Weekend Coffee Share, Schooling in the COVID Era

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Ali.  It’s a half-caff day! I am introverting because it’s better than trying to communicate with a mask, something I am growing tired of.  I’ve been back to work since 8/12 and started teaching students on 8/20; while it’s been great seeing work friends and trying to joke and get to know my students, they don’t get it through the mask mumbling. I can’t wait to communicate and laugh freely, to high-five and hug without fear. But that’s not where we are.

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This starts year 21 of teaching for me.  It is hard sometimes to teach in a mask, and the air from my speaking makes it hotter inside the mask.  Yesterday, I put on the face shield and took the mask off, staying way in the front of the room.  In the back of this picture above, you see the desk shields.  Students have to look around them to see what I’m writing on the board.  They also have a lot to adjust to just as we teachers do.
I finished my physical therapy for the frozen shoulder. I’m not 100% (and the doc had said that would be the case), but still, the difference is amazing! I’d say I am somewhere between 80 and 90% now.  Of course, I’m continuing the exercises I learned in physical therapy.  This is the second time I’ve been through it, but I forgot some important details from the 1st time to the second even though it was only four months.  I also was quite fearful to do too much after I’d hurt my shoulder this time, thus, getting the frozen shoulder.

So, it was good that I was pushed little by little to exercise it, and I stuck with the same PT which made it easier to trust the process and to believe it when he said I could do this. Believe me, I can do things now with my arm and shoulder that I was afraid to do for years!  We talked about limits and he thinks I could do anything within reason. I can be the judge.  I’ll ask the doctor about this next month, too. Should my next adventure be skateboarding, skydiving, axe-throwing?

Anyhow, for now, my adventure is teaching middle schoolers in- person during the COVID pandemic, keeping them safe from others and themselves while opening up their minds to Literature and our language. At the moment, I feel ready to head up this mountain. Actually, sky-diving sounds good right now, since I’m such a risk-taker. 🙂

I got my exercise in for today on the Gazelle exerciser on my porch and did my arm/shoulder exercises.  Other than that, I am indoors, socializing on social media and actually, doing a little bit of writing!  I am working on the novel in progress, Ellie the Time Traveler, and she is going to intersect with Malachi in true star-crossed lovers fashion! Love can be bittersweet…..

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That’s all I’ve got for today! I am feeling pretty good, glad to be writing again and not wearing a mask for a while.  I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

 

Weekend Coffee Share. “Overwhelm.”

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali.  I almost did not write one today, having not accomplished anything and having so much to do.  *sigh*  However, I exist in this blogosphere and love keeping contact with my bloggers’ community.  So, in a positive thought moment, I’m dreaming of when I can write some flash fiction again, when I can be a novelist and do my editing, and the day my weekend will be taken up by outdoor festivals, music, and good food, not to mention sunshine and pleasant weather.

It will be in the sixties today; I should not complain.  Though I think our cooler weather, stress, and arthritis have caused pain again in my shoulder and arm.  I am researching anti-inflammatory foods to get with my groceries tomorrow.  Trying to stay healthy and strong, I am still doing my exercises, albeit with lots of icing and occasional heat.  I can do this.  This weekend, there are projects to grade. There is a big assignment for my online class, and I have to complete my lesson plan for next week.  I know what I’m doing, it is just tedious to type up in the format required.  Oh, and I am feeling sort of tired.  A week ago I had a cold, went to pilates on Saturday anyhow, but, sleeping in until 7 a.m.,  I skipped pilates today.  I will compensate with a thirty minute cardio session.  Yes, thirty minutes is a lot for me this week.  I didn’t have time for that at all this week, just fifteen to twenty minutes, so it will feel good to achieve 30. My weight is down to a healthy place (where I’d like to stay), due to the routine of leg/core exercises and shoulder/arm exercises learned from physical therapy.  I invested in resistance bands for home.  I have to remember I am only about one month out of physical therapy, so I suppose this is all new.  I plan to keep this all up, since it can only help arthritis or inflammation, right?

It feels like I’m whining today.  So, my plans: I am going to the Celtic Fest next weekend.  The week after this coming week is Spring Break, so there is a get-together with friends in the works.  The oil change I wanted to get today will happen over Spring Break– no rush.  I planned an online assignment for my students for next week so I won’t have a mountain of papers in addition to the projects handed in.  I also dream of retiring early and run a hippie commune, or learn how to fly above it all.  Maybe I’ll become a bum and live on the beach in a broken down van, reciting poetry for pennies that will buy me bagels for breakfast and tacos for lunch?  My dog would be right there with me.  Hendrix would approve.  These thoughts calm me down when I have so much to do this weekend.  As my background this morning, I’m listening to “Ambient Study Music” on Youtube.  It calms the atmosphere, and this little chat helped me think of a plan of attack.  Keep it light, my friends!

