After We Cut The Cord And Dropped Cable, I Only Have One Regret

Cut the Cord, Cable TV

Ever had a bill that you hate paying, but you feel like you have no other choice other than to pay it? That’s been my relationship with Comcast, specifically over our cable TV bill. Over the years I’ve seen our bill creep up, until a few months ago when I was shocked to open our bill and find $250+ on the “amount due” section. With that price, you’d think we had every channel you could have, but we didn’t. And even worse, there were so many times when we’d just turn off the tv because there was nothing worth watching on TV.

That $250 cable TV bill was a wakeup call for LM and I. We were fed up! So I suggested that we cut the cord. LM said “can we do that? How would it work?”

Challenge accepted. Let’s figure out how to drop cable.

Research is key

I started by Googling “how to cut the cord” and reading different blog posts. Each resource I found laid out the same general strategy for obtaining content without cable:

  • Get an antenna for local over-the-air (OTA) channels like CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, CW and PBS.
  • Get some streaming hardware – Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, etc.
  • Sign up for streaming services – Netflix, Hulu, Sling, etc.

We live in a major city so I wasn’t too worried that we wouldn’t be able to pick up OTA channels, but I did visit the FCC digital transition website to verify which stations we could pick up with an antenna.

Make a game plan and buy what you need

Based on what I’d read, I realized that we needed to buy some things before we’d be ready to cancel our cable TV. LM already had an XBox One in the living room, and we figured out how to download apps like Netflix onto it. For our bedroom, we’d need another device, so I researched both the Roku 3 player and the Amazon Fire TV Stick. After reading reviews, looking at specifications and comparing price, we decided to buy the Amazon Fire TV stick. We also ordered two antennas via Amazon – we chose 2 different brands so that we could compare the picture quality and return whatever one didn’t work for us. Thanks to our Prime membership, we received all our items in two days.

We also needed to look at content providers. We already had a Netflix subscription, which is great for movies and catching up on shows we didn’t watch when they originally aired. We also have access to Amazon Prime movies & TV shows thanks to our Prime membership. We also decided to try Sling TV, which is a streaming service that provides 30+ channels, all for $20 per month. With a Sling subscription, we have access to channels like ESPN, HGTV, Food Network, CNN and Lifetime, and we have the ability to add a HBO subscription for $15 per month.

Set it all up and test it out

Once we received our Amazon order, we had the fun task of unplugging all the cable equipment and connecting the antennas. The Amazon Fire TV Stick physical setup was very easy and the device has an easy walk-thru that made setup really quick. Once the device was working, I was able to install apps like Netflix, Sling and NBC Sports to the device, using the included remote.

LM had the fun task of hooking up the antennas and getting them mounted to the wall. Once we connected the antennas, we did the autofind option on the TVs to find all the OTA channels. The last step was using the enclosed adhesive to stick the antennas to the wall. We decided to place both of them up closer to the ceiling, and near windows to maximize reception.

We spent that night watching OTA tv and testing the Sling. One tip – Sling only works one device at a time. We discovered this when I accidentally kicked him out of Sling when I turned it on in the bedroom. Other than that, we had zero issues with the new equipment.

The very next afternoon, I took the cable TV equipment back to our provider, and cancelled our cable TV. I did upgrade our Internet speed, but even with that change, we’re saving $150+ on our monthly bill.

So is it worth it?

It’s been over a month since we dropped cable TV and we both love it. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of shows I just don’t miss watching. I still have access to programming I like to watch and live sports, thanks to the Sling subscription. I’ve discovered new shows thanks to Netflix and Amazon Prime TV, and we can watch as many episodes as we want in one sitting. I’ve also found myself doing other things that I used to claim I had no time for – writing, reading, knitting, etc. I’m kind of amazed and embarrassed at how much time I wasted watching reruns of shows I’d already seen a million times.

My only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. We spent months paying for cable TV, and only watched a few channels. We spent a lot of time watching Netflix or DVDs, because there was nothing on cable that we wanted to watch. I’m imagining all the money we could have put into our savings account! But at least we figured it out, and took the plunge. There are a few shows I miss, and we’ll probably get a Hulu subscription to fill that void. But even with monthly subscriptions, we’re saving a good amount of money every month, that can go into our savings account. And who doesn’t like saving money? So far, it’s been totally worth it.

