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Des Moines, Iowa


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OK Go' the dogs.

Geoff Wood

My buddy Travis in Chicago posted this on Facebook this morning and all that I could think about it is which part of this my kid would be more mesmerized by, either the dogs(1) or the stacking of buckets at the beginning.

He loves our two labradors (almost too much, if you were to ask them) and pretty much any dog he sees but he also loves stacking the buckets that Uncle Heath gave him for his first birthday.

By the way, Crazy Uncle Joe really likes the buckets, too.

Crazy Uncle Joe shows off his ability to stack the baby's toys

(1) The little bitty dog at his daycare "Snicki" is now one of his most common things he says. It sounds like a cross between "Gigi" and "Tee-See" when he says it but it's pretty cute. It 100% better than most of the words I learned to say when I went to daycare 25+ years ago.

A dog and his boy

Geoff Wood

Levon, our 8 year old yellow lab, has been Graham's best friend since the day he was born. Last week the two were playing around in Graham's bedroom and Hope snapped these great pics:

Dog in a clothes basket

Geoff Wood

When he was a puppy we'd put him in a clothes basket in the car to attempt to keep him in one place. Several years and 60 some pounds later it appears he's taken to the idea.

Facebook's 25 Random Things

Geoff Wood

There’s been an interesting phenomenon spreading throughout Facebook the last couple weeks called “25 Random Things About Me”. Cleverly named, it’s a list of 25 random things about me (or the person writing it).

You become aware of the list when one of your Facebook friends creates a 25 Random Things list and then “tags” you and 24 other people. You are then given the following instructions:

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

In effect, it’s a combination of the chain letter that’s been around for centuries and the odd e-mail “Get to Know Me”-surveys that were bouncing around collegiate e-mail directories in the last 1990s. However, unlike chain letters, there is no ill will set to fall upon you if you don’t pick up the challenge and unlike those surveys there are no common questions asked of each person.
After being tagged three times by co-workers and once by a family member I decided to capitulate and, since I took the time to create the list I figured that I should also share it here:
  1. I know the difference between a Monument and a Memorial (as in Washington and Lincoln).
  2. I will one day have a job where I can take my dogs to work.
  3. I’ve had the same seats at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa since I graduated in 2000 even though I've lived in Indiana for four of the those years and Nebraska for one.
  4. I still consider myself a “Chevy Truck Guy” even though I’ve happily owned an Acura sedan for over a year. The power of branding is strong.
  5. There is a bit of a strained dichotomy in my life in that I love history and tradition but constantly seek change.
  6. I’ve become a big enough fan of IndyCar racing in our time in Indiana that I was able to recognize 2008 Indy 500 and Indy Car Series champion Scott Dixon when he walked past me in the Indianapolis Airport this summer (we have a great picture).
  7. I have cousins named Rustin, Justin and Dustin (in three separate families).
  8. I pay for a home phone but don’t know the number.
  9. I don’t understand people who have a non-geographic loyalty to a particular professional sports team.
  10. I like to know as much as possible about the sports teams that I follow and as a result I have a hard time just turning on the TV and enjoying a casual NFL or MLB game (unless it’s the Vikings or Twins).
  11. I visualize a map of the United States when thinking about cardinal directions (such as the Atlantic Ocean is East and the Pacific is West). Ever since moving to Indiana, I’m at times confused since the Mississippi River is now West of me.
  12. I think that umbrellas are not masculine but have no problems with scarves and earmuffs (at least the wrap around ones). My opinion has been disputed several times by a few of my MBA classmates.
  13. Other than at the office, as many of my friends refer to me by last name as do my first
  14. I still refer to most of my female friends from college by their last/maiden names (only) even though several have acquired new ones for themselves.
  15. In the last few months I’ve become an avid user of Twitter.
  16. I met Dave Matthews at my first ever company holiday party and no holiday part since has been as exciting.
  17. I never drank coffee until I started graduate school in August 2007, now I drink it a lot. I drink as much of it after 6 PM as I do before 11 AM. I only drink it black – no mochochocalatte-ish drinks.
  18. My greatest athletic accomplishment is somewhere between riding all 471 miles across Iowa in RAGBRAI 2008 and making “Pro” in Wii tennis. Middle school basketball (2 years), high school tennis (2 years), and Iowa State Rugby (1 year) were not quite as successful. I also like to play kickball but we didn’t field a team last season.
  19. After the first time that I went out with my wife, Hope, (we were already friends and she didn’t know it was an “exploratory” date) I decided that I wasn’t going to her ask her out again; she called and asked me out instead.
  20. Hope and I started to a tradition of going to movies every weekend when we first started dating (March 2002); we still see 2 or more per month.
  21. I was the first person I knew to have a CD player when my folks gave me one for my birthday in 5th grade. Everyone bought me CDs that they wanted to listen to: my Sister Sara - Paula Abdul’s “Shut Up & Dance”, my brother Joe – Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” and my folks - Tom Petty’s “Into the Great Wide Open”. I listened to all of them at the time but Tom Petty is the only one that I’d still like to have today.
  22. Over Christmas this year, I visited the neighborhood in Cedar Rapids, Iowa that I grew up in and it still looks like Post-Katrina New Orleans from last summer’s floods. The recovery needed from that disaster has been grossly under publicized. 
  23. I firmly believe that almost all recommendations are crap.
  24. Even though I’m not a Colts fan (like most folks around these parts), I think Peyton Manning is hilarious.
  25. The tater tot is my favorite form of potato. I love the fact that I can order them at The High Life Lounge in Des Moines (though I haven't been there in a few years). 
At first I thought the 25 Random Things list was fairly silly but now I kind of dig it. One of the greatest uses of Facebook for those of us over 22 years of age is to catch up with friends from long ago (like the elementary school classmate who “friended” me this evening). What better way to learn about what they are up to then to view the 25 Random Things about their life that they’ve chosen to share with the world?

