Category Archives: Cindi’s thoughts

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

My Dream for Michigan Central Station

Today my heart is both heavy and happy. Heavy with building lust and opportunity lost. Happy that a most beautiful, iconic structure has a savior.

For the past several hours, I’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole of the #fordetroit posts, absorbing every essence that is the future of Michigan Central Station (MCS) thanks to Ford Motor Company.

I grew up in Detroit, and I remember the first time I drove by that glorious building. My heart leapt with joy. How could something so beautiful be so unloved?

Certainly, I’m not the only person who asked this question. It’s been debated for decades. But once I laid eyes on MCS, my brain began developing a plan that has morphed a bit over time due to technology and the economy, but hasn’t strayed much from my initial vision.

At the time of my first sighting, I was traveling extensively for business. I had to put my idea on the backburner. It sat there and simmered, popped up again occasionally, but I didn’t have the experience to try to pull something like my vision together at the time.

I tracked articles and news stories about MCS, but it didn’t fully come back into my life until I started to write my novel series, The Diana Diaries. Book two – Destiny Dollars – introduces MCS into the discussion and book three (under development) – Destiny Detroit – takes the story to Detroit to pursue the main character’s vision.

The setup scenario in Destiny Detroit is fictional, but the development of the MCS project is all real in my world. My writing is influenced by my interests, and MCS, which took hold of my heart from the first moment I saw it, is part of that. I had hoped to bring it to life, at least through my book, at best through a finalized business plan accompanied by building lovers with deep pockets.

However, the last few years I was a full time caregiver to my mother, and aside from the moments to write here and there, I couldn’t spend a lot of time on my business plan. I had done some research, put together some spreadsheets to support my premise, but my focus was on my Mom. MCS had sat empty for so long I figured I had another year or so to jump in full force. First, finish the book, then present my plan to potential investors. Alas, that won’t happen. But Destiny Detroit will still contain my vision.

Joy Mangano, the HSN power lady and author of Inventing Joy, learned the lesson of not acting quickly enough on her idea for a reflective flea collar. We all know who beat her to market with that product. But, she learned and went on to invent numerous other products that serve millions of people. As I read her book, I kept getting pangs of guilt that I had not fully immersed myself in my MCS project. And now, there is none.

Would my idea have generated as much income as what Ford is doing? Probably not. But it would have helped to grow another local industry and provide much fun and flair to the neighborhood. Still, I applaud Ford for stepping up to save MCS and give it life once again. I can’t wait to see the fully restored beauty. And, should they encounter some snags along the way and need an out – I have a great idea waiting in the wings.

What am I talking about? You’ll just have to wait to read the book. Fingers crossed it will be out by the end of the year, written through tears of joy and happiness – with a touch of regret.

In the meantime, you can read the first two books – Destiny Drop and Destiny Dollars – to catch up on the characters. And, I’ll even send a copy to Bill Ford for his reading pleasure once the third book is complete.

Be sure to join my mailing list so you can be the first to know about the official release date of Destiny Detroit.

Cindi

KNIGHT UP! Why I love the Vegas Golden Knights

 

KNIGHT UP! Why I love the Vegas Golden Knights

People say that sports can change a person. I’m here to tell you, you don’t have to play the game to be impacted by it.

As I write this, the Vegas Golden Knights have just swallowed up the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A joyous day, to be certain, but only halfway to the goal.

Regardless of whether our beloved team takes home the #CupIn1, they are forever in my heart.

I began to follow the Knights back when they were just a hope. I read every article I could about the quest to bring hockey to our desert community. I listened to the pros and cons and everyone who argued it would never happen, but I admired and respected the way the process was handled. They had me at Bill Foley.

Everyone knows what has happened since then. We were awarded a franchise. We got a general manager, a coach, and the most adorable, hard-working, talented group of misfits to fill the roster. We got a broadcast team (I love the broadcast team equally as the players) who brought hockey into our homes. If it were not for them, this post might not exist.

