My Halloween Playlist – Music for October

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You all know I just LOVE Halloween! I also LOVE Music. So of course I’m going to put the two together in a playlist on my phone right? Right!!! I made a Halloween Playlist of songs that are Halloween related or put me in that kinda mood.

When making my playlist, I went through my entire library of music – about 200+ songs – and it took me a while to find the right Halloween songs for my playlist. I have about 20 songs but I’m going to narrow them down to the 5 best ones. These are my top 10 favorite Halloween songs.

Bad Moon by Hollywood Undead

Now Hollywood Undead have a slue of songs that can be used for any Halloween themed playlist. From Undead in 2008, to Dead Bite in 2012, to Day of the Dead in 2015. My favorite is from their latest album Five released in 2017 Bad Moon. This song makes me think of my werewolf story, Werewolf Next Door

Dracula by Bea Miller:

Bea Miller is new to me. I discovered her about a year ago with the above song Dracula and I love it. Listening to the lyrics brings me back to my younger days when I thought bad boys were hot. I don’t find Dracula particularly appealing either but come on, her song is titled Dracula. I couldn’t help myself ;p

Bring Me to Life by Evanescence:

I know, I know. This song was dedicated to the Daredevil movie so it doesn’t really belong to a Halloween playlist. I disagree though. It’s a Gothic song and Gothic is Halloween. To me, it’s a love song for the holiday.

Thriller by Michael Jackson:

Come on guys. You didn’t really think I would have a Halloween playlist and NOT have Michael Jackson’s Famous Thriller on it do you? I was just a little kid when I first saw this video and heard this song. I had a huge crush on Michael Jackson too so I was very interested in this. The monsters in it were so scary at the time. And I loved it!

I Put A Spell on You by Bette Midler (From Hocus Pocus)

Hocus Pocus is one of my favorite Halloween movies and I just love this song. But I can’t talk about this song without paying homage to the original writer, Jalacy, “Screamin Jay” Hawkins, who wrote this song back in 1956. In fact, his recording made it on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 songs that shaped Rock and Roll. Pretty awesome, I think! It has been redone many times since then but Bette Midler is my favorite.

Calling All The Monsters by China Anne McClain:

This song is Conner’s favorite Halloween song. We used to watch the Disney channel together a lot when he was younger. A former Disney kid, China now plays a reluctant super powered teenager on Black Lightening but this is the song I will always remember with fond memories spending evenings with my baby boy watching her on Disney.

Back From the Dead by Skillet:

Oh I just love Skillet! They are a great rock band but their songs are empowering and inspirational. This song Back from the Dead is great for Halloween with lyrics like, “the zombies come out at night. They’ll never catch me, they’ll never catch me”.

Vampire Heart by HIM:

There was no decent video of this song by HIM but I found the next best thing. This song was put to one of my favorite vampire movies of all time, Underworld. I can watch this movie any time of the year but it’s fitting for Halloween. I just love Selene. She’s such a badass!

Monster by Eminem (Featuring Rihanna):

I have this one not just for Halloween but the lyrics. Monster is something I know something about having PTSD. I used to think I had a monster inside me. We all do though. We all have the good and the bad within us.

My Demons by Starset:

We are ending this post on a Sci-Fi video. I think sci-fi is a part of Halloween just as much as the vampires, witches and zombies of the supernatural world. “Save me if I become, my demons” Those are some of the lyrics. The video is pretty good too. Check it out.

Well, there you have it folks. My October playlist that is centered around all things Halloween. I just love Halloween! Don’t you?

Thanks so much for reading! (and listening)

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Mental Health Check: Mental Health Week

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I haven’t written a mental health post in a while. Last week was mental health week and once again, I missed it because I’ve been preoccupied with Autumn and Halloween. It gave me this idea though to check in about my own mental health and mental health in general.

