Real conversation with my brother last night . . .
"You know mom and dad always said I couldn't get a mohawk because 'You live under our house and our rules and when you are 18 you can move out and do whatever you want to your hair.' Then I realized a few weeks ago, 'WHOA! I'm 23! I can go get that mohawk now!"

What is most confusing about all of this to me is that Andy had 18 12-inch liberty spikes in high school . . . living under my parent's roof . . . but is now excited that he can do what ever he wishes with his hair. WHAT?

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Simple Pleasures

I am realizing how I MUST MUST live in the "right now" of it all.
I must take joy and peace and pride in what is actually happening . . . actually right now.

Today . . .
Went to the library; saw lots of kids walking and riding bikes to get there . . . some came in with their helmets on.
Ate a crepe with wonderful blue cheese inside.
Helped an old man put a watermelon in his trunk . . . and then he pointed to his groin area and explained that he just had surgery.
Bought and arranged two beautiful bouquets of flowers.
Smiled as a I pulled out a beautiful yellow bowl from my cabinet to defrost chicken in.

Simple pleasures people . . . I have forgotten how much they soothe and feed and nourish and grow and heal . . . keep your eyes open . . . they are all around . . . and my attentiveness is just begining.

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Whatever you do today, look high and low . . . but open your eyes and find your folly whatever that might be.

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I love "three day reads" . . . it is so indulgent and satisfying.
This book stirred a place inside that I have grown out of touch with in the past few years. Perhaps it is because my one big pleasure has distracted me from small, simple pleasures. Or perhaps my heart has forgotten what brings me joy. But this book caused me to revisit the question, "what are the small pleasures that I find joy in? that i am reminded of God's love and of the joy available in this life."

some things that give me pleasure:
slow gut-filled music, cooking, watching people, laying in the grass, grazing used cd stores . . .

if you had a year of pleasures, what would you partake in?

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Dear Jake, The Answer is YES!

Yesterday, Jake asked, "Are there modern day ninjas?"
These are the quetions us singles and marrieds without kids have the leisure of asking as we lounge about on weekend mornings.

Yes Jake, yes there are modern day ninjas. Just look at this little guy:


Any other questions?

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Real Conversations @ The Haus

Herb: The NHL final game is on tonight. Can you make those fried buffalo yummy things!?!?!?
What were we calling those things?
Cara: I'm not sure.
Herb: Let's call them Stan.
Cara: I think we called them Buffalo Chicken Burritos.
Herb: Ummmm, STANLEY!!!

recipe for Stanley

***Disclaimer: I don't always cook with recipes. I make this one by intuition and actually have NO idea how much of each indgrediant you need. These are guesses.

2-3 large chicken breasts
6-8 low carb tortillas
1 8oz block cream cheese
1 cup mozzarella or Cheddar cheese
Frank's Hot Sauce - 'till it feels good! (i probably use 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
canola oil for fyin' (you can also spray with cooking spray and bake)
chunky blue cheese dressing for dippin'

boil chicken breasts, chop or shred up real good.
mix in bowl with cheeses and hot sauce.
scoop into tortillas and wrap tightly (no open ends)
fry in a pan until cheese is gooey and tortillas are cripy brown.

(green onions might also be tasty inside of Stanley. i might try that tonight. insert pat on back here.)

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wise girl lori chaffer

Alone Everybody
by Lori Chaffer and Don Chaffer

i am happiest when by myself
nobody’s hurts nobody’s helps
like a gun or bullet on a shelf
alone everybody’s fine

i’ve been playing little tricks on me
it’s fascinating what i’ll believe
then in circled stitches my mind weaves
alone everybody lies

i tell myself my life is pretty easy
i take a pill if i am ever queasy
i shut the door when it gets a little breezy
but people really baffle me

so i tiptoe around because it’s easier to fake it
try not to be loud, or emotionally naked.
i’ll agree to go out with my friends, but never make it
at least i keep my evenings free

if you want to try to shift the blame
think of how hard you try and all your pain
oh, there’s one amendment to the game
alone everybody cries

i’ve been thinking i could get along
i think i’m happy, i think i’m strong
but like my cactus when it’s dry too long
alone even cacti die
alone everybody’s fine
alone everybody lies
alone everybody cries

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Background Music

Inspired by ESueYoung.

