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The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

26 December 2007

Be careful what you wish for

The “Katrina Fifteen.” That’s what New Orleanians call the fifteen pounds many people gained after the federal levees broke and flooded the city.

My plan for today, the day after Christmas, was to start snacking less and increase my daily time on the elliptical machine to 45 minutes, in hopes of getting rid of my Katrina Fifteen by next Christmas and fitting into my pre-Katrina clothes again.

I should have told others my goal.

My friends and family know what I love most in the world, and they gave it to me for Christmas . . . lots of it.

To whit:
  • a Godiva gift certificate
  • a 17-ounce canister of chocolate truffles
  • four Dagoba chocolate bars (2 ounces each)
  • three Chocolove dark chocolate bars (3.2 ounces each)
  • two Endangered Species dark chocolate bars (3 ounces each)
  • one Rapunzel dark chocolate bar (3 ounces)
  • one Ghiradelli dark chocolate bar (3.5 ounces)
  • one box Ghiradelli dark chocolate squares (1 ounce)
  • assorted Godiva chocolate bars (12 ounces total)
  • a canister of hot cocoa mix
  • homemade chocolate fudge
  • one box of Lindt chocolate Fioretto (1.6 ounces)
  • one box of Capolavori chocolates (0.6 ounces)

Some of these gifts were nominally for both my husband and me.

My husband doesn’t care for chocolate. I get it all.

If I don’t write like a dervish for the next several weeks, it won’t be my the fault of my wonderful friends. They’ve provided me with plenty of writing fuel and lots of phytochemicals to keep me healthy. Now my task is to produce prose worthy of all that chocolate.

Oh, and to set the alarm early so I can get up and on the elliptical machine before work. Wonder if an hour a day will be enough to counter my friends' generosity?


Some quotations from the Website of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association:

"Chocolate doesn't make the world go around, but it sure does make the trip worthwhile."


"Man cannot live on chocolate alone; but woman sure can."


"I could give up chocolate but I'm not a quitter."

"Chocolate flows in deep dark, sweet waves, a river to ignite my mind and alert my senses." 


"Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power. It is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits." 

—Baron Justus von Liebig (1803–1873), German chemist


Charles Gramlich said...

Loved those quotes. Particularly the one from the chemist. A literary friend? I've never heard chocolate called that but I understand. I've always liked chocolate, though I've come to love it more and more as I've gotten older.

virtual nexus said...

Had to smile; I like dark chocolate occasionally but I'm not a chocolate junkie...we've just sent the spare boxes we were given off with son to share with flatmates!

...Strange you mentioned the phyto's; I always assumed that on the flip side, a vitamin deficiency was at the root of a chocolate craving (zinc?).

Shauna Roberts said...

CHARLES, I've found chocolate helpful in my writing, perhaps because of the stimulants in it. I write faster and enjoy writing more when I eat chocolate.

JULIE, I just did a quick PubMed search on chocolate cravings and found:
•how much people like sugar is partly genetically determined
•chocolate cravers tend to be people who are emotional eaters
•chocolate eases depression, anxiety, and irritability, so it's a form of self-medication

That suggests chocolate craving is a mix of genetics and personality make-up. I didn't find anything about vitamin or mineral deficiency, but I didn't search back very far. Chocolate eaters live on average about a year longer than non–chocolate eaters, and that's been attributed to the healthful chemicals in it.

Sustenance Scout said...

Love those chocolate quotes and the facts you dug up, Shauna, especially that one about living longer. :) Works for me! Thanks so much for stopping by BEYOND Understanding; happy holidays to you, too, and good luck with your chocolate collection. We all need such friends! Enjoy! K.

virtual nexus said...

Interesting! - The name that's at the back of my mind is something like xylothianines (which produce the feel good factor); there's a link with craving/hormonal fluctuations which could tie it in with the emotional make up reference - tho' it's some time since I read the information.

I like really good chocolate on special occasions, but would tend to choose a fruit dessert in a restaurant rather than a chocolate gateaux.

Lisa said...

That's a lot of chocolate! I've noticed that quite a few writers seem to use chocolate for literary fuel. I've never really been big on chocolate -- not that I don't like it. When I get a craving, it's more likely to be for crispy, salty, fatty potato chips :)

Shauna Roberts said...

Thanks, SUSTENANCE SCOUT! Glad you enjoyed the quotes. I'm sure I'll have no trouble finishing off the chocolate.

JULIE, that word sounds familiar to me too. I have a book about chocolate on my to-be-read bookcase. I should read that soon and blog about the chemical effects of chocolate and how they can help writers.

LISA, Agatha Christie used to keep a basket of apples on her desk and munch apples while she wrote. I sometimes wish that apples were my writing fuel of choice. I wouldn't have to limit myself then.

Lana Gramlich said...

This post reminds me of a birthday I celebrated while in Toronto. Everyone brought me chocolate in one form or another, even my brother, who was in from Florida. That was a truly happy birthday!

virtual nexus said...

Look forward to reading the article, Shauna. What about Chocolate poetry to go with it - an Ode to Chocolate...or even a competition on the subject...
Came across Laura Secord Chocolates on a trip to Canada, (above link) - don't know if you are familiar with them.

Carleen Brice said...

That sounds like a very Merry Christmas indeed! Especially all the Dagoba (my fav)!

Sidney said...

We got too much Godiva chocolate here too. May make some Jan. goals a little difficult. Happy New Year!

virtual nexus said...

All the very best to you and yours for 2008, Shauna - have deeply appreciated your input and the thought provoking posts.


Shauna Roberts said...

LANA, that sounds like a wonderful birthday!

JULIE, I've never heard of Laura Secord Chocolates. I'll take a look at them. The season for ordering chocolates when you live in a southern climate is very short. I learned that lesson the hard way one of my first summers in New Orleans. My bag of fancy chocolate chips arrived as one large, oddly shaped blob with a bloom of chocolate fat on the outside.

A very good 2008 to you, too, JULIE. I'm glad you enjoyed my posts and I look forward to the evolution of your blogs.

CARLEEN, I'm not sure what my favorite is yet. Some of these brands I have not had before. I'm tackling the chocolate slowly to appreciate it (and make it last longer).

SIDNEY, yes, it will make my goals more difficult too. But I'm viewing it as incentive to actually carry through on my exercise plans. I'm already exercising more.

cs harris said...

That's a lot of chocolate! All I got was one little chocolate Santa.

I put on TWENTY pounds in the 11 months after Katrina. What a shock. I've lost it all now, plus an extra 5. My goal for this year is to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight. We'll see...

Shauna Roberts said...

CANDICE, that's amazing you put on 20 pounds post-K, given how much manual labor you were doing. I'm inspired that you were able to lose it all and more. I hope I can do as well as you did.

virtual nexus said...

...sample of my recent reading habits on mine...J

Farrah Rochon said...

"Chocolate flows in deep dark, sweet waves, a river to ignite my mind and alert my senses." 


See, chocolate is needed for my creativity to take flight!

Enjoy all that great dark chocolate. Mmm...

ninthmuse (roz m) said...

Not a bad problem to have, as problems go. If you ever need relief from your chocolatey burdens, I humbly volunteer my services. It'll be a sacrifice...but for such a dear friend, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.


Shauna Roberts said...

What a selfless and loyal friend you are, ROZ! Thanks for the offer of help, but I believe I am up to the challenge.