#WeekendCoffeeShare. Top 10 Sounds Accompanying my Morning

Noting the sounds around me is part of a mindfulness exercise from the book, Mindfulness Journal for Beginners. This exercise can help you to be more in the moment, especially if you are a worrier or an overthinker like I am. Here’s my top 10 for this morning:

1. I woke up hearing my son’s steps in the hall on his way to work. That gives me an idea of the time, and there was no need to sleep late, I had a good night’s sleep!

2. The pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor, excited to wake me up, or is he urgently needing to get outside?

3. My dog’s sneeze and snuffle as he’s telling me he wants to go out. He doesn’t use his bark much to communicate, but rather, uses facial expressions and other sounds.

Bixby loves to move!

4. Geese flying overhead as I step out back with the dog. Those geese just love Northeast Florida, don’t they?

5. Soft rain drops, not even a sprinkle;  well, actually,  I  think it is just drips from the roof. No…now it is sprinkling. A peaceful sound.

6. Some construction machine,  probably blocks away, but not a bothersome sound.

7. My Keureg Coffee machine brewing my half-caff Hazelnut. Yes, it’s time for a coffee day! You may have whatever you like!

8. A Youtube mix containing Of Monsters and Men hits, one of my favorite bands. The urgent Winter Sound will wake you up and fill you with determination; the mysterious Slow Life could just take you into deep sleep. The lyrics of many of their new songs are quite thought-provoking. I may switch to Miles Davis when the coffee is done brewing.

9. There is the usual tick-tock of the clock, but I can drown it out by turning the music up, and sometimes that is what I prefer.

10. If this were a real coffee shop, I’d hear the lull of voices discussing how good their coffee is, our wildest dreams and goals (owning a farm with many dogs and creating a writers’ camp, becoming a comedienne), or the antics of an interesting member in their family. It all sounds good, as I am vowing to have some me time later and not to focus much on my job today.

Okay, I suppose I must share one thought from my week, as I challenge myself to form a mindset that helps me survive the everyday stress and the pandemic distance:

“Don’t grow up too fast, but if you must, save the good moments of your childhood: running through sprinklers, dressing up as imaginary characters, laughing at ridiculous things. They will help you through many hard times as an adult.” -Pamela S. Canepa

Or, to quote a more famous author: “Don’t grow up too fast, Darling. Age is inevitable, but if you nurture a childlike heart, you’ll never, ever grow old.” -Beth Hoffman

My most important goal.

How are things in your world? I thank you for stopping by. Have a great weekend and an even better week!

Weekend Coffee Share, Somewhere Else

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. It has been a nice little getaway weekend. Our first quarter at work has been completed and I have earned some R and R!

My boyfriend and I headed to Savannah, Georgia for sightseeing, good food, and a change of scenery. I loved the street musicians but was amazed that so many tourists there were mask free. Still, the people watching was fun.

I relaxed and enjoyed some time with Kenny. Today, I felt much less stressed at work, so the getaway must have worked!

On the writing front, the audiobook for Malachi, Ruse Master is still in progress. I have edited and published on Medium an article about faith and struggle. You may view it here: https://medium.com/@pamschloessercanepa/of-faith-and-the-eternal-struggle-f626c18f0a93

After returning Saturday afternoon, I didn’t do much. Sunday, I had brunch with a good friend who is a fellow writer along with my son and my mom. It was relaxing and enjoyable, with everything followed my a massage I so needed after being sick about ten days ago. I am recharged now! This is going to be a great week!

Weekend Coffee Share. I know, we haven’t talked….

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali on wordpress. So, it has been a week. What a week. Please forgive if I am not very focused today. Here’s why:

A middle-aged woman keeps anxiety at bay

Usually. She reduces coffee intake, but not today…

She brings her work home all the time

But lets the air out on Friday night

For a date with the couch, and her feet up

A dog at her feet or closer for a belly rub.

Time for a date tomorrow night

I’ve got to relate to someone, am I right?

Tonight, a glass on the table, Netflix a little loud

Something ridiculously funny, like the IT Crowd.

Thoughts on the back burner, wondering

How her job took over. Pondering

How do I take control of this?

This is my life. There is so much more

that I want to do.

And will I have to tell the children

“The problem is not at all you?”

So I struggle for free time

To survive and keep my mind at peace.

Yet, new requirements, mandates,

Take the time away from me.

Let’s not mention health, which is a hobby and a job.

Or serenity and fun, they seem to have been robbed.

Don’t worry, I’m going to get it back.

Somehow, I will get these cards stacked.

Signed,

I want to focus on the things that make me enthusiastic again.

A teacher in 2020. But also, a middle-aged woman. A mom, a daughter, someone’s friend, an arthritic woman, a writer, a fitness-minded individual, an anxiety sufferer, a survivor, a fighter, one who loves to dance but never does these days, a dog-lover.

