Weekend Coffee Share, Befriending my Brain

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette Truglio Martin.  If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I am on a journey of learning.  Of course, I’ve mentioned my participation in physical therapy, as I am working on some pain areas that I have due to arthritis, or stress, or one of the car accidents from my past, or maybe from one of my falls when I was younger and stupid.  I believe it is progressing well, and the sciatica is at a minimum, though it comes back when I wear the wrong shoes at work and have a stressful day.  At any rate, I am so glad I finally took this step rather than telling myself I did not have time.  I feel great about this decision.

82147550_10216558383061057_159610369222901760_n Working on health of body, spirit, and mind.

Stressful days have been a norm lately.  The teaching schedule has been a little off due to five days of testing students in the mornings.  Students don’t respond well to the change in routine, and as a matter of fact, I don’t think I do either.  I take extra long to get papers or test materials in order, to the point that one kid asked if I have OCD.  I said, “Yeah, probably.  Oh, well.”  It is a type of anxiety, and I tend to get that.

I’ve been reading up on the brain and its relation to anxiety and pain.  Facebook has targeted me, showing me ads on the Curable app.  So guess what? I downloaded it for free.  Better to be informed than to be surprised, as I was the first time I had an anxiety attack four years ago.  I was convinced someone had broken into our house in the middle of the night. My heart felt like it would jump out of my chest.  I went and got the dog out of his crate; he sensed nothing.  Before this, all I had ever sensed in myself was being nervous or stressed: sweaty palms, red face, that sort of thing.  This time, I wasn’t sure if I could slow my heart down; it was horrible.  I don’t know if it just all piled up.  I’m working on it.  I’ve read that pain and anxiety are part of the brain’s response to protect us; for that we should be thankful, but we should recognize when it is irrational and learn some tools to calm it (instead of feeling betrayed by our minds when they take energy away from our focus or memory to direct it to our danger alert system).  One website I have searched is https://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms/brain-fog.shtml      I would cite other sources here, except that I’ve read so many and have committed these things to memory to use in my toolbox for surviving and thriving in a high stress job and a family that deals with a mentally ill family member with support, encouragement, and understanding. I won’t go on to list all of my stressers, but these are ongoing.  Another possibility is that going through ‘the change’ is affecting my responses and causing irritability.  Still, I am building a toolbox!

HendrixBook.82497427_10216553268053185_1263644820899889152_oIn my toolbox….

I must acknowledge that I have some really good friends at work that I can talk to about my stressers, and a boyfriend whom I have been dating for ten years.  He has seen me through my son’s teen years, a major surgery, and many of my family traumas.  I suppose I have seen him through some things as well, and he is patient when I am almost always late to social or family events. He jokes with me about it.  We are both getting older, and he has some health issues as well as a family issue that are both on his mind lately.  And I will be there for him.  I am thankful for his presence in my life.

Another part of this toolbox is the education I received in college and the encouragement my loved ones provided me when young to keep writing.  I write about a lot of concerns and anxieties, mostly in fiction form.  That way, I can write the resolution; I can create a hero, not a victim, and I can create characters who are there to help and prove that some people can be trusted.  I’ll be honest, I am not writing much fiction lately, but I am writing about my process with re-training my brain to deal with pain and change it into growth, starting with the process of physical therapy that is making me stronger every day.  I am still dealing with sleep issues, but I see the doctor in about ten days.  I know that all has something to do with the brain as well.  Let’s not forget imagination.  Being a writer of fiction, I have learned to work things out and write stories with heroes and lessons about those less fortunate than us.  It gives me hope. I have written some stressful, tense situations into my fiction, which I feel creates conflict, as there certainly is in day to day life.  I am 20% of the way into my next novel, and will return to it after I finish my current Teaching Gifted Endorsement class.  But for now, imagining has helped me to identify music and songs that relax me and take me away when I have to let the tension go, and some of Jimi Hendrix’s music does just that.  So I bought this beautiful book about him, so that I can know all I can of him, instead of obsessing over my health.

