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.

#WeekendCoffeeShare, Giving Your All

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 got my vote in early this year, but Tuesday, I joined in with the teacher next door in her efforts to get students excited and to stress the importance of voting. I shared my enthusiasm in a post you can read here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2020/11/04/what-its-like-to-vote-2020/

Empty desks will be filled with bright minds….

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!

Weekend Coffee Share, Being Understood. 12/20

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette at https://antoinettetrugliomartin.com/category/weekend-coffee-share/   I am having a half-calf, which seems to fuel me just fine these days.  However, I must admit, I am waking up, on a good night, somewhere between 4:30 and 5 a.m.  It doesn’t bother me as much as it did at first.  I don’t know if it’s the time change or the new exercises I have added daily as a result of PT, but I am getting used to it.  I wonder if this will change once the clocks move forward in the Spring?  I know I have a busy mind and wonder if it will ever slow down.   It’s okay if it doesn’t. 🙂

As far as the physical therapy, it seems to be going well.  My lower back is not as locked up as it used to be.  I do still suffer from sciatic issues, but I’m learning some exercises for that and realizing I need to have more hot baths and less time in the computer chair.  Maybe I’ll just record my writer’s thoughts and stories straight to audio? I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.  I am not worried!  While editing/revising the Malachi manuscript, I found a wonderful modification that works for me.  I e-mailed the rough draft to myself and I’ve been opening it on my phone for a read-through.  This read-through can be done laying on the couch, exercising on the Gazelle (small, elliptical type exerciser), or even in bed.  I can be on my side or back, etc. according to my comfort needs. When I find an error, I write it down for when I will edit it on my laptop.  Then, I am going to send it to the professional editor.  There is no way I will stop writing, so I just need to change my process.

As far as the busy mind goes, I had an interesting talk with a student yesterday who rarely talks in class.  Yes, it was the day before Winter Break, I was casual, friendly, and joking a lot, a relaxed atmosphere for sure.  I presented them with our reading theme for next quarter: “Fear, is it a hindrance or a help?”  The first time this student started talking to me was when I had a lesson on conflict and explained internal conflict and how the struggle is strong for someone who suffers from depression or anxiety.  I told them of my anxiety when driving over a bridge.  I recently have added hospitals to my list.  (I have too many thoughts of experimentation when I see a whole floor taken up by only one office, and construction does not help either).  Recently, I’ve also realized that the holidays are a little triggering.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised that she actually wanted to have a conversation with me.  I also was pleasantly surprised by the Christmas holiday kindness shared by the students yesterday, and one student’s note in her card almost had me in tears of joy:

Dear Ms. Canepa, Thank you for your hard-working ethics and passion for teaching. I love how you have the inspiration to get up and drive to work every day, not knowing will the day go by good or bad. You made a great impact on my life so far and I’m looking forward for you to continue.

It was a hard week with lots of grading, a Code Red drill, a fire drill, a handful of parent meetings, some holiday events, and amped up kids. But seeing such empathy, appreciation, and the right choice of words warmed my heart. Someone noticed how hard I work and took the time to verbalize that to me.  Maybe they are taking it to heart.  That is the best gift ever!

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May you all enjoy the spirit of Christmas and the holiday season, and may you reach calm when you seek it!  I am definitely planning on some relaxation myself.

Peace!

Pamela

Yoga, Stream of Consciousness, My Exercise Evolution, Pt 4

I like the pained look on this woman’s face in the photograph.  Not because the yoga hurt me, but because my stressed out body was not ready to let go of the stress and relax this time.  I want to be honest, and this photo totally represents my attitude tonight.  I didn’t feel too evolved, but in actuality, I guess I’ve evolved to be able to not push myself too far.

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I hate Triangle.  This is what I was thinking when the instructor told us to set up for our triangle pose.  Then, I immediately felt guilty for my negative thinking.  Sadly, I’ve fallen a little out of tune with my exercise routine, but perhaps for good reasons.  I obviously don’t have the attitude I had built myself up to, and I really need to work to get it back.

I am , however, going to give myself a free pass and just thank myself for showing up to the class tonight.  I knew it would help me, and it did, despite my almost losing my balance and falling once or twice, needing to modify my lunges.  So I modified.  I went easy on myself; it’s been a rough few weeks, with a hurricane passing through, a family friend dying, and the ex-husband in town for a few days.  My emotions have been pulled, and I had cause for anxiety with the ex-husband based on his last visit.  Now it’s all over.  The ex went back home, the funeral has happened, the hurricane dispelled.  Yet I am still at the bottom of the well.  I need to work on coming back up.  I was very mindful to remind myself of that all through class.

On a brighter note, here’s more on the topic of wandering minds during yoga: why do so many instructors use phrasing such as, isn’t that a yummy stretch?  That is mostly used by female instructors, I’ve noticed.  While I haven’t had that many male instructors, there is one most memorable instructor who would say, “Feel that stretch, isn’t that delicious?”  This was said in his beautiful Calypso or Caribbean accent.

“No,” I said, honestly.  It wasn’t delicious as his hand holding my leg steady was, or as his honey dripping accent, or as, let’s say, chocolate.  That’s the part I didn’t say. 🙂 He just chuckled when I said that and let up a little.  I wasn’t being mean, I half smiled when I said it so that he knew, it wasn’t him.  It was me.  I loved having him as an instructor.  But alas, he was just a sub that night, as he normally would teach the early morning class, one I could never make.  At least he wasn’t pushing us to empty our minds.  He must have known the delicious comment was pretty suggestive.  Hey, it made me think of chocolate, or his awesome accent, all things I find very relaxing.  Unfortunately, I no longer attend the studio where this man with the wonderful accent instructs; it is just part of life changes.  I had to choose somewhere closer and I do truly love the new studio I currently attend.

I am not complaining about the wording used by instructors; I love the yoga community.  But calling any of these stretches “yummy” just accentuates the fact that I am not at home eating the goods I am trying to stay away from.  If you are an instructor who wants us to empty our minds, please don’t use the word “yummy!”  I do have to add, though, it always makes my busy mind chuckle while I’m in a resting tree, downward dog, or even pigeon pose and I hear such comments.  Thank you, dear yoga instructor, for giving me that inward chuckle, for coming by with your relaxing scents, and for playing that wonderful music.  I really needed it tonight.

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