Sunday, March 30, 2008

Week 35 - En Fuego WINS:)

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. It's only been a few days since our last chat, so this one might not be so long. First off I want to give a couple birthday shout outs to my brother-from-another-mother Jeff Glau and my aunt Carolyn ... don't forget the pup Solomon, get better buddy! Hope you all have wonderful birthdays:)

This last work week was amazing ... only two days! After checking the 100 emails I missed over break (which again was amazing!) I only had a few things going on. I finished up on the recruitment project as I am getting ready to switch departments. I also helped out with the prep interviews for Page One students from Columbus High. Apparently it is a high school scholarship competition throughout the city ... it was a great experience to meet some very bright kids (wow, I'm saying kids when referring to high schoolers ... that's scary!) We had another great Toastmasters meeting as well and continued work on the other projects.

I also had my first Literacy Alliance board meeting on Friday. It was our annual strategic planning meeting which was quite interesting. We brainstormed the SWOT of the Literacy Alliance and came up with some initial strategic initiatives we needed to initiate and execute in order to address the SWOT analysis our facilitator came up with. I am by far the youngest member of the board, but it was great to interact with some folks that have been in the city for years and know what is going on. I pretty much just acted as a devil's advocate and an outsider which seemed to work out pretty well to get some new ideas ... we'll see where it goes!

We played another 18+ league soccer game on Friday night that ended up in red cards again ... mom, you'll be proud to know that all 3 were on the other team; I may have been at the root of the beginning of them, but I didn't get any which is the important thing:) I would have to say the highlight of the week (minus the vacation of course) came Saturday morning beginning at 10:30 when team En Fuego picked up our first victory 7-2. It was the most amazing the kids have ever played together with 6 of the 8 players scoring in the game ... I was baffled and the kids were excited. They were aggressive, they passed the ball, played great defense, talked and came together as a team ... even the parents were elated, what a great day.

I spent the rest of the weekend basking in the glory of the win:) Swin and I played some tennis (you'll have to ask him how that went:) and went for a run to start training for the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on the 4th of July. We also went to celebrate with Rio at her new pad with all the folks and played some Rock Band ... hilarious! I also saw a couple of movies this weekend, 21 and Jumpers; I would highly recommend 21 to all audiences.

Lastly, I forgot to mention that my long last pal Nathaniel Edward Smedley and his lady friend Elizabeth came and visited the night before I left for vacation (pictured above). Thanks for the great visit man and hope everything works out for you.

I leave you today with the morsel from Ralph Waldo Emerson, "It is not length of life, but depth of life." Remember to run with every opportunity that you possibly can to not only enhance your own life, but the life of those around you as well.



Thursday, March 27, 2008

Week 34ish - What an amazing family excursion to the Yucatan!

Hey there, hi there and happy belated Easter there! It's been a while since the last post and I hope that everything has been absolutely wonderful ... even if it did snow again in Iowa:) First off I want to give a big CONGRATS to the 11 time Regional Champions; MMC SIFE. I really wish I could've been there to see the impact you've had on the community since I've gone ... you're all amazing!

It was a short but sweet time at work last week with lots of projects being revamped and sent out. Our recruitment initiative launched this last week which has been a huge undertaking that we are learning as we go. It hasn't been as successful thus far as we thought, but we're adapting and I've gained a lot of experience with this project. We tested another cost-savings project I've been working on finally which also didn't post great results (maybe it wasn't such a great work week:) but this project probably won't get launched for several months because of the ridiculous amount of red tape that needs to be cut through; bureaucracy will be the demise of my corporate career ... I can feel it now! I also met with my new department leader and I can tell you that Sales Support & Administration will be an amazing rotation when I start next week. It's been kind of crazy when people ask me where I'm at now in my rotation and it takes me a minute to remember, maybe I'm just getting old!

Had another couple of u10 soccer practices that went very well. I really like the kids on my team, I just hope team En Fuego can get a W sometime instead of getting whooped every game! I also had the opportunity to listen to Jim Blanchard speak at the New Horizons event with Jason, Lucia and Jennelle ... a wonderful time and delicious dinner was had!

