Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. A cold chai latte with cinnamon sprinkled in top is sponsoring my energy this morning. I slept in, thank goodness! Grab your favorite wake up beverage for a chat!
Lana del Rey is coming through the speakers, and Bixby is enjoying the morning as well, looking pretty contemplative. Work has been way too hectic, so I just won’t think about it today. I got a flat tire last night in my neighborhood as I was almost home from work, so I put that off until today, but I’m not in a hurry.
This is my weekend, after all. I try to avoid committing to much of anything except self-care on my weekends. I work quite hard during the week, I’ve raised a son, and I pay my bills. I believe I deserve down time. My health is a priority. I just need to reduce my Amazon purchasing. 🙂 It’s a goal!
Last night,I revelled in Netflix and sleep. I didn’t make any calls to find out anything about tires. I ordered dinner delivery for myself and my son (another costly habit to reduce). It’s what I needed, and it was tasty! I took time this morning for a full, healthy breakfast. It’s a beautiful morning to enjoy!
My son’s cast-iron plants, a gift that has been part of our family since he was first-born , are finally coming back. Spring is in full-force! Their rejuvenation is quite reassuring and is a much better thing to ponder than discipline at school or a flat tire that happened out of nowhere.
Yes, I’m practicing self-care with reckless abandon, whether in my mindset or my weekend activities. Earlier this week, I went back for Zen acupuncture again. It really helped my stress level on Thursday. I shared photos and a post about it here: Mid-week Mellow Out
That’s all for me. Today is what matters now. Have a great weekend, everyone!
I’ll admit I’ve been influenced by Kurt Vonnegut… I saw a post about a letter he wrote in response to student letters sent to him from one particular class. One thing he said stuck with me.
“Practice any art, ( not to get rich) but to practice becoming…. to find out what’s inside of you, to make your soul grow.” These words are beautiful, so beautiful!
Here’s my take: Truly living is an art, and art is risky. Not everyone will get it, some may be offended… ( As May have been by one or two of Vonnegut’s books). But you are so much more enriched by your artistic expression! I feel this in my soul. I wrote a poem about censorship this morning. I won’t share it now, not until I feel the time is right, or maybe it should only be spoken?
Kurt’s quote above makes me think about the situation with books in schools in my state, Florida. Some of us feel censored, and I’ve heard stories on the dismay of elementary children who can’t get books to read at school.
A Google search on Vonnegut books being banned led me to this letter he wrote in response to his books being burned in one school district in 1973. After all, freedom of expression is a FREEDOM. Check it out: https://fs.blog/kurt-vonneguts-letter-book-burning/
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m sure you could share a more exciting life, but I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, so let’s share!
I’m with the dog on the back porch with my Zen green tea, taking in sun on my legs but not the face. You see, I’m suffering from eye strain and sensitivity today, whether from computer blue light effects or the sunlight. My eyes are sensitive to the sun, for sure. It’s ironic, how we pine away for some sunshine on the gray days, and then must protect ourselves from it when it shows its full glory for days in a row.
Full glory certainly describes the sunshine here in Northeast Florida. These last few days have been so beautiful, with temperatures that didn’t cross the 80 degree barrier! Maybe I’m feeling effects of too much laptop/ phone time, because I wake up with itchy, dry eyes. Allergies don’t help. I spent my cereal time ordering a Lutein supplement.
No worries, I now have 3 sun hats for my summer cruise vacation; two are sort of hippified*, and the other is safari style. Sunhats are a must at my age! I’m ready for everything. I’m also supposed to go to a baseball ⚾ game with my boyfriend tonight. So, a nap is in order. Must rest those eyes!
*Hippified: evidently I have just coined this term, though I thought I’d heard it before.. It means they seem to be a throwback to hippie styles. Vintage is always in, right?
I seem to be avoiding writing a lot lately due to the requirement of sitting at a chair and staring at a screen for so much time. The ideas are coming though, here and there, and I write them down a few words at a time in good faith that I will later elaborate on them and sketch them out. I mean, so much can happen in a diner; people from all walks of life cross paths, and futuristic time travelers are bound to meet up with some very objectionable technology at first sight. See, part of writing is the zinger of an idea that pops into your head.
The other half of good writing is the self-discipline and organizational skill to sit down and flesh those ideas out, organize them, tame them, make them make sense, rewrite them into a harness; harness those wild mustangs….or they’ll be gone forever. It’s all changing for me, but I’m glad I wrote a lot when I first started, as I learned a lot too. Maybe my purpose is changing a little?
