InSanity~Normalize, Don't Stigmatize Mentall Illness.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Latest in Chocolate: Chocolate Wines

Don't get the wrong idea about me. I still have chocolate wine in my fridge, left over from my birthday in June. Hm, I wonder if that's why it tastes like toxic vinegar now. (?) At any rate, I'm continuing the search for really good chocolate alcohol. Because if you're gonna mix the two, the product should be doubly divine.

Today, I'm reviewing two chocolate wines that a couple of friends helped sample.

1) Chocolate Shop's "chocolate lover's red wine". My summary: "Meh!" It's alright but not so good. I couldn't detect the chocolate, nor could I detect sweet red wine. It's a bit watered down and unmemorable. But it costs too much and is too pretty to NOT deliver. In other words, don't buy this one. I paid almost $15 for it. I give it a 4, and I'm being generous. My friends felt the same. One serving was plenty.

2) ChocoVine - a chocolate red wine made in Holland. Doesn't it look lovely and delicious? Yeah, I was fooled by this one too. I also paid a good chunk of change: nearly $12. We agreed it tastes just like Kahlua and cream. I love Kahlua and cream, but this one's marketed as a Dutch delicacy. No fair! I was disappointed yet again, but had no problems finishing that bottle. It does taste good, but it's not what it appears. I give this one a 6.

What about you? Ever had good chocolate wine? Open to the idea?


Happy Thursday and almost-weekend.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Diamonds, a poem in honor of the first day of school

Robyn (7), Bubbe/Grandma Rose, Dawn (8), Glenn-David (6), Jonathan (4), 7/73.

Bring back the days of simple things
Of diamond-shaped, sweet candy rings.
Truth or Dare, you dared not lie.
Tick-Tac-Toe, we'd always tie.
 The rich and poor got cootie shots
Wars were won, when they weren't fought.

Saturday cartoons were best.
Lick the frosting, ditch the rest.
We skipped to school without a care
And Underoos were fun to wear.

To see your friends, you went to class
And pulled your pants above your ass.
I was Van Gough with my Lite Brite
And Jordache had the fit that's right.

When talent mattered
Kindness pleased.
We swung on tires, hung from trees.
A rock was skipped and made a pet
Tails or scissors won the bet.

Bring back the days of simple things
Kaleidoscopes and cheap mood rings.
Gumby walked through any book.
How would he navigate the Nook?

Scary meant a horror flick
Not bullets sprayed by someone sick.
A touch was always warm and right.
Hope paved the way 
When days brought night.

Now, money talks and makes the rules.
So-called actors, obscene fools.
Bieber's stoned but Lohan's clean.
Disney stars, sinful and mean.

Reign in the days of simple things
The cherished gems a moment brings.
Through children's eyes
The time is here
For simple things to vast appear.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Clowning Around

I'm fighting a cold, so I dusted off a weird picture from days of  'ole.  First posted in 7/10, this clown comes with apologies and a handful of stellar comments.

It reads, "BE A CLOWN! BE A CLOWN! ALL THE WORLD LOVES--" and the clown states, "I'M VERY COLORFUL!" Yep, I was special and a mere 11.5 years old when I created him/it.

Gorilla Bananas said That's a great drawing, although there is a slight resemblance to Hitler which we'll ignore. I especially like his pantaloons. Are those his underpants round his ankles?

Powdered Toast Man said I think another clown threw up a box of crayons on this clown.

Tgoette said Lovely drawing, Robyn. So tell me, did you take a lot of LSD when you were 11?

Kal said I like the goofy fingers and colorful costume. This is one clown I would not beat to death upon meeting him I think.
Have a great Thursday.
Keep a smile and a stash of chocolate.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Horse Play in Chico, Sundays in My City

Welcome to Chico, CA, for another edition of Sundays in My City, hosted by the ever-gracious UnknownMami. Visit her site to tour bloggers' hometowns across the globe. 


