And I Wrote This Book.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Now This is Paradise: Sundays in My City

UnknownMami hosts a lively worldwide party on Sundays. Through her blog, you can feast on amazing sights across the globe.

Today, I welcome you to Paradise. This scenic town rests 8 miles Northeast of Chico, smack-dab in the middle of the squared off part of California. The weather begged for a walk in the park, so please enjoy Aquatic Park with me.

 a mini-waterfall

It's a nice sentiment, though I only saw one young fisherboy. His parents were madly screaming at the kid after he cast his fishing line at a flock of Mallard ducks.

Ah, Paradise!
I hope this visit relaxed you.
Have a wonderful Sunday and new week.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Triple Treat

Remember when authors were people who we imagined lived in remote castles on mountaintops at the end of the earth, with 23 cats and a spouse that brought them tea but otherwise never disrupted their writing time? It's such an honor to be friends now with actual authors, warm-hearted folks who are just one keyboard click away. It's even more exciting when they publish. So, today I proudly present three author friends' recent accomplishments:

[Insert my frustrated growl here.
Blogger won't post any images
to the blog roll. So sorry.
Please visit these guys' blogs to link to their books.]

If you don't know Alex J. Cavanuagh, welcome to the blogoverse. That is, you must be new around here. No worries, follow Alex's blog. He'll connect you with slews of amazing bloggers, movie and music snippets, blogfests, and a lot more. Alex is such a skilled writer, he makes aliens seem incredibly human. Sci-fi never was my thing. Because of Alex, though, I'm now enjoying CassaFire. It's the second sci-fi book I've read, the first being CassaStar. I'm hooked.

Alex broke 1500 followers this week. Here's his related announcement: "To celebrate 1500 followers, I’m holding a giveaway – a copy of CassaStar and CassaFire! The books will be donated to the winner’s choice of public or high school library, along with a selection of bookmarks. (The winner also gets bookmarks.)"
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 [Frustrated growl goes here too.]

Al Penwasser, aka Author Kenneth Lynch, is one of my favorites. One minute, Al P. was asking fellow bloggers for input on e-publishing. The next, he was announcing that he'd published Shag Carpet Toilet.  It's an amazing book, too - as deeply touching as it is hysterically funny. This story about boyhood friendships, life, love, loss, Catholic school, and a shag carpet toilet is reminiscent of my favorite Rob Reiner creation, Stand by Me. It left me with the same heartwarming feeling of nostalgia capped by gratitude that I never had to experience life as a boy.

[Al's blushing right now because he didn't ask me to endorse his book. He's too humble. He simply and generously let me read it. I'm very glad I did, and I'm sure you would be too.]
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~[...and here.]

It's always Rhyme Time for Pat Hatt. The man even comments on his comments in rhyme, it's amazing. His first children's book is fun and action-packed. The story's told through rhyme, and it's wonderfully illustrated. If you have kids in your life, they'll love The Swashbuckle Chuckle. 
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May you find opportunities to enjoy great books this weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Woman on the Verge of Paradise: Pizza Non-delivery


“CALL ME! I CANT GET A HOLE OF YOU!”

Mr. Salsa’s email erupted with urgency, so I called him immediately.

“Hi, it’s Robyn.”

“Oh hey girl, yeah, my emails to you keep coming back.” But I just got your email message. In fact, that’s why I’m calling. “And you’re not on my Facebook page.” Yeah I prefer you don’t have easy access to all the writing I’m doing about you, Mr. Salsa.

“Well, I don’t like to spend much time on Facebook” I explained.

“So what are you doing right now?” 

“Not much, some writing projects. It’s a lazy day. I’m still in my pajamas. What about you?”

“I just drove my roommate to the Sacramento Airport.” He has the place to himself, wants me to know it. “So do you want to come over for pizza? You can come in your pajamas.” He giggled.

Admittedly, I was tempted. When a woman hasn’t had "pizza" in a long, long time, she craves it. I’m not talking about anchovies, peppers, or any extra spice. No pepperonis either. Just the basic spread topped with sausage, and I’d be satisfied. Very satisfied.

Unconvinced of his “pizza” delivery skills, though, I came to my senses. “Thanks, but I’m going to stay in. Maybe another time.”

