Hello Everyone,

October 2015

I love October, not just because it is my birthday month but because the air changes, the season changes, the time changes.

It is when we must embrace the fact that the time change will have us seeing the dark sooner. A time when the trees begin to let loose the leaves, orange, brown and yellow leaves flying about.

It is the time when the ghouls and horrors are seen in decorations, shows, movies and parties.

It is the time when we say farewell to the summer heat, smile toward the cooler weather and wonder of the winter to come.

Happy October! May there be light within you to shine upon the earlier darker hours. May the ghouls and gremlins that ring the door bell make you smile and partake in trick or treat.

May you embrace the change in season knowing... it will bring us back to Spring soon enough.

I have added a tab - Whisper my words, which is a link to my site where I post stories, poems, AndMore events and the Watcher's Journal. Take a peek and enjoy.



October 03, 2015

inspireYOU... I don't believe....

I find the people that say I don't believe... and yet preach about believing to be the most intriguing.

"I don't believe in depression."  "I believe the universe will give me peace."
"I don't believe in hyper tension, it's just a kid with bad parenting." "I believe a higher being will grant me wealth."

Make up YOUR MIND!  I read a ton of memes online, and some quite frankly I find to be more so ignorant than offensive.

I have TWO nephews with Cerebral Palsy, one of which is also autistic.  That sickness that some say is just a child being a daydreamer.  I have a niece with ADHD, she is an adult now and still struggles with it.  It is offensive to THEM when people that don't bother reading to have such worthless opinions.  

I get panic attacks, so severe for a while it affected my heart and required months long treatment.  I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say or write 'oh, that's just someone not being able to handle things and having a fit.' 'That's a good cover for a titty attack.'

Panic Attack by definition is - a sudden feeling of acute and disabling anxiety.

I can tell you exactly what it is.  It is darkness appearing all of a sudden on a sunny day.  It's the lack of being able to breath normally so you breath so fast your heart rate increases.  A tremendous amount of unknown fear explodes inside you, you don't even know where to start the confrontation and your excessive breathing is now making you feel like faint.  Just short of a year ago, I found myself lying on the train platform, I don't even remember landing, just the attack coming, struggling to breath then breathing so much I passed out.  The pain in my chest was anything but imagined.  I began to embrace what I thought was my coming death.  Surely, I was having a heart attack.  No titties were involved and I wasn't stressing over anything at that moment.  Just waiting for the train.

"In my day we didn't have all these so called sicknesses.  It's an excuse."  In your day there were more serial killers, 'crazy people' (the one shop word for not knowing the real sickness) and less chemicals put into your food for processing (something many are trying to prove to be a part of the reason for so many illnesses).  In your day, ignorance was excusable but with the vast information out there and the ease to get it, that can no longer be an excuse.

I mean people can't even check an article to see if it's satire or a hoax.  Just spreading the ignorance like fairy dust and hating the ones taking the time to set the record straight.

How about you inspire yourself to either be a good human and listen to someone and then do some research to better understand before opening your mouth?  Or, if you're not inclined to research just keep your mouth shut and listen.  No one expects everyone to have a medical degree, but we do expect some respect, empathy and concern.

Be thankful you don't have any illnesses, be grateful you were cared enough for to be considered a shoulder to lean on.  Even if it's a quiet one.

I have learned to listen, I don't like giving advice, I don't like recommending anything (I'm no Dr) but I like to listen.  If it's something I have been through or a condition I am familiar with I may mention what worked for ME, but I would also put emphasis that a MEDICAL professional opinion is best.

Are you living in the dark?  Are you a non believer posing as a believer?  Do you take an interest in what is going on in TODAY's world?  Are you informed enough to be able to help today's children?  Can you just make it through a day without judgement?

I dare you to stop, read, listen and just give a silent shoulder to the next person that reaches out to you with a condition you don't know a thing about.


September 06, 2015

inspire ME.... Let GO or Be DRAGGED

Image result for letting go cartoon

The past couple of months have been a learning experience, more so then usual. Things I have learned:

Letting go... moving on
I have learned that letting go and moving on remains the theme of life.  I also learned that you meet new people and the first thing you do is let go and move on with those that have no good in mind.

Having said that, I try to be as good as possible in keeping in touch with friends, acquaintances and family.  If I am not sick or working mad hours, I will take the time in the varied methods to communicate.  Call, text, email and/or social media.

