Hoodoo Halloween Party: What’s the Scariest Movie You’ve Ever Seen?

Hoodoo PartyThe fabulous Kirsten Weiss of ParaYourNormal is hosting a Hoodoo Halloween blog hop this weekend and you can join in!

Visit here to meet writers all over the country share their creepiest ghost stories and spookiest Halloween tales. We’re blogging about New Orleans history and ghost lore and Halloween!

I recently sat at a table where everyone was talking about the first movie that ever scared the crap out of them. And the answers were abundant.

There was Child’s Play, the Chucky movie, which scared one woman’s mother so much she turned all the dolls in her home to face backward.

*That would actually scare me MORE.

Psycho, the original Hitchcock version, made one woman terrified she’d be stabbed to death whenever she showered.

IT, that creepy clown movie/miniseries, was one we all nodded our head to. We were scared of clowns, public bathrooms, sink drains, sewer systems, you name it!

Then there’s my list. It’s a long one. Because I’m a chicken sh*t when it comes to scary movies.

When I was growing up, here are the things that scared me about…

Exhibit A: sausage fingers

E.T.Yah, not even a scary movie, but his fingers looked like sausages and they creeped me out and I was convinced he lived in our basement so I would only go down there if someone else was down there.

P.S. This movie is also frightening in Spanish. We watched it in my high school Spanish class and I had bad dreams with E.T. yelling “E.T. telefono a mi casa!!!” in them. It’s just scarier for some reason.

Scream (1, 2, & 3) – While this series is not very scary now, it was in middle school. And creepers wearing masks was all the rage. Not cool, bro. Not cool at all.

Sixth SenseWhat a mind f*ck this movie was. Creepiest scene? I think it’s when the little boy is sitting in his tent and all the walls start shaking and he’s looking up, then when he looks forward again – there’s a dead girl in front of him, and she pukes!

The Ring - This movie came out when I was in high school. It’s about a dead girl who kills people by crawling out of their television sets and their bodies are found all mutilated and twisted. Now, I had a TV in my bedroom at this time. So I behaved in a normal fashion and slept with it on for a week straight because I was more terrified of waking up in the middle of the night and hearing the click of the dial on my TV and see the dead girl coming after me.

P.P.S. My TV was SO OLD. It actually did have dials. Two of them. And I could only get two channels to come in, so I watched a lot of Antiques Roadshow and Ricki Lake talk shows.

Joy Ride - What? No! The fact that Paul Walker is coming to save me does not make this better? Don’t feckin mess with late night truck drivers, ok?!

HalloweenWho would agree to ever babysit again after this???

The ExorcistUm, that scene where the girl crab walks all crazy down the stairs. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiightmares!

Village of the DamnedWell hello angelic looking blonde child, please don’t kill me.

The Texas Chainsaw MassacreNO! No I will not go out to your grandpa’s cabin in the country! Just NO!

I Am LegendCircles of heaving zombies lurking in the dark? Nope. I’ma karate chop all the doors down in my house first.

The Exorcism of Emily RoseWell that’s just great. I’m now terrified whenever I wake up in the vicinity of 3:33 am.

Paranormal ActivityHell, even the previews for this were horrifying! I believe too much in ghosts and this movie made me think every house I ever lived in was haunted.

Evil DeadWaaaay too much self inflicted torture in this one for me. If anyone needs me I’ll be curled up in a fetal position, clutching my teddy bear for the next several hours.

 I could go on, but I think the ghosts are listening.
I need to go hide under the covers now.

What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?

 

 

 

Can You Really Like an Overly Likeable Character?

As writers we want our main character to be likeable. But we also want them to be real. That means they have to have flaws.

Have you ever read a book where the main character didn’t have any flaws?

I recently finished Mansfield Park by Jane Austen as part of my To Be Read Pile Challenge. It’s a goal of mine to finish reading all of Jane Austen’s works because I want to live in a Jane Austen movie admire her work’s critique on social classism and gender inequality.

With that said, I’m just gonna set this here for a minute…

(I have a whole Pinterest board for this.)

