InSanity~Normalize, Don't Stigmatize Mentall Illness.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Year End Top 20 Comments, Starring YOU!

   As we bid farewell to 2014, the cast and crew of Life by Chocolate thank you for another year of friendship, laughter, caring, and silly banter. It was an amazing year, and you’ve supported me through it all. Much gratitude. I’m looking forward to continued, new, and renewed blogland connections in 2015.
   Now, let’s look back. I reviewed your comments and chose my favorite 20. Please don’t be hurt if you didn’t make the cut. I still love you. You’re just more stable than the majority of my viewing audience. 
   Note that these aren’t really ordered, but the last three (numbers 1-3) are my favorites. What is/are yours?
   Have a wonderful, safe New Year's, and enjoy!

20) Bossy Betty You say "Cow Pelvis" to me and I'll go anywhere.

19) A Beer For The Shower She's pretty smug for an undercooked slab of bacon. And am I the only one who was surprised that Macaulay went down so easily? It's like he didn't even try to elaborately boobytrap the stage so that a can of paint swinging from the ceiling hit Miss Piggy right in her ladybits.

18) HermanTurnip that "platypus'" or "platypuses"? It's similar to "Lexus'" and "Lexuses"...I'm just not sure. It's these sorts of things that keep me up at night.

17) Kim Van Sickler I think I would have been staring at her horny grinding pads.

16) Debra She Who Seeks I laughed so hard I wet my granny panties!

15) (Terry) My Journey With Candida Well get your bad self out there and find a REAL MAN now that the little weenie is out of your life.
14) Fredulous Yo The guy who diagrammed his inner ear on a napkin sounds like my type.

13) Optimistic Existentialist I tried to replicate that George pose once, and they arrested me for crimes against humanity.

12) Melissa There's always lambskin. LOL

11) Janie Junebug I like men who giggle about masturbation.

10) Pickleope Von Pickleope I am intensely jealous. But hey, people should be showering you with gifts. If people want to send me gifts, please send them to:
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
I may have said too much and given away my identity.

9) Alex J. Cavanaugh Breasts...Sorry, completely distracted there!
8) Birgit With all the things I have done ( recently going to work with a hole in my pants for all to see) I don't feel embarrassed too much any more.
7) Mitchell is Moving Something you may not know (although I have a feeling you've got experience): If you crawl under a table to pick something up, you should crawl back out before you stand up.

6) Pat Hatt Sometimes the slow way is the way to go. But if that fails, you could fill in for those birds on the Windex commercials.

5) Michael D'Agostino Maybe I should start my own talk show. Mine would be more of a philosophic, "David Frost in the 70s, holding a cigarette and burrowing into the head of his subject" kind of interview. You know what I mean?

4) Robin He has nice... hands.

3) Stephen Hayes I have a black garbage sack that makes me look alluring, if I do say so myself.

2) Ken Lynch A Valentine's Haiku
                Flowers, chocolates sweet
                Lovers stroll on the Ginza
                       Oh, no! Godzilla!

AND THE #1 Comment of the Year at Life by Chocolate: CWMartin Try waking up at 5 AM with a roaring hangover, the kind that every breath carries the threat of nausea and every move is a headache of its own, stagger back to your bedroom from the bathroom and walk into the bedroom door edge on. With your eyes closed. That's when you realize that all those stars and planets that Elmer Fudd saw when the anvil hit weren't made up.
Congratulations, Chris! Sorry there's no prize. Play again next year.
And just for fun, THE WORST COMMENT OF THE YEAR:  
Have you been thinking about the power sources and the tiles whom use blocks
   What the *bleep*? Oh, I got it. You mean the NSA and Donald Trump and the blockheads on Gumby whom slide across the floors despite having no feet or knees or—not that I was looking, but— genitalia? Nah, never gave it a thought.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Erotica

Dear friends,

I brought the house down on Thursday with this bit at Chico's (Has Beans Cafe's) last open mic of the year. When I finished, the crowd roared and cheered for a while. Never before had I felt so popular. I guess people like poems about Xmas gift giving. Who knew?

Now, they expect poetic erotica for all of the holidays, though I'm not sure what I'll do for a few of them.

