Saturday, December 17, 2011

Guest post from Donna Anastasi: The Gerbil Room

Today we have a guest blog from Donna Anastasi as part of her virtual book tour with Walker Author Tours for her book, Spin the Plate. Let's get a little insight on what this author does when she's not writing or working!

Donna Anastasi Guest Blog: The Gerbil Room

My day job is as an interaction designer with positions in recent years with some of the top “Fortune” companies like Fidelity in Boston, McKesson, and Liberty Mutual. My current job is with a growing company whose radio blast you’ve likely heard. I haven’t yet told them of my secret life: my life as a crazy gerbil lady. I got my first gerbils at this time of year in 1999, shortly after a car-totaling accident. I was on my way to an office Christmas party one evening. For some reason my husband couldn’t go. I was on my way to pick up a girlfriend who I worked with when a newly licensed 16-year-old with a car full of friends came to a T in the road and didn’t realize she had a stop sign and plowed into me. My car was spinning around and I got hit by the airbags. Before I slammed into the stone wall, I really thought that might be it.

About a week later, I was still in the woozy state of mind that follows that kind of accident. I took my two then young girls to a pet store and thought, hmmm…this might be a good time to get a couple. My husband was out of town, and why not? Why not just do the thing you want to do rather than throwing up excuses all the time on why it is you shouldn’t. I’d always wanted gerbils, so I let my girls pick out two. One for each. Over time we got more. We got a boy from a pet store who, with one of the girls, produced our first (very colorful) litter of babies. I was hooked. The next gerbil we got from Texas, bringing with him the gene for Siamese coloring (like a Siamese cat) into this part of the country.

Now I have many gerbils.

Most of my gerbils I’ve bred myself. My three or four favorites have taken years. I’ll see a gerbil in a book or a small animal show and then the image of that gerbil is seared in my mind. I’ve never taken a picture; I don’t need to. Then I’ll travel the country and mix the genetics needed for the entirely and jet black gerbil, the schimmel (orange tailed white) whose genes almost died out in the country, or the holy grail of gerbil: variegated, where the spotted extends through the body and tail and color gets mixed up into the white collar.

One thing that I like about the gerbils is that with a high-responsibility, demanding, stressful job. I find it relaxing to spend time with the gerbils. I also find as a full-time employee, mother, and wife there is always someone who wants my time. Have you ever seen in the grocery store those spring loaded milk or orange juice cartons – I don’t know why but that is what it makes me think of – no matter how many tasks you complete another follows right behind and snaps into place. So the secret is to throw in a few cartons of your own. Fill up the time because God knows if you try sitting quietly with a book or exhibit any other sign of perceived idleness, you will be hunted down within two to four minutes. But if you are “busy” with something, those around you wait for you to finish before hounding you. When I escape into the gerbil room, when I’m cleaning cages and playing with the babies, for some reason, no one seems to bother me. It is a place of quiet, no demands, a tiny joy-fix, a little magic. A room of my own.

See YouTube for a video blog - me in the gerbil room:

Thanks to Donna Anastasi for stopping by! Purchase your copy of Spin the Plate.

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