so, this weekend we are having a garage sale.
the basement is flush with all of our old
(and some new, because we sort of used retail therapy to lick our wounds during that first, tumultuous year of marriage. oops.)
goodies that we don't use anymore.

there is the requisite waterford crystal
from our wedding
(which i might try and eBay instead)
the high heeled shoes i keep buying
even though i know i can't wear
high heeled shoes.

random fiestaware
and mismatched barware
but don't worry,
no underwear!

there are clothes
and hats
and random lamps.

but yesterday,
with the help of our roommate, kristen,
i came to the sad realization that i can't make much money
from our books.

a dollar per paperback,
kristen said.
and when kristen talks
about garage sales,
i listen.
she knows things.

and only $3 per hardback.

we have books.

let me tell you,
we have books.

part of the reason we are having this sale
is because have run out of room


earlier in the year,
i declared a household freeze on book buying.
library books only.
and then,
only then,
if you really loved the book,
you can buy it from half.com

herb agreed.

then promptly forgot that he agreed.

we have books.
lots of books.
and we like books.
lots of books.

we pulled out over 40 books to sell
at the garage sale.

and as i looked at them
all lined up
beautiful and booklike
in their selling box,
i started to worry.

over $500 worth of books
and i MIGHT get $75 for them.


but today,
i found

i love this sight.
and the name of the sight.
love it.

all you do is load your books into your "inventory"
and you earn points.
then people send a message saying they want your book.
and you earn more points.
so great.
then, you take all of your beautiful points
and you mooch books from other people.

i love this.

i have,
in the past hour and a half,
already earned 17 points!
that's right,
i have had requests for
TEN books!
at least three or four of them
came just in the five minutes
i have been writing this blog entry.

i will be sending
chic lit
and cook books
and random books written by local pastors
that were just being given out for free one day.

so, on thursday morning,
i will be taking a big beautiful armful
of books wrapped in brown paper bags
and sending them to
new york
and canada
and minnesota . . .

so great.
so very very very great.

go, check it out.


so far*so hard

(a little attempt at some self portrait love - to show off the current hair color and my new sweater from the GAP. who doesn't love a short sleeve sweater with an enormous cowl neck? the irony of it all is too fun!)

oh man,
this weight watchers thing!

i have to say:
i like food.
i like bread
and meat
and cheese.
i like golden olive oils
in which i can dip
and meats
and cheeses.

weight watchers
likes "light" breads
and tiny "low carb, high fiber" tortillas.
lean meats that have not been cured to perfection
and fat-free cheeses.

fat-free cheeses?

i don't even know what that means.

does anyone know what that means?

going easy on desserts is okay.
limiting the alcohol a bit has proved to be just fine.

but it is the
that i am having a bit of a problem with.

when i went to the gym to "weigh in" yesterday
i was pleasently surprised to have lost 1/2 a pound.
you heard me.
one half.

now, really, the first week on a diet,
i should have lost between 3-6 pounds.
and then after that,
it should steady out to 1 or 2 pounds each week.

but i sort of "eased into it" last week.
it was a "sort start", if you will.
and you might as well;
i did.
i tried to watch portions
and made some changes here and there.
but i didn't worry too much about
following all of the rules.

i did add fat free chocolate milk.
that was fun.
i was actually concerned that i may have
put on a few
from all of the fat free chocolate milk i consumed.

so, here i am.
week one down.
and i would throw in the towel
if i hadn't signed up for the three month plan.
not even because it is too hard.
it really isn't.
i just, honestly, don't want to do it.
i like eating what i like eating.

that is precisely WHY i signed up for the three month plan.

because i am fully aware
of how much i like
and meat
and cheese.



so, i totally love this pic
taken by tams!
if you know denver at all,
you know that this pic sums it all up:
we are down to earth with just the right
amount of fancy mixed in!

we are so excited for kevin and latonya to get here.
we plan on doing a whole lot of
lounging in the back yard
with pumpkin ales
and roasted corn on the cob.
(that is, if ike settles down a little!
yes, we are getting "his" backlash even up here!)

what are YOU doing this weekend?

