Weekend Coffee Share, Shifting the Perspective

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Traveler at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2021/03/26/5-themes-for-a-fun-week/ . The day is warm, and the coffee is on ice. Agnes Obel croons in the background to increase a calm, cool, collected mood. It has been quite a week.

I am not only dealing with rambunctious kids overwhelmed by the scent of Spring , the encroaching state tests, and my own allergies, but some family stress has given me hard lessons in parenting. You do know that once a parent, you are a parent for life, right? It is so hard to stand back when they are going through a hard time.

You cannot create peace in someone else’s mind. You can only be an example of how you will not let their sparks of agitation burn your calm down.
It is exhausting to think and not react, to feel love even when you feel spit on. It’s also hard to let go as a parent, and to acknowledge the hurt and the love you feel, leaving space for both at the same time. Suffice it to say, I felt disrespected by my adult son (24 going on 12) and told him to save up, he had two months to move out.

He decided he would apply for an apartment right away and try to move out next week. He has his eye on some cheap apartments just down the road. He will have to ride his bike to work, as he has not gotten his own car since the accident that totaled his car and gave him a brain injury three years ago. He does need to experience true independence, so I know I cannot talk him out of it, and part of me does not want to. Yet part of me does, and I am not listening. I start to worry.

Worry is one of my traits and character flaws. It is distracting from real-life tasks. I am working on meditation. Trying not to ponder too much on whether he’ll take his meds as needed and be careful where he goes, eat healthy and live a healthy life, not the partier lifestyle. I could worry on any little thing, so the meditation is pretty necessary for me right now. I have an app called DARE (an app that addresses anxiety), and there are some really helpful meditations or information sessions there. Worrying about the future is a waste of time.

Flashback photo. Many cherished memories!

I am not just a parent. I am a writer, which is mostly consisting of blogging right now, and that’s just where I am at the moment. In looking at my life right now, I have to shift the periscope for another perspective. I am an English teacher of middle schoolers, and I mostly enjoy that. Still, I have to make myself remember the good that I instilled in my son, and believe that all of it will overwhelm the headstrong stubbornness of a young adult. While I have expressed that work can be stressful, I always try to maintain an accepting atmosphere in my classroom and to build relationship, to know them and make them feel part of a community, and that can be so rewarding!

It seems I may fail with some, but others, and even some whole classes, seem to feel the strength of community or at least appreciate my efforts. I believe in them as well. Some are so brilliant! At times I make corny jokes and tell them the teaching platform is just practice for my future live comedy career. 🙂 I can get going and talk fast, I always thought it was anxiety brain but my doctor thinks it could also be an attention deficit. I talk about these things with some of my students. Many of them know what these issues are like. Perhaps I can be a good example of functioning regardless. (So I hope). 🙂

When I relate to my students, I sometimes forget my worries. I get the feeling of being a stepping stone and learning experience in their lives. To let them know I’m glad to see them, I use my imagination and call them my little rays of sunshine, bright shining moonbeams, dragons, or butterflies. (Their choice). Some do not identify as the assigned gender. I have had to learn this; It is 2021 and I’ve been teaching 21 years. Things are different now. I must be mindful of whom I call a boy or a girl. So I’ll say, ‘Boys and girls or NBs (for non-binaries), listen up!’ They approve. I purposely called someone the wrong name who just laughed, then I started adding the wrong name behind his real name, and he just laughs.

Yesterday, I had another student request that I add a syllable to their name! I thought it was sweet, a way I can make someone feel special. There are some really bright kids in some of my classes, but they are all special, just in different ways. So, of course I’ve added a syllable which happens to be what her dad calls her, so she likes it! Now I have more to remember. I’m always trying new things to be sure I challenge the brightest gifted children while using strategies to motivate those at grade-level or just getting there. It’s safe to say, they challenge me as well. I appreciate that; my job is not boring, my life is challenging and motivates me to wake up daily. Those who may misbehave at times also challenge me to always show acceptance, one of the most important things in life.

Not only that, but the Newspaper Club I am sponsoring at school provides an outlet for ideas. It seems to decrease the burnout I could get from FSA test prep and prescribed teaching methods as well as antsy Springtime behavior in middle schoolers.

I feel I have digressed, as I often do. It’s just that, these extra syllables and NB nicknames as well as the bright students are giving me good moments that will become memories during the challenges of my life….as well as lessons learned. It is a wonderful life when you can teach others and keep learning from the experience as well! Maybe it is actually possible I am reaching these students socially and emotionally and building an accepting community. So now let’s shift the periscope again to another perspective that can also be viewed brightly: I have many reasons to be grateful, and raising a son who has been a challenge is just one of them. Maintaining an accepting relationship with him but giving independence shall be another, I am sure.

