InSanity~Normalize, Don't Stigmatize Mentall Illness.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is Thy Sweet Heart Now Grown So Cold, That Loving Breast of Thine? aka The Osmonds Are Back!

I’m frozen in starting this “Dear John” letter. Wait, I’ve got it! “Dear John.” Nah, taken. What I really want to say is, “How can I miss you if you won’t go away?” But that’s plagiarism too. Hm, something marvelous just popped into my head: “Is thy sweet heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine?” [1]It’s spicy. It’s random. Perverse and original. A quick google search, though, and that one’s been used for 300 years. You didn’t know that’s part of Auld Lang Syne,[2] did ya? Me neither. Well, perhaps I should depart with a loving, poetic gesture of sorts. Here goes.

Dear 2009,
You shocked and you challenged,
Brought good and bad luck.
You inspired and transpired,
But you did mostly suck.

What a way to begin with Barak’s swearing in!
He’s Black and he’s fine.
He’s got depth and can think.
Good riddance, George Dub-yuh,
And P.S. You stink!

The economy tanked along with faith, hope, and fight.
We lost jobs, homes, and health care.
What to do but hang tight?

Petty distractions have kept us afloat.
To follow are likely the most petty of note:

Octomom inherits great wealth and fame
For her busy uterus and lack of a brain.

Kayne West took Taylor Swift’s trophy away.
But he said “Sorry,” and his mom died, so it’s truly okay.

Jon and Kate plus 8 became Jon minus 9.
A bit late to for this break, party pops. You are slime.

In true Tiger style, Woods scores lower than low.
The boy had us scammed as a wholesome hero.
The best of all golfers, two tots, and model wife –
The Woods had no less than a fantasy life.
But his fantasies surpassed 1 and even 14.
Stay in the woods, Tiger. You’re best left unseen.

Miss California shunned gay marriage, lost the Miss USA.
Brittany Spears claims all should marry. (She knows of what she does say.)
Oprah declares her show will soon close.
Jason dumped Molly for Missy, then Missy for Molly.
Follow that final rose!

The Osmonds came back to dance for the prize.
So skilled and so cute. What a delightful surprise.
(‘Scuse me while I puke.)

A handful of the greats who died in 09:
Michael Jackson, whose talent pervades space and time.
Patrick Swayze, whose grace and spirit live on.
Natasha Richardson, a beautiful actress and mom.
Dazzling Brittany Murphy, career interrupted too fast.
For these and all other good souls who have passed,
With special reverence for those who were taken by war,
May their memories be blessings that inspire ever more.

Alas 09, you dashed this gal with fright.
Facing job loss and divorce, I could not see the light.
But I got a new gig, even better than last.
I also dropped the “F” word; my maiden name’s back.
One thing that’s a constant are the damn lawyer fees.
They keep coming back,
Not unlike Donny and Marie. (‘Scuse me while I puke. Again.)

Looking back on the year, I’m quite blessed to say
I ravaged great chocolate. The Lord doth have Her ways.

On a final note, let us ask once again. Shall we?
Is thy sweet heart now grown so cold, that loving breast of thine?

Happy 2010 to my beloved readers!
Robyn Alana Engel

[1] James Watson’s version, Old Long Syne, 1711
[2] Literally “old long since.” This Scottish poem, often sung on New Year’s and during other ceremonies (e.g., funerals), is attributed to Robert Burns, 1788.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Over 2000 years since Jesus Christ’s birth, this Jewish girl declares that it's time to this big shindig of a birthday celebration right. Let's face it, Jesus was Jewish! Now, you know I’m not one to mix words. And I know this may be hard to absorb, but the bottom line is that Jesus would not eat ham on Christmas. So, why do you go all out in serving it - honey backed, mixed in with turkey, etc. etc.? You have it all wrong, people. Ham ain't kosher!

With all due respect, let me gently suggest that Christ might instead prefer Mary’s home cooked brisket.[1] There would be no dairy products with dinner either, since good Jews do not have milk and meat in the same meal. That also means bypassing eggnog. Jesus might rather enjoy a Manischevitz[2] spritzer (concord grape Manischevitz wine mixed with 7-up – Oy, such a treat!).

Furthermore, with deep concern for the environment, Christ would surely be appalled at the killing of countless pine trees, and the grotesque waste of electricity, both of which typify this season. He would instead relish in a birthday party more akin to, say, a bris
[3]: a quick and painful ceremony followed by lots of food, 20-30 minutes of the hora[4], and the tireless receiving of sloppy kisses from the relatives.

When it came time for the caroling, Mary would lovingly tell Jesus to bundle up with lots of layers, because “Jesus honey, you’re going to catch pneumonia. It’s a bit nippy outside.” And in the midst of the singing, Jesus would exclaim, “Ma Zeh?
[5] A turtle dove? French hens?”

Finally, exasperated and utterly perplexed, Christ would dart down the street to buddy Shmuel’s house. There, the gang would delight in raucous dreidel
[6] games, delicious homemade potato latkes[7] doused in sour cream and apple sauce, and coin after coin of chocolate gelt.[8] “Aah,” Jesus would then sigh with contentment, “This is all very good.” 

But when Christ had not yet returned home hours later, Mother Mary would shout, "Oh God, I've lost our son!"


[1] Brisket=Juicy, hearty, tender side of beef or veal that is best prepared as a pot roast by a loving Jewish mother.[2] Manischevitz=The maker of all products kosher, kosher for Passover, or items that could pass as such.[3] Bris=Circumcision. Details not provided herein.[4] Hora=Kicking, screaming, clapping, running in circles (i.e., the standard Jewish dance you’ve seen in the movies).[5] Ma Zeh=Hebrew for “What’s this?”[6] Dreidel=Spinning top game played on Hanukah.[7] Latkes=Potato pancakes; yummy good Hanukah food, best enjoyed with a sour cream-apple sauce combo.[8] Gelt=Money, coins, that are made of chocolate and thus have higher value than the real thing nowadays.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mixed-Up Holiday Medley

The following mixed-up medley combines bits of traditional holiday classics with a few tacky tunes (e.g., Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song, Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer, and It’s Hard to Be a Jew on Christmas). Please sing and enjoy, drunk or sober. It will sound the same either way.

I’m dreaming of a yon virgin underneath the mistletoe. Dressed in holiday style, she’d been drinking too much eggnog, just like the ones I used to know.Then one foggy Christmas eve, Santa came to say, “I had a little dreidle. I made it out of clay.
Tell your friend Veronica, it’s time to celebrate Hanukah. Smoke your maijuanica.
We’ll all dance the hora up on the housetop. Ho, ho, ho!"

CHORUS: And so I’m offering this simple phrase: Have yourself a merry little dreidle, dreidle, dreidle on Christmas; as for me and Grandpa we believe.

Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli - Bowser from Sha-na-na and Arthur Fonzerelli. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games!