"Don't even think about writing a poem for Martin Luther King Day, Robyn," my friend, Sue, warned.

"Of course, I won't," I told her. "And there's Groundhog and Mother's Day too. I can't go there."

Sue nodded in agreement.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. You may want to embiggen, and I'm only talking about the poem. Wink.

   I'll be celebrating Christmassukkah with family in the coming week and won't be around much. I'll blog again, though, before year's end.

   Much love for a safe, warm, festive, non-silent (Wink) Christmas week. I appreciate you all. xo

Monday, December 15, 2014

Reasons for Celibacy, #312-317 / Happy Hanukah!

Even though I have George in my life nowadays, I’m going to continue my Reasons for Celibacy series. There’s too much good material to use. Plus, I have to hit 500 reasons; I've  much further to go. So below, taken directly from internet dating ads, are reasons 312-317 for a smart, single, straight woman to choose celibacy. [One of these reasons includes someone I dated, #317.] Enjoy.

REASON #312: I am alive and live that way. 
Wow! You must be one of those people who can sleep when you’re asleep, masticate when you chew, and touch yourself privately!

REASON #313: hold your heart above your head
Dude, can you do that without breaking your neck?

REASON #314: Want the thruth?
No. I can’t handle the thruth! Thranks anyway.

REASON #315: I enjoy everything life has to differ
You mean you like contrasting elements-- like fire and water, war and peace, Kate Middleton and Prince William?

REASON #316:  I have weird dynamics, not contrary to religious status, but to make our lives joyful. Whoa. I wonder if you’re an oxymoron or a Scientologist or something. Is your couch intact?

This one, REASON #317, I recognize. I dated and blogged about him in 2012. He was Delivery Boy. We shared fresh hot “pizza” with no string cheese attached. Here’s a snippet from a blog post:  One night after a frenzied take-out, I asked Delivery Boy about his route, expecting the typical reassurance he was apt to convey. “I’m the only one you deliver to, right? Do you see possible long-term arrangement for us?”
   He answered decisively: yes, of course I was the only one. No, we had no future. Delivery Boy wouldn’t commit to an exclusive partnership with anyone, not now or later. If another woman placed an order, though, he’d do the honorable thing and tell me before filling it.
   Delivery Boy was my age when we dated. We both have summer birthdays. Based on logic, old and new math, and common sense, we’re still the same age. I’m 48, so Delivery Boy’s…48. Check out his ad, though.

They have marked my birthdate incorrectly and unable to correct it on my end.....I am 38 not 37..... Strong sincere honest communication is key to a meaningful friendship.........This creates a strong more sincere understanding of each other........For starters, I'll use my communication skills to state that you’re a lying ***bleep*** ***bleep!*** Really? 37? Your baldness and inability to ***bleep*** tell a different story.

Thank goodness I have George, and he shows no signs of aging - if you know what I mean. Wink.
   Tomorrow night marks the beginning of Hanukah. It’s an eight day celebration of  light, goodness, and miracles. 
   Note that you can spell Hanukah approximately 215 different ways, so don’t worry. You'll get it right, so long as you don't double up on side-by-side vowels. Start with one "H" or "Ch." You'll be fine. 
   They say that every Jewish holiday is summarized as “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat!” So Eat. Be merry and bask in life's miracles. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

New Chapter

Nearly four years ago, it was time for a change. So after nineteen years in the San Francisco Bay Area, I transferred my life to small town Chico. Steven and Mojo welcomed me into their home. Steven was a great roommate. Mojo was a brat. That feline never left me alone. Damn, I miss him. See, Steven relocated to live with his girlfriend in Texas. He handed Mojo over to a relative, so Mojo and I said "goodbye." I love that he's waving at the camera here!
Tomorrow, I'll finish my move. I'm relocating across town. My new place is much more spacious. It's been stressful, but George is around to lift my spirits and lend a hand. [Yeah, we're still dating, five weeks and counting.]

"So you're going to work in the blog-oh-sphere?" George often asks, with extra emphasis on the "oh". He tells me he doesn't know how the blog-oh-sphere thing works, and that perhaps I'll show him sometime. "Sure, I'll show you the blog-oh-sphere sometime," I tell George.

