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School on a Saturday???

Posted by casey on January 31, 2009 in Escaping Home, Uncategorized

That is right, Saturday school.  As a kid I always wondered what it was for, how you went, why you went, who taught it etc.  As a “working adult”, specifically responsible for broadening the feeble minds of today’s youth (Don’t be too scared, I am trying my best.) I now know the ins and outs of this weekend educational extravaganza, because I have to teach it.  Gross, I know.  I mean, everyone needs time to gain their sanity back which is what the weekend is for especially as a teacher.  All week long I am bombarded with

“I seem to not be able to get my sweatshirt off, I can’t remember.” – even though I have watched the kid take it off every morning successfully
” Where do I turn this in?”  – the same stinkin’ bin you turn it in everyday to, that is labeled HOMEWORK.
“Mrs. Kazmann……Mrs. Kazmann….MRS. KAZMANN!!!!”

That being said, on the weekends my goal is to limit the number of questions I am asked and please to not start the question with my name.  It is actually quite a challenging task, but when accomplished leaves me quite refreshed for another week of brainbusting questions.  So, Saturday school obviously throws a kink in that plan and me being the planner that I am I really have to muster up the positive attitude for it.  I must say though, it is always a pleasant surprise.  I always thought that the kids in Saturday school would be grumpy, miserable and ticked off that they were there.  While most do come in sleepy and a little bewildered that they are at school when yesterday was Friday, they are also eager to have some time with you in a smaller setting.  So for the next 3 hours we sit in a small group of seven kiddos reviewing, revamping and I like to throw in as many games and bribes as possible because after all, it is a Saturday. 

My fondest memory of Saturday school last year was during our midpoint break when a particular student asked to surf through my iPod and pick out a jam.  Bless him, the kid picks out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” which myself and a group of 4th graders belted out at the top of our lungs repeatedly.  You got to love a kid who has great taste in music enough to sing that and then turn around and do the entire Soulja Boy dance. (another story for another time).  So today I was thinking…what could top that and then I remembered this picture that I took last week.  That would be Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers immediately after completing the Dirty Dancing lift during their rendition of “Time of My Life”.  So, by the time Saturday School is done this year I am going to have a “Don’t Stop Believing” vs. “Time of My Life” competition I think to see who can really take the cake…or the song.

 

So Saturday school is finished, the “dolla dolla bills y’all” are in the bank and I am off to try to do as little as possible for the rest of the day.  That is what you get for being way too productive, entirely too early on a Saturday.  Happy Weekend!

 
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When You Can’t See Land

Posted by casey on January 29, 2009 in Escaping Home

It took a full week, but I think I finally have my land legs back…I think so anyway.  The one thing you can even tell from this picture is to think about how the middle of the ocean is just that…open.  You are at the mercy of the seas, the weather and whatever forces choose to interfere with your trip or life.  Your ability to control what is going on around you is lessened and the best thing to do is to sit back and enjoy the beauty of it all. It isn’t often that you can let go like this and truly realize that you have nowhere else to go, so you might as well kick back and enjoy what is around you.

 For those of you who do not know, I took a much needed and anticipated girls trip with my dearest friend Brianne to the Bahamas on board the Carnival Destiny.  Brianne and I have been friends for over 10 years now and as working adults decided it was about time we enjoyed the splendors of working hard and treated ourselves to some time together and boy was it worth it.  We didn’t know what to expect and we certainly didn’t expect the friends we would make out where you began to wonder if you would ever see land again.

Weather this time of year on the seas is quite unstable which made the trip alone an adventure…a rocky adventure.  However, the days were beautiful (minus the last freezing one) and full of refreshing sunshine and buckets of beer. I am sorry…was that not eloquent enough?  Honesty, folks…honesty.  The trip itself was a music trip for which both Brianne and I have a special place in our hearts for.  I love music.  I love the passion in music.  I love the personal aspects of music that make you vulnerable both as a performer or a listener.  I love the talent behind every song.  I love the way music makes you feel.  I love that the rhythm makes you dance, and I especially love live music.  We were in for a treat.  All day long and well into the night your ears were saturated with the sounds of Sister Hazel, David Ryan Harris, Sam Thacker, Tyrone Wells, Zac Brown Band, Graham Colton, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers, Michael Tolcher, Wideawake, The Kin, The Spring Standards, The Alternate Routes and our new friends, The Benjy Davis Project as well as many other artists.  Both artists we have known and those we have never heard before were there for us to witness.  I have never been around so many talented and genuine people and am adjusting to being satisfied by sound via speakers yet again.

