Sunday, January 31, 2010

January 31, 2010 - I gotta feeling

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. A special happy birthday wish out to Tracy Urell and cousin Macy ... hope you both have a great day! I know it's crazy to think, but February is already here ... 1 month down, 11 to go:) O, and as promised, here is the New Orleans Flash Mob video (
Aflac went by pretty quick this week as 2010 planning continues, even though we're already here! I was able to help put together the Policy Service state of the department meeting, even if I was only told about it a day before. In addition to that, I was able to write my first blog for the Duck Pond. The Duck Pond is the online service community that I manage for our accounts and it's a blast to see what our customers have to say! Unfortunately I was not able to link any YouTube videos like I do on my blog here, but it's fun to publish nonetheless.
Class continued on this week with much Financial Accounting and Marketing to be learned yet. Caden and I also said farewell to Jenny for a week as she headed back to Iowa to hang out with her nephew Landon, niece Karley and the rest of the family/friends. We miss her, but found it a great opportunity to have a man's night at the bachelor pad ... so, we played ping pong for about 5 hours ... it was amazing:)
This weekend was pretty chill with a showing of "The Book of Eli." If you have yet to see this film, it is a must ... Denzel delivers again in a great film with an awesome headfake at the end. The rest of the weekend was full of playing with Caden, laundry, cleaning house, finishing my taxes, homework and making dried beef on toast ... can't beat that, but can't wait to have the lady back!
Hope you all have a great week and start to February.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24, 2010 - Amazing Weekish

Hey there, hi there and hello there. Ok so it's been a bit since I was last on here, but Bourbon street was calling my name last Sunday:) Between trips to New Orleans and school starting back up, I couldn't even begin to tell you where the week went!
The Duck continues on strong and the team is transforming just a bit. Over the last year or so, it's been tough to really change the activities of a few folks, but we've made a conscious effort at the beginning of 2010 to truly grow the analysts on my team and I think it's working out well. We all sat in a room and came up with our goals for the upcoming year and now that they're posted outside of my cube, we can all hold each other accountable. Some want to go back to school and still some more want to get more involved in extra-curriculars while two others are on their way to baby parenthood.
We did come up with a team goal to trim ourselves down around the edges, a "Biggest Loser Campaign" if you will ... but, they came up with a better name: Sir Runz a lot and his Heft Friendz, yes I'm still laughing. Thirteen weeks from now we'll step back on the scale and hopefully achieve our goal of losing pretty much an entire person, 140 pounds:) In addition to that, we gathered for a delayed team Christmas party at the pad ... only a month late! We all had a great time having a dirty Santa gift exchange, eating some burgers and playing some board games. I have to thank my team for my gift ... an afternoon of paintballing with the crew, it's going to be a blast!
This past week also brought my 4th trip to New Orleans (Nawlinz) for hurricane relief. Some may believe that since it's not in the papers or headlines anymore that there isn't work to be done, but I know that there is at least another decade of assistance needed in the area. It's so good to see the progress over the last five years, but parts of the ninth ward and outside of the French Quarter are just saddening to the heart knowing so many people have left and will never return.
This year I brought 11 pals from Columbus down to Camp Hope to help revitalize the area. You can't beat a school full of bunk beds where grown adults convene for some camraderie and service. Although the first couple of days were pretty dreary with spotty rain we took our world renown painting skills to Habitat for Humanity. Friday we painted the entire outside of Ms. Joyce's home which was followed by Saturday's indoor excursion. Nothing like a fresh coat of paint to truly make a house feel like a home. We met some amazing volunteers, but the most rewarding was late Saturday afternoon when the soon-to-be owner Joyce came to tell us her story. Ever since the hurricane 4 years ago, she and her family have been living with friends. She has put in many hours to earn her Habitat home and jumped for joy seeing the new paint on her pad. She's never had her own shower before and hearing her story made all the muddy steps worth it!
Saturday also included a trip to Bourbon street for the festivities after the Saints win. I never could imagine how much a city could be lifted up by a sports team, but this football team truly brings hope to those that are a part of New Orleans. But, we decided to make a splash of our own with the "I gotta feeling" flash mob. Although I can't show you the video quite yet, just imagine a group of ten people breaking out in a choreographed dance in sync on Bourbon street. O yes, and two more times the next day in the French Quarter. I want to build the momentum for the video next week as it's my dream to have a YouTube video with >1,000 hits ... so I'll have to leave you guessing on what it's all about:)
Giving back didn't stop in New Orleans though as the day after we returned to Columbus was my first day as the Chair of the Literacy Alliance. Our first quarterly meeting of 2010 welcomed new board members, fresh ideas and a challenge in this economic time to meet the needs of a community. We started the year off with a bang though with our 2nd annual "It's All About Words" event. Every one of the 30 some elementary schools and more than thirty community members painted their favorite word/phrase on a canvas to raise awareness about the importance of literacy. A silent and live auction headlined the event that helped us raise over $1,000 for the cause. I'll have to admit, being the auctioneer for the live auction was quite fun indeed, but I'm going to stick with my day job:)
Amidst an age of technology, Twitter, Facebook, PS3s and Wiis ... we can't forget to engage our families in the lost art of loving to read. Now I have to admit my new Financial Accounting and Marketing Management textbooks aren't the most exciting, many others have captured my imagination over the years. My morsel of the week is for those young readers to be out there, "Books, I found, had the power to make time stand still, retreat or fly into the future." ~Jim Bishop
Jenny is excited to be headed back home this week to visit her little nephew Landen for the first time. I don't know what Caden and I are going to do, I'm sure we'll have lots of parties:) I look forward to getting you a couple videos next week for your viewing pleasure, but until next time ... have a great week!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2010 - Bound for the bayou

