Weekend Coffee Share. “Everything was Beautiful…”

For the animals. This is my weekend coffee share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com every weekend.  Friday and Monday are days off of work for me.  Finally!  Nonetheless, I dreamed work dreams on both Friday and Saturday night, probably because by Sunday a.m., I still hadn’t spend anymore than fifteen minutes on work that I brought home, and I always bring home work!  Above is the album cover for my new Moby c.d., and it is beautiful.  The animals look so human.  His music really takes me away, which, as you can tell, I really need.  Anyhow, I think I read somewhere that Moby is a vegetarian, which is something I think about doing but haven’t yet, for a few different reasons.

I took good care of myself Friday; I had lunch with an old friend and then shopped at a so-called upper scale consignment shop.  I got a pedicure and got out for fun singing karaoke with my boyfriend.  Saturday, I met some work friends for lunch and afterward, my son and I took our dog, Bixby, to the dog park.  Bixby fell in love.  Oh, he has been fixed, but he always seems to find one dog that he wants to follow around and try to dominate.  Dog-training does not seem to help that.

He pretty much chased this one dog from one end of the dog park to the other!  It was fun to watch though, including the way the other dog resisted his advances.  Smart pup, she was!  After that, we came home and I gave him a bath, so he could return to his clean, fluffy self.

So, tomorrow I will exercise and go to the chiropractor.  I really need that; it seems I have carpal tunnel, and I’m dead set against surgery at this point in my life.  I also have arthritis.  Boo.  I’ve been told before that one should reduce carbs to keep arthritis at bay.  Well, I do try.  I’ve thought about vegeterianism, because I hate cooking meat, but I worry that if I adopted that lifestyle, I would end up eating more carbs to satisfy my hunger.  Am I wrong on this point?  I mean, I do need to eat more greens and want to feel healthier, overall.  That, and I love animals.  I also thought about Paleo, even if it’s on and off, because that way I’d really reduce the carbs.  I have to be careful, because I also get spastic colon, a syndrome that came to me via heredity and ample stress.  Sigh.  I’d be glad to hear from any vegetarians or Paleo enthusiasts about what has worked for you.

I’ve done some great self-care this weekend that I had put off for too long.  Sadly, I will have to carve out time today and maybe on my day off tomorrow for the paperwork I brought home from work.  I will not fret; this won’t last forever.  My summer will come, and it will be full of fun, writing, and my character, Malachi!

Have a great week, friends!

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My First Ever WP Blog Post Repurposed, “Nikki Giovanni, You Inspire Me!”

I have recently been reminded that I’ve reached my three year anniversary of blogging with WordPress.  I have not regretted a moment, except maybe the times when I didn’t feel like I could post more than one a week.  This first post was quite fitting, as it documents a turning point of inspiration, and why I bought that little notebook that helped me become confident enough to remember fleeting thoughts and piece them together.  I was lucky to win tickets to a rare speaking engagement!  Without further ado:

Reflections From July 16, 2015 (that I wrote in my little notebook):  My inspiration comes from many people and places, but one that is quite memorable is the poet, Nikki Giovanni.  I am fired up right now, because I got to hear her read at a luncheon today!

I love her smile here, and her lack of make-up or artifice.  She is herself, at home and comfortable in her own skin.  The first day I heard of her, I was not any of those things.  I was 20 years old, unsure of myself, finding myself the only one of my peer group in college, and how I got in I wasn’t always sure; I certainly assumed for several years I would not be going.  My self-esteem was hinging on some “boy” I was having some “sort of” relationship with while in college.  I thought about it, and him,  entirely too much.  Should I keep it going?  Should I forget it, tell him it wasn’t what I wanted or fulfilling me spiritually?  Geesh.  What a waste of time, mulling over such a wishy-washy situation.  Had he wanted more, I probably wouldn’t have, so why wasn’t it that simple for me?

