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.
Grab a cup of whatever pleases you, I know I myself had a good cup of coffee today with milk and honey creamer. After spending the morning alternating between sending parent e-mails, entering grades, and working on my Class Dojo site with 30 min. exercise at one point and a little time working on my authorship, I think the topic of work/life balance is a good one to bring up at this time. Don’t worry, we can talk about the rest, too! Pull up a chair and your favorite beverage!
It has been another busy week. Work, grades, planning new lessons. Students are more of a challenge the closer we get to the holidays. (Hence, the parent e-mails this morning). Thursday consisted of two separate doctor appointments. No new issues were found, but the doctor, after a discussion of the pain in my shoulder and arm, is sending me for an MRI and x-ray and referring me to physical therapy. The physical therapy is probably a good thing, since this has been bothering me even after going to chiropractic for a year. Don’t get me wrong, visiting a chiropractor has really helped my back and spine. So I’m adding one more appointment and it’s increasing my need for work and life balance. I can do this.
I may have mentioned I was going to be visiting Kingsland, Georgia with my boyfriend in last week’s coffee share. We were there visiting his dad who recently got a new health diagnosis that has been worrying my boyfriend. Well, we had a nice visit, and afterward decided to visit Neutral Zone Studios which, as a friend had told me just that day, was having a Star Trek exhibit where you could visit the set. Evidently they do a lot of fan films there. Well, we hammed it up and had lot of fun. I think we really needed that. Beam me up!
I have been spending a little bit of time each evening for about a week listening to the narrators chapters for my book, Undercurrents in Time. It will soon be an audiobook, and I am so excited. She is doing a great job, and it’s all going smoothly, except for a little delayed with the ACX audio system. That doesn’t really bother me, because I really can’t listen to more than one chapter per night with everything else going on in my life. So no problem. I also actually enjoying listening to her read the story, and like hearing it again through the narrator’s tone and inflection. I think you all will enjoy it too! I have also sent my manuscript, Malachi to another beta reader. I think that pretty much be done with the story soon, and it will be on to editing and soon, the designing of the book cover, which really gets me excited!
**Today’s coffee share has been written with the aid of Dragon dictation, something I have not used for a while, but I felt like I should give my arm and shoulder a break. So as a result, I have noticed a font change when there shouldn’t have been, and I have had to stop and change some of the words that the dictation misunderstood from my voice. I feel like I might have discussed a few more topics here, but it’s just time to lay back and relax and read a book now. I did a lot of this morning, though. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend and a wonderful week next week.
I have not given Bixby enough playtime this week. I owe him a dog park day really soon! Yesterday, I had a meeting with some middle schoolers in the NJHS club, a truly rewarding volunteer job. These kids are the cream of the crop in middle school, and have to maintain academic and behavioral standards as well as earning a certain amount of community service to qualify. We discussed volunteer opportunies. Thursday, I had an appointment at an assisted stretch clinic. Yes, I went there for a month this summer but have signed up again for a month as I have been either stiff or in stress knots lately. That and a once weekly relaxing yoga class are keeping me level lately.
So…here’s what else is happening:
Malachi is still in editing and rewriting. Goal: April publication!
And finally, Detours in Time is now available in audiobook! It is narrated by the talented Emory Stagmer, who can be found at @VAXHeadroom on Twitter. You can find out more about the audiobook here: Detours in Time Audiobook
It has been fairly cooling off, which means we have had temperatures in the eighties. 🙂 It feels great in the morning but by 3 p.m., the humidity gets to me. At least we are not in the ninety degree temperatures everyday! I am sure I would find something more to share about, but I am eyeing a stack of papers that also have to be graded. My work seems to never end…
I am tired and not sure how much longer I can do this. So, I let my leg straighten out. I don’t even get an evil eye from the instructor, although we were supposed to hold the bent-leg pose for two minutes. Thank God. No judgment here. And that is how it should be. I am competing with no one but myself. I have nothing to prove.
“You know your own body and limits,” the instructor says. She tells us to modify and gives us options. This is how it should be. Gone are the days of kick-boxing and countless ab repetitions on the floor to some Britney Spears song. My body complains at times, but my spirit is soaring. That’s because, what makes my spirit soar is quite different than what used to.
I could go down the list of names of maladies my chiropractor labelled me as having, in addition to the surgeries and digestive issues, but I won’t. What’s important is that I am doing an exercise that is good for all of these maladies, while at the same time, relieving stress. This is what I need right now. Sorry, but I feel my age today and I’m visualizing myself as a tin man. It’s not always like this. But what’s important is that I got off the couch, because the aches will still be there whether I push through them or not, but I will end up much healthier this way.