In the meantime, since George isn't curious enough to have found my blog, I'm going to post some photos of him.
Here's George driving to Lake Tahoe - this gorgeous body of water bordering California and Nevada.
We traveled to Tahoe over Thanksgiving weekend, and there was snow. So we stayed warm by drinking coffee...

and eating and eating and eating and...
doing other things.
You weren't expecting pictures of the other things. Were you?

Well, my friends, I best get rest.

Be well. Stay warm.
Keep a smile, and I'll be back when I'm settled in at my new home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Where Are They Now? IWSG 2014 Grand Finale

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Life by Chocolate's year-end screening of the IWSG. Blogland's phenomenal writer, author and more importantly, friend to all, Alex J. Cavanaugh, founded this phenomenal group.
First Wed of Every Month On the first Wednesday of every month for the past 3+ years, I've marked the occasion by interviewing some of the dimmest and most arrogant of celebrities. And since they took the stage at Life by Chocolate, they've gone on to do things like...transition to another gender (e.g., Bruce Jenner), reunite with Dracula's understudy (e.g., Jennifer Aniston), and die (e.g., Joan Rivers). They've also gotten manicures (e.g., Bruce Jenner), worn their hair in pony tails (e.g., Bruce Jenner), and were dumped (e.g., Honey Boo Boo's Mama and Bruce Jenner). Let's take a look:

What's my point? I don't have one, though it appears that a guest spot on my show is only the tip of the iceberg.The pay isn't great either, so these folks were doubly cursed.

But I'm grateful that you've visited us month after month. It's been fun. I suppose through all the nonsense, I've just wanted to make you laugh. I've also wanted to vent frustrations about the fact that the most popular and richest are often the most vacuous and stupid. Were I an altogether secure, enlightened, zen person, this wouldn't bother me. On a positive note, I clearly need to continue with the IWSG. I've more work to do. Thus, as we enter 2015, we'll continue to conquer the insecurity thing and become more secure writers - together. Right? Right! Write!

On another note: I'll be relocating the Life by Chocolate studio in the coming week or so. This is to say that I'm moving and might not be very active in blogland. I'm not able to stay away for too long, though, so I'll be seeing you soon.

Be well, friends.
Happy Final IWSG for 2014, and Happy December!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Erotica: Basting the Turkey & Giving Thanks

 Stagehand Macaulay Culkin messed up as usual. He cut off a few letters from the end of lines, and the words "I need it all" from the line that starts "Out of the bag..." Apologies on his behalf.

The crew at Life by Chocolate (Robyn, Macaulay Culkin, Mario Lopez--he insists that I mention that he's A LOT bigger in person than he appears in the above photo, and DuPont--dressed to be eaten), wishes you and yours a delicious Thanksgiving.  To everyone, whether or not you celebrate the holiday, may you experience a sense of deep gratitude for your blessings.  Enjoy all that's sweet and savory.

I appreciate every one of you...for sticking around, indulging my quirkiness, laughing with and at me (it's all good), and for your ongoing warmth and support. You continue to make a meaningful difference in my life - so meaningful that I'll be dedicating my novel* to the followers of Life by Chocolate.

*Woman on the Verge of Paradise: The Anti-Fairytale, which is now in the very competent hands of Elsie Amata, Bryan Pedas and...drumroll & guitar strumming, please...Alex J Cavanaugh! The writing is done. The editing is just beginning. The querying and other stuff is yet to come...after we move to a bigger studio and get the holidays behind us. For now...
Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Slowing Down With George

It's been three weeks since our first date, and George and I are still going strong. It's almost a new record for me. We haven't even fought yet.  

The man is very even-tempered, as opposed to me. I'm erratic. My intense emotions run wild, and I do kinda dance like Elaine too. [He hasn't seen my dance moves yet. Thankfully.]
Furthermore, I'm a klutz. When George was grilling fish for our dinner one night last week, I sat on a patio chair by the grill. He'd gone in for a spatula, came back out and closed the screen door between his kitchen and patio, then attended to the grill.

"Can I do anything to help?" I asked.

"Yeah, you can go ahead and get some plates for us."

"No problem. Where are they?"

"They're in the right side cabinet above the microwave."

