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Wants and NEEDS

Posted by casey on March 30, 2009 in Home

I think this topic is a lifelong battle we started at a very young age.
“I NEED the new Trapper Keeper to contain all of my schoolwork in! (or Lisa Frank puppy folders for you ladies out there).  Without this school supply item I am sure to be an unorganized failure.  I must have them.” 
“I am not buying these shoes just to buy them, I NEED them to go with that outfit.  I mean if they were only a want I would suffer with the brown shoes, but these tan shoes are perfect, therefore I NEED them.” 
“Who doesn’t NEED the newest Super Soaker that can hold enough water to successfully give their dog a bath in the backyard?” 

So, in the spirit of wants vs. needs I thought I would leave it up to Google to tell me what it is that I in fact need.  I stole this from Jordy, who took it from April and so the pattern continues.  What I thought might be fun for me to do and see the results of, ended up being something I thought I might share with you if for nothing else than I good laugh.

I usually don’t do these things (I proudly did not get sucked into the ’25 Things About Me’ chain) but for some odd reason, this intrigued me.  So I caved and you will too.  All this little activity entails is….go to Google and type in “(First Name) Needs”. Write down the first ten things that come up.  If you feel so inspired like I did to then comment on those things, get on a roll and have a ball. (I think the roll and ball comment combined was to similar with the fact that a ball can roll and well I have strayed again.)  
Here we go folks, What Casey Needs According to Google

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1. A Home.  Funny, I thought I had one.  A rather nice home, with dogs and a husband and the smell of home.  I guess I should check on that, but I am pretty sure it does exist.

2. Your Votes.  I don’t know what for yet, but when I do you better be sure I will be asking you to vote for me.  Apparently I need your votes to win something so keep your eyes out, or your ears ,or well lookout for me would you?

3. To Dance on the Edge.  I did say I need to fail at more, and take some chances, and try things I hadn’t before.  I think I have been more adventurous lately and well Google sees it.  Thank you Google.

4. A Bath. Ouch.  Here I thought my perfume was rather pleasant.  Sorry those of you who are around me.

5. Powerful Magic to Survive.  I mean, I know I have been taking it day by day and am working through things and what have you, but I didn’t know it was bad enough for magic.  Not just any magic either, powerful magic.  Here I thought I was surviving life pretty well.  Damn…

6. Time Off.  Amen.  Amen!

7. Your Help.  Fine, I get it.  I need to ask for help more often and not take on so much myself.  It took Google to shove it in my face one more time.  Help me, save me…find what it is you are supposed to be voting on for me!

8.  A Chance to Show Off Your Talents.  Again, I will do it, I promise.  I am just looking for the right time, right place…you know that sort of thing.  Ohhhhh that is how people never show their stuff huh?  Well yes, I think I do need this too and to take advantage of it when I can.  I have been trying and I promise to keep doing so.  It is difficult to choose from the abundance of talent I have going for me though. It is truly such a tough decision. Haha, kidding of course. (This week’s vocab word is humble so I thought I would practice the opposite.)

9. Facebook.  I kid you not. My need number nine according to Google is in fact Facebook.  I have permission now to waste those hours – justification for its mindless beauty.  Just try and stop me, Google said I need it.

10. iPhone Help.  What I find humorous and slightly ironic about this is that I will be joining the iPhone generation this week and have been telling several friends I think I might need a tutor to conquer its vast expanse of capabilities.  Is this a prediction that matches my fears?  Time will tell faithful readers, time will tell.

So, there you have it – Casey’s Needs According to Google.  You know you want to do it too.  I tell you one thing, Casey does not need to waste more time! (Oh I hate talking in the third person. Ick! It gives me the chills)

No more chain-ish posts, I promise – but this one worked only because I could comment on it.  Now go waste some time yourself and see what comes up!

 
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Just Once…

Posted by casey on March 30, 2009 in Uncategorized

This is going to be short, and straight to the point for once.  Last Monday I was pleasantly welcomed back from Spring Break by being rewarded with vomit all over my classroom and a jury duty summons in my mailbox. (Almost ruined my loving to get mail).  So today, I set my sights low.  I told myself that as long as I was clear of puke and jury duty letters today that it would be a better day than last Monday.