As many of you know I do occasionally write about my healing from PTSD. Being in recovery for the past several years has been great. What I haven’t talked much about, however, is that recovery doesn’t mean cured. It means that I am much better and much stronger than I was but it also means that I will always struggle with certain things. It means that I am more aware of my mental health. More importantly, I am aware when my mental health takes a dive. Or even just a dip.

The reason I don’t share the downside is because I want to give hope to those who are struggling. I want to show them there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But sometimes that tunnel still seems very far away.

The second reason I don’t share much of the downside is because I HATE getting pity from people. Empathy and understanding, yes. Pity, hell no! I’m a warrior!  #mentalhealthwarrior

Financial Stress

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I wrote recently about having financial troubles over the Summer. I’m still playing catch up with that and with Christmas and both of my boys’ birthdays right around the corner, it has caused some stress. It is being managed though. I know I’m not the only parent who struggles financially this time of year. It may sound selfish but this offers me some comfort.

I’m going to get through because I always do. That’s just who I am. I’m a fighter and I don’t give up on the things that really matter. But I’ve had other stress come up recently that has been affecting my mental health in small but obvious ways.

Domestic Violence

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I don’t know how many of your are aware of this but October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. I work as a hotline counselor for a Domestic Violence Awareness non-profit. I enjoy my work. It is very fulfilling and I feel like I am truly helping people. But what does one do when this hits closer to home? Someone close to me has been experiencing this for several months, if not longer. It got to the point where a gun was involved. Threats were made and a young person I love dearly was witness to it.

I told both of my loved ones all of the things I would tell a person calling the hotline but I’m far away from them and even though my words were taken seriously by the younger one, I feel like I should be doing more. This has been a major cause of stress for me as I love these people with all my heart. But it has also triggered nightmares and too many negative thoughts. I have been struggling to sleep.

Don’t worry though dear readers. This doesn’t mean that I’m in a bad way. I am handling my triggers. I am doing everything I’m supposed to do to keep myself calm and even happy. The only reason I bring it up is because recovery doesn’t mean cured. I still have triggers that I have to constantly be aware of and deal with.

Letting Go of a Toxic Loved One

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Over the past several months something else has been going on. For my own mental health and for my own happiness, I have had to push someone out of my life who means a lot to me. This person hurt me deeply by using me, lying to me, then discarding me when I ceased to be useful. He is one of those people who are your fair-weather friends, or in my case, fair-weather family. He only calls when he needs something from you but uses lies and manipulation to try to get what he wants.

I cannot abide this. I can’t stand manipulators. This triggers me in a huge way. It took several months to deal with the hurt and betrayal that I have felt but letting this person go hasn’t been easy. This person means a lot to me but I cannot be a part of his life any longer. For my own sanity and for my children, I cannot.

More Bullying

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I can’t remember the last time I talked about bullying going on at Conner’s school. This is something that has been a struggle on and off since the second grade for my boy. And I want to be fair to the child who has been, in my eyes, a bully. This child is someone I care about and I know he is in a lot of pain. That pain has led to anger boiling up inside of him and he has exploded several times over the last several months.

But it’s this school year that has left the biggest impact on my son, and on me. We are both now at the point where we don’t feel that it is safe to continue a friendship with the child or with his mother. The worst part though is that this is happening at school. Where I am not there to protect my son.

This kid has hurt my own son and recently hurt another child. Each time he hurts someone he does more damage than the last. It is escalating and I no longer feel that my son is safe at school. I no longer feel that the school can keep my son safe, or for that matter, any child safe.

I do know that the school is trying. The question is are they trying hard enough? Are they doing EVERYTHING within their power to keep all of the children safe while helping this other child quell his violent behavior? I don’t believe they are but I also don’t believe they know how.

Mental Health Recovery is still a struggle.

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Lately I have been struggling with sleep. Despite my incredibly comforting routine to calm myself before bed, I have found myself plagued with bad thoughts. These thoughts have also had physical effects on my body. A constant upset stomach and not eating right have lead to more stress.

