Weekend Coffee Share, Who Needs Weekends?

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today, just like every other day this week, I enjoyed coffee with a good breakfast. This is vacation living!

Though my vacation is coming to an end today, I look forward to seeing my dog Bixby and of course, my mother and my son! 🙂 If we were having coffee today, I’d share with you some highlights of my vacation trip.

Our cruise line was Royal Carribbean, which I highly recommend! From service staff and food to accommodations, they are amazing!
My s.o. and travel partner. This was his first cruise!
Wonderful, talented room attendants from all over the world are smiling and friendly.
A street mural in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. One of our ports was Cozumel, where we embarked to a tour of Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza, Mexico.

Our tour of Chichen Itza was a historical, cultural wonder! See my post of a few days ago at https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2022/06/24/cichin-itza-mexico-a-visual-share-and-weeklysmile/

Sunset, leaving Cozumel, Mexico.
Coco Cay, near the Bahamas.
Excursion to Pearl Island in the Bahamas for snorkeling, sunning, and swimming.
Sunrise , approaching the Bahamas.
Farewell to the Bahamas and cruise life.

So, it has been a week that felt like seven days of weekend! This tired teacher’s heart certainly needed this. As for my boyfriend, Chris, he loved his first cruise and would certainly do this again!

That has been my week. I hope all is well with you all! I have a week ahead of me easing back into home, unpacking, exercising, and a teacher training. Thanks for stopping by!

Chichin Itza, Mexico. A visual share and #weeklysmile

Chichin Itza means the mouth at the well of the Itza (Mayans). It is located in the Yucatan of Mexico. We took a ferry from our Royal Caribbean cruise ship to Playa del Carmen, then we walked 10 minutes to the tour company’s buses for a 2.5 hour drive. Ours was a van, much better. I didn’t know what to expect, but the tour was nothing but enlightening. Join me for some highlights!

Playa del Carmen murals tell a story.
Pre-tour, we learned a lot of Mexican history through our tour guide and interactive tablets.
Our tour guide, Carlos, was quite knowledgeable in the history and lore of this area! I couldn’t resist a cheesy photo.
This dog visits the temple and sits at the top frequently!
Local wildlife.
The sports arena.
These are skull designs.

My photos don’t do the etchings justice.

To the left are the vendors, providing a chance to support the local economy. The jaguar whistle lures us in…

This week on my cruise vacation has been amazing! From this portion of the week, I feel so enriched learning about the culture and history of Mexico, the Mayans, and Chichen Itza.

Weekend Coffee Share. Enjoy it!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I just got back from walking the dog, so cold matcha green tea is in order! What are you having?

If we were having coffee on this sunny morning, you’d probably request NOT to sit outside. The temperature is somewhere between 80 and 90°, I am just too lazy to check. Haha. Figuring out what it is is an interesting idea since so much around here depends on the humidity, and there is a nice breeze which I noticed while walking Bixby, but I will say it’s a warm breeze. You will certainly sweat outside today.

I’ve spent a lot of summer time relaxing, napping, and walking outdoors. Bixby sure appreciates that. I dare say, I’m a shade more tan than before. Honestly, that isn’t saying much though. 🙂

My mother’s been out of town, and I took my son out for Mexican food Thursday night. I worked a little on my book, Ellie the Time Traveler yesterday. It isn’t really organized, but rather it is a jumble of thoughts and spur of the moment ideas that came to me, 60 pages now. So, I believe it will come together, and I did organize some of the chapters yesterday. Now, to fill them in!

The chapter outline, a task in itself!

Yesterday, my boyfriend Chris and I went out to eat and then went to see David Spade, the comedian. Chris made reservations for us at Cowfford Chophouse, a five star restaurant! It was an awesome experience. He wore dress pants and a collared shirt. I threw together a nice outfit with a wrap-around blouse.

The atmosphere and the food at Cowford Chophouse were both comfortable and fancy. Some diners at the bar wore jeans and flip flops. We were treated like royalty and were asked if we needed to get to a show. We had a little over an hour for dinner, but they coordinated each course wonderfully. The food was amazing and the staff were courteous! Fun fact: Jacksonville used to be called Cowford about a hundred or so years ago.

Check out my Chilean sea bass! It was a wondrous combination of flavors.
Fancy dining at it’s greatest. I’d certainly go back.

Next, we moved on to the David Spade show at the Florida Theater. There was a short wait in the heat, but we managed. I was glad I wore sandals and no hose, something widely accepted in Florida! There were two opening acts, one of them pretty humorous. David Spade came on and was funny as can be. He roasted all the men in front seating who wore shorts, asking if they came right after mowing the lawn. I enjoy this venue and have been here before.

