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Archive for "Confessions"

KMUW – New Digs

Posted on May 22, 2016 by under Confessions, Things to Do.    

Have you see KMUW’s new digs? Their new space downtown is amazing. I wish my office were half as cool. Here are some pics.

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Funny story about visiting the KMUW office… I was there the other day to pick up tickets for the Kathy Griffin show tonight at Stiefle Theater but not before driving all the way over to the old location on 17th Street, across from the Wichita State University campus.

I was actually at the Wichita Business Journals office just moments before getting my picture taken for 40 Under 40. I missed the photo shoot a couple of weeks ago because I was in Topeka all week. Kellen was nice enough to schedule a make up photo session. He took a few photos but it was really quick so I thought, “This is great. I have time to pick up my tickets before running back to work.”

I was on auto pilot so, without a further thought, I drove to the KMUW office on 17th Street. I hopped out of the car and tugged on the door that wouldn’t open. I was like, “What the heck? Why is the door locked?” There was a sign posted on the door but it didn’t occur to me to read it until I realized that I couldn’t get in. The sign said they’d moved to 121 N. Main #200. That’s the same building as WBJ and I was just there. FML.

I still had time so I decided to drive back. This time I saw all of the KMUW signage in the parking lot. There were quite a few because the spring pledge drive was going on. I can’t believe I missed all of those signs. All I had to do was walk upstairs. Seriously. I was already there. I was a little bit irritated at myself but then I figured that the universe was telling me that I needed to take a break from work. The last few weeks have been insane. It was a nice day for a drive.

Shit happens. You can get mad or you can just roll with it.

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Warren 21 – It’s About Time

Posted on May 21, 2016 by under Confessions, Hobbies, Things to Do.    

When Brian and I first started dating almost 20 years ago, we went to the movies a lot. Probably at least once a week. Sometimes even twice. This diminished over time partly because of the rising cost of going to the movies (after paying for the astronomically price movie tickets and buying concessions, you’re completely broke) but mostly because the experience of watching movies in the theater really wasn’t that great.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. There was a period of time between 2004 and 2007 when we didn’t go to the movies at all and it was strictly because of our finances. We were paying off debt (we kind of did the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace thing even without knowing about him or the concept) and going to the movies was one of the luxuries (among other things like monthly massages and dining out) that we decided we could live without on our journey to becoming completely debt free.

It’s amazing how much disposable income you really have when you’re not a slave to credit card bills and outrageous interest. I think one of the moments of clarity for me was when I looked at a statement and saw $600 in interest. You can buy a lot of stuff with that! And that was only one card! Granted, it was the one with the highest balance, but it should give you an idea of how much debt we had accumulated after a short amount of time. We were paying so much money in interest and not getting anything for it. We both realized that the amount we were paying in interest could pay for the things we wanted/needed outright instead of buying on credit.

Long story short, we paid off all of our credit cards by 2007 and decided to never again borrow money for stuff. We lived a pretty minimal lifestyle. If we couldn’t pay cash for it, we didn’t need it. By 2008 we didn’t have any car payments. And, after not having monthly debt payments, we used the extra money to pay off my student loans. We missed our goal of paying off my loans by 2012. I think it was January or February 2013 when were finally fully paid.

We don’t buy new cars because we don’t like the monthly payments so when I got a car a few years ago, we pretty much paid for it outright. We didn’t want to wipe out our savings account so we financed it for a year and then a year later, when we had saved up enough, we paid it in full. In the case of Brian’s car last year, we just saved and saved and saved until we had enough to buy him his car. That’s pretty much our MO these days to maintain our debt-free lifestyle, we just don’t incur any new debt.

The only thing we owe money on is our house which is the only monthly payment we make besides utility bills. Without two $400 a month car payments, $500 a month in student loan payments, and however much in credit card payments, we really can go to the movies as much as we want. The cost is no longer in the equation. Why then we’re we going more frequently, considering that it’s Brian’s favorite pastime?

One could argue that after a couple of years of forcing ourselves to not go to the movies, we’ve worked it out of our system and simply had no desire to go. If you look at our busy schedule, you could also argue that we’re just too busy to go the movies. Yes, we are super busy but we still found time to watch movies at home. We both really enjoy watching movies (Brian probably more so than me but, I’m not going to lie, I enjoy it too) and nothing is better than watching it on a giant movie screen.

