Weekend Coffee Share, A New Routine

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali.  I’ve got to say, my coffee is sooo good today!  Maybe I am just feeling a sense of gratitude, trying to make the best of strange times.  I am beset with a lot of changes, as most of you probably are, too.

I’m a 6th grade teacher switching to online teaching to keep with the times and the state protocols. I’ve done my best to find the positives. Here is an intro video I did in the spirit of optimism:

https://youtu.be/5lLWXmpEMt8

(Yes, I know, I touch my face too much, especially when I’m feeling warm, a not-so-strange phenomenon for a woman my age :)).

So, here are five things you can do with online learning (or teaching) that you could not have done in a classroom:

1. Clip your toenails during a lesson

2. Wear sunglasses and a hoodie while completing (or grading) assignments (Good for students or teachers)

3. Raid the refrigerator for snacks as you wait for a student to give an answer

4. Pet your dog or cat, or your pet snake for what it’s worth….

5. Wear pajama pants. Really, no one will know!

I am going to enjoy the dog access the most!  (He has appreciated me being home more).  Seriously, though, I have been missing seeing my students.  I have posted to my Class Dojo a few times this last week as we had a week added to our Spring Break.  Well, now we have three more weeks off of school (at least), and Monday we will be starting online learning.  Schools in some states are out for the rest of the school year, and state testing is canceled here in Florida.  So, I am looking forward to communicating with my students and their parents.  I just have to go easy on my arm and the mouse-clicking.  I will say, yesterday after my home workout for the arm and shoulder, it felt better, despite being on a long conference call and setting up my classes online.  There is hope!

Nature is buzzing around us, even though we are avoiding many things.  A lot of parks are closed; nature is unbothered.  Birds chirp when I wake to silence, as no cars are starting up this morning.  I read that pollution has reduced drastically in China, and Venice canals are much cleaner.  Yes, we can be a parasite on this Earth.  I won’t go doom and gloom, okay.  I love the sound of birds in the morning!  My dog is happy, and I will take him for a walk later.  The sun has been shining constantly.  We will be fine!  I had some down evenings of worry and despair, but that was five days ago.  My church book group had a Zoom meeting for our discussion Thursday and will have an online service Sunday, so I’m feeling more connected.  Maybe now that I have more purpose and will be teaching my kids again, I feel better.  I can make other people feel better, since I’ve been actively seeking to learn what I can to calm my anxiety. Instead of feeling alone, we should all take this time to reflect and learn to unplug.

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I loaded an app for meditation called Insight Timer.  I really like it so far! The Curable app for chronic pain and Mind-Body issues also has great meditations.  I signed up for an online course on Mindfulness which will yield a certificate when done through New Skills Academy online.  There is a lot about meditation in there.  I am exercising with things I learned in physical therapy and also logging in to see virtual yoga and abs classes through my yoga studio which is closed currently.  All of this is keeping me healthy; heck, it is keeping me going!  We have many ways to stay connected.  Let’s practice them!

I have also finished editing my manuscript for the Malachi novel, which is focused on a young adult man taking an unusual job to make ends meet.  This job forces him to face his own ideas of right and wrong.  There is now formatting and a final proofing.  Maybe it will be out in a month? I will let you know!  Here is a preview of the cover:

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Malachi, Ruse Master is a young adult novel with hints of sci-fi, as it intersects with characters and some events in the Detours in Time series.  People of all ages should enjoy it, as it can take you back to your own identity struggles and clamoring for independence as a youth.  There is plenty of action and adventure, too. I will follow it with a novel devoted to Ellie, whom we have already seen as a child, a teen, and an old, demented woman.  She will intersect with Malachi in this novel and then have her own story in a novel to come out in 1-2 years.  Time is not linear, you know!

If you have read Detours in Time, you should read the follow-up, Undercurrents in Time, in which Malachi is first introduced. I have reduced it to .99 for the remainder of the month.  Find it here:    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DCCQS3N

Stay well, my friends.  Do the things you love or find new things to love doing.  Read books.  Ask your writer friends about their books.  Write a book!  Exercise indoors or in your backyard.  Stop and breathe the fresh air, and find a reason to laugh, with your family, with your dog, yourself, with your friends online.  We will survive!

