Weekend Coffee Share. “Everything was Beautiful…”

For the animals. This is my weekend coffee share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com every weekend.  Friday and Monday are days off of work for me.  Finally!  Nonetheless, I dreamed work dreams on both Friday and Saturday night, probably because by Sunday a.m., I still hadn’t spend anymore than fifteen minutes on work that I brought home, and I always bring home work!  Above is the album cover for my new Moby c.d., and it is beautiful.  The animals look so human.  His music really takes me away, which, as you can tell, I really need.  Anyhow, I think I read somewhere that Moby is a vegetarian, which is something I think about doing but haven’t yet, for a few different reasons.

I took good care of myself Friday; I had lunch with an old friend and then shopped at a so-called upper scale consignment shop.  I got a pedicure and got out for fun singing karaoke with my boyfriend.  Saturday, I met some work friends for lunch and afterward, my son and I took our dog, Bixby, to the dog park.  Bixby fell in love.  Oh, he has been fixed, but he always seems to find one dog that he wants to follow around and try to dominate.  Dog-training does not seem to help that.

He pretty much chased this one dog from one end of the dog park to the other!  It was fun to watch though, including the way the other dog resisted his advances.  Smart pup, she was!  After that, we came home and I gave him a bath, so he could return to his clean, fluffy self.

So, tomorrow I will exercise and go to the chiropractor.  I really need that; it seems I have carpal tunnel, and I’m dead set against surgery at this point in my life.  I also have arthritis.  Boo.  I’ve been told before that one should reduce carbs to keep arthritis at bay.  Well, I do try.  I’ve thought about vegeterianism, because I hate cooking meat, but I worry that if I adopted that lifestyle, I would end up eating more carbs to satisfy my hunger.  Am I wrong on this point?  I mean, I do need to eat more greens and want to feel healthier, overall.  That, and I love animals.  I also thought about Paleo, even if it’s on and off, because that way I’d really reduce the carbs.  I have to be careful, because I also get spastic colon, a syndrome that came to me via heredity and ample stress.  Sigh.  I’d be glad to hear from any vegetarians or Paleo enthusiasts about what has worked for you.

I’ve done some great self-care this weekend that I had put off for too long.  Sadly, I will have to carve out time today and maybe on my day off tomorrow for the paperwork I brought home from work.  I will not fret; this won’t last forever.  My summer will come, and it will be full of fun, writing, and my character, Malachi!

Have a great week, friends!

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Weekend Coffee Share, “That Sweet Spot.”

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Welcome to my #WeekendCoffeeShare hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali!  It’s Valentine’s Day week, and I am in love with life.  As hectic, busy, and packed-full as my brain is, I am not miserable at all!  It seems my hard work has been paying off, and I don’t mean paying for vacations or bills, but producing results, nonetheless.

My Facebook job of record is “In training at- Trying to be a Positive Influence on Others.” It’s true abd shall be true all my life.  I make enough money to get by.  I may get a bonus now and then to provide for a vacation, but what matters is if I am reaching the young hearts and minds of those in my classroom.  What matters is that I am writing material as an author that pleases my heart and makes people think.  Somehow, between the two, I want to make the world a better place.  I’m still taking courses on how to teach and reach the highest achievers in school.  It keeps me so busy, and I’m enjoying it immensely!  I caught up on my course this week, working almost daily in the evening to get the assignments done.  So I had time Saturday to a little writing with my current character, Malachi.  I even had time to go to lunch with my son.  Friday, I started putting those planned lessons and assignments to work.  It was great fun!

Forgive me if nothing is in linear order here.  I had a Eureka moment while teaching on Friday.  I worked so hard this week at learning new strategies, sitting for hours at my laptop, working while eating, processing, planning, interpreting data. The payoff: A lesson on things I love, animal nature, poetry, and figurative language, as well as a poet I got to research in a Grad. School class. A student I never thought I was reaching said, “Ms. Canepa, you are the teachingest Reading teacher I’ve ever had.” Students had fun creating their own creative metaphors, and some sat in a group with me discussing their choice of alternate assignment because they passed a pre-test.   They looked so genuinely interested in the assignment to find out the background of the authors and maybe even appreciative.  It’s called differentiation, and it’s a lot of hard work.  It doesn’t only exist for those who need help getting it, but for those on the other end as well.