Have you cut the cord? What are your tips for getting content without cable?

I’ve Aged Out Of The Party Scene

nightclub, black nightlife
I’m officially too old for this life!

March 17, 2016 was a milestone day for me. Yes, it was St Patrick’s Day, but it’s also the day that I discovered an important fact – I’m too damn old for nightclubs, especially on a school night.

This endeavor started out with the best of intentions. First Avenue (a nightclub here in Minneapolis, you probably heard of it thanks to Purple Rain) started hosting these Drake Nite parties. The premise is simple – charge $10 and have the DJ play a Drake mix all night. Sounds like a fun night to me, cause I love me some Drake. I missed the first few nights that they had, and my friend KS mentioned that she was interested in going to the next one, which was March 17th. Cool, we got some tickets and made plans to dance the night away at First Avenue.

Day of the party, I remembered that I’m old and that I had to work all day. Would I still be able to kick it after a busy day? Sure, I just need a disco nap! For the uninitiated, a disco nap is a nap you take in the early evening, so that you’re ready to go out and party. When I was 21, I had no need for a disco nap, but at 33, I can’t even think about being up past 11pm without one. So I got in the bed and had my 2 hour nap. When my husband woke me up at 10:15pm, I was ready to swing on him, that’s how much I was enjoying my sleep. I briefly considered bailing, but we’d already bought tickets and I knew my friend really wanted to go.

We got to First Avenue around 11pm and I knew immediately it was going to be a bad idea. There were tons of drunk folks running around thanks to the St Patrick’s Day festivities. Teenagers smoking cigarettes and other things surrounded the door, and were talking in the loud voice that all teenagers seem to use, as if they can’t hear each other except when they are yelling. I got inside and was met by a sea of 18-25 year olds.

I attempted to hit the dance floor, but after I was bumped by the 3rd person, I could feel my anger building. So we retreated to the 2nd level, where we grabbed a drink and found a spot by the railing. The Drake set started around 1130pm and we had some fun dancing and singing along. My friend really wanted to go back downstairs to the dance floor, so we made our way back down to give it another shot. Yeah…I just don’t have the patience for it anymore. The bumping, the stepping on feet, the lack of personal space – none of it is appealing to me. I survived maybe two songs before I escaped and went back upstairs. We finally called it a night at 1230pm and I was home and in bed by 1am.

I set my alarm for 730am, and I still had to drag myself out of bed with all the strength I could muster. I had one drink and got 6 hours of sleep, and yet I felt like I’d stayed up all night. So far I’ve consumed a venti iced coffee and I’m still yawning. As soon as my work day is over, I have a date with my bed for a much needed nap.

How did this happen? It didn’t used to be this way! I remember being in college, being up all night long, maybe getting an hour or two of sleep, and functioning fine the next day. Now, if I’m up past 11pm, it’s a momentous feat and I’m going to sleep in the next morning. I have a strict bedtime and not adhering to it is painful.

I see now why the 30+ crowd loves a day party – you can kick it from 2pm to 6pm, and still get your required sleep. And you don’t have to worry about 18 year olds spilling a drink on you or stepping on your feet. I’ve learned my lesson – the next Drake Nite won’t have me in attendance. I’ll just throw on my Drake playlist at home, and dance in the living room. At least there, I’m guaranteed some personal space and a short commute to my bed when it’s over.

*yawn*

Is It Time To Let Go Of My Pseudo-Anonymity?

anonymous blogger
How I’ve been blogging for years!

Back in the Internet Dark Ages, aka 2004, I started my first blog. Back then, Facebook was just a thing for Harvard students, Twitter was a long way off, and even Myspace was still just for musicians. AOL and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) were a big deal, and if you did any interacting with anyone online, it was probably on a message board. Blogging was just becoming a thing, and lots of people were doing it just for fun – the idea that you could blog as a career hadn’t been conceived yet. It was in this environment that on a whim, I went to Blogger and set up a blog. It took like 2 seconds, and there I had my own little corner of the Internet, which I called Confessions of a Grad School Slave. During setup, I had to choose a name, and I decided to go with Jubilance, which is my line name (and now a nickname, since I’ve used it so long). In a split second, I decided to be anonymous on the Internet, or at least as anonymous as I could be. I figured it would be a good idea to keep my online presence separate from my offline life.

