drinking it all in

so i was looking for pictures of
sabrina ward harrison's work and i stummbled onto this blog i am sitting on my couch, stinky from my walk/jog/walk/jog and needing to go get dressed and ready for work but instead i am oogeling over amazing, creative women. *sigh*

enjoy the day!


go now to tams'
beautiful etsy shop and check out all of her adorable new bird prints!
she is so fantastic!
i have been longing for a creative pal in denver to play with
to paint with
and take pictures with
and just sort of co-exist with in our own, odd, world
in which everything is seen through a creative eye.

and then i spent saturday night with tams
and i remembered
i have that kind of a friend.
we just forget to hang out often enough.

i hope to sit on inner tubes with her and vito and herb
this weekend;
floating down a creek and drinking late summer beers.



just a few things that have stood out
over the past few days . . .

kate bingaman-burt is an artist
who also has a site called obsessive consumption.
kate draws all of the purchases she makes
and will do so until her credit card is paid off.

i think if i did this it would really make me think.
sort of like keeping a food journal . . .
like, "do i really want to write down that i
just ate an extra large deep fried banana split
topped with a chili dog and dipped in chocolate?"
only it would be more like,
"do i really want to draw the fact that i just
purchased season 3 of fraggle rock and 16 laundry baskets?"
very interesting concept, indeed, and very much in line
with a lot of things i have been thinking about lately
and will blog about soon.

this morning i stumbled upon
miss olivia bee.

(be sure to check out olivia's flikr feed. for some reason, i couldn't post pics from her feed to my blog, so these are both pics from the red velvet blog. her feed has so many more amazing pics to drool over!)

after reading this great interview
with olivia over at the red velvet art inspo site,
i was blown away
and totally inspired to be a parent!
olivia is only 14 years old
and somewhere along the way,
whether it was at home or somewhere else,
she found the freedom and the confidence
to become a creative bomb!

it makes me so happy that there are kids out there,
while still unencumbered by the "to do's" of daily adult life
are putting creativity and winsome exploration
of the world around them
at the foundation of who they are
and how they view life and the world.

i have a strong desire to be the kind of parent
and create the kind of home
that grows up cool kids who are creative
and just the right amount of crazy.

it also inspires me to keep pushing my own creative limits
and see how far i can go.

and the thing i really love about these two artists
is that they both have fantastic names!



there is all sorts of crazy inspiration going on
over at the cReaTivE tYPe blog

go check it out!


iWrite: another exciting announcement!

a few cool things today . . .
  1. either blogger just got fancy OR i just got concious.
  2. because i finally figured out how to use different fonts and colors
  3. and even numbered lists in my blog entries!
  4. my friend jenn wrote a book
  5. it is for sale on amazon

once the book is released,
and the website goes live,
jenn and tara will be selling
curriculum for small group leaders.
this will be in the form of 8-12 week
bible studies that anyone can download
(for a very reasonable fee)
and easily use to facilitate meaningful conversation
about any book in the bible.

and the cool thing?
i am a part of their writing team!
this summer, i have been writing a study on
the book of hosea.
it had been a few years since i had read hosea
and let me tell you . . .
there is some crazy stuff in that book.
but ultimately, it is a love story.
and who doesn't like a good love story?

so, that should be it for a while on the
"big announcement" front . . .
unless of course the phone call
i got this morning pans out.
the jeweler who sold us our wedding rings
is looking for couples to feature
on their web site under"love stories",
which we are going to do.
but they might also use us for a little sound bite
on one of their new radio ads.
pick us, i say!
who would be cuter,
more banter-ier than
herb & cara harjes?

no one i tell you.
no one.

happy saturday!



last week i said i had a little secret . . .
well, here it is:

for the first time,
i have joined a design team.
what that means is that i will be designing
examples of artwork and layouts
based on weekly (yes, WEEKLY!)
prompts that will be given
over at this new challenge blog!

there are about a million designers
(okay, more like 20)
which means we can provide you
with all sorts of crazy inspiration
on a regular basis
because there are so many of to share the load!

so go now, and go often!

are YOU the creative type?

not today

edited to add: thank you for all of the sweet comments and well wishes. i just wanted to clarify that we were not trying to get pregnant and we are both totally okay. i was taken by the amount of excitement i was able to muster over something i was not hoping for, but after a tear or two, i was just fine. we both trust that when the time comes we will love being parents, but we are content to wait for the "right" time.

conversations with leo

oh, how i love having a three year old neighbor.

out of the blue, leo approached his mom, jodi and i with the following:

leo: i wish i was jesus.
jodi: me too, leo.
(in other words, sure, i wouldn't mind being perfect)
cara: (uncontrollable laughter) is this his new "thing"?
jodi: no, i have NO idea!
leo: (completely serious) mom, i need a jesus costume.

