Monday, July 30, 2012

#MusicMonday - Glee Edition

Okay, okay, I know danged well that some of you are avid Glee fans and some of you are so not.  But, separating the ridiculousness of the circus that is Glee, the tv show, I would like to say that Glee, the music, can be amazing and touching all in its own right. 

Glancing through my itunes on my laptop tonight I was quickly ruling out who y'all might wanna hear about or talk about or listen to me wax lyrical about and considering well over half of my itunes are Glee songs, I thought that maybe they might get a fair shake here on my blog. 

Now for my next trick, I going to attempt to pick out five (that's right FIVE) songs from Glee that I love.  Keep in mind that there is a talented ensemble cast behind these songs and stories (well, sometimes they make sense and others not so much - I blame Ryan Murphy - he's kind of a dunderhead). 

Okay, here we go:

5.  We Are Young (originally by the group fun)

This vid is one of those new-fangled lyrics vids that all the kids are doing nowadays as Fox and Glee keep a pretty tight rein on these kids' performances but you'll get the gist of the moment as it goes down.  This song climbed up the charts after they performed it, but I liked it well enough - and the band is amazing (Please, to be checking out fun if you get the chance) - as a single by the original singers.  This moment, though, in the show, when they all come back together again always gives me goosebumps and the blending of all their voices is amazing.  Enjoy.

4.  Shake It Out (originally by the group Florence + the machine)

I can't remember how many times I listened to this over and over and over again.  It's a beautiful rendition of this song led by Amber Riley, Naya Rivera, and Jenna Ushkowitz (aka Mercedes Jones, Santana Lopez, and Tina Cohen-Chang).  These ladies have not always had the limelight and/or the spotlight but their voices together are just hauntingly perfect.

3.  Man in the Mirror (originally by Michael Jackson)

Okay, here's the boys turn to shine.  I love love love this song.  Small secret that it's probably my fave MJ song (who doesn't love hearing about turning to look inside yourself to make changes?  No one, that's who) and these guys knock the shit out of it with the girls harmonizing in the back ground.  These boys excel week after week but just stand out and shine in this and when they bring it down for the very last harmonizing 'change', I get freaking goosebumps every time.

2.  My Love is Your Love (originally by Whitney Houston)

Oh lawd, this song.  I've watched this show probably since the beginning of season two, but was fortunate enough to find season one on netflix.  This song, watching this group sing together, reminded me so much of season one.  The song, orginally sang by Ms. Whitney, is perfect for them as an ensemble, as a cast.  Love, love, love it.

1.  Loser Like Me - Glee Cast

This little ditty came from an episode called Original Songs.  It's a cute anthem for all the geeks of the earth.  Don't get me wrong, music/fancy lyrics can't fix everything wrong with the world, but words are powerful when used as a mantra and/or anthem.  Revel in your geekery.  Love the fact that you're good at math or you can build a birdhouse.  That's what this song is about. 

I love it. 

Okay, that's my two cents on the music this week.  Do y'all watch Glee?  What's your fave?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fyeah Fashion Friday

I know, I know.  For all of you who truly know me, you know I am NOT a fashionista in any sense of the word.  I love pretty clothes, don't get me wrong,  But, normally, I dress like the soccer mom that I am.  (No, none of my kids play soccer.  I just like the term, okay?)  I loves me some ball caps and 99% of the time on the weekends, you will not see me without one. 


(My style does lean more this way; although, my flip-flops would be plain Old Navy and a more brightly colored purse.  Seriously, I've got a kelly green number I've been using for a few months now)

Anyway, my job doesn't allow for ball caps and jeans so I'm forced to look for 'dress-cazh' clothes to wear to work.  And don't get me started on what khaki pants do to your butt.  No one, I repeat no one, has a fantastic ass in khakis.  It just doesn't work that way.

Okay, so, in the interest of keeping it real, I'll let you in on a widely known secret about me:  I'm a thrifter. 

I wasn't a born thrift store shopper.  As a matter of fact, when I was a teenager, I would've done anything/everything to get out of going into Goodwill, etc.  It just wasn't cool.  Fast forward a few years, and I'm a young lady, out on my own, and working at Wal-Mart (don't even.  It was a job).  One of my co-workers dragged me to Goodwill in our local town and my life was literally never the same again.  There were all of these cute clothes for a little bit of nothing.  Being the clothes horse that I've always been, this did nothing but feed my habit, as it were.

