Life Lessons from Thinking.

March 29, 2014 at 1:45 pm (Excellence in Business, Freedom, histoires financières, Life skills or hacks, organized simplicity, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

In my never ending quest to not feel like a total dumbass I read. I read a lot. No I have never cracked a volume of Fifty Shades of anything nor have I read Twilight. Until recently I thought it was an anthology of the Twilight Zone in written word.

I read books about historical (and often hysterical) people. I like biographies and not the sordid tell all types but the nuts and bolts of how someone changed their world by doing something their own way. I enjoy their process and mistakes far more than the ultimate successful outcome which brought them fame and fortune.  See here’s the funny thing about me. I know that I don’t know much in this world life but I do know that anyone who pins themselves as an expert is either full of bullshit or drank their own Koolaid (or Flavor-aid as it was). All I know is all I know and no more. Who decided we should “fake it till we make it?” That is a terrible idea. It suggest fooling ones self as well as anyone willing to buy into our story. I think that maybe and again I’m no expert, we should learn about it, research it, discuss it before declaring ourselves experts…and even then take it down a notch to say, hey this is something I have studied and I have some ideas versus the hard core foregone conclusion that every #FakeExpert out there really has the *Secret. There is no secret. Well, maybe there is…this is it.


You must learn to think. Critically think, think for yourself and often. Everyday in fact. Question everything especially what you think you know. I also don’t read because I want someone else’s foregone conclusion. I want some facts, some insights, some thoughts, some ideas and I will mull them around in my own noggin, seek more info on the subject and continue to distill the thoughts and even question my own distillations. Think of your ideas and conclusions as a good scotch whiskey. it takes quality going in, some knowledge and time…and even then shit happens and it doesn’t turn out exactly as the distiller thought it would. Sometimes better sometimes not. So s/he thinks some more before the next batch and maybe even talks to others in his world but still thinking for himself. Reflecting. It is easy to groupthink but takes actual thought to think for yourself. Question even your own thoughts.

Currently one of the books I am reading is Fortune’s Children, the fall of the House of Vanderbilt. Crazy stories of the ridiculous rich in 19th and 20th century America. Tales of social registries, who has the biggest most ornate mansion on 5th avenue and who spent the most on a party which excluded whom. All somewhat interesting but not why I chose this book. I wanted to understand the underpinnings of their failure to get past the shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves curse of wealth. Yes they made it past three generations but not past 100 years. Why did they begin to falter? Was it the introduction of income tax, the millions spent on a never-ending string of mansions, parties and luxury yachts? I think it may have been even simpler. So basic that many families miss the mark. It was a missing system of family governance and the simple act of valuing the happiness of every family member. How did I come to this hypothesis? Well another book I am reading called Family Wealth by Hughes talks about how one man has coached the wealthiest families in the world regarding long-term wealth and he has observed why some families make it beyond  few generations and others are just golden ghosts of the past. Family and recognizing each individual’s right to happiness and being supportive in a way which enhances their life as well as expanding the family’s intellectual capital is key. I like the theory. So as I read about the Cornelius Vanderbilts I am testing the weight of this theory and as I read how money was a tool to strike fear, express love, bribe, and punish in the Vanderbilt’s world and I see the merit of this thing called happiness. I still think there is more so I suspend my full thought on the matter for now but look further for clues for happiness and wealth.

So I will leave this topic for further study another day. I leave you with this question. What makes a person an expert? Education? Marketing their knowledge base (fancy bullshit for selling yourself), a published article or book? Being on the Today show? …or could it be the quiet thoughtful person who is too busy to showboat and get your attention juggling buzz phrases? Maybe there are no experts? Maybe real thought involves quiet reflection and no wi-fi?

Discuss, research, contemplate.



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Signifiers Tell us What is Expected as Well as What to Expect…Sometimes

July 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm (Excellence in Business, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A few years ago I dated an artist who had a well paying day job and yet he dressed in rags when not in work uniform. Although a very handsome man, when my younger daughter saw his photo (in rags) she teasingly ask if I had taken to dating the homeless.

I have been having an ongoing discourse amongst my colleagues, friends and fashionistas regarding the purpose and meaning of signifiers in dress. We have covered such topics as watches, fabrics, skirt lengths and more and have even had additional revelations regarding skirt or slacks in the business environment.

Last evening while watching the popular british series Downton Abbey Maggie Smith’s character the Dowager Countess of Grantham is shocked at seeing two of the gentlemen at an evening dinner wearing black ties. She looks as though she may pale and faint at this social faux pas and remarks ” are we having a barbeque”? as though they were dressed so far from the occassion she was madly confused. Her comment made me giggle and giggle until I was laughing so hard I was nearly apoplectic!

Dowager Countess

To many this attention to detail of dress with the British aristocracy is nothing short of pointless…or is it? haven’t we always been taught to make a good first impression? Dress for success and are given social cues when invited to event s such as black tie or dressy casual. We all know what these terms mean or least we need to find someone who can interpret for us so we don’t show up to the formal in our barbeque casual dress.

Think about how you interpret the signifiers set before you the next time you meet someone and then what message you were sending with your choice of wardrobe and accessories. More on this topic in another blog.

