William Tell Overture for Moms

I heard about this¬†from Manic¬†Mommies. It was something I got a good laugh out of…and I seriously needed it. Sharing it with all you moms out there…and those who have one.

Happy 1st Anniversary!

I just realized that the Cafe in the Woods has just completed its first year.

How about that? A full year of blogging. It doesn’t really feel like it. Seems like yesterday that I got this WordPress account and started writing. And in the time I started it, I did NaNoWRiMo, sold a couple of stories, poems, and essays, did a whole lot of book reviews, got my kid started on potty training, and I wrote a book. How’s that for productivity?

The whole idea of opening the Cafe was a place for me to share things. I didn’t want it to be a political forum or navel-gazing (though I’m pretty sure I had entries that came close). I just wanted this to be a place to talk about the craft of writing and the craft of motherhood. And the occasional rant when the crafts appear to take on leaks. And it looks like I’ve succeeded.

But I also want this to be for your benefit as well. Blogs are nice for vent, but really great blogs give their readers something to think about, entertain them, give them a chance to commiserate or give advice. So here’s some questions to all the readers who come to the Cafe, both the regulars and those who stop in on their way to someplace else: is there anything else you would like to see here at the Cafe? Are the entries too long? Too short? Would you like to read more about the writing life? Perhaps see more links to writing articles? Does the motherhood entries clash with the writing? Do you want to see more motherhood stuff? Less? Are you completely sick of Daniel? How can you be sick of Daniel? Look at him! He’s cute! Look at those curls…that impish smile…those pudgy cheeks. You can’t be sick of him! In fact, I’m going to to have more of Daniel! More, More, MORE! I’ll saturate these pages and–

Whoops. Got a little carried away there.

Anyhoo, thank you so much for coming to the Cafe. It’s been a wonderful year, and I’m looking forward to what the next year will hold. Thank you for all your comments and emails, and feel free to let others know of this place. We’re always open.


Odds, Ends…and another blow to the fantasy community (RIP Robert Jordan)

It’s been quiet at the Cafe. Real quiet. It’s not that anything’s happening. On the contrary…there’s a lot.

I’ve been spending most of my time working on an article that I want to get out by the end of this week. It’s taken up quite a bit of time, but it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for years (and if it gets accepted, I’d be most pleased.)

Just a heads up for everyone, I got another story coming out in October! Kaleidotrope is going to print “Click” in the 3rd volume, which will make this the first story I’ve ever had in a print magazine. What’s even neater, according to the Table of Contents, it looks like “Click” is the first story. I am stoked, to say the least. Go check it Kaleidotrope! More details coming soon on that.

And finally, it looks like another fantasy writer has passed away. Robert Jordan died yesterday due to complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy. Normally, I’d just wait until the official news announces it, but the news comes from Jordan’s official website, Dragonmount.com, as well as Slashdot.

I stopped reading his Wheel of Time series around the fifth book, but I still consider Jordan among the few fantasy authors who deeply influenced me as a writer. It is truly sad, considering that he was working on the very last book in the series. With Madeline L’Engle’s death only a week past, it is truly shaping up to be a sad month for the fantasy community.

Rest in Peace, Robert Jordan. I’m tugging my dreadlocks in remembrance of you.

Madeline L’Engle, what’s it like to tesseract?


Long ago, when I still worked as a secretary, I was feeling pretty blue about not writing. Then I picked up Madeline L’Engle’s book “Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art.”

It didn’t exactly transform my life. But I do know this book rewoke the spark of creativity within me. I knew then that I wanted to write again, really wanted to write. I just needed to find out how. And a year after reading it, I wrote my first poem in years.

Immediately after I finished the book, I really wanted to express my feelings to Ms. L’Engle. I wanted to tell her how she inspired me, how I read her books when I was a kid, how reading WoW made me realize that I can be a Christian and still write good stories. I even started writing an email to her. But then I went onto her website and saw that she was having health problems, and that she was only taking letters. So I planned to write her a letter. Soon.

I put the book back on the shelf. And promptly forgot about it.

That letter will never be written now. Aside from the usual feelings of loss that occurs when a favorite author dies, I also feel deep regret. All these years, I could have connected with a fellow writer. Granted, I don’t know how sick she was, if she would have gotten around to reading my letter or not, but at least I would have been able to talk to her, writer to writer. But back then, I didn’t know the value of the written word. I thought I did. I really did.