Your Life: The Soundtrack
Opening credits:Beautiful - Nanci Griffith
Waking up:Sunrise - Norah Jones
Average day:Going in the Right Direction - Robert Randolph and the Family Band
First date:Creepin' In - Norah Jones
Falling in love:A Fine Romance - Billie Holliday
Love scene:Moonlight Kiss - Bapp Kennedy
Fight scene:Untouchable Face - Ani DiFranco
Breaking up:Wedding Day - Rosie Thomas
Getting back together:Pale Moon (We Belong Together) - Shannon McNally
Life's okay:Angry Anymore - Ani DiFranco
Mental breakdown:18 Bulletholes - Waterdeep
Driving:Powerless (Say What You Want) - Nelly Furtado
Learning a lesson:Bitter Root - Indigo Girls
Deep thought:Horn - Nick Drake
Flashback:This is Us - Emmylou Harris & Mark Knopfler
Partying:Rose Rouge - St. Germain
Happy dance:ABC - Jackson 5
Regreting:Beautiful Man - Lori McKenna
Long night alone:Save Me - Aimee Mann
Death scene:Dance Me To The End of Love - Madeleine Peyroux
Closing credits:Float On - Modest Mouse
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You've been totally Bzoink*d

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Bermuda, Bahama, Come on Pretty Mama

Herb planned our honeymoon and it was lovely.
Now it is my turn to plan a one year anniversary trip.
Does anyone have suggestions for a wonderful Caribbean Island get-a-way.

A few requirements:
- must be mild in temperature for my hot blooded hub-a-roo
- must be able to stay in somesort of over the top beach front open-air cabana (at least a night or two)
- rich culture (not too touristy - wouldn't mind if nobody spoke english - would LOVE if we were the only Americans around. that way herb wouldn't feel like he has to speak "fake german" to cover up for our sometimes embarrassing heritage.)
- good food
- snorkeling
- island dancing but not necessarily a huge, loud nightlife scene

Aruba Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
Bermuda Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo Montego baby why don't we go

Off the Florida Keys
There's a place called Kokomo
That's where you wanna go to get away from it all

Bodies in the sand
Tropical drink melting in your hand
We'll be falling in love
To the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo

Aruba Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

To Martinique, that Monserrat mystique

We'll put out to sea
And we'll perfect our chemistry
By and by we'll defy a little bit of gravity

Afternoon delight
Cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye
Give me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Port Au Prince I wanna catch a glimpse

Everybody knows
A little place like Kokomo
Now if you wanna go
And get away from it all
Go down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo
We'll get there fast
And then we'll take it slow
That's where we wanna go
Way down to Kokomo

Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahama come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don't we go

Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo

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Because it Must be Shared . . .

I just googled "colorado swing club" in an effort to find a website with a calender of the swing DANCE events going on this weekend.

Please be assured: I did indeed find links to groups who make promises of "a no pressure environment" and another group called Scarlet Ranch. Giddyup!

I guess I will be more specific in the future about what kind of swinging I am interested in doing.

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This is the lovely Latonya Still. She ranks high on my list of friends. Her beer drinking, book reading, batgamon playing hub-a-roon-dawg, Kevin Hamilton, graced me with these words a month or so ago. He thought he might have offended me, so he wrote me an email to let me know what was going on in his brain - this quickly turned into him debriefing his recent viewing of American Beauty with laninjanator and his anger and confusion about men and women and justice and feminism that followed. What he didn't realize is that as he emoted, he spoke words that I needed to hear at that very moment. It is not easy being a woman married to a man these days. And had I still been single in a few more years, we all know that my plan was to move to Tahiti to become a lesbian and own a sno-cone stand. We have so many awful examples surrounding us about how men focus on themselves, leaving the women who love them in the dust. We see this in our fathers, our pastors, our presidents. It has been hard for me to learn how to fully give my feminine self to my man of a husband. Kevin did not know this. How beautiful, when people listen to the nudging of the Spirit AND have the courage to speak boldly and truthfully into our lives . . . without fear or disclaimer. It makes a difference.

"be thankful for herb.
he is rare.
he is trying to be rare.
he does not want to be "kevin spacey" (from American Beauty)
he does not want to be twisted and tormented.
he is different in his mind.
he is trying to be.
and that is a gift to him and to you and to his community.
i love that man because there is a hope for goodness and God -
which is not our modern american man!"

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Conforming to social norms has never been my expertise. When I was little the implications were twofold: 1) i felt like an adult stuck in a little person's body. 2) i didn't always have very many friends. Since them, I have mostly been proud of this; exploiting it as a means to make myself feel cooler than other people. For the most part, I have been able stream this quality into charming and cooky expressions like wearing a tiara to the grocery store or making silly movies in which the cathartic moment consists of a high speed chase on sleds down a snowy hill.

