Weekend Coffee Share, Finding Light in the Dark

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It’s a beautiful morning, birds are singing, and I’m enjoying my breakfast with Zen green tea. It has a little bit of caffeine, so we’re all good!

If we were having a coffee chat today, I’d tell you that my school year with the students ended yesterday. It was a busy week with events but slow on the teaching requirements. I just had to make sure my grades were finalized, and I did. Class time was comprised mostly of word games and helpers cleaning out my cabinets. Some students are very kinesthetic and like to be doing things with their hands, others loved playing multiple games of Scrabble. I enjoyed teaching them strategies! Attendance dropped off after Tuesday, though.

Tuesday was the day of the school shooting in Texas. I heard nothing of it during the school day, as we were preparing at school for the 6th and 7th grade dance. I chaperoned at the dance and enjoyed watching the kids have fun while I had to admonish some now and then for running around or trying to play tag, you’re it. Some set up a Conga line/ train and made their way around the auditorium with smiles on their faces. Others got down and boogied. It was fun to watch and definitely a little bit of sensory overload that tired me out by the end of the day. After school, I attended Taco Tuesday with some teacher friends to let off some steam, and I was certainly tired when I got home.

I have many thoughts about the shooting, but I mostly am full of emotion and sorry that our kids have to grow up in a world like this. Children were searched when they got to school Wednesday morning. Backpacks were banned for the last three days of school (as they should be). Many kids were absent through the rest of the week, but I enjoyed my time with those who attended while explaining the stricter rules to them and why the current state of our nation/world requires them. I was pleased to see some 8th grade students I had taught years prior who showed me all of their awards they received at the ceremony. Some of them said goodbye on the last day and I let them take my picture in the hallway. So many mixed emotions on that day, as always. Also, a sense of relief. 🙂

I just want to say that our children deserve a better world. We also need more mental health services in our schools. Yes, they are beefing up security, but let’s curtail the problem at it’s root. Then, let’s fix our society so that our nation values children more than the bottom line. It may not happen in my lifetime. Maybe my only purpose is to let every child have a sense of belonging.

Good morning!

In other news this week, I suspect my dog, Bixby has PTSD, faltering eyesight, or slight dementia. He is getting very cranky at night if I try to pet him while he’s lying down, and he starts growling if I use that high-pitched voice that normally brings him running. Then he looks at me like he doesn’t know me. This happens most in my mom’s bedroom, so maybe the lighting is too dim and he’s tired. Maybe there is something wrong. He’s between 10 and 11 years old but was already scarred when we got him at age 3. Regardless, he has been a beacon of hope for the happiness and reduction of stress for everyone in my household!

My mom took Bixby for a haircut yesterday, and he doesn’t snap at the groomer, nor does he snap at his vet. He is only taken there during the day, though. This snapping that he does started maybe 2 years ago, which makes me think it is state of mind or PTSD from a nighttime event. He always hated fireworks. Not to mention his near-death experience last weekend. I wrote about it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2022/05/22/bixby-the-wonder-dog/

There is a slight mark where he lost some fur, but there is no wound. It’s less noticeable with his haircut, and thank God he had that fur during the incident!

Bixby had all kinds of fears when we got him and a chip on his shoulder, but he loved us when we showed him love, and he still does. This morning, he hopped on my bed early and stayed at my feet to let me sleep in, then woke me at 7:20 to let him out. He stretched when I stretched and allowed me to pet him while he wagged his tail lovingly. I know my dog’s heart is still good. I feel this is beyond dog-training and requires understanding, if nothing other than giving him space when it’s dark out. He’s a small dog. I haven’t had him around other dogs at the park in a while and plan to try this summer. And, yes, another dog training class in the near future may be needed. He is family, and family members give each other understanding.

It’s daylight, and the ghosts are gone.