I do my very best to live a positive life and think positively. But that doesn’t mean that negative thoughts don’t creep in. I am sharing this with my readers because while being positive is a wonderful thing and can give you peace, sometimes it feels like the walls are closing in on you and claustrophobia sets in.

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Stress and anxiety become constant and the best thing you can do is just keep doing what you’re doing. Keep moving forward. Keep working towards your goals. Most of all, keep your Mental Health in check.

Thank you all for reading and remember that you can still be a positive thinker despite the negative feelings.

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Halloween Special, Pt 2: The Haunting of the Braye Sisters

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Are you all ready for the next story to Part two of my Haunting Halloween special? In my last Haunting Tale so many people wanted to know what happened. That is awesome! That makes me happy. However, that was the end of that little story. My next story is a haunting tale about a two girls, a black cat, and a closet. This one is not as scary but I hope you enjoy my haunting story.

Without further ado,

Chapter Two: The Cat in the Closet

Anna and Crystal, 1987

The sisters are back together with their little brother, Jack. To help celebrate, Aunt Francis let the three siblings stay up a little later than usual eating ice cream and watching Crystal’s favorite movie, The Hugga Bunch. It’s really the only movie Crystal will actually sit down and watch. TV is not her thing. She’d rather be outside playing baseball and kickball with her brother.

Aunt Francis even had Jack and Anna switch rooms so that the girls could share the room. It was decorated in Lilac colored walls and dark purple carpet. Two twin beds were placed side by side with Anna’s Rainbow Bright set, even though Anna, now a fifth grader, was more interested in ThunderCats and She-Ra – and Crystal’s My Little Pony set, which, ever the tomboy, she hated.

On Crystal’s first night in her new home, it didn’t matter what the sheets looked like. As long as she got to be with her big sister.

And that first night was definitely the most memorable night they shared together. A haunting night they will never forget. They were still too excited to sleep so the girls hopped into Anna’s bed and Crystal started to tell stories. She had a vivid imagination that Anna admired greatly. Anna had a great imagination too but kept everything inside her mind, never to share with anyone. She believed her thoughts were too weird for anyone to understand.

After three riveting stories about pirates and mermaids, Crystal then suggested their favorite game. The Slapping game. That’s what they called it.

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Anna puts her hands over Crystal’s hands. Crystal has to slap Anna’s hands before Anna pulls them away and Anna is very good at this game so she’s confident she can beat her little sister. They play about five rounds, and it’s tied between them. Crystal is better at this than Anna thought.

By the sixth round though, Anna hears a scream come out of her sister she had never heard before. It was piercingly loud but very quick. At first, Anna thought that would wake up Aunt Francis. She had a tendency to wake up at the drop of  a pin but thankfully, not this time.

Crystal screamed than pushed her face into Anna’s lap and burst out crying. Neither of these girls cries very often. In fact, it’s quite rare. So Anna is completely caught off guard with this. Her love and empathy for her sister takes over though and instinctively Anna places her hand on Crystal’s head and starts stroking her hair to calm her down.

She asks in a soft voice, “What’s wrong sis? What just happened?” Crystal’s sobs get a little louder and it’s this moment Anna realizes that her little sister is shaking. She’s terrified of something but what? Anna gently coaxes Crystal to tell her what frightened her so much. She’s crying so hard that she can’t speak so Anna patiently waits for her sister to regain some of her composure.

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It only takes Crystal a minute to calm down enough to speak but she struggles to get the words out. There..was..something..in..the..closet. She points to the open double-door closet that Anna forgot to shut after she and Crystal finished hanging up her new clothes.

Anna looks over and doesn’t see anything. The bottom of the closet is very dark and only the girl’s shoes sit in the light of the room. It’s a long closet though and there are several dark corners that Anna doesn’t want to even think about.