Plus, there were books there, too.

(I'm thinking my ideal store, nowadays, would be a clothes/coffee/book/music store...seriously) 

Since then I've branched out and found other consignment stores and since becoming a mommy have used my savvy-thrifty skills to find some outfits for my kiddos. 

And it's not just for clothes neither.

I can still remember when 'The Boy' broke one of my beloved Fiestaware plates (which shall be another post for another time - I loves Fiestaware like a fat kid loves cake). 


I was off to Kohl's that Saturday morning to buy another set when, on a whim, I decided to stop into Goodwill in the 'City'.  Lo and behold as I perusing the shelves a bright yellow caught my eye.  Three plates and two serving bowls were peeking up at me.  I flipped every single one of them over and yup, there was the familiar Homer C. Laughlin mark distinguishing it as Fiestaware.  Three plates at $1.38 apiece and the two bowls were $3.38.  I got five pieces of Fiesta for less than I would've paid for one four-piece place setting.

That was a great day.

My other all-time find has to be from earlier this year.  Anyone familiar with the internet, the world, and/or every college campus in the continental US knows what Sperrys are.  Also, if you know me at all, you'll know that I have a 'thing' for plaid.  (My kingdom for Burberry, seriously.  So expensive, but so pretty)  I had been coverting a pair of Sperry loafers for the better part of six months and still couldn't justify buying a pair even on the clearance rack at Scheels for a grand total of $50.00.  It just wouldn't do.  So, every once in awhile I'd sigh, hem, and haw over a pair I'd see and lovingly put them back on their shelf at whatever store I'd happen to be in.

And then...and happened.


Strolling the aisles of Goodwill one afternoon, I glanced over at the shoe section and thought "Oh, those are so cute.  Bet they're Sperry knock-offs."

I flipped them over.  The first thing I noticed was that they had NEVER been worn.  Not one scuff, not tell-tale wear and tear on them.  And then, I saw the Sperry logo on the heel.  Next to that, a bright pink price tag declaring them to be the grand total of $4.38.  I almost laughed out loud, in shock.

Being Ms. Cazh, I tossed them in my cart like it was NO BIG DEAL and strolled up to the counter.  I can still remember getting out to my car and calling my pal and freaking the hell out.  I got out of Goodwill with a brand new eighty dollar pair of loafers that I had been drooling over for months.

In the last month, I went shopping with my Momma while she was here visiting from Phoenix and scored a pair of white denim Michael Kors capri pants for seven bucks on summer clearance at one of the big city consignment stores.

The goods are out there for the pickings so to speak.  But, like anything, there are a few hard and fast rules about thrift store shopping.

1.  I always give the item/piece of furniture/etc a good once-over.  What may seem like a bargain in the store quickly turns into something that gets tossed back into the Goodwill box at home if there is a rip/ding/tear in it.  Look closely AND carefully.

2.  If you don't need it, don't buy.  I keep an ongoing 'wish list' in my purse that I try my dangest to adhere to.

3.  Sometimes life-sized dolls happen.  You'll have to know my mother for this.  She spotted a life-sized doll and bought it for my youngest.  Yeah, mothers.  What can ya do with 'em?

4.  Enjoy the thrill of the hunt.  Today may not be your day but remember that you will live to fight and bargain for another day.

5.  Don't bring the kids if you can possibly help it.  They talk you into things like life-sized dolls and baby poop green 1973 pop-corn poppers.  (The Boy did this to me a few years back)

6.  Keep an open mind when looking at furniture.  If it has great 'bones', use your artistic side and 'see' what it might look like with a coat or two of pain.

7.  Get an invite to Pinterest .  It will give you several ideas of how pieces of furniture and/or clothing can be repurposed/remade. 

8.  Carry cash and stick to your budget. 

In closing, I won't say that this way of life/shopping is for everyone.  You have to have a little bit of patience and a sense of humor to do this (especially if the kiddos ARE along).  But, you might just save yourself a few pennies and find a treasure!!!