Fact is, I was in college, being challenged, and enjoying that greatly.  I was working part-time, not always enjoying it, but I was paying bills, albeit barely.  I was going home to an apartment that was partly mine and a roommate who, it turns out, was not as great a friend as I thought.  I didn’t even always want to hang out with her.  I was not a drunk or a partier, (maybe twice a month), but I was somehow just at an emotional low.  Maybe I was short-changing myself? I wanted more emotional fulfillment.  So, I had read something by Giovanni and then saw this quote from her, that somehow just really clicked with me; I even copied it down and put it somewhere safe to look at again and again.   Here it is:

      “There is always something to do.  There      are  hungry people to feed, naked people to  clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect.”

― Nikki Giovanni

I was wasting all this time with some college boy who didn’t even care if I thought about him, living in an apartment with a friend that was no longer a friend, and feeling unfulfilled.  The only thing that fulfilled me at that time was diving into the Literature and texts I was assigned.  Oh, and some of them really saddened me.  There was Gothic Literature such as Mary Shelley.  Existentialism.  I really felt it all.   But I survived.  I moved back home with Mom for the remainder of college, continued working, and paid for a lot of my own college.  I made time for other friends, and my college relationship pretty much ended when he went away to an out of town school.  But Nikki’s words stuck with me.  There is a world out there in need,  why should I stay in here in my own head worrying about things, when I can go out there and make my world better?  And look at all the energy we sometimes spend on an unhealthy or one-sided relationship, or even friendships that no longer serve us, when there is so much more to do?
You could say I live her advice.  I suppose the last part of her quote is what I put to use back then, regarding who you should engage among you, and who you should remove.  Lord knows, I had to practice it many times repeatedly over the course of my life.  I also took a good amount of advice from the Bible, but how confusing that can be to a young person.  Nikki’s quote on sick people, hungry people, those needing clothes, is also a reminder to someone like me who had all that I needed.  I was getting an education, but it wasn’t making me happy and I felt so alone.  I can say that got better.  It is also true that I struggled with depression at times.  I had to sometimes just do something good for another person in need.  Sometimes I had to just get busy and get out of my head.  Analyzing existentialism or the deeper meaning of Gothic Literature can be a gloomy subject.  But it was very deeply satisfying when I could take a break and do a good thing, or have fun in the sunshine for a while.  One day, I would like to be able to consider myself a successful writer.  There is no amount of money or number of books I will assign to that.  Giovanni herself said something like that today, about how money won’t fulfill you.  You just need to have some of it to stay alive.  It thrills me to say that Nikki Giovanni has influenced me.  I’d like to put that on the back of a book one day!
And as for teaching,  yes, like Nikki said, we need more black children to grow up, get educated, and go into space!  We need them to become scientists, like  Neil deGrasse Tyson. (Who, by the way, is really cool!)   It is much needed for the equality of the races.   Imagine, if I could turn the right student on to a book about space or time travel, and in turn, encourage him to explore space!  Such an honor it would be.  It gives me something to remember when I look at that sea of faces every August.  They all have the potential.
Nikki also mentioned how our language is changing.  (Look at the definition of marriage.  Just recently it was decided by the Supreme Court that two women or two men can now marry).  Think of the definition of equality; she mentioned how a black man and white woman could not have married 60 years ago.  The world is changing and so is our language.  We need to observe and we need to write about it.  So I am writing right now.  She said, “Everyone go out and buy a notebook to write in today.”  I already have one.  I thought it was lost, but it has turned up again!  And I also have this space here for writing.  So I am inspired again!   Indeed, there is so much to do.    Life is good!

Weekend Coffee Share. Get it together, girl! #balance

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali . I’ll admit, sometimes I can feel myself getting too perfectionistic and being too hard on myself, feeling like nothing I do is enough. At times, I feel like I have to have a little talk with myself, trying to calm myself down. It has been a stressful week. Suffice it to say, teaching is not an easy job. That may not be the only issue. Maybe it was just difficult to transition from Winter break self-care to reanimating my driven self in order to be a quality teacher, yet feeling I have little time now to do anything about my writing goals. Still, I’m always reminded that balance is so important.