Then there was lice.  We all know how I feel about lice this year.  Seriously?  (Student walks up to my partnering teacher and says with an outstretched hand “Is this lice?  It flew out ot my head.” Yup…another jumper – lice case #842 confirmed) I mean I know I set a low standard today but come on.  Just once I would like to catch a break on a Monday.  Technically though, no throw up + no government letters means I am off to a great start.  Happy Monday everyone!

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(To give you some peace here is a quick shot of Ft. Worth from last week)

 
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Center Ring and Scared

Posted by casey on March 23, 2009 in On My Nightstand

When is the last time you thought about the circus?  Now perhaps?  I myself hadn’t thought about the circus and especially the excitement that used to follow them since well….I was a kid and wasn’t allowed to ride the elephant.  Yes I am still bitter and yes I know that it probably would have stunk…literally and figuratively.  However I was recently recommended a book by the title of “Water for Elephants” and it will make you long for the days when the town buzzed with excitement when the big tent was rolling on in.  It appears I have started a format with these reviews, and it has been requested that it continue.  I also want to mention, that I don’t “do” romance novels.  That being said most books have some sort of underlying love story to them – please do not let the mention of those throw you off and classify them as a romance novel – trust me, they aren’t.  And we’re off…

The Reviews 
I will preface this section again with, if I didn’t agree with them, I wouldn’t quote them here for you.

The Dever Post says “Lively with historical detail and unexpected turns…Water for Elephants is a rich surprise, a delightful gem springing from a fascinating footnote to history that absolutely deserved to be mined.”

“Gruen unearths a lost world with her rich and surprising portrayal of life in a traveling circus in the ’30s.  An emotional tale that will please history buffs – and others.” People

The Washington Post stated, ” You’ll get lose in the tatty glamour of Gruen’s meticulously researched world, from spangled equestrian pageantry and the sleazy side show to an ill-fated night at a Chicago speak-easy.”

“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen

At the beginning of many movies, you watch a beginning scene that you just know you are going to get the background on, the leading events if you will.  That is exactly how this novel kicks off – action packed confusion among the characters that draw you in so you are lingering, wanting to know where that scene stemmed from.   Welcome to this book..  However, the format of this book reminds me somewhat of The Notebook (bear with me….not all lovey dovey) in the sense that it goes from Mr. Jankowski’s current life in a nursing home contemplating his life and self proclaimed deterioration towards death and his livelier days.  You go from one time period to the other but only to reinforce and explain his thoughts, not to just jump mindlessly around. 

You will immediately be introduced to the story’s protagonist and main man Jacob Jankowski.  Jacob was an extremely intelligent young man, days away from graduating as an Ivy League veterinarian in the 1930’s when both of his parents are suddenly killed in an accident.  He is left confused. He is left heartbroken.  He is left without a degree because he cannot muster the focus for his exams.  Most importantly though, he realizes he is left completely broke – nothing to his name.  On a whim, desperate for change, desperate to escape he jumps onto a train car after chasing them down, just wanting to go anywhere.  He soon realizes that he isn’t alone and some tense interactions lead him to find out he didn’t just jump aboard any boxcar.  He jumped right into a working man’s car for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. A circus train.  Uncle Al’s pride and joy – for which he will do ANYTHING to protect and maintain.

Throughout this intricately woven, complex story you see the ranks of the circus workers much as our society could be viewed today.  Working men vs. performers.  First of Mays (newbies) vs. Vets.  Men vs. Women.  Love vs. Loyalty.  All of these conflicts are explored and resolved as you follow Jacob on his truly terrifying journey with the show.  Knowing he has nowhere else to go he forces himself to stomach and hide behaviors and crimes that no one should bear witness to.  He soon becomes a savior to Camel an old friend and works his way into the hearts of all of the ranks – including Marlena, the star of the show who is married to the brutal August.  Jacob’s saving grace then was them finding out he was practically a vet.  The animal’s especially the elephant are grateful for his kind care and loving attention.  The elephant is a character and has a story all its own.  They all do.

