Weekend Coffee Share.  Let Me Introduce You

To me… Every week on Saturday, bloggers participate in a Weekend Coffee Share. It is now hosted by Natalie the Explorer at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2021/03/05/doors-in-morocco/ I join in this worldwide, virtual Coffee Share almost weekly. Since I am joining a new group of bloggers, and you, reader, may not have been here before, introductions may be in order. You see, Weekend Coffee Share can help fill the need for social connection during the COVID lockdown and social distancing era.

Last Saturday (or the week before) Iwelcomed readers in to my imaginary cafe complete with fuzzy dog, sun through window blinds,  and Nina Simone playing in the background. If we had just met in this cafe, you’d likely see me writing, as I am working on another book when the muse (and my focus) revisits me. How would the conversation go? (Please don’t mind if I assign you a part in this play):

“What are you writing?” You’d ask.

“Oh, just notes, ideas, reflections on my sleep schedule,  what’s working and what’s not, same with managing my anxiety…what’s working and what’s not. Ideas for my book in progress and some observations that could one day become stories or books.”

I realize you might wonder why I just told you all that. “I’m not ashamed of my struggles, but I guess some of that was all TMI.” I chuckle, as I’m older now and worry much less about being judged.

“I’m a writer too,” you say, “here on Spring Break.” When asked, you tell me you’re from Massachusetts, not surprising due to your accent,  which is great, because, I tell you, “I’m sort of from New England.”

“What do you mean, ‘sort of?'” you ask.

“My dad was military, so we moved from California,  to Illinois,  to Minnesota with family,  to Iceland,  then Virginia,  then here. Everyone says I sound like I’m from New England. Lived there from age 5 to 8.”

“Do you work another job, or just write?”

“I teach middle school, and have done so for twenty years. I write when the spirit moves me, which, these days, is sporadically. My focus is not as good as it used to be, but I sponsor a News Club at school. I love encouraging kids to write!”

“What else do you do?”

“Well, I enjoy time with family,  I have a twenty-four year old son, and my dog. Having a social life is rare these days with COVID.” I  smile under my mask, using my eyes. You are young,  and I  can’t tell if you’re male or female,  not for sure.

Your coffee is ready. “What is a good thing to do while I’m here?” you ask. “My friend will be here to meet me in a few minutes.”

“Go to the beach. The water will still be chilly,  but it’s really pleasant for a walk right now. Great for people-watching,  too. We’ve got some nice national parks with trails,  too. I’m overdue for a beach walk. Whenever I go for one, all worries disappear…I become a happy idiot.”

Circa 2006.

You tell me that sounds great, but you’d prefer to play some beach volleyball with a bunch of co-eds. Then your friend arrives, a young woman, probably also in college.  I’m amazed at how much I’ve told you. I’ve come a long way since college. I still don’t know your gender and decide that it doesn’t matter.

“Thanks for chatting with me, Ma’am,” you say, as I cringe. I don’t want to be a ma’am, as if I’m responsible for what you think of me, and you’ve decided to be ‘carefully’ well-mannered around me. As if I could be your mother. (Oh, guess I could). I’m still not Southern like that. Your friendly chatter was good enough for me.

“Just call me Pam.”

“Okay,” you say. “I’m Joe.”

Or was it Jo? Short for Josephine, like in Little Women? Oh, what does it matter? I could have asked, but it didn’t matter. I just enjoyed the company.

Fictionally and virtually, it has been nice meeting meet you. I hope we meet up in this ‘cafe’ again. If not, I wish you the best in your journeys! Today, it is dreary outside, and after a great night’s sleep, er…read that as passing out on the couch after a crazy, loud week-before-Spring-break teaching week, I am enjoying coffee with creamer after my cereal with blueberries and banana.

Feel free to peruse my blog to find out about books I’ve written, and if you check out my prior posts, you’ll find some interesting reads about my journey through health , anxiety issues, life changes, reaching students, family co-existence, fun with my dog, mental health (my own and my loved ones), etc. My journey is a path to a good place, and I want to be a voice that reaches other voices who may have felt the same, may need commonality, may benefit from my honesty, or may tell me what works for them.

**My title is a reference to my current favorite song, Caution by The Killers. Partial lyrics:

Let me introduce you to the featherweight queen

she’s got Hollywood eyes but she can’t shoot what she sees….

