Weekend Coffee Share, 2/15/20. Prioritizing…

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

I am still hard at work with teaching, taking an online Endorsement class for teaching Gifted students, and completing physical therapy exercises every other day independently; these are the things I have to do right now in life.  I feel like that is going well.  I track my designated shoulder/arm days on my calendar. I have not been to yoga or pilates again, but I do get in a little cardio a few days a week.  A friend and I are planning to go to pilates together next Saturday, and then I should be able to go to pilates and yoga more regularly.  Today, I have a hair appt.  No way to fit those in during the week.  So, my coffee is going to be quickly inhaled, and after a while, I hop on the Gazelle for a twenty minute stride before the appointment.  If you don’t know, the Gazelle is like an elliptical but is not electronic.  Mine is on the screened-in porch.  I often read from my Kindle while I’m out there.  It works for me!

In my research on chronic pain and the brain, I have also found information about chronic stress and how it affects pain.  Facebook is targeting me again, and I have signed up for the Worldwide Tapping summit.  Tapping seems to be a program and strategy to help people cope in a stressful world and with negative feelings.  I am still learning about it.  See https://www.thetappingsolution.com/   My research, or successful social media targeting of me, has taken me to Binaural beats on Youtube, which I listen to if I need to relax before bed or get in a relaxed frame of mind to deal with middle schoolers that bounce off the walls on any given day.  I think it is good background for my coursework, as well.  Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kag0aJqQsGo

I am relieved to say that I think I did sleep 8 hours last night, quite a rarity these days.  I know it helped that I didn’t have to get up and work today or think ahead about what needed to be done at school.  My boyfriend had to work overtime today, so our Valentine’s Day dinner will happen tonight.  The motorcycle ride has not happened yet due to his work schedule and may be a little delayed.  I am still planning to do this, though!  It might be next weekend, if weather cooperates.

The novelist in me is a little frustrated.  The Malachi manuscript is back from the editor, and I have no time at all to give him the attention he needs in order to be presentable to the public.  He will have to wait until this class is over.  We have a date for the first week in March.  I need to peruse the pages though, so he will not seem like a stranger.  Is that even possible? I created him, right?

My creative side just won’t stop, though.  I wrote a poem this week for the Ragtag Daily Prompt challenge, called “Mighty Maelstrom.”  I have been fighting a few things lately in life, so I decided to consider myself strong rather than the sum of hard times.  Read my poem here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2020/02/12/mighty-maelstrom-rdp/

Monday is President’s Day, and my work friend and I plan to take our dogs to the Dog Park again.  Yay!  I have a dentist appointment that afternoon.  It is just something that cannot be avoided.  So, I think a morning surrounded by dogs is totally called for!

Have a great weekend, and thanks for stopping by for my coffee chat!

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, Befriending my Brain

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette Truglio Martin.  If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I am on a journey of learning.  Of course, I’ve mentioned my participation in physical therapy, as I am working on some pain areas that I have due to arthritis, or stress, or one of the car accidents from my past, or maybe from one of my falls when I was younger and stupid.  I believe it is progressing well, and the sciatica is at a minimum, though it comes back when I wear the wrong shoes at work and have a stressful day.  At any rate, I am so glad I finally took this step rather than telling myself I did not have time.  I feel great about this decision.

82147550_10216558383061057_159610369222901760_n Working on health of body, spirit, and mind.

Stressful days have been a norm lately.  The teaching schedule has been a little off due to five days of testing students in the mornings.  Students don’t respond well to the change in routine, and as a matter of fact, I don’t think I do either.  I take extra long to get papers or test materials in order, to the point that one kid asked if I have OCD.  I said, “Yeah, probably.  Oh, well.”  It is a type of anxiety, and I tend to get that.

I’ve been reading up on the brain and its relation to anxiety and pain.  Facebook has targeted me, showing me ads on the Curable app.  So guess what? I downloaded it for free.  Better to be informed than to be surprised, as I was the first time I had an anxiety attack four years ago.  I was convinced someone had broken into our house in the middle of the night. My heart felt like it would jump out of my chest.  I went and got the dog out of his crate; he sensed nothing.  Before this, all I had ever sensed in myself was being nervous or stressed: sweaty palms, red face, that sort of thing.  This time, I wasn’t sure if I could slow my heart down; it was horrible.  I don’t know if it just all piled up.  I’m working on it.  I’ve read that pain and anxiety are part of the brain’s response to protect us; for that we should be thankful, but we should recognize when it is irrational and learn some tools to calm it (instead of feeling betrayed by our minds when they take energy away from our focus or memory to direct it to our danger alert system).  One website I have searched is https://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms/brain-fog.shtml      I would cite other sources here, except that I’ve read so many and have committed these things to memory to use in my toolbox for surviving and thriving in a high stress job and a family that deals with a mentally ill family member with support, encouragement, and understanding. I won’t go on to list all of my stressers, but these are ongoing.  Another possibility is that going through ‘the change’ is affecting my responses and causing irritability.  Still, I am building a toolbox!