(ps - if you are following my weight watchers adventure, you should know that while i was typing the post about joining, my payment was going through via online registration. and then the page failed. i tried again yesterday, but it failed again. i have called in the tech support troops from the good folks at Weight Watchers, and hopefully they will get me up and running in no time! If you are joining me, what is one thing you are going to do for your body this weekend? I am going to exercise tomorrow morning!)


they are almost here!

(photo taken right after latonya found the first beer that she likes! fall 2006)

these two people are some of the best i know.
tonight they are driving to austen,tx.
tomorrow they are hopping on a plane.
and by evening, they will be in our arms.
we just can't wait!


you wanna hear the skinny?

(happy skinny cara - circa november 4, 2006)

well, here we go . . .

when i was in ninth grade,
i had my thighs grabbed by a boy.
i was wearing fantastic black & white
houndstooth leggings
and a black & white color block top
(it was 1991, please give me a break).

in the middle of freshman science,
damien approached me
with a comment about my jello thighs
and the proceeded to grab them.

that was the first time i was aware of my body.
and all of a sudden,
it was not good enough.

at 5'6" and 125-30 pounds,
i was bigger than most girls my age.
if i had waited for a few years,
everyone would have caught up.
that shape and size would have been just right.

instead, i started buying into the idea that my body
was not good enough.

my mom, in effort to support me
and help me learn how to eat right,
took me to Weight Watchers.

she has since apologized for this,
acknowledging that i was too young
and that it started me down a bad path
and that it communicated that i was not
good enough just the way i was.
(i have seen pictures of myself in swimsuits from this era -
believe me - i would kill to look like that!!! i was JUST FINE.)

but this was the beginning of years of dieting.

i never got into eating disorder territory,
but i did wake up every morning wondering
my freshman year in college,
"what will i do today that is going to make me even bigger?
i totally don't know how to take care of myself
and i will ruin it yet again today."

it was sad.

eventually, i stopped caring.
stopped dieting.
in effort to communicate to myself
that i was OKAY and didn't need to change a thing,
i ate whatever i wanted.
i put on weight.

but i never stopped wanting to feel better
about how i looked
and how i felt.

two years ago,
in an effort to curb some of my brain fog
and chronic fatigue,
i made a drastic change in diet.
i had been diagnosed with candida
which is essentially a massive yeast overgrowth
in the gut
that is caused my way too much sugar.

so i stopped eating anything that would
cause yeast to grow.
no sugar.
no wheat.
very little dairy.
minimum amounts of alcohol.

it was very strict.
but i figured out how to do it well
and still enjoy eating.
flank steak,
brown rice,
fistfulls of almonds
that began to taste as sweet as honey,
as i was weaning my body off of sugar.

i lost buckets of weight.
it just melted off.
in 8 weeks, i lost around 25 pounds.

the reason i was able to do it?
because i was not trying to loose weight.
i didn't have my brain
or my self-sabotage unit
to stand in my way.

the bonus?
i felt and looked great!

but as soon as the prescribed three month diet ended,
i went back to my old ways.
and to my old weight.

for less than one year, i enjoyed being skinny.
i was 150 pounds and i felt so good!
i bought a red bikini
and wore it on vacation in mexico with herb.
i was out of my size 14's that i bought
the previous year
because literally none of my clothes would fit,
and back in my size 12 jeans
(the size i seem to be - from 130-165 pounds,
i almost always fit into size 12 jeans)
and i felt amazing!
it was SO FUN!

so here i am.
in less than a year, i gained back 25 pounds
and one or two extra friends that they brought along.
i am pushing 180.
and the thought of getting pregnant in the next year or two
is a little scary.

i have tried to go back to the candida diet.
but knowing that i am doing it for weight loss trips me up.
i just can't do it.

