Monday, January 30, 2006

Taking a break from AW boards

Last September I joined an online writers group -
Writers can ask questions and learn about writing, bounce ideas off each other, critique each other's work and have fun online with games and chat (via postings).

I also found myself addicted to the site and I would spend up to six hours a day there. I still worked -- submitting magazine queries, working on a child's book or writing my novel -- but I always had the boards on in the background. And, I found myself taking more and more breaks to go in and check it out. It was the first thing I did in the morning and the last thing I did before going to bed.

So, last week, after being assigned 15 new stories -- I decided it was a good time to take a break from the boards. I told myself I could only go in once a week -- which I did Sunday and only for about an hour.

The first three days were the hardest. But on the fourth day, I found that I could make it through an 8-hour day with minimal withdrawal symptoms. :-)

I haven't missed it too much, but I've been really busy with my new assignments. I spent a six-hour day last week getting organized, setting up interviews and taking a drive to visit a few farmers. I've since interviewed a cotton grower and a dairyman and I have a few more interviews set up for this week. (Among other things, I'm writing about the top 10 agriculture commodities in my county.)

I miss you, my AW friends -- and I'll come back soon. But for now, I'm doing what I love the most -- I'm writing.

January 30: AW Monday Meme #7

AW Monday Meme #7Today's little quiz is about computers and you.

1. Do you remember the first computer you ever used? If so, tell us what you remember and why you were using it.
My first computer was in 1983 and it was a Commodore 64. I mainly used it to write stories and to play some neat "Olympic" games. It contained a program that I loved where you could be an olympian athlete - you pick the sport and the nation and compete against the computer for the gold, silver or bronze. It also had National Anthems for many countries. One could ski, swim, participate in skeet shooting...the list was endless. And it was such fun and a big hit with my family. I remember hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings and everyone would gather around the "computer" and play games or just check it out. We sold it several years later when we got a "real" computer. And I missed it so much. I kept wishing we had kept it.

2. Do you remember the first computer you ever bought for yourself? What was it - if you know details like how much memory it had or anything funny about it, share!
We got a 486 computer from Office Max in Fresno. It had a 100 mb harddrive and 1 mb of RAM. We used it in our business. But it soon was almost worthless. It didn't take long for us to fill it to the max and everything suddenly was in super-slow motion.

3. What kind of computer are you using right now? Any particular story about you and your computer experience you can share?
Believe it or not, we have five computers at home and one at the office. All three of my daughters have computers, I have a 3 ghz computer running windows XP and a 200 gb harddrive with a dvd and cd burner. I love my computer. My girls have similar ones. Also, I have a Dell Inspiron 2.8 ghz laptop and two BlackBerry's, 7290. (pda) which I have sync'd to my online calendar and to my computer address book. I can't imagine life without it.

4. Is there one thing about having a computer that is particularly important in your personal history? Something you wouldn't have done or known unless you had a computer? Some big change having one made in your life? - for example, I (Dawno) met my SO 15 years ago because I bought a Commodore128 that had a floppy disk in it for an online service called Q-Link. We would never have met if I'd bought a different computer.
Wow. You would have to go and ask, didn't you? Some time ago - and I do mean a long time ago - like 11 years ago -  I had a dear friend from church who had moved to Holland. I decided to "look" for him. I went online (Compuserve) and never found him - but, I did find the Netherlands forum. And it was not long before I had lots of Dutch friends and they started inviting me to, I bought me a ticket to Holland, left my three babies behind and left. I was 32 at the time. I guess none of that would have happened if I didn't have the one office computer.  I made some wonderful friends and have had five different people from Holland come to visit me.

Monday: January 23: AW Monday Meme #6

I just realized that I never did last Monday's (1/23) Meme. Shame on me. Well, better late than never. Here it is.

AW Monday Meme #6
Recipe Meme

Open your refrigerator. What is the first item on the left at the front of the 'fridge on the top shelf.

