Weekend Coffee Share, Surviving Sequestration

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  I only had half-caff today, but it really invigorated me, maybe because I finally got at least six hours of sleep last night!

I have made it through week 1 of online teaching! Our school district was told there would be no return to school until April 15th, but I suspect it will be longer than that.  I worry about our world, I worry about strangers I pass by in the store, and I worry about how much worse this might get. But I am really happy that I am able to connect with my students again and have some sort of influence on their lives and how they view their world.  I’ve seen students helping each other while online when I can’t reply to their questions right away, and they seem so grateful to be able to chat with me on our educational platform, too!  For a brief while, I forget what is happening outside.  I try to focus on the positives and tell them some jokes.

Sent from a student in the Microsoft Teams chat after being told to start on The Giver or read a book they already have at a set time daily:
“Can’t wait for reading I have a good book to read!” Another messages at 1:50- ‘Yay! Reading time!’**

They warm my heart! Do they know how such things keep me going?  I’ve tried really hard to distract their minds from world news and fill their heads with imagination and art. A number of parents e-mailed me thanking me for being so positive in my educational videos, stating that my videos make the student feel part of a classroom again, somewhat back to normal. Though I admit, I did not teach anything new yet except for how to navigate a new learning platform and turn in assignments, and that is likely the way it should be.  

The above shows my go-to hairstyle these days.  I have canceled hairdresser appointments two weeks in a row.  I am afraid to be around people in that close capacity right now.  My mom is 78 and I don’t want to bring a virus back to her!  I re-scheduled for two weeks from now.  We’ll see.  Meantime, I am growing my hair and putting it up.  I am trying to take at least two yoga or pilates classes online per week and to do ab exercises along with my arm/shoulder workout every other day.  I’ve found many helpful online exercise videos, too.  So, my health is holding

After watching my church’s service online, I went to the grocery store this morning, and guess what: no toilet paper.  I have some on order from Amazon, and a friend ordered extra through some other shopping app.  They told me at the checkout that I could not get more than two of any particular canned food item.  I wish they had started that with toilet paper before this whole fiasco first happened! Sadly, I had 8 cans of Chef Boyardee since I wanted to donate some of them to a Food Bank.  The cashier apologized and said they were just being really strict about that.  

If you are interested in a dystopian/apocalyptic story, you can download my free short story here at https://bookhip.com/HPNJFT  It is called “They Shall Inherit the Earth. I also started on a love story, set in these times of Coronavirus.  It is a little more hopeful and should be available next week or so, and will also be free!

Take care my friends!  Stay healthy and stay sequestered.  We can do this!

Weekend Coffee Share, A New Routine

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali.  I’ve got to say, my coffee is sooo good today!  Maybe I am just feeling a sense of gratitude, trying to make the best of strange times.  I am beset with a lot of changes, as most of you probably are, too.

I’m a 6th grade teacher switching to online teaching to keep with the times and the state protocols. I’ve done my best to find the positives. Here is an intro video I did in the spirit of optimism:

https://youtu.be/5lLWXmpEMt8

(Yes, I know, I touch my face too much, especially when I’m feeling warm, a not-so-strange phenomenon for a woman my age :)).

So, here are five things you can do with online learning (or teaching) that you could not have done in a classroom:

1. Clip your toenails during a lesson

2. Wear sunglasses and a hoodie while completing (or grading) assignments (Good for students or teachers)

3. Raid the refrigerator for snacks as you wait for a student to give an answer

4. Pet your dog or cat, or your pet snake for what it’s worth….

5. Wear pajama pants. Really, no one will know!

I am going to enjoy the dog access the most!  (He has appreciated me being home more).  Seriously, though, I have been missing seeing my students.  I have posted to my Class Dojo a few times this last week as we had a week added to our Spring Break.  Well, now we have three more weeks off of school (at least), and Monday we will be starting online learning.  Schools in some states are out for the rest of the school year, and state testing is canceled here in Florida.  So, I am looking forward to communicating with my students and their parents.  I just have to go easy on my arm and the mouse-clicking.  I will say, yesterday after my home workout for the arm and shoulder, it felt better, despite being on a long conference call and setting up my classes online.  There is hope!

