Education

School
“What if you started a school that presupposed the goal was happy kids? And I mean happy with a capital H. Balanced. Thoughtful. Compassionate. Doers. What if their resume wouldn’t ever matter? Some of you have heard me say before that the only people who care about your GPA are people who you’ve given no other basis to evaluate you. So, what if instead you wanted to build an education that fostered interestingness? Understanding? Action? Experience? . . . I’ve yet to see test scores correlate with happiness. I’ve yet to even see test scores correlate with learning with a L, …”

~ Chris Sacca

Be Amazed

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be amazed by each morning breath. By the boys’ precious smiles. By the sunrise each morning.

While they may seem the same, each is unique.

Children’s Books Quotes

At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.

~ Chris Van Allsburg, The Polar Express

There are things about you quite unlike any other.
Things always known by your father or mother.
So if you decide to be different one day,
no worries . . . I’d know you anyway.

~ Nancy Tillman, I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

Autumn Eve

Listen! The wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves!

~ Humbert Wolfe

The autumnal equinox arrives precisely at 4:21 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23. Fall being my favorite season, I’m excited for: cinnamon sugar donuts with apple cider, apple picking (maybe), rounds of golf among the colorful leaves, the chill in the morning air, pumpkin carving, . . .

Unfortunately, the sunrise will not move north (back into direct view of our living room window) until after the winter solstice, which is December 22nd, 2015.

Book Review: “Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes”

FIVE STARS. The only thing that would make it better would be pictures! And there are plenty of those online.

I recently finished, Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes, and it has awoken in me an interest in golf architecture. The book is authored by Stephen Goodwin, and is an excellent account of Mike Keiser’s growing passion and development fundamentals and the architectural details of bringing links courses to the west coast of the United States. I could hardly put it down, and was further intrigued by the extended details about the construction of Pacific Dunes and Old Macdonald, both designed by Tom Doak, whose design firm, Renaissance Golf Design, is located in Traverse City, MI. And little did I know that my favorite course growing up, High Pointe Golf Club in Acme, MI was his first design. If only it were still open, I would love to go back and explore its many still-familiar features. And I learned of “The Dunes Club,” Keiser’s first course, located in New Buffalo, MI (!) . . . a nod to Pine Valley and one of, or the, top nine-hole club in the country. (Who knew?!)

Upon finishing the book, I went to the public library and checked out two golf architecture books to flip through, initially, with hopes of reading more in depth soon. I’ve even scouted farmland nearby, dreaming of digging a nine-hole links course with little more than the spade in my garage and good intentions. Alas, I may need to make my millions before I venture down that road. But at least Dream Golf has brought a new part of the game to life for me.

I’ve since learned that there are the following courses at Bandon Dunes, all of which comprise “a golf trip that must occur”:

– Bandon Dunes – D. Kidd
– Pacific Dunes – T. Doak
– Bandon Trials – B. Crenshaw & B. Coore
– Old Macdonald – T. Doak & J. Urbina
– The Preserve – B. Crenshaw & B. Coore
– The Punch Bowl – T. Doak & J. Urbina
– Shorty’s – D. Kidd

Following are some of my favorite excerpts from the book.

“As a golf course developer, he was starting out pretty much from scratch. He had never invested in any kind of golf deal, and he wasn’t even a member of a golf club. But golf was in his blood, and when he said no to the investment bankers dangling their schemes in front of him, he knew in a general way what direction he wanted to take. He was headed toward that shining, elusive realm known as the kingdom of golf.”

“But the best architects still believed that good land—undulating land, not steep but with pronounced topographical features, and with porous soils, not a heavy clay—was a sine qua non for a good golf course.”

“To learn golf architecture one must know golf itself, its companionships, its joys, its sorrows, its battles—one must play golf and love it.”

“He wrote thoughtfully and persuasively about the principles of design, declaring that golf holes were either heroic, strategic, or penal in nature, and that a good architect mixed these three types of holes according to his site, blending them into one harmonious composition.”

“Mike was in heaven. He loved the simplicity and grandeur of the golf courses and the complete lack of pretension in all the other arrangements. The clubhouses were modest, the food was plain, the hotels were drafty, the weather was the usual Irish mix of rain and mist with occasional peeks of sunshine, but the golf was splendid.”

” “The Almighty intended this place for gawf,” Old Tom declared when he first laid eyes on the dunes of Machrihanish.”

” “It seemed that this land had been lying here for years waiting for someone to lay a golf course upon it,” Bobby Jones wrote after his first sight of the valley that now forms the amphitheater at Augusta National.”

“A great golf course is “nature perfected.” It is neither wholly natural nor can it be wholly unnatural or manufactured.”