I’ll keep you posted!
How has your week been? What’s knocking around in your head? I really can’t wait to have some travel to write about!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Grab your favorite beverage and pull up a chair; Bixby and I are getting philosophical today over green matcha tea. It’s a hot and muggy day, so the A/C is on and the sunlight peeks through my blinds.
I’m tired of always talking about the same things here; my family situation keeps changing, and my family member who had left on a bad note is now back and in need of a lot of patience, but let me share what has got me philosophizing and looking inward. I saw a thought-provoking quote on social media this morning….
So I was thinking, didn’t who I used to be affect who I am today? I made mistakes, trusted the wrong people, and tried to be a good child to avoid conflict at home, therefore only rebelling in quiet ways and unleashing worry on my mother but not every outwardly rebelling against my father whose temper was worse than hers; he wasn’t there after age 10, so his knowledge of any of my rebellion was just second-hand after that.
As a child, I don’t think I trusted many people, but as a teen and young adult, I think trusting the wrong people made me just trust myself more in the long run; that is, after I beat myself up for stepping in it. Perhaps it made me more aware and more wary. I gauge the moments when it’s best to keep it close to the vest, and when to wear my heart on my sleeve.
What I am saying is, there is nothing wrong with who I was. Everything was a learning experience. The only error would be to never learn from the experiences that told me ‘don’t go there next time’ or ‘let him go’ or ‘she/he has shown you who they really are; pay attention.’
I would like to let go of the remnants of the girl who was so anxious when first learning to drive that she took 3 tries to get her license, of the girl who applied for a first job at a fast food chain but ran out of confidence when told to go back and talk to the manager, and the one who didn’t speak up for herself when a ‘friend’ made fun of her in front of other kids in school. It’s okay, I stopped talking to them. I showed them…I was lonely, but I saw regret in their face. I would do it differently today, but through all these things I learned to be stronger.
So, do we let go the remnants of our younger, unsure selves? The ones who put up with boorish family members just because they were ‘family’? The parts that always felt a need to show sympathy for the underdogs to the point we had to endure their odd characteristics that separated us from our friends. Yes. But how can we let go the girl who listens to people at a dinner party before jumping in and being friendly in order to avoid suffering the company of a boor all evening? Why would we let go of the specific facets of our personalities, the intuitive, empathetic parts of ourselves?
‘Guard your heart,’ a friend once told me. That was not always me, but what is me is the person who shares her heart with young people to show them that being a person to others matters, who gives a little more when I feel and read the need on someone’s face. And I still avoid conflict, but I will speak up for myself, though I will do it calmly; I insist on doing this calmly and if it becomes an argument, I will be the better person.
So, who I am evolving to be should be stronger than who I was, but there are remnants of a past me that led to where I am today. I keep learning a lot about myself, how to be myself, and how to keep making myself a better person. Therefore, I both agree and disagree with this statement.
It also makes me think of who I’ll be in the next phase of my life, the one after I am a teacher. My personality will still be here. Will I still have the desire to be a positive influence on young people? Will I find a way to do that daily and perhaps hold a job that allows this? Within the next decade, I’ll have the opportunity for such change. It could be a little scary; I tend to stay so long in one job, but I think this will be exciting. I am going to leave the remnant behind that made me stay in a situation much longer than I should. I will keep evolving, so I won’t be carrying remnants of my old self, just evolved pieces of me that form who I have become.
To me… Every week on Saturday, bloggers participate in a Weekend Coffee Share. It is now hosted by Natalie the Explorer at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2021/03/05/doors-in-morocco/ I join in this worldwide, virtual Coffee Share almost weekly. Since I am joining a new group of bloggers, and you, reader, may not have been here before, introductions may be in order. You see, Weekend Coffee Share can help fill the need for social connection during the COVID lockdown and social distancing era.
Last Saturday (or the week before) Iwelcomed readers in to my imaginary cafe complete with fuzzy dog, sun through window blinds, and Nina Simone playing in the background. If we had just met in this cafe, you’d likely see me writing, as I am working on another book when the muse (and my focus) revisits me. How would the conversation go? (Please don’t mind if I assign you a part in this play):
“What are you writing?” You’d ask.
“Oh, just notes, ideas, reflections on my sleep schedule, what’s working and what’s not, same with managing my anxiety…what’s working and what’s not. Ideas for my book in progress and some observations that could one day become stories or books.”
