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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

My Daddy and I recently took a road trip to Atlanta (12-16 May) to visit my sister and her family for my niece Emma’s graduation from high school. I have been to Atlanta several times over the last 18 years, but this was the first time I drove there. Taking a road trip with me behind the steering wheel is 100% out of my comfort zone; however, I refuse to let that stop me from going on an adventure. If you remember, dear reader, I drove my Daddy and me to Kentucky to visit my Uncle Manuel back in September 2020. Besides, my Daddy does not like to fly anymore because he always ends up getting sick; therefore, I sucked it up and volunteered to drive us there and back. We left on Thursday, 12 May around 9:00 in the morning. Although driving to Atlanta was a piece of cake, driving through the city of Atlanta is no picnic. The last 15 minutes of our journey was daunting, but we prevailed. I am super happy we made the trip.

We arrived at the Killian homestead around 7:30 p.m. Atlanta time. Atlanta is an hour ahead of Louisiana. We were greeted warmly with smiles, hugs, and BBQ. My last trip to Atlanta was for Emma’s Confirmation back in November 2019. My Daddy’s last trip was Thanksgiving 2021 with Barry, Jr. (my oldest son). We all hung out and caught up for the remainder of the evening. On Friday, Emma and Lee had graduation festivities to attend and my sister had to work, which was great, since I also had to do some work for HGCS. My Daddy binged-watched the Jack Reacher series. Later that evening, since Lee and Emma were attending a graduation party, Rachel ordered Chinese food for us. I finally took a ride in her elevator. It is really cool to have an elevator in your house. We took a ride up to the attic. Instead of a skeleton in the closet, they have a skeleton in the attic.

On Saturday afternoon, Emma and I went shopping for clothes at a boutique called Vestique and book shopping at Barnes and Nobles. Emma is a voracious reader like me. Of course, we could not leave the bookstore without me buying us books and Starbucks. My evening was spent watching a horror movie called The Twin with Emma and her friend Marissa in the home theater. It is even cooler to have a home theater in your house, especially with comfy chairs. Austin does not care for scary movies, so he left quickly after the movie started. HA! A scary dog instead of a scary cat.

Sunday rolled around for the big day, Emma’s high school graduation from Pace Academy. We all woke up early, got dressed, and headed out to Pace Academy’s Sports Complex. It was an outdoor graduation. Thankfully, it had stopped raining before we arrived, and we encountered cooler temps for the majority of the ceremony. My heart swelled with joy watching Emma walk on the field to take her seat among her classmates. I got a little teary-eyed watching her receive her high school diploma. I am proud of my sweet, talented, and beautiful niece who also happens to be my goddaughter. In the fall, she will be attending Santa Clara University in California.

After graduation, we all went to eat lunch at Del Frisco’s Grille in downtown Atlanta. We started off with Cheesesteak Eggrolls and Del’s Deviled Eggs. Rachel and I each got an entree and split them. I ordered Strawberry Cobbler French Toast, and she ordered Braised Shortrib Hash. The food was excellent! Then, we all went back to the house. Emma had two graduation parties to attend (one in the afternoon and one in the evening). Lee helped host the afternoon party. It was nice to just relax after all the graduation festivities, especially with having to drive home early the next morning.

On Monday morning at 6:30 a.m., my Daddy and I said our good-byes to Rachel and Lee, thanked them for their hospitality, and got on the road heading towards Louisiana. I dropped my Daddy off at his house at 1:30 p.m. and arrived back home at 2:30 p.m. Louisiana time. What a wonderful road trip, graduation, and time with family!

The school year officially ended on Friday, 20 May along with my job as the instructional coach at HGCS. The closing of this school year ends a chapter in my work life. Technically, I have retired from the world of elementary education. One would think I was whooping it up as I left the school parking lot; however, I felt exactly the way I always feel on the last day of school – free and thrilled for the onset of summer break. The “whooping it up” will eventually happen, during the last week of July, when all of my teacher friends are going back to school to attend PLC meetings and to get their classrooms ready. I will not only feel relief at that moment in time, but I will also feel excitement and joy because I will be embarking on my next adventure.