The Year of Our Wood - 2006

Geoff Wood

It worked so well last year that we decided to continue with the e-Christmas, er rather, e-New Years’ letter for 2006.

On the move!
The year started quick as we had decided in late 2005 that after nearly a year in the condo that we were definitely “house people” and needed more room for the both of us and our dogs. In early January we closed on a house on the northeast side of Indianapolis that more than doubled our square footage! We’ve truly enjoyed our first year in the house that is only minutes from Geoff’s work and has easy access to the interstate for Hope to get downtown.

Who's here? Who's her? Hoosier? What the..
2006 was our second year as transplanted “Hoosiers’ and we’ve had a lot of fun getting to know more people here in the city. We’re still active in the leadership group for the Indianapolis Cyclone Club and enjoy regular Iowa State gamewatches with friends we knew from school and other Indiana Iowa Staters we’ve met since we got here. The picture at the right is the two of us with former Cyclone star and current Indiana Pacer Jamaal Tinsley at Iowa State Night at Conseco Fieldhouse. For the second half of the year we’ve been participating in a small group for young married couples at our church and enjoy the bi-weekly bible study and other social functions with the group. We enjoyed hosting many of these friends and their four-legged kids at a birthday party for our yellow lab Levon (4 years old already!) at the Broad Ripple Dog Park.

We’re very grateful to Geoff’s co-worker Chad and his wife Jackie who have integrated us into their group of friends in Indianapolis. We enjoyed many nights barbequing, playing bocce ball or cornhole (back in Iowa we called this “the bean bag game”), weekend days on the boat out at Geist Reservoir and even the few rounds of “flippy cup”. We also had a great time with this group camping and boating on Lake Monroe in August. Not to mention we all play together in an organized adult kickball league! We returned the favor when we hosted Chad and Jackie in Ames for the ISU-Nebraska game. We all had an excellent time (save the game) and the Cyclone faithful really showed this Purdue and IU couple how to tailgate, not to mention introduced them to FAC at Peoples.

Track the Storm!
As you’ve probably guessed we made a lot of road trips to Ames for football games this fall. The scores certainly weren’t what we hoped for but the tailgating was excellent as expected. We’re ever grateful to Austin and Mel, Kerry and Renee, and Chad and Mandy for volunteering their spare bedrooms for such visits. With new coaches in basketball, football and wrestling in Ames for 2007 the buzz for the future is truly exciting for Cyclone fans. After one early game Geoff and friend Justin Washburn met new basketball coach Greg McDermott.

Occupational exploits
We are both enjoying our jobs; Hope continues as ACSM’s Assistant Director for Certification and recently opened a side business “The Fitness and Wellness Company” doing personal training and wellcoaching (you’ve probably already received a letter or card ;). It was a busy year for her group but paid off recently when one of the certifications she manages was accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, which is integral to compete in her field.

Geoff had a big year at work with two promotions, first as the GIS Product Manager and very recently as the Information Technology Director for a large civil engineering, GIS, and survey firm headquartered in Indianapolis. He’s keeping busy balancing the two positions and working with his developers and pc and network technician staff in Indianapolis, Ames, and Charlotte, NC. The firm is still growing strong, now with eight offices in Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina and most recently Tennessee.

Leav-in' On A Jet Plane...
Work travel kept pace with 2005 as Hope had great opportunities through work to visit Orlando, Louisville, Denver, Charleston, Harrisburg, PA, Westfield, MA and fabulous Las Vegas and Geoff had trips to Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Boston and several trips to Southwest Florida (as well as trips to the Iowa office nearly every month).

Hope took a couple days off in December to travel back to Iowa in what became a flurry of visits to her siblings, parents, grandparents and friends.

Geoff enjoyed another “Annual Mid-Summer Get Together” at the cabon in Wisconsin with the boys from back home and its annual precursor gathering at the D’Amico house in Cedar Rapids for the NFL Draft party.

We took a personal weekend trip over Labor Day to Louisville, Kentucky and enjoyed touring the horse track at Churchill Downs and 4th Street Live! complex.

We went to Geoff’s cousin David’s wedding in Washington, DC and had also had a great visit with longtime friend Matt Klinger and his girlfriend Jane. This picture was taken while the four of us were hiking the Billy Goat Trail along the Potomac River in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park (we’re standing in Maryland and Virginia is across the water).

Geoff’s folks Mike and Cathy and his youngest brother Sean have settled in nicely to their new home in Bella Vista, Arkansas and we had the benefit of visiting them for both Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving. Brother Joe and his wife Mary are doing well downtown in Des Moines and his newlywed sister Sara and her husband Ryan Keller are in Montezuma, Iowa.

Dixie and Gary are still on the farm near Westgate but Hope's sister Heidi and niece Bailey undertook an exciting move to Mount Pleasant, Iowa where Heidi took on the position of Career Counselor at Iowa Wesleyan College. Her brother Heath and his wife Amy are doing well in Cedar Rapids with their daughters Lauren and Alli and are expecting a third child later this year.

Thanks again for finding our letter online and taking the time to read what became a fairly lengthy discourse. We wish everyone a prosperous 2007!


Hope and Geoff