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?

Movie review: “The Founder,” story about McDonald’s (on Netflix)

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Well, I am still in shock after watching the movie, “The Founder,” which tells the story of how McDonald’s (hamburgers, you know) got started. It was an excellent movie, I was at the edge of my seat the entire time shaking my head and thinking, “This is HOW McDonald’s got started and grew??” I had no idea!

As a child, McDonald’s was the place with the “golden arches” and the great hamburgers/french fries. By the way, how do you spell “french fry?” Capital “F” in French? I see it spelled both upper case/lower case “F.” I bet the Chicago Manual of Style would have an answer on that.

Back to the movie review.  WHO has seen the movie??

If you haven’t seen it, I hate to give the story away, but I do need to give a little review. The main actor, Michael Keaton, who we know from the Batman movies plays McDonald’s founder, Ray Kroc. Keaton was incredible, clearly he enjoyed his role as a crook! In fact, it occurred to me that Keaton went from playing the noble Batman to being the villainous Joker in this movie!

IMG_2539Why was Ray Kroc a crook? Simple, Kroc took someone else’s company/idea and made it his own. Now, this is a bit challenging. The two brothers, Richard and Maurice McDonald, who created McDonald’s were really “nice guys.” The emphasis is on “nice.” They KNEW how to create, but they didn’t know how to build beyond one restaurant. They hesitated to take risks. There is one great scene in the movie that shows “HOW” the brothers created the assembly line in McDonald’s. Wonderful to watch an idea becoming reality.

Enter Ray Kroc! Now, clearly this guy was driven to make money and he was a visionary! He envisioned the “Golden Arches” everywhere and HE made McDonald’s the name it is today. I don’t have a problem with that. America has always been founded on work hard, make money, your dreams come true.

The issue I have is stealing someone else’s idea and becoming “ruthless” about it. AND WORSE, convincing yourself that “you” were the Founder. Now, Ray Kroc needed to say he was “The Founder” of McDonald’s, because this allowed him complete control in negotiations when opening other locations, I get it, but it doesn’t make it right!

This was an excellent movie/documentary! I encourage anyone who has ever eaten a McDonald’s hamburger to watch it. I’d be curious to hear your take on things. Is Ray Kroc a crook or should he be commended for being a brilliant guy?

Thanks to a long flight with slim movie choices, I watched, “The Founder.” So glad I did! It was an eye opener for sure!

I didn’t even have patience for the stewardess when she came by to offer ice cream. Huh, what — I was in the middle of the scene where Keaton (Ray Kroc) meets his second wife. Oh, I forgot to mention that… YOU need to watch the movie! It’s on Netflix.

Reminds me of the Facebook movie called, “The Social Network.”

These movies made me think, “When is being “driven” not OK?”

Falconry at Adare Manor Castle Hotel in Ireland

IMG_2060I’ve always been fascinated by eagles, falcons, and owls. They are powerful and mysterious. So, I was excited when my ex/husband suggested that after our daughter’s graduation (University of Limerick) that we head over to Adare Manor Castle Hotel (Adare, Ireland) for some Falconry and Archery.

Right now, they are doing a lot of refurbishing at Adare Manor, so, I was unable to take a picture to share with you.

Our Falconry Instructor was a nice fellow. He had a variety of birds for us to look at. First, he would tell us about the bird. Then with heavy glove on he assisted us to hold the birds, being very careful of their feet/talons. With the falcons, we could FEEL the strength in their feet through the glove. When they go for their prey, watch out!

Sometimes in photography, we get a FUNNY shot. For example, if you look at this owl, at first glance the owl appears to have headphones on, BUT then if you zoom in, you’ll see that when I took the photo, the eagle was directly behind the owl. Very amusing!

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Here are a few more photos I thought you might enjoy. Owls have amazing eyes! I have never seen one up close, have you?

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Next, a falconry show must have a falcon, right. Here you go…

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Now, this owl had enormous FEET.

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Finally, the Eagle…

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And for the grand finale… drum roll please… I bet you were wondering how I did in Archery. Well, I got a bulls eye, right in the middle of the apple – 3 times too! I have two brothers, so you KNOW I’ve been bragging about my Archery skills! A friendly bit of competition is good.

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Ireland is beautiful and a lot of fun. Similar to Seattle with the weather and they really enjoy their outdoor sports, I like that.

The Falconry fellow said Adare Manor should be open to the public November 2017. THEN we can go back for Trap Shooting! I smiled and thought, “Good marketing! I’m on board for that!”

A little bit of Paris in Dublin!

IMG_1653Today it was late afternoon and I was looking for a place to take a break, rest my feet and get some tea. I looked across the street and felt like I was in Paris when I saw “Le Petit Parisien.” You know a place is good when you walk in and it is vey crowded.

They had different desserts to choose from, I chose a lemon meringue. Here is what arrived, lovely and delicious. I’ll have to ask my Seattle Blogger friend, “Travel-Gourmand,” how this bakery compares to her write up on Seattle Bakeries. If you are headed to Seattle, you’ll want to see her post, “Seattle Bakery Recommendations.”

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An Irish fellow Blogger (Hope I can find her name and thank her.) recommended I try a place called, “Queen of Tarts.” I tried to go there, but it was raining and people had taken shelter inside… good plan!

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There are a lot of wonderful cafes/bakeries to go to.

