And I Have To Speculate That God Himself Did Make Us into Corresponding Shapes Like Puzzle Pieces From the Clay

We went to a "marriage conference" this weekend.
(sorry, this term normally makes us both a little skeptical . . .)
It was really good.
I am thankful.
More later.

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Reduse, Reuse, Recycle

Here is a post I found while looking back into my archives today.
I really like it so I will post it again here today.

"What Do Your Signs Say?"
Originally published on 3/25/2006

I found these signs during my snowshoe hike yesterday.
I have signs like these . . .
ironically placed in just the right spots to keep people (or even myself) from acessing and enjoying the most beautiful, stunning parts of my heart.
I have signs like these . . . destructively keeping me from entering real life.
Real beauty.
Real freedom.
Signs that cause me to stop short of running into the arms of my Savior.
Signs that cause me to look at Him and Life through binoculars.
Wondering, dreaming.
My faith and my salvation have given me abundance. Yet, I stay seated at the perimeter . . .
obeying these signs that keep me from diving in.
Looking at beauty from a distance but believing the signs that are there to keep me out.
Looking at beauty in the face and feeling forbiden to touch it.
Who taught us to erect these signs?
Whose idea was it to take us right up to the edge of real life and then say, "Don't touch!"
Our mothers?
The media?

Or perhaps it lies deeper within.
As if the result of Eve's "apple gone wrong" fiasco altered our very DNA.
As if from the moment we are born, we are inclined to engage life right up to the fences of the wild and the uncharted.
We will live and engage and play and explore . . .
as long as it is safe, and known, and guarenteed.

I don't want to look at pictures of beauty in magazines.
I don't want to read postcards about peace.

I want to run past the signs and the orange cones.

Don't give me decaf or splenda or reality TV.

I want the real thing
and I want to stand right in the bossom of it all
with head tilted high
and righteous fists raised
and glory dripping from my wide hips and oversized teeth
and say to the spinner of all lies . . .
the one who loves war and death and fashion from the 80's:

"This is mine! This is where I belong! My God sees me and knows me and likes me and loves me and He wants me right here! This is MY time and MY place and I will have peace and I will shout "NO!" to anxiety and I will shout "NO!" to being a whiny victim and I will no longer be a whore to depression & self-hatred and I will find kindness between the cobwebs of my cold, dank heart and then splash that stuff all over the place!
I will sing and dance and weep and shout
and write and cook and breast feed when the time comes
and wear pigtails & the color pink
and I will french kiss in public and talk to strangers if I want to
and go to the little kid's waterpark to ride the Lazy River beacause it brings me joy
and I will love my neighbors
and make love to my husband
and be made love to . . .
and don't you dare try to keep me out again, ass hole!"

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Inspire This!

For the past year or so, I have been mopey.
Getting used to marriage has been a toughie for this girl!
The year before that, I was panicked.
Turns out, falling in love was kind of scary too!
Plus, it turned out that working with adolescent males full time was a little too much for my heart to handle.
And i wilted a bit.
So, there's that.

When you are mopey and panicky, you don't tend to be very creative.
But I am noticing that when you are not very creative, you tend to be mopey and panicky.
And then . . . you get weird.
(As if mopey and panicky were not enough!)

On top of that, I do have some of the traits of a typical first born kiddo (which i am).
I am a perfectionist.
But just to murky the waters, I am also creative and I am a bit cynical and pessimistic.
So, a cynical perfectionist knows that you can WANT to do something perfect . . .
but perfection just isn't possible.

The result?


Why do anything at all if you can't do it perfectly?

This is the mantra of the First Born/Middle Child Hybrid.

In case you are confused, let me give you some background information.
I am convinced that the egg from my mom that was meant for me was accidentally matched with the sperm from my dad that was intended to go with mom's egg that was reserved for my younger sister Amy.

Does that clear things up?

While this theory is about as plausible as herb's theory about his conception and birth
. . . it just is what it is.

This is me.
Weird, first born-ish perfectionist-ish.

The point?

I have needed some inspiration.
A reason to be creative.
A reason to try, even if trying might mean mediocrity or *gasp* failure.

