Weekend Coffee Share, Of Anachronisms and Wistful Wishes

Happy birthday, Joan of Arc!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! Pull up a chair and have a cup of whatever appeals to you. On this pleasantly chilly day, I’m brewing warm coffee. This week has held many changes, but one thing remains the safe: COVID is out there and precautions are still very necessary, especially here in the state of Florida.

What does that mean for me? Wearing a mask non-stop while teaching, washing my hands frequently as I look at their rough skin, longing for a paraffin manicure. I am too practical for that, though, yet I may grow really desperate if they look even worse in a few months. COVID is not going away soon enough.

Staying COVID-safe.

This week, I wistfully longed for the confidence to pursue my bucket list. High on the list is a visit to New Orleans for Joan of Arc’s annual birthday parade. I believe they made it virtual this year, which is in no way the same. I am hoping to go in the next 2-3 years, and it is the perfect way, in my opinion, to see New Orleans for the first time. It is not safe right now. Joan’s birthday was January 6th, 1412, and the parade includes the throwing of beads, yet I hear it is not as debauched as Mardi Gras. I shall find out!

Another wistful thought came to mind yesterday morning as I played songs by my favorite Scottish band, Albannach. I had seen them several years in a row at the outdoor Celtic festival in St. Augustine, Florida. I dearly miss outdoor festivals and remembered it would likely take place two months from now as Spring ushers in the pleasant weather. Not this year….well, maybe next.

Changes galore have been happening at my teaching job due to many students coming out of the online schooling option and returning to school. I may even be absolved of teaching an online class now. Instead, I will have a Critical Thinking/Creative Writing class that is an elective. I am used to change; I won’t let it shake me up. I see that next week will bring even more changes and surprises as the COVID teaching landscape forces many new ways of doing things and a huge amount of adapting. I have stepped down from leading a committee and now I’m getting into the start of a News Club. I can only see positives here, except it is another responsibility.

However, I am staying positive since several students seem interested. What does this mean? There are minions! Yes, what a relief. I do have another teacher willing to be a co-sponsor which also makes me feel this idea can be feasible while allowing me not to let it ‘take over.’ It also pleases me to know I can use my gift for writing to share with students and hopefully inspire and teach them more about writing. We will have to plan a way to have an active club while using social distancing. My social life is starved lately due to COVID, but I am surrounded by people as a teacher, and I plan to relate to them all positively.

Being positive with those around me will be possible if I can still have my boundaries and have the time to practice healthy living. This means eating healthy and not on the fly, making time to exercise, and time for appointments that nourish my health and mental health (it takes a village) :). Let’s not forget, being able to get things done but still rest and spend time with my loved ones including my dog, Bixby.

That’s what’s is happening in my corner of the world. Everyone have a great weekend, and stay safe.

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!

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. A Day Like Any Other, in a Beautiful World

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Iceland, the countryside, and me, circa 1972.

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

This is the post in which I celebrate, or bemoan in a humorous attempt, the addition of another candle on my birthday cake. I am now not as old as dirt, but officially older than dirt. 😉 It happened Weds., sandwiched in between Memorial day and the last day of school, two other things I like to enjoy.

This past Wednesday was a day like any other, except it was the day I celebrated having made another trip around the sun! As”trippy” as that sounds, it makes me feel better about being a year older. So, let’s look back. I was fortunate enough to live in five states before turning eight, thanks to Dad and his Navy career. The dissolution of Mom and Dad’s marriage ending up with her putting her feet down and not having us follow him to the next station after Jax. Such is life. I got schooled in school and then got truly educated in college; I am so greatful for that! I have lived in Jacksonville since age eight, and I’ve been married, pregnant, a mother, divorced, engaged, rebounded, freed. Raising my son was a whole other story, but I did it, all while engaging in a teaching career.

I have raised a son, mostly on my own, but I will acknowledge the help of my mother, my church, and my long-time boyfriend in helping him be part of a community and to learn things I couldn’t teach, like changing the oil or driving a car with a clutch. I know he appreciated that. My mom has been helpful at those times I needed to have a social life and my son couldn’t be left alone, and they were very close when he was younger, since Grandma never had to be the stern one or the disciplining figure in his life, but I’m sure there are many other reasons they had a special bond! I have seen him through some hard times and I hope I helped him out. He has grown a lot just in the years since he turned eighteen.