So, what's your fave bargain you've ever found?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What to Read Wednesday

So, as I've said before I'm going to try and put a couple 'themed' posts in every week to see if I can stick with something.  So I asked myself what I should write about.  It was a very boring, one-sided conversation but me and my inner-psyche decided that there were three things that I loved to talk about more than my family:  Music, books, and clothes. 

Now, while I'm not normally given to shopping sprees for any of those three things as I'm a born and bred thrifter, it doesn't mean that I don't like pretty music, pretty words, and/or pretty clothes.  It's just that I'm a little bit more frugal about certain things.  I still download songs off of itunes and I've been known to buy a book in hardbook if I want to read it bad enough (although, lately, I've been having a fun fun time downloading things to my kindle), but yeah, clothes, I'm a huuuuuge thrifter.  Find me a bargain and I'll love it forever...or at least until next season.

Anyway, before I get into a big long drawn out post on the benefits of thrifting, I'll start off on my actual subject that I wanted to wax lyrical about today:  Books. 

I've been told that I was a reader at an early age and I honestly don't remember a time in my life when I didn't love to read.  From Harold & the Purple Crayon to Harry Potter....I've loved 'em all.  The last book I admittedly read was probably the Hunger Games Trilogy.  I do jump on the pop culture bandwagon from time to time and every once in awhile I'm pleasantly surprised by what's being churned out. 

Just don't expect me to go reading Fifty Shades of Gray anytime soon, okay?

I got a like two-three page peek at that book on my kindle and abruptly did an about turn.  It's not that I'm opposed to Erotica or anything like that.  I've read enough fanfiction in my day to understand that sometimes whooops, sex happens.  I'd just prefer to read something that doesn't delineate everything for me in such a 'nuts & bolts' fashion as it were.  I'm also definitely not opposed to sex in books.  I love love love Nora Roberts for pete's sakes, but I have zero to little desire to read this book that has everyones tongues wagging. 

Why you may wonder.

Well, I'll tell you. 

It's badly written in my humble opinion.  If I'm supposed to get all jacked up about something, you'd better grab my attention and deliver the so-called 'goods'.  And if you're reading them for entertainment value, then yes yes yes, I totally get that but please don't tell me that it's the best literature you've read ever. 

For now I shall digress and leave you a couple silly things that were found out and about the net (I dinna find them.  My pal pointed them out to me when she found out my subject matter for today):


Just some silliness to tide you over till Friday.  But for the sake of me being nosey, what are y'all reading this summer?  And yes, it's totally fine if you guys say Fifty Shades.  I'm not judging at all.  I'm just saying what works for me.  So, do tell, what's good to read?  :CHINHANDS:

Monday, July 23, 2012

#MusicMonday - needtobreathe

Like any good social media girl, I loves me some Twitter.  I freaking love being a fly on the wall of some of my fave celebs, some online pals, and some real time folks, too.  Usually on Mondays there is a twitter 'trend' (and Oh God, do I need to explain twitter trends?  Yes?  No?  Well, it's when the bajillion folks on twitter have all typed the same thing with the same 'hashtag' and it makes the 'saying' (aka trend) popular) called #musicmonday. 

Also, like any good social media gal, I'm properly lifting it from them and going to see if I can stick with sharing some things from my itunes. 

Now, onto a proper post:

I saw these folks when I was at Bonnaroo a little over a month ago and I vaguely (and when I use that term, I truly do mean vaguely as that place, that festival, is a virtual sensory overload on every single one of the senses....seriously) remember seeing them and thinking they were amazing.  Actually to quote my facebook page for that date, I believe I said they were 'sick'.  (Don't ask.  I had to look up HAM in the urban dictionary yesterday.  Such is life.)  When I got home from the long road from Tennessee, I looked these folks up and found this gem:


You might recognize it from the PS. I Love You soundtrack or you might not.  But the lyrics in this just kill me.  I'm a sucker for a good lyric, for something that touches that thing inside of me.  And if you stick around this blog you may find out that sometimes there is a very little 13 year old girl living inside of me and also at the same time a very old woman.  *shrugs*  Again, such is life.   

Mostly, I think, it's when he sings over and over 'please don't worry now, it will turn around', I kinda believe him.  No, I take that back:  I do believe him.  And as a basic born and bred worrier, this is soothing as hell, trust me.  It's a salve on my soul.  

