InSanity~Normalize, Don't Stigmatize Mentall Illness.

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

New Year's Eve Erotica, 2022, InSanity

Dear Sillies, 

It's almost -- gasp -- 2022. Weird but okay. Let's welcome a good new start.  Hopefully?

Now please excuse my blatant recycle of a two year old post. Thing is, this dress covers my nipples so well, I haven't taken it off since New Year's Eve, 2019. (Fashion tip: Super glue for the nips, scotch tape for the hair. You're welcome.) 

I'll be launching InSanity on Monday, January 3rd
So I'll show you the cover now: 
 Oh good lord, Martha! What's wrong with you?
Not getting enough attention these days? Dagnabbit. I'm sorry, friends. Excuse me. Security! Security!  Martha: "Get your grubby hands off of my -bleep!- you -bleeps!-"

Phew. Now I can show you a portion of the actual colorful cover--to be revealed in full a Monday, January 3, 2022.
This is from a selfie I took in Greece years ago.  

Bryan Pedas of A Beer for the Shower wrote: "It's a mad, mad world out there and Robyn Engel does a brilliant job of breaking down all of the quirky, too ridiculous to make up insanities of everyday life with both kindness and laughter." 
By the way, I'm very glad to report that Bryan's doing great.    

Safe, Happy, Loving New Year's, my Sillies.  

Friday, December 24, 2021

Santa Erotica, Christmas Naughtiness

Dear Sillies,
  It's time to bring back some naughtiness.
  Please be warm, well, and loved.
  Merry any-and/or-every thing! 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Year's Best and InSanity

Dear Sillies,
   I can't properly appreciate you all and/or pull the year together in one post. I'll simply acknowledge another handful of you here, while stating that I'm eternally grateful for how much you've laughed with, been playful with, expressed sadness with, AND supported me at Life by Chocolate. 

Take for example, Al Penwasser (aka Ken Lynch)
   He's my pick for blogland's 👏 MOST ENTERTAINING! If you're not following Al, you're missing out. He's outrageously quick witted and incredibly thoughtful. A proud military Veteran and a solid friend, I can't help but love the man.
   At the same time that he went on a big trip, Al/Ken delved into InSanity. He wrote this, and I can't imagine a more flattering compliment:
   "Engel's writing style is much like Stephen King's. I found myself drawn inexorably into the story. It's an intimate experience (with clothes on). No other book has completely changed my viewpoint on mental illness and suicide. InSanity really sunk its teeth in me."
   Note: You might think that you're following Al, but he left and returned under a different blog name. So go and make sure to sign on.    

I'm guessing Alex is even more handsome than his avatar:
   Alex is friend to all, enemy to none. He and I go back to the early days of blogging, approximately eight years. Alex is always ready to help and support any and everybody. I still consider him one of Blogland's greatest gifts. Because he is. 


   This precious lady leaves the most insanely hilarious comments like this: "My mind is spinning right now especially since I am falling asleep due to not getting enough sleep during the night plus my dog is blowing farts that could make Putin go insane."


  Geo's a deep, inspiring soul who cares greatly about humankind and nature. Geo's every piece of prose and poetry is a gift of its own. Love and healing energy to Geo, from us all. (It's been a tough time all around, and we've missed hearing from Geo in the past month or so.) Love you, friend.


Why have we not met before, Mike? You're great. You're silly. You fit right in. 

Note that Mike doesn't look as circular in real life. So I imagine.  My Photo

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Sue Goldberg aka Elephant's Child and, oops, Tori Spelling

Dear Sillies,
   Sue Goldberg is one of the most special of all the special people in blogland. I can't think of a more generous, heartfelt person. Her words are eloquent. Sue readily gives of her time to save lives, and she never hesitates to do favors for me.
   So when I asked if she'd read and write some words about InSanity, I got this from her within a few days, despite her own obligations and stresses. Thank you, Sue. You're remarkable beyond words.

