Saturday, July 30, 2016

#ZombieZaturday: Fave 5 Zombie Hits

As I've mentioned before, I love making playlists for my novels. I discover all sorts of new songs and artists searching Spotify for music matching the themes and genres of my novels. Awhile ago, while looking for some novel jams, I discovered a whole awesome genre I didn't know existed: psychobilly or horrorpop or whatever it is you want to call the monster genre of rock and roll. It was great when I was compiling The Horrorphile playlist but it's been perfect for my Zombie Zorority playlist.

Today, for #ZombieZaturday, I wanted to share my Fave 5 zombie hits. It was so hard for me to choose, much less put them in order, but take a listen and see what you think.

Fave 5 Zombie Hits

#5. Zombies Ate Her Brains, The Creepshow

#4. Nobody Likes You When You're Dead, Zombina + The Skeletones

#3. Walk Like A Zombie, Horrorpops

#2. Zombie Love Song, Your Favorite Martian

Honorable Mention: Thriller, Michael Jackson

I know an honorable mention really makes this a Favorite 6, but I couldn't make a zombie hit list without including Thriller. At the same time, zombies aren't *explicitly* mentioned in the song. If it did, Thriller would be number one on this list but I can't bring myself to exclude this epic zombie dance number. Thus honorable mention.

Finally number one on my list is kind of gross but equally hilarious. I'll only share number one if you promise not think of it during any possible love scenes in Zombie Zorority. Of course, you won't be able to help it now. Me neither.

#1. Zombie Prostitute, Voltaire

Can't get enough undead music? Be sure to check out my Zombie Zorority playlist for all the others I didn't list here and be sure subscribe on Spotify to hear any new zombie songs I find.

Keep on Rockin' and

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mixed Media Morsels #12

I know last week I said wouldn't be able to catch up on all my journals, including Mixed Media Morsels. But once I got settled in at the hotel and I saw all the supplies I'd packed laid out, I knew I had to do some of the MMMs. I didn't care if I did them in order, I wanted mainly to practice mixed media techniques.

Originally I was just going to do them all in my idea dump notebook, which I carry with me anywhere, so it was one of the 10 notebooks that made it to the hotel.

I have added more since this picture was taken. Okay, I have a notebook addiction.

So much sodium...
But, as I was going through the mixed media playlist, I saw MMM #12 was making easy art journals using food boxes. Normally, at home, it would be difficult to find empty food boxes but hotel food mainly comes from boxes and gets cooked in the microwave.

Thus it was decided, instead of filling up my tiny hotel garbage can with microwave dinner boxes, I'd start my Mixed Media Morsels with #12.

Let's just watch the tape. Roll that beautiful mixed media footage!


You may think making an art journal or book wouldn't be so easy but it honestly is. Cat Hand used things most people have around the house. Not counting drying time, this only took me two hours to make and I'm no expert. This might be the simplest way to make something that feels like a real book. Seriously, just using the boxes in picture above, I could and would be willing to make 5 more of these books. I could do it in the same amount of time it would take me to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I might do it while I watch The LotR trilogy. I might do that on Wednesday. I just figured out what I'm doing next Wednesday.

Also, Cat Hand uses a Tim Holtz Ring Binder and I can see why because the finished art journal feels like a real, sturdy binder. However, I really like the flexibility of the rubber band binding and I'm not big ring binder fan, so I'll probably stick with what I have.

Eventually, I'll do more with my inside and outside covers. On the outside, I used a paper that already looks like a mixed media piece and I love it. There isn't much I'd change, but I'll probably add a few touches that will help integrate the labels/title and more pink. For the inside, I'm not sure what I'd do, if anything, but I'll definitely film whatever it ends up being. Overall, I love it and I can't wait until I get to use it.

'Til then...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves. . . .also, You Tube

The past week has been soooo eventful it's almost mind boggling. On Friday, I posted my first YouTube video. I also flew to Indianapolis, which tested the reins of both my anxiety and my patience (our flight was delayed because they boarded us onto a broken plane). I had a great weekend with some family and got to see my baby niece crawl for the first time. There was a #zombiezaturday in there, which required frantic editing during nap time and borrowed laptops. Then, I flew back to D.C. on Monday, once again testing my anxiety and patience (because this time a giant storm delayed the flight). Tuesday was pretty dull as I caught up on some administration and planning. Then Wednesday went and demolished all that careful, tropical themed planning.

