Om Namah Shivaya


Sunday, January 30, 2011

MMEA and my spiritual COACH experience

Oh my it felt good to get home yesterday.  I felt such a sense of relief when I drove down our drive and stepped through our door yesterday afternoon; Buck and Lilly barking joyously at my return as they followed me up to that dear face I love so much smiling sheepishly at me because I could see the relief in *his* face that I was home.  *laugh*  It's good to feel needed again.

I left for Osage Beach right after school on Tuesday afternoon, MMEA bound.  I was super excited to get going because this was my professional conference.  My chance to immerse myself in all things Band *and* Orchestra related for three days; concerts, workshops, schmoozing, partying, you name it.  I will admit that I was also excited to escape the regular routine for a few days and sleep in a bed without dogs laying on my feet for a few nights *giggle*. 


I arrived at my hotel (thank you Baymont Inn) and got myself settled in for the evening.  I'm pretty familiar with the area so I toodled on down to the Hy-Vee to rustle up some dinner from their big salad bar and grabbed a bottle of wine labled "Little Black Dress", which I thought was appropriate to kick off my conference since I'd brought a rockin' LBD to wear with my sparkle shoes at the fancy dinner. :)  I hunkered in for the evening, chatted with a friend, watched TV, and fell into a peaceful slumber to assure I was well rested for the day ahead.

Wednesday I sat through the judges training session and it was a good time.  I met the man who composed two of the pieces my 8th grade Orchestra is performing, Kirt Mosier.  Nice guy and writes great music so buy it! *wink wink nudge nudge*  Still not sure whether or not I'll be able to judge, but it was good experience to sit through the training.  

Then came my spiritual experience!  The COACH outlet!  Eek!  You have to understand something.  I *fully* admit that I have a shopping obsession, especially shoes and bags...*BUT*...I have been waiting for this shopping trip an entire year and I knew the bag was going to be 70% off because they give you a 20% off coupon when you walk in the door and there's a HUGE wall of 50% bags.  (That's where I found my pink leather one last year.)  I've been saving my pennies towards my goal of having cash to purchase a new COACH bag.  It'd been an entire year since I'd purchased one and I was looking forward too it.  I got lost with the GPS (again new highways not programmed in) so I relied on my instincts and memory of the area to guide me to the lovely bags awaiting my touch, my caress, the chance to join my collection.

I opened the door and that sweet smell of COACH leather and fabric wafted over me and enveloped me in it's embrace.  The sales lady came gliding towards me with a beautiful smile as she placed the 20% off coupon in my hand and waved her hand over the wonders placed before me as joy sang from my soul.  This year there was not only the large wall of 50% off clearance, but tables of discounted bags, wallets, scarfs, and keychains.  Oh sweet spirits where to begin!  I started with the clearance and saw the sparkle bag in person.  Aside from the disco ball hanging from the strap, it wasn't as wonderful as I had imagined.  So I kept going.  Green leather, brown fabric, pink C's, multi stripes, navy sparkle with a black leather edge and then I saw it.  Peeking behind a lavender leather bag that reminded me of my grandmother (that's not necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn't my style) was a dark plum beauty.  I reached in and pulled it out to the light revealing a dark plum patent leather bag with the classic COACH "C" stitched into it.  Opening it up revealed beautiful lavender lining with a large silver coin-purse in the middle.  Oh I was in love, but we must not be to hasty.  I put it on my shoulder and checked out my reflection in the mirror.  Pretty nice, but there is more to be seen. 

I kept the plum bag on my shoulder and walked my way around the store.  Weaving my way between women who were similarly entranced I stumbled upon a white version of the plum bag with an emerald green this will get dirty too fast, keep moving.  I check out the wallets but I already have one and it's a pain to transfer wallets often, so I look over the sunglasses.  $130 for a pair of sunglasses that surely will break during marching season if my dogs don't get them first?!  No thanks.  I wander back towards the clearance to give it another once over before I commit to the plum bag when I see a gold and tan beauty that somehow escaped my attention the first time around.  I pick it up and realize that I have that same style bag in denim "C" fabric and brown leather; it's one of my favorites.  I slide it on my shoulder and it feels like slipping on an old friend.  I look in the mirror and check the price tag.  I do a quick math calculation and think "Oh yes, I must have this."  But what about the plum bag?  Oh this is a dilemma.  

