My Real Life

August 21, 2012

Fall is Coming

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:09 am

I can smell it in the air and can feel it in the evenings.

Monkey in the Middle has his first football practice tonight and the Giants and the Jets had their first pre-season showdown.

I’ll be spending a good portion of today working on my class website and a good portion of tomorrow updating all of my parent letters and year-opening directions for the students.

I have the packet, from the middle school where I teach and Monkey Girl now goes, of emergency forms, Home and School paperwork, and need to fill those out, as well.

School supplies for Monkey Girl have been purchased and she spent yesterday afternoon putting together her binders for A-Days and B-Days and deciding how she is going to decorate her locker.

I’m calling the chimney cleaner today so we can use our fireplace for the first time, this fall, and we took out our first Halloween books from the library yesterday.

I’m happy and getting excited, because, for me…

There is nothing like the fall.

What signifies fall for you?

August 19, 2012

Tammy and the T-Rex

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Somebody was paid to make this movie.

Someone wrote the script and someone read it and said “This is great!”

Somebody thought this would be a great kick-start to their career.

So sorry I missed this in my list of favorite movies.

You don’t need to watch all 10 minutes, but you must get to the end of the conversation between Tammy and the T-Rex.

So touching.


August 18, 2012

Real Entertainment

Filed under: Posts with Video — Amy @ 6:00 am

Recently, someone said, “From the blog, it seems like you guys just play card games and do puzzles and have conversations and that kind of stuff.  Are your kids normal?”

Of course they are normal.

We do a lot of what the questioner mentioned, but we do more of the following:

August 17, 2012

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 6:00 am
1. What’s the one thing you buy every time you walk into the store?
Milk, cereal and fruit.
I cannot keep them in the house.
No point in going to the store if I’m not leaving with those three things…otherwise, I’ll be back the next day.
2. If you had a day all to yourself how would you spend it?
I’d head out to a trail and take a good, hard hike.
Come home, take a shower and stretch out on the couch with a good book.
When I finished the book, I’d watch one of my favorite movies.
Then I’d eat and pull out another book and read until I fell asleep.
May sound boring to you, but it’s heaven to me!
3. Are you a speed limit driver? If not, over or under?
With the kids in the car?
Speed limit.
Monkey in the Middle is constantly watching the speedometer over my shoulder, so I don’t even have the opportunity to speed.
No kids in the car?
I’ll admit, I like speed.
I feel the need.  The need.  For.  Speed.

4. What’s your favorite dessert to make, homemade or from a mix??


Which is why I never make them.

5. Would you rather have a spider or a mouse scurry across your face (no copping out and saying “neither!!”)?

A spider.

I know they won’t hurt me, but if a mouse scurried across my face, I would seriously lose my mind.  Like, insane screaming and shaking of the head, and completely freaking out.

I am getting the chills just thinking about it.

The spider, I probably wouldn’t even feel.

August 16, 2012

Movie Buff

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:58 am

I have a long-running love affair with the cinema.

I’ve inherited this love from my Dad, who continues his love affair as well.

Since I can remember, my Dad would take me to the movies.

Bambi at the drive-through.

The original Star Wars at the theater.

We were among the first to get a VCR, a subscription to HBO and a membership to Blockbuster.

When Real Man and I were dating, we would often go to one movie, watch it, get back in line and buy tickets for another one.

Scary movies are my favorite.

Our first date was Pet Cemetery.

We were young.  We had no responsibility.  Why not?

Once the kids came along, we seriously curtailed our cinema trips and didn’t have cable, but we did make the most of our Blockbuster card.

If there was something we were dying to see, like the Lord of the Rings movies, we would have my parents or my father-in-law sit, and we’d head out.

But, for the most part, it was rentals for us.

As the kids grew up and were old enough to go to the movies and behave, (I have NEVER understood people who take little, little kids to the movies…you can’t enjoy the show because you are constantly shushing your child, they don’t understand the show, and the people around you certainly don’t appreciate it), we would take them to kids movies that they would want to see, as a treat.

Not all, but some.

And so, the love affair continues.

This summer, we’ve taken the monkeys to see “Brave,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and “Ice Age.”  Tomorrow, I’ll be taking them to see “Paranorman.”

Real Man and I have seen “The Campaign,” and I’m waiting with baited breath for “The Possession” and “The Odd Life of Timothy Green.”

