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A trick for some…but a TREAT for you!

Posted by casey on October 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Happy Halloween!

As I have gotten older, I haven’t been one of the many that still really look forward to a great costume for Halloween.  What will I be tomorrow you ask?  Well, I told my father that as long as I could fit into it, I would put my wedding dress on every year and be a “princess” so that I didn’t wear the thing just once!  Other than that, I have officially become the citizen who just enjoys answering the door and seeing what the kiddos are dressed as these days while dishing out some candy. (Colter doesn’t like the fact that I refuse to buy the really bad, cheap candy because I don’t want to be “that” house in our neighborhood.   That reminds me , I need to replace all the candy we have eaten before tomorrow night!)  So…the real reason for this post is to share with you, some Halloween memories.  So for everyone in the pics, I apologize for tricking you into thinking they wouldn’t turn up somewhere someday (You know what they say about taking pictures you wouldn’t want on the internet right?) and as for the rest of you, enjoy your Halloween treat!

Here are a few costume ideas for you…
Burn Baby Burn…Disco Inferno!

Work It!

Skele-Pup – the bones glow in the dark!

Computer Tech (aka Nerd)

Elvis?
(Okay fine it wasn’t Halloween, it was Delta Rock, but it might as well have been Halloween)

80’s Jazzercise Perhaps???
(Yes…I am sharing embarassing myself…2005)

 

Child’s firefighter costumes?
(Maggie and Kadie in the DDD House in 2004)

To top it all off…check it out ladies and gentlemen.  I present to you, the Spice Girls, pre-break up in 1998.  Yes…I am Posh Spice, duh! (gotta love spray in hair dye).  I will have you know that Baby Spice and Scary Spice are now roomates, and Sporty Spice just got married in August!

Whatever you do tomorrow, have fun…but be safe! Maggie and I didn’t want to damage our pumpkin senior year on our way home from the farmer’s market…so he buckled up, and you should too!

Happy Halloween everyone!

 
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He says, “So you ARE sick.”

Posted by casey on October 27, 2008 in Uncategorized

Mind over matter people, haven’t you ever heard of it?  On Saturday, on the way to my wonderful birthday dinner with the Kazmanns I couldn’t stop coughing.  Just a little cough though, almost sounded like a fake cough…and it had actually been going on all day but I had been trying to keep it, well, quiet.  If we are being completely honest here my throat was a little scratchy Friday morning but shhhhhhhh Colter doesn’t know.

I know, I know you are thinking, “Silly Casey, this is the Kazmann’s blog.  He is totally going to find out about your sore throat last Friday.”  I say maybe (too late now), maybe not..because I am not 100% convinced he actually reads this, so there you go.  I suppose I should change it from “The Life of the Kazmanns” to “Casey Kazmanns secrets…What her Husband Doesn’t Know About Her Sore Throats”  I did not lie, I omitted, because I am working on mind over matter.  Back to the story…

So Colter was very busy with football Sunday so my cough went unnoticed….except when he said, “You are still coughing, so you are sick.” I immediately said “Nope, it just is a tickle…that won’t go away.  It doesn’t really feel like a cough.” (go ahead…giggle) Today though, my nose is so stuffed up and runny (contradictory I know) that the disguise was a little harder.  The good news is, I feel pretty darn good.  I mean I am exhausted (nothing knew) and blowing my nose once every 5 minutes (definitely knew) but other that, put me on a shelf and sell me like new!  So everything was going well until the phone call on the drive home…the one where I sound like a 60 year old man because I am breathing through my mouth. 

Colter: “So, how was your day? How are you feeling?”
Me: “Feeling? I feel just fine.”
Colter: “Really? Are you sure?”
Me: “Yeah positive, just s stuffy/runny nose.”
Colter: “So you ARE sick again…as I was saying.”
Me: “Nope, not sick, just a stuffy nose…I think it is the cold (weather not sickness).”

I thought I was still in the clear, but then while I was cooking dinner, it happened- the giveaway..the sneeze attack.  I couldn’t help it, it just came on.  Have no fear I directed my face far away from the food but Colter heard them, loud and clear.  “So you ARE sick.”  “Nope, just the sneezes.”  “Hmmm…the coughs, the stuffy/runny nose and the sneezes?  Coincidence?” “Yup, mmmm hmmm coincidence, feeling great!” “I think not, you ARE sick again.”  I keep capitalizing the “ARE” because he likes to drag that word out, to prive his point I think.