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Students seemed so excited Friday.  Well, it was Friday and there was a dance, but they were really participating in our discussion.  Next week, I’m going to play them a song called “Dog and Butterfly” by Heart,  circa 1979. We’ll discuss how we can learn from animal nature.  I felt my own enthusiasm radiating from me on Friday when I introduced our poems.  It was great, since I’d felt bogged down by drudgery most of the week.

 

person holding stick in grayscale photography Somewhere in Alaska.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I am also excited to be sharing some poetry by Mary TallMountain, a Native Alaskan poet I studied in a Graduate class at UNF.  Some of my students will be digging into her background and where she’s from.  They’ll be learning about a beauriful place that is mostly foreign to them.  I studied her in a course on American Literature that exposed us to many authors that are not traditionally on a college course syllabus.  I loved that class…

All in all, I am feeling great and will start another assignment for my course within the next hour.  The coffee is kicking in!  I learned a few things the past week:  If you lvoe what you do, it rubs off on others.  Hard work pays off.  Never quit,  but I already knew that, I just keep re-learning it.  The other: if you are writing a novel in bits and pieces, taking weeks off at a time due to life responsibilities, do keep notes on what your side character’s last names are, and consult it often.  Also, don’t leave your main character hanging on a limb for too long!  Still, I feel much better for having given Malachi some attention yesterday.  I am in the sweet spot for the time being.  Thanks God for a clearing of the clouds!  Even though the clouds may return, each time it seems I am learning more on how to see beyond the clouds.

I have a few author events coming up as well.  They are online events, and I plan to share more about them as they get closer.  Thank you for stopping by and sharing some coffee and a little bit of my recent joys with me.  Have a great week!

 

My First Ever WP Blog Post Repurposed, “Nikki Giovanni, You Inspire Me!”

I have recently been reminded that I’ve reached my three year anniversary of blogging with WordPress.  I have not regretted a moment, except maybe the times when I didn’t feel like I could post more than one a week.  This first post was quite fitting, as it documents a turning point of inspiration, and why I bought that little notebook that helped me become confident enough to remember fleeting thoughts and piece them together.  I was lucky to win tickets to a rare speaking engagement!  Without further ado:

Reflections From July 16, 2015 (that I wrote in my little notebook):  My inspiration comes from many people and places, but one that is quite memorable is the poet, Nikki Giovanni.  I am fired up right now, because I got to hear her read at a luncheon today!

I love her smile here, and her lack of make-up or artifice.  She is herself, at home and comfortable in her own skin.  The first day I heard of her, I was not any of those things.  I was 20 years old, unsure of myself, finding myself the only one of my peer group in college, and how I got in I wasn’t always sure; I certainly assumed for several years I would not be going.  My self-esteem was hinging on some “boy” I was having some “sort of” relationship with while in college.  I thought about it, and him,  entirely too much.  Should I keep it going?  Should I forget it, tell him it wasn’t what I wanted or fulfilling me spiritually?  Geesh.  What a waste of time, mulling over such a wishy-washy situation.  Had he wanted more, I probably wouldn’t have, so why wasn’t it that simple for me?

Fact is, I was in college, being challenged, and enjoying that greatly.  I was working part-time, not always enjoying it, but I was paying bills, albeit barely.  I was going home to an apartment that was partly mine and a roommate who, it turns out, was not as great a friend as I thought.  I didn’t even always want to hang out with her.  I was not a drunk or a partier, (maybe twice a month), but I was somehow just at an emotional low.  Maybe I was short-changing myself? I wanted more emotional fulfillment.  So, I had read something by Giovanni and then saw this quote from her, that somehow just really clicked with me; I even copied it down and put it somewhere safe to look at again and again.   Here it is:

      “There is always something to do.  There      are  hungry people to feed, naked people to  clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

