Archive for the ‘Betty’ category


February 1, 2009

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 . . .

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.


The Curious Case of a Movie

December 21, 2008

Part of my “day job” is working for a company that owns cinemas. And this is Los Angeles after all. So in conjunction with our holiday party, my work arranged an advanced screening of “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” yesterday. Now I don’t know how these things work, whether or not we can talk about it, and I don’t want to ruin the film for anyone else who wants to see it when it comes out Christmas Day (or beyond). However, I sat around thinking about this movie all day yesterday, all last night, and now all this morning and I can’t get over it. It was the most beautiful film I’ve seen in such a long time. Like “Shawshank Redemption” type beautiful to me. I walked out of that theater feeling the exact opposite of how I felt leaving “Changeling” a few weeks ago. Yes, Angelina Jolie was a great actress in it – I actually love her – but I hated that movie. I am so fed up with dysfunction. If I wanted to be depressed I’d read the news – there’s plenty to get upset about. But I want to be uplifted. I want to laugh. I want a film that transcends, that transforms, that makes me a better person for being exposed to its message. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is that movie.

Yes, it made me weepy. But not in the typical poignant love story way. It wasn’t the handsome and rugged Australian man rediscovering Nicole Kidman after he thought she was killed and he had missed his chance to love her because he acted like a selfish and ignorant ass. The music swells, he takes her in his arms and kisses her in the rain, it’s beautiful. Que the tear. Sure. I’m just as big of a sap as the next guy, or gal rather.

But this was different. It is the kind of film that speaks to my soul. It made me so appreciative and in awe of life. What a beautiful and gorgeous blessing life really and truly is. What a celebration. The amazing characters we all brush up against throughout our journey. The struggles, the belonging, the missed opportunities and, because of them, second chances we recognize and respond to saying “Absolutely. ” The deaths we live past, the mothers we love, the heartache we feel, the brief affairs that excite us, the travels we take and the world we explore. The series of miracles. The friendships. The prayers and the letting go.

And more then anything the love. I came out of that film thinking of all the love in my life, in the world, and how it is the most important thing. The only thing. Love really is all you need. Love for my mom and dad, love for my siblings, love for my girlfriends, love for my Labrador, love for my life. Stuff is nice, it is. It makes life a little easier, a little more luxurious. Like Lauren Bacall’s character answered when asked, “Do you really thing money will make you happy?” in How to Marry a Millionaire, “No, but the thought of having a lot of it doesn’t exactly depress me either.” True enough. But sharing a mattress on the floor in an otherwise empty apartment could be all the stuff you need when you’re sharing it with your soul mate. When you both recognize what a gift love is – what a blessing and rare thing. Love is to be embraced, to be run toward with open arms and an even more open heart. I will always be grateful for the heart I risked in the hopes that love is real. That the other heart involved would do the same. And despite some close calls this heart has broken yet. And so it is with the next experience, I will give my full open self to the next opportunity for love. Because that’s all that truly matters in the whole world, in our whole lives.  

Sorry to be so sappy, but I was so sad and feeling so dark and heavy on Friday. I literally cried myself to sleep for probably the third or fourth time this week. And then Saturday morning with puffy, tired eyes I got my sorry butt to the cinema and my outlook since has been 180. I don’t know for how long, but maybe when I feel myself faltering again, I can get back to Benjamin Button for a reminder of the great journey and beauty of the simple and mundane things that make up a life.



De Mello for your weekend

December 12, 2008

Wow am I loving this little book! It is one of those rare reads where every sentence and every chapter is meaningful. I’m underlining and highlighting all over the place (thanks to my Dad and Iliana, actually, I love my Dad but let’s be honest, it was Iliana who picked it out, who gave it to me last night so I have my very own copy). 

In the brief moment last night between when they left the house and when I fell asleep, I was pondering how beautiful the moon looked. Almost full, glowing bright in the already illuminated sky from all the lights of Los Angeles. It was my little piece of nature in the big city and it was gorgeous. I felt very calm and peaceful for the first time this week. And I realized how much I’ve been letting the energy and “feedback” of people at work affect my day, my well being, my state of mind.