Years of Blogging Anonymously

Honestly, I don’t even remember what really motivated me to start blogging in the first place. I’ve never been a “diary” or “journal” kind of girl. Growing up I was addicted to young adult serials like The Babysitter’s Club, Sweet Valley Twins, and Sweet Valley High. Every book, movie and magazine geared to tweet and teen girls all mandated that you must have a diary. Where else were you going to confess your love for the football star or lament how much your parents didn’t understand you? As much as I tried, I just couldn’t get the diary bug to stick – it just didn’t appeal to me. But blogging somehow felt different. Perhaps it was the public nature – the idea that anyone could find it and read it. It wasn’t just for me, it was for everyone, a public experience. But by using a pseudonym, was able to keep my blogging separate from my everyday life. It was an “extra”, a thing I did on the side, when I felt like I had something to share.

I could never keep a diary, but the blogging bug has stuck with me over almost 12 years now. For most of those years, I wrote when I felt like it, mostly when I was struggling in some way and needed an outlet. Blogging was always an outlet for me, and never something I took seriously until a few years ago. I always looked at it as a fun outlet and not a practical career move. With the encouragement of friends, I’m finally taking my writing seriously.

Time To Let Go Of the Pseudonym

I realized the other day that while I started blogging with the goal of anonymity, I’ve done a really bad job of it. Anyone who knows how to use Google can figure out my real name, find my LinkedIn profile, my Twitter and other identifying information about me. As the 2016 writing fellow for A Practical Wedding, I’m publishing content regularly, under my real name. My goal has been to gain experience and build my portfolio, and hiding my identity here doesn’t fit with that. At the same time, I love the Jubilance nickname and it will still be in use – on Twitter, my Disqus account, etc. But I don’t feel the need to keep my online life separate from my real world life anymore. In the beginning, I felt that I needed to keep them separate for my corporate career, but now I see that writing IS my career, and I should embrace it.

Moving forward, I’m making changes to Black Girl Unlost, including updating the About Me page to reflect my true identity. It feels a bit daunting to put my name here, but also encouraged. Stripping the anonymity from BGU is step 1 as I move towards a freelance writing career and building my brand.

Planning To Have A Baby Is Easy, The Rest Is Hard

Trying-to-Conceive-2-202x300

Before I start, you should know what type of person I am. When it comes to decisions, I follow a 3-step approach:

  1. Research whatever thing I want to do
  2. Create a plan on how to achieve whatever thing I want to do, plus a couple of backup plans
  3. Go do whatever thing I want to do, using plan(s) created in step 2

I’ve pretty much run my entire life following this 3-step system. I used it when applying to colleges, picking a major, applying to grad school, finding jobs, finding places to live, etc. This system was in constant rotation when I was wedding planning, because there are so many things to do and so many plans to make. This system isn’t just big life decisions – I’ve used it for small things too. But my point is that I tend to be the type of person who decisions to do something, and then I go do it, after doing my due diligence. Normally I’m fully in control of the things I want to do, and my only obstacle to success is myself.

Aight, now that yall know that about me, I can get to the point of this post, which is this: trying to have a baby is hard. Much harder than I thought it would be.

Wanting to have a baby is new for me. I spent years declaring that I would remain childfree. All that went out the window when I met LM. I fell in love and my ovaries started going crazy. I’ve spent most of the first year of our marriage asking him for a baby. After a lot of looking at each and asking the other “are you sure you’re ready?”, we decided we were ready to start trying to make a baby person.

