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Posts Tagged ‘hanging out with friends’

What a weekend I am having thus far! On Friday evening, I attended the play, The Way We Say Goodbye, written and directed by Donna Gay Anderson and presented by Southeastern Theatre. This play is a celebration of Southeastern Louisiana University launching a new B.A. in Theatre program this fall.The production’s entire cast and crew consisted of Southeastern students, faculty, and alumni. And, one of those cast members happens to be my good friend Sue, who I worked with for many years at Holy Ghost Catholic School. She also taught Andrew, my youngest son, science at HGCS. The Way We Say Goodbye is about 15 women saying goodbye for various reasons.

Sue played Sorter, and her character was saying goodbye to some of the sentimental things she had been holding onto for years and reminiscing about the impact those things had on her life. Sue has not been on stage in several years because for the last 27 years, she has been directing children’s theatre. Andrew performed in three plays under her direction. She has also been super supportive of my acting journey. I’m so proud of Sue. The play was incredibly moving, humorous, and entertaining. The entire cast gave phenomenal performances. Bravo!

On Saturday afternoon, Helen and I attended The Jungle Book at the Columbia Theatre in downtown Hammond. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I was fortunate to participate in readings of The Jungle Book over the summer. Being a part of the readings was super special because the playwright, Tommy Jamerson, was there with us via Zoom. It was incredible to see how the cast and crew brought this play to life. I loved seeing so many of my talented friends performing. Bravo!

Tonight, at 7:30 PM CT is the series finale of The Walking Dead. Earlier today, I watched a couple of the episodes leading up to the finale. I LOVE The Walking Dead! I am prepared for an emotional evening as this incredible series wraps up 11 seasons of outstanding storytelling. The 90-minute final episode should be spectacular since it was directed by Greg Nicotero. I have watched this awesome show from the beginning as well as the other shows set in The Walking Dead universe. Over the years, I have met a few of the actors (Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Scott Wilson, and Michael Rooker), who have portrayed a few of my favorite characters, at Comic Con in New Orleans. And, I even have plenty of TWD merchandise. I will miss my group. Thank goodness for streaming, so I can revisit my favorite characters from time to time. And, thank goodness for more series in TWD universe coming out in the future.

The last few weeks since I launched my YouTube channel have been busy reading and creating content for my new channel. Being a newbie has its challenges, especially with filming and editing videos. However, I have released four videos and have been having a ball meeting other booktubers in the Booktube community. My latest video is a Booktube Newbie Tag where I answer questions about my reading journey, my reading preferences, the reason for starting my channel and much more. Every time I create a video, I learn something new, and I find that exciting.

Well, dear reader, that is all I have for you today. I have to finish a few tasks before I park myself in front of the television to say goodbye to The Walking Dead. I hope you had an enjoyable weekend. May your upcoming week be filled with lots of joy, laughter, and good cheer. Happiness!

β€œBe willing to be a beginner every single morning.” ~ Meister Eckhart

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Kat’s Novel Adventures

This past week has been an incredible week for creative folks, including myself. As you know, dear reader, I have been collaborating with Kelsi on her channel, Slime and Slashers – Books, Movies, & Nostalgia, for the last two years. We talk about books, movies, and activities we participate in during the holidays and months with special themes. In 2022, we decided to do a year-long Year of King project where we read a Stephen King book or short story each month and watch its screen adaptation(s). Then, we follow up with a monthly livestream to chat about our experiences. Additionally, I have been following several book tubers’ channels. It is no secret that I LOVE books, and reading is my favorite pastime. Watching bibliphiles talking about books and the stories they are reading is my idea of a good time.

Since the end of last year, I have been toying with the idea of creating a YouTube channel where I could talk about the books I am reading and maybe some of my other interests and creative pursuits. Therefore, back in March, I chose my channel’s name and created some components of my channel (banner, about information, added a link to my blog). And, there it sat quietly, waiting for me to take the next step which was to create an actual video. I planned to launch my channel with an introducton video the weekend after Labor Day. Crickets! Then, I decided to include it on my Fall Fun List. So, on Friday morning, I LAUNCHED my YouTube channel with my first video. I am thrilled to officially be on the YouTube platform and part of the Book Tube community.

Dear reader, if you have two minutes to spare, please check out my channel’s introduction video. Many, many thanks to Kelsi for helping me make this dream a reality. Thus far, I have received lots of kind and encouraging words since I launched my channel. I look forward to this new adventure.

Contingency

Friday was also a HUGE day for my friends Brian and Maria. The three of us started improv together back in January of 2020. They are both talented improvisors and actors. With Slice of Dat Productions, they participated in the creation of a short film called Contingency which was submitted as an entry in the 48 Hour Film Project for Chicago 2022. Basically, their team worked together to make a movie in ONLY 48 hours. On Friday afternoon, Contingency debuted to the general public on YouTube. I think the cast and crew did a remarkable job. The film is gritty, nerve-racking, and thrilling.