Mansfield Park has never been one of my favorite Austen storylines, although some critics argue it’s her greatest work. The novel tells the story of Fanny Price, a gentle-hearted, kind girl who goes to live with her wealthy aunt, uncle and cousins. She is obedient, grateful, and never says an ill word about anyone even though she is often mistreated by her aunt, uncle, female cousins, and neighbors.

And let’s face it, she falls in love with her cousin, Edmund. I know that’s how things were done back then, but ew.

mansfield parkYou know else does that? Karen from Mean Girls.

The happily ever after in the book depends on all the other characters screwing up in order to fulfill Fanny’s dream – marrying her cousin, Edmund.

I did enjoy the novel. And, I really liked re-watching two of the film versions to see where they adapted the storyline. But I don’t know if I ever really liked Fanny. She’s too good.

One could argue that Fanny’s flaw is being too nice. While other characters do point that out, there is no change in Fanny’s character. She remains constant in her loyalty to family, service for others, and everyone else achieving happiness over herself.

I would argue that’s the reason the 1999 film adaptation was quite liberal with their side stories including slavery and an extra-marital affair, which though it could be insinuated happened in Jane Austen’s novel, it is never said outright. In the movie, Fanny (played by Frances O’Conner) is a cheeky little thing and also hopes to become a published authoress. None of her quips, nor challenging statements to her uncle, or the notion of writing her own novels are in the book.

So I ask again, can an audience bond with a character that is too likeable?

What examples can you think of?
Have you read a book with an overly likeable character? How did you feel about them?

Sh*t My Husband Says While Sleeping

Set your coffee down, folks! It’s time for another round of “Sh*t My Husband Says While Sleeping,” the reoccurring blog series that pops up…whenever I remember to write down the batsh*t things comin’ outa his mouth!

First, meet my husband.

photo(4)

This is Joe.
He likes short walks through the grocery store, old school Keanu Reeves movies,
and growing facial hair.

***

Now, Joe talks in his sleep. When that happens, he occasionally refers to me as “his little pear juice.”

It isn’t all the time, and he can’t control it, but he says the WEIRDEST things when he sleep talks.

Here are a few of his latest sleep disturbances…

Example No. 1

***

Joe: Did you wanna take the bear?

Me: What bear? What’s his name?

Joe: Holia.

Me: Where’d you meet him?

*silence*

Me:

Example No. 2

***

Joe: Mmmm Mmmm good! That’s what it is.

Me: What’s good?

Joe: Crackers… And email…. Just kidding about the email. *giggles*

Me:

And this is what I deal with on a somewhat regular basis.

On the flip side, if his REM antics become popular, I might consider switching the tag line of this blog to “Mmmm Mmmm good. That’s what it is.” How do you think that’ll look on a business card?

Do you know someone who talks in their sleep?
Where do YOU think Joe met the bear?

My Reigning Days as Miss Midwest Afro Queen

When talking about a girl’s body image, you have to go back. Waaaaaay back. All the way to the early years. Because a child will remember if people noticed her and whether they said nice things or a plethora of backhanded compliments. You know the ones.

Oh she’s as skinny as a beanpole!”

WHAT THE HELL IS A BEANPOLE???

She eats just like a bird!”

THAT’S CAUSE YOUR EGG SALAD HAS SHELLS IN IT, LADY!

Thankfully what I remember hearing is comments about my hair. I had long strawberry blonde hair and strangers would often comment to me or my mother how beautiful it was. They also commented occasionally on my freckles, which when you’re 6 are adorable. I can’t say the same at 28 because now I only have them on my arms and they’re called moles.

*le sigh*

Back to my hair. On nights before big school days, my mom would often braid my hair in two pigtails. Then one or both of my older brothers would grab hold of the braids, making motorcycle noises as they “drove” me screaming around the house.

The next morning, my mother would help me get dressed in some sort of skort or jumper, as that is all my closet consisted of. Then she would take out the braids and begin brushing my hair.

Then she would brush even more…

and brush just a little bit more…

until my hair was the equivalent of one of those static electricity balls you see at science fairs.

And that is why I held the title of Miss Midwest Afro Queen, circa 1991.

Exhibit A:

Afro Hair 1Exhibit B:

Afro Hair 2Exhibit C:

Afro Hair 3Exhibit Holy Friggin D:

Afro Hair 4Thank god there was no such thing as selfies then! My hair wouldn’t even fit in the shot!