“Okay. Can I put your number in my phone?”

“Sure, I have yours now too.”

We ended the call. Crap! Did I just blow my only opportunity for "pizza" in this town?

I went dancing two days later. My friend Brandi and I sipped sodas while scoping out prospective partners. Mr. Salsa crossed the floor and headed towards me several times, only to ask the blonde svelte 20-somethingers for dances —and, perhaps, to share some "pizza." We didn’t talk or dance at all. Instead, I hit the floor with a few other men, then got bored and walked out with Brandi. Meanwhile, I noticed Mr. Salsa whirling a golden haired gal —no doubt in hopes of  "pizza."

En route home, I got a sudden urge to pull over.

“I’ll take an individual slice with sausage,” I told the guy at Round Table. “Please, extra sausage, and thick crust.” As he walked away to place my order, I continued: “Extra thick, and really, really hot. I'll blow on it. Hard too, but not crusty.” I wiped saliva from my chin.

It was the best pizza I had in a very, very long time.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sundays in My City: Horse Store and More

UnknownMami hosts a picturesque party on Sundays. Visit her site for a fun and fascinating tour of our wonderful blogoverse.

Today, we're back to Chico for some horsing around.

I met the kind folks at Chico's Horse Store and More. Donna and Mike shared stories about their horse, a town celebrity. She's been on TV, in local papers, and graciously posed for a second time at Life by Chocolate. Note: I'm not sure if this horse is, in fact, a "she" - I didn't check; I'm making assumptions based on her rather effeminate attire.


From saddles to cowboy/girl boots to medicine for horses, there's a lot of great "more" to the Horse Store and More.

I learned she's dressed for Mother's Day. It's a tad more fashionable than the horse-bunny costume, right?

Gotta love a small town that does things in big ways!

Thanks for visiting. Happy, galloping Sunday and new week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Latest in Healthy Chocolate: Chocolatemint Water

Today, I'm splashing this blog with HEALTHY CHOCOLATE for a change: Metromint's Chocolatemint Water.

I've never been much of a water drinker, never liked the (non)taste. But it's the best thing for us. So I'm thrilled to have discovered this product at a local supermarket (Raley's/Nob Hill Foods). You can also find it on-line. It's made in the USA and contains just three ingredients: purified water, mint and cocoa essence.   We're talking NO sweeteners, preservatives or calories. We're also talking decadence. Really. I've never liked water so much. It quenches my thirst and leaves a similar aftertaste to Girl Scout thin mints. Plus, it's healthy and attractively packaged.

My only complaint is that the bottle is too small, 16.9 ounces (approx. 2 cups).  

I give Metromint's Chocolatemint Water a 9 out of 10.

Drink up, and happy Thursday.

Note: Metromint isn't paying me for this review, though they should.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Age, Debt and Taxes


To all of my tax paying friends stricken by financial woes:

Like age, debt is just a number. Right? Right!
This too (tax time) shall pass...until next year.

Have a good week regardless.

Friday, April 13, 2012

On Why I Choose Celibacy, Reasons #176-181


Hi, friends. I'm back with a sampling of today's most eligible bachelors. At least they seem to think they are. Lifted directly from popular on-line dating sites, and embellished by my italicized snark, please accept the following reasons for my choice to live a celibate existence. I hope you get by now, there's no viable alternative. 

Have a great weekend. May your every momonet be devoid of boardom.
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REASON #176: Im board. Wish I could meet some cool girl to hang out with.
You mean to say you’re an uncastrated male swine? Or are you simply bored? If so, see below.

REASON #177: if your bored its probably because your boring :D
True. And if this is your idea of an alluring headline for your personal ad, it’s probably because you’re an idiot. :D

REASON #178: What am I chopped liver haha
I’m sure you’re not, babe; I like chopped liver.

REASON #179: New in town and ready to get it in!!!! 
Sounds sexual. Judging from your shirtless photo and delightfully chiseled abs, I’d like to invite you to do so. I mean - clearing throat and composing self -  good luck to you, sir. Have a nice day.

