A Somewhat Horrifying October Weekend

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It is no secret that I am socially stunted.  I’ve always had a difficult time with friendships…choosing friends, cementing friendships, and remaining friends has never been a strong personality trait of mine.  I know this about myself, and it has as much to do with how I was raised (by elderly grandparents who didn’t understand the importance of socialization and didn’t have the energy anyway) as it does with the unique psychological aspects of being a gifted underachiever (not being cocky with the word gifted here, more on that and my self-diagnosis in a future post).  It greatly magnifies my appreciation for the friends that I do have.

Through my life however, I found myself gravitating toward just one person at a time.  When I was little, it was Kat.  An awesome greek girl with whom I was inseparable  from ages 4 – 8.  We lived within walking distance of each other.  Then for a while after that it was Blanca.  Spanish import who sadly moved back to Spain–I was crushed.  High School’s distinct social hierarchy and the fact that our house was in a pretty rural area allowed me to blossom more friendships at a time, but there was still one person who (if you had asked me back in ’96) was my “best friend.”  She was even maid of honor in my wedding.

Back in 2004-ish we had a falling out…at the time I was doing some personal life cleaning.  Life cleaning is a cyclical process for me.  I pick up riff-raff then I dispose of it.  Not that she was riff-raff, but at a time when I was taking stock of my life we weren’t getting along.  I was life cleaning…so she got the boot.  Yet for some reason I always kind of regretted it.  Other people I’ve cut out of my life have either irrevocably hurt me, were taking advantage of me, or we just weren’t compatible any more and my lack of social skills prevented me from adapting.  But this time, I was just absolutely sure that somewhere down the line things would be different and we would be friends again.  I was wrong.

This past weekend I sort of randomly ended up attending a bachelorette party for a mutual friend of ours.  (When I stopped talking to her, I also severely limited my contact with other people in our group as well, even though there was no reason other than the fact that I didn’t want to run into her).  Needless to say, she was there–although admittedly I knew it would be a possibility.  Alright, I worried it was a possibility and completely missed the FB message that clearly stated she would be there.  I put on my best face and endured one of the most  uncomfortable nights of my life for the sake of the bride to be.  I tried to have a good time.  Not a great time, I only aimed for good–except there was an elephant in the room and it was jumping up and down and spraying water on everything and it was an old, sad elephant that wasn’t particularly cute.  We took one car.  I felt trapped, and frozen.  Frozen from the icicles that were shooting out of her eyes and stabbing me every 5 seconds or so.  Then, as though the social awkwardness was mystically compounding somewhere in the universe, we ended up at my high school reunion.   Here we saw about 15 people (it was practically over) who could have given two shits about any of us in high school drunkenly shouting things like OOOOOOHHH, MY GAAAAWD.  Splendid.  Horrifying.

What did I learn from this bizarre experience? 

1. I should remember ex’s are ex’s for a reason (and that conjecture apparently stretches beyond the reaches of romantic relationships).  No, the universe did not have a great design for my lost friendship.  I will no longer harbor guilt over not making up.

2. Sometimes shit like this goes down so you can reflect on where you are in your life.  Perspective can equal gratitude.  (As in Thank god I’m not a bitter, grudge-holder and that I love my current life and friends who love me too and don’t seem to be going anywhere).

3.  Closure can be as simple as receiving a glaring eye-roll.  FINITO.

soap box moment…

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I feel compelled to write this post, because someone that I know has been using her blog as a medium for a lot of information that comes off as anti-modern medicine.  Her posts, though I’m sure meant to generate compassion for her decisions while pregnant (and trust me everyone has an opinion on your decisions when you’re pregnant), are opposing views to many of the choices I needed to make while I was pregnant.  This is not an attack on that person…so if you’re reading this—it is not personal.  I simply feel that information of all spectrums should be available and accessible to those who want it.  Therefore, for the sake of a karmic internet, I would like to share my pregnancy story here.  And for the gentleman who may be reading this post…Its going to start off pretty graphic…and possibly remain pretty graphic. 