My summer break kicks off tomorrow morning, dear reader. I will begin decluttering and organizing my home, starting with my scrapbook room which is a total disaster. Luna is getting spayed on Tuesday and will be out of the house until Wednesday afternoon, so I plan to take advantage of that time to get my scrapbook materials organized and my photos ordered for my annual scrapbooking event that I am attending with my girlfriends in June. I have quite a few activities and appointments scheduled this summer, especially throughout the month of June. I will be making memories, practicing self-care, and preparing for the next chapter of my life. Happiness!

“The two most joyous times of the year are Christmas morning and the end of school.” ~ Alice Cooper

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Happy Mother’s Day! I am blessed to be the mother of two young men, Andrew and Barry, Jr., who have not only brought me an overabundance of joy, but also a fair amount of worry and frustration over the years. Thankfully, there has been way more joy than worry. I love my boys immensely!

Motherhood can be a wonderful experience; however, it can also be nerve-racking and exhausting at times. Despite the lack of sleep during their baby years and teenage years (especially when they start driving), the worry over their well-being, and the heartache you feel when they are hurting (physically or emotionally), it is all worth it. Motherhood is one of my toughest roles, but it is also my most fulfilling one, and I would not trade it for anything. Motherhood looks differently for everyone. It is not a one type fits all kind of role. Whether you happen to be the mother of humans, fur babies, a creative endeavor, or a business, dear reader, this is your day to celebrate your path to motherhood.

Yesterday, we hosted a crawfish boil with a few of our friends and family. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day. Barry, Sr., along with my boys and our neighbor John, boiled the crawfish. The mudbugs were spicy good! We had a great deal to celebrate – Helen moving back to Louisiana, Claire passing her Praxis exam, mothers, friendship, life in general. Unfortunately, my momma was unable to attend; however, we did send my Daddy home with flowers, crawfish, and dessert for her. Much gratitude to Helen who took the pictures of our day together.

As you know, dear reader, May is Zombie Awareness Month, and I am completely engrossed in all things related to zombies. Currently, I am obsessed with All of Us Are Dead, the South Korean coming-of-age tv series streaming on Netflix. WOWZER! I think it is AMAZING. Basically, there is a zombie virus outbreak at a high school with a group of teenagers trapped in the school, fighting for survival. If anyone or anything is bitten by an infected person or animal, the virus works insanely fast, turning them into raging, rabid zombies. It is definitely worth a watch for zombie lovers.

Well, it is time for this zombie lover to get on with her day. It will be a low-key kind of day. Since my mom and I cannot get together today, we will plan a mother-daughter outing at a later date. As for my plans for today, I will be hanging out at home with my guys and fur babies, relaxing, and perhaps, watching some more All of Us Are Dead with the hubster. Blessings to all the women out there who assume the role of mom. Big hugs to those of you who can no longer spend the day with your mother. Wishing all of you a beautiful week ahead. Happiness!

“We are born of love; love is our mother.” ~ Rumi

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My splendid spring break is winding down, and I am feeling joyful, refreshed, and energetic. The last ten days have not only been a flurry of activity, but also a good amount of down time. I accomplished almost everything on my Spring Break 2022 list plus more. I spent quality time with my family, friends, and fur babies. This much-needed respite allowed me to pause and enjoy the simple pleasures of life. And, I even squeezed in a little work session for my day job.

My hubster and I were both on vacation for spring break. We spent a good deal of time together between my scheduled appointments and his yardwork/home projects. We had our first boiled crawfish for this season with his mom on Good Friday, attended Easter Sunday Mass with friends, did some yardwork in the backyard, hung out at Tickfaw State Park for his company picnic, and watched the entire Dexter: New Blood series in the evenings. It is probably the first time in a long time that we had that much quality time together.