Next, I will need to start planning some real getaways, which has been on hold while I work on the pain and try to de-stress.  I cannot drive anywhere stressed and anxious; I’ve tried it, and it’s not a good idea.  The Endorsement class I have is a good escape for my brain, because I love learning, but at the same time it does produce some stress with deadlines and a lot of required reading.  I can do this.  I’ll read to learn more about Hendrix when I need a break.  And those trips I wanted last year to D.C. or New Orleans are still in my plans.  I CAN do this.

I hope all is well in your world, or that you are at least on the way there.  Have a great week!

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share. New Horizons, New Me…Same Hopeful Mess!

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette at

This is the last Coffee Share of 2019! I am so looking forward to 2020, and instead of a resolution, I decided to choose a word:  Limitless.  I have had so many limits this year and put so many limits on my life.  It has almost gotten me down at some points.  I have also accomplished a few things:  I encouraged my son to get a low level job in a new field, and he loves it!  I published/produced two books into audio.  I celebrated my boyfriend’s 57th birthday, my 51st, and my mom’s 78th.  I actively sought to deal with my back and pain issues and sought help with it; as a result, I am now doing squats (among other things) several times a week.  Squats!  It is a shocker.  However, I draw the line at Burpees.  🙂  My family are in on my new health kick, well, at least on supporting me.  My boyfriend got me a vertical mouse which is ergonomic and more comfortable for the hand and arm.  I am really getting the hang of it! (Google it and check it out). So maybe I can write even more, pain-free.  Mom got me an upright desk, it just isn’t assembled yet….

I did not feel much Christmas spirit due to the loss of a few dear people, but I did find opportunities to help others and the community, which made it feel more like Christmas.  Now I get to greet a New Year, and live out my personal goal of a being more of a limitless person.

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Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

A blogger friend wrote a beautiful Weekend Coffee post on New Year’s resolutions, to be more loving, like Christ.  It’s a wonderful post, and you can read it here:  https://garyawilsonstories.wordpress.com/coffee-share-191227/ 

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Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Pexels.com

Since it is Winter Break, and I have time off, I have been writing some short and flash-fiction.  I am proud of this piece here, which involves aliens: https://pamelascanepa.wordpress.com/2019/12/27/popular-opinion-fiction-fowc/ and was written in response to the Fandango One Word Challenge; the word was ‘popular.’  I personally love those one-word challenges and have tried them with some of my students who like writing.

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These are two books I have read lately.  One, very traumatic, yet hopeful.  The other, just all out bawdy humor by one of my favorite humorous authors, and I loved it as well!  I needed that after a Holocaust novel, and I loved both of them equally.

I also was able to meet up with an old friend who lives out of town.  She lost her husband of three years to an illness.  I read recently about the healing power of laughter.  She and I laughed a lot this time, as always.  It was wonderful to see her and her daughter.  The Insomnniac’s Diary is still in progress, but I think it is more of a personal thing now; in other words, I believe I am accepting a new normal.  As long as I can fall asleep at night and get at least four hours of sleep, I can handle it.  I am still logging the basics, though.  I mean, I was on 5 hours when I met my friend for dinner.  We had a great time for about two hours, and then I went home to relax and get ready for bed.  No problem!

I hope you have enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and will have a safe, fun New Year with many pleasant surprises.

-Pamela

Weekend Coffee Share, The Mentors

 Pixabay photo.

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share. Please fasten your seatbelt, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster ride as I will stop to acknowledge those who take their time to help our young people. Thank you in advance for joining me.

While I sit waiting for a pedicure at a busy nail shop, I wonder what good it was to make an appointment for 10 minutes ago. How do women handle sitting tbrough a pedi and then a mani, too? Do they know I’d rather be writing? Sorry for the gripe; I am rescued by the WordPress app on my phone! So, I’ll spill my thoughts to you.