For a quick, un-sponsored plug….as a friend I am asking and urging you to please check out these guys at www.bdpmusic.comor on iTunes.  Benjy, Mic, Michael, Matt and Jon are known as The Benjy Davis Project from Baton Rouge, Louisiana and your ears will be glad I recommended them to you if you haven’t already been hooked. I did not know them before this and am grateful that I now do.   I will leave it at that, but they are wonderful and all have a special place in my heart as my saving grace on this trip after a very chance meeting!

I got so many great shots (pictures, not liquor) from this trip especially from the concerts but like to leave you with what nature does best. That way those of you who do not know the artists or aren’t interested can still be amazed by something else beautiful. (I am sure a music post will be on its way soon) For someone who has looked at the world with a different view since March of 2007 and questioned a lot, I always like seeing what I capture out of what the sky has put in front of me, because you cannot question that.  We were supposed to make it to two ports, Nassau and Half Moon Cay.  However, the rough seas prevented us from ever being able to dock in Half Moon Cay…instead, we circled the ocean.  When leaving port for an excursion or to make your way to the Atlantis, Nassau can be quite spectacular.  The port itself however leaves something to be desired.  Even with that though, I was able to get this one stunning (I think so) shot of the port before we left for the next adventure.  You can see what you think of it, but I myself was quite pleased with the end result.

I didn’t want to go in depth about every detail even those that are more interesting than mundane for once, but hoped to share a few of my pictures with you and help to bring some more people “to the music”.  So for now, adios, enjoy the pics and I promise a true Casey blog to come soon, humor and all! Until next time….keep on truckin’!

 
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Mother Nature Strikes Again

Posted by casey on January 5, 2009 in Home

While you think that I should be able to say that Texas weather no longer surprises me, I have yet again been put in my place.  At the same time, the weather in itself is somewhat humbling if you really watch it and think about it.  Here are a few examples of the latest weather shenanigans in our neck of the woods.  Recently, in addition to some unique sunrises as seen above, we have been doused with several doses of extreme fog which are actually quite rare to the area.

  I urge you to click on the picture and enlarge it so that you can actually get an idea of it.  The large tree that you are able to get a vague glimpse of is no more than 40 yards from our backdoor where I was snapping this shot.  I hadn’t seen fog like this since living in California where we would watch a river of fog pour out over the mountains from our home each morning.  I had grown accustomed to it and what most find menacing due to driving conditions and hair “frizzability”, I also find so mysterious.  In thinking of the weather as more than weather but as a reminder from a higher power of some sort (if you so choose to do so…yes I know it is weather patterns, moisture, fronts, etc.) think about how much more you have to focus when it is foggy.  The fog itself slowly rolls in, unfolding itself onto our homes and communities making everything a bit of a blur.  What if we slowed ourselves down and focused so that our lives were not so blurry also? 

So after a solid week of foggy days, some more extreme than others, this past Saturday in true fashion of a fresh start in starting a New Year, it was 81 degrees and then sky split in two.    A beautiful turquoise blue sky was split in two by a wall of clouds.  I went outside to grab the mail and scurried back into the house to snatch my camera as if I thought this interesting sight was going to vanish any second.  The full sky actually looked like solid clouds that a butter knife coated in blue frosting had been sliced through.  The dogs and I took serious advantage of the beautiful weather that had long left us before this day. With the sky in two distinct parts and the spirit of the New Year floating around us it seemed as though the weather itself was embracing the idea of the old and the new.  Awful (yet perfect for snuggling by the fire) holiday weather to sunny weather with a sky that practically has an old and new section labled in its two distinct parts.  While working out is more of a constant in my life as opposed to a resolution for 2009 I took the concept of the new beginning message this sky was showing me and put it to use.  The dogs and I went for a lengthy run plus extra walking and I had to practically drag them back inside to cool down.  For the first time in months I was outside in shorts and a tanktop and perfectly comfortable.  Just another typical January day in Texas, so hot the air conditioning had to be turned on.  I mean really???

Come to think of it, had the weather stayed 81 and gorgeous we all would have been tired of it and complaining about it being too hot.  So lets not drive the people mad, lets switch it and make them all sick!  So I present you with, the temperature takedown.  From 81 on Saturday to 40 on Sunday, we spent today at a bitter, bone chilling score of 30 degrees (felt like 20) with snow, ice and then later a rainy mist.  As you can see in this image near our home (click to get the full view) the trees were weighted with ice and the field covered in a creamy layer almost allowing it to look as though we had walked through the wardrobe in The Chronicles of Narnia.  Okay, a slight exaggeration but the layer of ice and snow on all of the trees gave a glitter to the Dallas area that is normally dull and brown.  It was a scene that made you look all around you to see if any landscape had been spared only to realize that while some may see a grey, gloomy day it could actually be quite beautifully especially when illuminated just right.