There were only two items on my list that I did not get around to accomplishing this past week. I did not organize my scrapbook room, and I chose hubby time over attending the live on-line event (The 5 Secrets to Designing a Joyful Home) on Wednesday night. It was a free webinar, and thankfully, I can watch the replay of it. I accomplished a substantial amount of reading and writing during the break. In a couple of days, I will complete the books on my April TBR list and will publish a couple of blog posts. My consultation with the oral surgeon went well, and I have scheduled my implant procedure for 29 June.

Big news, dear reader! I only have 14 more workdays left of this school year. To be more precise, I only have 14 more workdays left as an instructional coach at Holy Ghost Catholic School. I am officially retiring from HGCS, and my last day is 20 May 2022. Woo-Hoo! This exciting news is all I am prepared to share with you at this time. Believe you me, dear reader, more about the next chapter of my life and my new adventures will unfold in the next few months. In the meantime, say a little prayer for me that I can successfully wrap up my school year with the remaining time I have there.

More big news, dear reader! I will be performing this week in The Phantom of the Columbia: A Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at the Columbia Theatre. I am Vera Cost, a B-movie horror icon who is traveling with a group of B-movie stars on a promotional tour. We have been invited to a special dinner at the theatre where we will encounter a mystery, a murderer, and the menacing Phantom of the Columbia. The first rehearsal is tonight, a dress rehearsal is tomorrow night, a preview is on Tuesday night which will be followed by four shows each evening, Wednesday-Saturday. What a wonderfully exciting opportunity for me!

Therefore, today is all about preparing for the upcoming week which will be one of my busiest weeks of the year thus far. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I am feeling grateful and optimistic while also looking forward to the challenge. Thankfully, I have Thursday and Friday off from my day job. I must be diligent with my self-care by managing my time efficiently, eating properly, and getting sufficient sleep. Barry, Sr. will NOT be out of town for work, so he will be home for Luna and the rest of our fur babies in the evenings. It’s time for me to run, dear reader. I hope you have a spectacular Sunday and a wonderful week ahead. Happiness!

“Prioritize building a life that sustains you and is compatible with your deepest, multifaceted self. Everything else grows from that!” ~ Emily Wapnick

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I am FINALLY on spring break and thrilled to be on vacation until 25 April. My hubster is on vacation, too! While I will be off from my day job as an instructional coach at HGCS, I have lots to accomplish at home and in my personal life. Most of the tasks and activities I have planned for the next 10 days are expected to be enjoyable. My schedule of activities is in order of the upcoming week, starting with today, Good Friday.

Kat’s Spring Break 2022

  • Lunch (hopefully boiled crawfish) with Mrs. Billie and hubster TODAY
  • Breakfast with Helen and Shelly on Saturday morning; shopping for shoes (dinner theatre)
  • Easter Sunday Mass
  • Writing prep with Claire-one hour (M, W, TH, and maybe F)
  • Consultation with oral surgeon (implant) on Tuesday; visit parents
  • Haircut on Wednesday morning
  • The 5 Secrets to Designing a Joyful Home on-line event on Wednesday evening
  • Book Club Meeting (The Woman in Black) on Thursday evening
  • Hubby’s work picnic on Saturday afternoon
  • Rehearsal at Columbia for dinner theatre on Sunday evening

In the midst of these delightfully scheduled activities (minus oral surgeon visit), I will be learning my lines for my role in The Phantom of the Columbia, organizing my dreadfully cluttered scrapbook room, spending time with the hubster, organizing my Zombie Awareness Month activities for May, writing a blog post or two, and reading a ton. I admit I may be wildly ambitious as to everything I want to achieve over the course of the next 10 days, especially since I am also caring for our rambunctious puppy Luna (more about her in another post).

Luna

However, I am determined, dear reader, to try my very best to accomplish everything on my schedule and to-do list during my spring break. Now, with that being said, I must get started. Luna only naps so long before she demands my undivided attention. Happiness!

