For some reason I can add sidebars, but not new posts. Please check back later. I have been working on a variety of things including switching my blog soon from this one, which was set up with my now-defunct West Wisconsin Telcom account. I hope to have my new blog through Gmail up soon. I will provide a link and announcement when I've got everything straight. 7/2/11

Monday, March 31, 2008

Grant writing series is wrapped up for the nonce

I’ve finished the grant writing series until something or someone triggers more thoughts. You can find the series, which is best read consecutively, in the postings for the following days in 2008: 1/14, 1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/12, 2/19, 2/27, 3/4, 3/11, and 3/18. Good luck, and feel free to either post questions or email me.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Settling into my new office

All my new hardware and software are now installed. I love having two screens. I can write in my document on one while I research on the other. My printer is smarter than I am since it can copy, scan or fax—I haven’t figured out yet how to get it to do anything other than copy, but I’m optimistic that somewhere in the huge User Manual I’ll uncover the secret.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Recently read: Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz: the Nazi Assault on Humanity

This book, a memoir, is terrifying to read for its insight into the unspeakable horrors humanity is capable of doing. Levi was a young man in 1943, a Jew living in his native Italy where he was a chemist. Deported by the fascists, he was sent to Auschwitz. The book is short, but powerful, as we read his recounting of life there. He does not rely on flowery prose, nor loaded words—he doesn’t need to. His writing is almost matter-of-fact as he describes the daily routine, the bartering of goods and services to survive, the hierarchy of the prisoners, the guards, the new arrivals, and the disappearances. After the war ended, Levi returned to his home town of Turin, where he spent the rest of his life as a writer, as well as returning to his original career as a chemist. The edition I read ends with a 1986 interview (the year before he died) with Levi by Phillip Roth, which provides additional insight at the distance of more than 50 years.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater

Photo courtesy of the Mabel Tainter Center for the Performing Arts
One of the many things I like about the area I live—indeed, one of the reasons I decided to move here—is the splendid Mabel Tainter Memorial Theater in Menomonie ( ). It was recently restored to its original Victorian beauty, as well as being brought up to code and accessibility standards. Its director, Gary Schuster, is the perfect caretaker of this vibrant facility. I met with him this winter, and his enthusiasm is infectious (even when, like me, you’re already a Tainter-lover). Here is the link to my article I wrote for the online magazine, Victoriana
I’m working on a series of queries to other magazines, as well as articles, and will post links as published.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Back online

My new system is up and operating, but it will take me awhile to get familiar with all the new icons and how to find everything. The important thing is that I can again update the puzzle!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Computer transition

Charles Babbage (1791-1871) is credited with inventing the computer prototype.

I will soon be in computer-withdrawal, as my old one goes to spend the day at the service center to have its files transferred to my new one. Once all the mysterious things are done to my new one, the Tech Guy will come out to install everything, including my scanner and my printer. There will be some periods this week where I won’t have access to any computer at all—yikes! How in the world will I handle that? I’ll be posting and updating as often as I can during this transition phase. Stay tuned and check in again throughout the week.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Easter and spring images from my favorite source for collage materials:

Whatever your faith, I hope you are able to spend some time with friends, family, and food today.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What worked; what didn’t

Sharpie is doing what always works for him: lolling in the sun

What worked for me this week were:
  • Spending time with good friends
  • Starting a class to learn Blackboard, a common online teaching system so that I can branch out from face-to-face instruction
  • Having two article assignments that really interest me (more on those when they’re published)
  • Resuming my strength-training program
  • Holding off this week on resuming belly-dancing and Nia to ensure my ankle is fully healed
  • Using my new Olympus VN-4100PC recorder at my interviews

What didn’t work this week were:

  • Not following an eating plan to reduce calorie intake
  • Getting lost on my way to an interview for an article (hint: if you are going to Chippewa Falls, Hwy 178 now runs with Seymour Cray Sr. Blvd, and the old Hwy 178 is now Commercial Parkway—Internet mapping doesn’t know this)
  • Not doing any fiction writing
  • Not doing any research on literary agents
  • Continuing to procrastinate on tax preparation

To do this analysis for yourself, remember to begin with “what worked.” It may be hard to think of a couple, but keep going—you’ll think of something that worked, even on those days where it seemed nothing went right.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Recently read: Lee Child’s Echo Burning

I have said before that I like Child’s books, even if they are mass market. This one picks up from the previous one, and we rejoin Jack Reacher as he is on the run and headed west. As he hitches a ride from a pretty woman (Jack, Jack, you never learn.), he becomes caught up in the mystery surrounding her. A Texas town, a good-old-boy network, and plenty of action and danger make this one of Child’s typical page-turners. I’m a fast reader, but I went through this in record time. I just couldn’t put it down.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Inspiration from web links Part 3

These images of old advertisements are from As always, to see post images in detail, click to enlarge.