So, I’m thankful he is clearheaded and more like himself this morning. I think I will take him for an extended walk. It’s my birthday weekend, so there are two good dinners planned, time with my sweetie, and a massage scheduled tomorrow. Only good things are in store this weekend! Maybe I’ll do a post like a couple of years ago on inventions a woman my age would really like to see! Maybe a posture support tank top with internal cooling fans? Underwire-free!

But I jest …or do I? 🙂

So, I have a stressful job and a crazy dog, but dealing with crazy has been my life story. You just don’t know; I seem destined for that. It doesn’t depress me anymore. I now know when to be patient and when to exercise my boundaries.

I hope you all have a joyous weekend, and a great week to follow. I’m counting this as the start of my summer!

Bixby, the Wonder Dog

A true story.

Once, there was a dog at the Humane Society who was loved by all. They named him Bixby. One particular family fell in love with his sweet nature and sad, puppy-dog eyes that begged for a home. So they adopted him and gave him a home, much to the regret of many others who were considering adopting him. He hated living behind the bars amid the noise of so many barking and crying dogs and charmed any who seemed they could potentially rescue him from such a life. This time they came back. Timing is everything!

Bixby lived his life knowing that he was truly a huge personality lodged inside a small body, think of a chihuaua mixed with a fox. He barked loudest at the dog park, because he know he could take any of those big dogs on the other side of the fence; He was tough.

A visiting friend once joked that he wasn’t a real dog, but was more of a toy dog. Bixby knew he would prove them wrong. This friend came to visit once, and Bixby was let out of the door. He ran toward the visitor then across the street with the sudden urge to urinate. Once relieved, he ran back, only to run into a passing car. Being a small dog, he was under the car without catching a blow, except for a cosmetic plastic piece that hung down and dragged him a little. He squealed loudly, the car stopped, and Bixby got free!

To my shock, he ran toward me with renewed energy. I didn’t see what happened, but I heard the squeal of the tires and my dog’s startled scream. The driver had stopped, and he came out of the car with concern on his face, “Is he okay?” he asked. Bixby was running around the yard in excitement, so much going on! He didn’t even bark at the driver, who then asked, “Are you okay, little guy?” He reached down to pet the dog but Bixby was just running around excited, possibly on adrenaline. All I could notice was he had some fur that was coming off in one spot, and I touched it, but he gave no sign of pain.

My friend told me about what he saw and remarked, “You know, that is one benefit of being a little toy dog. If he was a large dog, he would have been struck down.” This little dog who earlier wanted to jump in my lap at the coming sounds of a thunderstorm was running around as if to brag surviving a car running over him…”Yeah, I survived, that’s right!” He needed to survive; it’s not time for him to go. We still need to be around to comfort each other.

Fearless!

Weekend Coffee Share, Home and Tradition

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It’s a warm day, and Zen green tea is my wakeup beverage of choice. What’s yours?

Bixby was really anxious for a walk this morning. I had let him out back earlier,but he kept following me around. It was a little after ten when we went (I had slept late), and it must be in the eighties here in Northeast Florida already, because I worked up a sweat!

Bixby was sure happy though, and who could blame him. The sun is shining, flowers are blooming, and the smells of Spring are freely available to all who wander out.

Our back porch.

It’s Easter weekend in my faith tradition. I dislike the Easter bunny and candy rituals. The Easter story is a spiritual tradition. I went to church on Palm Sunday but stayed home and watched the Maundy Thursday service. I’ll be going to church with my mother tomorrow and my boyfriend. Hopefully, my son will go as well.

In whatever faith tradition you practice, I wish you a blessed weekend. I think I’m a fairly secular person in my writing, but I’d like to think I convey a sense of spirituality. Ramadan and Passover are also going on in April. I have many students participating in Ramadan. It’s wonderful when we can all love and respect one another’s differences.

