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Another Weekend Comes to A Close

Posted by casey on September 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

Maybe it is the fall weather, the upcoming short week or just our attitudes, but this was the most relaxing, enjoyable weekend we have both had in awhile.  Since the weather was so nice we decided to eat out at the Harbor on Lake Ray Hubbard.  Usually, we feel rushed to eat and move on to the next thing but Friday we did just the opposite and almost overstayed our welcome at the restaurant. (You know how the waiter starts to almost hover over your table?)  The food was great, the conversation was easy as it should be and my mojito was quite delicious.  The highlight of the evening even though it wasn’t always exactly pleasing to the ear, was being serenaded during dinner by a group of siblings ranging in ages 6 to 12 who had brought their entire set-up to the Harbor.   I am serious when I say entire set-up: keyboard, three microphones, speakers, sheet music and mom the manager. Over dinner we heard a variety of songs/pieces ranging from Mozart all the way to the Jonas Brothers and it really was adorable.  Colter would even agree that it was cute to watch them at times, so much in fact that we walked down the stairs to watch them closer when we were through with our meal.  As we observed the “punk teenagers” running a muck around the fountains often calling out slurs over the music, as well as the spoiled children throwing fits on the stairs we decided that while the “musicians” definitely had room to grow, there were certainly worse things they could be doing with their time.  It was also a riot to watch all of the kids (not so much the teens) racing through the fountains that shot up from the ground screaming with glee.  Here is a shot of the main fountain in the plaza.

This weekend we took the time to go on a double date (thanks Shawn Sarah) and discovered a new restaurant, La Cubanita in Uptown.  Such a nice, chill environment and since the weather was again perfect, we spent another evening eating outdoors. We spent this morning on our balcony drinking coffee and reading the paper (yes, we are getting to that age) trying to decipher all of the code talk about the economy and bail-out ideas.  While we still each got a lot done…a round of fall cleaning for me, sports for him..dog walks etc.  we still had so much time to relax it seems.  I don’t know how we did it, but we have got to find a way to work out our schedules so that weekends like this aren’t so rare!  After what will be a wonderful dinner as always with Colter’s parents tonight it will be time for another work week…until then,here are a few pictures (some older than others) to bring a smile to your face!

Christine and Eric’s dog Bo in Tulsa last weekend and Cathryn on Dad last month.

   

 
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Friday Night Lights

Posted by casey on September 28, 2008 in Family

If I was being 100% truthful, the title should have been “Thursday Night Lights” or “Saturday Afternoon –  The Lights Aren’t On Yet”, but those just aren’t catchy now are they?  Colter who was determined to not get roped into Corporate Challenge this year, was just that, roped in.  However, looking back on Thursday evening I am quite glad that his “athleticism” (his quote, not mine…and I by no means am being sarcastic) was needed because it was a great night to sit outside. So yes, I was technically the supportive wife there to cheer on him and the team at the flag football match.  I said technically because well there wasn’t so much cheering on my part really, more like sitting and grading papers but I was there.  So cut me a little bit of slack.  I tell myself that even if I did cheer (like some of the supporters do) he would be mortified.  I really do think that is true, but I make stuff up that I think he doesn’t like all the time so who can be sure?

While I was busy getting angrier by the second at my students whose point deductions were racking up on their assignments for failing to follow the directions I repeat like a broken record day in and day out (Whew…that was a long venting sentence), Colter was busy running like a teenager and that, we have realized after this weekend, we are not any longer.  It wasn’t the run so much, but the dead sprint he took off on (for a glorious touchdown) that gave his quads permission to protest and seize up for the rest of the weekend.  Colter’s response, “I don’t know why I did that, I never sprint.  In my entire life I have only dead on sprinted like that what maybe a handful of times.  Those sprints mattered too.”

