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The Good Life   Leave a comment

The Good Life

Country music stations are beginning to play “The Good Life,” so let’s share the news!

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Posted March 18, 2013 by Casey James Weekly in Uncategorized

To Play Or Not To Play   4 comments

I am not musically inclined. There isn’t a spec of my body that holds a talent to sing, dance, play or even read music. When my ten year old daughter expressed interest in learning to play the guitar, I immediately signed her up for lessons in hopes that she would beat a case of bad genetics in the rhythm department.

After a few short months, the winter frost faded, and as the warmer weather presented itself, her interest to spend after school hours inside taking lessons quickly switched to riding bikes, and playing outside. Realizing I cannot force anyone into learning music, I let her off the hook.

Rather than canceling the long haired guitar playing hippie that comes to my house every Thursday, I thought I would try taking the lessons. Thinking the fine motor skill practice would be good for battling the effects of Parkinsons, I chose to take over. Well you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and after a few weeks, the hunch I’ve always had concerning the fact that I have no natural abilities were only confirmed. I imagine some practice would help, but I suck, and it hurts my fingers. The hippie was extremely encouraging, so I pressed on.

This week. Guitar lessons. Once again, another hour of humiliation while I sit there confused. I’d prefer to pay the guy $25 to just play for me while I drink a beer and holler at the kids. I could listen to someone play acoustic all day long, and it makes me happy. Im pretty sure I’ve even suggested that to the hippie on more than one occasion, but he took it as a joke.

I dreaded this week, as I failed, once again, to do my homework. I couldn’t remember the C chord much less play it without muting it. I certainly didn’t learn to switch from the C to the D as he had suggested, and I still look at a sheet of music as if it was written in Chinese.

The hippie arrived his usual 5 minutes late, and I utilized that time to quickly review the C, just so I don’t look retarded this week. After all, any idiot is aware that just an hour of lessons once a week isn’t enough, and practice is mandatory.

He showed up armed with a song for me to learn. It wasn’t written in Chinese, it was written in English. The chords were written next to the lyrics as G, or C, and I understood it. It was a song I knew. A song I had literally watched evolve from its infancy long ago when it was freshly written all the way to the studio recording. In fact, I had reported every week on the chart numbers and for months watched it climb the charts to its peak at #20 as I cheered on the new artist.

I was initially intimidated, as my lack of skills would only be highlighted once again by my failure to practice. But something came out that I never even thought was in me, and I actually played for the first time, something that resembled music. A person with no rhythm just strummed a rhythm. Without even thinking about, it was just happening. I’m not saying that I sounded good, but I was doing it. I was hearing chords, and it was as if they appeared like magic.

Now, to anybody who has ever attempted to play, you are getting me right now. You may even shed a tear of joy. To all the others, I suggest picking up a guitar and giving it a whirl.

For each of you that are wondering, the song was a recent top 20 country hit titled “Let’s Don’t Call It A Night” by Casey James.

Posted June 22, 2012 by Casey James Weekly in Uncategorized

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover   2 comments

Aware that I appear to the general public as young and pretty, nobody comprehends the fight that is endured to keep myself convinced of both. Randomly smacked by a rapid and unusually early onset of Parkinson’s disease almost 5 years ago, I struggle everyday to not let it govern me. When my youthful body freezes on one side, the fight to press on continues. I’m not gonna lie, it squashes me from time to time, like today. I want to hit the street running, and I can’t. By the time the children are off to school, and I prepare to run, my first dose of meds has noticeably began to fade quickly. As frustrating as it is, I resign, and hit the couch to write after popping my sixth pill for the day by 10am. Reminding myself that one day advances in modern science may present a miracle in the form of a cure, I dry my tears and suck it up.

Wondering how or why this has struck me is nothing but a waste of time. Yelling at God for cursing me with a case of bad genetics hasn’t gotten me anywhere. Freaking out and allowing consuming thoughts of the future hasn’t gotten me anywhere, except severe weight loss at the time. Resigning from my fight will not get me anywhere. Without an arsenal of Carbidopa/Levadopa and Mirapex, I cannot physically walk. I am extremely grateful for modern medication as a full dose of meds temporarily restores my ability to move completely, and most may never recognize there is a dreadful progressive disease lurking as I thankfully do not appear that way.

I detest pity, so please don’t go there. I have many blessings in life, and maybe one day I will even see this as one of them. That’s my goal anyway. I simultaneously accept and despise this failure of my brain to produce a much needed chemical, and I typically don’t whine about it. I’m a fighter, an optimist, and my reasons to fight are plentiful.

God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle, but he has pressed my concern on this one. I’ve had to hand over my fear of the future, and anytime it crops up in my mind I quickly remind myself that the man upstairs has got it, and this will unfold as he has a plan. Believe it or not, when you fully lay out that trust, you become convinced of it. The result of such a predicament has forced me into a corner, and the only reasonable option is to leave it to Him. After all, we cannot control what life throws our way, but we do have the power to choose our responses.