If you grew up watching Sesame Street, you might remember the game, "One of These Things." We're playing that today. It's basically a test to determine if you're alive and breathing, even for a 3 year old. (I don't want you to work too hard today.) Can you tell which Chico horse doesn't belong with the others?

Sesame Street: One of These Things - YouTube

Hint: This one is DuPont. He's wearing a huge funky tie and red with black spotted thingy.

Thanks for visiting and playing along.
Have a peaceful Sunday and new week.
Keep a smile!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Making a Splash in Jamaica

Please enjoy the following excerpt from my novel, Woman on the Verge of Paradise, due for release some time in the future.
Perched on a sun-warmed spot of stone overlooking the cliffs at Pirates' Cove, Negril Jamaica, I was privy to an influx of magnificent sights. While this “no worries” isle boasts resplendent scenes, one specimen instantaneously claimed top of my list. A seasoned diver, he leapt from steep cliffs and floated downward in elegantly angled positions, landing with equal grace and poise in the welcoming ocean 40 feet below.

Returning from his fifth magnificent dive, the man arrived on land and began strolling past me but halted. He turned to eye me and I reciprocated. I couldn’t help it. He appeared a delicious chunk of dark chocolate sculptured by Michelangelo, radiating sun rays from the most intimate of crevices and dressed with black spandex for public viewing.

“Hi, I’m Donovan.” He extended a hand.

“I, hi, I’m Robyn.”

“Come with me.” Like a puppy in heat, I pranced behind.

Focused on the subtle shifting of his tight buttocks, I followed as Donovan led me down a metal ladder into an underwater cave. We landed in an active, chilly ocean, sheltered atop and along the sides by dark stone walls that opened up to a glorious view of the fading blue sky streaked with yellows, oranges and reds. The waves nudged me, as I fought to secure my footing. Donovan planted himself in deeper water and I inched closer to him amid brief flirtations.

“No husband or boyfriend?”

“No, I came here alone, just to get away. The last one was crazy.”

“Did you make him crazy?” He teased.

“I don’t think so. I mean, I’m sure I didn’t.” Probably.

By this time we stood facing each other, little room in-between. With waves crashing against the rock, sun resting in the backdrop, and the titillating grazing of our warming bodies, Donovan’s juicy lips savored mine. I relaxed into the dreamlike moment, enjoying his luscious kisses and the touch of his fingertips moving gently up and down my back.

A sudden surge of rough waters ruthlessly forced me off-kilter, tossing me back towards the cave’s walls. My forehead crashed against sharp-edged rock. It hurt. I don’t remember incurring a concussion so I probably did...

P.S. Psst, Donovan is the man I have my hands on in the top right corner of my blog. (I didn't have a photo of us together, so I got creative.)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's Here, The Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest!!


It's here, the Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest in honor of Mr. anti-blog hop himself, Gary at Klahanie!!

How to play: Write the titles of three PG-13 rated blogfests you would never join - and then add a descriptive sentence or two.

Late for the party? No worries. Just bring extra chocolate and a 250 USD deposit (refundable upon receipt of proof that you didn't break anything) and sign-up here:

Hosted by: Mark “Madman” Koopmans,Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, "Life is Good" Tina, Morgan "The Morg" Shamy, and me, Rawkn Robyn at Life by Chocolate. Gary, Mark called me persuasive names like "Tiramisu," so I couldn't say "no". Who could say "no" to tiramisu? It's not my fault. I swear, but not too often. I'm innocent, less often than I swear. Heck, sit back and enjoy Gary Day!

I would never join #1 because I find arrogance - especially when combined with misuse of the apostrophe - rather ugly. 

1) The How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Way's Blogfest! A word from the host: So, like, okay. Its super hard, but I'm going to list only 101 reason's why I'm awes'ome. Then you get to read it. Cuz like everyone want's to join my blog and I don't return follows becau'se you are totally lucky to find me and I am really cool like that. Want to know more? Hit me up with ques'tions'. Ask away. Hee hee.
The next one, I'd never join because I've had it with the word "meme."Stop it, people! Do you go around saying "meme" at work or in your living room? I didn't think so, so quit using it in blogland! You don't even know what "meme" means, you use it incorrectly, and it doesn't make you sound cool. Not at all.

