Weekend Coffee Share, Shifting the Perspective

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Traveler at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2021/03/26/5-themes-for-a-fun-week/ . The day is warm, and the coffee is on ice. Agnes Obel croons in the background to increase a calm, cool, collected mood. It has been quite a week.

I am not only dealing with rambunctious kids overwhelmed by the scent of Spring , the encroaching state tests, and my own allergies, but some family stress has given me hard lessons in parenting. You do know that once a parent, you are a parent for life, right? It is so hard to stand back when they are going through a hard time.

You cannot create peace in someone else’s mind. You can only be an example of how you will not let their sparks of agitation burn your calm down.
It is exhausting to think and not react, to feel love even when you feel spit on. It’s also hard to let go as a parent, and to acknowledge the hurt and the love you feel, leaving space for both at the same time. Suffice it to say, I felt disrespected by my adult son (24 going on 12) and told him to save up, he had two months to move out.

He decided he would apply for an apartment right away and try to move out next week. He has his eye on some cheap apartments just down the road. He will have to ride his bike to work, as he has not gotten his own car since the accident that totaled his car and gave him a brain injury three years ago. He does need to experience true independence, so I know I cannot talk him out of it, and part of me does not want to. Yet part of me does, and I am not listening. I start to worry.

Worry is one of my traits and character flaws. It is distracting from real-life tasks. I am working on meditation. Trying not to ponder too much on whether he’ll take his meds as needed and be careful where he goes, eat healthy and live a healthy life, not the partier lifestyle. I could worry on any little thing, so the meditation is pretty necessary for me right now. I have an app called DARE (an app that addresses anxiety), and there are some really helpful meditations or information sessions there. Worrying about the future is a waste of time.

Flashback photo. Many cherished memories!

I am not just a parent. I am a writer, which is mostly consisting of blogging right now, and that’s just where I am at the moment. In looking at my life right now, I have to shift the periscope for another perspective. I am an English teacher of middle schoolers, and I mostly enjoy that. Still, I have to make myself remember the good that I instilled in my son, and believe that all of it will overwhelm the headstrong stubbornness of a young adult. While I have expressed that work can be stressful, I always try to maintain an accepting atmosphere in my classroom and to build relationship, to know them and make them feel part of a community, and that can be so rewarding!

It seems I may fail with some, but others, and even some whole classes, seem to feel the strength of community or at least appreciate my efforts. I believe in them as well. Some are so brilliant! At times I make corny jokes and tell them the teaching platform is just practice for my future live comedy career. 🙂 I can get going and talk fast, I always thought it was anxiety brain but my doctor thinks it could also be an attention deficit. I talk about these things with some of my students. Many of them know what these issues are like. Perhaps I can be a good example of functioning regardless. (So I hope). 🙂

When I relate to my students, I sometimes forget my worries. I get the feeling of being a stepping stone and learning experience in their lives. To let them know I’m glad to see them, I use my imagination and call them my little rays of sunshine, bright shining moonbeams, dragons, or butterflies. (Their choice). Some do not identify as the assigned gender. I have had to learn this; It is 2021 and I’ve been teaching 21 years. Things are different now. I must be mindful of whom I call a boy or a girl. So I’ll say, ‘Boys and girls or NBs (for non-binaries), listen up!’ They approve. I purposely called someone the wrong name who just laughed, then I started adding the wrong name behind his real name, and he just laughs.

Yesterday, I had another student request that I add a syllable to their name! I thought it was sweet, a way I can make someone feel special. There are some really bright kids in some of my classes, but they are all special, just in different ways. So, of course I’ve added a syllable which happens to be what her dad calls her, so she likes it! Now I have more to remember. I’m always trying new things to be sure I challenge the brightest gifted children while using strategies to motivate those at grade-level or just getting there. It’s safe to say, they challenge me as well. I appreciate that; my job is not boring, my life is challenging and motivates me to wake up daily. Those who may misbehave at times also challenge me to always show acceptance, one of the most important things in life.

Not only that, but the Newspaper Club I am sponsoring at school provides an outlet for ideas. It seems to decrease the burnout I could get from FSA test prep and prescribed teaching methods as well as antsy Springtime behavior in middle schoolers.

I feel I have digressed, as I often do. It’s just that, these extra syllables and NB nicknames as well as the bright students are giving me good moments that will become memories during the challenges of my life….as well as lessons learned. It is a wonderful life when you can teach others and keep learning from the experience as well! Maybe it is actually possible I am reaching these students socially and emotionally and building an accepting community. So now let’s shift the periscope again to another perspective that can also be viewed brightly: I have many reasons to be grateful, and raising a son who has been a challenge is just one of them. Maintaining an accepting relationship with him but giving independence shall be another, I am sure.

