12: Five Things Friday Vol. 35

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2021

Five Things Friday: just five things I’m thinking about or things that made my week, or things that I otherwise feel like sharing.

First things first: today is the last day to sign-up for the 6th annual Secret Santa (Mug) Swap. If you want to join the holiday fun, we’d love to have you. I am thrilled to report that enough people (at least two each) from the US, Germany, and Canada have signed up, so if you were hesitant because you thought you might be the only participant from your country, get your name on the list now! Find all the details here.

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I had my annual performance review this week and it went really well. I was glad to hear that my supervisor – and the other project managers that I work for – are happy with my (remote) work because even though I haven’t heard any direct complaints, I also don’t always get positive feedback to know that expectations were met or exceeded.

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I finished A Very Stable Genius: Donald J. Trump’s Testing of America by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig this week. (Please don’t ask why I did this to myself.) I cannot say that I “enjoyed” reading this book, however, I did find it very interesting and it showed how much reporting fell by the wayside during the Trump years because there was just SO MUCH to cover. I recognized events and situations but got a much better understanding of what was going on behind the scenes at the time. It shows once more how important it is to hold this guy accountable and not let him get to any public office ever again. (Full review to come in my next book review post.)

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Have you heard of Tchibo? It’s a well-known German chain of coffee retailers and cafés. Their coffee is now available in the US and I found out this week that they’re giving away free coffee: four free bags* (ground or whole bean coffee) and you only pay for shipping. That’s a really sweet offer if you like to try new coffee. You should get on that.

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Yesterday was Veteran’s Day here in the US. It’s a federal holiday and as a federal employee, I got the day off, which was nice. Did you also know that yesterday was St. Martin’s Day in Germany? I told you about this (traditional) holiday in my Halloween post and I was tempted to bake some traditional “Martinsküchle” (fried yeast cookies) for the occasion. I ended up not doing that, but I know my Mom baked them (she does every year) and she sent me a message saying that she had leftovers that I could have. (Sigh. I wish!!)


* #notanad, This is not a sponsored post. I have not been compensated by the brand or anyone else for linking the website.

  1. We call November 11th “Remembrance Day” in Canada and it was a wonderful day. We didn’t make it to any of the outdoor ceremonies (in honour of fallen soldiers/veterans), but I am so glad my kids continue to be exposed to the history and current situations where so many have given so selflessly to protect our country and to promote freedom and justice. I always get a surge of pride to be Canadian at this time of year!

    I didn’t realize that federal employees got Veteran’s Day off in the US.

    Mom’s cooking is just the best…you had me at fried and cookies. Yum.

    1. That’s so wonderful that you had a great Remembrance Da, and I agree, it’s great for the kids to learn about the history behind it.

      Mom’s cooking is truly the best – I miss it so much. Hope I can go visit again soon.

  2. Yeah for a positive annual performance review. I bet it’s not so simple if you don’t get any feedback not even some physical signals now that working remotely.
    So excited about the mug swap. It is my own little Christmas party because as a solo entrepreneur there is no office secret Santa or any other kind of festivities.

    1. I definitely feel the Mug Swap is my own little Christmas Party too as we’ve never had anything official at the office (other than a cookie party, which usually happened on a Friday when I was off). I am so glad enough people signed up so you can have a swap in Germany this year! I am glad I asked if people would be interested and could open it up this way!

  3. Oh San. I unfortunately think something drastic will have to happen before the next election, otherwise it’s going to be ugly. You are brave to read that book! I’ll be interested to read your review.
    On a lighter note, I’m totally looking forward to the mug exchange! We’ll probably do a Secret Santa exchange at work as well, but you can never have too many! Thanks for hosting.

    1. I am so thrilled you’re participating in the Secret Santa Swap this year, Jenny.

  4. That’s great that your performance review went well! It’s always nice to get positive feedback! I had to write my self-review in mid-October and it was hard to do that since I came back from leave in late April. So I had 5 months of work to reflect on which was quite a blur… I was out during goal-setting, too, so I had no goals to reflect on. My boss told me to just add them in so obviously I wrote goals based on what I had achieved which felt like cheating but again my boss said it’s not cheating! So the whole process just felt…. weird.

    1. Ugh, self-review is hard… but you know, on the other hand, I feel like you can make sure people understand and see your work (which is sometimes not visible in a remote work environment). I had to write a list of accomplishments that I submitted to my supervisor before the review. I have been keeping track of my tasks and accomplishments throughout the year, so I feel like listing all of it gives my supervisor a better understanding of what I’ve done (because we’re not physically in the office together) and I feel like as long as project managers/clients are happy with your results, the self-review should just reflect that.

  5. Hooray for a great annual review! Mine is coming up soon and there is so much I have to say, haha. I’m looking forward to it.

    I’m so worried that Trump will be back in the WH in 2024. It’s not looking good. :(

    1. Good luck on your performance review! I am sure you’re getting a great review – you feel very dedicated to your work!

      And please let’s not think about 2024. I am scared.

  6. Well, I did the free coffee offer (still going, apparently!) despite some trepidation. As long as I don’t get fraud alerts on my card, we’re good. ;) I love European coffee when I am there so wouldn’t mind finding a reliable source for good coffee!

    And, yikes. 2024 scares the living daylights out of me. You’re a stronger person than I to read that book (I read the excerpts on the Post site, though – that was enough for me…).

    Yay for a good review! So hard to know what to anticipate.

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