REASON #180: Looking for a moman who loves to be love
You want a moman who loves to embody love? Are you cousins with the next guy? The one who talks about the momonet, which my wise friend Ruth defines as “a moment according to Monet”?

Warning and apologies, repeat ad headline: Im at a lost for words at the momonet.... 

REASON #181: Cmon! Hop on! Wegoing to Blissville via Happytown!
With somber regret, I must decline. But cmon ‘n toss over whatever you’re hopped up on! Then Igo to Blissville via Happytown alone!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dear Virtual People: An Open Letter to Cyberspace


Dear Virtual People, and by this I mean anyone who’s ever tweeted, re-tweeted, favorited; facebook statused, liked, poked or tagged; blogged, followed, or commented; and anyone who’s ever operated or considered operating any  device through which to access cyberspace,

Let’s talk. Then again, you probably don’t want to. Most Virtual People don’t roam about cyberspace to engage in the art of discourse - excepting the warmhearted blog community that invests with earnest in human connection. This is rare. That’s the problem, and it’s monstrous: the rapid pace at which we’re blasted by bits of news or inanity, much of which propels us further from humanity.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m fine with meaningless shards launched through cyberspace. In fact, I’m responsible for some of it (e.g., my recent tweet series “originating” from Snooki’s fetus, poor thing). I believe in mocking the world’s idiots - especially those earning millions for being themselves. Deny it or not, life is really tough for most. And we could use regular doses of hearty laughter. So, why not at the expense of those who can afford it (and the country of Belize)?

Pure hatred, though, has no place here nor anywhere.  Last week I saw a tweet that paired Jews and ovens in the same message, with seeming levity. I was sickened to a point of tears. I’d previously followed this twitterer without pause; he seemed funny. In the few seconds it took me to message and then un-follow him, his fan base shot from 6,496 to 6,500. I find this highly disturbing. Hate spreads like wildfire, even faster when propelled by the social media AND disguised as lighthearted banter.  

Listen, Virtual People, we are the privileged few; only 25% of the world’s population has access to the Internet.  Let’s use this privilege for good and not evil. Towards that end, I’m setting some rules:

DON’Ts:
  •  If you spent your workday playing Angry Birds and downing beer, don’t boast about it. Much of the world is unemployed. Nearly half of the labor force earns $2.50 per day, and many risk their lives to bring home this pittance.  Keep your spoils under wraps. Thank you.
  • If you’ve enjoyed an orgasmic foot or other body-part massage by the world’s greatest lover, the one you’re unbelievably lucky to have captured, don’t boast about it. Spare us from nausea (and crazed jealousy). Thank you.
  • If you ONLY spew bragging bits about yourself, partner, or child/ren, stop. It’s annoying. Thank you.  
  •  If you’ve just returned from a fabulous trip, share photos but not all 500 of them. Thank you.
  • Do not ever post mean and stupid, hateful messages, “joking” or not. Thank you.
DO:         
  • Spread cheer, compassion and humor. We need it. Thank you.
 Finally, a NOTE ON THE POKE: The poke’s a unique tool, worthy of special mention. Keep in mind that, when considering poking, the intended recipient might not be in the mood and may thus be unresponsive. Repeated poking could be construed as harassment. Tread gently.

Thank you, Virtual People!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Happy Easter!


Wishing you and yours a wonderful  Easter Sunday...




with flowers from Northern California...




...and may your baskets overflow with chocolate eggs!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Passover!





Oops, I missed the label in the right hand corner when I grabbed this box yesterday: NOT FOR PASSOVER. Yet if matzah (the "bread of affliction" eaten during the Passover seder as a symbol of the Jews'/Hebrews' sustenance during my people's Exodus from Egypt) isn't for Passover, I'm at a loss. Perhaps the manufacturer should've invoked a rabbi's input before before sending this box to print. A more appropriate label would read: "Not for Passover for those observing our deeply meaningful dietary laws that have enriched the Passover meal for thousands of years. If, on the other hand, you're the woman seeking matza with some flavor, and a decent blog photo, this, you should buy for Passover. Eat, eat, and eat again. Sorry it's salty but we know you'll drown out the salty egg-onion flavor with chocolate anyway."