Remember how I’m a researcher and a planner? I took that same attitude into making a baby. I am nothing if not consistent. I started my research with Expecting Better by Emily Oster. I loved this book and I learned so much. Dr. Oster is an economist, and after her own pregnancy, she wrote a book which dives into the science behind all those pregnancy rules, like don’t drink coffee. I’m all about data, being a scientist at heart, and I love reading journal articles (I know, I’m weird). Expecting Better strikes the right balance of scientific information, and straight-forward explanation, which makes it accessible for everyone. And it covers every aspect of pregnancy, from conception to birth. After reading the book, I also took a look at some of the studies cited in the book…mostly cause I love journal articles but I also like to read the data for myself and come to my own conclusions.

After reading the book, I went to the Internet for more info. I found a couple of FB groups for plus size women who were pregnant or trying to conceive. I read reviews of fertility apps, and I decided to start using Glow. BTW, there are a TON of apps out there for fertility tracking. They are work the same general way – each day you log your basal body temperature, weight, cervical mucus/cervix position, ovulation prediction kit results, symptoms, etc. The apps then use this info to help you figure out when you’ll ovulate, and thus your fertile period, aka the best time to have lots of baby-making sex. I dived into tracking my info on Glow, and reading the forums to pick up tips.

Alright, I did the research, and I was armed with way more information than one person needs. From all that research, I came up with what I thought was a solid plan: use Glow to track my info; use an ovulation prediction kit to figure out the best time to make a baby; make said baby with LM; get pregnant and have a cute baby bump and really cute pregnancy photos. Easy, right?

Yeah….no. It has not been easy. At all. My first clue was with the ovulation kit I got. My first month, I used the little strips, and I was unprepared for how hard it is to read those damn things! Those were a total bust. It’s also not fun to wake up in the morning and try to move as little as possible, so that you can take your basal body temperature before you get out of bed. I refused to check my cervical mucus – there are some things that I don’t want to know about myself. I was pretty good about tracking, and I liked seeing my fertile window and the likelihood of pregnancy by date. But all that information brought with it a feeling of pressure that we were unprepared for. It felt like “today is THE DAY to get pregnant, so if you don’t have great sex tonight, you won’t have a baby!” That does not get you or your husband in the mood, trust me.  The baby-making was feeling a bit like a chore, instead of fun and loving. But we powered through (heh) and I spent the days after ovulation hoping that we’d made a baby.

The first couple of months where I wasn’t pregnant, it was a bit disappointing, but we fell back on excuses for why it didn’t work – we really didn’t try or we didn’t know for sure when I ovulated. It got harder when I tracked, and used the digital ovulation kit, and we still weren’t pregnant. Remember my plan? This wasn’t part of the plan! I was supposed to use all the tools and then get pregnant, right?

For the first time in my life, my research and planning has not gotten me the result I desired. Granted, it hasn’t been very long, but this is the first thing that I’ve ever wanted, that I really have no control over. It’s an uncomfortable spot for me to be in. I’ve always just made up my mind to do something, and then just went out and done it. As my mother says, I have no patience, but I’m seeing that making a baby requires a lot of patience. You go through all the work, and you try to make a baby with your husband, and then you wait a few weeks to see if it actually worked. If it doesn’t, you try it all over again. Rinse and repeat.

I’m not used to this. I’m used to going out and getting what I want and making it happen. I’m a go-getter! I make things happen! Except this. As much as I would love to control it, I can’t. So I have to be content with doing as much as I can do and having faith that the Universe will bring us what we desire, a baby. Instead of focusing so much on all the tracking and whatnot, I’m going to take my mother’s advice and try to relax and enjoy it all. I’m also working on the one thing I can control – my health. This is a perfect opportunity to work on my eating habits, be more active, and bring my weight down.

And of course, we’ll keep having fun trying…wish us luck!

Friday Faves and Some Career News

Happy Friday! It feels like this week has gone by really fast, but I’m happy about that!

My fave looks of the week: I had 2 great items from Gwynnie Bee this week. I really loved the sweater dress, it was so cozy and warm! I was very surprised at how much I liked the black & white cardigan. Normally I don’t do oversized items (it’s a plus size no-no) but I found it to be very flattering on me. I kinda want to keep the cardigan. I also debuted a new sweater from Ann Taylor – they always have the greatest classic pieces. I ended the week with my #BlackGirlsAreMagic tee, which always makes me happy.