“I guzzled it. If you are after sunshine and roses, this book is NOT for you. If you can cope with suicide, pain, grief, frustration and anger with a generous helping of laughter and hope, come along for a dramatic, no holds barred ride . . . 

Sue Goldberg, Blogger, Elephant’s Child 

And now, InSanity's COVER REVEAL:

 Oh no! Oh no, no, no! How did a fat Tori Spelling get in here? So sorry! In Tori's defense, though, she's desperate to save her marriage and they can't afford Viagra. So she got pregnant for the 6th time and must've hacked into my account to post this photo, that *bleepin* *bleep*. 

Here's a slice of the real InSanity cover:

Please stay tuned for more thank yous, year end stuff, Santa Erotica...Please also take gentle care. It's a tough time, emotionally, and pretty much in all ways.
I love you, my dears.

Not-so-subtle advertising of my upcoming book will continue a bit longer:

   I don’t think I’m insane.  I don’t want to be.  Am I merely in denial of my insanity? As we know, denial is its own form of insanity. So, I’m insane for believing that I’m sane and not insane. Right? If you’re confirming my insanity and you’re insane too, can we be normal together? Because if you’re sane but I’m insane, I don’t want your company. And if you’re insane but I’m sane, feel free to drop by whenever I’m bored. You entertain me. Don’t stick around too long, though. You exhaust me.  from page 61 of InSanity

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Canadian Goddess and a Comment Collage

Dear Sillies,

It's a bit nerve-wracking to feel so close, yet so far, from publication. I'm waiting on help because I find the whole Amazon process to be confusingly distressing. How did they ever publish books in the typewriter days? I can't fathom. Anyway, fingers crossed, InSanity will be here this year!

Along the way, I was incredibly fortunate to get amazing help from THE Canadian Goddess (anointed so my me). You know her too, right? Debra's phenomenal, and her words grace the back of my soon-to-be published InSanity ~

 “She’s a wonderful writer with a delightful colloquial style, easy and fun to read. I laughed out loud many, MANY times at her funny stories and her quips. Yet she dealt with some very important issues in a thoughtful and meaningful way. The whole book is well balanced between the serious and the humorous. I think it’s her BEST BOOK yet.”  

-Debra She Who Seeks, Canadian Goddess


And now, a tribute to YOU, some of your recent comments in silly order:

Mistress Maddie said Me and Lumbersexual finally ended our cat and mouse game.

Birgit said Hey my former high school principal, a priest, was charged 5 years ago with keeping child porn. How lovely.

balanced a.f. I see nothing wrong with impure thoughts. I have them all the time.

Joanne said School underwear - optional. L. Diane Wolfe said School was never that fun.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said You do look like trouble!

Mike said "You're pressing on my balls". Are you busy tomorrow night?

Jeff  said May you find companionship.

Janie Junebug said And get a picture of his naked butt in bed. Love, Janie

Elephant's Child said Here's to 23,000 more wonderful nights to come.

Birgit said I bet you have a 1950s torpedo bra in your drawer.

Infidel753 said Some forms of education really do require in-person learning.

Geo. said I recall college in the 60s as a huge fug of smoke with arms and legs sticking out.

Annalisa Crawford said Why, just why?

Janie Junebug said Thanks for making us look cool and smart. Love, Janie

Al Penwasser said Candy Corn? Not a fan.

Yvonne said From one teaser to another, I'm chompin' at the bits over here!!

Moving with Mitchell  said Do you suppose anyone likes it?

jono said I give you points for being willing to bite into it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said Everyone needs a zombie freak!

presstfortime said Well, if this wasn't eye-opening.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Happy Hanukah or Chanukah or Hanukka or Hanukkah...and other fun stuff!

Dear Sillies,

Sorry I'm late to say "Happy Hanukah" (spelled per the steps below). It arrived fairly immediately after turkey was digested.