I almost took a picture of the scowl on my face on day this week, because I partly was just mad at myself for letting my perfectionism force me to work late and miss my yoga class.  I was also mad at my job for requiring so much of me.  With my writing, I can go at my own pace, but let me be honest, it is not what pays the bills right now.  I suppose I needed an attitude adjustment, and I am not completely sure what got me off balance.  I need to be mindful of this in the future.

Since I missed yoga on my favorite Zen yoga night, I had to lay out the mat at home, so therefore, yoga had to include some dog play.  That is perfectly alright!  He always makes me smile!  We took him to his fourth week of dog training today, which is always fun, and we see lots of other dogs in the Petsmart store where he trains.  He loves that part, too!

What goes in our brains is also very important, and it can’t always be work, work, work. I’m listening to this classic on Audible, while I’m also reading a YA Fantasy book on Kindle. I always have reading goals and plans, and sometimes I participate in review groups ( no time for those right now). I feel badly if I don’t have time to read, and I suspect my brain got lazy over WInter break with lots of Netflix time.  I did read, just not at a fast pace.  Anyway, listening to Dorian Gray is nice while taking a bath.  The language is very descriptive and flowery, somewhat advanced if not archaic, and the narrator’s voice is relaxing.  Reading this in book form would take me a while.  I must add, it got really intriguing in Chapter fifteen and sixteen today!  Hey, it got my mind off of work, even though I did do an hour’s worth of work this morning.  I didn’t finish, but an hour was all they were getting this morning.  This is MY weekend!

Having said all that, I felt like my job was taking oved my life this week, but here I am, writing on my blog! It makes me feel more like myself; it makes me feel unstoppable, and by the way, that was my word for this year: unstoppable. Even though I’ve added a lot of goals to take me to another level at my job, I am going to be unstoppable and keep on writing, enjoying my life, and meeting those goals. I may adjust the pace, but I shall never stop!  Have a great week, my friends.  I am planning on more balance and self-care this coming week.  🙂

Best of the Year, Dec. 25, 2018. #2018BOTY

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Thank you to Beaton at becomingthemuse.wordpress.com for the image and for making me aware of this awesome bloggers’ challenge!

What Christmas looks like: Family, friends, love.

 

A gift from someone who really gets me!

And seeing my loved ones smile.

All this, along with the love and antics of our little fur baby just make my heart sing!

Merry Christmas/ Happy Holiday to you and yours!

Best of the Year. Dec. 18-24, #2018BOTY

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Image from Beaton’s blog, becomingthemuse.wordpress.com

18. Travel Experience- I didn’t travel much this year, but I’ve been talking a lot about Rhode Island, so….

Let me show you the view from the Cliffwalk above Middletown Beach in RI. The walk is uphill and long, but the views are breathtaking. I was also looking ahead at my dad and son, who were way ahead of me. That’s okay, I did my best.

 

19. Function/Festival- Celtic Fest

I’ve researched my genealogy before, but this is the year I got the DNA testing. 50% of my DNA is English, and 5% is Irish/Scottish/Welsh. I’m not sure why they can’t differentiate those, or maybe it is a little bit of each? I do know the Welsh is confirmed, and the Irish is rumored. I also found some Scottish in an online search, but you know how reliable those are. 🙂 At any rate, this festival allows me to enjoy Celtic culture without visiting those blustery, cold places in early March. In fact, the weather here in Jacksonville, Fl is usually quite nice that time of year. The Scottish band, Albannach, is my main interest in the musical bands at the festival. They do a great job of mixing drums and bagpipes and making a beautiful, raucous noise!

 

20. Fashion/Style trend- I don’t really go for trends these days. I go for sneakers, as often as possible. I probably couldn’t tell you what the trends are. I do, at times, wear snarky t-shirts, because it makes me feel young.

21. The Compliment that Made your year- I was told I was appreciated for my ‘nurturing ‘ nature with students, that we need people like that. It inspired me to give a little more of myself and share my writing experiences with them, because writing has saved my life in so many ways….