Also can we talk about my posing this week? I’m finding my sweet spot in terms of poses.

Gwynnie Bee Striped Sweater Dress Gwynnie Bee Oversized Cardigan Ann Taylor Pink Sweater Black Girls Are Magic Tee

Career News! I’ve talked multiple times about my up and down relationship with my current employer. I took a new internal job in October 2014, and since then I’ve had 4 different managers, been through 3 rounds of layoffs, and had my chain of command (VPs & higher) change 4+ times as well. Well now I’m up to manager #5 because my last manager left the company last week. This week my team learned that we’re changing our chain of command once again, so we have a new VP and our other senior leaders are new in role as well. At least this time my actual job isn’t changing – that happened last summer *sigh*.

As I deal with the day job craziness, I’m trying to spread my wings and push myself in different areas. One of those areas is writing – I’ve written here for years but I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. One of my favorite websites A Practical Wedding announced their 2016 writing internship last November, and I decided to throw my hat in the ring. Well, I’m happy to announce that I was selected as the 2016 writing fellow for APW! I am super excited to join their team – the site is one of my faves and I visit each day. This internship will give me the practice writing that I need, as well as experience writing different types of pieces for the web.

How was your week? Any plans for Valentine’s Day? Hit the comments!

So The CDC Tells Women To Never Drink Again…Wait, What?

Last week, the CDC issued a report on alcohol and pregnancy. In the report, they recommended that women of childbearing age, who are not using birth control, should refrain from ever drinking alcohol. Why? Because they may become pregnant, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.

I read this, and my head about explode. You want me to do what? Give up any and all alcohol…on the off-chance that I may become pregnant? Come again?

I learned of this recommendation through a piece on The Atlantic‘s website. Sadly, their comment section is gone for most pieces (too many trolls), so they encourage readers to send their thoughts via email. I couldn’t wait to race home and bang out a sternly worded response the CDC recommendation, and synthesize my rage into something worthy of reading.

Here’s what I came up with:

Hi, just saw your post on the CDC’s new guidelines for women regarding drinking and I felt compelled to throw my 2 cents in the ring.

I am one of the women who is offended by the CDC’s guidance. Why? For a variety of factors. For one, the CDC guideline reads as a Chicken Little “the sky is falling!” warning, when the limited studies that are available show that light drinking, even during the first trimester, is fine. Many many women don’t even learn that they are pregnant until end of the first trimester, or afterward, and go on to have healthy, happy babies. Not to mention the millions of babies born in the years when drinking and smoking during your entire pregnancy was considered normal, or the millions of children born in European countries where mothers drink wine throughout their pregnancies. Emily Oster, the author of Expecting Better, dives into many of these studies in her book.
Second, the CDC guidelines implies that women are here to be human incubators, and they should put their entire lives on hold in order to have children, even children that are unplanned (and in many cases, unwanted). What’s next – is the CDC going to decree that women of childbearing age stop being served sushi or deli meat? Must we give up all prescription drugs other than Tylenol, on the off-chance that we may become pregnant? Women must spend decades of their lives held hostage by the simple threat of pregnancy, and that potential baby holds more clout and weight in her life than her own desires? A fetus has more clout than a living breathing human? According to the CDC, it does.
Finally, the CDC guideline feels extremely heavy-handed, and based on risk to doctors, not mothers and children. Yes, fetal alcohol syndrome is traumatic and devastating, and the CDC ruling feels like it was created to give cover to OBs, so that they can defend against malpractice lawsuits. The majority of mothers, or women trying to become mothers, are rational women who recognize that binge drinking is inappropriate during pregnancy. But there will always be those who make the wrong choices, and choose to go on a bender, or take illegal drugs during their pregnancies, and their children are harmed. Should we treat all women as if they are irrational and unable to make wise choices? Of course not, but that’s what the CDC ruling implies. It says to me that I’m incapable of limiting my drinking to 1-2 drinks per week during the first trimester, and up to 1 drink per day in the 2nd and 3rd trimester, and thus I NEED the CDC to tell me to do the right thing or else my poor baby will be harmed forever.
I’m not a child. I’m a woman in my 30’s, with a bachelors and masters degree in the sciences, with a successful career and a loving husband. A husband, btw, who supports me having a reasonable amount of red wine during my pregnancy, should I become pregnant. I don’t need the CDC to tell me what to do, or that I must acquiesce my desires because I might become pregnant. If the CDC really wanted to address fetal alcohol syndrome, they should support more birth control options, birth control that is widely available and over the counter. That would do more to prevent more children born with fetal alcohol syndrome than this misguided decree that women stop drinking.
I’m still livid a week later, btw. The CDC would NEVER make this kind of recommendation to men.