Every time I try to create lately, I seem to get stuck. Somehow I stopped creating for me and started holding myself to certain standards. That special, free, floaty feeling that i used to have when i created disappeared.

And remember, if you can't do it just right . . .
all together now:

Very good.

Why do it at all?

But lately, i have had a few people inspire me to do it - whatever IT might be!
even if you can't give it all of the time you want.
even if you can't do it "just right".
do it.
do something.
do it now.
don't wait.

there is a catchy little tune that has been stuck in my head for a few weeks.
and while it the chorus has the f-word, i believe truth can be found just about anywhere . . . even if it was not intentional on the part of the human who created it.
i have found myself humming it.
and after a while, i found myself believing it.
why not just do it?
do anything?

so, thanks, zefrank!

(if you are not too worried about hearing the f-work word, go right here for this hysterical little ditty.)

otherwise, this will give you the gist. this is part of zefrank's intro to a little song called "Where the "F" do ideas come from?":

"I run out of ideas every day! Each day I live in mortal fear that I've used up the last idea that'll ever come to me. If you don't wanna run out of ideas the best thing to do is not to execute them. You can tell yourself that you don't have the time or resources to do 'em right. Then they stay around in your head like brain crack. No matter how bad things get, at least you have those good ideas that you'll get to later.
Some people get addicted to that brain crack. And the longer they wait, the more they convince themselves of how perfectly that idea should be executed. And they imagine it on a beautiful platter with glitter and rose petals. And everyone's clapping for them. But the, but the, but the, but the bummer is most ideas kinda suck when you do 'em. And no matter how much you plan you still have to do something for the first time. And you're almost guaranteed the first time you do something it'll blow. But somebody who does something bad three times still has three times the experience of that other person who's still dreaming of all the applause. When I get an idea, even a bad one, I try to get it out into the world as fast as possible, 'cause I certainly don't want to be addicted to brain crack."

Funny AND true.
How's that for a double-mac-attack!?!?!
Love it!

And then there is my friend Kelly.
A few years ago, Kelly decided to become a photographer.
So she taught herself.
Then she opened her own studio.
And now she is an artist with a thriving business in Kansas City, MO!

The beautiful thing is that kelly (who i have known now for about 13 year - did the math in the shower this morning, kel!!!) sees more potential in me than i see in myself. And for the past year, we have made a habit of talking every few days or so. Recently, we have been chatting about once a day. And while I know we both benefit from our morning chats, I am beginning to realize that kelly is out to encourage me into greatness. Part of her approach to this is to invite me into the creativity that she has been splashing about for the past few years. So, she subtly slips opportunities my way - sort of disguised as bartering or favors . . . but in reality, she is pushing me to just get out there and do something with my talents! ANYTHING!

It is kind of like she taught herself how to build a roller coaster from scratch and i just walked over and said, "oh, i like roller coasters! can i have a ride?"

The pictures above are of a 12 x 12 canvas I made this week.
Thanks to kelly, i am going to make a handful of these and display them in her studio as an option people can choose when deciding how they want to display the pictures she takes of them and their family! This is my first attempt . . . mostly playing around with paint and adhesive techniques.

and zefrank is right - i know now more than i did three days ago!!!

thanks zefrank for asking the question, "where the f*** do ideas come from?" - even if you are a major potty mouth!
and thanks kel, for inviting me onto your roller coaster!

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TAGGED! (does this mean i am cool now?)

so it finally happened.
and right at the perfect time - i have 15 minutes between clients and what a better way to spend that time than to post meaningless, random information about myself?

that's right - i got tagged by this cool girl
a while back, this beauty threatened to tag me . . . but it never happened.

here we go . . .
ten random things about cara harjes . . .

1. in the 8th grade, i won a greek myth writing contest.

2. i can hold a penny in my right dimple.

3. even though i am the oldest, i am not the typical first born kid.

4. i stopped watching chic flicks during my engagement so the idea of "fantasy guy" wouldn't get up in my head and freak me out.

