NEW AND IMPROVED DUCHESS!

Posted February 1, 2009 by Royally Awesome
Categories: Betty

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That’s right . . . the blog has recieved a facelift and its own url – from now on you can find everything duchess, including the daily inspiration at the new site . . .

www.theduchessguide.com

So bookmark it and head on over to check out the one, the only, Duchess Guide.

This blog will be taken down in a few weeks, so make the switch now.

When one door closes another one opens

Posted January 30, 2009 by Royally Awesome
Categories: Inspiration

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That’s what they say. And that is today’s thought from Alexander Graham Bell. We can get fixated on what we’ve lost or the difficult things surrounding us, when usually the best thing to do is recognize a new opportunity. I recently heard Oprah talking on her best life series about how one year she prayed for strength and everything in her life that year seemed catastrophic. She kept praying and praying for strength and things kept getting more and more challenging. Then she said she finally had the aha! moment that you build strength through challenge and that she had become a much stronger person that year. She laughingly said she learned her lesson not to pray for strength again.

Of course she was being cheeky, but the truth is there are always opportunities and new ways before us. I have learned patience, strength and self-reliance (three qualities I already felt like I had by the way – but they have been really developed) in the last year and a half of my life. And for that I am grateful. So as you head into your weekend, remember to look for the opportunities and door’s opening in front of you.

“We so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”

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Duchess Digest

Posted January 29, 2009 by Royally Awesome
Categories: LA-la Land

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It turns out taking a sick day can be very productive. I finished my article proposal for ACR, spent several hours coordinating the new website, went running, did dance, read an entire book of short stories (“How We Are Hungry” – by Dave Eggers – a nice little collection) and completed my registration for an all day seminar Saturday called “Ordinary Women Leading Legendary Lives.”

This week’s Duchess Digest posted – it’s called “Objects in Motion” and it’s all about energy. Yep, this time of year when we all have goals and lofty aspirations, but feel some of the winter time sluggishness holding us down, I thought a pep talk on energy could do us all some good. So check it out over on the wonderful Single Minded Woman Website and be sure to check out their other articles as well. There is a bunch of great content this morning including how-to guides on surviving a break-up, yoga, winter health and more. So check it out and we’ll see you back here tomorrow!

 

http://blogs.singlemindedwomen.com/

 

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Taking a Sick Day

Posted January 28, 2009 by Royally Awesome
Categories: Inspiration, LA-la Land

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Yes folks, I called in sick this morning. This was a multi-faceted decision which was made based on the following three major factors; 1) Betty has some kind of UTI, so she has to wake up three or four times a night to go to the bathroom. It’s not her fault. I’ve got her on the vet-recommended tomato soup remedy, which luckily she loves and is making a difference, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. So sleep was not consistent. 2) Further adding to #1 is the no heat/no window one-two combo punch served up by the awesome building I live in and their ongoing construction. It was frickin freezing in my room last night. And finally, 3) Roomie has been very, very sick for over a week now and needs help driving to her doctor appointment this afternoon.

SO I figured I could either go in to work for a few hours, or take the day off and catch up on the work that feeds my soul, get some sleep and help my friend. There are a lot of decisions shaking out in my life over the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see what direction I head in from here. But no matter the direction, I’m trying to fly loose and fast so I’m adaptable and open to all the opportunities around me.

And today’s quote is keeping in line with that thought. Goals are great. Just remember to hold how the outcome looks loosely. As with everything and everyone – when you let things be as they are, instead of trying to force them to be what you think they should, you can enjoy life a lot more. I’ve learned that the hard way more then once and it’s nice to be relaxing into letting things be. I think that’s why I’ve felt so much happier and lighter lately. I’ve really been trying to stop taking life so damn seriously. It’s supposed to be fun and enjoyed. It would be like pounding a vintage bottle of wine to get through it. Blasphemy. It’s made to be sipped, savored, tasted and thoroughly enjoyed through all the senses.

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”

-Joseph Campbell

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An Endorsement for Addiction

Posted January 27, 2009 by Royally Awesome
Categories: LA-la Land

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One great thing to come out of all this recession business is that it gives me a chance to reasses some pretty big questions I was answering via default. If who I am is totally dependent on what I have, what I drive, all my stuff, my status at work, etc. – then who does that make me when that stuff is all gone? Ah, the big question. How do we appreciate and love the material stuff in our life without making it the purpose of life?

