Weekend Coffee Share. Lit!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Natalie the Explorer. Today is half-caff coffee day for me. Enjoy whatever you like, and pull up a chair for this virtual cafe-chat!

Coldplay sets the musical ambiance, and my once-again-fluffy dog wanders about, summer haircut growing out. It has been a nice, cool few days here in Northeast Florida, but today feels warmer. Still, it is lovely out. Autumn is here. I enjoyed a Thai dinner with my friend last night. The sun set through the window as we ate, conversed, and laughed. It is setting earlier these days. Sometimes that’s the main indication of a season change in my corner of the world. I’m sort of used to it. 🙂 My ‘friend’ is a young man I dated 2o years ago, and we re-connected a few months ago. I think we are good for each other at this point in our lives.

This last week was full of activity, and I’m keeping quite busy lately. I’m running the yearbook club this year, and meetings with students will start Monday. In National news, last week was #ReadaPoemtoaChild week. I have a Poe t-shirt, so I read a poem by Poe to my class, a lesser known poem called The Magician. My students loved it.

My life is Lit! 🙂

I asked a student to take pictures. The kids loved it! My teacher friend next door read a poem by Maya Angelou and dressed in a lovely African-style print, touching on the history of our nation at the time the poem was printed. She incorporated some Civil Rights background. It’s really awesome when we can all communicate and pull something together like this on our own. Sadly, so many days we’re too concerned about ourselves and what’s going on behind the doors of our own classrooms.

Still, now and then the magic comes together. So, we keep taking chances that it will work. We must try, right?

As far as writing, I am so busy with life, and I don’t like sitting at the computer for too long. There are ongoing ideas that will be finished further down the road. However, I am getting ideas for Janie and second chances, so that is the basis for my new writing idea, which is a short story, length to be determined. Janie is in my published short story of this summer called Crossroads Diner #205. Find out more about this Kindle story here, which also has a theme of second chances: https://www.amazon.com/Crossroads-between-Pamela-Schloesser-Canepa-ebook/dp/B098269VSN

Thanks for stopping by for a brief chat. I am off to get a hair trim soon. Monday is picture day at school! Have a great week, everyone.

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.  Let Me Introduce You

To me… Every week on Saturday, bloggers participate in a Weekend Coffee Share. It is now hosted by Natalie the Explorer at https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2021/03/05/doors-in-morocco/ I join in this worldwide, virtual Coffee Share almost weekly. Since I am joining a new group of bloggers, and you, reader, may not have been here before, introductions may be in order. You see, Weekend Coffee Share can help fill the need for social connection during the COVID lockdown and social distancing era.

Last Saturday (or the week before) Iwelcomed readers in to my imaginary cafe complete with fuzzy dog, sun through window blinds,  and Nina Simone playing in the background. If we had just met in this cafe, you’d likely see me writing, as I am working on another book when the muse (and my focus) revisits me. How would the conversation go? (Please don’t mind if I assign you a part in this play):

“What are you writing?” You’d ask.

“Oh, just notes, ideas, reflections on my sleep schedule,  what’s working and what’s not, same with managing my anxiety…what’s working and what’s not. Ideas for my book in progress and some observations that could one day become stories or books.”

I realize you might wonder why I just told you all that. “I’m not ashamed of my struggles, but I guess some of that was all TMI.” I chuckle, as I’m older now and worry much less about being judged.

“I’m a writer too,” you say, “here on Spring Break.” When asked, you tell me you’re from Massachusetts, not surprising due to your accent,  which is great, because, I tell you, “I’m sort of from New England.”

“What do you mean, ‘sort of?'” you ask.

“My dad was military, so we moved from California,  to Illinois,  to Minnesota with family,  to Iceland,  then Virginia,  then here. Everyone says I sound like I’m from New England. Lived there from age 5 to 8.”

“Do you work another job, or just write?”

“I teach middle school, and have done so for twenty years. I write when the spirit moves me, which, these days, is sporadically. My focus is not as good as it used to be, but I sponsor a News Club at school. I love encouraging kids to write!”

“What else do you do?”

“Well, I enjoy time with family,  I have a twenty-four year old son, and my dog. Having a social life is rare these days with COVID.” I  smile under my mask, using my eyes. You are young,  and I  can’t tell if you’re male or female,  not for sure.