 

Weekend Coffee Share, from a Safe Distance, of Course….

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  If nothing else, we can keep in touch online, sharing a cyber latte, tea, or whatever you like!

I just came back from the Auto Shop where I was watching my son change my battery. He works there, and texted to tell me it wasn’t too busy.  Man, time flies! Photo circa, 2018.  I am quite proud of how well he is doing, learning to be an adult.  He asked me how my day was going and opened the door for me.  I guess I raised him right!  Friday night, I went with him to the Mexican restaurant down the street, an upbeat placed called One Night Taco Stand.  We enjoyed it and ordered a drink.  I felt so brave being out in this time of much fear of other people.  Now, however, I am thinking a lot about my 77-year-old mother and her health and safety.  The three of us all live together, and I’d hate to bring a virus home to her.  So, I am not going much of anywhere today.  I’m editing a book and reading a good bit.  I wrote a flash fiction response to the Ragtag Community’s Daily word prompt.  Click here to give it a quick read:  Isolate (Flash Fiction)

Having sat outside with the dog for 10 minutes in the sun, I’ve been back indoors other than driving out to the Auto shop.  I also had signed up for an online course in Mindfulness and started some of those modules today.  It is something I enjoy learning about that is also very good for me, helping me to not be too worried or anxious during this world’s events.  I’ll do more of that and the editing this week, since public schools have an extended Spring Break for two weeks now.  Above, I am sporting what is now called Quarantinehair.  Yes, there is actually a hashtag for it, found on Instagram. It is quite an easy ‘do, no brush!

Have a good week, my friends.  Do not stress too much, but stay healthy and safe!

Weekend Coffee Share, Clearing the Stage for the Next Act

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share and a little slice of my life and dreams, where I am the writer, the producer, the stage hand, and the main character.  It has been quite a week!  Pull up a chair and a brisk coffee or a relaxing tea, whichever works for you.  I am lingering over my V8 and coffee, having slept in and missed the pilates class I was considering taking.  I suppose I needed a relaxing day!

I think I have mentioned before that, after working on and completing physical therapy for my back and shoulder pain (which may or may not have been due to arthritis), I am now going to work on the mind.  Mind you, I’m still keeping up with the body work on my own; today is arm/shoulder day!  Along with my aches and pains,  I need to work on my anxiety and OCD or slight perfectionism, and I have been doing so.  One of the things I’m doing is using an app called Curable that has a lot of writing exercises, meditations, and factual information on the mind/body connection regarding chronic pain. I have particularly benefited from the visualization meditation, while the writing exercises have me digging into my past and things that sparked anxiety for me.  I believe the goal is to identify the stressers you have or had and deal with them, confront them.  So, this week I was talking with my practitioner about my ex-husband.  She asked what the last straw was that broke the proverbial camel’s back.  So, I told the story.  It made me feel so tired to conjure up the setting, the actors, the events, picturing myself back in the house I lived in with my then husband.  I felt sad, scared, and angry as well.  I hadn’t told the story in quite a while.  Still, having done so, I felt more better equipped to deal with my present and future.  I went home tired, though.

I lay down at some point in the evening to relax, and in my mind, I recalled events of the day and the story I had brought up again.  I pictured hands reaching in and moving/removing stage props, my old house, furniture, the garage, the backdrop of trees.  Maybe this was demonstrated on a movie or something, I don’t know, but it popped into my mind and I observed all these things being removed and leaving an empty stage.  It made me feel triumphant!  I had brought up the images, the story, and the actors and processed them, and now they could be put away.  I could move on and create the next act.  Of course, it is never good to dwell on the past, but if you must process it, and if doing so lets you move on, then, eureka!  Something works!  I think we are all different.  But the mind/body work through the app does emphasize acknowledging the stressers from your life/past and that your way of dealing with them may have hurt you, i.e. caused chronic pain, digestive issues, or migraines, etc.  I stuffed so many negative emotions down since childhood that they were bound to hurt me inside.