 To begin…

When I was 20 years old, I had never been to a gynecologist, yeah I know pretty stupid.  I was in the midst of one of the most stressful times in my life and my period had been somewhat irregular for possibly up to a year or two before that, I hadn’t been paying too much attention.  On a Thursday morning, I awoke in my dorm room in a pool of blood.  I had my period, and I was used to heavy bleeding, but this was different.  My roommate and a friend helped me clean up (after I assured them I hadn’t been stabbed) and I finally figured it was time to address my health, as surely THIS WAS NOT NORMAL.  I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS.  The basic breakdown is that my ovaries do not drop eggs (or ovulate) regularly and unruptured follicles on the ovaries appear, mistakenly called “cysts.”  It is estimated that 5-10% of women have PCOS and the symptoms include irregular periods, irregular ovulation, hair growth where you don’t want it, hair loss where you don’t want it, depression, obesity, an inability to lose weight and infertility.  Although not completely understood, the medical consensus du jour is that PCOS is a result of insulin resistance and like me, many patients are treated as “pre-diabetic” with Metformin, a drug traditionally prescribed for type 2 diabetics that helps the body absorb insulin.  Depending on which symptoms manifest in each person, oral contraception is also often prescribed to regulate the absolutely crazy periods one might get *see next paragraph…

 Over the next 5 years I struggled with taking oral contraception…struggled, I say, because I am absolutely, ridiculously, notoriously awful when it comes to taking prescriptions.  So, like the terrible patient I am, I would take it off and on and then my script would run out and instead of going to the gyno, I’d let my period get crazy irregular again and go when it became an inconvenience.  For example, I once had my period for 6 months.  Not once a month for 6 months, SIX MONTHS STRAIGHT.  It was also a time when I was depressed and hardly left my bed anyway, so what did it matter?

 Speaking of depression, for me much of the vicious cycle of depression that comes with PCOS is tied up in feeling like there is something wrong with you.  Why is my body different?  Why did I suddenly gain 15 pounds when all I did was substitute my ramen noodles for 2 ice cream sandwiches (this was college remember)…Why are my cheeks fuzzy?  I’m so fat/ugly/tired from all the continuous menstruating…I CAN’T GET OUT OF BED (Plus all the external stressors I was experiencing).

 Fast forward to that magical time I was trying to get pregnant…for a year.  Yeah, that was fun…12 whole months of OMG OMG OMG, I KNOW I AM THIS TIME!!! Followed by Erik telling me that everything would be ok as I sobbed into a pillow.  We used Clomid to conceive.  After trying for so long the risk of multiples far outweighed the possibility of never having a baby.  I joked in those months that I was going to have quintuplets and name them April, May (or Maynard), June, Juli (or Julian), and August (or Augusten).  Finally, in the third and final month of my prescription I got that coveted second blue line.  It was so faint, but undeniable.  We confirmed the next morning with a digital test.  I count myself infinitely lucky that it worked as I know quite a few women who have not had that fortune and of those more than one who has suffered far more than a few tears in a pillow.  My sister laughs when I say this, but there was a time when I thought my dog would be my only child I’M NOT KIDDING.

 Well it just so happened that God afforded us that miracle.  Digital tests don’t lie, I was pregnant.  Like any pregnant woman with PCOS I was at risk for Gestational Diabetes.  So like a much better patient than I ever was before at 20 weeks I took my glucose test.  I just barely passed it…so to be safe I was scheduled for the second test.  EPIC FAIL.  In the week and a half that had passed between tests, I went from borderline to full-blown GD.  And as my pregnancy progressed and I did EVERYTHING IN MY POWER (including trying the most disgusting pizza I have ever eaten in my life—fyi soy flour crust) it just got worse.  Gradually I went from diet controlled diabetes to an insulin junkie.  Just because there is a correlation between an increase in glucose levels as a pregnancy progresses doesn’t mean that everyone’s body can handle that increase and I had needle trails and sore fingertips to prove it. So in case you were wondering GD is not hype.  It’s a real disorder with real consequences.  Additionally, I would say that having a “fat” baby wasn’t really even a main concern of mine (Macrosomia or “fat” baby is usually considered a major risk of GD).  After all, c-sections are available…not wanted but available.  No, my main concern was how my body felt as a diebetic and I can’t really explain it but it wasn’t fun.  When you’re pregnant you tend to worry that not feeling well (in any sense) will affect the baby.

