7 x 7 Link Award

My pal over at Celluloid Zombie passed along this award, which led me to revisit some old blog posts.

The rules to the 7 x 7 Link Award are simple:

  1. Tell everyone something about yourself that nobody else knows.
  2. Link to a post I think fits the following categories: Most Beautiful Piece, Most Helpful Piece, Most Popular Piece, Most Controversial Piece, Most Surprisingly Successful Piece, Most Underrated Piece, Most Pride Worthy Piece.
  3. Pass this on to 7 fellow bloggers.

And we’re off.

Tell everyone something about yourself that nobody else knows

If not one person knew some deep, dark secret of mine, I can’t imagine why I’d suddenly tell everyone. But here’s the thing…I’m a pretty open person. I’d offer up even the most cringe-inducing confession if I thought someone else would benefit by it. So there you go. Not nearly as exciting as the bodies under the floorboards over at Celluloid Zombie, I know.

1. Most Beautiful Piece

Without hesitation, my most beautiful piece—One Two Three Kick—is about the person responsible for so many happy moments in my childhood (even if I do shudder when re-reading the paragraphs detailing the excessive snacking. What did we know? It was the 70s.)

2. Most Helpful Piece

Felix the Cat and MacGyver inspired this post that I hope encouraged you to consider how the simplest things and a bit of imagination can take life from mundane to memorable. Check out Felix the Cat and MacGyver Picnic on a Purple Sarong.

3. Most Popular Piece

Reading Old Journals…Yikes! struck a chord with many readers. It is my leader in Comments and what great comments they are.

4. Most Controversial Piece

Controverisal? Moi? Well, if you’re planning on hiring me sometime in the future, please don’t read Denim, the evil fabric until we’ve finalized all the contracts.

5. Most Surprisingly Successful Piece

Who could have guessed that my family recipe for Migliaccio (Italian Farina Custard) would top my Most Viewed chart? When did farina, eggs, and sugar become so popular? It just goes to prove that the whole, bubbling concoction is greater than the sum of its parts. With Easter right around the corner, you don’t want to miss this one.

6. Most Underrated Piece

Apparently, readers don’t want to hear about one of the more embarrassing moments in my life or the possibility that Child Protective Services has a file on me for subjecting a minor to naked aliens. If that sort of thing doesn’t interest you either, then don’t read Signs.

7. Most Pride Worthy Piece

My post Travel: Gaeta, Italy in October is the one I’m most proud of. It was a labor of love to condense two of the best weeks of my life into a CliffsNotes travelogue. I’m so hopeful that someone out there will make this very trip and then tell me all about their experience. I love reminiscing about this vacation and I often return to this post to immerse myself in a sea of memories.

My 7 Nominees

I know people are busy, so don’t feel obligated to participate. However, you are the ones that entertain me the most and it would be fun to read some of your posts I may have missed.

Altared Spaces

Finding the Humor

Girlboxing

Huffygirl’s Blog

Mostly Bright Ideas

The Fordeville Diaries

The Glowing Edge

Signs

It is Friday night and the movie Signs is on TV. I settle in to watch it with my ten-year-old son at my side, snuggled under a throw. I’ve seen the movie before, years ago, but all I remember of the story line is that it involves extraterrestrials. This will be my son’s first, official scary movie. A bit over-protective, you say? Perhaps, but Jaws ripped a bloody hunk of wide-eyed innocence out of my childhood, so deal with it.

Maybe I’m a wuss by today’s standards of horror, but it’s the little things that scare me, the rustle of corn stalks in the wind, a momentary shadow blocking the light shining under a closed door, the hint—no, the promise—of something more to come. As the tension in the movie builds, I look over and see that my son has stuck his fingers in his ears. When I question him about this, he says it’s in case something jumps out on the screen. Hmmm, clearly I’d done the kid no favors. I gently remove the fingers from his ears and place them over his eyes.

We get through the shadowy figure on the roof, an otherworldly ankle retreating into the corn, a clawed hand reaching underneath a pantry door, and finally the big moment has arrived—the alien appears in full-body view. I gasp and assume fetal position. My son shouts too, but it’s not fear I hear in his voice. “Ewwwww. He’s naked. I can see his be-front.” (I find out later that a be-front is the opposite of a be-hind. Kids.)

Naked? I peek through my fingers, concerned now that I am not only frightening him to death before bedtime but also exposing him to alien nudity at ten years of age. I can feel my head tilting to one side, assessing the situation. I wouldn’t exactly say naked. He looks a bit like Kate Moss, circa 1993, in a washed-out, grey catsuit. In fact, she may have worn something just like that on a catwalk in the past.

The movie ends and Jon brushes his teeth and climbs into bed. Much later, I make my way upstairs in the darkened house. My eyes are closed as I climb the stairs and my fingers feel for the light switch in my room. I laugh to myself, remembering I did this very thing as a child whenever I was afraid and said a special prayer, taught to me by Grandma Pasqualine, that was 100% effective in warding off bad dreams. When I hear my son call out from his room, saying he can’t sleep because he’s disgusted by that naked alien, I tell him he can come sleep with me. Little does he know that he’s helping me out.

When I relate this story to a friend the next day, he exclaims, “You’re kidding?” A lover of all things horror, he can’t imagine that I was that freaked by the movie Signs. I remind him that I have alien issues that began almost fifteen years ago.

It was my thirtieth birthday and my cousin, let’s just call her Cuzzy, sent a beautiful bouquet of flowers and two mylar birthday balloons tied together, one floating higher than the other. That night, I crawled into bed with a copy of Communion by Whitley Strieber, a supposed true story of the writer’s abduction by aliens at his summer cabin. Years later, they made a movie of the book, starring Christopher Walken who, in all fairness, has always frightened me a bit whether he was in a horror movie or not, the only exception being his appearance on Saturday Night Live with the delivery of the line “I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell.” But I digress.

As the ceiling fan whirred and my book light cast a concentrated beam in the otherwise dark room, I turned page after page of the frightening account. Eventually, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and succumbed to sleep. Hours later, something woke me and I opened my eyes to see two silver-faced creatures bobbing at my bedside. I screamed like I had never screamed before, over and over again, and my husband jumped many feet into the air. Had I been a person of lesser health, my heart could not have survived the fright. By the time my husband peeled himself off the ceiling, I was kneeling in the middle of the bed, pointing my finger, babbling incoherently. He turned on the light to reveal that I had almost been abducted by…wait, it’s coming…a pair of mylar balloons. Of course, you know that I’ve never lived this down.

Though the “aliens” were debunked, the scientist in me (yes, believe it or not, there is a scientist in me despite my “I want to believe” philosophy) had to know how those balloons made it to my bedside on the very night Whitley Strieber was scaring the crap out of me. The next day I created a re-enactment and realized that the ceiling fan, set to draw the hot air up and cool the house, had also sucked the balloons from the kitchen, through the foyer, up a flight of stairs, and into my room to end up at my side of the bed. You see the problem though, don’t you? What stopped them from getting sucked up into the ceiling fan? Why did they “choose” to linger at my bedside? Mwhahahahahahahaha. I can honestly say that no horror movie has ever scared me more than that night did. All mylar balloons are now tied down before bedtime in my house. Wince. And that’s because, yes, it’s true, this event happened twice to me.

Sometimes I wish I were more like my son, able to get through the scary stuff with just an “ewwww” and some mild digestive upset.