And I Wrote This Book.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Animal Crackers and Shirley Temple

Dears,
Could you use a dose of adorableness? I thought so.
First, a review of CHOCOLATE Animal Crackers.
They appear to be either oddly formed gender neutral animals or little clumpy brown clouds. They taste like chocolate graham crackers. By this, I mean they're fairly yummy. But I'm stuck pondering why these cookies are called "crackers." Aren't crackers square wafers that taste like paper with a dash of salt? Due to my confusion, I'm ranking Chocolate Animal Crackers at a 6 on a 1-10 scale (10 being the best and 6 being "They taste good but they aren't crackers.").


Now for the adorable Shirley Temple. This clip takes us back to 1935. The endearing spitfire kept humankind's spirits lifted during harsh times. I hope she'll lift yours now too.

Take care of yourselves, day by day, moment by moment.  
Animal crackers in my soup. Lions and tigers . . .

Love to you.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Bar Brawl

   So yeah, another day, another bar brawl. Me, a bar brawl! No worries, friends. I wasn't injured, banned from the bar, or thrown in jail. I am, however, ashamed of my behavior. Oh I'm proud too. More proud than embarrassed. And when I told Dawn (my sis) about it, she responded: "It's sort of cool to have a sister get into a bar fight! Who could have thought in the Engel family?  I call this an accomplishment." Our family's a wholesome bunch; it's a rare moment when one can associate an Engel with anything akin to a bar brawl.
    
Due to problems posting the down and dirty women's brawl, let's try this more accurate photo:
http://i0.wp.com/radaronline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/little-women-la-fight.jpg?resize=640%2C400
   That night, I learned Scorpio is a full-blown alcoholic who'd traded me down for Methie. I know, right? It's as though he took a sudden, everlasting bungee jump with no bounce-back-up factor. And there they sat snuggling in a booth by the stage. My ego disappeared while a medium inferno raged through my 4'8" frame.  
    "Let's dance, Robyn." Brandi nudged, distracting me. I readily agreed. When I boogie, I'm good. Great even, alive, free, in control, on top of the world. Brandi and I smiled at each other, and I did some twirling when --
   My spinal cord jolted in sync with a shrill. "By the way!" Methie shouted, having charged at me from behind, "He broke up with you after only three weeks!" She then dashed across the floor and into the women's room on the other side of the club. 
   I looked at Brandi: "That does it!"
   Seconds later, I stood facing a bathroom stall door. Seems Methie needed to pee. I let it flow too: "You're an ugly alcoholic drugged-out pothead skank, and he didn't even have the balls to break up with me. Why would he go for you? You're so ugly!" 
   Done. But not really. I marched out to Scorpio --still sitting wasted at the booth. "Your new girlfriend is out of control!"
   Scorpio grinned proudly, thrilled to defend Methie. "Well you, you leave uh-her alone!" 
   "You didn't even break up with me, and you go to HER? Why would you go for someone so ugly?"
   "Oh...y-yeah?" he fumbled. "Why would anyone go for someone so" --Scorpio pointed at me-- "ugly?" He then concluded with, "F*k off and die!"
   "Get help," I snapped and turned to find Brandi. 
   She was dancing, this time with a few friends. "Are you okay, Robyn?"
   "Yeah, a little shaken," Breathe, I told myself. A foot stomping harmonica-vocal beat enticed me the moment I caught eye of a tambourine on a nearby table. (People leave instruments around for others to use.) I picked it up. As I began gently slapping the tambourine against my upper leg, Methie's hands were locked on it.    
   "Don't you dare touch my tambourine!" She pryed it from me.  Methie placed the tambourine back on the table. She came at me again, this time sort of yanking on or grabbing my arm. It was like a toddler meagerly pulling on Mommy's sleave to say "I'm here. Be scared or maybe not."  
   I then (in self-defense, of course), extended both of my arms directly in front of me, with raised palms towards her, and forcefully pushed Methie away. Brandi jumped between us. "Stop it! Enough!"
   A cute young bouncer, not much taller than 5'2", appeared.   "Look, I didn't see what happened, but no more fighting."
   Within a minute or two, a semblance of calm resumed. But then some words rolled off my tongue loudly: "She slept with Charlie*!"
   Methie, who was now a yard or two away, as Scorpio remained seated in drunken oblivion, defended. "That's not true."
   "The whole town knows**!" I added.