later that day, from his potty chair:

leo: mommies don't have winkies.
cara & jodi: no, no, mommies don't have winkies.
leo: and caras don't have winkies.
cara & jodi: no, no, you're right. caras don't have winkies.
leo: daddies . . . guys have winkies!

more uncontrollable laughter.

this kid . . .
i tell ya!


it is time.

you can only walk around
for so long
like a deflated balloon
like a shell of a person.

for a while,
you have no choice.
i mean, these past years,
really, you have been at war.
and you have won.
you have both won.
the marriage has won.

but now you have got to go about the business
of standing up
and breathing
and learning how to walk

you have to pick up the piece of the broken china cups
and picture frames and bicycles.
i bet you never knew that the darkest parts of you
had the power to bend the metal frame of a bicycle.
so you must forgive yourself for that,
for being so strong in ways that are so destructive.

you have to pull shards of shrapnel
from the most tender places;
from your underbelly,
from your finger tips,
from your heart.

and the pulling out,
the healing,
the potential infections . . .
it all hurts, in an odd way,
so much more than when the injury was inflicted
in the first place.

as i said,
for a while,
you have no choice,
but to walk around like a sleepy toddler,
waking up from a nap,
and wandering about
without purpose,
just looking for a juice cup
or a familiar blanket
or a warm lap to sit in
through sleepy eyes.

but now it is time for something else.
something more.
time to enter the hollow tomb of self
and with only the light of a match,
look for any hieroglyphic you can find.
look for any hint of who you are,
of who you were.
to take trace remenants and clues
and begin to rebuid,
the girl you were
the woman you were becoming
(before you began about the business of
bending bicycles and breaking china cups
with the bile of your words)
and find a way to slowly fill this flimsy shell


with a name like "spedini", no other title is required

i just remembered that not long ago
i promised to share my recipe
for a wonderful treat called spedini!
now, you may have seen "spedini" in restaurants,
normally some form of skewered meats and cheeses.
but never, my friends, have you seen it like this.
really those restaurant people should be ashamed,
calling their marinated, skewered chicken the same thing
as this delicacy!
ashamed, i say!

the first time i had spedini,
i was in high school.
now you need to understand that i was the kid
who came home and experimented in the kitchen afterschool
just for fun.
so when my dad served these beauties at a dinner with friends,
i about flew through the roof.

it was not until i was in my 20's that i actually made them
but since then, life has not been the same.

this is a moderately simple dish, but it does take time,
so it is often best left for a day that you can
spend a little time with it.
but i promise, if you feel even remotely comfortable
in a kitchen, you can make spedini.

if you have a history of burning water and you don't
know where your knives or cutting boards are,
that may be an indicator that this isn't the recipe for you.
i love seeing people learn to cook,
and i am afraid starting here would only leave you distressed
and might make you want to come to my home and hurt me.

instead, email me and i will give you a better
"starting recipe"to work with!

either way, i challenge you to do this:
go to your kitchen this week
and make SOMETHING!
it is good for the soul.

let me know if you try spedini!
i would love to hear how you liked it
and any changes you made!

without further ado, spedini:

you will need:
* 1/2 lb eye of round PER PERSON
(eye of round is beef. it needs to be VERY thinly sliced.
ask the butcher to cut it almost as thin as deli meat.)
* 1 1/2 cups (divided) fresh bread crumbs (i have tried this with gluten free
bread and it is equally tasty)
* 1/2 cup shredded pramasean cheese
* 3 Tbs (divided) olive oil
* 2-5 garlic cloves (to your taste)
* 4 hard boiled eggs, finely chopped
* 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
* 1/4 cup finely trimmed parsley or cilantro

mix together 1 cup of the bread crumbs and 2 Tbs of the olive oil with the remaining ingredients (withholding the beef)
on a large cutting board, lay out pieces of beef, stretching them out if needed.
add a dollop of the stuffing onto each piece, patting it down to flatten as you go (this will make it easier to roll up). roll each individual piece of the stuffing topped meat and then place onto skewers. i like to use two skewers (one on each end of the beef roll). continue adding the beef rolls to your "skewer row". you should end up with two "skewer rows" of the beef rolls. (so, four actual skewers total, two per "row". boy, writing recipes is difficult!)
now, rub the outside of the beef with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil. pat the remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs onto the outside of the beef.
place beef onto the grill and cook about 3 minutes on each side (or until bread crumbs have toasted and the meat is done).
serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you like.



some random thoughts, facts, and tidbits . . .

* the other day, i opened my stove to find two cookie sheets.
i put those cookie sheets in the oven during a dinner party
to get them out of the way.
that dinner party was two weeks ago.
that means that in two weeks, i did not open my oven.

* today i ate lunch at the grocery store.
no, i didn't buy lunch.
i ate samples.
after realizing that i was literally grazing over the bowl
of guacamole, i decided to purchase some.
the cheese i nibbled on was not very good.

i have mentioned my friend tamara before, but her new etsy shop is so awesome that she must be mentioned again!

