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The 2010’s: A Decade in Review

Well here we are at the crux of 2019 merging into 2020–and I’m lying in bed with a low grade fever. While others are celebrating a decade ending, I’m binging the final three episodes of Hellier season two. (If you haven’t seen this show yet, you should! It’s AMAZING!) Ah, well. I guess there are worse ways to welcome in the new year. And, frankly, I’d rather be sick on New Year’s than Christmas. Good ol’ stomach issues.

Learning to be more in tune with my body’s limitations has actually been a struggle I’ve dealt with since I was born. Blessed with something my family dubs “The Yankello Stomach,” I suffer from a sensitivity to high oils and fats. When balanced with a healthy diet of other foods–a bland lunch mixed with a rich dinner, for example–then I’m usually all right. But if I indulge a bit too much, then I’m stuck in stomach ache limbo.

Being more in tune with my body is one of the many goals I’m focusing on in 2020 and beyond. I mean, this is the only body I have so I better make it last! Right?

Looking back at this decade, I’ve realized it’s been one full of growth. I can see God’s hands–along with some other Beings–helping shape me into the person I am today. The one with family values, a fascination with the paranormal, weather, and travel, who loves to celebrate storytelling, and who always does her best to respect life and death. The person I was always meant to be. Through pain, discovery, loss, gain; a dualistic tango that led me here, right here, to this very moment.

As Dustin Pari posted on his twitter once:

All in all, I think it’s been a valuable ten years.

In this next decade, I want to focus on fine-tuning myself:

  1. To publish my novel: to hold a physical copy of my book for the first time, smell its pages. (Yes, I’m one of those bibliophiles.) And to continue my character’s stories.
    1. Note: I also want to produce more regular content here and on Youtube.
  2. To keep travelling: to visit old haunts and explore new places.
  3. To feel healthy. I want to feel capable of climbing a mountain. And, especially, I want my back to be stronger. I want to feel stronger.
  4. To learn more about our property: to always show it as much love as it shows us.
  5. To become more involved in the paranormal community: to be more verbal about my theories, my experiences. To help others as I have been helped. And to connect again to my sensitivity.
  6. And, of course, a big one–perhaps one of the most important things a person can do on this world: I want to raise a family. Which is equally excited and terrifying!

I hope you all have a happy 2020. I hope this next year–this next decade–is everything you wish it to be, but that it’s also what you need it to be. Even if it’s unexpected. May it be good. Plain and simple.

What are your resolutions? Your goals for 2020-2029? Let me know in the comments!

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!

(Translation: “Let the good times roll!”)

WAHOO! Tomorrow I get to be back in one of my most favorite cities: New Orleans! Two years have been too long to be away from The Big Easy. I’m so excited to visit some favorite haunts (hee-hee–it’s one of the most haunted cities after all) and have some new experiences too!

I’m looking forward to walking Jackson Square, stopping at Cafe Du Monde and having a beignet. Visiting Bourbon Street just when the sun goes down–right before it gets too crazy–stepping into Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to get a respite from the heat or relaxing to Steamboat Willie at Cafe Beignet. I’m eager to browse around The French Market, get some more Carnival Candles, and eat some good crepes! AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ABOUT MUFFALETTAS!

I also have my sights set on some new places: the Cajun/Zydeco festival in Armstrong Park, Faulkner House Books in Pirate Alley, and taking Haunted History Tour‘s Cemetery Tour. (I’ve been on their haunted tour a good few times–so much that I could probably recite the histories word for word, ha!) And, I also want to go to New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum–maybe learn more about a practice I’ve been curious about.

In 2017, I wrote a blog post called “A City of Many Colors.” In it, I described how I see NOLA, how I embrace its eccentricities wholeheartedly:

… that is what New Orleans is; she is herself, there is no other way to describe her. She embraces the creepy and weird, the adventurous, the musical, the artistic, the mystical, and makes no apologies about what experiences you may have. She is colorful, extreme, fantastical, and a city with her own thing going. I love every bit of her!

