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Happy Holidays From The Umbachs

Christmas Card 2012

‘Twas the night before our 15th Christmas and the family is spent,
Nary was a sound uttered, except from our cage of rodents,

The hamsters were nestled and snug in their bed of fluff,
A gift from Santa last year along with lots of other stuff,

The echo of their spinning wheel made its usual hum
But another sound I heard rustle was not the usual one,

Major, our thirteen-year-old “guard dog” didn’t even budge,
These days it takes a lot to stir him, more like a strong nudge,

Down the stairs in my boxers I flew to try and catch a sight,
As soon as I hit the bottom, I could see ‘twas the refrigerator light,

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But Santa, rummaging around for a cold beer,

“Help yourself Santa; don’t let me make you stop,”
The fat man had come to expect our annual man-time with hops,

“A lot of people on the naughty list after this election season,
As if my night’s To Do list wasn’t enough of a drinking reason,”

“Umbach, don’t just stand there, fill your glass with some suds,
Let’s get to it; I’m already nearing the bottom of this chilled mug!”

The annual family update weighed heavily on his mind,
As we gathered ‘round the iPad to look at our Facebook timeline,

Our son is now six and in first grade at a new school,
He can’t wait ‘til football, but for now soccer, gymnastics and wrestling will do,

Our daughter is nine and is showing Logan the ropes in fourth grade,
She’s added violin to gymnastics and her expanded soccer play,

Yoga and running continue to keep Debbie on her feet,
This year she even added the sports title of tiathlete,

Reach the Beach, B2B and PMC is where Heath spent his time,
A separated shoulder seemed his only week off from a ride,

This summer was our first to join the swim club in our ‘hood,
Both kids enjoyed success swimming for Team Greenwood,

Once again we managed our annual New England escape,
This year was in Brewster for a week on the Outer Cape,

Work remains exciting with responsibly old and new,
For Deb another year at VCE and Heath at PatientKeeper too,

I soon began to worry that Santa was beginning to tire,
Although it was clear that his tolerance had become much higher,

With backwash in his mug and a twitch of his fat head,
Both my stories and his workload he was starting to dread,

So he gathered up his sack and he headed for the door,
He enjoyed our time together but was tempted to drink one more,

Alas he was the wiser and decided to no longer pause,
He knew better than to risk the wrath of his real boss, Mrs. Claus,

As he leapt from my chair, our dog he could barely avoid,
Such hurry was he in that he nearly forgot his charging Android,

Then he shouted as his sled launched from above our roof tip,
“Be well, stay healthy and beware the Fiscal cliff!”

2012 was my 6th year of riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge.  Thanks to you, I’ve raised over $28,000 for cancer research and treatment!  My team once again raised around $190,000 and the entire field delivered a check for $37M, 100% of which was given to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in November!  I am humbled as always by your support.


A Very Late Thank You – PMC 2012 Recap

How appropriate that I’ve waited (procrastinated) long enough to be able to add all of YOU to my list of things for which I am thankful during the holiday season. Thanks to your continued generosity, we were able to contribute $4,630 toward the $37 Million that was delivered to the Jimmy Fund on behalf of the Pan-Mass Challenge on November 4, 2012 (100% of which went directly toward fighting cancer)! The winner of this year’s $200 drawing (randomly picked by the kids from among a slew of construction paper) is Debbie Edson. Your check is in the mail!

This year’s ride was much warmer and dryer than last year’s. About the only new wrinkle was my nickname in the peloton – hunchback – in reference to the bag of ice shoved between my jersey and separated shoulder from 3-weeks prior. Nothing a little Harpoon IPA at the finish couldn’t cure. Debbie and the kids weren’t able to join me at the finish this year as they were successfully representing our swim club in the league championships. I was sad to miss them but knew they would have more fun in the pool than in the car watching 5,000 riders fly by in spandex.

There were many lasting images from the weekend, but I’ll share one in particular from about one month prior to PMC weekend.