My search for a Bible verse of the day yielded the following, which I will share in a screenshot:

It is truly a verse that means and says a lot. It brings to mind the Russian war against Ukraine. If only things were different. I pray for them. In daily life, I work to treat others like I’d want to be treated but then pause to find a balance with personal boundaries. Hopefully, this all gets better with age. 🙂

I am so longing to travel but am in a phase of finishing out the school year, while planning some summer travel. Today, I’m on the home front, helping tidy up the house for tomorrow. There is a time for everything, yes?

Have a great weekend, whatever that entails for you and yours!

Weekend Coffee Share, 3/26/22

Welcome to my weekend coffee share, hosted by Natalie the explorer. And I am relaxing after having slept in late when my back started screaming at me. My drink this morning is a Tazo Zen tea, a green tea which actually does have caffeine but not as much as a coffee would.

Maybe it seems strange that I am not drinking coffee during a weekend coffee share, but I am just trying lots of different things lately for my health and my stress levels. Both of these are intricately related at any rate.

My weekend started out pretty low-key, and I was a bit tired after my work week, so I ordered in for dinner, and just laid around with my dog and later watched Netflix. I got to see my son playing with the dog which was fun to watch for a while, before he went out to dinner.

Spring is such a beautiful time of year, but I’ve been overwhelmed with memories of last year. I’m trying to remind myself of how far things have turned around with my son and my family, and if the people who helped me through those times. It is a work in progress. I certainly have plenty to keep me busy, but it is tiring me out.

This is just where I am at the moment, I don’t mean to complain! My boyfriend and I are planning a vacation for this summer, and that has been fun to plan. The end of my school year is approaching, so that’s a good thing. At the moment I am contemplating what my exercise of the day will be, and it is sure to involve some yoga, because maybe that will help my back. I probably need a good amount of stretching.

It seems that pain is quite a distractor, and my teaching job requires a huge amount of multi-tasking. I must have pulled my back in the last day or two, becuase yesterday at work was rough during my classes, when two kids need help at the same time and often interrupt each other. They say we must train them not to do that, but it is a process that needs so much repetition. Anyhow, my main goal is not to let pain stop me from moving. A physical therapist once said that mine is a stability problem and not a mobility problem. Sounds believable, so I plan to do more yoga at home with an online site called Yoga Collective.

I’m still finishing up the audible version of Wuthering Heights. Bronte definitely created some twisted, messed up characters and relationships. It isn’t a book to rush through, though I feel the best parts were earlier in the book.

The sunshine is inviting, so maybe I’ll heed that call! Have a great weekend everyone, and a great week to follow!

Weekend Coffee Share, 3/19/22

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee ☕ Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m sitting in my garage having Tazo green tea, though it may be a little too warm for that. The morning started out around 60 degrees, but it will be upwards of 80 degrees later.

I’m helping my mother with a yard sale today, though I admit we got started a little late. She had some buyers when I went to walk the dog, so there’s that! Bixby enjoyed our walk, and I always enjoy the view of some of our beautiful trees. I’ve taken him on a few extra walks this week!

Spanish moss is common here, but I love this tree!

This past week has been Spring break for me, and I’ve slept in every day. Catching up on my test is one goal I have met! I went to the Celtic Fest with my boyfriend Sunday as planned, and it was enjoyable as always! The temp was below 60, but our Florida sun emboldened all of us to dance around and enjoy ourselves. I don’t know about you, but I consider 60 to be chilly if the sun’s not out.

Wednesday evening I had an interview on Meet the Author podcast, and it was exciting! I think I found a few new readers, something every author wants. I need to get over ‘imposter syndrome’ and things like this sure help! The playback of the interview is available if you’re interested: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCjn4IXRvc7AhhDXTVeqp5DQ

There were some appointments I took care of this week, but Thursday was friend’s day at Another Broken Egg, where I had a huge waffle with fruit, eggs, and bacon. Sometimes it’s fun to break the rules, and it was great to catch up. There were 6 of us, all who at one time were co-workers in the public education system. Now, my Spring break is winding down. One day I sat in the sun and did some writing. I don’t really celebrate too hard anymore. 🙂

In my world, the state has been against enforcing masks for a while. Our school board no longer requires it. I rarely wear one anymore, though I always have one with me. Talking and teaching in a mask made my jaw feel sore. Hopefully the numbers don’t get scary again, but it’s not surprising if they do. It’s amazing that my mom got through COVID 6 weeks ago, and I didn’t get it from her.