I am a different person than I was in 2017. I lost my dad, I’m working hard to accomplish a future I hope for my family, and I have come a long way in–almost–completing my novel. But I believe these things have made me more secure in who I am; I’ve become more confident in myself, no longer looking to celebrities, cultural norms, or random classifications to define me.

I’m a writer, after all.

I’m secure in me. And New Orleans has always been secure in her.

I’m glad to be back, girl. I’m glad to look upon that lovely city with fresh eyes, filled with strange, dark tales to tell and love–embracing of all different peoples–to be passed around.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler–Let the good times roll!


Want more about my New Orleans adventures?

Check out these posts:
Return to New Orleans
NOLA 2016
A City of Many Colors

And these vlogs:
New Orleans 2015 — Jackson Square

Sounds of New Orleans: Natchez’s Paddle!

And my Instagram: Katie L. Mortimer
(You’ll have to scroll a bit for those NOLA pictures!)

Welcome to 30!

Yes, oh yes! You’ve read that right: I’m 30! Long gone are my 20’s, now makes room for a whole new decade of adventure and discoveries!

There’s a lot of connotation about turning 30. In our society–especially in pop culture–it seems to be something to dread: our 20’s are at an end, the partying is done, now we have to grow up and be responsible.

My mom quoted an interview that Madonna gave when she turned 30. When the iconic diva was asked about turning 30, the interviewer probably thought “Oh. This will be so dramatic! She’s going to hate this question!” but they were shocked at Madonna’s response. “Frankly, I’m relieved.”

To me, that is exactly how I feel: 30 isn’t about being scared to turn old, it’s about the excitement of the decade to come. Sure, I have more aches and pains that I didn’t have when I was in my teens. But that’s solved easily.

No. On the eve of my birthday, I felt the distinct clap of a book being shut. To me, each decade is a new book in the series of my life. I look forward to seeing what I accomplish in my 30s, taking the lessons of my 20s with me. It was a hard decade full of many struggles and sleepless nights, whether due to studying abroad in England or the all-nighters taking care of my ailing father. I don’t take any of those experiences for granted. I’m proud of who I’ve become. And I can’t wait to see what happens! I want to get to the peak of my physical health, and, most immediate and important: becoming fully-fledged, published author.

I just need to get this book done first!

Speaking of, away I go to the cave. Radio silence initiated. See you guys on the other side.

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A New Approach to Resolution

A few nights ago I came across a blurb in Women’s Health (by Marta Topran). Basically she was talking about how she’s changed her tactics on new years resolutions: instead of saying “I’m going to lose 30 pounds this year” say something like “I’m going to aim to exercise three times a week.” In short, make progressive goals, not ultimatums. Ultimatums never work.

I found this concept alarmingly simple. Like, in the “why didn’t I think of that?” way.

So, I’ve decided that I’m shaping my life around it: no more long-term ultimatums, no overbearing deadlines. Just progress. Day after day, week after week.

Actually, come to think of it, I’ve already been doing it: I’ve lost a good fifteen pounds this year because I focused on smaller portion sizes and exercising more. And my novel? Well I’m so pleased to say I’m about two-thirds of the way through! All because I didn’t assign myself a date to have it done by. Instead of saying that I was going to have my novel done by Christmas (or some other notable holiday), I’ve been focusing on one simple goal: get two chapters written a week.

HA! I can’t believe I haven’t thought of this until now!

So here are my 2019 goals:

  1. Write two chapters of my novel a week.
  2. Exercise 30 minutes a day.

I feel good about this upcoming year. I feel like some of the things that happened in 2018–especially in the culmination of my father’s passing–have made me a stronger person. I feel more dedicated to my craft. And I feel that I’ve progressed in shaping myself into the person I want to be. I will always hold the lessons from the past, the challenges and joy of the present, and the hope of the future close to my heart. (And my muse!) Thanks for all you taught me, 2018.