Regardless I still refuse to admit it, because I had bronchities 6 times last year and I refuse to repeat that trend, becauseI have been taking WAY too many vitamins to be sick and well, because I just don’t want to be. So, mind over matter folks…mind over matter.  In the meantime I will be cuddling with Thrasher because he doesn’t judge my level of sickness.

 
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Dogs Are Better Than Therapy

Posted by casey on October 26, 2008 in Family, Puppy Palace

So, the latest life lesson I think everyone should be aware of, is the fact that Dogs Are Better Than Therapy.  Okay, well maybe I am biased because I love my pups (most of the time).  Technically, my statement isn’t entirely fair because I have never actually been to therapy (probably should have) so I am assuming here.  Dogs can add so much to your life and often, when they are at the groomer especially in the summer when I am alone, we find the house to be quite lonely.  No tags jingling, barks at nothing ( I could do without this), or toys rolling across the room.  Mostly though, no one is following you.  Our dogs, are shadows.

No matter how comfortable Thrasher looks, or how cozy he actually is, if you leave the room he is getting up to follow you.  If he can’t see you he is not happy.  I picture him as the kid who goes into hysterics the minute their parents step out of the room even if they are coming right back.  He and the dog from the movie Spanglish would be best friends, because they would play fetch together all day.  This tiny cloud of a dog plays fetch better than some labs and he has done that since we got him. He wins everyone over.  All of our guy friends couldn’t believe what kind of dog we got when we brought him home in college and then immediately fell in love with him when he ran into the room with a ball and plopped on their lap.  You can’t help but love him and laugh at him especially when he has a mohawk. You can love a dog so much that you come to terms with the fact that his crazy allergies make his food cost $48 a bag, feel sorry for him when he ate so many rubberbands he has to have surgery and allow him to take over your pillow because well, he just looks so comfortable.  Therapy can’t cuddle like Thrasher can!

Bo is the talker.  Not in a yappy, annoying way. Okay well yes he does the annoying barking too, but by talker I mean he will literally trot over to you, place his bearded face on your knee, look into your eyes and start talking. Not barking, talking.  Now you think I am the crazy dog lady who thinks her dogs talks..but,well… he makes these sounds from his throat all different tones and will just carry on a conversation…so to speak.  He is the smart one (sorry Thrasher) the dog that just knows something is up.  When you are sick he is there with you.  When you are sad he comes to cuddle.  When I come home he is already looking out the window waiting for me. Bo knows what you need.  He was a completely independent dog until Wylie (first Schanauze and the lap dog died).  With Wylie gone he knew my mom needed another lap dog and all of the sudden, Bo started to snuggle and stay with you.  He just has intuition.  You see when my mom came home from the hospital, Bo knew something wasn’t right.  It was Bo who wouldn’t leave her side even when someone came to the door.  Bo who laid by her legs all day and all night.  Bo wandered the house with me after she died and he laid awake at night with me waiting for his 2 – 3 a.m. walk with me and Dad that he knew would come.  He is impatient – he doesn’t care what time in the morning/middle of the night it is, when he wants you awake he will yip until you are.  He is moody – don’t try and move him when he is comfy, his growl that he won’t back up will tell you he is there to stay.  But he is my dog, and those middle of the night walks,  were definitely better than therapy.  Therapy is not nearly as loyal as Bo.
(I swear to you…as I typed that last line, Bo jumped up onto the couch, walked over to my lap and placed his head across my laptop…see intuition)

 

    

So I have gone off on a kind of strangely detailed post about my dogs, when I really only wanted to post a list I had come across…a list of things we all could learn from our dogs.  The list then made me think of all the things I have “gotten through” with them, and how even in the worst of time a dog can bring a smile to your face and well lets face it, they need you.  So, check it out and learn a little.
 – Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride
– When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
 – Let others know when they have invaded your territory.
– Take naps and stretch before rising.
– Run, romp and play daily.
– Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
– If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
– When someone is having a bad day, be silent, but sit close.
– Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
– Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
– Delight in the simple joys of  along walk.
– Be loyal.

 

After a rough end to the week I got to come home to my husband and my dogs.  Who needs therapy with all that love in one house?  I find it almost as hard to watch our dogs grow older as it is to watch a relative begin to struggle.  Wouldn’t it be fun if they could always stay like this?

I guarantee you smiled more just from looking at the pictures on this post, than you would from a therapy session…so see point proven.  Dogs Are In Fact, Better Than Therapy.

