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Isn't This the Best?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

"Isn't this the best?" That was what Tom would say. Often. Viewing a sunset, visiting with friends, enjoying his family, Tom always saw the bright spot in everything and commented on it. He was the kind of person who never brought you down - he was a lifter of spirits.

Tom was a teacher for part of his career, and an administrator for most of it. He was one of those remarkable principals who was loved by both the teachers he worked with and the students. While he approached life with kindness, he also approached it with great humor. He was fun to be with. Tom wasn't one of those easy going, fun loving people who backed out on the hard stuff, either. He was always ready to pitch in and do the hard stuff.

So many people from so many different walks of life were at the church today to honor him, support his family, and to try to make sense of this tragedy. Students, Sunday school students, teachers, friends, family, golfing partners, his fellow band members, and his aikido partners all gathered to remember him. It was a lovely service, really. So many of the things that represent his passions were on display; his guitar, drums, golf clubs, and his gi were there.... very sweet, but sad not to have him there in body as well as in spirit.

I knew Tom first as a school principal, then later he joined the aikido classes I attending. It was always a pleasure to spend time with him.



From left to right:

Tom, my friend Jeff, Miss Miyaki (who used to be one of the Emperor of Japan's body guards and an extraordinary aikido teacher), and my friend Judy.

Rest in Peace, my friend. I hope you are where you can sit back, take it all in, and say, "Isn't this the best?"

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OVERWORKEDJANET 9/10/2010 5:14AM

    There's never any sense in tragic accidents. Embrace your memories of what appears to be a very happy person. He might appreciate that.
Janet

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MCGS62 9/6/2010 11:41PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEOWMAMA3 9/6/2010 10:01PM

    Tom sounds like he had a wonderful spirit and was the best kind of friend. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so hard to understand why, maybe because there's no answer. Keep yourself active and spreading your special brand of kindness and light. This tribute is beautiful and in time you'll be able to think of him with happiness instead of sorrow. Hugs to you, Kim emoticon

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STARLASUE 9/6/2010 7:37AM

    Nice memory of Tom. A part of him you will always have. Isn't this the best?

Rest in peace, Tom.

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CLEVAGAL 9/5/2010 10:13PM

    Im glad you have spark as an one of your outlets to process what has happened. When we say grace tonight I will put in a prayer for you dear Chris so that you may move through this time as painlessly as possible. Love Cleva xxx

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0309COOKIE 9/5/2010 9:40PM

    What a nice tribute to Tom. I will pray for him.

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MARY1313 9/5/2010 9:29PM

    Wow, how sad. Ya'll are all in my prayers.

Mary

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VALERIEMAHA 9/5/2010 9:04PM

    Oh, Chris. That's just so sad...I have so much trouble understanding these lives senslessly snuffed out. Thank you for the lovely tribute to an exceptional man.
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Maha

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IUHRYTR 9/5/2010 8:56PM

    emoticon -- Lou

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First Day With Personal Trainer

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Woohoo! I had fun!

I met with Shannon for my first personal training session. I had interviewed her a couple of weeks ago to make certain that she understood, appreciated, and was willing to work with my back injury and physical restrictions. I liked her when I met with her, and hoped that I would like her once we started working together. My first start day with her was supposed to be last week, but I had to work at the school work bee, so I had to move our first session back a week.

Those of you who read my blog 'So it Begins' know that I was worried about fighting work stress and stress hormone weight gain - this is just what I was talking about. The work bee wasn't bad. It was fun. But it was a weekend day I had to cancel things that are important to my well being; my fitness program and my music lesson. Then I had to work a 12 hour day on Thurs. and will have another day like this on Tuesday. And guess what? I have gained 2 pounds since the beginning of the school year - Sept. 1. Stress. I have lost enough weight that 2 pounds isn't a huge thing... it is the upward trend that concerns me. But, I digress...

