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Unusual times, remarkable places

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

26 June 2008

A nameless meme

I’m behind blogging this week (and behind in visiting blogs as well, in case you were puzzled why I was suddenly so quiet). I was wondering what I could write about quickly and without much effort. As if he read my mind, Steve Malley from Full Throttle and F**k It tagged me for a meme. Thanks again, Steve.

Now, onto the meme!

What were you doing 10 years ago?

My book The Commonsense Guide to Weight Loss for People with Diabetes (co-authored with Barbara C. Hansen and published by the American Diabetes Association) had come out in April 1998, and I was still celebrating.

I was also still catching up on chores (such as balancing checkbooks and opening nonurgent mail) that I hadn’t done while working seven days a week for nine months to get that book turned in by its July 1997 deadline.

I was living in New Orleans with my current husband and two cats. Writing fiction was still a dream for the future.

Five things on your to-do list for today

  • exercise
  • blog
  • contact the person who is taking over a current client’s job and introduce myself
  • polish a column due to a client on 1 July
  • work on novel
  • refill bird feeder
  • change cat litter
  • catch up on other people’s blogs for the past week

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

  • The first thing I’d do is give up my nonfiction writing and editing jobs and focus solely on fiction writing.
  • Second, I’d set up trust funds for college and grad school for all of my nieces and nephews.
  • Third, I’d pay landscapers to design and install a beautiful pleasure garden with fountains and exotic plants and secret rooms in our yard.
  • Fourth, I’d set aside some money for travel and retirement.
  • Fifth, with the $990,000,000+ I’d have left, I would help rebuild New Orleans.

What are three of your bad habits?

  • I’m a messy cook. I’m real glad I don’t have to clean up after me. (Sorry, Dave, that you do.)
  • I don’t keep my office straightened up, so I often can’t find things I need.
  • Because of my allergies, I blow my nose often and loudly.

What are some snacks you enjoy?

  • Nestlé Sno-Caps and other non-pareils
  • Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • M&Ms
  • Nestlé Dark Chocolate Raisinets
  • chocolate-chip cookies
  • ice cream with chocolate chips on top
  • brownies
(Perhaps I should add a fourth bad habit to the list: eating too much chocolate)

What were the last five books you read?

  • Cold in the Light by Charles Gramlich (horror/sf). I don’t want to spoil the surprises by telling you the plot; I’ll just say this is beautifully written, has an original concept, and contains may twists and turns, so hurry to and order it.
  • The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn (romance). I had never read Julia Quinn before, but will from now on. I loved this light historical romance, and the structure and dialog were so perfect that I plan to buy another copy to mark up and study.
  • Only Begotten Daughter by James Morrow (sf). This classic work follows the career of Jesus’ modern-day sister, who struggles to divine (divine, get it?) her purpose in life while avoiding those who wish to exploit her gifts—or kill her for them.
  • Midnight Never Come by Marie Brennan (fantasy). Beneath the London of Queen Elizabeth I lies another royal court, that of the evil Queen Invidiana, who terrorizes the fae she rules and meddles in human affairs.
  • The Secret Adventures of Charlotte Brontë by Laura Joh Rowland (historical mystery). While in London on business, writer Charlotte Brontë witnesses the brutal murder of an acquaintance. When the police show little interest in solving the murder, Charlotte sets out to do it herself. This is Laura’s first mystery not set in Japan.

What are five jobs you have had?

  • drugstore clerk
  • worker in a military park
  • archaeologist
  • nanny
  • lizard caretaker
  • telephone operator
  • temp worker
  • magazine writer
  • freelancer writer and editor

What are five places where you have lived?

  • Beavercreek, OH
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Evanston, IL
  • Chicago, IL
  • Iowa City, IA
  • Washington, DC
  • Vienna, VA
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Riverside, CA

I tag the following people to continue the meme:
Rae Ann Parker
Farrah Rochon
Carleen Brice, the Pajama Gardener
Michele Cwiertny


Yogamum said...

All of those books sound great! My reading list is too long already...

Charles Gramlich said...

I've got to read Laura Joh's new one. I'm waiting for her to have a local signing so I can buy it.

Lizard wrangler? Interesting.