For now, I’m buckling down and finishing this novel!

Get ready! It’s coming!

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Happy new year to all of you! I hope you are blessed in 2019.

Sincerely,

Katie L. Mortimer.


For a fun time, check out my list of favorite TV shows and movies I caught in 2018:

TV shows I’ve binge-watched (you know, outside of my usual binges):

  1. Blue Bloods
  2. Madam Secretary
  3. Gravity Falls
  4. Stranger Things
  5. The Kominsky Method

In fact, check out these blog posts I made earlier this year: Favorite TV: Blue Bloods and Favorite TV: Stranger Things!

Fun note: the husband started showing me Gravity Falls this week. (HOW HAVE I NOT WATCHED THIS SHOW?) I currently have its theme song on repeat.


Movies that I want to watch over and over again:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Bumblebee
  3. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  4. Christopher Robin
  5. Black Panther
  6. Incredibles 2

(Note: I have yet to see Mary Poppins Returns, but I’m sure it’s fantastic!)

Going off of Bohemian Rhapsody, my whole family has been obsessed with the soundtrack that accompanies the album. Here’s the thing: it’s actual Queen singing actual songs! Including the amazing Live Aid 1985 recordings. If there was a moment I could go back in time for, it would be to hear Freddie Mercury sing live. (Thank God the recording is on YouTube!)

Catch the Live Aid concert here:

 

Fall–Well Winter–is here!

Fall is officially here!
Halloween is around the corner!
The leaves are crunching beneath my feet!
And the temperature?
Nice, cool, and crisp–HANG ON A SECOND.
43 degrees??!
*Clears throat* WINTER is officially here! 


YEEEEESH! 

Somehow summer has ended, we’ve completely skipped Autumn, and have fallen head-first into winter! I was looking forward to my sweater weather too! But, alas, I will make do with heavier shirts and winter jackets. We still get to wear our sweaters; they’re just underneath something.

Actually, I’m pretty excited that I’m feeling perpetually cold: it means that I’ve lost a significant amount of weight this year! Now this isn’t an appearance thing. I knew I needed to be more active and eat less for my health. I can actually feel the difference! My body feels so much happier!

HUZZAH!!

I’ve actually had two major goals that I’ve been wanting to accomplish for years. (Pretty much ever since I was a child.) And I know I’ve talked about this before, but, bear with me: I’m going to talk about it again.

Goal #1: lose weight so I feel healthier.

Goal #2: finish writing my first novel.

In my mind, while I’ve only lost half of the weight I wanted to lose, I’m accomplished. See, it’s not all about the end goal. Yes, it would be nice to feel a sense of completion, but it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

Head down, one step at a time. That’s how it’s done.”
-Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), Everest (2015)

Speaking of writing, I’m so excited! I’m back on a writing schedule! And just in time for NaNoWriMo!

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Word after word, sentence after sentence, chapter after chapter–I’m getting closer and closer to my goal. I want to have a complete novel on my desk by the time Christmas comes. And, if I keep working as steadily as I have, I’m sure to succeed! Then I go through one more wave of revisions and I’m ready to search for an agent! Yeess!! 

It’s taken me so long to get to this point. And I’m almost there. I just have to keep going.

Thank you guys for all the support you’ve given me. I’m excited to share this novel series with you–I think you’ll like it! Next month, I’ll talk about my in-depeth schedule for NaNoWriMo.

In my parting words, I want to leave you with this video. I’ve been on a Markiplier kick and when I was writing this post, I was thinking of this vlog. It’s one that inspires me and makes me feel like anything is possible. 

Favorite TV: Blue Bloods

Back when dad was in a facility–mom, dad, and I would sit down and watch Blue Bloods. We would leave the TV on for him as he slept, tuned to ION Television. (Dad loved watching crime dramas and that station always had something good on!)