Mr. Jankowski is now a lonely,saddened man who looks back in his history, his battles, and his love from what he feels is his prison.  His last hope is the circus that is coming to town which he can watch being built from his window.  This was his life.  This is his life.  The circus and its mysteries behind the spotlight, the circus and its brutality among its family, the circus and the glory of its show gave him family, love and horror all wrapped into one.  It is difficult to Is Jacob Jankowski the savior his colleagues need from Uncle Al?  Does he find happiness?  It is all there for you, waiting for you to turn its pages.

Thought Starters

“Age is a terrible thief.  Just when you’re getting the hang of life, it knocks your legs out from under you and stoops your back.  It makes you ache and muddies your head and silently spreads cancer throughout your spouse.  But there is nothing to be done about it.  All I can do is put time in waiting for the inevitable, observing as the ghosts of my past rattle around my vacuous present.  They crash and bang and make themselves at home, mostly because there is no competition.  I have stopped fighting them.  They’re crashing and banging around in there now.  Make yourselves at home boys.  Stay awhile.  Oh sorry – I see you already have.  Damn ghosts.”

Quote-Worthy

“I walk until the edge of town and then veer off to follow the train tracks.  I walk until after dark and the moon is high, and then for several hours after.  I walk until my legs hurt and my feet blister.  And then I stop because I am tired and hungry and have no idea where I am.  It’s as though I’ve been sleepwalking and suddenly woken to find myself here.”

Join the Club
One Step Closer to Entering the Ring

Read a great book lately?  E-mail any book finds you would like me to check out with my “trained amateur eyes” and review to lifeofthekazmanns@gmail.com

 
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A Jumbled Mouthful

Posted by casey on March 20, 2009 in Home, Uncategorized

You walk in getting a whiff of a minty aroma and something recently sterilized. A strange but not altogether unpleasant scent.  A reclined, leather chair is waiting for you, but instead of holding a remote on the arm it looks like more of a torture device…yup, torture, definitely not for relaxation.  The sound of paper crinkles as what appears to be a bib is wrapped around you.  Your eyes are blinded by a light being pulled so that it hovers just above your face.  A cold, metal utensil is inserted into your mouth, which is held open by you….and then you are asked a question.

You guessed it, you are at the dentist.  Okay fine, I was at the dentist.  The whole time I was thinking about how I needed to remember to write about how absurd it is that dental hygienists ask you questions the entire time you are in the chair.  I get it, bedside manner, patient repor, making you feel comfortable – yadda, yadda, yadda.  But get real, no one is comfortable and we sure don’t want to respond to questions without the use of our tongue.  Regardless, I spent 50 minutes going “ahhh huh….mmm huh hmmmm….yaahhhh” because she was just so darn conversational.

You see, my wonderful dentist “assigns you” the same hygienist each time which has its perks as well as its well “difficult to not continue on where you left off” factors.  Those factors involve her always remembering what was going in in my life 6 months prior, my latest book  suggestion, job woes, hair color (yes that all somehow gets covered when I am mumbling in frustrated response) all which makes it impossible to refuse to respond because well you know she asks “life” questions.  I swear, she either takes notes with the hand that isn’t power-washing the walls that are my teeth or they record the conversations for a brief review (and claim it is for “security reasons to ensure the quality of their customer service”).  No way she is that good to do it on her own, so it must be one of those.  So I continue on with the “mmmm hmmm my daaaaahhuuuu huh mmmm” and so forth.

Why do I bring this up?  Is there a point? (Is there ever a real point to most of this nonsense?)Not particularly, but I do think I could propose a solution to the majority of the population’s woes about jumbled, mumbled, obligatory dental conversation.  Wait, can it really be called conversation?  I think not.  Dental vocal chord exercises. There, that is better.  Right…the solution.  They should let you bring in headphones and plug them into let’s say a book on CD …or how about the voice of a therapist telling you not to be afraid…maybe even  the sound of a squeaky wheeled cart so you can pretend you are aimlessly wandering the aisles of Target.  Don’t like Target? Fine, Home Depot….smell the wood (I kid you not, I did this today.   I like the smell -Do not judge me).  Maybe you just need some headphones that do nothing but let it be silent.  Fifty minutes of freaking peace instead of trying unbelievable hard to enunciate without a tongue. 