Smile and think of mad possibilities when you’d rather give up and take a nap.

Thank you for reading my Weekend Coffee Share! Writing is so cathartic for me. I also love poetry, where I can just feel things and be completely metaphorical if I like. Maybe you can tell by my love for butterflies and dragons. 🙂 I can be either, depending on my mood. I am allowed. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Weekend Coffee Share,  Not a Number.

My regular coffee buddy!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Traveler.  After some stretching of tired, sore legs, I did some work related things on the computer this morning with the dog by my feet, matcha tea in hand. Work is weighing on my mind. Not only is our state planning to do state testing,  but they are asking teachers to come up with all sorts of extra ideas to make up for losses through the pandemic.

I feel I have made progress with learning to know my students and to make them feel understood. I also teach English Language Arts, a subject in which texts can have multiple interpretations.

I feel a little stressed, maybe the students do as well. All that matters is that they do their best. Most of what I write in these last weeks is short bursts of emotion. I’ve penned my thoughts for students during this era, and I’d like to share.

Dear student,

You are more than a test score. You are a moving ecosystem full of brain networks and emotions,  and yes, personality. While preparing for a test and doing your best can reflect your brain ability and even what kind of person you are, those few answers you got wrong on the last test do not devalue all of your efforts and hard work. Nor do they hold you back from doing better next time.

You are much more than a test score. You are your determination and fortitude that got you this far through a pandemic,  some of you going through quarantine or illness of family members. You are your force of will that got you through the hard times, your personal and spiritual growth (even when nothing makes sense) that moves you to do the right thing and treat others decently and try your hardest, even at things that only pay off in the future and not now.

You are your strength that helps you to never give up and keep on trying even when it seems impossible.  That is the most anyone can ask of you.

Signed,

A Tired Teacher in the COVID era

***It’s Saturday, and I promise to do nothing else work-related today. Now I’m heading out for a long overdue pedicure.

Their Gift. #poetry

Their Gift, (c) 2021 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

The butterflies float in as if on wings of a dream

Gentle, colorful, flying free.

The dragons are solid and walk in with a smile, golden-eyed, shaking their scaly tails…they are strong protectors, ready to defend.

We try to forget that we sit behind screens and talk through masks, I envision a magical landscape of pretend.

The moonbeams are also here to inspire as a muse, shining in the dark…never to be invisible, for they would refuse. Quiet and calm, yet a source of light.

The shining stars are here, tranquil or verbal, they will not be smothered, you can’t dampen their might

They keep us all awake and make the future landscape bright.

Signed,

A busy, inspired, challenged Middle School teacher navigating a pandemic landscape.

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Of Literacy and Creating Community

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, and top o’ the mornin’ to you! I just had my matcha green tea, since yesterday was coffee day. Pull up a chair and grab your favorite beverage. My fluffy canine companion might even make an appearance!

I feel hopeful this morning. The sun is out, and it looks like Spring! We do get those starts and stops with Spring in Jacksonville, Florida. I also slept well last night! I socially distanced by eating at home, intended to watch some Netflix after making a review quiz for my classes and speaking to my boyfriend, but fell asleep before turning on the TV. I didn’t miss much, and I sure need more sleep lately!

A quiet night was a welcome balance after a busy, boisterous week as a middle school English teacher. My observation was this week, there was also a full moon this week, yada, yada, yada. I survived. Did you know this past week was Literacy week? Well, we had a little fun, and it makes working during a pandemic much more bearable.

My coworkers are the best!

I found out late about Literacy week, so I spread the word to my grade and subject co-workers to wear animal print or animal themed clothing on Friday, stating that we’re “Wild about Books, Reading, etc.” I made a little 3D book for some of my grade level cohorts to wear. It was fun telling the kids why we did this and getting a smile or chuckle, especially from the ones who also love reading! One of my new coworkers who has been stressed lately even said that it made work feel a little better today, and I’m so glad! We are creating a community, with each other and with our students.

I know there are some I’m not reaching yet, but I have whole classes that are kind communities. Was it my doing? I hope that it partly was. I’ll definitely give the kids some credit. I’m starting the Newspaper Club this week and so excited! I even bought a newsprint mask from Etsy! I know, I’m such a dork, but let’s make dorkhood cool…Why not?

So, at least I’ll be using my writing talents in some way: to inspire others. Maybe to also create community. It’s all a work in progress.

Interestingly, I forgot to mention the negatives, only that my week was busy. I forgot my moments of anxiety; they rolled right off my back. I feel like I can overcome anything!

