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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*

Let Me Handle The Rest

WOW! So, I’m 29! Wow!

A year away from 30. Wow.

I mean, I always knew I would reach my late 20’s, but when you’re a teenager, it seems like an impossible feat. Now, here I am: with a secure income, a wedding in the works, and planning out “grown-up things.” (Take a look, little me: it’s not so bad after all!)

This week was the way to start birthday weeks! For one thing, I’ve been slammed with job hunting. Then, lo and behold, by the guidance of God and my Guardians, I’m there! I get the call Monday that I have a job with the local library! The hunt can end! I can move on! The plan is set, the pathway is in motion!

F I N A L L Y!!!

Of course, as is the nature of life, there’s still concerns–some of them pretty major, such as my father’s steadily declining health. Yeah, that’s always on my mind and in my prayers. (Side note: if you all could pray for my family, that would be wonderful!)

But, as for me, myself, and I? I’m doing pretty all right.

It astounds me that all of this fell into place. Not even just for me, but so much more is continuing to settle, that has been years in the making. It all seemed to start after I heard the words of God and my Guardians in my head on Sunday, which had been a stressful day. However, I remain firm in this: it was a challenge because a lot of pent-up negative energy had to be released. It was only when that energy had left the situation that I heard the words:

“Are you doing the best you can? Yes? Then let me handle the rest.

It’s really hard to give the reigns of our life to Beings we don’t even fully comprehend.  That’s been the biggest challenge this year for me. Yes, we have to do the work. We can’t pray and expect gifts to fall in our laps, that’s not how life works. Truly, it’s scary to put your life–your livelihood–in the hands of something unseen, especially when you’re like me: a person who holds on to worry and stress when things are uncertain and wants to control all that she can.

Despite being a Christian and professing that we “put all our worries at God’s feet,” it’s still hard to do when it’s something that could make or break you. It’s hard to relinquish control.

But, really, truly, through all of this, I’ve been reminded that God’s got this. He’s always looking out for us, and molding things out of the paths we journey down; making the best of every situation and teaching us lessons we need to pick up along the way.

Additional lessons that I have learned, or expect to be learning in the near future:

  1. Realizing exactly how frugal I can be. And that’s something I’ve needed to learn for a while now.
  2. Juggling two part-time jobs, my social life, family activities, all while working on my wedding and the completion of my novel. WOO DOGGIE, that’s going to be a doozy!

But, with the help of God and my Guardians, I’ll take it one step at a time, knowing I’m being guided, by them, towards a better future, with more lessons to learn, and more life to experience. I’m looking forward to seeing all the ways I develop, and what new lessons I learn, in this next birth year. I’m going to work hard–I’m going to do the best I can–and I’m going to put my trust in God and my Guardians. They have the rest.

A Story About Spirits

“It has been a difficult week.”

It seems that those words have left my mouth much too often the past few years; there have been a lot of struggles, whether it be through deaths, life changes, concerns for the future… the list really is endless.

This Tuesday marks the week anniversary of Sir William Oliver’s passing. He was our last Golden Retriever of a long line of five dogs. (His legacy will be carried on through Brutus, who is adored by his human, my cousin Jon.) I realized, though, that this was the first time in my life there hasn’t been a canine in my household. It’s a sad thing; no more large scampering paws on tile floor, random barking that signals a potty break, or trying to navigate the kitchen without plummeting to the floor due to the sleeping body right in front of the refrigerator.

I know it’ll be a long time before I have another dog in my life. Our Goldens were just that: golden. They were loving dogs that never asked for anything in return, but we gave it to them because they were a part of our hearts. Yes, there was the random annoyance of cleaning deer poop out of their hair after they romped through the woods, and poison ivy was always a possible side-effect of their hugs, but we did it anyways because we loved them with all our hearts.

It’s been a week and I seem to be coming out of my mourning; instead I am celebrating the lives of Scuttle, Goldie, Jewel, Baby, and Oliver that touched us deeply. They are no longer suffering. Instead, they’re on the other side, their presence always around us, supporting us, loving us, being there when we cry.

If we listen quietly, we can witness their spirits thriving–feel their breaths on our face, hear their scampering paws, and, for a split moment, try to catch ourselves as we almost trip, seeing, for a moment, a large golden body lying on kitchen floor in front of the refrigerator.