― Nikki Giovanni

I was wasting all this time with some college boy who didn’t even care if I thought about him, living in an apartment with a friend that was no longer a friend, and feeling unfulfilled.  The only thing that fulfilled me at that time was diving into the Literature and texts I was assigned.  Oh, and some of them really saddened me.  There was Gothic Literature such as Mary Shelley.  Existentialism.  I really felt it all.   But I survived.  I moved back home with Mom for the remainder of college, continued working, and paid for a lot of my own college.  I made time for other friends, and my college relationship pretty much ended when he went away to an out of town school.  But Nikki’s words stuck with me.  There is a world out there in need,  why should I stay in here in my own head worrying about things, when I can go out there and make my world better?  And look at all the energy we sometimes spend on an unhealthy or one-sided relationship, or even friendships that no longer serve us, when there is so much more to do?
You could say I live her advice.  I suppose the last part of her quote is what I put to use back then, regarding who you should engage among you, and who you should remove.  Lord knows, I had to practice it many times repeatedly over the course of my life.  I also took a good amount of advice from the Bible, but how confusing that can be to a young person.  Nikki’s quote on sick people, hungry people, those needing clothes, is also a reminder to someone like me who had all that I needed.  I was getting an education, but it wasn’t making me happy and I felt so alone.  I can say that got better.  It is also true that I struggled with depression at times.  I had to sometimes just do something good for another person in need.  Sometimes I had to just get busy and get out of my head.  Analyzing existentialism or the deeper meaning of Gothic Literature can be a gloomy subject.  But it was very deeply satisfying when I could take a break and do a good thing, or have fun in the sunshine for a while.  One day, I would like to be able to consider myself a successful writer.  There is no amount of money or number of books I will assign to that.  Giovanni herself said something like that today, about how money won’t fulfill you.  You just need to have some of it to stay alive.  It thrills me to say that Nikki Giovanni has influenced me.  I’d like to put that on the back of a book one day!
And as for teaching,  yes, like Nikki said, we need more black children to grow up, get educated, and go into space!  We need them to become scientists, like  Neil deGrasse Tyson. (Who, by the way, is really cool!)   It is much needed for the equality of the races.   Imagine, if I could turn the right student on to a book about space or time travel, and in turn, encourage him to explore space!  Such an honor it would be.  It gives me something to remember when I look at that sea of faces every August.  They all have the potential.
Nikki also mentioned how our language is changing.  (Look at the definition of marriage.  Just recently it was decided by the Supreme Court that two women or two men can now marry).  Think of the definition of equality; she mentioned how a black man and white woman could not have married 60 years ago.  The world is changing and so is our language.  We need to observe and we need to write about it.  So I am writing right now.  She said, “Everyone go out and buy a notebook to write in today.”  I already have one.  I thought it was lost, but it has turned up again!  And I also have this space here for writing.  So I am inspired again!   Indeed, there is so much to do.    Life is good!

Weekend Coffee Share. “What a Long, Great Trip it’s Been!”

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Alli every Saturday morning! I love this coffee photo from Pixabay, as it is very reminiscent of Kerouac, although now I can add Ginsburg to that thought; I’m making my way through Allen Ginsburg’s poetry book, “Television Crawled Like a Baby toward that Death Chamber,” and what an appropriate title! I read maybe two poems a week, as I don’t want to speed through it. I also have another book on the side, I must confess. Poetry books work better for me when I keep a certain poem with me for a week. I’m going to perhaps surprise you and exude total positivity today. 🙂 Maybe I feel like I have my job and work well under control, or I just feel I can focus on me this weekend? At any rate, I’m celebrating a few things today.

I received this notice yesterday from WordPress about my third anniversary with WP blogging. It has been the best experience and has fueled my writing and my author platform! I’ve also become part of a community of bloggers from Africa, Ireland, Britain, Dubai, and many other far away places who share unique perspectives and yet, have a lot in common with me. I had blogged with Google Blogspot for about 5-6 years and never got the feel of community as much as I do now. Besides discussing the writing journey or creating short fiction here, some of my posts have been very personal and based on some struggles I had in my family in the last 4-5 years; all I have received is supportive responses, and I never regretted sharing. I’m truly thankful I started that first post, which was either about seeing NIkki Giovanni speak in 2015 or a cool fact I’d learned about our galaxy while at home sick. I may re-post it soon in memory!