Take care my friends, be safe, and have a great week!

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Business as Usual? Nope.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! I’m posting a little late, but I already got in my Saturday exercise. That’s a good excuse right? My drink is matcha green tea today, what’s yours?

Having had my exercise means I got some fresh air for at least 30 minutes, and it’s a nice, mild 70 degrees, so I’m dreaming, dreaming there’s a little bit more sunshine, and the world has returned to normal. Dreaming that I could be at an outdoor music festival today, smelling fried food, hearing loud echoes of the music of my choice while I sit back and lose track of time, feeling the rays of sun on my face.

But things have not gone back to normal. I’m teaching in the midst of a pandemic, sleeping horribly, and lacking focus to the effect that it’ll take 5 plus years to write another book, and I get so distracted when reading. I’m not my usual self. I still find things to laugh at, though. I’ve always been a survivor. How do I thrive through this, though?

1/20/21 My coworker & I in our pearls honoring the first female Vice President!

I’ve been trying to show more appreciation to those I love and to my friends and co-workers who lift my spirits. While being careful with teaching around kids, I’m trying to help start a new club at school. There are lots of sweet, awesome kids also in school during this pandemic, longing for the social-emotional connections they miss. While I want us all to be safe, I hope we don’t have to stay home again to do it.

I’ve been prepping all week for my yearly observation like it’s business as usual, and I’m feeling positive about it, because some kids still love to learn. I see some kids acting out at school, though. I hear the frustrations of new teachers, and I sometimes struggle to react positively. That’s where I’m at right now. Sometimes, dark or absurd humor helps.

Despite feeling a sort of writer’s block, I do write poems now and then in certain bursts of reaction. The most recent was in response to something I’m planning to teach next week. Please visit the post and read my short poem: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/01/18/day-and-night-poetry/

I love teaching poetry…one more thing to be positive about. Despite arthritis flaring up in my hand, I’ve been able to type this post. I was able to go over a mile this morning. Our nation had a peaceful Inauguration Day! Let’s focus on what’s good today. I hope you all are well, and taking any bad news that filters through in stride. Have a great weekend!

Day and Night, #poetry

Day and Night, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2021

“I am rest and respite.”

“But I am energy and light.”

“You are dangerous and fiery hot.”

“So, I make plants grow, and you do not.”

“Don’t be so sure, for I inspire the tides.”

“Well, I inspire humans to come outside.”

“Must we fight to have a place?”

“Well neither of us should feel disgrace.”

“Perhaps we should just compromise?”

“Yes, yes, that would be most wise.”

“So, it seems now that we agree.”

“Yes, humans benefit from both you and me.”

“Who will rule at what time? I just don’t know…”

“Of course, an unbiased decision, so let us go ask the crow.”

Off they went to clarify,

The crow, without chaos, would decide…

And today, we have both the moon and the sun

For we could not survive without either one.

* A poem inspired by “Animal Wisdom” by Nancy Wood. Based on the line, “Darkness and light settled their differences.”

Weekend Coffee Share, Of Anachronisms and Wistful Wishes

Happy birthday, Joan of Arc!

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.

Staying COVID-safe.

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.

Weekend Coffee Share, Getting in the Spirit

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. Pull up a chair and your favorite beverage!

It has been a long week, but I survived it and this weekend, I know there’s no need to set an alarm Monday! My grading is done, and I already have some ideas for my lessons in January. It is a good feeling to finally be caught up!

Things got pretty intense this last week. My boyfriend had sinus symptoms ten days ago, and Saturday he called to tell me he tested positive for COVID. I freaked! I was supposed to drive up to meet my brother in S.C. to get my mom and bring her back home…but not in the midst of COVID cases exploding around me! My son also had a cold. After two days, he said, “Nah, I’m getting better. I don’t need a test.” I thought he was being way too headstrong and stubborn, but he kept sounding better day after day. I was, ironically, lucky my boyfriend did not see me the weekend before last since he went to see his dad in Georgia. Therefore, I was outside of that rule “Have you been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks?” Otherwise, I’d have to quarantine away from work for two weeks.

My significant other and me, circa 2018. He’s not a vegeratian! 🙂

Things are much better. My son’s cold is almost 100% gone, and my boyfriend tested negative for COVID yesterday. So, I’m going to pick up my mom Weds. I’m not too keen on driving in South Carolina during holiday traffic, sometimes I get panicky due to a car accident in 2016, so I’ve asked a friend to drive up with me. She said yes, thank God!