I was having coffee a few weeks ago on a lazy Sunday afternoon with my girlfriends. As we were chatting I noticed a big art piece in the display window (for those of you in L.A. I believe it was Modern Living on Beverly). It was one of those kind of pop art looking pieces that only has words, in the same font but different sizes and only in black and white. But I loved the quote, so I wrote it down. I think this speaks to one of the important aspects of life – the company we keep. And who we surround ourselves with can be totally recession-proof. It’s an addiction I’m willing to foster.

“Spending a lot of time at home with your love, family or friends can prove to be an extraordinary and delicious addiction.”

 

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She will be loved

Posted January 26, 2009 by Royally Awesome
Categories: Inspiration

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When I had my session with Sasi (pronounced “Sashi”) the Indian palmist  he closed it by saying a blessing over me and attaching a bracelet with three beads; one for each specific need I had. My three were “To move from feeling incomplete to knowing you are whole, to release all the old energy that is holding you back and to see the impossible made possible.” I was told not to remove the bracelet, that it would fall off when it was ready.

So for the past seven weeks I’ve been running around with a teal, three-bead bracelet everywhere. I’ve built up this big story about how or when it could come off. Like holding hands with my soul mate or while I was at the bank cashing some huge book advance check or while I was having some epiphany. Anticipation; it’s been making me wait.

Last night I was switching through laundry, reconciling my bank statement for the month and organizing all my tax paperwork. I needed a little break a few hours in – so I slipped on my ballet shoes, put on some tunes and had at it. I was a startled that at the height of an awesome sous-sous, I felt something small go flying. I went to see what the object was and realized it was one of the beads from my bracelet. It had FINALLY broken. I was released. Nothing prophetic or astounding about it. Oh well. Back to dancing.

But then thinking about it this morning I reflected on how happy I have been. There has just been a general content, humorous, joyful feeling settled into me lately. It makes no sense why.  There seems to be no one stand out factor in my life that would indicate I should really be happy. But I am. And I think maybe that is my so-called insightful moment. Sasi said one of the blessings I needed was to feel whole. I believe that is where this happiness is coming from. I do feel whole. It’s been a long time coming!

Today’s quote is in line with what I’ve been experiencing the last year. I felt like my old life, my old way of being, when I left was “it.” That there couldn’t be another life for me. But I’m making a new one. I have found the exit from the old so that I can finally step into the new. Keep looking for your exit!

“Every exit is an entry somewhere.”

-Tom Stoppard

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My Taurean Twin

Posted January 25, 2009 by Royally Awesome
Categories: LA-la Land

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I had the best night Friday. It was probably the most fun I’ve had in six months. Let me set it up first so it’s in proper context.

I have become fast friends with a little micro-network of people at work. Two guys and a girl. So I’m always with one or both or all three of them. I love all three of them; they’re great. But the girl, we’ll call her Ginger Avalon (because that IS the actual name we devised for her; my going out identity? Bambi Sycamore. Yep. Bambi Sycamore. We also came up with Jillian P. Jouet and Brynne Perignon – but more alias talk later) is like my twin. In fact we recently discovered that my birthday is May 9 and she is May 10 – so she literally is like my twin.

Every time I say I like something, she is almost exactly the same. I was telling her I’m looking for a new apartment and mentioned my dream place – an awesome guesthouse in Westwood. She too is looking for a guesthouse , only in Brentwood. I saw an ad for a champagne tasting at Cuvee. The same day she stopped by my desk and said, “I just saw Cuvee is having a champagne tasting next week, would you want to come?” She loves great cheese. She has fabulous taste and style. She loves going to hockey too. She has a little bro and older sis (her bro has the same birthday as mine). She doesn’t like the outdoors as much as me and I don’t do the shop/spa thing as much as her, but overall we’re pretty damn similar. Anyway, I could go on and on but needless to say, we have a lot of fun.

So last night I had  two tickets to this dance and art event because my ballet teacher sent out an email that he was doing the tango as one of the night’s performances. I love dance and art so I thought it would be fun to go. My original date ended up being in New York this weekend, so I asked “Ginger” if she would want to go. Being my Taurean twin, lover of art, music and dancing, she was all about it. Game on.

After about two hours of sleep Thursday night, working a long day Friday and then rushing home  to walk the dog, Ginger calls and says she’s downstairs. I’m like crap! So I run into my room to quickly change into some casual clothes and I’m rushing so fast I don’t turn the lights on but notice a crunching sound under my feet. What the hell?

