Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009 - Great bachelor party weekend

Hey there, hi there and hello there.  Wow that week went by fast, but I guess they all do now a days!  A big happy birthday is also due to my aunt Carolyn, Mr. Jeff Glau and my pooch pal Solomon!  Also you will see pictured here the soon to be Mr. Rick and Whitney Parsons as of this upcoming weekend!  O yes, Blake I heard you did a great job this past weekend with the vocals, so I hope someone post it up on YouTube for me to see:)
It was one of those wonderfully busy weeks at Aflac again last week with 22 work meetings ... holy schnikes, and that doesn't even count the lunch meeting that were had every day.  I did thoroughly enjoy it though because the bulk of the week was focused on the future of Online Services and preparing our Future State presentation. Our team has worked together for the last couple of months to put together the 3-5 year plan for the department and I presented the final product to everyone on the PIC team on Tuesday.  After some changes, I presented it again on Friday to our new VP and everyone enjoyed it.  Those were both trial runs for our Executive VP presentation this week, which should be pretty exciting!  Tomorrow begins my week long Six Sigma Green Belt training for process improvement and quality enhancement.  It's going to be a pretty fun class and will be something that will be very useful in the future of my career.
Outside of work was pretty solid this week as well.  It started off with a motivational turnaround over the internet.  The CSU SIFE team we've been trying to get up and off the ground was having second thoughts about presenting and wanting to pull out of Regional
 Competition (which is tomorrow, so keep your fingers crossed) so I proposed to them that we bring an Aflac SIFE Alumni crew on Monday night and hammer it out ... and that we did.  They went from having not a single thing for a presentation (including Annual Report, script and power point) to being up in Atlanta right now with a solid presentation.  I hope they do well, as I'm sure they will.  That was a very fulfilling feeling knowing that we helped them to turn it around in less than a week ... phew.  I even worked with them to put on a pretty cool energy forum for small businesses with my contacts at Georgia Power.  The experts taught the couple of companies that joined about the benefits of efficient energy and let them know about new technologies down the road.
I also introduced Rick (the bachelor whom you'll hear about later:) to some folks at United Way as we attempt to replicate the volunteer youth camp from Cedar Rapids.  It looks like with everything going on, they're wanting to hold off and do it right in the fall, which will be amazing!  O yes, and how could I forget about the ol' En Fuego team.  We had a great practice this week and I was supposed to miss a couple games this weekend while I was celebrating a
 bachelor party, but Mother Nature must want me to coach because she made it rain ... literally!  So, we've got a couple chances this week to pull off that first W ... wish us luck.
The reason I was supposed to miss the games was for the big bachelor party of Ricky Parsons Junior Junior (pictured here).  A few of us from the Aflac crew went down to meet some of Rick's old pals for a weekend in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  The intention was to go down on Friday night, have a great time that evening (which we did) and go sky diving on Saturday morning (which we did NOT).  Of course I had this very same luck when Jenny and I went to go hang gliding, dang wind.  So, instead we did some 
putt putt golf action, hanging out at the pool and chillaxin' at the hotel.  
Yes, Eddie did have to climb on my shoulders in the middle of the CVS to get a cooler for the festivities.  Saturday night we all headed out on the casino cruise for a night of fun on the waves.  
I found that I could definitely be in the Navy or maybe even a pirate, because the massive waves had no affect on my ability to lose money at the poker and roulette tables!  We had a big group Texas hold-em tourney that was a blast, followed by some 21 and the cheapest roulette tables in the place.  I left $40 down, but got a free meal and all the orange juice I could handle:)  
It was a great weekend and next Saturday we will do it all over again for Rick and Whitney's wedding ... should be a great time.  (pictured to the left is also my first experience with oysters ... mmmm, gooooood!)