I have decided to take a rather large amount of steps back on reaching out.  Granted, when I do people respond, but if I don't the weeks, months and even years will pass without a word.  Instead of harboring on it, I make room for the new, the interested, those that want to be reached out to and want to reach out themselves.

That is of course after my hiatus.  That time when I seek self.  Look deep and see where I have gone wrong, where I could have done better.  Replenish my soul so to speak.  A time when instead of letting that dark cloud embrace me, walk right into it in silent battle.

New faces and places
I find that people at the start tell a whole lot, brand you friend and make expectations.  I'm more relaxed then that.  I mean, seriously, look at the name of this blog WATCHER'S notes.  I rather watch, learn and see if this is an environment I would fit into.  I don't have the want, inclination or effort to interrogate someone about their past or what makes them tick.  I have that patience... the kind that listens, watches and learns who they are now.

In the end, your smile is there
I find it both amusing and terrifying how many people are bothered by someone's laughter, humor and/or positive attitude.  Negativity is everywhere, why encourage it?  While the frowners whine, I bring my smile.  Sometimes it is painted on, other times heart felt but in the end it is still my smile.

Chocolate Pie
Some people just need one of Minny Jackson's chocolate pie.  For those that have not seen the movie (The Help), a maid made an interesting recipe of chocolate pie.  Served it to the boss that fired her, treated her poorly and was unapologetic about any of it.  I mean if you want to spend so much time bullshitting might as well have some of Minny's Chocolate Pie.

Lincoln Park
Have you ever heard the song In The End by Lincoln Park?  I love it.  Most especially this part:
I tried so hard
And got so far
But in the end
It doesn't even matter
I had to fall
To lose it all
But in the end
It doesn't even matter

I wouldn't say I agree, I mean, I tried so hard and failed, I got far and it mattered.  I fell (as most know repeatedly) but I get back up, in the end.... it all matters.  Who I am today is due to all I have done and been through.  I no longer live in regret.  I would relive my life... just the same.  But, who I am today is not who I was yesterday or all the yesterdays before that.  Actually I am no way near the person I was 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago.

Bridget Jones Diary
Because I like me, just as I am!
There's a wonderful part to this movie where she sits at her dinner table with her closest friends and the man she crushes on, the one that told her 'I like you.... just as you are.'  She had told her friends prior and they while at a bar stripped those words down and scrutinized it.  At the dinner party, they raised their glass to her and told her they liked her 'just as you are'.

How many people will accept one another 'just as they are'?  I've a good friend that has several bad habits, I like 'just as he is'.  I've another friend, diva to the core I like her 'just as she is'.  Granted some things about people will rub me the wrong way, but their differences is what I appreciate the most.  I already hang out with me 24/7, why find another me?

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Finding the living out of the dying.  This will be my next post under inspireYOU.  Don't worry it will be much more inspirational and enlightening then it sounds.  If you haven't watched the movies (Part 1 and 2 - Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) then you should, there will be plenty spoilers in the blog, you've been warned.

Although the above has inspired me in many ways, I hope it has inspired you as well.

09/06/2015 - ~gracey castro

March 02, 2015

inspire ME: It's all about that tude... about that tude

A few weeks ago I signed off from my weekly inspireME email I would send to a select group.  After a couple of months of things gone awry, I felt that my message of.... survival, smiling through trials and tribulations, luck within misfortune was not getting across.  Instead, I was getting the feeling that sympathy and lack of positive feedback was taking place.  In addition, I needed time for self, to inspire ME!  After all, how much inspiration can I give when I lack it myself.

Well, I'm back and with a fierceness in inspiration.  This time, I shall post it on the long neglected blog I almost forgot about.

Let's get this started:

March is one of 3 months that is rough for me.  All pertaining to my father.  This March marks the 8th anniversary of his passing.  Although Spring and it's profound reminder of new beginnings is in the air, the past and the lovely memories of him, take over.  Bittersweet to say the least.

Nothing lasts forever folks, appreciate what you have while you have it.  This post will be short and sweet.  Moving forward the same format as the email Inspiration will be used.

Disappointment and misery are optional.  Redeem your time.  Don't waste valuable time fighting a senseless battle. ~Joel Osteen

When I lack inspiration the most, Joel Osteen refills it with more to spare.

Bring to me... 