Buying gas at 4.09 a gallon the other day was a treat. In my side of town, it is 4.29 to 4.39, though I should check because they seem to increase the price on the weekends. I feel for the people in Ukraine, but I rarely watch the news, as it doesn’t help my anxiety level. I do read online sometimes.

That’s about all there is going on until I go back to work teaching on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

To join the Weekend Coffee Share, read Natalie’s Coffee Share post at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2022/03/18/these-b-w-murals-revive-history/and include your post link after clicking the In-links bar.

Weekend Coffee Share, Spring Forward

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Green Tazo tea with ginger is my wakeup elixir for this morning. How about you?

Bixby and I are on the porch in mild temperatures. However, the wind is quite gusty, and I read that it’s going to usher in some quite cooler temperatures. They say March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. It was raining throughout the day yesterday. Thus started my Spring Break.

I will say this, the rain certainly inspires our greenery to be even greener!

Muddy grass won’t stop Bixby! 🐾

I wasn’t bothered by the weather, though. I left work yesterday and headed to the mall, where I bought some super comfortable shoes. They are also cute, though you can’t tell they have zippers on the sides.

I’d wear sneakers every day, if I could.

They are sort of a sneaker style, but the material kind of dresses them up. Work wear, in my opinion.

After the mall, I went to meet my boyfriend. We spent some time together and had excellent barbecue for dinner! We also watched Curb Your Enthusiasm and laughed out heads off. We are both Seinfeld fans and have an odd sense of humor. 😆

So, I get to rest and blow off steam for a week. I really need that. I’m not sure what’s up today, but I’m sure I’ll have some family time. I hope to get some writing done for Ellie’s story in the upcoming days. Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be going with my boyfriend and some friends to the Celtic Fest, my favorite activity to ring in the spring!

Never mind that I’ll have to be layered up for Celtic Fest. It was cancelled two years in a row due to COVID-19. I’m so excited to go again. I’ll soak up the laughter and great music. Who says there can’t be a Springtime of the soul in the midst of chilly, gray weather?

Wearing the green 🍏

Have a great weekend all, and a happy week to follow!

*Currently rereading Wuthering Heights

*Currently writing Ellie, the Time Traveler

*Currently loving the music of Albannach and playing Wordle or Blokudoko

Weekend Coffee Share,  Visual Christmas Cheer!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Natalie’s taking a break from the Coffee Share link-up, and I decided to be more visual this time. It’s a warm, temperate day, but that won’t stop the festivities! I even enjoyed hot hazelnut coffee myself. Let’s take a short break and Share. How are the festivities in your part of the world?

We started last night with a church service and live nativity with a play similar to one my son was in 17 years ago….

A holiday memory!

The live nativity was great, but my son was starving and didn’t want dwell there too long. I did get him to take a photo, on our way into church., though.

At home, we had more family time.

Someone got a new toy!

The fun’s not over… I’m in charge of sides for Christmas dinner. I type this while they’re simmering/ cooking. I think they’ll turn out great!

Collards and baked candied yams will be served with ham and cornbread!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Weekend Coffee Share, Full Moon Effects

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer.  It’s a nice, breezy day, and I’m enjoying some half-caff with vanilla cteamer. Pull up a chair!

I enjoyed my breakfast this morning, as well as  a stretch for my back followed by  a short gym visit with my son where I used the stationary bike. I was feeling tired this morning. I wonder how this week’s full moon may have affected that?

I drove home from dinner at the neighborhood Thai restaurant last night, looking at that beautiful moon.When talking to my friend later, he said, ” Do you  think the full moon affects your aches and pains?” It’s true, I was really feeling them yesterday. 