I am happy and sad. Happy that people are downloading and listening to my audiobooks! On my WP home page there is a link to them and all I’ve written. I’m happy I had a nice holiday with my son and my boyfriend. Happy my son could attend an art show with me last night at a Wine Bar. The artist was my friend, and I encouraged my son to try and be social. We had a burger first, and he had a beer, which gets him talking, to me at least. 🙂 He is in a good place and loves his job.

I’m sad because, over the last two weeks, two great men lost their lives to battles with cancer. One had served an example for my son in community service at our church, and the other I’d known 19-20 years as a co-worker. He’d helped my son with Math, been a good listener as a co-worker, gave great parenting advice, and helped countless other kids. I feel grief but also gratitude for his presence in our lives. God put these people here for a reason. It’s sad to form the words you wish you’d spoken while they were living, I’m working on a poem in honor of these great mentors and friends, not the first we’ve lost, but very important.

Poetry, The Mentor, (c) 2019, Pamela Schloesser Canepa

What do you do when your mentors have all passed?

The last just left your life…

Do you become a sad shell of what you once were?

Do you strike out in anger, that life is so unfair?

Or do you rise up and recall all you’ve been taught?

Do you remember, and in remembering, wish you could say thank you?

See the many ways that you can say thanks, long after the great ones have left you.

Live your life in remembrance of all you have been taught.

It’s not easy, but your life is your ‘thank you.’

Live it well.

Shout to overcome the void, lest the void might overtake you.

This is how I deal with the negative feelings I’ve held in so long. My shout may be touching, it may be ugly at times, but I seek good health and have suffered the affects of holding in anger, grief, worry, fear much of my life. I believe this habit can be retrained. Thank you for joining me, maybe it was kind of weird…How was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share. Back to Normal, My Version of it!

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

Our area was spared of the wrath of Hurricane Dorian, but sadly, the Bahamas was hurt. I spent a terribly exorbitant amount of time watching Netflix (The Walking Dead and Money Heist) and eating things I don’t normally let myself eat. The brookie, for example, was my best and most decadent find, a cookie baked into a brownie that sat by the checkout at a convenience store my son and I went to on a bored, stir crazy soda run. I shudder now to think of how that took me beyond my carb and sugar limit. Carpe diem, they say. 🙂 School was cancelled for three days, and my son’s job for two of them. We somehow survived with comfort eating and Netflix binges. I’ll own up to it.

I’ve been doing more edits in conjunction with my producer on my audiobook for Detours in Time. Soon, it will be released! I work on the Malachi manuscript when I get time. It is going to be strange, as it is 99% character study that ties in to my sci-fi series, but it will only have hints at some sci-fi goings on. The character is however, going through a very interesting time of his young life. Still, what the heck am I doing? I think it’s what the character wants me to do, therefore, it’s what I want to do! Life is short, and I have the ideas coming to me daily for the sci-fi followup; think of it as a younger generation Detours in Time, and yes, it is part of that series. Think of Star Trek, the Next Generation. I can only hope my strategy could be compared to such a giant…

On the writing front, I’ve been polishing some stories I’ve written over the last 3 years, two that had been entered into story-to-screen contests. I sent one of them off to a short story contest. The other, I’m considering converting from script to a story. I am trying to keep my eyes open for anthologies where they might fit, some are sci-fi, and some are supernatural/paranormal. Let me know if you hear of any anthologies taking submissions! I also wrote a poem titled “Psychedelic” this week in response to a one word prompt. It is about someone who had a very cool grandma. I didn’t know my grandma that well, so this is all imagination. Please view it here: “Psychedelic,” a Poem

The selfie is included because I just had my hair done today and I feel great about it. She styles it better than I ever could, as I normally don’t have patience for the hair dryer. There is a lot to be said for smiles! Smiling makes the bags under my eyes almost invisible. So, I thought I’d share. I will be getting new author photos done soon, since I hope to be publishing Malachi in March or April. That is, if my nerves don’t get to me, as in, how dare I depart from my sci-fi ways? How dare I place the focus squarely on one character and his struggles….I don’t know. I think I’ll get my nerve back. Not doing so will only lead to inaction, which I cannot stand; it interfered with my writing for too many years! Here’s to action, my friends, and forging onward!