No rest for the weary…after a close round of golf with his Dad in which he came out victorious it was back out to the field for one last game.  Being the bad wife that I am I did not go out to “support” him.  Instead I cleaned toilets…bad wife I know.  How dare I stay home and make the house spic and span?  Let’s just say that tight quads, jammed finger and aching knees have left us wondering how much damage we really have already done to our bodies in our 20 odd years goofing off.  Hopefully they will hold out on us for awhile longer.  At least we got to appreciate the “lights of Texas football” (picture above) even if it was on a Thursday and Saturday, instead of Friday.

 
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The Eye Opener

Posted by casey on September 25, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Why thank you for welcoming me….whoever you may be.

This is the site I have seen every time I make the drive from Dallas to Tulsa so I finally took a picture.  You are seeing the side of a building that faces the main highway (yes I pulled off).   At first I thought it was quite humorous and it still makes me chuckle, but then I started really thinking about it.  There are really two ways to look at the statement “Welcome to Life” and I recently believe I made a switch between the two.  Sounds simple I know, but I really think that it is quite huge.
       Right, right…I need to explain.  Picture the negative, cynical side of the saying “Welcome to Life” as in deal with it, it’s life.   We all have problems and that is life.  I think this is how most people feel often when something isn’t going right for them.  You could say it started with the death of my grandfather and a close friend in college, but especially since the death of my mom, I now believe that I adopted that view.  It is just life….life happened….get used to it.  Mom died, Dad had cancer, (and a few other negative happenings in my life)  but it is just life, so deal with it.    Get through graduating without her, get into our first house, set up my classroom and get through the wedding without her….get through the rough year of teaching, put on the smile, and get through worrying about Dad, because that is just life.  Well guess what? We all have bad days, years, times and memories but what is  a “getting through it” attitude going to help?  I woke up and realized I have to stop “getting through it” and start living it.
        So, the second way I see this statement is “Welcome to Life” as in truly, here it is, lets get started on the living part.   At some point you have to wake up and go huh…I have kind of been floating through the motions but not really letting myself live my life.  The birth of my niece, the first Orr baby has helped with this.  She is a new beginning for us, and for our family.    After a long talk with my sister in law, I have seen how we are all beginning to make a certain peace with what we have been dealt.  There is always a cloud over us that isn’t spoken about, but we are starting over.  Every important event, including Cathryn’s birth will be bittersweet, but we can still start new.  I am re-building a relationship with my brother and my father because our common thread was mom, and it was very easy to just let go to the detriment of my relationship with them.  So I say, “Welcome to Life” and your new sibling relationship, a new father-daughter bond that is not the same but is just that, new.  Live life…be angry about it that is okay, be happy about life that is okay, have a sad day it too is okay, but enjoy yourself….enjoy life.
     Welcome to the living, and living for me.  For doing what I want and truly enjoying myself.  I can honestly say, that this past weekend and in some of this week I did  just that. I full on lived life literally singing out loud and dancing the whole way through.  I spent time with an old friend, and with new friends.  I jammed at two fantastic concerts.  I embraced the beauty of the fall weather.  I journaled. I captured the peacefulness of the nature around me.  I laughed…out loud…and loudly.  I held the new legacy to our family.  I cried.  I talked.  I lived, and I took pictures of it all along the way.

Change In My Life

So I wonder what you now see when you read the “Welcome to Life” building because at first I didn’t see anything….but after repeated exposure (coincidently) I think I was finally being welcomed to my life, with my husband and my family.  So again, thank you for welcoming me, whoever you are.

