Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. On this busy week, I struggled with sleep then made up for it all last night. 🙂 It’s a green matcha tea morning, and I’d like to share a poem I wrote and intended to publish earlier this week. This way, I can get to the park with my dog sooner! I’ll drop by some of your Coffee shares later.
Another day to wake up, clean up, show up.
Realizing philosophizing is making me want to throw up.
So, today I’ll stop looking at the skies and wondering why
I’ll turn my gaze down to the creatures on the ground
The ones that surround and keep me company,
I will rise and shine like the birds chirping this morning,
the sunshine peeking over the trees providing light and warming
The dog that is sniffing at the door to be let out
Then asks to come back in with a bark that shouts,
“Thank you for the outing, but I want to be with you!
I’ll need an outing later, but there are other things to do.”
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, on a quiet morning that touches us lightly with a little sunshine and very little humidity. Sixty-five degrees on a morning in Northeast Florida is truly a blessing. My drink of choice is Half-caff hazelnut coffee, and Miles Davis plays in the background in my home ‘cafe.’
We are dog-sitting this weekend. Lucy, a small, energetic curly-haired dog runs around with Bixby and then sits at my feet. Bixby is not sure what’s going on. He’s used to being top-dog, the only dog. My mother is still sleeping, and he has gone back to snuggle with her. A dog for everyone! Who wouldn’t enjoy that? Just a rhetorical question.
The sunshine on the house is quite lovely, and Bixby’s fluffy tail frequently expresses his enthusiasm! The dog situation this weekend is a bright spot for me. Instead of looking to the skies and wondering why, I am looking down to the ground at the creatures that were put in our care by the creator to keep us company and make us focus on living. That’s what they do, and so should we.
Dogs are exceptional companions, that’s why they make great emotional support animals. Bixby helps remind me that one does not always need to act their age, and that it is always helpful and appropriate to sniff the air on a beautiful day! It helps me forget my worries, such as why my son is not speaking to me, why my relationship went south, why so much change had to happen at once.
In fact, this Mother’s Day was the first one in which my son was not present. He is not speaking to me. My ex-husband was supposed to bring him to a restaurant and we’d all have dinner, but instead it was my ex-husband treating my mom and me to dinner with much conversation centered around my son. Not all of it though. He seemed to sensed the talk was bringing me down and changed the topic. I took Mom to the restaurant early to have a drink at the bar, though, and she enjoyed that. She likes being social.
I’d have to say, though, that my Mother’s day was nice if I don’t factor in the missing element. Then, this past week at work just grew to be so stressful. It’s the end of the year, teachers are worried about testing, and the kids have the Spring fever. Ugh. So, the dogs are nice company today, and I had a nice dinner last night with an ex-boyfriend from years ago. We had kept in touch through e-mail, and I contacted him recently about all I had going on and suggested we meet-up because I always found him easy to talk to. He agreed to meet.
When one does this, it could mean let’s start a friendship again, let’s have fun, or even more. One does not have to dwell on ‘what it means’ though. We were able to talk quite easily, and that is good. We haven’t seen each other in twenty years. While I am not looking to jump into a relationship, I know when I find someone easy to talk to that I value their time. Along with female friends, I do have male friends that I talk to these days, but I don’t see them as anything but friends. I am going to give myself some space to be my own person. Reaching out though, is one thing I am getting good at. He asked lots of questions and I went through my stories while he listened.
It’s always good to have a friend who listens. It is much better to spend time with someone who knows some of your quirks as well as qualities. This is why I take this kind of chance. Hanging out with members of the opposite sex, or dating after a break-up (this time from an 11-year relationship), can cause anxiety in itself. Sometimes I have felt like I should just spend all my time with the dog and my female teacher friends and just forget socializing with the opposite sex.
In telling my stories, I found that I would lose train of thought a lot, and forget what I was talking about. My short-term memory at times seems affected in that way, and I wonder if my anxiety has caused that or if, as the doctor said, I have ADHD. If so, that means I suddenly developed it in the last few years, or it could be the brain-fog women get as they move up in the years. Ah, something else to worry about? I should just laugh it off. With my students, I sometimes call myself the absent-minded professor.
I can remember conversations from twenty years ago and moments from my childhood, but in a busy classroom or while conversing in a crowded restaurant, I can forget what I was just talking about. So, I have not lost my memory, it’s just a short-term memory thing. As I tell my students, sometimes very intelligent people can forget things, or….”I have an awful lot in my mind, sometimes something won’t take hold.” 🙂 Not making excuses at all. Repetition helps memory. I tell them that as well. It’s all part of the evolving me, no problem. I still think I’m alright. I have a lot less shame and self-judgment which leaves a lot more room for honesty.