Nature is buzzing around us, even though we are avoiding many things.  A lot of parks are closed; nature is unbothered.  Birds chirp when I wake to silence, as no cars are starting up this morning.  I read that pollution has reduced drastically in China, and Venice canals are much cleaner.  Yes, we can be a parasite on this Earth.  I won’t go doom and gloom, okay.  I love the sound of birds in the morning!  My dog is happy, and I will take him for a walk later.  The sun has been shining constantly.  We will be fine!  I had some down evenings of worry and despair, but that was five days ago.  My church book group had a Zoom meeting for our discussion Thursday and will have an online service Sunday, so I’m feeling more connected.  Maybe now that I have more purpose and will be teaching my kids again, I feel better.  I can make other people feel better, since I’ve been actively seeking to learn what I can to calm my anxiety. Instead of feeling alone, we should all take this time to reflect and learn to unplug.

relax-569318_1280 Pixabay photo.

I loaded an app for meditation called Insight Timer.  I really like it so far! The Curable app for chronic pain and Mind-Body issues also has great meditations.  I signed up for an online course on Mindfulness which will yield a certificate when done through New Skills Academy online.  There is a lot about meditation in there.  I am exercising with things I learned in physical therapy and also logging in to see virtual yoga and abs classes through my yoga studio which is closed currently.  All of this is keeping me healthy; heck, it is keeping me going!  We have many ways to stay connected.  Let’s practice them!

I have also finished editing my manuscript for the Malachi novel, which is focused on a young adult man taking an unusual job to make ends meet.  This job forces him to face his own ideas of right and wrong.  There is now formatting and a final proofing.  Maybe it will be out in a month? I will let you know!  Here is a preview of the cover:

MALACHI.RUSEMASTER.eBOOK

Malachi, Ruse Master is a young adult novel with hints of sci-fi, as it intersects with characters and some events in the Detours in Time series.  People of all ages should enjoy it, as it can take you back to your own identity struggles and clamoring for independence as a youth.  There is plenty of action and adventure, too. I will follow it with a novel devoted to Ellie, whom we have already seen as a child, a teen, and an old, demented woman.  She will intersect with Malachi in this novel and then have her own story in a novel to come out in 1-2 years.  Time is not linear, you know!

If you have read Detours in Time, you should read the follow-up, Undercurrents in Time, in which Malachi is first introduced. I have reduced it to .99 for the remainder of the month.  Find it here:    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCCQS3N

Stay well, my friends.  Do the things you love or find new things to love doing.  Read books.  Ask your writer friends about their books.  Write a book!  Exercise indoors or in your backyard.  Stop and breathe the fresh air, and find a reason to laugh, with your family, with your dog, yourself, with your friends online.  We will survive!

 

Weekend Coffee Share, from a Safe Distance, of Course….

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  If nothing else, we can keep in touch online, sharing a cyber latte, tea, or whatever you like!

I just came back from the Auto Shop where I was watching my son change my battery. He works there, and texted to tell me it wasn’t too busy.  Man, time flies! Photo circa, 2018.  I am quite proud of how well he is doing, learning to be an adult.  He asked me how my day was going and opened the door for me.  I guess I raised him right!  Friday night, I went with him to the Mexican restaurant down the street, an upbeat placed called One Night Taco Stand.  We enjoyed it and ordered a drink.  I felt so brave being out in this time of much fear of other people.  Now, however, I am thinking a lot about my 77-year-old mother and her health and safety.  The three of us all live together, and I’d hate to bring a virus home to her.  So, I am not going much of anywhere today.  I’m editing a book and reading a good bit.  I wrote a flash fiction response to the Ragtag Community’s Daily word prompt.  Click here to give it a quick read:  Isolate (Flash Fiction)

Having sat outside with the dog for 10 minutes in the sun, I’ve been back indoors other than driving out to the Auto shop.  I also had signed up for an online course in Mindfulness and started some of those modules today.  It is something I enjoy learning about that is also very good for me, helping me to not be too worried or anxious during this world’s events.  I’ll do more of that and the editing this week, since public schools have an extended Spring Break for two weeks now.  Above, I am sporting what is now called Quarantinehair.  Yes, there is actually a hashtag for it, found on Instagram. It is quite an easy ‘do, no brush!

Have a good week, my friends.  Do not stress too much, but stay healthy and safe!

Isolate, #RDP #flashfiction

(c)2020 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

It’s easy in times like this

not to trust,

to let fear take over.  

