Football: Notre Dame v.s. Northwestern University

55E8AB61-E124-4291-A275-7521F8F7FEC3For those of you who follow football, this weekend (November 3, 2018) the University of Notre Dame plays Northwestern University in Evanston (North of Chicago). It supposed to be a BIG game, we have not played them in 40 years and we lost last time. Of course, I am an ND fan. Game Day t-shirts are on sale now. ND fans, wear your blue/gold with PRIDE!

Go IRISH!

Cover letters, how creative can you get?

student studyingWrite. Stop, Think. Write again. I’ve been writing cover letters. It’s exhausting. I wonder how creative I can get. I’m at a point where I need to start new tactics, change things up, see what happens. Maybe use a bit of humor.

For example, how about this:

Dear Joe, While this isn’t the exact job I am looking for, if it pays well, I’m interested.

OR

Dear Sally, When you say I need to be able to lift 50 lbs, what exactly would I be lifting. I thought this was a desk job.

When I was working for a manufacturing company, they put me in charge of reading cover letters and gathering resumes. I was shocked at how many people sent resumes without cover letters. If they wrote a cover letter, it was 3 sentences at the most saying, “Here is my resume,” and others that had typos.

I have to keep that in mind when I am sending my resume out. It’s all about “timing” too. If there is one job and 150 resumes, we know that HR does not read all of the resumes. We didn’t. We would read them down the line until we found 5-10 good resumes. Call to see if applicant could come in for an interview, if not, back to the resume list.

So, there is some LUCK involved in this job hunting stuff.

Where’s a lucky penny when I need it?

2018 – HAPPY NEW YEAR! A new year to accomplish things.

ADB6FBCB-691D-4463-8C27-D5CD5DA4241AI’m excited about moving into 2018! How about you?

How do you sum up 2017:  life changing, goals realized, figuring it out, really tough, adventurous, quiet, magical…?

As I ponder what 2017 meant for me, I am thinking about 2018.

There are 4 quarters in a year. In business, we look at the year, then we break it down into quarters and monthly/weekly/daily goals, so that by the end of the year we are on target for reaching our goals.

75282AD3-8D79-4554-8E4D-44869419B5D1

Personal lives are the same. We accomplish more if we write down a plan and try to stick to it. Some years I am good at this, some years I have thoughts in my mind of what I want to accomplish, but the thoughts seem to stay there, because…. THAT’S JUST IT, the word “because” holds me back.

So, this year, 2018 is about tackling the word, “because.” It’s time to think like an Olympian enough with the “because.”

Two years ago, my College friend (Dave, Life In A Word) suggested we challenge ourselves and create a Blog. We both enjoy writing. The catch was that we had to commit to Blogging once a week for one year!  We shook hands, no turning back.

Now, two years later, Dave and I can confidentially say, “we are Bloggers.” We didn’t let the word “because” stop us. We committed!

2018 starts tomorrow! I am thinking and planning.

For today, I want to head to the gym, but the word “because (it’s too cold outside)” is already coming to my mind. You see how that word “because” causes problems.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

German Christmas Ornaments

1F9F01D6-5279-4FA9-9462-F1CDADE719EFThis past weekend was the start of Christmas shopping. I say, “Christmas,” because for many of us it’s when we start putting up the Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, hanging the lights inside and outside and finding those special ornaments to put on the tree.

Every year I look for new ornaments. I like to send them as gifts. I had a lucky find this weekend. I came across a German Christmas Market. I was in America, but I felt like I was in Munich, Germany. Wonderful!

E8312F75-51E9-450C-9E9A-4F8E64EA53A5

They had similar ornaments that I would find in Germany, hand made, so a bit expensive, but as you can see from the photos, really darling. Everyone was enjoying themselves.

One special item that Germans put up is the Christmas Pyramid. I learned this from my mother/n/law, because Italians do not have this. Every year, out came the Christmas Pyramid and we would scramble to find candles to light, so that the propellor would fly around in a circle. Here you see a larger pyramid that they put up in a town in Europe. Ours was much smaller.

692CA427-6377-4458-9512-61D0E4F17FD3

When I was young, we had a German neighbor and they put small candles on the tree and lit them. Can you imagine what a possible fire hazard that was?  BUT they never burned their house down. While we enjoyed the lit candles on the tree, we would play a game of Canasta!

Memories… it’s nice if we still have them!

Bells, bells & more bells… American manufacturing

4C8FBCB9-16F0-4AD6-87C7-E133132B8D56Black Friday is coming and that means the Salvation Army will stand outside the stores ringing their bells asking for donations. Bells, bells and more bells. We have bells on bicycles, churches, sleighs, jester’s hats, hotel reception, cow bells, sporting events, dinner tables and more. Amazing, bells are really everywhere.

Have you ever thought about how they are made and manufactured. I admit I hadn’t until recently when I came across an article about an American manufacturing company called, “Bevin Bells.” They have been making quality bells since 1832 in Connecticut, which is 185 years. This is a family owned business, 6th generation and they are the oldest surviving bell manufacturer in America.

I mentioined Salvation Army, because they have sold bells to them. In 1865 they made the first bicycle bell. For those of you who have watched the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” you cannot forget the famous ending of the movie when the tiny bell (made by Bevin Bell) on the Christmas tree starts ringing and Suzy tells her Dad that her teacher said, “every time a bell rings an angels gets his wings.”

image1While there are good stories… there are sad stories too. In 2012 lightening struck their manufacturing plant and burned it to the ground. CBS Evening News covered the story on November 15, 2012 in this article, “Conn. bell manufacturer looks to ring in better times.” While this was sad, there was a happy ending. In 2013 Bevin Bells received a Grant from Connecticut to rebuild their plant. It’s wonderful to see people coming together to keep a company alive. It’s part of our history.

So, this year as the holidays approach and I hear ALL the bells ringing, I will have an extra SMILE on my face knowing that these special bells are made by Bevin Bells, an American manufacturing company!

60 Minutes – Excellent interview with British writer, David Cornwell (aka John le Carré)

IMG_2592Calling all spy/espionage fans! Have you read any “John le  Carré” books? Did you know that the John le Carré books are really written by a British author named, “David John Moore Cornwell?” That was news to me.

60 Minutes had an interview with David Cornwell. Writers are always told, “write what you know.” That is exactly what Cornwell did. First, some background on his father. His childhood had a rocky start. His mother abandoned him at five years old, so he was raised by his father. Cornwell’s father was a charming conman and it appears lived life in the fast line. One day they were well off, the next they were bankrupt and poor, with his father even landing in jail. Cornwell said this taught him a lot about people, life and keeping secrets.

Next, his spy/espionage background came in the 1950s and 1960s when he found a job with the British Secret Service. He was fluent in German and worked for MI5 and MI6 (foreign intelligence service) where he ran agents, was responsible for interrogations, the normal telephone tapping and more. This, you can imagine, gave him some great background material for writing spy novels.

He needed a pen name for his books. Working for the Secret Service meant his books needed to be approved before being published. Once approved, the condition was to acquire a pen name — John le Carré was born!

In the interview he showed his office and discussed how he does research for his books. He handwrites his books and his wife, editor, transcribes them for him. She runs the business side, which allows him to focus on writing. When he travels he has a journal and writes what comes to his mind.

At 85, he has quite a personal story to tell. A few of his books have been turned into films/BBC TV shows, maybe you know, “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold,” “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,” and/or “A Perfect Spy.”

Cornwell is promoting his latest book, “A Legacy of Spies.” I have some catching up to do reading-wise, so that I know the background on his character, “George Smiley!”

I bet these books are great in audio! If you are already a fan, which book was your favorite?