Smile and think of mad possibilities when you’d rather give up and take a nap.

Thank you for reading my Weekend Coffee Share! Writing is so cathartic for me. I also love poetry, where I can just feel things and be completely metaphorical if I like. Maybe you can tell by my love for butterflies and dragons. 🙂 I can be either, depending on my mood. I am allowed. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Two Levels, #poetry

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Two Levels by Pamela Schloesser Canepa (c) 2021

There are two levels of me in everything–

the scared, unsure child and the reasonable adult

comforting her or calming her, reminding of what’s

real and what is a reflection of an anxious mind.

But which is the one that takes off on a flight of fancy?

Which is the one that laughs at an uncomfortable moment,

breaking the tension with a goofy smile?

Which is the intellectual and which is the buffoon?

Ah, but aren’t they one and the same when

I can open up and just laugh at myself?

You see. These two threads are intertwined.

I should deny neither one. I have earned that prize,

my prize for repressing the youthful spirit

when I still had my youth, a consolation prize,

for I had to be good girl, big sister, had to be the wife, and then the mom

restrained by fear or worry or someone else’s view of me.

I had to be what society wanted to see…

and was so afraid to step out of those lines.

I have owed it to myself, I should have claimed it then

But finally now I see it’s my right,

To comfortably own all sides of myself.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

#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.

Weekend Coffee Share: Paint me Strong and Free.

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.

This week, I have seen the past two years of writing and story building come to fruition. I hit publish on the Malachi, Ruse Master paperback last night, and the e-book has been put on pre-order this past week.  This book is an extension of Malachi, and intriguing character from Detours in Time, Book 2, and follows him through his story and his intersection with Milt from the Detours in Time series. Through 4/22, you can get the Malachi, Ruse Master Kindle e-book for just .99 on pre-order here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086VYJYZX
Today,  I am tired and my arm hurts. I’m surviving, since living in my head suits me fine, and I can’t imagine adjusting well to a regular schedule again. I’m enjoying online teaching and the interaction with the kids who do show up, and I try to find ways to streamline my work.  Today is arm day; it will be long and drawn out at my own pace.
I’m publishing a book but can barely find the focus to write and read these days. I think I’ll just record my thoughts. What do you think? It’s about a girl who escapes painful, difficult situations by flying around the room.
“Come back down here now!”
“No.”
The best, safest state of mind is a mix between reality and imagination. Take what you like of reality and paint it in the colors you would wish to see, like a starry night sky, like me swimming through the cosmos. Take what you don’t like, and paint yourself conquering it.  I wanted to create this scene with play-doh, but it will take a month to arrive from Amazon.  Hmmm, maybe I’ll still do it. 🙂
I have lost nothing in this pandemic but the old routine, and I have gained more time to look inside myself and examine my old habits and coping mechanisms, something that could help me to change for the better.  Or, it could all help me decide to change my surroundings.  This time has led me to embrace myself, thorns and all.  May you all gain something out of this time confined to your homes.  I extend my warmest thoughts to those who are experiencing loss.  I’d also love to hear if you all have ideas coming forward for you with all of your extra time.  I don’t feel I can put them into action yet, but tomorrow could be different!
Our mayor opened the beaches here in North Florida yesterday evening, and I see the crowds of people on the news. I envy them, yet I cringe. I could never forgive myself if I brought home this virus to my 78-year-old mother.  So, I am staying put.  Maybe I’ll walk the dog later.
Have a peaceful week!

The Forest. #poetry

WOLFforest-2056852_1280                                                   “And the forest will echo with laughter.”  -Led Zeppelin lyric

The Forest, (c) 2020 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

The forest is deep and far and wide

lush with ideas and thoughts

coming at us all at once…

layers and layers of thoughts

The changing path, the creatures on the way

the weather falling down on us

or sunshine guiding our way.

Layers and layers to peel away and discover

or some that we bury and keep covered,

like leaves on a forest floor.

The innocent child goes forth to explore…

The tainted, jaded adult hangs back

Says, “No, we probably shouldn’t.”

Clings to coffee and her wallet,

Poised, tense, ready to self-protect.

Which one wins?

 

Can one just leave the forest untouched?

For it grows inside of the mind,

imagination soars, or holds you behind.

Which one will you choose?

 

*The above photo is a Pixabay photo.

 

 

Maverick. #lightandshadow

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Welcome to the weekend!  How about some speculative flash-fiction to combat the effects of a stressful week?  Thanks for reading!

Maverick, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Maverick didn’t like being followed.  Having once been a soldier in the Gulf War, he was always very aware and at times, hyper-alert.