Thanks for stopping by as I drank my cold coffee. At 97 degrees, it seemed called for. Have a great week!

Weekend Coffee Share, 7/20. Writing, Living, and Hanging with the Dog.

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

It has been another really hot week, but I have managed.  Several days were half cup days, one day iced coffee, and today was a glorious full brewed cup of coffee day! You may drink whatever you like, my friend.  I’m sorry you missed the dog-walking this morning.  We ran into two neighbors with dogs, and after the initial barks and noise, I walked with them, and the dogs all got into line, like going on a walk with their brothers/sisters.  It was great.  Now to cool off.  Let’s sit down for a few minutes…

My days have been a joyous celebration of mostly introvert heaven and a little bit of friendship time. There is the joy of deciding for myself what I’ll do each day. Coffee hour on the front porch (usually cut short by the heat); my dog enjoys sitting there off the leash, sniffing the air and making noise at passersby. There’s beach time, no more than once a week, but having gone three times this summer so far, it is still more than the usual Sept. to May time frame. Reading hour, writing hour, social media/blog/book news time, Netflix hour during lunch (as I have already binged all that I will binge for this summer. I’m looking at you, Ozark, Stranger Things,  and Seasons 1-2 of The Handmaid’s Tale); then there’s exercise HALF hour with yoga hour twice in the week. I’ve taken to walking with my dog in the park or walking on the beach in sockless sneakers for a half hour. It’s a great way to get a tan without being a target for sunburn. So, I think I have divided my time in a healthy way, with occasional visits to our nearby sports bar where I play trivia. They have an awesome chicken wrap for dinner, and my son likes to go there, too, so that takes care of dinner!

Many folks I know are planning or are on vacation, and I’m just waiting until the end of July for a short St. Augustine getaway. I’m saving money though, so I am thinking about places to go this Winter and maybe a family trip next summer.

Author Progress Notes(2) My new graphic!

On the author front, I’ve pretty much wrapped up most of the writing I wanted to do.  The Malachi manuscript is with a beta reader now, and I get random ideas for the Ellie manuscript now and then, so I am writing them down.  I get what I think are excellent ideas for dialogue, so I have a jumbled mess in her Word doc, so at some point I will need to make an outline.  I know how it begins and how I want it to end, the rest will come to me.  I made the graphic above in a burst of coffee fueled energy, and the joke is, it contains an outline, as if I planned everything ahead! You can see from the statement before this, I am largely a pantser and only plan when I know I have to tame the wild weeds growing rampant in the lush field of my mind.  Actually, the joke should come after my next paragraph, so I suppose I’m just being ironic today.  🙂  Maybe there will come a day when I’ll follow the outline.  Are you shaking in suspense?

DetoursInTimeAudible Coming Soon In Audiobook! This is the audio bookcover.

The Detours in Time audible version should be done in August or July, and I have put Undercurrents in Time up in ACX.com for auditions.  I’d like it to be released shortly after the Detours in Time audible version.  Seems like a sound decision.  I also added Made for Me, my first published fiction book (novella length) to a group effort of selling our .99 books.  Made for Me is light sci-fi that describes what a “weird date” might be like in the future and then explores the relationship that fellows, a sort of societal taboo.

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If you’d like to learn more or download Made for Me, a light read with an unexpected ending, it can be found on Amazon, Made for Me on Amazon

It is also available at other retailers such as B&N, Kobo, and Apple by clicking this link:  https://books2read.com/u/4Xo50v

On the topic of world domination, I guess am 1/1000 of the way toward my goal of having my books on the shelf in every country.  I am not a Math person though, so we may need to add some zeros. 😉

That’s all I have for today!  Life is good, my friends!  Have a great week.