Bring to me an open heart, lacking misery
take with you the song of doom
long past I am of accepting your trickery

Bring to me the laughter of many
take with you the tears in gloom
Happiness is around a plenty

Bring to me your love and care
take with you the hate in bloom
Strong is my spirit... beware - gcc 03/02/2015

December 01, 2013

AndMore... Can you boil a Turkey...in an oven? Why Yes!

Yes you can!

My poor sister had to work Thanksgiving so I went to her house the night before prepared to help with the cooking.  She seasoned the larger then new born infant bird and I recommended she turn it breast side down over night so it could marinade well.  She was to turn the turkey over in the morning when she would put it in the oven before leaving for work.

I was appreciative to sleep a little late since I normally get up very early to tackle a lengthy commute to work.  When I woke and sat with my cup of coffee I thought to take a peek at the turkey.  She had put it in a plastic bag, one of those sold specifically for turkey.  Due to the marinade I could only see the outline.  It looked okay... I guess.

Sis works for Wal-Mart and their Black Friday was being held on Thanksgiving Thursday.  What a family company!  Keep the workers in on a day to feast and give thanks.

Her daughter works part time there as well when she is not in school.  That day she too was working, she got the worst hours too, 1pm to 10pm.  So much for dinner at all.  Three hours in she was already told to take her dinner break.  I will never understand retails regard for store personnel.  Some stores have gotten better about it, but some like Wal-Mart seem to get worse.

The turkey was being held hostage in the oven for a slow cook.  So, I figured at I would pick up sis.  Bring her home early enough for her to handle the stuffing (yuck) and mashed potatoes.  I had already taken care of the rice.

In the time it took to get there and watch the Black Friday horror (on a Thursday) and go back to her house, her husband had taken a nap, thus the rice burned.  The turkey was still doing fine. While pulling into the parking space sis asked... Did you turn the turkey around?

I wondered what the heck she was talking about.  Well, the turkey was cooking breast side down.  The question further confused me because SHE was the one that woke to put it in the oven.

The question at the start of this was - Can you boil a turkey?  In the oven?  The answer is a profound YES.  That bird fell off the bones.  Literally fell off while she was trying to put it on a platter.  It was also the most thoroughly seasoned turkey I had ever tasted.

I made more rice, this time it was not burned.  The potatoes came out nicely mashed without a hitch.  However the stuffing was forgotten.  Two boxes sat on the counter.  (Yuck)

After that mishap I wonder why anyone would cook a bird right side up. I mean, it takes the worries of dry turkey and not seasoned enough right out of ones mind.  Granted, you would have to break open that bag and let the top brown a bit, but if you put the oven high enough it could happen before the meat collapsed.

In a world where people are fighting, literally fist fighting on Black Friday store lines, clerks are told off by ranting customers, staff are working hours no one should and families are barely having the time to sit together... an upside down turkey doesn't even make the list of Oh Man! WTF?  It merely warranted giggles from sisters and a hushed conversation so the kids could not hear.

Just so I can write it on a blog and shake my head while typing.  Who needs a perfect turkey?  Not us, we did just fine drowning one in a day long medium set heated oven.  No stuffing (yuck), loads of mashed potato and rice.  I pat my tummy just remembering that feast.

Are you tapping yours?

November 09, 2013

Memory of Moments. Reel of Joy.

Memory of Moments

Through the years I have written of moments.  Over and over, writing of only experiencing moments of happiness, love and peace.  Complaints mostly of it not being more then just a moment here, a moment there.

I find that I am now so grateful for all those moments.  At times I can see them like a montage, a running film and not separate moments.  I breathe in deep as if I could inhale that montage and keep it going like life itself.

But... I can't.  Instead I have the accepting knowledge which I embrace, that more moments will just make for a longer montage.

Reel of Joy

I close my eyes and breathe in deep
exhale the pain, release
The joys of past I shall keep
anguish begins to cease

Vivid film in my minds eye
laughter and joy
Fast and slow, I sigh
this moment I enjoy

There is no good-bye, no hello
I am in the now
as my past will show
without a care as to how

2013 ~gcastro  (pen to hand... the writer writes, hiatus ends)

October 13, 2013

AndMore...Too much Customer Service?

Is there such a thing as too much Customer Service?  I didn't think so.  Until....