Grandma got run over by a reindeer. It had a lovely body, with leg so short and thin, and two eyes made out of coal, drinkin’ beer and playin’ cards with Cousin Belle.

CHORUS: You better not pout, I’m telling you why: You don’t have to go to Grandma’s with your alcoholic family.

I’m dreaming of a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves and a partridge in a pear tree.

If you've made it this far:

Repeat entire song.

Sober up.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sex and Salsa: Top 10 Similarities

1) Clapping makes you look goofy.
2) Grabbing a boob is never an accident.
3) High heels hurt.
4) Sometimes you gotta grin and bear it ‘til it’s over.
5) If he asks what to do next, you’re in trouble.
6) Getting twisted up is half the fun.
7) Your hair gets messed up.
8) Bad breath kills the mood.
9) You've gotta fake compassion for annoying performance issues.
10) Spontaneous animalistic utterances are a turn-off.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let Me Eat Cake!

The Judgment of Dissolution reclines amidst old tax forms to collect dust: the tragic culmination of a 13-month marriage followed by 13 months of divorce proceedings. I sank from ecstasy to despair within a heartbeat.

Naturally, my mind gravitates to chocolate cake. Not just any cake, mind you, the wedding cake. Wiping my saliva, I recall the deep brown cake iced with shimmering sweet raspberry filling lost in precious whipped buttery cream, united by a staunch but delicately flowered white chocolate frosting.

That night, my piece was scrumptious. I wasn’t sated, though. Something wasn’t altogether right. What perhaps detracted from its zest were the accumulated annoyances of others’ neuroses. It’s amazing how fanatical people get when it’s somebody else’s turn in the spotlight. Moments ran through my head, as the chocolate fought to settle into my deep, dark insides.

“Robyn!” Ellie snapped during rehearsals, clenching my left forearm, “due to recurring muscle spasms shooting down my neck and all the way through to my fingertips, with particular acuity in my right pinkie, I can’t applaud for you when the Rabbi presents the new couple. I hope you won’t mind. You might not even notice. It’s just this chronic pain that acts up sometimes. The Doctor said I should go easy on it. My boss, John, you know, the one with the big mustache, suggested disability leave. I know you're busy, but I thought you should know. You understand. Right?”

“Sure, Ellie. Just let go of my arm before I show you what a real muscle spasm feels like.”

“Robyn, I know there’s no food in the sanctuary. I’m just going to slip some Corn Puffs in my jacket pocket. See, it’s in this little Tupper Ware container. Well, it’s Rubbermaid, actually. Those are cheaper. My baby eats hourly, and I thought I shouldn’t breastfeed during the ceremony. Is that okay?” I dashed off with a nod. It mattered not whether I, or even God, consented.

Francine called during my manicure, demanding a ride. There was no “How are you on your wedding day?” Not even a “What’s up?” Just “Coordinate my commute from the airport, to the hotel, and back home before dark. We don’t want to get in too late. I’ve gotta catch an early flight tomorrow morning.”

Sam volunteered to videotape the entire event. He took his role seriously, ordering guests to position themselves just so, get out of the way, and stop blocking the light. Next week, we discovered that his expertise was less than expert. Sam got great shots of the ceiling but missed the vows, kiss, and glass shattering “Mazel Tov” moment.

“Hey, he shouldn't take pictures in the sanctuary! Robyn, what’s going on? I assumed this was a Conservative Temple. The meal will be kosher, right? I had a light lunch.” Claire further demanded that the wedding party members (of which she was one, being Dad’s girlfriend du jour) count one-one-thousand etcetera through 20 before embarking down the aisle. This might have worked, but she was a slow walker. The rest of us were inclined to compensate with inconspicuous jogging.

I can’t forget the DJ’s. They spun a great music, and we all enjoyed the party. They took themselves on a well deserved break for an hour or so mid-way through. It must be difficult to simultaneously eat and work an iPod, especially when I had already loaded said iPod with our music requests. This must be extra complex, though, when one ignores the couple’s music requests. Nice guys, though, and they appeared to really enjoy themselves. I’m happy for them. I really am.

Indulge me momentarily, dear reader. I must share that I looked stunningly gorgeous that evening. My glimmering beaded, elegant, antique style dress fit like silk caressing my feminine figure. I was a picture of grace and beauty. My need to emphasis this fact stems from the reality that no one complimented my appearance. I thought it common knowledge to tell the bride how beautiful she looks, even the most plain of them, if only because of the thousands spent on the hoopla.

Heck, no one even stood when I walked down the aisle. Nobody! That’s the moment every girl dreams about, and they failed me. People!? Why? Why did you fall short of arising to offer your full reverence, or a mere squat?
Dawn, always dazzling, worried. She tailored her dress to minimize the cleavage factor. “Does this look okay? Will the rabbi be offended?” “No, sis. He’s gay. He won’t notice.” That one was easy.

Next, onto Dad.He adorned a white top to accent his all-black suit. “How’s my tie? Do I look okay?” “Sure, dad,” I said with confidence. “The pimp look is in this year.”

In the midst of picture taking, the groom departed to take his car for a car wash. An hour later, he had neither returned nor responded to my panicky calls. When he finally arrived, he explained that he left the phone on the car’s hood. It must have fallen and gotten run over at some point.

No time for condolences. The music was starting.

“Hold on!” The caterer bursts in and blurts out. “My back is killing me. I have a splitting headache, and my assistant bailed. I need help unloading the truck.” I suppose I should be relieved I didn’t have to cook the meal. I’m not sure how she managed that one, and the food was more than decent. I expect it helped to ignore our agreed upon dinner menu. Further, she failed to deliver champagne to the tables. We were toasted with empty glasses and bewilderment. Perhaps someone enjoyed the booze behind the scenes. She capped her performance by handing her bill to the groom mid-party, as he stood in the middle of the dance floor. “Oops, it was three times my original quote. Just don’t tell Robyn until after the honeymoon. You too have a great trip. Oh, and you can keep the cake cutter.”

Alas, the family needed to depart, leaving clean-up duties to the bride and groom. Thankfully, a loyal friend offered assistance. Alas, this friend needed a ride home.

“See ya,” I said as my new husband departed solo in a car decorated by “Just Married” and “Down with Bush.”

One clear thought occupied my frontal lobe as the last crumb settled in: More! More cake. Let me eat more cake.

I ran back into the sanctuary kitchen and haphazardly wrapped the remainder of wedding cake.

Over the coming weeks, or perhaps just hours, I ravaged that delectable chocolate raspberry laced butter creamy cake, flowered delicately in white chocolate frosting. I consumed it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, dessert, and a simple pick-me-up. Screw the tradition of freezing the left over cake. Let me eat cake, I said and continue to say at any appropriate or not-so-appropriate opportunity.

