Saturday, June 28, 2008


The ‘Project of the Day’ has been to put together a photo collage for Grandma of our new niece being adopted by Doc (her son) and his wife, Soulmate. At this point, they are in China with Katie getting to know her and finishing up the adoption process. With the power of the internet, they can be on the other side of the world sharing their day with us as we patiently wait for them to return to the USA. Photos and video will be all we see until Thanksgiving. We’ll hang this treasure—put together by Kooza (with a little help from Duchess)---on the wall in Grandma’s room for her to enjoy.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Yesterday was one of my lucky days. I was invited by Scout to come out and watch him play in a golf tournament. Duchess doesn’t usually get to go. Pops steals that time away. Even though the morning started at 5:30am (which is no fun), we ended up having a great day at the golf course. It was Texas hot but there was a great breeze. Scout played a great game ending up with a Second Place finish and a score of 78—4 strokes behind the winner. He had a great round!

Not all the golf courses around here are as treeless as shown above. (This photo is actually taken at the driving range.) This particular course is called “The Highlands.” It reminds me of a British links course. Hence, the name perhaps?

I don’t get the opportunity to be at the golf course often, but when I do get to indulge, I’m reminded how breathtaking the mornings are out in the fresh cut grass with the dew still hanging on the blades before the sun steals it all away. Being out in nature (although manicured by man) reminds me of all the awesome sights God has given us to marvel.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I can honestly say only a few have this hobby—tie-dying. Kooza and I love to indulge when we get the chance. We hadn’t dyed in quite a while and then this past weekend we crashed the annual tie-dying party of a neighbor. The group of us dyed every sort of white something you can imagine, from doggie wear (see photo below) to sheets for camp, dresses, hats, pillow covers, scarves….You name it, we dye it!

The most significant part of the day was this time we included a few baby items for our new niece and cousin, Katie. Doc and Soulmate are in China meeting her now and will be bringing her to the States soon! She’s an angel from the videos and photos we’ve seen. We can’t wait to meet her. Until then, we added her to our tie-dying gift giving. Now I think everyone in the family has official TD wear.

No one is safe around here......even baby Rico got a little something....a little big, but it's the smallest size they had (xsmall 0-4 lbs).

Sunday, June 22, 2008


The Girl in the Café
(A Netflix film recommendation)
My first thought about this movie: Charming dry British mannerisms. This is definitely ‘chick flick’ material, although not so much a comedy. Basic premise--you randomly meet someone over a cup of coffee, find out more about them in awkward exchanges and then you try to make a go of it. There are moments in watching when giggling over the events is refreshing. This extremely shy government employee struggles with the personal aspects of a possible relationship. His political connection is important to the story line and to why the girl in the cafe is so important. This film made me smile---only because there is something so sweet and simple in the exchanges. Warning: this story has been told many times before so don’t expect any surprises. Satisfying element for Duchess: much of the story is told with pictures and not words. I would recommend watching only to those who like foreign films. (I struggled for days trying to write a review of this movie. I can’t find the right words for a review. I finally gave in and just wrote something.)

The Bucket List
The trailers for this film tricked us (me) into thinking there would be comedy and adventure. Regrettably, this film is more about the process of death planning more than making the most of what time you have left. Jack and Morgan were great picks for the leads. It does make you wonder…if you knew you only had a short time to live and money was no object, what would you do?? The beginning is slow while the director fills us in on all the medical/doctor coldness. Though short, the “list” itself is full of fantastic items. Each list item is fulfilled in a unique way which adds to the charm. There are majestic sights to be seen from their travels. The film does redeem itself in the end not through comedy, but through heart-felt and touching interactions. The final scene leaves you with that warm-fuzzy feeling-- reassuring us that friendship and human relationships will always be the most important thing on earth. Overall, I'm glad I saw the film. I most likely wouldn't watch it again.

I think that makes 41 more to go.... I'll never catch up.

