Tuesday, December 30, 2008


This powerful, refreshing story is worth seeing for its uniqueness alone, especially considering the current superhero frenzy. This one is not for the action adventurist, but surely even they will appreciate its uniqueness. This is a film for those who want to be taken to another world by watching this distinctive story by F. Scott Fitzgerald unfold. A story written in the turn of the century style that is so charming and delightful, especially being set in New Orleans with its beautiful southern accent. Be assured this is a story that embraces our existence while simultaneously peeking at our last hours. It has a slow, thoughtful pace where words aren’t needed. You discover yourself being pulled in by Brad Pitt’s innocent and engaging Benjamin. You find yourself loving him while your heart breaks for the struggles he faces by being ‘odd.’ Some parts you don’t want to watch, but reality is always knocking at the door. I wouldn’t share the film with those under 18 who may not value all the storyline has to offer. You need a little ‘wisdom’ under your belt to take pleasure in this viewing.
Duchess Notes: This is most definitely an award winner. I’m not sure the Academy will honor it with an Oscar being that it doesn’t fall within the “dark” guidelines they consistently recognize. The film garnered applause in the theater during the rolling credits. Great film for Pitt. Chemistry between Pitt and Blanchett is not the best, but sufficient. Screenplay a little disjointed, but can be ignored by tugged heartstrings.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


How could it already be Christmas break? The year goes by faster and faster …not good. With our big move behind us, Duchess and Pops told the boys it would absolutely be a ‘low key’ Christmas. We’ve had enough spending and excitement for the year. From my perspective, it was better than ever. I didn’t get caught up in the manufactured Christmas stress and frenzy—and it was a wonderful break! I’m not sure the boys would agree being that they had fewer gifts under the tree. Fewer gifts with more thought behind them, a little something from Santa, some family time and a great meal. Lots of good old fashioned love in the air instead of ‘what did I get.’ We even celebrated Christmas Eve with family which we hadn’t done in a long time.

Good thing = the ‘being blessed’ reminder---To my lovely surprise, even with our new address, we received Christmas cards. That to me was a gift in the best sense, especially being that I haven’t sent out Christmas cards since my brother passed away 4 years ago. I’m overwhelmed with JOY that my family and friends have still included me on their mailing list. Thank you!

I hope everyone is having a peace-full and blessed holiday. Take time to let everyone know how much you love them. There can never be an abundance of that message.

Reel Reviews of Benjamin Buttons and Valkyrie coming soon…

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Kooza had a big day this week. He has been asking for months, “When am I getting my bottom braces put on?” Well, Tuesday was the day. It was a big day in two ways actually. Now that Scout is driving to school, this was the first time the boys went to the orthodontist by themselves. Big day for them--high anxiety day for Mom. When they weren’t home by the time expected, I gave a quick call. That’s when Scout shared the news about the bottom braces. I was SO upset I wasn’t there for hand holding (which isn’t needed—or wanted). I didn’t get to see the non-smiling face come out of the office. I was disappointed. I had missed another ‘first’ in my sweetie’s life. That’s what I always hated about working full-time. Only this time it wasn’t because I was at work...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I have a few free hours. I have a magazine in front of me, a computer on my lap and a DVD playing on the TV. I can’t seem to focus on which to do first. I want to do them all at once. You already know I went to the RedBox…so you know I’ll be reviewing not so new movies. This is unfortunate because the last month of the year is really the best time to see theater films being that production houses want Oscar worthy performances fresh on the minds of Academy voters. I have been missing out on so many great films due to this house move. I hope to catch some of them before the award shows in January and February. Having said that, here goes on the rentals:

It was really cute—in the way your blind date is ‘really nice.’ I loved the leading man, the cute banter, the sweet dating story, and the happy ending. It was the other stuff that waaasssssnnn’t quite right. I needed more dialog—it was slow. I wanted them to pick up the pace. If I had to compare it to something I would say the story was a bit Sleepless in Seattle-ish, but didn’t quite get there. The slow beginning eventually picks up in the end. DEFINITELY not a film for the guys (I’m sure they’ll fall asleep). It’s worth a rental for the ladies who want to see a little romance MAYBE.

This was predictably an upscale TV episode. It was good—probably better on the big screen—but basically the story line could have been a 2-hour TV special and be done. Worth a rental if you’re stuck in the house this winter. I think the men out there will enjoy it more than the ladies.

