A life by chocolate entails finding sweetness in the light and dark. Moreso, it's about addiction to cocoa. An insatiable sweet tooth doesn't hurt. Well, not until the yucky tartar buildup and stuff. To the point, I strive to entertain with topics such as the utter hilarity and cuteness of children; the challenges of dating, my related rationale for celibacy; and chocolate as a precious remedy for it all. Thanks for sampling Life by Chocolate. I hope you keep coming back for more.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Big C Hop for our Dear Melissa Bradley!

My dear friend, Melissa Bradley, wrote this:  
My hugest thanks to Michael Di Gesu, who organized this. You are an amazing friend and I wouldn't know what to do without you.
As many of you know, I am currently locked in battle with the Big C...Cancer. Today I am celebrating the fight with my wonderful fellow bloggers on this Big C Cancer Blog hop. We are telling stories of the humor found in dealing with this disease. Humor helps a lot in this battle, it is a very effective weapon in keeping one's spirits up and at the ready.
Money is also an important part of the fight, so these entries you read are all going to be published in an anthology to help me in my fight. Whatever I do not use of the proceeds will be donated to Gilda's Club Chicago, a very important place for women fighting this terrible disease.
Thanks for reading. You can find all the incredible, wonderful participants here.

I'm sharing a snippet from Chapter 5 of Woman on the Verge of Paradise: Young Teachers and True Love. Here's the start of my story of Brianne, a four year old I was matched with when, during Freshman year at UCLA, I volunteered at the UCLA Medical Center. (The entire segment is too long for a blogpost, but I'll introduce you to Brianne.)
     I entered quietly, slipping by an empty bed to my left. Beyond it, a small girl popped her head up. She flashed a smile so glowingly it seemed Brianne hadn’t seen another human in months.
    “Hi Brianne. I’m Robyn.”
    “Hi,” she blurted, scooting into a sitting position.
    Brianne’s eyes struck me – the same deep blue as Mom’s, and with beautiful long, dark lashes. Otherwise, she lacked color. Brianne bore only a bit of peach fuzz on her head; her body, pale and depleted; and her heartbeat, dependent upon an IV stuck into her right hand.
    “It’s great to meet you sweetie,” I smiled. “How are you?”
    She pasted a half-smile-half-frown on her face. “So-so,” Brianne replied, adult-like. “Can we play?” Her mood lifted.
    “Sure! What would you like to play?”
    Brianne’s shoulders shot up and down, her mood shifting to sad again. “Do you know how much more I have to be in here?”
    “Oh, sweetie, I wish I knew. I’m sorry, but” —I switched to a low-pitched, manly voice, “I’m Doctor Seuss-opotamus,” I said. “Now let’s see, Miss Brianne.” I pulled my glass frames up and rested the lenses on my head. “Wait a minute. Miss Brianne?” I turned around and pretended to be looking out the window.
    “Where’d you go? I can’t see you.” I turned around and stuck my hand into my front pants pocket, as if to peer into my pocket for her. “Brianne? Where are you?”
    “I’m right here!” She laughed heartily.
    “Oh,” I said, setting my glasses back in place. “Oh, there you are! You must have been tricking me! Now, let’s see.” She giggled, a faint snort mixed in.
    I got close to Brianne, as if to perform an inspection. “It looks like you have two arms and, yep, looks like you’ve got two feet too! And there’s a pretty face on your neck.” She chortled again.
    “So I promise you, Miss Brianne, you are going to be alright. It might take a long time, much longer than we want it to. Those cancer cells are meanie booger monsters, aren’t they?”
    She nodded in affirmation, still giggling.
    “Well we’re gonna get rid of all of those meanie booger monsters. So can I give you a shot with magic medicine in it?”

Friday, September 12, 2014

Reasons for Celibacy, #312-319, and Old Broad Winner, #hangingwithbutters

It's time once again to explore the various dating options for a single straight gal like me. Thus it's time once again to affirm that abstinence is the most safe, sane option for a single straight gal like me. Here are reasons #312-319 for celibacy, embellished by my italicized commentary. What you are about to read is real. I don't make this sh*t up. They're from fairly current on-line dating ads. Enjoy!
REASON #312: There's truth in loves eye's
Oh, honey, I think you need new glasses.

REASON #313: I used to understand, now I overstand...
You overestimate your wit, sweetie. It’s underwhelming.

