Tag: Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop

Writer’s Workshop for 11.07.2019 on 11.08.2019

(NaBloPoMo Day 5)

It’s been a pretty hectic week. Felt bad on Monday, was sick on Tuesday, worked the double shift Wednesday, pretty much passed out after work because I was still sick, and now here I am. I’m bringing my Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop post to the table a day late, partly because I wanted to post about my son’s birthday yesterday, but mostly because I am unprepared and was too tired to pull anything together at the 11th hour Wednesday night.

The prompt I chose this week was “Create a list of activities you’d like to accomplish this fall.”

I’m all about lists, so let’s have at it:

  • Get my aunt’s home sold. This blog is just basically about me getting my aunt’s estate settled now. What am I going to write about once that’s all done?
  • Return to Memphis when the moon is full, and go take more pics at The Lookout at the Pyramid. But first, maybe I ought to share all my photos from my first trip to the Pyramid.
  • Start my kitchen-to-eat-in-kitchen and dining-room-to-office/workroom transformations. But Oh. Em. GEEEEEEE, there’s so much cleaning and purging to do! Cleaning off my desk/work table. Relocating it to the dining room. Relocating the dining table to the kitchen. Cleaning out and relocating the vintage desk, which currently serves as a kitchen island of sorts. Moving other furniture around. And that’s just to get the projects started.
  • Publish an updated thrift list. I like to make lists of the items I want/need from thrift stores, yard sales, etc., since I really don’t like mainstream home shopping too much.
  • Make the rest of my homemade cleaners. Remember when I posted my cleaning vinegar recipe, and how I used a repurposed liquor bottle to store it? Well, I’m making more cleaners, planning on posting more recipes for them, and using more repurposed liquor bottles and other vintage containers to hold them, and have what I think is a pretty neat display idea to put together once I’ve amassed a few different ones. I’m keeping the idea hush-hush for now. It’s not ground-breaking or anything, but I still don’t want to give it away before its time.
  • Keep to my NaBloPoMo goal. I only committed to weekdays, and I’m trying my best.
  • Finishing AT LEAST one book and reviewing it. I love to read, but tend to only read when trying to fall asleep at night. As a result, it takes me a while to get anything read. However, I love book blogging, so I am reading books for review here on the blog and over at GoodReads.
  • A few hikes with the family before the weather gets too cold. Because even though I am in the south and the winters are quite mild, it’s still too cold for me most of the fall/winter.
  • Keep purging the things I no longer need/want! This one is so, so important. I’m bringing family heirlooms home from my aunt’s as well as some projects to put together. I need to get rid of stuff ASAP, so I am getting things ready to donate, and if I’m lucky, re-opening my Etsy Shop and selling off some of my treasures.

But if we’re being completely honest? I’ll be so happy just to get all my various email accounts marked as “all read” and my downloads folder cleared out.

Which activities do YOU hope to accomplish this fall?

Featured image courtesy Olichel on Pixabay

Writer’s Workshop for 10.31.2019

Happy Halloween, folks! With warm-ish temps, overcast skies, and rainy, windy weather, the end of October has not let me down. My nerves have needed calming for a while now, so I am very thankful to have some of “my” weather. The above photo was taken today in the parking lot at work – wet pavement, an oil slick, and fallen leaves.

The prompt I chose for this week’s Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop is “Write about something you’re looking forward to.” I wanted to write about all of the prompts, honestly, and I could probably have contained each one to a paragraph, but…nah…I’ll come back to those topics another time, maybe. I chose this one because there is something I’m really, really looking forward to in particular.

Wednesdays are usually my double shift at work, and I thought I’d be working open to close tonight. But the schedule got changed and I didn’t notice, so I ended up with the nice surprise of being able to come home unexpectedly at 3. My double is now tomorrow, so the torture of contacting more people about my aunt’s estate that I was putting off until tomorrow had to be done today. I’m four hours away in another state, so the errands were all phone errands, but still, I hate it. I don’t hear well, so I have a hard time understanding people. And today I had to talk to people about her quarterly homeowner’s insurance, and her property taxes. After about 30 minutes on the phone altogether, which seemed like much, much longer, I now have resolution to those issues. Thank goodness.

I don’t think I can express how much I am looking forward to having all this estate business done. As far as I can tell, I have mostly everything done that needs to be done. I don’t expect much will be left of her estate funds by the time all these expenses are paid up and sorted, but at this point I don’t care. I just need it done. And barring hearing back from her life insurance company (where either I will be determined the beneficiary of the policy or the Estate – also me, as the only surviving legal relative of hers) and getting the house in my name so I can sell it, I think we are in the home stretch.