O yes, and this week also began my house hunting trip here in Columbus.  As some of you may have heard, I was not accepted into either of the doctoral programs I applied for (those denial letters are sure good motivation on the cube walls;).  That being said, my girlfriend Jenny and I have talked it out and it looks like she will be moving down in the next couple of months so we can cut down on our phone bill:)  Just kidding, but it will be a great time and the time is now to be looking into some homes with a big tax credit and the lowest rates since the cavemen, so I will try and take some pictures to keep you posted.  Cross your fingers for a good find, yes honey, one with a big garage:)
Until next time, have a wondermous week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

March 22, 2009 - A wondermous wedding celebration

Hey there, hi there and hello there to all.  A big thank you to all of the family and friends that came out to say hello over this last weekend whilst I was back in Iowa for my ol' roomy's wedding.
It's only been a short bit since we last chatted, so just a couple days at work went by but they were glorious.  The team is all fired up now to get at work and I even had one of the guys on the team say that Thursday was, "the best day I've had at Aflac."  So, I think we're moving in the right direction with everyone on board and I can already tell you this week is going to be jammed pack with over 20 meetings already scheduled:)
I had some awesome times with the ol' volunteer action on Wednesday and Thursday with YP and United Way.  On Wednesday, a few of us from the Young Professionals Gala committee (a fancy event we're putting on in July) were able to go to the venue where the chief chef had a taste testing waiting for us.  O my lanta, I am still full from the scrumtrulescent food at the RiverMill.  We decided on a fried green tomato salad, 72 hour cooked short rib, bbq salmon, yummy spinach, a cheesy potato masterpiece and some refreshing dessert ... wow, salivating right now!  On Thursday we had our monthly Hands on the Valley (United Way) meeting where I presented the idea of a volunteer youth camp that my mom did back home.  They loved the idea, although a little hesitant with being able to pull it off in two months ... but we'll see.  
I have a follow-up meeting with some folks this week to hammer out some details, but is should be a great event.  I'm thinking a Friday-Sunday camp where the kids will camp out on a Friday night where they'll learn what it's like to be homeless for a night with only cardboard and newspapers to camp out in.  On Saturday we're looking at getting them out and volunteering at a couple different places with a Sunday graduation where the kids decide where their volunteer dollars will go.  I will keep you posted, and yes ... we won our soccer game this week ... now I'm just looking to coach the ol' En Fuego team to victory!
The highlight of the week was being able to be back home for the big wedding celebration of the Brandon/Jessie Horman couple.  Friday I had the joy of wrastlin' with Doc to wish him a belated doggy birthday which also included a great breakfast with the fam in Shueyville.  It was great to catch up with you all and chow down of course.  Then Jenny and I went to meet up with a couple ol' MMC SIFErs Sarah Jencks and Kim Leonard as we celebrated MMC SIFE's 12 consecutive Regional Championship in Minnesota.  I can't wait to see you all in Minneapolis ... congrats:)  After a stop downtown to see the progress (wish there was a bit more, but I know it's a process) and a visit with old friends at the Arc, Jenny and I ventured with the Flugum family to Lowden, IA for the rehearsal dinner.  
Although the pastor lady was a little crazy, it was great to meet Brandon/Jessie's family including their crazy brothers.  A trip down to Iowa City to play some pool and meet up with some of our friends (including Amish) was a good time.  Saturday morning Gump and I went to this awesome breakfast joint in CR, Riley's, and then headed up for hours worth of photos.  You'll notice Ryan has wonderful locks of love, but he did spend a half an hour on the beard trim.  Brandon and Jessie's wedding was absolutely amazing and then we all hopped on the tricked out party charter bus for an hour long ride over to Bettendorf for the real party.  My partner and I dominated the groomsmen/bridesmaid intro dance and after some great speeches, we had to cut a rug on the dance floor.  A big thank you to Brandon and Jessie for asking me to be in the wedding.  You two are great, and yes Brandon, we three roommates definitely have the combined three coolest ladies of any roommate combination of all time!
Sunday I said farewell to the fam in Shueyville and hello to dad's side of the family on Pepperwood Hill.  Thanks to all the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins for coming down to say hello.  Jenny and I had a great time eating some amazing grub, chatting with all the folks and wrestling with my two little cousins where 4 wet willys were exchanged;)
Thanks again everyone for a great weekend and I hope you all have a fantacular week.  Roomy and new bride Jessie, have a great honeymoon and don't forget to stay away from the tin foil and microwaves:)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

March 17, 2009 - Happy St. Patty's Day!

