Back in 2012, my dad asked me to apply for tickets to The Masters. He had been applying for a few years and wasn’t having any luck getting tickets through their annual lottery. He figured that having me, my sister, my uncle, and a few others apply would increase his chances of getting to go back to the event, as he was lucky enough to have gone once before.
Every year since then I would apply, and I would get the same response around mid-June:
We have completed the random selection process for Daily Tournament tickets and regret to inform you that your application was not selected for tickets.
I’m certain that many of you are familiar with that message.
This year, I was shocked when I opened the email with the standard 2018 Masters Tickets subject line and read the following:
Congratulations. The Masters Tournament is pleased to announce that our random selection process for 2018 Practice Rounds tickets has been completed and your application for tickets has been selected.
My immediate reaction was what do I do now? To which my Dad replied, BUY THE TICKETS!!!
Needless to say, the tickets were purchased, and the planning began. It was a long wait from the time I received the email on June 20, 2017 to attending the practice round on April 4, 2018.
If Jim Nantz calls the tournament “A tradition like no other,” then attending The Masters is an experience like no other. It is difficult to convey how impressive everything in and around the event is in words and pictures, but I’m going to give it a try in the rest of this post.
Ferris Bueller was right when he said, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
It seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that we moved Brad into his freshman dormitory at Eastern Michigan University. Well, whether I want to believe it or not, it was four years ago! Yup, four. years. ago. Where did the time go?
We recently got back from Brad’s graduation. Based on the picture at the right, I’m not sure who was happier. I know Brad had to be excited, but we as parents were also happy to have our second one through college. Having the financial burden and responsibility of a second child finishing school is a clear cause for celebration. It’s also a time for reflection, which I did plenty of during the weekend.
Well, well, well. I thought that this would be the year that I would retire the beard. I was wrong. Again.
For whatever reason, I just can’t help myself when it comes to growing out the beard. This past year, I started even earlier than normal. Instead of waiting for Mo’vemeber, I started the process in early October. I decided to experiment a little this year with different looks.
For the most part, it was good. Here’s what I learned in the process.
2017 was the fifth year I blogged. Given how many blogs don’t make it past five weeks, I’m pretty happy I’ve made it this far. At this point, I don’t see myself stopping. As I’ve mentioned in the past, you need a reason other than traffic, fame, or money to keep you motivated to blog. I do it for other reasons, which you can read about here. You can also see my prior blog reviews by clicking on the years – 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013.
Overall, 2017 wasn’t my best effort. I fell way behind on my book reviews and have 14 pending at the time of this writing. I had two months this past year, April and May, with zero posts. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s not a lack of ideas holding me back. I have almost 90 post ideas in my queue, not to mention a whole category of posts on startups that pushes the total to somewhere between 110 and 120.
With all that said, I intend to soldier on. My goal remains to hit the elusive 100 posts for the year, which will once again be my goal for 2018. Before we look too far into the future, let’s start by taking look at the past.
I have a problem with my reading list – a big problem.
I organized my reading list over this past week for 2018. I was happy to learn that I read 28 books last year. Unfortunately, it didn’t even make a dent in my master wish list of books since I added 48 new books to my list during 2017. My wish list of books to read is sitting at over 200. Last year, I had 7 years of books on my list. This year it’s grown to 8.
Overall, 2017 was a very good year for book reading. My goal is to read 25 books during the course of a year, with a stretch goal of 30. My book count finished at 28 last year.
I changed things up a bit last year. In the past, I had only one book in progress at a time. In 2017, I almost always had two going at once. I would read a fun book during the evening, and a business or personal mindset book in the morning. I believe this strategy helped push me over the top with respect to my reading numbers. It also shaped my readings as the majority of the books I read last year were of a nonfiction variety. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I’d like to read a longer list of lighter, entertaining books in 2018.
I’m nearly finished compiling my 2018 reading list and plan to post in the next few days or so. In the meantime, here are the books I recommend that you include on your 2018 reading list.
Just like years past, I had three primary fitness goals for 2017 around working out, activity, and diet. 2017 didn’t go quite as I would have liked due to a number of planned and unplanned circumstances. There was travel for work, an extended vacation, and the gym I frequent closed 3 weeks for remodeling. The loss of my furry companion in November didn’t help either.
I’m not suggesting or saying that 2017 was a disaster, it just wasn’t as good as 2016. For 2018, I’m going to make a few minor adjustments, set a couple of stretch goals, and make it happen!
Let’s take a look at 2017, and then set the goals for this year.
It was just over a year ago – December 3, 2016 to be exact. We helped Amanda pack up her stuff and moved her to Santa Barbara. She wanted to be closer to the job she had just started there, and I’m sure that she also wanted to have her own place (and a bit of space from her parents). Living with the parents is fine, to a point.
I was happy for her. Officially moving out is a big deal. It was great to see her achieve a significant milestone.
On the other hand, parts of me were sad. We do a lot for our children and always want the best for them. It’s hard watching them go and not knowing what will happen when they leave. At some point though, we have to do it. As hard as it is, we have to let go.
Resting after a walk (July 17, 2011)
This past Saturday, we had to make the difficult decision to put down our family dog, Blake. Needless to say, it’s been a tough week as we’ve worked our way through the grieving process. It’s amazing how much of a mark these silly, furry little animals make on our hearts and in our lives.
Dogs bring us so much joy, memories, frustrations, and sorrow. They teach us a lot, both about ourselves and about life. Here’s a look at what I learned in the 7-1/2 years I had with Blake.
Compulsory education has existed for over 100 years in our country. The overwhelming majority attend public elementary and high schools. According to the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), ~10% of all US students attend private schools. According to the US Department of Education, around 3% are home schooled. If I do my math correctly, it means ~87% of our children our taught by the public school system. A system that is funded by our tax dollars.
Why do we spend the money and time to educate our children? We’ve determined that our society functions better and that people are more productive if they are provided a minimum level of education. And in today’s international arena, having an educated workforce is a requirement if a country and its business want to be and stay competitive.
Education carries such a high level of importance that every state has public funded institutions of higher learning. These exist as community colleges, teaching colleges, and world-renowned research universities. In my opinion, making higher education accessible and affordable is the cornerstone to a state’s growth. As a resident of California, I would content that affordable access to the University of California system was one of the primary elements leading to the growth of California in the second of the 20th century. It does not surprise me that California’s growth has stagnated in recent times as access to this system has been restricted through reduced public funding and higher tuition costs, but that’s a topic for another time.
If education is important enough to warrant public funding, shouldn’t the health and welfare of our populace be handled the same way?