REASON #314: First and foremost, I am a 118% involved dad with my two beautiful daughters. I'm not the "every other Saturday to the park and McDonalds" kind of dad. I have them 55% of the time and I go to every event they are involved in, so we can get very busy. First of all, I find your mathematical skills fascinating. I’ve done some calculations too. I’m negative 173% attracted to you. It’s not personal; statistics never are. Second of all, what’s wrong with a bi-monthly trip to the park and McD’s?

REASON #315: I want to hangout with butters
Butters? Whipped, cultured, or churned? Saffola? Mrs. Butterfield? I Can’t Believe It’s Not? You mean like things that are real fatty and spread easily?

REASON #316: lets get to know each other friends firs
I don’t know, babe. While I’m not a staunch PETA advocate, I prefer not to touch your friends’ firs.

This one messaged me (and possibly you too) on facebook.
REASON #317: Hello dear how are you doing today , your profile put's much thought in me , I ask for your friendship if you wouldn't mind. Max is my name , thanks
I’m sorry my profile put’s anything in you. To be clear, babe, that wasn’t ever and never will be my intention. I do wonder something about men who put apostrophes before every s: What’s the 'sex like?

REASON #318: First off I'm 64 not 44. Cant change it.
Whoa, dude! Was that like a magical Freaky Friday switcheruni with your adult child? Like did it happen when the two of you went for dinner at a Chinese Restaurant and read your fortunes from a pair of fortune cookies? I'm sorry you can't change it, but since you lost your Ross senior discount Tuesdays, I'm going to have to pass.

REASON #319: Ready, willing and able!!
You might be my best prospect. Kindly tell me, for how long are you able?
Stephen T. McCarthy won our Old Broad contest for his stories about his favorite old broad, his Ma! Here's only a small part of his very entertaining Mom stories:
    She was a baseball fanatic and knew more about the sport than most guys do. She even worked professionally for the MLB teams the California Angels and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
   I remember one time she and I went to a Dodgers Vs. Angels pre-season exhibition game. Pitching for the Angels was Jim Abbott, a man who had been born without a right hand (and who years later, as a Yankee, pitched a 'No-Hitter' against the Cleveland Indians).
   There were two twenty-something-year-old guys in the seats next to ours. At one point in the game, Abbott pitched his way out of a jam and one of the two guys said, "Give that pitcher a hand."
    Ooooohhh! My Ma verbally lit into that guy like you wouldn't believe, right in front of all the other fans. That guy started stammering, and backpedaling like crazy, insisting he didn't mean it "that way" (which of course was a bunch of B.S.) When my Ma got done with that guy, he was embarrassed to hell and you could tell he would have crawled into any convenient hole he could find.

How can you not laugh at this story, while admiring Stephen's feisty, favorite old broad? Impossible. Congratulations, Stephen! We hope you enjoy Old Broads Waxing Poetic.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunflowers for Tina Downey

 In memory of Tina Downey,  the A to Z Team is hosting a sunflower tribute on September 8, 2014 – Remembering Tina Downey.
  They wrote, "Tina loved her sunflowers, and we want to splash the blogging world with sunflowers that day and honor a truly amazing woman who was friend and family to so many."

Sunflowers for Tina Downey,
whose spirits lives on
                                                       and in every 
                               blossoming sunflower.

Your memory is forever a blessing, Tina.
May you rest in peace. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Favorite Old Broad Blogfest!

Dynamic duo Julie Kemp Pick and Susan Flett Swiderski compiled this broad baby, with poetic contributions from eight ole broads. Not only did I pose for the shadow on the wall, some of my poems are featured too!

Michael Di Gesu designed the front and back cover. He did a spectacular job. Consider his services when ever you need. You won't be disappointed. Michael's work prompted eight old broads to shout ecstatically, "Wow, you're really good!" 
Old Broads is on sale here on Amazon!

Susan wrote this: To celebrate its release, each old broad featured in this book is blogging about her favorite old broad today, and we invite each of you to tell us a little something about your favorite old broad in the comments. Oh, and if you're still offended by the term broad, I apologize. If you'd prefer, you can tell us about your favorite older woman... how's that? Oh yeah, and one of you who comments about your fave broad will be winning a free copy of our book. Points will be earned for creativity, and visiting other broads' (and Michael's) blogs. The winner will be announced next Friday, September 12th.
Cool, huh? (It really IS a cool book... not only is it filled with some fun poetry, but all proceeds from its sale are going to CARE International.)

Now then, let me introduce you to the other broads, so you can follow their blogs, too. (Like I said, they're ALL terrific.)