Debra She Who Seeks inspired the below tutorial, little does she know. Her very entertaining Festival of Lights post motivated me to provide a lesson on how to spell the Jewish holiday.

 4 Easy Steps to Spelling this Jewish Holiday:

1) Start with "Ha". Or start with "Cha" (pronounced the Jewish Bubbe's* way, with a bit of phlegm in the throat.) *the Jewish grandma. We all love her.

2) Next, write "new." No, not like that! It's "nu" or "nnu" (with extra emphasis on the 'n', or choose one 'n' and make that particular one silent. You can alternatively choose the other 'n' and make that particular one silent. See how easy it is!?).

3) Then, spell "caw." But spell it like "kah" or "kkah" or "ka" or "kka." Anything but "caw" or "cah" or "ccah" or "ca" or "cca." Easy peasy, latke squeezy, right?

Got it? No? No worries. Bubbe's passed out on the couch. She went heavy on the Manischewitz, which is spelled without a 'v'. <--see next tutorial for this spelling. Go on now and spin the dreidel.

This man, JT, is good with a dreidel. He'd never spun one before; amazing.
If you can believe it--I can't--we're approaching SIX MONTHS. I know. He's pretty good, I'm thinking, and I'm thinking he's thinking the same about me. I don't want to post much on JT because I have no dirt, no weirdness, nothing scandalous to tell you. I also don't want to be sappy, lovey, Hallmark-y annoying, either.

Anyway, we played dreidel tonight. He asked when the game ends. I glanced at my wristwatch and told him, "In approximately 6,000 years, hon." He spun faster. 

-------------------------In Other News:

InSanity, my latest book, a memoir and sequel to Woman on the Verge of Paradise, is coming SOON to an Amazon link near you.

Here's a snippet of a FAILED book cover design. I tried using someone through a site called Were it a creepy sci fi book, this might almost work, but . . . The words under the title bother me most. This contractor took way too many creative liberties.

   I don't mind disparaging They only permit happy customers to leave reviews. You can't leave a review for a canceled order. So I'm warning you HERE against using them unless you do very thoughtful research first. (I found a 5-star, popular designer, so I thought I was safe. I didn't look further into this person, which I should've done.)

Good news, I have a new graphic designer who's phenomenal AND local.

You'll see. The SUCCESSFUL cover's brilliant.

Be well, friends.

Deep breaths as we enter December!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Turkey Time, Thanksgiving Erotica

My Dear Sillies,
May you have reason to feel deep gratitude this season.
Thank you for your regular doses of loving support and silliness.
Happy Thanksgiving!
And now, for seductive feasting... 

Monday, November 8, 2021

Three Years Since The Camp Fire


Today marks three years since the Camp Fire tore through neighboring Paradise.  Efforts at rebuilding have been slow, but life and hope can be seen. I even work with clients now in Paradise; they moved back after the Fire and have new homes.

Schools reopened. Businesses returned, and you can eat yummy meals, or drop by Starbucks (Starbucks never goes down).

With respect to this time, I'm re-posting this poem I wrote as a tribute to our beloved Paradise.


How can we start to say "goodbye"
It's too godawful to believe
One merciless inferno
ceded far too much to grieve

When can we start to say "goodbye"
Each day's haze, too thick to clear
Death threats invade the nightly sleep
We're paralyzed by fear

Where do we start to say "goodbye"
Sans your crisp, brisk pine air 
One more slice of Black Bear pie
A final ounce of your down-home care

To whom do we start to say "goodbye"
Endearing senior pairings 
married fifty years or more
like the ones that owned and nurtured my favorite antique store (Treasures of Paradise)
Or the banjo picking cow folk, 
the flag-flailing Trumpeteers
The man who saved his neighbors' homes, then asked only for some beers
To the men resembling Santa
if Santa dropped one hundred pounds
The teens labeled "disabled"
who beat me in every Skip-Bo round
But if we start with children 
How can we best explain
Their rooms and schools, all burnt to ash
Not one swing-set remains
It lasted from 11/8 to 11/25/18.
It incinerated an area the size of Chicago.
153,335 acres burned
13,972 single-family homes
18,793 structures  
85 identified deaths
296+ unaccounted for; may likely never be identified
52,000 people displaced 
over 90% of Paradise is no longer
Honey Run Covered Bridge - before and after 11/8/18. Built in 1886 on the original road that connected Chico and Paradise, it was the last bridge of its kind in the US. Plans are underway to recreate it, as a memorial to those who perished.