That particular cake was purely sweet and deliciously, even if not altogether right.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Love

Introduction: The following was relayed by the fly on the wall. Note that this would be the same courageous yet depleted fly that zips from wall to wall whenever he hears someone exclaim, “I’d like to be a fly on that wall.” According to the fly, this brief segment typifies Thanksgiving meal conversations overheard from wall to wall throughout the country.

Junior: Put some turkey on my plate, you bastard.
Stevie: Are you calling me a turkey?

Junior: No, I’m calling you a bastard.

Stevie: Okay. White or dark meat?

Mama Dolores: That’s enough boys. You’re grown men now. Quit the squabbling. Herb, stuff it! Stuff that turkey. It’s too dry, and you haven’t done a damn thing all day. Like father, like son. Junior, I remember when your cousin Mike made a pass at Auntie Mabel one fine Easter Sunday. You stood there like a dummy and didn’t say anything to protect her.

Junior: Ma, I was only 6 years old, and that was 35 years ago. Would you let it go, already!

Mama Dolores: Yes, 6, and a well spoken child, slender and fit, I might add. You just stood there like a bump on a log. It’s no wonder you can’t keep a good woman.

Papa Joe: Dolores, it would be nice if you took the cranberries out of the can and put them in a bowl for a change.

Mama Dolores: Excuse me?! You come strolling in here just three hours ago, turn on the boob tube, and tell me I need to do more work to satisfy your snoody-patoody tastes. I’ll tell you where you can put the damn cranberries! Sally, when is that loser of a husband of yours going to get here?

Sally: Ma, he’s sitting right next to me.
Mama Dolores: Oh, well in that case, have him pass the rolls. Wake him up first, would ya, it’s rude to sleep at the table! Let us all now join in prayer. Thank you Lord for this blessed meal with our loved ones.

The fly and this blogger: Wishing you a peaceful, non-typical start to the holiday season!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tryptophan, Shmyptophan!

Ladies and Gentlemen, with no further delays, it’s that time of year to welcome back our special dinner guest: Tryptophan!

For centuries of inspiring humankind to say “Lets go to bed!” I hereby present a Word of the While Award voted unanimously by this blogger.

A few incidentals of note-
Tryptophan’s best features: light breasts and dark thighs
Tryptophan’s pet peeves: caffeine, methamphetamines, crack and crank

In backwards form: Nahp-ot-pyrt

Definition of aforementioned backwards form = a recommended brief engagement to sleep in order to perk up, eat leftovers, then nap again.

In rhyme and with enthusiasm verging on madness: Tryptophan, Shmyptophan!

Definition of aforementioned rhyming form with enthusiasm verging on madness = Oy, Tryptophan, Shmyptophan!

Lexicological study:

1Trip-to-fan = traversing to see one’s admirer
2Trip-to-fan = embarking on a journey, the goal of which is to keep oneself properly ventilated by waving the hands up and down in close proximity to one’s forehead
3Trip-toe-fan = falling over an air cooling system that was placed on the floor and hurting one's big toe in a big way (Who put the damn thing there anyway?)

Mixed with chocolate:
Choco-phan, e.g.., me.
Tryp-co-phan, = falling over an air cooling system that was placed on the floor, while madly rushing to get the last piece of chocolate on the counter (Who put the damn thing there anyway?), in the presence of someone attractive.
Tryp-too-late, = falling over an air cooling system that was placed on the floor (Who put the damn thing there anyway?) while madly rushing to get the last piece of chocolate on the counter, but damnit, you’re too late!

In limerick form:
There once was a turkey named Nate
Who couldn’t control his weight.
He ate seaweed and Ensure
But that wasn't the cure.
So fat Nate became dinner for eight.

Tryptophan, shmyptophan!
Sweet dreams, one and all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Award and 7 Things About Me

Thanks to Sarah Landry, one of my best bloggy friends, for this award! Sarah's fun loving spirit shines through all of her writing. See

Recipients are asked to: 1. Thank the person who gave the award to you. 2. Copy award. 3. Post it in your blog. 4. Tell us 7 things that your readers don't know about you. 5. Link 7 new bloggers as recipients. 6. Notify winners of award with a comment on their blog. 7. Keep being awesome!
This somewhat flimsy but well deserved bouquet goes to:

(1) Katie Maskovich at Very sharp and funny.
(2) LC's What a Girl Wants at One of the funnest sites there is!
(3) Wreckless EuroAfrican He takes us to a dark, dangerous part of the world with great writing and humor.
(4) Mama Stress at Delicious recipes and sights.
(5) Worth viewing for the pics alone!
(6) beautiful, deep, courageous expressions by a teen.
(7) Love this hateful blog!

I play by the rules, so here are 7 things you don't know about this blogger:

1) I hate wearing shoes.
2) I'm the same height as former US Gold Medal Gymnast, Mary Lou Retton.
3) I'm not a gymnast, but I can do the final landing pose (arms up, chest out) without flinching.
4) I failed my driving test after making a left turn before waiting for oncoming traffic to pass.
5) In that moment, the instructor could only mouth "Oh Lord!"
6) I do have a number of redeeming qualities that more than compensate for my driving debacles. I'm humble, so I won't expel details. However,
7) I make and eat a delectable double-chocolate cream cheese cake.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Crazy Zone

Newly divorced, I’m in the crazy zone. Only those who've survived a divorce can understand this zone. There really aren’t words for it. One of the symptoms, however, is akin to an addictive rampage. I’ll admit, I am (or used to be) a nice girl. But nowadays, I’m devilishly relentless. Bottom line: I really, really need to get it! My tongue and loins ache for it.

In retrospect, I had very little during the marriage. When I did get it, the anticipation was the best part. The ultimate reality, though, didn't sate me. This explains my current burning need for the warmth and comfort, the excitement and ecstasy. My desires are off the charts. I’ll take it from just about anywhere, anyone, and several times a day or hour even. I don’t stop. I won’t stop. Hell, I can’t stop. It’s crazy.

In retrospect, my ex had a desperately lower level of desire. It really wasn’t until after the honeymoon that I came to realize I was making such a lifelong sacrifice. He had spoiled me a bit while courting, before losing interest entirely. Thus when he declared a divorce that fateful night, the thought of getting it again was the one thought that kept me going.

In the past year since the separation, I have thankfully enjoyed it more than ever, through wonderfully luscious experiences. It’s been incredibly comforting and orgasmic. In between doses, I burn for all of it: the passion, the grinding, the panting, sweating, licking, and slow swallowing – it’s entirely beyond the heavens. God, I love chocolate!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chocolate Bar Talk

Oh Henry, Oh Henry. Give me a Kiss, Big Hunk. I scored with Babe Ruth, but I prefer your Whopper to that Dud. Let's hit the dark bar for some free sampling. Afterall, it's Pay Day, and we've got $100,000 to blow. I know it's been a Rocky Road, Toots, but we made it Twix all the Snickers and Crunch. I'm not into M&M or a 3 Musketeers. I just want S'more of your Nutty self. No Junior Mints or Raisinettes for this Kit Kat. I'm talking the most Organic Whatchamacallit this side of the Milky Way.