You may think this is a sad post, but let’s shout in celebration because I did show up, I tried, and I’m all the better for it. Not only did I take away a release from stress, I also left with a new favorite musician.
The music on our instructor’s playlist included a artist who speaks to me with his instrument. So, I asked her for the artist’s name, and now I have a new favorite song to play in the morning so I can be calm on the way to work. His name is Garth Stevenson. My favorite of his songs is “A Love Song.” It starts slow, includes a lot of waiting, a lot of added whimsical instruments (reminding me of the fairies in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) and a *violin that is deep, a piano that is light and airy, and a melody that tells it’s own story, making me at once want to cry and leap for joy. All of this relaxes me, I am not sure how, maybe because it provides me the perfect escape. I feel as if I could hide up somewhere in the highest notes of this song, dancing as if my body had no aches or creaks. The violin speaks to me and carries me away like an easy flowing river, making me believe it and see it happening. Perhaps heaven would be like this for me. (Further research by my fellow blogger informs me this instrument I’m hearing is a double bass. I’ve always loved stand-up bass, cello, violin…)
Joy is when you find the thing that touches your emotions most and makes you feel free. Up high, untouchable, unjudged, I would be invisible in each high note, floating like a fairy dancing on air. You could only see me if you can feel the music. See what I mean. Music takes you away.
I may have digressed there, but the music is important. Your bills, road rage, past memories and work obligations of tomorrow should not matter when you are doing yoga. You also should not be focusing on your limitations. Sometimes it takes the right song to take you away from that. It may be a different song for each of us; I have found my song. 🙂 ❤
In my search today for teacher/writer ideas for writing prompts, I came across this idea: Mixed Tape Monday. It goes like this: If you had to choose three songs that represent your life, what would they be, and why? Sounds fun! Hopefully the videos come through for you! I submit for my first entry, Chumbawamba’s Tub-Thumping. Why? Well, the band title and song title made me laugh the first time I heard them!
Not only that, this song is AWESOME! (Probably why I mentioned it in my recent novel). It also came out in 1997, a very memorable time for me. I was twenty-nine years old and a new mom. I was back to working full-time, and my job was stressful. So was my marriage. I felt like I was always cheating some other part of me by being anywhere that I was in any given moment. Who was I? Wife, mom, sales manager. I didn’t really have time to be anyone else’s friend. Well, eventually I made a friend at work, and we’d go to lunch and scream to the chorus of this song with its catchy beat and winning attitude. Yes, in my business blouse and skirt, after picking up an Arby’s sandwich, I’d scream to this song on the way back to work. It made me laugh, it made me forget that I wished I was somewhere else, and it made any given day better. “I get knocked down, but I get up again.” These were pivotal years for me. Indeed, I did get back up. Now, that is something to celebrate. I’m no longer married to him, I no longer work there, and I have a good relationship with my grown son who doesn’t give me guilt if I’m doing my own thing. On to #2…
(It is second in the playlist)
“King and Lionheart,” by Monsters and Men. This is a recent song; of course, answering this prompt in 1985 would have yielded a much different result, but you would tire of my teen Madonna obsession. 🙂 I love Of Monsters and Men, their lyrics, their sound, their videos. This song certainly showcases the female singer’s voice, her understated strength and melody. I like to think that understated strength represents me. “We won’t run, we won’t run….We’re here to stay, we’re here to stay.” I hope I exhibit that inner strength in my teaching life and in my motherhood decisions, which, by the way, I still have to make at times.
The third and final song, because this prompt only allowed me three, is “Dream Weaver,” by Gary Wright. I’m sure it was meant to be romantic, but when I first heard it, I had no idea what romance was. I had a pre-teen girl’s unrealistic notions, and hence, a dreamer was born. Do you see why I loved this song so much? I am such a dreamer. I recall saying that to someone who asked about my writing, that I’ve been a dreamer for a long time, and until I wrote my thoughts and ideas down, a dreamer is all I was, yet, I had to start out dreaming to believe I could do it. This song speaks of fantasy and helping me to “forget today’s pain.” If I close my eyes, the sound effects make me feel like I’m flying. “Fly me away to the bright side of the moon, and meet me on the other side….” Is it any coincidence that I prefer to write science fiction? I wonder whatever happened to Gary Wright…..
That brings me to this ambivalent thought: These songs span about forty years. *Gulp* To be fair, Gary Wright’s song came out when I was four. Okay, I won’t dwell on this part. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this musical journey! Perhaps I’ll try it again in a year and see if it has changed! I’d love to hear yours as well, and hey, I plan to use this idea to get a class of middle-schoolers to write. Do you think it’ll work?
*All videos are shared from Youtube, and I have no claim and take no credit for them.