Weekend Coffee Share. Lit!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today is half-caff coffee day for me. Enjoy whatever you like, and pull up a chair for this virtual cafe-chat!

Coldplay sets the musical ambiance, and my once-again-fluffy dog wanders about, summer haircut growing out. It has been a nice, cool few days here in Northeast Florida, but today feels warmer. Still, it is lovely out. Autumn is here. I enjoyed a Thai dinner with my friend last night. The sun set through the window as we ate, conversed, and laughed. It is setting earlier these days. Sometimes that’s the main indication of a season change in my corner of the world. I’m sort of used to it. 🙂 My ‘friend’ is a young man I dated 2o years ago, and we re-connected a few months ago. I think we are good for each other at this point in our lives.

This last week was full of activity, and I’m keeping quite busy lately. I’m running the yearbook club this year, and meetings with students will start Monday. In National news, last week was #ReadaPoemtoaChild week. I have a Poe t-shirt, so I read a poem by Poe to my class, a lesser known poem called The Magician. My students loved it.

My life is Lit! 🙂

I asked a student to take pictures. The kids loved it! My teacher friend next door read a poem by Maya Angelou and dressed in a lovely African-style print, touching on the history of our nation at the time the poem was printed. She incorporated some Civil Rights background. It’s really awesome when we can all communicate and pull something together like this on our own. Sadly, so many days we’re too concerned about ourselves and what’s going on behind the doors of our own classrooms.

Still, now and then the magic comes together. So, we keep taking chances that it will work. We must try, right?

As far as writing, I am so busy with life, and I don’t like sitting at the computer for too long. There are ongoing ideas that will be finished further down the road. However, I am getting ideas for Janie and second chances, so that is the basis for my new writing idea, which is a short story, length to be determined. Janie is in my published short story of this summer called Crossroads Diner #205. Find out more about this Kindle story here, which also has a theme of second chances: https://www.amazon.com/Crossroads-between-Pamela-Schloesser-Canepa-ebook/dp/B098269VSN

Thanks for stopping by for a brief chat. I am off to get a hair trim soon. Monday is picture day at school! Have a great week, everyone.

Weekend Coffee Share, Fall Frenzy

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It’s a day for matcha green tea, since yesterday was my half-caff day. I am sticking to the green tea routine with coffee as a treat maybe twice a week. Sleep is more important to me these days.

The weather report was promising rain, but the sun has been peaking in and then fading out this morning. I think rain will come later. My week was so busy, I hardly had time to read, and writing seems to be just sporadic these days. This pandemic and my teaching job seem to cause a special kind of stress, and since I’ve dealt with stress a long time in my own ways, this was also a week for sciatica and on/off back pain. I may have to get back to using the Curable app or at least following meditations on Youtube. Yes, I have been the kind of person who internalizes stress or anxiety and holds in anger or resentment. I’ve been trying to deal with it, but then, sometimes I get too busy.

I can tell myself I have an important job, and that I am making a difference, but I have to maintain the downtime for myself. This is most noticeable with the Back-to School swing. I had summer off and dealt with a lot of things in my life, so now I’m busy again. This weekend is a respite. I saw my (new/old flame) boyfriend last night for a delicious Italian dinner, and today I am getting a pedicure. Outdoor time may be in order, since the sun is holding steady currently. I’m still relaxing after breakfast, though.

There is not much that’s interesting to share except that I’ve been enjoying my students in the Newspaper Club, who write about what they want and accept editing suggestions gracefully; boy, do they ever love to write! It’s refreshing. I’m sponsoring the Yearbook Club, and we’ll start meeting and get geared up on the 27th. Work was been hectic with grades due last Friday and then an online Open House in the evening this past Tuesday. I’m working on time-management and have a true need to work-smarter-not-harder.

I’ve been reading a fiction book about Bigfoot. I may explore the whole series, it’s kind of interesting. Books have to catch my attention these days, and it is easier for them to lose me, a result likely of the pandemic, all that is going on, and maybe because of my age and how I handle my stress and responsibilities. As I said, writing is sporadic, but last week I posted a poem in response to the Ragtag Daily prompt. View it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/09/11/a-kaleidoscope-rdp/

This morning, I received a notification from a genealogy site I belong to called Family Search. I used to be all into that sort of thing; I have a lot of family lines from different places and love knowing ‘where I’m from’ and about my ancestors. My paternal aunt lives in Utah and has been very active in searching those family roots and introduced me to Family Search. All I have today is photos, one from mom’s side and an ancestor from the Denmark line, and one from my dad’s line from the Johnston’s, a relative from England but of a line that could be also Scottish.

