Nature Day

When was the last time you were intentional about spending time in nature?

I live only two hours from one of the world’s most beautiful mountains, but don’t visit it often enough. And usually when I do, I’m working too hard on two wheels to truly enjoy it. It’s trippy driving through the Paradise parking lot and looking at license plates from all over the country. Its proximity probably contributes to my taking it for granted.

Amazingly, the sky and hija’s social calendars opened up last Thursday, so the four of us spent the bulk of the day hiking to Bench and Snow Lakes from the Stevens Canyon trailhead. Highly recommended. Spotty snow through the first mile and solid snow the final 400 meters. One daughter with a 3.9 g.p.a. wore sandals which proves good grades and common sense are not inextricably linked.

At one point I found myself 30 meters behind the galpal. I fired three snowballs at her and each landed right between her shoulder blades. My mad John Elway, Will Ferrel Elf-like snowball skills never cease to amaze me.

One half of the family makes A LOT of noise when they hike. Wonder if anyone at Saturday Night Live would be interested in a “Loud Hiking Family” sketch?

After lunch at Snow Lake and the hike back out, we visited the nice, new Visitors’ Center. The 20m long movie was excellent.

Do yourself a favor, unplug and make time for nature this summer.

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Physical Intimacy

Three hundred plus posts in I’m sufficiently warmed up to take on the taboo. Well, in a half-ass, “what if my daughters stumble upon this” kinda way.

Heard a report on Seattle’s NPR station recently that said the average adult in the U.S. has sex 85x/year. Previously, I had heard or read it was 2x/week, so I guess people are less intimate than previously. Washington Staters are lagging at 72x/year, mostly because of the guys I run with, but we lead the nation in outdoors sex. I can’t think of any other factoid that has done more for my self esteem. Makes sense, moderate summer temps, no bugs, and we love our mother earth.

I got very excited recently when I saw a rubber cord tied to the headboard. Turns out it was for physical therapy purposes only.

You’ll recall a while ago that I learned any self respecting blogger is supposed to be helpful to readers, mostly via sporadic, specific advice. So here goes.

Maintain the spark by maintaining an edge. Por exemplar, when the galpal saw this picture of me giving it to the man by breaking the speed limit, she took me by the hand and suggested we go outside.

Blurry because of the extraordinary speed

Marshmellow Eaters

An excerpt from a New York magazine profile of David Brooks.

Brooks’s favorite social-science study is known as the Marshmellow Experiment. A child is left in a room with a marshmallow for fifteen minutes. If he restrains himself from eating the marshmallow, he gets a second one. If not, he doesn’t. The test turns out to be a predictor of all kinds of habits in adult life. Children who show self-control in front of a tasty marshmallow score higher on the SAT, struggle less in stressful situations, maintain friendships better, and have fewer problems with drugs. Brooks is concerned we’ve become a nation of marshmallow eaters. We want tax cuts and more entitlements, without realizing the contradiction. We want speedy, in-and-out wars. We want a president who can fix any crisis—even an oil spill he’s not equipped to solve.

What most intrigued me about the profile was Brooks saying he doesn’t think he can change people’s minds. That type of humility is refreshing for sure, but I think he is particularly well positioned to change people’s minds.

I agree with him on marshmellow eating. The question is whether there are enough self-disciplined adults to work together to help young people learn to work today, tomorrow, and the next several days for some future reward whether that be the gratification of completing a meaningful project, living debt-free, or earning downtime?

When Good Things Happen to Good People

June 2004. A favorite student and I are talking about meeting up after the US Open at Pumpkin Ridge Country Club where her family are members. My family and her family plan to meet afterwards at a restaurant for dinner. Coincidentally, within 60 seconds of walking the course, I bump into her. She says “change of plans” and “can you please join us at the house for a barbeque instead”?

Turns out they were hosting a young player, Katherine Hull, from Australia, fresh out of Pepperdine where she set an NCAA record with a 64 in one tournament. Hull hadn’t qualified for the Open, but like Lance Armstrong pre TdF, she was walking the course, doing reconnaissance for future opens.

I was amazed by her selflessness, personality, and maturity. Despite staying in other people’s houses all the time, she interacted with everyone for the entire meal, talking to A and J and eventually signing golf balls for them. I learned she took up golf kind of late and is a committed Christian.

Truth be told, she made a more lasting impression on me than the double X’s. Probably in part because they have never fantasized about playing golf for a living. Long story short, I’ve followed her career ever since. Last weekend, she shot 65 on Saturday (low round of the day) and finished tied for 7th. Career earnings, $2.2m+.

She was incredibly grounded in 2004. My guess is her success and the money haven’t gone to her head.

Footnote: How much is the LPGA struggling? Hull’s tied for 7th paycheck, $24k. Last week’s tied for 7th PGA paychecks, $199.5k.