The Post Office Box, #shorttales #flashfiction

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The Post Office Box, (c) 2016 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Tussling with the dog. That was Jasmine’s story, this time. The scar would dissipate in a week, she knew. It did hurt. This was so unfair, yet, all too familiar.
Driving to work, Jasmine noticed she’d inadvertently put on one navy blue shoe and one black. An understandable mistake; they were almost identical, and those colors were close. I wonder if anyone will notice? She realized the light had turned. I sure don’t need a ticket.


To her left was the post office. Darn, I forgot that electric bill. Rick will lose it. Do I go back? She worried it might make her late, yet she didn’t need one more fight about the mail.


Her thoughts drifted to the invitation that had arrived the week before, for her ten year high school reunion. Of course, with a four month old baby and a full-time job, she hadn’t seriously considered. Still, she had thought of going.


“You just want to see all your old boyfriends! You wench!” Rick had screamed, holding the baby in his arms.


“No, Rick, don’t worry, I don’t need to go.” That’s how it always went. Keeping the peace. When she never received any in return.


Abruptly, she pulled into the post office. “I need a post office box,” she announced to the clerk. JUST for me.


With receipt of the key, she found the assigned box. It was cool inside. She imagined fitting inside of it, this doorway to distant places.

**A flash fiction story in 250 words or less, originally published here on WordPress and on Kurt Brindley’s writing website in 2016.  Want to see what happens? This story is posted with two alternate endings at https://www.wattpad.com/story/83522549-the-post-office-box-realisticfiction ; one is realistic fiction, and the other is paranormal fantasy.  Or, you may check the original WordPress posts where I first published the alternate endings. Realistic fiction ending: The Post Office, RF ending and Paranormal/fantasy ending: The Post Office, PF

 

Weekend Coffee Share, 8/08/20. A New Contract

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. This week, I decided to focus on filling the days that are left of my summer with things that I want to do. I otherwise might have been obsessing about the upcoming school year, and what a waste of time that is! Too much COVID anxiety could get in the way of living. I have a mask to be careful, so the worry is not needed.

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This week, I met a friend and we took our dogs to the dog park for a blissful hour chock full of cuteness! My dog, Bixby, also got a haircut this week and looks so adorable! I went to Physical Therapy twice, and that is easier now. I am doing well, and the PT and I decided when my last appointment would be. I’m nervous, but I will ask questions at the next appt. to hopefully become more confident. Wednesday, I went to the beach with my son again. Any time I go there, the stress melts away the closer I got. I felt tension build up in my body as we left. It seems a constant struggle at times. Friday was not a great day; my sleep was affected because I slipped out on the patio after it rained. It seems the only pain was in my left leg; sadly, that is the side I sleep on due to my shoulder most nights. So it made sleeping more uncomfortable. But I exercised after slipping, and I think that was the right call. I will do more stretching today.

I’ve been thinking lately, that many of us seem to have a contract with ourselves, that we may have a job that serves others, and we sacrifice so much of ourselves for it. I really do not want to put my happiness on the line for a job, so my new life contract is to put my health and mental well-being first. If I don’t have those things, I cannot help anyone and cannot attend to anything else. Next is my family, third is God. Does that seem strange? Well, I believe that honoring my family is honoring God, so maybe those two go together. Many of us also put volunteerism in the ‘serving God’ category, allowing it to get in the way of time with our family. This is why it is not moved up. Moving on. Fourth is my job. It cannot get in the way of the first three. If it does, then I am hurting myself and doing this life thing all wrong. Fifth, a balance between my friends and my hobbies or passions, depending on how social I may feel. I cannot go without either of them; I need them both, but my hobbies and passions do require time to myself. That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

In the writing/book world, there is not much going on except for the production of Malachi, Ruse Master in audiobook. We don’t expect it to be finished until some time in Sept., but I am meeting through Zoom today with the producer of the audiobook. Then, I can find out how he is progressing. Exciting!

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I also posted a short story you may like in response to the one word prompt from Ragtag Community on WordPress.  Read it here: Home. #homeless

That’s all for today.  I hope you all enjoy your weekend and have a great week to follow!

Home. #RDP #homeless

It was early morning, in a park on the bay

when up comes a homeless man with a stray.