I love looking at these old photographs. I haven’t been as active in searching these things as I was in 2013, but they send me hints, so I know I have some living relatives who are cataloging and collecting, so it is very worthwhile for me to belong to such a site. I used to try to construct the background stories of my ancestors. I think that’s what got me started in writing fiction. Historical fiction is also very interesting to me.

Well, I had plans and ideas for today, but I don’t stick to a constrained schedule on Saturdays, except that there’s a 3:00 appointment for the pedicure. I hope you all have a great week!

Weekend Coffee Share. Where I am

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today was a green tea day for me, and very much a rest and restore day. Yesterday after work, I got a cold tea at Starbucks and sat outside, since the air was breezy and nice for a change. Their inside seating was closed off anyway, thanks to COVID.

Time to rest and restore. I deserve it. I got my exercise this morning and walked the dog for a while. The fresh air was great once again.

A post came up in my Facebook memories feed that I’d like to share. I’m sort of in a peaceful place with life and acceptance right now, but I realize I need to stop expecting something bad to crop up, and I certainly need to disengage from COVID news or mask controversy! Maybe more gratitude is what I need.

I wrote the following post when thinking of the lotus and all it represents: “Be the lotus flower and rise out of the muck. Don’t be ashamed of your low beginnings or that you were underwater last week. Be all that you can be the minute you feel the sun on your face; embrace your beginnings or your dark yesterdays, for they brought you to where you are right now.”

Yes, this is where I am today. Gratitude. I think I should ponder on that again.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Weekend Coffee Share, Outlook Adjust

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It’s nice and sunny, and I’ve imbibed cold green tea today. Bixby is at my feet, and Indie Folk music is playing, a calm, light atmosphere.

Bixby had his end of summer haircut and is cute as always…

I’ve been back at school for a week, attending meetings, taking training, and planning my classroom set-up. It appears I’ll have a lot of low level learners in addition to Advanced classes with Gifted students, so I’ll have three different types of classes to teach for English Language Arts. I’m expecting a challenge, and I’m nervous.

I can still find inspiration, though.

I still believe there are students I can reach and that I reached several last year. Perhaps I just need to believe in myself more as we start anew again with another set of students, while recalling what I’ve learned from last year’s kids.

At the back of my mind and in the forefront of the news is the COVID situation. Florida has had a lot of COVID hospitalizations in the last few months and a few deaths as well. At work, we are required to wear a mask for 30 days. I’ll do that to benefit a child. However, not all students will be wearing one, as they are not required to.

If you think these policies are sort of confusing, I agree. I’m being careful even though I’m fully vaccinated. Some vaccinated folks are still getting COVID, but I believe the symptoms are allayed in most.

On the bright side, I got together with my companion last night. He took me out for steak dinner, and I had flavored brussel sprouts on the side that were scrumptious! Well, so was the steak, and the company. 😉

My writing feels like it’s suffering. My emotions are overwrought over my struggling family member who barely speaks to me lately. My intellect is challenged over my upcoming school year. But I still find time to meet up and laugh with this man who listens and lightens my mood, and I have some dinner plans with friends for next week. All are forms of self-care.

Perhaps my writing situation is different since I don’t like to sit still much lately. Fact: I’m laying on the couch typing this on my phone. When done, it’s time to exercise. I’ve written little bits of Ellie’s story in a notebook. We adapt as needed, I guess. I also wrote about Special Family Dynamics based on reading I have done about dealing with a family member who is ill. You can view it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/08/05/navigating-special-family-dynamics/ It is based on what has been foremost in my mind lately, and I wrote it to condense things that I have learned as reminders to myself on how to manage emotionally.

Don’t worry, I’m not done sharing stories yet, fiction or non. This Coffee Share is my way of sharing little bits of my story. I thank you for reading this far. How has your week been?

Navigating Special Family Dynamics

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When you have a family member who is ill, you try to help them. You have to accept the reality of their illness, even though sometimes, they won’t. If it is your child, you must get over the self-blame.

I’ve read many books on mental illness, alcoholism, and recently, the book I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help, by Dr. Xavier Amadore. Over the last 4 to 5 years, I’ve attended meetings through NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, to learn what my loved one is dealing with and how to face it. Over the course of a week, I tried to record some of the most important things I’ve learned in order to remind myself how to deal with the ups and downs of this life.

