughts, my ideas, my stories. I don't plan to focus on one thing--meaning this won't be a political blog, a religious blog, an unemployment blog, or anything like that. It will be about a variety of things. If you like what you read, please let me know by leaving a comment. If you don't, well, comment anyway and tell me that!

So, it's time for me to share a little more about myself. Since I just turned 30, I thought I'd share 30 things. And since I really like lists, I will share it in a list.


1. My name is Liz. (Call this one a freebie, but whatever.... I figure it's important that any readers know who I am.) Actually, my real name is Elizabeth, but no one calls me that.

2. I just turned 30 shortly before Christmas. I've been asked many times if I like having a birthday so close to Christmas, and people always seem surprised when I say yes. What's not to like? Birthday + Christmas = a lot of reasons to celebrate all at once. Plus, there's Thanksgiving a few weeks before my birthday and my dad's birthday a few days before mine. Lots of fun!

3. I'm a newlywed. At least, I think I'm a newlywed. How long are you considered a newlywed, anyway? Anyway, I just got married in July. My husband and I have settled into married life and are enjoying it so far. You'll probably read about him from time to time here.

4. I swam competitively for 15 years. Yep, that's right, from age 7 through college, I swam competitively year-round. While I must admit that I didn't love every single minute (hello, 5 a.m. practices), overall, I really enjoyed it and am glad that I spent all those years at swim practices and meets.

5. I love ice cream. Seriously, I probably eat more ice cream than anyone you've ever met or will ever meet. I'm sure it had something to do with all the time spent swimming and all the calories I burned, but there was a time when I could eat half a gallon to a gallon a week (and did). I actually used to work at Baskin-Robbins, and it's still my favorite ice cream ever. (In fact, we even served some with the cake at our wedding!) Don't worry--just as my workout time has been cut back, so has my ice cream consumption.... but I still enjoy a small bowl every now and then.

6. I live in Indianapolis, but I'm originally from Louisville, KY. I think my husband and I are probably here in Indy for good, but Louisville will always be home to me. In my (biased) opinion, it's the best city in the world. I do like Indy, though.... I think it's a great city with a lot to offer, and I'm very happy here.

7. I am the oldest of two children. My younger brother lives in St. Louis. My parents still live in Louisville.

8. I've been to six countries in Europe. In high school, I went with a group from my school. Six countries. Sixteen days. Whirlwind trip. It was great. A couple of years later, I went back with some family to visit London and Paris. I'm ready to go back and visit some more.... it's been too long.

9. Other than a trip to Arizona, the furthest west I've been in the United States is St. Louis. Apparently I'm not as well-traveled in my own country. I've visited quite a few places (most more than once) in the eastern half of the U.S., but I need to make some travel plans to see the other side of the country.

10. When I find a book or movie I like, I will most likely read or watch it again--several times over. My husband jokes that buying books or DVDs is a good investment for me because I'll get so much use out of them.

11. My favorite book is "The Firm." Guess how many times I've read it? I don't know, but I'd guess between 15 and 20. I'm actually on my second copy because pages started falling out of the first.

12. My favorite movie is "Clue." My dad brought it home from the video store once when I was younger, and once I watched it, I was hooked. I actually have it both on VHS (which I never watch anymore) and DVD (which I recently thought I'd lost, which left me in a slight state of panic until I discovered that my brother had borrowed it).

13. I am left-handed. There are actually quite a few left-handed people on both sides of my family. My husband is right-handed but does many things (mainly playing sports) left-handed. My brother is a lefty who does some things (again, mainly sports) right-handed. I am a lefty who does just about everything left-handed.

14. I am a big (BIG) University of Kentucky fan. I'm also a big Xavier University fan (and grad). It can be tough being an SEC fan in the middle of Big Ten country, but I make the best of it.  :)  I really enjoy college sports, with basketball being my favorite and football being a close second. My husband is also a big sports fan (although he likes different teams), so you can imagine what's often on TV at our house.

15. I apparently love insurance commercials. Well, that's not entirely true, but I have a few favorite commercials right now, and I recently realized most of them are for insurance companies. I love the State Farm commercials with Aaron Rodgers ("I'm a robot!"), and I love Geico commercials, too--both those with the gecko and those with the caveman. My current favorite Geico commercial is with Maxwell the pig and his pinwheels when he goes ziplining ("Whee whee wheeeeee!"). I liked his earlier commercial, too, when he yelled "Wheeee!" out the window (again, with the pinwheel) as he was being driven home. Finally, I really like the All-State guy.