 
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The Birthday Continues (but first…baby Cathryn)

Posted by casey on October 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

As many of you know, my birthday was last week, but believe it or not my “birthday” is still not over…so I don’t feel I can do a birthday post quite yet. I have one more birthday dinner celebration this weekend and then I can give you a rundown of all the wonderful surprises.  You aren’t going to want to miss the post because it involves masses of Sprinkles cupcakes, a personal lifeline, sweet smelling treats, an unbelievable birthday card/message, family, fantastic friends and the list goes on. 

 However, I cannot wait any longer to show you how big and beautiful my niece has become.  There is a picture of her and I on the 11th when we babysat and then the others are from last weekend.  GREAT Auntie Dana (gotcha) is getting her feet wet and getting comfy with Cathryn.  SInce she is bigger (10 pounder now) Dana doesn’t quite feel that she is going to break her.  My brother was making her smile with her hoddie on (yes, those are ears) and his smile was making me smile..so I had to catch it! She is smiling now though and is truly as cute as can be.  I am so lucky to have a niece which such good genes! Haha.  So until the birthday extravaganza post, here you are…

 
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Signs of the Season

Posted by casey on October 22, 2008 in Uncategorized

While it has progressively been getting cooler, today, it became fall.  Actually, in three hours it became fall.  For the past two weeks the high has been an average of 83 degrees here and very pleasant in the morning/evenings.  Today at lunch, it was already a whopping 76 degrees.  Since I have no windows in my classroom (you heard it…NOT ONE window), I never actually have a good feel for what the weather is like.  So, when I escorted my lovely students outside to go home (phew!) I was blasted with a temperature of 53 degrees.  Some were complaining, but not I.  I immediately began plotting my afternoon treat.

That is right folks…you are seeing the first official cup of hot chocolate.  Not just any hot chocolate though, Ghirardelli hot chocolate loaded with marshmallows…the only true way to have it.  Oh yes, also with a side of graham crackers.  Mmmm Mmmmmmmm Mmmmmmmmmm I LOVE fall.  (Ignore the fact that I then had to go to the gym to get rid of the rich cocoa concoction’s calories) The dogs however were not so thrilled and were just as shocked as I when they went into the yard.  Thrasher scurried right back in the house, as soon as his nose hit the air, which means if this weather hangs around his fleece is going to have to come out of hiding.  Yes, Thrasher has a fleece and believe it or not he loves it.  Actually somewhat asks for it. Strange I know.  Back to the subject…besides hot chocolate I am ready to make my first official pumpkin pie this week, wear sweaters, cozy up under blankets while watching a movie (surely I will have time right?) and snuggle my pups.  The list will grow I am sure, as I am already preparing for the holiday season…it will just get busier from here on out. I hope you are getting and enjoying some fall weather (picture below of this evening) where you are so you can have a cup of cocoa, or coffee, or tea or whatever spiced hot beverage you prefer because the first one tastes the best!

 
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The Rock

Posted by casey on October 20, 2008 in Uncategorized

Yes, The Rock as in the prison, not the wrestler.

There she is folks.  Or is it he?  Anyway, Alcatraz…literally sits on what looks like a giant rock.  This post is going to be hard, because I have tons of pictures that I love from our visit there.  More pictures than words, and most of you already know about Alcatraz.  I will try and give you a few words though.  How about some background information?  While Alcatraz was once an army fortress and then a military prison, it is now part of America’s National Parks and they work hard to preserve it as it was.  Alcatraz was officially closed on March 21, 1963 (when the last prisoner was transferred) because of the high operating cost and deteriorating conditions ( no plumbing/sewage system of any kind is one example).  In all honesty, aspects of the prison now are quite beautiful.  Yes I know it is a prison and most of the walls are covered in a moss of some sort, but just look and see for yourself.   This is the roof of one of the guard buildings, quite rustic yes, but very neat for lack of a better word, I think. 

You can also tell, that it was a beautiful day!  I was a little worried since motion sickness is the devil on my shoulder, but the weather was perfect.  Just the day before had been a bit rough and windy but this day was a gorgeous fall day that didn’t call for bitter winds whipping through the walls of the prison.  Here is another shot for you to document what you may think is gross moss, but I loved it!