Our loved ones are never gone. They’re in the reality that we will, one day, reach as well. This life is temporary and, sometimes, full of pain. But it’s also filled with blessings; furry, fuzzy, human, canine, feline, or other joys that make this journey magical.

Love makes life worthwhile.  It’s why we’re here; to learn, to love, to try, to fail, to get back up again. Love is God, the Creator, the source of the Universe.

I love you, Sir William Oliver. Say hi to the gang and tell them I love them all. And I will try to love others, as you so selflessly loved me.

Rest. In peace.

A Quick Autumn Catch-Up

Hello, all those out there on the interwebs and happy First Day of Autumn! It truly has been a long time since I’ve written on this blog, and I’ve definitely missed it! Things have been crazy; as I mentioned in “OSR 2017, Amongst Other Things!” the boyfriend has now turned fiancee!

YES! I KNOW!

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Truly, truly, it is a nutty, but good time! Frankly, I never knew how complicated planning a wedding could be, especially when I’m trying to launch my writing and bookkeeping careers! Lordy!

Furthermore, there are some things in the works–wedding and random–that will be life changing by the end of the year. I truly pray they work out for the best.

Speaking of writing, I am very pleased with how my technique is progressing, even if life tends to keep me from my office more than I’d like. There are some really good, concrete things happening in my novel and I do hope to be sharing it with you, soon! (Alas, if only money wasn’t an issue; I would write full-time in my pajamas and get my book out there faster! Wouldn’t that be wonderful?)

So, not that I’m trying to make excuses, but I adore you, dear readers, and I don’t want you to even imagine that I might’ve abandoned you all. I will see you soon. The next blog post won’t be too far off!

Have a happy, cool, crisp Fall, one and all!

I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO WEARING MY SWEATERS AGAIN!

Exciting News! (+ OSR 2017)

I will tell you: things are so chaotic right now, I feel like I can’t catch up! Honestly, part of a reason for this is because I was sick this week, but it was worth it because my longtime boyfriend Dan and I got ENGAGED!! 


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So… A thing happened today!!! #engaged #bfturnedfiance #thefutureisbeautiful

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Yes! We did!! My mind is in a mix of rejoicing and daydreaming about our near-future lives as newlyweds.

However, I have so many things going on before we take our vows next year: working on my career, losing the rest of my weight, and other things.

One of those “other things” is attending Ideal Event’s gathering at Ohio State Reformatory this weekend. I’m honestly excited to experience the haunted prison at a different time of the year (the previous three events there have been held in May, not August). I expect the vibes will be awesomely different for multiple reasons.

First off, it’ll be close to fall, which is always the time of year I feel more energized, both physically and spiritually. Second, because of this, the event will be taking place a month before the prison shuts down for their annual haunted house–this year dubbed “Escape from Blood Prison!” Personally, I’m wondering if it’ll have an affect on the ghosties or not. Surely, because there are some intelligent haunts, it’s possible they could pick up on the change of seasons? Who knows. The experience will tell!

All in all, I’m excited to see what will happen. I’m especially excited to be investigating with Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango again–although I am a little curious as to why they were the only celebs that came back this year.

HOWEVER, in addition to their awesome selves, we will also get a lecture about the history of the Ohio State Reformatory! I’m very giddy about that as well; even though I’ve researched a lot into the infamous prison, I still want to see if I’ll learn something else!

We’ll see how the night goes. See you all soon!

A City of Many Colors

It’s funny how quickly time passes, especially when you get older. Here we are, headed back to New Orleans yet again! (It’ll be the fourth time for me!) Apparently, it’s going to be an adventure getting down there; tropical storm Cindy made landfall yesterday and the system is headed up here to Ohio. We’ll see if our plane gets delayed or not. Hopefully it won’t be cancelled!

Earlier I had a gent who was replacing my windshield wipers ask me what I love most about New Orleans. I always have trouble pinning down something specific in answer to those questions, but I would say, simply, I love the vibes. As a country gal with a back-door Catholic upbringing, I am not all I seem. I’m always pushing myself, headed on the next adventure; I embrace my eccentric spirit wholly, and, I like to think, people like that about me. I am myself.

And 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!

This year, I’ll absolutely explore my usual haunts: Cafe Du Monde–BEIGNETS!– Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, the Houses of Voodoo, and even the plantations! (It’s been a  while since I’ve been to Oak Alley. I’d like to go back!) I’ll also explore some new locations: Kermit’s Treme Mother-In-Law Lounge, recommended to me by Dustin Pari, is definitely on my list. I also want to catch a cemetery tour and see Marie Laveau’s tomb. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now.