2) The Meme of Memes Meme Blogfest Meme
Rules: Write a meme about the meme that's your favorite meme meme. Good luck! Meme.
3) Not In My Backyard! Blogfest
 A blogfest for people with no tolerance for those who face mental health problems.

Now, I'm shifting gears to a more serious tone. Gary dedicates himself wholeheartedly to breaking the stigma of mental illness. Since this is Gary Day, I want to draw attention to this critical issue through personal disclosure.

Mental illness has plagued my life for years, and it runs intersect with my career path. Many years ago, a family member, who had always been very sensitive and mild-mannered, was overcome by psychosis and voices (auditory hallucinations). He was diagnosed with schizophrenia.* I've also worked with sweet and gentle clients who were tormented daily by voices telling them to harm themselves and others. The former love of my life, too, combated a slew of mental health problems, none of which he acknowledged --due to societal stigma and his own stubborn pride.

Further, I've battled depression throughout my life. It's under control now, but its vengeance strikes unexpectedly. Despite or perhaps because of this, I am able to laugh and smile. Depression doesn't necessarily have a permanently sad face attached to it.  In fact, it usually doesn't.

I know I'm not alone in this; writers and artists are sensitive types. I've read a number of posts and comments about depression. It's on the rise and ever-rising, here in blogland and across the globe. So too are all forms of mental illness and mental health issues. 

 What can we do but support each other, speak/write through it, and lend a voice to Gary's fight?!

Thank you, Gary, for being an inspiration. Keep up the fight. We love you, and we love your hate for blogfests.

Thank you, dear readers, for your contributions to this fest, for hopping around, and/or for being willing to go dark with me for a moment. I appreciate it.

Keep faith, a smile, and a side of chocolate.

*Despite what most think, schizophrenia does not involve multiple personalities. Multiple Personality Disorder does, and both are horrendous conditions that a person develops through NO FAULT of their own.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Interview With Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser: IWSG

Founded by none other than Captain Ninja Alex, the IWSG provides a venue to express writerly insecurities and/or offer words of encouragement. Join us, if you' haven't already. All that's required is an insecurity or two hundred.
Robyn walks onto the stage wearing baggy sweatpants, flip-flops, and a raggedy T-shirt that reads, "I'm not pregnant. I just really love chocolate!" Get pumped, ladies and gentlemen! Exercise diva extraordinaire, best known for her fierce training tactics on The Biggest Loser, Jillian Michaels, is here! Let's welcome her! All the men in the audience throw their shirts off and start flexing. The women, enraged, take sledge hammers to their bathroom scales - which they happened to have brought with them - and leave the studio in tears. 
Jillian runs out towards Robyn, dressed as so:
google images
Robyn: Thank you f--

Jillian: shouts angrily at Robyn.. Drop and give me 20!

A shaking Robyn drops onto the floor, reaches for her purse, and scrambles to find a 20 dollar bill. She stands up and extends her arm towards Jillian's tight shorts, as if prepping to place the bill in them. Jillian snatches it away and throws it at Robyn. No, you stupid b*tch! Give me 20 push-ups.

Robyn: Oh, no problem. Robyn moves her hand up her shirt, appearing to reach into her bra, and pulls out a Vosges Milk Chocolate Bacon Bar. Here, hold this first. She hands it to Jillian. Jillian takes and then drops the chocolate, disgusted as ever. Twenty minutes and two commercial breaks later, Robyn's done. She's sweating profusely but smiling with pride.

Jillian: You disgust me!

Robyn: Really, cuz I was hoping to - you know - give you a good workout. Robyn winks at Jillian. She eyes Jillian's abs, and then her cleavage. 

Jillian: Get to work!