You think, if you isolate, what you fear can’t win.  That, if you isolate, you are starving the fear, shutting off from what you fear.

Let  me tell you about this little monster.  It grows in cold, dark, lonely places void of light, within people who fear the warmth, who assume the worst of others.  It grows; it takes over the very person trying to starve it.  For, one who assumes the worst, needs to give oneself a chance to be proven wrong.  If you are never proven wrong, then why would you change your beliefs?

Isolating is great, when it occurs to get things done, to get down to business and feed your own thoughts.  When one isolates to avoid, that monster grows ever stronger and IT feeds off your own thoughts.  I know.  You see it growing all over me, don’t you?

Two young men had stopped but walked off as the old women opened her coat and removed it to reveal her arms covered in dirt and a green growth all over her arms.  She had lost her audience; they were disgusted and maybe even afraid.  

A little child peeked out at her from behind his mother’s leg where he’d been hiding.

I see you!  Don’t be afraid!  Don’t let it take over you, don’t do what I did.  You still have time!  Be brave, little one!

He didn’t turn away; he knew she was not the monster but simply had been overcome. Still, he stayed close to his mother.

Quickly, his mother whisked him away, and the old woman smiled, once again putting on her coat.  Her audience was gone, but she had reached one impressionable soul, and this was good.  For, she knew paranoia would again sweep the land, and likely very soon.

(Written in response to the Ragtag Daily Prompt word: Isolate.  Quite timely, yeah?  Visit them at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/rdp-friday-isolate/ )

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, Clearing the Stage for the Next Act

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share and a little slice of my life and dreams, where I am the writer, the producer, the stage hand, and the main character.  It has been quite a week!  Pull up a chair and a brisk coffee or a relaxing tea, whichever works for you.  I am lingering over my V8 and coffee, having slept in and missed the pilates class I was considering taking.  I suppose I needed a relaxing day!

I think I have mentioned before that, after working on and completing physical therapy for my back and shoulder pain (which may or may not have been due to arthritis), I am now going to work on the mind.  Mind you, I’m still keeping up with the body work on my own; today is arm/shoulder day!  Along with my aches and pains,  I need to work on my anxiety and OCD or slight perfectionism, and I have been doing so.  One of the things I’m doing is using an app called Curable that has a lot of writing exercises, meditations, and factual information on the mind/body connection regarding chronic pain. I have particularly benefited from the visualization meditation, while the writing exercises have me digging into my past and things that sparked anxiety for me.  I believe the goal is to identify the stressers you have or had and deal with them, confront them.  So, this week I was talking with my practitioner about my ex-husband.  She asked what the last straw was that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  So, I told the story.  It made me feel so tired to conjure up the setting, the actors, the events, picturing myself back in the house I lived in with my then husband.  I felt sad, scared, and angry as well.  I hadn’t told the story in quite a while.  Still, having done so, I felt more better equipped to deal with my present and future.  I went home tired, though.

I lay down at some point in the evening to relax, and in my mind, I recalled events of the day and the story I had brought up again.  I pictured hands reaching in and moving/removing stage props, my old house, furniture, the garage, the backdrop of trees.  Maybe this was demonstrated on a movie or something, I don’t know, but it popped into my mind and I observed all these things being removed and leaving an empty stage.  It made me feel triumphant!  I had brought up the images, the story, and the actors and processed them, and now they could be put away.  I could move on and create the next act.  Of course, it is never good to dwell on the past, but if you must process it, and if doing so lets you move on, then, eureka!  Something works!  I think we are all different.  But the mind/body work through the app does emphasize acknowledging the stressers from your life/past and that your way of dealing with them may have hurt you, i.e. caused chronic pain, digestive issues, or migraines, etc.  I stuffed so many negative emotions down since childhood that they were bound to hurt me inside.