I did have my first session today. It started with a cardio warm-up on the treadmill. Sweet Shannon had planned a program of weight training, cardio, and balance based on my talk with her about my injuries, current state of fitness, and concerns. It was very appropriate in terms of not stressing my lower back and seemed balanced in terms of addressing different muscle groups and cardio. I was very pleased.

Okay, here's a bragging moment.

At the end of our session Shannon told me how impressed she was. She thought that based on my age and what I told her about my injuries and my unhappiness with my fitness levels that I would need to start at a lower level of exercise. As we went along (and I am very good at saying if something is too much) she realized that I could do a lot more than she anticipated. When our session was over, she was impressed with how fit I am in spite of it all.

Yay me! emoticon

It was a fun workout, I have a routine that I can do at the gym myself now, and I feel like a buff 60 year old.

After my session, I had to hurry home because I was expecting the delivery of the new Serta pillowtop mattress for the antique bed in the guest room. My king bed will go in the larger guest room when my Sleep Number bed arrives this coming Wednesday. So Mike moved the futon out of the smaller guest room and moved the antique bed in. The mattress arrived 10 minutes after I arrived home; well timed! I spent the rest of the day cleaning, organizing, and rearranging the guest room. I'm not quite done, but I am pleased with my progress.




Sorry, Stella was on the bed most of the time I was working, but was cuddling with Mike in the living room when I took the pics. So, no Stella fix for her fans.




Since I have been in such pain at night, I am moving into this room to enjoy the new mattress until my super bed arrives next week.

Tomorrow is Tom's funeral. The yin and yang of life - pleasure and sadness.

Birth and Death is a grave event;
How transient is life!
Every minute is to be grasped.
Time waits for nobody.
Inscription on a Zen Gong

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 9/6/2010 10:08PM

    You've got a lot going on girl! Kudos on showing the youngun' that you can keep up the pace! She sounds like a good fit and that she really listened to your needs. The room looks so inviting! I hope your new bed gives you some relief. Take school one day, one deadline, one irritant at a time. Those long days are killers, but you'll muddle through and figure a way to fit the training in. How do I know? Because you always manage to stick to your plans, despite the curve balls. You are a real inspiration Chris! Despite the funeral, try to have a great week! Hugs, Kim emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 9/5/2010 9:46PM

    How fun to have a personal trainer! Sounds like it will be a good match for you :)



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LAGREBE 9/4/2010 11:23PM

    Way to go! I am so proud of you!

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JCORYCMA 9/4/2010 10:27PM

    That's great that you found a good trainer to work with! Best of luck to you as you continue on with your fitness goals!
Joanne

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IUHRYTR 9/4/2010 9:40PM

    Although it is a sad time for you with your friend's funeral, many positive things are happening for you now. It is great that you found a knowledgeable and compatible trainer. I hope the new mattress works well for you, too. As for Stella, where are you our furry friend? :) -- Lou

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Flowers and Insects

Friday, September 03, 2010

I do love to turn to nature to list gratitudes and find comfort in the present. These are some of my 'Flower and Insect' photos that I hope you enjoy, too.













Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


I hope you have a fabulous Friday!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WINE4GIRL 9/5/2010 9:09PM

    Awesome photos! You have quite a talent!

Wendy

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KRITTERKEEPERS 9/4/2010 1:09AM

    Wonderful photos! Have a safe Labor Day weekend!

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CLEVAGAL 9/4/2010 12:57AM

    Thanks so much Chris. Those bees look to me like what I imagine bumble bees to look like. Cleva xxx

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MARY1313 9/3/2010 11:33PM

    love this and just love you too!

Mary

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PENNYAN45 9/3/2010 2:33PM

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and the wise words from Emerson.

emoticon

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IUHRYTR 9/3/2010 10:25AM

    Thank you for adding some beauty to my day. emoticon emoticon emoticon -- Lou

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MAWRTIAN 9/3/2010 10:13AM

    Wonderful!! Thanks!