5. i dressed up as an artist on career day in the third grade.

6. also in the third grade, i had a surgery to correct a condition in my eyes that had been presenting as dyslexia.
this experience provided me with two important things:
a) i didn't have to be enrolled in Special School District and i was actually on the honor roll by the end of 4th grade!
b) i received a stuffed monkey from my teacher, whom i named after my anesthesiologhist, Doctor Scheker.

7. i sleep with socks on.
even if that is all i have on.
i must have socks.
and then half way through the night, i wake up long enough to take them off.
i have a perpetual pile of socks in the bottom of the bed.

8. i have blond streak of hair that is a birth mark.

9. after 9/11, i coped by learning how to Lindy Hop.
for about three years i went swing dancing at LEAST once a week.
sometimes two or three times.
i even have the cute 40's wedge, open-toed suede bottom dance shoes to show for it!

10. my mom and all of her siblings were adopted.
maybe someday we will adopt.

*** If you relate to any of these RANDOM things . . . give me a shout out! (i stole that from rachel's blog too!)

TAG: you are it:


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Three Thoughts and a Recipe

three things struck me at the pool today:

1. i am really pleased that the young co-ed behind the counter at the DU rec center took the initiative to organize all of the lost ID cards and made a note in each of the delinquent card-holder's files.
it saved me $10.
i assured him that it was that kind of "go get 'em" attitude and "can do" spirit that will secure him a job and many promotions. i left out the part that first he has to figure out what he wants to do with his life and that that can take years. and once he becomes passionate about something, it actually gets worse, because then he has something to be disappointed about when he realizes how difficult it can be to find a real job.
i didn't want to burst his bubble, so for now i allowed him to bask in his ID card organizing skills.

2. at the end of my work out, i was able to pull myself out of the deep end of the pool without:
a) swimming over to the edge and using the ladder
b) hoisting myself face first onto the pool deck and bruising my thighs.

i actually grabbed onto the starting block, stood all the way up, and just stepped out.

it has been about a year since my doctor began treating me for chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. i am very grateful that all of our hard work and time is beginning to pay off. (more on this later)

3. i love that there is a 50+ woman at my pool who swims (a full workout, not just playing around) in a string bikini.
swim cap.
and a string bikini.

cellulite and jiggly tummy not withstanding, this woman struts her stuff! it makes me smile! may we all be so confidant and in love with ourselves and our bodies!
go go go!!!!

and now . . .

cara's chicken parmesan:
i don't use recipes . . . so here we go.

take two chicken breasts.
beat the crud out of them until very thin.
take two thin pieces of nice, dense bakery bread.
throw in the food processor to make coarse crumbs.
take two eggs whites and put them into a shallow bowl.
into another shallow bowl, place bread crumbs, a large handful or two of shredded parmesan cheese, a thumb-sized dollup of fresh basil (i like the wet kind in the tube), 2 garlic cloves.
learn how to spell dollup.
mix ingrediants together.

coat chicken . . . alternate between egg whites and bread/cheese mixture.
coat twice.

heat skillet with olive oil coating the bottom.
cook chicken until golden and cooked all the way through.

place on pan. top with tomato sauce from a jar and sliced fresh buffalo mozzarella.
place under broiler until bubbling.


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from the girl who should not be allow to blog after 7:30 pm

it woke up.
right now.
well, a few minutes ago.
around 10:45.
after a bath and taking my evening pills.
after snuggeling with herb.
after the light went out . . . for the third time.
as my tall and broad and always warm husband drifted off,
i felt another presense with me.

next to me.

not snuggled up like herb, but rather tugging and prodding.
a presense much stronger and much warmer.
it breaths the hot yummy-stink of creativity . . .
you know what i mean?
it is kind of like "sexy-ugly" or the smell of grass or gasoline.

anyway, it hummed this tune under it's intoxicating breath . . .
the hope of possibility.

full of ability dying to burst through the seams of your neatly croched socks.
ripping out of the bounds of something created to keep me warm and safe.
it is uncaring.
unwilling to take excuses.
it doesn't even have to seduce me before i am slinking out of my bed and following the heat within my own heart into the office to discover any number of endless possibilites.

books, talks at conferences, retreats, photography, a line of fun girly cards, a line of wedding invitations . . .

they all clang about in my head.
and then i see a book (not hard to do in our house) or a photo or a painting . . . .

and i stop.

because somebody already did it.
they don't need you.
the world doesn't need you to do what anyone else can do and what hundrads who are far more brave than you have already done.
and done well.

so i slink away.

but not this time.

you see, i have another pal.
even stronger than creativity.

so here i sit.
me and curiosity.
very interested in what god might possibly do through and in and around this girl.