Oh, who am I kidding? We still have a house full of stuff to have the Salvation Army come pick up, and we were going to try to have a yard sale, but with my sister’s schedule and mine, I’m not sure we can actually pull that off. (She and I both work retail, and our busiest season is now upon us, so getting together on a weekend is going to be tricky). Still, if you could see where we started and how massively much has been done…I guess we really are close to being done.

But I have a buyer lined up for the house, with whom I am extremely happy, and that is a huge relief. I am also looking forward to what will hopefully be a restful, peaceful winter.

What are YOU looking forward to?

Writer’s Workshop and #RMF2019 for 10.24.2019

I know, I know. I’m getting entirely too creative with post titles, right? Sometimes I think about NOT titling them, and just typing my first sentence into the title bar. I know you need something intriguing enough to inspire someone to read your post, but I can’t tell that titles have actually helped me all that much.

I digress.

So here we are on the Thursday of a kind of long and kind of stressful week, and surprise! I have another post that will do double duty, as I’d like to throw in a selection for Mary’s Rocktober Music Fest. But first, Writer’s Workshop. Since I’m kind of stress overloaded, I opted to play Halloween This Or That Tag for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop.

She has a YouTube vid to go with hers, but I’m not set up for YouTube, so I’m just answering the questions:

  1. Chocolate candy or fruity? Depends on my mood, but probably chocolate
  2. Witches of Vampires? Witches
  3. Trick or Treat? Treat, please.
  4. Halloween Party or Scary Movie? Scary movie
  5. Skeletons or Zombies? Skeletons
  6. Trick-or-Treat or Hand Out Candy? Hand out candy
  7. Hay Ride or Corn Maze? Hay ride
  8. Scary Costume or Funny Costume? Scary
  9. Pumpkin Seeds or Pumpkin Pie? Pie. Always pie.
  10. Bottle Feed A Baby Zombie or Walk Alone Through A Dark Forest? Walk alone through a dark forest
  11. Bats or Black Cats? Both are adorable.
  12. Pumpkin Spice or hot Chocolate? Hot chocolate
  13. Celebrate in your neighborhood or at the mall? Either/or. My kids and I have done both.

Now, for today’s RMF music:

Nine Inch Nails covering Joy Division‘s “Dead Souls”. An amazing cover, from one of my favorite movies (The Crow). I still listen to this soundtrack regularly, and in my humble opinion, it’s one of the best movie soundtracks ever recorded. I still love mine after 25 years! But I am biased; I love this kind of music.

What is YOUR favorite movie soundtrack, if you have one? What is YOUR Halloween This or That?

It’s all in a name…and #RMF2019 for 10.17.2019

Today for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop, the theme I chose was “The first name you were almost given before your parents decided on the one you have.”

My featured photo is one of the images that popped up during a Pixabay search for one of the (first) names my parents were considering before settling on the one they gave me. That name was Gabby, to be short for Gabrielle. Gabby would have been a really good fit for me, since I always loved to talk a lot – at least for the first half of my life.

But Gabby was not meant to be, and neither was another name they were considering: Penny, to be short for Penelope. If we’re being totally honest, I really wish they would have given me this one. I love the name Penelope, and Penny would have been an amazing fit, as when I was younger (and through a good portion of my young adult life), my hair was the color of a brand-new shiny penny. The copper weathervane may have been what popped up for Gabby, but the fact that it was copper was not lost on me.

In case you’re wondering, my hair didn’t turn gray when I got older, it just dulled down to a really mousy brown. And that’s why I bottle it now, but I’ve sadly never been able to recreate the color. Still, I consider myself a natural redhead, and always will.

What were YOU almost named before your parents settled on the name you have now?

And speaking of redheads, my two song selections for today for Rocktober Music Fest over at Jingle Jangle Jungle are about redheads!

First up is “Fell In Love With A Girl” by the The White Stripes.

And next is a cover of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” by a band I’d normally be going to see around this time of year, Type O Negative. People tend to either hate this cover or love it, but I think it’s absolutely amazing.

After all these years, I still can’t believe Peter Steele is gone. I met so many great friends through this band and had so much fun at their shows, and I can’t even put into words how much I miss it all.

Featured image courtesy Kapa65 on Pixabay

Writer’s Workshop for 10.10.2019

The prompt I chose for this week’s Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop is “Write about the last thing you made…”

I was so excited to see this on the list of prompts, because it just so happens that I spent the weekend making two things: homemade dog food, and MY FIRST BATCH OF CLEANING VINEGAR FOR THE FALL! Obviously, I’m going to talk about the cleaning vinegar, and the dog food may find its way into another post someday.