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Weekend Coffee Share…I’m Out Here

 

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at the Eclectic Ali blog.  Grab your beverage of choice, mine is half-caff hazelnut on a cool morning.

It has been another terribly busy week of grading and coursework for a Gifted Endorsement class, but  on a few nights, I stole moments before bedtime to read a sci-fi/fantasy book, War of the God Queen by David Hambling about a woman who is sent back in time to live in a band of nomads who must fight these monsters that kidnap women to make them part of their breeding stock.  Because of her modern knowledge, she is treated like a goddess, and fights for women’s rights as well as battling the monsters.  It is truly out there, but the female empowerment theme appeals to me.

Monday evening, I had my last physical therapy appointment and I am now considered ‘graduated’ from the physical therapy.  I made a few jokes with the PT therapist about slacking and being sent back a grade.  He’d just say something right back in jest.  Of course I was joking, right?  Now I am out here on my own, but it felt great to leave there feeling like a success.  The week before, he had said I’d done well.  Which, I think is true.  I am very anxious to have this pain behind me or to have the feelings associated with it gone.  The doctor had put in an order for the back before the shoulder which was not what I wanted, though I think starting with the back worked and did help.  I was more comfortable and ready to tackle the challenge when we got to the shoulder physical therapy which seems to be a nerve point for me.

Weds. night, I did my physical therapy exercises at home. I had planned to go to yoga as well, though it would be mostly for lower body.  Though, I must say, I was feeling so tired right after school.  My job made me flat out tired.  Of course, my sleep cycle is still not up to par. So, I did not make it to yoga, but I did work on the arms and shoulder as I should.

I have been thinking I need an accountability partner.  I am not fully healed, but I am capable of anything I try except reaching my shoulder blade when I put my arm in back.  Obviously, I can’t do really heavy weights, and I’m following what my PT had prescribed for me.  The doc had indicated surgery might be the only other thing, and I likely was moving beyond the need for PT because I could do anything the therapist challenged me with.  The doc and I both agreed that I don’t want surgery in my life right now.  Now, I need to hold myself accountable, or , as I have considered, maybe try a personal trainer. Not right away, though.  For now, I have reached out to a fellow writer and blogger who has gone through surgery and rehab for the back; it will be long distance, but we can encourage each other and report our progress.  I think that will help for now, since I may not be ready to seek out something new.

Thursday night, I got home earlier than normal due to fore-casted storms.  My twenty-three year old son had worked until 1 and had two beers before I got home, which makes him talkative. Then, he wanted to watch a movie together, and even though his being sociable was likely a  result of him having a few beers, I sat on the couch with my coursework and grading, replied to his comments, and glanced at the Terminator movie every 5-10 minutes.  His life seems easy right now, but this is where he needs to be currently. He is learning a lot about automotive repair, and he even went to work in the afternoon after getting off at 1, to see if the district manager had visited as planned. This means he TALKS TO COWORKERS and has acquaintances. I don’t ever say “Stop Talking. I have a lot of crap to do.” Because that other crap crap can wait.

As far as writing, Malachi is almost finished with the editor, and then I have my own editing to do.  I have gotten some ideas for Ellie; she will have a book of her own next year, next in the Detours in Time  series, and Malachi will be a key character.  There will be a lot of obvious time travel. Don’t be dismayed that there is not much in the Malachi novel.  It is mostly character-driven, but Ellie is, well, she’s a traveler and does show up in the Malachi novel.

It is going to be a great Saturday, I have determined that!  I woke early as is usual these days after waking at 4 a.m., but I think I did doze a small bit before the alarm woke me at 6 a.m. to eat breakfast and wash up because there was something I planned to do for myself.  I made it to a 9 a.m. pilates class at my usual yoga studio where I sometimes take a relaxing yoga class.  I hadn’t gone regularly since doing physical therapy because of the schedule and trying not to miss too much work.  As I got there, I right away told the instructor I’d need to modify a little bit, I’d just finished up shoulder PT, but that I was excited to be there!  And that was true.  Let me tell you, I think it went well!  I think I am on the road to being recovered.  I guess the secret is, “Never quit.”  No matter how old I am, how tired I am, how sore I feel, I just need to keep trying.  I will leave you all for the week on that positive note, and in a few days, I plan to post a little more about my experience with physical therapy.  Next is the further work I plan to do with my mind, dealing with the anxiety, talk therapy to work through my life questioning.  I am optimistic, and I feel great after pilates!  Have a great Saturday!