Check out the blog spot Paris Breakfasts at This is a blog by a photographer and watercolorist, Carol Gillott. As she states in her blog, she “paints Paris dreams.” Join her daily as she lusts after chocolate, pastries, miniature items, and glorious stores in her wanderings through New York and Paris. Hmmm, there seems to be a French theme running through my interests these days. . .

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Writing the grant

When it comes time to write the grant, follow these basic steps to help your grant be more persuasive and professional:

  1. Write a traditional outline. Some granting agencies will require a specific order. Be sure you follow it, if they do. If they don’t, be sure you create a good outline that has a logical sequence, and appropriate transitions.

  2. Take the traditional outline and expand it into a writing outline. Note facts to include, points to make, references to include, etc. This should also help you see where you need to spend more thinking time. For example, as you fill in details, are there holes? Is your rationale convincing? How credible is your budget? Is it clear from your writing who will benefit from your grant?

  3. Talk to others, either at work or in your field. Ask them what’s missing, what’s weak, and how well you have convinced them of your project’s worth.
  4. Ideally, once you have a draft that you’re satisfied with, let it sit for a while before you submit it. Even letting it rest overnight will help.

  5. Then, read it again—out loud. Fix anything you don’t like now, and ship ‘er out!

Monday, March 17, 2008

April workshops, fellowships and contests

This may be St. Patrick’s Day, but even though it’s still March, it’s time to start looking ahead to April’s opportunities. I’ve added contests and events to The Money Corner (scroll down my blog). I’ll be adding more over the next few weeks. Be sure to keep an eye open. Contests are a great way to keep yourself writing. At the moment, I’ve got short stories submitted to two contests. One thing I’ve learned is to keep sending work out—don’t wait to hear about a submission first!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Ides of March

Nowadays, we all know about the Ides of March. This is because of Shakespeare’s famous line from his play, Julius Caesar. In fact, the Roman calendar included Ides for every month. In March, May, July and October, the Ides were on the 15th. In the other months, the Ides were on the 13th. And this year, some cities, like Minneapolis, have switched St. Patrick’s Day to the Ides. This is only temporary, though. Can’t have a parade tie up traffic on Monday!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Recently read: Rice Freeman-Zachery’s Living the Creative Life

This is a lovely little book that is as inspiring to just stare at as it is to read. Freeman-Zachery has gathered together wisdom and artwork from more than a dozen artists who represent visual art ranging from beadwork to bookbinding to sculpture. Together they take the reader through discussions such as “What is creativity anyway?” and how to set up your work space. There is practical advice on marketing and commissions, as well as “Try This” suggestions in every chapter. Beautifully printed, each page is a work of art in and of itself. This book should be on all creative people’s bookshelves.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Try your hand at six-word memoirs

Alice’s six-word memoir could be “Falling down hole changed life forever.”

My online Wisconsin Public Radio newsletter the other day had a great article about a recent Talk of the Nation show that I had missed. Using EXACTLY six words, write your life story. Apparently this originated with the online magazine, Smith. I, of course, tried my hand:

  • Writer keeps wandering off the trail

  • Woman writer seeking meaning and money

  • Too many interesting paths to follow

  • Dancing with words but can’t sing

  • When am I really grown up?

Go to either the Smith site at or the NPR website to find samples—many are hilarious, some are poignant, and some are puzzling.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grant instructions help you get the grant

Funding agencies all have instructions for applying for their grants. Some are very detailed; some are fairly broad. Regardless, you must follow the agency’s instructions carefully. If you don’t, chances are good that you won’t get the money. In addition, many of the larger agencies, both private and public sectors, have documents on how to write grants as well as application instructions. Again, I recommend that you read these documents and follow their advice. These how-to documents are excellent resources. Even if you’re not applying to that agency, the information helps you write any grant.