Each little “lotus” is plastic and has edges.

At any rate, my morning laziness included stretching out and laying on my lotus mat, which I also call my pin needle mat. It’s theoretically supposed to release the chemicals you’d produce during acupuncture, and to be honest, I do feel relaxed after it sometimes even fall asleep on it. I ordered it online. If my issue is anxiety, it could also have therapeutic results.

Is anxiety my issue? I’ve mentioned here before about the Mind Body connection with pain. Yes, I somewhat believe in it. I work on improving physically and mentally. However, I haven’t paid enough attention to my dog, another source of fun and relaxation. He will get a trio to the park during Thanksgiving week. I mean, I’m off 3 extra days! This morning, I threw the ball for him as I ate breakfast.

Here he is, anxiously awaiting me to throw the ball!

He’s small enough, and the ball is soft enough that I can throw it inside. In addition, he’s so darn cute when he’s anxious and excited! This 10 year old dogs acts like a puppy again. It puts a smile on my face. 🙂

So, I’ll be spending Thanksgiving holiday with local family, I’ll see my friend/companion Friday, and there will be dog-play time! Other plans will surface, I’m sure, but simple is the way for me these days!

I hope you all have a blessed, fun, and happy Thanksgiving!

Weekend Coffee Share, Honor Thyself

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. This week brought a short work week, something most of us in the education field have welcomed! It’s below 70 today, which is cooler than it was yesterday, so I am enjoying some hot coffee!

This past Thursday, besides being Veteran’s day, was also the 7 year anniversary of bringing home our dog, Bixby, from the Humane Society. With a sullen teen/young adult in the family who didn’t talk to us much at that time, my mother and I were thrilled to bring a furry toddler home that wagged its tail anytime we came home! My son has even built a bond with this enthusiastic canine. He has changed our lives.

I am constantly reminding myself to love my life and where I am right now, instead of jumping ahead to the future and looking for guarantees; It’s hard. However, life is better than it had been months ago. My family is in a good place, my son is doing well, and I have steady employment. I won’t focus on the stresses of my job at this moment. 🙂

Seen at the mall last night. Too soon, too soon.

Still, the season may be affecting my moods a little bit. I am fortunate that I could reunite with my old friend/boyfriend who listened through a lot of my hardships this summer, and we enjoy spending time together, but I think back to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday; I have memories and start thinking how different this year will be. I am mindful that I am not alone but sometimes wonder why. Would I be okay if I was alone? So I am seeking more activities to do in my spare time and hopefully to meet more like-minded people. You can’t just rely on one person.

However, I am quite close to my mother, and my son and I are getting along well, even though he isn’t predisposed to being loquacious. I’m still investing in his well-being though. I took him to the mall yesterday to pick up something his dad ordered for him, then we ate in the Food Court. I had honey bourbon chicken with rice and veggies. It was tasty, but maybe not so healthy. I was glad we did something together, as my weekday life keeps me so busy right now. I am really hoping and praying for a teacher raise soon as I want to focus after school time on healthy living next year instead of seeking to supplement my pay.

The approach of the holidays also has me looking back on this year. This year reminded me that anything can change on a dime. I suppose we just have to see the silver lining in those changes. I mean, my son did change for the better. His dad is now in the picture for him, and though those dynamics sometimes stress me out, I do not have to live with him anymore, and my son is doing well living in my home again but being able to spend time with his dad weekly.

Sometimes I write in a gratitude journal in the morning. Yes, I have to actively practice gratitude, mindfulness, listen to a pain podcast sometimes to keep the negativity at bay. Gratitude can retrain the brain., but I’ve also learned to stay away from people who increase my negative thoughts. Trying to honor myself. Holidays can stress me out, but I am going to plan some low-stress time with loved ones. Then, I can be grateful for the time I have with them.

There’s my holiday survival plan. Thank you for reading! What’s your plan?

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!

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