Then, to put the icing on the cake, or maybe to find my moorings and to not lose myself in the midst of a storm, I finally got a dog and published a fiction book. I am still publishing fiction books! This was part of fulfilling my bucket list, and I am so glad I stopped letting ‘life’ (read that as ‘survival’) get in the way. I started spending a little time now and then with an elderly church member who is in a home, which teaches me a lot about patience and attitude. The gratitude she gives me is humbling. To be honest, I didn’t know I would be doing that; it just struck me as something I should do when volunteers were enlisted. At any rate, here I am in life, not yet a millionaire and haven’t made it to Europe. That’s not bothering me yet. Well, I never did expect to be a millionaire. 😉

I am so much more accepting of myself now, yet I’m still a little bit enslaved to culture’s dictations on what is acceptable. Bralessness is still not accepted. Eyebrows are a must, and that can be a problem for women of a certain age. A pencil is no longer sufficient; now I must have an eyebrow kit. Yes, there is more than one step to ‘doing my eyebrows.’ In fact, I hate spending too much time getting ready in the morning, so most days now, I skip the eyeliner or eye makeup and consider having eyebrows to be my makeup. Plus, clear mascara goes a long way and doesn’t leave raccoon eyes after a day in the humidity of the good old Southeast, U.S.

If I look to my mother and how she has aged, then I have nothing to worry about! She is having fun and has made more friends this last five years than I have ever seen her enjoying. Too many years her life was just work and church, then work, church, and the internet. It’s great to see her enjoying life and aging well, and we still get to spend a good amount of time together. Life is good!

Best of the Year. Dec. 18-24, #2018BOTY

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Image from Beaton’s blog, becomingthemuse.wordpress.com

18. Travel Experience- I didn’t travel much this year, but I’ve been talking a lot about Rhode Island, so….

Let me show you the view from the Cliffwalk above Middletown Beach in RI. The walk is uphill and long, but the views are breathtaking. I was also looking ahead at my dad and son, who were way ahead of me. That’s okay, I did my best.

 

19. Function/Festival- Celtic Fest

I’ve researched my genealogy before, but this is the year I got the DNA testing. 50% of my DNA is English, and 5% is Irish/Scottish/Welsh. I’m not sure why they can’t differentiate those, or maybe it is a little bit of each? I do know the Welsh is confirmed, and the Irish is rumored. I also found some Scottish in an online search, but you know how reliable those are. 🙂 At any rate, this festival allows me to enjoy Celtic culture without visiting those blustery, cold places in early March. In fact, the weather here in Jacksonville, Fl is usually quite nice that time of year. The Scottish band, Albannach, is my main interest in the musical bands at the festival. They do a great job of mixing drums and bagpipes and making a beautiful, raucous noise!

 

20. Fashion/Style trend- I don’t really go for trends these days. I go for sneakers, as often as possible. I probably couldn’t tell you what the trends are. I do, at times, wear snarky t-shirts, because it makes me feel young.

21. The Compliment that Made your year- I was told I was appreciated for my ‘nurturing ‘ nature with students, that we need people like that. It inspired me to give a little more of myself and share my writing experiences with them, because writing has saved my life in so many ways….

22. The best story you heard/read- A man named Paul Crowell helps take care of canine companions to homeless people in San Francisco. A dog is the most loyal companion ever. Many of the homeless are disabled or mentally ill. Helping care for these dogs helps their humans survive life on the streets. God bless this man!

23. Online personality- Juggling the Jenkins. This chick is hilarious. She’s a mom with messy hair and a potty mouth. Her honesty is infectious and her makeup tutorials are a train wreck. I love it, and I totally identify with some of her makeup or product mishaps. Check her out at https://www.facebook.com/JugglingTheJenkinsBlog/

24. Christmas spirit- Best gift ideas: The best Christmas gift is the presence of your loved ones. Enjoy it while you have it.

Vacation Wind-down. #poetry

Sunset at Middletown, Easton Beach, R.I.

A haiku

A sunset completes the circle,

Dusk til dawn, beginning to end.

All so the journey can start again.

(c) Pamela Schloesser Canepa, 2018

No Two are the Same.

Middletown, Rhode Island sunrise.

The air is cool and the birds are waking up, singing their happiest tune. They flitter from rooftop to rooftop.

Slowly, the tip of the bright, round orb appears. A fully dressed, perfect twenty-something couple walks, then stops in front of the hotel next to my Dad’s apartment. They probably had just gone out for coffee and are staying somewhere along this tourist strip. Luckily, they got quiet.

My son and I are here for four days, staying with my dad in his small, minimalist apartment in a tourist area that is just a walk from the beach. He took us on a sailboat yesterday. Minus 20 minutes of queasiness , it was beautiful and awesome. Add to that the fact that I met today’s goal: waking up to see a strange sunrise. It is not just new, for every sunrise is new. It is strange, as it is occurring in a place I’ve never been and a spot where I’ve never sat before. Sure, I’ve been to RI, but I missed the sunrise, and I certainly never sat on this stoop before!

I can’t tell you this sunrise is better than those back home, since I usually drive to the beach for sunrise. It adds an element of color and vastness you just don’t see surrounded by buildings. However, in this island/inlet area, the beach near us is in the direction of the South. So what do you get? A totally different sunrise experience, and that is just what I wanted.