After all the tradition and hype, the expectations for this movie were out of proportion. Although it included all the elements that made the other films so successful, this time ‘Indie’ didn’t quite live up to his name. It was obviously a transition film (Ford can’t do this forever). We had the traditional history puzzle to solve, insects running over, dust-filled scenes and gold filled treasure hunting, but I couldn’t help feeling a lot of the story was missing. It felt disjointed--just not as detailed as the previous films. THEN, they hit us with *SPOILER* the alien ship and predictable Darth Vader type ending. Honestly, I feel asleep during the middle of the movie. My advice--Let someone else fill you in on this film and wait for the next one. Let’s hope the Spielberg/Lucas team brings back the Jones magic we all love for their next adventure. (I suppose Mutt will need to get his PhD.) Two things I loved about this film: 1) the wardrobe and 2) hearing the Jones theme music again! Da na na na, da na na…. love it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I was channel surfing recently. I stopped when I heard the rapper Snoop Dogg talking to his eldest son, Corde, who was attending a first rate football camp. The caliber of camp Joe Montana and Jerry Rice would grace with their presence. Snoop’s son decided bringing a few items, like football cleats, was not essential (he came out in loafers). This predictably didn’t go over well with the powers that be. Hence, the lecture from Snoop, “I’m not trying to chastise you. I’m just being real. Break the chain…Take full advantage, PLEASE.” He encourages him to desire a college education and to make it his priority. Snoop knows money can’t buy knowledge. Snoop also knows luck, not education, got him where he is today. He doesn’t want his son to take that gamble.

Most would think of Snoop as an aloof father. Reality shows us he wants the same things you and I want for our kids—the best we can give them. We strive to provide the opportunity, but our kids will have to work hard to make things happen. Snoop encourages his son to step up and make a name for himself. A name he would be proud of, not one developed on his Dad’s fame. Through all the ‘rapper’ exterior and jargon creating Snoop desperately wants him to succeed. As a parent, I constantly find myself reminding the boys to ‘take full advantage.’ I suppose we all do.

Again, I’m watching more TV than film! It’s just not right…I rented a few RedBox movies today. Reviews to follow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


It was so warm over the Thanksgiving holidays, my nephew from the Pacific Northwest couldn’t believe he was wearing shorts late November. My niece even bought a pair of sunglasses while she was here. We had a week of perfect weather. When their visit was over, we were taking them to the airport and my nephew asked, “How long has it been since it has snowed here?” I said, “I think about 4 years. It doesn’t stay very long. It’s always a light snow.” Was he foreshadowing?

Yesterday we had SNOW! Crazy. Not as much snow south of town where we live, but the boys were able to make a few snowballs to throw at each other. The north side of town had much more. We aren’t prepared for this kind of weather here on the Gulf Coast, so there is a flurry of activity with the newsmen informing drivers of road closures, bridge closings, etc. standing in the below freezing wind chill they hardly ever have to endure. The stores here sell winter clothing, but no one ever buys it! No need. The sun is out this morning. The high today is expected to be 55 degrees.

I took a few pictures so the PNW’s (and family from MN) would believe me when I said we had snow. I’m sure we’ll get teased. “They call that snow?” :) My boys had a great time last night jumping on the trampoline while it was snowing. It didn’t seem real. What a memory that will be.

Hurricane Ike this summer... A record breaking snow early December…

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


We recently moved into a new house. I had no idea how long it would take to get the new house in any sort of order to live in and operate normally. After throwing out large garbage bags full (which killed me due to the carbon footprint I was leaving) and donating nearly 3 pickup truck loads, I thought it would be a cinch. Not true. How do we accumulate so much stuff? It has been a month and still there are boxes (2 rooms are still in serious need of organization). Things are slowly finding a new home.

In the move mix is the need to make the house look ‘a lot like Christmas.’ Although there is so much box work to be done, I can’t disappoint the boys. So…forget the boxes for now….We put the Christmas trees up and decorated minimally. I heard the ‘in’ colors this year are silver and white. With that in mind, up went the decorations on the trees. I bought a little silver and already had some gold. Is that close enough?

For those who know me, I hope you get a giggle from one of the gold decorations I included. This one made the 'minimal' cut.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Really, really surprising to me (!) is the realization that I didn’t meet my goal of watching 45 films this past summer (see previous blogs). I don’t know what happened! I didn’t even come close—not even half. I’ll chalk it up to a busy life. In the ‘big picture’ that’s probably better than sitting alone to watch movies.
This movie is dark (literally), eerie, creepy, disturbing, bizarre and stimulating all at the same time. For being the first Batman movie I’ve ever watched, my first thought was this ‘good guy’ is not like any we’ve known before. Yes, it’s a typical super hero story line--that’s a given. Through all the crime fighting and off-center mentality, you in some wicked way want the rest of the story. Plus, despite all the darkness, you truly come to a heartfelt embrace for Batman—and what he stands for. Christian Bale is a first-rate choice for Bruce Wayne. I profile Mr. Bale and Bruce Wayne as one. He’s handsome, charming and intelligent, yet there is something deep in the eyes that holds heartache and anger along with the will to fight for justice. Just my take (and my BILs). Michael Caine as Alfred is casting perfection. The tech and gadget guys will enjoy the toys and special effects. Overall, not a top scoring film but one to see if you haven’t already. Duchess note: I agree with Hollywood, Ledger is positively Oscar worthy.
I’m going to be totally blunt and say I’ve seen episodes of Sponge Bob Square Pants more entertaining than this film. It just didn’t capture the quick witted quirkiness of the original show. Hollywood hasn’t learned bad remakes aren’t worth filming. Viewers haven’t learned to boycott Hollywood when bad remakes are released. Put this one in file 69.