All of this sort of fits in with my ongoing novel about Ellie, my on and off work-in-progress, as I have been more focused on working on me lately. Ellie’s story lives on, though, and is developing with everything I learn. She is not me, but I am a part of her. It’s gonna be great. 🙂
Thanks for visiting my ‘cafe’ for a coffee chat. Weekend Coffee Shareis hosted every weekend by Natalie the Explorer. Have a great weekend!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Good morning! Join me with my V8 and green matcha tea. Yesterday was coffee day, and I needed it to handle that middle school energy. It is gray outside, but my home cafe is playing The Bandit, new from The Kings of Leon, and it brightens my spirit. That voice…From their new song, Supermarket:”I’m going nowhere, if you’ve got the time.” Why, yes, yes I do. Needless to say, their new album is on my Youtube playlist.
This song played on my car radio yesterday on my way home from work. It had been such a stressful day, and if I’m not careful, I’ll feel old because of it…but I am resisting! The Bandit reminds me of a mix of INXS and U2, bringing thoughts of the Spring of my 15th year, a time of so many changes. Changes are not easy, but they are the hallmark of growth. So, I am going to focus on that today instead of talking about the stresses of my job. I feel I am managing them appropriately, and that’s all I need to say on that today. 🙂
I am surrounded by middle-schoolers going through vast changes, some growing wiser with their struggles, some consistent and solid yet growing taller or exhibiting voice changes. Others are struggling and reacting, and all I can do is try to reach them. I remember a lot of my ups and downs in the pre-teen and teen years and am able to look back and see the good in it all. This is a part of my job, to empathize and treat them with understanding. Again, if I focus on this instead of the stress of teaching in a pandemic in a system that does not have adequate resources, for instance, only two guidance counselors for a school of 1200 students. I play many parts at times and have learned to embrace that.
My son seems to be doing well on his own. His job and responsibilities are perhaps keeping him focused. I text him every morning. He always replies quickly. So, I know he is waking up and going to work. Working keeps him on a straight path, gives him purpose, and this is good. His 25th birthday is Monday. Yikes! So many memories will come back. My doctor, the doctor who delivered him, is retiring this year. Fitting, in the year my son is reaching for independence. May this reach be successful!
Have a great weekend, friends and fellow bloggers! Keep it light, keep it hopeful, and always carry some sort of shovel for the days that the murky depths which you must navigate are especially thick and deep. We’ve got this! Namaste!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Traveler. After some stretching of tired, sore legs, I did some work related things on the computer this morning with the dog by my feet, matcha tea in hand. Work is weighing on my mind. Not only is our state planning to do state testing, but they are asking teachers to come up with all sorts of extra ideas to make up for losses through the pandemic.
I feel I have made progress with learning to know my students and to make them feel understood. I also teach English Language Arts, a subject in which texts can have multiple interpretations.
I feel a little stressed, maybe the students do as well. All that matters is that they do their best. Most of what I write in these last weeks is short bursts of emotion. I’ve penned my thoughts for students during this era, and I’d like to share.
You are more than a test score. You are a moving ecosystem full of brain networks and emotions, and yes, personality. While preparing for a test and doing your best can reflect your brain ability and even what kind of person you are, those few answers you got wrong on the last test do not devalue all of your efforts and hard work. Nor do they hold you back from doing better next time.
You are much more than a test score. You are your determination and fortitude that got you this far through a pandemic, some of you going through quarantine or illness of family members. You are your force of will that got you through the hard times, your personal and spiritual growth (even when nothing makes sense) that moves you to do the right thing and treat others decently and try your hardest, even at things that only pay off in the future and not now.
You are your strength that helps you to never give up and keep on trying even when it seems impossible. That is the most anyone can ask of you.
A Tired Teacher in the COVID era
***It’s Saturday, and I promise to do nothing else work-related today. Now I’m heading out for a long overdue pedicure.
Today I’m having half-caff coffee. It has been green matcha tea pretty much all week. I’ve been trying to imbibe just healthy things and sleep well at night. I slept in today and feel I can handle the coffee; life is short, right?