Here is a bit of information that I’ve found to be extremely interesting.  One of the risk factors for GD is pregnancy over the age of 25.  That’s it, 25 years old.  Also, I have come across several people in my life who seem to believe that Gestational Diabetes is preventable, or basically IT’S THE MOTHER’S FAULT.  That what I was eating directly resulted in my diagnosis as though I had just dumped pounds and pounds of sugar on everything that passed my lips or dunked all in a deep fryer.  This is simply ignorant, poor diet does put you at risk for diabetes (and is by no means an absolute indicator in either direction), but gestational diabetes is an exception.  It manifests in approximately 18% of preganacies and has more to do with the fact that you have a baby growing inside of you than if you have a penchant for HoHo’s.  It bothers me when people are under educated on an issue but throw in their two cents.  I had and continue to have a healthy diet that avoids many foods with sugar or fried foods.   

Which brings me to part 2 or “Why I have 6 ultrasound pictures of my child.”

Another fun thing that happened to me and my utterly imperfect and stupidly unnatural body while I was pregnant was a lovely case of high blood pressure.  I never actually tipped the scales to Preeclampsia THANK GOD because Preeclampsia is a dangerous and terrifying condition—it is the leading cause of fetal complications and can become Eclampsia, which is the second leading cause of maternal death.  Before I was pregnant, my BP deserved a plaque at the American Heart Association…no kidding…30 years of 120/80…pure perfection…down the drain.  Apparently my body did NOT get the memo that it’s just supposed to perform how it always performed…or uh, I guess better than it always performed.  If you ask me what the worst part of having a baby was, I will not say labor.  I will not say having gestational diabetes and having to stab myself with insulin.  No, I will unanimously declare that being treated with Magnesium is the absolute worst thing on the planet.  It makes you nuts.  It makes you tired.  It’s quite possibly the worst drug on the planet.  But then again it probably saved my life so if needed again I would take it gladly.

On top of all these body issues that normal people don’t have…I also had a gall bladder attack.  I went to the ER in my 6th month of pregnancy thinking something was wrong with the baby…I was in a ton of pain and it hurt to breath.  Well, the attack passed and it was kept at bay until Lily was 4 weeks old…I had another attack and got my gall bladder removed.  You know what sucks?  Spending the night in the hospital with an infant at home and crying yourself to sleep.

With all these things that my naïve body was doing (I mean really, it should have known better) and the fact that my unborn baby was highly uncooperative during 90% of my fetal monitoring appointments, my crazy doctor (I’m being sarcastic, I actually have a shrine to him) thought that it would probably be a good idea to have some extra ultrasounds.  Yes, I had 6 ultrasounds.  Are there risks involved in having an ultra sound done?  Possibly…Medical research is inconclusive and the FDA’s current position is that it is safe.  There are studies that show that more than 30 minutes of ultrasound can harmfully heat the cells in a developing fetus or create pockets of air. The ultrasounds that I underwent never lasted anywhere near 30 minutes and the person performing them, whether my doctor or a licensed ultra sound technician operated the equipment safely.  I will note that the FDA does not recommend fetal ultrasounds for non medical purpose, for example those freaky looking 3D ultrasounds that are all the rage in some circles.  (Seriously, what is the appeal of those things?  The babies are all smushed and ugly inside of you anyway.)  My body’s short-comings also led us to the decision to deliver at Capital Health Systems, Mercer Campus which has the only regional Level III Neonatal Care Unit.  I cannot give enough praise for this hospital.  The staff was no less than amazing at all times.

So, with all the terrible things that my body went through what was the result?  A mother developing the utmost faith in her obstetrician and who, despite it all LOVED being pregnant and most importantly a healthy baby girl. 

Which brings me to part 3 or “Did you say push”?

