Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Support for Roland & I know, I think

This post is a sad one.  But we're here for each other, and that's a glorious thing.

I'm tearful for one of our blog friends, Roland Yeomans. We haven't been in close correspondence, and I rarely pay visits to his blog. But Roland is a precious soul, who donates book earnings to charity and is relentlessly generous with support and advice. He's faced more than his fair share of hardship, including surviving hurricanes that devastated his hometown of New Orleans, loss of a home to vicious fires, and depletion of his savings to keep his cat alive. Through it all, Roland perseveres with faith and unmeasurable kindness. Now, he's facing a fight for his life: cancerous skin growths. Surgeons won't operate until four weeks from now. 

The treatment is ridiculously expensive, but Roland won't accept money. Instead, he says "Your prayers mean a lot to me. 
You might mention my book, DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE, on your blog. If it is Sam's last adventure, I would like it to be seen by a few folks. "
Before Indiana Jones or Allan Quartermain

Roland is one of those writers whose every phrase leaves you wondering how he works such magic with words. It appears this man has published somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 books. (Do I have that right, Roland?) He's probably the most brilliant author in blogland. 

If it's your practice to pray, please include Roland in your prayers. 
If not, love and support go a long way to lift someone through darkness. Thank you.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Next, I'm joining with dverse, the poetic clan Pat Hatt raves about. This week's task is to write about something that comes with a flipside. My related thoughts parallel the dynamics of blogland. While we rejoice in each other's milestones, we're saddened by each other's traumas. This got me thinking about love (one in particular) and loss. Here's a dark-ish poem. Sorry. I'll cheer you up in upcoming posts. I promise.


Worth the Sad

I think I know
It’s worth the sad

The taste of bliss
That I once had

Playful madness, tickle fests
My trusting cheek against his chest.
 
A lovers' cove, a future planned.
Wedding vows, the world in hand.
 
I lived my dream.
With faith, I flew.
To him my all
A promise true.

He snapped and shredded
Us apart
Confusion, tears
A fearful heart

From glee to dismal
In a blink
 
It’s worth the sad

I know

I think

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sutter Buttes, Sundays in My City, Cow Pelvis

It's Sunday, so I'm once again thanking UnknownMami for hostessing an extravagant worldwide
tour of bloggers' hometowns.
                                            Welcome! Unknown Mami

Today, we visit a stretch of land in the Sacramento Valley, the Sutter Buttes. This area has been private property since before CA became a state. John Sutter of Gold Rush fame initially claimed it, until it was given to a group that took Sutter to court over it. (Me thinks Sutter was a bit greedy.) Today, ranchers own the property. So we'll break through a few fences and trespass. Ssh, come on....
Oops, is this the last trespasser? Good thing I paid for a guided tour.
Can you guess what this skeleton remnant is?
                                            Nope. Good try, though. Actually, it's a cow pelvis.
The Sutter Buttes formed from volcanoes that erupted over a million years ago.

It's a gorgeous 75 square mile patch of land, and I'm still a tad sore from hiking just a few of those miles.

We were bird-watching, actually, though I have no photos of birds for you. I saw some from afar, through binoculars: quails, robins, a red tail hawk that wouldn't budge from atop a tree a mile away...





So I came back home to take some photos of birds in Chico for you. The seagull in flight was kind enough to fly on command for me.

Have a peaceful, safe and scenic new week.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Latest in Chocolate: Cookie Chips

A number of companies have attempted to successfully combine the (potato) chip with chocolate. Today, I review Hannahmax Baking's latest attempt: All Natural Crunchy Cookie Chips

This snack contains no trans fats, artificial flavors or colors, preservatives or GMOs. Despite all these voids, it tastes good! I like the sweet fudge-y - but not intensely sweet - taste. 

While they're crunchy like potato chips, though, that's where their similarity to potato chips ends. I'm not wowed by these. Anyone can make them. Just overcook a batch of cookies, but don't let them burn, and you've got crunchy cookie chips. Yours will likely be cheaper than these - $3.99 for a 6 oz. bag (approx. six servings). I got this bag at Raley's/Nob Hill Foods.  