You see, while all the stars were aligning for our Knights, I was a full-time caregiver to my dying mother. I rarely left the house, particularly that last year when I drove less than 500 miles – the entire year! It was my greatest honor to care for my mom, but even a caregiver needs something to smile about every now and then.

Enter the Knights. I had something to cheer about, because I knew what the outcome would be for my mom. But the Knights. Who knew? Even if they lost every single game, they still would have earned my devotion. On game nights, if mom was awake, I’d sit by her bedside and give her the play-by-play. Mom wasn’t much into sports, but she heard the enthusiasm in my voice for our team, and she lovingly went on the journey with me.

Las Vegas was hurting when the Knights began their season following the mass shooting of October 1, but they embraced the city and we hugged them right back. It’s been a mutual healing experience.

For me, personally, I don’t know how I could have gotten through these past few months without seeing my hometown team on the ice. Mom has since gone to that big hockey rink in the sky (well, honestly, it’s probably a movie theater), and I’m still cheering #GoKnightsGo in my living room. I’m not sure what I’ll do in the off season, but hopefully it’s a short one this year. And next year, I plan to actually make it to The Fortress for a game.

I grew up in Detroit (Hockeytown) and I lived in San Jose during the birth of the Sharks, but never have I ever been so grateful for the Vegas Golden Knights. Whenever I needed them, they were there. On the ice, or online.

Oh, that Twitter account! Sassy is thy middle name. Smart, funny quips morning, noon and night. How often it’s made me laugh out loud. I rarely start the day without searching for the latest updates on my Knights. Keep giving me those GIFs of William Karlsson’s hair flip, Marc-Andre Fleury thanking the goal post or doing the wave, or Jonathan Marchessault mugging for the camera. They are the GIFs that keep on giving. The Twitter account is in a league of its own.  

And it’s not just the official Twitter account that keeps me in stitches. The whole cast of characters, from our bright yellow Gila monster mascot, Chance, to Bark-Andre Furry and his beautiful singing voice heading the #DogsoftheGoldenKnights, to the newly minted Goal Post, The VGK Flamingo, and the limitless other superfans. I spend each day in harmony with them. And who couldn’t muster a smile with the shade throw-down between the Kings and the Sharks. 

As a writer, I can always disappear into my latest creation as part of my grieving/healing process, but it’s a lonely experience. The Knights have a strong worldwide community, and I’m very lucky to be part of that.

This last year has been a journey, to be sure, but as you see, sports can change a person – for the better – and I’m forever changed thanks to hockey and our Vegas Golden Knights.

Cindi’s Thoughts – How do you handle confidential information?

Confidential Information

How do you handle confidential information?

There’s been a lot of talk in the press lately about how confidential matters have been handled, and I was just curious where people stood on this subject. Let’s view it from a business perspective.

I worked in Silicon Valley for many years where I was given a lot of confidential information regarding product development, product launches and any number of other projects in order to properly do my job. I also observed early on in my career that even at the same company, not everyone was read into a project. So, if employees within a company aren’t allowed to know about the subject, why would someone think they can share that material with anyone outside?

To me, confidential is confidential. Whether obligated by a formal written agreement or a verbal acknowledgement, confidential data should not be shared with anyone who is not directly involved in the matter at hand.

Some confidentiality agreements (also known as non-disclosure agreements or NDAs) allow you to share the data with those you contract with to help execute the project. However, the agreements typically state that you are responsible for all those you share that knowledge with to keep the information confidential until such time as it’s made public by the company. So, don’t share unless you must.

When you share confidential information, you do a number of things. First, you potentially undermine the success of the project. If information is released too soon from a source other than a corporate announcement, a lot of bad things can happen including the complete failure of the project or business. In some cases, the information is never to be made public and is strictly for use within the company.

Second, you put the person you told at risk of releasing the information accidentally. It’s a small world and you never know who knows whom or what data might be valuable to them. Making an off-the-cuff remark while waiting for your Pumpkin Spice Latte at the Starbucks counter at Target could be overheard by a potential competitor even though it was a seemingly innocent location.

