Munich – The Christmas holiday has begun

5B3A1DEF-DA7E-4F3F-A387-209A49882D35It’s officially Black Friday even in Munich. As I was walking down the street I came across this BIG beautiful Pyramid. My ex/mother/n/law is German and my first introduction to the pyramid was from her. She would get the box where it was stored and show me how to put it together and then the fun part was adding the candles at the bottom, so the heat could move the propellers. I fell in love with this Christmas traditional instantly.

To view a nice assortment of German ornaments and the pyramids, visit Käthe Wohlfahrt of America’s website. I am not affiliated with this site, mainly sharing with you, because it took me “forever” to find a website in America that sold the pyramids. Good news, they come in different sizes. Bad news, they are bit pricey for the 3-tiered ones. However, they are a Christmas tradition to be handed down to your children and grandchildren. Start small, then go BIG.

NOTE: Make sure you buy extra candles, because you cannot find the right size pyramid candles at normal stores.

If you come to Europe for the Christmas Markets depending on where you go, you will see even bigger pyramid displays.

Merry Christmas!

Happy Thanksgiving! Catching up on reading…

FAADC7DA-F0F6-434F-9DE9-D2E7D97045C4Hello, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am in Munich, Germany. Before I left, I downloaded some books for the trip. I’m in the HERO mood lately. Actually, I’m in the process of trying to find an athletic challenge for next year. My daughter is going to train for a marathon. I am not a runner, I prefer hiking, so I am investigating those kinds of challenges.

In my research, I came across this GREAT book that I started reading last night, “Natural Born Heroes,” by Christopher McDougall. It’s really good, if you like learning about heroes. The author has a fast paced, high energy, writing style — not boring at all. For sure, you won’t put it down, you’ll feel like you are running right beside him on his quest to find out “what makes a Hero.”

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He says a Hero is not about strength and force, but about compassion, because hero’s are known as the protectors. He’s got all sorts of stories and analogies. I like it!

Oh, he has a chapter on Greek Mythology.  This brought back memories of my Italian mother. While we were eating dinner, she would read to us from this  Greek Myths book. Growing up in Italy, when she was in school, they were taught about Greek Mythology, so she would say it was her “DUTY” to teach us as well. And guess what, this book is a bit “old looking now,” but my Mom pulls it out to read to the grandchildren. YES, they must learn about Greek Mythology too! I smile when I see this book.

Ok, I’m off to explore Munich, one of my favorite cities.

It’s raining… Again, I think of my mother. When there was lightning she would say, “Zeus is mad at us! You see how he is throwing thunder bolts from the sky.”

Chicago – Art display on Michigan Ave

Owls in Chicago 1I was walking down Michigan Ave rushing in the cold weather to an appointment. Suddenly, I came across these adorable owls. I had to stop, smile and take a photo. I’m not sure who the artist is, there was no sign, but certainly this is a winning art display.

I share this with you, hoping it makes YOU SMILE TOO!

If you are writing for NaNoWriMo, keep at it! We have the weekend to catch up on our word count!

Have a great day!

Succeeding as part of A TEAM!

The other day, sifting through emails, I pressed the “delete button” over and over. I ALMOST deleted this article, “Becoming Interdependent as A TEAM” from the LeadershipNow™ website. As I started reading, my first thought was back to my childhood where my mother taught us (four kids) to work as a team, stop complaining!

This bird photo is perfect in depicting how a team starts out. There were four kids in my family. Do you see how the birds are discussing WHO will DO WHAT. That’s how we were. If any of you have siblings or endured meetings for group projects at school or work, you know how meetings work. Someone always stands out as the leader, and there are one or two people who remain silent. They either want to play to win OR they are extremely lazy, nothing motivates them. They are dead weight.

My mother, tired of our annoying complaining, taught us (four kids) to work like a Navy Seal team. No one complains, everyone pulls their weight, because as children our goal was “getting to the beach.” If my father saw a lot of complaining, he gave us more chores, which meant no beach time. If we worked as a team, happy smiles, strong work ethic, we got to the beach by Noon.

This is where Jason Caldwell’s article comes in. Caldwell shares how he and his crew team, the American Spirit, worked as a team to row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to win the 2016 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge and set a world record.

What Caldwell says, and I agree with, is that in order to build a successful team, you have to build TRUST and understand what motivates each individual team member. It’s not just about the main goal, you need to care about each person’s individual goal(s) and make sure you are aligned at all times. If you are out of sync, you cannot win.