So, perhaps the stage is my mindset/focus.  I know one should not focus on the past, but it comes up whenever I see the doctor and we discuss what tests I should have done; for instance, I had been tested for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, both negative, thank God!  I was plagued with pain for a while when I was so busy tending to my son in his rough patch of his youth, and now that he is moving along and doing fairly well, it is time to tend to me, to learn and unlearn my anxious reactions to his rough spells, to deal with the physical trauma of having been worried and trapped in hospitals or ERs several times.  Parenting a son on your own is nothing to shake a stick at.  Now, he is choosing a life, an honest, hard-working life and not that of a hitch-hiker (one of my past worries, silly me! :))

So, the stage is cleared and waiting.  What will the next set be?  Who will be the actors there with me? I have some great people and a support network as it is.  Will I explore a meditation group? A writer’s group?  Improv comedy? Will I continue my teaching career until retirement or find another way to approach my ‘golden’ years?  The stage is waiting for me.  The backdrop looks pretty magical, especially when fear and distrust have exited stage left!

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*Am I truly done with fear, distrust, and anxiety?  They are getting better.  I can be brave for others and at times, for myself.  I’ve been working on this.  Being of a certain age, I can get hot flashes and brain fog as well as anxious moments, but they’ve improved with my recent mind/body work which I plan to continue.  We’ll see what comes, but I am much better equipped to deal with it now!

Have a great week, my friends! I have Spring break and no travel plans, so this little fellow will have some play time with me, I’ll be writing/editing, and I’ll be getting some mundane appointments taken care of as well as relaxing and sleeping in some more!

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**The Weekend Coffee Share is currently hosted by Allison at Eclectic Alli. Give her site a visit and say hello!

Goodbye! A meditation in verse

Sending it Away, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa (c) 2020.

 

Put your stuff on the boat,

and send it off gently,

the baggage that only

held you back.

 

See them go,

you don’t need them,

and they won’t counter-attack.

 

Pain, shame, anger, fear,

low self-regard, loathing, and resentment

can’t fit your search

for an enlightened life.

 

What you held onto

has distracted and limited you.

For, baggage does its duty.

Now just send it away,

with a genuine, Goodbye.

 

The monster you created

out of negativity

is no longer your friend.

Put it on the boat,

with a tear-free Goodbye.

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white and brown ship on sea

Photo by Levent Simsek on Pexels.com

Weekend Coffee Share. “Overwhelm.”

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali.  I almost did not write one today, having not accomplished anything and having so much to do.  *sigh*  However, I exist in this blogosphere and love keeping contact with my bloggers’ community.  So, in a positive thought moment, I’m dreaming of when I can write some flash fiction again, when I can be a novelist and do my editing, and the day my weekend will be taken up by outdoor festivals, music, and good food, not to mention sunshine and pleasant weather.

It will be in the sixties today; I should not complain.  Though I think our cooler weather, stress, and arthritis have caused pain again in my shoulder and arm.  I am researching anti-inflammatory foods to get with my groceries tomorrow.  Trying to stay healthy and strong, I am still doing my exercises, albeit with lots of icing and occasional heat.  I can do this.  This weekend, there are projects to grade. There is a big assignment for my online class, and I have to complete my lesson plan for next week.  I know what I’m doing, it is just tedious to type up in the format required.  Oh, and I am feeling sort of tired.  A week ago I had a cold, went to pilates on Saturday anyhow, but, sleeping in until 7 a.m.,  I skipped pilates today.  I will compensate with a thirty minute cardio session.  Yes, thirty minutes is a lot for me this week.  I didn’t have time for that at all this week, just fifteen to twenty minutes, so it will feel good to achieve 30. My weight is down to a healthy place (where I’d like to stay), due to the routine of leg/core exercises and shoulder/arm exercises learned from physical therapy.  I invested in resistance bands for home.  I have to remember I am only about one month out of physical therapy, so I suppose this is all new.  I plan to keep this all up, since it can only help arthritis or inflammation, right?

It feels like I’m whining today.  So, my plans: I am going to the Celtic Fest next weekend.  The week after this coming week is Spring Break, so there is a get-together with friends in the works.  The oil change I wanted to get today will happen over Spring Break– no rush.  I planned an online assignment for my students for next week so I won’t have a mountain of papers in addition to the projects handed in.  I also dream of retiring early and run a hippie commune, or learn how to fly above it all.  Maybe I’ll become a bum and live on the beach in a broken down van, reciting poetry for pennies that will buy me bagels for breakfast and tacos for lunch?  My dog would be right there with me.  Hendrix would approve.  These thoughts calm me down when I have so much to do this weekend.  As my background this morning, I’m listening to “Ambient Study Music” on Youtube.  It calms the atmosphere, and this little chat helped me think of a plan of attack.  Keep it light, my friends!

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