Third, you risk your own reputation. If people can’t count on you to keep your mouth shut, they won’t tell you anything. You’ll be deemed untrustworthy and may lose your job, your clients or even relationships with friends or family, depending on the circumstances. Why risk it?

Confidential means everyone is not privy to the information. In this age of social media, some people feel they need to share everything. Sharing confidential information on social media can get you fired before your next paycheck. Don’t do it!

I’ve had people hit me with the spouse or significant other excuse, that spouses tell each other everything. Really? EVERYTHING? And, when I do raise that argument with others, I’m often told of stories of couples who were married for decades and never quite knew what their spouses did for a living because they were required to keep their work life confidential.

If I look back to my Silicon Valley days, it wasn’t unusual for people who worked for different companies to wed. With all the secretive product development going on, I’m sure they didn’t sit around the dinner table sharing design specs.

Keeping your mouth shut and doing the right thing can have a negative effect as well. At one point, I had been working with a client for about a year when another company contacted me to consult with them. I was really excited until I discovered that their products would compete with those that my current client had in their long range plan. I had to turn down the new client inquiry. Unfortunately, my existing client eventually chose not to pursue that market so I lost the opportunity to work with a great company on a long term contract, impacting my bottom line. Still, it was the right thing to do.

So, now that I’ve rambled a bit about my observations regarding the sharing of confidential material, where do you stand?

CIndi

Cindi’s Thoughts – KonMari – Does your house have a set point?

Does your house have a set point?We often hear how our bodies have a set point for weight, that no matter how hard we try to lose, it will always work harder and harder to get back to a weight that it feels comfortable maintaining. Much the same, we try to keep our home organizing in check with the one in – one out rule: For every new item we bring into the house, something has to leave.

So, as I’ve been going through my house with the KonMari method, I noticed that as I was getting rid of things, others somehow were making their way into newly found spaces. I got rid of clothes and shoes, but I had to replace some and I added others. Not as much as I had before, definitely, but I felt a little on the skimpy side when I opened my closet doors after the initial cleanse.

It wasn’t only the closet that was affected. I now have a collection of photo props, things I might have considered tossing, or things I needed to buy, just to improve my business photography, plus other small tech items for my business.

Then, there are new sheets (I went all white) and a quilt because I’d been trying to replace one I received as a gift several years ago. When I found it, I felt joy. Isn’t that the whole point of this KonMari exercise – surround yourself with things that bring you joy? Now, it’s possible the things that bring you joy were buried under those that didn’t, but if that’s not the case, you will find a way to bring in the joy.

Once you clean through your house, you open up the space to allow new, wonderful things to happen. Want to learn to play guitar or keyboards? There’s room. How about learning to paint? An easel will fit. Need a home gym? There’s lots of space.

I’m sure when this whole house is KonMari-ed and I’ve finally sold everything I want to on eBay or Amazon or wherever, my house will have significantly less contents. And, I hope to be able to find and use everything I keep. After all, I quite enjoy the fresh air and free space I get when I clean an area and I have no intention of putting something new in its place.

Still, I wondered: How many of you have cleaned through your house and felt great, only to have to return to doing it again a year or two down the road? Kondo says that if you use her method, you won’t experience that again, but I don’t believe that. People change. Circumstances change. People move. Things break.

However, I think that once everything has a home and we’ve all developed new Kondo habits, we’ll be more aware when things are starting to get out of hand and address the issue quickly. List something on eBay immediately when we determine we no longer want it. Have a donation box in our closet. Throw something in the trash when it’s broken and not just relocate it to the garage. Sounds simple but will that initial KonMari elation fade over time?

To me, deep cleaning is like peeling back the layers of an onion. You remove the first layer or two of items you no longer want, only to realize you can go deeper and deeper still. Items you thought brought you joy actually don’t. Over time, you get better and better at realizing what makes you happy.

As the unjoyful leave us, there is room for the joyful to enter. I suspect there are people who feel the need to be surrounded by material possessions, but the point of KonMari is to connect with what you have. Items are not created to sit on a shelf or in a box. They are made to be used. Without the utility, the circle is not complete. Using might mean something as simple as enjoying a piece of artwork; if it’s hanging on the wall, it’s being used but if it’s sitting behind a dresser, not so much.