“Let’s Do the Time Warp Again”

One of my favorite movies is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It is not a particularly good movie, but it is a cult classic and has a fantastic soundtrack. The film is a great deal of fun to watch with an audience because the audience interacts with the film. Two years ago, Barry and I had a Rocky Horror Date Night where we had a blast reliving the film after not seeing it in theatres in over 30 years. Well, the Columbia Theatre showed it again this year, and we went to see it last Saturday with Shelly, Kerry, and Helen. Our evening started off with dinner at Cate Street Seafood Station. Then, we walked from the restaurant to Columbia Theatre where we were surrounded by creative audience members who were dressed amazingly as characters from the movie. I always say I am going to dress up as Magenta one year, but it has not happened, yet. Helen was a virgin going into the film because she had never seen it. There was a talented shadow cast dressed as the characters who performed terrifically on stage along with the movie. We each had prop bags (Barry shared with me) with various items to use throughout the film. My favorite part of the film is standing up and doing “The Time Warp” dance which is loads of fun. What an enjoyable evening with friends!

Lots going on in the world of entertainment, dear reader. Whether we are talking about books, music, films, or theatre, there is literally something out there in the world for everyone. I am thrilled I not only can enjoy being entertained, but I can also be a part of entertaining others. Life is truly full of adventures, some big and some small; some ordinary and some extraordinary; some experienced alone and some experienced with others. What creative adventures or endeavors are you a part of, dear reader? Happiness!

β€œOne way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” ~ William Feather

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Kelsi and I hung out last Sunday for a fun-filled fall day celebrating the spooky season. We exchanged gifts, carved pumpkins, baked cookies, popped popcorn, and watched two much-anticipated horror movies (My Best Friend’s Exorcism and Terrifier 2). The highlight of our day was carving pumpkins because Kelsi has NEVER carved one, which is surprising since her family loves all things Halloween. We vlogged our spook-tacular day together which she included in her Halloweekend Readathon Weekend #2 Vlog. Unfortunately, because we live in “hot ass Louisiana” as Kelsi loves to say, our pumpkins no longer look as cute as they did the day we carved them. Mine has become moldy on the inside and has started to collapse, so it will be placed on top of my compost pile shortly. The good news is we both plan to carve another pumpkin closer to Halloween. I think Kelsi has caught the pumpkin carving bug.

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This past week, I battled yucky, alien-looking bugs that came out of nowhere to attacked my beloved satsuma tree, but I fought back. My satsuma tree does not yield fruit every year, but this year I could glean about 60 satsumas which is a bumper crop for my little fruit tree. First, I sprayed water on them with a hose. They flew away in various directions, but returned two hours later. I sprayed them with the hose once more, and they flew away once more. Unfortunately, these vile creatures were relentless and returned yet again to attack my satsumas.

As I glared at them, they stared back, mocking me. Fortunately, my hubby had a solution, a soapy water solution. I mixed dish soap with warm water and sprayed those pests. The battle with those leaffooted bugs (Leptoglossus phyllopus) went on for two days until I wiped them out completely. Thankfully, they have not returned, and my satsumas have been saved. Since the attack of the citrus suckers, I have happily eaten three satsumas, and they were all splendidly sweet.

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Painting by Tweety

When my boys were younger, I decorated our house all the time, mainly for Halloween and Christmas. However, as they grew older, decorating for the holidays fell by the wayside. Last year, I planned to decorate, but our decorations were limited to my nightstand and a bookcase in my bedroom and the front porch because of Hurricane Ida. This year, Kelsi and I went Fall/Halloween decor shopping early, plus I shopped plenty more throughout September. I decorated my guest bathroom at the beginning of October. I finally got around to putting up the rest of my Halloween decorations this past week. Halloween birds are perched on bookcases while the rest of my spooky decor is displayed on the mantle above the fireplace in our living room.

Every time I look at my Halloween decorations, I get a happiness boost. I found so many wonderful items this year. Except for the Hocus Pocus pumpkin, the books, and the two crystal pieces holding potpourri and the dried flowers, everything on the mantle was purchased this year. I am thrilled with how it turned out. At the center of the mantle is a perfect pumpkin portrait painted by my talented friend Tweety. Since I love reading, I incorporated spooky books in my holiday display which adds a pleasant touch.

I absolutely adore the mini wooden coffin shelf that I purchased from Target. My hubby painted it for me. I want to find some small, vintage-looking books to put on the bottom shelf. Since I am a patreon supporter of It’s A Charming Life, Lindsay and Jonas sent me a Sleepy Hollow postcard, featuring Jonas’s artwork, and a tiny, white doily this month. I put the doily on the top shelf of the coffin and set a jack-o’-lantern on top of it. I am excited I could include both items as part of my decorations.