The Coconut Village, A Self-Love Story

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I had just spent a whole year single after a devastating break-up.  My job came through with a bonus at the end of the year, so I was going to travel.  The Bahamas became my destination.  Beautiful beaches, 80 degree weather, sunshine, and beautiful people with rich accents would fill my vision and my world for a few days.  Travel by cruise ship was my choice.  As we are stuck in our various hometowns due to COVID right now, it does me some good to look back on these memories.

It didn’t take long to decide who I would take.  There was no one I really wanted to go with me, no girls-gone-wild trip for me, and I wasn’t convinced I’d want to meet a man on a cruise ship.  This vacation was for ME.  I didn’t want to leave my ten-year-old son with my ex-husband, though, so I took him with me.  He was such a great kid for a ten-year-old.  I did not regret my choice.

Being the only adult in my partner, I got to make the decisions on where we would go, what tours we would take.  It all worked out! I kept track of my charge, planned our tours and agenda, and still had fun.  We took a tour of Queen Mary’s steps, a flamingo farm, and other lovely sites. Then, we took time to enjoy a beach a little bit away from the tourist hotels.

I paid for a cab which was more like a mini-van that could hold several people.  We found our beach that was riddled with gnarled trees, white sand, and coconut trees.  We sat, waded in the water, he swam, and I just wanted to relax on my towel.  Looking back, I feel as though I forgot to worry about a thing in the world, except keeping an eye on my son; but he was keeping track of where I was and did not want to wander either. I was home base.  I don’t remember us arguing about a single thing on that trip.

After a while, a woman is walking by and says to me, “Do you want’cha hair braided?”

“How much?” I ask.

“Six dollars per braid.”

“How about the whole head, just across the front?”

“Fifty dollars.”

I pulled the cash out of my pocket and said, “Okay.”  I explained to my son that I could not turn my head, and he HAD to stay in my sight.  He did. He sat and gathered some coconuts.  She began to braid. We talked about my son, her family, where I was from, and I forgot to worry about her fingers in my hair.  I forgot to worry about people I don’t know walking up to me.

A man came up with a box. “Coconut and rum! Two dollars.”  I forked out the money and forgot to worry about drinking something from a box carried by a man on the beach.  It was tasty.  I forked out more money and I don’t know how many I had, but nothing too crazy.

My son started going a little further and gathering more coconuts, adding in what I drank from.  I bought him his own coconut (minus the rum) to enjoy the coconut milk. He kept gathering more and when he had gone a little too far, came back when I called.  I explained that he had to stay safe and I couldn’t get right up.  When she finished my hair, I looked like a blonde Caribbean girl, or just like me trying to look Caribbean? It was cute, anyhow. 🙂

As it got closer to evening than afternoon, we had to walk back to find another cab.  No problem.  We got into a cab that was full of young guys having a party time.  Oh great, I thought.  They were a little noisy, but I joined in as they started singing old Motown hits.  It was so fun, and my son just looked at me and laughed. I can still picture the look on his face.

The next day, we woke up on the cruise ship and went to the pool.  I just took in the sunshine and the breeze. I was a little hungover.  He sat there quietly. When he went in the pool, he told me where he was going. I kept my eyes open, still relaxed, and soon, our dinner table partners, a woman with her grandson, came up and said hi, so my son had someone to play with in the pool.  He had a ball, and I sat there and relaxed.

It was a buffer time between a bad break-up and my son’s angst-riddled, terrible teens.  But this vacation served to show me there are rewards when you just let yourself do WHAT YOU WANT to do. It also gave me a focus to look back on when those teen years happened, to remind me that, yes, my son really is a good person, and we can get along quite well. Sometimes, making time for my son has been an important act of self-love.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share, Unwind.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com and observed by bloggers all over the world! My dog is my source of stress relief today. School has been terribly busy this week, and the pre-holiday ants-in-the-pants syndrome is widespread in middle schoolers. I was running on a large cup of hazelnut coffee and Advil yesterday.

Today, I’m really taking it slow. I need that, sometimes. Mind you, I love my job, because I am teaching a novel I love, by Walter Dean Myers. I’ve made connections with my students by discussing things I have in common with Myers, things that go beneath the surface.

I’ve also been sharing about things that I have written, like this book, From Bedlam to Ben, something I have been proofing before I get it into paperback, even though it was published for Kindle 3 years ago.

As I’ve probably already mentioned, Undercurrents in Time is now in audio, and it seems to be doing well!

I almost have no energy to deal with writerly things today, though.

I’m writing this on my phone while I’m couching it with my dog. He sort of accompanied me as I exercised on the porch this morning.

He also was glad to sit outside with me for 15 minutes in the sunshine on this 78 degree day. You’ve gotta love the Southeast! I really needed some lazy time with my dog! Now, I think I’ll go read a book.