 
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Taking the Walk

Posted by casey on September 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

On Sunday I walked a mile barefoot to help relieve poverty in Africa…what did you do?

www.tomsshoes.com
This is the opening statement that is often made when completing a “Walk” to show how such a little action can in fact, make a large impact.  Before each show, Hanson holds a one mile walk…barefoot…to help raise money and awareness for AIDS and poverty in Africa.  As they say, it isn’t about them, but about our generation.  We have so many resources in front of us, literally at our fingertips but tend to forget how to reach out. Why not start by taking a walk?  Trying to help make us a generation of change is the real goal…because we do have so many chances to help promote change.  This is not a political stance, and they continually speak out about how this is not political for them or in any way about their feelings towards our government. (From Tulsa, Oklahoma by the way)   This is just about us, our world and what will be left for our lifetime and children. The point of these is to “walk in someone else’s lack of shoes”, to feel a fraction of what these children feel every single day. 

      

So, we met at architecturally gorgeous Dallas Hall on the campus of SMU on a beautiful afternoon to stroll across campus.  These walks aren’t protests and I wouldn’t even categorize them as a demonstration, just a gathering for a worthy cause.  There is no obligation, and some do show up just to see them.  For the rest of us though, we took a small step in being a part of something…in being able to know that we did leave a footprint.    This is how our walk began…reminding us of why we came and taking off our shoes to get a little dirty.

 

I encourage you to check out www.takethewalk.net to get a better idea of the purpose in someone else’s words as well as how each walk works.

On this site you will find more information about the walks as well as ways you can help/donate/or host your own walk!  For every person that walks a mile with them and registers after , they donate a dollar of their money towards one of five causes you can choose from. 1 – Shoes    2- Fresh Water Well    3 – Education     4 – Medication so Mothers to Not Pass On Disease to Their Unborn Child 5 – General Health care.  Even if you think you are not intersted just take a minute to scan the site and at least learn more about what I did on Sunday…and what you can do in your city as well! (Dates posted on the website)  They haven’t chose this because it is a “popular cause” but because after two trips to Africa during the making of their latest album “The Walk” they were struck by the conditions and thus inspired.  I hope you get inspired also to choose any cause, if not this one.

 

Gathering at the Half-Way Point for a Pep-Talk.

Zac was amongst the crowd…but Isaac and Taylor were talking it up for him.  Check out the gorgeous trees on SMU’s campus!  It was a beautiful fall day!

To see more great pictures from the walk view my album at
http://s337.photobucket.com/albums/n386/caseykazmann/Hanson/

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Sunday stroll and take a minute to learn more about it yourself!  Happy Walking!

 
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The Universal Gift

Posted by casey on September 16, 2008 in Friends

What would you get your best friend for getting this guy…

Mr. Zac Hanson, to give you a wake up call…and for getting him and his brothers…

Taylor and Isaac to give their autographs for you???? (see previous post)

Flowers of Course!!!!
(and two million thank yous…I Love Yous…I Owe You..etc)

The Universal Gift that is always thoughtful and could brighten any day, is even appropriate for Hanson.   Who knew? I pulled into my driveway, exhausted from the day to find that a beautiful fall arrangement had been delivered to my door.  I was surprised at the sight and was baffled as to who was delivering flowers to my house…no occasions coming up…so it must be a mistake. Nope!!! Flowers just for me…with a note filled with a combination of humor, love, and old school Hanson references!  I quickly thanked Brianne for such a thoughtful show of thanks, and then made sure to let her know that while it was a nice try, she was still in debt to me…Big Time. Haha!  Ten years and two months to the day since our first concert together she received a call that ten years ago we would have never actually thought possible.  It has been a fantastic ten years since that concert (and the few years before that), and I can’t wait to continue our kooky, crazy adventures! I Love You and Thank You for My Flowers!

Hanson Pictures Courtesy of www.hanson.net

 
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Patience and Dedication Paid Back

Posted by casey on September 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

Okay first….you must read the post below “MmmBop to Great Divide and Some Great Covers Inbetween”.
I am going to take it that you have finished reading it since you are now on this line…

So, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was refreshed this morning and realized that even as an adult some things never change…like your love for good music and nice people.  Growing up I never did anything really crazy…I never skipped school to hit a great sale or see a celebrity in town etc.  Today, though was my chance.  As a young, married woman, I say it is my version of “sewing my oats”.  You see, I had taken the day off to wait for my orthopedic surgeon to work me in to check out my knee (whole other story), and after last week…sitting at the doctor even seemed like a good personal sanity break.  However a surprise was in store for me…Hanson was announced to appear on our popular local station 106.1 KISS F.M.  On Sunday, I decided that this was my oppurtunity to do something a little crazy…and I wanted to include Brianne in it somehow, even from California.