So, perhaps the stage is my mindset/focus.  I know one should not focus on the past, but it comes up whenever I see the doctor and we discuss what tests I should have done; for instance, I had been tested for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, both negative, thank God!  I was plagued with pain for a while when I was so busy tending to my son in his rough patch of his youth, and now that he is moving along and doing fairly well, it is time to tend to me, to learn and unlearn my anxious reactions to his rough spells, to deal with the physical trauma of having been worried and trapped in hospitals or ERs several times.  Parenting a son on your own is nothing to shake a stick at.  Now, he is choosing a life, an honest, hard-working life and not that of a hitch-hiker (one of my past worries, silly me! :))

So, the stage is cleared and waiting.  What will the next set be?  Who will be the actors there with me? I have some great people and a support network as it is.  Will I explore a meditation group? A writer’s group?  Improv comedy? Will I continue my teaching career until retirement or find another way to approach my ‘golden’ years?  The stage is waiting for me.  The backdrop looks pretty magical, especially when fear and distrust have exited stage left!

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*Am I truly done with fear, distrust, and anxiety?  They are getting better.  I can be brave for others and at times, for myself.  I’ve been working on this.  Being of a certain age, I can get hot flashes and brain fog as well as anxious moments, but they’ve improved with my recent mind/body work which I plan to continue.  We’ll see what comes, but I am much better equipped to deal with it now!

Have a great week, my friends! I have Spring break and no travel plans, so this little fellow will have some play time with me, I’ll be writing/editing, and I’ll be getting some mundane appointments taken care of as well as relaxing and sleeping in some more!

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**The Weekend Coffee Share is currently hosted by Allison at Eclectic Alli. Give her site a visit and say hello!

Weekend Coffee Share, Processing as I Go

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclecti Ali.

My online course is winding down!  Work keeps me busy as ever, but I missed a day and a half this last week due to sinus/allergy problems or a cold.  I needed the rest, but it seems many of my students missed me, which makes me feel good!

My son is becoming an adult, working steadily and learning new things, and I have no one to take care of but…myself.  Last night, he said, “I sometimes wish I was on my own, but you all (his grandma and I) keep me out of trouble.”  What a wonderful acknowledgment!  So I am taking care of myself now, per the request of my brain and body.  I’m going to pilates this morning and having a massage this afternoon.  It takes a village to keep my mind/body straight and work out my knots.  I am willing to accept help and have sought it. I also have a friend meeting me at pilates, so there may be a coffee chat for us afterward as well, since I only had half of a half-caff (can you do the Math? 🙂

I finally finished editing and processing my physical therapy journey and what I’ve learned and still am learning on pain’s connection to the brain.  You can read it here:    Pain, Growth, and Making a Truce with My Brain  Let me know if you are not able to read it all.  It is a different blogging site for me, as I am branching out.  However, hardly anyone knows me there.

I am also considering a new post in a series I used to do called “My Exercise Evolution.” I may be able to get a post out this coming week.  Then, within two weeks, I will be a novelist again, editing and proofing the Malachi manuscript!  Woohoo!  it is like a mother who misses her grown child.  At least I see the light at the end of the tunnel…

I hope the weather is nice where you are; I know I have enjoyed having dog snuggles the last few nights, as it was in the thirties last night.  *shivers*

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you have a great weekend!

Weekend Coffee Share…I’m Out Here

 

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at the Eclectic Ali blog.  Grab your beverage of choice, mine is half-caff hazelnut on a cool morning.

It has been another terribly busy week of grading and coursework for a Gifted Endorsement class, but  on a few nights, I stole moments before bedtime to read a sci-fi/fantasy book, War of the God Queen by David Hambling about a woman who is sent back in time to live in a band of nomads who must fight these monsters that kidnap women to make them part of their breeding stock.  Because of her modern knowledge, she is treated like a goddess, and fights for women’s rights as well as battling the monsters.  It is truly out there, but the female empowerment theme appeals to me.

Monday evening, I had my last physical therapy appointment and I am now considered ‘graduated’ from the physical therapy.  I made a few jokes with the PT therapist about slacking and being sent back a grade.  He’d just say something right back in jest.  Of course I was joking, right?  Now I am out here on my own, but it felt great to leave there feeling like a success.  The week before, he had said I’d done well.  Which, I think is true.  I am very anxious to have this pain behind me or to have the feelings associated with it gone.  The doctor had put in an order for the back before the shoulder which was not what I wanted, though I think starting with the back worked and did help.  I was more comfortable and ready to tackle the challenge when we got to the shoulder physical therapy which seems to be a nerve point for me.