Challenge: Push your tongue to the bottom of your mouth with one finger.  Now say, “Yes, that was a great book.”  Oh come on, that was an easy one.  You sound ridiculous by the way.

See….the headphones are sounding like a better idea.  Even if they are there to pretend you are listening to something just so you don’t have to speak.  It is either that or make it into a game – more points for inappropriate answers to their questions that they can’t actually understand anyway!  Let me know what statements you get away with!

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(Picture included because, I am jealous that Cathryn doesn’t have teeth yet and it will still be A LONG time before she has to face this battle.)

 
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The Invisible Wall

Posted by casey on March 18, 2009 in Snapshots, Uncategorized

You can’t really see it, but it is there…img_4335_edited-1                                                                

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Take note, they still love each other even through that wall

 
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63,072,000 Seconds

Posted by casey on March 17, 2009 in Family, Life as I Know It

63,072,000 is the number of seconds in two years.
You could look at it as 1,051,200 minutes, 17, 520 hours, 730 days, 104 weeks, or 24 months, but for me it is seconds.
Sixty three million and 72 thousand seconds she has been gone.

img_4075_edited-1Here is the thing, I am not writing about this to bring you down, or to bring me down.  I am not writing about this so you will remember.  I am not writing about this for pity, who wants that.  I am writing about this because I think the unhealthy thing to do is to ignore what this day is.  I am writing about this because the healthy thing to do is to acknowledge and accept that two years ago,or 24 months ago  or 104 weeks ago or 730 days ago or 17, 520 hours ago or 1, 051,200 minutes ago or even 63, 072, 000 seconds ago however you see it, my mom died well before she was finished living and long before I was done needing her.  Know what else? It isn’t okay, and you don’t have to say it is.  Neither do I.  Frankly, it sucks and yes that is the most eloquent wording I could find to fit the situation.  It sucks for all of us.  We can be okay and still admit that it sucks.  Sucks, sucks sucks.  Okay, I’m done.

Writing is my therapy, which is why I have written a post here and there…in this corner and even under the bed to get out my thoughts and to hopefully help you work through things as well.  I have learned through conversations and e-mails that a lot of you come to me and say “I was just feeling that same way but I couldn’t put it into words, and you did.” which helps us all to feel a little more sane at times, and not so alone. So lets get honest.  Last night I sobbed, like on the floor sobbed not because I missed her more or just realized it but because I just so happened upon a container, a mystery container.   Naturally I opened it…and found every single card I was sent after she died.  So I read them, every single one of them.  This mystery card container was so delicately placed on a shelf in my guest room and has sat there for two years without me actually knowing it existed.  The Twilight Zone factor is all I have to explain how I saw it and opened it just in time for this day – awesome.  I wasn’t trying to torture myself or feel more connected but to refresh actually.  You see, I don’t remember many of those cards….they were opened, skimmed and added to the pile…lost in the clutter of what was happening to my world.  They were sent to comfort, to support and to love me and I read them to refresh that feeling and to give each of those cards a true look.  The jury is still out, but right now it is at 50% that was a great decision and 50% a poor one.  I will let you know which jurors give in and what the final verdict is.

We are going with honesty here right?  Those cards made me remember my last hug with her as I left her at home, confident in her recovery, for the airport 18 hours before my world was flipped.  Those cards brought back that day, the phone call,  the rollers falling from my hair as I stopped getting ready for the shower, the  blur of travel arrangments, the plane ride, msliceinthesky_edited-1y trembling and the two weeks of silence while I wandered about the house taking care of this and that.  Those cards allowed me to again feel the fear returning to my senior year of college with all of the stares, and pats and awkward encounters.  Those cards took me to my wedding, without her, which was just as much about her and our loss as it was about us.  Those cards though also made me remember the people who came to my house when I returned to College Station with a meal whether we ate or not and turned on the TV to BS about their day – normalcy.  Those cards wrapped me in the many people I have met since then who did not know her, but know me now and for some reason are impressed and feel an understanding to how wonderful she was to have given them me.  Those cards are the past two years – each and every stage of it.  Those cards must be kept, even if in a “mystery container” (that is no longer a mystery).