As I'm standing there pondering what to do the angelic sales lady comes over and asks if she can be of assistance.  "Not unless you can help me decide which bag to get *laugh*", I reply.  She smiles and says "Well they're both beautiful so I'm not sure, but let me see how much they are for you, maybe that will help."  She taps away on her calculator and reveals to me a price for *BOTH* of them that falls into the budget I had allotted for ONE!  Oh sweet baby Jesus! I think I might faint!  I ask her to repeat herself just to confirm that I actually heard what she said to me.  She repeats the same number and it was as if the heavens opened and all the divine spirits that reside above erupted into joyful chorus as a smile grew across my face.  My pulse quickened and my palms got sweaty as I turned around and walked over to the check out counter.  She rang them up (I even had some left over to buy a keychain and leather cleaner), wrapped them lovingly in tissue, and slid them into a COACH bag.  I turned around to see ten women smiling behind me and left with my purchases.   If you're a COACH lover like me and also *love* an awesome beyond understanding deal, please visit this outlet in Osage Beach, MO.  

What a rush, now back to the conference. ;)          

Wednesday evening was the Meyer Music Mixer (thanks folks!) and the debut of my sparkle shoes and plum bag.  Both were a smashing success paired with my black skinnies and beautiful stone necklace my hubby gave me.  **Travel note here: they have built new highways "Osage Beach Parkway" and "Passover Road" which made it confusing the first couple of times, especially because the GPS I had wasn't downloaded with these roads, but I figured it out after a wrong turn or two.**  The mixer was a lot of fun and I saw a lot of people that I at least remembered by face if not by name, I wish I was better at that so I didn't feel kind of on the outside edge in a room full of people but I suppose it will come with time and experience.  

Thursday morning was opening day of the conference.  Armed with my badge and schedule jam packed I set out to reap knowledge from those more experienced than I.  It's always such a hard decision to make on what to go to.  So many wonderful workshops overlap and those are on top of concerts by some of the top bands, orchestras, and choirs in the state.  Luckily all of the handouts from the workshops get put up on the internet after the conference so I can download anything that I want and learn even more!  I started the morning listening to the Blue Springs South HS Symphonic Band, wanted to go to the MSHSAA update but the presenter was sick so I perused the exhibits for a while where I picked up the judges copies of the solos my kids are performing as well as another book of solos to add to the collection.  Up next was the first general session for MMEA/MENC where I listened to some great speakers.  After lunch I went to the first workshop I was really looking forward too "Tricks that Click" Proven Solutions to Your Every Day Percussion Needs" with Kevin Lepper from VanderCook College of Music.  Oh I learned some really valuable tricks that have opened up a door for what we can do in the future.  Thank you Professor Lepper!  I stopped by the West Junior HS choir concert then it was time for the Clayton Honors Orchestra.  


This group is comprised of 5th-8th graders who are started with the Suzuki method then invited to audition for this group after the move through book one (if memory serves).  I was breathless the entire time the performed.  Chills ran up and down my spine as they emotionally moved through the music with such grace, intonation, and well rounded tone.  It was as if someone had pressed play on a CD and a professional symphony came sailing through the air.  *Amazing*

I'm going to have to download the SmartMusic presentation on percussion because it overlapped with the Lee's Summit North HS Symphonic Band concert.  After that I stopped by the "Efficient Rehearsal Technique for Orchestra" featuring Elliot Del Borgo (another composer whose work my Orchestra plays)...fantastic.  I was done for the day and headed back to the hotel in hopes a dinner invitation was going to fall my way so I could break out my sassy LBD and sparkle shoes.