 This one "goodbye"
spans miles beyond
the passing of a friend

                          How can we start to say "goodbye"
                             when "goodbye" has no end?

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

November, Stress Awareness

 Dear Sillies,

Some dim witted folks somewhere decided to call today, November 3, National Stress Awareness Day. Yeah, we need this like a hole in the head, am I right? Stress awareness? Who ain't aware? Those under the most stress, I'm thinking.

Suffice it to say that I hope you've had a relatively LOW STRESS start to November and that it continues the same.

Here are some recent memories from last month's shenanigans~

I competed in a local comedy competition. I lost but got this nice pic.

my covid warrior with his leprechaun

Have a safe and peaceful, low stress month. Damned be stress.

Love you. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Halloween Erotica, Bernie's Back!

 Dear Silly Ones,

The countdown begins. Halloween is less than one week away!

Annual Public Service Announcement: Boycott Hershey. Hershey owns most all big candy companies in the US (Mars, etc.) Its chocolate stems from the West African Ivory Coast, where children are enslaved on cocoa plantations. 

If you do Halloween, please consider Fair Trade products and/or anything NOT Hershey.* You might have to spend a bit more, but your conscience will thank you. *(Organic lollipops or other candies from Trader Joe's, granola bars, fruit snacks, European treats, raisins, taffy, jelly bellies...) 

Best option: Shut the lights and have a sweet, naughty Halloween alone or with a "friend." Wink. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Double Dog Dare, Pre-Halloween Nostalgia

 My Dear Sillies,   
    We've become a wonderful fan base for each other. That's a very nice thing. 
   On the flipside, some beloved bloggies are painfully missed, like Jenny Matlock. Jenny used to do a Saturday Centus exercise. I occasionally participated. 
   This photo was the prompt. The challenge: using all five senses, write about this in 100 words max.
   Here's my story, The Double Dog Dare...

“I double-dog dare ya to go in,” Johnny challenged. He was cute so I acted brave.  

“Okay.” I swallowed my jelly bean whole. Salty black-licorice flavor stuck to my tongue.  Entering the creepy old shack, the smell of mud overtook me.  I was blinded by darkness.

“Welcome!” A boyish voice came up through the floors’ wooden panels.  I noticed a gaping hole at my feet and felt the sudden firm grip of fingers clasping my ankles from below.

“Let me go! Help! Help!”

A familiar giggle slowed my pulse.

“Johnny, you poo-poo head! That wasn’t funny!”

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Halloween Erotica, Screaming Candy Corns

Dear Sillies,

Warning: Halloween madness starts now.

Stay sweet and naughty!


Monday, September 27, 2021

Clint Eastwood and Chocolate, The Things We Do For Love

Dear Sillies,

At long last, summer's over. I hope the change in seasons brings you renewed vigor and hope, pretty leaves and sunsets, and yummy treats.

JT bought this for me. Its weirdness beckons a review. Hammond's Chicken and Waffle with syrup chocolate bar. I mean, what the heck? Let's pack everything for a full meal into a little chocolate bar. We both tried it and . . .

We both failed to detect the chicken, or the waffle, or the syrup. It was salty, a salty and crispy chocolate bar. It contains chicken soup mix and vanilla wafer cookies. Let me break it down for you: It's bad. Don't try it, my Sillies. I'd give it a 1 out of 10. 