It has been a full, busy week at work with the end of quarter progress monitoring tests. It always means we must be on a modified schedule, which seriously throws me off. I believe I have a slight touch of OCD, because I like to know when certain things are happening, and where to find things, in order. It’s probably a byproduct of anxiety, if that’s possible. I know those two things can co-occur at any rate. The change in routine leaves me seriously tired in the afternoon. I survived the week, though, somehow, and Spring Break starts in seven days!
Tuesday morning I woke at 4 a.m. and didn’t sleep again. I had a therapy appointment and dentist visit. I took medicine for a tension headache, and it helped. I got home and ate dinner, then just relaxed. I remember my boyfriend calling and that at one point, I said “I’m not really able to talk much. I’m soooo tired.” He said I kept falling asleep on the phone. I believe it.
I did something difficult Sunday, and I’m proud of myself for taking the risk… My studies on pain, anxiety, and repressed emotions, learned from books by Schubiner and Sarno, have reinforced what my metaphysical friend told me once: “You’re holding in resentment from the past. It’s what has caused some of your health issues.” (I’ve had cysts in several places, had some removed, and was told 10 years ago I had one on my liver that could not be removed and might just deflate on its own, and not to worry. No sweat, right?) I know I’ve had resentment for my ex-husband, my almost fiance of 2005, sometimes my mom, and yes, my dad.
My dad is a recovered alcoholic, active in AA since 1989, which is very admirable. I was out of high school then. But when I was a child, he was ‘drunk dad,’ man without a filter, a little sexist and careless as to how his words would shape me as a person. Some of those words stayed with me for so long. It comes up in therapy a lot. I think of bubbles of resentment inside me, burping them up, internalizing them as cysts, and I think of bursting a bubble of resentment. I metaphorically stuck in the needle and started that process Sunday.
When you’re a child, you kind of live in the world your parents create for you. Maybe that’s why I am so keen on creating worlds now, and creating an atmosphere for my students in my classroom. As a child, you might easily stuff things down. Maybe you learn that you can speak up for yourself, but I did not. Mom’s religion taught me to turn the other cheek and be ladylike. Dad’s blackhole of a philosophy taught me to try really hard to be good out of fear of his temper, but his words taught me that I was a growing female fit to be mocked for the changes occurring to me, and that I was not good enough–to get a training bra, to wear bright lipstick, to gain a few pounds and still be beautiful. I brought it all up Sunday. Does it seem to you I was carting out past skeletons that are already dead? Well, they’ve been rattling around in my head inside that imaginary bubble.
I’m ready to bury past beliefs I developed from my childhood that caused me to date jerks and marry a man who was a mess and latched onto me for a sense of normalcy, yet blamed me for so much and held me back with his possessive nature. Past beliefs made me keep quiet when I felt wronged or when I saw something going on that I knew was wrong. I expressed all of this to my dad, (on one of our weekly long-distance calls) and he said he didn’t remember most if it, (not surprising from a foggy, rum-soaked mind), but he was sorry.
He said that he was sorry, and he thanked me for telling him these things. No admonishing me for trying to give a guilt trip (something I’d heard him say years and years ago). I am a grown woman past the age of forty, but I still remember being a small eight-year-old, being an awkward ten, being 13 with some baby-fat, turning fifteen and noticing I suddenly had hips, graduating from college and wearing red lipstick, which I thought looked very striking and daring. I remember all of that and should not have been ashamed of the changes I went through. His upbringing did not need to become my upbringing, but I can break through all of that! If I wear daring clothes or bright lipstick, it doesn’t mean I should be labeled. It doesn’t say anything about me except I felt daring that day. And now he and I have an understanding.
I said, “I haven’t felt like I really know you in ages…you’re not the man I grew up with. Sometimes you still joke with me like you’re really comfortable, but I am not comfortable with you. I’ve been afraid to tell you how I feel or if I’m upset about something, because you live states away and we might become even more distant. But lately, we’ve just had phone calls in which I tell you I’m in therapy but not what I’m discovering about me and why I am this way or about the way I want things to be. And I’ve felt that if I’m not comfortable really telling you these things, I don’t really know you at all–which makes me just not want to talk to you.”
I know men have had their own narrow gender identities taught to them and reinforced through fear or religious guilt, especially those of my generation or the one before it. I had a lot of that, too. I couldn’t say ‘crap’ for fear it would be unladylike, as if I was disobeying the Lord by doing so. It taught me I could not express anger; likewise, a young man may have been brought up thinking he could not wear pink or express sadness. Well, bursting this bubble has freed me somewhat from that thinking as well. Thank God, the changing tides of time have also loosened these definitions and judgments!