I realize you might wonder why I just told you all that. “I’m not ashamed of my struggles, but I guess some of that was all TMI.” I chuckle, as I’m older now and worry much less about being judged.
“I’m a writer too,” you say, “here on Spring Break.” When asked, you tell me you’re from Massachusetts, not surprising due to your accent, which is great, because, I tell you, “I’m sort of from New England.”
“What do you mean, ‘sort of?'” you ask.
“My dad was military, so we moved from California, to Illinois, to Minnesota with family, to Iceland, then Virginia, then here. Everyone says I sound like I’m from New England. Lived there from age 5 to 8.”
“Do you work another job, or just write?”
“I teach middle school, and have done so for twenty years. I write when the spirit moves me, which, these days, is sporadically. My focus is not as good as it used to be, but I sponsor a News Club at school. I love encouraging kids to write!”
“What else do you do?”
“Well, I enjoy time with family, I have a twenty-four year old son, and my dog. Having a social life is rare these days with COVID.” I smile under my mask, using my eyes. You are young, and I can’t tell if you’re male or female, not for sure.
Your coffee is ready. “What is a good thing to do while I’m here?” you ask. “My friend will be here to meet me in a few minutes.”
“Go to the beach. The water will still be chilly, but it’s really pleasant for a walk right now. Great for people-watching, too. We’ve got some nice national parks with trails, too. I’m overdue for a beach walk. Whenever I go for one, all worries disappear…I become a happy idiot.”
You tell me that sounds great, but you’d prefer to play some beach volleyball with a bunch of co-eds. Then your friend arrives, a young woman, probably also in college. I’m amazed at how much I’ve told you. I’ve come a long way since college. I still don’t know your gender and decide that it doesn’t matter.
“Thanks for chatting with me, Ma’am,” you say, as I cringe. I don’t want to be a ma’am, as if I’m responsible for what you think of me, and you’ve decided to be ‘carefully’ well-mannered around me. As if I could be your mother. (Oh, guess I could). I’m still not Southern like that. Your friendly chatter was good enough for me.
“Just call me Pam.”
“Okay,” you say. “I’m Joe.”
Or was it Jo? Short for Josephine, like in Little Women? Oh, what does it matter? I could have asked, but it didn’t matter. I just enjoyed the company.
Fictionally and virtually, it has been nice meeting meet you. I hope we meet up in this ‘cafe’ again. If not, I wish you the best in your journeys! Today, it is dreary outside, and after a great night’s sleep, er…read that as passing out on the couch after a crazy, loud week-before-Spring-break teaching week, I am enjoying coffee with creamer after my cereal with blueberries and banana.
Feel free to peruse my blog to find out about books I’ve written, and if you check out my prior posts, you’ll find some interesting reads about my journey through health , anxiety issues, life changes, reaching students, family co-existence, fun with my dog, mental health (my own and my loved ones), etc. My journey is a path to a good place, and I want to be a voice that reaches other voices who may have felt the same, may need commonality, may benefit from my honesty, or may tell me what works for them.
**My title is a reference to my current favorite song, Caution by The Killers. Partial lyrics:
Let me introduce you to the featherweight queen
she’s got Hollywood eyes but she can’t shoot what she sees….
I’m throwing caution, what’s it’s gonna be
Tonight the winds of change are blowing wild and free…
Fearless, it what that song says to me. Though it seems to be a love song, the speaker wants to make a change, and “get out of this town.” You certainly have to be brave and honest with yourself first to make a change. For me, dropping caution means to end fear about sharing myself, my story, or my heart with others. Be brave, know yourself, and be yourself, without shame.
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! Pull up a chair and have a cup of whatever appeals to you. On this pleasantly chilly day, I’m brewing warm coffee. This week has held many changes, but one thing remains the safe: COVID is out there and precautions are still very necessary, especially here in the state of Florida.
What does that mean for me? Wearing a mask non-stop while teaching, washing my hands frequently as I look at their rough skin, longing for a paraffin manicure. I am too practical for that, though, yet I may grow really desperate if they look even worse in a few months. COVID is not going away soon enough.
This week, I wistfully longed for the confidence to pursue my bucket list. High on the list is a visit to New Orleans for Joan of Arc’s annual birthday parade. I believe they made it virtual this year, which is in no way the same. I am hoping to go in the next 2-3 years, and it is the perfect way, in my opinion, to see New Orleans for the first time. It is not safe right now. Joan’s birthday was January 6th, 1412, and the parade includes the throwing of beads, yet I hear it is not as debauched as Mardi Gras. I shall find out!