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” ~ Jim Rohn

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Daylight Saving Time begins TODAY! I am thrilled, dear reader. Crossing this threshold of the year is the kick in the pants I need to get moving and grooving, especially after the challenges of COVID, Hurricane Ida, and the dark, wintery season. I am ready to tackle the remaining days of this school year, to get back walking on a more regular basis, and to announce some changes in my life that will be taking place soon. Frankly, I could not be more excited about the time change.

Yesterday afternoon, my friend Helen and I went to the movies to see The Batman. This is the film where Robert Pattinson plays Batman and has to outwit the Riddler. It was awesome, and I love Pattinson as Batman. Do you know what is more awesome than the movie? Helen has officially moved back to Louisiana after living out of the state for 12 years. YES! In addition, she lives in Hammond, which is super close to where Shelly and I live, so we get to see her all the time. We have all been friends since high school.

This weekend, our area experienced a cold snap after weeks of warmer temperatures. Normally, I would be bummed, especially since I just put my plants back on the porch last weekend. However, it gave us a pleasant opportunity for my hubby to build a fire in our fireplace. This is the first weekend, this entire winter season, that we could enjoy a cozy fire in the fireplace. When Hurricane Ida caused the tree to hit our house, it knocked off our chimney stack. We just got it reinstalled this past Tuesday. What an unexpected treat!

The day is young, and I am looking forward to accomplishing a few tasks, attending a Baby Sprinkle for my friend Melissa, and going for a walk in the beautiful sunshine. What are your plans on this Sunday, dear reader? Whatever you choose to do, I hope it brings you some joy. Happiness!

“With the coming of spring, I am calm again.” ~ Gustav Mahler

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After SIX long months, Andrew is FINALLY back in his bedroom. My hubby and I moved some of Andrew’s furniture into his room on Thursday while he was at school, so I took a few pictures to send to him. On Friday evening after eating dinner at my mother-in-law’s house, Andrew officially moved back home. I am overjoyed and grateful that he is home. I am extremely thankful to Mrs. Billie for letting Andrew stay with her. I am extremely thankful to my Daddy and my husband for all of their hard work getting the repairs completed on the roof and the bedroom. Kudos to my boys for assisting any time we asked them to help with repairs, clearing debris, and yard work. Last but definitely not least, many thanks to you, dear reader, along with friends and family who offered up prayers and sent positive vibes during this ordeal.

Last night, Barry and I had drink night at Shelly and Kerry’s house to celebrate their daughter Aubry’s 21st heavenly birthday. Aubry was stillborn about four months before Andrew was born. It was a heartbreaking time for us all. I hated seeing my friends hurting at the loss of their angel. I make a point every year to acknowledge Aubry’s birthday. On Wednesday when I texted Shelly and Kerry, I suggested that we have a drink night and toast Aubry on what would have been a milestone birthday for her. Kerry, our bartender, mixed Angel’s Delight Martinis, and Shelly prepared Heaven on Earth (yummy dessert made with Angel Food cake). Shelly’s mom Mrs. Carol and her bonus dad Mr. Mike (my Godson) and our long-time friend Helen joined us for the celebration. Mr. Mike even brought over mini muffulettas and a cheese/meat tray. I thought it was a wonderful way to spend time with friends and remember Aubry.

Barry and I are steadily moving forward in March and continue to make progress on the house. The inspector for our mortgage company came on Friday, documents and receipts have been uploaded to our mortgage company and insurance company, and a fence company has been hired to put up our new fence in three weeks (provided it does not rain a whole lot between now and then). We also need to purchase new gutters and clean up more tree debris in the backyard. I am confident that both will happen in the next few weeks. At this moment, our only real hiccup is getting the roofing company to send someone to the house and fix an error on the roof, so we can reinstall our chimney stack. The roofing salesperson is not great at his job, so I am not sure when and if this will happen any time soon. We have been promised twice that someone would come (Friday and Saturday) to make the adjustment; no one has shown up, and the salesperson has not called with an explanation. I am NOT surprised, and my expectations are low. However, I am determined not to get upset and pray it will get resolved in a timely manner.