All in all, I give these cookie chips a 6. Sorry, Hannahmax Baking, this product is nothing special. If you'd like to send me some for free, though, or mail me cold hard cash, I will gladly re-write my review in your favor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ADDENDUM ~
Over the weekend, I visited Healdsburg, a little town in Sonoma County (aka wine country). People were walking along the sidewalks sporting wine glasses, heading for the next tasting. Me? I darted into a Sharffen Berger shop. Prepared to lecture them on the evils of child labor on cocoa plantations, I asked if they carry any fair trade chocolate. Surprisingly, they said "yes" and even gave me samples of fair trade Dagoba. It was yummy.  I ate it too fast to photograph it, but I did capture this plaque:
                                                       Perseverance is a sweet thing.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Northen California Road Trip: Sundays in My City

Hi, friends.
I drove through three Northern California counties this weekend, so I'm exhausted but anxious to show you some photos. This post also serves as a late entry for UnknownMami's Sundays in My City. Visit her site to tour the world of bloggers' hometowns. Spectacular scenes abound.
I promised you a photo of the cake at my friends' son's Bar Mitzvah. They did better than cake, though. They had an ice-cream sundae bar. Here's a smidgen of mine before I attacked it. If you look closely, you can read that I was seated with the losers (49ers Table).

Sorry, DuPont. All of Northern California feels your pain.
 
Charles Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa, CA  

It seemed like a good deal, but Lucy said, "I am not equipped to address problems of your magnitude." Then she screamed, "Go away! NOW!" I want my nickel back.
                                                                Clear Lake. Heavenly.
The Blue Lakes were part of Clear Lake until volcanic eruptions and subsequent landslides broke them into separate lakes...I'm not sure when. Tens of thousands of years ago? I dunno, but it's been a while. I have more pictures, but I'll end with these visions of a beautiful world - in honor of Martin Luther King.

Thanks for visiting.

Have a peaceful week.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Missed Connection: In Search of My NYE Kisser

Hi, friends.

This completes my kiss-diss series (last three posts). I'm enjoying thoughts of finding my New Year's Eve kisser.I think the best way to do that is through Craigslist Missed Connections, because, really, what greater venue is there for sparking a meaningful romance with the person you're destined to be with? 

Here's the ad I'm planning on posting. Your critique is welcome. Thanks.


CL; chico personals missed connections
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
world’s_sleaziest_site prev 1 - 100 next and newest

Thurs Jan 16
New Year’s Eve Kisser – w4m (chico CA) map

Dear Kisser,
It's all a bit fuzzy, but you kissed me on the lips on New Year's Eve at midnight in a club in Chico (the dark one with a lot of people). I'd like to thank you (repeatedly). You made this 47 year old feel like I still got it or, at least, I can still get it if I want to. I'm fairly certain you look like a perfect combination of Tom Cruise pre-Scientology-sofa-aerobics and Brad Pitt pre-wolverine-Jolie-won't- notice-if-I-give-Aniston-a-few-of-our-kids-right? You're 5'8" give or take four inches, and you're at least 18 years old--provided your ID is legit. You're athletic and toned, with a physique not unlike Michaelangelo's David. You appreciate the premise behind the movie, Harold and Maude (i.e., older women turn you on).

Please respond with a close-up selfie of your lips, so I know you're not an imposter. Thank you. Looking forward to our next encounter.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

PS  I'm leaving town for the weekend, to celebrate a friend's son's Bar Mitzvah. I'll take a picture of the cake for you. My Internet access will be limited or nonexistent. I'll miss you. 

Be well. 

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wherein I Get Dissed and Tell, part III

Needless to say, my New Year's Eve was incredible. See last two posts.

I awake on Wed, January 1, 2014 to this text message from Woody:

Good morning. I'm feeling a little hong over. How about you?

Hong over? Is that like being hung over in Asia? 

I respond:

:) I'm still waking up, tired and feet are sore. I only had a lil champagne so I'm okay.

No response. I text Woody later in the eve/early night:

I hope you're feeling better. Good night.

No response.

Thursday evening, January 2, 2014 text message correspondences:

Woody:              Hey

Me:        Hi

Woody:        What are you doing? 