No one knew the beings were here on earth, until Maverick discovered his shadow was not the only one following him.  Who would have suspected that our first alien invasion would be orchestrated by invisible beings?  Pretty much no one but Maverick looked up from their cell phone while walking.

All I know is, one day they were not here, and then one day, they were.  Look for a shadow with no human partner.  It may be following you, or just standing on a corner.  Maverick said these beings probably don’t get much sunlight (or any equivalent) on their home planet.  Do they like the sun?  Who knows.  When you see an unpaired shadow, perhaps it is an alien just standing and soaking up the rays.  Or maybe they are watching you, observing.  Maverick says it’s the latter.

Meanwhile, the government is making cell phones even cheaper, and requiring each family to have one for every person over age six.  They struck a deal with the aliens.  Be aware.

Maverick and I always leave our cell phones at home.  You might want to consider that too.  Be aware!

**This is my entry for the Rag Tag Daily word prompt, shared each day at http://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com

Check them out, follow them, and join the daily writing fun!

**The above photo is my own, taken on an innocent family walk in North Carolina where the beauty of fall is apparent and colorful.  No aliens were harmed in the taking of this photo. 🙂

Lofty thoughts. #RDP

Nature, Landscape, Kaçkars, Mountains

Photo via Pixabay.

“Lofty thoughts” by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

When I was a child, I seemed to have a pleasant ability to lift myself out of my current reality and imagine things that would take me away from boredom or desperation.  It may not totally fit the definition of ‘lofty,’ but this is what I think of when I hear that word.  Some of the later experiences were not all positive as a teen, but I’ll focus on the ones that “lifted me up.” I only remember a few incidents, and I don’t know why.  Are they all that I can remember?  Perhaps they were all related to dreams, and having such a vivid imagination, I of course would see wild things when my subconcsious took control?  I read somewhere that the conscious actually does control the subconscious.  Still, some dreams mean nothing other than giving a vivid picture to some feeling, fear, or hurt that already goes on inside.  That’s what I believe, anyway.

  1. We were on a cross country trip when I was four, maybe five.  It was early morning, and I looked up in the sky to see that the sun was coming out, and the moon was trying desperately to fit itself, squeeze itself,  back into the curtain of darkness that was already fading away on one side of the sky.  It had to try quickly before the sun chased all the darkness away.  I have a feeling I probably dosed off again, because this situation never resolved itself before my eyes.
  2.  I was about eight and attending a summer camp where we tried to get closer to God.  I was falling asleep at bedtime, and some noise woke me up;  it was like I felt myself fall down back down into my body from where I had been floating.  Holy smokes! Did I have the ability to levitate at age eight?  No, it was more likely a vivid imagination, a dream so real I had the sensation of floating up until I awoke out of it.  And no, it wasn’t a near death experience, either.

The image of the sun and moon seemed so real to me, I  did not believe it was a dream.  Some dreams seem so real because they are trying to tell you something, for me, that I was compelled to try to bring things to life with my words. I want to make it as real for you as it seems for me.  I’m still trying, depositing a stone of reality within every flood of fiction.

*You can join the daily prompt fun by following ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com and you can view other entries to this challenge at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/rdp-tuesday-lofty/

Escape Hatch. #FridayFictioneers

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Have you ever wanted to get away?  Your stepdad is too bullish, your mom never comes home,  your family just hates you…

Our neighbor, Mr. Stevenson was in our house cleaning the carpet.  He told me to look out at his roof.  “When you see a bluebird on the windowsill, jump to that roof and slide down.  There will be a truck below, no, wait…you will slide into a magical jungle underneath.”

“You’re full of it,” I said, heading out of the room to play video games in the basement.

He shrugged.  “How do you think I keep on smiling?”

~100 words

Find the weekly prompt, instructions, and other prompt entries at: Friday Fictioneers, 7/20/18

Ghosts in the Garden. #amwriting #FridayFictioneers

PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

Ghosts in the Garden. (c) 2018 by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

“Jimi Hendrix is on the left, and that’s Mother Theresa next to him.”  Grandma arranged a plate of cookies.

“Are these for me?”  her grandson asked hopefully.

“No, silly.  I have to serve them.  How often do I get such prestigious guests?”

He sighed.  “Interesting combination of guests.”  She always had such a great imagination.  It just seemed to be getting wilder every day.

“Indeed it is.  Do you know what they all have in common?”

“What?”

“They love the same brand of peanut butter.” She smiled down at her platter of peanut butter cookies.

**99 words

Ghosts in the Garden is written on this day of miracles, Easter Sunday, in response to the weekly prompt  challenge presented at Rochelle-Wisoff-Fields- Addicted to Purple