And at other times, my lack of conformity seems to be involuntary. In college, my roommate Sarah periodically had to play Fashion Police for the protection of my social life . . . and really for the good of everyone around me. More than once, she saved me from walking out of the house in "outfits" like a linen jumper, wool sweater from South America, and hiking boots with tights. The weirdness just flows - I have been known to moon sweet innocent girls from the south, just because I thrive on their response. It is kind of mean, really. It's not their fault. But I just suck every opportunity from these kinds of situations. And for the most part, I have been able to write these incidents off as being a quirky, free-spirited young gal.

But as I grow older, I am becoming more and more socially awkward. I do things like pick fights with children who are disrupting me in public places. Seriously. Who does that? A few days ago I told a friend that I looked into a beer of the month subscription for his wedding but that is was too expensive. Last week we were out dancing and I recognized the dance instructor. We had never officially met, but I knew him from my former swing dancing days. I also knew that he and his wife walk a lot at the park near my house. So what did I say while we were sharing a dance but, "Are you a chronic walker at Washington Park? I see you there all the time!" Chronic walker????? Hello stalker! He scurried off as soon as the music ended. I felt it was gracious of him to wait that long.

Just last night I met two seminary students for the first time and without any context or time spent getting to know them, I told them that "if you ever want to make-out or get laid, come to our house - 1 out of 3 people get some action while hanging out in our basement!" . . . herb just turned to me and said, "you just LOVE trying to make people feel uncomfortable, don't you!!?!?"

"yes. yes i do."


The Weekend

This is our small group. We call it Jake's Group. I don't know why. Mostly because it is funny. Jake has never been the group leader. Come to think of it, he's not even in the group anymore.

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Cardboard Girl

she is a prisoner
in a cage whose door has no latch or lock
held captive by words like "then" and "should" and "impossible"
she carries a pine tree shaped car deotorizer in the back pocket of her GAP jeans
and pulls it out to impress her cell mates with stories of her adventures in the backcountry
adventures that she weaves as she goes along
sniffing the cardboard cutout
when she forgets what might come next
she has only ever seen photos of trees
because nothing real grows in her cell
except her belly's self-indulgent buldge
rope swings and tree climbing contests frighten her
she is fearful of splinters and sap stains

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Here's To You, Mr. Still

Estes Park Beer Festival 2006

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Maybe Not

My friend Libby has decided to take a ride on the Change Train this summer. Her Change Train is on a non-stop route; destination unknown. The conductor is a scary, tatoo clad personal trainer. To hear her describe this vehicle makes me think of the scary boat ride on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I always had to close my eyes during that part of the movie. And if the Change Train at all resembles the boat, then my response is the same. I don't mind adventure. Nor do I resist new things (with the exception of course, of sushi. and now that i have mentioned sushi, i fear that any comments i receive will be about how i am missing out on God's favorite food. let's try to stay focused, people!).

But real change. The kind that causes you to forgive, let go, make new habits, believe in God at a new level . . . you will always find me covering my eyes and rocking back and forth at the mere suggestion. And with the exception of the promise of "ridiculous fun" and viewings of "Sex and the City" reruns on DVD, I want nothing to do with Libby's change train.

The funny thing is that I have spent my whole life held captive by the belief that I need to change. I want to change. Sometimes I am so immersed in self-disgust that all I want to do is change. I have spent hours dissecting myself with the hope of finding the cancer that has caused such disdain for myself. But I can't find it. Maybe my biggest problem is that I won't accept that there is a blood coursing through my spiritual veins that ripped the cancer from me years ago. Maybe the root of my sickness is my obsession with needing to be broken.

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Tough Toenails!

Today I overheard what appeared to be a mother and her grown son in conversation:
He said, "I'm NOT borrowing problems, I just . . . "

I love it! If I may be so bold as to fill in the blanks, I like to imagine this is a phrase that the mother has been using for decades to remind her son not to create unnecessary drama in his life. What a wonderful gift it must be, as a parent, to create ridiculous and annoying catch phrases and then inundate your unsuspecting children with them. And when Herb and I have children some day, I will do the same because, well, "I'm the grown up and you're the kid . . . "

Our kids have no idea what they are getting themselves into! Well, it would be odd if they did understand what they are getting themselves into, considering they are currently imaginary.

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Some of you are wondering where I have been. Why I have not been writing.

I have hit the wall that Herb hit back in December. The "Wow! Marriage is tough and I have exceeded my strength and energy output abilities" wall. I am a bit twisted and have historically had a much higher tolerance for chaos. At times, you might even say, I enjoy, create and indulge in chaos and crisis.

But now. Right now. I am done. I have met my match. Hit my limit. I am done. And I am tired.

So, what that means for my blog is that my heart is heavy and my creativity is limited. So, I will be back at some point. I just don't know when.


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