All this beauty, obsolete.
At first Wednesday appeared normal, like any other Wednesday or any other day for that matter. I was excited because I was going to art. After a long weekend of only pen doodles, I needed to art quite badly. But first coffee.

Aaaand that's when I discovered a house full of activity and water. Overnight, or rather sometime between 4am and 10am, the supply line to our dishwater burst and filled a good 2/3 of the house with six inches of water. Every floor was soaked and soggy and a ceiling downstairs collapsed. Nobody was hurt, professionals and real grown ups were dealing with, and my room was fine so, I went about with my coffee and my arting.

good fucking morning
Turns out that when your house floods of it's own free will, magical carpet people do not sow up vacuums of super sucky wizard power and remove all the water like it's never happened. Instead they turn up with phone calls, insurance claims, hotel rooms, contractors, giant dehumidifiers, and carpet removers.

Just realized the dining room looks like a dance studio now.

Instead, it's sort of like a watery, destructive The Lion King: everything the water touches has to be removed. Also everything water adjacent (because you can't replace just part of a carpet....or wall). Also the people and animals because there will be no stove and without a stove there is no food and without food there is no circle of life (sorry that was lame).

Now here's where my day falls apart because no one had a clue that we'd have to move out of the house when all the wheels were set in motion. We thought it would just be noisy for a few days then life would be normal again. Even when they first said we had to stay at a hotel, we thought it would just be for a few days, less than a week. In reality, we'll be out of the house for at least two weeks. TWO WEEKS! AT LEAST!

HUGE dehumidifier
In the end, we will end up with a practically new house (well, 2/3 of one) but, in the meantime, most of our stuff will go in a pod, and we will go to a hotel for an indeterminate length of time. 

Imagine the anxiety of trying to pack for an indeterminate amount of time. Like how mean pairs of underwear does one pack for ∞? How much shampoo? Now imagine the exponential increase of anxiety when I had scheduled recording and posting 3-4 art journal videos each week and finally catching up on Mission Inspiration, Journal 52, Dictionary Art Journalers, AND Mixed Media Morsels in a series I would call the Great Craft Catch-Up, but there was no way I could bring my entire art studio to the hotel and suddenly I have to come up with an entire content plan that I could record in a hotel and pack for in under 24 hours and would cross platforms between YouTube and Blogger and at the same time the house is collapsing around me and full of strange men and your dog is outside barking and scratching at the door and all you want is life to go back to whenever it was normal and/or cry.

(and breathe)

In a weird way, this is almost a return to normal life for us, minus all the water. Back in the old days, when my dad was active duty in the US Air Force, we moved several times, not as often as some but more than most. Each move meant packing up all our stuff to disappear with movers, and a separate amount of stuff for TLF or Temporary Living Facilities, sometimes on base cottage like housing, sometimes rented housing, sometimes extended stay hotel rooms (like what we'll be in this time). It always comes with some anxiety, and you'd think each time the anxiety would be a little less, like exposure therapy, you get use to living like a gypsy or going to new places that, in general, aren't that different from the last place. However, the last time we moved, almost exactly 16 years ago, my anxiety was so overwhelming I spent all summer in the hotel room watching Food Network and Comedy Central.

To be honest, I couldn't reason or breathe or list my way out of the overwhelming anxiety of yesterday. Yesterday was a Xanax day. But once that kicked in, and my levels of anxiety went to normal for the situation, which was basically pack for a two week hotel stay, and not the world coming to an end, I got an idea. An awful idea. A wonderful, awful idea.

The idea was to use up as much paper as I possibly could doing whatever I could do in a hotel room with whatever I could fit in a suitcase. It was an awful idea because it was super vague and I have ton of paper.