Needless to say, I am taking a lazy restful day today. Hydrating, relaxing after a healthy breakfast, and I’m getting a massage in about an hour. When I tell my friends about my summer, they say, “You deserve it!” They couldn’t be more correct!

Thanks for visiting my Coffee Share! I hope all is well in your world. I’m looking forward to posting a little bit about my upcoming travels soon!

Weekend Coffee Share, No Hurry

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. This morning consisted of  peach mango V8 juice that contains green tea. I’ve encouraged my son to make a call enquiring about medical insurance costs on his own, so that’s happening in the background.

Yikes! Time flies. He’ll be 26 in April, so it’s time he learns to make these inquiries. Later, I’ll go to the gym with him. His dad works more on weekends now, so I get to go as his guest. Jusy another part of staying active, but I get to bond with my son as well!

Time flies…

Allow me to spiral back now to last weekend. I took him to the gym, then we stopped at a Mediterranean deli/cafe for lunch. It just recently started opening on Saturdays again. I think their food is great, but there were no other customers when we went. That could be good for us, though.

The owner was in no rush, so we had to wait for him to flip some channels and find the football game he wanted. “I’ll be right with you,” he said. He was friendly enough, and he did get to us and our order. Neither of us minded. It’s kind of nice to take a break from the rat race, you know? Did I really have any need to ask him to speed up? Nope.

We sat at a table and waited. When our food was done, the owner thanked us and told us it was just him and the young lady in the kitchen,  told us how many years he’d been there, etc. We got home with our food, mine a Greek salad, and I noted the extra pitas they had put in there. Yes, there should never be a need to hurry on a Saturday! I’ll definitely go back again, and I’m glad to support a locally-owned business! In this anxiety-filled world, we should all be in less of a hurry sometimes.

Nor have I forced myself to hurry at all today. Sciatica disturbed my sleep a few nights last week, but last night I slept great and even slept in this morning. I’m finishing this up on an exercise bike at the gym. Sorry, it seems like I’m ‘phoning in” my Weekend Coffee Share! I waa moving so slowly at home, but I don’t mind multi-tasking now. I normally read while on the treadmill anyway; it helps me not to get bored from exercise!

If you’ve been around my blog a while, you’ll know I may complain at times, but I’ll never give up!

I’m going to stick with that attitude this weekend. Make it a great Saturday, and an even better week, my friends!

Weekend Coffee Share, Home

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer.  The drink for me is green tea today, and the background music is peaceful ambient. Actually, Saturday got away from me; I started this post yesterday but was not quite finished until this Sunday morning. Bear with me please! There is some good to share. 🙂

I’ve been posting  a little this week about my trip to Rochester,  NY, a much needed getaway.. I returned Monday at noon, and boy, was Bixby ever glad to see me! I was glad to get home, as there was a lot going on here while I was on vacation. There has been a family situation, and I am trying not to let it get me down. Sadly, my reading has brought me to the term Anosognosia, which describes what one of my loved ones is going through: refusal to accept that one is ill and needs medical help. The serenity prayer is going through my head so often now. Unconditional love means we love each other no matter what.

The Serenity Prayer also helped me get through a sudden, unplanned repair to my car. Sigh. I can handle it, but I can only handle my own reactions. I’ve been happy to see my local family and friends again, though.

Back in Florida, I’ve enjoyed sitting on my back porch in the sun eating breakfast a few times, but I fondly remember sitting on my friend’s patio in Rochester eating breakfast,  lunch, and sometimes dinner. I even caught a beautiful sunrise once! Rochester is also home to many beautiful and historical sites.

The statue of Frederick Douglass, who is buried in Rochester.

There was a lot to enjoy of nature, whether rain or shine! We actually found Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite in the rain with rain ponchos on, but did not find that of Frederick Douglass. His statue, however, was located in the nearby park which we visited later at night. Such a beautiful sight.

Hennessy River Falls. Beautiful in rain or sunshine.
Lacy Acres Farm in Bloomington, New York

My friend and I also met my cousin at an alpaca farm, which made for a lovely day and a relaxing tour. We got to feed them and pet them too! I published more photos and details of that in a post this week: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/the-alpaca-shag-rdp/

My summer break will end soon, but I am at peace with that! I like knowing I can pay for my car repairs, and I certainly want to plan for future vacations. Considering I really love teaching overall, I don’t mind getting back to that while earning a paycheck, but I am planning future vacations. 🙂 Life is short! All I can do is do what I enjoy, live up to my responsibilities, and be there for those I love while respecting my own needs, which likely looks different for all of us.