So, you, dear reader, may have never met me before, you may somewhat know me, or you may know of me. I do not mind you knowing these things. Maybe you had a similar upbringing, maybe you suffer ongoing, chronic pain/tension or anxiety. Anxiety can run through the DNA, it can develop from your upbringing, or may be a reaction to a temporary lifestyle. But I feel that acknowledging and letting out things that make you uncomfortable or anxious can loosen the grip anxiety holds on you. Maybe you’re still young, but I want you to know, life can get better, and this is the one joy of adulthood. You CAN take charge. I’ve often worried what people think of me, but I do not want to be fake. I have struggled, and I have overcome many things. That makes me incredibly strong, and why would I be ashamed of that, ever?
I have burst a bubble of silence and fear, for I am not afraid to be who I am, to acknowledge where I came from, to change the parts of it I feel were wrong, and to feel proud of what I have done with all that I was taught and all I was given. The bubble has been burst and that which festered will leave me, in a sneeze, in a conversation, or when I spit out my toothpaste. I don’t expect it to happen all at once, but I am confident that it will not rule me anymore.
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.
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.
Here’s my Weekend Coffee Share. Take it or leave it. Digest it or leave it on the table. Yeah, I suppose I sound a little antisocial today. I’m having work and COVID fear- burnout this weekend and don’t feel up to doing much. I’m working on avoiding overwhelm/stress/anxiety. I’m reading about the brain and pain/anxiety. I was kind of achy when I woke this morning.
The 4 a.m. restroom wakeup had me tossing and turning to get back to sleep while an 80s Pixies song danced in my head. (My frequent wakeup song on the way to work). 🙂
Nonetheless, it is a coffee day…because there is always something to do. While I don’t have flu or any other illness, I will be doing. Right now the coffee has my brain juices going, working to get over the fatigue and body aches I feel. I’ve read a lot on this, and I’m a firm believer in tension-myositis. So, here is what I’ve learned from my recent readings in poetic form:
Don’t ignore the ugliest parts of yourself
Stare them down and challenge them
Know them, don’t deny them.
“Try it, I dare you.” Don’t back down, nothing can stop you
Headache, heartburn, pain, fear or fatigue…don’t let them rule
While you’re quaking in your boots, face the giant
You’ve faced it before, and it truly is not bigger than you.
You’re older now, facing many changes
They cannot control you, for you are not only a sum of difficult times
You are every good thing that has happened to you
You are every victorious moment of triumph in adversity
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. I’ve had three non-coffee days this week. I can’t believe I survived! I substituted matcha green tea for coffee. My worst day this week was a coffee day, not because of the coffee, it’s just that having had coffee did not solve the issues. Seriously, I love my daily coffee, but I already have enough tension in my body and my brain. To reduce this, I am trying to reduce the coffee.
Lately, I’ve been working on my peace of mind and staying active and healthy goals. This Spring and Summer were all about that. Exercise is great for me, but my job is taking over. I’m going to manage it. It will not take over a healthy me! So, let’s not talk about work.
I look at myself from two years ago and see the difference. I suffered with my shoulder issue this summer but got past it! I look more confident. Emotionally, I’m doing better because I have tackled some problems that were failing me. I also recall that the 2018 picture was in Rhode Island.
My son and I stayed in RI to visit my dad, a self-described bull in a china shop, a thirty year recovered alcoholic , and a very admirably active senior. He kept us very busy, and we’d walk for miles touring his town (Middleton), which was lovely.
But we won’t forget his bull-in-a-China shop attitude. He took us sailing with a buddy, out to the choppy sea where we both almost hurled or passed out. Growing up a people pleaser due to my dad’s alcoholic anger and the sexist things he would often say, I kept the peace. But that does not keep peace inside me, and it doesn’t sit well with me now. He certainly does not talk to people like he used to. Still, I learned something from this rough sailing and my non -reaction; this sort of thing shaped me as a child. Now that I have processed it, I’m going to change it.
Don’t ask my mom about the time in Iceland when I was four, and Dad took us mudding in his Landrover, heading for a rumored bottomless pit.
“It’s just a rumor,” he said, or something like that.
“We’re getting out of here!” Mom took me out of the truck and we went to dry land. She never told me the rest, but this experience also shaped me. I was not safe in the hands of someone I should be able to trust.