My life seems to be settling down a bit, dear reader. Since Andrew is back home, we were able to move a bunch of his belongings out of the living room and other areas of the house. What a wonderful feeling to have more open space! I am excited, yes excited, to do some spring cleaning, decluttering, and organizing. I want to get my house back in order before the end of this school year. I get the stitches out of my mouth (where my tooth was extracted, and a bone graft put in its place) on Thursday afternoon. Daylight saving time is next Sunday (woo-hoo!) which means more evening daylight and a happier, more motivated me. Also, Easter break is six weeks away, and the hubster and I will be on vacation together again. In the meantime, I have all sorts of interesting and enjoyable activities on my calendar to keep me busy until the break. Happiness!

“Sometimes life knocks you on your ass… get up, get up, get up!!! Happiness is not the absence of problems, it’s the ability to deal with them.” ~ Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free 

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Today is the last day of February, and for the past few weeks (really all month) I have been feeling a bit discouraged. I have not made much headway on my 22 for 2022 list. I have not written a blog post in weeks. I have been struggling more with my house still being in shambles because of Ida. I made the crazy decision to adopt a rescue puppy, complicating my life. My tooth cracked last week and had to be extracted, causing me great discomfort. The pain meds make me tired as well as feeling worthless and weepy. And, sadly, I ended my walking streak (walking daily since 03/23/20) on Friday because I slept most of the day, and quite frankly, I did not have the energy to do much of anything but hang out on my sofa. Welcome to Kat’s Pity Party! Even though I am not a pro at feeling sorry for myself, I feel like it has been my modus operandi lately.

Luckily for me, I came across an article on Facebook today that Gretchen Rubin wrote for Inc. Magazine about turning today from discouragement into determination. Rubin writes, “Instead of Discouragement Day, let’s reframe February 28 as Determination Day–a date that reminds us to reflect, review, and do the hard work of asking ourselves, “If something isn’t working, why not?” If we’re determined to keep our resolutions, we shouldn’t fear failure. We should stop, observe it, and learn from it, so we can keep going.”

Therefore, after reading the article, I took several moments throughout the day to reflect and review on the happenings of this month, and February has actually been better than the narrative I have been telling myself all month. I am making progress with my goals, just not by leaps and bounds. I made a little extra cash this month working the ACT exam at SLU which will go towards future projects. I did fairly well not spending extra money during Frugal February. I continued reading more this month and participated in both my personal book club and Year of King project with Kelsi. I am currently writing this blog post. Yes, I adopted a puppy, for good reasons, even though the timing was not ideal. I helped my friend Helen move into her new place to be closer to Shelly and me. And, although my house is still a wreck due to Ida, my hubby and Daddy are working every chance they get to rebuild Andrew’s bedroom, so he can move back home, and we can finally get our home back in order again. They are making progress, but it is slow going. Honestly, after much reflection, I think the disorder of my home is the root of my overwhelming feelings, the frustration, impatience, and lack of concentration I have been feeling that has bubbled over into this month as discouragement. So many days this month, I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up because I just did not see the point. I am not a failure, but I am burnt out. I still feel like I am on the struggle bus, but my season of sacrifice feels like it is ending soon.

Hope is on the horizon, dear reader. A tree guy came Saturday to remove trees and trim broken branches. My hubby has been installing Andrew’s new floor since yesterday. I am super impressed with his skill set and his determination. Tomorrow, my daddy and my hubby will install baseboards and shoe moulding. Then, we can start moving Andrew’s belongings back into his room. An inspection request has been made and more progress along with it. Discouragement has changed to Determination. Happiness!