Thank you, WordPress!

Really, it’s fun to think back on the things I have discovered. I’ve also discovered authors I would not have otherwise and read books I might not have heard of had I not read my WordPress post feed, books like “Echo” (dystopian sci-fi) or “Damp Dogs and Rabbit Wee,” a humorous memoir written by a dog-walker in Scotland. I truly hope their writing keeps flourishing. I’ve found a way to tell others about my writing as well, and I’m thankful to those who have read about my book(s) and got their own copy to read and some who left a review for it! Now for the next celebratory item:

Bixby and me.

Sorry for the tired eyes. It was a cold Friday night, end of work-week unwind.

This dog of mine is the best friend a girl could ask for. He loves my whole family. We’ve had him for four years now, after adopting him from the shelter.  Wed finally decided to spend the money and time on a dog-training course. Let me tell you, it does pay off! Half of the goal is training us humans to be consistent in our requests and rewarding behaviors and not to be negative in our responses to behavior. He will now sit for a treat, wait for a treat, leave it when asked, and lie down for a treat when asked. He is getting better at walking on a leash with us as well. My mom and I are his main walkers, and we can’t have an over-enthusiastic dog yanking our arms our pulling a shoulder out of socket. He has gotten so much better, what a canine angel! Today was class six, and he graduated. Hooray for Bixby!

Anything for a treat, but the hat only stayed on for a few seconds! 🙂

Thank you for having coffee with me and listening to my wonderful news!  Thanks also to those of you who stop by even on the weekends when I am feeling overwhelmed and sharing when you can empathize.  Have a great week, everyone!

Weekend Coffee Share. Oh, the Reality!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, which shall be very brief. Coffee Shares are hosted by Allison at Eclectic Alli.   The reality for me today  is, my weekend is going to be full of paperwork: studying, grading, and writing an assignment for my gifted curriculum course. In between, I am getting ideas for my work in progress and my author social media. And when ideas come, one must do something with them or they may be lost forever. I suppose that will make my weekend sentence sitting at the computer a little more bearable. I must entertain the ideas. 🙂

At any rate, in the interest of brevity, I just want to tell you what I would be doing if this weekend was actually a time of free time for me. To help you and me imagine this, I’ve posted accompanying images. Some mine, some interner finds. Here goes:

* taking my dog to the dog park. Though I do get to take him to the pet store for his training session today, that’s my one fun adventure, because it’s right back to work afterwards.

 My Bixby.

* having lunch with a friend

* perhaps I’d be visiting a nice ocean spot a little further south. My skin is looking Pasty lately. 😦

 St. Augustine Beach

* taking a weekend yoga class. I’ve never done this, as they start quite early.

* going to see a movie. I’m always behind on the latest movies, and that is why I love Netflix!

No, I haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody yet. 😦 (This is not my photo, but I found it online)…  I actually was ready to go one day, but my sciatica was acting up.  Ugh!  The last movie I saw was The Mule, and it was my son’s pick.  Well, I did enjoy it, too.

* going to sing karaoke with my boyfriend. We haven’t done that in a while. But we are planning a getaway for later in the year…

Ah, so I can dream while I work, of a freer time. Have a great week, and keep dreaming, for it is what keeps us sane.

Tabitha’s Character Zodiac, a Detours in Time character study

Tabitha Hansen of Detours in Time.  Photo via Pixabay.com.