Unfortunately fate had other plans and I spent my evening working out (Jillian Michaels' "6week 6pack" level 2 workout is NO joke!), watching TV, & talking to my hubby while I enjoyed a protein bar, apple and some water for dinner.  Oh well...maybe Friday night.

Friday morning brought gorgeous weather and "Ten Easy Ways to Immediately Improve Your Orchestra", again with Elliot Del Borgo.  Great stuff, some so commonsense I wanted to smack myself in the forehead while some others made me say "Oh yeah now I'm gonna try that!"  After Mr. Del Borgo's workshop I went straight back down to the exhibits on a mission to find a new baton or "geek stick" as my hubby would say, snare drum brushes and finger cymbals.  I made a beeline for the Explorers Percussion booth where I picked up the perfect pair of cymbals and brushes for under $40, then stopped at the first table that had Mollard batons and found the perfect one.  Felt good to have a stick back in my if I just had the opportunity to use it more! 

I wanted to attend the third installment of Mr. Del Borgo's sessions but it overlapped with the Kearney HS Wind Ensemble concert so I'll have to download the handouts later.  I stayed for the Summit Lakes MS String Orchestra concert and again was blown away with these young people's grace, tone, and technique.  I wish my kids sounded like that...guess I'm just gonna have to *make* them! ;)  I enjoyed lunch on Friday with some fine folk from different areas of the state as well as grade levels and had some good conversation.  I then ran upstairs to get a good seat at the MU Bassoon Ensemble...not a chance I was going to miss this concert.  It was beyond awesome.  Really made me miss playing my bassoon.  

After the concert I got caught up in conversation with a lovely woman who is currently going through Breast Cancer.  While we shared a lot of the same experiences, her journey has been not only rougher so far than mine, but also longer and she still has quite a ways to go.  I wish her nothing but strength beyond measure to make it through and any support she needs.  While I was sad to miss the "Teaching your Percussionists with SmartMusic" I wouldn't have missed that conversation for anything.  I'll download the workshop later.

After the bassoon concert was Park Hill HS's Symponic Band concert.  I didn't want to miss Blue Springs HS's Concert Band concert so I have another workshop to download, but all concerts are worth it.  I headed back to the hotel again for some R&R and a hot shower with hopes for dinner at J. Bruner's but wound up eating Taco Bell and watching TV instead.  Maybe I'll get to debut my sassy LBD and sparkle shoes on Valentine's Day, who knows.  

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear and I was aching to go home so I loaded up my car, bid farwell to the Baymont and MMEA, turned the GPS on, the music up and headed home.  I had a scare in Boonville when a black lab that looked *just* like my Lilly-dog darted up and out of the ditch alongside the road and ran straight towards my car, dodging at the last minute as I got hit with a wall of adrenaline and a panicked moment of thinking I was going to hit this dog, to look in my rearview mirror and see it standing in the middle of the road.  This was about the sixth dog I'd seen alongside the highway as I traveled there and back but the first who jumped out like it was going through some dog gang "car dodging" initiation thing or something.  Sheesh!  I hit some traffic irritation on 70 *surprise* and started getting impatient when I turned onto 435N.  Worlds of Fun loomed in the distance as I raced along the highway towards home.  

Home.  What a lovely place to be.  Time away always reminds us of that.  

I turned onto our street and my heart sang more than when I had been at the COACH store and my pulse quickened more than the dog scare.  I came down the drive, passed the door to the joyous ruckus of barks and the relieved and happy smile of my hubby.  I jumped out of the car, got jumped *on* by the dogs :) and ran over to that wonderful face I love so much where I got the big ol' kiss and hug I'd been missing.  Love ya babe.  I'm glad to be home.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm trying to figure out why comments don't post

Please send me an email at if you've tried posting a comment and it doesn't take.  I swear I have it set so anybody who reads (whether you follow or not) can post.  I'm looking into it again.  Thanks!

A blog post that spoke to my soul

This gal put into words feelings that I had during my journey.  Enjoy.