Open the food cupboard closest to the stove. What is the first food item on the right on the bottom shelf (you may go up a shelf if your bottom shelf holds pet food or non-food stuff)

Find online or create for us from your imagination, a recipe using those two things as primary ingredients.

OK - I found I had two grilled chicken breasts on the top shelf to the left. And, the cupboard closest to my stove (which normally only holds spices and cans of kitty food) ended up having a jar of peanut butter. I knew instantly what I could make (mole) but I googled anyway. And I was shocked. I found one site that had 225 recipes calling for chicken and peanut butter as the main ingredients.

You can find this recipe: HERE


2 1/2 lb. boneless chicken breasts
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tsp. coriander
4 tsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. shoyu
4 tsp. ginger, chopped
2 tbsp. lime juice
6 tbsp. oil
1/4 c. fresh coriander, chopped (for garnish)
Mix marinade ingredients. Cut chicken into 1 1/2-2 inch cubes. Add to mixture and marinate at least two hours.
Chicken Satay:
Thread chicken pieces onto one end of satay sticks. Broil or much better, barbecue, baste with marinade. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.
Peanut Sauce:
1 c. chunky peanut butter
1-2 tsp. hot chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 c. lime juice
1/4 c. shoyu
1/2 c. peanut oil
Mix ingredients together. Should have a sweet/hot peanut flavor. Taste and adjust ingredients accordingly.
Submitted by: Laura Bryan

So, there you have it. Next time I want to say "There is nothing to eat" -- I'll look at my available ingredients and then google a recipe and viola! I'll come up with a creation that will fascinate my family. Thanks Dawno!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

January 18: Last of this and that

Was one of my goals for the New Year to blog more often? I can't remember or maybe I am trying to -- conveniently -- not remember.

But something happened - I got tagged. So, now I have no choice but to blog today.

AW Monday Meme : I was tagged by:

Dawno picked up a meme at Halspacejock’s site for this week’s jogging of our brains. Here it is.

Last Live Music Show Seen: CCR Revisited - February 2005. It was great. I love Creedence Clearwater Revival music. Proud Mary, Susie Q, Down on the Corner -- to name just a few. I had fun. It was a good show.

Last CD Purchased: Garth Brooks "The Limited Series" six-disc boxed - Christmas 2005

Last Thing Cooked: Chili Verde and Mexican rice and beans for the family. And I didn't even taste it. I heard it was delicious. I'm coming up to my 30th reunion and am on a diet involving tuna, steamed rice, vegetables or salad. And I've done great on it. I ate that while everyone else had the chili verde. I was so proud of myself. And I've lost six pounds this week.

Last New Thing Eaten: nothing new and not much lately - have been on tuna for two weeks. (though I do get to eat a treat now and then. Yesterday I had a coconut pattie - delicious!)

Last Thing Bought: A beautiful heirloom-quality chenille bedspread. I LOVE it. There is this little thrift store in town called "Rescued Treasures" and I like to browse in there every now and then. I saw it and grabbed it! It is in excellent condition. was only $10.00 I could not believe my eyes! I took it to be cleaned and it now graces my antique wrought-iron bed.

Last Gift Received: The book: "Make a Real Living as a Freelance Writer" by Jenna Glatzer. It was supposed to have been a Christmas present but it arrived late. I love it!

Last Piece of Clothing Bought or Received as a Gift: Five very nice sweaters from one of my favorite stores at the mall. I rarely shop there, only on special occasions. Unfortunately, going out of business so everything was 70-80 percent off.

Last Embarrassing Experience: I like to sing in my car. I was really going at it, holding up my cellphone and pretending that the antenna to it was my microphone, when I glanced over and the car next to me was watching and the people inside laughing at me.

Last Totally New Experience: Sadly, I can not think of anything. That means I need to get out there and try something totally new!

Last Foreign Country Visited, if any: I've been to Canada, Mexico and through Europe but the last foreign trip was to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I loved the cobblestone streets and especially Yelapa.