 Afro Hair - close upI used Xpro II to make me look tan.
What do you think?

 Tell me your thoughts! What comments did you hear growing up?
What fashion choices make you happy instagram wasn’t around then?

Should my mother be allowed to touch anyone else’s hair?

I’m Sorry, You Want My Dunce Number?

It began as one of those mornings. Nothing was going to be easy. Still, I mistakenly started my workday by making what I thought was a simple phone call.

Me: “Hello, I’m calling about completing our SAM registration.”

Woman on Phone: “Certainly, first may I have your name – first and last – your email, and phone number in case we get disconnected?”

I spell out and listen to her repeat all my information back to me.

Woman on Phone: “And do you go by Mr. Witkins?”

Me: *silence* … “Um, I’ll respond to MS. Witkins.”

Really?? I know it’s early in the morning, but my voice isn’t that low?
Have you listened to my vlog? I sound like a Jim Henson muppet!

Woman on Phone: *loud laughter* … *no apology given* … “And how can I help you today?”

Me: “I need to complete our SAM registration.”

Woman on Phone: “Alright ma’am, and what’s your dunce number?

Me: “My DUNCE number?”

This lady is not making friends with me this morning.

Woman on Phone: “Yes, ma’am. Every organization has their own Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number.”

Me: “Oh, DUNS number. I have no idea.”

Shit. Maybe I should have a DUNCE number.

Woman on Phone: “No problem, I can give you the number to look up your DUNS number and you can call back here when you have it.”

Me: “So, I look up my DUNS number and then I can call back here to complete our SAM registration?”

Woman on Phone: “Yes, ma’am.”

Lies! She told me lies!

The next half of my morning was spent taking a variety of background checks and chatting on the phone with more women assuring me this was how I register our SAM account.

FYI, a SAM account is used for any agency that receives federal funding. It’s the registry that proves you are who you say you are, and funds are sent through that registry. My nonprofit employer needed to update our account, but the problem it seems is that our registry was logged under an employee who is no longer with our agency. So I was trying to access our account and update the necessary info.

These are the faces I made during the following process.

Dealing With Customer Service Reps

First step: Call 2nd phone number and ask for agency’s DUNS number. Get told they don’t give DUNS numbers out over the phone, but they’ll email me the website link to look it up online.

Second step: Go to the website which forced me to complete an online background check in which I was asked a series of multiple choice questions about my identity – not my agency – MY identity. What are the first two digits of my social security number? What county was I born in?

Third step: Now answer 4 more random security questions.

Fourth step: Pass the background check! Acquire DUNS number! Find out DUNS number was in original email requesting SAM registration all along.

Fifth step: Hit head on desk.

Sixth step: Call back to original SAM registration line. Give them DUNS number.

Seventh step: Become informed that I must create an account on the SAM registration website.

Eighth step: Do that.

Ninth step: Become informed I must submit a notarized letter signed by the head of my agency confirming I am who I say I am in order to be approved as the new agency account administrator.

Tenth step: Hit head on desk more.

Eleventh step: Write letter to be notarized. Get boss to sign it.

Twelfth step: Get letter notarized by a lady at the bank.

Thirteenth step: Discover the bank lady uses an embossed notary seal, not an inked one. So this will never show up when I scan it and send it to the federal government.

Fourteenth step: Scan letter anyway and email to government. Become informed I must create an account on a third website for that day.

Fifteenth step: Go home. The federal government hates me.

How was YOUR morning?

What I’ve Been Reading About – Sex, Lies, and Murder

Hey Dudes and Dudettes,

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about my progress with the To Be Read Pile Challenge, so I thought I’d better “update my status.” You see I’ve been reading a lot about relationships lately, so I have three titles of love advice for anyone to enjoy.

And as a refresher, if you’re unfamiliar with the TBR Pile Challenge, it’s a reading contest hosted by Adam over at Roof Beam Reader. The goal is to complete in 12 months time 12 books that have been sitting on your bookshelf for a year or more. You know the ones, they linger in the ever-looming “to be read” pile. At nine months in, I’m just two books away from completing the challenge this year. Holla!