Now let's talk Clint Eastwood. Remember him? The hot studly man who's made 40+ movies. He's 91 now. And because I - gosh, golly - love JT, I agreed to see Cry Macho with him. It's Eastwood's latest flick. Let me break that one down for you, my Sillies: It's really bad. 

But Eastwood's sincerity and compassion still shine. He's still got it, depending upon how far we stretch the definition of "it." I mean, those seductive scenes with hot women half his age - way too awkward. The acting and plot are far from believable. But I gotta give him credit for being 91 and still kicking (and punching and alluring women half his age).  So if you want to see this one, keep your expectations low. JT (dis)liked it equally. 

As you gathered, the guy and I are still going and going strong. He's a cutie, right? In fact, a bit Eastwood-esq, would you say? I'm still holding my breath. It'll be 4-months soon . . .

Pretty sure I nabbed a good one this time. Finally.

Take care.

I love you, Sillies.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tot Readership and InSanity Teaser

Dear Sillies,
   I'm tickled that my writing's reached a new segment of our population: tots. I mean, I don't recommend it for children. However, I readily approve this precious toddler's perusal of Woman on the Verge. She's a friends' child. This wasn't staged. No, this doll grabbed the book from the front room bookshelves, and flipped through it within seconds. I believe her review sounded something like: "k,k, caa daa yip, *hiccup*, *sweet, confused blank stare*, and then 'This book's a hoot!'" WOOHOO! It's every author's dream!

  At last, my upcoming book, InSanity, landed in the editing stage. I've secured a dream team for this. Because I need more than one editor. Typos, ya no know. I'll let that keen eyed editor reveal herself if she chooses. InSanity's going to keep her quite busy. Below's from the first page. Ya know, cuz I like to tease. 
  Be well and safe.
  I love you.

Introduction: Is it Just Me?

 “My mind is a bad neighborhood that I try not to go into alone.”– Anne Lamott


  Musings swirl. Then twirl. And hurl. They contort into skilled, agile backflips across a sleek narrow balance beam twisting gracefully to land with breasts pumped outwards. An enthused series of tens from all but the Russian judge ignites suspicion. What a piss ass. He probably needs to get laid. Oy. Why do I go there?   

  Sh*t, is it just me or are everybody’s braincells mysteriously busy boogers, frenetically body-slamming against each other’s elastic membranes, then rebounding full-speed ahead like Martha Stewart at the mention of Chippendale’s most girthy, barely-of-age hottie?

  Am I crazy? Am I not crazy? If I’m crazy, am I crazy for thinking I’m not crazy? But if I’m not crazy, am I not crazy for thinking—my musings hurt. That’s it; I’m not crazy. No? No, no?

  Oh all right, yes. Yes, yes. Check box one, check box two. Cash? No, check. Check please.

  I hate waiting for the check. You know? They’re never quick to bring it. Bring the damn check! Twenty minutes later they act all smiley, flip it under your nose, and say “Take your time.” I already did, honey, waiting for you to bring the damn check! Oy.

   Warmed bed sheets brush briskly against my right calf... 


Monday, September 6, 2021

Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah 5782

 Dear Sillies,
   If you feel old, consider this: The Jewish people are beginning our 5,782nd year. I know. Oy vey.     
   Let's work towards a more peaceful, safe, and gentle year across the globe. Shana Tova! (Hebrew for "Happy New Year.")

  Left to right: Dawn, Glenn, me, 1969. (Brother, Jonathan, was a mere embryo at the time. Photos not available.)

We wish you many moments of sweetness this year.   

Coincidentally, Rosh Hashanah falls on Labor Day this year. 

Please take time to reflect on the human warriors who sacrificed their lives for our labor rights (e.g., the ability to work under safe conditions, to be free from workplace discrimination, etc.) Many on our soil remain enslaved in various ways.  Thus, let's heed the call to continue to press for justice in our localities, and throughout the greater, great world.

   Happy New Year, Friends.