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(a shot from yesterday)

in seminary, we talked about spiritual formation in the context of "knowing, being, and doing".

so . . .
today . . . .

i am loved. by god. by herb. by friends. it is a good thing.
it is okay . . . it is all okay.
a little bit at a time, for a long time produces great progress.
there is grace for me and for me to give to others.

wound up
trying to enjoy
filled with joy

painting & art-making . . . lots of experimenting and giving myself permission to just create without expectation
volutneering at the hospital
inhaling and exhaling
margarita drinking

have a great day!

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A Story in Pictures

sHow are you doing today?

Today at the Harjes Haus . . .

listening to a little bonnie raitt today . . . she always makes me smile and dance a sexy little dance!
go bonnie go!
it is a rainy day . . .
just perfect for testing out all of my . . . well, i don't even know what they are called.
gels and varnishes . . .

basically, i spent an hour or so just messing around, mixing different mediums into my paint to see what would happen.
i think the super cool, "i have funky colored hair and you don't" girl behind the counter at the art store must have thought i was nuts when i showed up at the counter with all of these mediums.
she was probably thinking, "amateur! you are buying four things that basically do the same thing" . . .
and i thought about making a cute comment so she would know that i am indeed NOT an amateur.
then i thought, "but i AM an amateur. that's okay."
i left her alone.

then i went to the pool last night after work and felt like an amateur again when the girl i was sharing a lane informed me that she needed to get into another lane because the older gentleman and i were going a bit too slow and she was getting ready to start her workout.
she had already been kicking our butts!
and she was just beginning her workout?
that was her warm-up?
after noticing that she was faster than her new lane partner . . .
who happened to be on the Master's Team . . .
i consoled myself by telling myself that she must be training for the Olympic trials.

well . . . she might be.

anyway, i realized that when i just DO something . . .
sometimes, ANYTHING . . .
i have fun . . . more fun . . . than if i just sat on the sidelines wishing i could paint or swim fast.

this week i have been having fun swimming slow and playing around with my paints.
so there you go.

herb and I went to counseling this morning.
things are really moving fast for us . . . finally in a good direction.
we are so thankful.
on the way home, I suggested we run by Target for a quick little peak at the fun new pretty stuff . . .
well, an hour later . . .
I found some books for my pal Noble Sing Nanda . . . a four year old who reads at a second grade level.
Noble recently went to the doctor's office for a check-up.
he had so many questions that the doctor just handed him her copy of Grey's Anatomy and told him to take it home to read with his mom and grandma!
I hope these will serve as some lighter reading for him on the side!

In other news:
We are picking out new cars, as the lease on my car ends in a few weeks. Hmmmmmm.

There is lots and lots of work for me to do at this week at "the office" (basically, wherever i choose to set up shop at any given moment becomes, "the office").

And, just in case you are curious . . . here is our new living room set up. We hosted a little party on Easter and moved some furniture around to different rooms in the house. This is what we came up with. We like it.


ps - i am very proud of herb . . . and this project he did earlier this month!

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Not So Disgruntled

I have spent the past few moments chatting with Direct TV's automated customer service representative. . . we'll call him/her ACSR.
If you know me at all, might know that the worst, ugliest part of myself tends to come out in two places . . . my marriage . . . well, that is pretty normal and even has the potential for redemption and healing and growth . . . and when I am on the phone with a customer service representative.
It's ugly.
But it's my truth.