Have a great weekend and an even better week to come!

Weekend Coffee Share, Summer Travels

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m on vacation this week! Bixby is back home with my mother. He’s going to smell another dog on me when I get home, which is sure to be interesting! I’m on the back deck at Hannah”s house, and I’ve witnessed a sunrise in a new city ( working my way through a bucket list item). 🙂

Sunrise on the back deck!

My coffee today contains hazelnut milk, and is stronger than usual. We are walking every day there is not rain, so I’m using up the excess energy! Enjoy your beverage of choice and pull up a virtual chair on the back deck. The weather in Rochester, New York is pleasantly cool today with chances of rain.

The art in this place is amazing! It has a small town feel with an art school and several museums within walking distance of my friend’s apartment. It seems like a wonderful Arts community as well!

The door to the Memorial Art Museum.

Another place of interest was Erie Canal. It made me think of Holland, a place I’ve never been. It was just nice to see it. We sat with a drink and took in the views and breeze. The next day, we had dinner thereoverlooking the water while a jazzy band played outdoors.

At Erie Canal, outside Lock 32 Brewery. Grapefruit Sessions was awesome!

My friend was so kind to invite me to stay here this summer, and her dog was also an excellent host and play buddy!

I really have enjoyed Hannah’s sweet dog, a big, affectionate mixed-breed. I do miss Bixby, though.

I made sure Hannah got a signed copy of Detours in Time!

There is not a whole lot of writing going on right now, but I am getting inspired! 28 days of Ellie, my current writing plan, paused at day 6, and I’ll return to it when I’m back. For now, there is a lot of walking, taking in new sights  and laughter with an old friend. I believe anything that warms the heart can inspire a writer’s soul!

Thanks for visiting me for a weekend coffee share! I hope all is well in your corner of the world. Have a great weekend!

Aladdin’s restaurant at Erie Canal.

Weekend Coffee Share, Bridge to….

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m enjoying matcha green tea, hearing the birds singing outside, dog at my feet. London Grammar plays in the background. Oh, that voice. This is thinking music, certainly appropriate for today.

I know, I should just celebrate the onset of my summer, but I’m still dealing with a year of big changes, so my goal right now is mindfulness and enjoying each little good thing in my life.

School’s out and summer is beginning. The afternoon hours after the students left on the last day were quiet; I felt like an empty nester all over again. The kids are our reason for being there, and now there is just clean-up before summer begins. There were a few times that afternoon that I got to sit and laugh with some co-workers in the clean-up, paperwork part of our day, but they are hurrying on their way out. I was unmotivated to get it all done.

This year certainly is unlike any other, and maybe I just need to emotionally put it in its place: the fear we felt going in-person, the struggle to communicate in a mask, the joy when I first successfully got a laugh out of them and the moments they trusted me and opened up in writing. They grew so much. I have moved slowly in packing it up, but I feel I’m making progress and still have Monday to finish.

Things that got me through the day this school year: Student-shared art and my attempts at positivity. (It helps)!

I will carry many of these memories with me, and the goal is that I will see these kids on campus next year and know that I gave them a step up in their progress toward the future and furthering their education. The cycle will keep renewing, and there will be a new crop of students next year for me to reach, or simply, to understand.

My family life is also very quiet. My mom and I are very close, but sometimes I need conversation with someone more my age or who understands what I go through, the need to excel in my career, desire to have financial stability and be able to plan for a future, yet be active in my personal time. She is having cataract surgery mid-June, so I’ll be able to help her with that. She hopes to fly to visit my brother in N.C. this summer, as well.

I’ve made good plans for the summer so far: besides, of course, walking the beach or visiting the dog park with Bixby, plane tickets were purchased for Rochester, New York for a 5-day stay with an old friend in July. She has invited me before, but this summer is the best time to go. I’ll also get a low-cost trial at a new yoga studio and go several days a week. I’ve caught up with some old friends and we’re going to hang out this summer.

There is still the matter of an I-Fly certificate; I chickened out after seeing their waiver, but it’s my goal to just do it this summer, and to have a great story to tell. 🙂 Then, there’s the matter of the quiet in my house; my son is still not answering calls, but I know he’s reporting to work. I don’t want to be a stalker mom, but I had always reserved time to go places with my son, even if he wasn’t talkative. It’s different for me. I don’t know how this situation will resolve, but I just need to have faith that it will. Something to work on, for sure.

It’s becoming clear that each season must pass to make room for the next. I have not been happy with the turn my life changes have taken, but there is always opportunity to grow. As a poet I recently discovered (Mary Oliver) wrote, “For some things there are no wrong seasons.” As it should be for me.