The ABC’s of Navigating Mental Illness in the Family

a- Acceptance. It is what it is. Maybe it is a tragedy and so unfair, but it is the reality, and now what matters is how you all deal with it.

b-Boundaries. You have a right to them. I can only be healthy when I set them and require others to respect them.

c-Care, for your loved one and the others in your family.

d-Detach from the drama. Sometimes it’s not easy. Other family members may react to the ill loved one in anger or catastrophize the situation. Try to handle it calmly to be supportive, but remove yourself when it’s too much.

e-Express your true feelings to a therapist or friend

f-Forgive. Your loved one may hurt you emotionally, and may not even remember doing so. It’s hard to forget, and I don’t since I learn from each event, but forgiving is what you do for someone you love.

g-Gently voice your concerns. Hollering never got me anywhere with a sick person.

h-Hug freely, if it is accepted.

i-Instill confidence in them. Show them you notice or remember their good qualities.

j-Judge not. It’s even Biblical. I personally don’t like people judging me, so I’m working on not judging the ones I love.

k-Keep anger at bay–do not aim it at a loved one who is ill.

l-Listen openly. There are many times they may not even speak to you. Emrace the times when they do.

m-Model calm reactions

n-Never Stop Believing that it could get better. It has gotten better many times, and I try to forget that it could go downhill before getting better again.

0-Offer a listening ear but do not offer advice. Don’t speak to your loved one like an expert.

p-Practice Self-Care (Part of NAMI’s protocols and many other support groups)

Q- Quit blaming yourself. I think this could mess up a person’s personal balance of boundaries and caring for the individual who is ill. You’ll be more respected if you have boundaries, in my humble opinion.

R-Reject Stigma. I got this one from NAMI’s best practices, and it comes down to dealing with our own shame over our loved one’s illness. Do not allow others to belittle or mock their struggle. Accepting the stigma sort of feeds our own shame. I second-thought my decision to share this post, because I’m aware of the stigma. Yet, I know this post may encourage another who is dealing with a similar situation.

S-Show your love. There are ways to do this confidently and reassuringly without fawning over them and while maintaining boundaries. I constantly remind myself of this. Examples: “Next time you come over, please check the time. Midnight is too late.”

t-Try to empathize. It’s hard, but I think it really helps.

U-Understand, it’s the illness, not them

V-Validate their struggle. They are fighting a serious battle daily. No wonder she/he is acting like a jerk or waking up in a bad mood. They are struggling. Validate their struggle and acknowledge their bravery.

W-Work together as a team. This is still a goal for me, but my other family members and I are getting better.

X- eXhibit bravery. Soon, you may believe it. I constantly tell myself, ‘be brave,’ and it helps me.

Y-You are not alone! Seek help.

Z-Zone: Find a safe zone where you can express the truth of what’s going on, a friend, clergy, counselor, etc. It’s also helpful to clue you work supervisor in on the general situation as it could affect your attendance in the future.

*I’m sure some of these repeat themselves, but I have my favorites, and I have the ones I must remind myself of constantly. This is why I put it into a format, and the ABCs are, of course, quite simple. Keep it simple would be a good one as well, but it never was simple; maybe we can try to make it simplified, though.

You can find information about NAMI at http://www.nami.org.

The Alpaca “Shag.” #RDP

In what is sounding like a peaceful, ambient track in my head, I’m remembering my day in upstate New York at the Lazy Acres alpaca farm. The tour is one hour and starts with loads of facts about the raising of these lovely animals as well as a tour of the shearing areas and barns on the property. One such fact is the shearing of the alpacas once a year, to control their wooly shag, as it is much warmer in this climate than the climate of their ancestry.

Set in a green, hilly area of upstate New York, Lazy Acres alpaca farm is lovely, and the animals are quite peaceful. We explored the farm on a beautiful, 75 degree day that felt like Spring to me (a resident from Northern Florida). I’d been visiting an old friend that used to work with me in Rochester, and found out my cousin was in the area. So, we arranged to meet her at the alpaca farm as well as her son, his wife, and their family.

A muddy walkway covered by wooden planks led to green pastures. It had rained profusely the day before. However, the sun shone brightly on us, and the visit was worth the muddy shoes. Our tour guide, a young college girl, told us that alpaca are not as agressive as lamas or camels. I found this to be true. While feeding them, I felt the alpaca’s teeth graze my hand, but not even in a nibble; it was just accidental as their lower teeth are in an underbite.

Baby alpaca!

The children on the tour (I think you’d call them my third cousins) were quite engaged and interested. We grown-ups were charmed as well. The animals let us pet them as well as feed them. When the food ran out, they did, of course, lose interest. Not surprising, right? 🙂

I highly recommend such a tour for anyone who needs a brief escape from the worries of their life or just an escape from the rat race. Children who love animals will find it quite engaging as well! One of the alpacas had MIA on her tag, so I started calling her Mia. I assumed this alpaca was female, it answered to Mia anyway, and I could pet her after my food was gone. Though, maybe it was because my friend had some food left….

It makes me wonder what it would be like to only be concerned with only the most basic of needs: eating, digestion, shelter, family. The cares of the outside world, the ‘rat-race,’ cannot penetrate their peaceful exterior. My favorite alpaca, Mia, was actually quite a ham 🙂

Unbothered. 🙂

This was a perfect day!