Have a really good piece of chocolate sweetness this Halloween!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Back in The Day

Back in the day,
Wii meant you and me.

To feel was to touch
To touch set you free.

Courage and valor defined one as great -
not being a whiny, crazed parent of eight.

When actors could act,
Performers could sing,
Reality shows starred Carson and Bing.

Back in the day,
Mail came to your door.

Wrappers bore gifts.
You walked to the store.

Ice cream trucks stopped on the corner street.
Fifteen cent big sticks, a most awesome treat.

Nice girls wouldn’t google, switch users or tweet.
Blackberries were juicy and raspberries, sweet.

Nice guys didn’t sag, log off or shut down
When sex was sacred, and text, just a noun.

Back in the day,
Botox was unknown.

Surgery was for illness,
Cocktails for the grown.

Cells made up blood.
Breakfast, with Tang.

TVs had antennas, and
Telephones rang.

Back in the day,
You ne'er felt hella rad
When your BFF told you
Your outfit looked bad.

I.M. meant I am.
To chat meant to talk.
You swam with you tube,
And teachers used chalk.

Back in the day,
A Chevrolet brought you clout.
Cowboys re-booted before stepping out.

A blue tooth was concerning.
Hot meant almost burning.

Fruit smoothies, exotic,
and laptops, erotic.

Back in the day,
Old school was a house.

A pad for a bachelor,
And cheese for a mouse.

Word! I'm sayin'
Keep it real and
Don't weep, cuz
Oprah still represents the peep. (Sort of.)

And back in the day, who’d ever dream
A Black man would hold the office Supreme?

We go backwards and forwards
Forward and then back
In circles, and sideways
But end up on track.

Back in the day
We means you and me.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Relationship Compatability Test

1) Does the hardware accept the software with ease?

2) Do you find yourself fantasizing about an upgrade?
If so, does this occur during a download?
If so, proceed with caution.
If not, keep the model.

3) Do you notice a security alert during routine use?
If so, cease use.

If not, keep the model. There's no better option at this time.

4) Does it claim to be virus free?
If so, is it in fact virus free?
If not, abort activity and abandon model.

5) Does it freeze up unexpectedly?
If so, accept this as a normal glitch.
If not, don't let this one get away.

6) Do you need to shut down and re-boot several times weekly?
If so, proceed with caution.
If not, be very grateful and keep model.

7) Is it incredibly slow?

If so, do you have a back up strategy?
If so, proceed.
If not, get a younger, newer model.

8) Can you turn it on easily?
If so, this won't last. Enjoy while you can.
If not, this is common with older models. Try a new approach or consider an upgrade.

9) Does it have enough bandwidth to meet your needs?
If so, you're lucky.
If not, consider accessories for private use.

10) Are main functions readily accessible?
If so, you're in luck. Keep the model.
If not, cease use.

Virus security alert. Immediate shut down recommended. Thank you for your time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Leggo, My Ego!

Dear Ego - What’s that? A bit harsh you say? I’ll tone it down. Forgot how sensitive you are. Let's try again. Dearest beloved, precious, beautiful ego of mine: What the bleep is wrong with you? I mean, I don’t hear from you in years. Suddenly, you’re parading naked in my face like a deranged lunatic. Chill out, would ya?! I’m beginning to think you don’t like that I’m doing this dating thing. Well, I’m not so fond of it myself. But I’m just trying to get some needs met here, if you know what I mean. Wink. It’s not as much fun with you hovering and critiquing me like this.

Take the last chap, the one whose name I kept forgetting. My goodness, the Kleenex I had to nurture you with after that one blew over. Not to mention the hours of counsel and chicken soup. You didn’t recuperate for days. Instead, we should’ve been downing tequila shots in celebration. Get real, honey, the guy couldn’t carry a conversation with a U-Haul.

And the one before that: could he say “mama’s boy” in all caps and bold face font? I think he could, dearest ego. I think he could. You bulldozed me for that one too. Okay, I should’ve seen it coming when his mom dropped him off at my place. I’m a little slow on the uptake.

Now, I’m a pretty amiable gal; I’m not looking for a fight here. So when you have something to say, tell someone who cares. I mean, I know this is hard for you, dear ego. You're incredibly fragile. For goodness sakes, grow some layers, would ya?! This ain't a picnic in Paris for me either.

I suppose you mean well, but your dramatics exhaust me. I’d forgotten how tightly wrapped you are until I re-entered the dating scene. Perhaps you can, I don’t know, find a new hobby. Start a Facebook page or meetup group or something. How about a love interest? Then again, all the available egos I know are quite desperate and pathetic, not to mention overly inflated.

I’m trying to help us out here. Let’s take a timeout for a bit until we’re ready to reconvene.

With love, sincerity, and well wishes, I’m sending you away to leggo, my ego!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Top 10 Signs The Gal's Just Not That Into You

1) She excuses herself to go powder her nose for the next 10 years.
2) Curiously, every time you dial the number she gave you, a piercing FAX machine noise shatters your eardrums.
3) She says she hasn’t felt this way since she found out she’s allergic to clams.
4) She tells you your personality is tops.
5) She cancels a date to watch The Jerry Springer Show in syndication (alone).
6) She cancels a date to watch The Jerry Springer Show in syndication (with Jerry Springer).
7) She introduces you as her little cousin from Milwaukee.
8) She drop-kicks you across the room, shouting, “Get lost! My ex-boyfriend is here!”
9) She says, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
10) She says, “It’s not me, it’s you.”

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Toyota Conspiracy and I am Woman, The Sequel aka I am Woman and The Toyota Conspiracy, The Sequel

The precious little boxed bulb is extracted from my glove compartment with caution. I didn’t drop it at all. As a side note, I was not the one to take it out of the glove compartment. The girlfriend’s handy mechanic husband did. After all, I am good. I am woman. Hear me roar.

I peered intensely as he meticulously screwed it into its proper place. The lights worked again. It was a glorious moment in my formerly bleak existence. Am I good or what?

I drive off happily, able to see the road ahead, ever so peppy and accomplished.

I have a date the following evening. Could my life get any better? Well, yes, but I’m working on building suspense here. Bear with me. The date claimed to be tired, gave me a lukewarm peck and calling it a night before 9pm. But wait! I need not despair. He beckons me back, as I pull out of the parking space. He must have spontaneously realized how darn good I am. The man can’t possibly let me go so early. He wants to invite me in. I suppose I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much. He may just want a real kiss.

I open my window, nervous but excited about the prospects. He opens his mouth and informs: “Your light went on and flickered off. Just thought I should tell you.” “Thanks a lot dude. I’ll start writing a piece entitled 'Top 10 Signs The Dude's Just Not That Into You.' And I’ll get it fixed.” Disparaged and in-the-dark again, I take my debilitated car and ego home.