Last Big Achievement: Writing. Having my story accepted for the anthology "Stories of Strength" -- which really motivated me -- I've been working on a novel and I've submitted five magazine queries this month - I'm very proud of that.

For this meme I'll tag: I'm tagging Frank and, if she is still around, Lady of Prose (If you are reading this: I have not been able to get on your blog site today)

Jan. 18: Return to Meme No. 4

The original entry here was a duplicate - which has been removed. But there was no sense in leaving this blog blank. So, I came back in to fill it with one of the Monday memes that I had missed.

AW Meme No. 4 - The first one of 2006

1. What is your most hated and dreaded household chore. Why? Cleaning out the refrigerator. No matter how hard I try, things always get lost in there and about once a month, I'll find little containers with white fuzzy growth inside. I would rather do anything, except clean the fridge.

2. Do you ever drink out of the beverage container or always pour a glass? Always from a glass or cup. I have never in my life taken a sip from the container unless it was a personal container (bottled water, soda, etc.) Though...I don't mind sipping from same bottled water, etc. as my girls.

3. Over the counter pain relief: Asprin, acetominiphen or ibuprophen? (if those aren't your options, what are?) I take ibuprophen and acetominophen

4. What was the first car (or motorcycle if that's the case) you bought for yourself? I started working at the hospital and had no car - so I bought myself a (yellow) moped. I loved it. I then saved up some money and three months later, put a down payment on a little car - cute little yellow thing. It was a Mercury Capri Rally Sport - very cute and sporty.

5. It's a lovely, sunny weekend day. What would you go do if you could do whatever you wanted to do (within your usual means). I would take a drive up to Horse Creek near the lake and take a hike up the river to my favorite water pool. It's so gorgeous - and so quiet. Just have to watch out for rattle snakes.

6. Name your favorite board game. My mom loves Aggravation. I'm not much into board games, but I play it with her every time I see her. It means a lot to her and I enjoy visiting with her while we play.

7. How many blankets do you sleep under and how many pillows do you use? One pillow - all the others get removed from the bed. I sleep under one blanket and I must have my sateen sheets. Without them, I can't sleep well.

8. How many pets and of what type do you currently live with? You may name them if you wish. Four dogs, two cats (all neutered and spayed) and one hamster

9. Biggest grammar peeve. Nothing really bothers me.

10. Favorite flower or other plant, should you not be into flowers. I love vines and morning glories. I love tulips, daffadils and hyacinths (Spring flowers) I couldn't have just one favorite.

I'm not tagging anyone because this already passed.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jan. 3: Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!
It seems that with each passing year, time speeds up and zooms by me - and I, literally, don't know where the year goes. That was not the case this year. This was my debut freelancing year - and I loved it. It was a productive year.

Some of my writing accomplishments for 2005
  • finally left my newspaper job to pursue other writing endeavors (but I miss the newspaper so much)
  • finally said "no" to being secretary and a board member for baseball booster club (after 7 yrs)
  • wrote a short story for anthology Stories of Strength - my first published story
  • learned a lot about book promotion (this will come in handy with my next book)
  • finished a manuscript and mailed it off
  • finished a childrens' book and mailed it off
  • recorded a commercial for Bakersfield Californian newspaper/magazine - and got paid very well for it. (fluke thing too - I was speaking with someone about a writing assignment and the person on the phone said I had a great voice and before I knew it, one thing led to another)
  • debut Nanowrimo - I didn't make it to 50k because of other commitments and my freelance assignments - but I did start a new novel and I love it and can't wait to finish it
  • joined AW - best thing I ever did (and I made some awesome friends along the way)
  • I registered my name
  • started my own website
  • started this blog
  • took an online journalism class
I'm sure there's other things - but these are the ones that stand out.

New goals for 2006?
I will work on my novel - finish it and polish it and begin looking for agent representation.
Submit two magazine queries a month
Complete two more Childrens' books
Continue to freelance
Attend my first Writers Workshop

There are personal goals too - but I left those out and concentrated only on writing goals.