Me:                      Not much. About to make dinner. You?

Woody:              Empty frige. Need to go to the store. 

Me:                      I know how that is.
                            Are we still on for dinner Friday night?

I expect an enthusiastic "definitely." Instead, I get this:

Woody:      I hate to disappoint you but I have my 
           kids tomarrow.

I didn't know he has kids. I like kids. But he has "to marrow" them? Geeze, that sounds painful. I wonder if it's similar to a spinal tap. Well, I understand why dinner wouldn't fit into the equation. Still, I'm hurt, disappointed, and irritated.

Me:         K 

Woody:               Need to reschedule. Maybe we can talk
           on the phone.


Whoa! Talk on the phone? Slow down, tiger! What kind of girl do you think I am?

I call Woody. "I've tried dating single dads before, and it hasn't worked out," I explain. "They've said they want to date, but they don't actually have the time. If that's your situation, I'm not going there. I'd just get hurt."

Woody: "Yeah, that's my situation. I don't want a relationship. I guess I just want friends. With kids, anything can come up, and I messed up with the custody for New Year's Day, so I have them this weekend."

"Well, it's Thursday. We were supposed to have dinner tomorrow," I add - with extra emphasis on the second "o". "When were you going to tell me this?"

He chuckles. "I was just about to text you when you texted me. I just found out today." You were going to cancel on me through a text message? How sweet, mature, and respectful.

We're silent for a moment. I don't know what to say. I'm thinking that I don't tend to stick any portion of my tongue into my "friends" mouths. Thus, I don't want to be "friends." I'm also realizing that I liked him a lot better when he liked me a lot better because he was drunk.

"I guess we'll leave it at that," Woody states.

"Okay," I reply. "No hard feelings."  F*cker! "I did have a great New Year's."

"I did too, Robyn. You're really fun."

"Thanks," my voice quiets. "Goodbye."

"Bye."

 I close my phone, feeling very sad and wishing that I hadn't fallen so quickly from such a high. Was that it for my excitement for the year? What a teaser.

I do have one idea, though, that boosts my mood...stay tuned for one more post to end this series.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wherein I Kiss Again and Tell Again, part II


A vigorous, funky groove pulsates through me. Between the music, half a glass of champagne a bit earlier,* and the fact that an adorable man had planted his lips on mine at midnight, I buzz ecstatically into 2014.

Donna shifts further from me and closer to the stage again. My attention strays to a tall, slender man bouncing by my side.  He's cute, in a young Woody Harrelson kind of way. With a beer bottle in one hand, he offers the other for an introduction.

“Happy New Year. I’m Woody.”**

I knew it! “Happy New Year. I’m Robyn.” 

Woody abruptly finds a nearby table on which to unload his beer and returns, determined to focus on dancing with me. I'm elated by another dose of male attention--more than I got all last year. This guy's fun too, probably a 30-somethinger. I like to get down low (when I’m dancing) and Woody keeps up just fine, mimicking my movements, and taking my hands sporadically to spin me around.

“You’re fun,” I spout.

“So are you. You’re great, Robyn.”

“Thanks.” This is going well. Really well. But I feel off-balance. Damn heels. I hate them. I hope I don’t fall. I’m probably not completely sober. Oh no, I’m slipping. Woody grabs me by the waist and steadies me. Phew. We keep grooving, as though it never happened.

His hand grazes the side of my body, and Woody tells me he’s been in Chico for 17 years.  He’s working on his Master’s in Psychology. Pretty good, I think, admiring his soft blue eyes, dirty blond hair, and marginally innocent smile.

“What do you do, Robyn?”

“Social services. I’m a—” I stop myself from saying that I’m also a writer.  And I write humorous snippets about my non-romantic romantic life. He’ll likely be the subject of my next blog post, especially if he proves himself a jerk or a dufus—“I’m a social worker.” That was close.

We chat and keep dancing and time floats by. Woody pulls his phone out and asks for my number.

“Sure,” I say. He types it, as I enunciate each number, digit by digit: 8, 6, 7, 5, 3, 0, 9.***

“I’m going to call you. I am. Can I take you to dinner sometime?” he asks.