Well, it is time for me to skedaddle, dear reader. I still have plenty left on today’s to-do list. I must finish my Halloween cards TODAY, so I can mail them out tomorrow. I promised my guys I would make a batch of Chicken Bacon Ranch Taquitos. Thankfully, the chicken and bacon have already been cooked. I have a few chapters to read in Needful Things. Then, I have to get myself organized for the upcoming week before heading out to Metairie where I will be performing tonight with my classmates in our first improv showcase. Happiness!

My poor jack-o’-lantern after one week in hot ass Louisiana.

β€œJack-o’-lantern, Jack-o’-lantern. You are such a funny sight.” ~ Jack-o’-lantern Halloween Song

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Cheers to October! While autumn is my favorite season of the year, October happens to be my favorite month of the year. Spooky season is officially upon us, so I spent yesterday morning decorating one of my bathrooms with Halloween decor. It is a spooktacular happiness boost!

We have been experiencing some beautifully cool weather lately in Louisiana which makes me want to be outside enjoying it.

Yesterday, Gnarly Barley, a local brewery in Hammond, was hosting their first Oktoberfest. They featured four German beers and had a food truck (Fine Thyme Catering) providing German foodstuffs. The brewery is a family and dog friendly establishment, so we opted to bring Luna with us to work on her socializing skills. She is not a fan of riding in a vehicle, so this also gave her an opportunity to become more familiar with being in a vehicle.

We are proud of our Luna Belle. She trembled some on the way to the brewery, but on the way home, she seemed much more comfortable being in Barry’s truck. No trembling! I took a selfie of Luna and me on the way home, and she looks like she is smiling.

Luna did wonderfully on her first outing. She was a little excitable when she first got out of the truck, so Barry walked her for about 10 minutes, and she settled down. There were tons of people, lots of dogs and children, and strange new smells to give her a terrific socializing experience.

My friends, Shelly and Helen, met us at Gnarly Barley to enjoy the beautiful weather. We are now known as the cackling hens. Apparently, this is the title of Helen’s FB album where she puts pictures of us. I am guessing we earned the name (thanks, Shelly) because we do a great deal of cackling when we are together. Shelly and I became best friends when we met in the 3rd grade at St. Matthew the Apostle School in River Ridge. We lived down the street from each other growing up and now live down the street from each other as adults. Helen joined our friend group in high school and moved to Hammond in February after living in Colorado for many years.

Ironically, not one of us drank a German beer or ate German food (line too long). HA! I ordered Party Punch, a Berliner Weisse, which is “a luscious sour beer teeming with Cranberry and Pomegranate flavors.” Beer is not my favorite alcoholic beverage; however, this beer was tasty and tart, and it looked as if a foamy ghost was in my cup. Barry ordered a Imperial Peanut Butter Korova. The other two cackling hens did not order any beer as they had errands to run before coming to my house later that evening to watch Hocus Pocus 2.

Yesterday, I planned to watch Hocus Pocus 2 for the first movie on my Halloween Movie Marathon list. It is currently streaming on Disney+. I thought it would be fun to invite the cackling hens and Shelly’s husband Kerry to join Barry and me for a movie night, especially since it was not a scary movie. Most of my friends do NOT share my love of horror movies. Shelly’s daughter Claire also joined us after her shift ended at work.

We ate hotdogs with homemade chili (yum) and Bag of Bones Cheetos (yum). Barry mixed Hocus Pocus cocktails (delish) for us to enjoy during the movie. It only required four ingredients (2 Tbsp each): white grape juice, Melon liqueur, Sour Apple liqueur, and Vodka. We chose purple sugar to rim our glasses. The movie was witchy and wonderful, and we all enjoyed it. What a fang-tastic evening hanging out with friends!

Barry and I like to watch movies together; however, from time to time, we will pick a television series to watch together. Recently, he and I started watching an FX television show streaming on HULU called What We Do in the Shadows. We generally watch a couple of episodes on Friday evenings. It is a mockumentary comedy horror series, following the lives of four vampires living together on Staten Island in New York. Barry and I think it is hilarious. My favorite character is Guillermo de la Cruz, Nandor’s familiar, played by the actor Harvey GuillΓ©n. He has been employed for 10 years as a familiar and desperately wants Nandor to turn him into a vampire. Barry and I are currently on Season 2, and Guillermo has not been turned into a vampire, yet.

Time for me to do some more Halloween decorating. I want to tackle the mantle above my fireplace. So far, the fall season is off to a superb start. Oh, and to make it even more magnificent, The Walking Dead is back tonight for the 3rd part of its 11th season. I have to savor every episode since this is the last season. What were your plans for the first weekend of the spooky season, dear reader? Happiness!

β€œI’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” – L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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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!

β€œWe are born of love; love is our mother.” ~ Rumi

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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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