Another trip to Toyota next week. They don’t have the bulb and need to order it. Another trip to Toyota the following week. The Prius specialist relays, “We sold you the wrong bulb. There’s a price differential. This one costs $395.” Amidst gulps and tears (mine too), the Toyota mechanics install the proper bulb this time. At least, that’s what they told me again. This time they kindly cover the difference in price. After all, I am good.

The lights work. I’m not in the dark. Actually, I don’t dare ever turn the headlights on again, for fear of repeating this saga, especially the part with the date beckoning me back. Rather, I choose to remain in the dark. But if you close your eyes and listen carefully, dear reader, you might just hear me roar.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Top 10 Signs The Dude's Just Not That Into You

1) He doesn’t have time to see you again for another 4-3/4 months.
2) He ends the date at 8:30pm, to get some sleep (alone).
3) When you call, he tells you he’ll call back after finishing his soda.
4) In the heat of passion, he needs to stop to feed his cat.
5) When you return to the table, he’s still rambling about his miserable day at the office.
6) When the dinner bill comes, he pretends not to see it and then pushes it with his elbow to your side of the table.
7) When you start to move in for a peck, he points upwards and says, “Look over there! Hee hee, monkeys always look.”
8) When the lights go down in the movie theatre, he finally makes a move – but it’s with the person taking tickets at the door.
9) He claims he can’t kiss you because he might be coming down with juvenile diabetes.
10 ) He calls you Rachel instead of Robyn, I mean, any name other than your own.  

Note: Any similarities to the experiences endured by anyone named Rachel are strictly coincidental.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Robynisms, original quotes

Life is hard. Eat chocolate. Dance it off.

We live so many lifetimes in one lifetime.

Call me a realistic pessimist or don’t use your phone.

Unemployment is wasted on the unemployed.

Waking up is hard to do.

Don’t believe everything you say.

When in doubt, doubt.

All I can do is do all I can.

Keep faith, and faith will keep you.

Nothing’s black and white except a checkerboard, which is black and red.

Those who can't, preach.

Those who can, don't mention it.

The most disturbed people are too disturbed to admit that they are disturbed.

Boring is oftentimes and by far the best option.

The most superior life form is the child. Second is the cacao plant.

Life promotes humility. Death assures it.

Art is borne of broken rules.

You never know until you know and then you still don't know. You know?

Time flies, except in relation to writing.

-The above stem from the mind of this blogger/writer, Robyn Alana Engel

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rock in Robyn - an out-of-place, non humorous piece

Inspired during David Richo's workshop, When the Past is Present, Esalen Institute, 6/28/2009

Curse you!
Damn you
for taking me off course!
For my hurt, for my pain,
you’re the culprit,
the source.

So intuitive, so conniving,
You push me astray.
How you do it is beyond me.
Words can’t begin to convey.

At the same time
you guard me,
teach me all that I need.

At the same time
you hold me,
Let me sample complete.

I hate you.
I love you.
My mystery,
My dark.

My enemy and ally,
My unconscious
My rock.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Woman's Drawers

The flimsy azure blue packet is aged at the corners; squished in the drawer beneath the under-wires of various shades and designs; the cotton panties, some flowered, some plain; and funky leopard spotted attempts at sexy lingerie.

The box resided beneath a reliable, battery operated, slick and thin, friend - the friend to the woman who dared make the purchase. She slipped it into the basket beneath a more pristine item, body lotion. That’s it, a large container of lavender body lotion. She didn’t need it, but she had to take at least one other item to the cashier. As far as innocent yet appealing, commonplace yet feminine possessions go, lavender body lotion tops the charts. A quick take to the left and to the right, and there was definitely no one around in close proximity. She checked out as quickly as possible, gripping the bag tightly, strolling ever so gracefully to her car.

Back to the box: in spite of its age, the bold, white font informs all that’s relevant: Distributed by Church & Dwight; Inc. Princeton, New Jersey, 08542. Made in USA. America’s #1 Choice, Trusted for over 80 years. This begs the question: was it produced 90 years ago but simply not trusted? Wherein lay the root of such trust issues? Be it the consumer or the product? As a clinician, I can’t help but push further: Was therapy sought for these trust issues? Sorry. Back to the matter at hand: what’s in her drawers. As I was saying, or attempting to articulate with prime elegance, a woman’s dresser drawers convey her wants and needs, pleasures and repulsions. Her drawers reveal it all.

Take the married woman. She got rid of her friend before shacking up with the dude. I mean the loving, doting husband. God, she misses her friend. Deep within her drawers can be found dust-laced lingerie from the honeymoon, untouched since. Atop this are worn white cotton panties, knee high blue striped sports socks, and a copy of Dr. Phil’s Finding the Love You Want, Fixing the One You Have.

Next: the single woman. She’s grateful the cartons’ expiration dates are so far into the future. She buys them with hope and promise, courage and confidence. You never know, she fathoms with a smile. She’s prepared. As far as garb, she has many cute and sexy options. And she will use each and every one. The next date will be attractive, virile, and worthy. She persists with pep and optimism, at times slipping silently into exhaustion and despair - date after date, year after year. decade after discouraging decade...

Suppose, just for fun, the two women duke it out.

In this corner: Mrs. Mary Duh. She’s practiced and experienced. She knows how to pull the punches and dodge the blows. She’s overcome the worst of it. Though a bit haggard, Mary Duh is wise from the wear. She’s got it all down, or so she has convinced the audience.

In the other corner: Miss Sin Gal. She’s younger, more ambitious, sexy, and determined to take the title. In truth, desperate and insecure, Sin Gal hides it well. Straight from the dating scene, she’s charged with fighter’s instincts and ready to knock the Mrs. dead.

Enraged, jealous, and sexually repressed, Mary Duh thrusts the initial blow. Sick of all the dating bullshit, Sin Gal reflexively pounds back. She hammers Mary Duh, her routine fight for personal integrity and safety unfolding by the blow.

Bonked by her kids countless times, Mary Duh retaliates in style. She goes in with a left hook, fuming with desire to turn back time.

The crowd gasps in horror as Sin Gal lay flat on her back mid-ring. Everyone in the stands had a lonely cousin, a brother’s marginally alcoholic but handsome buddy, and/or a wealthy widowed neighbor to fix her up with. She can’t be dead! Each had an inspiring story, something like, “I met my husband on a 7-1/2 day cruise to Oahu. Take the same cruise, on the same cruise line, during the same time of year. Look how happy we are. See us smile. Honey, smile now."

Suddenly her body jolts. She isn’t dead. The crowd sighs with relief. But her clock is ticking. “Come on,” they shout, “Hurry up and get married! Hurry up and get Mary Duh! There’s always adoption. There are so many kids who need you. But watch out for the attachment stuff. If they’re over 24 months, they’ll never bond with you.”