Robyn: Oh, okay. Well, I asked you here for the IWSG, 'cuz I'm feeling insecure about my lack of energy. I haven't had any since, well, since I was in my twenties. Like decades ago. Robyn chuckles and attempts to stifle her tears. So I'm, I'm just rarely motivated and focused enough to get any solid writing done. But you've cranked out a bunch of books, screamed people into shape for years on end, and you seem to always be energetic. And you're pushing 40, though we wouldn't know it b*tch! Do you have any words of wisdom to share with us?

Jillian: You gotta sweat. You gotta work really, really hard. Do you think I looked this great all my life?

Robyn: Yes.

Jillian: You're right, but that's just me. Everyone else needs to work their ass off! Don't give up. Look at all the losing winners on my show. They had a goal, pushed and pushed, and they achieved it. Pretend I'm shouting in your ear, if you need to. Just keep at it!

Robyn's distracted by Jillian's well-defined calves, and then she sees her chocolate bar behind Jillian's feet. Her eyes widen. Well, that's all the time we have. Thanks. See ya. She directs Jillian towards the exit. Jillian grunts and darts off. Robyn grabs the bacon flavored chocolate bar, rips off the wrapping and starts devouring it. The credits start to roll. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Monday Montage, Three Quickies

I. Today, the lovely L. Diane at Spunk on a Stick has given me the spotlight. Feel free to visit her, and read what I have to say about self-publishing.


II. Reminder: We're only one week away from the silliest blogfest in the history of silly blogfests, The Anti-Blogfest Gary Fest!

Thanks to those of you who already signed up! If you don't know Gary, he's a very nice guy, despite the prison-lineup shot above. You can find him at Klahanie. Gary hates blogfests, so this one's in his honor. It's going to be packed with playfulness, and it may even be therapeutic for many. (Gary's not the only blogfest-hater.) So even if you don't know him, I encourage you to join the party.

The rules: Create the titles of three PG-13 blogfests you would never join, and then add a descriptive sentence or two.

Hosted by: Mark “Madman” Koopmans,Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, "Life is Good" Tina, Morgan "The Morg" Shamy, and me, Rawkn Robyn at Life by Chocolate.

Sign up here!
  Ssh, Gary's coming. Pretend I had nothing to do with this. Thanks. Wink.


III. A Brilliant Kid Story

I admit, Reality TV has merit. At least it did once. At work, I sometimes get have to watch TV with my clients. They were watching a reality show called House of Joy. On it, the woman (whose name I assume is Joy) was teaching her daughter to sing "Jesus Loves Me" as a surprise for the girl's brother's birthday party. The little girl was adorably bubbly and sang beautifully, while Joy played the piano. Though Joy didn't seem impressed, she told her daughter she'd practiced enough. Then the girl wanted to change things up.

"How 'bout we change the words," she said to her mom. "How 'bout  'Jesus loves...chocolate?'" She beamed with pride at this suggestion. I wanted to swoop her up through the TV screen, hug, and then adopt her. Joy, however, was worried that her brilliant daughter was going to ruin her son's party. Lighten up, lady! It's just chocolate!

On that note, may Monday offer sweetness.

Again, I'm guesting over here if you'd like to visit. Thank you!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sundays in My City of Chico

Unknown Mami
Hello! Welcome to Chico, CA for another edition of Sundays in My City. UnknownMami hosts this wonderful tour of bloggers' hometowns. Visit her site to visit the world.
When I asked the store's young employee why town mascot, Du Pont, is sporting zebra garb, she said, "because it's cool." Can't argue with that. She added, "It's his favorite color." Can argue with that, but I didn't, because it's cool.

Remember the pumpkin from last Halloween that looked like this in June?
It looked like this last week and has finally been laid to rest in a nearby trash bin. 

Can you name this bird? Over a dozen were hovering on branches of trees along Honey Run Road, where Chico borders Paradise.
Wait, I can't let you leave without showing you something pretty.
If you're a facebook friend, you've seen this photo. I probably also posted these roses here before. They just do so well to compensate for less pleasant sights.

Have a peaceful Sunday and new week!