Tuesday

Trust

As soon as you trust yourself you will know how to live. ~Johann Von Goethe

Monday

Dance

It's the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance. It's the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance. It's the one who won't be taken, who cannot seem to give; and the soul afraid of dying, that never seems to live. ~ Song Lyrics, "The Rose"

Sunday

Being Happy

It's interesting when you really think about it, how easy it actually is to simply be happy. Obviously, it's clearly our own personal and powerful choice to be happy or not, however we so very easily forget the power within ourselves to do so. What is it that allows us to determine our own self worth and happiness? Why is it that in such a free society, we still have so much unhappiness? Why are so many of us effected by the choices of others? How does another person's expectations, ideals and value system determine how we think of ourselves and effects our feelings and mood? I'm convinced that the value set or actions of another human being has nothing to do with our internal feeling of being content. Choosing to be angry wastes both precious energy and time that can never be replaced. Simple actions and character traits of our different personalities can easily, yet oddly lead to judgment and condemning another for simply just being different. However if we choose to avoid judging the differences, then there's a clear path for the freedom to have joy. I also have to remind myself that there's really no universal set of values, but only similar ideals of how to act and fit into our own selected social circles. It's an amazing freedom to choose to let go of our expectations of others, whether it be how we expect them to act, or converse or live out their unique daily lives. That one decision in choosing to feel good despite our surroundings directly effects the most fundamental path to happiness, exponentially. So, how do we dissociate ourselves from our feelings from actions of another? Are we capable to actually dis-connect ourselves from the outcome of an other's actions and words and remain in joy, no matter how a situation unfolds? Are we strong enough to accept the responsibility of our own happiness versus holding someone else to blame for it because they say or do something different than our own expectations? I love the short and simple expression, "Live and let live" because at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what anyone else does or says; as it’s our own choices that make the difference in creating our ultimate joy.

Friday

Writers Block

Forgive me, I have writers block today ...so I'll just try and take the attention off of my lack of writing and distract you with the picture of the cows. They are French cows by the way....if that makes it any more interesting.

Wednesday

Definition of Love

I hear everyday loves songs,
Describe a definition of love
They cry and weep in sorrow
Hoping to mend things t’morrow
So much mess and complications
With hopes and dreams that ne’er blossom
Broken dreams
Broken hearts
Broken egos
Broken lives
So why so many profess?
To know the meaning of love?
If it’s so true…
Why so much despair?
Is misery and sadness the meaning of love?
Money?
Compatibility?
Interests?
Looks?
Attraction alone?
No.
Then?
What?
Simple?
Yes.
The definition of love:
When it makes you feel
better
about yourself.
…the definition of love.

Monday

The Lady...a Dying Breed?

"The more simply a girl is dressed, ...the more chic she is." This is a quote from a book I read recently. It's simply titled Elegance, written by Kathleen Tessaro. It's a great style book defining class and elegance. I'd say the book clearly defines the styles similar to the likes of Grace Kelly and Jackie-O.

This is all brings me to an interesting situation that I encountered recently. I was attending a teenage birthday party where we were helping out with the adult supervision. When I arrived, I have to admit that I was a little weirded out. I couldn't help but notice the clothing trends that most of the young fifteen and sixteen year old girls were wearing that evening. It was an odd resemblance of night club attire from somewhere in Vegas, with three inch heals and skirts barely covering their butts. The boys of course were dressed conservatively. I could not help but laugh and think, "What the hell is going on here?" "Aren't they like sixteen?" I had such a nagging desire to send all these young girls a copy of the entire DVD collections of What Not To Wear as a welcome into their teen-hood.

So, are grace and style, as well as the concept of being a lady a dying breed nowadays? Has trying too hard to be sexy now become cool? At first I thought that perhaps I'm just old-fashioned, but my common sense (and good taste) must adamantly disagree. I guess there's just a fine fashion-line that some people just don't understand. I also just simply assumed that everyone kind of laughed at the cheesy styles, teens included. Kind of like a comical Will Ferrell spoof in A Night at the Roxbury. Then I realized how we as a society need to be very aware of how incredibly impressionable young and innocent minds really can be. As kids, and in such formative years, they can easily take in all of the images very seriously, whereas most mature adults can easily understand the distinct silliness of it all. I hope that this loose concept of fashion will not go further in defining their young and innocent understanding of themselves. All too many young girls grow up comparing themselves to silly and revealing images and the constant computer and artificially enhanced celebrities, instead of defining their own beauty with real class and confidence as real ladies with real style. I will continue to have high hopes that our next generation of young women is progressing in this society about their body image. I hope that their idea of sexy is to impress themselves, and not the libido of young boys, or even some creepy older men. I hope they grow up to see the difference to attract real men, gentlemen, who can clearly understand and connect with them on a real and mature level. I so passionately wish that more girls and women could comprehend that if they are confident, then they are perfect and beautiful. I'm reminded of how easily we can become products of our environment. I'm grateful that with age comes wisdom, and one very important and lovely epiphany that I learned through the years: If we can identify and understand our own unique and individual beauty, then we can genuinely and confidently portray it with class and dignity - and that is sexy. It seems that leaving more to the imagination has oddly become a long lost art. It's simply all about being a lady, with grace and beauty- of which no article of clothing (or lack thereof), or three inch heals can ever replace.