HendrixBook.82497427_10216553268053185_1263644820899889152_oIn my toolbox….

I must acknowledge that I have some really good friends at work that I can talk to about my stressers, and a boyfriend whom I have been dating for ten years.  He has seen me through my son’s teen years, a major surgery, and many of my family traumas.  I suppose I have seen him through some things as well, and he is patient when I am almost always late to social or family events. He jokes with me about it.  We are both getting older, and he has some health issues as well as a family issue that are both on his mind lately.  And I will be there for him.  I am thankful for his presence in my life.

Another part of this toolbox is the education I received in college and the encouragement my loved ones provided me when young to keep writing.  I write about a lot of concerns and anxieties, mostly in fiction form.  That way, I can write the resolution; I can create a hero, not a victim, and I can create characters who are there to help and prove that some people can be trusted.  I’ll be honest, I am not writing much fiction lately, but I am writing about my process with re-training my brain to deal with pain and change it into growth, starting with the process of physical therapy that is making me stronger every day.  I am still dealing with sleep issues, but I see the doctor in about ten days.  I know that all has something to do with the brain as well.  Let’s not forget imagination.  Being a writer of fiction, I have learned to work things out and write stories with heroes and lessons about those less fortunate than us.  It gives me hope. I have written some stressful, tense situations into my fiction, which I feel creates conflict, as there certainly is in day to day life.  I am 20% of the way into my next novel, and will return to it after I finish my current Teaching Gifted Endorsement class.  But for now, imagining has helped me to identify music and songs that relax me and take me away when I have to let the tension go, and some of Jimi Hendrix’s music does just that.  So I bought this beautiful book about him, so that I can know all I can of him, instead of obsessing over my health.

Next, I will need to start planning some real getaways, which has been on hold while I work on the pain and try to de-stress.  I cannot drive anywhere stressed and anxious; I’ve tried it, and it’s not a good idea.  The Endorsement class I have is a good escape for my brain, because I love learning, but at the same time it does produce some stress with deadlines and a lot of required reading.  I can do this.  I’ll read to learn more about Hendrix when I need a break.  And those trips I wanted last year to D.C. or New Orleans are still in my plans.  I CAN do this.

I hope all is well in your world, or that you are at least on the way there.  Have a great week!

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, Of Pain and Growth

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette.  https://antoinettetrugliomartin.com/2020/01/10/winter-on-hilton-head-island/                Pull up a chair and drink whatever you like!

If we were having coffee today, I’d be drinking a half-caff hazelnut.  Half seems to work best for me these days, I am trying to work on maintaining a calmer spirit. I might be brief today, as I have a hair appointment that mainly serves the purpose of making my hair easier to maintain.

I feel like I am growing as a person, and physical therapy is making me feel stronger.  I’m realizing that, for a long time, I have stuffed negative emotions down in areas of my body, currently, the lower back and shoulder.  But I’ve made progress and have been able to complete every pose in Zen yoga for the last two visits, and that makes me proud.  My job stresses me out all the time, as there are certain things I want to do right, yet I am pushed to ‘get them done’ in small amounts of time.  Yet, most of my students delight me.  I love watching them grow.  One of them still makes origami animals for me, and I enjoy it so much; I started giving him candy when he brings me something awesome.  I feel it is right to reward someone who wants to share their talent to make me smile.  I am working on an end of the year poem to give to all of them.  I know, it’s way ahead of that, but I am still sleeping at a shortened amount of time so my brain must do something, and I will not let it constantly worry.  There is so much beauty in this world!

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In stressful times, I decided to use a go-to scenario involving Jimi Hendrix singing for me.  He is my latest obsession which is much better than obsessing about my health.  Anyway, he sings, and I have turned into a butterfly; I am limitless and indomitable, feeling no fear.  That’s for when I need to relax, because sometimes I am still very tense, though I am working on that.  I suppose this tensing is a defense mechanism that actually, overall, hurts me in the long run.

In the writing area, I have finished Malachi and have sent it off to the editor.  I have gotten the book cover done and there will be a cover reveal soon!   It is at about 170 pages.  My negative inner voice tells me that isn’t enough.  My other voice tells me his story is completed; Ellie is entering the picture now and wants the spotlight.  There is a lot between those two, so it will be in the book after that.  I need to have faith in myself.  I haven’t worked on fiction in about two weeks; I’m writing a lot about my growth process, dealing with anxiety and trying to grow through the arthritis pain.  Who knew dealing with physical pain had so much to do with mental health? I published a short poem to my son about some of this, as he has had many struggles already in his short life.  You can find it here:  https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2020/01/09/for-my-son-poetry/

That is all for today.  It is beautiful outside here in the Southeast!  I’m going to exercise a little before the hair appointment, and hopefully, have a carefree day.  How are things in your corner of the world?

