The acronym CHOCOLAT means addiction

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Please forgive me? I guess all the sugar has finally kicked in.

"What sugar?" you ask, not without some undeniable suspicion in your tone. (Yeah, lots of sugar also make me very sensitive to other people's feelings and tones, which is why I need to consume chocolate daily and in large quantities.)

So let me tell you what sugar.

About a month or so ago she twisted and twisted my rubber arm and - since we all know how very difficult it is to twist rubber - I just HAD to agree. So I signed up to participate in GISBE.

O,BHWLOA! (Translates to: Oh, but how we love our acronyms!)

YGSWOEDTAGISBEM? I hear you ask. (Translates to: Yeah, genius. So what on earth does this acronym GISBE mean?)

HYHC.ITY.ATFCMG!ILI.AL. (Translates to: Hold yer horses children. I'll tell you. And thanks for calling me genius! I like it. A lot.)

ANDW. IKIAEC,BEIWDOCTWEIAOMOI.ETICBKOFFM (Translates to: And no don't worry. I know I am extremely childish, but even I won't dream of completing this whole entry in acronyms of my own invention. Even though it could be kind of fun for me.)

GISBE (Translates to: Great International Secret Blog Exchange), and that acronym and concept were dreamed up by two very clever girls (so even though I'm very large and could easily be mistaken for two people, the fact that I said "clever" is more than enough proof for you that I had nothing to do with it, except as a participant). And those clever girls really ARE two different people and they really are very clever. And their names are Vivi and Tracey.

The idea behind GISBE was to create a secret and global gift exchange between bloggers (although non-bloggers were also free to participate. And they did! But more about that later).

All participants were able to pick from a kind of wish list of things they would most like to receive (i.e. trinkets, food, etc.) in an attempt to make it easier for their secret gift giver. Gifts had to be no more than $20 US/Euro (or equivalent), excluding the mailing cost. And as far as possible, they wanted all gifts to be sent out within a month. (Good thing they specified that deadline, because in case you haven't heard, I'm a "bit" of a procrastinator. Oh, you haven't heard? Well, I'll tell you... later.)

After signing up to be a participant, Vivi and Tracy sent out e-mails telling participants who they were going to buy for, want they wanted, and where possible, disclose the person's blog URL, so that you could snoop around and check out their wish lists, etc. With my usual luck, MY RECIPIENT DIDN'T HAVE A BLOG!!!!!! (Hi, Kate! And thanks for making my life THAT much more difficult as I tried dreaming up things you would like and probably failing miserably.)

Yeah, I said hi to my recipient Kate, because the cool thing was, when you sent your package, you were encouraged to disclose who you were... so that, you know, your unlucky recipient could be able to send your stinking gift back to you... or, as in the case of my very sweet and polite gift recipient Kate, a very gracious "thank you" e-mail.

No, thank YOU, Kate, for not sending me a letter bomb!

In fact, Kate's sweet e-mail to me left me SO warm and fuzzy (proving that my mother and all those children's book authors were possibly onto something when claiming that giving is always better than receiving), that I almost forgot that, as a GISBE participant, I was supposed to RECEIVE a gift as well!!!!

"Almost" being the operative word, though. Because I still stalked the mail carrier every single day to see if he had my package.

Alas, the only thing I managed to do was to terrify the mail carrier. (Is it even LEGAL for mail carriers to have restraining orders issued against people on their route? Oh? Well... you don't say!)

So I waited impatiently inside the house, as (legally) far away as possible from the mail slot in the door... and one recent day, all that waiting paid off!

But my oh my! It was soooooooo worth the wait!

One day, shortly after the usual, boring envelopes slipped through the slot and onto the floor, I heard a faint knock and then the urgent foot steps of someone sprinting away for dear life.

I opened the door (just in time to see the mail truck screeching away) and, there it was!

A box. THE box! MY BOX! MY GISBE BOX!!!!!!

I opened it SO quickly, I can hardly remember ever being seperated from the goodies inside. But in my frenzy I must've had one brief moment of Zen, because I noticed a very cute touch: Above the sender's address, instead of a name, the sender had written: "From the Blogiverse." (I only just realised that it was a clever move of self-protection. Like signing up for self-defense classes when you live in a dicey neighbourhood. Because not knowing her full name will prevent me from stalking her and demanding more MORE MORE of where that came from. At least... let's hope so for her sake!)

I had the restraint to at least take a picture of the contents of the box before devouring it... all. At. Once.

I'm glad I took that picture, otherwise I would've thought that it was nothing but a sweet, sweet (OH SO SWEEEEEEET AND DELICOUS!) dream.

So, ladies and gents... please join me in feasting your eyes (WHATDOYOUMEAN you have no interest in feasting your eyes only? Fine, avert your eyes then) on Exhibit A. Proof that life can indeed be fair and good. (And of COURSE I know how to crop photographs and make them smaller... (Not)... I just wanted to give you a life-sized look at what I got.)

blog exchange photo.jpg

Leslie (yes, she was brave enough to disclose her first name in the card she wrote), THANK YOU SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!! Is it okay to say that I love you?

Well. Okay. No, of COURSE I understand that we've sort of just kinda met. Still. I can't help it.