She knows her sister saw something because she is shaking and crying – two things Crystal doesn’t do. Anna also knows there are things in this house that are otherworldly. She has had her own experiences. This house is haunting and scary. She wonders if her brother has had any experiences.

Right now she has to focus on her sister. She has to figure out what scared her so much. “What was in the closet? Sis, what did you see?” Reluctantly, Crystal lifts up her head not daring to look into the closet. She looks at her big sister, not knowing if Anna will believe her or not, and tells her.

“There was a black cat sitting on the floor half in the dark and half in the light. It was wearing a green ribbon around its neck and glowing red eyes. It was just staring at me and its face started to… to…

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Crystal couldn’t finish the last sentence. She pushed her face back into her sister’s lap and started crying again. Anna knows it isn’t her cat because her cat, Bonnie, is a calico and she sleeps downstairs. She never even comes up here. She looks into the closet again but doesn’t see anything.

Anna leans closer to her sister’s ear and tells her she’s going to close the closet. Crystal protests at first. “What if it gets you? Please don’t go near the closet.” Anna ignores her and gets up to close the closet. As she reaches for the door she sees her clothes move just a bit. As if a breeze had blown them gently.

Only the windows aren’t open.

Anna doesn’t know why but she feels compelled to investigate it. She grabs the knob of the door and looks directly into the darkness, past the shirts hanging just to her right. She sees nothing. Just darkness.

But she feels something. A haunting sensation comes over her.

Goosebumps form on her arms in seconds.

She gets a chill down her spine.

Anna closes both doors quickly and turns around to her sister, who is watching every move she makes. The scared, worried look on her tear stained face starts to relax as Anna comes to the bed. “Anna, can I sleep in your bed tonight?” Anna, without hesitation says, “Sure.”

Anna turns towards the lamp by their bed to turn it off but Crystal begs her to leave it on. She leaves the lamp on and looks at her clock. It’s 2am.

 

Thanks so much for reading!

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Halloween Special: Haunting of the Braye Sisters

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Oh October! My favorite month. This month brings out the scary in me. I celebrate Halloween all month long. So in the name of Halloween and haunting, I am going to share a couple of short stories. I am splitting this up between two posts. I am still working out all of the kinks but I’m very excited to share with you what I have so far. I bring you The Haunting of the Braye Sisters.

The Witch in the Mirror

Anna, 1985

Third grade girls can be weird. Anna didn’t have many friends at school. This was her choice though. She didn’t trust people. Not children and especially not adults. While she was friendly enough with her classmates, she kept her distance from them. When the girls would play together at recess, she stayed quiet but friendly.

But when the girls started telling a ghost story, she immediately perked up her ears and listened closer than usual. Ghosts are an interest of Anna’s. She loved to watch Scooby Doo. The gang always hunting ghosts that weren’t really ghosts fascinated her. The supernatural is interesting to her but she doesn’t know why. She feels a strange sort of comfort whenever engrossed in a book or movie with ghosts in it.

She listens intently to the story the girls are dramatically telling. The main character in this story is a woman called Black Aggie. You can’t really grow up in Baltimore, MD without hearing this story. This was the first time Anna had heard about her and she was excited to learn more.

One of her classmates, Heather, tells the story like this:

“Black Aggie was an abused woman who was murdered by her husband. They say he beat her to death. Above her grave is a statue of an Angel but they say the angel looks so sad that it makes people feel eerie walking by it. The legend goes that Black Aggie’s spirit haunts the statue. At midnight the eyes glow red and any person who looks into those eyes are struck blind.

They say that two college students recently went to test out this theory and the boy was struck blind while the girl, who sat in the angel’s lap, was crushed to death. That’s another part of the legend.”

Another classmate, Becky, interjects.

“That’s not how the story goes, She was a nurse wrongfully accused of killing her patients and now she haunts the statue they put up out of guilt. She now really does kill people who try to get close to the statue.”

A third classmate, Sara, disagrees.

