Om Namah Shivaya


Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm doing a bit of de-cluttering (let's face it, I've got *way* too much stuff), and instead of donating it for the tax write-off, I am going to *try* to sell these items cause frankly, I could use some cash, let's face it, we all could.  You may contact me through this blog, FB message, or through my gmail;

Hope you find something you love, and keep a look out for more sales like this in the future as I slowly, *slowly* let go of things and de-clutter my life and house.  :)

Brown leather COACH hobo with silver buckle closure on strap.  This is a smaller version.  Perfect for gal who carries just enough stuff to need a purse, wants a COACH, but doesn't want to spend a lot.  $100


I must admit that this is one of my absolute favorite COACH bags.  The color, the look of it and most importantly the *smell*.  It's absolutely divine! *sigh*  I'm paying this gorgeous bag forward because it is just too small for me anymore and it's just hung in my closet for about 2 or 3 years, although now my closet won't be infused with it's heavenly aroma.  $80 (it's a little careworn on the bottom)
 Ah, the "Slim Series" featuring Debbie Siebers, put out by Beachbody I *love* this company;  haven't bought anything from them since "Chalene Extreme" but they are good at what they do.  Getting you into shape.  These were the tapes I used to get into shape for my wedding.  I went from an out of shape 130/135lbs wearing a tight 9/10 to a toned and fit 120lbs wearing a loose 2/4.  It was easy, it was fun, but most of all it was effective.  I know these are VHS, but I highly recommend them if you're wanting to get into great shape, work up a sweat and not bother with the gym. :)  There is one tape missing, "Cool it Off", and I have no idea where it is.  I actually only used it once, then substituted a yoga tape in it's place. $25

 And here's my yoga library.  These are all fabulous tapes, but the truth of the matter is that I haven't used them in *years* because I have different ones, and it's high time someone else got to experience the beginning stages of yoga joy with these videos. $5 a piece

From left to right:
Yoga for Weightloss (hour), Yoga Natural Remedies (separate parts of body, i.e. back, stomach, etc), Lower Body Yoga (20min), Gentle Yoga (20min), Backcare Yoga (20min), Yoga for Athletes (90min), Yoga for Meditation (two separate mediatations), Power Yoga (20min), AM Yoga (20min), Yoga for Flexibility (hour)

 Some more workout tapes ($5 a piece VHS, $10 a piece DVD).  From left to right...
"Power Half Hour for Abs" w/Tony Horton, 20min Windsor Pilates, 50min Windsor Pilates.  "Vinyasa Flow Yoga with Sean Corne": this is a fabulous beginner dvd.  I purchased this after I had been practicing yoga for numerous years, and I learned *so* much about the alignment of my body and linking my breath with the movement; **highly recommed**.  "Balance Ball for Weightloss", "Yoga from the Heart w/Sean Corne", two Shiva Rhea yoga dvd's.  Shiva is a bit out there for my taste.  It's fun yoga, new and different (for me anyways), but just not my cup of tea.  Three "Core Fusion" Exhale Spa dvd's.  I will sell those as a set for $20.  One is full body, one is lower body, one is upper body.

I hope you find something here you can't live without! ;)  Contact me if you're interested in anything.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I love Facebook for the things it brings into my awareness.

 Parents, don't dress your girls like tramps

Amen man!  This is the core of our dress code frustration.  Sagging pants on the boys, too short skirts on the girls with tops that are near to busting, but don't forget tights worn as pants, jeggings, and XXLTall shirts on MEDIUM sized bodies.  Thank you so much for writing this!  

Monday, April 18, 2011

The government says "It's possible to live a healthy lifestyle on $40 of groceries a week"

Um, excuse me?  Did I just hear this right, you in your ivory tower eating food that has most likely been bought, prepared, and served to you *and* who make more money than I, a lowly public school teacher, could ever *dream* of yet you  Hmmmmm....interesting.

Let me let you in on a little secret if I may.  I went grocery shopping yesterday with a meal planned list that was, what I felt, the absolute bare bones.  

Milk (MORE THAN A TANK OF GAS $4.15/gallon), Fruit (best deal), Fresh Veg for recipes (best deal), Coffee creamer (UP a dollar $3.95), Bread (UP a dollar and it's the basic type.  My favorite whole grain is almost $5 a loaf...are you kidding me?!), Crackers, Lunch Meat (UP a dollar $3.15 a container), Cheese (which we opted out of buying because it was so expensive), Froz Veg for everyday, canned tomatoes, one small package of red meat (about a pound & a half, was $9), two pork chops ($3.50 each), ONE container of cottage cheese (UP A BUCK FIFTY, $3.35), two containers of Yogurt (and I balked at two but needed them for recipes, $2.25 each), and other needed basic necessites (other non-perishables, canned foods, applesauce, etc).

This is usually what I purchase for our two person household on a bi-weekly occurance.  I usually spend around $150 a grocery trip and have been trying top pare it down to $100 a trip to save money.  THIS TRIP COST US $195.00!!!

I think I just vomited a little...excuse me I want to go cry.