Plus, just listen.

Giving new musics a try is a good thing and even though it might not be your personal cup of tea at least you gave something new a try today.  And that, my friends, isn't a bad thing neither.   

Needtobreathe is currently on tour world-wide (and I'll throw up the link to their page when it's not having database errors) and are fun to follow on twitter

Wednesday, July 18, 2012



In honor of this year being a year of definite 'firsts' for me, I thought I'd do a 'firsts' series. 

But allow me preface these tales with another small story:  A couple years ago (almost 18 months to be exact) I was working in a job that made me supremely unhappy.  You know the job.  We've all  had 'em, right?  Low pay, low respect, maximum duties, and there were times where I was so damned uncomfortable with my job tasks (I can admit that now that I'm away from there).  The morale at that place was crazy low, the management was just plain cray, and while our family still needed me to work, I was completely unhappy.  On the positive side - there's always a silver lining - there were some good gals that I worked with and if nothing more, that job taught me exactly what I could handle:  And that place weren't it.

Now, through a stroke of luck, I got the job I have now.  I work for six pathologists at the University of Iowa Hospital and love my job 99.9% of the time.  My faculty/bosses are AMAZING, kind, quirky, funny, lovely folks. 

I had been there about six months or so when it was discovered through one of our conversations that I had never ever flown in a plane before.

Yeah, I know.  How do these things happen, Hez?  Why you no fly before?

Well, last time I checked, plane tickets cost moneys and the last thing on my list for extraneous expenses was flying somewhere.  I also grew up in a household where flying just wasn't mentioned or something we did. 

Ergo, no flying for Hez. 

Now, onto present day....or at least the latter part of last year.  One of my faculty's spouses flies planes as a hobby and they offerred to take me and any number of my family members up in this cute little four-seater plane.  We even made plans but for some reason or other it got tabled till this year.  It was brought up again in May or June and we settled on Sunday, July 1st.

Oh yeah, my birthday. 

I also decided that I wasn't doing this alone.  My 14-year-old son, Arik, was tagging along.  Needless to say, like all teenage boys, he was STOKED. 

Me?  I was scared to death.  But did I show it?  I hope not.

My birthday dawned warm.  It was the first of July in Iowa, after all.  How could it NOT be warm?  But it was a great day all around.  I got homemade cards, ice cream cake, and had a nice relaxing day.  Five-thirty finally rolled around and we - the boy and I - headed up to the Iowa City Airport. 

Ms. Faculty greeted us there as her hubby was out inspecting the plane and we hung out in the tiny airport shooting the breeze.  One whole wall of that room was windows, of course.  We could see a smaller jet sitting on the tarmac.  Mr. Pilot was sharing the room with us reading his newspaper.  I'd glance at him now and again (hello?  People watching, my all-time fave past-time) and he'd grin as Arik (aka The Boy) would make some comment about this being his first flight, too.

Did I mention that? 


Well, yeah, it was The Boy's first time at bat with this whole flying shebang, too.

And then it was time.

My first thoughts, if memory serves, went along the lines of something like "Holy SH*T, that's a tiny plane!" and "OMG, I hope he has barf bags". 

Really, no self-respecting Cancer would lose control like that, but it was a near thing on descent.  But again, back to the first impressions.  It was a cute plane.  And we climbed in - me in the back with Ms. Faculty and Arik up front with Ms. Faculty's Spouse. 

That would be the Boy pre-flight.  He told me later that he had major butterflies but was also REALLY excited. 

I absolutely adore this picture.  It's Ms. Faculty's Spouse explaining how everything on the 'dash' of an airplane works.  Arik, for once, is really intensely paying attention.  And plus the silhouettes make me happy for some reason.  I dunno.  I'm weird like that.  I'm also sure Mr. Freud has something to say about that but we'll delve into my psyche and neuroses another day. 

And then we were off.  We radioed the tower and let 'em know we were on the way and within minutes we were airborn.  I kept looking at the treetops, and not the ground, as I didn't really want to hurf.  All the while I could hear Ms. Faculty's Spouse and Arik chattering away in my headphones. 