“No, no, no. It wasn’t a woman at all but a man. A general who was buried beneath the statue and the statue, because it looked so dreary, got people talking about it. They named it Black Aggie because the family name of the general is Angus.”

Heather jumps back in before anyone can say anything else. “It’s a woman who was murdered by her husband and now she haunts the place. But it isn’t just the statue that people are afraid of. They say that if you say, ‘I hate you Black Aggie’ five times in a mirror in the dark, she will appear in the mirror holding an axe and if you try to run she will cut your head off. If you make it to your bed and hide under your covers, she will smother you and once you’re dead she will drag your soul to hell.”

Anna doesn’t know what to make of this. If there are so many stories surrounding this statue then maybe it isn’t true. After all, it is only a rumor. None of these girls know it to be true. Before Anna can finish her thought though, Becky says, “Let’s all go to the bathroom and try it out in the mirror.” All the girls jump to their feet and ask to go to the bathroom.

Anna watches them squish their faces up to the glass and cover the sides of their faces with their hands to make it completely dark. It doesn’t work. Anna knew it wouldn’t work but she made a mental note to herself to try it at home in her room after everyone has gone to bed. Anna realizes that if all of this stuff happens with the statue at midnight then maybe, in order for the mirror to work, it also has to be midnight.

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Anna’s house is a warm and inviting two story building with a screened in front porch. At night though, it is very creepy. Her room is on the second floor and set off towards the back of the house, directly underneath the attic. Her closet is a walk-in closet that connects to her Aunt’s room. There is something about that closet that she really doesn’t like.

One of the first nights she stayed in this room, she heard drums playing at night. She thought her teenage cousin was up late practicing but when she sleepily told her aunt that he was playing drums, her reply was, “Hon his drums are in the attic.” She heard those drums for several nights at exactly 2am, then they suddenly stopped.

It was enough to feel an energy in the house that she couldn’t explain. She kept telling herself that it was her imagination. Even now that she is waiting in her dark eerie little room in her small bed, for midnight to arrive, she feels the hairs on her arms stand up. “Ugh, enough Anna! There is nothing here.” She whispers to herself in frustration.

She looks up at her Rainbow Bright canopy, concentrating on Rainbow Bright. She wouldn’t be afraid. She is brave. She looks over at her night stand where her unicorn statue stands looking so strong and dignified. Her unicorn will keep her safe.

Midnight finally comes and Anna reluctantly gets out of her bed. Walking to her small, Victorian style mirror that her aunt found at a yard sale, she musters up all of her courage and looks at her reflection. At night the mirror looks very scary. She can barely see herself in it accept for the tiny night light right underneath the mirror.

Anna stands frozen for a moment, not sure if she really wants to go through with this. She thinks about going to hell. Then she reminds herself that she’s already been through hell. If she can survive that, she can survive this. She takes a deep breath, holding onto her unicorn that she instinctively grabbed when she got out of bed.

She looks into the mirror, turns off the nightlight and says the scariest words she has ever uttered. “I hate you Black Aggie. I hate you Black Aggie. I hate you Black Aggie. I hate you Black Aggie.” Anna takes another deep breath then blurts out really fast, “I hate you Black Aggie!”

Nothing happens. Anna stands there for a minute waiting for something to happen. Nothing does. She turns towards her bed. As she does, a smoky image appears in the mirror. Through the smoke is a woman but she isn’t holding an axe. She isn’t holding anything.

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Anna doesn’t stay to find out what happens next though. She runs to her bed, clutching onto her unicorn, pulling the covers over herself, hugging her knees. She stays perfectly still as not to attract attention. Soon she hears footsteps. Her floor is wood so she can hear the creaks with each step. They are getting closer and closer as Anna clutches even tighter to her figurine while sitting perfectly still.

Through the thin blanket, the moonlight is catching a glimpse of an arm reaching towards the blanket. Anna closes her eyes and tries to prepare for the worst. She is going to be dragged into hell and it’s going to be worse than the hell she has experienced here on Earth.

Maybe she deserves this. That’s why she thinks she was abused. Maybe she was just born bad and now she is being taken where she belongs.

She can’t move now. She is frozen in fear. Something she swore she would never do again. She sees the arm reach towards her. Suddenly she hears her closet door open. What could that be? Oh no, she brought someone with her.

As it opens though she sees a light. It’s the closet light and then she hears her aunt’s voice yelling at her. “Anna, why are you still awake? Get your ass to bed now!” Without hesitation, Anna says, “Yes, Ma’am” and lays down, still covered from head to toe with her blankets.

The figure she saw has disappeared but Anna doesn’t fall asleep for fear that figure will return.

Stay tuned for the next story…

Thanks so much for reading!

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My 10 Favorite Things About Autumn

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It is officially October! I couldn’t be more excited about this month if I suddenly found myself dancing on the moon. Can you picture me dancing on the moon? I can! My 10 favorite things about Autumn are, well, there are many things I love about Autumn but I have managed to narrow them down to 10 of the best things.

The Smell in the Air!

Is it just me or does the air always smell like someone is lighting a campfire and roasting chestnuts on them? I smell that every where I go now and I just love it! They say that smell is the strongest sense we have that strikes up memories. I’m not sure about the memories but it really does fill me with this overwhelming sense of something wonderful that I can’t quite put my finger on.

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The Colors!

The oranges and reds shine brightest among the greens and gold as the leaves start to fall just before they die the are the most beautiful!

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The Chilly Whistle in the Wind!

I love to feel the wind blow through my window while I’m writing or feel the slight chilly breeze as I read in my bed in the evenings. When the trees whistle its like Mother Nature is talking to me. It’s calming and eerie at the same time.

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My Autumn Candles!

I love going to Yankee Candle and buying their famous Autumn scents. Right now I have one called Autumn in the park. Again, the smell brings on this wonderful sensation of positive vibes electrifying my whole body. I also have pumpkin and apple scented candles too that I light every day!

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Hot Chocolate!

I just love hot chocolate! I love it even more now that I get to share it with my boys every evening. Hot Chocolate is definitely a family affair!

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Day Light Savings Time!

Autumn means I get an extra hour of sleep. Who doesn’t love that! Especially during the colder months, that sleep is so precious!

Sweat Shirts, Warm Coats, and Boots!

I absolutely love to wear boots and sweatshirts in Autumn. Thigh high boots are my favorite and I have a small collection of sweatshirts that I absolutely adore! Pair those with some leggings or jeggings and a really nice coat and you have a nice outfit that is also very cozy.

Cuddling in Fuzzy PJ’s under the warmest blanket!

I love my fuzzy pj’s. I have already started wearing a few of them and curling up with a good book under one of my favorite blankets. Autumn Brings out the cuddler in me.  😝

Crock Pot Cooking!

Maybe it’s because I’m not a huge fan of slaving over a hot stove to make a home cooked meal but Autumn gives me the chance to make nice hot meals for the kids while not having to do much of anything. Just put in the crock pot and voila! You’ve got a home cooked meal ready to eat!

Halloween!

Of course you had to know this would be on my list. October is my favorite month of the year because it has Halloween in it! The ghosts, the goblins, the vampires and werewolves and all things scary. The pumpkin carving, dressing up in neat costumes and the trick-or-treating are what makes this my favorite holiday.

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And I have a bonus for ya…

Autumn Hikes!

This is my favorite time of year to go hiking. It’s not too cold that I’ll freeze and it’s not too hot that I’ll melt. Plus, I love watching the leaves as they fall, then walking through the piles of them as they lay on the trails. Such natural beauty that reminds me how much I just love this planet!

And that’s all folks! My 10, er, 11 favorite things I love about Autumn.

Thanks so much for reading!

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