Hey there, hi there and hello there everyone ... wow, it's been a long time indeed!  A big hello to our pup Doc back home, I hope you got something for your one year birthday that you can chew on and most likely destroy in a couple days:)
Had a pretty dern good week at Aflac last week, really steady throughout.  There seems to be a lot more collaboration going on between our Process Innovation & Control (PIC) teams as of
 late, in addition to between the departments because of a few big projects.  It's pretty exciting to see people get pumped up for new ideas and forge new partnerships to get work done.   The team is now rockin'-n-rollin' and I can't wait for Haleigh to get back so we can have a full roster.  We had another great SIFErs in Action meeting this past week where we identified our Leadership Statement and were tasked with coming up with our strengths/weaknesses.  
Even today was a great come back to work day where I think I facilitated one of the best meetings I've had for a very long time.  It's such a great group of people from about 10 different business units from about the company, the infamous OLS Advisory Council (sounds so sophisticated:).
The best part of work over the last week though was yesterday at the Charlotte SIFE Regional competition in North Carolina.  Since I am still a part of the program, I had the chance to travel to North Carolina to help recruit the next batch of SIFE Analyst, of which we are getting three ... promising given the times I must say.  I was able to watch some pretty good teams present and it brought me back to the good ol' days!  It's always amazing to see what these kids (I know, I'm only a couple years older but I can say it), are able to do ... very inspiring.  I spoke with a couple rock starts during our Top to Future Top forum and whilst at the Aflac booth.  We most definitely gave away a flock of ducks ... get it?  It was good times and I met some amazing people; it reassures me that SIFE was the best thing that I have probably ever been/and will continue to be a part of.
Last week I also had a chance to pull all the Literacy Alliance folks together to chat about our "Real Heroes Read" program happening on May 2nd.  We've ordered almost 2,000 comics to reach the 4-6 grades to get them excited about reading.  We're inviting local heroes that will include the Columbus PD, Fire Dept., a military man, EMT and even Batman to read to the children.  In addition, we will have super hero drawing sessions for the kids and a motivational speech all for free at the Library.  It's going to be an amazing event.  Mom, you will also be proud to know that I am going to present the Volunteer Youth Camp to our United Way folks
 on Thursday, so keep your fingers crossed!  We finished up a bit of shelving for Easter Seals
 this past weekend as well, which is always a good time working for those folks!
The ol' En Fuego team has yet to pick up our first victory, but the kids are still having fun and learning along the way ... I just hope all the fun pays off with a victory some game soon!  I also started playing this last week.  You all would've been proud, I didn't even say a word to the ref and only had one sarcastic comment for the other team and that was only after a guy got up and kicked grass at me like a bull behind him ... it was too great of an opportunity to let pass by without poking fun:)  O yeah, I scored our team's only two goals ... which you can probably imagine, if I'm the only one scoring, that's not good:(
O yes, and I can't forget about the great time I had this evening with the Columbus Contemporaries at the Columbus Museum.  They had a networking event with an artistic twist.  I met some very cool cats before we all got together to learn how to paint a pear ... sounds simple enough right?  Well, all the ideas started flowing through my head and I figured if a smashed car window could turn into art, then I most definitely could create something worthwhile.  Shown here is the piece I entitled, "Stars at Sunset."  It's a pear sitting outdoors on the grass at sunset with the snow falling.  You'll notice the sunshine with the flock of birds and a cloud that cast an inproportionnate shadow on the pear that sits among the Bob Ross happy trees.  Funny thing about the trees is that they are in the background, but if you look closely ... one of the pines actually creeps in front of the pear.  It was a majestic experience and now I know why I stick with spreadsheets:)
Bob Ross left thousands of the nin-gen kids inspired to lead a happy life with his show, "The Joy of Painting."  I leave you with the morsel of the week from a childhood idol, "Little bit of black, a little bit of blue.  Some criss-cross strokes, or little x's, whatever you want to call them. 
Whatever.  There you go..."  Life is too short not to see the happy trees ... have a great week!