The bottomline is that watching movies at home was a far better experience than watching them in the theater (giant screen and all). We don’t have a giant TV but it’s a decent size. It looked bigger in our old townhouse than it does in our basement. We could probably get a bigger TV but this one works so we don’t need one. The basement is really comfortable and we have the best seats in the house. Even the balcony experience at the Warren doesn’t compare.

Don’t even get me started about the regular theater. Crying kids, chatty teenagers, and (for the movies that we really want to see) you’d have to endure waiting in line or get there early for good seats (because everyone else wants to see them too). I have to be smack dab in the middle of the theater. I’d rather just watch the movie when it’s released on video than watch it in the theater with bad seats. It really doesn’t take long before movies are available on DVD any more these days.

When Warren 21 opened a few weeks ago, we didn’t clamor to it on opening day. I guess we were a bit skeptical. How much could it have improved the general movie watching experience? Honestly? We’d probably still prefer to watch movies at home, right?

Brian and I decided to test this theory last weekend. I owed him a reward for helping with the map painting project at Prairie Creek Elementary with Old Town Rotary. Brian’s favorite rewards are video game playing time and going to the movies. He’s easy that way. Plus, he’d been wanting to see Captain America: Civil War.

We were originally going to take Nickira to see the Jungle Book but she was in trouble for keeping her room clean. Her mom said she had to stay home and clean her room instead. Brian lucked out and got to pick the movie.

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Warren 21 is like a theater within a theater. You still enter the theater through the main entry doors like you usually do but then, to get to your theater auditorium, you enter another set of doors. These doors remind me of the entrance to an exclusive, fancy nightly club only accessible to very special people. When the theater attendants simultaneously open both sides of the door in unison, you suddenly hear the sound of angels and it’s like the gates of movie watching heaven just opened.

They’ve really tried to elevate the entire experience (and succeeded). Concession is even upgraded. You can order things that aren’t available at the regular concession stand like real food and alcoholic beverages.

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In the auditoriums you sit in recliner seats that are amazingly comfortable. It’s reserved seating so you never end up in a bad seat unless you intentionally choose it. Obviously, Brian and I picked seats in the middle because that’s how we roll. LOL.

There are no screaming kids or unruly teenagers. It doesn’t take long to figure out how to lay back in your motorized, fully-reclining, heated seat (though we didn’t need the heated part last weekend). The only thing left to do is kick off your shoes and enjoy the movie. Bill Warren is definitely on to something.

Yes, the tickets cost more: $12 matinee and $16 evening. After concessions, you’re going to spend upwards of $50. Going to the movies these days is definitely not cheap but, if you enjoy the experience, then it’s worth every penny.

After our Warren 21 trial run, Brian and I came to the same conclusion. We’re putting going to the movies back on the regular date night rotation.

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Getting in the Spirit

Posted on December 23, 2015 by under Confessions, Life.    

It’s Christmas Eve eve! Can you believe it? This year has gone by so quickly.

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We started celebrating early in the month when we had our Optima Customer holiday party, which was a nice break from our long days and busy schedule. Ever since this project started in October, it has consumed my life. I missed out on several things that I had planned on attending/completing the latter part of the year namely, the First Contact Resolution workshop in San Antonio, Six Sigma Yellow Belt training, the CRC and C&I joint Christmas party, and the team building and volunteer service day at the Wichita Art Museum that I organized. And those are just the big things, I’ve missed pretty much every Rotary meeting since our October project kickoff (although I did get to participate in the Andover Caring & Sharing volunteer activity) and I’ve had to bow out of several other obligations (thankfully, I’m getting great support from my teammates and boss). I guess my life will just have to be on hold until we’ve seen this project to fruition.

The hours are long and the work often seems overwhelming but at least the people I’m working with are amiable and fun. Everyone is super knowledgeable and I’m learning a ton which is really exciting for me. I thoroughly enjoy learning new things so when we began current state interviews immediately after the project kick off I remember telling everyone it feels like Christmas because I’m learning something from every single person I come in contact with. I’m like a really dry sponge just absorbing everything. Anyway, fast forward two months and now it really is Christmas.

I’m still really excited about everything I’m learning but I am starting to get bummed about missing out on stuff. And, I really miss having a routine. I guess I’ll just have to make new routines.

I missed Customer Service Week festivities (which we celebrate in the CRC during the week of Veterans Day) and other fun stuff in the CRC. I remember being at work late one evening to take care of stuff and we stopped by Faith’s office because I just had to show Brian her elaborate Christmas decor. She happened to still be in there making even more decorations. We got to visiting and Brian saw the photo booth pictures we had taken last year that were up on Faith’s cabinet walls and I made a comment about how we didn’t have a photo booth this year for Customer Service Week. Faith told me that we did have one and showed me a punch of the pictures she and others took in the photo booth. I just happened to be in Topeka that day and missed it.