All week at school, the kids were a bit more excitable than usual. Friday, my plan was quite simple: discuss if you would choose either a pause or a reset button on life; explain why, creatively. Then, design/color an ugly (or wonderful) sweater on paper. The standard? “We can co-exist harmoniously.” I challenge anyone to prove to me that is not a legitimate standard in this day and age. I mean, they had to share crayons. The discussion in some of my classes was GREAT!

It was ugly Christmas sweater day, but I don’t have one. So, my Christmas dog mask had to suffice. 🙂 I was tired, but I’ve been tired almost daily for the last few weeks. Those kids kept me awake, though. I have to admit, the students I teach are pretty great. Sometimes, full of too much energy, but they’re good kids. Friday was fun, but it went by just fine. I was given a few nice gifts from the kids that included gift cards to places I love. At the end of the day, one of my female students surprised me and hugged me. She said she was sorry about COVID changing everything and hoped I had a nice Christmas. We don’t hug these days; I was surprised. But I did not shoo her away. There is such a delicate balance between human connection and COVID safety that makes these times hard. I’m not worrying about it, but I worry for those who really need that human connection.

Christmas 2020!

Yesterday (Saturday), I acted as adult chaperone for kids in National Junior Honor Society as we rang the bell for Salvation Army collections. It’s the first actual holiday event I’ve joined in, being so cautious and having slight COVID anxiety. This is always a fun event, as the kids are great and very civic-minded. Several of the students were in my class last year, and some I had taught two years ago, so it was nice to catch up. I was still a little tired, though, so I left when my shift was over at 2 p.m. and at home, got the first nap of my Winter Break!

Some relaxation is certainly in order! Stay well, everyone, and feel free to visit Allison’s blog and join in the Coffee Share today or in future weekend shares, https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2020/12/18/weekendcoffeeshare-relaxation-life/

Peace!

Best of the Year! #BOTY2020

     Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Season’s Greetings whatever holiday you celebrate and where!  2020 has been quite a year. I would say my proudest work accomplishment this year as a Middle School English teacher was putting a focus on Socio-Emotional Learning in my classroom by trying to learn what personally motivates my students with various learning abilities from standard, advanced, to gifted learners.  I’m working on building community.  One personal achievement I reached this year was maintaining a connection with my students during COVID lockdown in Florida from March to June.  I would say that it was really rewarding during a time of uncertainty.   

      

Teaching during COVID Lockdown, Spring, 2020.

                       

     This year, I published one book titled Malachi, Ruse Master. It is not specifically sci-fi, but focuses on a character that connects to characters and events in my Detours in Time series.  I really enjoyed writing this one, getting into my character’s head and writing about the struggles of finding your identity when you are a young adult. He works in an unusual job that serves to help him discover many things about himself and his own ethics. If interested, it is on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX

 In 2020, I suffered a frozen shoulder and recieved physical therapy for it. I’d been through PT at the end of 2019 for my back and still use some of the principles and exercises I learned. The shoulder recovered, I’m glad to report. In the process, I read and discovered a lot about how our mindset contributes to pain. Some of it is automatic and takes much work to change, but I am working on the mindset constantly. There are many people who helped me and worked to understand me this year, and I am filled with gratitude. I am trying constantly to extend my circle of gratitude for every little thing someone does for me or every attempt at understanding me. It makes me smile more, which makes people respond more positively to me. It seems to pay off for everyone.

I wore my pearls to honor RBG on voting day, 2020!

COVID anxiety has been a struggle for me, but I’d say it comes and goes, and staying busy or exercising seems to really help.  I struggled with anxiety and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder even before COVID became a concern for the United States this year, so fortunately, I was already working on the problem before lockdown occurred and cases skyrocketed.  It’s odd to say, but the diagnosis came right on time. I’ve read and studied many books on the subject and took an online CBT course this year.  I feel that knowledge and acceptance of our own flaws are both very important.  One thing I do regret is my lack of focus, which really got worsened from COVID lockdown.  I am able to focus on my work but cannot seem to focus also on writing a book.  Never fear! I have an idea in the works, but it will take longer than my former books.

My social life has suffered probably as much as anyone else’s. I have a writer friend I would invite to the house a few times over the summer for coffee and a chat, distanced, of course. My boyfriend and I maintain contact and even went to socialize with some of his friends outdoors on their patio this summer. I had two Zoom meetings with some of the ‘gals’ from work, one of which carried on into a FB group video chat and included some fun app affects!