And then, then, then Ms. Faculty's Spouses voice came ringing through the fog that had developed in my brain:  "Hey, Arik, you wanna fly the plane?"

My mommy mind screamed 'WOT?'  Um, hell to the no. 

But I figured if this guy knew how to fly a plane, he sure as heck take anything a novice kiddo could dish out.  I could hear Arik's excited reply of yes.  And then there was this:

Yup, sportsfans, that's my kid flying a plane.  He did an amazing job and listened to everything Mr. Faculty said and I could hear the smile in his voice over the headphones. 

Incidentally, when I told him later that as many times as his dad had flown in small, private planes he'd never once flown it himself.  Arik fist pumped the air and I knew he was so beyond excited to have done something his dad had never done.

This is what happens when you're a boy and have a bad ass for a dad, I guess.  LOL

Anyway, we flew over our town and got to see our house and all I kept thinking was that Iowa looks like a quaint quilt from the air. 

And we got a gander at the Iowa River not far from our town, too:

One thing Arik and I both enjoyed was seeing people's yards and finding swimming pools that we would've had no way of knowing were there from the ground.  We're simple folk.  What can I say?

After seeing our house and our town, we turned around and headed back towards Iowa City.  Arik drove most of the way back sans the landing.  The descent was probably the only time that I felt nearly ill but I hung on and breathed deeply and then we were on the ground again, moving steadily down the runway.  Once we got slowed down, Ms. Faculty's Spouse let Arik drive the plane back to the hangar which wasn't as easy as it sounds.  He had to drive with foot pedals but my kid handled it like a PRO! 

The boys went through the jillion point inspection as we hopped out (once the plane was stopped, of course) and Arik helped Ms. Faculty's Souse push the plane into the hangar. 

We said our thank-yous and good-byes in front of the tiny airport. 

The whole way home that kid of mine was ear-to-ear GRINS.  It was an amazing experience to be able to share with him and I'm so very glad we did it and am so thankful to have people in my life who want to do things like that for us. 

Yeah, pretty danged thankful. 

To wrap this post up as it's gotten to be a little run-on, I'll say that it's a summer for 'firsts'....or a year maybe.  Either way, I wouldn't be able to do these things without the people around me that support and love me in a way that allows me to step way outside of my comfort zone and do things that scare the bejeezus outta me. 

Also, in closing, what have you guys done for the first time this past year?  Share with me. 

As a teaser for the next 'firsts' posts, I will tell you that they include a music festival by the name of 'Bonnaroo' and also taking my son to his very first concert in August (cannot. freaking. wait.). 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dish Duty


In the interest of keeping it real, I'm writing about one of my most hated chores:  Doing the dishes.  Most of the time I have a lovely 14-year-old boy doing them for me but on the weekends I tend to give him a break as he's working his other job as a glorious bus boy/dishwasher at a local eatery.  You thought I was going to say that he was working as a mini-super hero, right?  Being a bus boy is just his cover story, but that's a tale for another time.

Now, a couple years ago when I was following several blogs about homesteading and keeping it simple, one of the first things they (the collective folks who are way more savvy about keeping a home and saving your pennies) say is to do the dishes by hand.  Not only does it save on money by not running your dishwasher but it's cathartic.

Yeah, I thought they were smoking crack, too. 

Come to find out that when I'm wrist deep in a sink full of suds and water, they're right.  There is something wholly relaxing about stopping and slowing down and concentrating on the task at hand and meandering over the day's events or clearing your mind all together. 

I mean besides saving on electricity and all of those important things, it's soothing. 

Plus, I love the tableau of my dishes stacked all nice and orderly in their vibrant fiesta colors in the cupboards when I'm done.  (it's part of my OCD, I'm sure....I love order)

So, I shall finish this cup of coffee and be off to wash those plates and silverware and color myself impressed with my amazing housewifely duties. 

And then, then it's play time at the beach hopefully. 

Pictures to follow. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


So last night I went through three years worth of Country Living magazines.  I was not looking forward to any of this as I sat down looking over at the pile of magazines that were somehow mocking me.  I'd saved them because, like an idiot, I thought I would go through them page by page and take out what inspired me.  A few years ago I started a binder full of pictures that gave me inspiration for rooms in our home.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  Well, until I accumulated three years worth of Country Living magazines.