But, you ask, what about the fact that the baby was born 3 weeks early.  Well, that’s a tale on its own.  During my 37 week growth ultra-sound…one that is usually scheduled, the technician and the doctor on call both felt that my amniotic fluid looked low.  They were specifically looking for this because I had Gestational Diabetes.  Turns out, once my water broke it was clear that I had plenty of fluid and it was a false alarm.  Was my doctor’s reaction to the fact that he had induced me for no reason defensive or off-putting?  No.  In fact, my doctor, who is more mild-mannered than Clark Kent, was actually rather pissed.  The fact that he made a point to bring this up to us confirmed what I had suspected all along…that no matter what happened he had me and my baby’s best interests at heart. 

The rest of my birth story is rather comical.  From my ultrasound appointment that day I went home got my hospital bag and got checked in…My induction began at 5pm.  My blood pressure spiked and I was given magnesium, I was on Petocin, I was given Benedryl (my allergies were acting up and it was an unseasonably warm day in April with the windows open)…needless to say I was pretty out of it. Erik and I watched Slumdog Millionaire, pausing the laptop for contractions. I woke up sporadically during the next day…

At around 9:20-ish my doctor came in the room, checked between my legs and addressed me…”ok, Jill, you are fully dilated, do you think you are ready to push?”  Was I ready?  Let’s say for the sake of amusement you go back and read that line again…then when you get to the word “push” insert a contraction, add a bit of delirium and you have me shouting “YES” as I BEGIN TO PUSH…the next 9 minutes are a whirlwind of my doctor and Erik shouting to the nurses to “get in here.”  Nothing was prepared…no baby cart, no blankets…Just my Doctor and Erik scrambling as I pushed away determined to get the baby out as quickly as possible…2 more contractions/pushes and out she popped.  MIRACLE OF LIFE….DO IT.  Erik cut the cord.  I listened for her cry and held her to my chest…then I slept…and it was awesome…

I recovered from the high blood pressure and diabetes for 5 days…and then they sent us home, a brand spanking new family.

Am I bitter that I had such a difficult ordeal?  Not in the least.  I say again, I LOVED being pregnant.  From holding a positive pee stick in my hand to holding a newborn to my chest I adored every single second and can’t wait to do it again.  What I want people to understand is that pregnancy can be a dangerous and harrowing experience.  Yes, my situation is high risk.  Yes, I needed to pursue the route of modern medicine.  But even without all the added risks that my body threw into the mix, pregnancy is still dangerous.  With all the advances of modern medicine, the United States is still only 29th in the world for infant mortality and ranks below 40 other countries in maternal death.  There are no guarantees.  For more information on the risks involved in pregnancy feel free to visit the following sites:

For Statistical Information:   http://www.americanpregnancy.org/main/statistics.html

For Information on Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome:  http://www.pcosupport.org/

For Information on Gestational Diabetes:  http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational…

For Information on High Blood Pressure during Pregnancy: March of Dimes

There are so many sources of information out there and the internet can be a tricky.  Remember when you are doing any research online to search out trusted sources.  And please, for the love of cookies, do not get me started on vaccines…

My Internet Loves

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Hello everyone,

Here I am blogging again, isn’t it amazing?

This time I wanted to share some of the websites that I love and why I’m obsessed with them.  There are so many writers out there that are sharing their lives on the internet, and there are so many sites that I visit in an attempt to make my day go by more quickly.  These precious few have me hooked and are a regular part of my procrastination routine.  (These are in no specific order.)

1. Young House Love - the exploits of John and Sherry Petersik, thier baby Clara and thier chihuahua Burger as they now settle into their new home. This is basically a home improvement blog, but this couple is so darn cute I’m totally invested in their lives.  Their home designs are beautiful.  They love clean, modern design that is so universally appealing I may be a convert!  (My dream house still looks like an ecclectic English cottage though.)  They also have tutorials, decor related craft ideas, and tons of pictures of their wedding that was completely DIY and in the back yard of their first home! 