For both, it was a typical day,

But Chester, excitedly, approached to play.

 

“Chester, come back,” his owner called nervously.

“It’s okay, Shoo-Shoo won’t bite,” the homeless man said with a wide smile.

So the owner sat down, keeping his distance.

“Why do you look so happy?” Chester asked.  “You both have to search for food and find benches to sleep on, right? My owner always warns me when I go up to a stray, homeless animal.”

“But you don’t listen, do you?”  The stray said, smiling.

Chester shook his head.  “I guess I’m too curious.”

“I’m smiling because the sun is up, my master still loves and appreciates me, and I have made a new friend today: you.  That doesn’t happen everyday.”

“I am amazed that you are so happy with so little, you don’t even have a home,” Chester said.

Shoo-Shoo nodded toward his owner.  “Jackson is my home, and I am his.  My home is always with Jackson.  We are always there for each other.  He feeds me even when he is going hungry, and I share scraps with him. We are always by each other’s side.”

Imagine that, Chester thought.  “Watch this,” Chester pleaded, walking to his owner.  He put up his paws in the begging posture, and his owner gave him a treat.

Chester walked over to Shoo-Shoo and dropped the treat, tail wagging.

“Look at that, you have a generous dog, Mister,” the homeless man, Jackson, remarked.

“Ah, he surprises me sometimes.” Chester’s owner seemed to shrink into himself.

“Why’d you do this?” Shoo-Shoo asked Chester, taking the treat into his mouth.

“Your attitude inspired me, Shoo-Shoo.”  It was true.

His owner was gesturing that their time was up, though Chester wished he could stay out here all day like Shoo-Shoo and Jackson.  Well, maybe not if it rained.  He wondered what they would do if that happened.  Going to his master’s side, he called, “We’ll be back. I hope to see you again.  There will be more treats!”

“I hope to see you too!” Shoo-Shoo called.  “You are so kind!”

Chester’s owner put the leash back on and took him to the mini-van.  They were back at the park the next week.  Chester didn’t see Shoo-Shoo and Jackson there, but he never forget the lesson: Home is where the heart is.  He would still be looking for Shoo-Shoo every time at the park, hoping for another encounter with the wise, happy dog.

*#RDP is a daily, one-word prompt given at the Ragtag Community WordPress site.  View today’s entries at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/08/06/rdp-thursday-homeless/

close up photography of two dogs

Photo by bin Ziegler on Pexels.com

Weekend Coffee Share, 8/01. It’s Not Over Yet! Summer, 2020

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  Grab a cup of whatever is your preference! I am having half-caff and Advil this morning.  Miles Davis plays in the background. I’m getting a haircut later and a massage tomorrow.  I don’t know if I can afford it, but I do have a credit card. 🙂  Enjoy the ambience for a little while!

It has been a week full of doctor visits and annual check-ups as well as a shot at the orthopedic surgeon’s office on Tuesday.  Remember, it takes a village. 🙂 The shot was in my shoulder joint (intra-articular shot), and there was a numbing shot first, after which I did not feel any pain nor did I know when the actual steroid shot occurred. The nurse on my other side asked me something and we got onto the topic of returning to school to teach, and that I am learning a few ASL signs for when I need to communicate but have my mask on. We discussed the signs we know and then, it was all over.  They did a good job of distracting me and keeping me calm and cool.  I just lay around the rest of that night and had slight discomfort from it the next day. I was back at physical therapy on Friday. I’ve been working hard on that for 7-8 weeks and it may end soon, but I’ve been told with frozen shoulder I need to keep working on it at home; it may take a year to fully resolve.

I am so done with feeling old and want to do stupid, youthful things again…read that as fun things.  Nonetheless, we celebrated my mom’s 79th birthday Thursday night and I was able to cut my own steak! It was very tender, I will admit, but still a win! A month ago, I couldn’t quite do that.  I am not writing much lately as it’s hard to sit down for very long.  Whether this is a new focus issue or me avoiding sciatica, I can’t say.  I will say that I prefer to get up a lot to take breaks from the computer. It probably is a result of the online teaching I did this Spring.  I did publish a nice poem on WordPress this past week in response to the Ragtag Daily word prompt; it was about our human condition and the current world situation. View it here: By Design, a Poem

20190530_200427 Me and Mom (2019). She has many more years left!