Thus goes the journey I’ve undertaken in this last year dealing with the results of distrust and feeling so out of control of my life. I’ve been so good at sweeping traumatic, stressful family events of the last 6 years under the rug, that it all blended with past experiences to make a green soup of indigestion, pain, stress, tension, insomnia, etc. I’ve found some helpful online groups for venting. I use a meditation and pain app. Does it all work? I am still at the start, learning to be mindful of my brain’s usual reactions.
In other, lighter news, I had an appointment with the orthopedic doc about my shoulder. He says I’m almost at 100% healed of the frozen shoulder based on my mobility, and I don’t need to place limits on myself! It’s not time to get lax, though. I have to monitor any aches but not let them stop my living. I will stay diligent and keep up the exercises; I also have other health goals to meet or maintain. I can do this! I am feeling good overall and staying active.
I hope you all have a great week and progress toward any goals you may have!
Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali. It has been another week full of Live meetings with my sixth graders, the usual online teacher stuff, a broken down computer, and self-publishing a book, which made for a happy break from loneliness or monotony. So, I ordered a new laptop. I use the work laptop, but the microphone does not work, and I’ve been too lazy to take it in to the designated repair center. I’m happy about the new book. One regular reader has told me I’ve taken an “artistic leap,” as it focuses on one character, a young man going through his identity crisis after dropping out of college and obtaining a job where lies and pretending earn his pay.. Give it a look if you like! it intersects with some characters and events from undercurrents in time, but it can also stand on its own.
In the last month, I’ve had a pain flare-up, likely due to stress and fear. The news stirs my fear, and going to the grocery store in a mask is weird, but I do it. I feel like I have severe OCD, anxiety, paranoia, and agorophobia. Well, 80% of the world also does right now. I do have arthritis, but there may also be something else. I did so well after physical therapy at the start of this year, but the pain is back intermittently, and I aggravated it by going gung-ho two weeks ago trying a new exercise with light weights. Turns out I should not ever lift anything above shoulder level. 😦 No one told me that; I had to learn the hard way. )
It is relevant that I am currently reading something by Sarno about the Mind-Body Connection. It’s quite interesting, about how emotions or past trauma can cause or prolong chronic pain. Also, certain personality types are more prone to tension-myositis. When I explore these ideas, I feel more in control. Though, I am not really, but I feel it becomes possible.
I am blessed that I have my family here, though. My 78 year old mother, and my 24 year old son. He had his birthday last Sunday and we took a walk in a park just he and I, then came home and my boyfriend came over and we all ordered a great meal from Outback. I bought a cheesecake the day before, so we pigged out on all of that. My dog is also great company in these times; he seems to enjoy having us here, since Mom and I are always here, and my son is here a few days a week since he is working between 20 to 30 hours a week.
My dog has been anxious, though. Perhaps it was because of a stormy day the other day. He seemed to really like energy, or maybe he was preoccupied. And when the storm started, he was very on edge. I had walked him for, and noticed stickers and his leg, so I tried to get one out and he snarled and snapped at me. That is unusual. I kept telling him it was okay and then he started licking my hands as if he really felt sorry. He’s really a good dog. His age in dog years right now would be about 58, sort of young to be a cranky old man. But maybe he’s getting arthritis or something like that similar to what’s going on with me.
My mom took him to the vet, and she said everything looked kind of normal but based on what we had told her she was going to do some blood tests. We are still waiting on the results, but also based on what we had told her, she gave him a chewable medicine and I’m just going to call it doggie Prozac. It seems fitting. He’s in really good spirits today, but not really eating much. So, we pray there is nothing really seriously wrong. He was a stray for three years before becoming hours, and I know there were some hard times, it was evident when we first brought him home. I consider him to be a dog with PTSD, God bless him. I love that dog.
Last night I stayed up a little too late watching Homeland on Showtime with my free trial. I am definitely hooked on that show, as it has many twists and turns and OMG moments. It was a treat to myself to binge watch something again, as I can’t do that much during the week. I do try to take at least two yoga classes per week and I exercise on the back porch about two times a week, trying to stay healthy. Balance, right?
As I mentioned before, my arm and shoulder are kind of bugging me today, so I am writing this via speech to text on my phone. I do need to go back and check for errors. I hope you all have as good a week as possible and taken some sunshine. If I have not visited your weekend coffee share today, please feel free to leave your link in the comments area. I can visit your post via my phone. I’m planning to take it easy today. 🙂 Sending a virtual hug!