My Real Life

January 27, 2014

My Greatest Performance

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Recently, one of my favorite bloggers at Kelley’s Breakroom, posted this post about her experience with a hypnotist.

Her post reminded me that I’ve never shared with you the story of my experience with a hypnotist.

Years and years ago, my parents got four tickets to see The Amazing Kreskin.

So, Real Man, my parents, and I went to a local theater and took our seats.

Kreskin went through the show doing “amazing” things, and he finally got to the point in the show where he invited people to volunteer to come on stage and be hypnotized.

No surprise, I raised my hand.

He picked his way through the audience, and chose about 10 people.

Including me.

So, I made my way to the stage fully committed to try to be hypnotized.

I sat there.  I listened to the sound of his voice.  I did the counting in my head.  I followed every direction he gave us.

I did not go under.

One by one, he made his way down the line of volunteers and gave them instructions.

“Whenever someone snaps, you will bark like a dog.”

“Whenever you hear the phrase ‘thank you’ you will twirl like a ballerina.”

And one by one, they did it.

The audience laughed and laughed, and I was faced with a dilemma.

Do I play along and give a good show, or do I become the grumpy old man on stage who crosses his arms and says “Nope…didn’t work on me.”

I’m an actress, by nature, so I went with the show.

Kreskin gave me my directions and I aped it up and played my role perfectly.

I’d say the whole thing went on for about ten minutes, and then, one by one, he released us from our compulsions.

He let us go back to our seats with a thunderous round of applause from the audience and when I got back to me seat, the people around us were looking and listening and so when my Dad asked “Were you really under?” I said, “I must have been!  I don’t remember anything!  What happened?”

Because the show doesn’t end just because the participants come off the stage.

However, as we got in the car, I said to my family, “That was ridiculous.  You know I wasn’t under, right?”

Real Man looked at me and said “Yes, you were.  You said so.”

I explained my earlier words and he and my parents looked at me and said “No way.  You were under.”

And so, for the past twenty years, whenever the Amazing Kreskin comes up (which, admittedly, is not that often) my family defaults to the belief that I was under.

I don’t even bother to dispute them, anymore, because when you think about it, their belief is really just a testament to how great an actress I actually am.

And, let me tell you something, I don’t believe anyone was under.

I don’t believe that hypnotism works.

I don’t think I have a stronger mind than someone else and that’s why it didn’t work.

I think it didn’t work because it doesn’t work.

I can’t explain people who have stopped smoking through hypnosis or people who go through hypnosis in therapy to help them remember something they didn’t remember before.

The power of suggestion?  That I believe, because I come from two of the most suggestible people I’ve ever met.

(Love you, Mom and Dad, but you know I’m right.)

They hear someone has some type of illness and they are pretty much instantly convinced that they have it to.

So, suggestion, yes…actual hypnosis? No.

So, there’s my story.

I hope you enjoyed it, and if you are someone I ever see in real life, I’d appreciate it if you could refrain from clapping your hands three times when you are around me.


January 13, 2014

What I’ve Learned from The Walking Dead

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

On Christmas night, Real Man and I finally took everyone’s advice and  started watching The Walking Dead on Netflix.

Why we waited so long, I’ll never know, because it is awesome.

We were hooked right from episode one, and the benefit of watching on Netflix is that we could binge watch our way through, stopping only when we realized we had better get some sleep because work was beckoning in a few, short hours.

Much like the virus that has zombies overrunning the United States, The Walking Dead has infected my brain and I find myself thinking about it much more than anyone should think about any television show.

Some of my ponderings are storyline related, but sometimes, I find myself thinking about what I have learned by watching the show.

Because the lessons are vast.

1.  If it seems like a zombie apocalypse is imminent, I am getting myself to the ENT and having some high-powered hearing aids made, because, apparently, zombies are sneaky bastards.

People will be having a conversation right in the middle of the street and then, BAM, zombie right behind them.

See, I always thought that zombies walked around consistently making “Uuuuuuuuggggghhhhh” and “Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh” noises, but apparently, that was a misconception.