Then this morning I was struck by the same sense of beauty as the moon last night, when I saw the sun beginning to rise as I walked Betty. Streaks of red and coral through the stormy Calais looking dark gray and blue clouds which were framed up perfectly by the deep purple shadows of the tall palms lining my street. And I though how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful world. Sometimes I forget and then I’ll be struck again by how beautiful the nature around us is – even in crowded Los Angeles. There is beauty everywhere. And then I read today’s quote and realized how fortuitous it was that I should turn to this section of Anthony De Mello’s The Way to Love. Have a wonderful weekend filled with the holiday spirit and the beauty of the nature that surrounds your unique habitat!


“For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? – Mathew 16:26

Recall the kind of feeling you have when someone praises you, when you are approved, accepted, applauded. And contrast that with the kind of feeling that arises within you when you look at the sunset or the sunrise or Nature in general, or when you read a book or watch a movie that you thoroughly enjoy. . Understand that the first type of feeling comes from self-glorification, self-promotion. . The second comes from self-fulfillment, a soul feeling. . . understand how people attempt to gain the world and, in the process, lose their soul. For they live empty, soulless lives.”


Tuesdays Gone with the Wind

December 9, 2008

I always want Duchess to be inspiring, but I also always want it to be real. And the reality of this morning is, I really don’t feel very cheerful. I have been working very long and hectic days at my job, I’ve been woken up every morning by the construction crew outside my building banging and yelling at 6am, I feel grumpy, I feel tired, I feel slightly invisible and I feel a bit taken for granted. That’s just how I feel. I came home after a long day yesterday to a destroyed building and a messy apartment and I spiraled from being upset into having a minor melt down.


I was hoping I could sleep it off but so far no luck. I still generally feel pretty damn grumpy and am wallowing in a kiddie pool of self pity. Wah. Somebody call the wah-bumlance. So I tried to pick out a quote today to lift everyones spirit – most especially mine! It’s from Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Everyday Wisdom for Success. Here’s to a better day. Here’s looking at you kid.


“Believe that you can attain anything you wish, and that you will receive all the help you need as long as you stay focused on your goal.”

Someone dropped a bomb on me.

October 25, 2008

I seem to remember a song about someone dropped a bomb on me. That pretty much sums up my place right now. The 7 year old and the Labrador have combined forces to wreak havoc on clean – the likes and magnitude of which I have not seen equaled before. So here are some pictures of the current shabby state of affairs here at Chez Duchess.



Your personal legend

October 15, 2008

I love synchronicity in my life.  There is something amazing in the way the little details of our lives will bleed and seep together around the edges that strikes a chord of something deeper in me which I can’t quite express. I also can’t articulate it the way I feel it. It reminds me there is magic in the world. And wonder. I thrive on the interconnected themes and moments that seem to have no business synching up, yet do and seamlessly. And since I can’t articulate what I want to say, I’m going to let Paulo Coehlo do it for me.


He references a poem called “The Ballad of Reading Gaol: I” which I will put the poem in a separate post so you can read the full context. It’s a haunting poem that sent a little chill up my spine. But like the Buddhist teach, sometimes the best retreat we can have is not to turn away from the dark places inside us, but to turn to them and face them head on. I think if we can face them head on we can achieve what Mr. Coehlo is talking about in this last paragraph from his introduction to his book “The Alchemist.”


“Oscar Wilde said, “Each man kills the thing he loves.” And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal- when it was only a step away.

This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it; renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worth of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.”

I hope you will remember why you are here. Only you can really know and then share it with the world.


Technical Difficulties

July 17, 2008

So this morning’s usual thought comes late, as I could not get my computer to cooperate this morning and connect to the Internet.


But what has been on my mind today, is this:


“Life is not about finding yourself.

Life is about creating yourself.”

– Anonymous


So what do I want to create of myself? I want to create a woman of balance. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about. I want to create a life that balances learning, studies, reading and growth with practice, disciple and action. I want to create a life of purpose. I want to create a life of love. Love for myself, love for my family, love for my friends, love for my career and what I do, love for a man and a family of my own one day. I want to create balance of a career I believe in, a career that helps people, but most especially women, to grow, to become more themselves, to tap into their own strength and potential. I want to create an artistic and creative expression of myself in a career. I want to create a career and path that allows me to marry and have children of my own, that allows me to have time and energy and resources for them. I want to create an existence that allows me to bring my dog with me everywhere. I want to create travel. I want to create a relationship with a man that is based on loyalty, respect, great humor, nature, activity, travel, common goals, expansion and growth, passion and love and our own family.


That’s the life I am creating for myself.


I try a little harder and believe in it a little more, every day.