GREAT ARTICLE!

Let’s find and build a winning team!

It’s November. Did you join National Writing Novel Month (NaNoWriMo)?

Fellow blogger JoHawk encouraged me to give NaNoWriMo a try, so I joined today. That is the good news. The bad news is that I am already 5,000 words behind schedule!

NaNoWriMo is a free online creative writing program that you join in the month of November to basically push yourself to write your novel. Everyone who joins is attempting to write 50,000 words for a novel. That means 1,666 words a day.

The reason NaNoWriMo is popular is because they have forums where you meet fellow writers. You can connect with buddies, so you encourage each other on a daily basis. They also give advice on character development, plots, endings and more.

It is a bit of a competition. I don’t know much about this as I just joined, but I’ve read that you can upload your novel on a daily basis and/or at the end. Then the novels are judged  and they reveal a winner.

NaNoWriMo has been offering this program for 20 years. There is definitely excitement in trying to push ourselves to a new level. Reach goals, finally finish our novels and make dreams come true.

Ok, I’ve got to go, I am already behind on my word count.

Here is my first sentence, “Isabella’s fiancé proposed. She should have been happy, but the ring was a fake.”

To be continued…

Hello Police Officer… Uh, I can’t find my car!

PoliceThis actually happened. I got off work early, so I was looking forward to a nice warm evening at home. NOT A CHANCE!

First off, the rush hour train was delayed 40 minutes. This never happens. It’s no fun waiting outside in cold weather for the train to arrive. My frustration was growing as I tried to stay warm.

Finally, the train arrived. People pushing and shoving to get on the late train. We were like sardines. I dislike trying to make myself as small as possible on a rush hour train.

I arrived at my destination, it was very dark. I walked to my car. It wasn’t there. I walked up and down the street again, no car. I park there every day. I was SO COLD. Panic set it–WHERE IS MY CAR!  Was it towed — not tonight, I thought!

As I plashed through puddles, I wondered who to call to find my car (police). A lady came up to me wanting to use my phone. How odd, pitch dark, freezing cold and she wants to use my phone. I was not in the mood to be a good samaritan. My phone only had 10% battery left. I had to call the police. I told her my battery was low, what did she need.

GET THIS — she could not find her car! What? I told her I could not find MY CAR either. Suddenly, we were kindred spirits on a mission. This was a weird night.

I called the police. They started asking their questions, i.e. Where did you park? Are you sure? By the fire hydrant? Did you leave 8 ft? What color/make of car, etc.  OK, let me call the towing company.

Good news! One car found, the lady who I met had had her car towed. Ok, in the scheme of things, NOT good news, but on a cold rainy night, good to have car found.

My car, not towed. My phone about to die, I told the police officer, I will re-walk the street looking for my car and call back.

Freezing cold, no phone battery left, I walk the street. My car is not there. I head home. I call the police and they ask me to file a lost car report. Before I do that, I told them I want to look for my car again. Officer said, if someone has stolen my car, bad things could be going on with my car, better to file a report. She offered to send a police officer to help me search.

At home, I charged my phone quickly. Took off wet coat and shoes. Found a dry coat/ shoes and headed outside again. Officer arrived, at first appeared unfriendly. Started with the questions again. I was tired.

Ok, I think, I know I lost my car, but is that such a big crime? In my defense, the last time I lost my car was in my early 20s and that was due to stupidity. I was young, late for a show, parked and didn’t pay attention to the name of the street. A police officer came and helped me drive around and found my car. So, I have been good for many many years — no lost car, until tonight! Memories were flooding back.

The policer offer told me to go back in the “warm house,” he would survey the street for my car and report back. 5 minutes later… GOOD NEWS – car found.

I’m happy and embarrassed to say this. The officer found my car. My car “was” where I thought it was, parked in front of a fire hydrant, but it was on the street BEFORE the street where I normally park. Obviously, I was half asleep this morning and didn’t quite make it to the SAME STREET I normally park on. THANK GOODNESS for police cars with flood lights! Officer was very nice and happy to have found my car.

So — what was I supposed to learn from this? THAT is what I thought. Why was I meant to go through this ordeal on a cold rainy night? I have to give this some thought.

FYI — last week, rushing, not thinking, I got a street cleaning ticket! This week, car lost.

Tomorrow — Maybe I need a pad of paper in the car with a calendar.  1) Check date for street cleaning and 2) Verify what street I am parking on.

It’s not even April Fool’s Day yet!

Welcome winter!