Monday, March 10, 2008

It’s time for the 77th Annual Writers’ Digest Writing Competition

Wow, 77 years! Writers’ Digest continues to be one of the mainstays for writers, with its monthly magazine, writing workshops, publishing company and contests. I’m not sure that I’ll have something sufficiently polished in time for the May 15 deadline, but who knows? There are 10 categories with tons of prizes including having an editor escort you around to various agents. Go to for all the details. Entering contests is an excellent way to keep yourself on track with your writing goals. And let’s face it, there aren’t that many markets for things like short stories and poems. Over the years I’ve submitted several short stories to the Writers’ Digest Writing Competition and never even placed 100th! When I read the winning ones, I am always so impressed with how excellent each one is. And I return to the keyboard inspired.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Recently read: Leonardo Padura Fuentes’ Adios Hemingway

This is the first book I’ve read by this award-winning Cuban author. It combines ALL my favorite things: a detective with problems, exotic locale (Havana, Cuba), excellent plot, and dipping back into history where Hemingway himself wanders around. Just doesn’t get better than that. Ex-policeman Mario Conde comes briefly out of retirement, where he’s been pretending to be a writer and is in reality a drunk, to investigate the discovery of a 40-year dead body in the grounds of Ernest Hemingway’s house (now a museum). We follow Conde as he struggles with memories of Hemingway, traces the great man’s steps, and reflects on truth, justice, and the Cuban way. Well worth reading. I’m going to track down more of Fuentes’ books.

Computer breakdown

Yesterday I was, as they say in Texas, fixin' to change the puzzle and to post the weekly book review, when my computer crashed. Yikes. I'd been meaning to back things up . . . Fortunately, Jessie at our full-service computer shop/phone company got the system up and running ( ). And, as long as we were there, Carl and I stopped postponing the purchase of new hardware and software. So next week we'll have new everything--as well as a double hard drive and external back-up drive.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

March 6: National Frozen Food Day

Clarence Birdseye founded the frozen food industry and established his company in 1922.

Yep, pop that bag of frozen veggies in your microwave and do your patriotic duty this Thursday! Congress, in Senate Joint Resolution 193, designated March 6, 1984 as “Frozen Food Day.” President Ronald Reagan, in Proclamation #5157, proclaimed it to be a national day of recognition and celebration. I must say I haven’t seen any Frozen Food Day cards in my local stores, but you can rustle up a custom e-card to send to your friends and family. And be sure to eat some ice cream in honor of the day.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Which granting agency will be the perfect fit for your project?

Once you’ve identified potential granting agencies and sources (hopefully you’ve found a number of them), now you need to figure which one(s) will be the perfect fit with your project. For example, years ago I served on the board of directors of Kanopy Dance & Theater Project in Madison. I wrote a grant that netted Kanopy funding that doubled their income for the year. It was because Kanopy’s emphasis on the theater arts for children and their proposed project of providing venues for disadvantaged children to participate in dance and theater performances was exactly in line with the county agency's vision and mission. If Kanopy’s proposed project had been for adults instead of children, it would not have been a good match. Take a look at the agency’s goals, vision statement, mission, and anything else that is public information. Most granting agencies, whether private or public sector, will clearly state the types of projects they want to fund. Don’t waste your time and theirs by applying for a grant for a project that is out of sync with the agency's mission.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Every Monday matters

I couldn’t agree more with the premise of this web site. Everyone matters. Take a step to make a difference now and another step every Monday (and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and . . .). For ideas, check it out at

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Put that diet on hold until your physical cycle is positive.

I’ve added yet another task to my morning routine: checking my biorhythm for the day. Biorhythms are biological cycles. The three main ones are physical, intellectual, and emotional. When you are in the positive phase of a cycle, things work well. For example, when your intellectual cycle is up, you can plan effectively and your reactions will be appropriate. I’m going to give this a try. My physical cycle has been headed down into the negative phase, so I have cheerfully postponed my exercise program until it starts to head up! Here’s one of the many sites on the web that calculate your biorhythms. Just enter your birth date: