Weekend Coffee Share, Family, Friends, Food, and Art

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Pull up a chair for a coffee chat!

It has been a busy week with my health goals and work. My personal time mostly involved paying bills and trying to consciously relax myself in order to sleep at night. Part of that process has been essential blue oils and breathing exercises. One night it all worked, the next it didn’t. The night I added yoga to the mix made falling asleep easy! I still woke up way too early, though.

Of course, waking and then tossing and turning is a result of my shoulder issue. However, Wednesday afternoon the orthopedic doc gave me an intra-articular steroid shot through into my shoulder joint. Well, the next day I could move it more, and my spirits sure felt better! I’ve been assigned to 5 more weeks of physical therapy.

Hopefully, it all works so I won’t need surgery. Good thing I did get some relief, because Friday, I coordinated picture day at school. It was quite a busy day, but I had some student helpers and other staff also helped. I was glad when it was over!

My son is starting orientation for a new job Monday. Such happy news! We celebrated with a good dinner Thursday.

Besides having my son’s job to celebrate, I’m glad to report that this weekend was packed full with activities designed to de-stress and relax me!

Saturday was a great day for a massage; I started with green matcha tea and juice, ending the day with a dinner of Japanese Hibachi with my boyfriend. Sunday, I had brunch with some gal pals, and it was scrumptious! I hadn’t seen some of these ladies in a few years, so it’s great to have a regular brunch meetup with them now. I had quiche, grits , salad, and an indulgent cup of coffee ( a rare treat for me these days)!

Yum! “Broads Who do Brunch!”

Later in the day, I had the honor of attending the Van Gogh Immersive Exhibit. Our neighbor got us tickets. It was a beautiful, touching experience, and I’m so thankful I got this chance!

Beyond Van Gogh, in the Jax Downtown Immersive Art Space.

I hope you all have a great week ahead!

Weekend Coffee Share, 7/11. Black Lives Matter; Love One Another

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  If we were having coffee today, I would savor half-caff with cinnamon creamer and honey, because there are some days I don’t even drink coffee anymore, but rather I drink the Green Macha Tea. I know it gives me some energy and is healthy, but it sure isn’t coffee!  Even the half-caff gives me noticeable effects these days.

A friend shared with me that today there is a challenge for families to use their chalk art to express that Black Lives Matter.  Since I have invested in sidewalk chalk and playdough in my attempts to rest my shoulder from repetitive stress and save the writing for another time, she saw the art I did about a week ago.  So, despite the fact that I am not a high class artist, but rather a person who likes to express myself and keep my hands busy, I have participated in #families4blacklives.    My mother helped edit my neatness and my son approved of it.  🙂  There is still time for you to express yours if you feel so moved!

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Yes, all lives matter, but Jesus told us “Blessed be the poor.” We replied, “Shouldn’t we just bless everyone, Jesus?”  To which he just shook his head.  African Americans have been subject to slavery, Jim Crow laws, and just plain racism since around 1600.  I did not draw what I did to be political, but rather to be supportive. Love is not political, after all.

My dog has been climbing into my bed in the middle of the night a few nights in a row.  The excessive sunlight, COVID anxiety, hot flashes, or teacher anticipation stress regarding the approaching school year have been making it hard to get back to sleep after the restroom wake up in the middle of the night lately. Let’s not forget my shoulder, which prevents me entirely from sleeping on the right side and requires me to only sleep on the left.  As a result, my left leg feels tense and it seems like sciatica is trying to creep up again. A visit to the chiropractor two days ago seems to have helped the sciatic nerve and leg.

My shoulder has been making great progress. I am still seeing an orthopedic surgeon hoping he can tell me more about my MRI results and what the best or worst case scenarios may be.  Physical therapy has helped it immensely and I’m doing the assigned exercises at home.  My reach with that shoulder and arm is much better, and I’m happy with the results so far! We’ll see what the surgeon says. In addition to the arm and shoulder soreness, I have an issue with my hand that feels arthritic. Yes, I got a steroid shot, but it seems to have worn off.  Ever moving onward, I shall never give up!  So much for limiting my writing.  My hand is ready for a rest now.  It has been good to catch up!

I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend and a great week to follow, whether you are in the house, out at work, busying yourself with art, writing or other creativity or working on whatever you need to do.

Weekend Coffee Share, The Mentors

 Pixabay photo.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share. Please fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster ride as I will stop to acknowledge those who take their time to help our young people. Thank you in advance for joining me.

While I sit waiting for a pedicure at a busy nail shop, I wonder what good it was to make an appointment for 10 minutes ago. How do women handle sitting tbrough a pedi and then a mani, too? Do they know I’d rather be writing? Sorry for the gripe; I am rescued by the WordPress app on my phone! So, I’ll spill my thoughts to you.

I am happy and sad. Happy that people are downloading and listening to my audiobooks! On my WP home page there is a link to them and all I’ve written. I’m happy I had a nice holiday with my son and my boyfriend. Happy my son could attend an art show with me last night at a Wine Bar. The artist was my friend, and I encouraged my son to try and be social. We had a burger first, and he had a beer, which gets him talking, to me at least. 🙂 He is in a good place and loves his job.

I’m sad because, over the last two weeks, two great men lost their lives to battles with cancer. One had served an example for my son in community service at our church, and the other I’d known 19-20 years as a co-worker. He’d helped my son with Math, been a good listener as a co-worker, gave great parenting advice, and helped countless other kids. I feel grief but also gratitude for his presence in our lives. God put these people here for a reason. It’s sad to form the words you wish you’d spoken while they were living, I’m working on a poem in honor of these great mentors and friends, not the first we’ve lost, but very important.

Poetry, The Mentor, (c) 2019, Pamela Schloesser Canepa

What do you do when your mentors have all passed?

The last just left your life…

Do you become a sad shell of what you once were?

Do you strike out in anger, that life is so unfair?

Or do you rise up and recall all you’ve been taught?

Do you remember, and in remembering, wish you could say thank you?

See the many ways that you can say thanks, long after the great ones have left you.

Live your life in remembrance of all you have been taught.

It’s not easy, but your life is your ‘thank you.’

Live it well.

Shout to overcome the void, lest the void might overtake you.

This is how I deal with the negative feelings I’ve held in so long. My shout may be touching, it may be ugly at times, but I seek good health and have suffered the affects of holding in anger, grief, worry, fear much of my life. I believe this habit can be retrained. Thank you for joining me, maybe it was kind of weird…How was your week?

How Much Do We Need Community?

What do a recent rap song, Johnny Cash, the movie Fight Club, and the Bible have in common?  A post on society and the ones we love.

“No man is an island, entire of itself…”  – John Donne.

This quote has stayed with me for over twenty five years.  I have used it,  in conversations, in my classroom.  I have felt it, when I was in my third year of college, after transferring to a university from community college.  Classes were huge, and I felt very alone.  Over the years, I learned the value of forming friendships for many different reasons, to handle difficult situations at work, to enjoy life a little more, to have someone to talk to, or to share a value with others (such as charity, faith, volunteerism, recovery).  People go to many types of places to feel a part of a community:  hobby/enthusiast groups, church, bars.  That’s quite a variety of places, but a lot of it starts because we need someone to talk to.  Some of us are fortunate enough for it to happen in the workplace.  It sure makes working a lot more fun.  Some are not that fortunate, and have to seek other places like the aforementioned.  I imagine, in early civilization, hunter/gatherers survived cold weather and wild animals better if they banded together to survive.  Farmers usually rely on a community to get their work done.  They have to get along to get things done together.  I look at these huge farms in the Midwest and I know just one man alone could have never gotten all that done.  Community seems, to me, to be a key to survival for mankind.

The Christian Bible preaches the value of community.  I made a promise to myself to use or read the Bible more often during Lent this year.  It’s not too much of a cheat if I found relevant verses in an online subject search, is it?  From http://dailyverses.net/community : “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 | NIV

Since the Dark Ages, even earlier, people have gathered together to appreciate art, music, and Literature to enrich their lives and minds.  I am seeing that as one way we “walk in the light.”  We still gather to do these things.  Sometimes we just enjoy them in a solitary way.  I don’t mean to contradict myself here….

