Weekend Coffee Share, Home

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer.  The drink for me is green tea today, and the background music is peaceful ambient. Actually, Saturday got away from me; I started this post yesterday but was not quite finished until this Sunday morning. Bear with me please! There is some good to share. 🙂

I’ve been posting  a little this week about my trip to Rochester,  NY, a much needed getaway.. I returned Monday at noon, and boy, was Bixby ever glad to see me! I was glad to get home, as there was a lot going on here while I was on vacation. There has been a family situation, and I am trying not to let it get me down. Sadly, my reading has brought me to the term Anosognosia, which describes what one of my loved ones is going through: refusal to accept that one is ill and needs medical help. The serenity prayer is going through my head so often now. Unconditional love means we love each other no matter what.

The Serenity Prayer also helped me get through a sudden, unplanned repair to my car. Sigh. I can handle it, but I can only handle my own reactions. I’ve been happy to see my local family and friends again, though.

Back in Florida, I’ve enjoyed sitting on my back porch in the sun eating breakfast a few times, but I fondly remember sitting on my friend’s patio in Rochester eating breakfast,  lunch, and sometimes dinner. I even caught a beautiful sunrise once! Rochester is also home to many beautiful and historical sites.

The statue of Frederick Douglass, who is buried in Rochester.

There was a lot to enjoy of nature, whether rain or shine! We actually found Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite in the rain with rain ponchos on, but did not find that of Frederick Douglass. His statue, however, was located in the nearby park which we visited later at night. Such a beautiful sight.

Hennessy River Falls. Beautiful in rain or sunshine.
Lacy Acres Farm in Bloomington, New York

My friend and I also met my cousin at an alpaca farm, which made for a lovely day and a relaxing tour. We got to feed them and pet them too! I published more photos and details of that in a post this week: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/the-alpaca-shag-rdp/

My summer break will end soon, but I am at peace with that! I like knowing I can pay for my car repairs, and I certainly want to plan for future vacations. Considering I really love teaching overall, I don’t mind getting back to that while earning a paycheck, but I am planning future vacations. 🙂 Life is short! All I can do is do what I enjoy, live up to my responsibilities, and be there for those I love while respecting my own needs, which likely looks different for all of us.

Have a great weekend and an even better week to come!

The Alpaca “Shag.” #RDP

In what is sounding like a peaceful, ambient track in my head, I’m remembering my day in upstate New York at the Lazy Acres alpaca farm. The tour is one hour and starts with loads of facts about the raising of these lovely animals as well as a tour of the shearing areas and barns on the property. One such fact is the shearing of the alpacas once a year, to control their wooly shag, as it is much warmer in this climate than the climate of their ancestry.

Set in a green, hilly area of upstate New York, Lazy Acres alpaca farm is lovely, and the animals are quite peaceful. We explored the farm on a beautiful, 75 degree day that felt like Spring to me (a resident from Northern Florida). I’d been visiting an old friend that used to work with me in Rochester, and found out my cousin was in the area. So, we arranged to meet her at the alpaca farm as well as her son, his wife, and their family.

A muddy walkway covered by wooden planks led to green pastures. It had rained profusely the day before. However, the sun shone brightly on us, and the visit was worth the muddy shoes. Our tour guide, a young college girl, told us that alpaca are not as agressive as lamas or camels. I found this to be true. While feeding them, I felt the alpaca’s teeth graze my hand, but not even in a nibble; it was just accidental as their lower teeth are in an underbite.

Baby alpaca!

The children on the tour (I think you’d call them my third cousins) were quite engaged and interested. We grown-ups were charmed as well. The animals let us pet them as well as feed them. When the food ran out, they did, of course, lose interest. Not surprising, right? 🙂

I highly recommend such a tour for anyone who needs a brief escape from the worries of their life or just an escape from the rat race. Children who love animals will find it quite engaging as well! One of the alpacas had MIA on her tag, so I started calling her Mia. I assumed this alpaca was female, it answered to Mia anyway, and I could pet her after my food was gone. Though, maybe it was because my friend had some food left….

It makes me wonder what it would be like to only be concerned with only the most basic of needs: eating, digestion, shelter, family. The cares of the outside world, the ‘rat-race,’ cannot penetrate their peaceful exterior. My favorite alpaca, Mia, was actually quite a ham 🙂

Unbothered. 🙂

This was a perfect day!

*The Ragtag Daily prompt is given daily. You can find their site and today’s prompt at https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/ragtag-daily-prompt-thursday-shag/

The alpacas were my first thought when I saw today’s word prompt: shag. 🙂

Weekend Coffee Share, Summer Travels

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,  hosted by Natalie the Explorer. I’m on vacation this week! Bixby is back home with my mother. He’s going to smell another dog on me when I get home, which is sure to be interesting! I’m on the back deck at Hannah”s house, and I’ve witnessed a sunrise in a new city ( working my way through a bucket list item). 🙂

Sunrise on the back deck!

My coffee today contains hazelnut milk, and is stronger than usual. We are walking every day there is not rain, so I’m using up the excess energy! Enjoy your beverage of choice and pull up a virtual chair on the back deck. The weather in Rochester, New York is pleasantly cool today with chances of rain.

The art in this place is amazing! It has a small town feel with an art school and several museums within walking distance of my friend’s apartment. It seems like a wonderful Arts community as well!

The door to the Memorial Art Museum.

Another place of interest was Erie Canal. It made me think of Holland, a place I’ve never been. It was just nice to see it. We sat with a drink and took in the views and breeze. The next day, we had dinner thereoverlooking the water while a jazzy band played outdoors.

At Erie Canal, outside Lock 32 Brewery. Grapefruit Sessions was awesome!

My friend was so kind to invite me to stay here this summer, and her dog was also an excellent host and play buddy!

I really have enjoyed Hannah’s sweet dog, a big, affectionate mixed-breed. I do miss Bixby, though.

I made sure Hannah got a signed copy of Detours in Time!

There is not a whole lot of writing going on right now, but I am getting inspired! 28 days of Ellie, my current writing plan, paused at day 6, and I’ll return to it when I’m back. For now, there is a lot of walking, taking in new sights  and laughter with an old friend. I believe anything that warms the heart can inspire a writer’s soul!

Thanks for visiting me for a weekend coffee share! I hope all is well in your corner of the world. Have a great weekend!

Aladdin’s restaurant at Erie Canal.

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, 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

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