Your coffee is ready. “What is a good thing to do while I’m here?” you ask. “My friend will be here to meet me in a few minutes.”

“Go to the beach. The water will still be chilly,  but it’s really pleasant for a walk right now. Great for people-watching,  too. We’ve got some nice national parks with trails,  too. I’m overdue for a beach walk. Whenever I go for one, all worries disappear…I become a happy idiot.”

Circa 2006.

You tell me that sounds great, but you’d prefer to play some beach volleyball with a bunch of co-eds. Then your friend arrives, a young woman, probably also in college.  I’m amazed at how much I’ve told you. I’ve come a long way since college. I still don’t know your gender and decide that it doesn’t matter.

“Thanks for chatting with me, Ma’am,” you say, as I cringe. I don’t want to be a ma’am, as if I’m responsible for what you think of me, and you’ve decided to be ‘carefully’ well-mannered around me. As if I could be your mother. (Oh, guess I could). I’m still not Southern like that. Your friendly chatter was good enough for me.

“Just call me Pam.”

“Okay,” you say. “I’m Joe.”

Or was it Jo? Short for Josephine, like in Little Women? Oh, what does it matter? I could have asked, but it didn’t matter. I just enjoyed the company.

Fictionally and virtually, it has been nice meeting meet you. I hope we meet up in this ‘cafe’ again. If not, I wish you the best in your journeys! Today, it is dreary outside, and after a great night’s sleep, er…read that as passing out on the couch after a crazy, loud week-before-Spring-break teaching week, I am enjoying coffee with creamer after my cereal with blueberries and banana.

Feel free to peruse my blog to find out about books I’ve written, and if you check out my prior posts, you’ll find some interesting reads about my journey through health , anxiety issues, life changes, reaching students, family co-existence, fun with my dog, mental health (my own and my loved ones), etc. My journey is a path to a good place, and I want to be a voice that reaches other voices who may have felt the same, may need commonality, may benefit from my honesty, or may tell me what works for them.

**My title is a reference to my current favorite song, Caution by The Killers. Partial lyrics:

Let me introduce you to the featherweight queen

she’s got Hollywood eyes but she can’t shoot what she sees….

I’m throwing caution, what’s it’s gonna be

Tonight the winds of change are blowing wild and free…

Fearless, it what that song says to me. Though it seems to be a love song, the speaker wants to make a change, and “get out of this town.” You certainly have to be brave and honest with yourself first to make a change. For me, dropping caution means to end fear about sharing myself, my story, or my heart with others. Be brave, know yourself, and be yourself, without shame.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great week!

Weekend Coffee Share. Cafe Music and Pre-Springtime State of Mind

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share! The sun is shining through the window blinds on this crisp morning, and the cafe is the place to be! My ‘cafe’ is currently playing songs by Nina Simone and Billie Holiday, and there’s a click of my dog moving about on the floor until he settles at my feet again. It all sounds heavenly to me. I haven’t “hung out” in a real cafe in quite some time. So, I’ve created my own. We’ll converse virtually.

It’s a coffee drinking day! I have abstained from coffee for the last four days, due to my desire for better sleep and less anxiety or stress tension. I don’t think coffee is the whole problem, but I promised myself I would drink the green matcha tea more often, as it fuels me enough and is supposedly healthier. Still, this is my reward today, since I slept great last night and actually, most nights this week. Coffee goes so well with Simone’s “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” Piano and/or horns and a sultry voice just bring Spring closer to my heart.

Spring is scratching on our car windows, flirtatiously telling us she is near. “Be ready,” she calls. A rainy week has washed a lot of pollen off of our cars and into the streets. Florida is confused, but heck, that is nothing new. Having lived here since I was eight (with an 8 month misled venture out to OK for the sake of love), I’m used to it. Last night it got close to the thirties but our Florida sun is brightening this day.

I went along, day after day this week with a number of gray, rainy days. Having Monday off was great. Wednesday after school I had the Newspaper Club meeting. We accomplished a lot, I believe! Some are unsure of themselves with writing, so I pair them up, and it has helped. I am trying to make it a welcome place for anyone to find their voice. This was the third week. On the evenings after Newspaper Club, I am pretty tired. I get to bed and fall asleep with ease, and if I wake up in the middle of the night, I get right to sleep. It is good work, something that I am enthused about and that is turning out to be really good for me.

It’s becoming clear to me that I write a lot about my struggles. That’s because I am human. When I am honest with others about that, they are more honest with me. Add to that fact that, my struggles that I’ve overcome are a part of who I am. In my everyday life, I am teaching students who need to feel comfortable expressing themselves in my classroom, so I believe this is beneficial.

Keeping things in or hiding things about ourselves is difficult, too difficult. It results in us alienating ourselves; I know, because I did this drastically four years ago, when my son went through a really hard time with emotions and mind issues after a car accident and head injury. I felt like a failure as a parent. There were struggles he had with himself and that I had with him in the household. I kept so much bottled inside and felt really depressed since I was bottling up the stress. Not very healthy.

Glad that I’m beyond that, I have a few close friends that I can confide in. His struggles are much better, and he has held down a job for two years. I see that I wrote a lot about my stresses back then as well, and that’s a good thing. It helped me to hang on.

Having gone through the shoulder injury last year and educating myself on dealing with arthritis pain has helped me acquire healthier habits. There is a true link between anxiety, body tension, and pain. I’m still working on all of it.

Writing is sporadic, but I will not give up. Perhaps I will move more into autobiographical writing. Journaling is a more frequent process for me in “getting things out.” Blogging is a sort of journaling. It’s all good.

The sunshine outside my windows is representing my current state of mind. I’ve gotten through many things recently, COVID fear being part of them, and I just don’t feel as fearful anymore. Sitting at home in the computer chair all day is not an option! I can do this. You’ve likely heard me say that before. 🙂

**Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly bloggers’ feature that many across the globe have joined. Search for or use the hashtag #weekendcoffeeshare and tell me about your cafe of choice and the goings on in your part of the world. Have a great week!

Day and Night, #poetry

Day and Night, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2021

“I am rest and respite.”

“But I am energy and light.”

“You are dangerous and fiery hot.”

“So, I make plants grow, and you do not.”

“Don’t be so sure, for I inspire the tides.”

“Well, I inspire humans to come outside.”

“Must we fight to have a place?”

“Well neither of us should feel disgrace.”

“Perhaps we should just compromise?”

“Yes, yes, that would be most wise.”

“So, it seems now that we agree.”

“Yes, humans benefit from both you and me.”

“Who will rule at what time? I just don’t know…”

“Of course, an unbiased decision, so let us go ask the crow.”

Off they went to clarify,

The crow, without chaos, would decide…

And today, we have both the moon and the sun

For we could not survive without either one.

* A poem inspired by “Animal Wisdom” by Nancy Wood. Based on the line, “Darkness and light settled their differences.”

#WeekendCoffeeShare, My World

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, where we sit and respond to the ideas that form in our minds, accompanied by the cutest mutt at my feet and David Bowie music in the background. I think it’s a nice little coffee shop, personally. I’m drinking green matcha tea, but you may have your drink of choice. The sun is up, and I’m feeling bright today!

A new day is dawning! There are a lot of changes in our nation coming up, and in my mind as I navigate my health. I try to deal with the worry; it’s a little chaotic, but one can choose to harness the chaos in order to create or destroy. I have new ideas and hope something is going to pan out at work. This would be a bright spot in my work-week while we grow closer to testing season, which, as I live in Florida, is sure to be thrown at us like it’s business as usual despite the COVID pandemic. You know state testing is a money-making venture, right? (*This is not necessarily the opinion of my employer; these are my views alone).

Meanwhile, I am investing in the socio-emotional aspects of teaching and my students’ needs. I’ll admit, there are some I don’t reach, but most of my days are pleasant despite the chaos of middle-school changes. We can harness the chaos and use it for good! I believe that. I will present the proof when it presents itself, LOL! Still, believing it is keeping me going right now. At home, I am keeping up with exercise, eating healthy, and filling up my mind then learning to tune it down when it’s time to relax. I’ve found working a puzzle keeps me from worry, and good thing, because it’s hard to maintain a social life during the pandemic.