  Okay, time for some more background information.   During its years of “business” Alcatraz gave out 1, 576 inmate numbers but there were never more than 320 prisoners there at once.  It was kept at a “low” number because it was as maximum security as it gets, so only the worst of the worst were sent there.  There are a total of four cellblocks at Alcatraz, but cellblock A wasn’t actually used.  Areas B and C were the general population areas which to me, consisted of the criminals that would of been in the worst section of a normal prison.  Then there is Cellblock D – segregated isolation.  Think of the type of people that had reserved cells for this area in Alcatraz.  No thank you!  Although, Cellblock D did have the best “view” and some liked to stay just because of these windows that believe it or not allowed the sunlight to shine right in their cells.  So there you go, they actually felt at peace with the sun, in isolation.  Whatever works right?  Both Al Capone and Robert “The Birdman” Stroud spent a bit of time in isolation on D Block.  Actually, The Birdman was so unpopular that he was never allowed in general population.  On the day of his arrival at Alcatraz a riot started because of his appearance there and so he was immediately taken to D Block.  He remained there, looking at the sunlight through the windows for 6 years before he had to go to the hospital wing.  He then spent 11 years in the hospital wing before finally being transferred to a medical facility.  How is that for an existence?  Despite being the prison known for housing the worst of the worst, Alcatraz did not actually have a gas chamber or any type of execution facility.  The cold concrete walls and cells stayed at frigid temperatures usually because the wind always creeped in through the cracks…something that was always heard whistling around them.

Here are a few more pictures of the building and it’s surroundings for you to enjoy!

        

Imagine being stuck behind this all day…when you eat, when you read, when you think, when you breathe…this was the fencing surrounding the library itself.  I know, at least they had a library right? Very true.  Okay back to the history of Alcatraz….out of the almost 1,600 prisoners only 36 tried to escape in the 29 years it was open for “business”.  31 of those were recaptured…and five well…if you are out there, well done????  There are many rumors about the escapees…drownings, in Cuba, still in the city etc.  We most likely will never know but it is an interesting story to think about.

We were lucky enough to get to go to the “family area” where all of the correctional officers and guards lived with there families.  That’s right…children right there on The Rock living amongst the prisoners. Okay,
maybe amongst isn’t the proper word because they had their own area of the island, but still.  I was shocked that they all lived there.  Okay, maybe all is an exaggeration..but the majority lived there.  It took 90 officers to cover the shifts at Alcatraz and they too are quoted as saying they felt at times as though they were prisoners as well being stuck out on the island.

I have to say, that this is well worth the cost to go out and see.  It was such a short ferry ride to the island and then you can spend as much time there as you want until the “park” closes.  So technically you could take the earliest ferry and spend all day out there..but there isn’t food…so then you might get hungry and feel like a deprived prisoner yourself.  Hey, just call it putting yourself in the environment and really embracing the moment right?  One thing is for sure and that is the view from Alcatraz is pretty stupendous (vocab word for the week)!  The prisoners spoke of how everyday they had to stare at what they were missing.  While it may have been a beautiful sight, it was a constant reminder of the world they were missing…the world that was continuing on without them.  Quite a wake-up call if you ask me.

Not too bad of a view is it?  So yes, it is/was a prison…and yes I am sure it was grimy. Blood was spilt, food was thrown, lives lost, lives given back, words yelled, prayers whispered but somewhere, for some there was still hope.  Now, there is beauty among what is left, you just have to look in the right places!

I know it was a history lesson of sorts rather than a narrative…but in all honesty this is pretty much how our day was spent…but learning via headphones on an audio tour.  We talked, we sat, we rode the ferry and then we walked.  Thank goodness we took the taxi yesterday.  After a much needed coffee break we headed to our final dinner in California at a wonderful Italian restaurant.  I can honestly say it was a well rounded trip, and very successful.  No extreme disasters…although there were a few close calls.  We woke up pleasantly refreshed the next morning and after a final breakfast topped off with a Cappucino, it was off to the airport and back to life.  This is the part when you realize you want to be on vacation all of the time…and then you count again that retirement is still 40 years away.  I hope I didn’t bore you too much with the vacation stories (sorry for the history lessons) and that you feel caught up on our life thus far.  This is it for the California trip (finally all posted two weeks after we got home) so adios vacation and hola mundane daily life…okay it is humorous at time.  Until next time, hope you enjoyed the stories and the pictures!