If you just want the cleaning vinegar recipe (it’s very simple, I promise!), it’s in the next paragraph! And if you want to read the hows and whys of my cleaning vinegar, feel free to keep reading past the recipe.

INGREDIENTS/SUPPLIES:

  • Large, wide-mouthed Mason jar(s) with lid(s) (I re-used a large Ragu jar)
  • 1 quart Apple Cider Vinegar (I got mine for under $2 at Walmart)
  • 60 drops of an immunity blend essential oil (I used the $6 Guru Nanda brand I found at Walmart. Thieves Oil from Young Living, On Guard from DoTerra, or your own blend will also work. It just needs to be a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils, or the appropriate parts of the plants themselves.)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pour the vinegar into the Mason jar(s).
  • Add the essential oil.
  • Tightly close the lid, give it a good shake, and let it steep in a cool, dark place for 4-5 days, giving it a shake every day or so.

(For suggested uses, scroll to the end of the post.)

For years now, I’ve been making most of my household cleaners because I’m trying to go as natural and chemical free as I can in housecleaning. One of the most economical and strongest all-purpose cleaners you can use is vinegar – straight up, diluted, infused with favorite or special flowers, herbs, essential oils, etc. And making my first batch of cleaning vinegar for the fall is one of my favorite things to do!

The above recipe was a cheap and simple version of Four Thieves Vinegar. I am on a pretty non-existent budget, so I opted for inexpensive, but it can be made as extravagant and organic as you want. I love it for housecleaning, but the ingredients also have some amazing medicinal properties as well as magickal properties if that interests you!

I added about 20 drops of lavender and 5 drops of cedarwood oils, 3 cinnamon sticks (my oil didn’t have cinnamon in it), and about 1/4 cup black peppercorns. I also added quite a bit more immunity blend oil to mine, because I wanted to make a super-strong, super-concentrated batch.

You can keep it in the Mason jar (though I would strain it if you use anything solid), but I strained mine and poured it into a repurposed liquor bottle. My oldest son is a barback, and I love re-using the beautiful and unusual bottles and decanters he sometimes brings home to add to my collection!

SUGGESTED USES:

  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup full strength in laundry, especially if there’s a bug/cold going around in your house!
  • 1/4 cup full strength mixed with 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup baking soda for a scouring powder (or just the salt – there will be a reaction with the baking soda and I’m not sure if that cancels its cleaning power out, but I use it because it makes the texture of the powder much finer, and I can’t tell that it negates any cleaning power).
  • 1 cup full strength to one gallon warm water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid to mop surfaces such as tile and vinyl. Not sure about hardwoods.
  • Fill one half of a 32-oz spray bottle with the vinegar, 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and fill the rest of the way with warm water – shake prior to use as an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Spray the diluted all-purpose mix into the air to use as a disinfectant – when the vinegar smell dries down, it’ll smell like a warm, sunny autumn afternoon in your home!

What is the last thing YOU made?

Complete. And Utter. Frustration.

I should have just stayed in bed.

One of the prompts at Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop this week was “Write a post that starts and ends with “I should have stayed in bed.”” And hasn’t that been the story of my life this summer? Seriously. Just wake me up when September ends! Oh…it has?

To be honest, the summer was wonderful, but also so busy and stressful and frustrating, then I reached a point where things were going pretty smoothly again and life was good. And then last week happened. Last week was day after day of weird and minor annoyances that I ignored at first, because worrying is like praying for things you don’t want and all. But I soon became overwhelmed, and now it has spilled into this week with a pretty serious issue regarding my blog.

I CAN NO LONGER LINK UP WITH MR. LINKY, Y’ALL!! I can get a link to go through on the ones that just use links, but I can’t link up like I should with the ones that use thumbnails. I first noticed this issue I think either last week or the week before. Mr. Linky can’t pull from the web because my blog is somehow blocking that, and I don’t know what it is to change it. I can’t upload from my computer, because I get an error when I try to do that as well. After getting Cathy‘s help and eventually getting Brent from Linky Tools involved, I am still unable to upload thumbnails, BUT! I have discovered I can link up on my phone (unless something has changed, and it may well have by now). So for the time being, I will be making my posts, linking up on my phone for as long as I can, and saving for another new-to-me Macbook.

I am afraid the issue might actually be my computer. For now, the only issue is with Linky Tools. But you know how it is with computers. Once they’re dying, they just keep getting worse. Currently, I can still upload to social media and my blog. But at ten years old, this Macbook may just be on its way out. We had a great run together; I only paid $250 for it, and I got more stress-free use from it for a few years than I have from my $400-$600 Windows laptops that lasted about the same time, or less.

