Weekend Coffee Share, Who Needs Weekends?

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today, just like every other day this week, I enjoyed coffee with a good breakfast. This is vacation living!

Though my vacation is coming to an end today, I look forward to seeing my dog Bixby and of course, my mother and my son! 🙂 If we were having coffee today, I’d share with you some highlights of my vacation trip.

Our cruise line was Royal Carribbean, which I highly recommend! From service staff and food to accommodations, they are amazing!
My s.o. and travel partner. This was his first cruise!
Wonderful, talented room attendants from all over the world are smiling and friendly.
A street mural in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. One of our ports was Cozumel, where we embarked to a tour of Chichen Itza.
Chichen Itza, Mexico.

Our tour of Chichen Itza was a historical, cultural wonder! See my post of a few days ago at https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2022/06/24/cichin-itza-mexico-a-visual-share-and-weeklysmile/

Sunset, leaving Cozumel, Mexico.
Coco Cay, near the Bahamas.
Excursion to Pearl Island in the Bahamas for snorkeling, sunning, and swimming.
Sunrise , approaching the Bahamas.
Farewell to the Bahamas and cruise life.

So, it has been a week that felt like seven days of weekend! This tired teacher’s heart certainly needed this. As for my boyfriend, Chris, he loved his first cruise and would certainly do this again!

That has been my week. I hope all is well with you all! I have a week ahead of me easing back into home, unpacking, exercising, and a teacher training. Thanks for stopping by!

Hunger? #RDP

Bon voyage wine and cheese plate!

You may already know that when you take a cruise, you will feel no hunger and will not want for anything. I’m currently cruising, and of course I love to share photos. Oddly, I haven’t taken that many photos of the food, save for two here.

My boyfriend, who has never been on a cruise, is accompanying me and having the time of his life. Every meal brought to us is unique or perfect in many ways.

The balcony is a great place for room service breakfast!
Morning sun.

It made me force myself to stay active and work off these excellent meals. Serving staff are also quite wonderful here onboard Royal Carribbean, and not one of them is overweight! How is that possible?

Our dinner venue. Lovely view!

I’ll tell you, these service staff are hustling up good food daily. They work on a 7 month contract, often being away from their families. They don’t seem hungry, but they obviously have no time for gluttony either. Their’s is a hunger for success, a hunger to make a better life for their families. They are all quite friendly and willing to help if needed.

Dessert with every meal. English trifle tonight!

While it’s great to be waited on, I can’t tell you how heartening it is to hear about their families or their homelands. That is one endearing quality in my boyfriend, the way he respects the service staff and engages them in conversation. If you go on a cruise, I suggest you too the service and wait staff frequently, and give them a heartfelt Thank you!

Our cabin steward also does a wonderful job!
In the waiting room before dinner.

I am one happy girl, in need of nothing, and certainly I have nothing to hunger for, except for more travel. While this current vacation has nourished my spirit and fulfilled the need to get away, it has kindled a hunger and desire for even more travels in my life!

In a day or two, I’ll share about the shore trip to Chichen Itza to view their pyramids and Mayan ruins!

Thank you to Ragtag Community for providing a fitting prompt! Visit Ragtag Community at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2022/06/21/rdp-tuesday-hunger/

Weekend Coffee Share, Vantage Point

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It’s been a green matcha tea day for me. What are you having? I’ve written this post over two days….there is a lot going on!

Saturday was my day for cardio, which I completed on my Gazelle exerciser on the screened-in porch. There was a little bit of rain. Scattered thunderstorms are predicted all day, but still, a high of 97 is expected. I hear there are high temps all over. My dad shared that it was 100 in Charlotte, VA yesterday.

This morning’s view.

A lot of the day also consisted of packing to go on a cruise, which leaves tomorrow afternoon. Along with that, I had to get a supervised COVID test, then called my auto insurance to tell them I’m not renewing with them, but rather, I am starting with a new company.

If you’ve never done this, you should try it. Insurance is always less during the ‘honeymoon period’ if your record is accident-free; admit it, we’re at their mercy. We have to have that insurance even if we end up never using it. Shop around!

Saturday night, Chris and I stayed in Dania, Florida right near the cruise port. We were in good spirits, it was the first night of vacation!

Southeast Florida landscape.

Sunday morning it was pack up time, breakfast, and off to the cruise port. Now, we are checked in, seated, and waiting for embarkation. Exciting! I hope to have many new sights and experiences to share in the next few days, depending on the Wi-Fi.

Weekend Coffee Share. Enjoy it!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I just got back from walking the dog, so cold matcha green tea is in order! What are you having?