I had lunch with some retired teachers yesterday and then later chatted with a current teacher friend about my health ailments.  I also developed a mood yesterday that hasn’t been helped by lack of sleep, (which just became problematic in this last year and may be due to hot flashes and overthinking, go figure), so I have decided that getting old sucks.
I want to develop a ‘getting older’ attitude that says “I am wise, and I know the little stuff doesn’t matter.  I know my day can be GREAT without brushing my hair or buying the most expensive makeup.”  I want to use this as an excuse to be silly, do zany things, and make questionable stylistic choices. I want to break out of society’s assumptions and chains! Aches or not.  I do sometimes worry that I will overstep my limits and hurt myself, but living in fear is not my new M.O.!

Mind you, I am careful, and I sure don’t travel much in our current situation, which is why I’m pondering and looking for physical activities. I suppose it is boredom, mid-life crisis, or just wanting to actually feel I am LIVING while I can. (It’s not over yet, you know). I want to stay active and be healthy, as staying physically active could also possibly put me on a new path, not the path of pain I have felt stuck in for a good 5 years or so, partly as a result of emotions and life stress.  I polled some Facebook friends, and I’ve gotten suggestions such as: horseback riding, paddle boarding, trying wine in every county in Florida (totally doable), solo travel (not sure about that), and getting a kick-start scooter.  We shall see! I definitely want to hike some more.  Summer is not over yet, and I have a little time left to enjoy the beach.

Florida news: In my state, we now have 465,000 cases of COVID according to cdc.gov.  My county has 20, 816 cases.  School is going to re-open on 8/20. Teachers are starting back for planning/training on 8/12.  We’ll see what happens, I suppose.  I for one will have plenty of masks at the ready and I’ll also wear a face shield.

I hate that I still can get in such a negative mood like I did yesterday, but reading the book Finding Serenity in the Age of Anxiety has been providing nuggets of wisdom for about a month since I started reading it.  This is how I proceed with non-fiction books; I devour a fiction book in a week but take a break now and then to read part of whatever NF or self-help book I am currently on.  Anyway, here’s what inspired me:  “When we fear that ‘something bad is going to happen,’ or when we get upset because ‘everything went wrong today,’ we are also suffering from our own judgments. Refraining from judging and blaming allows us to enter the sacred realm of unconditional acceptance where we are ‘good enough’ and nothing ‘bad’ will ever happen to us.”….”If we truly want to emulate the divine, we will cultivate unconditional acceptance.” So there it is; let’s stop being so hard on ourselves, stop believing the worst, and start seeing the positives in everything! I am working on it.

I hope that you all have a great weekend and find the good in everything you see!  I am going to do my best to put on a youthful attitude.  It just might require a nap this afternoon…

By Design #RDP #poetry

“By Design”, (c) 2020 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

 

You are here by design,

But your every move defines.

 

You might make a million

Or live in a cardboard box

Eating Ramen with holes in your socks

Maybe you’re stuck to the eternal college life

Or settled down with a home and a wife

You may be untethered and wandering free

You may have chosen to simplify and just be

You’re the life of the party or the one serving drinks

To the guy smiling at you, with a nod and a wink

Because he knows…that we are all trapped on this rotating star

We’re happy or lonesome, but together we are

Tasked with burning or nurturing our Earth.

Tasked to choose either death or rebirth,

To watch the fall of each other

Or to reach out and weather this together.

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share. I Feel Good!

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali!  My coffee is still brewing, please give me a moment….

Pull up a chair and grab a cup of whatever gets you going!  As I was saying, I feel good, I wasn’t sure that I would… However, I feel like I am slowly leaving the club of overthinkers, OCD sufferers, etc.  Intentionally; it has taken some work!  Sleep was spotty last night, but I woke up to drive my son to work feeling good about life.  Maybe it is just that all of the techniques I’ve been trying are finally coming together and working.  In fact, sleep is my main complaint right now, but I feel okay waking up.

In the last week, I have: *visited an orthopedic surgeon. No surgery recommended! I have frozen shoulder, and he’s suggesting a shot to the shoulder joint. It is now scheduled for next Tuesday. Maybe it’ll help me sleep better!