My main problem with customer service is that I am calling because I don't know something.
I have a question.
I am confused.
You have to give them all sorts of information just to get going.
Then you have to explain to them the thing that you don't understand to begin with.
If I don't get it, I sure can't explain it to you.

Moral of the story?
I sound like an idiot.
And customer services representatives don't really like talking to idiots.
Do I blame them?
But it doesn't make it any easier.
So they ask me to explain my problem and I sound stupid.
Then they treat me like I am stupid.
Then I treat them like poop.
And it goes on and on.

The automated system normally hacks me off even more.
I will almost always just start pressing "0" over and over until I am talking to a real person.
Because when you are living in my mind, you typically make things much more confusing and difficult than they really are . . . and let's be honest, Mr. ACSR, I am much much too complicated and high-maintainance for you.
You have nothing to offer a confused, learning-disabled-ish girl like me.

But today it was nice.
Automated Customer Service Representative (ACSR):
"What is the home number this account is attached to?"
ME: "Gosh, I don't know." I gave them herb's cell phone number while frantically looking for our number. We never use it!
ACSR: Repeats back the cell number. Just giving me enough time to find the real number. "Is this correct?"
ME: "NO!"
ACSR: "Please give me your correct number so I may further assist you."

Honestly, for a split second, I felt like an idiot. I felt like somehow the ACSR has the ability to pass judgment on me and determine I am a huge moron.
But the beauty of it is . . . he/she does not.
Not even a single little bit!
It was a good customer service representative day for me!

And let's talk about this "bundle" chananagain that Qwest is trying to pull.
I called Qwest and paired down our phone line from $34 to $11.50 a month.
Bare bones, people.
That is all this girl needs!

Then I called back to discuss bundling (it just seemed like a good idea to keep it separate).
Turns out that if and only if I go back to my $34 home line package can I get a bundling deal.
Then I can save $5 a month.
Once I hike my monthly phone package up I can bundle my direct TV into the whole deal and save another $5.

Let me think about this.
I am currently saving over $20 and I only have the services I really need.

Did you know that in Colorado it is only $6.50/month for a basic, bare bones phone line!?!?!?
It is $15 in most other states!
I added the $5 line backer and called it a day!

AND I have even convinced herb to at least THINK about pairing down our Direct TV package.
If we watch TV in one room (instead of three),
and cut out one of the cable packages,
we can save $23 MORE each month!!!

And if we go down to a more basic channel package, the possibilities of savings - ENDLESS!
Well, not really endless, but at least another $15.

It has so little to do with the actual savings.
And if we don't do it, I have assured herb that our relationship will remain fully in-tact.
But I would love it!
I know $20 here and there adds but, but it is not a huge deal for us right now without kids, etc.

The huge deal, is this:
I really like simplifying.
I was in the middle of a total re-simplification makeover when I met Herb.
And then I realized how much I like the luxuries of cable and Ti-Vo and all of it.
So simplification took a hiatus.

I love Ti-Vo, but it is not necessary.
It doesn’t' make me any happier.

So here we are.
Simplifying as we go.
No big deal.
But a lot of fun.

Next stop . . . cell phone package!!!

In other news . . .
Our date night was fantastic!
We are getting to a point where we just really like spending time together.
Sounds weird since we are married.
And newlyweds, at that.
But let's be real,
in our case, after we said I do . . . we said . . . I do WHHHHAAAAT??????
and that lasted about a year and three or four months.

But in the last 8 weeks or so, we have turned a big corner.
The love thing was never a question.
The commitment thing was solid.
BUT NOW . . .
We like each other again!

It is fantastic!

So, a hot dog and a silly movie was so much fun!
At the end of the day, we are just a couple of cheap dates. Seriously, as much as we LOVE eating at "gourmet bistros" and staying at creative, plush places on vacation . . . it really doesn't take much!

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Follow Through

. . . not one of my stronger suits.

Yesterday, I was laughing with my friend Allison about a conversation I had with Herb earlier that morning. I was running out the door to meet Allison for a walk (late, of course). The night before, I told Herb that I would make him breakfast the next morning. Come Tuesday, I woke up an hour late. So, with about 30 minutes before I am scheduled to meet Allison, I threw the sausage in the pan and hopped in the shower.

