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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. I had a good week at work despite some of the classes becoming a little more excitable. I’ve really been trying to smile at them when I see them outside of class in the hall and to greet them cheerfully when they come in to class. It’s important in these times.
We now have our first COVID case at my school and some are quarantined. One high school in town is closed and doing online teaching; my friend who works there said there are 47 cases. *Anxious sigh*
I do not like the pressure coming down from the district and the state as if this is all about standards (*strictly my opinion, not my empoyer’s). My area of interest is Social Emotional Learning, because I was very unmotivated in high school and did not excel or try for Honors classes until the Senior year, because my son had learning problems due to emotional issues, and because no child will meet the standards if their teacher has not shown that they are accepted while still setting gentle, yet firm boundaries.
I know, yada, yada, yada. 🙂 It’s becoming clear I like to throw myself into things. I am still reading self-help books about healing and anxiety as well as the brain’s role in pain and healing. All summer, I had thrown myself into the healing process with my shoulder injury and physical therapy. This fall, I’ve thrown myself into being the best teacher I believe I can be, not necessarily what everyone else expects. Meaning, it takes me how long it takes me to grade essays. I don’t want to rush and then give them another writing assignment. Still, I am almost done, and this week I was developing project options for my Gifted and Advanced students. I designed my own rubrics and came up with ideas for different projects appealing to different modalities. Some of them seem pretty interested to get started.
I am doing well with my nerves, but my focus is sometimes a challenge. Maybe it is a part of changes that come with my age or maybe I once again have to put the past in its place. I don’t know. I just apologize to my students and say I had a “brain freeze” and move on. They don’t make fun of me. There is a feeling that my students and I get along even when I sometimes have to crack down on class behavior or noise, so it seems we’re on the way to building a pleasant little community this year, and that makes me ecstatic! (Do I sound like a hippy)? I love to focus on ways to challenge them. My goal is to make a difference in their lives, like those who made a difference in my life in my healing journey for my shoulder this summer. Not just for the shoulder, but my peace of mind and my trust of medical practitioners. (Hospitals have been a source of high anxiety for me for years).
So while I still spent two nights this week just exercising or relaxing and not grading, while I had them do work Friday but did not grade it, I still think I’m giving my all. There are ways to do this and still maintain balance, I do believe.
Writing is moving slowly for me with my next book, but Malachi, Ruse Master has been fully edited for audiobook and is now in the approval process. Woohoo! My favorite local indie book store closed, the one that carried my books. 😦 So I got them out and they’re at home. I have a few friends who are going to get a copy. There is another store in town I have to check with, though they may require a book signing. I still have COVID fear. Ugh, my social life has suffered. But I will see some friends tonight!
Yes, some long time teacher friends and I are getting together tonight, just the girls. Only two of us are still at the same school, so it will be great to get together! I may be having tea later with a church friend, and this morning I’ve got the ‘got to do’ things: this blog, a little grading, exercise. I am compelled to do these things. Two thirds of them keep me healthy! 🙂
So, social life, beloved writing hobby, work requirements, work goals, healthy habits–all are present….getting close to balancing them! Much love and hugs to the blogging/writing community and peace to any newbies stopping by. Have a great week!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. It’s been quite a week. All is good now. Want to know? What’s it like to live a day in the life of someone awaiting a COVID test?
I know you want to know…just like that girl who asked me to describe what it’s like giving birth after I’d had my son. I summed it up…”It’s like the worst cramps you could ever imagine. ” She looked letdown. I did not communicate the drama, the fear, the excitement and the feeling that God is in that room and that I was a chosen one, to bear this pain and deliver this life. But I digress.
It should take 24 hours to get my test results…I hope. So I’m out of work today and will be again tomorrow. I think the moment by moment is agonizing. My symptoms seem like that of having a cold, my glands are swollen and that’s what troubled me. Children have been sick at school and leaving early. Today, the soup I ate for lunch is sitting wrong with my stomach. I’m just going to be raw and honest here. We should all do that more.
I heard someone somewhere use the phrase that when they write it’s like God is guiding them. Are they seeing that bearded man in the sky reach down his hand to guide the pen? I’m not.
Yes, there certainly is a muse. She is a younger, but wiser me who would have spoken up for herself many times when I didn’t. She pops things into my head, and I become amused, inspired, thinking, “Yeah, I should do something with that thought.” If I’d heeded her sooner I would have traveled much more, written long before I did, and done more exciting things.
I don’t think there’s an angel guiding me, and when I write, it is not holy. I write to escape demons. Or, more specifically, to purge them. I imagine a kaleidoscope of vomit spewing forth from my mouth or through my pen and onto the paper. They are not horrible things that I did, but they are things that always make me feel I am less, they are things that some would, or would have once, defined me as. Trailer trash. Product of divorce. Daughter of an alcoholic. Navy brat. Divorcee. People make assumptions about these things. I could perfectly fix my hair and makeup and look like I had all the privilege I could besides that of race. I could dress like a professional working woman and mother and no one would know the crap I’d put up with from my husband at home. It was eating me up.
You’ve gotta spit up those demons somehow or they will give you an ulcer or some other GI disorder. They’ll eat at you and travel to your nerve endings causing serious sensitivity and pain issues. So, this is why I don’t think my writing is ‘touched by an angel.’ It is human, it is real, it is of this earth. Though everything I write has a message for someone, that you are not alone, it is not going to convert anyone and I suppose it won’t get me into heaven. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is to make something beautiful out of the tough lessons we’ve learned or the crap we’ve been given.
And I probably don’t sound like a good Christian, but I’m going to thank God he gave me this ability. It has helped me to dream and imagine myself into better realities. It has helped me survive.
***Thank you for stopping by and reading. I have a few constant encouragers, and I thank you so much for this. My test was negative, and my allergies were the cause. I felt so much better yesterday. Covid anxiety is serious. Today being World Mental Health day, let’s all be kind to each other!