Weekend Coffee Share, Being Understood. 12/20

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette at https://antoinettetrugliomartin.com/category/weekend-coffee-share/   I am having a half-calf, which seems to fuel me just fine these days.  However, I must admit, I am waking up, on a good night, somewhere between 4:30 and 5 a.m.  It doesn’t bother me as much as it did at first.  I don’t know if it’s the time change or the new exercises I have added daily as a result of PT, but I am getting used to it.  I wonder if this will change once the clocks move forward in the Spring?  I know I have a busy mind and wonder if it will ever slow down.   It’s okay if it doesn’t. 🙂

As far as the physical therapy, it seems to be going well.  My lower back is not as locked up as it used to be.  I do still suffer from sciatic issues, but I’m learning some exercises for that and realizing I need to have more hot baths and less time in the computer chair.  Maybe I’ll just record my writer’s thoughts and stories straight to audio? I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.  I am not worried!  While editing/revising the Malachi manuscript, I found a wonderful modification that works for me.  I e-mailed the rough draft to myself and I’ve been opening it on my phone for a read-through.  This read-through can be done laying on the couch, exercising on the Gazelle (small, elliptical type exerciser), or even in bed.  I can be on my side or back, etc. according to my comfort needs. When I find an error, I write it down for when I will edit it on my laptop.  Then, I am going to send it to the professional editor.  There is no way I will stop writing, so I just need to change my process.

As far as the busy mind goes, I had an interesting talk with a student yesterday who rarely talks in class.  Yes, it was the day before Winter Break, I was casual, friendly, and joking a lot, a relaxed atmosphere for sure.  I presented them with our reading theme for next quarter: “Fear, is it a hindrance or a help?”  The first time this student started talking to me was when I had a lesson on conflict and explained internal conflict and how the struggle is strong for someone who suffers from depression or anxiety.  I told them of my anxiety when driving over a bridge.  I recently have added hospitals to my list.  (I have too many thoughts of experimentation when I see a whole floor taken up by only one office, and construction does not help either).  Recently, I’ve also realized that the holidays are a little triggering.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that she actually wanted to have a conversation with me.  I also was pleasantly surprised by the Christmas holiday kindness shared by the students yesterday, and one student’s note in her card almost had me in tears of joy:

Dear Ms. Canepa, Thank you for your hard-working ethics and passion for teaching. I love how you have the inspiration to get up and drive to work every day, not knowing will the day go by good or bad. You made a great impact on my life so far and I’m looking forward for you to continue.

It was a hard week with lots of grading, a Code Red drill, a fire drill, a handful of parent meetings, some holiday events, and amped up kids. But seeing such empathy, appreciation, and the right choice of words warmed my heart. Someone noticed how hard I work and took the time to verbalize that to me.  Maybe they are taking it to heart.  That is the best gift ever!

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May you all enjoy the spirit of Christmas and the holiday season, and may you reach calm when you seek it!  I am definitely planning on some relaxation myself.

Peace!

Pamela

Weekend Coffee Share, I Can Do This!

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

I am parceled out in thirty minute increments this morning, that is, if I want to get in  my thirty minute exercise. I’ve got to get to Physical therapy for my shoulder.  After which, I have time to get to the salon and get a hair trim.  Then, there is a lunch date with an old friend who used to teach with me.  I’ll give myself more time for that, because there are no appointments afterward. I am hoping my afternoon will just stretch out before me, and I won’t have to hurry anymore.  So many things to go and see this time of year though!

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Last night, I took part in an induction ceremony for the National Junior Honor Society new members.  This is a club honoring excellence in its middle school members which has high standards for GPA, conduct, and community service.  It is a pleasure to honor such students and to work with them throughout the year!  This is a worthwhile use of my time after the teaching day, and I get to help these kids find community service projects while I benefit from renewed hope for our future.

On the author front, I am pleased to announce that Undercurrents in Time is now available in audio!  If you have read Detours in Time and might like to listen to the sequel and drop an honest review, try this US code: 72T6RQW85286E to download at https://audible.com/acx-promo or this UK code: 3GCCE5TS9MPQH to download at https://audible.co.uk/acx-promo

I know I have only shared one code each, so it is first come first serve.  I also will share codes in the Facebook group Audio Book Boom tomorrow if you’d like to listen and review but have found that the codes are already used.  Happy listening!

20191026_133638_00001035900339109106841.png It’s now live!