"Okay," I replied. I stepped towards the kitchen when BAMM! My face smashed against the screen. {Fortunately, he hadn't closed the sliding glass door. But that leaves me no excuse for not seeing a screen.}

"Are you okay?" he asked, concerned, checking my head.

"Oh, yeah, I'm fine," not really, probably not. I'm embarrassed, so, yeah, everything's cool. We agreed I'd be of most help if I stay seated. So I did, and dinner was delicious. We ignored the fact that I'd knocked the screen off-track.

The other day, I was viewing an apartment because I have to move out. (That's another story, and a source of stress right now. I'll be relocating during the holidays.) A cute contractor was making final repairs in the dining area, and the landlord stood nearby, between the living room and dining room. I walked towards the sliding glass door in the living room -- not processing the fact that it was a sliding glass doo-- K'BOOM! My forehead met with the glass as I attempted to take in the view.

"Oh no, are you okay?" the landlord asked.

I laughed. "Oh, yeah, I'm fine. Just embarrassed. I'm sorry." I looked at the glass and saw that I hadn't cracked it. "I'm glad I didn't break anything."

The cute contractor shared a story and facial scar from a similar incident.

That evening, I said to George, "You know those helmets that kids wear when they have special needs and do the head-banging thing? I need one of those."

George suggested, instead, that I simply slow down, take my time with things.

Perhaps we all should slow down. At least for a moment, before we start rushing again.

On that note, I hope you have a slow-paced weekend and new week. xo

Monday, November 17, 2014

Belgian Chocolate and Vanessa ~ The Real Thing!

Paychecks for this blogging gig aren't very impressive, or so I assume. I've never actually seen one, though. Thankfully, we glean other rewards and sweet surprises along the way.

Out of the goodness of her heart and for no other reason except that she suspected I like chocolate, Vanessa Morgan sent me BELGIAN CHOCOLATE! I'd never tried it before...

Let me first tell you about Vanessa. She's a very talented, multilingual novelist, screenwriter, and film critic, who lives in Belgium and travels the world. Despite her seemingly high-powered and glamorous lifestyle, Vanessa is the real thing: humble and kindhearted. Check out her blog. She befriends crocodiles in The Gambia.

Vanessa's gorgeous too. I noticed a number of marriage proposals and/or proposals of other things on her profile page. (It's probably for the best that they're written in another language).

With the big smile you see below, I tasted her sweet gift: NewTree Speculoos Chocolate. I would like to say that I'll never eat American chocolate again. But we all know me too well. Yet no chocolate produced on this side of the Atlantic compares to Belgian chocolate.
It's Fair Trade, "72% de cacao," and incredible. I'd describe it as the best of dark chocolate's slightly bitter but authentic cocoa taste blended with the best of the soft, creamy, sweet goodness of milk chocolate. But that doesn't cut it. You'll have to try for yourself. Have you tried European or -specifically- Belgian chocolate? Suffice it to say, I give this chocolate bar a 15 on a scale of 1-10.

THANK YOU, Vanessa! That was extremely sweet of you!

To all: May your week bring you sweet surprises.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day // Up Dates & Latex

First, I always feel a tinge of guilt if I don't at least acknowledge Veteran's Day, and I suppose I feel guilty for having no concept of what it's like to be on the front lines. It's easy to say that I don't take my freedoms for granted, but I do. I've never lived or fought in a war zone, and I'm not in one now. Thus, with great respect and humility, I salute our military - past and present. In particular, thank you to my good friends, Pat Tillett and Al Penwasser (Ken Lynch). A meaningful Veteran's Day to all.
Next, I'm dating "George." He works in latex.  Truthfully, George wears latex for his healthcare. After I shared with him my Halloween Erotica poem, George suggested a date on Halloween. Coincidence? Perhaps; he didn't grab for my candy corns that night.

George is sweet, nerdy, smart and reliable--sort of a higher end model of George Costanza. While both are neurotic, this George exhibits a calm and steady neurosis. He's not at all dramatic. He doesn't carry a magazine cut-out photo of a famous model, boasting that she was his ex-fiance; hasn't lived with his mom since he was a kid, and doesn't have issues with shrinkage. Well, I can't say this for sure. We haven't showered or gone skinny-dipping together. I have good reason to not worry about this, though. Wink. Remember "the swirl"? Yeah, I'm glad he learned that one.

