Top o’ the Mornin’!

It’s a no brainer when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day ’round my parts… ALL THINGS IRISH. 

I am of Scotch-Irish blood, so naturally, I celebrate this green gathering.  While visiting Ireland last summer, I learned that St. Patrick’s Day is not a day of debauchery, drinking, and pinching, but it is rather a day of religious observance for the Saint Patrick.

***Quick History Lesson:  He was born in Britain, taken captive by Irish raiders and held as a prisoner/slave for over 10 years.  Upon his escape, he returned to Britain, became a priest, and was summoned back to Ireland on a quest where he converted most of the Pagan culture to Christianity.  Patrick is rumored to have died on March 17, which is where his observance was born.  [And how we made it into an international LET’S-GET-BOMBED day, I’ll never understand.]

My St. Patrick’s Day tradition consists of cooking up the famous corn beef and cabbage meal that was more popularly consumed by wealthy Irish.  It has become a pretty mainstream dinner for most of us who celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, including myself, but I do it anyway.  Prior to my European vacation, I would pair my meal with a frothy Guinness in honor of my ancestors; however, after having tried a fresh Guinness straight from the Motherland, never again will I consume a Guinness anywhere else BUT the Emerald Isle.  [I promise you, there is a HUGE difference!] So until then, Jameson – straight up – will have to do.

And as for the obligatory WEARING GREEN:  I have a tattoo of three four-leaf clovers on my right foot, so no pinching for this gal! [In addition, I have green eyes, but that never seemed to make a difference when it came to the pinching game.]

As the Irish say in Gaelic… Sláinte! =)

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Biting the Halloween bullet… & loving it.

It seems that when Fall rolls around, September and October seem to mesh together and Starbucks may even tell you that Fall begins in August when they unveil their seasonal PSL (pumpkin spice lattes for those shut-ins) but I disagree:  Fall is felt regardless of when culture tells us we should be feeling it.

The days become shorter, the air becomes crisper, the smells become more pungent, the general atmosphere begins to shift from a busy, nonsensical summer vibe into a slow, statuesque energy.  My plans for Halloween do not merely come and go on the day itself:  they last from September into October, and even into the early days of November.  For me, this special season has, and always will be, reflective of my time spent in Hollywood working at Universal Studios at the Halloween Horror Nights event.

Halloween Horror Nights is a Halloween-themed event held in the dark hours of the night at Universal Studios Hollywood in Southern California. It contains haunted mazes that are themed to popular horror TV shows and films such as “Halloween,” “American Horror Story,” “Friday the 13th,” “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” and so on. There are also street performers who hide in the shadows and scare the living crap out of you while you try to enjoy a margarita on a park bench… LOVE! Similar to its surrounding competitors, Knott’s Scary Farm and Six Flags Fright Fest, nothing can hold a candle to this glorious event, and if you haven’t been, make it a priority to do so before the run is over. IF YOU DARE.

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As mentioned during my radio show this past week, HHN was my introduction into all-things-horror.  I was morbidly terrified of anything blood and gore until I allowed HHN to consume my soul in 2010.  Horror is now my life.  Black is my color.  Skulls are my art.  Death is my calling.  I am, and will forever remain, a Halloween freak.

I worked as a scareactor (performer) at this event for 5 years.  Scaring guests drenched in blood from all angles of the park was the highlight of my twenties-twilight… I can still hear the screams and sounds of ripping chainsaws now!  *Le sigh* However, being a scareactor was anything but glamorous.  The physicality and mental energy expended for this event is astonishing.  Performers use their voices and bodies in order to create a scare unlike the original, repeatedly for 30-45 minutes at a time… some performers have even done hour-long sets!  And for those of you who are unfamiliar with entertainment, the term “sets” are used when an actor is visible to the audience – i.e. ON SET. 

Working on a roller-coaster of 30 minutes on – 30 minutes off wears and tears immensely on a performer (to say the least) so by the time we were wrapping up and clocking out around 3, sometimes 4am, re-fuel with food around 5, then in bed by 6am, we woke up around 1-2pm, headed over to the studio and did it all over again… despite our bodies feeling like they were pummeled by a freight train carrying nothing but elephants and cinder blocks going at 90 mph.  *Get my point???*  Alas, we always made it through.  Every year, we became a little bit stronger.  And faced not only park-made fears, but fears that came with everyday life.  Fears that drove us to audition for this event in the first place.  Fears that we could face again, and again, and again WHILE wearing a mask and screaming into the sky.  And I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything else.  (Yours truly below in the blonde wig.)

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In regards to Halloween day, don’t be surprised if you see a blonde vampire lurking around campus.  And I assure you:  the sun will not be an issue.  Considering my obsession with Halloween, horror, and specifically vampires in general, I have deemed it necessary to sport some red contacts and fangs to honor my spirits.  My next bite goes out to my HHN family.  Scare the chair!

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Europe…and then some

DJ Hot Coffey here!  If there was ever a reason for visiting a new country, one might stick the “to find myself” label across their trip photo album.  As luck would have it, I *indeed* needed to find myself, or rather discover a new version of myself that the former semester had beaten to a pulp.  Divulging briefly, I endured a painful break-up, death of 2 friends (1 to suicide), and death of 2 family members prior to this long-awaited trip.  Suffice it to say, I had more than enough ammo to pull the trigger on this MUCH-needed vacation.

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The highlight of my 2018 summer was my first trip to Europe, specifically the Emerald Isle.  I boarded a plane with 3 college guys, and we jetted off to

Manchester and London for the first leg.  The United Kingdom was cool and all:  Parliament, The Ministry of Magic, Piccadilly Circus, REAL Fish n’ chips… but the pure magic (for me anyway) came when we boarded a puddle-jumper to Dublin.  The flight was less than an hour, and I could barely sit still.  Upon landing on the fair greenery, I burst into tears.  This definitely boded well for me – gushing in front of 3 young college men whose sole excitement was in merely trying an authentic home-land Guinness.

Did I mention that visiting the land of my Irish ancestors has been on my bucket list since I was 12 years old?  Ah, yes.  There was passion and depth behind this trip for many reasons (not just the unfortunate affairs listed above).  I came to Ireland in search of peace and joy; however, those elements were already alive within me, and continue to burn within me with each day of purpose… I just got caught up in the shuffle of everyday life!  Happens to us all.

We become sidetracked with rubbish that, in retrospect, all-together won’t matter in the end.  And the longer I stood on that beautiful soil, the more I realized all of the “goods and bads” that I had endured earlier this year.  I hadn’t really processed everything I went through until I stood completely still and took in the sweet Irish air.  Additionally, this culmination of occurrences (including standing there!) had transformed me into THIS woman right here, right now.  And this woman is bound and determined to move forward with this crazy Piccadilly-circus called life.  And to tell ya the truth, she’s pretty freakin’ badass.

To say that my trip to Europe was “amazing” would be a brutal understatement.  It was the trip my soul desperately sought after for so long.  Prior to coming home to MYSELF, I was living, but by mere breaths only.  What a fool I had become to allow external circumstances navigate my internal norms.  I knew who I was, and allowed nonsense to tell me otherwise.  How dare we continue to live a life we KNOW we are not meant for.  How dare we continue to bow down and accept a mediocre life, when we have daringly touched a great one.

Go somewhere you absolutely dream of, and have absolutely no idea of how you will get there.  You will find a way.  You will make it happen.  And you will thank yourself so much once you get there. =)