Friday

Top Ten Break-Up Phrases

Breaking up is hard to do? Not with these fun filled break-up phrases!

1. Oh did I say I liked you? You must have heard me wrong.
2. I've decided to make some changes in my life, and start hanging around nice people.
3. I don't recognize you anymore. No really, um, who are you?
4. I'm looking for something more like a Harold and Maude type of relationship.
5. I love ya but, everyone I know hates you.
6. What? We're a couple? Since when?
7. I'm committed to a new commandment; Though shalt not keep company with those more dysfunctional than thyself.
8. Snoogy woogy: Cuddly wuddly can't snuggle anymore, ...never wever.
9. I'm breaking up with you after my birthday so I can get my presents, K?
10. It's not you, it's me, ...I just don't like you.

Wednesday

Sock Monkey Booty

Sock monkey booty exclusive, with tastefully done booty photos. We were allowed these exclusive booty shots compliments of: http://sockmonkeylogic.blogspot.com/




Tuesday

Greta and the Great Amazon

Okay, so I've been telling myself for about 3 years that I'm going to write a funny little book parodying my four years of working for a local company based here in Seattle. I'm sharing this because we all have our own quirky little stories of where we work, and all the experiences of dysfunctional behavior that goes with it. During my employment at the company (thank God I'm no longer there) I started creating funny little characters *lightly* based on some of my quirky colleagues, ...myself included. Seeing the humor around it instead of getting agitated was my therapeutic way of making it through all the craziness. I've come up with some basic characters and a basic plot based around the real and everyday ridiculousness that I experienced. The title is, "Greta and The Great Amazon" - based on a story about fourteen red-headed step children that are forced to live and work in a large old factory on a hill overlooking the city and their secret plot to escape. Here are some of the main characters:

Greta - One of the stepchildren who realizes that she has intellectual super powers when wearing her hair in a ponytail. One day after realizing the super-powers she devises a way for the group of stepchildren to come together and use their unique talents to escape from the large factory on the hill.

Betsi Bevausu - A thin, wiry haired, platinum blond screechy girl who possess evil powers with her high screeching voice. The high pitches of the screeching stuns the group of step-children into submission where they are forced to work long and arduous hours in the factory.

DQ - One of the fourteen stepchildren, who is a large bear like boy who is terrified of everyone and everything. He cries at the drop of a hat.

Tortuga - Another of the stepchildren. He's a short and slow but methodical child, who isn't very wise or socially adapted. However he is very smart and is a wiz with spreadsheets.

Mad Anderson - Another stepchild who's character is the complete contradiction of his name. Mad is a happy go-lucky child who is intellectually brilliant and his super powers lay dormant in his humor. He discovers his super power while telling a joke one day to the rest of the step children when Betsi Bevausu catches him telling jokes instead of working. He realizes that she becomes lost in the laughter and cannot regain her composure, and hence the beginning of where he and Greta start to devise their plan of escape.

Enrico Fuentes - Another stepchild who secretly collaborates with the factory and the evil Betsi Bevausu. He's a small, quiet and mousy boy. He never really says anything to anyone. He surprisingly disappears and re-appears without anyone ever noticing.

Randy Helperson - A sweet and kind character who works for the large factory but has a good and gentle nature. He helps the stepchildren and assists them in the plot against evil through putting the enemy to sleep with his calming words and tone.

The Magic Bookshelf - A bookshelf that Greta finds to be a great tool in protecting against the evil Betsi Bevausu. When Greta hides behind the bookshelf - she is protected from the screechy evil screams of the slave driver Betsi.

More to come - as the story develops...

