November Happenings and Much Ado About Nothing

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It is November! My oldest son’s favorite month of the year. It is his 17th birthday in two weeks. November is a great month though. Here in Massachusetts the leaves are turning beautiful colors and the wind is blowing them off their trees.

Fair warning, this is going to be a random rambles kind of post.

That is where the Much Ado About Nothing comes in, haha!

November of this year is also the month of the midterm elections. Did you vote? I sure did! I went first thing in the morning and did my civic duty.  It is also my well deserved right to vote. You know, as women had to fight for that right and everything. While I don’t vote in every single election my town holds, I do vote in the big ones and I take it very seriously.

I am attempting to participate in the #NaNoWriMo this year but so far I haven’t done much. November is the month for writing but I haven’t gotten very far. I started out with one story that is over 10 years old but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not ready to write that one. So I have to start from scratch, beginning with the outline. It’s proving to be more challenging than I was expecting because I’ve been very distracted lately.

The Universe has decided to put some challenges before me lately and I have started to feel tired a lot. Drained is the more appropriate word. Thank God I have some really good friends in my life who have been a huge help to me. And Thank God for my brother, who helped me out with something last weekend.

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Then there is what is going on in the world. The shooting at a Philadelphia synagogue and all the hatred – just pure hatred – that leads to innocent people dying. The bombs sent to Democrats who dare defy our so-called President. What is happening? Then this past week, 12 people lost their lives and many more affected by one person deciding to go shoot random people. For what?

And the Midterm elections didn’t really do much to curve the deep division in this country. I didn’t expect it to though. The Democrats are just as responsible as the Republicans at this point. I’m a Democrat and I’m saying this. No one is really willing to work with each other. They are like a pack of wild dogs just waiting to attack.

Where is all this hate coming from? It’s coming from Fear. Ignorance is also making itself known in the arena of hatred.  Fear and Ignorance lead to hatred and boy does the U.S have that in spades. All we are left with is asking why. Why???

Talking about the leaves falling though: I’m going to take some pictures before Winter comes.

Both my personal life and all of this negativity in the world has been affecting my mental health. I am resorting to binge watching old TV shows and much needed hiking just to keep myself from losing my shit. Just yesterday the bus driver who was supposed to pick my oldest up from his after school program “forgot” to pick him up. This does not bode well with my inner Mama Bear. Did I mention that she sometimes gets a little crazy? “Danger Will Robinson! Danger!”

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Do you ever get to a point where you start to feel overwhelmed by everything? You know that you will keep going. That’s just life. Life has its ups and downs and we mostly roll with the punches. We get back up and do it all over again. But do you ever feel, even for a moment, that you just need a break from your life? From the world?

That’s how I’ve been feeling lately. All these negative vibes in the air has me wanting to do something else. Be somewhere else. Do you ever just want to leave this planet, this solar system and fly to another galaxy? Maybe go to an alternate dimension where you meet a happier, healthier you and say, “Hey, lets switch places for a day. Or two.”

But you can’t pick just any alternate Universe. You have to pick the right one. I would pick one with a me that lives near a beach or in a mystical forest full of fairies and unicorns. Yes! Unicorns! Oh I could surely use a Unicorn right about now. Just for a day. Maybe two.

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Thanks so much for reading!

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The Dream – (A Poem by Me)

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For many years I have had recurring dreams about a person who used to be in my life. The dreams started shortly after high school, when I no longer saw this person. He used to be a friend but I use the word loosely as we weren’t really friends. More acquaintances and classmates than friends. Nevertheless, I had dreams about him.

It took me a long time to figure out why I had these dreams. These dreams come to me when I’m at my lowest mentally and emotionally. When I’m deeply struggling with something or when I feel like I’m losing control over something in my life.

Once I figured that out, I wanted to understand why him? It could be anyone. A lost loved one. My grandmother who passed away when I was thirteen. Any of my closest friends or relatives. But no, it is this one person who I barely know. He barely knows me. It’s ALWAYS him too. It’s never anyone else.

For a long time I thought it meant something more than it was. Maybe I knew him in a past life. I went so far in my mind to think maybe he was my… I can’t even say it now because it’s a ridiculous notion. Long story short, for whatever reason he represents a part of my subconscious that tells me everything is going to be okay.

I had one of these dreams the other night. As you know I’ve been struggling with several things and this past week was one of the shittiest weeks I’ve had in a long time. I woke up inspired and compelled to write this poem. It’s been several years since I’ve had one of these dreams.

The Dream

I dreamt of you last night

I walked ’round and there you stood

Oh you were such a sight!

I knew it was THAT dream

You come to visit me in our woods

To comfort me in my time of need.

