Posted in Books, Family, Food, Televison, Uncategorized

The Chocolate Garden

1choc18Imagine a chocolate garden, it’s like something out of Willy Wonka, but better.

While there’s no such thing as a garden of chocolate, there are plants that look or smell like chocolate: Berlandiera Lyrata (Chocolate-Scented Daisy), Heuchera (Chocolate Ruffles), Cosmos Atrosanguineus (Chocolate Cosmos), Dhalia (Karma Choc), etc. To me, it’s like scratch’n’sniff, nothing smells the same as real chocolate. I don’t think I want to eat any of these, but there is: chocolate corn, chocolate baby bell peppers, chocolate cherry tomatoes, but before you get too excited, none are actually chocolate.

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The Chocolate Garden by Ava Miles @ authoravamiles (Aspendawn Books) at first glance is a lovely romance about a woman getting over a bad relationship who finds love and more importantly finds herself; with chocolate in the title.

Charming, well-written, full of romance, love, family, mystery, second chances, and hope, it’s also about choices, change, and fear of change. I was pleased to borrow this from Netgalley.com 

I’d never read any books by Ava Miles, but after reading The Chocolate Garden I read more in the Dare River Series, well, almost all of her other books (I’m getting to them all). Delightful.

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Thinking of changes, when I heard the UK series, Sensitive Skin (starring Joanna Lumley from Ab Fab) was being remade by HBO, starring Kim Cattrall, I’d hoped they weren’t going to make a shallow North American rendering that focused on aging, boohoo, my skin is wrinkling.
They didn’t.
This is a pointed stick jabbing at the facades we wear as we dance around pretending the choices we’re making aren’t destroying the planet and ourselves.
It laughs at our attempts to justify our rampant consumerism, our disconnect, the lies we tell ourselves, and the people we blame when reality hovers, like an impossible hummingbird flitting in and out of our peripheral vision.

Don McKellar has a duel weird and wonderful performance, directing and playing Cattrall’s neurotic, Woody Allen-esque, clueless husband. We watc1choc12h the aftermath as the empty-nesters sell their house and move to downtown Toronto to a cyber-loft (as their son calls it); as they struggle to figure out how to begin this new phase in their lives. It’s funny and a little sad.

Isn’t that the struggle so many of us face at various times?

The phases of our lives are ever-changing: baby, toddler, child, tween, teen, new adult, adult, sometimes being a couple, then maybe a parent, sometimes going through break-ups, divorces, children leaving home, middle age, senior, sometimes the loss of a spouse or child or parent.
Changing jobs, homes, professions, partners, friends. What do they all have in common? Change. It’s really the only thing in life you 1choc11can count on.

Written by Bob Martin (Slings and Arrows; some may know him as Cuddles from Puppets Who Kill), Cattrall and McKellar are surrounded by a gleaming supporting cast including: Colm Feore, Joanna Gleason, Nicholas Wright, Elliot Gould, Cle Bennet, Mary Walsh and more.

This show isn’t simply about not being able to hide your neck or the backs of your hands, it’s not about wrinkles, or sagging, it’s about fear, mostly fear of change.1choc20

Davina (Cattrall) was a model, wife, daughter, sister, mother, but none of those roles seem to fit in her new and sensitive skin. She wants more, but is afraid to find it.

I guess the key with change is to understand sometimes you have a choice, sometimes you don’t, so the only thing you can control is how you react.

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Very me

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