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Here are some pictures of Faith’s amazing Christmas decorations.

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Recently, we had a holiday decorating contest at work. I pretty much missed most of it too but I did take pictures while I was at work late one evening.

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The participation this year was so much more than we had seen in previous years and the level of creativity was out of this world. Everyone really got into it. It was great to see and helped get in me in the spirit because up until then I really wasn’t feeling the magic of Christmas. Probably because I’ve just been so busy.

In years past I’ve usually got my trees (one upstairs and one in the basement) up by Thanksgiving and I’m usually done with Christmas shopping by then too. This year I’ve been so busy that I decided to only put one Christmas tree up (the one upstairs) and I’ve really started to question the whole gifts situation. I know of others who only get presents for children in the family and not any adults. I’m pitching that idea to Brian for next year because that would really save us a lot of time and stress.

This year I wanted to crochet presents for everyone but severely underestimated the time it would take to complete each present. Since I started later based on this incorrect assumption I was only able to complete three crochet projects and then had to come up with a backup plan for the rest of our giftees. That left us scrambling for presents last minute. Well, it feels last minute for me anyway, since I’m usually ready well ahead of time. Christmas seems to have snuck up on me this year (I suppose that’s what happens when you’re busier than usual) and I feel completely unprepared.

Here’s one of the three completed projects. Maybe next year I’ll be able to complete more. Or, if Brian goes for the “no Christmas presents for adults” idea then I may not have to make any at all except for the ones that I wish to make. That would be less pressure for me to get these crochet projects done. LOL.

Anyway, it’s nice to finally be off work. I’m still working a little to stay caught up but I’m grateful that I can just work remotely and whenever I feel like it (which is usually at odd hours of day). Since I’m on vacation, technically any work I do is just extra. For now I’m done checking email until after Christmas so I can finally start truly getting into the Christmas spirit. I hope you guys get a good long break from work and have a wonderful holiday season!

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Fun With Friends – Old and New

Posted on February 8, 2015 by under Confessions, Events.    

Jay and Becca hosted a super fun Super Bowl XLIX party last weekend. We wouldn’t have been able to attend were it not for our bowling league (we’ve been bowling in a league with my parents on Sundays for almost a year now) being canceled that night.

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The funny thing is that we play through on most holidays but they actually canceled bowling on Super Bowl Sunday. I don’t care what people say. Super Bowl Sunday is a national holiday in the US. They should just declare it as such. LOL.

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We were all smiles because we knew our team was going to win. 😉

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They sure made it exciting, though.

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Jenni joined us and had a lot of fun playing with the kids.

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I came dressed appropriately for the event in my one and only Pats shirt and my most patriotic earrings (acquired a few years ago when we visited the East Coast and toured Sam Adams with the Dills).

Our friend Rune was like, “Are you really a Pats fan or are you just trying to be nice to Jay?” To which I replied, “I don’t know enough about football to have any real favorites, but I do like the Pats more than any other football team because their team colors coordinate with the colors of my other favorite team (Boston Red Sox and KU).” #trueconfessions

We had a great time. Thank you so much for hosting, Jay and Becca!

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Yesterday Brian, Jenni, Eleanor, Nicole, and I bowled in a fundraising event for the YMCA Strong Community campaign. Angie and her husband Cory bowled with us. It was my first time meeting Angie and Cory but they seem really cool and fun. And, they’re really good bowlers too!

Here are some pictures from the bowl-a-thon yesterday.

Here’s Jenni and Nicole, goofing around.

Angie looked so cute in her orange tutu!

Angie with our boss lady Kristen, the Group Exercise Coordinator at Andover YMCA.

And, yes. This happened.

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Brian and I had a great time. Don’t mind my greasy chin. The pizzas were really greasy yesterday but I couldn’t help myself. I ate a few slices. Who can resist AJ’s pizza?

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A J Sports Grill on Urbanspoon

If there’s one thing that Northrock Lanes has going for it, it’s that it’s got a pretty good sports bar on site. Most other bowling alleys just have okay food. AJ’s serves pizza that I don’t mind eating and that says a lot because I don’t like pizza.

Granted, it’s no Ziggy’s but the pizza is good and reasonably priced. Whenever I feel like bowling, I always think of Northrock first before any of the other bowling alleys because it’s just set up better all the way around.