 

And though it was only a dream

It was so nice to see you old friend

In the land of dreams where we could just BE

The time we got to spend

Walking and laughing and finally at peace with each other

We chatted about anything BUT the weather.

 

Conversation wasn’t what was needed

As you already knew

But your presence was what I heeded

Because it was you who gave me solace

And your smile gave me the clue.

 

You’re here because I’m in anguish

The world is trying to break me

But you know that’s outlandish.

 

And as the dawn approached

it was time for me to wake

You look at me without reproach

In my dream you say without a word

That everything is going to be okay.

 

He and I are no longer friends. We haven’t been friends for several years now. It’s funny because while I have no desire to have him back in my life, it was nice to see him in my dream. He has become a muse of sorts and for that I am grateful.

Thank you all for reading!

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P.S.  For all Americans reading my blog – Don’t forget to vote this Tuesday! I know I will!

 

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My Book of the Month-October: A History of Witches

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I finally got around to adding books back into my routine. Yay! And A History of Witches was the first book I read. I really wanted to read something supernatural for October. When I read a few other blogs talking about this book, I just had to give it a read.

So What’s This Book About?

A History of Witches is about a young woman, an alchemy expert and historian, who accidentally discovers an ancient text, reputed to be the history of witches, vampires, humans, and daemons (apparently werewolves aren’t important in this book). Her name is Diana Bishop (Bishop is one of the murdered Witches of Salem) and she doesn’t want anything to do with her magic since her parents were murdered when she was a child.

But once she discovers the book, her life is in danger and all sorts of creatures stalk her, including Matthew Clairmont, an ancient vampire. Within a few weeks, the two fall in love – which is against the rules – and the fight for the book and for survival is on.

Before long, everyone is after Diana for her untapped magic, the book she doesn’t possess, and to keep her from Matthew. All the while Diana releases new powers that she can’t control and must learn how if she is going to survive.

What’s my take on the book?

I’ll be honest, A History of Witches didn’t impress me as much as I thought it would. It started out with great potential. I like the character of Diana. She was a strong, independent and intelligent character who I understand very well. Though she wasn’t very confident in herself, I overlooked that because well, this is the hero’s journey. It is meant to watch the evolution of a character unfold.

In fact, in spite of the over written descriptions of every piece of clothing she would change into or the over share of details just to describe every inch of what a room looked and smelled like, the first 9 chapters were pretty good.

But then Diana starts to fall in love with Matthew – a possessive, controlling, ass of a vampire – I’ll talk more about him in a minute – Diana loses some of herself. She starts to depend on him in various ways. They are subtle at first but by chapter 18 Diana is so enraptured by Matthew that her ordinarily independent self falters and she is at his mercy.

Now about Matthew:

Matthew Clairmont definitely brought out my inner feminist. More than that though, I am just so sick of reading the male vampire in this way. First it was Twilight with Edward Cullen constantly telling Bella what to do and breaking her heart. Then the show Vampire Diaries brings in some of those same male vampires (one in particular named Klause). Then other various stories in between. Now Matthew Clairmont.

In A History of Witches, there is an excuse for this behavior. Vampires are naturally possessive and jealous of anyone who gets near their intended partner. Yet, like in Twilight, no other vampire acts that way. Matthew is more than this though. Because he is a leader, he is referenced in the book a few times as the Alpha male and must be “obeyed”. Obeyed? Really? What the hell century are we living in?

By the time Diana learns all of this about him, she is so in love that she becomes weak. The message here is that for women, love makes you weak. What? She is so weak that she literally cannot defend herself. She can’t protect herself when she gets kidnapped. She relies way too much on Matthew and his vampire family to take care of her. It’s like she becomes a different person.

It’s not until chapter 25 of A History of Witches that I finally start to like the book again. But I still don’t like Matthew. At least not until they go to her family home. Then I start to see another side of him. That’s when he finally wises up and helps Diana learn to control her powers, thereby helping her become strong again.

So What’s the final verdict?

I know I just ranted about a fictional character but despite that I still think the book is worth a read. I mean, I made it to the end without throwing the book across the room. That’s more than I can say for a different book called 50 Shades of Grey. I HATED that book! Didn’t even get past chapter 5.

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My point is though that once you get past the obsessive, possessive demeanor of the main male character, you will see his good points and you will be able to read the story rather than focus on this one vampire. The story isn’t all about him after all. It’s about Diana.

It’s also about this world of the supernatural (why are werewolves not a part of this?) that I find fascinating. Putting the love story aside for a moment, it’s original. The world of vampires, daemons, and witches is unique and like nothing I’ve ever read before.

That, to me, is worth reading about. So I will be reading the second book in the trilogy.

Have you read the book? What did you think?

Thanks so much for reading!

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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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