Sin Gal pushes up onto her feet. Oh how she wants to get Mary Duh. The time has come. Red faced Mary Duh has had it. They wrestle each other to the ground, shout rather unfavorable and non-ladylike utterances, and finally collapse in parallel fashion with exhaustion.

It’s a tie. They get up, shake hands, offer a genteel kiss on the cheek, and go their separate ways.

First things first, each is focused on changing her drawers.

False Start


Take one: Through the canal and into the warm arms of your loving family. Awaiting your arrival for so long, they will treasure and protect you always. Your fragile being is a miracle to all who are intimately or even extraneously related. Little one, you are a piece of the infinitesimal love and awe that pervades space and time. You are an absolute treasure, oh precious baby. Here’s to a lifetime of health and happiness in this fine universe.

Cut! Get it right this time, people!

Take two: Through the canal and into the chilled, sterile room, a bloody mucus placenta enmeshed miniscule blob; snip-snip, slap-slap, and a: Welcome to the world. Now stop crying, already! No one ever said it’d be easy out here! Suck it up! Crawl it off, and chill out, would ya?! It’s only downhill from here, babe. What ya looking at me for? I have no answers. There’s no right way. Just hang tight, hold your breath, and keep breathing. Woo woo. Coo coo. You’re adorably cute, yes you are. Someday, you’ll be old and fat, lonely and desperate. Right now, you’re a little pink pug that won’t stop crying, peeing, and pooping, sometimes any two in combination, sometimes all three at once. Enjoy it, babe. They’ll take care of all your needs for a while. They’ll be at your beckon call day and night. You won’t remember a moment of it.

Cut! That’s a wrap!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I am Woman and the Toyota Conspiracy aka The Toyota Conspiracy and I am Woman

I’ve survived deaths of loved ones, chronic fatigue syndrome, and marital breakdown. This one, I can do. Yes I can! One of my headlights is shot. Within minutes, I have a new $12 bulb. I am woman. Hear me roar. Watch me do it. I am fully competent and don’t mind the dirty work. See me in all my glory. That is, watch and hear me cajole a friend into having her husband install the bulb. Am I good, or what? Note: question is rhetorical. No answer necessary. Please do not answer. I said, don’t go there already! After 45 minutes of studying the hybrid’s intricate and miniscule engine parts, he pulls out the broken bulb. Am I good, or what?  My friend’s husband says, “They sold you the wrong bulb.”

I go back to exchange it. I can do this. I am, after all, woman. “Sorry ma’am. The bulb you need is out of stock and made in Germany. You can’t buy or order them. They’re priced at $129, but Toyota will sell them for way more than that.” I consider the options: several fix-it tickets, a plane ticket to Germany, breaking the headlight shell and installing a flashlight held up by a small but strong mouse.. One hundred and ninety three bucks later, the bulb sits in my glove compartment. Told you I’m good. I am woman. Hear me roar.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Doing It With Yiddish Flair

The ladies on Sex and the City do it in every episode. Catholic school girls vow not to do it. Nice Jewish women console the relatives who set shiva[1] once they learned we’re doing it. “Not to worry, Bubbe[2], I won’t do it anymore. Not for long, anyway. I mean, I don’t want to. I’m not trying to do it. It just kind of happens. But I’m careful. And, oy[3], it’s the best. You remember, nu[4]? This it should bother you?”

So we do it. We do it because, though we won’t admit it aloud, it’s exciting and freeing. We do it because we won’t settle for kibbitzing[5]. Enough with the mishegosh[6]! We do it and keep doing it despite what they’re all saying about us. We do it because we’re fed up with the shlemiels[7], shlemazels[8], shmendricks[9], and shmegegees[10]. We do it with sanity intact. We do it with integrity. We do it with an outspoken confidence. We stay single!

Every so often, we think it may be time to stop doing it. This one might be the one, I tell you: the beshert[11] sent by the Almighty to redeem this life of tsores[12]. Sometimes years, sometimes hours into the relationship, we detect, shall we say, a few minor imperfections. “Don’t fret, Bubbe, he will move out of his sister’s house when we get engaged. This I am sure of. He will try to find work too, once we have kids. He doesn’t want me to be sole provider. Such a mensch[13], I tell you.” Yet, before the next Shabbat, it explodes in a farshtinkena[14] mess. After the waterfalls of tears, the last crumb consumed of an entire sinfully trafe[15] chocolate cheesecake, offering support to those family members who returned to mourning our bleak existence: oy gevalt[16], such relief! One deep breath later, and we’re back to doing it.

Not to worry, Bubbe, we do it selectively. He’s gotta be at least a quarter Jewish. If not, does he watch Seinfeld in syndication? We should be so lucky!

We do it with stamina. We schmooze[17] for hours at all of the important gatherings: the Matzo and Latke Balls, the Kung Pao comedy night, Israel in the Park, and the list goes on and on I tell you. We only stay home on weekends but once in a while, really. Very occasionally, there’s a more appealing option, like clipping our toenails with focus and precision. The next day, though, we get out there again with a chutzpah[18] that would send Miriam[19] kvelling[20] through the deepest of waters. This is true it is.

We do it with variety. There’s to find a partner within 10 miles, or there’s to find a partner within 15 miles. After a while, let me tell you, we increase the range to anywhere in the known universe. Then, there’s speed dating at Starbucks or fast dating at the Jewish Community Center. There’s the incomparably expensive local Yenta[21] or the free but ever intrusive Auntie Rita. Such options they are endless.

We do it safely. We stay in one spot, keep it brief, and leave. No phone call the next day, even. A casual e-mail in 5-7, perhaps. Very rudimentary and protected, you see. We wouldn’t have it any other way. Not to worry.

We do it for stress relief. Oy, no more dirty socks on the kitchen table, no more toilet seats to put back down, no more schedules to coordinate, dietary idiosyncrasies to appease. We do it on our own time, our own terms, with concern only for our own needs. This it is the best, nu?

