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Spring is here

by Vitaliy Katsenelson
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Spring is here, time to ride my bicycle to work.  This is the season when I pinch myself to remind me how great life is.  I have to admit, I…

Spring is here, time to ride my bicycle to work.  This is the season when I pinch myself to remind me how great life is.  I have to admit, I truly started to appreciate life when I had kids.  They are still young – my son Jonah is 10, daughter Hannah is six.  Though I sometimes need to be pulled away from reading research on my iPad or writing articles on the weekend, locked up in the basement, I am truly happy when we do things together with the kids.

This was the first year when we had season ski passes for me and the kids (my wife doesn’t ski).  Despite it being one of the worst ski seasons on record, we’ve managed to ski 20 times.  It is such a great joy to see my kids overcome their fears when they ski.  Last year Jonah was afraid to get on the ski lift up the bunny slope; last month he was pushing me to ski black diamonds.  I’ve skied more this year than I did in the previous ten years.  Last March we skied in Beaver Creek and Vail and stayed in the beautiful Cordillera Lodge (Kobe Bryant made it famous by having a debacle there with a maid).  We loved this resort so much that my whole family (including my brother’s family) is going there for a weekend in June to celebrate my father’s and stepmother’s 25th wedding anniversary.  We are also checking to see if Cordillera Lodge can host one of the VALUEx Vail dinners.

Last month my kids and I started taking ping pong lessons.  We go to practice twice a week, and other than riding my bicycle to work this is the only workout I get.  Ping pong is not a very popular sport in the US – I was told that not a single American is in the top 200 in the world. Therefore it was hard to find a place to practice. We lucked out and found a great but odd place to practice – a gym located in a church.  Our trainer is the pastor of the church, who happens to be the nine-time Mexican ping pong champion .

I keep thinking about it, and I have realized that the reason I keep pinching myself about my life, is that by doing all these activities I get to relive my childhood all over again, through my kids.  I get to do things that I wish I could have done when I was a kid, and I get to see my kids smile because we do things together.

On April 20th I’ll be attending and speaking at a very interesting conference in San Francisco, the FAME Value Investing Symposium, put together by students at San Francisco State University.  It has a great lineup of speakers, but in addition they’ll have a Security Analysis Competition, the judges of which include David Einhorn and Jeff Matthews. (Jeff writes a terrific blog that I’ve been reading for years and is the author of my favorite book on Buffett, Secrets In Plain Sight.)  The cost for students is $19, and professionals can attend for the steep price of $70. I’ve been to San Francisco a few times, but this will be the first time I’m there with my wife.  We’ll make it a romantic getaway weekend – I’m looking forward to sushi, In-and-Out burgers, Napa wine tasting, cable cars, and just simply doing nothing.

I’ll follow up with another post about the Omaha schedule in a few weeks.

Reminder: The VALUEx Vail conference is June 20-22 in Vail.  This is not your typical conference – think of it as the TED of value investing.  Though this is a not-for-profit event, I hope what you’ll learn from attending will generate profits for you.  You can find out more about VALUEx Vail here.

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