Now, I must take a break to go to physical therapy!

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Okay, I’m back.  PT was frustrating.  The physical therapist was lovely, a nice, sweet guy, but he said the order was for PT for my back, yet I feel that chiropractic keeps that in check and that I need more help for my shoulder and arm.  Ugh.  They were nice about it, printed out the whole order, and they can fit me in early next week if I get the order for my shoulder.  So, I read all the paperwork.  It mentions concerns about my anxiety exacerbating my back pain.  It also mentions my shoulder “ridiculopathy.” You’ve got to love these technical terms, and looking back, I think I’ve had some sort of anxiety since childhood.  I do feel more yoga will treat my back AND my anxiety, but nothing is helping my shoulder, and it actually keeps me from doing certain yoga poses.  Therefore,  I’ll call Monday to straighten out the PT and just why I am going.  Le *sigh*.

 

fb_img_15518364789175458011365442213066.jpg A flashback photo with my son…

Despite this morning’s frustration,  I had lunch with a good friend after that made it all better; she’s a retired teacher, and I took my 23 year old son who suffers from a psychological disorder and is, overall, pretty anti-social.  My friend, Judi, was fine with me taking him and asked him questions to get him talking.  Don’t get me wrong, he is very healthy, on the right meds, and employed in a job where he can move up.  He just does not have a social circle and is quite introverted. She is very funny and friendly.  We went to get coffee afterward because she is so easy to talk to, and well, we had the time, so why not?  She is so encouraging of my dreams and interested in my hobbies; she also gets the stress teachers go through.  By the way, you know my next goal is to do Improv Comedy, right?  Truth be told, anxiety will not stop me from anything, I just need to learn how to keep it from settling into my body, causing me to clench my teeth or get tense.  I am going to keep pushing my limits!

I remain ever hopeful!  That’s it in a nutshell.  How have your week and your Saturday  been treating you?

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!

Weekend Coffee Share, 10/19, books, family, paperwork, and paperwork…

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com Photo by Image Apothecary, because books go well with coffee! Pull up a chair and have your favorite beverage. No coffee for me today, mine is V8!

Friday, a day off for students. Peace and quiet. My workday:
Planning day…Grades done! Bulletin board up. Straightened my room. Now to plan a novel study! Oops, gotta check my CAST online list so the test data I am judged by won’t be incorrect. Yada, yada, yada. Oh, better send some parent emails before lunch. Yay! Lunch out with coworkers! Hurry, don’t be late to the meeting. Yada, yada, yada, DATA. Yada, yada, make a spreadsheet of your data. Now you can go home. Nope, I can’t. I have to do that PMP today. Yada, yada, yada, PMP: paperwork based on data and strategies. Hmm, let me find a good Langston Hughes poem to go with the Walter Dean Myers novel. I could do this for hours, let me find three poems! Oops, better make sure I know what I’m teaching about writing Monday and Tuesday. Yada, yada, yada, should’ve gone home an hour ago…and I’m still not done, y’all. THE STATE OF FLA AND THEIR FREAKING RREQUIREMENTS made this day feel like nothing but data aand paperwork. 😦 Learning is Social and Emotional! Also the title of a book I plan to read.

On the writing front, my books Detours in Time and Undercurrents in Time have been on sale this week for just 99 cents. I have sold a few, but I would like to sell more. As I type this, I am listening to the chapters completed so far by my narrator for Undercurrents in Time. She lost her voice this week and is having to pace herself. The timing is fine for me as I barely have any time outside of work lately. Still, I love the creation of my work into an audiobook. It is exciting!

I enjoyed dinner with my mother and my son last night. Though I normally do the trivia by phone app at this wing place where we like to eat, I only did half a game last night, and spent the rest of the time talking with my son, responding to his observations of the crowd in the restaurant and a few comments about his job. I so enjoyed that quality time with my adult son who spent a lot of time between age 17 to 20 not talking to me. Hey, he also pays rent now! (I won’t tell you what a great deal he is getting) 🙂

Today, my significant other and I are taking a little road trip to Georgia. This is not for fun, it is for family, who needs him right now. It is hard to watch your parents age. He and I are both getting to that point in life. By the way, I will not have access to work or anything writing related or work related while on that trip. Well-done plan, if I say so myself!

So, I’m editing this by phone while I while I exercise on the porch. There is a lot to be said for outdoor exercise, including the view: (No, not the fence. Keep looking…)

He had one leg up comfortably and only left when it started to rain. My dog sniffed around in the morning air but never noticed the majestic owl. My little secret stalker, though, who was watching who?

How do I get everything done? I don’t know. I’ve had no coffee today, just V8. On a full cup yesterday, I got a lot done but got really wired about all that was on my plate. I am looking forward to a quiet one hour drive to Georgia. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!