Weekend Coffee Share, A Time for Every Purpose

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Join me for your favorite beverage. It’s matcha green tea on ice for me. Let’s chat a while! Bixby may even visit at some point.

I found no flourishing mushrooms this week. 😦

I had a good walk yesterday morning in search of my morning coffee at my neighborhood Starbucks. Alas, only their drive-through was open, so I made it a more exercise- focused walk and iced some coffee when I got home. I’m sure it’s due to the recent surge of COVID cases. Their inside cafe was open when I went two weeks ago.

Just like everyone else, I’d like these COVID surges to be over! Our president has it, one of my friends came down with it, and a few other people I know are coming down with colds and sinus issues. I haven’t been around many people this week, but when I’m back at school I’ll be surrounded by students. I’ll have a mask handy for times I need to work more closely with students.

Green tea brewing in the 🌞.

No flourishing mushrooms were found on the week, just one, solitary, disconnected individual. Maybe they aren’t getting enough ground moisture. It has been hot daily until the rain. I frequently make sun tea; the above photo is green tea brewed in the sun. Would you believe the lawn was just mowed 5 days ago?!

Friday, it felt like 103 degrees. Today, it is similar, but there’s a 100% chance of rain later, and I welcome that! I’m getting a massage later, and I’ll do some reading, maybe also a little writing. It has been a slow writing week, but I’ve slept in daily, relaxed, and got some exercise. A chair yoga class on Wednesday gave me a great upper body stretch, something I really need more of in my weekly routine!

Tuesday, I joined my boyfriend for Trivia. We really enjoy it, even though we haven’t one yet. 🙂 Last night, I had dinner with my mom and a neighbor at a cute little Thai restaurant. Our neighbor is an interesting and well-traveled woman, so the conversation was great! That, and I love Thai food flavors. 🙂 Mild spice, please.

That was my week in a nutshell. I hope all is well in your corner of the universe!

Weekend Coffee Share, Waiting for Brighter Shores

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It’s a full throttle coffee day, as I have grades to prepare. My son just walked Bixby, who is feeling a little lonely lately.

My mother has been sick with COVID and is isolating herself, so Bixby feels really lonely during the day when I and my son are at work. I have been worried about her, but she’s getting better. I hate seeing her uncomfortable and unhappy. She is a lively woman who likes to go places and socialize with friends. She just wants the sickness to be over and done with. It was last Saturday she got the results. I know she can’t wait to go out to dinner again or go to exercise class with her friends.

Monday, I stayed out of work and got a COVID test as well, but fortunately, it was negative. So I had a four day work week, but I still felt so stressed and overwhelmed by Friday. I have a lot to do today, but I took some time to go eat some barbecue with my son last night. It was enjoyable, and I’m glad we did that. I’m grateful for the time I can spend with him.

So, that’s the state of our world right now. We do have some sunshine today in Northeast Florida, and I’m thankful. The light is coming in little by little, and Spring is on its way.

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

Have a good weekend, my friends. Hold your loved ones in high regard and hug someone today.

Weekend Coffee Share, Old/New

Coffee with in house-entertainment! Bixby with his new toy.
Antique – Image by KL Caley

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. On a mild weather day that feels like early Spring, watching my dog ham it up with his play toy, I sip a Starbucks blonde roast and in true T.S. Eliot fashion, I ask, “How shall I spit out the butt-ends of my days and ways?”

Truly, it is one of my favorite quotes from Eliot’s poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, so please indulge me. Sometimes I’m not sure what to write for the Coffee Share, (I get tired of saying what I did each day or all week) so I looked for inspiration today, and remembered the Eliot quote from a poem he wrote 50+ years ago. The photo is from the #writephoto challenge that has been around a few years, and it is now shared and hosted at the site https://new2writing.wordpress.com/category/writephoto-challenge/ . I have used the hashtag and challenge before, thought it’s been a while. However, today’s concept is quite fitting.

In the photo, old furniture and collectibles sit together in what may be an antique shop. Being an allergy sufferer, I’m seeing lovely things but imagining dust. My mind says, ‘Out with the old, in with the new’….but only with moderation. Keep what works, and throw out what doesn’t, right? At any rate, some things are old but worth keeping, and sometimes what is old for one of us is new for another.