PS, can't wait to see all the family and friends back home ... Horman's gettin' hitched and good times will be had by all:)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 8, 2009 - I'm renaming this weekend amazing ... b/c that's what it was!

Hey there, hi there and hello there.  The name of this post is a direct quote from a very redneck vendor at my first NASCAR event, what a great description of the fun-filled week/weekend!  I again remind you that yes indeed, Jenny and I have been together for now one year and a day.  I've never celebrated an "anniversary" before (and one and a half month anniversary didn't count back in the day:), so that's pretty darn sweet I must say.It was quite a wonderful work week at Aflac indeed.  I had a great opportunity to sit down for my monthly one-on-one sessions with each team member, this particular session was performance review time.  It's always a good feeling to go through them with folks and in the end, they're not confused about where they sit.  I learned more about my potential role for Aflac's blogging efforts, but only time will tell if we will have the resources available to dive into this two "duck" feet at a time ... haha, corny I know:)  We did finalize a change request for our IT partners that will save the company over $200,000/year ... which is exhilarating I must say!
We had another couple great soccer practices throughout the week which culminated in our first game this weekend.  For some reason or another, the league thinks it's a good idea to have the returning league champ play us opening day, and needless to say we did not come out the victor.  Although we didn't win, I was pretty proud of the way the kids played together and didn't get to down; especially knowing the fact that we were down three players and had only
 one sub on a hot afternoon.  We will continue to improve and maybe Thursday, we can pull one out!
This weekend was, like the title says, amazing.  This weekend marked the annual Miss Georgia Forum Weekend where all of the area Miss/Teen champs join up in Columbus to learn about the next few month's worth of events.  Although I said I would never do it again, I somehow said yes to putting together the program again this year.  So, I had to spice it up a bit of course!  Instead of giving a plain jane presentation to all of the franchises, parents and contestants, I
 put together a slightly entertaining power point.  I actually had a bunch of parents tell me I should take my show on the road;)  I then was able to help facilitate some pointers for the young ladies on the art of public speaking, where I reminded them to get in touch with their Inner CHE: Confidence, Honesty and Enthusiasm.  
That night thought was another story, because the rest of the board of trustees and the field directors are crazy too!  I've never seen the show, but apparently Project Runway is a big hit with pageant ladies, so we did our own rendition of Project Runway, Miss GA style.  Our reigning Miss GA, Chasity Harman, is a great girl and quite funny I must say.  She was the emcee as these 60 some girls strutted their stuff on the stage ... the catch was, their outfits were all homemade!  Each group of girls were given a specific set of stores in which they could buy their material (i.e. Home Depot/Lowes, Winn Dixie/Publix, Hobby Lobby/Michael's and more).  
These girls were so creative I was about on the floor with all of the creativity to include dresses made out of plastic cups, towels and shower curtains with accessories from EASY buttons to pheasants.  Afterwards Chasity and I strutted our stuff on the runway and did our blue steel model pose.  It was great fun and exciting to see my fellow trustees let loose a bit and the girls have a good time with the Cupid Shuffle.
After a night on the town, Sunday sprung forward too quick ... but as they say in the South, "Sunday's race day ... yeeeehhah!"  Off I went on the fourth charter bus full of Aflac
employees to my first ever NASCAR event up at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Cobalt Tools 500.  One of the first things I noticed is what some called the redneck yacht club (aka, winnebago row:).  There were some great vendors there to take pictures with, play skeet-ball, whack-a-mole and sample.  I'm not the biggest NASCAR fan because I just don't get the excitement of turning left, but I will say that the race day festivities were a great time.  The tickets I won gave us free passes to pit row where we got to see the #99 Aflac car driven by Carl Edwards.  
There were some pretty cool sights to see, food to eat (including dippin' dots) and my favorite activity of the day ... mullet watching of which I won the mullet picture contest.  Carl ended the day in third place, but besides the sunburn and loudness of the event, I will say that I had a pretty decent time.