Yeah, I haven’t perfected it yet. This week I’ve been making up creative projects for my Highly Advanced and Gifted kids based on Fears and Phobias or Animal Wisdom. It requires some work time at home. I’ll work a little more on that while the ‘cafe’ is quiet. My dog deserves a walk later though, and I could use the sunshine.

I may have mentioned before that I have a little bit of writer’s block lately. I am dealing with anxiety and ways to tune down the noise when I need to sleep. Journaling helps me release frustrations, and I am not at the point where I can share all of this or convert it to cathartic fiction, though I believe that may happen one day. I did write a poem based on fear and how it blocks our creative energies and ability to be there for others or to show love. You may read it here: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2021/01/08/the-occupation/

It’s quiet in this cafe right now except for the music playing and the occasional pitter-patter of my dog’s feet on the tile floor. Right now, Harlem River by Kevin Morby is playing, a new song I discovered by accident, a little jazzy, bluesy, and sultry with electric guitar in the background. Check it out! I’m typing while it’s quiet, but I look forward to your shares of what’s going on in your world. Have a great week, everyone, and be optimistic. Change can be a great thing, and if it’s not, we will adapt until change will come around again!

Covid 2020. Stifled. #poetry

Covid anxiety has me feeling stuck, tied down,

Oppressed…

A hot flash brings it on,

Allergy sniffles bring it

Stuck in a mask, afraid to go out…

It has me pinned by the arms. Stilted breathing, muffled voice

But I will summon my nerve and beat it, one day.

I will stare it in the face, lash out like a cornered animal,

And defiantly,

Spit in its eye.

Weekend Coffee Share, Surviving Sequestration

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali.  I only had half-caff today, but it really invigorated me, maybe because I finally got at least six hours of sleep last night!

I have made it through week 1 of online teaching! Our school district was told there would be no return to school until April 15th, but I suspect it will be longer than that.  I worry about our world, I worry about strangers I pass by in the store, and I worry about how much worse this might get. But I am really happy that I am able to connect with my students again and have some sort of influence on their lives and how they view their world.  I’ve seen students helping each other while online when I can’t reply to their questions right away, and they seem so grateful to be able to chat with me on our educational platform, too!  For a brief while, I forget what is happening outside.  I try to focus on the positives and tell them some jokes.

Sent from a student in the Microsoft Teams chat after being told to start on The Giver or read a book they already have at a set time daily:
“Can’t wait for reading I have a good book to read!” Another messages at 1:50- ‘Yay! Reading time!’**

They warm my heart! Do they know how such things keep me going?  I’ve tried really hard to distract their minds from world news and fill their heads with imagination and art. A number of parents e-mailed me thanking me for being so positive in my educational videos, stating that my videos make the student feel part of a classroom again, somewhat back to normal. Though I admit, I did not teach anything new yet except for how to navigate a new learning platform and turn in assignments, and that is likely the way it should be.  

The above shows my go-to hairstyle these days.  I have canceled hairdresser appointments two weeks in a row.  I am afraid to be around people in that close capacity right now.  My mom is 78 and I don’t want to bring a virus back to her!  I re-scheduled for two weeks from now.  We’ll see.  Meantime, I am growing my hair and putting it up.  I am trying to take at least two yoga or pilates classes online per week and to do ab exercises along with my arm/shoulder workout every other day.  I’ve found many helpful online exercise videos, too.  So, my health is holding

After watching my church’s service online, I went to the grocery store this morning, and guess what: no toilet paper.  I have some on order from Amazon, and a friend ordered extra through some other shopping app.  They told me at the checkout that I could not get more than two of any particular canned food item.  I wish they had started that with toilet paper before this whole fiasco first happened! Sadly, I had 8 cans of Chef Boyardee since I wanted to donate some of them to a Food Bank.  The cashier apologized and said they were just being really strict about that.  

If you are interested in a dystopian/apocalyptic story, you can download my free short story here at https://bookhip.com/HPNJFT  It is called “They Shall Inherit the Earth. I also started on a love story, set in these times of Coronavirus.  It is a little more hopeful and should be available next week or so, and will also be free!

Take care my friends!  Stay healthy and stay sequestered.  We can do this!

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