* speaking of people that must be mentioned, my trainer, teddi must be mentioned. yes, she is that 40-something beauty on the homepage of that website. and all of her "models" are her clients. she has been equal parts patient and pushy as we are partnering to get my body into baby-making shape! (well, i am perfectly capable of the actual "making" part, but i would like to be in better shape for the pregnancy, labor, and recovery part). she is releasing a new exercise video next month on amazon. check out her promo here!.

* okay, and while i am mentioning people that must be mentioned . . . my blog pal rachel never ceases to amaze me with her creativity! check out her new etsy shop, Pony Party! i bought a vintage metal letter "C" that will hang in our office next to the fake vintage letter "H" that i found at anthropologie not long ago.

* a few weeks ago, i had the honor of being featured on this fantastic challenge blog! it made my entire day . . . okay, several days! thanks again girls, for the huge honor of "jacking" me!

* and speaking of challenge blogs . . . oh wait! i can't speak of that yet! hee hee! i have a secret. and it is a fun one. check back soon for more details on that!

well, that is enough for one day.
i hope to get back on the blogging band wagon
and stay on!

have a wonderful week, boys & girls!

just one year later . . .

two weeks ago, as i was reorganizing my art cabinet,
i stumbled across a lone black spiral notebook.
a perfect square,
6 x 6 inches;
a cozy, comforting pocket to tuck away
small thoughts and hopes and dreams.
i opened it up to discover but one journal entry,
written exactly one year and a day previous.

it made me sad to read the words:
"hoping like mad that the impossible is not"

i remembered back to that lifetime of impossibility,
picturing myself slumped over my desk
on a hot afternoon,
trying to make art,
trying to make sense of my life.

i remembered back to those torturous weeks
in which i first allowed myself to speak my sad reality:
"i do not want to be married to my husband.
i am only staying because i made a commitment."

i knew he felt the same way about the whole ordeal.

eventually, i began to accept
that i was in a marriage
i didn't want to be in.
the only question was:
"how do you accept that for the rest of your life?
how do you live that way?
without love?
and with so much anger?"

i remembered not knowing the answer to that question,
but believing that there had to be
a way out
that did not include
a divorce,
a loveless marriage,
or an untimely accident
on a curvy mountain road
with a truckload of lammas
and sad '80s music playing on the iPod,
in which one of us died
and the other was left alone,
free to start over and try again.

i remembered not caring
if i was the one
who was left to start over.

but also, i believed there had to be
another tunnel out of this dark, terrifying cavern
we found ourselves in.
i was sick and tired of the options our culture was offering.
i was determined to see us find a new way.

i remembered watching another marriage
fall apart from a distance.
a marriage that i knew so little about,
but given the blog culture we live in,
i thought i knew so much.
and i was plagued with the thought:
"if SHE, the nicest girl in the WORLD,
can't make a marriage work,
where is there hope for me,
a cranky,
sometimes crazy,
often angry
and embarrassingly mean

it was a horrible time
for both of us.
the only thing we had
to buoy ourselves to
was the determination of two stubborn people
to make it work.

the same determination,
that was often misused,
unkind in its deeds
and dark in its nature,
an accomplice in the deterioration of our newborn union,
was now showing its lighter side.
the side that God created.
the side that knew even a little bit
about truth and love and hope.

we hung on.
determined to be faithful to our commitment.
not to each other,
but to our commitment.
and looking at it that way helped.

time became our friend.
we waited.
and stayed.
and waited some more.
we cried
and we yelled
and we let friends make us breakfast
and listen to our stories
and tell us that we were okay.
that we were loved.
that we were normal.

we read books
and sat in grocery store parking lots,
telling friends we didn't want to go home.
and then we went home.
we took a few short breaks apart,
always with the intent of reuniting.
we went to counseling
and played card games
and made love.

we endured a breast cancer scare
and realized how short life is.
and then we continued to fight
and make up some more.

what we did was, we lived life
when it did not feel livable.
we faced the shit
and asked for help.
and gave it time.

and it worked.

so there i sat there,
a year and one day later,
on the floor of my art room
in the home i share with my friend,
my lover,
my husband,
my companion,
and my sounding board.
and i gave a heart's worth of thanks.

what a different place we are in now.
just a few weeks ago,
shortly before i found the journal page,
i sat on a beach in oregon with herb
on my 31st birthday
and recalled the highs and lows of the past year.
with bellies full of good pizza and beer and wine,
we celebrated this:
time and honor and hope and prayer
actually have a place in this world,
in our lives,
in our story.

and we danced.
with the waves crashing behind us
and the harsh wind threatening us,
we danced.
it was a slow, close,
leggy dance of gratitude
to the wobbly and often misguided,
but ultimately faithful,
stubborn determination
that had brought us to today.