The sausage burned.

Without much explanation or attempt to redeem the lack of delievery, I threw my coat on and said good-bye to herb.
Regarding the lack of breakfast he said, "I feel like you never even intended to make me breakfast!"

Well, I giggled at this for a few reasons:

1. The burnt sausage on the stove serves as evidence to the contrary.
2. Lack of intention has rarely been an issue for me. No. I am a dreamer. And a promiser. It is the follow through that I often lack.

I told Allison that if Herb is going to pick on my character, I need for him to at least expose the accurate character flaw!

(Sidenote: Herb in no way requested that I make his breakfast. It was fully offered and inadequately delievered. And in response, after a moment of pouting, he was extremely gracious about it.)

All of this to say, I have been following through in some other areas . . .

For starters, I mentioned back in February that Herb and I decided to ditch Valentine's Day in exchange for a monthly day of intentional romance. Decided by us - not by Hallmark. A date. A suprise. Just something that says "I love you AND I took a few minutes to put something together to show you!"

So here we are.
We are alternating months, so it is technically Herb's month, but I am playing catch-up from March because we were out of town quite a bit (plus I planned both of the romantic trips we took, so technically, I am in the clear, but I really wanted to do a simple, herb-style denver based date.)

The whole "romance a month" thing really started to fulfill MY needs. Herb doesn't need this as much. And his low romance requisit makes it tough to know how to pamper him sometimes. So after much pondering and prayer (no kidding), I finally figured out how to put together a date for my guy.

Thursday night, you will find me and Herb at Steve's Snappin Dogs . . . a hot dog stand on Colfax Ave . . . followed by the 8:15pm showing of "Blades of Glory".
Yes, that would be the new Will Farrell figure skating movie.

40-something comedians in lycra.
Nothing says I love you more than that!!!

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Disgruntled Rant

In the midst of being sick, I have somehow perserved my ability to think (at least somewhat) clearly and continue to maintain my ability to organize and keep track of information. As I wade through a sea of paperwork and out-of-network bills from multiple doctors and labortories, I feel empathy for those who face this daily, for years, and do not have the stamina or support to make sense of these papers. I feel sick to my stomach as I imagine 90 year old women trying to make sense of the Explanation of Benefits for her husband's healthcare. I could vomit if I think too long about her on the phone with a customer service agent, trying to understand why she has not seen any correspondance regarding her claim that she sent in four months ago.

Here I am, day three (or maybe four) or trying to track down payments from my insurance company for treatments, doctors visits, and medications. I just got taken off of hold and spoke to the woman I will endearingly refer to as Agent B. She was checking with Karen, Agent A, who I spoke with for over 30 minutes last week. I was simply calling to follow up on the re-submittion of SEVEN claims that somehow failed to be keyed into her system when I mailed them in last December.

Okay, Agent B just got back to me.
Apparently Karen had no idea what she was talking about.
And now I am on hold again.

I have now been on the phone for 29 minutes with Anthem. The claims I discussed with Karen last week . . . the claims she said where not keyed into her system . . . but that she found the "hard copies" of . . . the claims she said she would re-send to be reviewed for out-of-network reimbursement . . . those claims, apparently do not exist anymore.
They actually were never sent in.
Imagine that.

Isn't that amazing!
Claims that existed last week . . . that were held in the hands of a disgruntled custormer service agent named Karen, just last week, actually do not exist anymore.
I had no idea they were able to back into time and erase the existance of a material object.
They should be using their powers for a lot more than filing insurance claims.

So, now I wait to speak to "a supervisor". I look forward to this conversation.

I have now been on hold for 4 minutes, anticipating our conversation.

I read an article a few years ago in Real Simple Magazine about what really goes on behind the scenes in customer service departments.

The reaility is that while Agent B was "checking with Karen" about my paperwork (that is capable of breaking the time-space continuim), she might have more likely been taking a coffee break. And this "supervisor" I am about to speak to . . . most likely the woman that Agent B is currently shooting the breeze with over a cup of instant coffee grains and some room temp water.