I Wanna Have A Baby And I Blame My Husband

You know how some women know they are destined to be mothers, and they go their entire lives trying to make that dream happen? Yeah…that wasn’t me, ever. In my early 20’s, I thought I wanted to be a mom, but I realized that I really liked children that you could return to their owners. I never felt a strong desire to be a mom – it seemed like a drag. You get to take your money that you used to spend on yourself, and spend it on someone else, while you’re deprived of sleep and covered in vomit. I like spending money on myself and I really love my sleep, so I was good on the kid thing. I knew I wanted to get married, and I knew I was destined to be a wife, but I wasn’t really interested in the motherhood part.

And then I fell in love.

As our relationship grew, and my love for him grew, I began to see my husband differently. I’d look at his chocolatey face and imagine a baby with his beautiful dark skin, and my dimples. That image became more frequent…and then I realized that I was fantasizing about our future baby. Wait – I want a baby? How the hell did that happen?

Love is a bitch. Love made me want to have a baby and it’s all LM’s fault.

My baby fever was cemented when I watched my husband interact with kids. He’s super cute with the babies, but he’s even cuter with the older kids. The first time he met my twin nieces and my nephew, they instantly latched onto him, and proceeded to outdo themselves as they vied for his attention. We got to see them on our Thanksgiving trip and the kids had a ball with their uncle – wrestling, taking pics, reading books and coloring together. As I sat and watched with my sister-in-law, we both remarked on how good he is with the kids.

LM has been on #TeamBaby for a while now. After some time, now I’m squarely on #TeamBaby too, and I ask him for one every day. It started out as a running joke…and then we wondered, what are we waiting for? We’re ain’t getting no younger (shout out to Jagged Edge) so maybe we should start trying? Are we even ready to have a baby? We’ve talked a lot and decided, yup, we’re ready! So…let’s make a baby?

Let’s make a baby!

Except one small thing…I’m kinda scared. Actually I’m a lot scared. This is a complete shift in mindset for me. I spent years and years actively trying to NOT get pregnant, and doing a very good job of it. I’ve never even had a pregnancy scare. Now here I am, married to the best guy ever, wanting to have a baby…and I’m worried that I won’t be able to. What if I never had a pregnancy scare because I can’t get pregnant? What if it takes us forever and lots of money to get pregnant? What if we do it wrong? I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, but also really excited. We’re going to have a baby and that’s gonna be awesome, right?

Got any tips for me? Books we should read, apps we should use, things we should try? 

Things I’d Rather Do Instead Of Working A Traditional Job

I’ve reached the point in my career where I fantasize about all the other things I’d rather be doing instead of going to work everyday. Here’s the list, in no particular order:

  • Knitting fun things – hats, scarfs, coffee mug sleeves, fingerless gloves, mittens, etc.
  • Going to yoga practice
  • Writing
  • Researching wedding stuff – trends, cool vendors, interesting traditions
  • Writing about things found during previously mentioned wedding research
  • Completing yoga teacher training
  • Opening an Etsy shop to sell all those cool knitting projects I want to do
  • International travel
  • Going to movie screenings
  • Writing reviews of said movies seen during screenings
  • Domestic travel
  • Writing about the cool things I saw during all this travel
  • Continuing to knit cool things
  • Maybe teach some folks how to knit some of the cool things I’ve made
  • Teaching people how to do Six Sigma
  • Teaching people project management methodology
  • Advising college students – specifically Black college students in STEM fields
  • Presenting workshops
  • Still more knitting
  • Some more travel – I need more passport stamps
  • Throw some more yoga in there – more classes both as a student and a teacher
  • Doing wedding research for busy brides or brides who don’t know what they want and where to start

Any idea how I can make a career or at least make some money doing these things? Cause this corporate game has me pretty down. 