So, I took this morning slow today, because I could. I sat on the porch a few minutes, but the heat is something else today. I still have some work to do on my short story, Crossroads Diner, and Saturday exercise/cardio needs to be next on my list. Thank you for stopping by and allowing me to ponder. How was your week?

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Top 10 Sounds Accompanying my Morning

Noting the sounds around me is part of a mindfulness exercise from the book, Mindfulness Journal for Beginners. This exercise can help you to be more in the moment, especially if you are a worrier or an overthinker like I am. Here’s my top 10 for this morning:

1. I woke up hearing my son’s steps in the hall on his way to work. That gives me an idea of the time, and there was no need to sleep late, I had a good night’s sleep!

2. The pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor, excited to wake me up, or is he urgently needing to get outside?

3. My dog’s sneeze and snuffle as he’s telling me he wants to go out. He doesn’t use his bark much to communicate, but rather, uses facial expressions and other sounds.

Bixby loves to move!

4. Geese flying overhead as I step out back with the dog. Those geese just love Northeast Florida, don’t they?

5. Soft rain drops, not even a sprinkle;  well, actually,  I  think it is just drips from the roof. No…now it is sprinkling. A peaceful sound.

6. Some construction machine,  probably blocks away, but not a bothersome sound.

7. My Keureg Coffee machine brewing my half-caff Hazelnut. Yes, it’s time for a coffee day! You may have whatever you like!

8. A Youtube mix containing Of Monsters and Men hits, one of my favorite bands. The urgent Winter Sound will wake you up and fill you with determination; the mysterious Slow Life could just take you into deep sleep. The lyrics of many of their new songs are quite thought-provoking. I may switch to Miles Davis when the coffee is done brewing.

9. There is the usual tick-tock of the clock, but I can drown it out by turning the music up, and sometimes that is what I prefer.

10. If this were a real coffee shop, I’d hear the lull of voices discussing how good their coffee is, our wildest dreams and goals (owning a farm with many dogs and creating a writers’ camp, becoming a comedienne), or the antics of an interesting member in their family. It all sounds good, as I am vowing to have some me time later and not to focus much on my job today.

Okay, I suppose I must share one thought from my week, as I challenge myself to form a mindset that helps me survive the everyday stress and the pandemic distance:

“Don’t grow up too fast, but if you must, save the good moments of your childhood: running through sprinklers, dressing up as imaginary characters, laughing at ridiculous things. They will help you through many hard times as an adult.” -Pamela S. Canepa

Or, to quote a more famous author: “Don’t grow up too fast, Darling. Age is inevitable, but if you nurture a childlike heart, you’ll never, ever grow old.” -Beth Hoffman

My most important goal.

How are things in your world? I thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend and an even better week!

The Coconut Village, A Self-Love Story

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I had just spent a whole year single after a devastating break-up.  My job came through with a bonus at the end of the year, so I was going to travel.  The Bahamas became my destination.  Beautiful beaches, 80 degree weather, sunshine, and beautiful people with rich accents would fill my vision and my world for a few days.  Travel by cruise ship was my choice.  As we are stuck in our various hometowns due to COVID right now, it does me some good to look back on these memories.

It didn’t take long to decide who I would take.  There was no one I really wanted to go with me, no girls-gone-wild trip for me, and I wasn’t convinced I’d want to meet a man on a cruise ship.  This vacation was for ME.  I didn’t want to leave my ten-year-old son with my ex-husband, though, so I took him with me.  He was such a great kid for a ten-year-old.  I did not regret my choice.

Being the only adult in my partner, I got to make the decisions on where we would go, what tours we would take.  It all worked out! I kept track of my charge, planned our tours and agenda, and still had fun.  We took a tour of Queen Mary’s steps, a flamingo farm, and other lovely sites. Then, we took time to enjoy a beach a little bit away from the tourist hotels.

I paid for a cab which was more like a mini-van that could hold several people.  We found our beach that was riddled with gnarled trees, white sand, and coconut trees.  We sat, waded in the water, he swam, and I just wanted to relax on my towel.  Looking back, I feel as though I forgot to worry about a thing in the world, except keeping an eye on my son; but he was keeping track of where I was and did not want to wander either. I was home base.  I don’t remember us arguing about a single thing on that trip.

After a while, a woman is walking by and says to me, “Do you want’cha hair braided?”

“How much?” I ask.

“Six dollars per braid.”

“How about the whole head, just across the front?”

“Fifty dollars.”

I pulled the cash out of my pocket and said, “Okay.”  I explained to my son that I could not turn my head, and he HAD to stay in my sight.  He did. He sat and gathered some coconuts.  She began to braid. We talked about my son, her family, where I was from, and I forgot to worry about her fingers in my hair.  I forgot to worry about people I don’t know walking up to me.