*Attended physical therapy twice. On Thursday, he moved me to more strength-building exercises, and I was quite sore the next day, but I still feel good about it! This can help keep me healthy. My plan is to stay active the rest of my life.

*Gone to the beach for a 35 min. walk with my son.  It was peaceful and awesome! First beach visit this summer; certainly not the last! I find walking on the beach to be very meditative, and it puts me in a state of gratitude.

*Written a little of my upcoming book, Ellie, the Time Traveler and edited my short story, Crossroads Diner #225.

Ellie60163761_2307068182890086_4478659740125102080_n Ellie is a mysterious character who surfaced in Undercurrents in Time and haunts the main character in Malachi, Ruse Master.

*Watched a FOUR and 1/2 HOUR school board meeting, whereby they decided to delay school start until 8/20 (It had been 8/10) and start with staggering the days for middle and high school, yet elementary gets 5 days of instruction.  Parents can opt for their kids to get fully online learning.  People have many differing opinions on this, but remember, kids in school are a hotbed of germs, and Florida is currently a hotbed for COVID-19. I myself have bought face shields, masks and scrubs that I can wash right on my return home.  I also plan to get tested for COVID weekly.  I hate that the meeting took so long; I had to sit for more than four hours straight with bated breath.  *sigh*  I just had to hear the decision.  It directly affects my life.

*Went to the chiropractor for my spine health and enjoyed the hydra-bed and EMS for neck and shoulder.  As you have probably inferred, it takes a village to straighten me out or to keep me straight!  But I am getting into a good frame of mind for a new school year that promises to be super-weird and possibly stress-inducing, and I feel great about myself!

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I am also fully convinced I can handle it all.  How was your week?  Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Weekend Coffee Share, Just Sweat it Out!

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.

I’ve spent months not sleeping well and getting endless e-mails due to webinars you signed up for but never attended. Free yoga/workout videos.  Mindfulness webinars.  I can read the book, but attending a webinar is just not appealing to me these days.  Journaling has been an awesome task to help mindfulness.  I personally am tired of sitting at my computer for webinars and ZOOM meetings.  I started taking more walks in my neighborhood, in the hot sun, just to move and to sweat, and it also is great for my mind, helping to stop any worry or obsessing.

I’m trying to keep calm amidst COVID fear and worries, as well as the preoccupation with how kids will return to school this August, whether it will be online or in-person, and how we will keep them (and teachers and staff) safe and healthy.  This summer started out with me in a bad place due to my shoulder injury and pain, as well as my mind feeling flaky, spaced out, and unfocused.  Lately, I have been working on a picture puzzle and have made great progress. I  am also occasionally playing a word game on my phone to try and rebuild my focus and intellectual ability.  Worry can really eat away at all of these things.  I can’t just let me mind settle into a pattern of preoccupation with worry, so much so that I cannot focus on things I enjoy or that are important to me.  You know, the fear that surrounds pain, it isn’t so bad anymore.  In 2015, with huge family/parenting stresses and the advent of this arm pain, I went around fearing I wouldn’t live too long.  I remember getting a will.  I don’t feel that way now, and it makes a world of difference!

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On the subject of COVID, I live in Florida, and we are having a boom in COVID cases.  There are still several people I run into in public who do not wear a mask when out.  My state now has more than 300,000 cases. I am pretty careful and wear a mask anytime I am in public, but if I’m outside walking alone or with the dog, I don’t wear one. It is awfully hot, you know.  My son and I went for a free COVID test last Weds. just to ensure we are still healthy.  I wanted to get one before school starts.  It will be a few days before results come back.

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Earlier, I got my exercise in on the Gazelle on my back porch.  It felt so good to come back in and let the air conditioning cool the layer of sweat I had acquired.  I’m using some good habits, and I want to keep them up!  My shoulder issue is getting better, but my arm and hand hurt often and it slows me down from writing.  Still, that is okay; to everything there is a season, and I am not in fear that it will control the rest of my life.  Maybe I am just determined not to let it.  I am still supposed to see an orthopedic surgeon this week because my doctor wanted an opinion.  We will see what happens!  Well, it’s time for me to relax, read a book, and maybe even take a nap. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

A Read Aloud from my book, Malachi, Ruse Master #IARTG #RRBC

In these quarantine days of COVID-19, one must come up with ways to pass the time.  So, I decided to do a video read aloud of an intriguing excerpt from my latest book, Malachi, Ruse Master.  