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LMB-ESQ 9/3/2010 7:23AM

    Chris -- thank you for this. Your opening line says it all: "I do love to turn to nature to list gratitudes and find comfort in the present."

I admire you for the way you manage to stay grounded through all the tough events in your life. Reading your blogs over the last few months, you've experienced one difficult thing after another and yet you still manage to find such joy in the little constants in your life -- your teaching, nature, Stella. I will take a lesson from your blog today -- when all around me seems to be falling into chaos, I will look back to those little constants and try to cultivate the same attitude of gratitude.

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And BTW... the pics are beautiful!

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STARLASUE 9/3/2010 6:57AM

    Wonderful! Thank you. Have a blessed day today.

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GARDENCHRIS 9/3/2010 6:44AM

    cool pictures!

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Good Day, Hard Day

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

It was my first day back with children today and we had a lovely day. It is always fun to have the children come back to school so full of enthusiasm and personality, ready to reconnect with friends and learning.

The hard part of the day occurred after I got home. There was a message from a friend to please call her back. She wanted to let me know about the tragic loss of one of our mutual friends, who was hit by a truck while he and his wife were out riding bikes this morning.

Tom was my friend for many years, first as an administrator in the school district I used to teach in, and then as an aikido (martial arts) partner. He was a man who exuded kindness and consideration, well loved by everyone for his calmness and good nature.

Tom had retired two years ago and his wife just retired last year. They were looking forward to spending retirement having time to spend together. And I guess that is exactly what they were doing this morning.

Poor Cathy! Her brother died only a few years ago after a battle with mesothelioma. That was a hard loss for both her and Tom. At the moment, I am still trying to make some sort of sense of this, but I can't. It is just tragic.

www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/spri
ngfield-news/former-shs-assistant-prin
cipal-dies-after-being-hit-by-truck-89
2195.html

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CITYZOZO 10/3/2010 4:16PM

    so sorry to hear about him... hope you remember everything great you will remember...

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JUST_TRI_IT 9/5/2010 9:49PM

    This is very sad :( I am sorry for this family's loss.

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MARY1313 9/3/2010 11:32PM

    Oh goodness! I am so sorry Chris! I just read the article. that is so sad. I will add you and his wife and family to my prayer list. My thoughts are with you my friend.

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Mary

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STARLASUE 9/3/2010 7:08AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

May your special angel embrace you today and for as long as you need as you face yet another painful situation.

Healing Blessings

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MCGS62 9/2/2010 8:14AM

    Some time there are no reasons. sorry to hear of your loss.
emoticon emoticon
Enjoy the kids at school--- I don't know how you do it

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DJS-DEBBIE 9/2/2010 7:41AM

    So sorry for your loss.
emoticon

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SABA_MALI 9/2/2010 4:26AM

    So sorry for your loss.

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LMB-ESQ 9/1/2010 10:17PM

    How very tragic. I am so sorry for your loss. emoticon

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MCSNYDER1 9/1/2010 9:51PM

    Oh, I am so sorry! Please know my prayers are with all of you.
Mary

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CLEVAGAL 9/1/2010 9:44PM

    The Goddesses ways are mysterious. Sometimes they are hard to accept. My beautiful breath of fresh air, Chris, I hope you find some comfort in your family and friends and to some extent from all of us. I will check in tomorrow.
Cleva xxx

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VALERIEMAHA 9/1/2010 9:22PM

    Tragic indeed! There just aren't any words....
emoticon
Maha
P.S.Since I see no evidence of photos that IUHRYTR made reference to, I guess you decided to take them out?