22. The best story you heard/read- A man named Paul Crowell helps take care of canine companions to homeless people in San Francisco. A dog is the most loyal companion ever. Many of the homeless are disabled or mentally ill. Helping care for these dogs helps their humans survive life on the streets. God bless this man!

23. Online personality- Juggling the Jenkins. This chick is hilarious. She’s a mom with messy hair and a potty mouth. Her honesty is infectious and her makeup tutorials are a train wreck. I love it, and I totally identify with some of her makeup or product mishaps. Check her out at https://www.facebook.com/JugglingTheJenkinsBlog/

24. Christmas spirit- Best gift ideas: The best Christmas gift is the presence of your loved ones. Enjoy it while you have it.

Best of the Year. Dec. 12-17. #2018BOTY

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What was the Best of 2018 for me?  This is a continuation.  My job and life being as they are, I’d never remember to post every day, these days.  I got this idea and the graphic from Beaton at becomingthemuse.wordpress.com

These are the best of 2018 for me, #12 to #17.

12.  Achievement- I landed my first book signing ever!  What did it take?  Well, I have entered my book in many book contests, gotten some acclaim, boosted my confidence, and….drum roll: I made the call to an independent book store.  That is what it took.  The confidence; I had to develop that.  After that, I just had to make sure to tell every single friend I had.  I was so grateful for all of the people who showed up!

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13.  Lesson Learned- I keep learning this lesson, and I put it into practice in 2017, but I kept working it this year to yield the results.  The lesson is this:  The best thing you can give your offspring is unconditional love, no matter what.  I have learned this with my son again and again.  Some will advise that I need to cut him loose as a young adult.  I do give him his freedom and space, but he just seems to not be ready for certain things.  It would take a lot of time to reiterate what he has been through in the last four years, but I’ll suffice it to say that he still is not driving since his car accident and concussion of Jan., 2017.  He rides a bike to work at a car wash, and he is happy there working around 30 hours a week.  He is appreciated by the owner and very punctual.  I am proud of that; he has been at it for a little over a year now.  He is a very quiet young man.  Some people are taken aback by that.  Just realize, some of us have an awful lot going on inside, and we have been on a mental health journey as a family to understand him and to deal with things without responding in anger, anxiety, or hopelessness.  We went together to RI to see my dad this summer, and he was like a quiet child, but best of all, he enjoyed himself in his quiet manner.  When it was boring on the plane, we played a word game app together.  I caught his cold, but I couldn’t distance him when he was actually interacting with me far more than he had in over a year.  He has grown; he likes to watch movies with me, and he listens to books on audio at times.  I believe his interests are coming back, and I won’t focus on the fact that he isn’t reading the books, but that he is developing some interests.

RIcrag.RocksBeauty34220_1369823214626_93248_n From our first visit to RI, 2010.

14. The Best blog post is by Beaton, who inspired me to join the Best of the Year posts!  It was a September blog post about the elections and resulting riots in Zimbabwe with a more recent follow up.  This just shows how the world of blogging can connect people across the oceans and in other countries.  He was out and about when the riots occurred and fearful for his safety.  How else could I know the perspective of someone who went through this?  I am really into learning about other points of view and the global knowledge one can attain through the internet.  He recently posted a follow up, to include real life photos and a Youtube clip of one of the politicians justifying their actions.  I have used and presented Beaton’s blog posts with my Journalism class,  to get their frame of mind out of their own little corner and to learn about the world.  Visit his recent post:   https://becomingthemuse.wordpress.com/2018/11/18/of-coffee-with-a-state-march-of-mind/

15.  Person you met-At my booksigning in November, I met Lena Sheqeraq, an author who writes children’s books, one of them an ESL teacher resource.  I am always glad to meet and network with new authors, and it’s great that she is local!  She even gave me the name of her publisher.  This could lead to something exciting!  I’ll let you know when I know.  🙂

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16. Business/service you started using  – Chiropractic services.  After a 3 year break, (no pun intended), I went back to the chiropractor.  I had gone for two straight years until the doctor’s frequent schedule changes disgusted me.  (My anxiety could not handle the hassle with dodging the traffic to get to his location by 4:45).  I have suffered in the meantime and was given a prescription for muscle relaxors from the primary doc.  Well, they mask the pain but don’t make it better.  So I went back.  This is a new doctor, not the one who kept changing the schedule.  I get there around 5:15, and the traffic is not bad at all.  That, and my neck feels so much better, and I am not getting sick as much.  It really is good for my health!