In my life, I started out last week feeling very confident, then it ended with some stressors with my job and extra club responsibilities. I’m sure it will work out. I’ll just focus at the positives. I am encouraging young people to write, and how could I do better than that? I also have opportunities for creativity, something I must have to thrive in a job. I am a nurturer and a creative. These opportunities at my job are important, since my son is grown now and my parenting is more hands-off, as should be.

My family life is slightly stressed, as I have an uncle who recently passed away after a COVID hospitalization. May he rest in peace. Relatives have told us he didn’t wear a mask in public and wasn’t vaccinated. He was almost eighty-years-old. My son has been sick with cold symptoms but tested negative for COVID, thank goodness. My boyfriend has been really sick with similar symptoms and is now better. I’m just carrying on. I did get my booster shot just over two weeks ago. I will mask up when I am moving around my classroom or sitting with students to help them.

Writing has been sporadic for me, but I wrote a first draft of Janie’s story that gives a little closure for her, so that’s something new. Janie is a character from my published short story, the eerie Crossroads Diner #205, which is on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B098269VSN and won Honorable Mention in a short story contest from Rave Reviews Book Club. My boyfriend was the one who encouraged me to continue the story for Janie. There are other characters who deserve their closure: Cowboy, Maria, Raul. I’m getting ideas! 🙂

Truly, writing is something that should remain new, with a constant flow of ideas. Ancient stories can always have an appeal. So, ‘out with the old,’ in my wishes, will be the writer’s block and the feeling that I don’t have time to write or market anymore or the feeling that I don’t have the energy, confidence, or ideas to still actively BE a writer. In with the new: ideas, energy, and spirit! I’ve decidedly recently that I should use my energy spurts efficiently to save up for retirement time, when I use my well-deserved rest and relaxation, keeping a balance, of course.

So, today is a day, one day for rest and relaxation. I sleep late, take my time with breakfast, go to get Starbucks coffee with my son. I’m seeing lots of binaries here. Work/rest, Old/New, Maintain/Release. I guess that’s where I am. My son and I are about to take the walk on a mini-trail hike, an old practice we haven’t done in years, so we need to make it new again. Have a great weekend, everyone!

**You may find out more about Natalie, our host of the weekly Coffee Share at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

Weekend Coffee Share. Where I am

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Weekend Coffee Share, Lounging Around

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, Spring break edition! It’s a beautiful Spring day, my porch foor is wide open, and birds are regaling me with their song. My dog even slept late today! I must confess, my Spring Break has been more Emily Dickinson-like than Kerouac inspired.

Allergies have kept me indoors for much of the week. Being off work has allowed me a lot of time to nap, thank goodness. Being an educator, I am pretty careful and got a COVID test Tuesday. The results were negative, so of course, I am just having an allergic reaction to the exuberance and re-birth of nature. It is getting better, otherwise my porch door would not be open. Still, I’m sort of regretful that I could not get out and enjoy nature much. I won’t let it weigh on me too heavily. I’ve had coffee with honey several days this week, knowing that it would not overtake my lethargy, and I was right!

Yesterday, I sat out in my yard, half in the sun, half in the garage, with my loyal dog at my side. He loves to sniff the smells of nature, and today, he is listening to the birds on alert mode. Maybe he can interpret their song?

I did do some reading this week for a book club I participate in; the book was Of Mice and Men, a re-read for me. It’s fairly short, a plus for someone whose focus is challenged like mine is; it’s rough when I’m juggling the teaching requirements, and it’s rough when my sinuses are affecting my brain. At any rate, I love Steinbeck’s descriptions of the countryside, and it is interesting how a dream and a goal could keep an easily agitated man (Lennie) focused. This book could be interpreted so many ways, and I recall how the ending bothered me when I read it as a teen. Steinbeck threw quite a punch; he is an excellent writer.

It has been about a week since I worked on the Ellie novel. You can imagine how unfocused I have felt all week. Still, I am not out of sorts. All things must take their time: allergic rhinitis, writing a novel, pollination of our naturescape. I have a photographer friend who takes marvelous photos of bees, flowers, and landscapes, so I’ve been enjoying those sights from afar. I did write a short poem mid-week in response to the #RDP word prompt: Pursuit. I chose a minimalist approach. You can view the poem here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/03/08/in-pursuit-of/

Upon feeling a little better yesterday, I made an appointment and will get my COVID vaccine shot today; I just have to drive a little further. My voice is still raspy, but I do not feel feverish, congested, and lethargic like I did days ago. Hopefully, the after-effects won’t be so bad, but I am sure more rest will be in order.