Monday, June 16, 2008


I recently read the ‘top ten’ list of a fellow blogger. I wondered what I would write about myself given the opportunity. Why not. Here’s the Duchess ten:

  1. I love drinking Dr. Pepper.
  2. My children have a better social life than I do.
  3. My brain still thinks faster than my typing fingers.
  4. My favorite magazine to read is ESPN.
  5. My best thinking is done in the shower.
  6. I love to travel.
  7. I love powdered donuts, but I don’t buy them often (for obvious reasons).
  8. My only sibling passed away 4 years ago at age 36.
  9. I love creating art and rarely get the chance to create any work.
  10. The California beach is the most calming spiritual place for me.

And there you have it for today…. I need more numbers. 10 things isn’t enough to cover all I want to share.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I completely forgot one of my all-time old school favorite films—Roman Holiday. How could I forget this delightful film starring Gregory Peck and the beautiful, sparkling, Audrey Hepburn? Common man meets royalty and falls in love. Great, great film! I can think of loads of films since that have tried to duplicate this same story line—there will never be an equivalent.

Today is Father’s Day. Pops has already done his favorite thing all before 8am—golf. He played a quick 9 holes before any of us were awake. No breakfast in bed for him. Never gonna happen. The day will follow with his next favorite item which is watching the U.S. Open—“in peace”--meaning with no disturbance from us. Mix this in with a nice meal, a great dessert, a few gifts and we’ve completed our celebration for the day.

According to Wikipedia, Father’s Day was created in 1908 to complement Mother’s Day. Strangely, no one has mentioned anything about this being the centennial celebration. And all this time I thought Hallmark had invented the merriment…..

Personal note: My brother-in-law, Doc, is celebrating his first Father’s Day today. He’s waited a long time for this! They’ll be bringing Katie home in a few weeks. He’ll soon find out why we celebrate and tell Dad thank you for all he does--at least for one day a year.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We couldn’t resist. A week with all the new puppies around and we knew (I knew) we had to have one. So…off we went to the breeder this past weekend despite resistance from Pops. Scout was in College Station playing in his first golf tournament of the summer season so he didn’t come with us, but we kept in touch by phone. This meant Kooza had to pick the new family member all by himself. He picked a winner. We LOVE him! It was a tough choice with all those cute little eyes looking at you. He’s a toy Chihuahua like the next door neighbors puppy (not a tea cup like we thought). He’s nine weeks old (DOB: 3 April 08). He weighed in at 1.8 pounds yesterday at the vets office. His name is ‘Rico Suave.’ So far, nicknames are Ricky (because puppy #1 on the block is ‘Lucy’) and CocoLoco. He has almost slept through the night. He has only had 2 accidents in the house over the past 3 days. He’s still a little wobbly on his paws but is getting up the stairs just fine (it’s another story getting down). What joy a new puppy brings to a house!

News of the Day: Kooza had 5 teeth pulled today to jump start his orthodontic work. All went well. He’s so happy it’s over—and so is Mom. What a trooper!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


A typical morning in the household—I catch my dachshund napping in the morning sun sneaking through the window. He loves it. I can’t help but think this is what makes us so envious of ‘a dog’s life.’

While my dog is having an awesome day, my anxiety is out of scale thinking about Kooza’s new life in the gym. Today was his ‘official’ last day as a member of his men’s gymnastics team. He’ll still be in the gym—on a different team—but not headed the same direction. He’s SO happy. I’m a mess. I can’t explain why. Shouldn’t a new beginning be a good thing? We’ve had great, life lesson conversations about the whole change in direction. Maybe the angst is caused by fear of the unknown. In the end, I’ll work through it. As far as Kooza goes, I’m bliss-full (!) he has found happiness in the gym again.

I’ll share more stories later about his quest to be a Cirque du Soleil acrobat.


Scout asked me why I like to watch all these ‘off’ films that no one knows about. I told him I don’t know. I guess I’ve already seen most of the current films I want to see.