There were three cards  in that box that stung.  The first was the card that was sitting on the nightstand of my parent’s guestroom when I arrived to take care of her after her surgery and to help get my Dad to his surgery.  Its handwritten note thanks me for being a wonderful daughter and for our relationship and how grateful she was for me.  The second was another card set aside so I wouldn’t find it immediately when I had arrived there, for St. Patrick’s Day.  She loved every single holiday, and prepared in advance before her operation a package for me to have to open – a gift…on the day she died.  The last card is why I have realized that I am in fact broken, because this is what I lost.

“Every day I think about how lucky I am to have you in my life.  You aren’t just an ordinary person, you are a person who is unique, special, and who fits into my life perfectly.  It doesn’t matter what I am doing or what I should be thinking about; thoughts of you come unbidden bringing pause to my activity.  I may stop to replay a fond memory or to picture you or I may wonder what you are doing and send a good thought your way.  When you come to mind an warmth steals into my heart and I think about how much fun we have and how lucky I am to know you.  How wonderful it is that I have someone in my life whose personality complements mine, someone who always brighimg_4437_edited-1tens my life no matter how dark it gets.    The sentiment and these words will always be current and true.  They are just as lasting and sure as if they were carved into my soul. I Love You, Mom.”

Ouch. That hurt.

Each second feels different than it did two years ago.  What is more “unfair” to me than her being gone is what it has done to me….talk about aging.  It hurts to watch all the people around you work so hard, and try so hard to make you happy like you were only to realize that there is a certain level of happiness that is just unattainable.  It is stifled, overshadowed by this one thing. Yes I can be happy, but that carefree way of living slowly gets stripped away as you experience these “life happenings”. We have tried hard in my family on not using the “You are your mother.” saying and its variances which have been used to talk about me as long as I can remember.  Everyone is trying to separate me from her, to let me be just me, to let me figure out me…but when you have always been a half of something, a twin,  filling that space takes a lot of trying and a lot of time.  I have recently discovered so many things that I love that I hadn’t let myself do, and so many things that make me happy – just me, and for no other reason than I like it.  I am re-learning ME as we all do at so many points in our lives.

img_4531_edited-1So where am I in this battle?  I am still trying.  I am broken, and lonely, and missing her and needing her but I am trying.  What more can you ask for right?  That doesn’t mean I am a mess, or 100% fantastic all the time, it simply means I am continuing to work on through.  I am laughing, crying, joking ( you all know that) and feeling all in one – just like you, I am trying to navigate this world and its decisions, just like you.  I just have to adjust to doing it without her.  Now, let me re-cap the start of this post.

 

“I am not writing about this to bring you down, or to bring me down.  I am not writing about this so you will remember.  I am not writing about this for pity, who wants that.  I am writing about this because I think the unhealthy thing to do is to ignore what this day is.  I am writing about this because the healthy thing to do is to acknowledge and accept…”  I am hoping that this helped give you more insight into me and the honesty of where I am on this.  We all do things differently but I hope you now have a better understanding of how I and my family are doing because I do know that we are all trying.   I wanted to write this, although I rambled, since I have so often written about other situations and/or given advice.  It is only fair for me to me honest with this – that is what will heal me.

Have no fear, I will not be crying on the couch all day with a gallon of ice cream and a bottle of booze.  In fact I will be attending a concert in the evening and painting my guest room of all colors today, green. 
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A Reflection in Question

Posted by casey on March 16, 2009 in Snapshots

I have come to realize that my thoughts personify MANY things in life that you would otherwise not give such characteristics too.  That being said, when I was roaming the ranch I looked over and saw a striking sight. So naturally, I unwrapped my camera from around my neck and went to work.  A sky’s mirror is the water, the one place it sees its reflection.