Not only should we surround ourselves with things that spark joy, we should be grateful for the joy that these items bring us. And, of course, remembering that the joy in life comes from many different places: relationships, experiences, even challenges.

But that brings us back to the opening question: does your house have a set point? In my heart, i believe homes can get along just fine with less filling. They just need to feel loved and experience love within their walls. What do you think?

Enoy!

Cindi

This post contains affiliate links. It is not sponsored. All opinions are my own. Thanks!

Cindi’s Thoughts – Where to find me in 2016

binoculars

I like to think that everything we do somehow sets a foundation for our future life. We might not always see an immediate correlation, but somewhere along the line, our decisions today will affect our future tomorrow.

in 2015, I decided to consolidate my websites and to be more active on social media. The websites were easy; social media I’m still working on, although I have improved.

Previously, I had a separate website for each project under my creative hand. It just got too unwieldy to maintain an ever-growing list of projects and their accompanying sites. I finally got things down to what I hope will be a manageable four.

I’ve also tied my blog posts to Facebook and Twitter, so every time I have a new post, you’ll be alerted if you follow me on either one. So, I wanted to provide a breakdown of what you can find on each site.

www.CindiMaciolek.com – This is my main blog site. Here, you’ll find out things about me, my KonMari journey notes, recipes, favorite things and so on. It’s an all-encompassing Cindi Maciolek overview.

www.GrandArborPress.com – This is my business site. Anything related to my books, CDs or products can be found here.

www.Divatiel.com – Anyone who knows me knows I loved my little birdie so much I wrote a book about her. I have plans to do a few things with this down the line, so I’ve decided to keep it a separate site. That may change in the future, but for now, blog posts will be updated on my Facebook page but on a different Twitter account.

www.AuntiCindiPresents.com – This site is dedicated to my latest non-fiction book series. You’ll find blog posts here related to topics in my Aunti Cindi Presents books including business, caregiving and emergency preparedness tips. Emergency Preparedness was originally on my CindiMaciolek.com site, but I’ll be transferring  the content here. As other books are added to the series either by myself or other authors, the subject matter will grow.

You can also join my email list. I currently do not send regular updates via email, but I welcome you to add your name to my list.

Social Media

As I said, I’m not a social media expert while I understand its significance. All my blog posts will also post on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, in the last year I’ve opened Pinterest and Instagram accounts, both of which I hope to build on during 2016. I’m also toying with the idea of YouTube. Maybe somewhere down the line.

So, there you have it! If you’re looking for me, I’ll be on my laptop, fingers traveling a mile a minute, keeping you posted on random thoughts and somewhat useful information while I continue to focus on my books and other outlets for my writing.

See you in cyberspace!

Cindi

 

Cindi’s Thoughts – A Cautionary Tale of Online Shopping

Online Shopping

We’re heading into the frantic holiday shopping season, and no matter how intelligent we are, we’re still human and we make mistakes. There, I said it, I made a mistake!

Before you dig out the credit cards and start doing major purchases online, I wanted to share with you something that happened to me last year. Luckily, the outcome was fine but it could have been terrible if circumstances were different.

Last December, on a late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, exhausted, i was getting ready to shut down my laptop for the night when I received an email from a favorite retailer that an item I wanted was on sale at a very good price. Now, as tired as I was, the smart thing to do would have been to turn off my computer, get some sleep and order the item in the morning. However, we know how quickly things sell out during the holidays and I didn’t want to miss such a good opportunity.

Black-Friday-Cyber-Monday-2015-578x372

Yes, I could have gone into the store for the item, but I knew I only wanted that one thing and I thought if I quickly ordered online I could go to sleep happy. Then I could avoid the crowds in the store and spend my time doing more exciting things. As it turns out, that was not the case.

The item was just shy of the free shipping minimum, so I stayed up a bit longer to find something else to add to my order. Now, besides being exhausted, my eyes were spinning circles looking at items trying to decide what small thing to purchase to get my free shipping.