2.  Dooce – Heather Armstrong’s blog is famous.  She gained notariaty chronicaling her harrowing experience with post partum depression after the birth of her first child.  She’s written 2 books and accosted Gweneth Paltrow while in her bathrobe last year.  But seriously, the reason I love her is her brutally honest comedic writing.  She’s not afraid to tell you about a public fart, and that’s my kind of people :)

3.  Mighty Girl - Another famous blog (Actally all the blogs I read are pretty well know).  Mighty famous, mighty inspirational…check out the Mighty life list…the best idea since sliced bread…gonna make me one of those soon.  Another writer who is sincere and lovely…and funny. 

4. Toothpaste for Dinner/Natalie Dee/Married to the Sea – The BEST webcomics on the web–always funny.  You may recognize some T-shirts I own…also, check out the video “Charles has a Licking Problem” it’s and oldie but goodie and you won’t be disappointed.

5.  The NieNie Dialogues - Ok, I am absolutely enthralled by Stephanie Nielson’s blog, Nienie.  Stephanie and her husband Christian were in a plane crash and as a result she has burns over 80% of her body.  If you want a good cry, read her archives…If you want to be inspired, keep reading.  She’s a mother of four who is absolutely cherishing life and her faith is amazing–she’s Mormon, and although I have no inclination toward changing to that religion I’m enamoured by the closeness of their community.

6.  Bakerella – Cake Pops anyone? Not in the mood? Highly unlikely, but if that’s the case Angie Dudley has a plethora of other sweet recipes to glance at.  Plus, you can’t argue that her designs are the absolute cutest ever…

7.  Amazon - This holiday season pushed me over to the catagory of “Amazon Junkie.”  I’m on there ALL THE TIME.  No explanation really needed, they have everything.

8.  Etsy – If you don’t know about Etsy, there may be something wrong with you.

9. Ohdeedoh - The kid-centric spin-off of Apartment Therapy.  From the site: “This is a site for people who care about good design, but happen to have children.  In fact, kids are cute, but their stuff is often just plain ugly and it often seems as if good design and kids’ furnishings are contradictory terms. We’re here to help make the transition easier and more fun.”  LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!  Apartment Therapy also has sites dedicated to home design, green living, cooking and technology (tabs at top of page) however; these sites are blocked by my employer :(

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.  I really need to cut back on my internet time…but I think I’d need a 12-step to do so ;)

Redundant?

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I was just thinking (again) about 2 weeks ago when Lily told me I was a good girl. If I haven’t told you the story (I most likely have) it went down like this:

Lily has a humidifier that has a little light on it. She’s kind of afraid of it (it’s green, but when the water runs out it turns red…if it’s red we have actual screaming). So one morning I go to get her ready for day care and she says: Frog off mommy. (In the cutest voice ever). So I scoop her up out of the crib, turn around and flick the switch on the humidifier. Lily then hugs me, pats my back and says “good girl, mommy, good girl.”

I have repeated this story to everyone. I love this story. I wanted it written down for posterity.

It reminds me of when I was little. My mother used to drive a VW Rabbit (it was an awful car) But the console lights would reflect onto the passenger window and I though they were a dragon looking at me. I was so scared that anytime we drove at night I would be so careful to not look out the window. Then one day I realized it was a reflection and I though that the car was very stupid for making the lights shaped to look like a dragon.  Also, I was thinking about how I used to sit in the front seat (no booster or anything)…I was really little…oh well.

Hopefully Lily won’t be as easily terrified.

Jill

How the holidays stole my soul and my upcoming disappearance…

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Hello all,

Here I am, apologizing again for not posting for a really long time…

So this is what’s been up and what’s going to be up in the very new future:

1. Erik, Lily and I have all been sick off and on since November.  And it’s really sucked.  We’ve had everything…colds, flu, stomach virus, sinus infection…ugh.  I would love to be able to use my nostrils again…oh, and lemme shout out to my sister: “my jaw hurts” (that would be my sinus infection btw).  Currently I’m the only one sick.  Lily has her never-ending-cough that comes with every cold but is otherwise quite healthy.

2. It may just be all the sickness talking, but after the holidays I’m tired of humanity and want to retreat into my house and become a hermit until spring.  I don’t want to hang out, I don’t want to do dinner. I JUST saw you.  I want the snow to melt and the weather to warm.  Can you do that? No? Well then I go away…no, really.  Maybe it’s the winter blues, maybe it’s because I’m a Leo, maybe it’s my severe dislike of wearing a coat/hat/gloves (anyone else?) but I’m just miserable in this weather.