If we were having coffee on this sunny morning, you’d probably request NOT to sit outside. The temperature is somewhere between 80 and 90°, I am just too lazy to check. Haha. Figuring out what it is is an interesting idea since so much around here depends on the humidity, and there is a nice breeze which I noticed while walking Bixby, but I will say it’s a warm breeze. You will certainly sweat outside today.

I’ve spent a lot of summer time relaxing, napping, and walking outdoors. Bixby sure appreciates that. I dare say, I’m a shade more tan than before. Honestly, that isn’t saying much though. 🙂

My mother’s been out of town, and I took my son out for Mexican food Thursday night. I worked a little on my book, Ellie the Time Traveler yesterday. It isn’t really organized, but rather it is a jumble of thoughts and spur of the moment ideas that came to me, 60 pages now. So, I believe it will come together, and I did organize some of the chapters yesterday. Now, to fill them in!

The chapter outline, a task in itself!

Yesterday, my boyfriend Chris and I went out to eat and then went to see David Spade, the comedian. Chris made reservations for us at Cowfford Chophouse, a five star restaurant! It was an awesome experience. He wore dress pants and a collared shirt. I threw together a nice outfit with a wrap-around blouse.

The atmosphere and the food at Cowford Chophouse were both comfortable and fancy. Some diners at the bar wore jeans and flip flops. We were treated like royalty and were asked if we needed to get to a show. We had a little over an hour for dinner, but they coordinated each course wonderfully. The food was amazing and the staff were courteous! Fun fact: Jacksonville used to be called Cowford about a hundred or so years ago.

Check out my Chilean sea bass! It was a wondrous combination of flavors.
Fancy dining at it’s greatest. I’d certainly go back.

Next, we moved on to the David Spade show at the Florida Theater. There was a short wait in the heat, but we managed. I was glad I wore sandals and no hose, something widely accepted in Florida! There were two opening acts, one of them pretty humorous. David Spade came on and was funny as can be. He roasted all the men in front seating who wore shorts, asking if they came right after mowing the lawn. I enjoy this venue and have been here before.

Needless to say, I am taking a lazy restful day today. Hydrating, relaxing after a healthy breakfast, and I’m getting a massage in about an hour. When I tell my friends about my summer, they say, “You deserve it!” They couldn’t be more correct!

Thanks for visiting my Coffee Share! I hope all is well in your world. I’m looking forward to posting a little bit about my upcoming travels soon!

Weekend Coffee Share, Finding Light in the Dark

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. It’s a beautiful morning, birds are singing, and I’m enjoying my breakfast with Zen green tea. It has a little bit of caffeine, so we’re all good!

If we were having a coffee chat today, I’d tell you that my school year with the students ended yesterday. It was a busy week with events but slow on the teaching requirements. I just had to make sure my grades were finalized, and I did. Class time was comprised mostly of word games and helpers cleaning out my cabinets. Some students are very kinesthetic and like to be doing things with their hands, others loved playing multiple games of Scrabble. I enjoyed teaching them strategies! Attendance dropped off after Tuesday, though.

Tuesday was the day of the school shooting in Texas. I heard nothing of it during the school day, as we were preparing at school for the 6th and 7th grade dance. I chaperoned at the dance and enjoyed watching the kids have fun while I had to admonish some now and then for running around or trying to play tag, you’re it. Some set up a Conga line/ train and made their way around the auditorium with smiles on their faces. Others got down and boogied. It was fun to watch and definitely a little bit of sensory overload that tired me out by the end of the day. After school, I attended Taco Tuesday with some teacher friends to let off some steam, and I was certainly tired when I got home.

I have many thoughts about the shooting, but I mostly am full of emotion and sorry that our kids have to grow up in a world like this. Children were searched when they got to school Wednesday morning. Backpacks were banned for the last three days of school (as they should be). Many kids were absent through the rest of the week, but I enjoyed my time with those who attended while explaining the stricter rules to them and why the current state of our nation/world requires them. I was pleased to see some 8th grade students I had taught years prior who showed me all of their awards they received at the ceremony. Some of them said goodbye on the last day and I let them take my picture in the hallway. So many mixed emotions on that day, as always. Also, a sense of relief. 🙂

I just want to say that our children deserve a better world. We also need more mental health services in our schools. Yes, they are beefing up security, but let’s curtail the problem at it’s root. Then, let’s fix our society so that our nation values children more than the bottom line. It may not happen in my lifetime. Maybe my only purpose is to let every child have a sense of belonging.

Good morning!