I finally placed my order then decided to catch up on Facebook while I waited for my email confirmation to come through. It did. Yikes!

Yikes!

You see, this particular retailer’s site had two quirks that threw me off my game. First off, it listed the billing address, then the shipping address. This is completely opposite most other retail checkouts. Usually, your shipping information comes first, then when you add your payment info, the site will ask for your billing address.

I’d purchased from this site before so all the address and payment information was saved in my account; I’m just saying I didn’t catch that I was looking at my billing address when I hit the submit order button. I thought it was my shipping address.

Then, this site, for some reason, kept the last address I shipped to as my default. Now, I’d ordered many times over the years from this retailer, but only once did I ship to another address and it suddenly decided that should be my default.

I received my order confirmation and was surprised to see that my order was not shipping to me but to a family member across the country, the last address I had shipped to. I immediately logged into my account, but I was not offered the option to make changes or cancel the order. This was all within a matter of about 30 minutes or so from the time I placed the order.

I located the telephone number for web order support and the representative informed me that it clearly states in their online order policies that no changes can be made once an online order had been placed. I was shocked! Zero changes? Yep, zero changes. The minute the order is placed it goes directly into processing. The only way around that is if you ship to the store because you can choose not to pick up your order.

We as consumers are partly to blame here. We want to receive everything within hours from the time we order it. That means that we lose our freedom to make changes or cancel orders as well.

drone delivery

I went to several online sites that I frequent and each one has a completely different order policy. Several do not allow changes or cancellation once an order has been placed. Others will allow changes until it ships. The rest fall somewhere in between. These policies are in effect year round, not just during the holidays.

My advice to you before you hit the Submit Order button is to review absolutely everything in detail and know the policies for that particular merchant. You don’t want to get stuck in the middle of a bad situation.

I was lucky. My order went to a family member. I told him he could either keep the items or return them and keep the money. It was a small cost, so I just reordered.

However, can you imagine if I had spent a large amount of money and sent the order accidentally to an ex, someone I’m no longer in touch with or even the person I want to gift it to? If it’s the gift recipient, well, not such a big deal, but if it’s someone else, they are under no obligation to return the items to me. What’s to keep them from taking the shipment to the store and getting a refund? After all, I had clearly ordered the items and shipped the order to them. I would be out the money and the items as well.

Happy Shopping!

We’re always so busy and it’s so easy to click, tap or enter to complete a transaction. Before you do, take a deep breath, review everything with a clear head, then order. You’ll be glad you did!

Happy Shopping!

Cindi

May 4th – May the Force Be with You

For Star Wars fans, May 4th is a very special day. You can Google all the reasons, so I won’t go into them here, but as a Star Wars fan, I hold the day in high esteem.

There always seem to be two camps: Star Wars vs. Star Trek. I have to admit, I’ve used that as a dating quiz at times. I just know that if my date answers, Star Trek, I have to look elsewhere. Long term, he and I wouldn’t get along.

Now, I admit, I do love that signature line from Star Trek: Live Long and Prosper. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to do that? That’s exactly what all this Law of Attraction stuff is all about. Trekkies not only wish it for themselves, they wish it for others as well. Not being a Trekkie, I can’t really say if there ever was any evidence of the cast living long and prospering during the show, but I have borrowed the line on occasion.

However, May the Force Be with You from Star Wars, resonates with me on many levels. First off, a guy I used to work with always reminded me to “Come from a place of power” whenever we faced obstacles in our projects. I’ve referred to that often during my life and remind myself that when I need it, I have an inner strength, a force, that will help me to overcome obstacles.

The Star Wars characters repeatedly showed how the Force played a role in their lives. The Force is greater than an individual: it unites us all. There are numerous analyses of the spiritual aspects of Star Wars, so again, I won’t go into them here, but perhaps the beautiful and fun way those points are expressed is what draws us Star Wars fans to keep coming back.

To celebrate the day, I want to share with you two music videos that Phil Maq introduced me to. The Force is everywhere! Enjoy!

Weird Al Yankovic: The Saga Begins

And, the Lego version: