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

Ambivert/Dog-Lover Achieves Rest and Relaxation. #Weekend Coffee Share.

wp-14855605417165476489527823452667.jpg

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. I hope you all had a Merry Christmas or happy holiday, whichever holiday it is that you celebrate.

I’m listening to The Driving Song by Widespread Panic. Their music just flows for me. I listen to one of their albums in my car a lot, and one song seems to flow into the other, yet each one telling its own individual story. Some of the songs are very visual, and I can just picture stories based on them. I find their music relaxing especially when I’m driving, because driving can be kind of stressful for me and traffic gives me anxiety. But their songs make me feel like I’m on the open road, on a clear, sunny day, traveling aimlessly. Right now is a good time for me to listen, since I won’t be able to travel anywhere for a few months.  Listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XleAMV-W5C4

It being Winter Break for me, I have been getting a good amount of relaxation. I’ve caught up on my Netflix shows, even watched the choose- your-adventure Netflix episode / movie (Bandersnatch) yesterday. Wow, what a mind-bender. Quite intriguing. As a creator of fiction, it really appealed to me. I also finished season 3 of Travelers and have gotten some reading in. Heck, I even made it to yoga twice this week. Yeah, I’m a little sore due to that, but only because I am not used to it.  We’ll see how next week goes. 🙂

Since I’m saving money after the Christmas bills I just paid, today is sort of a hang- around-the- house day. I left for an hour for a church rehearsal of a skit we’ll be doing tomorrow, then I came back home.  My canine companion is glad to hang out with me me and loves having the company at home. We did give him a Merry Christmas present by taking him to the dog park on Christmas Day, and let me tell you, there were lots of interesting dogs and dog owners there on that day. I love the park we go to, and the people who go there are always so nice. I can’t say much for my dog’s behavior, though. Not as polite as I’d like. He’s only on week 2 of dog obedience class, so I guess we’ll give it time.

Doesn’t this face look innocent to you?  I love that little ruffian.

On the writing scene, I have re-edited my sci-fi book, Seeing Through Samson’s Eyes and have put it on a site to distribute to Barnes & Noble, apple, and Kobo. It is still available on Amazon as well. I actually enjoy going through to re-edit and polish it, because it is a story I enjoyed writing, and I like to revisiting those characters. Check it out at https://www.books2read.com/u/b5rd51  or you can get Amazon information on any of my books at https://www.amazon.com/Pamela-Schloesser-Canepa/e/B01E0KV716

I’ve come up with a few more ideas for Malachi, a character from my book Undercurrents in Time and I wrote a few of them down. I bought a little notebook to get organized as far as my chapter concepts. But I feel like I have not written very much for it. I have crossed the 20,000 word threshold though. I just plan to give myself time on this one and meanwhile ideas are coming to me for other books. Maybe that’s what right now is about, because my arm and shoulder have been sore lately, and I know sometimes I just need to take a break. I use ice now and then, but it’s hard to type at that point. So I will just plan and let the ideas speak to me. Maybe right now I’ll just give myself time to listen.

As far as writing, I don’t think I have been as attentive to my blog as of late. However, I did join in a blogger’s challenge that I discovered on Beaton’s blog, Becoming the Muse. It was called The Best of 2018. I wrote about some of my better experiences of this year. I would love it if you gave one of my posts a visit.  You can find one of them here:  Best of the Year 12/12-17 or here: Best of the Year, 12/18-12/24

RIcrag.RocksBeauty34220_1369823214626_93248_n Rhode Island definitely featured a prominent place in my Best of the Year!

I have had a wonderful holiday with my family, and this has been a peaceful, prosperous year in which I have met a few of my goals.  I wish you all the happiest New Year possible.  Thank you for dropping by and sharing a cup of cheer with me!

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

Blog#BOTYezgif-com-gif-maker-4

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. 12-17. #2018BOTY

Blog#BOTYezgif-com-gif-maker-4

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!

CanepaBookSigning45274028_10213512221228915_802157444007460864_n

 

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.  🙂

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

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

Blog#BOTYezgif-com-gif-maker-4

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!

 

Best of the Year, December 2018 Blog Challenge. #2018BOTY

Blog#BOTYezgif-com-gif-maker-4

Online graphic is from Beaton’s blog, Becoming the Muse.

Thank you to Beaton at becomingthemuse.wordpress.com for making me aware of this blog challenge! Since I have arrived late to this party, I will have to do this my own way. I am no good at posting daily these days. I have missed the first days, and some of these require me to really ponder my answer. So, I will try to present a few of my entries 2 to 3 times a week. I hope this does not disturb the universe. Yes, I totally stole that one from T.S. Eliot’s poetry, and I have a few others I like to say at random times. 🙂 At any rate, here are my Best from numbers 1 to 5:

  1. Movie- Rental: Arrival. This one ‘arrived” on the scene in 2016 and came to me via Netflix DVD, because I have a really hard time getting out to see new movies, what with writing and the like. It is sci-fi, but it is a thinking movie. There is a mystery to solve; you have to pay attention. It also can be quite touching and powerful. Amy Adams’ performance was moving and emotional. Loved it!                                    Movie seen in the theater: BlackkKlansman. The acting was awesome, the plot intense, and the subject matter, heavy. I saw it with my young adult son, and we both loved it and appreciated the message it gave. It was wrought with irony, and sometimes we laughed. At times, I cried. We walked out of that theater, the two of us and everyone else, in silence. The ending was so disturbing in drawing a comparison between 70s/80s Klan activity and racial attitudes to what has gone on this year. Kudos to the director for his raw honesty.
  1. TV Show season- Season 2 of “Travellers,” available on Netflix. Superb acting and great writing, despite just a few plotholes. This was a total time travel indulgence for me that had me binge-watching for days. It got me through a sinus infection, and I probably laid around more than necessary, but hey, I was entertained and definitely hooked!

3. Fiction book- The Watchmage of New York, by C.A. Sanders.

The Watchmage of Old New York by C.A. Sanders

It’s magical and has a little of a Neil Gaiman feel to it. It’s the turn of the century, there’s a detective solving crimes, and not every character you encounter is human. Absolutely loved it and highly recommend it!

4. Nonfiction book- Untamed, the Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island by Will Harlan

Untamed by Will Harlan

I found this woman to be quite an inspiration. She was totally unlike me, but thank God there are people like her. She fought hunters and poachers on the island to protect birds, sea turtles, etc. She would raise a gun to them and defend the island to the death. She was no quitter, and I found that really admirable, as well as finding her strange habits interesting, if not to my taste. (Roadkill just doesn’t appeal to me) 🙂 There were also many chapters that included far out scientific facts about sea turtles and other secrets of nature.

5. Song- Man on Fire, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. I love this band and have for a few years. They are so natural, free, and loving. In the videos, they look like a bunch of hippies who have gathered in a park to have fun and sing some tunes. Love seems to flow through the smiles of the lead singers. What’s not to like? That, and Man on Fire is downright inspiring. It gets me going when I feel tired in the morning, making me want to go out and use what talent I have to inspire and to love others. I just discovered it this past year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08WeoqWilRQ

Thanks for reading! My plan is, in a few days, to post my Dec. 6-11 Best of the Year.  How about yours?