This should be a fun upcoming week indeed, so I can't wait to reflect on it next week.  I may be a day late or so with a trip to Charlotte, NC for SIFE regionals, but I will be back nonetheless.  In the famous words of my new NASCAR friend, rename this week amazing ... because that's what it is!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March 1, 2009 - Wow ... a year gone by:)

Hey there, hi there and hello there from snowy Columbus, GA.  That's right, I said snowy Columbus for the first time in seven years:)  I do believe a special hello goes out to my girlfriend Jenny ... wow, a year already ... time goes by pretty fast when you're flying by the seat of your pants;)  Thanks for all of the great times ... I can't wait for what's to come!
Aflac was a bit less crazy this past week, but still a good time.  I gave the Policy Service future state presentation to four of our VP division heads and it went over like ice cold Kool-Aid on a hot summer day:)  I also was very excited to have have two new folks start on the team this week, Jaime and Alicia.  I had one on ones with each of them and I think they are going to be great additions to the teams. Both of them are finishing up their MBA just like another member of the team, John.  We've got a lot more planned for this week, including lots of money saving activities:)
It was a great week for some volunteer action and it started off at the Miss Georgia Pageant board of trustees meeting.  We have forum weekend coming up this weekend where I get to chat with the ladies about the program and how we're streamlining all of the efforts ... everything online.  No more pieces of paper for me!!  Then on Wednesday, I had the great opportunity to go over to Columbus State to help the CSU SIFE team recruit new team members.  We had about 15 students show up and I talked their
 ear off about how amazing SIFE is and how it can change their life.  They had 3 people come that night to their class, so I think it went quite well.
The Literacy Alliance Trivia Bee was probably the best experience of the week though.  It's our biggest fundraiser of the year and I think we ended up raising >$15,000 between the corporate team sponsorships and the silent/live auction items.  My pal Tina set me up with another costume in the form of a book necklace.  It was a great time, I wish more people would've joined.  The Aflac team took first place followed by the hilariously dressed team from Communicorp.  I must say, it's kind of sad to hear everyone complaining about this whole
 "economic crisis" all the time, and then when an opportunity to have some fun and let loose for free comes up, they say no thanks ... interesting.
On Saturday I braved the to
rrential downpour and tornado warnings to head over to downtown elementary for the Toastmasters Area International Speech Contest.  We had three areas represented at the contest, with each having representatives from various clubs.  I gave my speech on "Moral Opportunity" which apparently went over very well because I was awarded first place.  I'm very honored to be representing area 21 at the Division C contest in April ... I will keep you posted on how it goes.  In addition, Monster asked me to resubmit my resume and a video of one of my speeches to apply for a position with their Diversity Leadership Program.  It's a weekend program in 9 cities across the nation that educates college students about the pillars of leadership, networking and jump-starting their career ... right up my alley:)  Check it out at:  I'll keep you posted on if I make it into that one too.
O yes, and for the first time in seven years, it snowed here in sunny Columbus, GA.  We had 70 degree weather on Friday, tornadoes yesterday and about 3-4  inches of snow today.  My neighbors said it hasn't snowed this much in 15 years, so much for that whole global warming thing eh?  So I did what every Iowa boy would do when snow fell, I went out and played!  First thing I had to do was scrounge up all of my snow gear, most of which is still back in Shueyville.  Then I had to get creative with the finding of a sled, which turned out to be a pretty slick cookie sheet.  I went trudging through the perfect packing snow to find a hill and down I went, slow but steady, on my first sled run in Georgia.  
After that I rolled up a big ol' snowman before heading out on the 
town in search of more hills.  I didn't find many, but I did stop by the local Dollar General where the lady at the register was kind enough to give me an alternative blue sled (aka a tub top
per).  That didn't work too well, so I went back to the snowman to finish him off with a cheese head, banana smile, leftover meatball eyes and a scarf ... o yes, and half of a deer antler:)  It was great fun indeed and I even got to hang out with my roommates nephew Kilper, he loved throwing some snowballs and walking around in the fluffy stuff!

That's about all of the excitement I could possibly bear in a weekend, so until next time, have a wondermous week.  O yes, and happy one year anniversary to you Jenny ... can't wait to see you again in a couple weeks;)