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IUHRYTR 9/1/2010 8:48PM

    Sorry for the loss of your friends. Loved the pictures of your students. Good looking group of kids. -- Lou

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Ready!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It is always a little sad at the end of each school year when the children pack up their belongings. The carrels are suddenly devoid of the individual characteristics each child brings to his or her work space; the carrels lack the richness and personality that emanates from them while they are occupied by the children. The room, free of the clutter and evidence of many active children busy with projects, feels sterile and empty.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been bringing the classroom back to life: getting books, instruments, and materials out of storage, replacing equipment that has worn out, organizing the room and our materials, and whisking spider webs out of the study carrels.



The room is ready,



and I am ready.




The classroom may be cleaned and organized, but it all looks so empty!

I am looking forward to the room, the playground, the whole school, filling up with excited, spirited children and reflecting their unique and vibrant personalities. Tomorrow, they will come in full of excitement and enthusiasm, reconnecting with their friends and teachers. And yet another year of exploration and discovery will be under way.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAZZMINE 9/1/2010 8:35PM

    Wow, you still haven't started yet. I have been in school since last Monday and am finally getting back in the swing of things! I hope you have a great year!

emoticon

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MTNCLIMBER88 8/31/2010 11:48PM

    Looks great! I wish you had been my music teacher :)

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WATERMELLEN 8/31/2010 9:27PM

    Have a great year -- with your lucky lucky students!!

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PENNYAN45 8/31/2010 8:07PM

    Lucky students - coming to a class with such an exceptional and caring teacher!

I LOVE the start of school each year!! I wish you a successful and fulfilling school year ahead!

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0309COOKIE 8/31/2010 5:53PM

    Your blog evokes such great feelings of returning to school in the fall. And you remind me of my first grade teacher who I loved who was so enthusiastic and nurturing.

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KRITTERKEEPERS 8/31/2010 5:46PM

    I have never seen a classroom with study carrels before. They look like they would help the students to be able to concentrate a little better than traditional school desks. The classroom looks great!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MARYMAC45 8/31/2010 5:21PM

    Chris, you sound like a kid yourself. What a great teacher you are, so enthusiastic and excited to get back in. How lucky your students are to have you. I'm sure they appreciate you. Have a fantastic year my friend. emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon

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MARY1313 8/31/2010 4:58PM

    Oh boy! I loved the first day of school, well, except for 7th grade when my Dad made me cut my bangs the night before school started and I got mad and wet them and pulled them down really hard and cut them at my eyebrows. welllll then they jumped right up to my hair line! ACK!

I hope you have the most wonderful year!

Mary

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DREMARGRL 8/31/2010 4:52PM

    Hurray for eager, exuberant teacher who can't wait for the students! I love that about you. Have a delightful year, my dear. XO MaryAnn emoticon

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PUDLECRAZY 8/31/2010 4:41PM

    It is not a 'traditional' school at all, although it is over 85 years old and our traditions are still going strong. People often ask if it is a Montessori school, or a Steiner school. Our school is based more on John Dewey's principles of democracy in education and learning through exploration and discovery. It is a wonderful school for both teaching and learning, but very labor intensive for the teacher. That's why I need to watch my stress levels... I tend to get consumed by my career once the school year gets rolling.

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LMB-ESQ 8/31/2010 4:21PM

    Very nice! Looks like someone's living room!

What type of school do you teach in? It doesn't look traditional, or sound that way from your descriptions. Definitely not traditional if you can take Stella!

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OLDERDANDRT 8/31/2010 3:59PM

    Good for you!! You actually sound like a kid impatiently waiting for Santa Claus!! hehe It's the mark of a great teacher! Hope the school year is great for you ALL!!!!!

Hugs,
Jayne

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IUHRYTR 8/31/2010 3:57PM

    I always looked forward to the first day of school -- new teachers, new books and classrooms, the excitement of a fresh start. Hope your students feel the same way. emoticon -- Lou

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IDAHOTRAILRIDER 8/31/2010 3:55PM

    Oh you make me want to go back to school but only if you could be my teacher. Your classroom looks so wonderful and inviting! Great job and I can't wait to hear how the school year goes - take care my friend!

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