We’re financially smart movie-goers.  We have the AMC Stubs card, which gives you money back, and we try to hit the movies before 11 am, so we get a reduced rate.  We don’t see the 3D versions.

Unfortunately, my student ID no longer works.  Had to happen someday.

Why do I love the movies?

Probably for much the same reason that I love books.

I love a good story.  I want to be entertained and let my imagination run free.

A great plot, great actors, great sets, great costumes…not much like it.


Shawshank Redemption.  A Few Good Men.  E.T. Labyrinth.  Stealing Home.  Field of Dreams.  Three Men and a Little Lady.  Fear.  All of the Lord of the Rings Movies.  Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  Do the Right Thing.  To Sir With Love.  Mr. Holland’s Opus.  Air Force One.  The Ring.  10 Things I Hate About You.  Pump Up The Volume.  Sleeping with the Enemy.  Always.  Timecop.  Dangerous Minds.  An American President.  Wedding Crashers.  A Time to Kill.  Stepmom.  It’s a Wonderful Life.  White Christmas.  Amadeus.  Die Hard with a Vengeance.  The Prophecy.  Signs.  The Harry Potter movies.

I’m sure there are more.  If you mentioned one, I would say “Oh my God!  I loved that movie!”

Movies I hate?

I don’t like a lot of movies, but actually hate?

I fell asleep in Clockers.

I turned off Swingers (although Real Man and I are thinking we might give that another chance.)

I just couldn’t get into Star Wars Episodes 1, 2 or 3.  Better graphics?  Sure.  But the characters and storyline just didn’t grab me like the classics.  While I’ll stop while channel surfing to watch the originals, I can’t switch the channel fast enough to escape the new ones.

I don’t get the hype of Pulp Fiction.  “Cheeseburger Royale.”  Yeah, I don’t get it.

I’m sure there are more of these, as well, but why dwell in the negative?

So, there you have it.  Documentation of my love affair with the movies.

I don’t go around quoting the movies I love, and my love of movies is part of a balanced lifestyle.

But I love ’em, all the same.

August 15, 2012

How It Goes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 10:23 am

Had to get blood work drawn this morning.

I have to go every few months, for my diabetes, but usually I can go after school, before the kids get home.

Clearly, not an option in the summer.

Of course, the blood work must be done while I am fasting, so I also need it to get done first thing in the morning.

That’s one of the fun things about diabetes.

If you don’t eat, your blood sugar can fall perilously low, which can cause all sorts of issues.

However, your blood work must be done while fasting.

Good times.

So, Tiny and I wake up, Monkey in the Middle and Baby are soon to follow.

Monkey Girl, however, is in full teen mode with her morning hours.

If left to her own devices, she won’t get up until around 9.

So, at 6:45, I woke her…much to my own peril.

I’m not in the mood for any whining, either, this morning, because the fasting means no medication and you’ll remember my Log Flume adventure?

Yeah, turns out the neck is bad…really bad.  So, after an exam where my doctor says “Wow…I can feel how tight and in spasm these muscles are!” she puts me on muscle relaxants 3 times a day and tells me to take Motrin 3 times a day.

Except today.

Because I have to drive and fast.

So, whining?  It will not be met with my usual patience.

We get in the car and head to Lab Corp.

Luckily, because it is early, there aren’t many people there, so I sign in and we wait.

Tiny gets busy walking around the waiting room, charming the old ladies, while Monkey in the Middle frantically follows him, telling him “no” and trying to control his every movement.

I keep explaining that he’s fine and to just leave him alone, but Monkey in the Middle isn’t happy if he’s not in control of everything.

I can’t even begin to imagine where he gets that from.

I finally get called and I asked Monkey Girl to keep Tiny in the waiting room.

She says, “I’ll hold him…I just want to come with you.”

Baby and MM absolutely do NOT want to come with me for fear one of the techs might be wildly tossing around needles and accidentally take THEIR blood.

So, the boys stay in the waiting room and Monkey Girl brings Tiny with me in the back.

I say “Do not put him down.”

She says, “Don’t worry, I won’t.”

Until she does and the lab tech walks in and says “Ooh, I wouldn’t put him on the floor back here…lots of different kinds of specimens get spilled.”

Monkey Girl scoops him up immediately and takes him to the waiting room, and I immediately begin drawing his bath, in my mind.


So, it’s just me and the tech now and I hold out both arms and say “They usually can only get blood out of the right arm.”