Weds. night, I did my physical therapy exercises at home. I had planned to go to yoga as well, though it would be mostly for lower body.  Though, I must say, I was feeling so tired right after school.  My job made me flat out tired.  Of course, my sleep cycle is still not up to par. So, I did not make it to yoga, but I did work on the arms and shoulder as I should.

I have been thinking I need an accountability partner.  I am not fully healed, but I am capable of anything I try except reaching my shoulder blade when I put my arm in back.  Obviously, I can’t do really heavy weights, and I’m following what my PT had prescribed for me.  The doc had indicated surgery might be the only other thing, and I likely was moving beyond the need for PT because I could do anything the therapist challenged me with.  The doc and I both agreed that I don’t want surgery in my life right now.  Now, I need to hold myself accountable, or , as I have considered, maybe try a personal trainer. Not right away, though.  For now, I have reached out to a fellow writer and blogger who has gone through surgery and rehab for the back; it will be long distance, but we can encourage each other and report our progress.  I think that will help for now, since I may not be ready to seek out something new.

Thursday night, I got home earlier than normal due to fore-casted storms.  My twenty-three year old son had worked until 1 and had two beers before I got home, which makes him talkative. Then, he wanted to watch a movie together, and even though his being sociable was likely a  result of him having a few beers, I sat on the couch with my coursework and grading, replied to his comments, and glanced at the Terminator movie every 5-10 minutes.  His life seems easy right now, but this is where he needs to be currently. He is learning a lot about automotive repair, and he even went to work in the afternoon after getting off at 1, to see if the district manager had visited as planned. This means he TALKS TO COWORKERS and has acquaintances. I don’t ever say “Stop Talking. I have a lot of crap to do.” Because that other crap crap can wait.

As far as writing, Malachi is almost finished with the editor, and then I have my own editing to do.  I have gotten some ideas for Ellie; she will have a book of her own next year, next in the Detours in Time  series, and Malachi will be a key character.  There will be a lot of obvious time travel. Don’t be dismayed that there is not much in the Malachi novel.  It is mostly character-driven, but Ellie is, well, she’s a traveler and does show up in the Malachi novel.

It is going to be a great Saturday, I have determined that!  I woke early as is usual these days after waking at 4 a.m., but I think I did doze a small bit before the alarm woke me at 6 a.m. to eat breakfast and wash up because there was something I planned to do for myself.  I made it to a 9 a.m. pilates class at my usual yoga studio where I sometimes take a relaxing yoga class.  I hadn’t gone regularly since doing physical therapy because of the schedule and trying not to miss too much work.  As I got there, I right away told the instructor I’d need to modify a little bit, I’d just finished up shoulder PT, but that I was excited to be there!  And that was true.  Let me tell you, I think it went well!  I think I am on the road to being recovered.  I guess the secret is, “Never quit.”  No matter how old I am, how tired I am, how sore I feel, I just need to keep trying.  I will leave you all for the week on that positive note, and in a few days, I plan to post a little more about my experience with physical therapy.  Next is the further work I plan to do with my mind, dealing with the anxiety, talk therapy to work through my life questioning.  I am optimistic, and I feel great after pilates!  Have a great Saturday!

If you’re interested, I posted a short poem on the mind and imagination this week.  You can read it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2020/02/07/the-forest-poetry/

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Weekend Coffee Share. This Little Bird’s Gonna Fly…I Hope.

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette Truglio Martin. Can I just say, thank God for weekends!

I was in such bliss waking up at 7 this morning knowing I didn’t have to put my brain in overdrive getting ready to be somewhere at a specified time or thinking about what I’d do first or what morning meeting I’d have at school. I looked forward to breakfast and coffee, and everyone else at home was asleep. It was silent in my home, silent in my neighborhood, and I managed 7 hours of sleep last night, a miracle, lately. I do a lot of stretching in the morning, exercises at home, and yoga now and then, which I will start more as physical therapy is winding down. It all makes for a peaceful morning that I can stretch out with writing on the laptop and sometimes, yes, tying up less ends for work and making progress on my class for Teaching Gifted students. Right now is a busy time, and I have still been in the process of working on me.

