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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

Chichin Itza, Mexico. A visual share and #weeklysmile

Chichin Itza means the mouth at the well of the Itza (Mayans). It is located in the Yucatan of Mexico. We took a ferry from our Royal Caribbean cruise ship to Playa del Carmen, then we walked 10 minutes to the tour company’s buses for a 2.5 hour drive. Ours was a van, much better. I didn’t know what to expect, but the tour was nothing but enlightening. Join me for some highlights!

Playa del Carmen murals tell a story.
Pre-tour, we learned a lot of Mexican history through our tour guide and interactive tablets.
Our tour guide, Carlos, was quite knowledgeable in the history and lore of this area! I couldn’t resist a cheesy photo.
This dog visits the temple and sits at the top frequently!
Local wildlife.
The sports arena.
These are skull designs.

My photos don’t do the etchings justice.

To the left are the vendors, providing a chance to support the local economy. The jaguar whistle lures us in…

This week on my cruise vacation has been amazing! From this portion of the week, I feel so enriched learning about the culture and history of Mexico, the Mayans, and Chichen Itza.

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, Home

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,ย  hosted by Natalie the Explorer.ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been postingย  a little this week about my trip to Rochester,ย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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? ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Unbothered. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekend Coffee Share, Summer Travels

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share,ย  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). ๐Ÿ™‚

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 sightsย  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

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