Thanks to my buddy, Bryan, this image sticks with me these days.

While there are differences between Georges, they both know latex. We had this chat the other day:

"A lot of people are allergic to latex nowadays, so we have to avoid it," he informed. 

"What do they do about sex?" I asked.

"I guess they have to abstain or resort to masturbation," he suggested, factually. 

We both giggled.

"When I ask men who come into the office if they're allergic to latex," he told me, "they  very proudly and in a deep voice say, 'Oh no! Not at all. I'm NOT allergic to latex.'"

~~~So, with George in my life now, and with trying to finish my novel asap (I plan to have it written by year's end), and with other big (I use this word with a smile) things that have come up, I may be off-grid more than usual. My apologies. I'm not leaving blogland, that's for sure. I'm already working on spinning some holiday erotica.   Be well! 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Robyn Interviews Gwyneth Paltrow: IWSG

First Wed of Every Month

It's time to unleash our writerly insecurities, empathize with each others' writerly neuroses, and cheer on each others' writerly accomplishments. Alex J. Cavanaugh, our fearless leader, founded this Insecure Writer's writerly Support Group. Thank you, Alex.

Today, ladies and gentleman, I bring you actress, singer, and - cough - "writer,"
Gwyneth Paltrow!
Font key: Robyn = chocolate brown / Gwyneth = fake blonde highlights

Gwyneth enters the stage wearing two black sleeves and a pair of black slacks. Robyn motions towards a vanity chair, and Gwyneth takes a seat. Robyn plops down on a chocolate brown bean bag.

So Gwyneth, you have some big Goop apps with recipes and lifestyle tips and such, is that right?
I'm not really sure. You'd have to ask Apple.
Apple? Your daughter?
No but she is smarter than me. Gwyneth laughs.
I bet.
But um you need to ask Apple Computer about stuff like that or the Googler or like Mac Yahoo or someone. I don't really know. I just make a lot of money with my name on it. I am who I am. I can't pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year. Ya know?

Oh, God, I know. Yes, I know...So you had this conscious uncoupling from Chris Martin. Then he consciously coupled with Jennifer Lawrence, who's 24. And then rumors spread that he and 24 year old J. Law uncoupled. Now you're coupling again with Chris or maybe he's still uncoupling with hot young 24 year old, unconscious Jennifer Lawrence. Are you conscious of the rumors? 
Oh yeah, I do ever-thing uncautiously. She nods her head. Chris is a rock. Honestly it's as if I heard the rock say: You have the answers. You are your teacher. I thought I was having an auditory hallucination.

Robyn rolls her eyes and smiles at Gwyneth. Trippy!
Yeah. Totally.

Let's talk about the cookbook you wrote called It's All Good with pictures of you on every other page and a diet that costs over $150 per week. One Amazon reviewer wrote: "I'd need a loan to feed the family." You include turkey in a vegan recipe. On a different but related note, you said that "movie making is not supposed to be a masturbatory exercise. It's supposed to be shared by other people." This all goes to prove that you're not smart.

Mind you, I'm terrible at maths. I can't even do my six year old's maths homework with her.

Robyn's eyebrows shoot up. What I want to emphasize, GP--those are your initials--is that while you're not a bad person, you're a stupid one. And you're not nearly as pretty as you and Time magazine think you are. Stupid is ugly, girlfriend. Robyn looks at the camera now. I encourage you, dear audience, to stay on track -- even if the track isn't pretty, and even if it doesn't get you the whopping $25,000 per day, week, or year. Yeah, it'd be nice to have wealth. But since we don't, let's fall back onto good old fashioned compassion and creativity. Because that's what's good, not a stupid cookbook with vegan turkey recipes by a plain Jane with no brains for maths. Keep taking the high road. It will pay off. So we must believe! 

Stay smart, creative, and persistent, my friends! You are what's ALL GOOD.

Italicized comments = actual Gwyneth Paltrow quotes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Erotica III, The Climax

Warning: This is the naughtiest thing I've ever written. The audience was very, very attentive during my performance at a local open mic last night. Here's The Climax:
Note: Hot Tamale line is for Mini-Alex (since Alex is married, and Mini-Alex is adorable and -as one of my clients tells me, especially after I do a wildly silly victory dance when I win an UNO game against her- I need help). 

Back to open mic night, Igor was no where in sight. Perhaps he was busy moving corpses for Halloween. 

When I finished the reading, I received solid applause, the announcer thanked me for the "Halloween porn," and one man gave me a fist bump. 