What have I recently crossed off my list?

TBR book collageBonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Roach - BonkLittle known fact about me, or maybe it’s no secret, I love learning about sex and sexuality. I minored – and only because it wasn’t offered as a major at the time – in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I’m passionate about women’s issues and rights, and I’m thrilled to be working at a reproductive health clinic in my town. Reading about the history and science of sex research was right up my alley.

The author, Mary Roach, is quite possibly the queen of nonfiction exposition on risque topics. Her other books dive into the worlds of human cadavers, the digestive track, and what happens when we die. For Bonk, the woman volunteered herself and her husband to be lab rats for sex research on orgasms. That’s dedication.

In Bonk, not only will you learn about the doctors and scientists behind the “G-spot,” the infamous Kinsey “attic sessions,” or just how artificial insemination happens in a pig, but so much more!

The American Heiress

american heiressAlright, let’s tame things down a bit. For all you Downton Abbey diehards and regency era wannabees, I suggest you give Daisy Goodwin’s The American Heiress a try. My book club read this one and it was well enjoyed.

Cora Cash is an American debutante. She is wealthy, beautiful, and definitely high society. Her mother, opinionated at her core, has high plans of wedding her daughter to an English Duke, which would grant Cora the one thing she doesn’t have…a title.

It won’t surprise readers to learn that Cora is soon wed in the novel, however can Cora’s marriage last when she comes from a different world than her husband? So many unknowns!

Escape on a whirlwind love affair in Europe, walk the halls of the great English mansions, and go galloping with the finest – or are they – members of society.

Rebecca

rebeccaBy and far one of my favorite reads this year! I can’t believe I didn’t read it sooner! After all, the film adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock is tied for first place (with North by Northwest) as my favorite film of his.

Be very aware, young lovers, when falling head over heels into this tale. A young woman of unfortunate circumstance believes her luck has turned around when she meets and marries millionaire, Maxim De Winter, owner of the luscious estate, Manderley. But all is not well inside these walls. The great rooms of the house, the garden with its roses, and the forgotten cottage down by the beach – they are all haunted by Rebecca – the first Mrs. De Winter.

A shocking truth brings the honeymoon to a miserable end in this chilling story by Daphne Du Maurier. I can’t tell you what happens, just read it for yourself!

*****

What have you been reading? Are you participating in the TBR Pile Challenge? How’s it going? Got any recommendations for me?

 

 

 

The TRUTH Behind Five Truths and a Lie: Vlog Edition

Hey Everyone!

I had so much fun chatting with you all over my last post, Five Truths and a Lie. What a hoot watching you all guess which of the 6 stories were real and which one wasn’t. If you haven’t guessed yet, go ahead and click the link to submit your answer. I’ll wait!

*****

Final submissions in? Good!

On to the fun and giggles! I decided to reveal the answers via vlog. And good news for you, I haven’t been drinking before this one, so it should make a lot more sense than my past vlog when I was touring the Beer, Wine, and Cheese Festival. Yaaaaaaah, good times!

So here’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

So how did you do? Did you guess right?
Are you shocked about my past life?
Nah, you knew I was scandalous! ;)

Five Truths and a Lie

Mandi

This is Mandi.

Thanks to the sweetest mother-daughter blogger duo, InionNMathair, I’ve been introduced to some awesome new bloggers via their post, The Sisterwives. One of these amazing women is Mandi of the fabulously named blog – Cellulite Looks Better Tan.

I’ll have to take your word on that, Mandi!

*stretches toes into ray of sunlight* Sizzle *withdraws immediately*

For now, this redhead is still sun-combustible. And my cellulite looks like a  marshmallow.

Then again, Mandi prides herself on being a good liar. Perhaps this is true about sun-baked cellulite. I can’t be sure.

What I am sure of is that Mandi is a really funny gal. And she just shared five truths and a lie in her blog post, True Story…,  for readers to figure out which thing on her list is the lie. Interested yet? You should be. After all she includes tuna, stitches, and dead people! What more could you want?!

Inspired to play along, I’m sharing five truths and a lie for all of YOU to guess which one is the lie about me.

Have at it!