She says, “Let me take a look,” and decides that the left is the better arm.

Until, that is, she has stuck in the needle, put on the vial, dug around a little, had me clench and unclench my fist, untied the tourniquet, and slapped at my arm a little longer.

“Hmmm…let’s try the other one.”

Oh, you think?

So, she does the other arm, and it comes right out.

While all of this is going on, I can hear Tiny yelling “No! No! No!” from the waiting room and I know what is happening.

Monkey in the Middle is picking him up when he thinks Tiny is too close to the door, or too close to someone else who is waiting.

Monkey in the Middle is constantly moving that child around.

I think of the two of them like a giant claw machine. No matter where Tiny goes, MM finds him, picks him up and relocates him to some other, inconvenient place, but never quite gets him to the promised land.

So, when she puts my second bandage on, she proclaims me done and I stand.  A little woozy.

But, I gotta get out there, so off I go.

Sure enough, as I approach the waiting room, Monkey Girl is standing with her hands on her hips looking at MM who is holding Tiny in awkward position, where one leg and arm are flailing about, the others bent in some strange way, both of them yelling “No!” at each other.

Baby Monkey is in his own world, pretending to be a superhero who needs to climb on chairs to save the day.

I can see the other patients breathe a collective sigh of relief as I walk in the room and proclaim, “Okay babies!  Let’s go!” and out the door we go.

My embarrassment has my blood flowing, once again, so I am no longer feeling woozy and we head to the Acme, as we are out of milk (I bought 4 gallons on Sunday…it’s Wednesday), and to get a bagel for myself.  Terrible for me to eat, but on fasting days, it’s how I break the fast.  Carbtastic.

The kids ask if they can get a bagel, also, and I say yes, which immediately begins a conversation about whether or not we can buy cream cheese and how big the container should be and whether or not MM and Baby should be allowed to have bagels because they had Raisin Bran before we went to the lab and that Tiny doesn’t get a bagel, but maybe Baby could have his bagel and what kind of glue do I think they use to build radio towers and is it okay to have butter on one side of the bagel and cream cheese on the other and do I think they’ll have cinnamon raisin and will they have the same bus driver this year even though their bus number is different and do I think Batman has a pet and they think Tiny might have pooped, but no, he didn’t it was just one of them passing gas because it doesn’t smell like baby poop but more like big kid gas and why are we going to Acme again?

So, it’s no surprise that when I got out of the truck and dropped my cell phone on the ground, I whacked my head on the sideview mirror on the bend down to get it AND on the way to stand up.

Because that’s how it goes.

August 14, 2012

Senior Favorites

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:09 am

Real Man and I have been reminiscing about high school, lately.

It’s caused us to pull out our yearbooks and give them a good look-through.

We’re having a blast reading what people wrote to us.  I keep thinking about writing the quotes on Facebook and see if people recognize what they wrote.

I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize what I wrote in someone else’s yearbook 22 years ago, but it would be fun to guess!

Anyway, the things that I enjoyed looking at (and shaking my head over) were the senior favorites.

Some, I’m sure, are par for the course.

Favorite Food – Pizza

Seniors could go off campus for lunch, and most of us headed up to the local pizza place, so this one is a no-brainer.

I would have imagined this would have also been our favorite hangout.

But, no.  It was the atrium.  The wide-open space, in front of the main office, where seniors would sit on benches and talk and watch people walk by, when we should have all been in class.

Favorite TV Show – 21 Jump Street


Okay, I guess.  90210 wouldn’t start until the fall when we were all in college, so I’ll go with 21 Jump Street.

Favorite Movie – Lethal Weapon II

It had been the movie of the summer, before our senior year, and Joe Pesci was hysterical, so I can go with this one, as well.

Favorite Album – American Beauty

Grateful Dead

This does not surprise me, when I think of my class.

I, on the other hand, had to just look it up on Wikipedia.  I was NOT one of the cool crowd.

Favorite Song – Hotel California

I love that song, so I’m okay with it.

Favorite Participating Sport – Twister

Ah, to be a snarky senior again.  To think you are so ironic and be so sure of yourself.  Twister.  Ay-yay-yay.

Favorite Spectator Sport – Hockey

We loved hockey.  Our hockey team was great and drew large crowds.  We were proud of those boys.  (Ahem…and Real Man was one of them)

Favorite Actor – Mel Gibson

Remember, this was Lethal Weapon 2 Mel Gibson…not racist, crazy Mel Gibson.