I knew that if I could just get there, I knew I would have the opportunity to do something special for Brianne.  Even though she had an anxiety attack last night, I texted her to tell her that if I called this morning…she had to answer.  So I rose pretty early and headed out to find the station…let me tell you that I get very nervous trying to go somewhere I have never been before in the dark.  I got there without any problems!!!!!  After some waiting (well worth it) the guys arrived via taxi straight from the airport. (Humble and Normal)  I spent the morning listening to a lengthy funny and inspiring interview and two acoustic performances (Great Divide and Go) by my favorite band right in front of me….after this long I finally did something a little crazy and it was great!  You can see pictures the station took as well as audio at this link…     http://www.kiddlive.com/Article.asp?id=887776&spid=25993

Flash forward to after the interview…the guys came out as they always do to chat and say their thanks for all the support etc.  As Zac walked towards me, I knew he was my best bet he was already smiling and is always so easy going…..(a phone # dialing) Brianne: Hello? (voice quavering) Me: Hey, what are you doing?  Hang on a second….can you hear anything?   Brianne: Did I just hear Zac?  This is when as Zac and I were talking, I proceeded to see if he would mind doing a wake up call…to which he enthusiastically takes the phone and starts talking to Brianne – and talking, and talking, and joking..not just a Hi this is _________. I can honestly say that I have never been more proud of getting something done for a friend.  I know how much it meant to her, how much it freaked her out that she was on the phone with him and I truly found more joy in that then talking to them myself.  After a funny conversation with Brianne, I ended up talking to Isaac about blood clots of all things.  He also has a genetic blood clotting condition as do I (thanks Mom) and when it came up, we were on a roll comparing notes and experiences.  While his focuses in his arms and chest (had major surgery last Fall after a massive clot formed in his arm during the Dallas show) mine is legs which he admitted is worse.  Yay me!!!!  With nothing else to say to each other besides “Good luck, take care and God Bless You.” we finally stopped talking about clots.  I can say that the other girls who were around were relieved when it became apparent to Isaac again that there were other people there and not just our kind of weird convo.   I ended my morning with pictures, autographs for Brianne and myself and the wake up call for Bri that I will never forget.

I cannot tell you how refreshing it was to one do something for me, and two hang out with such wonderful guys who are so humble, talented and inviting.  I hoped for a break this morning and what I got was twelve years of my childhood coming full circle.  I am excited to introduce some new fans to them at a concert this weekend as well as Christine in Tulsa.  I am also proud of myself that I made Brianne jittery all day..she too cannot wait for her concert in November.  It may be weird, and a little crazy but I know that my Mom would be proud of me too for going today.  She was definitely there smiling and I know she would have been right there by my side to see her favorite band via osmosis. So Mom…here is for us!

        

The Brothers….and Zac, taking pictures of us.

Isaac…my blood clott buddy!

Taylor, always a gentlemen. (sorry the pictures keep getting scarier)

Zac…the comedian.  Thanks for Bri’s Wake-Up Call.  (So the girl taking this had the camera right in front of our noses…we both looked at it and when “Uhhhh..whoa..” Hence, the awkward close-up

Goods for Brianne….