Then it was time to say hasta luego to reality and hola to days filled with no emails, phones or alarm clocks in Riviera Maya at the Iberostar Pariso Lindo (or something Spanish like that:). We flew in Thursday and enjoyed a good 11 hours of sleep before awakening to one of the most glorious days ever of eating at endless buffets, relaxing by the pool side and slurping up some wonderful ice cream. Friday was incredibly relaxing and full of good ol' family time with the Crum family as well. Saturday also brought the same perfect weather, a visit to Cancun to haggle with vendors, warm beaches filled with sand volleyball and more all-inclusive food and snacks. We also dominated in an intense water-polo match followed by a ride down the lazy river and another great night of sleep after hitting up the dance floor full of drunk 17 year olds ... wow I felt old and a little weird! Easter Sunday is when we all got on the boat for some fishing out on the sea (pictured above). We caught some amazing sun and all of the kids reeled in some bright orange Grouper. Then the strangest thing happened when another boat called us up to see if we wanted to reel in one of their catches, so I was able to reel in an 82" sailfish which was absolutely fantacular! It was by far the biggest fish I've ever seen in person and reeled in ... got to love the catch and release though! We played some more sand volleyball every day from then on which was just an absolutely amazing time. The hotel also provided the residents with a nightly show which included Michael Jackson (when he was still black and less creepy), N'SYNC, Boogie Nights and the Blues Brothers to name a few. Monday it did rain a bit, but luckily ma, steph and myself had set out for another excursion. This time it was to the tree-tops for the largest zip-line in North America. We strapped in and zipped through the forest, tipped upside down, rode bikes and did back-flips into a cavernous watering hole which was very refreshing. It was an absolutely breath-taking experience riding atop the trees with the monkey folks! Each night was also filled with a delicious new meal which was topped off with a Japanese Hibachi experience ... mmm mm good. (PS, talking about food made me go get some candy I received and by golly gee willickers if I didn't get both a red and pink Starburst in the same pack ... also mmm mm good, just thought you'd like to know:)! Tuesday's highlight was when I blocked the poo out of the cocky Iberostar worker from Canada and everyone cheered ... nothing against the Canadians, it just made everyone quite happy, but my parents were the most elated. It was a great way to wrap up the trip on a positive note. I had an absolutely amazing time with my family and our family friends and I would never trade the experience for anything in the world. Thank you all so much for one of the most amazing trips ever, I can never say thank you enough for the wonderful memories of swimming, hamburgers, great weather and relaxation! I wish we could do it more often, but until next time ... thanks!
I hope everyone has a great rest of March and that the rest of your week/weekend is filled with amazing memories with family and friends.
I leave you with a morsel of knowledge I received from one of my good friends Miranda that made me smile from ear to ear: What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. Continue to think about this as we enter into National Volunteer Month in April. Until next time ...
Alwayz, Nate

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Week 33 - Yes, I just turned on the AC:)

Hey there, hi there and hello there ... I am still here, despite all of the tornadoes! And yes, it eclipsed 80 degrees this weekend so I broke down and my air conditioning is now on:)
Work went by quite swiftly this week and it was amazing. As you read previously, I got a bit of a late start to the work week due to some wonderful flight escapade on my weekend back in Iowa, but it was right into the grind when I got back. We've begun the launch of our recruitment initiative and are waiting on my good pals from Compliance to approve the website that's been created to finish the first phase ... what a whirlwind. I also had my quarterly SIFE gathering at the River Club with Bob, Jason, Dedra and Mike. It was good to sit down and reflect on the last three rotation and see what everyone else has been up to at the same time. Wednesday I took part in a half day planning session with Sales Promotions which is the department I'm in now. I really haven't done a thing for those folks ... but luckily, I've kept on with other projects. We're having a test run on a cost saving project I've been working on this week and am continuing on with business planning for the privacy project that seems to be an ongoing endeavor.
Had a pretty decent week outside of work, until the weekend soccer came. We played our first co-ed game on Wednesday and won big ... I even had a goal, I know it's hard to fathom! Had a couple good practices with the u10 team throughout the week, but we weren't able to pull it together for Saturday's game where we pretty much got walloped. So, I decided to work a bit with the kids one on one today which was good and I was definitely sun burnt after those festivities. We also had our first 18+ league game where we also got spanked and I got stepped on so my ankle swelled up and was a nice pretty purple:)
Had another session with the kids at the Lasseter Academy and it's really starting to pay off. When I started a few months ago I didn't know if I'd be able to get through to them, but they're really paying attention and I even had one guy that never seems to pay attention stay after because what I was talking about interested him so much ... it was another one of those aha moments where you realize that at times you know that if you can make a difference in one person's life for one moment then it's been a good day.
Well it's that time of day again to say farewell. I want to wish a happy birthday to the Chad and also a very good luck to my ol' MMC SIFE team up at Regionals in Minneapolis! I know you guys have done great things and will be wonderful no matter what. I hope Jaynr and Sarah had/are having a fantastic time in Mexico with their project and to the rest of the team and the advisers ... go get em tiger:)
Next week's blog will be a bit delayed as I will be hanging out in Cancun with the fam and having wonderful times no doubt about it! The picture above is the epitome of my morsel of knowledge for the week by Dave Berry, "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature." Keep livin' the dream;)
Alwayz, Nate