Friday Faves And Stuff To Read

Happy Friday! I hope you had a great week!

My fave looks of the week: This week wasn’t my most exciting, style-wise, but I managed a few looks that I really liked. I pulled out my two-tone boots, but I may have to retire them because my calves are too big for them 🙁 I’ve also decided that I need to add some new accessories to my collection, to help jazz up my looks.

PhotoGrid_1452870921580 PhotoGrid_1453219677307 PhotoGrid_1453388032594

 

Fave thing that happened at work this week: My company likes to bring in speakers and this week they brought in Tara Jaye Frank. I wasn’t super familiar with her prior to her visit, but I’m a big fan now. I got a chance to speak to her 1-on-1, in a small group and to attend a lecture she presented. I’ve shared how I’ve been struggling in my career and my career path, and listening to Tara’s words really got the wheels turning in my mind. I still have some thinking to do, and some fear to conquer, but I feel encouraged that I’m moving in the right direction.

Fave things I read this week: I read some great pieces this week, but these ones stand out to me.

“Why Doesn’t Silicon Valley Hire Black Coders?” in Bloomberg Businessweek – A great look into the diversity issue at tech companies and their diversity efforts at Howard University. I’m not in IT but I know a lot of folks who are, and as a chemist I see a lot of parallels to my own college recruitment experience. I may do a separate blog post cause I have a lot of thoughts on this one.

“The DIY Scientist, The Olympian, and The Mutated Gene” from ProPublica – this was also featured on This American Life last week, but I read the print piece before I listened to the story. I was fascinated! It was such an amazing story and really got me thinking about biochemistry.

“Cultivating Purpose: Let Go of ‘Should’ And Do What You Love” from Tiny Buddha – This was timely for me, given my career angst. I love Tiny Buddha and they always have great posts.

What’s been your faves for the week? Let me know in the comments!

When You Wanna Make Moves But The Universe Is Telling You Otherwise

Which road to take???
Which road to take???

I’m feeling antsy and I want to make some moves.

I’ve always been the type to get stuff done. I get an idea and I put together a plan and I make it happen, immediately. When I make up my mind about something, I make it happen with no hesitation.

Ten months ago, I married the love of my life. After our wedding, my focus has been on starting our life together. But I feel stuck because we’re unsure about the next path to take in our journey. We have several choices in front of us, but we don’t know which one to take. Because we can’t make a decision, we’re sitting in limbo. This is a feeling I hate – stuck in one place, unable to keep progressing forward.

We have so many options available to us, each with its own pros and cons. Should we stay in Minneapolis, or should we relocate? in order to relocate, at least one of us needs to find a job first. What cities should we look in? We have a few places we’re eyeing, but we haven’t made a firm decision on a place. If we stay here, how long do we want to stay? Do we want to buy a house? If we buy a house, we have to stay here for at least five years – is that something we can do? Do we want to try to have a baby? If we do, maybe I should stop looking for a new job, because if I get pregnant, I may not be able to take maternity leave. Do we want to have kids here in Minneapolis, where the schools are great but other things suck, or move somewhere with a better quality of life and put our future kids in private school?

The list of questions and possibilities goes on and on.

There are so many unknowns and no clear direction, and this frustrates me. I can’t make plans and make progress on the next phase of our life together, and this is a situation I’m not used to. There are so many possibilities open to us and no clear sign of which opportunity to take. Perhaps this is the Universe’s way of telling us to stay put until what’s meant for us manifests itself. I know the right thing will come at the right time and it’s already on its way to us, but it’s hard to stay still when you’re using to making moves. I suppose all I can do is try to enjoy each moment and wait to receive the message we’re meant to receive.

While I’m waiting, I’m going to keep moving in the areas that are under my control, and keep an eye out for my next sign.