“You will reach the destination you are destined for! You just may encounter a few detours or unexpected routes. Allow them to motivate you rather than discourage you!” ~ Christine Hassler

Photo: Flooring being installed in Andrew’s room. Notice crown moulding has been installed as well.

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It is the last day of November, dear reader, and I am finally wrapping up the spooky season which was a HUGE success. The only activity I was unable to do on my Halloween Fun List was the New Orleans Zombie Run which was an extra activity that I thought would be fun to do if my schedule permitted. However, I just could not fit it into my schedule once I accepted the role of Eleanor Slides in the play, The House on Haunted Hill.

Kelsi and I participated in our first Halloween ReadaThon which was successful. Even though I had to rearrange my original TBR list, I still completed all of the prompts and read some fabulous books and short stories. In fact, I read one more book this season than last season. As for short stories, I read three this time around which was two less than last season.

Horror movies were also on my list, and I was able to watch 20 movies this season which is amazing. I only watched 13 movies last year. Unfortunately, I was unable to watch Near Dark or Trick ‘r Treat because they were both unavailable; however, I replaced them with The Halloween Tree and Dark Was the Night.

I accessorized my work wardrobe with Halloween/Fall earrings, pins, and socks. My hubby bought me a Halloween t-shirt which I wore on Halloween Night for when I handed candy out to trick-or-treaters. Ironically, it has the face of a creepy clown on it, and clowns freak me out. I added some Halloween decorations in the reading area of my bedroom, but unfortunately, never added any to my fall decorations on my front porch. Kelsi and I hung out together the first weekend of October and vlogged about our wonderful day having lunch, shopping for Halloween decor, and more. It was definitely one of the highlights of the spooky season. Two activities that I left off my list was sending out Halloween cards to a few of my friends and posting a daily Halloween-related Snoopy picture on my FB story. I even received a Halloween card from Kelsi. Happiness Boost!

I tried a new spooky adult beverage called the Drunk Witch Cocktail. It consisted of Vodka, Grenadine, and Blue Curacao topped with Sprite. I enjoyed it, but it was strong, so drinking one was quite sufficient. I also drank fall flavored coffee throughout the month. And, I baked an Autumn Pumpkin Cake from a recipe featured on the blog, It’s a Charming Life (itsacharminglife.com.). It was simple to make and tasted delicious.

Kelsi and I had several wonderful chats about all the enjoyable activities we did during the spooky season. Our final one was a Halloween 2021 Wrap Up Chat where we discussed our thematic activities, including The House on Haunted Hill. What an exciting opportunity! I had the best time performing in the play and will eventually share my incredible experience with you.

That’s a wrap, dear reader. As Kelsi mentioned in her description of our chat, “we put a bow on the 2021 Halloween season.” Kelsi and I could not have asked for a better spooky season, especially following the turmoil of Hurricane Ida. Planned activities for a season or surrounding a specific holiday boosts happiness, creates fond memories, and enriches one’s life, especially if you share those activities with a friend, a family member, or your significant other. Do you plan activities for a season or surrounding a specific holiday? If so, please share in the comments. In the meantime, I need to finish my Christmas Fun List. Happiness!

My Halloween decorations I bought while shopping with Kelsi along with the Halloween card I received from Kelsi.

“Make a commitment to having fun. See your best friends and make time for your hobbies and passions.” ~ Robert Holden

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Thanksgiving this year looked a little different from years past. We were missing a couple of people around the table, and the hubster and I went with a nontraditional Thanksgiving meal. We were striving for simple. Normally, Barry fries a turkey, and it is usually joined by cranberry sauce, a green veggie, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and a pecan or pumpkin pie. Since it would only be the four of us gathered around the table on Thursday, our menu consisted of turkey burgers, broccoli casserole, spinach artichoke dip, and cheesecake for dessert (courtesy of Rouse’s). Thankfully, I married a man who likes to cook. Everything on my plate was delicious. Of course, Mrs. Billie baked cookies. Chocolate chip cookies to be exact. My Daddy and Son #1 spent Thanksgiving in Atlanta with my sister Rachel, my brother-in-law Lee, and my beautiful niece Emma. According to my Daddy, their menu consisted of “ham, green bean casserole, and of course, dessert.”