 
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San Francisco – Home of Crazy Outfits and Delicious Coffee

Posted by casey on October 19, 2008 in Uncategorized

After our days in the wine country during the first weekend of October, we made our way to San Francisco where Colter immediately noticed they seem to celebrate Halloween all year round. :) Okay not really, but this was his first time visiting San Francisco ( I had been there several times when I lived in San Jose, but not as an “adult” ) and he knew he was in the town as soon as he saw someone in fairy wings and neon netted leg-warmers.  Ah San Francisco….
    Much of this “entry” is going to be a photo blog, because I got some really great shots and the first round is the Golden Gate Bridge as we were driving in.  Again, do not panic, Colter was driving, I took the pictures.  You all have seen the bridge at least in a picture, you know the big red one….goes across the water (hence the name Bridge) and is directly across from the Bay/Oakland Bridge.  So, here she is, from our car.   The fog was just starting to pull away out over the water as it was still morning (around 10 a.m.) but you could already tell that we were going to luck out and have good weather for the day!  We got slowed down by a little traffic on the bridge, but nothing too terrible as we continued on in to town.  Our first stop was back at the airport to get rid of our fire engine.  I mean come on, who actually wants wants to drive up and down the hills of San Francisco when you could walk them?  (I am sadly not being sarcastic here, which we later paid for even though it is truly easier to walk than drive).  Our stop back at the airport put a little damper in our schedule as it was a bit out of our way, but soon enough we arrived at the Orchard Hotel. I can honestly say, that this place was excellent!  I am sure I seem biased after you read about the Sonoma Chalet…you are thinking “Of course the Orchard was great, after being afraid for your life at the Sonoma Chalet, anything would be great.”  You are probably correct, but this was a great hotel and I would recommend it to everyone.  It was located on the back corner ( one block from the center of) of Union Square which is an adorable plaza surrounded by high-end shopping.  Always fun to look at, even when you can’t purchase!

Since our room wasn’t quite ready, we decided to venture out and explore the city.  Since Colter had never been to San Francisco, I thought it was only fair to open his eyes to the touristy area of the city along the water. This begins hike #1.  While I was enjoying the cardio…Colter was already doubting my abilities to hang in there which made me push even harder.  The real problem with this hike, was that we were walking to get to lunch and were running on empty.  So by the end of our 2.5 miles (which normally wouldn’t be bad…but with the hills I swear it was close to a marathon) we had reached Ghirardelli Square and were desperate.  We filled ourselves up at an Irish pub and then decided to relax in the plaza section of Ghirardelli Square to people watch.  We grabbed a perfectly hot, delicious cup of coffee – it may have been sugary, but the White Chocolate Mocha from here beats Starbucks any day, and plopped ourselves on bench to map out the rest of our day.  This was our day in San Francisco by ourselves.  We were fortunate enough to overlap Colter’s parents trip to California by our last couple days.  So, they were flying in this evening and we were going to be joining them.  So for now we were on our own, and with ample time on our hands…the camera started snapping!

 

 

There are a few others in this series of photos.  You can see one of them a few posts ago (before all of the wine country etc.  However, I have to include Colter’s “It is time to stop taking pictures of me.” face, which is when it became clear he had finished people watching and was ready to move on.

 

  Like I said…time to move on, he was finished and was not going to let me get one more picture of him or anything else.  I have to say though, he is very patient with me and my camera!  Since we were close enough, it was time to expose Colter to the carnival like attraction of Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39.  While I do remember it being crazy as a kid, it was especially carnival-esque and was  bit like returning to your elementary school 10 years later…everything is smaller, duller and just not as cool. Haha!  I mean still great for the kiddos, and Colter definitely needed to experience it, but it was, what it was.  I am happy to say that the men pretending to be statues are still there.  If you haven’t seen street performers like this, they spray paint themselves gold or silver and stand real still on crates for hours.  Whenever someone drops some money in their jar they will robot dance into a new position.  It is fascinating to watch them stay so still and to see the kids eyes widen when they finally move and they realize that they are actually people.  The Jamaican steel drum players (Dad’s favorite) were still performing and you could never have enough room in your stomach for all of the places selling fresh clam chowder in bread bowls (yuck).  We made it though and Colter got to walk to the end of the Pier to see the real sight…the seals.  Yes they smell, and yes they are noisy, however it is still slightly amazing that all of these seals pile on top of each other to sunbathe right here and show off for everyone. They just squirm all over each other, dive off the docks and jump right back on.  Wiggling over each other they occasionally fight but most of the time pay no attention to the fact that a gigantic, slick animal is climbing over them.  This is another attraction that is almost as much fun to watch the kids there as it is the animals themselves.  So Colter can now consider himself a graduate of  the San Francisco tourist challenge.  After our drive in, checking into the hotel, the walk and the past few hours we were exhausted ( not to mention having wine withdrawal) and we decided it was time to rest up before dinner.  While the weather was windy and just brisk enough to sill be pleasant, perfect for walking, our legs were finished.  Okay, my legs were.  I mean, I could have made it…but then I would have been shot for the rest of the weekend.  So we did it, we bit the bullet and hailed a cab.  Of course the whole time we were looking for a taxi we were joking about how unfair the movies/TV makes getting a taxi look.  I mean seriously hold up you hand and they screech to a stop so grateful you called upon them? Puh-lease.  Whistle really loudly and out of nowhere they come flying around the corner responding to your very call. Nope.  We lucked out, and for this day, it was the best $8.50 we spent.  We were back to the hotel in 10 minutes as opposed to 90 minutes and ready to rest.  I am talking a real shower with no bugs…aromatherapy amenities….white down comforter…fleece robes…ahhhhhhh the joys of city hotels.  I never thought of myself to be a hotel snob – I can stay at some grungy places on road trips and survive.  Apparently though, when I am on vacation, I want what the Orchard had to offer – clean, peaceful, comfortable serenity.  Is that so much to ask for? 