NOTE: Technically, Michael isn't a broad. He's a guy. A very nice guy who used that lovely image from Francesco Romoli to create our cover for us, so you could say, as an important member of our team, he's an honorary broad. With hairy legs.

Thanks for helping make this a very broad celebration!
Here's a poem about my favorite old broad.

My favorite old broad?

An easy choice pick

Someone younger than…God

And more slender than thick

Like no other ole broad

This one is all heart

With skills off-the-hook

Awesome writing and art

This stud did a job that made eight women sigh.

“Wow! You’re so good!” one by one, each did cry.

How much courage it took

To join an eight women team

Turn our poems to a book 

Make real, this broad dream.

 Thank you, Michael. We love you!
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VU2yWUCMzok/U3BLAFe340I/AAAAAAAABXM/d8s-Nphc720/s220/IMG_2288%2B-%2BVersion%2B2.jpg Michael Di Gesu

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Robyn Reveals Shocking Truth About Nude Photos Purported to be J. Lawrence: IWSG

IWSG Badge
Founded by our beloved Alex J. Cavanaugh, it's time once again for insecure writers to release our insecurities, inspire, support, guide and - in my case - spout weirdness.

Robyn = bold / Jennifer Lawrence = red / Justin Bieber = blue / FBI guy = green
Today, we talk with an incredibly talented, delightful, young, gorgeous Oscar winning actress. She starred in so many movies, including The Hunger Games, Silver Lining Playbook, X-Men and Catching Fire. Let's welcome, adorable klutz, Miss Jennifer Lawrence!
The audience goes wild. Jennifer Lawrence walks onto the stage in a tight black dress, the top of which  barely covers her nipples and the bottom of which barely hides her panties or lack thereof. She trips over seemingly nothing, falls face first, then pops back up. I guess I went too heavy on the Jack Daniel's this morning!She giggles.

Here, sweetie. Robyn gestures at a set of theater style chairs. They're both seated. Thanks for being here. What with all the media frenzy about your nudie photos that got hacked and leaked and viewed and savored on Sunday, and with the FBI jumping in to examine your case, even though there were scores of other celebrities involved. Jennifer Lawrence's face turns pink. In a low tone - and while maintaining decorum (even though she doesn't know what this means) - she tells Robyn, I thought we agreed not to talk about that. We won't. Can I...Robyn leans in towards Jennifer...get a look-see? Jennifer attempts to scoot her chair further from Robyn, but her legs flip over her head and she twists herself into a contorted semi-back-flip. An FBI agent appears, assisting Jennifer to her feet. Justin Bieber hops onto the stage. You f*n a******! Let me f*n help her! Get out of here, f*n punk! Justin runs to Selena (sitting in the back row) for coddling.

Jennifer Lawrence sits calmly now, as if nothing happened. The FBI agent steps back a few feet. Still on the stage, he's ready to protect her if she tries to move or breathe again. Today, the Insecure Writer's Support Group is gathering. Do you write? Um...she looks stupefied...No, I don't think so. I mean, like, why? I didn't think so. But I found a few books on Amazon about you. There's one called Jennifer Lawrence: Burning Bright. Did you know that? Um...no, not really. Well, let me tell you, you have one review for that book. I'll read it to you. Robyn proceeds to read very slowly, enunciating each syllable:  "to me she a great actor but also she has a long way to go as well. i hope she continues to burn very bright in the future." Jennifer smiles. That's really sweet. You're a doll. And phenomenally talented. And so young. And so Robyn drops her eyes to Jennifer's breasts perky.

Jennifer appears troubled. Okay, you're really creeping me out, ma'am! Don't worry, honey. There's a noble reason why I wanted you here. I'm concerned about all those nudie pictures that you took and put on your phone or the Internet and anywhere they might get taken because you're so famous and so young and fleshy and svelte and half my age and I want to spare you further public humiliation. The agent takes Jennifer Lawrence's arm, readying to escort her out. Those naked photos that you don't deny are yours, it's shameful to admit this, but I can't in good conscience keep the secret any longer.  They're mine. Robyn stands up and reiterates proudly: That's right, everyone. Those pictures are of me!

~We cut to a Public Service Announcement: Folks, it's not advisable to take nude selfies. Should you take nude selfies, it's not advisable to post nude selfies. If you take and post nude selfies, and if you are rich and famous, and if you have a rockin' body, and if you truly think these photos won't be stolen, you are many things. Bright isn't one of them.