“Yeah, that’d be nice.” I try to look cool and hide my excitement.

Woody leans closer and wraps his arms around me in a tender embrace. He pulls back slightly,  gently strokes the side of my face and kisses me, with fervor and a teaser of tongue.

Am I dreaming? I don't think so because my feet hurt like hell. Wow. Kisses from not one but two men! That only happens to other women like Carrie Bradshaw.

“You made my New Year’s, Robyn.”

“You made mine too.” Well, the other guy did first. He was a little cuter and younger too. But your kiss was just as good. Almost. He edged you out due to his timing and boldness. Otherwise, it was a very close race.  
--
As I clumsily approach my door at 2am, my phone rings. It's Woody, already. We speak briefly, sharing that we're glad to have met, and confirming a date for dinner Friday night.“But what day is it?” I ask. “I think it’s Wednesday. Or is it Thursday? I’m all mixed up. Maybe it’s Tuesday. Hm, why don’t we make exact plans after a good night’s sleep? Friday's good though.”

“Okay, I’ll let you get some sleep. Goodnight, Robyn.”

“Goodnight, Woody.”

Stay tuned for part III.

*I'm such a lightweight. Let's keep that a secret. Thanks.
**Not his real name. Woody is a euphemism.
***I gave him my actual number, not Jenny’s. For you youngins, I’m referencing Tommy Tutone’s 1982 hit single, Jenny.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wherein I Kiss and Tell: NYE 2014

My New Year's date, Donna, is the type of gal pal a woman both loves and hates to hang out with: a sweet, outgoing, gorgeous blond who can fit into a size zero with room to breathe. She disappears in the swarms of people close to the stage, all following the band's lead as we ready ourselves to welcome 2014.

The band breaks to announce the countdown. Anticipation cuts through the cement walls of the boisterous nightclub. Champagne makes rounds. Beer is chugged; joints, puffed; and the time, eyed. I end up on the fringes of the commotion.

"Ten!"

A raucous crowd surrounds me with an intoxicating energy -- to my right, and in front, and...

"Nine!"

I glance left. Whoa. Cute guy. Standing close.

"Eight!"

Mm. Dark hair. Young. Handsome. He glances at me and...

"Seven!"

moves slowly closer and closer to me and...

"Six!"

I think he's going to kiss me. Nah. He probably just...

"Five!"

wants to look at my watch to check the time or something but

"Four!"

his lips look nice and closer and full and closer and...

"Three!"

juicy and closer and I can almost...

"Two!"

taste them as they come even closer and

"One!" YES! His aim and timing are perfect. So are his lips - moist, gentle, assertive, not aggressive or slobbery. They press against mine for one glorious moment, lingering sweetly as I pucker in response. Then they lift, easing away slowly.

I freeze, wide-eyed. Happy New Year to me!

Donna stammers through the crowd, arms extended. "There you are, Robyn. Happy New Year!"

"Happy New Year, Donna! It's going to be a good one!" What a start!

Funny that I didn't think to watch him walk away. I wouldn't even recognize my kisser if I saw him again. I mean, he was cute and approximately half my age and maybe 5'8" or so, give or take a few inches. I was in heels, so I don't know. None of it mattered. Kisser made my night.

As thrilled as I was, I never imagined my New Year's could get even better. But it would.

Stay tuned for part II.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Verging on Paradise, Sundays in My City

Thanks again to hostess extraordinaire, Unknown Mami, for a fascinating blogland tour, Sundays in My City. Visit her site to visit the world.

"It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are...

Welcome to the Butte Creek Watershed. We're at the verge of Paradise and Chico, overlooking Butte Creek. This area's referred to as a "Mini Grand Canyon." The view really is spectacular. I haven't captured it well. I'm more impressed with the clouds right now.  
Winds aren't too strong, so don't worry about the 25 mile drop.
than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them,
and think that you are in paradise."
-Henry David Thoreau
Paradise, CA trivia:
-Population in 2011 = 26, 408
-Scenes from Gone With the Wind were filmed here.
-Richard Moore of Wild Thing (the song) glory and the Troggs (the band) lives here. I met him at a party, nice guy.
-Tom Selleck has a home just north of here.
-54 registered sex offenders reside here. Chico isn't far behind. In fact, they tend to gravitate to Butte County (Chico, Paradise, Oroville, and the greater area), generally.