In other news this week, I suspect my dog, Bixby has PTSD, faltering eyesight, or slight dementia. He is getting very cranky at night if I try to pet him while he’s lying down, and he starts growling if I use that high-pitched voice that normally brings him running. Then he looks at me like he doesn’t know me. This happens most in my mom’s bedroom, so maybe the lighting is too dim and he’s tired. Maybe there is something wrong. He’s between 10 and 11 years old but was already scarred when we got him at age 3. Regardless, he has been a beacon of hope for the happiness and reduction of stress for everyone in my household!

My mom took Bixby for a haircut yesterday, and he doesn’t snap at the groomer, nor does he snap at his vet. He is only taken there during the day, though. This snapping that he does started maybe 2 years ago, which makes me think it is state of mind or PTSD from a nighttime event. He always hated fireworks. Not to mention his near-death experience last weekend. I wrote about it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2022/05/22/bixby-the-wonder-dog/

There is a slight mark where he lost some fur, but there is no wound. It’s less noticeable with his haircut, and thank God he had that fur during the incident!

Bixby had all kinds of fears when we got him and a chip on his shoulder, but he loved us when we showed him love, and he still does. This morning, he hopped on my bed early and stayed at my feet to let me sleep in, then woke me at 7:20 to let him out. He stretched when I stretched and allowed me to pet him while he wagged his tail lovingly. I know my dog’s heart is still good. I feel this is beyond dog-training and requires understanding, if nothing other than giving him space when it’s dark out. He’s a small dog. I haven’t had him around other dogs at the park in a while and plan to try this summer. And, yes, another dog training class in the near future may be needed. He is family, and family members give each other understanding.

It’s daylight, and the ghosts are gone.

So, I’m thankful he is clearheaded and more like himself this morning. I think I will take him for an extended walk. It’s my birthday weekend, so there are two good dinners planned, time with my sweetie, and a massage scheduled tomorrow. Only good things are in store this weekend! Maybe I’ll do a post like a couple of years ago on inventions a woman my age would really like to see! Maybe a posture support tank top with internal cooling fans? Underwire-free!

But I jest …or do I? 🙂

So, I have a stressful job and a crazy dog, but dealing with crazy has been my life story. You just don’t know; I seem destined for that. It doesn’t depress me anymore. I now know when to be patient and when to exercise my boundaries.

I hope you all have a joyous weekend, and a great week to follow. I’m counting this as the start of my summer!

Weekend Coffee Share, Neither Here nor There

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m enjoying hazelnut half-caff after drinking green tea all week. It feels like it’s already 80 degrees here in Jacksonville, Florida. So be it! I just really wanted coffee. 🙂

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I didn’t need coffee this week; green tea with a little caffeine was just fine with me. I was busy, busy, and the new experience of managing and selling yearbooks was pushing me to burn my own energy. Thursday, I sold out, and Friday, I was dragging my feet. It was either the lack of my newfound purpose or the sleep trouble I had Wednesday night, but I was not feeling enthused come Friday.

It’s okay, though. I’ve experienced a reciprocal respect with my end-of-day-class after reading their mythical stories, and my grading was mostly based on their imagination and pacing, so some of them had dramatic improvement in grades. Other than that, we are not learning new content anymore, and next week is mostly based on celebrations.

The surviving-til-summer-break hairstyle

I’m a fan of word games, so we’ve done some of that and will also next week. My brain is not geared towards writing right now, because this whole end-of-a-realm feeling is always something I must deal with. I recall last year I couldn’t stand the silence in my classroom on the last day and asked a friend to do her paperwork in my room as I poked around slowly packing the room up for summer. Then there’s the class in which I discovered several budding actors. So many fun possibilities!

Confetti on the floor, a prop for their scripted, pretend wedding to each other.

Last year was an emotional year to pack up; I’d experienced the end of an eleven year relationship and the exit, albeit temporary, of my son from my life. There was anger, pain, and my plucky attempts at humor to deal with it all. On top of that was saying goodbye to students that I saw grow and hope I helped grow through a pandemic.

Time heals, faith and hope heals. I reached out to others and lived my life. My son is at home with me, working and enjoying more time with his dad, who has re-entered his life. The end of this school year makes me think about last school year. It’s okay to feel that, but then I need to put it away and let this year be its own entity.

I’m still looking forward to a cruise with my boyfriend, and my birthday weekend is in a few weeks. I will either enjoy or have to survive chaperoning at an in-school dance next Tuesday, then there will just be a few days until this school year is over. I can do this!

You see, I needed my own pep talk. My title might not be fitting, since I seem to have moved out of that slump. All things considered, I am really glad to have a weekend! How has your week been?