With a delightful view of the city we rested up for the night ahead.  Thank you Bill and Carolyn for letting us join you in Chinatown for dinner.  We were so grateful to overlap with Colter’s parents because they are much more adventurous than we are.  After one day of walking the city we would have gone “now what?”.  It was very nice to have a tour guide so to speak to make our remaining vacation days free of planning or much thinking for that matter.  While I don’t think Colter and I would have ventured into Chinatown on our own and stopped in a restaurant we were so happy we got to experience it at one of their favorite spots.  Another great people watching area so I highly suggest you hit it up if you make it out in that area.  Fair warning though…there is a lot of seafood, and duck, and tongue and well the list of off just continues.  Our first day on San Francisco was a success and the real treat of the weekend was the next day which was our trip to Alcatraz. This is something I actually hadn’t done in my previous visits and being with the history buffs known as the Kazmanns, I was looking forward to heading out there…and the pictures I knew I would get.  So, brace yourself, because the next post will be The Rock.  I still can’t decide if I would actually want to be in prison there or not. For now, here is one last picture of a rainbow I caught as we were driving into San Francisco.  I was looking in purse when I glanced out the window and saw it in between the mountains.  I grabbed my camera and – click !

 
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Concentrating is the Key!

Posted by casey on October 16, 2008 in Uncategorized
So as far as teaching goes this week, I haven’t done much. You may be thinking “ugh, what a bad teacher…and I say, tell it to the state. This week has been a week of standardized benchmarking tests, which truly means that I have not been allowed to talk to them until everyone is finished with their assessment. So I exaggerated I have been able to do approximately 2 hours of teaching a day this week, the rest of the day, I am staring at them.  Just staring – no speaking.However, you always hear teachers telling their students that concentrating is the key and to stay focused especially when testing. While I was watching, excuse me, staring at my kiddos, I saw how difficult this really is for them. – What helps one kid to concentrate (tapping his pencil) drives 50% of the class bonkers. You can say that with pencil and foot tapping, humming, rocking their body, moving their head around and the list goes on.- The chairs are impossible to get comfortable in which leads to endless fidgeting also bothering those who aren’t fidgeting at that exact second.  I have seen some serious chair gymnastics going on.  I mean they can contort themselves in all different kinds of ways in those chairs!!!

– As soon as they are focused a student needs a bathroom break causing a break in focus as he/she moves their chair and opens the creaking door to our classroom.

– Some students prefer music, others silence.  Some Beetoven, others pop-rock.

I haven’t even begun to mention the whole”Oh no, other people are finishing so I have to rush through and get done.” syndrome.  Do you know what happens when a kid can’t concentrate, especially when they are feeling stress? The pencil is put down.

Kids react the same way you would.  They put the pencil down and shut down.  They are done, over it, not worth it.  It is so sad to watch kids deal with stress levels that adults shouldn’t even have over a silly standardized test…and then I am supposed to tell them to concentrate, Ha!  That is like telling everyone to eat their sandwich cut in rectangles not triangles, or that you can only have your tea sweetened not unsweetend because well, we all do it differently!

I mean seriously how on earth are you supposed to expect a kid to concentrate in a room with his/her peers with all of that going on?  Impossible I say, impossible. The state needs to chew on that fact for awhile and maybe we could factor it in to the scores!  Looking at them often makes me wonder what I looked like in school and if the students I think I was like are a good match, or if I was actually one of the terrors.  No, no way, not me.  There is my concentrationg rant for the day….so, happy concentrating to you!!!!  Whoo-hoo for tomorrow being Friday (no more testing) and the chilly fall weather!
 (I apologize, I do not know why it is posting this one in such small font.  I will try and fix it, but if I can’t just keep squinting and damage those eyes!)

