Showing posts from December, 2008

New Year's Eve at the Dashofys

Wishing you all a Happy New Year's Eve. To borrow that immortal line from Hill Street Blues, "Let's be careful out there." Please don't drink and drive.

The Dashofys will be spending New Year's Eve sleeping. I'm just not all that big on getting drunk and kissing everyone in the place at midnight. So we'll stay home, watch some movies on the new TV and be fast asleep when the ball drops.

Party animals, we are.

Before you head out to your assorted parties and festivities, check out today's Working Stiffs blog where I tell about my efforts to create my dream writers conference.

Looking back...

2008 is winding to a close.

Last year, I was thrilled to see 2007 (and 2006, for that matter) come crashing to an end. They’d both been crappy years.

2008 has had its challenges. Highs and lows. Mom started the year doing well, then dislocated her new hip for a fourth time, followed by more surgery and time in the Health Center. By Easter, she was home again and has only improved by leaps and bounds since then.

I did not complete a manuscript this year. A definite low. But not in the same category as losing family members. And I did have a few funerals to attend again this year.

Instead of completing the manuscript, I’ve been working on the Pennwriters Conference. Online registration opens January 2nd. That’s a huge, momentous occasion for all of us involved in this task. But it is neither the beginning nor the end. It’s just a milestone among many others.

Skye is fat and sassy and rules the house with an iron paw. Nothing new there. But all good.

My biggest accomplishment this year was los…

What Day is It?

The problem with Christmas falling on a Thursday is that now I don’t know what day it is. Wednesday was Friday. Thursday was Sunday. Yesterday? I don’t know what yesterday was. I’m not sure about today either.

Besides the confusion over the day of the week, I’m confused over time of the year. A few days back, it was three degrees in the morning and didn’t climb out of the teens. Today, it’s 66 degrees outside, flirting with 70.

Is it any wonder I’m confused?

At least the heat wave has given me an opportunity to walk off some of those cookies.

And I may not know for sure what day of the week yesterday was, but Hubby and I took advantage of it and ventured out to buy our new TV. Just in time. The last few times we turned on the old one, we had to turn it on about ten times before it STAYED on.

Here’s a picture of the new set.

(Yeah, I'm still on an Alias Smith and Jones kick.)I find myself standing in front of it, just staring at it. Reminds me of getting new eye glasses and suddenly real…

Happy Holidays!

I was in the middle of writing a long post when I realized it was mostly a rehash of my previous post, but without the Alias Smith and Jones picture. So I'll just say I'm blogging over at Working Stiffs today.

And Happy Holidays!

Mental Health Day

I tend to get cranky when I don’t write for more than a few days. And I mean “write” as in creating a story. Not just blogging or updating my Facebook status. Working on a nonfiction article will do in a pinch, especially if it’s one that might produce income and therefore support my writing habit.

Let me just say…I’M CRANKY.

I put the novel on hold a couple of weeks ago so that I could work on the short story that’s due the end of February. Then I had to put the short story on hold to spend all my computer hours working on the 2009 Pennwriters Conference. I’m Conference Coordinator in case you’ve missed my earlier posts on the topic.

Registration opens January 2nd. That’s less than two weeks away. There is sooo much I wanted to have done by this point. None of it is. My list of agents and editors seems to be in constant flux. Someone drops out. Someone new offers to come. And I still have some voids in the editors department.

I wanted to have a fair grasp on workshops by now. I’m a bit m…


God, grant me patience. And HURRY.

I am heading out into Retail Hell this morning for one last assault. If the TV I want has come down in price, I’m bringing one home. If not, that particular Christmas gift may turn out to be an AFTER Christmas gift. I also need to pick up a one-year service Tracfone card for my mom. And perhaps a new phone, too. She tried calling me on hers yesterday and it sounded pretty bad.

And then there’s my regular shopping that I must do in the midst of the holiday shopping frenzy.

Patience. I need patience.

As if the shoppers IN the stores aren’t crazed enough, when they get into their cars in the parking lot, they become NASCAR drivers, racing to their next shopping stop. Bumper cars are fun at the amusement park. Not so much in the Giant Eagle lot.

Patience is also required here in the Office of the 2009 Pennwriters Conference Coordinator. I think I’ll have a sign made up with that on it for my door. Goodness knows there’s more conference work going on in here …

Working Stiffs Wednesday

In yesterday's post, I briefly mentioned working as a proctor for the firefighter's exam. I tell about the experience and my admiration for the profession over at Working Stiffs today.

More Parties

I had planned to post more pictures of more parties. But I left my camera at my friend Joyce’s house after the Sisters in Crime Christmas lunch she so graciously hosted. And I was not drinking. I don’t need to drink to suffer brain farts. Maybe drinking would help.

Probably not.

I even had a major brain fart with regards to which party was when this weekend. After spending all day Saturday working as a proctor for another civil service exam in Pittsburgh (see tomorrow’s Working Stiffs) and then doing some Christmas shopping at Mystery Lovers Bookshop, I returned home with dreams of a hot bath and a quiet evening at home.