Reading: The Bloody Shoe Diaries

Writing: nothing other than this blog post at the moment

Watching: Working Moms on Netflix. (It used to be funnier)

Listening to: Echo and the Bunnymen, Ocean Rains ( a glorious, gothic 80s tune)

Weekend Coffee Share, Bridge to….

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m enjoying matcha green tea, hearing the birds singing outside, dog at my feet. London Grammar plays in the background. Oh, that voice. This is thinking music, certainly appropriate for today.

I know, I should just celebrate the onset of my summer, but I’m still dealing with a year of big changes, so my goal right now is mindfulness and enjoying each little good thing in my life.

School’s out and summer is beginning. The afternoon hours after the students left on the last day were quiet; I felt like an empty nester all over again. The kids are our reason for being there, and now there is just clean-up before summer begins. There were a few times that afternoon that I got to sit and laugh with some co-workers in the clean-up, paperwork part of our day, but they are hurrying on their way out. I was unmotivated to get it all done.

This year certainly is unlike any other, and maybe I just need to emotionally put it in its place: the fear we felt going in-person, the struggle to communicate in a mask, the joy when I first successfully got a laugh out of them and the moments they trusted me and opened up in writing. They grew so much. I have moved slowly in packing it up, but I feel I’m making progress and still have Monday to finish.

Things that got me through the day this school year: Student-shared art and my attempts at positivity. (It helps)!

I will carry many of these memories with me, and the goal is that I will see these kids on campus next year and know that I gave them a step up in their progress toward the future and furthering their education. The cycle will keep renewing, and there will be a new crop of students next year for me to reach, or simply, to understand.

My family life is also very quiet. My mom and I are very close, but sometimes I need conversation with someone more my age or who understands what I go through, the need to excel in my career, desire to have financial stability and be able to plan for a future, yet be active in my personal time. She is having cataract surgery mid-June, so I’ll be able to help her with that. She hopes to fly to visit my brother in N.C. this summer, as well.

I’ve made good plans for the summer so far: besides, of course, walking the beach or visiting the dog park with Bixby, plane tickets were purchased for Rochester, New York for a 5-day stay with an old friend in July. She has invited me before, but this summer is the best time to go. I’ll also get a low-cost trial at a new yoga studio and go several days a week. I’ve caught up with some old friends and we’re going to hang out this summer.

There is still the matter of an I-Fly certificate; I chickened out after seeing their waiver, but it’s my goal to just do it this summer, and to have a great story to tell. 🙂 Then, there’s the matter of the quiet in my house; my son is still not answering calls, but I know he’s reporting to work. I don’t want to be a stalker mom, but I had always reserved time to go places with my son, even if he wasn’t talkative. It’s different for me. I don’t know how this situation will resolve, but I just need to have faith that it will. Something to work on, for sure.

It’s becoming clear that each season must pass to make room for the next. I have not been happy with the turn my life changes have taken, but there is always opportunity to grow. As a poet I recently discovered (Mary Oliver) wrote, “For some things there are no wrong seasons.” As it should be for me.

So, I took this morning slow today, because I could. I sat on the porch a few minutes, but the heat is something else today. I still have some work to do on my short story, Crossroads Diner, and Saturday exercise/cardio needs to be next on my list. Thank you for stopping by and allowing me to ponder. How was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com

Summer is winding down for me, but not before a last little weekend jaunt for fun and sun in St. Augustine Beach. It really is lovely.

This little guy wasn’t happy to see me packing, but my mom got home later that same day and she and my son we’re here to take care of him. He was so ecstatic when I returned today.

We got our share of sun, walking, nature, good food and fun.

The beach wasn’t too crowded Friday afternoon, but everyone was quite curious about this little rock star who likely just wanted to find shade. Kenny said this was not a sea turtle. He passed right by us and looked Kenny in the face as if to say, so long!

Writing Status

On the author front, the Detours in Time audiobook has been recorded and just needs to be edited! I may have a narrator for Undercurrents in Time! The Malachi manuscript has been sent to its second beta reader, and I discovered an old serial story of dystopian flavor that I really should dust off, polish, and grow to fruition as a novel or novella. I plan to! I haven’t thought about this stuff since we left town Thursday, but I am catching up on e-mail today and remembering where I left off. There is plenty to keep me busy!

So, that’s my week in a nutshell. Never a dull moment, but I think I did a great job for a couple of days forgetting my to-do list! Have a great weekend and week to come!

Weekend Coffee Share. Summer Days and Ways

 No coffee needed for Bixby!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at http://eclecticali.wordpress.com

Summer is in full swing, and I’m adjusting to sleeping in, more time with the dog, and a lot less stress! On the topic of stress, I’ve been making an effort to have at least two days weekly where I only drink half a cup of coffee. Let me be honest, yesterday was the second day this week, and my ability to focus was really lacking. I was working on a few of my goals as an author, but I was pretty distracted and quite slow to gain traction.  I did make it to yoga, though, and, wow! That is always good for my mood and relaxation.