The Air I Breathe
20 minutes of this film was enough. Regardless of the well-known ensemble cast (which was why I wanted to see it) this film lacks everything worth watching. The intertwining stories of the sinister side of life included WAY too much insight of the pretentious underworld for me. Similar to the movie Crash, this film leaves you weary thinking about all the bad happening in the world. F-bombs, violence and darkness (as in lack of sunlight) distract this already train-wrecked story line. Definitely NOT a ladies film! I don’t think men would enjoy it either.

The White Countess
A love story of sorts set in WWII Shanghai. Wonderful costumes, lovely sets. Sadly, you don’t get to see much of Shanghai because there isn’t much of 1930s Shanghai left to see. Great story, but the film was a little too long for me. (I find my patience whittling away for bits that aren’t important to the story line.) I understand the pace of the film was in direct relation to the time it was recording. I would have liked to see more character development. Similar to Cinderella, the story follows a short time frame of a Russian royal, what she needs to do to keep her step family afloat and a friendship with a man she meets while doing just that. Not quite rental quality—wait for the Lifetime TV special.

Two down, 43 more to go…

After some reflection on my recent reviews, I’m coming to the conclusion that the fast paced TV we watch these days (even slow reality shows) is hurting the film industry. My question---How/Why can writers jam-pack a one hour TV show and drag out a film for 2 hours? It doesn’t make sense. Until filmmakers and production companies are aware of the shift, America will be skipping the $10 movie to stay home and watch TV.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Let’s face it--reality shows are here to stay (for a while at least). Wasn’t it MTV who started this crazy phenomenon? If I had to put numbers to my TV viewing, I’d say half of what I watch is reality (I don’t watch much). I catch various episodes of various shows, but since each reality show stands on its own, I don’t feel like I have to catch up on the story line. Sort of like reading a magazine article where your story is complete versus reading a book where you are most likely to put it down and pick it up later. Besides, it's kind of fun peeking in on someone else's craziness.

BRAVO is by far my preferred station for reality. The reason for this random thought is because I’m so happy one of my favorite realities is coming back—“Flipping Out.” Strangely enough, the show illustrates my design profession just about spot on. Yes, it’s that crazy! We may not have all the crazy characters under one roof, but they’re out there.

Good news: I’ve watched 2 of my ‘queue’ films. One really bad, one pretty good. Reviews tomorrow.

News of the Day: Our summer plans have fallen through. We were supposed to have a visit from our far away cousins, but between 6 schedules for the kids, a new arrival coming from China, and a new job for Uncle, we couldn’t make it happen. We were SO looking forward to visiting with family. Now we’ll have to wait until Thanksgiving…

Thursday, June 5, 2008


The upgrade was crucial—in my opinion. This frugal Duchess decided to upgrade her Netflix subscription. The thought of waiting 2 weeks for the next red envelope film to appear in the mailbox was overwhelming. During the school year I don’t even notice time flying by. School, work, sports, homework and fundamental lack of time make it impossible to even notice. BUT---Summer is here! Here’s the big question--Is it possible to get through my 45 ‘queue’ movies this summer? That’s 15 movies a month to view and review. Frankly, I don’t know if this movie enthusiast can do it. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


They say we are constantly learning while we’re on earth. I agree. It seems no matter how old I get, I’m still learning. It seems the older I get, the more I WANT to learn. Interestingly, I caught a short segment on a news show the other day, and here is what I learned:

There is such thing as a Society for Barefoot Living. Yes. A society that doesn’t believe in wearing shoes—anywhere---even to work! I’ve never run into any of these guys, probably because their feet would burn off with the heat we have here in Texas, but they exist. Two additional ‘myth buster’ points: According to their Society, there is no such law or ordinance as “No Shoes, No Service” that comes from the Health Department. Moreover, they confirm there is no law against driving barefoot. I fear telling Kooza about this Society. He is my barefoot baby. I suppose he secretly already belongs….