   Things soon settled down. I'd run out of ammunition. Methie and Scorpio resumed their snuggle-fest. Brandi and I departed. And I'm avoiding that place. 
   There's more, but we'll stop here.

*Charlie is an alias for a well known staffer at the club. I'd learned from a friend that Methie boasted about having had a fling with him. It was golden information that just kind of slipped out. Oops.

**I tossed this in for fun, and because - thanks to me - the whole town knows now.



Saturday, January 21, 2017

Inspiration, Weirdness, Scorpio and Methie


Hi, Friends,

   Throughout the world was sent a big, bold message on the side of love, fairness, and justice for everyone. It was incredibly touching, uplifting, and hopeful to be in a crowd of thousands at Chico's March for Women. Did any of you go to a March? Watch from home?  Awesome, yes? I don't have photos, but I wanted to acknowledge such a historic day before I turn to selfish, micro matters.

-----------------------------------------More Prelude to the Bar Brawl--
   You've met Scorpio. After his restless legs scurried out of my apartment to take a "break" (cuz, yeah, imagine the agony of dating me for an entire three weeks!), he ignored me completely. Nearly two months passed. Despite being hurt, I didn't reach out and figured it was for the best. I still frequented the bar where we met. Mind you, I hate the bar scene and don't drink at all. Many of my friends, though, are musicians, and there's a lively Open Mic at this bar.
   You might recall that Scorpio hardly ever drinks alcohol, or so he told me. But when I saw him on a bar stool one night in December, he was red-faced, dopey, and gulping down beers.
   Image result for man getting drunk at bar both photos - google images
   Meet Methie.* Methie is missing a front tooth. Imagine Methie with said missing tooth in the exact middle (versus to one side or the other) of her mouth; 15 years older; and not nearly as pretty as the woman pictured. Image result for hillbilly woman missing a front tooth I'd been friendly with Methie off and on for a few years. Methie knows she's the world's greatest singer, though her voice is loud, screechy, and off-key. Methie likes men, especially men who talk to her. Methie drinks and smokes pot, like much of the community. As far as harder stuff, *let's just say that methamphetamines are known to completely destroy a person's mouth and gums.  And meth is tragically highly used in these here parts.
   Why'd I introduce you to Methie? Because after I saw drunken Scorpio, I noticed that he and Methie were talking. It appeared they'd already become acquainted.
   My friend Brandi and I sat at a table midway between the bar and the stage. 
   Minutes later, Methie casually approached us. "Hi Methie," I said, "so you were talking to my ex."
   "I know, but he said you're not dating anymore Robyn. We're just talking, we both like hiking, Is that okay?" --Methie's speech rate increased, and she talked in weirdly spiraled contradictions that allowed no room for my response-- "we're only talking Robyn, we're going hiking, we both like to hike, we've been hanging out for three weeks, we're only friends. I'm so sorry. Is it okay?" Her face contorted into an expression of: I'm getting some and you're not but I'm pretending to care about you.
   "Well no, Methie, it's awkward. You don't date a friend's ex, girl code. That's dis--"
   Methie interrupted with a shout: "I didn't know you were dating until recently! We both like hiking. That's all. Okay, I won't hang out with him. I respect you too much." Methie nodded, as if she'd convinced herself. She then rushed over to drunken Scorpio at the bar. Next thing I saw was Methie with her arm around drunken Scorpio's shoulder. She escorted him to a booth a few yards from us, and within direct eye shot, one foot from the stage. There, they sat snuggly, as if about to perform for me. Blood pounded through my veins. I was hurt, perplexed, enraged.
    Brandi turned to me, "Wait, Robyn, you were friends before, right?"
    "Well, yeah, not good friends, but we were friendly."
    "That's wrong of her. And Robyn," Brandi extended her neck to take a hard look at Methie, "Good Lord, you're way cuter! And at least you have all your teeth!"     -to be continued.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Courage, Thank you Martin Luther King, Jr.