I’ve been attending yoga twice weekly since summer’s start and going to Stretchzone in addition to more frequent walks. Stretchzone is a place where you do assisted stretch with a person who is usually licensed in Sports Medicine or physical therapy. I really like it, and I’m trying it because having butt in chair to write or laying around reading ( both of which I’ve been doing) can bother my lower back and sciatica.

Seen on Thursday’s walk. Colorful Shrooms!

So what am I up to as an author? Why am I sitting in that chair? I’ve got Detours in Time in audiobook production with an awesome narrator, I’m working on Malachi (work in progress), and I’m starting Undercurrents in Time on the audiobook process. I have to prepare files of scenes from Undercurrents that lend themselves to narration. ( Starting that this week). I’ve had Detours in Time on a Countdown deal for .99 this week which ends Sunday. Detours in Time is a fun, yet thought-provoking read of a woman and a scientist who travel to the future, then back and forward again,  and as a result, they learn a lot about their own families and themselves, as well as encountering some moral dilemmas.  Can you just observe a train-wreck?  That was metaphorical, but think about it.  Find out about Detours in Time or download it here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0711ZW6XF

BTW, Undercurrents, the continuation, will also be on a Countdown deal in two to three weeks. I’ll keep you posted, because someone might be interested!

Today, my dog, Bixby and I are on the road with my boyfriend, Kenny. We’re going to Brunswick, Ga to see his dad and stepmom. It will be a low key visit, with conversation and lunch at his house. We’ll be quite entertained watching my dog and their little poodle chase each other around, though!

Road trip photo!

The author tasks and goals will wait until tomorrow, after I’ve enjoyed some sunshine!  Thank you for stopping by for our coffee chat, and have a great summer week!

Weekend Coffee Share. Summer Goals!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. This is the week I started my true relaxation and “detox” from stress, including occasional half-cup-of coffee days. I’m writing here and there, but I have no set deadlines this summer.

I do have goals, though. Staying healthy and not feeling stiff or pained every day are two of the biggest. The issue came up last week when my boyfriend and I went on a four hour drive to the memorial for my best friend’s husband. I get stiff just from sitting in a car for those few hours, and we came back the next afternoon.

 Friends are also family.

It was an emotional visit, but this visit was also very life-affirming. I’ve known my friend since age 13. We know so much about each other and have seen each other through some really hard times. We’ve been separated many times by circumstances and distance. Her second husband recently became ill and was hospitalized at the end. He was one of the best husbands in my opinion, even though I only met him once. She loved him very much, and everything she said at the memorial just showed she was full of appreciation for her time with him and relief that his pain was over.  In other words, she was not a basket case at all.  Her husband, whom she has known five to six years and been married to for three, had been sick in the last two years.  Near the end, he developed a rare disease, calciphylaxis, and was in the hospital for most of this last year.  It breaks my heart, but in talking with her I could see that she wasn’t dwelling on the sorrow, and instead was focusing on the wonderful times they had together.  I want to make sure to go and see her or spend time with her more often.

After returning, I’ve been setting a lot of appointments this week.  Routine stuff, and I made it to yoga twice in one week!  I felt great after yesterday’s class, but I feel sore today, so maybe I just have to get used to it.  I also went and tried out a place called Stretch Zone that does assisted stretch.  I decided I’d go back, so I purchased a month’s package to see how I improve after that month.  “Spend all you have for loveliness,” someone said, somewhere.  I used to spend it on vacations and concerts, now I am having to invest in being healthy and a whole person.  In my opinion, well worth it!  It’ll make my next vacation more enjoyable.  I also took my furbaby to get a haircut yesterday.  Yeah, he knows he’s handsome. 🙂

Beside that and binge-watching The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve been working with a narrator to get Detours in Time onto audio, and after that, Undercurrents in Time as well! I’m trying to finish the Malachi manuscript, but I find I get pretty stiff when sitting in the same place for too long (as mentioned above).  Sometimes I stand near the kitchen counter and type.   I will be posting some brief excerpts in the next week or two!  In reading, I’m alternating between a Kindle book and its audio. That seems to work with my goal of not being too still. Please pray for me so I can get this book finished!  I think I am incorporating a good plan to keep moving.

I hope you all have a great week and are enjoying your summer. Happy Pride month to those of you who are, or have a friend or loved one that is, LGBTQ.  Happy summer to all!

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