so, i am doing something i never thought i would.
i am going back to where it all started.
today, i joined Weigh Watchers.
and instead of doing it with the attitude of,
"i have to do this because i am not good enough the way i am."
i am going to approach it like this,
"because i am totally worth
being healthy,

looking great,

feeling good,
and frankly,

being damn hot
enough to get back into that red bikini that i love so much,
i am doing this!"

so, who's in?
let's try and loose 10% of our body weight by christmas!
are you with me?
(for me, that is around 18 pounds - only about 1 pound a week - totally doable!)


the creative type: prompt 2

go check out prompt #2 over at The Creative Type Blog!
seriously, i can't get over how talented all of the women on the team are!
and hey, play along too!
this is a great blog for people who don't consider themselves
scrapbookers, but who really like to play with writing, fonts, and journaling!

this particular layout cracks me up . . .
i love the layout, but once i re-read the prompt
and started seeing other people's examples,
i realized that i totally didn't understand what we were being asked to do!
oh my.
anyway, my favorite font is american typewriter.
i didn't write about why
or how i relate to it (oopsie!)
but i do love how traditional it is -
like a link to our past . . .
and that is exactly what this page is about.

so, there you go!

and here is the bio i did for The Creative Type.
just a few little tidbits about moi!

PS - i made some beatiful homemade mac & cheese for lunch yesterday!
so stay tuned for the easy recipe . . . soooon!

words & tunes

(photo by tamara)

tuesdays are a good day for wise words
and sweet music.

in light of the post i wrote last week
about "treadmill love",
i think this quote from Captain Corelli's Mandolin
is a good follow up . . .

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

and some music for you . . .
i told herb just the other day
that if i could only listen to one album
for the rest of my life,
that it would be
"Berlin Serengeti"
by Radio Citizen

seriously, this stuff can match
any mood -
light hearted,
road trip-y,
celebratory . . .

it is all there.

so, go, enjoy!

what is the one album YOU could listen to over and over and over again, if you could only pick one to listen to for the rest of your days?


* cOmE, CoMe, OH fAll!!! *

(photos taken fall 2007)

i love that warm/cool feel that the air holds during this magical season.
i love the way the sunlight hits everything
in a way that makes it look more beautiful,
more vibrant.
amber and orange and warm.
cozy and yummy and safe.
looking back.
looking forward.
sweaters and scarfs and mugs
that fit just right in the hand.
soup and hot apple cider.

what do YOU love about fall?


(photo by kellyjackson.com)

lately, that day has felt really far away.
and maybe it is supposed to.
it was, after all, a ceremony.
a party.
i was wearing a dress unlike any other
that i had worn before
or will wear again.
it was fireworks
and rainbows
and ponies.
and most of life is,
well, more like a treadmill.
a treadmill with really beautiful moments
along the way . . .
if you look real close, that is.
it is a series of taking out the trash,
going to the gym,
unloading the dishwasher.
sprinkled in is a great book,
a cup of delicious tea
(so delicious it makes you stop
and think of nothing
but how delicious it is),
a tender moment
in the kitchen
with you husband.
but really,
it is a treadmill.

and it is painful sometimes.

this week, i have been listening
to the album i listened to four falls ago,
when i was falling in love
with herbert karl harjes.
one moment more,
by mindy smith,
filled my car those late summer and early fall days,
as i drove my silver honda civic
up a colorful mountain road
to work each day.
the words to "falling"
massaged my heart,
they were a map,
a guide.
they told me all about what was happening to me.
and it was beautiful
and scary
and mysterious
and terrifying.
it was not a treadmill.

but we are in love now.
and we are married.
like, really really married.
if there is a picture of him in the house,
i probably took it.
if my breakfast dishes got washed,
it was probably by him.

and we, mostly, know what is going to

and sometimes,
THAT is what is terrifying.

but then i talked to the three girls.
the only three girls
that have known me since i was 19.
the three girls pictured above,
beginning second from the left.
not the order they are pictured in.
but the order i say their names.
it is just who they are to me.