News of the Day: Our next door neighbors brought home a new puppy. Another tea cup Chihuahua. Her name is “Sissy.” She’s tiny (!), blonde and SO adorable. I hope they’ll let me puppysit!---until I get a new puppy of my own. Hee. We also have 2 other new puppies on the block: Lucy, a Lab mix the boys are teaching to swim in case she falls into the pool, and Annie, a Bichon Frise covered in crazy curls.

Monday, June 2, 2008


I’m not sure “Chick Flicks” is the term I’m looking for when I talk about films that lean toward the ‘girlie’ side. I guess ‘Romantic Comedy’ is the latest term for the films I’m talking about---films women love to watch—especially on those desperate, feeling down, indulging, slumber party, chocolate and ice cream days. This is by far my MOST favorite genre of film.

There’s something soothing to Duchess about the same old story of boy meets girl, girl doesn’t really like boy, they banter, boy does something wonderful to win girl’s heart, then boy and girl live happily ever after. You know…“Love is a Battlefield” type deal. Predictable? Of course. That’s their highly criticized fault from most film critics. The reality is---they simply make the world a happier place. The concluding harmony is all I need to walk out of the theater with a smile on my face able to make it through the rest of the day with a ‘warm fuzzy’ feeling in my heart. That’s the fabulous part of a successful romantic comedy!

I watched 2 of my favorites back-to-back with DVDs on TV the other night. They aired Maid in Manhattan followed by 13 Going on 30. Another, The Wedding Planner, is showing right now. I really have toooo many favorite RCs to list them all. That’s not unusual for most women. I would even argue this is the largest category listing of films in the Netflix vault (I don’t know for sure and don’t want to do the research). In reflection, this might be the category I tackle this summer (since summer is the time of year I watch an enormous amount of movies)….with joy.

Confession: I have watched a few new films this week, but don’t want to spend the time to critique them. I saw Untraceable and In America. All Duchess will say is this: Untraceable is good and most likely one that men would enjoy watching for its techie side, In America (biopic) is too sad to watch (plus a few other issues).

Sunday, June 1, 2008


This week I have done what I hate for other bloggers to do---I’ve been off-site for almost a week. You know, once you start reading a blog, you want to hear from them every day. There was a TV show long ago with a radio DJ character who was the narrator of the story, but more importantly, his voice was the one constant in the small town. You could always depend on his voice in the morning and throughout the day. He was clever. He shared his view of life’s lessons with the town. He shared conclusions to lessons the town’s people had learned. This is the influence of today’s bloggers whether we realize it or not. I suppose even two sentences are better than nothing at all. But I’m not making any promises.

Scout is back from Florida. His suntan is proof he spent plenty of time ‘chillin’ at the beach. It seemed like a quick trip. The week flew by and with all my free time I didn’t watch one new movie (!), nor could I overcome my severe writers block. Issues: I’ve viewed my allotment of Netflix this month, the RedBox was bare of films I wanted to watch, and I refuse to go to Blockbuster (because they have taken more than their fair share of my money). So…I watched too many DVDs for TV. It wasn’t too bad though because by some lucky coincidence it was ‘chick flick’ week. I saw 3 of my favorites. This reminds me I need to add a list of my favorite CFs to the Duchess blog.

Two summer blockbusters were released within the past week. I live in a big city where mammoth films like these sell out for days. I always wait for the calm after the storm. Plus, I have to confess, Duchess is very picky about the films she’s willing to pay $10 to view. For me, one of these blockbusters is definitely a rental. (Now you know how old I am if I’m complaining about the price of something that involves my favorite hobby.)

Memory of the week: Our next door neighbor’s dog, Lola, was hit by a car yesterday and passed away. She was a cute, tan, yappy, tea cup Chihuahua. We’ll miss her.

Tomorrow: Chick Flicks