Ego

How easily can we identify the ego?
At what age does it begin to develop?
How closely attached is the ego to our possessions?
Do possessions of equal quality provide the same satisfaction without designer branding?
Do we feel superior with our designer brands?
Does it make us feel inadequate to be generic?
Are we still the same character and person without our social status or circles?
Do our careers, income and belongings define who we are?
How closely attached is our ego to our actions?
If we don't respond to insult or antagonism, is our self worth affected?
If we don't boast, does it make it less important?
Without our ego, can we still succeed?
Does fulfilling the ego effect the happiness of others?
Does fulfilling our ego effect the happiness of ourselves?

Monday

Random, Bootys

Elephant Booty




Rhinoceros Booty

Sunday

Don't Believe Everything You Think



I took these photos a few years ago. It's the La Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona Spain. It's one of the most amazing structures that I've ever had the opportunity to see. It's a privately-funded Roman Catholic church, and it's massive. This building has been under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain since 1882! It’s expected completion date isn't until at least the year 2026. The structure was designed by the renowned and very uniquely talented Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Gaudí's architectural style was extremely different than any other architect of his time as well as today. He worked on this project for 40 years of his life, and when approached on the subject of the longevity of the constructing of the church, his response was, "My client is not in a hurry."

It's interesting that Gaudí did not limit himself with the fact that the structure would take over 100 years to finish, and that he himself would never have the opportunity to witness it's completion. He only allowed his creative thoughts and instincts to drive him and effect the reality. If he had indeed allowed the fearful and negative thoughts and believed the limitations, then perhaps he may never had begun the construction of this now historical and top tourist attraction that stands today.

I guess it's human nature that sometimes allows ourselves to be self sabotaging, by believing every single passing thought. Therefore allowing limitations and fears which scare us away from creativity and taking new steps - that could turn out to ultimately be profound and life changing. I often forget that we really don't have to believe everything that we think, but only what we choose to think. So, I'm certainly inspired from a very creative and famous architect from over 100 years ago, who I think mastered this concept beautifully; Don't believe everything you think!

Saturday

Random Cute


I took this picture of the Fennec Fox at the Woodland Park Zoo. The Fennec's are the smallest fox in the world and live in the Sahara Desert. He's so cute!

Friday

Fore!


This was taken a few summers ago on Orcas Island. It was an interesting trip. We had been staying at a nearby hotel and could swear it was haunted, but that's another story for another day. I remember the weather was gorgeous and warm and we practically had the entire golf course to ourselves. Fortunately we were not yelling "fore!" at any time during this particular game.

I've certainly had to use that term on far too many occasions, indicative that my golf skills can be a bit lacking. If you're familiar with golf, you know that "Fore!" is shouted as a warning during a game when it appears that your ball may hit other players or spectators. The term means to "look ahead.” The origin of the word is believed to come from the military "beware before", which was shouted when a battery fired behind friendly troops. There are other probably origins that include the term "fore-caddy", which was a caddy who waited down range to see where golf balls landed.

That all brings me to my original thought; Wouldn't it be great if in our daily lives, when trouble is heading toward us, or when we're on the verge of making a poor decision, we could be forewarned? Just a loud resonating voice shouting down from the sky, "Gretchen, FORE!" Oh all of the compromising situations one could avoid! We could steer clear from bad relationships, dreadful jobs, even horrible former presidents…oh geez the list goes on!

Unfortunately, or even perhaps fortunately, life is not a game. One can only dream! I'll just have to leave it all up to my own intuition, stay my own course, and call it a day.

Thursday

Ten Ways to Mildly Freak People Out

I enjoy a good laugh once in while, so I've posted Ten Ways to Mildly Freak People Out or perhaps more appropriately titled, Ten Random Ways to Entertain Yourself. I would love to hear some more if you have them.

1. Take off your shoes and socks, then just carry them walking down the street, shoes in one hand and socks in the other. Smile and sing repeatedly, "happy feet!"

2. Casually confront people walking by, ask them if them if they've seen your pen.

3. Walk up to random strangers and hug them, don’t say a word and then walk away.

4. While in conversation, randomly start another one on an entirely different subject. Then interject with, "Okaaaay, what did I tell you about interruptions?!" ...and then resume your initial conversation.

5. While talking with someone, suddenly grab your ears. When they ask what you are doing, just calmly say, "They were trying to take them," and then simply resume back to what you were saying.

6. When going to a restaurant, take along your favorite kitchen ware i.e. blender, coffee maker, and while holding it close, ask for a child's seat and a place setting for it at the table.

7. When sitting in a waiting room, sit next to a stranger and fidget uncomfortably and then repeatedly say, "I need to go to the bathroom," and don't get up. Just continue over and over.