We’ll see what adventures I go on this time around. I’m sure, though, that it’ll be a fun, relaxing experience, as it has been the past four times! I do adore you, New Orleans.

Sincerely, as I prep for my departure, I am praying for those affected by tropical storm Cindy. May all souls in turmoil find strength, may you be blessed in your rebuilding. And may all those who have passed too soon find their ways to Heaven.

See you guys in a few weeks!

Your turn: What are some of your favorite locations/things about New Orleans? Comment below!

Current Status: In Love with American Gods

Oh my good lord I am in love with American Gods!

Well, ok, let’s be frank here: it doesn’t take much to get me excited about Neil Gaiman. I know I’ve exclaimed my love for Josh Gates on this blog in the past; Gaiman is my author version. Meaning, he’s my most favorite author. Hands down.

Gaiman’s always surprising me in each new story that I read–and making me chuckle at some of the descriptions he weaves together. His characters are always colorful and unique, generally with some element of sass and innocence thrown in. (I adore sass!)

Furthermore, his plot catches me by surprise, especially the endings, which is a hard thing thing to do anymore. And his world-building is so phenomenally complex.

Basically me, after I finish a Gaiman story:

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But American Gods!

American Gods takes it to a whole new level!

I mean, I finished American Gods last week and I’m still obsessed with it! In fact, I am currently blasting my way through Anansi Boys because I want to soak in so much more of this world Neil Gaiman has created.

One of the biggest reasons I’m so intrigued by American Gods is because it takes world cultures and mythology and places them in a universe where gods and supernatural beings really exist. Those kinds of stories are always huge draws for me.

In fact, my own novel series operates on a similar kind of platform; one where angels, ghosts, and other beings walk freely among us. (Although the difference with my series is that these entities are free to be themselves, while in American Gods, the gods are incognito.)

Another thing I love about American Gods is how delightfully gritty it is. I adore gritty, no-holds kind of stories. James Patterson, Stephen King, the later Harry Potter books, The Hunger Games. The stories that chill you right down to the core. The ones that get right down to the primal nature of things, where there’s truly nothing to hold back.

Side note: I realized this the other day when the boyfriend and I were talking about whether American Gods or Anansi Boys were our favorites. He enjoys storylines that are goofier and less lurid, while I like reading and writing darker things. With exceptions, of course. (His “job” as my editor is going to be very challenging! *snerk snerk*)

All in all, I absolutely recommend American Gods. Whether you enjoy fantasy or more “realistic” narratives, the book fits all types of people’s interests. I’m not surprised it’s a bestseller.

Just, be warned, it’s an adult book. There’s a character called Bilquis who, well…

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You get the idea.

For a more visual feel, catch the Starz trailer for American Gods (premiering April 30th):

I cannot wait for more Mad Sweeney!!!

Another side note: I love how involved the cast and crew have been with Neil’s story. It’s always really cool to see those who are adapting the work make an effort to include the creator in some way.

Take care, fangirls and fanboys.

Remember: it doesn’t matter if people agree with your views or not, you just need to be yourself, express your passions, and be respectful and love one another. BE. YOU!

A Shack-Inspired Birthday Reflection

Ever since I saw The Shack this weekend, I haven’t been able to get its themes out of my head. Frankly, would I even want that? Nope. I think it’s great that the story sticks with me so much!

The Shack is a heartfelt story about a man, named Mack, who is lead back to life by God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Literally, they appear in a shack in the woods and spend the weekend with him. Whether you’re Christian or not, it’s a good story that can reground the best of humanity within you: being good to one another, forgiving those who do wrong against you, and spreading love.

Every time I read–or now watch–The Shack, I feel like a child again.

And, especially now in my life, it’s a message I need reiterated to me.

I have found myself, especially in the past, in seemingly hurricane-like chaotic years, not focusing on love–or trusting in God–as much as I really should’ve been doing. Since Choy, my beloved feline companion died, events have transpired that have shaken me. Frankly, they’ve taken me, unwillingly, a bit away from focusing on God. My belief in him has still been strong, of course. It always will be. However, I realize in hindsight that I was going through the motions of living a strong faith; specifically, I focused on my worries rather than putting my trust in Him. It’s amazing how we can get lost in our own battles, and our fears of the future, and forget to put our trust in God–to trust things will work out the best way they should.