Then, mom and I sat down with him. Gradually, we became immersed in the lives of the Reagan family, a distraction for our own chaos that was happening at that time.

We became engrossed in Jamie’s journey as he went undercover with a crime family. We held our breath when Erin was almost raped and tortured by that serial killer. And Danny? Well, I just love his spunk, more and more in every episode.

But my favorite character? Frank Reagan.

That speech, up there, is one of the many reasons why I love this character: he’s very straightforward, to-the-point, he is honorable, a rock to his family (and his family is a rock to him), and, of course, he is a man who you do not want to piss off. He exudes all of these qualities.

Also, my dad had a very similar disposition to Frank, so I’m very easily drawn to him.

There is one descriptor that I would associate with Blue Bloods: strength.

The show is strong: strong characters with firm family values and it has a steadily growing, consistent plotline. I have trouble finding any holes to poke in this show. And, because of it’s solid family values–something I’ve grown up with myself–I’m always anxious to watch another episode.

Blue Bloods is one of the best shows out there. Hands. Down.

I can’t wait to see what happens next episode!

Favorite TV: Stranger Things!

GOD I love Stranger Things. SO MUCH!!

I just went through another binge of the show, this time showing my husband the wonders of Hawkins and the Upside Down. Needless to say, he has been hooked! (MWAHAHAHA!)

Pretty much because we were so busy with post-wedding bliss and responsibilities, I missed the announcement that season 3 won’t be released until Summer 2019! 

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*screaming* NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! 

THE PAIN!

THE TORMENT!

HOW CAN WE SURVIVE????! 

Seriously though, Stranger Things is one of the best shows out there! And the fact that we have an extended hiatus is really getting to me.

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Stranger Things… I can’t even describe why I love it so much. It’s not that there aren’t reasons, but that there are so many of them! 

At the very least, I grew up in a crazy space-and-time between the 80’s and 90’s. While I didn’t have a lot of experience with 80’s pop culture, I learned of it through my family. Sure, I was a Nickelodeon kid, but growing up as the youngest in my family, I’ve picked up my own admiration of the 80’s. Whether it’s Beetlejuice, Ghostbusters, and Poltergeist, or, Indiana Jones and Who Frame Roger Rabbit, they are all some of my most cherished films that are always on repeat.

So, to see the boys in Stranger Things 2 dress up as the Ghostbusters for Halloween, I was absolutely geeking out! (In fact, I even have a Funko of Dustin–my favorite character–as Ray sitting on my bookcase!)

And the constant Dungeons and Dragons references does my nerd heart proud! *SQUEE*

Another thing I love about Stranger Things is: it’s realistic.

Ok, sure. The Upside Down, Demogorgon, and a government torturing kids in order to get ahead of the Russians–I really hope those are all fictional, or at least stays in an alternate universe faaaaar away from us. But I’m talking about the people: take, for example, Joyce Byers. I LOVE how she’s not a “Oh you’re just making that up sweetie” type of mom. She kicks ass. She gets things done. She, with the help of all our beloved characters, sticks with her scruples. She follows her gut, no matter how crazy it might sound. And she gets her son back.

SHE IS SUCH AN AWESOME CHARACTER!

I had gotten used to the trope of parents who have nothing to do with their children’s adventures. (When I was in a writer’s workshop in England, that was one of the pieces of advice I was given with my own novel: “Figure out what you’re going to do with the parents.”) But not Joyce! Here she is, plowing into a literally unknown world to find her son.

Bless you, Winona Ryder. Bless you, cast. Bless you, crew. Bless you, Duffer Brothers.

A year is going to be such a long wait for Stranger Things 3. It will be gruesome; there will be much bingeing, and even more anguish in my soul.

But don’t give up fans! We will be back in Hawkins before we know it!

For those of you who haven’t caught the Season 3 trailer–or if you’re like me and want to watch it for the hundredth time–here it is:

Stay strong, Stranger Things fandom.