 

 

 

 
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You Learn Something New…

Posted by casey on October 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

If I am going to adopt the mantra “You learn something new everyday.”, I better start paying attention.  So I have been, and these are a few of the things I have learned or been reminded of in the past week.

 

-         One child can say something hilarious and not even know it.

So we were working on Idioms in class.  You know, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”  It doesn’t literally mean cats and dogs are falling from the sky (at least not yet) but that it is raining really hard.  (you are welcome for your lesson on Idioms…next time it will cost you).  We had brainstormed a list of Idioms and now were going back through them to talk about what was actually meant by the phrase

 

Me: Okay, look at “You killed two birds with one stone.” What do you think it actually means?

 

Student One: Ummmm….I don’t know. (This is when I want to say, “Then why did you raise your hand?”

 

Me: Keep thinking.  If you have two of something and you get them both out of the way…look at the phrase  sgain, “You killed two birds with one stone.”

 

Student Two:I know what it means Mrs. Kazmann!!!!  You have good aim.

 

I had a hard time talking enough to explain because I was thinking of how classic that answer was.

 

  

-     If there is a child with a jump rope near you, stay out of the way. 

But even if you are out of the way, they will find you.  Even if you are sitting peacefully trying to shovel in your lunch because you were even denied that 20 minute break they will come and stand directly behind you and start jumping.  The result?  Being whipped in the back by an old school plastic jump rope repeatedly.  I know many of you will have the same response as Colter..why didn’t you move?  I did, but with a bowl of stir fry in your lap you can’t move that quickly without making a mess.  So again, stay on your feet and be ready to move in any direction when a child has a jump rope.

 

I will continue paying attention, and will let you know if any other life lessons come my way.  For now though watch out for those jump ropers.  Since I can’t blog without a picture (even if it is irrelevant) …here you go!

 

Did you know that it is “monarch season”?  They are beginning to migrate to warmer temperatures so keep your eyes peeled and you may see some flying around! See, you can learn something each and every day. :)

 

 
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The Journey Continues…

Posted by casey on October 12, 2008 in Escaping Home, Family

 I hope you aren’t too bored.  I tried to throw in some humor from the trip in the last post as well as the “reviews” you have been asking for.  Man, you people are hard to please!  After this post, I am going to take a break from the vacation posts until next weekend.  A few others in-between possibly, but no worries this is it for vacation until I work on San Francisco for next weekend!  But for now..let’s continue.

You may be thinking now where?  So many wineries to choose from yes, is true. But, we survived the Chalet and were making our way into Healdsburg to, believe it or not, visit a winery that was one of my Mom and Dad’s favorites.  I remembered them always talking about Hop Kiln winery and the beautiful glass etched bottle from the winery that they were given as a gift.  So, it was a must visit for us.  Immediately upon pulling up we were struck by how well-groomed the grounds were and how authentic the building was.

Hop Kiln to me, was somewhat what I imagined a lot of the places looking like.  Covered in vines of fall colors, lush lawns outlined in flowers, and all of it overlooking pristine grape vines with dirt roads in between to access the harvest.  Hop Kiln was pictureesque.

 Straight upon walking into the winery we were made to feel welcome and it was obvious that this was a “Stay awhile and kick-back” kind of place.  The people were just so friendly and even said that they weren’t really like some of the stuffier wineries.  For it being first thing in the morning, we couldn’t have chosen a better place to start off with.  Colter was pleasantly surprised at how “drinkable” each wine was, meaning that they were consistently easy to take and would make a great everyday wine. They were bottles that you could pull out with most meals in front of company and know that hands down everyone would enjoy it, even if they weren’t a huge wine drinker.  We were also given generous portions of their homemade chocolate sauces in various combinations to pair with our wine.  We all know that giving me

chocolate is like giving me drugs, so I was feeling great!  We left Hop Kiln with a couple bottles of their homemade goodies – chocolate raspberry sauce and roasted garlic olive oil as well as a member of their wine club.  Does that tell you if we were pleased or not?  Not too many funny stories here, but right next door was a winery by the name of Rochiolo (Raw-key-oly).  Rochiolo was recommended to us by Mr. I am an Expert from the Newton tour.  They went on and on about how great this was and they had a Pinot that was to die for.  (He sounded like the guy from Sideways when we talked about their Pinot)  So, since it was literally next door we again said “Why not?” and made the hop skip and a jump to the tasting room.  Sign # 1 = The Tasting was Free
Now, I can say that you will never find anywhere new to try if you don’t just stop at some or go out on a limb based on what someone else said, but we definitely did more pouring than drinking here and were out of the tasting room in approximately 6 minutes.  A little said that we used some of our body’s wine tolerance on their wine we hopped back in the car and were off to find lunch!