On Friday evening, Barry and I joined Shelly and Kerry to attend Friendsgiving at my friend Wendy’s house. Shelly and I graduated from Riverdale High School with Wendy. This was my very first Friendsgiving event and Wendy’s first time hosting one. There were about 15 of us, mostly Riverdale graduates. What an absolutely awesome evening! Fantastic food, terrific conversation, and lots of laughter, especially when Wendy, Sharon, and Kristie performed their award-winning dance moves to the song “Heartbeat-It’s a Lovebeat” by the DeFranco Family, a Canadian pop music group from the 70s. Back in the 6th grade, they won the overall prize at their school’s talent show with this performance. Everyone had a wonderful time, so Wendy is planning to make Friendsgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, an annual event. Happiness Boost!

High School Friends: Shannon, Chris, Kat, Jeff, Kristie, Sharon, Michelle, Shelly, Stacey, Kim, Steve, Eddie, and Wendy (holding Millie)

The weekend kept on giving with last night’s Drink Nightsgiving (just made this up to even out the “giving” theme in the title of this post-HA!). Barry and I drove over to the Cyrus’s house to partake in libations with Shelly, Kerry, Mrs. Carol (Shelly’s mom), and Mr. Mike (Shelly’s bonus dad and my Godson). Drink Nights with the Cyruses originated because of COVID restrictions. I am not a big drinker; however, I like trying fancy cocktails. Kerry, who is our official bartender and enjoys mixing fancy cocktails, served us Black Cherry Chocolate Martinis last night. This yummy adult beverage is his very own concoction. To make one marvelous martini, you will need the following ingredients: 1 ounce chocolate vodka; 1 ounce cherry vodka; 2-3 ounces of Just Black Cherry Juice (Knudsen); Hershey’s dark chocolate syrup to taste. According to Kerry, “you can increase vodka amounts if you want it a bit stronger. Or, decrease vodka amounts if it’s too strong.” In addition to our martinis, we nibbled on snacks which included a cheese dip that Mrs. Carol made (shaped like a turkey), a crab rangoon dip that Shelly made, chocolate, and Cape Cod potato chips (provided by me). Another enjoyable evening spent with fabulous friends.

It’s now Sunday, the last day of my vacation. Although it was shortened this year because of Hurricane Ida, I am grateful for the much-needed break from my day job and for spending quality time with my family and friends. Family relationships and friendships are super important to me, and I have been blessed with many wonderful humans who bring so much joy to my life. And, you are also counted among those humans that enrich my life, dear reader. Thank you for being you and reading my content. If you participated in a “giving” activity or have a suggestion for a fancy cocktail, please share in the comments or email me at katloyacano@gmail.com. Enjoy the remainder of your weekend. Happiness!

“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring, it is not taking things for granted, it is present-oriented.” ~ Sonja Lyubomirsky

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It has been two weeks since the dreadful time change took place amidst my current season of sacrifice and the onset of colder temperatures. Not surprisingly, I am riding the struggle bus. Normally, the weekend before Thanksgiving is a time of jubilant celebration since it kicks off a much-needed week-long vacation from my day job. Not so this year, thanks to Ida. It will now begin at 3:20 pm on Tuesday afternoon.

My teacher friends and I have to make up all the days we missed in the wake of Ida’s destruction even though we were definitely not on a vacation. If it sounds like I am grumbling, I am (a little), along with all of my teacher friends, the students, and their parents. I admit, we are somewhat spoiled and love our holiday breaks. But, please, do not misunderstand, I am grateful and appreciate any time off that we do get to stay home. However, this school year we really need our Thanksgiving break after dealing with COVID (still dealing with it), Hurricane Ida (still dealing with it), and the end of Daylight Saving Time (still dealing with it).