Or, take this Bible verse about supporting each other, maybe even inspiring one another to be better people:
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”  Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
But yet, there is plenty of fuel to fire the opposing argument, that the lone wolf is that way because he chooses to be because he is totally independent.  In a current, popular song, that I just heard for the first time today while switching stations, by G-Easy, the lyrics go like this: “It’s just me, myself, and I/ Solo right until I die/ Because I’ve…got me for life.”  I at first thought the song might be a little narcissistic, then I watched the video (uncut lyrics).  It depicts a star who really struggles with himself and the fame that has come to him, perhaps realizing his large number of false friends.  Perhaps that just comes with fame and riches.  I may never have that problem.  I’ll admit the lyrics are catchy.  I was drawn to them after hearing Jonny Cash’s rendition of Empire of Dirt, a song that could make me cry on a gray day.  Similar themes, but quite a switch!
And then there was an article shared by a Facebook friend today as well, titled “Why Millions of Men Lose Friends in their 20s,” available at http://www.vice.com/read/why-men-lose-friends-in-their-20s?utm_source=vicefbus which totally touches upon the subject as perhaps not always being  a choice, or sometimes being a regrettable one.  “As we get older….we might start to wonder whether there’s a reason most wolves hunt in packs.”  As if most men interviewed by the writer seemed to acknowledge that life would be easier if they had a “pack.” By the way, the falling away of friendships in your 20s happens just as much to women.  But it was good to read from this perspective since I get concerned about my son in his young adulthood and his lack of community or even any concern for being part of a community.
Of course, modern technology makes it easier to do everything from the confines of our home, even conversing with others (through our acronyms, LOL). Thereby, it decreases active participation in a community.The quality of conversation has really declined, BTW.  🙂 On an average day for many, our survival involves sitting in our cubicle, pecking away at a computer under artificial light.  Hmmm…I am getting an image from  the movie Fight Club!   Ed Norton or Brad Pitt with a shiner, what a way to fight the artificially lighted cubicle!  The word “club” stands out here in my mind, almost as much as Brad’s shiner.  His character started out as a socially awkward young man, feeling withdrawn from society.  Modern culture seems to perpetuate that.  We were all so much thicker skinned in the past, but we did it through community and teamwork.  That was a key to our survival as a species.  It is even helpful today.  Without it, there may be many lone wolves, but I doubt their descendants will go too far.
I’ll put this in my own personal terms.  Sometimes I need something to do that I know will benefit someone else; that gets me away from selfish concerns or worries.  Or I need to talk to someone about anything that will get me out of my head or my worries (that sometimes can chase themselves like a dog chasing its tail).  I know community is a key to survival.  I also love my lone wolves, especially since my son is one of them, and I know he needs love and acceptance, even when he accepts it so tentatively.  I think they have an important place in our community, if for no other reason than to fix things, build things, produce art, Literature, or music to make us think or help us escape. Then there are also those who think up the theoretical ideas, yet can’t talk in a social setting.  They are still invaluable.  Perhaps the lone wolf is, at times, an inspiration to the broken-hearted or newly single?   They’d never admit it, but in some way, they do need us.  I just hope they realize they mean something to the rest of us.  Yet, I see that I have to accept anyone’s choice to be outside of community.  So do we just leave them be?  As a mother, I adamantly say, No.
I just hope our lone wolves realize they mean something to the rest of us.  Yet, I see that I have to accept anyone’s choice to be outside of community.  Take the example of my son.  One may speak to him and get very little reply.  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect you.  It’s just, you may have interrupted a thought process; he may have to work hard to switch that off.  But he may have really needed those kind words, even if you got very little response.  You see, I’ve been working on understanding this.  His mentor that we knew from church was learning this.  One day, he told me, “I got a smile and a chuckle out of him today.  It was a real smile!”  Yes, I believe it was.  Sometimes that’s all you get.  God bless him for trying.  Maybe we can’t change a lone wolf into a social being, but just let them know they’re loved and accepted.  Awkward can be awesome.  If we are truly a loving community that will survive together, we should be checking up on our lone wolves, and embracing those Emily Dickensens and Van Goghs, long before they’ve left us with nothing but their art or interesting memorabilia collections.
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