I love Country Living.

Truly, I do.

Their glossy pages are full of things that just make me swoon and my heart go pitter-pat.  There are pages of vintage cake carriers, painted chairs, checkerboard floors, textiles and fabrics that make me cry and long to make my home just like that picture right there.

And then reality sets in.

I'm the mother of four.  Three of my lovelies are still currently living at home and they are unrelenting in their pursuit to wear me the heck out every single day of my life.


My youngest - from the time I hit that back door at 5:37 - says "Momma, guess what?" about 87 times.  I wish I were exaggerating.

That's her.

I'll tell you more about her later.

But anyway, including the short one wearing red, there are two other people, including my hubby who bide for my time and in their effort to seek my attention first, they talk over one another, through each other, and more often than not someones butt is chapped inside of three minutes.

See what I mean?

They're exhausting.

And lovely.

Anyway, back to my magazines.  I love these things.  They're glossy and pretty and perfect.  In other words:  They are nothing like my life.

But, someday when I no longer have scrubby hand prints on every door jamb in my life, I, too, hope to have painted chairs, a mirror I've framed in myself, pillows I've sewn out of feed sacks, tile above my sink in my bathroom, a pretty/inspiring desk/computer area, and I hope to never see a Barbie tiara ever ever again.  (That's a lie.  I borrow 'em so I can feel pretty now and again)

Now, I've got pages upon pages of inspiration for my binder that I'll hopefully put together before the snow flies.

Here's hoping.

P.S.  My middle daughter has my sense of humor obviously (her latest creation on her computer art game):

Sunday, July 8, 2012

There goes a fighter....


Let me preface this post by saying I don't exercise.  I don't eat right.  The only time I run is when someone is bleeding and/or on fire. 

Now, I take that all back. 

A few months ago one of my best friends asked me to take part in a local 'boot camp'.  After much whining about how I don't exercise as it's not what I do, it's not who I am, I went ahead and went.  That first night I wanted to die.  I was drenched in sweat, huffing & puffing, and wanting to crawl in the nearest hole and die.  The next day I literally ached everywhere.  I can remember verbalizing to everyone within ear shot (and some that weren't) that I was in pain.  That I had muscles hurting that I wasn't even aware that I possessed. 

My ass hurt.

Yeah, this was the opposite of fun. 

But, what did I do?  I went back for more. 

Why?  Partly because I thought I should go for my friend's sake (she was and is going through a tough time in her life) and partly to see if I could do this thing.  If I could finish it out.  If I was tougher than I thought.  And maybe to see just what I'm made of. 

So, week after week, two sessions a week, I let our amazingly tough boot camp leader run me through the paces.  It was grueling some weeks (hello, planks anyone?) but more than anything I would walk out of there exhausted and prouder than hell of myself. 

In the midst of all of this, I quit my two pepsi-a-day habit.  I started taking a water bottle to work and actually using the damn thing.  I cut down on sweets.  I started to watch what I ate.  I took my lunch more often than not.  And I was going for evening walks with my gal pal around our local sand pits (for those of you not native to this area - there is an amazing walking trail around our old sand pits and I recommend them to any and every one - get out and enjoy your town) on purpose. 

It occurred to me as the pounds were coming off and so were the inches that I was slowly becoming one of 'those' people.  I was become someone who exercised on purpose.  I was becoming one of those annoying folks that I hated standing around in the copy room who discussed low cal recipes. 

But I also realized I felt better than I have in my entire life about myself, about my body, about who I am.  I smiled more, was more relaxed and looked forward to that hour to undo some of the things that goes along with a busy mom and wife.  As much as I loved/love those bootcamp classes there was something so fundamentally 'fun' to me about popping in my earbuds and jamming to my 'workout' playlists.  And the first time I literally jogged a stretch of that walking trail, I felt like Rocky running up the effing steps in Philly (albeit with Adam Levine in my ears versus Survivor - times they are a changing yo). 

I've got a goal of being able to jog that whole walking trail by the end of summer. 

I have work out clothes. 

I now own small hand weights.

I also walk a little bit taller than I did before because I'm proud as hell that I not only duked it out in bootcamp but I'm carrying on with it. 

So yeah, there goes a fighter.  That's me.