I’m throwing caution, what’s it’s gonna be

Tonight the winds of change are blowing wild and free…

Fearless, it what that song says to me. Though it seems to be a love song, the speaker wants to make a change, and “get out of this town.” You certainly have to be brave and honest with yourself first to make a change. For me, dropping caution means to end fear about sharing myself, my story, or my heart with others. Be brave, know yourself, and be yourself, without shame.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

#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, My World

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, where we sit and respond to the ideas that form in our minds, accompanied by the cutest mutt at my feet and David Bowie music in the background. I think it’s a nice little coffee shop, personally. I’m drinking green matcha tea, but you may have your drink of choice. The sun is up, and I’m feeling bright today!

A new day is dawning! There are a lot of changes in our nation coming up, and in my mind as I navigate my health. I try to deal with the worry; it’s a little chaotic, but one can choose to harness the chaos in order to create or destroy. I have new ideas and hope something is going to pan out at work. This would be a bright spot in my work-week while we grow closer to testing season, which, as I live in Florida, is sure to be thrown at us like it’s business as usual despite the COVID pandemic. You know state testing is a money-making venture, right? (*This is not necessarily the opinion of my employer; these are my views alone).

Meanwhile, I am investing in the socio-emotional aspects of teaching and my students’ needs. I’ll admit, there are some I don’t reach, but most of my days are pleasant despite the chaos of middle-school changes. We can harness the chaos and use it for good! I believe that. I will present the proof when it presents itself, LOL! Still, believing it is keeping me going right now. At home, I am keeping up with exercise, eating healthy, and filling up my mind then learning to tune it down when it’s time to relax. I’ve found working a puzzle keeps me from worry, and good thing, because it’s hard to maintain a social life during the pandemic.

Yeah, I haven’t perfected it yet. This week I’ve been making up creative projects for my Highly Advanced and Gifted kids based on Fears and Phobias or Animal Wisdom. It requires some work time at home. I’ll work a little more on that while the ‘cafe’ is quiet. My dog deserves a walk later though, and I could use the sunshine.

I may have mentioned before that I have a little bit of writer’s block lately. I am dealing with anxiety and ways to tune down the noise when I need to sleep. Journaling helps me release frustrations, and I am not at the point where I can share all of this or convert it to cathartic fiction, though I believe that may happen one day. I did write a poem based on fear and how it blocks our creative energies and ability to be there for others or to show love. You may read it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/the-occupation/

It’s quiet in this cafe right now except for the music playing and the occasional pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor. Right now, Harlem River by Kevin Morby is playing, a new song I discovered by accident, a little jazzy, bluesy, and sultry with electric guitar in the background. Check it out! I’m typing while it’s quiet, but I look forward to your shares of what’s going on in your world. Have a great week, everyone, and be optimistic. Change can be a great thing, and if it’s not, we will adapt until change will come around again!

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!

Weekend Coffee Share: In Dreams I can Fly


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. There is a fuzzy dog at my feet, and my mug contains matcha green tea, a ritual I follow three days a week in my attempt to be ‘awake but not wired’ and to ensure that coffee doesn’t interfere with my sleep later. Enjoy whatever beverage you’d like for our little chat!

Today I want to talk about dreams. Some nights I don’t have them. Other nights, I wake from a dream and think about it, then I start thinking about work or bills or, you name it, my thoughts start racing. It’s handy at 5:30 a.m., when I would soon be waking, but it’s agonizing at 3 a.m. However, I’ve noticed a recurring dream and wondered how it fits in with my life.

This recurring dream subject is the dream where I am lost on the streets of my city, trying to find my way home. In one of them, I am with my son as a child. In a more recent one, I am on my own. In each, my goal is the same, and I am completely unfamiliar with the streets I roam. They seem a little dangerous, or maybe they’re just different to me. In each dream, I entrust myself to strangers I meet on the street to help me get back to the main street and find a central point with which I am familiar. Some of them seem unsavory characters or street people, maybe young ‘thugs,’ but that is just a stereotype. All of these people help me and prove to me I was right to trust them. This certainly applies to my life. I’m learning.

****From the website https://realdreaminterpretation.com , a site heavy in Jungian psychology which earns points from me, I found these quotes helpful:

The problem of a dream like this is that you cannot find your way home.  The meaning of the dream lies in the symbolism of home and your inability to find your way to it.

The Symbolism of Home and Your Conscious Attitude

Our home symbolizes our whole situation in life, meaning our entire system of adaptation to life: our relationships, our motivating forces, and in particular, our dominate attitude.  By attitude I mean it in the way C.G. Jung defined it:

  • our habitual point of reference toward life
  • how we respond to typical life events without even thinking about it” (This hits a nerve, as my fight-or-flight tenses me up so often, automatically)

‘If you feel anxiety in your life (Duh, have you met me?), then now you know where to look for the problem. It has something to do with home and finding your your way into yourself.  If you do not feel anxiety, then the unconscious says, “Okay, there’s something wrong here and you don’t see it.  You haven’t found your way home yet.”

This dream image of lostness is an archetypal image: lost in the world.  It’s part of the Hero’s Journey. Anyone who takes the road less traveled will certainly  find themselves in this lost state. It’s the only path to your true self.  If this is you, then be happy that you have lost your way, even though it’s scary.”

****

Finding my way home for me could mean writing; it could mean writing the truth instead of making up fantastical stories, or it could mean just getting back to writing , as I have a sort of writer’s block currently. It could mean striking a balance between my traits I’ve developed to protect myself and those which move me to be fearless at times. I’ve spent years trying new things; perhaps that was just part of the journey, and now I’m figuring out which of these things are for me and which are not. For instance: getting a dog (keep), certain extra volunteer work responsibilities (lose or shuffle), my job (keep for now) :), teaching during COVID (well, I’m still doing it), church volunteer activities (not doing much in that way currently), writing (not doing enough of it), health and exercise (Yes, girl, keep it)!

Here’s the thing, if something does not feel right for me, such as, I feel controlled, feel boxed in, or mistreated, it is not my home. At my heart and soul level I have to lose or be rid of that thing (such as my former marriage). However, being who I am, I normally beat around the bush, negotiate, ask for small changes, and still suffer when I know I am not at home in my heart. Well, I have made such a move recently, and I feel so at peace. I’ve also been talking to people about my perception and my needs, and it feels great. It is the trusting I’ve done.

Part of trusting is trusting yourself. We’re normally ashamed to tell anyone we feel twisted up inside, but when you do so, and they hear and understand, you have also trusted the world and trusted you will handle it if they break that trust. You’ve put your truth out there, and if the world wants to judge you for it, that’s their problem. Remember the lotus? It’s even stronger because it struggled through the mud to bloom and become a beautiful flower. Lotus is a constant returning symbol that I use in my mindset. Let me tell you, as a writer, I am putting contents of my mind out there constantly…and every time I read Bad Boy by Walter Dean Myers where he bears his heart in his life story, I am encouraged to share my stories, and I feel a little more fearless.

The future is bright, my friends. I will find my way home, and it may be an atypical home, but I will feel at peace there and won’t hesitate to tell you about it.

Thank you for stopping by! Weekend Coffee Share is a global once a week event where we share our thoughts, lives, and progress with other bloggers far and wide. I know my share was a little specific; I’m just proud I was focused on something! You will find good people from all walks of life through the coffee shares, teachers, bloggers, writers, poets, community activists and you will be heard. Check out Allison’s site at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/weekendcoffeeshare-catching-up-2/#comment-12672

Have a great weekend and even better week next week!

Yada, yada, yada #RDP #amwriting

Monday. I’ve got this!

I woke up and ate breakfast.

Not once did I worry.

Even though I started to get ready, yada, yada, yada, I took my time.

Ever since I got to work, yada, yada, yada.

Dropping papers, yada, yada, yada…

This too shall pass.

Other than that, Monday is passing.

Right now, I’m cheerful

Even though it’s Monday.

Look, we can do this,

Alright?

X Marks the spot. Sign in. Yada, yada, yada.

**Posted in response to the Seinfeld-ish word prompt found at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/09/14/rdp-monday-yada-yada-yada/

(This was fun)!

A New Alliance. #flashfiction

FFfAWLouiseStoryTellersAbode

Photo credit: Louise at Storyteller’s Abode

A New Alliance, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2020

She walked over and Henry bristled. “I’m here to be alone,” he said, curtly.

“Oh, I’ll just have a seat. You won’t bite. I can tell. Your body language says it all.” She set down her huge bag and sat, carefully holding her dress down. “You’re definitely overdressed.”

“So are you,” Henry said, realizing he’d been sized up. He moved his equally stuffed bag to the other side.

“How long since you cut yourself loose of your chains?” She asked.

“A year,” Henry replied, smiling. He thought he’d figured her out. “How about you? A pretty young woman, walking the beach, overstuffed bag. Do you sleep here?”

“Do I look crumpled and wrinkly? Of course not. This is how I pass the days. Two years.”

“Sorry, no offense.”

“Okay. Are you free for lunch?” She replied.

“Why not?”

Two years and twenty beaches later, Henry was still wandering the shores with Kaitlynn.

**A repost from my archives, from the challenge hosted by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/fffaw-challenge-week-of-may-23-2017/

#RDP The Path Ahead

 

asphalt dark dawn endless
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

(c) 2020

The path ahead is clear

I see it in front of me.

I don’t know which turn to take

I don’t know exactly what to do;

but I do know I will just

move forward.

 

*PS- The nation is burning, many Americans are angry and hurting, and I am feeling that in my heart as well.  Still, my words are scarce and my mind foggy. I do hope you find some meaning in the poem.  I have been dealing with pain again and just saw the doctor days ago for a more specific path to healing and improvement.  I will follow his recommendations and report back.  I tend to put these things off, but I’m glad I finally sought help again.  My unclear thoughts needed the free frame of a poem today to express myself. Thank you, RDP!

 

Weekend Coffee Share, It’s a Wonderful Life, 5/30

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.

It’s going to be a warm, beautiful day here in Northeast Florida!  I’m having hot coffee anyway.  Grab a cup of whatever you like, and let’s chat.  Last Saturday was not a Coffee Share day for me, as my internet was being a butthead, in and out, and slow as molasses. Instead of a Coffee Share, I posted an entry on writing about 9-11 and COVID-19 in my most recent published book, Malachi, Ruse Master and my current work in progress. You can read it here:  Writing Our History into Our Fiction

Learn more about my recently published book here:  bit.ly/RuseMaster

Farewell to another school year

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Things got really weird after Spring Break, I have not actually seen my students except in online meetings.  We’ve bonded, though. I tried to get created and learned about some new sites that are interactive for learning material. I tried to stay positive and was so glad to see or speak to them when they showed up for online lessons.  Some students never did because they were on a different sleep schedule. For the ones who did, I said “Thank you for showing up.  It gives me purpose!” Which is true.  I told them about my birthday the day before, which also fell on the last day of school.  Two things to celebrate! I made a video of myself waving good bye to my students and holding signs. I will miss them. I have learned a lot from this online experience that also gave me time at home to CHILL out and relax when needed, something I am working on and hope to master by the fall.  🙂 Anyway, at my school we would always walk to the buses at the end of the day on the last day and wave goodbye.  Here is my short video imagining they are boarding the bus and I am bidding them farewell:    https://youtu.be/9wleXNNYI1s   (I shared it with them in our online learning Team).

Happy birthday to me...

Ah, life.  So I have completed another year of middle age, or, maybe I’m past that? I don’t know, I don’t care.  I may have some complaints and recurring pains, but I’ve learned that a silly sense of humor is a great way to deal with the unpleasant parts of aging. I thank all of the women in my family for infecting me with that attitude.

My son took me to Outback last night for dinner! We went early.  They have certain tables blocked off to help social distancing, and the wait staff all wore masks and gloves.  It was reassuring.  My boyfriend came over for a celebratory drink, and he and I will have dinner tonight, place TBD.  A really rewarding part of my birthday was yesterday, getting a lot of well wishes from my students.

 

Our Nation and Our World

My heart goes out today to those who feel marginalized, profiled, or judged before they are known.  It gladdens me that one of the officers was arrested in the death of George Floyd.  But to think that it took the viral sharing of the video, or the many protests, is just sad.  We are all Americans. When someone says, Black Lives Matter, it is because of the frequency of these events, and the need to reiterate that thought. I don’t think cops are bad people; nor do I think the police system is racist, yet, many of them feel they are allowed to pre-judge and mistreat others. Why is that? I also don’t think anyone of any color or nationality deserves to be treated as if they have no rights or even ‘less’ rights. I could go on and on.  Let me just quote someone more eloquent: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr).

How does this affect me?  Let me admit that I have grown up with white privilege, and I saw racism in many places. Being a kid in the 70’s and 80’s, I was around friends who would say horrible things about those of color without a second thought.  I didn’t speak up as often as I should, and for that, I apologize.  I often have not known what I could do about this; I am shocked that the mistreatment is still going on today.  I guess I am just going to start by admitting, I realize my white privilege. I see those who are marginalized, I realize it is still happening.  One more time, America:  “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”