At least I have my family, I have an understanding significant other, and I have some longtime, trustworthy friends. My mother has had an extended stay at my brother’s house due to COVID concerns, but I am getting her this week. My 24-year-old son and I have been co-existing gracefully, and he is becoming such a generous soul. I remember his teen years, ugh. He certainly has had his own struggles and still has some effects from them. Still, he is finally growing into the person I’ve been trying to teach him to be in the most important ways: gentle, generous, kind to his family members and not so self-centered.

 My biggest lesson learned this year is that our mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. It immensely helps a person’s mental health to tell someone about what is bothering them. I have a stressful job, and just discussing with my boss some of the things I have to go through to get organized and handle certain situations provided such a relief. My anxiety, especially in the holiday season, hits at unexpected times, and I’ve even explained to some of my classes that I feel claustrophobic if too many of them come up to my desk. It has helped. I also cannot concentrate if two people ask me a question at the same time. In my everyday life, I’ve been practicing not keeping things in and speaking my mind in a calm manner. 

I also asked for help, unashamed, from a good work friend before taking the drive to South Carolina. When asked if she’d ride along with me and maybe take turns driving, she said yes without hesitation, looking forward to time away from ‘mom’ duties. I am so thankful! Having her to talk to on the way up was great and kept me calm when I went 20 minutes past the exit for I-95. We laughed it off and kept on going. When traffic was congested in South Carolina, as usual, I said, “I hate this road,” and she said, “It’s okay, we’ve got this.” It was very helpful, as congested traffic makes me feel boxed in, a result of a car accident I had in 2016. Why am I not over that? Why ask why, just make adjustments as needed.

I know there is a little risk involved there.  So, appropriately, my favorite song of the year has been Caution by The Killers.  Okay, it’s a love song, but I want to love my life and ponder predominantly on the positives, so it works! The beat and the lyrics are so inspiring! 

So, I say, speak your mind, throw caution to the wind! Take a risk.  The worst that could happen is that you may not feel accepted by that person, in which case, they don’t deserve your openness. Talk to someone else, then. You will soon find someone who has felt the way you do at some point in their lives. So, I have learned to own my life, my personality, and not be ashamed to share what it means to be me. I may not be able to travel right now, and life and activities may be COVID limited, but I am still going to grow. 

This Best of the Year tradition was first brought to my attention by my global blogger friend Beaton. You may visit his blog at becomingthemuse.net and his Best of the Year at https://becomingthemuse.net/2020/12/17/what-2020-taught-me/ You are invited to share your own, and use the hashtag, #BOTY2020.

In my tradition, I wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and Best wishes for 2021!

Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Weekend Coffee Share. These Strange Times

The center of my life, lately,  is work.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. I have my cute canine right by me. Pull up a chair and your favorite morning beverage!

I know it’s a frequent topic, but foremost in my mind right now is work. I mean, I can’t focus enough to really write much. There’s an idea on my laptop with 3, 000 words written, and I’m just taking my time. Sitting at the computer for too long bugs my back. It’s okay, I’ve accepted that I just need to be more active right now.

Consider that, from March to June 1st, I was on lockdown,  teaching from home, at the computer most of the day. I was so afraid when told we had to go back to in-person school,  but now I see it was the best for me. I see how it benefits the students as well.

Lately,  COVID cases are really rising,  and I personally know someone who has COVID. It makes you think about things. Of course,  I’m careful, but still…the COVID anxiety is real. All of this makes me wish I could hug my students.  Some of them are really special, and with all that’s going on, I just want to be a positive for others.

Of course, there are times I’m just so tired or times I’m really nervous,  full of anxious worry. But this attempt at positivity is helping that; sometimes it works to replace that anxious mental energy.

In these strange times, it makes me want to be sure my last words to anyone are kind words, or at the very least, to leave the impression to this person that I accept them fully.

I am trying not to suffer in boredom or feel trapped. Exercise, focus on work, and trying to meditate, these things are helping.

I made a big deal over a student who designed her own mask. I’ve written on a few of my plain white masks, because to me, they are just a blank slate. Added to that, is the fact I can’t wear beautiful silk masks anymore. They hamper my breathing, they make me feel hot, and heaven forbid there’s a hot flash! The cotton masks are more comfortable. Permanent marker stays on them after a washing and won’t smell so toxic afterward.

At any rate, this student wore a really colorful mask one day, and I asked her to do one for me. She uses gel pen, dark colors, then washed it and they turned to pastel. I love the effect, and she was so pleased when I gushed about it. Truth is, it really made me feel special, too, and I’m grateful for that feeling!

These odd times may be hindering our activities and goals, but we can still connect with people. Despite being unable to hug or give high-fives, I believe this is possible.

Please don’t think I’ve got it all figured out. I’m still in training to be the person I want to be.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and thank you for stopping by my corner of the world!