I'm just back from a trip, and reflecting on how thankful I am. This was the ninth year I've attended a media golf tourney/boondoggle, now in Tucson. In December 2006, riding a shuttle bus from a resort in Scottsdale to a course in Phoenix, I met a guy from Alberta and another from the Czech Republic. We all were newbies that year. The guy from Canuckistan has become one of my nearest and dearest friends in the cosmos, even if some years we only see each other at this event. Our bud from Prague attends every other year, and it is the most upbeat of reunions when we see him again that first day of the event. We're lucky. For five or six or seven days each fall, this thing rolls around, and we anticipate it as much as any other event on our respective calendars. Sixty or seventy guys and gals attend every year, and seeing many of the same faces, getting paired up and sent off for laughs and jabs and as it turns out a bit of golf cannot be beat. It is one huge extended family of folks who chose to be together. The circle of friends grows and grows, too, as each year you get some time with a total newbie or a regular with whom you really haven't spent much time. And that it often leads to new leads and work is a nice perk. When does December 2015 roll around? From Tucson I flew northward for a long weekend of festivities surrounding my nephew's wedding. These family events are always old-school fun, with all the trappings from the welcome dinner for all out-of-towners to the bridesmaids' luncheon to the day-after brunch. This time saw our Greeks marrying another tribe of Greeks, so talk about double the fun and festivity. Both Terri and I have really come to love the Orthodox ceremony. It's not anything we would -- or could, really -- choose for ourselves. Yet at just the cultural level, it is uplifting and special. For those of the faith, a powerful reminder of who and what we are. And how cool it was that Marcus got his Heisman at about the exact same time as the Ducks-mad couple were doing the traditional walk around the altar! I had a 15-hour day getting home yesterday, with a flight back to Tucson and a long drive home. I smiled the whole way, simply reflecting on the phenomenal week that was, and knowing how truly lucky I am.