3.  I quit smoking.  I’m taking Chantix.  I’m not a nice person to be around.  I can’t sleep and I feel nauseous twice a day for 1/2 an hour or more depending on how many carbs I ate.  I’m apparently not supposed to complain about how horrible I feel because if I got a horrible disease from smoking that would be way worse…but what can I say…I live in the now and right now I feel like crap.

4.  Classes have begun.  3 classes, 1 semester. Graduation in May.  I can’t wait and I’m utterly horrified at the same time.  What am I if not an eternal undergrad.  I’m struggling with what finally having my degree will mean.  Mainly I’m struggling with: do I stick it out at the worst job I’ve ever had and use them to go further and get my masters or do I use that shiny new diploma and try to get the hell out of there?  My most difficult class starts on Monday, I hope I can handle the course load.

Speaking of handling the course load…”my upcoming disappearance” has everything to do with hankering down and finishing school.

5.  I baked cookies with Lily and it was really fun.  I measured everything out and she poured it into the bowl.  She was bored after it was mixed and time to scoop them onto the cookie sheet but she loved the mixer!  And then we ate them.  Warm, soft, oatmeal raisin cookies fresh out of the oven with ice cold milk.  It was heaven.

6.  New Year Resolutions:

  1. Graduate College
  2. Blog more
  3. Make more (includes cooking and crafting)
  4. Get rid of stuff I don’t need
  5. Get my house ready to sell (includes painting, purging, updating)
  6. Save as much money as humanly possible.

If you don’t hear from me in a while, you know why…but since I’ve resolved to blog more I’m hoping it will less than 2 months until my next post…

Jill

A few words on the Supernatural

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I’ve had a few spooky experiences in my life:

1. My grandmother passed away when I was 9, on July 6th. The night of July 4th (we were camping in our RV) I woke up and saw her having a conversation with a man and telling him that she was ready to go.

2. My grandmother had a fondness for touch lamps. After she passed away, the touch lamp in my room had a life of its own. Um, yeah, you have to touch it to turn it on.

3. When I was about 12, my cousin and I did some “EVP” work in my house and I will allow for the fact that we were scared shitless, but we swear we heard things…like actual words. It took me years to use that tape deck again, and the cassette itself went straight into the garbage…

4. I would swear on my life that I’ve seen shadows move…but of course that could be eye trickery…

5. When I was about 18, I was driving home from Erik’s and saw an apparition of a woman at a “T” intersection while I was making a right. She “stood up” and looked directly at my car! I’ve never seen her again. No I wasn’t under the influence of any sort of mind altering substance…It happened in a flash and I was totally freaked out!

6. When I was in college, I lived in the same dorm room for 2 years and I used to have recurrent dreams of a man in a bowler hat outside my window…I know, not exactly proof of anything, but SUPER creepy!

6. After I moved into my current house, my grandfather visited me in a dream as well. He was really nice :)

Well, anyway. I know these aren’t OMG, HOLY JESUS, OOPS! I CRAPPED MY PANTS moments or anything but definitely enough to give anyone with an admittedly over-active imagination a lifetime fear of ghosts. Here’s the kicker: I love ghost movies. (I’d say horror movies, but I’m not a huge fan of gore…especially when it’s violence from a real person acted upon another real person)…So ghost movies are like my favorite. I love when a director can just suggest something and with that mere suggestion raise the hair on the back of my neck.

In honor of Halloween, and the fact that the commercial for Paranormal Activity 2 kept me up all night (yes, just the commercial, I haven’t even seen the damn thing yet), here is a list of what I think are the scariest ghost movies (or at least the ones I can remember).

13. Ghost Ship – There’s something about this one that I really liked…even though admittedly this is probably the most mild/least realistic feeling movie on the list. The scene where they show how the people on the ship died is like a ghastly Rube-Goldberg device.

