University of Michigan – My First Website – Archive

The following content is from my first website, which I created while at the University of Michigan . . . sometime in 2003 or 2004. They are taking the web hosting offline as of October 30, 2015, so I’m posting the content here to save it.


Climbing in Nevada between time at the poker tables.

From the page of the website titled, “GOLF THOUGHTS”:

I started golfing when I was nine years old. My dad took me to the local junior golf lesson camp and I was instantly hooked. The next year I played in a few nine hole tournaments, which was fun except for having to talk to the other kids in the group. Eventually, the interest grew into obsession and throughout high school I ate, breathed and played golf. Golf is more casual now, though I plan to play in a few tournaments this upcoming summer.
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Beautiful Morning

In a moment’s time, the burning tangerine sun rises above the horizon, sits below the pink clouds shuffling south, then disappears. Playing peek-a-boo; its rays streaming through the silhouetted oak tree with vibrating leaves. Through our window decorated with Harvey’s fingerprints. Through the scratched lenses of my glasses. And on to me. Painting me in the warmth of morning. Compelling me to smile and be grateful for the view. And for the people I share it with.

Michigan Property Tax Article

I wrote an article discussing the recent amendments to the Michigan property tax statute and expanded planning opportunities for family property succession. Here is a link to the article on the Kuhn Rogers website. The article in full is as follows:

Whether your family property is a rustic camp in the U.P., a cozy cottage on Little Glen, a hunting cabin in Eastern Lower Michigan, or a house in Traverse City – to your family, your property likely has a “family meaning value” far in excess of its fair market value.

A consideration when planning to keep property in your family for generations is its annual carrying cost, a major component of which is the annual property taxes. The longer you’ve owned your property, the greater the likelihood that without careful planning your property taxes could uncap (increase significantly) for future generations of owners. The unfortunate result can be a forced sale by your children or grandchildren who can’t afford the carrying costs.
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Estate Planning Peace of Mind

I recently wrote an article about estate planning for young families. Here is a link to the article on the Kuhn Rogers website. The article in full is as follows:

Why Young Families Should Start Now

By: Christopher G. Rogers, Attorney

Every young family can benefit from having an estate plan. Beginning that process now can provide peace of mind for years to come. To start, you should focus on the following questions:

Who would care for your children if you were unable to do so?

How would your spouse or children be provided for?

Who will make decisions for you if you cannot?

An estate plan provides answers to these questions and typically addresses the following three stages: lifetime, disability, and death.

Without an estate plan, the management and disposition of your estate would be determined by the probate court according to Michigan law or a set of default rules known as the laws of intestate succession. To avoid relying on the default set of laws, you should implement an estate plan that is specifically prepared for your family’s needs.

Where to begin?

Your first step should be to meet with a trusted estate planning attorney to discuss your family’s situation and obtain personalized estate planning advice. The following are some of the most important planning decisions to discuss.

1. Execute a will and name a guardian for your minor children.

A will is used to name the guardian of your minor children if you and your spouse are unable to care for them. Also, it overrides the default state laws and provides for the disposition of your assets pursuant to your specific wishes.

Selecting a guardian is the most important decision you will make. No one will be able to replace you as parents, but you should carefully consider the values of the individuals you are naming as guardians.

2. Consider life insurance.

If your family is just beginning to save while paying off debt or if you rely on one spouse’s income, then there would be little or no assets left to support the surviving spouse or children if one or both of the parent’s died. The advantages of purchasing life insurance are that it is relatively inexpensive, can be maintained during your primary earning years, and can create an estate to provide for your children’s support and education in the event you pass away before they become adults.

3. Establish a trust and name successor trustees.

Like a will, a trust provides for the disposition of your assets different from the default state laws. A trust has the added benefit of being in effect throughout your lifetime, upon your incapacity, and at death. Additionally, a trust avoids probate unlike a will.

Even if you do not currently have assets to fund into a trust, it can receive funds, such as life insurance proceeds, in the future. You can name a successor trustee to manage those funds pursuant to the trust terms you select for the benefit of your surviving spouse or children.

4. Execute a durable power of attorney.

A durable power of attorney allows you to name an agent to act on your behalf, provides specific powers to that individual, and is effective upon your incapacity or immediately. This document is used primarily to allow your agent to handle your financial matters if you are unable to do so and will avoid the necessity of having to petition the court to appoint a conservator.

5. Execute a health care power of attorney.

A health care power of attorney is a document by which you designate a patient advocate to make medical decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so. This document also contains your medical directives, upon which your patient advocate can rely.

6. Review your beneficiary designations.

You should work with an estate planning attorney to ensure that the beneficiary designations on each of your assets is tailored to your family’s estate plan. Often for a young family, you would name your spouse as the primary beneficiary to ensure sufficient liquidity for short-term monetary needs.

The estate planning process is easy to complete with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney and should not take much of your time. The resulting plan is flexible, and can be amended as your family matures. Once complete, it will provide you with a sense of comfort knowing that you have a plan in place.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.