Where have all my followers gone? I don't see your pretty, smiley faces on my right sidebar anymore, and this makes me very sad. The GFC gadget thing-a-majiggy seems to have disappeared. Is anyone else having the same problem? Can you see your pretty, smiley faces on my right sidebar? Any advice?

On a much more poignant note, I'm re-posting Courage. Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Thank you for forcing what's right, in spite of the cost. It's up to us to carry the torch that you so courageously lit. Your journey is now, in a very real way, our duty.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Courage 

Extending the dance, 
When you’ve long lost your groove
Swimming to shore too frail to move.

Stepping towards light, when darkness abounds
Permitting a laugh amid no other sounds.

Confronting a beast no one should endure
It strikes with no warning, no reprieve and no cure.
 
Snuggling with hope, when the pain you can’t bare
Unveiling your heart in the face of despair.

Conveying a smile, when you’d much rather cry
Speaking the truth though it’s safer to lie.

Taking a stance, when integrity’s lost
Forcing what’s right in spite of the cost.
 

Holding to faith in your value and worth
Maintaining a grace that softens the earth.
 

Passing with ease
As you air your last breath

A hero whose soul
Transcends life
and death.
-Robyn Alana Engel

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ photo by me, 2017, Chico's Bidwell Park
 
Next: More on the Scorpio saga and my bar brawl. 
Please be safe. Weather reports are scary. Take it easy and be gentle with yourself. 
You're loved and you're worthy, and I hope you'll soon magically reappear on my sidebar. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Relationship Break, Prelude to My Bar Brawl

   A few lines from Rudyard Kipling's IF come to mind these days: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you..."I'm not doing so well in that regard, my dears. I've jumped into cray-cray terrain related to Scorpio. 
   When last we chatted, Scorpio had rattled off a string of strange, unfounded complaints: "You call me a jerk for watching the  news," "It's all about you," "You won't help me clean my trailer." I instantly saw Justin (my ex-husband) in Scorpio. While Justin was ever-intent on fighting, I tenaciously focused on making nice (in other words: I kept trying to fix crazy). Ultimately, we'd both end more upset and frustrated than ever.  
   That night, though, Scorpio apologized. And unlike with Justin, he and I had a nice, sweaty bout of make-up sex. Yet, breakage had begun.
   I loaded several heavy boxes into my car the next morning for Out of the Darkness (suicide prevention event). Meanwhile, Scorpio sat leisurely on my sofa. "I'll be there, don't worry." He stared at his phone. Well, I told myself, this will be the last time we're seen together.
   Scorpio was distant during the event and into the evening. Back at home, we sat on my sofa watching a movie. A weighty silence filled the air. Finally, after unsuccessfully doing things to get attention like taking off my clothes, I yelped, "We're not even snuggling."
   Scorpio unleashed a hot breath. "You're, you're" -- his head abruptly shifted up and down, and Scorpio gritted his teeth -- "You're making me crazy! This isn't a cuddly movie."
    Mind you, it wasn't Schindler's List. But even if it had been, isn't every movie a "cuddly, snuggly" movie in a hot new romance? 

   Furiously hurt, I suggested he "just leave!" Scorpio readily took himself, and his phone, to my dining room table. When tears started to leak, I moved to my bedroom.
   Moments seemed like hours. 
   The man finally stood calmly under my bedroom doorframe. "I need a break, and so do you."
   With that, he turned his back on me. The front door slammed shut.

   That was it!? A break. A brake? What? I'd never been on a relationship "break." Isn't that more for teens, or long term couples trying to decide on separation or divorce? Scorpio would rather abandon me under the guise of "a break" instead of cuddling during a movie?

Oh and what was the movie?
You'll never guess.
Okay, I'll tell you...Social Network. Zuckerberg's story. Yeah, not terribly romantic. And Facebook has become an angry, ugly place, but still! Isn't that all the more reason to hold tightly to a loved one while watching it?  Social Network: what one critic declares is "not a cuddly movie."
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
   I hope I'm not boring you with this story, friends. It's prelude to a bar brawl I get into. Really. So I needed to fill in some details before I take you there. 
  Now, I'll say: Stay safe and warm. Keep taking gentle care. The world is a harsh place. The people in it, mostly kind and gentle.
  You are loved and worthy.