Hey there, hi there and hello there to one and all. I had to step away from my TV for a bit before I threw something at my Packers, but hopefully they can pull it together for a comeback victory in Arizona ... fingers crossed. A happy birthday to a fellow Packer uncle Pat and Grandma Park ... hope you both have a great Monday birthday:)
It's amazing how much can be packed into a two day workweek, but it felt like we put in 5 days of work between Thursday and Friday ... 2010 is going to be ridiculous! I have one on one meetings with everyone on the team this year and we're all going to get together for New Years resolutions, should be something fun for all of us to keep tabs on each other ... at least for the next few months!
This week is going to be fun with the Literacy Alliance as I'm getting ready to take over the chair position. We have our first exec council meeting and then on Wednesday, I'm hosting new board member training. I think it should be pretty fun and the experience is going to be great! We also have a Young Professionals gathering on Tuesday evening, yup I got pulled in again with that organization. I'm helping them put together the Get on Boards workshop that we did back home with the ol' MMC SIFE team. I've helped four of my buddies on local non-profits over the last few months and I think this workshop will get even more young people involved.
Later in the week, 13 of us are packing up the cars and making the trip down to New Orleans to help them rebuild after the various hurricanes over the last 5 years. This will be my 4th trip to the bayou and the first few were all about demolition and clean-up while this trip is going to be centered on helping the New Orleans Habitat build new homes ... quite the 180 from a few years ago. We're staying at Camp Hope where everyone is very excited about the return of bunk beds:)
Welp, I'm off to make some spaghetti ... should be tasty indeed. I think that the start of 2010 should kick-start the weekly morsels. We'll start this week with a quote from Mitch Albom's "Have a little faith." It's a great book about discovering and reconnecting with your faith, and this passage was pretty powerful, "Maybe all you get are chances to do good, and what little bad you do ain't much bad at all." Take every chance you get to do good and those flashes of bad will be overshadowed indeed!
Nate Klein

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6, 2010 - Go Hawks!