Truly, it’s hard to put your trust in something you can’t see. And that’s the theme of The Shack: God is always with you, his love will guide you, just let him show you the way. (Or, for those who prefer, let “her” show you the way.)

This year, as my birthday approached, I’ve been feeling more emotional as of late. Last year, I spent my special day at Cleveland Clinic Main Campus, watching my father go in for melanoma surgery. Mom and I left my dad late that night, after we knew he was safe, settled and the surgery was successful. On the way home, we stopped at Olive Garden and I blew out a candle in an apple crisp dessert.

A simple, small, somewhat melancholic birthday that fell right in place with the rest of 2016.

But it’s not that specific day itself that makes me bittersweet about my birthday, it’s how the year went after dad’s surgery. That landmark moment seemed to catapult my family and I into a variety of stunning developments that grew me into a stronger Katie today. In part, I wish that some things didn’t happen; mom’s brain bleed last April, for example. But, for the most part, I’m happy for how much I’ve grown out of my shell. For example, I’ve found a hidden talent in bookkeeping that I could hone to subsidize my writing career and support my family.

All in all, even if my birthday feels a tad bittersweet, I still remain stubbornly optimistic to see the good that this new birth year brings.

I fervently aim to finish my book and get it out to agents by the time I go to New Orleans, but I am also, now, looking forward to pursuing this bookkeeping career. (If I’m being honest, I wasn’t entirely set on it until now.) I’m excited for Dan, the boyfriend, and I to get engaged and set our combined goals in motion. And I aim, with God’s help, to let my life–and the lives of those around me–be as little stressed as possible. (Especially after the taxes are completed! Hah!)

I impart this wisdom to all of you: hope is never gone, love never leaves, God never deserts you, unless you let it go yourself. As the infamous Dustin Pari says: “#NeverGiveUp!” 

 

A Thank You to TAPS

Good grief! In my flurry of adulting, I failed to remember that tonight is the FINAL episode of Ghost Hunters on SyFy! I have to make this brief, but I cannot let Ghost Hunters end without formally thanking the TAPS team! (Whether they see this post or not.)

I truly cannot express how much TAPS means to me and how much I’ve enjoyed Ghost Hunters over the years. Putting it plainly, this is the end of an era, for me and other fans that TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) have helped through their ten year run.

Truthfully, I was late to the viewing party; Ghost Hunters was already in their sixth season when I caught wind of the show. It was then that my life changed. I was a bored college student–who was frequently spooked by the notion of ghosts–with nowhere to go and nothing to do on Halloween night, 2010. I aimlessly flipped channels on my mini-TV, trying to find a good way to celebrate the holiday, perhaps by watching a horror movie. (I may have been easily spooked back then, but I still wanted a thrill; after all, it was Halloween.) Lo and behold, I found myself on SyFy, watching people I knew nothing about freeze their asses off in Buffalo Central Terminal.

Those people are some of my favorites, some of the kindest hearts in the media’s spotlight today: Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Steve Gonsalves, Dave Tango, and Josh Gates, as well as others. (I don’t believe that Dustin Pari was a part of the BCT hunt, but he also needs a shout out! Sorry if I’m mistaken about that!)

In present day, these people are my role models, even if I am more of a “paranormal enthusiast” rather than an active investigator. They are professional, respectful, in their field and work hard to bring awareness and comfort to something that people are so easily afraid of. They not only inspire me to be the best in my own paranormal pursuits–a field that was once my own fear, but now remains a fascination–they also encourage me to be the best person I possibly can be.

I know I’ve said it a million times, but these people are mindblowing in how they treat their fans! I am truly grateful that I have gotten to know them while Ghost Hunters was still on the air.

I hope that Ghost Hunters will find a home on another network; that this isn’t the end but a change for TAPS. Whether they remain on air or not, I’m sure they’ll still be pursuing the paranormal off screen and helping others who need them.

Thank you, TAPS, for, plainly, being amazing. For helping us all, whether it was through a television screen or in person. For encouraging us to research, in respect, the paranormal and to broaden society’s acceptance of those who have encountered The Unknown. I’ve learned so much from you and truly wish that this wasn’t your final episode, but I will be rushing to the television to bid you adieu on SyFy.

Love, love, love to you, TAPS, and I wish you many blessings in your future! Whether you are on the air or not, I will always, always remain your loyal little fangirl!

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