Weekend Coffee Share. Summer Goals!

Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at Eclectic Ali. This is the week I started my true relaxation and “detox” from stress, including occasional half-cup-of coffee days. I’m writing here and there, but I have no set deadlines this summer.

I do have goals, though. Staying healthy and not feeling stiff or pained every day are two of the biggest. The issue came up last week when my boyfriend and I went on a four hour drive to the memorial for my best friend’s husband. I get stiff just from sitting in a car for those few hours, and we came back the next afternoon.

 Friends are also family.

It was an emotional visit, but this visit was also very life-affirming. I’ve known my friend since age 13. We know so much about each other and have seen each other through some really hard times. We’ve been separated many times by circumstances and distance. Her second husband recently became ill and was hospitalized at the end. He was one of the best husbands in my opinion, even though I only met him once. She loved him very much, and everything she said at the memorial just showed she was full of appreciation for her time with him and relief that his pain was over.  In other words, she was not a basket case at all.  Her husband, whom she has known five to six years and been married to for three, had been sick in the last two years.  Near the end, he developed a rare disease, calciphylaxis, and was in the hospital for most of this last year.  It breaks my heart, but in talking with her I could see that she wasn’t dwelling on the sorrow, and instead was focusing on the wonderful times they had together.  I want to make sure to go and see her or spend time with her more often.

After returning, I’ve been setting a lot of appointments this week.  Routine stuff, and I made it to yoga twice in one week!  I felt great after yesterday’s class, but I feel sore today, so maybe I just have to get used to it.  I also went and tried out a place called Stretch Zone that does assisted stretch.  I decided I’d go back, so I purchased a month’s package to see how I improve after that month.  “Spend all you have for loveliness,” someone said, somewhere.  I used to spend it on vacations and concerts, now I am having to invest in being healthy and a whole person.  In my opinion, well worth it!  It’ll make my next vacation more enjoyable.  I also took my furbaby to get a haircut yesterday.  Yeah, he knows he’s handsome. 🙂

Beside that and binge-watching The Handmaid’s Tale, I’ve been working with a narrator to get Detours in Time onto audio, and after that, Undercurrents in Time as well! I’m trying to finish the Malachi manuscript, but I find I get pretty stiff when sitting in the same place for too long (as mentioned above).  Sometimes I stand near the kitchen counter and type.   I will be posting some brief excerpts in the next week or two!  In reading, I’m alternating between a Kindle book and its audio. That seems to work with my goal of not being too still. Please pray for me so I can get this book finished!  I think I am incorporating a good plan to keep moving.

I hope you all have a great week and are enjoying your summer. Happy Pride month to those of you who are, or have a friend or loved one that is, LGBTQ.  Happy summer to all!

Dance of Life. #poetry

2006. Ballroom dance practice.

Blackshoe2IMG_0009 2009, before I retired these shoes.

 

Dance of Life by Pamela Schloesser Canepa, (c) 2019

Please don’t tell me how to dance
and don’t critique my dance
This dance is life and is not a dance with death,
it is a dance with what I’ve been given.
Don’t check the boxes while I dance
My dance is what I’m feeling inside
My dance is where I am in life…
It changes all the time.
To think I used to wear those shoes,
I danced away depression and blues.
Did I worry about a judge?
I also forgot to bear a grudge.
Now here I am, sneakers and yoga pants
and I still at times break into dance.
Sometimes the flow of words is my dance,
Sometimes comforting a child is my dance.
Don’t stare and check your boxes,
the dance is the story, a story, partly fiction
the story is me, the dance is survival
One can only live through self-expression.
I am not within the box,
and no one else draws my lines
so join me if you dare, or laugh along.

Yes, laugh, I said. It means that we’re alive.