Yes, it just may be a tearjerker, and I really don’t mind.

Have a great weekend, my friends!

Weekend Coffee Share. “Everything was Beautiful…”

For the animals. This is my weekend coffee share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com every weekend.  Friday and Monday are days off of work for me.  Finally!  Nonetheless, I dreamed work dreams on both Friday and Saturday night, probably because by Sunday a.m., I still hadn’t spend anymore than fifteen minutes on work that I brought home, and I always bring home work!  Above is the album cover for my new Moby c.d., and it is beautiful.  The animals look so human.  His music really takes me away, which, as you can tell, I really need.  Anyhow, I think I read somewhere that Moby is a vegetarian, which is something I think about doing but haven’t yet, for a few different reasons.

I took good care of myself Friday; I had lunch with an old friend and then shopped at a so-called upper scale consignment shop.  I got a pedicure and got out for fun singing karaoke with my boyfriend.  Saturday, I met some work friends for lunch and afterward, my son and I took our dog, Bixby, to the dog park.  Bixby fell in love.  Oh, he has been fixed, but he always seems to find one dog that he wants to follow around and try to dominate.  Dog-training does not seem to help that.

He pretty much chased this one dog from one end of the dog park to the other!  It was fun to watch though, including the way the other dog resisted his advances.  Smart pup, she was!  After that, we came home and I gave him a bath, so he could return to his clean, fluffy self.

So, tomorrow I will exercise and go to the chiropractor.  I really need that; it seems I have carpal tunnel, and I’m dead set against surgery at this point in my life.  I also have arthritis.  Boo.  I’ve been told before that one should reduce carbs to keep arthritis at bay.  Well, I do try.  I’ve thought about vegeterianism, because I hate cooking meat, but I worry that if I adopted that lifestyle, I would end up eating more carbs to satisfy my hunger.  Am I wrong on this point?  I mean, I do need to eat more greens and want to feel healthier, overall.  That, and I love animals.  I also thought about Paleo, even if it’s on and off, because that way I’d really reduce the carbs.  I have to be careful, because I also get spastic colon, a syndrome that came to me via heredity and ample stress.  Sigh.  I’d be glad to hear from any vegetarians or Paleo enthusiasts about what has worked for you.

I’ve done some great self-care this weekend that I had put off for too long.  Sadly, I will have to carve out time today and maybe on my day off tomorrow for the paperwork I brought home from work.  I will not fret; this won’t last forever.  My summer will come, and it will be full of fun, writing, and my character, Malachi!

Have a great week, friends!

#WeekendCoffeeShare. Pep Talk or Planned Timeout? #letterstomyself #amwriting

Morning, Coffee, Cup, Drink, Table

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Allison at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/ wherein I debate whether I really need a pep talk or a planned timeout this weekend.

Yeah, you may have guessed; I’m tired.  I work for an organization that educates children but seems to test them more than we educate them.  I don’t believe in the way we do things, but I follow directions well.  Testing season is upon us.  I will not dwell on it anymore, but I will add that there are many days I love to be in that room with that sea of facing, many of them smiling because they love being silly, and a few of them are even laughing or responding to my jokes.  🙂

On the bright side, I made it to yoga this week for a class that was very relaxing, yet energizing. We got a great stretch.  This is great because I woke up so sore that morning.  Today I will likely take a walk with the dog.  I also carved out two hours in the evenings to work on editing my upcoming sequel to Detours in Time.    It is good that I have that on the side, and I’m working hard to always have the energy to fit the writing in,  because I don’t have the energy to stay up past 10 p.m. these days.  It is highly possible that the time change will bring more energy and ability to extend my schedule; it seemed to work last year.  For today, I promise myself a walk with the dog, whether long or short, and a hot bath.  I also know I need to go to the bank, but that is not a treat, just a necessity.  There will also be reading time.  If two hours this week sounds too scarce for the writing/editing, maybe it is.  My day job is just so demanding lately, but I will do this.  I still think I can get this book out over the summer, which is my plan, since I will be off and have time to promote it, contact bloggers and reviewers, write guest posts, etc.

At any rate, there are lots of times I give myself a pep talk.  A writer friend named Jonas posted an idea called Letters to Myself a month or so ago.  I joined in.  Below is an extension of a Facebook challenge:  what two words would you say to your younger self.  My words are, “You Can.”  It is also a #lettertomyself, and it still rings true today.  I write because I can.

You can……. Oh yes, you can. Girl, get on up there and show ’em you can. You can say what you mean. You are allowed an opinion and it doesn’t have to agree with all the others.  You can do what you set your mind to. You can do things because YOU want to and you will still be loved even if you slip up. You can. Paint those walls. Run those bases and skin your knees. Dance that dance and fall on your butt and get back up because they will still love you and be proud of you. And if they don’t, you love yourself and one day, someone else will love you for that. Love yourself because you can. Do something silly. You will still be loved and you will love doing it. Do it because you can.