8. While at a public show, instead of clapping, just start snapping both fingers simultaneously.

9. For an entire day, don’t speak to anyone, but instead only communicate with your own made up sign language.

10. Instead of walking everywhere, run...down the hall at work, the grocery store, you get the drift, just run.

Random: The REAL scoop

So a I did a post a few days ago with some old pictures of my mom's friend from the early 1950's. I thought I sort of knew the story behind them but after reading it, my mom wrote me back with more accurate details. So here's there real scoop on these photos, in my mom's words with a tidbit of history too. Thanks mom!

"The cowgirl is my friend Janet at about age 13. That's my shadow as I was taking the pictures. It was taken in Big Bend, North Dakota where we lived when our fathers worked on the Garrison Dam project. The dam was being built by the United States Corps of Engineers. That is when we attended Riverdale school, a military base school. Our fathers were civilian workers on the dam. I believe that Riverdale has long since become a community and is no longer associated with the military."


Wednesday

Sailing On...

I took this picture from The Fire Island Ferry several years ago. If you've never been to Fire Island, I highly recommend it. It's a great getaway that you can only access by water taxi. It's just sand, boardwalks and beach homes and it's the perfect place for rest and relaxation. It's hard to believe that the gorgeous getaway is only a few hours of a drive, and short water taxi ride from the bustling city of New York. When I looked at this photo, I found it to be very symbolic, where from afar; the sailboats appear to sail so effortless and free in the wind. But as you look closer, there's a crew on board each one of those sail boats with strategic responsibilities, focus and hard work. They are all determined to reach the finish line before the rest, but not without a plan and a mapped out course to get there. It's also very similar in the way that we sometimes view the lives of others, that can appear to just always come together so easily. But when you take a closer look, there's a drive and determination that is combined with focus and movement. Those qualities eventually get them to their destination in attaining their dreams. Their reward is that of an elevated happiness, and from that we sometimes forget about the long roads that they have traveled, or the oceans they have sailed.

“There's no thrill in easy sailing when the skies are clear and blue, there's no joy in merely doing things which any one can do. But there is some satisfaction that is mighty sweet to take, when you reach a destination that you never thought you'd make…”

Monday

Fun With Birds?

video

I took this short video while waiting for the ferry from Bainbridge Island in Washington State. There was a huge flock of birds flying in circles and it's cool to watch. It looks like a big dark blob moving through the sky. You can see how huge the flock really is toward the end of the video. Hopefully you won't mind my sound effects, as I was kind of intrigued in the moment.

Saturday

My Favorites


So every once in awhile I come across a really great product and I have to tell all my girl friends about it. This is one of them. I love, love, love it. It's called Essential 24. http://www.bestskinoil.com/

Inside Château de Beynac

I was asked the question if you can actually go inside the castle. Yes you can, and I did. This first picture is from inside looking out a window over the Dordogne countryside.

Cooking Area

Chapel

Main Hall

Random


Don't even ask...

Château de Beynac


Château de Beynac, located in Beynac, France. It's about 200 miles south of Paris. The 12th century fortress was built by barons over a sheer cliff to discourage assaults. The castle looks down over the winding, gorgeous Dordogne River below. One of the most beautiful places that I've ever seen.


The castle overlooks the original village which is lined by a cobblestone road, and winds all the way down to the river. Residents and vacationers occupy the village homes. One of the buildings serves as the only hotel, which has the coolest pool surrounded by the lush countryside and beautiful views.


This is actually a church, overlooking the river. It sits on top of the cliff adjacent to the Chateau De Beynac, and still holds services to this day.


Me walking along the Dordogne River.

Friday

Barcelona

Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, in Barcelona Spain. More commonly known as just simply La Boqueria. One of the largest and oldest outdoor markets in Europe. You can find just about anything under the moon there and it's amazing. The most delicious prosciutto I've ever tasted in my life was from La Boqueria, and was seriously a taste of heaven.

Thursday

Monday

Cool Cats

Here's one of my favorite old photos. It was taken at my grandparent’s farm in 1961. Every time I look at this picture it absolutely cracks me up. It looks like the kittens crawled in through the window from outside and are literally just hanging out looking for more mischief and fun. I find it an interesting dichotomy in how our modern society changes so drastically through technology, interests etc. However cats still play, eat, sleep and function exactly the way they always have, just like in this 1961 photo. Albeit change is good, as I’m a very big advocate of change and progress - but I certainly find delight in knowing that some of the simplest yet extraordinary things remain unchanged.

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