Once I am fully vaccinated, I plan to participate more actively in the world around me, which seems to be in full swing here in Florida. For now, I am drinking juice and getting my rest so I can be back to work next week with a voice that commands respect, authority, and, yes, understanding.

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Picture a Future

Good morning, and welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share!  I’m sipping a peach mango V8, but there is coffee or tea available. I won’t judge…

I thought of writing last night to work on the character of Ellie. I have left her in a precarious situation. I already know how her story ends. She is a warrior. I just haven’t worked out how she escapes her predicament that I was last pondering. All good things take time, I suppose.  Before that, I was composing this post in my head; to quote T.S. Eiliot: “How do I spit out the butt ends of my days and ways…” Sounds ugly, so maybe I am instead painting rainbows out of my doings. 

The last week had a few dark and uncomfortable days tainted by reality.  I can’t give specifics but it is the nature of my job to sometimes deal with uncomfortable situations.  I am so often thankful these days that I started on the journey to grapple with my anxiety and accept the doctor’s diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder a year ago, just 3 months before COVID hit my area of the world. 

I lighten the air with fantasy, envisioning talking flowers or animals, as if in a cartoon.  I do this for me and for my students.  Some days shine with meaning and purpose, while other days, I just respond to my needs.  Breakfast, shower, clothing, work, work, work, decompress, dinner, exercise. Sleep. Socialization and emotional connection fits in somewhere, but it is so different in this socially-distanced era.

Friday nights I put my feet up, with my loyal dog at my side.  I tire of watching someone else’s stories, though, having them stuffed down my throat, and I picture my own. They cannot be as terrible as the world today. Maybe they foretell of a brighter future, where we build the world we want to live in. Certainly not a world of cyber-bullying, sex-trafficking, or violence.  We owe our children better than this.  We need to teach them it is not alright, teach them how to turn the tides.

Who will teach the children to dream a new tomorrow, so they can make it true? To create better moments instead of just reacting?  At night I train myself not to worry about the future of our children, or unseen threats and my own assumptions. I try, but training takes time. It’s an ongoing work in progress, one step up and two steps back…sometimes, 3 steps ahead, others, going nowhere.  That’s okay though. 

In the meantime, I love the sound of my dog snoring, love the cool evening air when I let him out and the morning sun peeking through window blinds.

I try to ponder these things and think of nothing else.

Sometimes it works, and my breathing slows.

I try, but sometimes the trying takes time.

Yet, I try, and sometimes the trying is a victory…

So, still, I try.

If all else fails, laugh like no one is watching. Not so glam, but it feels great!

In other news, ‘coronophobia’ is now a valid term, researchers say.  I work amongst middle school children daily, and I lean down (masked) when I can’t hear them talk.  I social distance as much as possible, but I am not always behind my desk shield. I think I have good days and bad days, so I am not going to adopt that term; however, I believe it is real. 

My phobias stem from so many other things, and yes, a healthy dash of hypochondria at times.  It may have started with a hospitalization at age eight because I wasn’t eating right. My blood count was very low. I felt so alone for those few days, as Mom had to be at home with my three-year-old brother.

Suffice it to say, hospitals can really trigger me today.  I have to be mindful.  So here I am, dredging up my past.  Therapy can lead to that. You think about why your mind goes to certain places. It is very helpful, though, in framing your thoughts, as if you are taking a picture of a moment that makes you feel triggered, yet you take the looming clouds out of it, because, it was only your mind that put them there and interpreted them as a threat or an ominous portend.  I still can put up my guard, but now I can laugh at myself when I am overthinking things. 

Thanks for joining me. I’m going to run into the kitchen to get my green tea, and you are welcome to a refill.  The ‘cafe’ is playing something by Ben Harper, a guitar solo called “Winter is for Lovers.” Interesting idea on this rainy Valentine’s Day weekend! My ‘bae’ and I will go out for Mediterranean food tonight, and I’m cooking him spaghetti on Sunday.  Have a great weekend, send out some love to the world, and stay the course my friends!

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. 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!

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!

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