I learned Customer Service from the best, one of the top retail stores.  Back in the day when you started in their corporate office you had to spend two weeks in a store.  A very humbling experience but one that allowed corp employees to remember how difficult store personnel had it.  The same company took Customer Service very serious.  The classes always ongoing.  You can't walk into their store without a constant mantra of 'Hello', 'Do you need a carriage', 'May I help you with anything' to just name a few.

Customers go into that store and feel privileged, cared for and able to walk out with not just the purchase they needed but guarantees as well.

But how much is too much?  Is there too much?  With all the stores that neglect customers and/or treat them badly, can it be possible to have too much Customer Service?

My 10+ year old alarm clock sounds off lately only when it feels like it.  If it weren't for my phone as a back up I would never wake up in time.  A wonderful 20% coupon arrived in the mail for a favorite store, I went online and viewed the selection of alarm clocks, favoring one I decided to go and get it at the store.

It was a terrible day, a bird died and fell next to my car, right by the door, I had to hop into the car and maneuver a bit to avoid running over it's lifeless body.  That was just a start.  I went to the mall where I scheduled a massage, my knee was buckling (old injury) and my back was worse, the pain unbearable.  I was also having issue with my balance.  I almost toppled over but caught myself and just dropped my purse instead as I was getting up a very tall man was swinging along a back pack.  He swung it right into my hair as I was straightening up from picking up my purse when I felt a painful tug.  It took him, his girlfriend and their son to get my hair untangled from it.  The whole time I was praying the pain in my back would subside.

The massage did little to help, I was hungry so I went to my favorite restaurant.  The service was quick for being seated, ordering and receiving the food.  I asked the perky waitress for more napkins.  I never saw her again.  Luckily I had some wipes in my purse.  An hour later she arrived, apparently they sat me off in a corner hardly noticeable and was forgotten.

Needless to say the last thing I wanted was to go back out shopping but I really needed the alarm clock.  I put on one of those icy hot patches for my back and headed out to the store about 5 miles from home.  The ride was long since it seems everyone in Jersey was heading to that plaza.

The task was simple, get the alarm clock, go to the cashier give the the coupon and go home.

The alarm clock was in a locked case which amused me since it wasn't really a large purchase not in size or monetary value.  The store was busy and seemed lacking in staff.  There was one person at the 'clock' section and he was assisting another customer that was having a hard time choosing an alarm clock.  She wanted one she could plug her iPhone into without spending the iPhone type of expense (*giggle*).  Twenty minutes later I realized that not only was the customer just dilly dallying along the conversation, the sales person was ignoring the ever growing line behind me for his assistance.

An additional 15 minutes later I noticed the icy hot patch was no longer working, if I intended on getting the clock, paying and walking across the Plaza parking lot, I would have to leave while the pain was just beginning.

The woman was hemming and hawing about the conspiracy of manufacturers and retail stores when the sales person looked toward me.  I said 'Excuse me, could you just unlock that case, I want the alarm right there in front.'.  He put his finger up in the universal language of - hold on, you insignificant, I am busy - gesture.

When I turned around I realized that I was the only one that had the patience to stand there.  The line was gone.  I noticed some people just left and a couple others continued to shop.  I left.  By the time I got to my car, I was in tears from the pain, frustration and the hatred for Extreme Customer Service.

The next day I went to another store to pick up an item I ordered and had arrived, imagine my surprise when I went to the clock section and saw they only had ONE of the model clock I wanted from the other store.  Unlocked, on a shelf and practically calling out to me.  I hobbled over with a smile that came from deep inside.  I grabbed that clock and when I went to Customer Service to pick up the ordered item I began to just tell the poor cashier the events of the other store.  She asked me what price it was at the other store and it was $4.00 cheaper without the coupon then the one in my hand.  But it was worth it after all.  The girl called the manager and related the events.  I ended up getting the clock at the price of the other store, with a 20% discount and I was able to use a 15% discount birthday certificate this particular store had sent to me (I could use it all month long, love those cards).

I hobbled to my car thinking, that was some great customer service.  Might I mention the cashier also took care of two others while I inspected my order, waited for the manager and whenever there was a pause, she would ask someone walking by 'are you finding everything ok?'.

Perhaps it isn't extreme customer service, perhaps it is a lack of multi-tasking for that particular sales person the day before.

Whatever the case is... I'm glad I got my clock, it's a shame that store missed a sale and I'm grateful in the end it worked out for the best.  But I find that I still wonder... is there such a thing as too much Customer Service?