So I say to you my tribal sisters who are doing it: let it be time to unleash the stigma and do it with pride! That every moment is a simcha[22] whether we’re alone or taking care of some nudnik[23], I mean loving person. That when and if we decide to abstain from doing it, that this one should be truly worth the abstinence. In the meantime, let us do it with the the perseverance and optimism of our ancestry. Lets do it with chutzpah. L’chaiyim![24]

[1] Mourning rituals that last for 7 days (or, in this case, possibly a lifetime) following the death of a loved one.
[2] Your Jewish Grandma.
[3] Oy. {There really is no other word for “oy” that says “oy” like “oy”.}
[4] Yes? Or “I really mean it.”
[5] Joking around, intruding, teasing. See mishegosh.
[6] Craziness, messiness. See kibbitzing.
[7] A fool.
[8] A born loser. Nothing goes right for the shlemazel.
[9] A wimp.
[10] A nobody, a jerk.
[11] The love of one’s life, destiny.
[12] Misery, stress.
[13] A true gentleman.
[14] Yucky, smelly. Derived from farshtinkerner (smelly person).
[15] Food that is not kosher. Note: this cheesecake it was made with pure animal fat it was.
[16] “Oh my” to the extreme.
[17] Talk it up, charm others.
[18] Nerve, fervor - in a good way.
[19] Moses’ sister, a great female leader of the Jewish people in days of very old.
[20] Beaming with pride, boasting.
[21] Matchmaker.
[22] Celebration, blessing.
[23] Annoying person, nuisance.
[24] To life!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mc Feelings

With pride verging on arrogance, we are sure that we won’t make the same mistakes as our parents. They didn’t communicate with us very well and certainly were not good role models in teaching us to express our feelings productively. But we’re different. We’re evolved. We’ve developed feeling charts of all forms and sizes, with sad faces, scared faces, confused faces, tired faces. The more enlightened teachers post these in their classrooms, and some sensitive parents even display these on their kids’ bedroom walls. Learning centers include the Feelings Bingo Game, Feelings cards, the Talking, Feeling, Doing game, and so much more. We read books like “Moe gets Mad on Monday,” “Tracy gets ticked on Tuesday,” and on through the weekdays with alliterative fancy. We practice “feeling” words repeatedly with our children. “Say ‘I feel mad’. Don’t whop your baby sister in the face.” We’ve learned to discipline by accepting kids’ feelings but not their unsafe behaviors. You know, the line, “I like you, but I don’t like your behavior.” We’ve nailed it. We’re good, so good that when I asked the Preschool Panthers how they feel during circle time that one fine morning, they expressed themselves with a glowing confidence, vulnerability, and honesty. “I feel like McDonalds,” Jesse exclaimed. One by one, the others followed suit, feeling like a Big Mac, feeling like McDonalds, like French fries, even a milkshake. “Swell,” I thought. “I feel like a shot of whiskey myself.”

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pre-Pubescent Machismo

“Duh!” “As if!” “Loser!” Their tongues hanging out of their mouths, freckle sprinkled cheeks, jagged bangs, eyes poised to express control, a mad crush on Suzie Jay, and an ounce of testosterone between the four of them, they ran the show. They had it all. Rulers of the universe and buds for a lifetime.

They hit the playground, yanking the pink velvet ribbon from Betsy’s hair. Her long red braid unraveled by the time they invaded the dodge ball game across the yard. Betsy flopped onto the black top, screaming for her daddy, the Principal. He dashed out to console her and was never able to pin down those nasty culprits.

Life could not get sweeter!

Those were the days to diss the teacher, aim a paper airplane at her butt when she turned to write on the chalkboard, switch names for the substitutes, compete in belching contests during the Pledge of Allegiance, give the class nerd a Melvin or Nelson or whatever those buggars called it when they pulled the poor soul’s underwear so tight above his head that it cut off all blood circulation and he could barely breathe.

Those were the days.

It was time to “get real.” When you stepped on a crack, you broke your mama’s back. Worse or perhaps better yet, when you stepped on a line, you were Frankenstein. Your best buddy told you to “Look over there.” When you turned your head, he stated smugly, “Monkeys always look!”

Good times. Good times.

When you cut the cheese, you cleared the room. You’d make crank calls to the grocery store manager to ask, “Do you have pigs' feet?...Then how can you walk?” Mom said, “Don’t stick your tongue out like that, it’ll stay that way. You’ll go blind if you cross your eyes that way.” So you kept trying that one, because you thought it’d be super cool to have a Seeing Eye dog.

Those were the days.

Boys would be boys, will be boys. They rule. They’re cool. Too cool for school. Question that, you’re a fool.

Those were the days.

Machismo was in full fruition. As if!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

25 Random Reasons to Eat Chocolate

1) You’re a female.
2) You’re a male who knows at least one female.
3) It’s that time of the month.
4) It’s going to be that time of the month.
5) It’s already been that time of the month.
6) You had a bad date.
7) You had a bad decade.
8) Your sex life is lacking something.
9) That something is sex.
10) You have one or more kids. (Note: Triple the quantity for each child after the first. Quadruple it for each child who isn't toilet trained and/or likes Barney.)
11) George W. was President for 8 years.
12) Like him, you’re not a Rocket Scientist.
13) Unlike him, you are a Rocket Scientist.
14) Like most of us, you’re wondering if there really is such a career path as Rocket Science and, if so, what it pays.
15) Research indicates chocolate has fewer calories than a steak and potatoes, plus chocolate.
16) The above remains true if you add a vanilla milkshake.
17) The Surgeon General assures that chocolate is less cancerous than second-hand smoke.
18) A bar of chocolate’s cheaper than a trip to Paris.
19) You could win the lottery someday and should start celebrating.
20) Get real. You’ll never win and might as well wallow.
21) Hairy nostrils.
22) Global warming.
23) Brangelina.
24) Life is hard.
25) It tastes good.

Monday, March 9, 2009

School Daze

“Tag, you’re it!” They chased me around the play structure. They’re pretty swift, so I had to give it my all. After a few minutes, I tired out, and Danny caught me. Then he started eating me. He was a cheetah, and I was a bear. Since cheetahs eat bears, I was a goner.

“I love you to infinity and beyond, teacher,” proclaimed Nathan. Just yesterday, I was the scum between his toes. “I love you so much; I love you to the farthest planet. I love you to Jupiter.”

“I want my Molly doll! I want my Molly doll!” Sarah shouted. “Get her for me!” For Katie, it’s her pacifier named Mimi. For Jason, Buzz Light Year.

“Boys rule and girls drool. Boys rule and girls drool.” The lunchtime ritual had begun. “You can’t sit at the girls’ table!” “Trix yogurt isn’t healthy!” “Trix yogurt isn’t healthy!” “Teacher, they said my yogurt isn’t healthy, and that’s teasing me.” “No teasing, only pleasing!”

“Your stomach is fat.”

“Your haircut looks funny.”

“Want to come to my house to watch the Little Mermaid?”

“I want you to play with me.”

“I don’t want you here. Go away!”

“I peed in my pants.”

“I want to sit on your lap.”

“This truck is broke.”

“I’m hungry.”

“Tie my shoe.”

“Fix my hair.”

“I want purple.”

“I can’t flush.”

“I can’t wipe my butt.”

“Will you do it? Mommy does.”

“How can I, when I can’t even see my butt?”

“I miss my mommy.”

“Silly teacher.”

“Hi teacher.”

“Bye teacher.”

“Where are you going, teacher?”

“I have lots of trains. Watch me count: one, two, three, four, ninety.”

“Look! I’m writing the alphabet: I, J, K... How do you make a Elemeno?”