The only other bowling alley that would be better would be the Alley but their prices are expensive. So if you want to bowl cheap and eat decent food, my recommendation will always be Northrock.

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Time to Get Introspective

Posted on September 5, 2014 by under Confessions, Life.    

I don’t typically post blogs that are introspective because, most of the time, it just gives other people something to criticize. But this is my web site and I’m posting this for me, so I really don’t care what ya’ll think. LOL.

I know I am selfish. I do things for my own pleasure and satisfaction. Luckily, I’m not a sick, sinister person so the things that bring me joy also bring joy to others. I have said this many times before. I cannot deny how blessed I am to have the time and resources to pursue the things I want to do.

Some people talk about living life not necessarily following their passion or doing something with purpose, but simply going through the motions and doing the things you’re supposed to do. I’m lucky that I stopped doing things I was supposed to do a decade ago and I think my selfishness has a lot to do with it.

I have always been pretty straight-laced and nerdy. I followed the rules. When I was younger I really did things because I was supposed to… For instance, I got married because I was supposed to. I didn’t want to get married. I was perfectly content with my relationship with Brian. I didn’t feel like we needed to get married. We loved each other and that was enough for me. However, we were living together and when you’re living together you’re supposed to be married.

I dropped out of college after my four year scholarship ran out. Brian sort of tricked me into going back to school, but when I went back and got my undergraduate degree I mostly did it because I was supposed to. Both of my parents are college-educated so it didn’t make sense for me not to finish college.

However, in going through the motions of life and doing the things I was supposed to do, I found myself. I found that I really enjoyed going to school. I found a passion for learning. So I decided to stay in school and continue on to get my MBA.

I realized the power of doing something that you want to do vs. doing something you’re supposed to do. When you do something that you’re supposed to do, the effort is halfhearted at best. When you’re doing something you want to do, you can be really great at it. I’m not saying that I’m great at school, but if I pursued my MBA because I felt like I was supposed to do it then it probably would have taken me ten years instead of two. I got my MBA because it was something that I really wanted to do. Mom and dad didn’t ask me to do it. Brian didn’t ask me to do it. I didn’t need it for work. It was something I wanted for my own on pleasure and satisfaction.

Brian and I are supposed to have children. After we got married the pressure to procreate started. Having kids is something you’re supposed to do when you’re married and financially stable. We’re both decent looking. We would have made beautiful children. Neither of us wanted children. We’ve talked about it numerous times in the fifteen years we’ve been together and I feel like we’re on the same page, but I can truly only speak for myself. I knew I was supposed to have children and be a mom like most women, but it’s not what I want for myself so I know that I’d be terrible at it.

We would never have gotten out of debt if we didn’t want to do it. If it was something that we’re just supposed to do but not something we wanted to accomplish I think it would never have gotten done. And, we paid off $40K in debt in record time. That’s the power of doing something you want to do.

There are a lot of things that I do that are really just for me. I knew I was supposed to focus on my health and not be too fat, but I really didn’t lose weight until I decided I wanted to do it. I hired a personal trainer a few years ago to help me. When you do something you want to do, you put resources into it. You put money, time, and lots of effort in things that you want to do. As a side note, I’m up in weight right now and I’m not currently working with a personal trainer, but I think I’m pursuing too many things and just need to re-prioritize.

I teach Zumba because I want to. I’m actually licensed to teach several Zumba formats. I have all of these licenses not because I’m supposed to have them, but because I wanted to get them. I do volunteer work not because I’m supposed to, but because it really makes me happy. Of course, I didn’t have the luxury of doing all of these things before because of a lack of time and resources. I’m really lucky that I’m finally at a stage in my life that I can really pursue the things I want to do.

I’m not perfect and I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve been confused about what I wanted at times. I’ve learned and grown a lot from these missteps, but I’ll probably make some more mistakes and stumble along the way.

Just as Brian and I reevaluate our budget every year, I think it’s time for me to pause for a moment and reflect on the last decade. What is it that I really want out of life? Am I using the resources I have (skills, talent, time) to get there? I need to do a personal audit and commit more of my energy to becoming the person I want to be instead of letting a little bit of myself escape through various outlets because of a lack of focus.

The bottom line is that I’m living the exact life I want to live right now but it’s time to think about tomorrow. I’m the person that I wanted to be ten years ago, but now I need to think about who I want to be ten years from now.

It’s time to start moving in that direction.

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