12. The Others – Not super scary (it has it’s moments) but I loved this one. I called it about 45 minutes into the movie, but I thought it was well done and the whole thing with the children being “allergic” to the light kept me guessing if I was right. And I never saw their method of dying coming!

11. Lady in White – Someone online described this as “The Wonder Years with an extra helping of murder and racism.” It’s a good creepy time, especially with the repetition of the Bing Crosby song “Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?” (which I used to play on the piano/organ before I ever saw the movie…and then promptly never played again).

10. The 6th Sense – How could I not include it? Masterfully done, once you see it and you know the big secret, it becomes a different movie. Although, if you’re suffering from memory loss, I don’t recommend it as a gift (50 First Dates, anyone?)

9. 1408 – A lot of people didn’t like this movie…I did :) There were tons of panic-inducing shocking moments mixed in with the slow build scares…another great use of music: The Carpenter’s “We’ve Only Just Begun” very pun-y!

9b. Silent Hill – This one gets a foot note…The movie is scary, yes, but the game was pretty much the scariest thing I have ever played in my life. Pyramid head (from the game) was the scariest. Scariest Period. *9b because in Silent Hill and 1408 there is a similarity with the stuck in a nightmare thing…

8. Session 9 – loved this one, and actually watched it alone! (I think I was ok, because I don’t live in an abandoned insane asylum). If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it!

7. The Grudge – I was debating which one to include on this list…The Grudge or The Ring…and The Grudge definitely won. Who could forget the creepy cat-boy and the scene where the ghost follows the sister home from work nearly gave me a heart attack…Props to The Ring, but The Grudge was far more scary to me.

6. Stir of Echoes – Great performance by Kevin Bacon, and Illeana Douglas really stood out to me…I like when the ghost is trying to get you to solve their murder…and yet again a great use of music with “Paint it Black”

5. The Blair Witch Project – I was almost the perfect age for this movie when it came out, 19 or 20…I completely related to the characters and bought into the hype. Whether you knew it was fake or not, this low budget, don’t-show-anything, movie relied solely on the actors, and they were great…I will have a picture of Heather Donahue’s snot rolling down her face in my mind forever!

4. The Amityville Horror – The original one, not the lame Ryan Reynold’s version (sorry Ryan, I still love you). The very epitome of a haunted house, with that real world, this happened to real people connection. Never quite felt the same way about the name Jody (Sorry to my Jody friends out there, but your name is synonymous with this movie for me)!! There are so many scenes that are freaky! But I think it’s the gradual build up of George Lutz’s possession that really does it for me! (PS – The scene where the priest is shown “recovering” on a bench was filmed at Georgian Court!)

3. The Shining – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It was fun just typing that! I don’t know if I’ve ever been able to sit down and watch this movie from start to finish without taking a freak-out break! Danny is creepy enough for me, but add the twins, Shelly Duvall’s crazy eyes, and, well, JACK NICHOLSON, being crazy as heck…this movie is pure horror magic!

2. Paranormal Activity – Low budget scares are the best…but the haunts in this film were so creepy and so realistic I made Erik go to the bathroom with me. The only reason this didn’t get #1 is because the “demon’s” feet resembled that of a chicken.

1. Poltergeist – For me, the scariest damn ghost movie I have ever seen and tied up in all sorts of nostalgia for being one of the first horror movies I ever saw. I love that at first the ghosts seem all playful, opening cabinets and such…then BAM! We’re not in Kansas anymore! If I close my eyes I can see that damn toy clown….Carol Ann, Tangina, and the infamous “They’re heeeeerrrree!” AWESOME…oh, and one of my favorite movie scenes of all time: when Craig T. Nelson and Jo Beth Williams are smoking pot in bed! But seriously people, we’ve all learned the lesson of the film: when you build your new housing development on the site of a cemetery, don’t just move the headstones, move the bodies too…or else they’ll kidnap your kid and come out of your swimming pool. Better yet, just don’t build there.

Honorable Mention: Ghost – I always forget that this movie scared me shitless when I was young. The shadow people that grab the guy at the end of the movie are truly terrifying…But mostly it’s a love story, even if he would only say “ditto” (I’m sorry, but how lame is that ladies?)

Happy Halloween!!!!