The moral of the story in the Real Simple article was this: be as sweet as honey when you speak to a customer service representative.
Because your destinay lies in their hands.

After 12 minutes, I was informed that after a long, heart-felt conversation with "the supervisor" they found the claims and guess what - even the notes in my computerized file documenting that the claims HAD in fact been sent in to be processed. Amazing! Just moments ago, she read to me straight from the same file stating that the claims had not been sent in and that the case was closed.

The claims have been sent in and are existing in a sort of paperwork purgatory for the next 30 days (does that mean 22 for me, since I am positive Karen sent them in promptly 8 days ago when we spoke!?) and that is the reason she could not track them down in her system.

Now I need to speak to somebody about my perscription reimbrusements.
No problem.

I have been transfered to Perscription Claims.
Guess who answered the phone?
Client advocacy.
Turns out Perscription Claims does not actually have a phone number that receives calls.
She will now transfer me back to the original team who is helping me with my medical claims.

Now I have been on hold for five minutes anticipating the reconnection with Karen and Agent B.

Guess what?
I get to give ALL of my information all over again.
This time to Agent C.
She asks for the dates of each and every medication I am inquiring about.
I list the first one.
And then I apologize in advance for my crankiness.
I really had been as sweet as honey. . .
up until this most recent transfer
and please excuse me because I have now been on the phone with your company for 50 minutes and nothing has really been resolved yet.


I continue on, listing each perscription.

Turns out the perscription reimbursement check was distrubuted to me months ago.
Yes, I vaugely remember a check in the amount of $41 and some odd cents.
I apologize, Agent C, for wasting your time.
That was my mistake.
I must have somehow, in all of this paperwork, managed to get a little confused.

55 minutes and 46 seconds of my life.
And then we are finished.
There is silence on the other end.
None of the scripted: "thank you for choosing anthem. is there anything else I can do to help you today? have a great day!"
I thanked Agent C and wished her a great day.

All I heard from her, "You too."

Gee, thanks.

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Something Barbara Bush and I Have in Common

"I married the first man I ever kissed. When I tell this to my children they just about throw up." ~Barbara Bush

I am working on a project for Kelly Jackson today . . . compiling a list of quotes that her customers can choose from to put into their wedding albums. So far, I have a whole lot of quotes from New Kids on the Block and Dawson's Creek. I think I am off to a good start.

There is a lot to say about this shooting in VA today. Or maybe nothing to say at all. But I will say this, I am very grateful that I have the man that I have to walk through this crazy world with. I am blessed.

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I Was Trying to Pay Bills Online, and Oopsy-Daisy, I am Blogging Instead!

Apparently it is all the rage to google: "(your name) needs".
When I googled "Cara Needs", this is what I discovered!

(if you would like to help, you could choose from many exciting opportunities such as cleaning my bathroom, making dinner, and figuring out how to get that janky smell out of my kitchen garbage can! after that, i have some client notes and filing to catch up on. then there is the . . . )

(well, i have always heard that you should wear clean underwear just in case you got into an accident and the paramedics have to cut you out of your clothes. the reality is, that ACTUALLY happened to herb a few years ago and i bet that since he knows how it feels to be stretched out, mostly-naked on university blvd., he would agree that i do indeed need these panties.)

(well, if it is scrapbooking paper, sure - give it to me!)

(no, i am not quite to the stage of needing caregivers . . . and while i have difficulty focusing on paying bills instead of blogging, i don't think there is that much to be concerned about!)

(see number 1)

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Perplexing, Tri-ringular Flavour Circus

Just trying out new names for my blog . . .
not really.

This is an exerpt from the back label on the bottle of wine we had with dinner last night.

Herb was so amused by this that it comprises an entire blog entry over on his little slice of blogger-land today!

He's so funny.

That is really all I have to say today.

Herb is funny . . .

and i really really love him a lot.

I am amazed how much your affection and commitment to one person can grow.
what "they" say is true: I really do love him more now than i did when we got married.

so, that's cool.