“Aren’t you going to the party?” Hubby asked.

“That’s tomorrow,” I replied.

“No. It’s tonight.”

I double checked the online newsletter. “Crap,” I said.

So I did a quick make-up touch-up and changed into dressier duds and off we went to the Washington County Buckskinners Christmas Party. What I thought was party number three of the weekend, turned out to be party number one. …

Party Animal

I don’t run with a partying crowd. Usually, the only parties I attend are birthday parties for the grandnephews and grandnieces. But it’s THAT time of year again. Christmas Party Time!

Already, I’ve attended two. Both involved Pennwriters. Both involved book exchanges.

(Buy books for Christmas gifts this year! Better yet, buy them here.)

I was “in charge” of the first one. We hold it every year at Tambellini’s. The food is good and reasonably priced. And they don’t throw us out when we do our book exchange and swap. After you open your gift-wrapped book, you have the option to swap it for anything that’s already been opened. It’s all in good fun, but it has the potential to get rowdy.

I ended up with Dick Francis’ SILKS.

My friend Meredith Cohen organized the second one.

Bravo’s wisely stuck us back in a corner. We did the swap thing with the books at this one, too. I came away with Tana French’s Edgar Award Winner IN THE WOODS.

Let’s just say I’m very pleased with both new additions to my t…

Working Stiffs on Drugs Again

It's Wednesday, so it must be my day to blog over at Working Stiffs. This week, it's part two of my experience with Citizens' Police Academy's Narcotic Squad class. Come on over and check it out.

First Draft Doubts

The short story now consists of more than one sentence. It’s up to a whopping 375 words. And just about all of them suck.

Is there a writer out there who truly believes their first drafts contain even a glimmer of brilliance? Most of us…at least those I know…despise the words we put on the page during the draft stage. The only thing we despise more is a blank page. So I wrote a little over 300 lousy words yesterday. The page is no longer blank.

The short story came up at the end of the to-do list. After working on the conference. After blogging. After recording several months of gas receipts. Perhaps I should have worked on the short story first.

I usually like to do my creative writing first thing after breakfast, when the caffeine has kicked in. That seems to be when the creative energies are at high tide. But when I have an excessively long list of things I HAVE to do or NEED to do or SHOULD do, the writing always seems to get put off.

Maybe that’s why what I wrote yesterday is so awfu…

Housebound: Day Three

My car has not moved since Friday. I think it’s been about four years since the last time I haven’t had somewhere to go for three days in a row. I like it!

My house is reasonably clean. My office is reasonably tidy.

My short story consists of one sentence.

Oh, well, we can’t have everything.

Besides, the day isn’t over yet. I have already written my post for Wednesday’s Working Stiffs blog. I have some conference stuff to do. (I always have conference stuff to do. It’s like breathing. It’s just there.) I may be able to focus full attention on the short story for an hour at some point.

Weekend Chores

My appointment book is blank for the next three days. How did THAT happen? Oh, I have plenty to do. But nowhere to go.


I have high hopes of accomplishing things around here.

Remind me of that when Tuesday rolls around and all I’ve achieved is catching up on sleep and updating my status on Facebook.

As I write this, hubby has a major canning project going on in the kitchen. It involves meat, so this vegetarian is staying out of his way. But this afternoon I’ll have to clean up his mess. In the meantime, I can clean and de-clutter the rest of the house.

Actually, it will only LOOK like I’m cleaning and de-cluttering (and doing laundry). That is only a cover. What I REALLY will be doing is planning a new short story.

Months ago I signed up to submit to a new anthology being compiled by the Guppies (Great Un Published) of Sisters in Crime. I knew I’d be frazzled with the upcoming 2009 Pennwriters Conference (registration opens January 2nd!!!), but I also knew it was a wonderful opportunity…

Working Stiffs and the Narcotics Squad

I finally made up the one Citizens' Police Academy class I missed last time. The session on Pittsburgh's Narcotics Squad was fascinating and educational for this farm girl. I blog about it this week and next over at Working Stiffs.

Procrastinator at Work

It’s Monday. Hubby is off at the family’s hunting camp. Skye and I are enjoying a little solitude. And Skye is taking full advantage of extra bed space. How can one small cat fill up so much of a queen-sized bed? I’m not complaining. She’s warm. Having her lie across my legs is better than an electric blanket.

I have a long to-do list sitting in front of me. I’m as bad as the kid who waits to do her homework on the bus in the morning. Everything on my list must be done TODAY. Two items should have been done YESTERDAY. At some point, procrastination must come to an end.

Holidays always do this to me. Taking one day off to spend with family is acceptable. But it leaves a lingering sense of laziness. You need another day to recover from the food hangover. Saturday, I was a busy little bee, but what I was busy at was housecleaning. Hubby had left the building, so I quickly dusted and vacuumed with the thought it might stay this way for a few days.

Yesterday? I have no excuses. I SHOULD have …