Monday, March 10, 2008

Week 32 - Greatness comes with a dash of snow!

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. Sorry for the delayed blogging, I was just trying to be like my friends at United Airlines ... more to come on that one!
Work flew by this week for some crazy reason. I'm continuing on with our big recruitment project and should have all the ducks in a row by tomorrow ... get it, ducks in a row! It's pretty cool that I get to help design a website, an ad and work with my ol' buddies in Compliance! I also was able to be the production manager for an incentive project, basically I stuffed boxes with golf balls, tees and a towel which was very exhilarating. I had a pretty cool employee learning class this week on a pretty awesome topic, a Servant Leadership class with Kelvin Redd from the Pastoral Institute.
This was my last week of bowling for the season, it was very sad:( So I decided to go out with a bang 170-136-104 ... what can I say, I've got the skills! I also had another great Friday lesson with the students from the Lasseter Academy, they seemed quite engaged with the budget lesson and I'm hoping to get the Junior Achievement Company program started which would be awesome! O, and I had my first game as a coach and let's just say ... we had a good time, until the game started! We were down 5-0 at halftime, wow did I feel like the biggest loser! Luckily we scored 3 goals and made a bit of a game of it and the kids seemed to have a good time so I consider it a success! I do start playing co-ed and 18+ league this week, so that'll be awesome and I'll pretty much live at the soccer complex.
O yes, and then the weekend came and I got to go home for some skiing action, friend/family gathering and time with the girlfriend ... weird I know;) After a delay and a new airline on Friday, I made it back home to visit with so many awesome friends at Chappy's Drydock in downtown Shueyville! Thank you all for coming out for a bit to say hello and catch-up, it was amazing! Then Saturday morning came quickly for a delicious breakfast with Jenny, mom, dad, barb, nicole, sarah, lyndsay, blake and of course ... steph (can't wait to see you in ten days:). Then it was off to Sundown Mountain for a wonderful day of skiing with Jenny and her friends ... including the fish man! We had a blast on the slopes all day, it was glorious snow, jumped some little hills, got yelled at for sledding on a snowboard down the hill and just had good times. After some hot tubbin and some grub the group of 12 piled in a minivan ... yes, just one ... and went out on the town in Dubuque for some serious karaoke. Let's just say though, Dubuque is the worst town for karaoke due to slow songs and old crowds ... booo! We went back to the hotel and literally trashed the room worse than I've ever seen an apartment which included puppy chow on the floor, Jenny being thrown in a tub full of water fully clothed and a picture frame falling from the wall ... it was immaculate! A couple of hours of sleep later we went back into town to visit numerous family members including Jenny's sister's place in Ely. After a quick hello to Gump and Jenna, it was down to Moline for my flight ... or so we thought! Another glorious, "Your flight is delayed so you will miss your connection," message allowed us some more together time to run around the airport and take the most random pictures. It was a grand ol' time, and after the attendant suggested I take a flight to Denver-Las Vegas-Atlanta (which I should've done to hit all four time zones in one day) I decided to head back to Shueyville and take an early morning flight. Jenny was nice enough to take me back and take me back to Moline this morning ... I have the best flying luck ever by the way! So that was the weekend wrap-up, and it was amazin ... wouldn't trade it for the world! Thanks to everyone for making it fantacular:)
I hope all of your weeks are as wonderful and that smiles fill your days. Remember, that life is like roadkill on a hot summer day. Sometimes it may stink and get a little messy, but overall it's pretty warm and fuzzy! Think about it ... until next time.
You stay classy ... alwayz, Nate