I'm sort of obsessed with paper. All kinds of paper. Cardstock, printer paper, news print, books, junk mail, magazines, scrapbook paper, envelopes...ALL KINDS of PAPER.

Basically I'm a paper hoarder, I have way more than I could possibly bring. Also paper is heavy and bulky and I still had to pack my other art supplies and then you know clothes and toiletries and such.

Anyway, I'm mostly bringing scrapbook paper, plus a few newspapers, and some envelopes, and a few sketchbooks, plus my planner, and my planner supplies, and . . . well, you get the idea, I'm bringing a whole large suitcase and one large art bag or supplies. Too much probably but enough to have a PAPER EXTRAVAGANZA at the hotel.

I'm gonna be making books, paper mosaics, art journal pages, and SO MUCH MORE. And I'm recording it all for you guys and posting it on my YouTube channel because, you guys, I have a YouTube channel now with a video and everything!!

So, this year has been insane in general. The past few days have multiplied insanity by water. And even as I'm living out of suitcase and boxes for the foreseeable future, I'm gonna keep arting and writing and sharing it all with you because, well, what else am I gonna do?

In the meantime, take life one moment at a time and . . .

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#transformationTuesday: This is a long post

There's maybe a 20lb difference between these pictures. MAYBE. 

The real difference between the two is how happy I am now versus 2014.

In the 2014 picture, I was visiting my favorite person, in my favorite city, in my favorite country, but I was overwhelmed with anxiety, even though I thought I was managing it just fine, and I know I did not enjoy this trip as much as I should have. I absolutely was not managing fine at all.

The issue was that no technique for managing anxiety without medication worked for me but I didn't want medication, partially because I didn't have insurance to help cover the cost, but mostly because I knew I couldn't write when I was medicated.

That sounds weird right? I can't say it's true for everyone. I didn't even consider it a possibility until I read The Midnight Disease where the author discusses different neurological issues and how it affects writing, including medications. Only then did I question how ssri's had affected my writing when I was on one.

From 2007 to 2009 I was on an ssri and doing pretty well. Although it didn't manage my anxiety 100%, it brought it down to a level where it wasn't suffocating or debilitating. Everyday life got easier but writing became more and more difficult. The words were there but I had extreme trouble getting it from my brain to the computer. This was a real issue in the 2007/08 as I was finishing up my BA in English and creative writing. But I didn't realize the medication was part of the issue then. I stayed on my meds because I wasn't going back to my old anxiety levels.

It wasn't until my health insurance ran out in 2009 that I stopped taking the meds. And I started writing again. I still didn't make the connection to my ssri. I thought I was writing because I was happy again. I had quit a job that made me miserable and suddenly I felt like I could breathe. I had all this freedom and all these stories to catch up on.

When I look back at it now, life kept getting smaller and smaller around me, like a shrinking black circle. At the time I reasoned it away. I blamed money, growing older, friends moving, and so and so forth. But after the 2014 trip, I realized it was none of those things. Instead, I had let anxiety swallow me up again and close off my life.

A few months after my 2014 trip, when I got health insurance again, I went to a doctor, just a regular general practitioner, with two things on my mind: stopping my periods from lasting two to three weeks at a time and managing my anxiety without an ssri because by then I had read The Midnight Disease and I needed to balance my writing career with my mental health.

To be honest, insurance wasn't the real thing stopping me from going before, it was anxiety. Insurance was just a reasonable excuse that everyone else would accept. I'm terrified of doctor's visits. I don't know why. I don't know why I'm terrified of everything. I just know it's not normal to pray that you get hit by a bus on the way to the doctor's office because you would rather die in a bus accident than visit a doctor.

But I didn't get hit by a bus. Instead I went to the doctor and was prescribed Wellbutrin, Xanax, and a referral to a therapist. Wellbutrin was awesome, I was like over the moon happy and never terrified. I'd still be on Wellbutrin now, except it made me feel like my heart was going to explode through my rib cage. Wellbutrin gave me heart palpitations, so goodbye Wellbutrin.

Then we tried amitriptyline. amitriptyline was doing pretty ok but I still had to use Xanax more than I would have liked. So we upped the dosage of amitriptyline and since then my world and life has opened up again.