All I can say, is for once…thank goodness for patience.  Happy Monday everyone! You can see more pictures that I took  of the morning here :

http://s337.photobucket.com/albums/n386/caseykazmann/Hanson/

 
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MmmBop to Great Divide and Some Great Covers Inbetween…

Posted by casey on September 15, 2008 in Uncategorized

A Refresher Course-

Today, a funny thing happened…my childhood came full circle and I was yet again, humbled.  You see, back in 1997 (yes…almost 12 years ago) my best friend Brianne, introduced me to a group of boys who impressed me so much at age 12, that I was hooked.  That group of boys is the band Hanson.  That is right, the three brothers who most people remember for their long blonde hair and the memorable tune MmmBop.    Before I tell you about today….let me take you quickly through the past 12 years…

Middle of Nowhere was released…  followed by a Christmas Album

     

Hit:  MmmBop and Where’s the Love

3 Car Garage Was Released to Show their “childhood work” 

       

Live From Albertane was the album that combined their first world tour, into their first Live CD.  This is An especially fond memory for Brianne and I, because this was our first concert.  Yes, my mom and her dad took us to see Hanson at Shoreline Ampitheatre and they jammed out as hard as the kiddos.  Best cover of the night….”Summertime Blues”, “Gimme Some Lovin” and “Money”

   

As it started taking longer to release their albums…they realized that the record companies were putting strains on their careers.  They continued to produce and released This Time Around, which continued to evolve their music into even more of a rock genre..and yes, they were growing up.
(Yes Brianne and I were together again for this concert in Dallas)  Best Cover of the Night: “Magic Carpet Ride”

 Hit: If Only and This Time Around

While working on Underneath they began taking the music back to its roots and released it first acoustically with a tour before the electric version.  One evening during my freshman year of college, I dragged )asey Johnson to Houston with me to experience them in concert.  Who would of known that we would both run into soem sorority sisters at the venue….the secret was out!    Hit: Penny & Me  Best Cover: “Dirrty – Acoustic”  (Christina Aguilera) and Teach Your Children

After Underneath, the band made a huge change.  They went independent.  Tired of the constraints the labels tied to them, they formed their own label 3CG Records and started doing exactly what they wanted again, making music.  While it took longer to get the album out, it was perfect.  In addition, during this time they traveled to Africa and were inspired by the people there and their struggle with HIV/AIDS.  Postponing the release of their album longer proved a worthy cause as they began forming the CD to help their cause.  The result….The Walk

With the release of The Walk Hanson donated the proceeds of their single “Great Divide” to HIV/AIDS research.  They have also partnered with TOMS shoes (www.tomsshoes.com) who donates a pair of shoes to a needy child, for every pair that is bought.  Before each concert (touring for this album since 2007) they began hosting a one mile walk….barefoot…to spread awareness and show how our generation can help with all of the resources we have.  takethewalk.net has recently been launched to help continue raising funds.  They are currently donating a dollard for every individual who walks with them at any concert, or hosts a walk of their own.  Check out www.hanson.net or www.takethewalk.net if you are interested.

This tour has covered many great songs including “Let’s Get It On”, “Oh Darling” and “Long Way to the Top”

Yes…they have been busy, working constantly, getting married and having their own children.   Isaac has two children, Taylor is expecting his fourth and Zac just had his first……feel old yet?  So there it is….12 years in music….still together, still family and a long way from MmmBop and pop.  One of the only groups left who harmonizes in every song, writes their own songs and plays their own instruments in every song. Original to the core, talented by words…say what you want, but from one of those teeny-boppers to a grown adult, this is my band.  Yours may have been The Beatles, Osmonds,  New Kids on the Block or N’SYNC, but I will take Hanson.  I suggest you check them out, because many people are surprised when they hear them today…and I am proud to say that I am taking Leah and Emily to their first concert this weekend!

 
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Whew….the Fence Survived!

Posted by casey on September 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Since Ike is officially gone…I can no longer jinx the new fence. 

To begin, here are the before pics.