“A walk in the vast and barren sand hills of Nebraska is not nearly as compelling as a round of golf at Sand Hills Golf Club.” (A course I had the privilege of playing in the fall of 2014.)

“For Mike, the lesson was crystal clear: If you wanted to create something exceptional, something extraordinary, you had to be fearless. You had to be prepared to follow your dream.”

“Though educated as a lawyer—he was assistant district attorney and later assistant city attorney in charge of prosecution in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas—his lifelong passion had always been golf course design, and, after becoming a contributing editor on architecture for Golf Digest in 1985, he had become one of the most influential critics in American golf.”

“Though he didn’t say so in the letter, David imagined the clubhouse and village as having an effect similar to the one that towns in Scotland had. In towns like Machrihanish or North Berwick or Carnoustie or St. Andrews, the golf course starts at the town’s doorstep, so to speak, pushes off into the wilds of nature, and then, at the round’s end, returns to civilization.”

“He relied heavily on his land-use attorney, Al Johnson, whom he’d selected partly for his unflappable calm. (“Al wore sweaters like Mr. Rogers. He was the ultimate down-home lawyer, which was exactly what I wanted.” (Note that I like this quote because I’m a lawyer and my last name is Rogers.)

“In Anatomy, Tom’s chapter on “The Green Complex” carries as its epigraph a quote from C. B. Macdonald: “Putting greens are to golf courses what faces are to portraits.””

“Throughout the round, he made sure that I noticed the weave and roll of the greens, and the variations in the Chicago Golf Club version of the Macdonald/Raynor iconic holes—the Punchbowl, the Cape, the Biarritz, the Double Plateau, the Redan, the Eden, the Road.”

Cleaning Out the Basement

We clean out the basement form time to time, trying to keep the “stuff” from piling too high! I’m notorious for holding on to things . . . especially, all of my collections of everything from childhood. I enjoy the re-discovery upon returning to the items, but sometimes it’s apparent that things have to go. Plus, we have to make room for Harvey and his little brother’s collections!

The following quote is a good approach to dealing with the less important possessions that pile up . . . like extra jackets, clothing, kitchen appliances, old sports equipment, parts of lost tools, etc.

“Look at a possession. Pick something. Anything. Have you used that item in the last 90 days? If you haven’t, will you use it in the next 90? If not, then it’s OK to let go. . . . [B]e honest with yourself. If your material possessions don’t serve a purpose or bring you joy, then they are likely in the way of a more meaningful life.”

Source: http://www.theminimalists.com/ninety/

Good to Remember

Mysteries, Yes
By Mary Oliver

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.

How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from
those who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
“Look!” and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

More Quotes That I Like

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” ~ A. Lincoln

“I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” ~ Pablo Neruda

“Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.” ~ Barbara de Angelis

“Time is our most precious commodity.” (Economic good, something useful or valued.)

“Productivity is a means to an end; not an end unto itself.”

“It’s not productivity. It’s not innovation. It’s identity. If you’ve lived a life where holidays are a nuisance, where you’ve missed your favorite uncle’s funeral and your children’s childhoods, in a culture that conflates manly heroism with long hours, it’s going to take more than a few regressions to convince you it wasn’t really necessary, after all, for your work to devour you.”

“I’m a huge proponent of not subscribing to other people’s definition of “having it all.” Having it all doesn’t necessarily mean being a law firm partner and having kids. Decide what it means for you, and then strive to achieve that.”

“The idea is to make the largest dent in the universe that you can and have fun while doing it.”

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”
― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

“It was the first kiss for both of us. We never really talked about it afterward, but I think about the events of that day again and again, and somehow I know that Winnie does too. Whenever some blowhard starts talking about the anonymity of the suburbs, or the mindlessness of the TV generation. Because we know that inside each one of those identical boxes, with its Dodge parked out front, and its white bread on the table, and its TV set glowing blue in the falling dusk, there were people with stories. There were families bound together in the pain and the struggle of love. There were moments that made us cry with laughter. And there were moments, like that one, of sorrow and wonder.” ~ Narrator, end of first episode of The Wonder Years

“Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” ~ Dalai Lama

Scarlet Maples

“Already, by the first of September, I had seen two or three small maples turned scarlet across the pond, beneath where the white stems of three aspens diverged, at the point of a promontory, next the water. Ah, many a tale their color told! And gradually from week to week the character of each tree came out, and it admired itself reflected in the smooth mirror of the lake. Each morning the manager of this gallery substituted some new picture, distinguished by more brilliant or harmonious coloring, for the old upon the walls.”