and yesterday, when the treadmill became so terrifying
that my heart was physically aching,
they called me.
one at a time,
they called.
to talk to any of them in a given week is rare.
to talk to all of them on the same day
is a gift.
it is the beauty on the treadmill.

and they reminded me who i am
and who herb is.
and it was a relief.

and a reminder.

we need reminders.

this post was a reminder too.
full of life and hope and terrifying treadmill moments.

even the picture above is a reminder.
you'll notice that herb is on the bride's side
and i am on the groom's.
our friend jim,
who married us,
is brilliant and wise
and he did that on purpose.
we started the ceremonies on "our own sides"
and then after the salt covenant,
we changed sides.
as if to say,
"your side is my side
and your people are my people
and everywhere you are,
i will be."

it is all sort of romantic and whimsical
on paper.
in reality, it can be quite terrifying.
and messy.
really messy.
and sometimes boring.
but looking at the picture reminded me,
"its okay. because this is the way it was meant to be.
you did this on purpose. this is actually what you were going for."

and that helps.


father fitzgerald and herb's golden ticket

last week i volunteered at the DNC.
no, that doesn't mean i am a flaming democrat.
and it doesn't mean i am staunch republican.
what it means is,
i am a person who
sees a strong leader in senator obama,
who is curious about what will happen
if our country tries something new,
who is willing to pay a little more,
so others can have a little more,
a person who is proud of her city,
and wanted to show it off
and provide a warm welcome to our 50,000 visitors.

getting tickets to obama's speech
on thursday night appeared to be
very challenging.
there were all sorts of misconceptions
(and maybe intentional false rumors)
flying around the city regarding tickets.
there was talk of each ticket
being registered to each individual.

bar codes that would be scanned.
doors to the stadium locked by 2pm,
leaving the eager obama-nites
waiting a good 5 hours for his appearance.

it turns out that the night of the event,

tickets were flying around like a pack of pigeons on speed
and the doors didn't close until obama took the stage.

all along, i had a feeling that my volunteer post
doing hospitality at a local hotel
was probably
not very necessary
during the 5-9pm shift i was assigned on thursday night.
but at the absence of the golden ticket, i went.

around 5:30, a very disheveled older man returned to the hotel.
with a college sweatshirt carelessly slung over
his black suit clad shoulders,
he stumbled towards the lobby's microwave
and began (perhaps for the first time?)
to decipher to directions on the box of
a sara lee
frozen apple tart.

"can i just put this in there like this?",
he asked jodi and i,
holding the unopened box up for our examination.

not pleased with our answer,
he asked "well, then, can i eat it like it is?"

now, even more deflated that it was frozen
and wouldn't taste very good,

he slouched on a bar stool
while he waited for what was, i would guess,
one of his first microwave meals,
to finish cooking.

it turns out, Father Fitzgerald was at the convention
to let Catholics know that it is okay to be pro-life
and still stand with the democratic party.
his aunt had been a delegate when he was 8 years old,
and he made a promise to himself that day,
as she told her stories,
that he would sometime attend a democratic convention.
that was 1940.

so here he stood, in 2008,
not among the throngs of onlookers
sharing a piece of important american history in the making,
but in a hotel lobby with two 30-somethings
and a frozen apple pie.

Father Fitzgerald has a bad knee.
much too bad to stand in the long lines
required to get into invesco field.
at a friend's ill advice, he decided to take a private driver
instead of the shuttle
that could have taken him directly to guest services,

where he could have gotten a nice wheelchair.

he made the wrong choice, he said.

that kind of stuff just happens sometimes, he said.

he looked like,
for a moment,
that the life had been drained from him.
quickly forgiving myself for being just one step
above someone who steals wallets from
the bodies of murder victims on the streets,
instead of calling the police,
i quietly walked over to Father Fitzgerald

"it's for my husband", i explained,
"it would just make his year!"