If you’re interested, I posted a short poem on the mind and imagination this week.  You can read it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2020/02/07/the-forest-poetry/

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The Smell of Summer, a.k.a, Hanging with Mom

Inspired by writerswrite.com prompt, “Write about the smell of summer.”

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1989.  In Vicky and Luverne’s tree, MN.

I’ve been wanting to write about my mom lately, anyway; she’s been having a reawakening of sorts, so this prompt fits right in!  My answer to the smell of summer would be, sunscreen.  The smell has always made me feel beautiful and relaxed, maybe because it signifies a relaxing day at the beach and the slight sunny glow that results (no burn, please).  Well, lately, my mom has smelled of sunscreen quite often!  This in itself makes her seem 20 years younger.  She used to wear perfume a lot, and being allergic, I always asked her to tone it down.  I do not associate the smell of perfume with youth; scented lotion is much better.  But now, she more often smells of sunscreen than not.  It is all part of her new goal of being active and getting OUT.

My 75 year old mother should give lessons on how to stay young.  Besides working part-time in a grocery store, she has been going to a Senior Center for a couple years now, and made several friends.  She usually goes to their exercise classes.  I’ve accompanied her once or twice, and I would say, they are really exercising, and it’s sort of fun.  They go to coffee afterwards, and they are a delightful bunch.  One of them is writing a book, like I am, and another loves to read everything, even Fifty Shades of Gray. (She’s 80, by the way).  I believe this group of friends is part of what keeps my mom young and active.  But that’s not all…

She started chatting with our neighbor, longer than necessary.  Yep, I’m sure other neighbors are looking and thinking, something’s going on there.  Well, he’s not yet 60, somewhere in his 50s.  But who cares, it’s just talking, right?  Well, it is, isn’t it?  I told her not to get drunk around him; I think she has already broken that rule.  Well, yeah, she drinks socially now, more than before, but I’m not here to judge.  In fact, she had two-for- one margaritas when we went out for Mexican the other night, and got really silly.  Heaven forbid I tell her what to do, but I did suggest she slow down and drink more water. (She didn’t).  My son spoke up and said he’d drive her car home.  Bless his soul.  I got past the urge to set limits for her, when I came home one day and they were outside the garage, standing there, chatting, shooting the breeze.  I should explain, I live with her; we bought a house 8 yrs. ago, and my now 20 year old son lives there, too.  So, on this particular day, I drove into the driveway, and said, “Hey, kids!”  Well, that’s just what they looked like!  As if they sneaked out to see other, young love in the works.  They both laughed and Mom loved the role reversal.  So I’ve decided to let her have her moments.  If this makes her feel good, it is not my place to limit what she is doing or judge it.

He bikes a lot, and eventually they went biking together, for a 6 mile ride.  She has since become quite regular with it, and if he’s working or busy, she goes by herself, for 6 to 9 miles.  So evidently, the new habit is sticking, and she won’t be relying on him to go bike riding with her.  She seems determined to seek out her own happiness and not depend on any man for it.  I say, Go Girl!  Last week, she bought a new bike.  I don’t think she needed it, but it sure is a sweet ride and seems very comfortable.  Sometimes she is up before me in the morning, and gets out riding her bike before I have even showered.  With the advent of summer and the heat, she started wearing sunscreen.  One night I noticed the sunscreen smell and realized it was her. The scent of the beach came to mind, relaxation, sunshine, and lazy waves.  But most of all, a feeling of youth.

The photo above is of me and my mother, in 1989.  We’d climbed a tree on my Aunt and Uncle’s farm in Minnesota.  She said she did it just to prove she could.  What a happy memory.  She and I laughed about it the other day, because she couldn’t get back down!  (I think someone had to help her).  But this is one thing that keeps my mother young, and I hope it has rubbed off on me.  She doesn’t exclude herself from anything because of her age.  Sure, we had a good laugh about the tree, but she did prove that she could get up there, so who cares about getting down!  She still has a youthful attitude towards throwing caution to the wind.  And a somewhat innocent belief that things will turn out just fine.  That was a wonderful summer memory.  I don’t see it as the past, either, it is just another example of how my mother has lived, and still does, live her life with an attitude that keeps her young.  So the smell of sunscreen is still something I associate with beauty, relaxation, and youth.  And now I often detect it on my mother:  the smell of summer.

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