Do you know how very incredibly hard it is to follow a healthy lifestyle right now in this money-grubbing, economy-crushing, soul-sucking, earth-killing world you have made for us?  Fresh fruits and veggies, almond milk or coconut milk (because cow's milk has to much crap injected into it), whole grains, and the sweets in moderation.  It's so hard it's ridiculous.  I've already made so many modifications in my diet to accommodate the rise in prices but just how far is my waistline going to have to go before you wake the *fv*bleep*ck* up, pull your heads out of your rear ends and finally see the error of your ways?

I guess only time will tell but in the meantime I think it is absolutely asanine and irresponsible of you to suggest that we can lead a "Healthy" lifestyle on $40 a week in groceries.  Let me give you some math here...

For my husband and I, $40 a week would buy us the following...

1 gal of milk $4.15
1/2 gal of Almond or Coconut Milk $3.30
2 loaves of Bread @$2.99 each (round up) $6.00

1 Bag Chicken breast $7.00  
1 Doz Eggs $1.80
Coffee Creamer (me) $3.95
24pk Mountain Dew (him) $4.25

Already I'm up to $30.45.

Let's add 1lb Apples @1.29 a lb $1.29
4 oranges $1
2 can crushed tomatoes $1.50
2 can tomato sauce $.50
1 pckg spaghetti (can't be gluten free cause that's too expensive) $2

Have to stop there...$36.74 because there's tax to add on and I only have $40.  Maybe if I have some change left I can get a gumball out of the machine! *Oooo!*

So with that list, I can make a chicken spaghetti dish that might stretch the whole week, we can eat bread sandwiches for lunch because we didn't have any money to buy peanut butter or jelly or lunch meat....then we can have either an apple or an orange for breakfast or a glass of milk or an egg.

I know that I am making an extreme scenario here, I understand that there are probably more people than I realize out there surviving on *less* and that I should be grateful for what I have.  I am, believe me; I'm eternally grateful.  I guess it's just that we're feeling the pinch more and more and now having to start sacrificing in the area that I use to *live*, to *be*, to **subsist**...that's just not fair.  Make me stay at home more because gas is to expensive.  Fine.  Make it so I don't eat out anymore because it's too expensive.  Great.  Making it too expensive to buy the foods and drinks we enjoy to live the healthy lifestyle we want to live?  Shameful.  Shame on you for putting us in this position.  I know that I had a hand in it at one point, but you are at the reigns.  I am now becoming more consciously aware of my impact in this world, this life, and I am trying my damndest to reduce it in hopes of making it a little bit like it used to be; full of hope, promise, and a good future.  

You're taking our livelihood and vacations away with the price of gas, please don't take our food away from us too.  I don't think we could stand it.  

If there actually someone out there successfully doing this and living a healthy lifestyle I would LOVE to know your secret!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Mrs. Stout, you're really pretty"; 7 more Monday's until school is out

I don't know about you, but this past week flew by with a speed that almost takes my breath away. MAP testing at the junior high and all elementaries is in full swing and EOC starts at the high school Monday.  Maybe that's what did it.  The silence in the hallways, the respectfulness of the kids, the large block of time to get some much needed work was glorious.  The MAP continues in the elementaries until the 22nd, then the true mad dash to the end of the year shall begin.  

I love this time of year, spring is emerging, it's warming up and the winter doldrums are going away.  I also loathe it because it is so jam-packed full of concert stress, it's "testing season".  All of us are on edge because we know that these scores determine the answer(s) to a lot of issues such as who's going to get to keep their job, will we maintain our accreditation, how much bashing is going to be heaped on-top of us after the results are released, and the like.  It's quite stressful, and I'm not even a core teacher!  I just hope that a majority of the kids took it seriously and tried their hardest instead of getting all mad and defensive then giving up.  

That's what gets me about this whole standardized test thing.  I don't understand how *their* performance determines the security of *my* job.  I mean, out there in the corporate world you're rated on *Your* performance of *your* job correct?  So, if we're evaluated by our administrators and deemed to be competent in our position and possibly even excel at it how can it be that in reality a group of teenagers who have said "Psht *lip smack* I don't care about this test.  It's stupid, it's boring, it doesn't matter", are the ones to determine the fate of the teacher.  So interesting.

We had a chat about it in my 8th grade Orchestra class last Friday then Monday, the day before the testing started, it's where the above comment was said.  I stopped rehearsal and told them the truth, as I saw it, about the MAP.  I told them that not only do their scores have some bearing on their "beyond high school" life, but that their scores translate into money for the district, which there in turn translates into how many teachers get to keep their jobs because if the district doesn't have enough money to pay us all, some of us have to go, and when that happens their class size increases which isn't good for the kids, and the teachers who are left have their work load increase so that they're even *more* over-worked and under-paid which isn't good for anyone.  

They were pretty shocked when I put it in those terms.  I asked if anyone had ever talked to them about the MAP before in that way.  Here's what I got back "No!  I'm just told to do my best because it's important", there's the trick...they're never told *why* exactly.  Now, I am probably over-simplifying it all but that's basically how those state standardized work in my (and other teacher friends of mine) opinion(s).  