There have been other things that have changed in the last couple of years. Medication didn't solve all my problems. Medication still doesn't take away all my anxiety, but I can go to the doctor without having a panic attack and thinking of ways to die to get out of it. I can ask for help in a store. I can go to a store. I can make a phone call. I'm not constantly worried and terrified of absolutely every little thing. I still sometimes get panic, I still sometimes take a Xanax but maybe only a couple of times a month, maybe less. Or if I have to get on a plane.

My life isn't perfect. 
I'm still older, my friends are still far away, I still have no money. 

But I'm happier now than I was in 2014. Maybe it's not visible in the two pictures to everyone. There are little signs I can see like my smile is more genuine in the after picture. I'm not wearing a jacket or a sweater because I'm not scared that someone will make fun of my fat arms or whatever I was scared of before that made me cover up. Instead, I'm enjoying my time with my best friend. I'm having the time of my life.

Not all transformations are visible.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Zombie Zaturday Writer's Retreat

This weekend I'm going on a writer's retreat. Well, 'going' might be misleading. 'Retreat' also might.

Maybe it's a lock-in? No, lock-down. Like in a prison. A writer's lock-down. Door shut, cell phone off, blinds down, nothing but coffee and sugar until a large number of words have left my brain.

Because, I'm going to tell the truth y'all, I have not done much writing at all. Which, normally, is more of an annoying and sad thing but now it's a pretty shameful thing as some very, very nice people are actually paying me to write Zombie Zorority and I'm failing to deliver quite miserably.

However, that's gonna turn around real soon. Like right now. Today. Welcome to the beginning of Zombie Zaturday.

hashtag, of course
Every Saturday, I'm either going to write or post new Zombie Zorority material. Plus, there will be other awesome zombie related things for y'all like puns, artwork, and giveaways. Oh, and announcements (yeah, I have a lot of announcements this year but there are a lot of big things happening). There's so much awesome I might have to create #ZombieZunday too!

To be sure to get in on all this #zombiezaturday (also zometimez zunday) madness be sure to follow me on ALL the social media platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or even Google+. (I am everywhere and everything, ooooh *spooky*)

I'm excited, are you?! It's kicking off today, at some point, with my massive write-a-thon immersion in Zombie Zorority and the occasional social media gulps of the outside world sharing my progress and whatever other zombie things I find kicking around here.

In the meantime, zombie on and

Monday, July 4, 2016

Time Flies

Happy June . . . . Wait, wait, I mean July. Happy July! Happy Fourth of July, in fact. Where did the time go?

Work. Work, work, work. Behind the scenes work for something big and awesome that I can't talk about yet.

But I can talk about that time one of my best friends surprised me, ALL THE WAY FROM ENGLAND, and we had a wine-filled, action packed 2 and a half week epic awesome time.

Have you ever been surprised before? Like totally awestruck super surprised? I'll tell you what, it's pretty bewildering. It took me three days to recover. I kept thinking it was a dream and I'm pretty sure I've never asked how so many times in my life before. She just showed up on my doorstep!

Then she was just in my house, drinking whisky old fashioneds.

Now I know what it's like when Publishers Clearing House shows up on your doorstep and why those people in the commercials look woefully unprepared and almost scared. Because you're expecting the mailman and instead there's a camera crew filming you in pjs and hair curlers.

I count my blessing that Laura's video didn't take for whatever reason because I would not want that look committed to digital film forever.

When the shock finally wore off, there were so many adventures it's exhausting just listing them out. How about a photo collage. Or two.

I said there was wine right? Because there was sooooo much wine. VA wine is the best!

So, yeah, that was the first half of June and the second half has been far less photographic and mostly involved getting back to real life and sweating out any residual wine at the gym.

There has been some scrapbooking and plannering going on.

And also there's been work.

It may not look like much but it is the beginning of something special
Anyway, I can't believe the first half of 2016 is over. It was full of so many special  events, how can I not be even more excited for the second half?

How's your 2016 going? Let me know in the comments below.

Until next time (and hopefully sooner than another two months).....