17.  App you discovered- The Canva app.  I have been using Canva.com on the desktop for about two years to make book graphics, blog graphics, and even one book cover for From Lost to Loved.  I was out in public one day and got a surge of creativity one day.  So I went to the Google app store and downloaded Canva for my phone.  I am still learning about it, but I love the portability, since I do post a lot of my book information using my phone.  Try it!

 

Best of the Year. Dec. 6-11. #2018BOTY

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Image from Beaton at Becoming the Muse Blog

This is my second post for Best of the Year.  My blogging habit involves forgetting for a few days, so I am posting a few days at a time.

6. Album-Imagine Dragons, “Evolve”, which includes “Whatever it Takes” and “Natural.” I am not really up to speed on new albums.  When it comes to music, I know what I like, and I stick with it.  However, I do listen to the radio at times, and Imagine Dragons is one of my favorite.  Specifically, “Whatever it Takes” is a favorite.  It motivates me and makes me want to do things, not just getting out of bed, but making a difference in this world.  I love the lead singer’s voice, and the lyrics just pop.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOsM-DYAEhY

In fact, I’m playing it right now to get my plans for the day in gear!

7. Experience- Sailing in RI.  I wrote a blog post on it this summer in July or August.  My dad and his firned in RI took us sailing past Naragansett Bay and toward the ocean.  It was a little scary, but quite inspiring.  Sometimes things that scare you can really wake you up to life.  That, and it was a beautiful day with awesome sights!

Sail37095898_10212769026329507_8157927827677642752_n  RI2018.37420295_10212814253380155_4076472461292470272_n It was sunset by the time we got back, and what a beautiful sunset!

8. Meal- Lunch in Amelia Island at a quaint little seafood place.  Sadly, I have not been trying new things much.  My stomach over-reacts to certain things, so I am pretty careful.  However, there is one meal I remember fondly.  It was a lovely day, and we sat outdoors.  I had a club sandwich with blue cheese potato salad, something I don’t eat often, and the potato salad was of a kind I have never tried.  It was scrumptious!  I was having weird stomach issues and afraid to eat seafood, but this lunch was great.  I splurged and had a lot of calories in that lunch.  The friends I went with are all retired teachers, and we were having a lot of fun that day, shopping and lunching.  Then, one of them starts throwing fries on the ground for the birds.  🙂  Those birds were having a party…

9. Drink- Orange is the New Crack. It’s kind of like an Orange Julius for adults.  This accompanied my meal at Amelia Island with my friends.  Doesn’t the name explain itself? Can you believe I only had one?

10. News Story- I avoid the news. The only news stories I can recall made me cry this year.  But I appreciate those that bring me to tears of joy and hope; one example would be the kindness and humanity that arose out of the fires in Malibu, CA in November.  People were stuck in their cars with the fire blazing around them; they could not get out.  However, groups rescued many left behind animals and took them in.  People risked their lives to help others.  One of them, a garbageman whose boss told him to cut his route short and go home, instead checked on the homes of some of the elderly residents he knew.  He ended up rescuing one 93-year-old woman.  Thank God for those with a heart!   https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/17/us/camp-fire-garbageman/index.html

11. Purchase- Gazelle.  It’s an exercise machine that does not require electricity.  I purchased it in case we had another homebound/hurricane scare this year, which I am glad to say we didn’t!  Two years in a row we had them, and I gained weight due to comfort eating.  I am at a point where I still think I look just fine, but I do not need five more pounds.  Guess what?  I use it twice a week, don’t have to brush my hair like I would for the gym, and I can read while on it in relative peace and quiet, unlike my exercise experience at the gym.  Which reminds me, I need to cancel that membership….

Thanks for reading!  In a couple of days, I will have a few more for you!