So, I will go about my day, and will be just fine. I will laugh, and tickle my preschooler as he climbs on me while I lay here, and wait patiently for the meds to do their hard work. In a few short minutes, I will be normal again, and still as clumsy as always. Nobody will know that I had to resign from a morning run, and life will continue.

Now, if I could take a magic pill that would cause my laundry to appear neatly folded in everyone’s drawers, I would be even more grateful 🙂

Have a good day, and don’t forget to count your own blessings.

Posted April 23, 2012 by Casey James Weekly in Uncategorized

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Go For A Run?   1 comment

Dragging my overheated body towards the self assigned finish line, I finally near the curb where the dumpster sits near this mornings lawn. Gazing at the blades of grass, I make a conscience effort to refrain from dry heaving in my own front yard. After all, the inviting weather has brought more than just myself out of the house. Basking in the feeling of relief that my jaunt was over, I feel that I’m instantly granted an accomplishment that isn’t derived from anything else. While experiencing the pants of being oxygen deprived, I stagger inside and do what no person should ever do after a run, and dive towards the couch.

After months of excuses wearing thing, and an abundance of nachos reeking havoc on my previous fit and trim size…the choice had to be made to get my ass moving. It isn’t difficult to make a positive choice towards my health. Too bad there’s a difference between deciding and doing. Making an executive decision has never been a difficult task, but the execution seems to hang me up more often than not, especially when it comes to voluntary self torture.

Nonetheless, the chirping birds and sweet smell of spring were encouraging in their efforts to persuade me to tie on my running shoes. The actual act of running for any grown person who is considered to be “out of shape,” is nothing but awful. Funny how you find yourself fighting and setting continual mental benchmarks in order to coerce yourself to travel by foot for a lousy mile. I would prefer to save running for being chased, and magically trade my fat for fit with minimal effort.

Not all runs are so difficult. It’s getting started that squashes future attempts. The first few pavement pounding efforts typically resemble a boot camp that you’d prefer to have never enrolled in. Aside from the physical strain and mental reluctance to continue, I cannot refrain from the thoughts of how pathetic I look. Out of shape and panting, I am fully aware that I should run in the dark as to avoid making a spectacle of myself publicly for all of my neighbors to see.

But I cannot give a hoot about them, because they aren’t the ones trying to squeeze into my britches that tend to pinch me in half as a result of overindulgence during Christmas festivities. Maybe next year I’ll skip those pizzas made with a tiny piece of rye that is so adorable and nearly impossible to overlook much less refuse. I can’t be the only poor fool who has procrastinated the workout return until spring weather slammed in like summer.

Please tell me I am not alone. 😉

Posted April 11, 2012 by Casey James Weekly in Uncategorized

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The Hunt   Leave a comment

I easily recall slouching in my seat near the front of church while sitting next to my sister who resembled my twin wearing the same white eyelet Easter dress, including the purse and sandals. Easter morning memories are consumed with vivid thoughts of peeking outside in hopes of spying the tiniest glimpse of a colored Easter Egg. Twenty years later, my children tend to do the same, and I cannot control the giggle that erupts in my belly as I relate to exactly how they feel.

Spotting an egg prematurely just gives you an edge, a silent head start that could be extremely useful in the race against siblings over smelly, yet attractive looking eggs. Providing a starting point in mind, a premature egg spotting, in a sense, maps out the plan to conquer.

Something always goes awry though. It never fails, that someone else shows up sharp as a tack that day. Seeming to have particularly and sudden sharp vision, someone will become the Egg hunt champion. Everyone is fighting hard to win, but really why? Surely the children aren’t collecting rotten eggs to eat. Not me anyway. After my dad forced me to eat brown farm eggs that tasted like bugs, I haven’t touched another egg, and I probably never will.

The children run like maniacs in their attempt to get the most rotten eggs, meanwhile, it provides free entertainment for any adult. The only drawback is that someone will lose. Losing the egg hunt may very well turn into a devastating experience. Last place prizes are highly recommended in my opinion.

Don’t miss this video of the loser, and the lesson. Please excuse my continuous laughter while filming. Enjoy.

Posted April 9, 2012 by Casey James Weekly in Uncategorized

Naughty Bella   7 comments

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As the worlds naughtiest dog owner, I continuously find myself in a bind as a result of her bad choices. If naughty Bella were human, she would be one of those sweet and loving children with a raging case of ADHD along with the desire for freedom like a wild teenager craving to cut the home ties. Like most of those affected with ADHD, she is highly intelligent, so her strategic escape plans tend to outsmart all of us. Blessed with good looks, her cuteness saves her, because I often want to kill the stubborn canine.

Growing up with cats, I was never a dog lover, and don’t think that naughty Bella is turning me into one. Cats don’t eat all your underpants or wolf down your pizza order from the kitchen counter without even chewing. I don’t really like cats either though. Their poofy hair balls make me sneeze and cause me to scratch my own eyes out until I resemble a blood shot zombie. For months, Bella has reeked havoc as she spent her days chewing up half the house. If she didn’t eat it, she crapped on it, and she strives to maintain her mischief while creating a load of chaos for me.