Hey there, hi there and hello there ... o yes, and a happy New Year to one and all!! I know it's been a good bit since the last one, but I have a good reason ... the Iowa Hawkeyes!
The year finished up pretty good at Aflac and I feel pretty grateful to have such a wonderful team, but I can already tell that 2010 is going to be so much more. Just like everyone else, we're going to be asked to do more and more, with a bit less and less. It's going to be a trying year indeed, but I wouldn't have it any other way ... I love a good challenge! I think I'll end the week with 12 meetings in two days if that's any indication of the amazingness to happen in 2010 at the duck:)
O yes, and the monthly slap-down, aka good times with ping-pong, also happened last week with a bunch of guys from work. It was my first opportunity to test my pong skillz outside of my own garage and I have to say I held my own, with the cast and all! Speaking of cast, I'm pretty sure that my leg is healed after getting that nice smelling cast off, phew. I have a big ol' boot now, fully functional with a pump, very similar to the Reebok Pumps of old:)
And then Jenny, Caden and I started the New Year off with a bang by traveling down to Miami for the FedEx Orange Bowl festivities. Thanks to my buddy Todd Dunford, Jenny and I had free tickets to the game, so we footed the bill for the hotel and activities for the weekend leading up to the game. New Year's Eve we arrived a bit after 6pm and made our way to pick up Todd and some friends at FontaineBleau, Fountain Blue for those of us that didn't want to pay $400/night:) After driving by the Mazerratis, Lambos and Ferrari's lined up in the valet I had to turn down a Lady GaGa performance at their hotel, the tickets weren't expensive enough at $300 a pop:) We celebrated on the beach with the Orange drop and brought in the New Year with amazing fireworks.
The next few days we hung out at the hotel and with our pals and played catch with Caden. Dan Wolfe and wife Jen took us down to South Beach for a bit of a walk about and some fine dining. Let's just say that the fine dining though, was a little dodgy with some shady characters at the healm of Miami's finest restaurants. After some grub, we went to walk around the shops of Miami Beach which were many.
Sunday we ventured to the Everglades for a boat tour of the great wild. We saw many a bird and swampy area, but no gators roaming about. We returned to the facility for a gator show though and saw a crazy redneck wranglin' some gators, one even named killer. After the show, Jenny and I both got to hold Snappy, the tiny gator. Gator time was followed by some good times with old friends Matt Schmidt and Stefan Doerrfeld. We ventured to the Sunrise Cafe, aka big hole in the wall bar filled with Hawk fans. Lots of pool was played and Jenny even beat Ricky Stanzi's dad and little brother, nothin' like beating the QBs fam:)
Monday was almost time for game day, so we all gathered at the convention center for the Hawk Huddle where thousands of fans got together for a pep rally. It was fun to hear the band, hear from Hawk announcers and meet some old pals. That night was capped off by some party action down on Ocean Ave. at the Clevelander where it seemed like every single person there was a Hawk fan. A late great night with friends and Hawk cheers ensued.
Then, it was game day so we started like we did every day ... with lots of extended sleep! An early start to the tailgate began about 2 that afternoon. We played some catch, ate some grub, did some cheers and obviously we had to go heckle the opposing team's ban and cheerleaders! A man pyramid was marveled by the cheerleaders and baton twirler, whilst the pose with the tuba was not so much appreciated:) We also hung out with other Hawk fans as well in addition to going to take pictures with the Iowa band.
I tried to sell Orange Bowl oranges to the fans at Landshark stadium, but I didn't have any takers. So, I decided to make some official Orange Bowl accessories. I created a orange peel chin strap as well as a necklace. Additionally, I made the Orange Bowl mascot, almost life size:) We also attempted a new world record with 28 beach balls at one time in a stadium, previous record was 23. O yes, and all of them had our buddy's name and contact info on them, great advertising for a realtor:) It was about that time that we headed to the stadium to pick up our tickets, thanks to my buddy Todd ... thanks! The seats couldn't be beat, second row on the 10 yard line by the Hawks' Nest. The fans from Iowa beat the Yellow Jackets off the field and the black hats on the field took it to Georgia Tech. Our defense dominated the triple option all night long and Stanzi orchestrated some great drives to give the Hawks a 24-14 victory pulling another big bowl win for the Big Ten!
Welp, it is past my bedtime and work is calling my name in the morning. Hope you all had a great start to the new year and I will see you all again on Sunday!