Friday, December 5, 2008

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world." -Anne Frank

Thursday, December 4, 2008


We don’t often get to see family. Both sides of our family are spread out in various cities and states. Our children’s schedules amplify the lack of time spent together. We simply can’t find unscheduled calendar time. (This year was no exception.) Despite this, my husband’s family made special efforts to get together this holiday on behalf of their ailing mother.

The highlight was meeting the newest member of the family adopted from China this summer—Katie. It has been almost 5 years since we’ve had a new member. Katie was ‘the belle of the ball’ and rightly so. She is gorgeous! We wanted to smother her with hugs and kisses. She was so overwhelmed by all of us, she wouldn’t let us get anywhere near her. Being the baby with 13 others running around would be overwhelming for anyone. Hugs and kisses will have to wait until next time. :)

Then there’s ‘Sweet Z,’ who would go ballistic if he knew I called him that because name and spelling are exponentially important to 5 year olds. You never know what ‘Z’ is going to say next. He’s a fierce Wii player. He doesn’t get upset often, but every now and then you might hear, "oh, barnacles." Something he learned through his cartoon watching. All of us need to spend more time with 5 year olds. You learn all kinds of things. I could share more Z-isms--maybe in another blog entry??

As for the rest of the crew, we’re gorgeous too in our own special way. Realizing this was one of the greatest outcomes this holiday. We are finally getting to an age where the brothers and wives understand each other. We aren’t so quick to judge the differences and practically celebrate the idiosyncrasies. All the while, the cousins are too busy having fun to notice there are any adults around. Celebrate family!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


“I have my real license now.” That’s the comment from Scout (to Kooza) who says a ‘real’ license is one with a picture on it. It was 2 hours of torture at DPS for the little guy. He was really nervous. I have to say the crazy environment at the DPS wasn’t helping the situation. We arrived just before lunch break which was a big mistake. Just because there are 75-100 people in line, don’t think lunch break will be missed. So… for a full hour the desk of 4-6 government workers dwindled down to 2. Are you kidding me??

Forward to today: The good news is Kooza agreed (or was swindled) to let Scout drive him to school. Plus, in so agreeing, he would be required to be in the car 10 minutes earlier than Mom requires on her days to drive. Kooza complied. I was speechless as they drove out of the driveway. I, of course, went through the whole: “how could this be happening, it was just yesterday that he was toddling around, I’m so old…” and on and on. Meanwhile Pops is proud and loving it while quickly thinking he doesn’t have to drive carpool anymore—which brings a huge smile to his face.

Highlight of the day: They let me take my 'Mom' photo to document the whole event. :)

So my ‘angel’ arrives home from school today and immediately turns around to drive to the grocery store with my list in hand. I didn't ask him to. He volunteered. I said I would go with him. He replied, “Why?” Okay then…hmmm…. Now I’m loving it. :) I say, “Call me if you have any questions.” Can this last forever?!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


After getting a bit of peer pressure from family over the holidays regarding my lack of writing for the blog…I’ve decided to start writing again. Should I view it as a compliment that they enjoy my writing and reviews?? Do they love my blog as much as they love me? Hee.

We watched our fair share of movies over the holiday break. I can’t say I was awed by any of them. I’m beginning to think my lack of enthusiasm for blogging is actually related to the films I’ve watched lately—which have been lacking in every sense. I’ll write about those next, first I need to add a few details on summer camp and life since.

In my last blog, I mentioned I told the boys the minimum number of letters/communications I wanted from them while away at camp was 5 notes. Kooza made me giggle because in every note home he would say “this is my third note home” then “this is my fourth note home.” I don’t know if those comments were for me to count or for him to count. Either way, it brought a smile to my face. I had my doubts that Scout would actually make it to 5, but the truth is he came through quite easily. Surely a sign of love from both boys! :) Camp was a big deal for Scout this year. In addition to being his last year as a camper, he was elected ‘Spartan Captain’ which meant he was the leader of the Spartan team and would be put under much pressure to WIN every daily camp competition (the captain always competes last so he knows exactly what it will take to win). He was also the “Carnival King” (which is similar to being Homecoming King), another wonderful experience for him. Kooza wowed the crowd again on talent show night with his diabolo act. He usually closes the show each year and gets the loudest applause. The campers have come to look forward to his act. When we arrive at camp they immediately ask if he is doing his diabolo act for talent show and are disappointed if they feel there is any chance he won’t—as if camp wouldn’t be the same if Kooza didn’t include the diabolo. On pick up day, I meet all the counselors and learn how awesome they are. They in turn share with me how awesome my boys are. We love camp. (Snoopy dance here.)

Memory of the Day: It’s official. Pops and I escorted Scout to the DPS (an experience worthy of its own blog entry) to get his first time driver’s license. I was so proud and teary eyed as he drove off the parking lot all by himself. Exciting day for all! The only glitch now is talking Kooza into letting Scout drive him to school—or anywhere else.