Phantom readers, I love her. She sent me IMPORTED chocolates! And LOTS of it!

On the postcard (containing a gorgeous photo of the graceful Golden Gate Bridge), she wrote: "While only some of these chocolates are local to the Bay Area, there's nothing more Californian than taking tasting notes of your non-wine consumables." And luckily for me, she also added: "I hope you have fun with this!"

Fun, oh... Leslie, darling. Fun is inadequate to describe the sugar-induced stupor. I swooned.

But before you take me for a complete glutton, the boy feasted too. Because, tossing him the empty wrappers to lick up any traces that may have remained after I've already licked it DOES count as fair sharing, right?

Yeah, I know... I'm just too generous for words.

Anyway, between all the feasting and swooning and licking of the empty wrappers, there remained little time for note-taking.

But I'll try my best to review the experience:

The Scharffen Berger was scarfed down first. (I'm elated to report that it slithered down my throat in a sweet and intoxicating blur.)

Or could it have been the fine chocolate specimen hand crafted by Richard Donnelly? (I love him too. Yeah, it's remarkable how chocolate has the ability to expand one's heart.)

Or was it the Zotter Chili Santa Fee? (And yes, I swear it remained in my mouth long enough for me to detect the spicy undertones.)

Perhaps though, I reached for the delectable Dolfin squares first? Thank you, Belgium, not only for my mother tongue of Afrikaans which was greatly inspired by and created because of your Flemish, but also for giving my tongue something other than language to occupy itself with.

Ah... but by a sheer miracle (or a slight stomach ache?), one product of the chocolate persuasion still remains. It's a case of saving the - if not best (because man, those were some chocolates!), then certainly the most sentimental and familiar - for last.

Also, a clue that some people may have taken some time to read my wish list!

The Crunchie Bar.

Thank you, Leslie! I had NO IDEA that one of my most favourite sweet treats from South Africa is also manufactured RIGHT ACROSS THE BORDER! I'm afraid that, by giving me this very useful information, you may have opened a floodgate of some sort. I don't know WHAT sort exactly (the sugar high is wearing off... and so is my ability to write in Engleeeesh), but definitely the most ominous sort.

Also remaining (for the most part, at least. Hey, I had to cleanse my palate between various chocolate courses! At least, according to the Chocolate Tastings brochure that was also included in the package, I was supposed to cleanse my palate. So let's just say I did) is most of the tres cute BlueQ Frenching "Fun for ze tongue" (or shall we say: MORE fun for Red's tongue) gum. Yum.

Again, Leslie did her homework, because I'm an incurable Francophile! So anything French (real, or imagined... because Frederick in Maryland isn't exactly gay Paree, but thanks again Leslie, because now I know of something else that is edible, delicious and located too close for its own good to where I live!) is tres bien! (Hopefully it will be a case of, if not exactly you ARE, then BECOMING what you eat.)

Merci beaucoup, Leslie! You are as sweet as (mag)pie and chocolate!


Michelle said:

Oh that's just awsome! But now you've made me lus for a Crunchie....and seeing as how I'm headed mall-wards in an hour or so....

NO, don't do that to me! :)

Actually, I think I'll go for a bar of Albany or a Peppermint Crisp instead.

Jessica said:

Mmmmm chocolate!

Lawd-a-mercy that was one heck of a report on your GISBE package. And I kept thinking, get to the stuff already! But your calling me clever stopped me dead in my tracks. So I went back and made sure you didn't make any mistakes with your acronyms...because I type it GIBSE all the time (We have a GibsON in our family!)

Glad to have you participating. T'was fun, n'est pas??

Christine said:

Hey! I'm hungry over here... what are you doing posting pictures of chocolate when I'm hungry! Ah! ;)

kat said:


thanks for the giggle. no thanks for the drooling. ;-)

Lisa said:

I'm SO jealous!

And so hungry for chocolate now!

deeleea said:

So jealous... still waiting for mine!! It IS coming...

I am at the mercy of the US Mail and Australia Post..


ViVi said:

My goodness. Definately the most thorough GISBE report I've seen! I'm so happy you joined us and thanks for calling me clever (check's in the mail). :)

Bookstore Diva said:

OOOOOHHHH!!!! How do I join?I love getting prezzi's in the mail.

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Bookstore Diva : OOOOOHHHH!!!! How do I join?I love getting prezzi's in the mail.... [go]
  • ViVi : My goodness. Definately the most thorough GISBE report I've seen! I'm so happy you joined us and tha... [go]
  • deeleea : So jealous... still waiting for mine!! It IS coming... I am at the mercy of the US Mail and Austr... [go]
  • Lisa : I'm SO jealous! And so hungry for chocolate now!... [go]
  • kat : *drool* thanks for the giggle. no thanks for the drooling. ;-)... [go]
  • Christine : Hey! I'm hungry over here... what are you doing posting pictures of chocolate when I'm hungry! Ah! ;... [go]
  • Tracey Marshall : Lawd-a-mercy that was one heck of a report on your GISBE package. And I kept thinking, get to the s... [go]
  • Jessica : Mmmmm chocolate!... [go]
  • Michelle : Oh that's just awsome! But now you've made me lus for a Crunchie....and seeing as how I'm headed ma... [go]
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