Cancer Recovery, Yoga Style

Friday, January 21, 2011

Getting back into shape is a real pain in the rear

but it's nice to be able to feel that pain again *and* it's even better that I have the ENERGY needed to inflict that pain upon myself again.  My friends classify me as a "workout nut", I prefer the word *enthusiast* thank you very much, and they're right...I am, I was, and I'm getting there again.  

It was a gradual decline in activity as the chemo sucked more of my energy away then one day I just didn't have the "get up and go" to do anything but sleep and eat.  When I didn't even want to do a simple 20minute yoga tape in the morning was when I knew the chemo had won...for the time being.  For a girl who was used to working out for at least an hour, 5 days a week, it was *really* hard to accept the fact that my body just needed to rest...*I* just needed to rest.  I've never heard such an argument in my head (yes everyone, I have voices in my head...we all do).  I remember one evening walking back and forth between my room and the bathroom debating over a yoga practice and a hot bath.  I finally had to look in the mirror, yell "SHUT UP!" to the argument taking place in my head and go downstairs to take a nap.  

With the help of Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper I am sweating my way back into shape.  If you haven't tried any of their DVD's, you're missing out.  Kettlebell workouts ROCK and they both offer different levels of craziness within their dvd's.  My tone is returning, the jiggle is disappearing, and the soreness is disappearing.  All in all this is a good thing.  
Now, if we can get my car fixed today I'll really be in business!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I think my heart just broke a little bit...

Toddler diagnosed with a rare form of juvenile breast cancer at the age of two, has full mastectomy at age of three.

Needless to say, if you have a young daughter you should be checking her boobies for lumps until she understands how to do it herself. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year, New Title, New Me.

When I first set this blog up I had in mind a blog about my "spontaneous evolution" in relation to 2012, then wound up blogging about my cancer journey instead.  I was disappointed at first, and it wasn't until today, as I have been sitting here deciding what to rename my blog, that I realized that I *have* spontaneously evolved.  I am a different person from before cancer.  I still have and maintain the root core of my essence, what makes me *me*, but I've changed...I've evolved, and it *was* spontaneous cause it sure wasn't like I decided to get breast cancer. ;) 

The most notable difference/evolution is my outward physical appearance.  My hair is different, it's a light brunette with a wonderful gray patch, and obviously very short.  My face is different; there's a new line here or there that wasn't before cancer.  Obviously my chest is different and that also extends to my arms.  The mastectomy took away some of my range of motion, especially on my right side so I have to move differently at times and I will *always* have to be conscious of my right side due to the missing lymph-nodes.  Last thing I want is lymphadema because I torqued my right arm out doing something I shouldn't have.  I also feel that I walk with a bit more awareness of the world around me now than I did before.

I have evolved inwardly as well.  I'm not as quick to anger and frustration as I was before, it has now been replaced with a sense of well being and the thought "What will be will be.  I can't control it or change it so I might as well embrace it."  I've learned to say "I can't do that right now", otherwise known as "No"...this is *huge* for me.  Before, I tried to split myself into a million different directions and was always trying to please priorities are in place.  I gave up my second job which has freed up time to spend with Tim, family and friends.  This is enriching my life one hundred fold.  It has also renewed my energy and my spirit because I now have time for *me* and the energy for everything and everyone else.  I'm also more committed to my career; not that I wasn't before, but I'm more committed now because I'm really feeling that sense of peace and well-being surrounding it.  I can't wait until next year begins with DL rehearsals in the summer!  I'm going to be 1000% back to normal so my kids better watch out!  You think we're great ain't seen *nothin'* yet!  Ha!