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This is a source idea I read about online somewhere for NANOWRIMO inspiration as I wrote the second of my books starring Tabitha, a character in the time travel series, Detours in Time.  Tabitha, a.k.a Pinky, is in her early thirties.  In book two, she no longer answers to the moniker Pinky.  She says it’s too childish.  Her hair: not exactly blonde, not exactly dark.  Some call it dirty blonde, while others call it “touched with honey.”  Her body stature: small. She is a picky eater.  Height: 5’6.  She is built like a dancer.  Eyes:  hazel, sometimes brownish.  Maybe amber.  I don’t know; I’m going on the word of her best friend and partner, Milt.  Let’s be glad he remembered her birthday (3/28/1967).  Skin: beautiful.  Tans easily, with dark eyebrows.  Reminds me a little of the movie star, Ashley Judd, in her thirties.  Just lovely.  Long, skinny fingers on her hands, and toes to match.  Long, thin arms.  Loves to dance.  She actually went to dance school for a while, but also loves art.  She draws, paints, dreams.

She’s a student when she meets Milt, but after graduating, she works in an art gallery because it brings more money than trying to sell her own art.  She is prone to moodiness and flights of fancy, yet, set in her ways.  Her parents are deceased, and she has one brother, two years younger, who is a little, let’s just say, wayward.  Has his own issues and struggles.  Family is so important to her, and she is also a loyal friend.  Just don’t get on her bad side.   While she loved the Flashdance fashions from the eighties, her go-to wardrobe in the nineties consists of jeans, Doc Martens or Chucks, and rock-n-roll or progressive band t-shirts.  But watch out, she can also rock a little black dress and will dress up for the art gallery when it is called for.

Listens to: Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Costello, U2, Sting, The Police, The Who, The Cowboy Junkies, Smashing Pumpkins, and a lot of music from that alternative/progressive station.

Particularly true for my character are numbers 1, 3, 6,7, 10, 12, 13, some of which almost made me consider making her a Gemini, but that didn’t set well with her. 🙂

The idea that inspired me was to match my character to a Zodiac sign, and make it hers.  I know little about any signs other than my Gemini sign, so I found a helpful article about Aries at http://www.yourtango.com/2015261912/13-brutal-truths-about-loving-aries-as-written-by-aries  by Andrea Zimmerman.  It is easy to see my character Tabitha in this zodiac description.

The article is titled “13 Brutal Truths about Loving an Aries, (As Written by One)”  What are our Aries friends like?

     “We’re fiery. We are a fire sign, so this should come as no surprise. I’ve been described as “fiery” my whole life, which after many years of introspection, I’ve come to realize is both a compliment and an insult. (I choose the former.) On the pro side, this means when we walk into a room, we bring a LOT of energy. Mostly good energy. Some bad, depending on our mood.”

Like I said, don’t get on Tabitha’s bad side.  She’s a pistol, for sure, but fiery can also mean passionate, and if she loves you, she will love you deeply and without faltering, as is also mentioned in this same article.

     “We have an ego…. Aries women need people who both stroke our egos when we need them to (which, admittedly, is a lot) but also can keep us humble. Have fun with that balancing act!”

In fact, there are times when Tabitha has Milt, whom she meets when he hires her to clean his university office, outright confused.  This is a little difficult for him, as he is a university Science professor who is socially awkward.

     “We’re adventurous. We’ll try almost anything once. But if we don’t like it (or we aren’t that good at it) the first time around, we probably won’t want to do it again.”

Of course, Tabitha is adventurous!  She agrees to join Milt (Dr. Milt Braddock, that is) on more than one time travel journey.  Though she may not be as open-minded as he is, (where he is more perceiving, she is more judging), she is curious enough to get in that vehicle and take the leap!      

     “We’re big-picture people. Small details don’t interest us. We think broadly about projects, ideas, and goals and what it will take to get the job done. Minor details are less interesting to us. We’ll take care of ’em if we have to — after all, we value accountability — but we’ll probably do so begrudgingly.”

I liked this description, because it does seem to describe some dreamers and artistic types, and Tabitha is definitely one of those.  She paints some interesting images in Detours in Time, images which seem to come to her mind fully formed, and she discovers a new artistic medium in Undercurrents in Time to express her emotional state.  Milt, on the other hand, seems like the small details guy.