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Take Two

After a week or two of posting on his blog without banter, I think Herb realized that comments are most of the fun in blogging! SO, here we go . . . let's call this: herb tries blogging: take two.

Oh! Be sure to check out the hilarious video on his "about page" (tell me more about this daytime in the night)!!!

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Love Letters

Dear Austin, TX
It was so nice to meet you this weekend.
You are indeed, very weird.
But then again, so am I.
Thanks for all of the hospitality.
I especially enjoyed the perfect amount of humidity, the green grass, and the cool breezes through the window of the cottage we stayed in.
I also loved window shopping for hours in your quirky boutiques.
Oh - and I loved that the main street was packed with people for a vintage car show all weekend.
That was funny.

The truth? I feel like I can be honest with you, Austin . . .
I hear you get kind of steamy in the summer, so i am afraid you might be a little too hot to handle for a long term relationship.
but maybe we can have one or two long weekends together every year?


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If Life Were A Chick-Lit Novel . . .

(i found this "vintage card catalog" maker on nitty.gritty's blog today . go ahead! make your own!!!.)

I have been blogging for over a year.
this is post #198.
that is a lot of blog entries.
a lot about my life has changed in that short amount of time.

i started out telling long stories, often with a "moral at the end of the story".
ironically the very subject of my entries (the challenges in the first year of marriage) had me so worn out that i began using this blog as a place to just be silly or creative instead.

but as my life's journey changes, my focus might need to change yet again.
not sure what that will be.
the point is this:
it might be time for my blog to change a little bit, in order to reflect what is currently going on in my world and my thought process.

i am no longer "the bride" wearing the big white dress.
after a year and five months . . .
i am definitely a wife.
and i am no longer asking myself "what did i just sign up for!?!?!?"
i am getting situated into being a wife.
i am comfortable and committed to it.
i don't regret it.

but the funny thing is,
i find myself looking back to parts of my pre-wife self with a sense of longing.
not the parts of my pre-wife LIFESTYLE.
no. that is not what this is all about.
but the parts of myself . . . the things i had BECOME.

in my mid-20's, before i met herb, i worked on all sorts of stuff about myself.
i was a late bloomer, emotionally, plus i had some family things to sort out.
i needed to gain confidence, peace, acceptance, patience . . . and during that time, i did.
i really paid attention to some growth and healing that needed to happen.
i explored myself.
and god.
i began to appreciate myself.
i explored why i often ended up feeling so disappointed by friends and family.
i learned to let go.
and find worth in myself from god - not from other people.

i learned so much . . .
but never in the context of a romantic relationship.
my new beliefs and sensibilities . . .
my new "parts" were not strong enough
to withstand all of the emotions and changes
that come when you open your heart up . . .
for the very first time.
by the time herbie came along, these new parts were
still little tiny sprouts, just barely able to support the weight of their own buds and blooms.

during that year i dated herb,
i regressed, i think.
i felt out of control.
when i feel out of control, it is because i feel unequiped in a situation - i don't know what to do.
and then i get scared.
and when i get scared i get very angry.
and anxious.
and i cry.
a lot.

but now my head is above water again,
and i want to rediscover those changes in my heart:
the joy.
the ease.
the lack of striving.
just knowing who i am and loving myself.
as i am.
in the here and now.
not expecting or demanding -
of myself or of others.
just allowing whatever can come today to come.
and letting the rest just be what it is.
i was easy on myself.
and easy on other people.
i looked for simple pleasures in the mundane -
and i FOUND THEM! all of the time!
i saw both sides of a story.
and i gave the benefit of the doubt.
i was flexible.
and kind.

i want that back.
and i think i can have it.
because i think those are all things that reflect maturity and a relationship with god.

I don't want to recapture my single life.
i AM a wife.
and i WANT to be a wife.
herb's wife.
but i want to introduce those free, trusting, easy parts to my new, "wifey self" and see if they can figure out how to play nice together.

so, all of that to say, i am changing
and this blog might be changing soon too.
the name.
the address.
the content.

we'll see.
thoughts are certainly welcome.

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