*The Ragtag Daily prompt is given daily. You can find their site and today’s prompt at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/ragtag-daily-prompt-thursday-shag/

The alpacas were my first thought when I saw today’s word prompt: shag. 🙂

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, Of Fire and Water

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. After a matcha green tea, I am taking my time this morning. Why? Because I can. 🙂

It is Fire Week in the Soul Coaching book, which involves stepping out of the usual routines. It being summer, I get to step out of my work routine anyway! One new addition to the routine is walking 5 miles on Tuesday evenings with a Meetup group, traipsing through neighborhoods I don’t normally frequent and seeing wonderful new sites. I do know one person in the group, but taking these walks is a new thing for me, and I love it!

Strange angle, but I had to catch that awesome sunset too!

There has also been plenty of time to rest, take my time, and live in the moment. If that is the water part of my life, it is a slow-moving, lazy river. I love those, and they certainly represent living in the moment. It is such an important thing to do, isn’t it? Of course, we may not be able to do it all the time. Still, living with uncertainty with all of the shake-ups and changes in my life recently has made living in the moment necessary at times. I have to maintain the balance.

Bixby does the dance of ‘living in the moment ‘ so well!

In honor of Fire week, I wrote a post with a poem all about fire and what the flame means in regards to moving forward. You may view it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/06/23/respecting-the-flame-poetry/

Perhaps I will blog more on my journey through the Soul Coaching book, if the spirit moves me. It has become a welcome routine every morning with a long, drawn-out breakfast. When it is done, I’ll be changing up my routines again. I actually worked on writing the Ellie book this week. There will be more of that to follow!

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

Weekend Coffee Share, Of Sunrise and 1,000 Mornings

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It has been a green tea day for me. Enjoy whatever beverage you like! “Caution” by the Killers is playing in the background, a lively, hopeful tune.

This past week, I had an opportunity for walking the beach with a good friend. I’m still reading the 28 days of Soul-Coaching book, so maybe it colors everything I see, including a gray day! On Beach-walking: “The skies above may be gray, but my feet are grateful to be grounded on cooler sand and pavement today as I connected with the earth while beach walking with Judy.” She and I just talk and talk, about anything. It’s awesome and we enjoy it!

Morning Beach-walking with my son, circa 2006.

On the subject of mornings, I have found that I’m regularly waking up this summer before 7 a.m., due to the angle of the sunlight through my window. It peeks through the slats in my blinds and comes through the sheer curtain that hangs there. I don’t mind it, because at other times of the day when I am in there, I find the sunlight cheering. Not only that, but it will be helpful to be used to waking early when I have to go back to work. I’m not really a night owl anymore. I’m probably healthier this way anyhow.

From a poetry book I just finished reading, titled 1,000 Mornings by Mary Oliver: “…who would cry out to the petals on the ground to stay, knowing as we must, how the vivacity of what was is married to the vitality of what will be? ” This poem was called LINES WRITTEN IN THE DAYS OF GROWING DARKNESS. I’ve been pondering a lot about my past and the changes that have occurred in my life, how everything happens for a reason, and I’m trying to make those reasons positive, not always easy, right? I’m also discovering that there is a Season for everything. You have to see it for what it is. I’m still working on that, and can’t really be any more specific at this time. 🙂

My house is still too quiet at times though. I am not working this summer, so it really is noticeable, the absence of my son. July is travel month; that will be sure to help. I am still catching up with old friends, which is very fulfilling. Sometimes you can easily be open and honest with someone if you’ve known them a really long time, no matter how long it’s been since you conversed.

Mom had a cataract surgery this week, and I drove her. It went smoothly, and she is noticing a difference already. Her appointment was really early Wednesday, so when we returned home, I slept a lot. The silence is good for that, but it still seems too silent for me. Bixby seems to have adjusted. I just have to keep busy with reading, writing, reaching out to people, etc. That is the plan.

In the writing arena, I have been working on a short story for publication in early July. It is going to be part of a contest. I will definitely let you all know when the publication date comes closer. The book about Ellie is in my mind, but I haven’t made more progress yet. I decided I have to outline the ideas, and I likely need a full-throttle coffee day, since I have not had one in a good while. Then I could possibly work on it for several hours. It just may tickle the muse into inspiring me!

That is all I have for this week. I’m still getting a lot of down time and relaxation, and I’m sure that is just what I needed this summer. I hope you all are doing well and will have a great weekend! Happy Father’s day to those who are fathers.

You may visit Natalie’s Coffee Share and view those of others in the blogger community at http://natalietheexplorer.home.blog

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?