16. I'm close to my family. I talk to my parents (one or the other, but more often my mom) almost every day. My brother and I text occasionally, but my parents keep up on what we're both up to and pass info along. Two of my cousins were in my wedding--one as the maid of honor and the other as a bridesmaid. It's always fun when my family gets together, whether it be immediate or extended family. What can I say? We're a fun group.  :)

17. The TV show "The Office" is one of my favorites. I would love to work at Dunder-Mifflin. (OK, if I was an employee there, I might not enjoy it, but as an outsider looking in--to a TV show--it seems like I'd at least have some entertaining co-workers.)

18. I am always cold. OK, maybe not always, but most of the time, I'm cold. I don't know if it's poor circulation or just being cold-natured or what, but you can often find me in pants, a sweatshirt, and fleece socks--even in the middle of the summer. (Hey, the air conditioning works really well at our house! I change into weather-appropriate clothes when I go outside.)

19. I really enjoy watching "Law & Order" reruns. SVU is my favorite because I really like Benson and Stabler.

20. There are two places I've always wanted to visit: Egypt and Boston. My great-aunt went to Egypt years ago, and she sent me some pictures when she got back. They stuck with me, and I've wanted to go ever since. I'll probably have to wait a while, though. I don't know when or why I added Boston to the top of my travel list, but for some reason I did, and I still want to visit.

21. Career-wise, I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life. My degrees are in Spanish and English, and my work experience is in journalism. I've gone through many ideas (including writer, teacher, real estate agent, graphic designer, and a few others), but I'm not sure yet. I've had a little experience with each of these and am hoping to use my unemployment time to do more research and learn more about myself and what kind of job I want.

22. I'm very organized about most things. My shoes have to be in pairs (preferably on the shoe rack in my closet, although some days a few pairs pile up on the floor in the corner), and my DVDs are organized into movies and TV shows. (The TV show DVDs are in alphabetical order, but for some reason I never bothered to do this with the movies.) My closet is even organized by type of clothing--all the pants together, all the shirts together, etc. The pants are divided up into workout pants, jeans, and dress pants. The shirts are organized but sleeve length and collar type (yep, not making that up) and go from tank tops to collared, long-sleeved shirts.

23. I love getting mail. Sometimes I'll write notes to family and friends, even though it would be quicker to call, text, or email, because I enjoy writing them and I know other people enjoy getting something (besides junk mail or a bill) in the mailbox. I save all of my personal mail, too. Seriously--there is a plastic bag upstairs (I need to find a nice box) full of birthday cards, Christmas cards, notes, etc., from the past few years.

24. "Friends" is my all-time favorite TV show. I've seen every episode (most more than once), and for just about any situation, I can find a relevant "Friends" quote. Way too often, I find myself saying, "It's like that one episode of 'Friends' where...." (I often quote "Arrested Development" as well.)

25. I love dogs. I'd really like to get one sometime in the next couple of years. I'd really like a goldendoodle.

26. I don't enjoy shopping. In fact, I generally don't go shopping unless there's something in particular that I'm looking for. I really like consignment shops and have found some good deals. It makes doing something I don't really like to do a little more fun!

27. Italian food is my favorite. I even have a cookbook full of Italian recipes, which is saying something, because it's my only cookbook. I love Maggiano's, Olive Garden, and Mama Corolla's (a local restaurant).

28. I don't like sleeping in. I just feel like I'm wasting part of my day. The only exception to this is if I was out really, really late the night before--like party-all-night-and-close-down-the-bars late (and I'm rarely out that late). Even then, I don't like the feeling that I've wasted half my day after sleeping in, but at least I'm getting the rest I need.

29. I like getting out of the house. I like the occasional lazy days, but for the most part, I enjoy being active. If I'm not doing something at home, I have to get out and about, even if it's just to run errands. This is become more difficult since becoming unemployed, as it seems like I suddenly have more than ever to do at home and less than ever to do outside the house. I make sure I get out every day, even if it's just to go to the grocery or gym--if I stay inside all day, I'll go stir-crazy.

30. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, white wine (preferably Pino Grigio or Chardonnay) is my drink of choice. I don't really like red wine, and I'm not really a fan of beer, either (although if I do have to drink beer, I go with Bud Light, something most beer drinkers would probably laugh at). I also like a good Captain and Coke every now and then, and of course I like bourbon and mint juleps. I am a Kentucky girl, after all. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Here we go!

The new blog is up and running! Keep an eye out for new posts coming soon!