1.  I once won a year’s worth of chicken wings.

2. My first boyfriend collected horse figurines.

3. I quit smoking by drinking tea.

4. My parents’ backyard once kept 7 toilets, 1 urinal, a washing machine, a keyboard, and a caution – slow down – crosswalk person inside it.

5. I love to cartwheel.

6. I whistle by breathing in instead of out.

So, whatd’ya think?
Which one is the lie?

You Are What You Eat, And That’s Why I’m An Oompa Loompa

The past year has been a transitional one for me. I quit my job of six years, I was unemployed and financially broke for months, I wrote a full draft of my book, and I got a new job that I love!

It seems the winds of change weren’t done for me after just one year. I took on the task of planning an international wedding. I continued working on my book. I had a secret civil ceremony abroad. And then my family and I laid my brother-in-law to rest. Four days later, Joe and I had our stateside wedding ceremony and revealed our big surprise.

It doesn’t seem possible that I’ve undergone so many emotional extremes – some of which in one week’s time. I know I lived it. But I can’t believe it. I just knew it was time that I start taking care of myself. Mentally and physically.

The big push to get started came after reading Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. It’s amazing and well-researched. And I had the pleasure of meeting her at BlogHer14. In her book, she discusses the strengths and increased productivity from exercising meditation, getting enough sleep at night, and separating ourselves from technology for awhile.

BlogHer book signing

I started practicing a few of her tips, like not checking social media an hour before bedtime – and going to bed earlier!

About a month ago, my best friend asked me if I wanted to do the 21 Day Fix challenge with her. It’s a daily workout and meal plan. I was in the midst of the wedding and decided not to, but when it came up again this month, I said yes.

And that brings me to all the green food I’ve eaten.

I’m eating a lot of green food.

cucumbersCucumbers

chicken with avocadoAvocado on top of my Chicken

spinachSpinach and Kale

kiwiKiwi

Everything I’m eating is GREEN!

green foods collage

In addition, I also ate peas, green beans, and asparagus.

I started worrying that if I continued to eat so many green foods, I would eventually turn GREEN!

And then I’d look like an Oompa Loompa!!!

Selfie - OL1

Selfie - OL2

Selfie - OL3

Selfie - OL4

But I still crave junk food sometimes.

selfie - OL collageI’m done with week one. And good news, I’ve gone grocery shopping and bought vegetables of other colors. For now, my pigment is sage safe.

I’m liking how I feel so far. Taking care of ourselves is a luxury most of us don’t honor. But I’m glad I timed myself out and did this. My brain and body feel energized and are able to start processing the events of this past year.

What are you doing for yourself this week?

Thoughts On Selling My Oldest Niece, or Why Grammar Is Important

I was in Madison this past weekend visiting family when I drove by a rather peculiar sign on a highly trafficked street corner.

Huge Kids SaleMy immediate thoughts were, “Someone alert the authorities! They’re selling above average sized children on their lot!”

But then I thought, “Where can I find some large kidlets to sell? I could use some extra cash.”

And that’s when I looked schemingly at my niece and nephew. *rubs hands together*

My niece, who is 12, is only about 1 inch shorter than me, if that. She has taken on, with great gusto might I add, the goal of growing taller than several members of our family. I am the next name on her list.

Yes, she has a list.

When I arrived earlier that day at my brother’s house, I learned I was going to be sharing a room with my niece for the night. While carrying my backpack to the guest mattress they had laid out, she noticed a pair of shoes sticking out of my bag.

Niece:  “Oh good, you brought the shoes I like!”

Me:  “I like them too. That’s why I STILL WEAR them.”

Suffice it to say, after we arrived back to their house, having seen the sign for the “HUGE KIDS SALE,” my mind was full of ideas.

Ideas that raised my eyebrows when I saw my niece walk across the living room wearing my shoes – that fit her – on her 12 year old feet. I am almost 29.

And then when I saw her proceed to gulp down a glass of lemonade and eat several slices of banana bread smeared in butter, I may have uttered in a kind of creepy voice, “Good, good. Eat up, my pretty. I’ll make more at the market in the morning.” *followed by more hand rubbing*

My niece giggled at me and put my shoes back in my bag.

Now how come my brother has never asked me to babysit?

 

 

 

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