 

So while our weather has jumped all around making our wardrobes and health change just as much, it is somewhat humbling.  One thing we know for sure that we have no control of.  One thing that puts us in our place as if to say, “Ah hah! You predicted sunshine, I will give you ice.”  One thing that can be interpreted as beauty or gloom.  One thing that you can choose to ignore or try and actually look at and watch and find meaning.  I know we all don’t have time for that, but take a second glance, or a third.  Take a picture and see what you missed.  Take the time to slow down and notice things we ignore daily and then just maybe the weather around you will make you write a peculiar blog as I just did.  Then again, it is just the weather.

 
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The Wrap- Up

Posted by casey on January 3, 2009 in Family, Home

Since it is officially the new year, I should reflect on our “break”…After a successful Christmas Eve at Dana’s the holidays were a whirlwind of festivities that have me just now catching up, and returning to normal.  While it might seem quite contradictory, it was actually a reasonably relaxed whirlwind, and the first time I can say that about the holidays in years.  You see, as it happens with most married couples you “assign” the collection of holidays to various family members so you can attempt to split your time.  Easier said than done right?  Wrong.  For the first time in six years, it was especially easy.  Thanksgiving in TN with Dad, Christmas in Dallas with the Kazmanns.  We did not have to travel once.  We slept in our own bed on Christmas.  The dogs were able to stay at home.  We did not pack one suitcase.  We had it easy this year.  Even with it being easy I am still exhausted.

One refreshing semi-change to Christmas this year was having kiddos around that are slowly becoming aware of the Christmas magic.  JP was a bit over 13 months and while his cold was hindering his charming personality at times, this old school pull toy that resembles Rusty, the family Beagle, was a big hit.  Just hearing the pitter patter of his feet, or Cathryn’s giggle made us all excited for the years to come as they get to experience Santa and looking out the window for any sign of flying reindeer.  I still say that one reason Drew was a good brother to me is because even when he was long past believing in Santa, he would help me stay up late and then rush me to the window lifting me just high enough to see the hoof-prints that he said were there.  Not a malicious brotherly trick, but just helping his sister to BELEIVE.

Fortunately for us though since we aren’t overflowing with small children we are also allowed to be kids…the hit Christmas gift at the Kazmann household was Rock Band.  (Check ticketmaster because The Kaz will be on tour soon in a city near you.) That is right, we had the whole family “rocking out” upstairs and after a few glasses of wine Meghan and I really belted out those lyrics holding nothing back.  What can make you feel both uncoordinated and extremely focused can also occupy you for hours….six hours straight to be exact.  We also got that gaming addiction of, “If we just beat this level of songs, we will get to unlock the next batch!”  Trouble I tell you, trouble.   Here for your enjoyment is a montage of Rock Band pics…I highly recommend you give it a try.

Can’t you see the concentration in both of these pictures?

I’m going to make a guess that this was one of the many songs we didn’t know the words to…

Get It Colter….get it…

We made a complete disaster… of Carolyn’s beautifully decorated living room  as you can see and we pretty much left it like that as we relaxed through the weekend eating….playing Rock Band…eating….drinking…eating…catching up and oh yeah, eating.  Can you tell that I didn’t want to see another meal until yesterday practically.  Full doesn’t even to describe how we all felt as we kept devouring delicious meal, after delicious meal.

As usual I was very grateful for family during this time and even more so for the chance to catch up with all of my sister in laws.  I am so fortunate to be so close to them and to be able to have girl time whether it is on the porch, while chasing JP around or while getting our nails done (thank you Carolyn).  Overall our holidays were a great success and we even got to have a quick visit with Dad and Kathy which we were unsure if it would happen or not!  We saw everyone from home and have finally packed away the last Christmas box…such a chore.  Since many of you stop by just to see the pics, I am going to leave you with a collection of pics of one of my many “muses”, JP.  I just seem to gravitate to him with my camera when he is running around!  I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and New Years as much as we did and are ready to get back to the normal routine of same old, same old, everyday life.  Hope you enjoyed our holiday wrap-up!

Conquering the Stairs

Not feeling to well…

JP and Mommy in the Garden

“Toby, meet my toy puppy.” – I think Toby is as curious as JP

Hey look, it’s me!!!! (JP found my new picture of him and he wouldn’t let go.  He just kept pointing at himself in the photo…so precious!)

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