On that note, on Martin Luther King day I invited a new co-worker, a very young woman, to bring her dog to the dog park to play with my Bixby. It went so well, we are going to do it again! She is my son’s age, but why should that stop me? I am so glad I did that. It’s about breaking out of usual limits we put on ourselves.

Of course, Bixby loved it too!

I saw my doctor this last week and we discussed many things: sleeplessness, menopause, my progress with my shoulder and physical therapy. He’s offering a prescription for the sleep, and I’m going to think about it first. I think I’ve made good progress with the physical therapy and will likely write about that on my blog as well. As this process went on, I’ve been educating myself and researching about the brain and pain, anxiety and its effects on our thinking. I am emerging from physical therapy much stronger, so let me just tell you, it works. However, I not only needed help with my body and strength, but also with my mindset. I received that as well in the most subtle of ways. As a result, I am a firm believer in physical therapy as a method for dealing with or recovering from pain. As I said, I plan to write about this and some of the things I learned about myself through this process. I have one more appt, and then I will be the baby bird nudged out of the nest. I am ready to go on to the next thing, or just to discover what is the next way I can keep myself on the path to getting stronger and believing in myself. My doctor says an MRI is not necessary now, which works for me, as I like avoiding visits to the hospital! My goal is to continue doing intentional things to keep my upper body strong and not allow it to go back to the pain cycle; may any pain that comes now simply be growing pain. I am already keeping up with lower body stretches and will continue, perhaps challenging myself with barre class or cardio yoga.

Just for fun, here is what I’ve been researching about the mind:

-Is counting a form of OCD

-Other side effects of menopause

-How safe is Ambien? (because I’m not sure I want that prescription)

-Anxiety and memory loss

-physical therapy stories

-pain and trauma

-pain and the brain

-CBT

Yes, sometimes I am heavy handed with my over-thinking. But don’t worry, this little bird is gonna fly. As you should know, if you have ever met me or read my writing or blog posts, I am very capable in the area of imagination and fantasy, and half of the battle is believing that you can!

Photo via Pixabay.

Stay light, my friends. Have a great week!

Weekend Coffee Share, 1/25. Moving along…

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette!  Today consisted of a drive to Southern Georgia with my boyfriend to see his dad, and now I am relaxing, looking at the papers I brought home to grade.  Tomorrow will have to do.

My shoulder has been feeling better.  The back is better too, but last night, for some reason I had sciatica return to the left side.  I did, however, get 7 hours of sleep, and I’ll take that any time over what I’ve been getting lately!

I’ve been taking an online course in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  I mentioned, last week, that at times I feel my thoughts over-thinking and/or telling myself I didn’t do something right, checking and re-checking, tending towards OCD.  The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy course is for anxiety and depression, which can be related and sometimes even come together.  At any rate, it also identifies OCD as a type of anxiety disorder.  Makes sense.  One suggestion was to wear a rubber band and snap or ping it whenever you recognize these thoughts occurring.  So, I started doing this.  Let me give it some time before I tell you what I think of this strategy.  However, I did wear it to school Friday, and my day went well, maybe just for knowing it was there?  Time will tell.

I watched a little Netflix last night, and tonight I’ll meet my boyfriend for a good dinner somewhere.  I have decided that, on Valentine’s Day weekend, I’ll let him give me a ride on his motorcycle again; it has been three years since I’ve done that.  I stopped after I got sideswiped and pushed over to the curb three years ago, then having a panic attack.  It was scary, I’ll admit.  It may have activated the back and shoulder trouble.  I tensed up horribly and felt myself doing so for months afterward whenever I drove at high traffic times and especially on bridges.  It’s likely just one exacerbating factor.  At any rate, I told him we could take a short ride on the motorcycle.  It is a big hobby of his, and he does read my books, so I think I should do this with him every now and then!  Plus, doing so will make me feel so brave and like I have overcome a lot of the pain and  negative self-talk that got me up to where I was when my doctor referred me for physical therapy.  It would be a sign of progress!

This week, I worked on my Gifted Endorsement class a lot and the only writing I did was  for a blog challenge called Fandango One Word Challenge.  (I love these)! I wrote a poem in response to the word: Profile.  Have a look:  https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2020/01/24/fortune-cookie-psych-profile-fowc/

At times, it reminds me of myself.

That’s all I’ve got for today.  How was your week?