We had heard about Healdsburg Square and were craving some filling food so we took a chance and were not disappointed!  We did choose a “safe” restaurant as we made ourselves cozy in a corner of the Center Street Cafe and Deli.  A Diner atmosphere with shiny barstools and walls covered with images of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley we relaxed into knowing we would like our food and be full.  I had managed to read all of my first book (A Long Way Gone) now, and knew I would be needing a second.  Lucky for me, next door to the restaurant was a homey bookstore that Colter was kind enough to wander with me.  There were shelves to the ceiling on all walls and tables in the middle covered with books.  It invited you to pick up each book and hang out awhile.  With the weather outside making it a just cool enough fall day I would have been perfectly content snuggling up on a bench with a coffee and a book.  I picked out the (Year of Fog) from the lined shelves, and quickly made my purchase.

  We continued to wander the square where I made two really neat discoveries.  The first was a war memorial statue which I think might bring you to tears just by looking at the picture. There it was, right in the middle of the Healdsburg Square. Then as Colter and I were crossing the plaza and watching these kids play in the leaves and chase each other I did a double take on this small tree.  When my eyes focused in, I saw that my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me and that there really were all of these origami birds on their.I got closer to take some shots,&  saw that they were origami birds of pray.

One of those “through the lens” moments..as I was taking this picture I saw the non-origami piece of paper that appeared to be a sign.  When I rotated to a different angle you could see that the sign had a peace sign at the top of it, Birds of Pray written in the middle and then September 11th at the bottom.

Such beautiful, peaceful and patriotic reminders here in the middle of the plaza.

The end to our day was relatively quick.  We stopped in at Yoakim Bridge one of the Kazmann’s favorites due to the sheer pleasantness of the owners as well as the wine.  We had a wonderful tasting and sampled her own Merlot cooking sauce.  Being dog lovers, we immediately grew attached to her 11 or 12 year old mini schnauzer Ethel who loved to say hello when not roaming through the vines.  I couldn’t help but think of our pups who were at home visiting their Auntie Dana (thanks a ton).  This winery was interesting because the vines are dry grown so they only receive rain-water but nothing else.  They were in their bushy stage but gorgeous none the less!  We were glad to stop by here and gave them a hello from Colter’s parents who were going to be visiting the next week. 

We made our way back to our last stop of the day.  With minutes to spare we found Kaz Winery which we were stopping at solely because of the name.  What we found was that it was a true family winery/business and Kaz was also short for their last name, Kazmeyer.   The daughter was the vine/grape keeper and gardener along with her father when it wasn’t highschool football season (also a coach now).  The sister was the business lady, and the brother in laws the graphic designers etc.  Kaz was a very eclectic winery with their father’s various photographs (former photographer) on the dimly lit walls and a bit of Heavy Metal playing in the background.  They had the free spritied attitude of you can’t take life very seriously and even being such a small winery (1500 cases a year) they produced over 30 varietals.  So think of it as a bottle of this a few bottles of that, no specialty in particular.  It was an interesting environment, with a different background and the sheer far from “snooty vineyard” environment made it a just fine way to end our day, and trip to the wine country.

    

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it folks.  Our two days in wine country covered eight wineries at a nice leisurely pace and overall we were pretty darn successful.  After a filling dinner at a small family owned and run Italian restaurant Bella Santini (nothing beats true Italian lasagna and tiramisu) we had to survive one more night at the Chalet.  While there were no bugs in my shower on this night, we had already nixed the idea of breakfast in the morning since the first breakfast was spent mostly fighting off swarms of bees rather than eating.  The next day meant packing it up and heading to San Fran to conquer the city.  Thanks for stopping by the Kazmann’s travel channel, tune in next weekend for the city stories.  I can honestly say that there are some fantastic shots of San Francisco that I think you will enjoy.  I am feeling a few light-hearted, humorous posts coming for the week though as well as the latest pictures of Cathryn Marie!

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