A Quick Wintry Moment

Courtesy of my brother-in-laws (with a little help from my kid):


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Cafe!


Rats…I do sound like a white girl…

Hey, you wanna hear what my voice sounds like? Head on over to the I Should Be Writing website and download episode #81. In it, Mur plays my voice mail asking for advice for writing when you have little time to do it.

If you’re an inspiring writer, or even just thinking about writing, I highly suggest Mur’s podcast. She offers some great tips for beginning writers, and for those of us with a little more experience, she gives motivational talks and interviews with other writers in the same boat. She is also very knowledgeable about podcasting books, if you want to go through that route.

So go check it out!


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Free Your Mind! Throw it all Away!

Yesterday, I did something that I never thought I would do.

I threw my unfinished cross-stitch away.

It was a tree that I’ve been working on since I married my hubbie back in ’98. The one I had planned to cross-stitch the Serenity Prayer: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change things I can, and the wisdom to tell the difference. Well, I started working on it, and somehow, over the years, the stitches I counted didn’t match what was on the pattern. Slowly, my Serenity tree was mutating into a tree one would find in Dante’s hell.

I wouldn’t give up, though. I was determined to finish it, to at least make it “seem” like the picture. But as Daniel came into the picture, I brought out the cross-stitch less and less, until it simply sat there in the craft bin in my closet, pouting. Whenever I brought it out into the light on rare occasions, its jagged lines stared dolefully back at me. Why won’t you finish me? I’m leafless! Put some leaves on me! I’m cold and wolves are out to get me…

Pretty soon, I kept it buried so I wouldn’t hear its accusations.

In our quest now to purge everything in our house before we move to Madison, I unearthed the thing after it spent several years at the bottom of my craft bin. The canvas backing has turned a dull gray. The pattern I’ve worked from has split apart, and the floss is now hopelessly tangled into Medusa knots. I brought my cross-stitch out into the light, and I swear it hissed at me. And that was when I made the realization:

1) I cannot change the fact that I don’t have time to cross stitch anymore.
2) I can do something about it this cross-stitch though. I just need the courage to do it.
3) Wisdom is telling me to dump this in the trash.

So that is what I did.

It’s liberating. Suddenly, the guilt of not working on a craft is off my shoulders. I think I’m standing up a little straighter. My craft bin looks lighter too. All my knitting stuff looks so nice now that it no longer is sharing a cramped space. And I didn’t get rid of all my cross-stitch stuff. There’s a few patterns I kept which is nicely filed away in a drawer. I think there will come a time when I will do it again. Now is just not the time.

Tossing out things that you don’t need or use anymore. For some reason it felt…disturbingly…good.

Hmm. I wonder what else I can toss out of my life to make it lighter?

Ch-ch-ch-changes…of a Different Sort Altogether

So, as you read in my post on the Writer’s Block, it looks like we’re moving.

Quite a big change, huh?

I’ve been debating how much to put on the Cafe. This has been in the works for some time, which is why you haven’t seen me much here. On the flip side, things are still in flux, and I don’t know how much exactly I should divulge. Hmmm….

Let’s just say that the next couple of months are going to be extremely busy for me. There. That’s fair warning enough.

I’m not going to rehash the fears I wrote in the Writer’s Block post. I can say honestly that I can lay down the fear that I had about not writing. I still am. Granted, I don’t have huge blocks of time that I can spend on it, but I can spend a few minutes here and there to hash out a few things. Kind of like what I’m doing now. I’m taking a break from cleaning to work on this blog.

I’ve learned something interesting over the past few weeks: lack of time helps me to focus better on my stories.

I have to edit my stories bit by bit now, instead of in one large chunk of time. But that’s good. Instead of wrestling over a long passage and wasting my time staring out into space while I think, I can work on the passage in my head while I’m scrubbing the walls or the floor. I keep the story open on my laptop, so if a particularly good idea comes, I can take a break and work on the story a few sentences at a time. Time begins to work in my favor again. I no longer feel that things are rushing at me pell-mell. Well, okay, I do feel that–but at least I don’t feel that way when it comes to writing.

Looks like my break is over and I need to get back to cleaning downstairs. Let’s see how the next few weeks will pan out.

Posting up at the Writer’s Block

I just finished a blog entry for the Writer’s Block that gives a little insight on what’s been happening in my life as of late. Rather than copying it here, I’ll just give you the link to it there:


Lots of changes are in store for the next month or so. I’ll keep you posted as we make the change from dealing with the Windy City to becoming…uh…Cheeseheads.


Game Fun: The Asylum

How would you like to play psychiatrist to a bunch of cuddly, insane toys?


The Asylum is a nice timewaster of a flash game that is sweet and a little bit sad at times, but also an interesting glimpse into the world of psychiatry. You are presented with a choice of five stuffed animals that have their own psychosis:

Lilo: a hippo who can’t quite put her puzzle pieces together
Dolly: a sheep that barks?
Kroko: a crocodile with a fear of exposure
Sly: a snake too fascinated with its own tail
Dub: a turtle that won’t stop jumping rope

After you pick a toy animal, you take it into a room where you try different ways of curing it, from dream analysis to different types of therapies. Trying to help each toy can be emotionally wearing on the poor things at times . There is a bar at the top that shows green if the toy is making progress or red if they’re regressing into a psychotic state (and there are points where you need to resort to more drastic measures to get the bar back to green again). If you need help, just click on Professional Assistance, and it will give you a psychiatric view of the next step to take.

Each toy comes with its own unique, sad story that is moving to watch. You just want to hold the toys and squeeze them after you see what they’ve been through (and you can even buy a real plush copy of the toys). I really enjoy the game, so I’m sharing it as my link of the day. Have fun!