A man came up with a box. “Coconut and rum! Two dollars.”  I forked out the money and forgot to worry about drinking something from a box carried by a man on the beach.  It was tasty.  I forked out more money and I don’t know how many I had, but nothing too crazy.

My son started going a little further and gathering more coconuts, adding in what I drank from.  I bought him his own coconut (minus the rum) to enjoy the coconut milk. He kept gathering more and when he had gone a little too far, came back when I called.  I explained that he had to stay safe and I couldn’t get right up.  When she finished my hair, I looked like a blonde Caribbean girl, or just like me trying to look Caribbean? It was cute, anyhow. 🙂

As it got closer to evening than afternoon, we had to walk back to find another cab.  No problem.  We got into a cab that was full of young guys having a party time.  Oh great, I thought.  They were a little noisy, but I joined in as they started singing old Motown hits.  It was so fun, and my son just looked at me and laughed. I can still picture the look on his face.

The next day, we woke up on the cruise ship and went to the pool.  I just took in the sunshine and the breeze. I was a little hungover.  He sat there quietly. When he went in the pool, he told me where he was going. I kept my eyes open, still relaxed, and soon, our dinner table partners, a woman with her grandson, came up and said hi, so my son had someone to play with in the pool.  He had a ball, and I sat there and relaxed.

It was a buffer time between a bad break-up and my son’s angst-riddled, terrible teens.  But this vacation served to show me there are rewards when you just let yourself do WHAT YOU WANT to do. It also gave me a focus to look back on when those teen years happened, to remind me that, yes, my son really is a good person, and we can get along quite well. Sometimes, making time for my son has been an important act of self-love.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, Of Holiday Celebrations and Cryptozoology

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. It has been a crazy hectic week, I survived it, and I have added even more dreams to my life bucket list! Pull up a chair and your favorite beverage while I sip a V8 and we talk about surviving work, reaching for goals, and the things we want to do one day!

Seriously, I’ve been grading essays at breakfast and multi-tasking every part of my life this week. It’s nuts! The essays aren’t done. I’ve survived Halloween (and a surprise visit by school admins that involved 90% of my students participating and doing just WHAT THEY SHOULD IN CLASS, HOW PLEASANT!) I  also volunteered at a middle school dance, just for a while. I let some of the girls paint a spider on my hand at the face-painting station. It looked sort of awesome! I didn’t have to work too hard at the dance, but there are always the few kids who want to run around or go piggy back while I chide them sternly to go and dance, envisioning someone hitting their head on that hard floor. We’d like to avoid that… I’ve also been trying to help coordinate some volunteer events for students in the NJHS club, which takes planning, for sure! So, I’m ready to have a weekend where I do fun things for myself with the people I love and enjoy spending time with. Essays will have to wait until Sunday, today I will start with ME.

Did you know there is a Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton, NC? It’s an 8 mile drive for me. I was searching fun Bigfoot sites this morning. No essay grading today! I came across mention of this museum. Having visited a Fan film Star Trek stage a few weeks ago, I want to do more of the same! I can’t bungee jump and don’t have time to plan visits to Europe. A girl’s gotta have something. Geek life it is! I want to be around people who are so enthusiastic about something, either paranormal or historical. (My other choice is the Joan of Arc Society and parade in New Orleans on her birthday, happening every year, January 6th). That, and I want to take some Improv classes. Seriously! “Baby…didn’t want parades just passing by her…” (Thank you, Melissa Manchester)! When will I do all this?   Well, I have summers off and two weeks for Winter Break…

But for this weekend, I have my writing dream going. Undercurrents in Time in audiobook is in final quality assurance stage. The narrator said she “loves this book” and enjoyed reading it. I feel in love with it again as I listened to her narration. It is a dreamy narrative, as it is sci-fi, but focuses a lot on the character and motivations of Tabitha and her need to escape. Hmm, haven’t we all been there? Imagine hanging out with your great niece when she is grown, something you’d never live to see, or learning the future of your troubled brother.

Regrettably, I’ve been so busy and worn down that I haven’t written much fiction on this blog lately.  Maybe I’ll have time with the upcoming holidays.  Here is a link to the last one I wrote, if you just discovered my blog or haven’t seen this one yet (it promises a good dose of ‘weird’: Maverick-Light and Shadow. 

Well, it has pleasant chatting with you here on my front stoop in the rare 60 degree weather in Jacksonville, Fl.  Maybe I got a little sun on my face!  How was your week?  I appreciate you stopping by!

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