Makes me wonder, if there is ONE FOODIE BLOGGER out there who has focused on visiting/writing about different cafes around the world. I’d love to see a Blog focused on that.

Anyone have cafe recommendations for Vienna? It’s on my Bucket List.

By the way, I looked up “cafe” to see if it had to have an accent or not. Sounds like BOTH work. What does the Chicago Manual of Style say?

Now, how do I find that specific cafe Blogger? Does this Blogger exist?

 

 

Back in Ireland… Keep your rosary handy when crossing the street.

FullSizeRender 2I’m back in Dublin and I am THANKFUL for these messages painted on the cross walks. I almost got hit by a car. I forgot they drive on the LEFT side (wrong side) of the road! Or like a funny Pub goer said, “Depending on how many beers someone has they might drive on any side of the road.”

As you can see, they must have had this issue in the past with foreigners crossing when they shouldn’t, because they CLEARLY write, “Look LEFT” or “Look RIGHT.” This is full proof. Thank goodness!

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My daughter has been living in Ireland for 4 years, so she’s an expert at walking fast and just crossing at a moments notice. I find it amusing when she reaches the other side of the street and looks back at me with the expression of, “Mama, WHAT are you doing over there?”

THEN, like a true Italian, I give her a frustrated look while I move my hands pointing to this huge commuter train that could have smooshed me and that I was “trying” to STAY ALIVE! We both chuckle at that!

On a lighter note, here is a map of the main part of Dublin. I think you can probably enlarge it. Then you will see that I was exploring the Trinity College area.

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IMG_4415I was looking into taking the “Hop On, Hop Off” tour bus. As I was doing this, I heard Italians speaking. There was a big group of them. Made me think of my Mom. They told me they were from Milan.

Which reminds me. When I was at the airport there was a Spanish speaking woman in front of me. It didn’t look like she had flown before, because she asked me “in Spanish,” if I could help her. I spoke to her in Italian (some words are similar) and moved my hands to show her that she needed to take her shoes off, throw water bottle away, put her purse in her main bag, etc. She was sweet and hugged me. It is a bit stressful, even if we are a seasoned traveler, because we are trying to get through the x-ray machine at the same time our carry on comes out.

It feels good to help someone! That good feeling stays with us for a couple of days!

The week is not over… SHARE YOUR STORY of helping someone!

 

Enjoying nature, finding love…

IMG_0885Isn’t there that saying that “you never know what you might find?” Well, I can say it is TRUE. I was walking on the beach with the goal of getting exercise. There weren’t many stones or shells, so I was walking at a good pace.

Suddenly, I reached an area full of rocks, shells, wood and so on. Having to walk slower, I decided to look at the rocks to see if there was anything interesting. As a child, we were always collecting Indian beads. The goal was to find Indian beads with holes in them, so we could make a necklace. As you can see from the rock photo, we really had to “search” to find just “one” Indian bead, but it was FUN!

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Feeling like a kid again, I started my hunt for an Indian bead. LOW AND BEHOLD, I looked down and saw this piece of glass in the shape of a HEART. I picked it up and turned it in different directions, verifying that my eyes were not deceiving me and SMILED. Yes, it was indeed the shape of a heart!

What a special find!

So, when I say, “finding LOVE,” it felt that way. My “own heart” grew 100 times at that moment. A reminder to appreciate life and that love is around us.

Moral of the story… go out, take a moment to really enjoy nature AND feel like a kid again! You might find your special heart too!

Great post on removing friction! Go for the GOLD!

IMG_1601We’ve all been there, we are trying to make progress on our goals, but we feel there is too much “friction” around us. I’ve been feeling that way, I even looked outside last night to see if there was a Full Moon going on. I noticed the days are getting shorter already, summer is almost over. BUT Fall means we are in the “home stretch.” The count down to December 31 is approaching. WHAT will I still accomplish in 2017?

As I was focusing on this BIG question, I saw an email come in from a fellow Blogger named, “Tynan,” writing about “Removing Friction.” I’ve been following him for a few years. His message today was right on target, he talked about getting rid of FRICTION. There MUST be a full moon, you see he was feeling “angst” too!

He’s a goal oriented guy, always trying to improve his life or situation. I was raised that way too, so I appreciate his message today. Read it, feel encouraged!

He doesn’t tell us anything we don’t know. The reason the message was motivating to me was because I am on a similar path of getting rid of “friction” in my life, so I can BETTER focus on important goals.

Friction = Fears

Get rid of fears, get rid of friction.

My Dad had no time for fears. As soon as they crop up, deal with them he would say! It’s your life, if you want to cry in a corner and feel sorry for yourself, so be it. You are a grown up, I’m not here to coddle you. You are the ONLY one to change your life!

Fears are anything that hold us back. Like Tynan says in his post, it can be as simple as buying a new set of pliers to get a job done, organizing our files, cleaning out clutter, creating a spread sheet, hanging those curtains, negotiating a new phone plan, etc. Make a list of ALL the things you have been avoiding, and tackle each one head on!

Let’s have a goal… by Monday ALL frictions are removed!

Like this guy on his motorcycle taking that tight corner, we are going to tackle our fears “head on!”

We’ve GOT THIS!  We are “In the RACE to WIN it.” We are going for the GOLD, not Silver or Bronze — GOLD, we are Olympians!

Post your goal below… THINK of December 31… and THEN own it!

Let’s see who gets to the FINISH line first!