I am calm, but exhausted from the irritations of the past few weeks. Now here I am today, struggling to get out the door. I should have stayed in bed.

Featured image courtesy JerzyGorecki on Pixabay

Fall TV Season is well underway

One of the prompts for this week’s Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop was “Write about the fall lineup you’re most interested in watching.”

Finally, a prompt I feel completely qualified – nay, perhaps overqualified to write about – as TV is my jam. This fall season (with a few exceptions) kicked off earlier this week, and has really picked up speed. I don’t know if I have a particular lineup I’m excited about, but I *am* really excited about some shows I’m currently viewing, and some that are coming soon!

Here’s the master list, with premiere dates. If you’ve got time, you can scroll down and read my thoughts and watch some trailers if anything interests you.

  • Marianne – Netflix; currently streaming
  • American Horror Story – F/X; 9/18
  • A Very Brady Renovation – HGTV; 9/19
  • The Neighborhood – CBS; 9/23
  • 9-1-1 – Fox; 9/23
  • Prodigal Son – Fox; 9/24
  • Bluff City Law – NBC; 9/23
  • Emergence – ABC; 9/24
  • This Is Us – NBC; 9/24
  • Superstore – NBC; 9/26
  • Grey’s Anatomy – ABC; 9/26
  • Mom – CBS; 9/26
  • The Unicorn – CBS; 9/26
  • Ink Master: Grudge Match – Paramount; 10/1
  • S.W.A.T. – CBS; 10/2
  • The Walking Dead – AMC; 10/6

…and this isn’t even counting all the football and cooking shows and miscellaneous shows I might pick up along the way.

**If this is as far as you get, let me go ahead and ask: What are YOU most looking forward to watching this fall?**

Here’s what I’m currently watching:

Marianne – a French horror series about a horror writer whose novels, which she bases on her dreams, come true. Is anyone else watching? What are your thoughts? I have mixed feelings about this one. Sure, it’s good. It’s creepy. Super creepy. But other than that, I don’t feel like I really get as much from it, and therefore don’t like/enjoy it as much as many others do. But, I do enjoy it, and highly recommend it if you’re a horror fan. FYI: subtitled.

American Horror Story (Wednesday, 9/- I’m only one episode in on this season, titled “1984”, which, as you might have guessed, is an AHS-styled homage to 80’s slasher flicks. I have always liked AHS, and I grew up on 80s slasher films, so this season is right up my alley! Whereas I don’t like Marianne as much as many of my peers do, I seem to like AHS more than them. Of course I recommend it as well if you are a fan of the genre. I already included the AHS 1984 trailer in my Five for Friday post last week, but I’ve found an unofficial companion stream of wrap-ups from Think Story, posted after each episode airs. I find them pretty informative as well as hysterically funny! If you’re watching, you might, too. Here’s the first one (but the second episode breakdown is now up):

HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation – The Brady Bunch was one of my favorite before-myt-ime-tv-shows to watch in the afternoons after getting home from school. I loved that family, and loved their FABULOUS HOUSE! So naturally, I was really worried when I learned that HGTV won the bidding war on the Brady house, with plans to renovate it. The first thing that popped into my mind was that they were going to Chip-and-Joanna the hell out of this beloved place. I was so excited to learn that the HGTV team planned to restore the house to it’s 70s glory by replicating the original series set! This premiered a while back, and the Far-Out Finale is this coming Monday (9/30), but I’m sure you can catch it on HGTV or OnDemand or reruns or something.

The Neighborhood – I love this show first and foremost for its sensitively and well-written comedy and its top-notch cast (Cedric the Entertainer, Max Greenfield, Tichina Arnold, Beth Behrs), but it also tackles race and privilege in a way that may make better sense to some who struggle to understand those issues.

9-1-1 – Now in its third season, this show continues to blow me away. There’s literally never a dull moment, so if you are into really hot rescue units and basically non-stop action, then this is the show for you. And just two more words: ANGELA. BASSETT.

Superstore – I have worked different positions in retail and other customer service industries for all of my adult life so I know, or have at least dealt with, all of these characters and customer situations at some point in time. And if you’ve ever worked in retail, you’ll recognize them, too. Plus, this cast is phenomenal.

Grey’s Anatomy – I didn’t get a chance to watch Grey’s in real time from the beginning, so I rectified that a few years ago by bingeing on a dozen or more seasons on Netflix. It’s different watching in real time, but I’m still along for the ride after all these cast changes and seasons.