Malachi, a college dropout, tells his story of intrigue, adventure, and a curious job in this cross-genre novel. This book intersects with characters from Undercurrents in Time in the Detours in Time series.

**BTW, I am not a professional videographer, but I had great fun doing this video, to include unplanned cameos of family members. 

You can learn more about Malachi, Ruse Master or get your copy in Kindle format, Kindle Unlimited, or paperback at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX

Weekend Coffee Share, 7/11. Black Lives Matter; Love One Another

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  If we were having coffee today, I would savor half-caff with cinnamon creamer and honey, because there are some days I don’t even drink coffee anymore, but rather I drink the Green Macha Tea. I know it gives me some energy and is healthy, but it sure isn’t coffee!  Even the half-caff gives me noticeable effects these days.

A friend shared with me that today there is a challenge for families to use their chalk art to express that Black Lives Matter.  Since I have invested in sidewalk chalk and playdough in my attempts to rest my shoulder from repetitive stress and save the writing for another time, she saw the art I did about a week ago.  So, despite the fact that I am not a high class artist, but rather a person who likes to express myself and keep my hands busy, I have participated in #families4blacklives.    My mother helped edit my neatness and my son approved of it.  🙂  There is still time for you to express yours if you feel so moved!

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Yes, all lives matter, but Jesus told us “Blessed be the poor.” We replied, “Shouldn’t we just bless everyone, Jesus?”  To which he just shook his head.  African Americans have been subject to slavery, Jim Crow laws, and just plain racism since around 1600.  I did not draw what I did to be political, but rather to be supportive. Love is not political, after all.

My dog has been climbing into my bed in the middle of the night a few nights in a row.  The excessive sunlight, COVID anxiety, hot flashes, or teacher anticipation stress regarding the approaching school year have been making it hard to get back to sleep after the restroom wake up in the middle of the night lately. Let’s not forget my shoulder, which prevents me entirely from sleeping on the right side and requires me to only sleep on the left.  As a result, my left leg feels tense and it seems like sciatica is trying to creep up again. A visit to the chiropractor two days ago seems to have helped the sciatic nerve and leg.

My shoulder has been making great progress. I am still seeing an orthopedic surgeon hoping he can tell me more about my MRI results and what the best or worst case scenarios may be.  Physical therapy has helped it immensely and I’m doing the assigned exercises at home.  My reach with that shoulder and arm is much better, and I’m happy with the results so far! We’ll see what the surgeon says. In addition to the arm and shoulder soreness, I have an issue with my hand that feels arthritic. Yes, I got a steroid shot, but it seems to have worn off.  Ever moving onward, I shall never give up!  So much for limiting my writing.  My hand is ready for a rest now.  It has been good to catch up!

I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend and a great week to follow, whether you are in the house, out at work, busying yourself with art, writing or other creativity or working on whatever you need to do.

A New Alliance. #flashfiction

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Photo credit: Louise at Storyteller’s Abode

A New Alliance, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2020

She walked over and Henry bristled. “I’m here to be alone,” he said, curtly.

“Oh, I’ll just have a seat. You won’t bite. I can tell. Your body language says it all.” She set down her huge bag and sat, carefully holding her dress down. “You’re definitely overdressed.”

“So are you,” Henry said, realizing he’d been sized up. He moved his equally stuffed bag to the other side.

“How long since you cut yourself loose of your chains?” She asked.

“A year,” Henry replied, smiling. He thought he’d figured her out. “How about you? A pretty young woman, walking the beach, overstuffed bag. Do you sleep here?”

“Do I look crumpled and wrinkly? Of course not. This is how I pass the days. Two years.”

“Sorry, no offense.”

“Okay. Are you free for lunch?” She replied.

“Why not?”

Two years and twenty beaches later, Henry was still wandering the shores with Kaitlynn.

**A repost from my archives, from the challenge hosted by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/fffaw-challenge-week-of-may-23-2017/