Every sunrise is unique to its area, like its own fingerprint, in a sense. This leads in to one of my bucket list goals: to observe the sunrise in 50 different cities. Before today, I had achieved maybe 4 cities. (Yeah, I came about this goal in the last two years). I’m happy to say I achieved this leg of the goal, and I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Counter Clockwise. #FFfAW

This week’s photo prompt is provided by Enisa.

Counter Clockwise, (c) Pamela Schloesser Canepa

I’d always been amazed by that watch he said he received from his grandfather.  It looked as good as new, and his grandfather had been long gone.

“They didn’t make that sort of gadgetry back in your Grandpa’s day,”  I teased.

He just shrugged, explaining very little.  His grandmother, whom I’d met, told cryptic stories about the grandpa.  He was from elsewhere and therefore unaccepted by her parents. She wasn’t surprised.  “They were narrow-minded,” she sniffed disdainfully.

Of course, Nadine was far from narrow-minded.  They’d never tell me where his grandfather was from.

Once, while on vacation in France, the watch started acting up, moving counter-clockwise really fast.

“You should take that for repair,” I suggested.

He shook his head no, and held his arm out the window.  Unclasping the watch, he let it drop to the street only to be pummeled to pieces by a passing delivery truck.

~149 words

 

Challenge- Write a flash fiction story of 100-150 words or less in response to a photo prompt.  Visit the FFfAW blog for more information and other stories:  Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, May 7th prompt

Thank you for your readership and your comments!

Weekend Coffee Share, The Bucket List

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Welcome to the #WeekendCoffeeShare, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com.  I’m departing from the usual catch-me-up conversation, and I’d like you to just dream with me.  It was Holy Week this week and I attended a somber Maundy Thursday service, then had a diagnostic appointment and a funeral memorial to attend Friday for my neighbor who was only 63.  Everything turned out fine at the appointment, though, and the memorial was heartwarming.  Still, it gets a person thinking about their own mortality.  I have added to my bucket list, and likely will keep doing so.  Even if I never get to these, I have gotten to some!  So, sit with me, sip your favorite latte, tea, or other appropriate social drink, and lets dream as if we’ll live forever!

*Some I have done.  Okay, very few. 🙂

  • go whitewater rafting*
  • go hang gliding over a mountain
  • see the Grand Canyon*
  • go sky diving
  • publish a book *
  • Do a book signing for a published book!
  • learn to fly a small two seater plane, and do so!
  • visit the bookstore in SF where Kerouac hung out!
  • take a trip to Italy
  • witness the sun rising in 52 different cities
  • visit Ireland or London
  • try beer yoga
  • try goat yoga
  • try helium beer with my best friend from high school.  Wait, they say it doesn’t exist?  Maybe it will by the time I get to it.  LOL!
  • Visit Madeira
  • Visit Cape Horn and witness where the Pacific Ocean meets the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Do you have similar dreams?  I’ve decided it is okay if I only get to some of them, and my excitement over Cape Horn led me to purchase a book about two people who sailed around it.  I can’t believe I still haven’t tried goat yoga!  I’m getting so close.  This is the year!

Dream with me, my friend!

Stairway to Heaven, Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. #Fffaw

Photo credit, (c) J.S. Brand

The day was as hot and sticky as a devil’s armpit.  Sasha opened her mouth to complain, but the determination showed in her mother’s face, despite the underlying anguish of seventy-year-old arthritic knees.

“You sure you’re up for this?”  Sasha asked, hoping to turn around.

“I’ve waited all my life,” her mom answered, wiping her brow.

With a shirt drenched in perspiration, Sasha shut up.

“Just wait,” her mom said, gleam in her eyes.  “I’ve seen pictures.”

Crossing the ocean to see this much revered site was her mother’s goal, not Sasha’s.  Yet, the twinkle in her mother’s eye kept her moving, despite the discomfort.

A few more steps…..She grasped her mother’s hand, feeling the dizzying affects of climbing.  Her mother clasped it gratefully.

“We are here,” the tour guide announced.  Stretched out on an endless horizon was a breathtaking view of steep mountains, a lush green valley, and a hawk soaring overhead.

“Heaven,” Sasha’s mother whispered.

Pictures could not do it justice.

~The end~

(Approx. 165 words.)

 

So how does this challenge work?     Find this blogging challenge at  https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/fffaw-challenge-week-of-july-18-2017/      1.  A prompt photo will be provided each Monday pm to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.

2. Linking for this challenge begins on Monday pm and runs to the following Monday pm.

3. Please credit photo to photographer.

4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try and stay within this limit.

5. Pingback to the challenge post in your story’s post.

6. This is a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less) and each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, no serial (continuation) stories. They become too complicated for our readers.