But thinking about writing and actually doing writing are two separate things.

I suppose I could go the existential route. Write a letter to her and burn it, which, in my opinion, will accomplish nothing. Honestly, do you think Madeline’s going to care about anything down here on earth. Right now, she’s living her books; she’s tesseracting all over the place. She’s sitting at the feet of God. What’s a burnt letter from a fan going to do for her? It’s idolatry, something she would never, ever, condone.

So how do I rid myself of this regret?

I keep doing what I’m doing now. I write. But I also will write to authors who influence me–let them know their works made me think or inspired me. For so long, I’ve put authors up on a pedestal along with celebrities and stars. Unapproachable, and therefore unattainable. That’s kind of like idolatry too. Writers are simply people with stories to share. And they really like hearing back from readers. At least, most of them do.

Rest in Peace, Ms. L’Engle. Your books were such a great inspiration to me. I know one day we’ll meet in heaven, and I’m sure that we will have a lot to talk about.

Big boy, Big pants, Big Bed, Big Yikes!

So you’re probably wondering why you haven’t heard much about the potty training in our household. I decided to start over again around the end of May, and, aside from the human sprinkler incident, I don’t think I’ve written about it since.

To be honest, there’s really not much to talk about.

Daniel’s got the peeing part down pat. The drama I went through around this time last year just isn’t surfacing at all. Many times, he wakes up in the morning dry. I know pretty much by schedule now when he has to go (usually after lunch). Granted, he’s got the bladder of a camel, but my hubby stresses out over that more than I do (“Do you need to go potty? How bout now? Now? Okay, go potty now!).

I think I’m more relaxed about it because, well, we go through the same schedule every day. I can recognize when he really does have to go–usually when he starts running around the house, not in a ‘I’m running just to have fun’ way, but more in a compulsive, ‘Something’s wrong and if I run around, maybe it will go away’. Don’t ask me how I can tell the difference between the two. I just know. (though with the latter, occasionally he makes a whimpering noise like a puppy.)

I’ve realized that my main goal now is not to make him go potty all the time, but to get him to recognize that when he has to go, he should go to the potty. So that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s nothing special. No big tricks. No huge drama. No stresses over “Whyyyyy isn’t he getting it? WHYYYYY?!?!” I’m just taking it slow.

It’s amazing what a huge difference it is when a kid is ready to potty-train.

Now granted, I didn’t say Daniel was potty-trained. When it comes to going number 2, he just doesn’t have a handle on it yet. He’d much rather wait until I put pull-ups on him and he takes his nap. Part of the reason is that for the longest time, he slept in a crib, so he wasn’t able to get out to do his business.

Well, as of yesterday, our boy is cribless. He now sleeps in a ‘big-boy’ bed.

He’s ready for it. I can tell. Granted, it’s made his naptimes pretty much non-existent (once he started climbing out of his crib, I’ve caught him several times playing when he should be napping). I even had to stop writing this blog a couple of times to go up and yell at him to quit stomping around in his new boots and lie down. But, you know, I’m not really going to push him to nap. The boy is free, now, free to do whatever he likes in what he’s beginning to see as his room. I want to teach him that there are times to run about, and there are times to be quiet (so Mommy can do her writing). And he’s learning. Just like he’s learning how to go potty.

So what if he doesn’t go poop yet. So what if he still needs the occasional verbal prodding to make him go. So many books make out potty-training that’s magically over in a day, perhaps a week. I’m finding that’s so not the case, at least not with Daniel. This will probably be a long-term thing, perhaps not fully being resolved until he’s four or so. And you know what? That’s cool.

Last week, for the first time, he wore his big boy underwear all day. Not one accident. Even his daddy was impressed. It means that our little toddler is well on his way to becoming a little boy. It’s nice to think that I have a hand in that–when he’s 20 years old and says, “Hold up, I gotta use the washroom,” I’ll grin, because I taught him how to do that. Makes me feel a little proud of myself.

Of course, I’m pretty sure that the next post about Daniel will have plenty of four-letter words along with some random, obscure, nonsense that would result from me banging my head against the keyboard. But that’s in the future. Let me revel in the now.

Oh. Wait. I hear stomping upstairs. Looks like the future is now.