Then we talked about the state of the funding for schools and how incredibly scary it is for someone in my position; a "non-core" teacher.  We talked about the fact that each and every one of them have a dollar sign on their rear ends.  "What do you mean Mz Stout?"  I told them about ADA, which for those of you not in the know stands for "Average Daily Attendance", and how every day they are here the school gets money.  So every time they decide to skip, or stay home when they're not sick, the school doesn't get their ADA which as the year progresses, this number grows because there is *always* that percentage of kids who don't care about school so they don't come.  Therefore, that's why we stress attendance so much, because the district needs that money to keep running, and it's also a part of the accreditation process.  

They told me that it wouldn't matter because the school always gets money from the state and government and I had to laugh at that.  I told them how a neighboring district is facing a $40million dollar deficit, and that they had already cut some music programs last year, and there would possibly be more on the chopping block this year.  I asked them what they thought about only having Math, Science, English, and Social Studies in school.  No art, no PE, no band, no orchestra, no shop, no FACS, nothing but the core subjects.  A raucous chorus of protests rang through the air.  

Them: "I wouldn't go to that school, I'd move" 
Me: "Uh-huh, you're 15 how are you going to manage that one on your own, and I highly doubt you could persuade your parents to uproot their lives, pack up the house to try and sell it in this horrible housing market, try to find a decent house to buy but possibly won't qualify for a loan because the economy sucks so instead choose to rent an apartment then they wind up spending *more* money because they're paying rent AND mortgage cause lord knows their house won't sell very fast.  Cramming you and your family into a smaller space with all your stuff, just to satisfy the whim of a young teenager?  Riiiight.  What else ya got?"

Them: "I'd tell them they can't get rid of those programs"
Me: "That's going to be like shouting in the wind.  Now, one person may not be able to make a big enough difference, but if you all were to organize and connect with other students across the nation, *maybe* you could make a difference."

Me: "What else ya got?  Thoughts?  Comments?  Concerns?"  *Silence*  "Do you comprehend now why it's important for you to do the absolute best that you can on the MAP, and not just on the MAP but in school in general?  Do you now understand why it's important you're here, respectful, and ready to learn?"
Them: "I do now".


Where else out there does your job security depend upon the actions of other people, and more specifically teenagers?  Yes I realize that it's only one piece of the job security puzzle, but it's an intricate piece to the whole works.  Since those conversations in class, and take it all with a grain of salt as those are paraphrased in my brain/from memory, but since those conversations I have noticed a slight upward trend in respectfullness and self-awareness.  Will it last?  Probably not, they're teenagers and I'm sure my parents can attest to the fact that my attention span/memory wasn't that long when I was their age.  

*Shrug* I don't know.  I just try to bring the reality of the situation to the kids.  They all say they want to be taken seriously, so here ya are some serious issues that you *will* be dealing with when you get older unless the world goes off the deep end in 2012.  I try to make them look past their little bubble of lipgloss, teenage hormones, iPod's, texting, sagging pants, horrible language, and skinny jeans so tight I swear the girl's circulation gets cut off to the greater world around them and how they fit into the collective conscious of the greater whole.  Maybe I'll make a diff, and maybe I won't.  Only time will tell.


On a *completely* different note, I just started up another blog called "Just call me Imelda!; What I wore to school today" because apparently my shoes, ensembles, and hair have been creating quite a stir with not only the kids but the teachers/staff as well.  Thursday after school as I was moving bak and forth between the Band and Choir room getting the Drum Line set and ready for rehearsal, I walked past the group of kids who always hang out in the Band room after school, and one of the gals says to me "You're really pretty Mrs. Stout!"...What?!  Me?!  You're crazy girl!  *laugh*   It's honestly quite surreal, because I alternate between feeling like the gangly legged, knobby kneed, crooked teethed, stringy haired awkward teenage girl, to the out of shape, trying to find her way, insecure college girl, all.the.time.  Sure, there are plenty of moments of feeling completely comfortable in my own skin and body, but the "ugly duckling" syndrome will always be a constant undercurrent in my brain.  In the mean time I figured that this blog would not only be a resource for all the girls out there who want my shoes, "OOooo! Mz Stout! I'mma steal yur shoez!" *laugh* but also a nice chronicle for me of the transformation of my hair.  So check it out and be super cool.  

7 More Mondays!!!!!!! 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Coming up on the first of many anniversaries...

I had a nice long plan this morning (thank you MAP prep!) and was able to get a lot of work done which included looking at the last two months of school and ahead to the summer for Drum Line.  As I was counting off days, thinking time-line with competition, I realized that it's been a year since I found my lump.  I can't say what day for sure, so I count May 14th as the first real anniversary.  It was the day I was told I had breast cancer.  

This year instead of being awoken from a mid-afternoon nap only to hear the words "It's Breast Cancer", I'll be at a baby shower celebrating the upcoming birth of a very dear friend's first childThat's as it should be I think :)

The anniversaries after that may not be celebrated forever but they will be this year:
June 5th: first chemo
September 17th: last chemo
Dec. 27th: "new boobie day"

The last anniversary will always have meaning and will always be marked by something special.  October 15th, the day I was told "You no longer have Breast Cancer".