Original Jimmy Fund Donation Box – Fenway Park

Many of you may not know that the Red Sox formed a partnership with the Jimmy Fund back in 1953 – the longest standing, most extensive, and significant team-charity relationship in all of professional sports. The Sox and the Braves (who left Boston for Milwaukee the year the Jimmy Fund/Sox relationship formed) used to play an annual Jimmy Fund charity game in Fenway as a way of breaking Spring Training before the start of the regular season. I know this because my father told me upon our first of many trips to Fenway together. He knows this because he played in that game when he was a Braves rookie, in 1966. I’m willing to bet this donation box was hanging on a column just like this one on that day in 1966 – perhaps with a few less layers of green paint on it, but one like it nonetheless.

The Jimmy Fund endures because of the efforts of volunteers and donors like you. Thank you again for your support for this charity and this important cause.

The Case for Inbound Marketing

One of the better presentations I’ve seen on the case for inbound marketing comes from HubSpot.  In sum, it’s better to be found by your target audience than to bother them with email and advertising.  They are not only tuning you out, but they are unsubscribing from your lists. Companies need to “stop interrupting what people are interested in and BE what people are interested in.”  Customers and prospects will find you so long as you are participating in the conversation with the right content and through the right channels.

This presentation itself provides a great example.  Posted to slideshare over 1 1/2 years ago, it’s still being shared and receiving comments as recently as 1 week ago! That’s useful content, and we’ve all heard that content is king.

Santa’s Gonna #OccupyMyHouse

‘Twas the night before our 14thChristmas and the kids are all snug and dreaming
While I sit reviewing tasks with Pandora in the background streaming,

With SecureGirl reading her iPad and Major tucked in by our side
I better get to sleep soon if I’ve hope of waking up to ride,

Major, age 12

Their homework done and jackets hanging upon each door hook
The kids had just finished reading yet another Harry Potter book,

Then suddenly I jumped remembering what I’d neglected to do
I’d forgotten to leave Santa his cookies and cold brew,

If there’s one thing over the Christmas Eve years I’ve learned
The Jolly Old Elf’s pint on this night is indeed hard-earned,

So I slipped out of bed and descended to the kitchen fridge
Only to see his silhouette perched high upon the frosted ridge,

“Whoa team!” he shouted, “Take a break you overzealous reindeer!
Finally I’m back at the Umbach’s; I can’t wait to grab that annual beer!”

Eschewing the usual chimney entry and opting for the door first
He was clearly ready to sit by the fire and quench his oversized thirst,

“Umbach, where are you, I don’t have all night to take!”
I quickly handed him his glass, hoping the kids would not soon awake,

“What have you been up to Santa, how’s the delivery been?”
Distracted by his Facebook app, Santa was making sure he had checked in,

“Damn this device, I can’t even get a decent 3G network!
Umbach, quickly, what’s your SSID and Wi-Fi password?”

His connectivity now established and social media situation under control
We settled in to discuss the year as his drink began to take hold,

L is now five and for kindergarten getting very tall
He’s started soccer and wrestling to go with gymnastics and karate this fall

T’s in 3rd grade at Haynes where for two more years she’ll stay
She enjoys swimming, gymnastics, soccer, and performing in ballet,

Flowering lotus, one-handed tiger, plank, and half-forward fold
A sampling of yoga poses SecureGirl strikes and somehow manages to hold,

At the crack of dawn healthITjunkie still throws his leg over the bike seat
This marked the 5th year he rode in and raised money for the PMC,

healthITjunkie at the finish of PMC 2011

We are always busy at work with more than enough to do
Deb has joined VCE and I’m back at PatientKeeper for round two,

2011 was a great year for skiing, perhaps even our best
With both kids getting stronger, it’ll soon be time for a trip out west,

With the flowers of spring on Mother’s Day came a small family reunion
Both grandmothers and an uncle were present for Taylor’s 1st Communion,

Throughout the summer the kids enjoyed camp at Drumlin and Thoreau
For L it was his first camp experience while T is an old pro,

Before summer ended we managed to spend another week on the Cape
In advance of Hurricane Irene we were able to make our escape,

His mug now empty, my stories long and mercifully complete
Santa decided ‘twas time to saddle up and again hit the street,

We exchanged but a glance knowing the time was right
For Santa knew better than to cross Mrs. Claus on this night,

Then he shouted from his sleigh rising above the line of trees
“Enough Occupy Wall Street, it’s time we Occupy Our Families!”