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Week 31 - Walking across fire!

Hey there, hi there and hello there all. March has come in like a lamb down South with 70 degree weather ... I think I even have a jump start on the tan for the year:)
I had my last week in Field Force Development before I start in Sales Promotions tomorrow. FFD is in my top 2 places I've rotated to thus far; the people are amazing, the atmosphere is very energetic and the projects are very progressive/proactive versus some of the other reactive departments I've been in. I'm helping out with what is said to be the company's largest single recruitment initiative to date (top secret, if I told you I would have to kill you:), but it's been fun running back and forth from the design folks, to Compliance and back to the vendor. Hopefully it comes to fruition here in the next week or so ... we will see. I also got my training module back from Compliance and it looks pretty good; hopefully it will go live in the next couple of months. I had another opportunity to meet some folks in Learning to Lead which was a pretty fun employee learning course I took to work my way towards my Leadership Level 1 certification. I also found out this week that I get to travel to Charlotte in the beginning of April to a SIFE Regional to help HR recruit the next batch! I also had the great pleasure of teaching my boss how to play soccer since he is a first time coach and had never played before ... that was hilarious. Yes ladies and gents, the long awaited Mr. Fitness Band video is now available for your viewing pleasure at the following address ... please don't mind the corny unscripted acting!(
I had a couple more soccer practices for the U10 coed team this past week. It is great fun working with these kids and I had a good friend Mike Hope join as an assistant. We started working on goalie skills this past week and that was a blast. We have one more practice tomorrow night before our first game on Thursday ... go team En Fuego! I also had the great fun in helping out with the Literacy Alliance's Trivia Bee on Tuesday evening as the "Vote with Green for your Favorite Team" worker. O, and yes I did sign up to help with the Miss Georgia pageant this year ... crazy I know. I went to their planning session on Saturday and spoke to them all about the ads and program I'd be putting together this year ... I even got a few laughs which was nice! I also got a call from a few folks in the community that told me I was pictured in the local Northland Neighbor newspaper for my pancake flipping skills for Easter Seals ... that was good times!
Friday we got to celebrate Jason's 6th birthday (born on Feb. 29th, so he's still a youngin!) and attend the ol' Cottonmouths game yet again. The weather was so nice this weekend that I was able to get out and do a little bike riding action around the apartment complex, play some basketball with one of my neighbors, lay out and read by the pool and get out to the soccer complex for a pick-up game. I think I burnt my nose, but not as bad as my feet from Saturday night. Six of us SIFErs attended the Fire walk for Chloe event which was a benefit for a local four year old girl that was diagnosed with Neurobloastoma a while back. Our team raised over $3,500 for the event and the 6 of us went through the training to be a fire walker! After some meditation, visualization and pump-you-up music 30 participants took our shoes off, cleared our heads and put fear into action as we walked across 12 feet of 1100 degree burning coals ... ridiculous I know! It was one of the most liberating and amazing experiences I've had in a long time, and I only came away with a couple blisters so I would say it was much worth the effort! (A picture is above with Chloe...
Crazy to think that Steph left last Monday and I get to go back home this Friday ... I am stoked to see the family and friends and do some skiing action with Jenny. This week can never go by fast enough to get to the weekend;) Next week's post may be a bit delayed as I fly back late Sunday night, but until then ... have a fantacular time in whatever you do and remember this morsel of knowledge: "If you never stand out, you'll never be outstanding" (Jim Stovall). Don't be afraid of putting yourself out there ... you may get "burned" a few times, but it's worth it in the end!
Alwayz, Nate