     “We’re aggressive. At getting what we want, when we want, and how we want it. Please step aside and get out of our way. Best not to compete with us because you’ll probably lose.”  Like I implied, don’t get Tabitha angry, but if you are on her good side, she’ll defend you to the death.  You can witness that in book 1 and 2 of the Detours in Time series.    

     “We’re assertive. That’s just a nice way of saying that we say almost anything we want to, especially around people who know us extremely well. We might lock it up around your parents or your boss because apparently “restraint” is a societal norm (who knew?) but understand that it’s so freaking difficult for us to not say how we feel.”

I have to chuckle here, because this character trait definitely comes into play in Detours in Time Book 1, when they first get to the future.  In face, Milt is so beside himself over her reactions to their surroundings that he tricks her into being silent for a good part of one or two chapters, much to his later regret. 🙂

    Thank you to Andrea at yourtango.com for the inspiration.  I thank you all for joining the fun!  I thought this was a good strategy that someone else could use, or, perhaps I just entertained and distracted you for a few minutes.  Writing this series has been a journey, a journey of the mind, and while I had many distractions like fender benders, family issues, and full-time work, the world of the Detours in Time characters has been such a fun escape for me.

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You can preview or start reading the Detours in Time series today by clicking here: Detours in Time.  It’s available in Kindle, paperback, or read free with Kindle Unlimited.

Detours in Time has earned a Literary Titan Award for sci-fi and the title of Official Selection in Young Adult Sci-fi/or Horror in the New Apple Literary Summer E-book Awards.  Read the book reviewed as “a great way to spend a few hours in both another world and another time!” –Tome Tender Book Blog

Weekend Coffee Share. Get it together, girl! #balance

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali . I’ll admit, sometimes I can feel myself getting too perfectionistic and being too hard on myself, feeling like nothing I do is enough. At times, I feel like I have to have a little talk with myself, trying to calm myself down. It has been a stressful week. Suffice it to say, teaching is not an easy job. That may not be the only issue. Maybe it was just difficult to transition from Winter break self-care to reanimating my driven self in order to be a quality teacher, yet feeling I have little time now to do anything about my writing goals. Still, I’m always reminded that balance is so important.

I almost took a picture of the scowl on my face on day this week, because I partly was just mad at myself for letting my perfectionism force me to work late and miss my yoga class.  I was also mad at my job for requiring so much of me.  With my writing, I can go at my own pace, but let me be honest, it is not what pays the bills right now.  I suppose I needed an attitude adjustment, and I am not completely sure what got me off balance.  I need to be mindful of this in the future.

Since I missed yoga on my favorite Zen yoga night, I had to lay out the mat at home, so therefore, yoga had to include some dog play.  That is perfectly alright!  He always makes me smile!  We took him to his fourth week of dog training today, which is always fun, and we see lots of other dogs in the Petsmart store where he trains.  He loves that part, too!

What goes in our brains is also very important, and it can’t always be work, work, work. I’m listening to this classic on Audible, while I’m also reading a YA Fantasy book on Kindle. I always have reading goals and plans, and sometimes I participate in review groups ( no time for those right now). I feel badly if I don’t have time to read, and I suspect my brain got lazy over WInter break with lots of Netflix time.  I did read, just not at a fast pace.  Anyway, listening to Dorian Gray is nice while taking a bath.  The language is very descriptive and flowery, somewhat advanced if not archaic, and the narrator’s voice is relaxing.  Reading this in book form would take me a while.  I must add, it got really intriguing in Chapter fifteen and sixteen today!  Hey, it got my mind off of work, even though I did do an hour’s worth of work this morning.  I didn’t finish, but an hour was all they were getting this morning.  This is MY weekend!

Having said all that, I felt like my job was taking oved my life this week, but here I am, writing on my blog! It makes me feel more like myself; it makes me feel unstoppable, and by the way, that was my word for this year: unstoppable. Even though I’ve added a lot of goals to take me to another level at my job, I am going to be unstoppable and keep on writing, enjoying my life, and meeting those goals. I may adjust the pace, but I shall never stop!  Have a great week, my friends.  I am planning on more balance and self-care this coming week.  🙂