“Dora, Dora, Dora the Explora!” the girls’ chorus belted out their favorite song. Lacking something better to do, I joined in. “Stop! Don’t sing! It’s our song!”

I caught my first breath as the final bell rang. “See you tomorrow.” “It’s time to go.” “Please.” “Pretty please with sugar on top.” “Yes, yes, whipped cream and a cherry.” “Goodbye!”

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Unforgettable Dating Moment

The moment our eyes met, a surging wave of emotions held me captive. My heart raced and palms began sweating as he walked towards me, slowly and with a tentative confidence. A clumsy grin on his face and hopeful twinkle in his eyes, he clearly felt the same. Slowly, his feet led him closer and closer to my table in the active café. Alas, he extended his hand, and with nothing more than a brief and lukewarm handshake, the moment had arrived. This was it. They say you just know these things, and I did. I knew he was it. He was the one: the one, the one hundred and fifty third blind date from hell.

It had all the makings: the internet photo of a man two decades younger, 50 pounds lighter, and with a full head of hair; the attempts at conversation comprising awkward tedious sound bites pre and post awkward tedious sound bites. As I pondered whether the photo I had delighted in was actually him or perhaps his son, or grandson even, he suggested we get in line for tea. I must admit, this one was truly different. He stepped in front of me without hesitation to order first. My turn came, and he watched with silent deliberation as the cashier charged me $1 for a cup of hot cocoa that would, in theory, sustain me. The clock ticked, but time stood still. The eager cashier extended her hand to receive the money. The dude looked towards me, a dumbfounded “What are you waiting for?” expression across his face. I furiously dug into my purse for one freaking dollar, one freaking lousy dollar, one freaking stinking lousy dollar! Chivalry was clearly dead.

Back at the table, we alternately glimpsed at our wristwatches every 8 minutes, or seconds, or so. I fantasized about being home alone, clipping my toenails with focus and precision. He opened his mouth to release a barrage of hypnotic verbiage, including his love for his mother, his dutiful dog Edgar, and all kinds of things I could not even begin to pretend to be remotely interested in. His cell phone rang. He took the call, smugly and without pause. The guy proceeded to make detailed plans for an upcoming fishing excursion, glancing at me intermittently with a look that said, “Aren’t I the coolest thing since Kool-Aid?” Moments became years, and he finally hung up, only to begin an excruciatingly specific monologue about his agenda for the weekend.

Luck was on my side, as I happened to notice I had a message on my cell. “Oh, you know, I have the ringer off, so I didn’t hear it. But I’ve been waiting on a call from my brother. He’s been having problems with his ovaries, I mean, uh, ulcers. It’s a bit of a tender subject, so you’ll have to excuse me while I step out to return the call.” I played frantic and distraught, not difficult under the circumstances. I grabbed my purse and jacket and walked away briskly.

I reached into my purse, where I would have had a cell phone had I carried one. I grabbed my car keys and made a mad dash to my Festiva. I never looked back and will never forget that moment.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Deadly Measures

“I’m dead,” Christopher said gleefully, lying face up on the play yard, arms outstretched with open palms, legs forming an inverted “V,” eyes wide open and blinking every half second or so, grinning from ear to ear. “Rescue me, teacher!” he demanded with a flavor of entitlement. The kids play dead like nobody’s business. I play along like the sucker I am.

I pretend to call the paramedics. Then, I pretend to be one. Truth is, I had just taken a full day’s class in First Aid and CPR. This should go quite smoothly. “Stay calm, Christopher. I’ll save you.” Let’s see. Check pulse. I mean, first, check for obstructed airway. Oh no, that’s for a choking victim. Okay, give air. Wait, tilt head back. Now do five breaths per second. Or is it one breath every five seconds? No, that’s for adults. Um, one to three for kids sounds about right. I'll go with that. Now, elevate wound. Good thinking, but there is no wound. Hmm, I’m supposed to do some kind of compressions. Right? I forget. Is he still breathing? I suppose I should check. Can’t tell.

Exasperated, I say with the most sincerely sad tone I can muster, “I’m really going to miss you,” Christopher.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Kiss That Saved My Life

Waiting for that phone call, I go ballistic. We hadn’t seen each other in 4-1/2 days. That’s it. We’re doomed. He must be dead, I think, as I put down my phone. Why else would I be getting that damn outgoing message for the sixth time this past hour? He didn’t have time to talk yesterday. He’s not available for dinner tomorrow. If he’s still alive, he’s going to dump me.

I’m on fire as I scramble through the kitchen cabinets, shoving aside a zillion Rubber made containers of all dimensions, tossing behind me a dozen or so lids that appear to match with none of them, creating an interesting menagerie on my white tile floor. Damnit! There’s got to be one freaking piece of chocolate somewhere in my apartment. The walls come crashing in on me. My heart is racing. Tears stream down my cheeks and drop onto the tiles with a thunder. I just can’t find that See’s candies box I got last summer.

Yet in one shining moment, it all lifts. A euphemistic calm pervades every cell of my being. A white rectangular box. Could that be an “S” I see on the lid? And an “e,” a double “e” in fact? I clench this once unattainable yet so desperately craved and, moreover, mandatory possession. I pull it onto the open, greedy palms of my anxious hands. I inhale the sweet, luscious, orgasmic morsels that I am beyond ready to ravage. With anticipation and purpose, I remove the lid. With fury and shock verging on psychosis, I stare at the cluster of empty brown perforated wrappers put back neatly into their rightful places. How could this be? How could my life have possibly spiraled downward to such a helplessly dismal place?! As I stare at the empty wrappers with not a fragment of chocolate on them, a layer of doom envelopes my already plagued existence.

The phone rings. It’s him.

As I continue staring into the cabinet, I remember that I should probably be relieved the guy isn’t dead. “Hello” I say, as I reach for a Hershey’s kiss in silver wrapping that had hidden itself behind the See’s candies box for an amount of time that had absolutely no relevance. I don’t even remember having taken the wrapper off, as my tongue welcomes the taste of precious, succulent chocolate. “I’m doing great,” I proclaim, wiping a drop of saliva off of my chin. “How are you?”

Welcome to Life by Chocolate!

I dedicate Life by Chocolate to anyone and everyone who has ever laughed with but not at me. Scratch that; laughing at me is fine. I do it all the time.

My writing takes the form of creative nonfiction. I expel true-to-life scenarios, tweaking inconsequential details to protect the guilty.

At this time, I'm dusting off and posting writing from years ago --nothing too current, nothing too personal. My sole purpose herein is to entertain you with excerpts on topics like the utter hilarity and cuteness of children, the trials and tribulations of dating, and chocolate as a precious remedy for it all.

Hopefully, you'll find something you like. Ideally, you'll keep coming back for more. Always, I appreciate your visits.

Please enjoy!

Keep a smile and stash of chocolate,

xoRobyn Alana Engel