I’ll end my Weekend Coffee Share on that note.  I hope that you all have a great week!  Visit the Weekend Coffee Share to read others’ posts and/or enter yours by clicking the blue Inlinkz button at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2018/01/26/weekendcoffeeshare-empty-weekend/

My Go-To. #WeekendCoffeeShare

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Bixby contemplates my morning coffee.  What is so magical about it, and what will she do if I sneak a few sips?  

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Allison athttps://eclecticali.wordpress.com.   I am trying to keep it short, but just to forewarn you, I have the attention span of a gnat this weekend.  Work was frustrating yesterday, and I am so tired of the national news dividing our nation even more.

At any rate, I have done my stretches this morning, and I plan to get a walk soon.  This is all part of my intention for this year to help me stay healthy and of a positive mindset.

My writing has been coming in spurts this week, unplanned, by the seat of my pants.  A pantser, that I am, at times.  I’m working on a new idea that is a spin-off of a character in my sequel that is in beta-reading mode, also known as waiting mode.  I also wrote a flash- fiction piece in one of the blog challenges this week.  It is a nice escape based on characters who got away from their daily grind to live in a luxurious, non-stop vacation world.  Only, they have to somehow afford that life.  Interested?  Read it here:  Swindled, 1/07/18. #flashfiction

Sometimes writing is a great escape for me and nothing but.  It is its own means to an end.  It would be great if I made enough money from it to take grand vacations, but it doesn’t matter.  I love what writing does for my mind. This brings me another of the key factors in my focus on seeking or harnessing energy in this new year: music.  My mind can race at times with thoughts, ideas, negation of my ideas, lack of ideas,  ruminations of my day, etc., etc.  It starts when I wake.  I have to calm it or tame the run-away train when I need to focus on getting one thing done (writing, cleaning…) or focus on getting myself ready for work and out the door on a workday morning.  Music helps.  It can also inspire me to get some writing done.  Here is my latest discovery that I am dying to share, and I hope you will go check out the video, Taro by alt-J.

 

The video visuals and the music together are just divine perfection, a comment on the human experience, our beautiful world, an understanding of those around us.  I found out this is a tribute to a war-time photographer named Taro, and all of the footage here is of peaceful images.  I found this when searching another song by alt-j with psychedelic undertones, because I love them; they take me away, and so does this song and its video.  Sometimes I need an escape from my mental chatter.  Writing can do that, my favorite out-of-this-world, creepy shows or movies do that (Haven, Haven) , books do that, and music does that, some music more than others.  Please enjoy this video.  It will surely provide a brief escape for your weekend.

Visit other coffee shares or add yours at https://eclecticali.wordpress.com/2018/01/12/weekendcoffeeshare-birthday-weekend/ by clicking the blue InLinkz button!  Have a great week!

 

 

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.

Staying True to Me, My Exercise Evolution, Pt. 2

YogaBabt4thI am sharing an experience from about a year ago.  It is my intent that I will share a few experiences that inspired me to write, whether a Facebook post or diary entry, and to catch up to more current yoga streams of consciousness.  This one was a turning point for me, because no matter what exercise you choose, you have to realize that you are not like everyone else and embrace that fact, instead of feeling ashamed.  Due to physical arthritis or stress-related issues, Yoga has lately been my exercise of choice, with occasional pilates and barre classes to push myself. Yet my spirit so often begs for yoga.  Think about it; yoga is a relaxing exercise that helps center the mind, but it quickly loses that factor when you are pushing yourself to be something you’re not, or comparing yourself to others in the room who may be a little more, well, limber.  Best is the instructor who reminds you to go at your own pace, modify if needed, stop comparing yourself to others, and yes, “Hang out in child’s pose” if you feel the need!

*I had a yoga win last night! I was not going to let that gal force me into a frog. I’ve been forced into one before and, well, Pam is not a frog. This was probably 9 years ago at a gym that has long since closed.  I recall being amazed that I could actually get into a frog, only, guess what?  I didn’t get into a frog; I was forced into the frog!  Getting out of it was pretty awkward.  I wasn’t having that this time.  I muttered, “No. I have trouble with….” You could fill in the blank, this week. She heard knee, and moved on to someone else. So I did my own pose without pins and needles of pain, because yoga is for relaxation, not pain. I also did not turn my mind off (such a rebel)! There are great things going on; thank God! My mind is working for me right now and I will let it, since I’ve actually been able to write lately. This yoga/exercise state of mind and leading me to healthy thoughts; my mind is not shut off, but I’m not worrying!  Therefore, this must be a good thing.  It was awesome this time to practice something that did relax my body and mind, and still, through it all, I remained true to me.   Sorry if ya’ll expected me to say I’d figured out the headstand…..*