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Can I be Green and a Fashion Lover?

April 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm (Art, Local Made, Remanufactured goods, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The short answer is maybe.

Paul Rico

My ability to be green depends on some less trodden paths down which will make all the difference…

So as I focus on being a green fashionista I will continue to buy from local designers who make their clothes and accessories locally as well as shop my friends discards, thrift stores, consignment shops and swaps for charity. I m often complimented for my outfits and I believe selecting my clothes through time and space gives me greater freedom than just relying on what is new in the shops. This photo above is of myself and Paul Rico Fashion Week San Diego 2012 for Spring 2013. This is THE little black dress I ordered from Paul Rico who is an amazing local talent. I will post a photo of the one he made for me with a longer hem and made to fit my body not just a “size”. I can combine the latest and vintage for the look which can only be me. : )

Where is my fashion designed and manufactured? What types of safeguards are in place to minimize pollution in the creation process. Am I buying a pretty dress made in a not very pretty sweatshop employing humans who will never be able to afford this item and struggle to meet basic needs or was it made locally by independent artisans who determine their own working conditions? These are questions I want to ask at my favorite local boutique at home or when visiting another city.

That brings me to another thought. I like to buy things made in the area where I am. I don’t want to buy made in China in Paris, I want to buy made in China in China. I like to buy southern California made swimwear as the designers and manufacturers understand my lifestyle and how that one piece may become my top later at dinner with a wrap and a skirt.  My daughter bought me a beautiful cotton wrap while living in Thailand…they know sarongs.

Am I willing to buy remanufactured? I am because the cutest jean jackets ever have been cobbled together from others with patches, embroidery, changed collars and yet they are timeless and add fun to any casual outfit. My favorite turquoise mules have been repaired more times than I can count but they still get compliments and fit better than ever.

This photo taken with some phone that was still primarily a phone back when was taken in downtown SD after four hours of dancing at the EL D and walking back to my car parked a zillion blocks uphill away. My friend lent me one half of her flip flops she had in her purse should this need arise. The blue shoes have seen many a dance floor since as well and with the scalloped trim in light green they go with so many outfits. I haven’t had those jeans in years and the DJ from that night is big time in LA these days.

What can you do? Feel free to comment with your ideas, experiences and thought on this topic.

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Idiocracy and the Decline of Western Civilization

March 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm (The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , )

Yesterday I had one of those days that made me feel as if I were in the deleted scenes of the movie Idiocracy.

So now that you have had a taste let me enlighten you regarding my day…

It all began when I was showing an apartment for a friend and had brought along my 100 lb Olde English Bull Dogge Munchie.

Munchie waited quietly in the shade of the tree next to where I was parked. I said goodbye to the nice people and the truck would not start. Hmmm had this problem a couple of times before possibly the starter. A well meaning aquaintance had just texted me wanting to know what I was up to today? I told her my woes and she immediately text back she would come get me and Munchie. I text her the exact address and short concise directions.

Another text a bit later and she announced she was almost here! I thought hey this is good Munchie we can go home and come back later and try it again with my son. She next text that I was not where I said I would be and she was driving all over looking for me. I sent another short message after attempting to phone her but no answer, and let her know where she went wrong and the simplest way to where I was from where she was. I should probably interject here I grew up in this area and am very familiar with the streets. More time goes by and again I try to call her and she does not pick up. She texts me again that now she has to go pick up her son and has no more time to waste gas looking for me. I have not moved from the truck with a patient but dehydrated Munchie.

Please watch another clip so you are truly on the page in the moment with me. So I begin calling my brother who is my alternate care person for our elderly parents. No answer there either. I text please call. No response. I call again…no answer and it is almost noon.

One more text from the “helpful acquaintance” telling me I need to come to her (walk 4 blocks and then cross the 6 lanes of 5o mph traffic to get to where she is where there is no light or crosswalk) I declined. I called my auto insurance for a tow truck.  She then angrily text me “your welcome for coming to get you!” I didn’t know whether I was more concerned about her misplaced anger or her inability to find us( using the very simple turn right here and then right again on the first street directions I gave), or her blatant misuse of the word your for you’re?

Now an hour later and the tow truck driver arrives. Munchie is still patiently waiting in the rear seat of the truck after getting some hose water while I explain to the driver I think we can jump the truck since this is an intermittent issue. Munchie is not growling, barking or otherwise making his presence known. he is being a model canine. Before the driver even attempts to try to start the truck he tells me that in no uncertain terms Munchie cannot ride in the tow truck with us. I said we probably won’t be towing and besides how will he get the two miles home? He says “I dunno but no dogs are ever ‘llowed in the tow truck.” I said well Icould certainly understand if one was growling or barking or gave you reason to pause but that clearly is not our situation here. He reiterates “NO DOGS EVER” to which I respond “what about service dogs?” You have to allow them and he says nope.

Thankfully we get the truck started and Munchie and I speed away from the idiocracy of the moment…only to be confronted by it again. I am told that I should not assume high school graduates know how to read or posses a modicum of reading comprehension and I should be more compassionate with the stupid…my bad.

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