A friend we'll call George - he reminds me of George Costanza (short, balding, wears glasses, and works in Latex. Or maybe healthcare, but there's a lot of latex in healthcare) showed up later. He asked if I was reading, and I told him that I already read. To ease his disappointment, I showed him the poem. George chuckled quietly and said that he was sorry he missed it. Afterwards, George asked for my number and suggested we meet for coffee sometime soon. We exchanged contact info. I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Erotica and Men and Open Mic. Night

Because my friend Elizabeth so kindly and curiously asked, I'll inform you all that Troy (aka Merchant Marine Minute Man), who was supposed to return last month, has not contacted me. It's been five+ months since the granny panties fiasco. Troy went overseas in May, and hasn't called, sent a text, or emailed me. Nothing. He's likely moved onto someone else, and perhaps he's on her now, trying for a five minuter. I'm fine, not hurt at all. Damn bastard can't even pick up the phone. As if he's all that! If you're reading this, Troy, you're very handsome. I missed you. Call me. Wink.

So I've moved on also, on to erotica. It lasts longer. And as you know, I've recited poetic erotica at local open mic nights. At my first reading, I felt the audience --mostly men-- hanging onto every word, as excited tension simmered throughout my reading...
          I love and fear you just the same.
          Your candy corns scream out my name.

I made as much eye contact as I could, and saw expressions like this:
so I continued...
     Let's nail down this dreaded task
     ...And score and score until the dawn
     We'll lick and chew til candy's gone.

I've done three readings of Halloween Erotica. Each was met with enthusiastic applause. One guy - we'll call him Igor (he walks with a limp) - escorted me to my car and then said "Let's get frozen yogurt. My treat." I was parked in front of a frozen yogurt place, (un)luckily. It was one of those moments during which a gal can't be rude, yet she knows she'll regret it later. I'm just glad he didn't say "Walk this way." I'd have been too tempted to pull the Young Frankenstein walk-this-way move.

We sat across from each other, eating yogurt and chatting. Igor's a quiet rambler, and it took work to understand him. But even when I heard his words, I failed to comprehend.

"I'm moving," he reported, "so I should get going soon."
"You're moving? Where are you moving to?"
"No I'm not moving. I'm moving things. I have a lot of work to do and stuff to move around."

So, yeah, I'm not interested in Igor. But he seeks me out at open mics, rubs my shoulders and calls me "honey," as if we're an item. Perhaps he believes I wrote lines like this for him: So hold it out and let me see. The big, long ones work best for me. Could he be that confident? At any rate, I'm trying to make contact with others when I read.
                   I've one rule, though. Make no mistake. 
                      If it's not wrapped, I won't partake.
Some men wouldn't get the double-meaning there.

                                                                          all are google images of Simon Cowell

I'll read and post Halloween Erotica III, The Climax, later this week.
In the meantime, have fun and be safe.  

Halloween Erotica, the original.
Halloween Erotica II.
Halloween Erotica III, The Climax ~ stay tuned. I'll post that one this week.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Love for A New Blogger Who Pole Dances & Changes in Blogland

When I started blogging in April of 2009, it took me eight months to see an active following. Once things got rolling though, it grew and grew. Some mornings, I'd wake up to a handful of new followers. Alas, things have changed. Have you noticed? Bloggers aren't always as polite, and many are only interested in selling their books versus getting to know other bloggers. Often, they don't return follows. My numbers -- which I'm very grateful for, don't get me wrong -- go up and down, very slowly and unpredictably. I'm really glad I started blogging when I did, when the focus was on connecting with other bloggers with an understood give-and-take. That's what I appreciate about all of you, though much of blogland - it seems - isn't like that. It's gotta be tough to have a go at this blogging thing now.

So I bring your attention to a fabulous new blogger and person, Michael D'Agostino. Let's help him out. He'll be an active follower who leaves quality and humorous comments on your blogs. He's like that. In his words, Michael is "an aspiring media personality from Adelaide Australia. I acknowledge that aspiring usually means  crap."