Occupy My Fridge


Santa’s Gone Green – Happy Holidays from the Health IT Junkie and SecureGirl

 ‘Twas the night before our 13th Christmas and I could barely hold open my eyes
Wondering if a sweater would be required for tomorrow’s pre-dawn ride,

My neoprene stockings hung drying by the chimney above the fire
But all I could wonder was whether I’d packed a spare tube and tire,

Major, our boxer of eleven years, looked up at me like any other dog
His only concern that I not step on him in my early morning fog,

K slumbered peacefully surrounded by stuffed animals and dolls
While T snoozed, protected by the superheroes adorning his walls,

When from outside I heard something land softly upon the frozen sod
It sounded like a low-pitched hum and was really quite odd,

I slipped out of bed, leaned in and pressed the window to my cheek
When all of a sudden I swore I heard the thud of a boot and a loud kick,

“Hybrid my ass” he yelled tersely and in anger tossed his sack down
It was at this very moment I knew Santa was indeed back in town,

“If I’m to deliver toys in this Go Kart I’d love to know how
This hybrid sleigh ain’t gettin’ it done; I’ll never make my deadline now!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at the elf as he cursed his difficult situation
I soon realized what St. Nick needed was some stiff holiday libation,

“Pssst, Santa,” I whispered, hoping the neighbors wouldn’t awake
“Come inside, let’s talk it over, you clearly need a break,”

“Yes, I suppose I should stop, take inventory and talk beneath your tree
No use driving a sleigh led by Rudolph and his low voltage LED,”

Having downed his first pint of stout and now safely inside
I couldn’t resist asking him why he’d ditched his sweet ride,

“I have to limit my carbon footprint, at least that’s what I’m told
Now naughty kids get recycled plastic rocks instead of a lump of coal,”

“But enough global warming talk,” he said with newfound cheer
“What have the Umbachs been up to during this past year?”

T still goes to Montessori having this spring turned four
He loves tumbling, being read to, and anything Star Wars,

K is now seven and thinks 2nd grade is quite fantastic
She still plays soccer, rides her bike a ton and really loves gymnastics,

Deb’s still jogging & practicing yoga for exercise, but this year she’s found a new joy
Tweeting and blogging as SecureGirl (so different from all the boys)

I still ride regularly with a group of guys when it’s very early
At that hour and that pace, our mood is sometimes a little surly,

This spring we managed to fit in a last-minute trip to Disneyland,
And in the summer, we made our annual trips to Cape Cod and Storyland

Between us we attended 3 reunions spending time with old friends and having great fun
With a 10th b-school and two 20th high school reunions, we certainly weren’t feeling very young,

We continue to enjoy our work, often by night and by day
I’m now a director at PolyRemedy, while Deb is still managing at RSA,

With Deb now in her kerchief and me at the bottom of my mug
I looked at Santa, we bumped fists, and exchanged a big ‘olman hug,

Though his sleigh was fully charged and his belly full of beer
His fondness for more horsepower was still quite clear,

Then he shouted down from his hybrid as he reached for the starter switch
“Recycle and turn off unused lights, this global warming is a bitch!”

2010 was a record-breaking year for the Pan-Mass Challenge.  The PMC Kids rides (of which K is a 2-time rider) raised over $810,000!  The “adult” PMC raised $33M, and thanks to many of you, I was able to contribute$5,475 to that total (my largest amount to date)!  I sincerely thank you for your continued support.

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