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Remember when as a kid you would peer into a pool of water while someone tried to explain that you were looking at yourself.  I mean, it didn’t look like you…not really…at least you hope not.  At the risk of another crazy personification, do you think the sky questions its reflection as we do when we look in the mirror?

 
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Unnaturally Natural

Posted by casey on March 13, 2009 in Snapshots

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You know when you see a gorgeous woman walk by who is just so naturally beautiful for an assortment of reasons?  That is what I think of this flower in one of my arrangements.  It is unnaturally, naturally beautiful and unfair for one thing to possess all that beauty all at the same time.

 
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I Am Deficient

Posted by casey on March 13, 2009 in Friends, Life as I Know It

No, I did not say I am delinquent…I said deficient.  You don’t seem surprised?   Oh, I see, you still agree with that statement.  Well, that isn’t very nice of you first of all, and second of all what is it exactly that you are agreeing I am lacking?

Well you are wrong.  No, I do not have an intelligence deficiency and we all know I am not lacking in charisma, charm or wit.  I mean duh, I am obviously a complete package – so quit agreeing that I am deficient, defective, delinquent, delirious and delicious.  Oh wait, you can keep that last one.

Enough BS?  I think so.  Here is the rundown.  Two weeks ago I brought you all up to oh, I’d say….an orangeish/red alert.  You patiently waited and hopefully I got you down to just plain old orange when I didn’t have any news at all but was able to give you a tutorial on how to entertain yourself in a cardiologist’s office.  Today, I am hoping to get your “emergency alert” system down to yellow – literally.

potassiumPOTASSIUM. There is still no definitive answer…however a piece of the puzzle has been discovered.  Last night at approximately 7:00 p.m. my wonderful cardiologist gave me a ring, phoned me, used the tele – oh come on you know, she called me.  Naturally I missed the call (see it isn’t just you who always gets my voicemail) and then my favorite game of tag began.  As my thorough doctor was pouring over my “case” and medical history after work – she noticed something among all of the scans, tests and hubbub.  My potassium level is severely low, or was severely low, or well we don’t know yet if it still is. (hence the phone call)

Hooray for more tests and lab-work!  There are a few reasons why this needs to be addressed – obviously a deficiency in most things (including wit and charisma) isn’t good.  A low potassium level though can lead to many things the most common that we all know about is muscle cramps.  Do you know what muscle this could be affecting on me?  I will give you a clue…it pumps, races and is often thought of as red.  No it isn’t a new cherry red corvette at the gas station….and here I thought this was an easy one for you to guess. By golly it’s my heart…maybe…if this is the actual problem.

You see the low potassium can actually cause irregular heartbeats, rhythms and of course muscle cramping – additionally we can add exhaustion and weakness to that which explains the other stuff.  The odd part is the cause.  Most people with a potassium “issue” are obese (I am hoping you don’t categorize me there.) , don’t excercise (Again – you’ve seen the workout gear.) and have an improper diet (well,…who doesn’t like some cake every now and then? I mean come on, I eat my greens and check out that plate of bananas in my kitchen.)  So in my opinion, the cause of a potassium deficiency is more of an issue to me than the level itself.  That being said, while “No News Was Good News” it is also nice to maybe, possibly, almost have a reason that could have caused all of this.  A reason that can most likely be easily fixed and monitored.  A reason that shows it probably won’t randomly happen again if taken care of. 

 I knew I should have eaten that banana for breakfast on February 27th. Damn.

(Not quite an “all clear” but almost.  Could be worse. Keep you posted as usual. Thanks for the support.)

 
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Pointless in its Power

Posted by casey on March 10, 2009 in Snapshots

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I often think I am so obviously provided with the evidence that there is little we can control.  Take for example this storm pushing on in to trump a beautiful day that I caught.  I have no power over this…I cannot change it…it is pointless to think about or worry about.  Anything I try to control about this is pointless in its power.  Pointless compared to its power.  Come to think about it, that applies to most things.   Most things have a power beyond what I can begin to control.   Time to kick back then I suppose?  (Do I at least get a beer?)

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