~ Walden, by Throeau

To Invent Your Own Life’s Meaning

Bill Watterson, the author of the comic, Calvin and Hobbes, gave a commencement address at Kenyon College in 1990. It was recently highlighted by Zach Klein in comic form. Here is the same excerpt, as text:

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Lemony Snicket, The Lump of Coal

It is a miracle if you can find true friends, and it is a miracle if you have enough food to eat, and it is a miracle if you get to spend your days and evenings doing whatever it is you like to do, and the holiday season—like all the other seasons—is a good time not only to tell stories of miracles, but to think about the miracles in your own life, and to be grateful for them.

via A CUP OF JO: Miracles

Timeframes

From a speech titled, “10 Timeframes,” given by Paul Ford to MFA graduates. (LINK) This is an excerpt of the second of his ten timeframes

You know that decades are a recent invention? Decades are hardly a century old. Not the concept of having ten years of course, but the concept of the decade as a sort of major cultural unit, like when I say “the 90s” and you think of flannel shirts and grunge music and great R&B music, or when I say “the 80s” and you think of people with big hair using floppy disks. You need a lot of change for a decade to be a meaningful demarcation. Back in the 1600s they didn’t really talk about centuries as much either. It was all about the life of the king, the reign (of King James and so forth), or the era.

And then they invent clocks and clocks get cheaper and cheaper. Clocks are an amazing experience, right? Two hands, and a bell. This sense of relentless forward motion and they go in only one direction. Imagine doing user testing on clocks.

You say, “You’re a farmer—tell me about a normal day.”

And the farmer says, “Normally I wake up then depending on the month I might plant or reap the harvest.”

And you say, “How do you know what to plant?”

And the farmer says, “I’ve got this poem that we’ve been using for generations, so like, in June I mow my corn, in August I harvest my wheat with a sickle, stuff like that.”

And you’re trying to build understanding, you say, “That poem sounds really useful. But I’d like to talk about a new approach to time. What if I could divide every single day into 24 big parts called hours, and each of those into 60 little parts called minutes? So now instead of having just a whole day, you have 1,440 little pieces of time and you can arrange them and do whatever you want. What is your reaction to that?”

And I think the farmer would probably be polite but I’m guessing he’d be thinking, “Clock? That’s the single stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

President Obama re Sandy Hook

You know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around.

With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there’s nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet we also know that with that child’s very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won’t — that we can’t always be there for them.

They will suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. And we know we can’t do this by ourselves.

It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.

And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.

This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

Quotes Gathered in 2012

“When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” STEVE JOBS.

“You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you, and I like you, just the way you are.” MISTER ROGERS.

“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.” WSJ Article, “Are you as busy as you think.”

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” HENRY DAVID THOREAU.

“One must be astonished totally, yet more and more softly. That is how eternity wonders at the times and changes them. One must wonder at the wonders.And also at the wounds, the deepest and last wounds, and elevate them to the wondrous.” HUGO BALL’S diary, 21 November, 1921.

“I always thought you were very single-minded about your dreams. But now I see that you skipped the struggle and went straight to the end.” from MAD MEN, TV show.

“Here’s my advice. Pretend you’re going to find out in a year that you have cancer, and then make all your decisions based on that.” Career Advice, source unknown.

“I love spending time in the woods because I believe it’s literally perfect. You could not design it better. It’s marvelous. And, when I’m in my cabin in those woods, I’m not fetishizing a simpler past, I’m fetishizing a simple present. I’m often thinking, “Holy shit, I spend some of my time working on the Internet, most of my time out here, I’m happy, my friends and family like it too, and this is economically sustainable.” ZACH KLEIN’S Blog. (Amen!, I say.)

“Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could . . . adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.” TOM WOLFE, The Bonfire of the Vanities.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” STEPHEN HAWKING.

“There’s no such thing as work/life balance. There are work/life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.” JACK WELCH.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” HENRY DAVID THOREAU.

“I wait by working.” RICHARD STALLMAN.

‎”You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget that errand.” WOODROW WILSON.

“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even our action. Without it, we are nothing.” Review for the play, “The Drawer Boy.”

“Leaders are not what many people think–people with huge crowds following them. Leaders are people who go their own way without caring, or even looking to see whether anyone is following them. “Leadership qualities” are not the qualities that enable people to attract followers, but those that enable them to do without them. The include, at the very least, courage, endurance, patience, humor, flexibility, resourcefulness, determination, a keen sense of reality, and the ability to keep a cool and clear head even when things are going badly. This is the opposite of the “charisma” that we hear so much about.” From Caterina.net.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” THEODORE ROOSEVELT, The Man in the Arena – April 23, 1910.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

“One can live at a low flame. Most people do. For some, life is an exercise in moderation (best china saved for special occasions), but given something like death, what does it matter if one looks foolish now and then, or tries too hard, or cares too deeply?” DIANE ACKERMAN.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” STEVE JOBS.

“A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything.” HARRY BROWNE.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch, which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.” GEORGE BERNARD SHAW.