We. Can. Do. This! 

“Wedding, A Wedding, We’re Going to Have A Wedding!”

WELL that’s certainly something I didn’t expect!

Full disclosure: I just finished listening to my fiancee’s voicemail. He is entirely smashed, drunk, silly, and out of his mind! The only thing I know about this bachelor’s party is that it has been crafted as a Dungeons and Dragons adventure (he loves that game) and, at some point, I was kidnapped.

In this reality, I have actually been home prepping for our wedding in t-minus six days!

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YES!! 

SIX

FREAKING

DAYS!!!! 

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*breathes in, breathes out*

In six days, I’ll be walking down the aisle and taking this silly goofball, caring soul, and intelligent nerd of a man as my “lawfully wedded husband.” In six days, I will declare my joy “to have and to hold him, for rich or for poor, in sickness and in health.”

And I’m totally excited!!

And nervous.

But not a bit apprehensive, for I do love my future husband.

All the freaking out I’m doing? Not in response to marrying him, no; it’s only because I have so much I want to get done in six days! Not all of them are wedding-related things: I have bookkeeping to complete, cleaning and packing to do, and three submissions I want to write to Chicken Soup for the Soul (Because I’m a complete masochist and writing is my life!)

*DEAL WITH IT face*

But in all honesty, I’m excited to be getting married. I love my future husband–more than I’d ever dream I could love someone–and I can’t wait to be his, or him to be mine. I’m eager to see what the future brings for both of us. I know there will be hard at times, but we will be able to get through it because we have a good support system in each other (and our families).

God bless all you married couples out there.

I will see you on the other side of the ceremony!

*runs off to complete more pre-wedding stuffs like a crazy person*

My Infinity War Theory (*Small spoiler*)

Disclaimer: While this post doesn’t spoil the main plot of Avengers: Infinity War, I do talk about one specific scene that’s about halfway through the movie. If you don’t want it spoiled, don’t read until you’ve seen the movie! 

A few weeks ago, I posted on Tumblr this theory about why Deadpool isn’t in Avengers: Infinity War. (Usage rights and such aside.)

Let me paint you a picture.

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Imagine, if you will, the Avengers almost beat Thanos! Tony and Peter are struggling to wreeeeench the gauntlet off of the purple raisin’s arm (credit to Allison for that hilarious nickname); Dr. Strange and the Guardians, minus Quill, have him pinned. It almost works! Almost. That is, if Peter Quill hadn’t opened his big mouth and started punching Thanos in the face, causing the whole scheme to fall apart.

All this time in the theater, I was screaming at the screen “CUT OFF THE DAMN ARM!”

… and in that moment I realized that’s exactly what Deadpool would’ve done.

*END SPOILERS*

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I was glad that some members of the Marvel fandom responded to that post! Ha! I can’t help but imagine Wade standing there, the rest of the Avenger aghast that they didn’t think of that!

Deadpool would totally do that.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I loved Infinity War (despite all the trauma it’s caused). It’s very well done and–AGH! That’s… really as far as I can go with that! (In an effort to not spoil the movie.) Just… seriously, go see it. Especially if you’re a Marvel fan. Then, give it a few days and you’ll be in this weird place where you equally respect and despise the movie. It’s a great place to be in.

(Look at me, being a masochist.)

This revelation also has me thinking, proudly, at how complex and unique my writing has gotten over the years. Frankly, I used to be more cliche in my writings. For example, in my in-progress novel, The Moonlit Path, my main character was one of those moody teenagers who hated everyone and, simultaneously, got picked on. (Following the norm, when that was the trend, you know?)

Now, I’m very pleased; I actually think out my plot and have a plan. I’m not winging it. I’m not subconsciously following other trends. I’m making my characters complex, my plot weaves seamlessly from one point to the next.

And I can’t wait for you all to read it!

The moral of the story: be yourself. Think for yourself. Don’t follow the trend; make your own path.

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