The Bay Today (Unedited)

I dictated the following to Siri (iPhone digital assistant in case I forgot or a future reader is unaware) en route to work during January and February, 2014:

January 6, 2014: there is a snow buildup along the shore. Parts it juts out and peninsulas, where the sand underneath comes higher. Parts are broken into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, crashing about. The water beyond is they Coolgreen sitting into a deep cold blue. The waves near the icy sure And wait, is to swans swim by in the mid ground. I can only see about half a mile out and then water and sky become one on discernible gray

January 7, 2014: I just dropped Harvey off, and have turned onto E. Shore Rd. It is plowed wide and clear, although the entire road is covered with a thin layer of firmly packed snow. The bay is to my left, covered with steam rising from the water, Which is warmer than the air. In the distance, the mainland, and behind that the sun rising. The sun’s beams. A concentrated bright orange and white peek behind the Grand Traverse resort.

January 10, 2014: the bay is covered with a fog that bleeds onto E. Shore Rd. The temperature is 24° and rising. Think orange lights are visible across the bay to the south, and the water is still. Everything is a version of gray dark, Marty, light, fading.

January 14, 2014: A single bird flies away from me, its wings up and down slivers against the pastel pink and orange of the sun coming out. The ice is down, and the water is mildly choppy. Blue on the back and pink on the front, it jostle’s about wrestling and wanting spring

January 20, 2014: The bay today is a cold green mass underneath the light white cloud. This guy comes down beyond the horizon to the foreground almost to the shore. Between the sky and the icy build up along the shore is that sliver of green.

January 21, 2014: The bay today is bursting with glowing steam, hovering above. On the horizon, a square rainbow at the end of a cloud to the north. The sun is bright and white, and rising and stretching its arms across the road in front of me. The snow is brighter today. The water is bluer today. The sky is lighter, and the trip -This journey through life-is as enjoyable as ever. The only parts untouched by this glorious sun are the backsides of the snowbanks facing to the west. And they have this bright sunlight to look forward to, for it will reach them and only a matter of minutes.

January 23, 2014: The bay today contains the narrowest of silver strips of calm water, backed by choppy water with a transparent missed dangling above. On the horizon, the faintest of pink of sunsets that I’ve seen this winter. There is hope of a bright day ahead, hiding behind the dark gray clouds blanketed the region for many many days.

February 14, 2014: the quiet silence of the drive along the shore, with the Art Deco gray shiny morning predawn sunrise, was unique from any other day that I’ve lived funny short.

Dear Captain Harvey

Go to sleep, Harvey. Drift away. Settle your kicking legs and your searching arms. Let your heavy eyelids close. Stop grabbing your ears. (I promise that they will be there when you wake-up.) Relax your shoulders and let the tension of the ache of your cutting teeth fade. I know how hard it is to let go of this world, even for an hour. There is so much to explore – to inventory – to do. I feel the same way sometimes. There are toys waiting, food to eat, new sounds to hear, fresh smells to smell. And there is also the familiar, which we fear forgetting. The sweet tones of mother’s voice. Bouncing in your play chair. Smiling at each other. And yet, there is a time, when we must close our eyes and let our imagination flourish and our memory take stock of the bright, beautiful moments that fill our lives. So go to sleep, Harvey, and I promise that what dreams you don’t remember I will tell you about someday, as I hope to dream as you do.

Written from 8:30 am to 9:11 am on Saturday, October 26, 2013 in our office/Harvey’s toy room at the Double Dogleg in Traverse City, Michigan. He fell asleep on my shoulder just before writing this. Lindsey was sleeping in, and Yogi was snoring on the couch. I was up, putzing around, drinking coffee, listening to the rain fall on the metal dog bowls outside as early dawn lightened to day. I am appreciative of the soft sounds of this morning and of being surrounded by my sleeping family.

Enjoy Your Morning

It is that time of morning when the wood around and the road ahead are different shades of brown and grey. And the trees of the wood are taught toward the pre-dawn sky. I am sifting salt onto our cracked asphalt driveway from my blue, plastic, Maxwell House coffee container. The older kind that had a handle instead of mere indentations. It would be appropriate, here and now, to say that “they don’t make ’em like they used to.” And that can be said often and in many ways, but not right now because this pre-dawn is exceptional like all before it and all that will come after.

I am melting off the rest of Monday’s frozen rain and Tuesday’s sleet. I’ve not had to shovel this morning – to wake the reverend or the doctor – caused their dogs to bark. And it’s the bark of the dogs that is the catalyst of morning’s forward progress. In their absence, our fraction of a finger of the world holds its breath a moment longer, pulls the covers up a little higher, and lets the hues of brown and grey hang around while I drink my coffee and ascend the driveway.

Written in red ink on a white legal pad from 6:40 am to 7:00 am on Wednesday, February 13th, 2013 in our kitchen at the Double Dogleg in Traverse City, Michigan.