Jun 7, 2024

What I’m Up To - Vol. 83

Here's what I've been up to since Volume 82...

What I'm Up To Volume 83

Hey friends,

Here’s what I’ve been up to since Vol. 82…

1. May Happenings

Wendy and I kicked off May with a trip to the ranch to see the wildflowers. Nature decided to put on a show for us. The evening we arrived it rained 4 ½ inches. We sat on the porch and watched the lighting as the storm moved through. We took a long walk the next day, gathering flowers, fossils, and whatever treasures we could find. The wet-weather creek was flowing, the ponds flooded, and the fields lush. It made me think of one of my favorite poems, [in-just] by e.e. cummings. It has the line “when the world is puddle-wonderful.” For many a year, puddle-wonderful.com was our family website.

Wildflowers at Better Ranch.

The following week, through some celestial quirk, the Northern Lights appeared in the Southern Latitudes. My sister Jan has been borderline obsessed with seeing them for years. After her cancer, it became a priority. We spent weeks of the winter holidays watching weather reports in hopes of flying to Alaska to see them together. Then this happened.

Aurora borealis spotted in Memphis, Tennessee!

My sister was over the moon, to say the least.

In Vol 81 I shared that I had put down a deposit for a First Edition 2024 Land Cruiser. With only 5,000 being made, I figured it was a long shot. While I was co-hosting our top agent masterminds, I got a text from Toyota. The first one had been delivered but the buyer was backing out. Was I interested? Yes! After a bunch of back-and-forth, the next day Wendy and I took a test drive, traded in my Bronco, and bought the Land Cruiser.

Apologies to my Bronco friends, it’s just a better ride IMHO.

Wendy and I hosted our Heroes for Children fundraiser, Hold’em for Heroes, for the 10th time during masterminds. Lot’s of generous agents and friends showed up to support families with kids battling cancer. We ended up raising over $100,000 bringing our 10-year total to over $1.2M!

Unfortunately, during the event, Wendy learned that her father, Milt, had fallen at his nursing home and been taken to the emergency room. Bruised but not broken, he was sent home after a few days but developed pneumonia. Between work and travel, Wendy shuttled to the hospital to keep him company. Sadly, on May 24th, Milt passed away.

Milt and Wendy at the Franklin Lake.

I lucked out getting Milt as a father-in-law. He was a reader, loved to laugh, a devilishly good card player, an angler, as well as a devoted husband and father. In the years before he got cancer, he would always take my fishing when we visited him in Minnesota. He would create treasure maps for the kids that would occupy them for hours on our visits. He’d take them out for tubing on the lake. He taught me to catch walleye and northern pike. He enjoyed watching me catch bass and perch with my fly rod. We played cards and Farkle for quarters most nights with the kids. Winters, he and his late wife, Kathy, would stay with us and watch the kids when we went to KW Family Reunion. They took an annual census off the loons on the lake each eayr. After Kathy passed, he would stay even longer. I loved to come home to find him reading on the porch with Taco by his side.

He beat cancer against long odds even though it put him in a wheelchair. Last summer, we moved him to Texas to be closer. Despite his body failing him, his mind and wit were sharp to the very end. The day before he passed, Wendy noticed him rubbing his eye in the hospital bed. “Do you have something in your eye?” she asked. He cocked an eye in her direction, and replied, “ My finger.” We’ll miss you, Milt.

There were many highlights this month. My great niece turned four. Gus hosted all his friends at the ranch. We celebrated Mothers Day with Wendy’s mom and sister. My friends Matt, Steph, and Dan all visited. We got a new ride and raised money for a good cause. It was a great month except for having to say goodbye to a great man.

2. What I’m Reading

For fiction I read The Target by David Baldacci and First Lie Wins by Ashley Elston. The Target is the third book in the Will Robie series, which is now effectively Jessica Reel’s series too. A little formulaic but perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. First Lie Wins is a terrific thriller with lots of twists. Wendy and several friends read it together and it was fun to dissect. Books and shows are always better with a social circle in my opinion.

I finally got around to reading The 200% Life by my friends, Adam Herganrother and Hallie Warner. It’s about balancing a life of high performance with purpose and meaning. Short with some good nuggets if that’s what you need.

I picked up How I Invest My Money by Joshua Brown and Brian Portnoy to continue my ongoing financial education. The authors convinced a few dozen financial advisors and writers to share their portfolio’s and strategies, which was novel in itself. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Unsurprisingly, most invest in low-cost funds, not the actively traded ones they or their peers may earn their living with. A few were all in on their own products as a matter of integrity. Several noted that financial alignment with your spouse is an underrated asset. I agree whole-heartedly. Your “Why” and your childhood relationship with money were noted by many as huge factors as well. I could classify this one as a “skimmer.” Browse the chapters in dive into the essays that align with your values.

3. What I’m Watching

Gus and I watched to watch some action movies together this month. We started with Article 370 (Netflix) which felt a bit like a docudrama on how Kashmir was brought into India proper. Surprisingly educational but didn’t really scratch our itch. My friend Jennie recommended Land of Bad with Liam Hemsworth and Russell Crowe. She knows me. It was surprisingly good as Crowe plays a drone operator helping a stranded special forces operator, Hemsworth, in a Filipino hotzone. Crowe steals the show. While Wendy was on the road, I watched Rebel Moon: Part 2, Scargiver (Netflix). I wondered how bad it could be. The answer is: Very. In highschool we would seek out notoriously bad films like Plan 9 From Outter Space. Sometime movies are so bad their good. Zack Snyder would be so much better if he didn’t take himself so seriously.

Wendy and I enjoyed Shōgun (Hulu). It’s beautiful but plodding at times and demands a lot of focus with the subtitles. Wendy fell asleep on two occasions but wanted to finish the story. We also watched Civil War with Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny. Hollywood hyped the film to tap into the zeitgeist of our current political climate. It’s really about Spaeny’s journey to becoming a war photographer. I’d give it a mixed review.

Finally, we watched Mad Max Fury Road (Max), one of our favorite action movies, with Gus to prepare for George Miller’s prequel Furiosa with Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth. Fury Road stands up. The action is non-stop and the cinematography top-notch. Unfortunately, it set us up to be a little let down by the prequel. Furiosa really fills out the world and is a true prequel, laying down the title character story. My advice: Watch Furiosa first. You’ll like it better.

That’s it for this month. Please reply back and let me know what you’re up to!


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