On that note, keep your head in the clouds and stay grounded.

Have a safe and peaceful Sunday and new week. 
Thank you for visiting.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Interview With Brittney Spears: IWSG

First Wed of Every Month     

It's thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh that we bring you the IWSG on the first Wednesday of the month. Insecurities are revealed, support is offered, and - in my case - weirdness abounds. If you haven't joined us, please do. You won't regret it. All that's required is an insecurity or two hundred.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Robyn: Ladies and gents, one of the biggest pop icons of all time is here today. As a teen idol in the 90s she had the highest grossing albums and worldwide concert tours. Now, at age 32, she's performing in Vegas, along with the likes of Barry Manilow and Wayne Newton. Let's welcome Brittney Spears!

Britteny walks out wearing torn jean shorts, a hot pink tank top, and black heels.She and Robyn shake hands and sit facing each other on cushioned chairs.
Robyn: Thanks for taking the time to be here today.

Britteny, smiling: Personally, I'm a shy person and I'm particularly not really made for this industry because I am so shy.* It's not something I deal with so well. I'm not saying it's good to be a bitch, but a lot of times in this industry it's better to speak up and say what's on your mind, which I have a problem with.*

Robyn, with raised eyebrows: I see. You're free to speak your mind here, darling. I do need to ask, though, why Vegas?

Brittney: I figured it'd be a really good place for the children and the family. It was kind of like an ideal situation.* Besides, I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish. And I know that’s very popular out there in Africa.*


Robyn: Mmkay, well, today is the first meeting of the the year for the IWSG. I've pretty much addressed all my insecurities in this group, and I'm not so great at imparting inspiration. I was hoping you'd do that. You've been through a lot and you're, well, you're in --Robyn's voice drops and she smirks--Vegas, with other has-beens. Let's face it, girlfriend, you're a mess -- in and out of the mental ward; conserved by your daddy because you're too unstable to make your own decisions; your first marriage lasted 55 hours and your second, three weeks. 

Shocked, Brittney starts to cry.

Robyn softens her tone. No, no, no. Don't take it as a negative. I was saying all that to show how much you're misunderstood. Because the truth about you, dear, is that you're actually prolific.

Britteny sits up taller. Thanks, but I'm not politic. I don't talk about President Osama. She smiles. I don't like to start stuff. She giggles.

Robyn: No, I meant meaningful, deep.  You even write poetry. In fact, I'll share a few lines from a poem you wrote for Kevin Federline. Robyn takes out an index card and reads, dramatically:

      You come to me now. Why do you bother? 
     Remember the Bible. The sins of the Father.
     What you do, you pass down
     No wonder why I lost my crown.*

Brittney smiles, proudly. 

Robyn, sarcastically: Good stuff. I like how you rhyme "bother" with "Father."  It's brilliant! And you call your Vegas show your biography. Fascinating. You're practically the main character of your own book!

Britteny: Yeah, I never thought about it that way. I'm creative and autistic, so it makes cents.

Robyn: Well, I'm pretty bored. So do you have any final words of inspiration for writers everywhere?

Britteny: Yes, from my new release, Work Bitch, I have to say: Hold your head high. They're gonna try and try ya, but they can't deny ya!* And my concert is called "You want a piece of me."

I look at it like a superstar, like super-confident 'You want a piece of me?'*

Robyn: That's good. Relevant, really. Perhaps the most relevant thing you've contributed in the past decade. Thank you, Miss Spears. And best of luck in Vegas. 

Britteny smiles. Her body guard, Arnold Schwarzenegger (he needed a new job) approaches and escorts her off the stage.

Robyn, looking directly at the camera: Keep holding your head up high, folks. They'll try and try us. And they CAN deny us. But confidence pays off. Be super-confident, like Britteny. Ignore all the nastiness people sling your way, and have a productive, self-satisfying 2014.

*Britteny's actual quotes, poetry, and song lyrics.