Favorite Actress – Kim Basinger

I’m guessing it was because she was fresh off of her stint as Vicky Vale in the original Batman movie, because I know Kim and I were singing the Batdance song in my car on a regular basis.

“Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?  Vicky Vale…Vick, Vick, Vick…Vicky Vale.”

Favorite Teacher – Mr. Gordon

Never had him, but think it’s interesting that our senior yearbook was dedicated to a different teacher, Mrs. Tribus, who was, in fact, MY favorite teacher.

Favorite Subject – Free

No surprise.  Seniors could have a free period if they fulfilled all of their graduation requirements and there were no electives they wanted to take.

Erin had her free period during first block, while I had Business Law.

Guess how often I went to Business Law?

Still got an A.

Favorite Car – Miata

Yeah, it was.  Hot car.

Favorite Game Show Host – Ken Ober

I’m completely down with that.  Remote Control was the first game show MTV produced (back in the day when MTV was actually awesome and showed videos 24-7).  Ken Ober was the host, and he was good.

So, you’d think that our favorite game show would be Remote Control, right?

You’d be wrong.

Favorite Game Show – The Price is Right

Oh, we were a class of contradictions.

And, our favorite munchies, probably enjoyed by half of the class while they listened to American Beauty – Doritos

So, there you have it.  Our senior favorites.

Get out your own yearbook.  See what your classmates loved.  It’s definitely been a trip looking at these yearbooks.  Think I might have to send an email to a guy who wrote in Real Man’s yearbook that they had both dated the stupidest woman in the world.

That would be me.


August 12, 2012

Olympic Lesson

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:25 am

We concluded each night at the beach, after the kids were in bed, by watching the Olympics.

And, as always, the best part of the Olympics were the behind-the-scenes stories about the athletes.

No excuses.  Just hard work.

Champions, all of them.

Because, even if they were dead last in the Olympics and went home empty-handed, they were there because they were the best in their nation.

Can you imagine?

Being the very best at something in your entire nation?

It doesn’t just happen.

It takes ridiculous amounts of hard work, and these people aren’t afraid to put in that work, despite some amazing obstacles.

Left their families.

Came back despite horrific injury.

Practiced 12 hours a day.

Trained while working a full-time job and parenting.

It’s amazing.

While I have to say that Usain Bolt completely rubs me the wrong way with his utter lack of graciousness in victory, the fact that he trains on a dirt track that was hand made,  while many of the people that he beat run on state of the art tracks every single day, impresses me.

So, the lesson that I take away from these athletes is that there is no better day than today, and that there are no reasons that are good enough why I’m not taking better care of myself and exercising every day.

At the beach was easy.

At home will be the challenge.

I can do it.

There are limitations, yes.

I can’t join a gym, because I truly can’t get there.

But, I have a treadmill in the basement and more fitness games for the Wii than I care to count.

I realize I’m not going to have the body of  Anna Chicherova (women’s high jump) or Kellie Wells (women’s hurdles) but I can be better, because I have to be.

Diabetes doesn’t go away, and as I’ve said a million times before, I want to hold the needles and insulin off as long as I can.

And I’ve been slacking.

There are examples right here in my real life, as well.

People to inspire and keep me going.

My friend, Heather, posts inspirational sayings on Facebook, every day, as she heads to the gym.

Yesterdays was “An imperfect workout, done today, is better than a perfect workout, delayed indefinitely.”

Love it.

She’s been working hard, seeing results, and I’m proud of her.

My friend, Tara, participates in all sorts of athletic competitions and rocks them.

She works, she parents two boys, and still takes care of herself and competes.

My own Real Man has been getting up at 5 am, every single morning, and hitting the trail and working out and is looking amazing.

He has to leave a snuggly ole’ me, sleeping away in bed, to go out in the icky, sticky, heat, but he does it.

Every day.

The father of one of my students, this past year, has been battling Leukemia, and just yesterday, completed an Ironman.



So, today’s the day.

No time like the present.

No excuses.

It’s time for a change, because I’m halfway to 41, and I’m not going to spend my 40’s tired, sick, and exhausted.

August 11, 2012

Things I’ll Miss About the Beach

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, we’re headed home, today.

While it is obvious that I will miss being on vacation the most, there are other, less obvious things that I will miss, as well.

1.  One way major streets.  Call me lazy, but it’s so nice to only have to look one way and know it’s safe to cross your brood.