Michael voluntarily contributed to my efforts with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, even though I hadn't asked for donations, and he's an Australian. He offered to send me chocolates too. If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him). I told him this, minus the marriage part -- that would make me his Mother In Law, and that's just weird. My point is that he's a great young man. And how many men would take a pole dancing class to blog about it? Look at him! I didn't think it was possible to hold yourself up that way. If you go to the second most recent post on his blog, you'll see The Hello Boys move too. Turn on the A/C first; whether you're male or female, there are pole dancing photos and video bites to enjoy.
And now that I've embarrassed Michael D'Agostino, go follow him at A Life Examined here.

Thanks, and have a great one.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Survive and Thrive Bloghop: Living With Depression

Be it known that Alex J. Cavanaugh hyperlinked himself. Or perhaps a clone was involved.

Thank you, team, for this highly relevant Blogfest!
Here's what they wrote:
   The blogfest is meant to bring awareness of disease prevention and early detection regarding medical conditions that may be averted or treated if caught in the early stages. Our desire is to motivate people to go in for early screening, and if a condition is caught early and treated, then our world just became a little better place to live...What’s great about this Blogfest is you can inspire people to take care of themselves and their loved ones early enough to make a difference in their lives. 

Last year, I wrote this article for a local newspaper. I aimed to describe the monstrous force of severe depression. What I learned after publication, though, is that far too many already know this beast.

A few lesser-known facts about depression:
  • It's the world's most common disorder.  
  • It's both a mental health and a medical condition. The brain of a depressed person looks very different than a healthy person's brain. The good thing about this is that treatment most often helps.
  • It's generally chronic. Depression doesn't usually do a one-time "hit and run." It likes to stick around, often for months, years, or a lifetime. In my case, it's hibernating below the surface, likely to make a grand entrance unless I keep it tamed - and even then.
  • Stigma is so great that Robin Williams kept denying his depression and/or bipolar disorder, while incorporating his substance abuse into his comedy routines. Think about that! He chose to be labeled "a druggie" --with all the wretched stereotypes connected to drug addicts-- but refused to acknowledge his genetic mood disorders.
Some things that help me survive and thrive:
  • Writing. I started writing to provide myself an emotional outlet. I had nobody to confide in as a kid, and I let the curse words fly. It helped tremendously and still does. 
  • Dancing, jogging, walking, cardio exercise. Gotta get those neurotransmitters flowing. I did so much writing today, that I broke things up by taking a few quick walks in the...
  • Sunshine. I'm lucky to live in CA.
  • Laughter! I advise a hearty laugh AT LEAST once a day. I'm talking about a laugh from the pit of your being that bursts out of you and continues until you're on the verge of losing control of bodily functions. Two of my favorite sources for this are A Beer for the Shower and Al Penwasser.
  • Antidepressant meds. Not everyone who's depressed needs medication, and not everyone facing depression can find the right antidepressant. I went through years of awful med trials. Eventually, I was fortunate to find one that works for me. Now, I hardly think about it; I take it like a daily vitamin.
  • Counseling. I've had more therapists who hurt versus helped. But I persisted, and a few good ones guided me through significant change. Simply having a place/person to express oneself to is crucial.
  • Connections.  Depression messes up our brains, causing us to believe that we're crap, our lives are crap, and there's no reason to go on...The best way to stay grounded in reality and hopeful, is through connections with caring people. I've pushed myself to reach out, even if only by calling a talk-line, when in deep despair.
  • Chocolate. How could I not include this? I'm opting for dark chocolate more often these days, though, to keep it a little healthier. I also maintain a fairly healthy diet otherwise. When I overdo it on the sweets, or on food in general, which is often, I tend to feel guilty enough to exercise it off.
 If you struggle with depression, you're not alone. I think it's particularly common amongst the writer/artist community. You're in very good company. Let's keep the conversations going. Please feel free to email me at Life is worth living, and everyday brings much to appreciate.

Have a nice, laugh-filled new week.
   Thanks again to the Survive and Thrive Bloghop Team!