The next stage of my evolution is on the horizon.  I am attending MMEA at the end of the month down at Tan-Tar-A.  This is my professional conference (Missouri Music Educator's Association) and a fabulous opportunity for me to just immerse myself in all things music for 3 days.  The biggest step I am taking is to sit through the MSHSAA Music Adjudicator Training so I can officially be trained on how to judge events, then put my name in that hat so then I can hopefully spend my weekends traveling around and judging music festivals and getting my name out there instead of pouring drinks and serving food.  Bartending was great, don't misunderstand, but this will be better for the advancement of my career and myself as a professional.  Can't wait.
I truly believe that this is what the universe was trying to tell me when it brought that lump that turned out to be breast cancer to my attention.  I also believe that it's convenient that I had planned to name my blog and talk about "Stout's Spontaneous Evolution" as evidenced by the web address and have now realized that's what I was talking about all evolution into the person I am now.  Coincidence?  I think not.
I'm ready to change and evolve more as this world spins on it's axis towards the galactic synchronization of 2012.  Maybe something big will happen that day, maybe it won't.  What I *do* know is that I'm going to enjoy this ride as long as I can and not be afraid of change ever again because change is ultimately what keeps this world turning.    

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

And another snow day begins...

Lots of snow on the ground (for KC) and bitterly cold temps outside made for another snow day.  What to do, what to do...*laugh*, who am I kidding there's PLENTY to do around here.  What's on your list today?  Here's mine:

Bath, yoga, sweep and mop entire house, polish wood floors, dust everything, paint Tim's bathroom (which also means it will get cleaned by default), fold ALL laundry *and* put away, clean off pool table since I don't want to put anything back up on the walls till we get the glaze done and I'm tired of the mess, play with the dogs in the snow, go hang with Stace and the twins, another bath, another workout, get the gluten free slow cooker lasagna in the crockpot (wonder how *that* will turn out), and fix the few items of clothing that need fixing (mostly sewing buttons back on, one hem to fix). 

I think I can get it all done and possibly even throw in a nap.  Don't believe me?  Time me...

 Currently I'm feeling: Fabulous. Today is a good day.
Procrastinating: Nothing.  As soon as I post this I'm getting up and starting my list...with a bath.
Reading: Just finished a book about the Mayan and 2012, might re-read one of my favorites.
Watching: Fox4 news
Doing to make me smile: Having a snow day to put the house back into order and work on myself.


Follow me on twitter: @lillyandbuck69

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy SNOW DAY!!!

Snow Day!  Two words a public school teacher loves to hear, but also despises at the same time.  We love to hear it because it's a **Snow Day!** who doesn't love a snow day?!?!  We do despise it though because if you're like me you are now wide awake after getting the numerous "robo-calls" from the district and checking the TV closings, so it's gonna be a b!tch to fall back asleep.  We also despise snow days because now the school year has become but better to be safe than sorry.  

My bet?  Snow day tomorrow, and possible late start Wednesday morning.  Snowing all day long through the night for a total of 6-8"...yep...I'm bankin' on a snow day tomorrow, then too damn cold Wednesday morning for the lil chitlins' to be standing at the bus stop.  Those are my guesses, we'll see what happens.

Until then, I'll  drink the rest of my coffee and hopefully fall back asleep then I'll hold down the fort while Tim is out dealing with the snow...I should see him sometime on Tuesday.

Happy Snow Day!!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The week in review

The first week back after break is always the hardest.  I was thoroughly exhausted by the time school was over Thursday but I still had 6 hours yet to go.  Tuesday passed in an energy soaked blur, Wednesday settled down to the pace of the grind, Thursday capped it off with a 16 and a half hour day with Friday rounding it out by spending it at the hospital with my husband and mother-in-law awaiting news on my father-in-law's progress.  

It was certainly a face-smacking, reality inducing way to re-enter normal life.  Not just because of the re-entry into school and the craziness that brings with it; but the news of my FIL's (father-in-law) heart and how serious a situation that truly was and how lucky he truly is.  He had a nuclear stress test earlier this month and while his heart was functioning fine, it didn't "recover" like it should have from the test so they wanted to take a look.  Come to find out he was 99% blocked in the main artery, and had to have six stents...did you hear me?  *SIX* stents put in the main artery of his heart, then one in each of the remaining three within a couple of weeks.  