Another wistful thought came to mind yesterday morning as I played songs by my favorite Scottish band, Albannach. I had seen them several years in a row at the outdoor Celtic festival in St. Augustine, Florida. I dearly miss outdoor festivals and remembered it would likely take place two months from now as Spring ushers in the pleasant weather. Not this year….well, maybe next.
Changes galore have been happening at my teaching job due to many students coming out of the online schooling option and returning to school. I may even be absolved of teaching an online class now. Instead, I will have a Critical Thinking/Creative Writing class that is an elective. I am used to change; I won’t let it shake me up. I see that next week will bring even more changes and surprises as the COVID teaching landscape forces many new ways of doing things and a huge amount of adapting. I have stepped down from leading a committee and now I’m getting into the start of a News Club. I can only see positives here, except it is another responsibility.
However, I am staying positive since several students seem interested. What does this mean? There are minions! Yes, what a relief. I do have another teacher willing to be a co-sponsor which also makes me feel this idea can be feasible while allowing me not to let it ‘take over.’ It also pleases me to know I can use my gift for writing to share with students and hopefully inspire and teach them more about writing. We will have to plan a way to have an active club while using social distancing. My social life is starved lately due to COVID, but I am surrounded by people as a teacher, and I plan to relate to them all positively.
Being positive with those around me will be possible if I can still have my boundaries and have the time to practice healthy living. This means eating healthy and not on the fly, making time to exercise, and time for appointments that nourish my health and mental health (it takes a village) :). Let’s not forget, being able to get things done but still rest and spend time with my loved ones including my dog, Bixby.
That’s what’s is happening in my corner of the world. Everyone have a great weekend, and stay safe.
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. Today, I drink green matcha tea, since I had coffee yesterday and experienced some bothersome sciatica. I started the matcha tea in an attempt to improve sleep and stress/anxiety reactions. I do think it helps in the long run, and I allow myself coffee 3 plus times a week. So now, I am experimenting to see if my nerves are calmer with the matcha tea, hoping that means I know one way to keep sciatica at bay. We shall see, right?
Bixby has had a haircut, and good timing, since it was 78 degrees yesterday here in Northeast Florida! It’s supposed to cool off again but won’t be below 40, so it’ll be fine.
On New Year’s resolutions
I always liked the idea of New Year’s resolutions. It is a great time to start over and look forward to a better year. I sort of did it differently this year. I’m reading and working on something called A Mindfulness for Beginners Journal. (That’s because, despite trying for fifteen years, I still suck at meditating, but I’ve accepted that some ideas that pop up at the wrong time could still be good ideas). Anyway, this journal gives recommendations on things or ways to ponder and disconnect from worry and the every-day grind. One suggestion was to think on an inspiring mantra, shut my eyes for a certain amount of time, and then write down the mantra or whatever variations occur to my mind.
Perhaps I was not narrow enough or focused enough (which I’m not), and I always break the rules with these ridiculous exercises; still, I will actually own it if I do it my way. I only call them ridiculous because I don’t do them exactly as they are prescribed. I’ll own that too. 🙂 Since mindfulness is a personal thing for all of us, don’t we need to access it in a way that works for us? I was writing each time something good popped into my head, thinking of the things I need to remind myself all throughout this coming year. Here’s what I have, in a quaint little graphic:
Yes, I am enough.
My gratitude today is for sleeping well last night, which is overall much better for my sciatica. They say practicing gratitude is a great way to stem off or fight anxiety, which I believe affects the nerve pain of sciatic. I will make it so. My belief is that, day after day, I can make a difference in this world while honoring my own needs and boundaries. I will make it so!
Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for stopping by. I hope your life is wonderful, and I’d love to hear what you feel gratitude for during, and despite, this COVID pandemic.
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share in verse, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali!
Three Little Birds
The birds tell me ‘don’t worry,’
but I am in a hurry
to leave the past behind,
get this year gone from my mind.
Still, they whisper, ‘Be still,
For all of this is real.
Ponder on the lessons,
Each moment has its essence.’
One must flap his wings and go,
One will stay and become known,
The other existing just in our minds
Changeable, elusive, but we shall find
All of these birds will occupy our hearts
One moves in when the other parts.