"how would he get there?" the tired priest asked.
"cars can't get anywhere near the stadium and the lines are very long."

"his bike."

seemingly appeased with my answer,
without words,
he took his ticket,

from the plastic pocket on his lanyard
and slid it across the table.

i was at once ecstatic and heart broken.

i began to back peddle.
after clarifying that there was
NO way to get the priest

to the stadium
(can we borrow a wheelchair from the hotel?
do we know anyone with a wheelchair?
do we have access to a flight for life helicopter?)
i scampered outside, so as not to gloat, to call herb.

"sweetie, if you are willing to be a representative
of the American Catholics tonight,
and you can be here in 10 minutes
to get your ticket,
you are going to the speech!"

i LOVE the Catholics.

i'm on my way."

by the time i went back inside,
Father was gone.

my heart ached.

herb was thrilled.

and i found myself ecstatic.
more ecstatic than if i had ditched jodi
and taken the ticket for myself
(a thought that crossed my mind,
and hers too, i am sure.)

the look on his face,
the way he grabbed me and held me,
the way he thanked me.
it was the best feeling i have had
time -
to make someone i love so much,
so incredibly excited and happy!

this is, i thought, what true love is.
it is when you feel happier,
more content,
to give something
to the person you love
than you would have been


i walked him to his scooter
and returned to the lobby.
my chest hurt.
for all of my grown life,
i have experienced this odd,
extremely painful feeling
when i see people disappointed.
when i see people embarrassed.
when i see people who
should be embarrassed

but don't realize it.

many years ago,
i watched a group of young asian tourists
walking around the pedestrian mall in Boulder,
asking strangers if they could interview them.
they were practicing their english
by asking silly questions like,

"do you like star wars?"
to disinterested white people
who have been trained to be closed and cold
and internally skeptical of everyone.

i felt so sorry for them.
that they didn't know
that americans are not nice.
that they didn't know they would be made fun of later
over expensive cocktails
drank by insensitive cocks.

i felt so sad for them.
and maybe i shouldn't have, but i did.
i felt like they were being silly,
embarrassing themselves,
without knowing it.
i felt like the enthusiastic grins on their faces
were just making the whole scene so much worse.
i wanted to disappear.
my heart was in physical pain.

this is only the second time i have told this story;

the first was to my therapist.
and even now, i have never adequately expressed
why it hurt so bad,
what happened inside me
that day.

that same terrible feeling flooded my body;
i held back tears.
instead, i asked the front desk to call
the lanky old man's hotel room.

"Father Fitzgerald?
it's Cara Harjes.
from the lobby.
thanks again for the ticket.
herb is so happy.
he came inside
to thank you
but you were gone.
so, thank you.
can i buy you dinner?
a hamburger,
a steak,
a pizza?
anything you'd like.
okay, well,
if you would like
some company,
we're down here."

my heart still ached.

an hour or so later,
jodi was packing her bags
because it was senseless
for her not to watch the rally
on TV at home with her family.

Father Fitzgerald sauntered into the lobby,
looking a bit more alive than before.
i hoped that while he was presumably
upstairs asking God to comfort him,
that he remembered to ask for forgiveness for me
and my tendency to steal candy from babies
and tickets to democratic conventions
from geriatric priests.

"can you please find me some ice for my knee, cara?"

um, yes.
would you like me to walk up into the rocky mountains
and gather water from a fresh snow capped mountain fed lake
and then forge an ice cube tray from the earth?
because i would have.

instead, i found a plastic bag
and filled it from the machine in the hallway.
it worked just as well.

so jodi left,
and the Father and i sat in the lobby,
talking about books
and politics
and just a little bit of our life stories.
then we watched senator obama talk about hope
and change
and new life.

and it was very very good.



the lovely miss tams and i took saturday afternoon to run around the city and find cool spots to take pictures. tamara is working on her photog skills . . . and me, well . . . i just like having my picture taken!