I'm usually better about reading such labels. For years, I hosted Passover seders (the service and meal combination). I consistently welcomed at least as many non-Jews as I did Jews. Everyone seemed interested, and I even had to say "sorry but no" on occasion to prospective guests of guests.

Not only is the holiday layered with powerful ritual, lively discussion, and delicious food, its purpose is to appreciate our many freedoms and, ultimately, renew our commitment to bring peace on earth. It's a universal goal and one we can all appreciate.


Whatever your faith, may you experience gratitude for your blessings at this time and always. We've countless freedoms to celebrate.

Happy Passover! 


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group Featuring Dr. Ruth Westheimer


It seems insecurities delight in wreaking havoc with creative minds, so  Alex J. Cavanaugh  founded an Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We’re posting monthly, exposing our insecurities and/or offering support to each other. Please check out Alex’s link to visit others’ posts. It’s a group of kind-hearted bloggers/writers, authors and all-around great folks.  
 ---
And now, we are incredibly fortunate to welcome Dr. Ruth Westheimer to our studio. Though orphaned by the Holocaust, Dr. Ruth displays exceptional resilience and boldness. In 1980, she launched her radio show, Sexually Speaking. Dr. Ruth quickly drew worldwide popularity for her grandmotherly appearance yet unflinching candor. Her accolades include at least 35 published books, and a stint as a sniper in the Israeli Defense Forces. Plus she’s tiny - about my height. I look up to her. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s welcome Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Dr. Ruth, at age 83, strolls on stage with a warm smile and wave. Robyn gives her a hug and invites her to take a seat.

Robyn: Welcome, Dr. Ruth! It’s a great honor to have you here to talk about s, s, s,se..cks.

Dr. Ruth: My dear why are you stuttering?

Robyn: Laughing nervously and turning red-faced. I guess I have insecurities. That’s why I asked you here.

Dr. Ruth: You have sexual insecurities? Could it be vaginismus? Are you not achieving orgasm during intercourse? Is he suffering from erectile dysfunction? Have you consulted a doctor about Viagra? Tell me what the problem is.

Robyn: Oh, God. My heart races, legs and arms begin convulsing radically, and I stare down at my feet. Well, I, I don’t actually have ANY sexual problems. Because I’m not having ANY sex these days. It’s more a matter of needing to write about my asexuality. And that feels abnormal and kinda embarrassing. Plus there were some thwarted attempts to have s, s, se--. Crap! Dr. Ruth, it was never my fault that the guys couldn’t, you know, but it’s still humiliating. And the men I’ve been meeting these days, whew, talk about nutters! I’m so turned off I don’t even want to high-five them wearing latex gloves and a gas mask. Ah – I sigh— celibacy is relieving.

Dr. Ruth: So you don’t have a sex partner? Is that what you’re trying to say?

Robyn: I guess. I think. I mean, yes, I don’t have a partner. That’s status quo for me.

Dr. Ruth: No problem. Go into your bedroom, close the door, read steamy books, play Barry White, and bring yourself to pleasure.

Robyn: My face evokes utter disgust. Oh, God, I can’t. I just can’t.

Dr. Ruth: Why not? Quit whining and enjoy yourself.

Robyn: No, it’s not that. It’s just…Barry White, Doctor Ruth?  I’d climax in my own vomit.

Dr. Ruth: Well then try Marvin Gaye.

Robyn: That’s better. I relax into a lengthy exhale, pull a Big Hunk bar out of my purse and hand her a piece. Thanks so much, Dr. Ruth. You’re a true gem. You’ve really enlightened me and the world.

We walk off stage, arm in arm, exchanging grins and chatter while nibbling at chunks of Big Hunk.

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End note 1: I really can’t do justice to this endearing woman or her German accent, which I didn’t even attempt to inject. For a more authentic snippet and/or a bit or nostalgia, go here:
End note 2: I opted out of the A-Z Challenge this year, mainly to focus on my book. But I feel some guilt over reaping the benefits (thanks to Alex’s sweet shout-out yesterday) without trudging through the alphabet. Sending gratitude to new followers; energy and drive - plus delight, donuts, and divine inspiration - to those currently contending with “d”; and much appreciation to my dear friend, Alex!