One of my favorite incidents was recently when naughty Bella darted like a rocket blasting off right through the invisible fence line of the front yard in order to chase my minivan as we drove away. I feel forced to admit that it is a little endearing to witness her willpower to endure the shock in hopes of catching up with us. Mimicking a cheetah, her sprinting legs moved so quickly that I was forced to hault in the middle of the street or risk hitting her. My fear was how long and far she would follow us. As usual, I didn’t have extra minutes to spare, and my naughty dog was at large in the neighborhood. I reluctantly opened the sliding minivan door for her to climb in. Already feeling defeated, I find myself annoyed at her once again. Naughty dogs always have tricks, and she has mastered all of them by the age of one. She proceeded to stand in the middle of the street while refusing to acknowledge my efforts of accommodation. As a last resort, I enthusiastically called her name to join my taxi excursion to run children to practices and playdates. Her stubbornness caused me to resign, close the door, and proceed, but as predicted, she began to chase the car once again.

Naughty Bella was on a mission to manipulate the situation in such a way that I would eventually welcome her into my taxi. After the third attempt, she finally pleased each of us by jumping in the van, and settled into the shotgun position with her head out the window and an evil grin on her cheek.

This mornings mischief topped all of them. Naughty Bella forced her way into the minivan for the morning ride to school. With our typical lack of spare minutes, I once again had to resign, and fight the clock in order to prevent another tardy. Upon our arrival to school, I proceeded to open the sliding door of my taxi, and instead of the children piling out with backpacks, the naughty monster dog beat them to it. The children never get out of the car quickly at school, but within a tenth of a second, I found myself alone in the van while watching my passengers run down the exit lane of the parking lot.

Of course I’m unprepared, once again. Sporting my hello kitty jammie pants, and feeling apprehensive to get out of the car grew overwhelming especially when I realized the fact that I was missing two shoes. Clogging up the drop off line while I processed the events taking place, and pulling forward, I shouted at the kids to get inside the school and leave the mischief monster to mom. Many seconds ticked by during my attempt to convince the children to leave the escape artist and get inside. By the time they obeyed, I had lost track of the dog. When I began my desperate search for her, she had vanished without a trace.

There was no sight of naughty Bella, and each disappearing minute caused my panic to escalate. Thankfully, a friend offered to pick up where I had left off in order for me to regroup. I began my hysterical drive towards home in search of shoes, pants without hello kitty heads on them, and high hopes of returning with my husband in tow for reinforcement.

As I screeched into the driveway and flew into the house, my cell phone started jumping in my hand with a “blocked” caller ID. Anticipating the call to be the solution to my missing naughty Bella, I quickly slammed my finger on the answer button. Naughty Bella was found in the school cafeteria. Perfect. I couldn’t wait to trade my appearance for a more acceptable one in order to get up there and kill her. Obviously a sense of urgency was in order since there was a mischievous canine inside the “Bulldog Cafe”. I would provide the details, but under the circumstances, I wasn’t up for a conversation describing the order of events that led to the eventual capture of my dog that landed her at school with my children. Thank you to the school principal for spotting naughty Bella, and allowing her to chase, lick, and jump all over everyone while keeping her safe.

Naughty Bella returns.

Posted March 1, 2012 by Casey James Weekly in Uncategorized

The Tunes We Choose   Leave a comment

Like our preferences for anything, each of us have our own unique taste and attraction towards whatever it is that seems to draw us in, and music is no exception. The tunes we connect with individually seem to provide therapy. Our favorite tracks tend to soothe, excite, inspire and rejuvenate us, and more often than not, can alter our mood. Thanks to technology, we have been afforded the luxury of user friendly gadgets containing our library of therapy available at all times.

In it’s absence, music would be sorely missed. Imagine a round of cardio with no tunes. I’m not capable of darting out the front door in running shoes without the upbeat blaring excercise favorite that jump-starts my workout. Never fails to get me moving, and my body is trained to respond with running feet. The thought of taking off down the street on foot with only my racing heart and panting breaths to tune into, is enough to keep me indoors.

The magic of music is the flexibility and opportunity for each listener to interpret the meaning of a song as it relates to their own experiences. Song lyrics tend to describe our feelings when we crave an explanation, and sharing our favorite tracks is often used as a means of communication. The moments when we find ourselves at a loss for words are cured by the right song. Music provides solace when the message is something we can relate to or identify with. In turn, we become attached to certain tunes for personal reasons, but we don’t all love the same song for the same reasons.

It is never our position to judge or act critical towards others musical preferences, especially when we don’t care for it ourselves. As long as I don’t have to listen to repetitive plays of “Red Solo Cup,” I’m typically up for anything. Getting past our comfort level of a favorite genre, and opening up to unfamiliar ones can prove to be rewarding. If your one of those stuck to the same category of tunes since high school, then stop out of the box (And get ready for Casey James) 🙂 Ha!

Posted February 25, 2012 by Casey James Weekly in country music, Uncategorized