 

Now….this picture is old (by 1.3 years) and only those of you who had been to the house recently can truly appreciate the condition of the original fence…which I am sure is now resting peacefully somewhere.  See the fence in the above picture had actually fallen twice and was being held up with rope that was secured onto 2 X 4’s from inside the yard.  Classy…we know.  Oh and the long side was leaning over the sidewalk about to topple onto an innocent dog walker at any point in time. Yes…we were those people in the neighborhood.

So, after Gustav it was officially time to replace the old with new…just it time for Ike.  Well, it is a sturdy fence and quite a beauty.  I must be old because I am this excited about a new fence.  Ignore the lack of flowers/landscaping please….we have been in drought conditions since July (until now) so everything was ripped up!  Can’t wait to plant fall flowers!

  

   

 
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Hurricanes = Lazy Day

Posted by casey on September 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Let me just tell you…Hurricane Ike (shown above over my house) made my weekend.  That being said, I am very sorry for all those in Houston who were not so lucky and are sorting through things.  My brother and sister in law Asher and Meghan rode it out, but then left for Austin once the storm passed.  With no power and city officials saying it could be 2-4 weeks until power in various areas was restored, having to boil drinking water etc. they said forget it and I would too.  All of our friends and family are fine…so I can repeat that Ike made my weekend.  After a rough, emotion filled week of teaching a good hurricane almost washed it away.

While yes where I am in Dallas did get hit harder than my brother (we are much more Southeast), it was perfect for a lazy day.  The rain started around 8:30 a.m. as a steady shower …Colter and I went to the store and ran a couple errands before the rain proceeded to downpour with crazy wind gusts until after dark.  It is funny how much people panic though.  The grocery store was buzzing with people frantically racing down the aisles trying to get their things and get home.  I mean really…we aren’t on the coast people… stop it!  After starting a crockpot of homemade brisket to soak and simmer all day long, a late afternoon nap was in order since the dogs were extra cuddly due to their nervousness.

After my week, a suggestion was made that I should relax and cook this weekend.  We all know that it is virtually impossible for me to relax…I am just not capable of sitting and doing nothing.  So cooking was perfect.  I love to cook, but never give myself the time.  I knew as soon as I started teaching again that my time for trying new recipes would go away.  Thank you Ike…for giving me time.   A meal of homemade brisket, baked potatoes and veggies was topped off with a giant Texas Sheetcake.

Say it with me now…… Mmmmmmmm Delicious.  Nothing like chocolate to heal the wounds of teaching and well life.  Hurricane Ike became a personal sanity day, which those of us in the field of education know are hard to come by.  So thank you Ike, for making my yard lush and green, for helping me to rest, and for giving me the drive to whip up a country meal that for that time made me forget the week.

 
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Cue the Jaws Theme Music….Ike Has Arrived

Posted by casey on September 13, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

Ike Radar

Well folks, although I am sure Ike won’t hand out “certain death” as the media is saying to anyone in the area, it has arrived and Texas is flooding.  Fortunately Dallas is North and we will hopefully be on the very tail end.  We are supposed to start having very heavy rainfall and storms today into tomorrow.  The rumor mill (weather channel) is also saying because Ike is so wide we are likely to still get high winds with gusts around 60-75 mph.  We are currently under a Tropical Storm Wind Warning (should drop down to a Tropical Storm when it hits us and a Flood Watch.)  The fantastic news is that this will ensure I am lazy this weekend.  There is nothing like rain to make me relatively inactive….I mean now I can only work around the house. :)  The bad news however….if you read a previous post entitled “The Remnants of Gustav”  you will recall that our fence was literally hanging on by rope…..yes we had the ghetto tied together fence.  Well, we finally broke down and ta daaaaa a new fence has been born at the Kazmann house.  Maybe we should cue the Jaws Theme Music again because here is to making sure this thing really is sturdy….nothing like a little test run with the wind!

Editor’s Note:  Pictures of the beautiful new fence are to come, I do not want to jinx the fence.  Therefore I am waiting until after the weekend to post them…if I can bear to wait that long.

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