Everything has its place: past, present, and future. With each New Year, we relegate anotherto joining the ranks of the past. I am probably, like others, anxious to kiss this year goodnight! However, every year has its lessons, and we should not deny them. They are worth remembering! Any mistakes made can bring a lesson, but it is best to remember our mistakes without shame or sorrow, to not continue suffering from our mistakes, but instead, to forgive ourselves and be thankful for the lesson. Most of my mistakes are way back in the past, but they come back to haunt me sometimes. I am working on keeping them in their place and remembering them rationally without berating myself. My anxious brain needs to remember that I am not doomed to continue the same pattern of mistakes. Every day is a new day! There’s nothing like a New Year to remind us of that.
So, as I finish my cereal and decaf coffee today, (part of my new healthy habits), I am feeling optimistic. I also know that I may drag my feet today and spend the day reading, journaling, playing with the dog, and maybe organizing my closet as I try to stay in from the cold. I am allowed to do that today! Everyone who is dear to me is currently COVID free and I got to see them for this holiday. So, this morning, I am one step closer to “being happy.”
*A random word generator gave me the word, ‘flap.’ I was thinking on the New Year and how the old year must take flight. I’m always thinking about how the past, present, and the future collide. Thank you to Bob Marley for inspiring me with his song, “Three Little Birds.” Yes, ‘every little thing, gonna be alright!’
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.
It’s going to be a warm, beautiful day here in Northeast Florida! I’m having hot coffee anyway. Grab a cup of whatever you like, and let’s chat. Last Saturday was not a Coffee Share day for me, as my internet was being a butthead, in and out, and slow as molasses. Instead of a Coffee Share, I posted an entry on writing about 9-11 and COVID-19 in my most recent published book, Malachi, Ruse Master and my current work in progress. You can read it here: Writing Our History into Our Fiction
Things got really weird after Spring Break, I have not actually seen my students except in online meetings. We’ve bonded, though. I tried to get created and learned about some new sites that are interactive for learning material. I tried to stay positive and was so glad to see or speak to them when they showed up for online lessons. Some students never did because they were on a different sleep schedule. For the ones who did, I said “Thank you for showing up. It gives me purpose!” Which is true. I told them about my birthday the day before, which also fell on the last day of school. Two things to celebrate! I made a video of myself waving good bye to my students and holding signs. I will miss them. I have learned a lot from this online experience that also gave me time at home to CHILL out and relax when needed, something I am working on and hope to master by the fall. 🙂 Anyway, at my school we would always walk to the buses at the end of the day on the last day and wave goodbye. Here is my short video imagining they are boarding the bus and I am bidding them farewell: https://youtu.be/9wleXNNYI1s (I shared it with them in our online learning Team).
Happy birthday to me...
Ah, life. So I have completed another year of middle age, or, maybe I’m past that? I don’t know, I don’t care. I may have some complaints and recurring pains, but I’ve learned that a silly sense of humor is a great way to deal with the unpleasant parts of aging. I thank all of the women in my family for infecting me with that attitude.
My son took me to Outback last night for dinner! We went early. They have certain tables blocked off to help social distancing, and the wait staff all wore masks and gloves. It was reassuring. My boyfriend came over for a celebratory drink, and he and I will have dinner tonight, place TBD. A really rewarding part of my birthday was yesterday, getting a lot of well wishes from my students.
Our Nation and Our World
My heart goes out today to those who feel marginalized, profiled, or judged before they are known. It gladdens me that one of the officers was arrested in the death of George Floyd. But to think that it took the viral sharing of the video, or the many protests, is just sad. We are all Americans. When someone says, Black Lives Matter, it is because of the frequency of these events, and the need to reiterate that thought. I don’t think cops are bad people; nor do I think the police system is racist, yet, many of them feel they are allowed to pre-judge and mistreat others. Why is that? I also don’t think anyone of any color or nationality deserves to be treated as if they have no rights or even ‘less’ rights. I could go on and on. Let me just quote someone more eloquent: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr).
How does this affect me? Let me admit that I have grown up with white privilege, and I saw racism in many places. Being a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, I was around friends who would say horrible things about those of color without a second thought. I didn’t speak up as often as I should, and for that, I apologize. I often have not known what I could do about this; I am shocked that the mistreatment is still going on today. I guess I am just going to start by admitting, I realize my white privilege. I see those who are marginalized, I realize it is still happening. One more time, America: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”