And here are some that have premiered, but I haven’t gotten around to watching yet/I’ll give them at least a one episode chance, and those that are coming soon:

Prodigal Son – I haven’t watched this one yet, but I plan to this weekend. I’m very intrigued, and think this might just be the crime drama I need to fill the Criminal Minds (which won’t be back for it’s final season until 2020, sniff sniff)-sized hole left in my fall viewing schedule. And the cast is stellar: Tom Payne (Jesus from The Walking Dead), Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls, Dirty John), and…LOU DIAMOND PHILLIPS! MICHAEL SHEEN!!!

Bluff City Law – this is another one which has premiered that I haven’t had a chance to watch yet, but my Mom has, and she assures me I will love it! It also has scenes shot in my beloved Memphis, so I look forward to seeing those as much as I do watching Jimmy Smits and inevitably getting pulled into what is bound to be an amazing series.

Emergence – I love these types of shows, yet hesitate to get into them because they usually only last a season or two. But we’re due for a longer-lasting drama with mysterious circumstances, so maybe it’ll stick? Also, it’s hard to pass up something starring Clancy Brown.

Mom – I haven’t seen this season’s premiere yet, but this is another sitcom I love for its fantastic cast and hilarity!

S.W.A.T. – Criminal Minds hasn’t been the same without Shemar Moore, but he’s just as swoon-worthy in this show. I’m still getting caught up on previous seasons, and I look forward to the latest when I’m all caught up. Are you watching? What do you think?


The Unicorn – I like the premise: (per the official website) “Walton Goggins stars in a comedy about a tight-knit group of best friends and family who helps Wade (Goggins) embrace his “new normal” in the wake of the loss of his wife one year ago.” And I *LOVE* Walton Goggins in everything he’s done. The cast also includes Rob Cordry, Omar Miller, Michaela Watkins, and Maya Lynne Robinson. Sounds like a winner to me!

Ink Master: Grudge Match – I’m such a huge fan of reality tattoo competition series Ink Master that I’ve watched seasons 1-10 twice, watched all episodes of spinoff Ink Master Angels, and now eagerly look forward to Ink Master: Grudge Match, featuring contestants and winners from previous seasons.

The Walking Dead – a lot of fans jumped ship a few seasons back, but me? I’m in it till the end. I haven’t enjoyed the later seasons as much, but am very interested in this season’s war with The Whisperers, and “People are putting their shittin’ pants on” indeed. I haven’t read the novels, so I have no idea how things are going to play out, but the official trailer teases at the possibility of at least one new power couple, and I am pretty excited about that as well. If you’ve watched from the beginning, are you still watching?

What do YOU most look forward to watching this fall?

Featured image courtesy Pexels on Pixabay

Trying to get back into the groove.

And what better way than with a post for Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop?

Having a completely new blog is so exciting! I did blog all about my summer here, will no doubt pick my music hops back up, and have decided I’ll probably start moving at least some of my older blog entries over here, but for now? It’s still basically empty.

For this week’s edition of Writer’s Workshop, I chose the prompt “Write about something you wish you were better at.”

Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with this. Being a Virgo means that, by design, I am a perfectionist and have a strong need to excel at anything I attempt. But I must have an equally powerful, laid-back moon rising because lately I rarely finish anything I start and am happy with basically anything I deem “good enough”. I’ve actually even become comfortable with things and situations that are nowhere near good enough, but due to any number of good reasons or pitiful excuses or outright necessity, I’ve had to become a real pro at, to borrow a phrase from Tim Gunn, making things work in less than ideal conditions.

To answer this, the long and short of it is that I basically wish I could do EVERYTHING I need and want to be able to do, better.

More realistically, though, I truly do wish I was a better homemaker.

I did a lot better when my sons were younger because their need for a reasonably clean home and reasonably nutritious food trumped my laziness and junk-food-eating ways. Most of the time, anyway. But as they’re now young adults who are only here a few hours a week and are totally able to fend for themselves, I just usually pick up what is convenient for me to fix for myself. I literally cringe when I think of amount of money I spend because I’m not a traditional cook, and at the thought of all the processed food I consume, which is not good for my body.

I also wish I was a better housekeeper. Thankfully, I’ve pretty much gotten hold of that. (It seems having a beloved relative pass away and having to clean out their house is quite the motivator to get your own in the best order that you can.) My own place is nowhere near as tidy as I’d like it to be, but I really am doing the best I can while holding down a job and settling an estate and traveling out of state most weekends.

And lastly….I wish I was better at finishing what I started. I have so many unfinished tasks and projects and things to do it’s not even funny. I wish I could blame it on the lack of time, because there is absolutely a lack of time for this sort of thing these days, but honestly? I’ve been unmotivated for years. I look to try to change that, if I can only figure out how.

What do you wish YOU were better at?

Featured image courtesy cocoparisienne on Pixabay