Thanks for the mention. Glad you liked "Cold in the Light." Glad you are OK as well. I was wondering where you'd gotten off to.

Steve Malley said...

Thanks for playing, Shauna. It's so nice to hear from you again!

And you've just given me a terrible craving for chocolate chip cookies and brownies...

Lana Gramlich said...

Sno-Caps! Gads, woman--you have reminded me of my Achilles heel! Now I must have Sno-Caps again...soon!
I want secret rooms, too! Perhaps places to hide my Sno-Caps!

Lisa said...

I keyed in on the lizard caretaker job too! I'm afraid of them and yet oddly fascinated by them at the same time. We stayed in a place in St. John once where there was a huge flowering bush just off of the deck and every morning it was covered with iguanas, who were there to eat the flowers. One morning I counted nearly 30 of them! They were huge and creepy and beautiful all at once!

Shauna Roberts said...

YOGAMUM, I've found that if I wait to buy a book, it sometimes has gone out of print. (Great rationalization for buying books when I already have plenty waiting to be read, huh?)

CHARLES, I think you'll be surprised with Laura's voice in the new book. It's perfect for the book, but so different from her voice in the Sano books. The lizards were the same beautiful little green lizards that live in Louisiana (Anolis carolinensis. I bred crickets and fruit flies for them to eat. One of the more fun jobs I've had. I've been well, but busy. I hope to visit blogs this weekend. You and Lana have had had some interesting titles on your posts, and I'm eager to see what they're about.

STEVE and LANA, sorry for passing my chocolate jones on to you. LANA, you're lucky they sell Sno-Caps in the Walgreens in La. About the only place I've found Sno-Caps here is at Blockbuster Video, which I don't get to often, so I'm often Sno-Cap-deprived.

LISA, I think you would like anoles. They're small and have sweet faces. They're also good for laughs. If you get too close to a male, he'll extend his red throat sac and do pushups to scare you off.

steve on the slow train said...

I've been tagged with this meme, but it's still in draft mode. We have Iowa City and a chocolate addiction in common. When did you live in the "Athens of the Midwest?"

I'd be a little worried if my wife referred to me as her "current husband." It sounds a little tentative.

P.S. My wife has gotten stuck with taking car of our daughter's gecko, but she isn't getting paid for it.

Shauna Roberts said...

STEVE, I lived in Iowa City from 1982 to 1986. We had a house on Dodge Street a block or two from the supermarket. I suppose right now with all the flooding, Iowa City is more like the "Atlantis of the Midwest" than the Athens.

Someone else who did this meme said that 10 years ago she was living with her former husband, which is why I wrote "current husband." Don't worry for him; I can't imagine ever leaving him.

My nephew got a leopard gecko last fall. I'm eager to see it because I've never had one.

Carleen Brice said...

Thanks for the tag, but I'm taking a break from blogging for a while. Happy summer!

Shauna Roberts said...

CARLEEN, I hope you heal quickly and fully and are able to work on your next book too during your break.

debra said...

Chocolate seems to be a recurring theme on the food front :-)

Shauna said...

Shauna!!! From one Shauna to another, you have given me now more books to add to my list also....what to do, what to do? It is growing and I feel I am letting down my precious authors who are waiting for me. lol
Thanks for the suggestions, you know I trust your book lists!

I, too, saw the lizard wrangler/caretaker/babysitter/nanny/ job! You have held some real doozies!

The pictures are great! We do have such varied creatures here, just keep your little babies inside at night! The coyotes have been making their ways further inland each year, fire after fire. We see so many displaced birds after any mountain fires such as Big Bear. Being right at the foot of the mountain, we see the effects on wildlife quite quickly. Really sad. And here we's fire season. Let's hope we don't have to endure anything big this year!

Take care dear lady....

Shauna Roberts said...

DEBRA, you've guessed my secret vice!

SHAUNA!!! I'm surprised everyone has zeroed in on the lizard care job. I thought people would be more surprised or interested in the archaeology jobs. I had not realized that the fires were driving the coyotes and other animals into human areas. We're surprised that the fires have started already this summer. Not a good sign, probably.

Shauna Roberts said...

SARAH, thanks for stopping by, and I'm glad you've been enjoying my blog.