Keeping the Horror out of Halloween

Have you seen the latest horror movie? I sure haven’t. At this time of year, every chainsaw-wielding, zombie-chasing slasher movie comes out, and I have zero interest in seeing any of them. The world is scary enough these days without adding in a layer of supernatural terror.

I know this means I miss out on some excellent filmmaking. I’ve never watched a Stephen King movie or experienced the brilliant storytelling of Jordan Peele. I’ve never even seen The Exorcist – a true Halloween classic.

I guess I’m more of an “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” kind of a girl.

My kids enjoy a good scary movie once in a while and especially at this time of year. They attempt to lure me downstairs to a dark den with promises of buttered popcorn and quality family time. But unlike the doomed characters in their movie, I don’t tend to make bad decisions.

The last horror movie I saw was M. Night Shyamalan’s, The Sixth Sense. To this day, my family tells me it doesn’t count because it’s more spooky than scary. But, I am proud to say that I sat through the whole thing and enjoyed it.

When I was younger, I watched the original Poltergeist complete with the attacking trees, terrifying clowns, and haunted burial ground. As a teenager, I was pressured into seeing Halloween on a date. I watched it with my hands covering my face the entire time. For some reason, he thought I would enjoy seeing a horror flick before dinner. It didn’t, and I asked him to take me home instead.

These days, I still prefer candy over carnage, Skittles over serial killers, Butterfingers over bloodbaths, and most of all, fun over fear. And who knows, maybe Ghostbusters will be on television this year. That is much more my speed.



Will You Quaranteam?

If you could choose 5-10 people to quarantine with who would they be?

This is the question we may all be facing as we head into winter. If you live on the east coast like me, you know your days of fun in the sun are dwindling fast. Even today, there is a chill in the air that tells me colder weather is on its way. Tomorrow, it’s supposed to rain and someday soon there will likely be snow.

I bring you this weather report because we are going to be spending a lot more time indoors. Now that I understand the virus a little better, I can be more strategic about who we choose to spend time with and remain healthy.

Quaranteaming vs. Germ Pods

If you aren’t sure what your plans are yet, you have a few options to choose from. Some people form “quaranteams” which technically means leaving your home behind to stay at someone else’s home or inviting friends to live with you. The purpose of this is to have some form of social interaction – besides with your immediate family — while on lockdown.

Personally, I don’t think I could quaranteam. I love my friends, but I want to KEEP my friends. Unless we were all quaranteaming in Hawaii – then, I’d make an exception.

I’d prefer forming “germ pods. Or as I prefer to call them, quarantine bubbles. (Sounds nicer, doesn’t it?) These are made up of about 12 people, or three families, who stay in their own homes but agree to go steady – meaning they don’t socialize outside the group.

They share the same values and follow CDC guidelines like wearing masks everywhere they go and wash their hands frequently. These are people I can spend quality time with without much fear of being exposed–and we don’t have to share a bathroom for three months.

My Bottom Line

Of course, there are no guarantees. I can be exposed to COVID-19 while food shopping or pumping gas. Every time I venture out for basic necessities, I know there is a risk. However, socializing with friends in person is important to our well being. It is a luxury and a responsibility that I am willing to take on if it results in keeping us all happy and sane.

So, what are your plans? Are you quaranteaming this winter? Forming a bubble? Or winging it?

Got Vitamin D?

Vitamin D foodsI’ve been feeling more tired than usual over the past year. I’ve also been a little more forgetful lately which I chalked up to lots of distractions and life changes. Or it could be because of this crazy world we are living in, and how I just want to crawl under the covers until it’s all over.

I know what you are going to say. Maybe it’s depression, but I have that well taken care of for many years now. I’ve also invested more time into better sleeping habits and now I get between 6 1/2 -7 hours a night – so it isn’t a lack of zzz’s.

At my physical earlier this month, I decided to mention this all to my doctor. He checked my Vitamin D level and sure enough, it turns out I’m woefully deficient. Now, I’m not one to take a lot of vitamins, but this is apparently an important one that will likely solve a lot of my issues. (Well maybe not all of them. 😉 )

I’m no doctor, but I can google, and here is what I found out.

  • Vitamin D helps with fatigue, bone strength, mood changes, memory, and boosts your immunity – which is a good thing during a global pandemic.
  • Vitamin D is the sunny vitamin in that if you spend a lot of time in the sun, this vitamin will shine upon you and give you lots of its benefits
  • It promotes weight loss – Why didn’t I start with this? 😀
  • Besides taking a supplement, eating more fish and dairy helps increase your levels.

So, here I am adding another pill (actually, 4) to my daily regimen. Hoping this will help because I have too much to do to justify taking a power nap every day.

Does anyone else have some experience with this? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks, Elton John

I had a dream last night that I was front and center at an Elton John concert. No one wore masks and no one was social-distancing. There was just fantastic music. Actually, he was playing just one song.

Don’t you know
I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
And I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life
Without you on my mind

I’m still standing
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)
I’m still standing
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)

Maybe this is my new theme song. God knows I’ve been through a lot this year. I probably had COVID-19 back in March before we even knew what it was. I couldn’t get tested because I didn’t meet all the guidelines – no fever, no shortness of breath. Still, I was sick for over three weeks with a horrible cough, fatigue, and the most telling – losing my sense of taste. I know now that it was likely a lighter case of the virus. But, I was sicker than I’ve been in a long time.

I’m still standing
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)

I was furloughed back in July and spent the better part of three months job hunting and collecting unemployment for the first time in my life. I spent most of my time networking, writing, applying, and interviewing. Rinse and repeat. I’ll say this – looking for a new job is no picnic in normal times. During a pandemic, it can seem like an eternity.

I’m still standing
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)

Everyone in our household was affected by quarantine in different ways. Jenna had to leave college early and finish the semester from home. Andrew couldn’t hang out with his friends or play sports and had figure out how to go to school remotely. Both my husband and I were also working from home. We realized how much we missed the commutes we used to complain about all the time. But, they were a clean separation from work life and family. And while we love each other dearly, it wasn’t easy being on lockdown for so long. Our dog, Chloe, was the only one who loved every minute of it.

I’m still standing
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)

It’s been an adjustment for all of us this year. Little things that we took for granted like going to our children’s activities to canceling vacations and sacrificing big events like bar mitzvahs and weddings all went by the wayside. Even now, we are still trying to figure out our comfort levels as we head into an uncertain winter season. Who will we let into our quarantine bubble? Are we comfortable eating indoors at restaurants? How will we spend the holidays? There is still much more ahead of us. But, we can pat ourselves on the back a little and remember…

We’re still standing
(Yeah, yeah, yeah)



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