Most of my dear readers know that the next four months will be tough on me. I have to push myself not to surrender to my sofa once the sunlight disappears. The last couple of years I have immersed myself in activities (a play, movie marathons, NaNoWriMo, holiday fun lists, etc.) so as not to succomb to the season of SAD. So far, the only side effect has been going to bed earlier than usual and not getting a good night’s sleep. I do not sleep well in general, so this has been challenging. I find myself relying on Melatonin in the middle of the night to fall back to sleep and an additional cup of coffee to make it through the work day.

On a Brighter Note

My hubby and I went out Friday night with our fabulous friends, Shelly and Kerry. We always have a terrific time together, and this was no exception.

We attended Starry November Night in the middle of Downtown Hammond. The event included live music, train rides, a wine walk, vendors, and local businesses interacting with the community. It was an incredibly enjoyable evening, and exactly what I needed to stave off post-show blues and to avoid the siren call of my couch. The four of us chose to dine at a new restaurant, Son of a Biscuit, to kick off the evening. It is an easygoing establishment featuring a pun-filled menu of eggscellent choices. We were taken care of throughout the meal by a wonderful waitress named Camryn. Of course, our meal would not be complete without first ordering a cocktail. I chose Feeling Peachy, and let’s just say, after consuming it, I definitely felt peachy keen. We skipped appetizers and ordered entrees which was a difficult decision because everything on the menu sounded mouthwatering. I finally decided on Bacon Shrimp Mac N Cheese (homemade mac n cheese topped with grilled imported shrimp and bacon with a biscuit on the side). It was scrumptious! Needless to say, we will all be back in the future.

After dinner, we strolled through Downtown Hammond, enjoying the sights, the sounds, popping in and out of several shops, and stopping by a vendor booth or two. I enjoyed eating a yummy cupcake and topped it off with a deliciously hot Butter Rum Latte from PJ’s Coffee. I encountered so many lovely friends, former co-workers, students, and their parents, many who I have not seen in ages. It was awesome catching up with Ava who I taught a few years back and is currently in college, my super nice friend and former co-worker Angie (also met her husband David), and the sweetest parents, Marie and Robert, who I have known for years. I taught their son Cameron when he was in 2nd grade and in 8th grade. We also made a point of stopping by Wonder Collective Gifts where my friend Tweety, who is an artist, had some of her amazing artwork on display.

While visiting the Hammond Regional Arts Center, I said hello to my sweet friend Tara who I recently shared the stage with in The House on Haunted Hill at the Columbia Theatre. It was the first time seeing her since the show ended its run last weekend. Hopefully, it will not be the last. We both plan to audition at the beginning of December for the play Puffs.

Starry November Night was a wonderful way to start the weekend. I am looking forward to Barry and I getting together with Shelly and Kerry again soon. We already have several outings planned for the upcoming weeks.

Welcome to Night Vale

If you happen to be a fan of podcasts and The X-Files, consider checking out the wonderfully weird, Welcome to Night Vale. Alex, a castmate from The House on Haunted Hill, recently introduced me to this otherwordly podcast that includes a radio show format with cool music for the weather segment. The episode running time is around 30 minutes. I would highly recommend you start at the beginning with the pilot which sets the stage for mysterious malarkey.

I am counting down the hours until Tuesday afternoon, dear reader. I am thrilled to have a few days off to relax, recharge, and regroup. The year is quickly coming to an end, and I need to assess 2021 to look at what worked, what did not work, and how I want to begin the new year. Will I carry over items into 2022? Or, will I start the new year with a clean slate? Those questions and many more will need to be answered by the end of December. As of right now, I will enjoy what remains of this beautiful Sunday, and I hope you will do the same. Happiness!

“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” ~ Hannah Whitall Smith

Hanging out with SWOLEman the Snowman and his little snowman buddy at Downtown Fitness (Starry November Night)

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