I turn on the light and there is glass EVERYWHERE. Someone shattered my bathroom window – I’ve never seen so much glass. It’s all over in my bathroom (my sink, my makeup bag, my shower) and it has somehow managed to ricochet out of the bathroom and into my room, bed, and on my nightstand. Literally everywhere. I was too rushed to care. My roomie and I have had every problem imaginable with this apartment (her room has flooded twice, someone shut off our power last week, etc.) so at this point if I got upset about it I’d be upset everyday. I just laughed. I safely escorted Labrador out of my room, shut the door for clean-up later, called my landlord to report it, and ran down to meet Ginger.

We went to dinner at a little place in Venice. It was really amazing food. I love the food in Los Angeles, with the exception of great Mexican food (I know, I know, but I’m serious) you can find the best food here. We both enjoyed a champagne martini and a salad and split a delicious duck dish in a  bing cherry glaze. Yum. We were about half-way through the duck when the room started shaking. I had only had one drink so I knew it wasn’t me. The earthquake during dinner should’ve alerted us to the evening we were about to embark on. Or rather the epic journey.

The journey began with trying to figure out where the performance was located. With the life saving GPS on Ginger’s i-phone we finally found the venue. Venice does not have an ideal or simple street layout. We rushed into our seats in the tiny little theater during the program introduction and began, what fast became, the absolute worst night of “dance” and “art” I have ever witnessed. I had to put both in parenthesis because it was an abomination to the mediums I hold dear to my heart. Seriously. That bad. About a third of the way through I thought, Oh thank God my original date is out of town. I don’t think I could’ve survived the shame of actually suggesting and then imposing this performance on anyone, much less someone I like.

And what a performance it was. Mostly it was a night of b, no b is too good, more like z-rate photography and “interpretive dance.” I love the word interpretive. I mean if contorting your body in a similar fashion to having an epileptic seizure in the middle of dark dance hall with some crappy Jo-Ann fabric taffeta “streamers” to the sounds of whale calls is dance; well then I could be a first rate dancer too. It was bad. Really bad.

At one point so bad I was thinking, Ginger probably hates me right now. And it was at just that moment, whilst loathing my existence and rolling my eyes at the yellow unitard wearing sunshine twins mimicking through “dance” the sound of water drops splashing, that I smelt it. Yes, it. It had a tangible presence. Like a large beast descending upon the back row of that unfortunate theater. I thought I was being dramatic but as the stench of someones god awful fart wafted into my nostrils I had to put my sweater sleeve over my nose. I needed a filtering devise to live; it was that potent. Which was bad enough. But the worst is that, as if on cue, more synchronized then any of the dancers that night, I saw Ginger out of the corner of my eye raising her sweater sleeve to her nose in unison with me. That was it. Game over.

Inappropriate laughter was an inevitability that night, but common decency could no longer be exercised in the wake of the chemical warfare unleashed on us. So during the absolute quietest portion of the evening, with only the drip, drip sound of water drops over the sound system, I suffered the worst bout of inappropriate laughter I have had in years. Ginger was right there with me. I was trying so hard to suppress it but it kept escaping in these burst, my whole body shaking, my nose running and tears streaming down my face. I had to physically turn my back to Ginger because the mere sight of her would send us both into another spurt of irrepressible laughing. It was bad. The woman in front of us turned around to give us a dirty look. It just made me laugh harder. When I finally gained control I leaned over to Ginger and whispered, “Smells like someone gambled on gas and lost. Apparently thier bowels are giving the same review of this performance that we are.” And we both lost it again.

When the lights finally came back up the Taurean Twins had to dixie two-step it on outta there. We slipped into the car just in time to explode into another fit of unfiltered laughter. I gave the performance a two word review: “Shit Sandwich.” (Spinal Tap, anyone? No? Well Ginger got my reference.) It lasted the whole drive home. I re-read the program out loud in the car and my sides literally ached from laughing so hard. At one point Ginger had to pull over; the laughter was impairing her driving. It was a night that will live in infamy. It was the most I’ve laughed in a really long time.

Now Ginger and I are like war buddies. We survived an awful evening together and will forever be stronger for it. I kept apologizing and she kept saying, Are you kidding me? I will remember that forever. I would gladly pay the $20 to attend again. There is no where else I would’ve rather been tonight.”  Sorry folks, it was only a two night performance. Otherwise I’d send you over there to witness it for yourself. It was a performance that will live in infamy.