Dale Carnegie

“Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”  

Paulo Coelho

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Mark Twain

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

Fernão de Magalhães

Ferdinand Magellan, born Fernão de Magalhães in February of 1480, was a Portuguese explorer, known in Spanish as Fernando de Magallanes, and in English as Ferdinand Magellan.

Best known for planning and leading the Spanish expedition to the East Indies sailing from Sanlucar de Barrameda southwest across the Atlantic Ocean, to the eastern coast of South America and then down to Patagonia.

In the process of discovering the passage that now bears his name (Straits of Magellan), he become the first European to sail from the Atlantic into and across the Mar del Sur to open a maritime trade route to Asia. In doing so, Magellan renamed Mar del Sur, the “Peaceful Sea” which we now know as the Pacific Ocean.

Seasons’ Greetings & Happy 2023!

This is the time of year when season’s greetings, holiday and new year’s wishes, regardless of religion, culture, ethnic background or heritage, fills the air. We shop for gifts, send cards (digitally, of course, these days), attend parties, dinners and festive gatherings. Oh, and we gain the 10 pounds that we resolve to lose every new year.

Despite the roller coaster pandemic warnings that again seem to be popping up, many of us, albeit slowly, are once again trying to get back to a new ‘normal,’ venturing to get together with family, friends, loved ones and colleagues.  Starting to travel again, perhaps taking that deferred and much needed vacation or simply taking a break from work or school or the anxiety of the last few years.

Looking back at 2022, it would be nice to say this pandemic is behind us, but just a few days ago I heard a new word – “tridemic” – which I’m sure will make it into the mainstream vocabulary faster than the spread of any virus.  COVID, Flu and RSV cases are increasing and new alarms about variants are once again threatening to overwhelm our health care systems.  At best, more anxiety. At worst, more tragic losses and overworked health care professionals.

At the same time, hardly a week (or sometimes a day) goes by where we don’t hear of another tragedy – a shooting at a mall, a school, a store, a workplace, a playground or a street corner.  Innocent bystanders or commuters subjected to random and often violent attacks.  There are still too many homeless, abused, under-served people in despair and distress. In many parts of the world, the holiday season and new year means bitterly cold weather and for far too many, lack of food or clothing or access to basic health care.

War and suffering, displaced human beings, innocent battered and often shattered lives.  There are still too many places in the world where there is no peace. Where instead of worrying about getting ahead in the workplace or being successful in business or striving to make sure children are getting an education and families are well nourished, they are concerned about stray bullets or brutal repercussions for expressing the wrong opinions. Where tolerance, understanding and compassion are absent. In this age of the Internet, we often too easily believe the myth that we live in a borderless world. It’s only borderless for those who speak, work and live in a free society.  For others, the borders, and living life within them, are very real.

I am also pretty tired of politics – especially partisan politics, no longer measured by honest, but well-meaning disagreement. It seems to have become malicious and mean-spirited. What if there was a requirement that every elected official be prohibited from remaining a member of or being endorsed by any political party, allowed to only accept donations of $10 or less and only once from each person or business in the geographic region they represent. If we are lucky, it would make it more difficult for ‘independent’ elected officials to reach a consensus on self-serving laws. Instead of voting along ‘party lines,’ it might make it more likely that the laws that do make it through are meaningful to greater numbers of citizens! Oh well, I can dream, right?

In case you think all is lost, as we head into 2023, let’s turn to what’s right with the world.  Once again, it’s been a year in which we have witnessed heroic efforts from our health care workers, first responders, emergency search and rescue personnel, as well as our finest and our bravest – not just in our nation, but around the world. So many dedicated, selfless people across the diverse fabric of our communities – communities that transcend borders. People from nations around the globe coming to the aid of those in need – in places they have never been, helping people they don’t know.

Ordinary people performing extraordinary feats of kindness, tirelessly giving of themselves for long, sometimes thankless hours to save lives, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, provide clothing and rebuild damaged houses and give comfort to so many in need. A woman and her family rescuing a helpless and lost elderly man stranded in a snowstorm, a police officer helping a stray deer stuck in a fence, neighbors providing clothes and food and shelter to strangers whose homes and lives have been shattered by tornadoes. These folks don’t make headlines but if look around, you can find everyday examples of the best in us. They are an inspiration to me, reminding me of what we should and can be if we just take the time to look around and try, not just this time of year, but throughout the year.

As this year draws to a close, once again I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all of you – people with whom I’ve worked, readers of my silly trivia contests or learned quotes and those who glance at my legal insights designed to provoke your thoughts that I post once in a while. I am thankful for the relationships, old and new. Those that have endured, those that have strengthened and those that have surprised me and sometimes, those I’ve lost.  Each of you have helped enrich my life, personally and professionally and I am grateful.

Every year, as we move closer to a new year, I find myself at a loss for words that can adequately express my appreciation, so as I always do, I’ll just say, “thank you” and trust you will understand all that is behind those two simple words.

Maria Grazia “Lella” Lombardi

A Formula One driver born Maria Grazia “Lella” Lombardi in 1941, Lella Lombardi raced in 17 grands prix and in 1975, became the first female driver to ever score any points in a Grand Prix.  She finished 6th in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona’s Montjuich Park in Spain. The race was stopped prematurely after 29 laps when another driver crashed badly, killing several spectators, however, her placement earned her half a point in the Grand Prix. Sadly, Lella Lombardi died of cancer in March of 1992.

Billie Jean King

“Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make it a doozy.”

Scotland

The unicorn is the national animal Scotland.

The first recorded reference to a Unicorn dates back to the 5th Century. The ancient Greeks believed them to be real, fiercely wild and independent and Celtic mythology envisions the legendary creature with purity, innocence, and mystical powers.

In medieval times, the Unicorn was used by Scotland’s royal line on coats of arms and coins to represent them and in royal heraldry are always shown with a gold crown, attached to gold chains wrapped around them, and tethered to the ground.

No one knows for sure, but some say Unicorns, natural enemies of lions that have long been symbols used by English royals, reflect the long-standing rivalry between Scotland and England!

However it arose, elusive and impossible to capture, the imagery of the Unicorn suits a nation that has always been impossible to stifle and difficult to conquer.