2.  Mixed recyclable collection.  How much do I love tossing my cardboard, glass, and plastic all in one, enormous bin?  So much.  That’s how much.

3.  Beach house = One Floor = Not spending the entire day chasing Tiny up and down stairs.

4.  Being within walking distance of everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.

5.  Being able to take my morning walks.  Tiny wakes up and he and I can head right out, because my parents are at the house for when the big monkeys wake.  When Real Man is here, he can come with me and THAT is awesome.

6.  The ability to give the kids a little more freedom.  Monkey in the Middle forgot to bring the paddleball set down to the beach, one day, and asked if he could go home and get it by himself.  We let him, and he commented “I feel like such a big, responsible kid!”

7.  Playing paddleball.  Monkey in the Middle believes that paddleball is ONLY to be played on the beach.  So, despite my assurances we could play and have fun in the yard at home, that set is going to be carefully put away until next summer.  As an aside, Monkey in the Middle worked our way up to 96 in our volleys, without stopping, and I was tres proud.  Then Real Man wanted a turn.  They hit 116.  Show-offs.

8.  The beach.  I don’t necessarily LOVE the beach.  I’m not a beach bunny, and would be just as happy camping or taking the kids to the mountains for vacation, but this year, I found myself able to utterly relax on the beach.  The big kids can entertain themselves, and Tiny likes to play right in front of us, or stand in the water.  Because it was a private beach, where my parents rented, there weren’t too many people, and we were able to sit right at the waters edge, right next to the lifeguard stand.  Believe it or not, I was even able to crack open a book on the beach, this year.

The beach also provides some excellent people-watching.  From eavesdropping on the lifeguard banter to just hiding behind my sunglasses and watching all the other families interact, the beach cannot be beat for social observance.

9.  The lack of stuff.  We didn’t bring any “toys” this year, and none were needed.  We brought our board games and cards, and all were well-used.  For entertainment, we played games, went outside and played with rocks, flew a kite, went to the beach, rode scooters, hit the library and read and so on.  There were Wiggles moments, and Monkey Girl spent a few days FaceTiming her cousin, and technology was used but there was good time together without “stuff.”  We could pick up the magazines Tiny insisted on spreading across the floor and the house would basically be put-together.  Reminds me that we could do without 99% of the “stuff” we have at home, and no one would probably blink an eye.

10.  24-7 with Real Man and the Monkeys.  I love this family.  I love them so much, sometimes it makes my heart ache.  Real Man is back to work on Monday and in a few, short weeks, the Monkeys and I are back to school and I am going to miss them all so much.

August 10, 2012

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 6:00 am

1. What is the funniest thing you saw on Facebook/twitter this week?

People not willing to keep an open mind, politically.

Funnier (and more pathetic) than any eCard out there.

2. What is your favorite Olympic event?


I could watch gymnastics…men or women…all day long.

I miss my days of gymnastics, and it’s exciting to watch and exciting to live vicariously through those little fireplugs.

Love gymnastics.

Oh, and beach volleyball.

Misty May and Carrie rock my world.

Ooh…and women’s soccer.

They rule!

3. Do your kids to chores around the house? If so, what are they?


They all make their own beds.

It’s not necessarily done the way I would do it, but it’s done.

Monkey Girl empties the dishwasher and does her own laundry.

Monkey in the Middle gets the mail, brings in the empty trash cans, and sweeps under the kitchen table after dinner.

Baby Monkey puts away all remote controls for televisions and game systems.

They also are expected to help with anything I ask for help with, like setting the table, etc.

Or, you know, “Be a dear and bring Mommy her Bon-bons!”

4. If you get bad service/food do you complain or keep quiet?

Bad food?  I speak up.

Bad service?  Depends.  If it’s willful bad service, it’s reflected in the tip, and I am a very generous tipper, usually.  If it’s terrible, I’ll say something to a manager.

5. If you could pick ONE frivolous item for your home, what would it be? (massive room sized closet? swimming pool? greenhouse? etc…)

I’d love a swimming pool in our backyard.

LOVE it.

Wouldn’t have to pack up to go to the pool every day.  That would be awesome.

I’d love a library, with floor to ceiling, built in bookshelves.  The kind that needed a ladder on rails that could roll around the room.

I’d also love a staircase with a slide next to it.

In the morning, I’d so love to slide down the stairs.

On purpose.

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