Tim did the math on it and figured he was getting something like 9% of his blood running through his heart at any given time.  No wonder his legs were always cold and his fingers tingled.  Thankfully the doctor said that any and all damage that has been done is trivial and will be completely reversed once the remaining 3 arteries are opened up and the blood really starts pumping.  In the meantime his legs are warmer, his fingers don't tingle and his breathing is better; all in all a good situation.

The hardest part is going to be the diet change, for my MIL especially because she is going to have to revamp the way she prepares the food my FIL eats which is going to go against a lifetime way of thinking and doing.  I think this is my chance to lend a little wisdom to my in-laws and help them through the transition to eating healthier.  In reality it's just simple changes they have to make; ground turkey instead of beef, olive oil instead of crisco, smart balance butter instead of butter, dark leafy greens instead of iceberg, whole grains instead of white, more water instead of pop, and unsweetened tea instead of sweet.  Much like my sister having to revamp her lifetime of cooking a certain way due to my nephew's food allergies, my MIL will have to do the same for my FIL.  

"Well I figure I got to live 69 and a half years eating what I want, so if it has to change I guess that's allright"

I'm glad he has a good attitude about it and even though it was unfortunate this happened, I'm glad it did.  I hope it brings us all around to a little more awareness of what we put inside of our bodies.  I figure that at this point it's all about living instead of eating or working.  Hence why I'm not going back to GC; this life needs to be lived and enjoyed and I can't do that working 7 days a week.  This is also why we can't enjoy it being overweight and out of shape so here's why I hope a tremendous amount of good can come out of this situation for my entire family.  I hope it spurs my husband to take better care of himself, I hope it spurs my in-laws into action to change and trickles down the chain of the family.  

A healthier year would make for a better year for all of us.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Back to the grind and some other ponderations...

I'm glad break is over, although I believe Buck is having a hard time with it.  Poor guy has been wound tighter than a top when we've been getting home the past couple of days.  I don't blame the guy, I mean *I'd* go crazy if I went from hanging out with me 24/7 to a couple of hours in the morning and couple of hours at night ;)  Good thing I don't mind sitting outside hitting the "B.A. double L" even if it is 20 degrees outside.  

This break was much welcomed because not only was it a break from the exhausting pace of the first semester but it also ushered in the official end of the breast cancer chapter of my life...our life.  The painful tissue expanders were replaced by a pair of silicone implants.  The bandages come off tomorrow morning and I'm beyond thrilled.  Give it till May 14th...then it'll feel like nothing ever happened.  That'll be cool.

So until then the second semester has gotten off to a roaring start.  Yesterday was the kid's first day back (we had a work day on Monday) and it was a relatively good day.  It was fabulous seeing everyone's faces even if some of the attitudes were grumpy, and I was full of energy and life as I zipped about from building to building spreading knowledge everywhere I went ;)  To top it off I've gotten the best two nights of sleep the past two nights than I have in months; that's a *major* relief.  

Now if this cold would just go away...

I work a pair of fabulous red heels to school today.  I had a mini fashion crisis this morning trying to put an outfit together around them and wasn't feeling super stellar about them or the outfit but I had committed to it and was going to rock it.  I hit the doors of school, turned the corner into the stair well and *Bam!* I was hit by compliments by the gals coming down the stairs.  Around the corner to the band room door and I hear "Dude, those shoes are crispy!" (this is a *good* thing for those of you not in the know).  I drop my stuff off and make the walk through the masses to the front office to sign in, check my box, make some copies and get back to my room so I can get my stuff for Ed and am bombarded by "Girrrrrl those shoes are too cute!", "Ooooo can I have those shoes Mz Stout?", and "Oooo! I lurve thoze!"  Hahahaa...too funny.  

Aside from a couple of blisters that will fade with time and make them more comfortable the next time it was a good day rounded out by a good rehearsal with my mallet solo's after school.  

Tomorrow I'm wearing flats. ;)