Occasionally they will let out a sound or two, particularly when they are running or feasting on a particularly tasty human, but for the most part, they shuffle quietly about the town, minding their own business, until some sound catches their attention.

I need to know when they are near, because my reflexes are pretty slow, so I want some high-powered hearing aids to help me hear the shuffle, shuffle, shuffle of dead feet.

2.  I need to create a stockpile of antibiotics.

Who knew there were so many ways to get hurt in a post-apocalyptic world?

We definitely need some more first aid kits, but those first aid kits aren’t going to do us a world of good if we don’t have antibiotics to fight infection, and with my accident-prone daughter, we are going to need them, because I feel like by the time I get to the pharmacies, they will have already been looted, so we need to prepare ahead.

3.  If I’m not right next to Real Man when the zombie apocalypse begins, I really shouldn’t just assume that he’s dead until I see his body or his zombified corpse stumbling toward me.

Because, people, bad things happen when you assume your spouse is dead in the apocalypse.

4.  It’s surprisingly easy, and not that big of a deal, to cut off a limb.

All you need is a belt and a hatchet or a saw and you are good to go.

People can chop off a limb and survive quite well, despite the lack of antibiotics and medical care.

Good to know, because, as I previously mentioned, I don’t have an antibiotic stockpile quite yet, and my first aid kit would be helpful in the event someone skins their knee.

Closing up a nub of an arm?

Probably not gonna cut it.

5.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

I find myself thinking things like “Would I be able to shoot someone in the leg and leave them for zombie food to get some medicine back to my sick child?”

“Would I be able to shoot my sister/husband/child/best friend if they turned into a zombie?”

Stuff like that.

6.  Desperate times also make you a fantastic shot.

These people have one gun training session and suddenly, they are able to ride around in cars, shooting at zombies, and hitting them right in between the eyes.

I know people who spend hours and hours at the gun range and still struggle with getting anywhere near the target.

Who knew that the zombie apocalypse would turn them into sharpshooters?

7.  No one likes a know-it-all.

I have spent most of the show wishing for Dale to die, because he is such a freaking know-it-all.

He tried to be the moral high-ground guy, and while he had some good points sometimes, everyone wanted to punch him because it’s the zombie apocalypse.  Don’t talk to us about losing our humanity, dude.  We need to survive.

So, yeah, when the apocalypse comes, I won’t be that guy.

8.  Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Someone may seem like the bad guy, but just because they are sweaty and greasy and angry and sullen, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to turn out to be your favorite person during the apocalypse.

Like, maybe your favorite person on any tv show, uh, I mean, during any apocalypse, ever.

January 8, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, I turned 42 on Friday.

It wasn’t that big of a deal.  After 21, there are no real milestones, except for the decades, and I’ve always been one who believes that age is just a number.

So far, 42 feels a lot like 22, but with a much earlier bedtime.

However, I’ll let you in on a little secret.

I cry, every year, on my birthday.

I’m not really sure why.

I just do.

Not for a long time, and not because I’m concerned about getting older.

It’s just my annual birthday cry.

It’s spontaneous.

It’s not like I think to myself, “Oh, January 3rd…time to start crying.”

It just happens, sometime in the middle of the day and I say to myself “Oh, there you are, birthday cry,” and then it’s over, and I move on.

My friend, Tara, gave me a beautiful blanket for my birthday.

It is covered in literary quotes.

It’s perfect.

As I was thanking her for it, she shared with me that she was looking for an appropriate card last night and she started thinking about me and the year I’ve had.

She reminded me of all that I’ve accomplished in the last year.

I was published in a book, I was on the front page of the newspaper, I participated in several book signings, I expanded my circle of writer friends, I joined a writer’s group, a piece I wrote made the Huffington Post, I left the classroom and moved into administration at my school, and my family stayed (generally) healthy.

It was a very, very good year.

I’m so grateful to her for that reminder.

Maybe I didn’t do all (or most) of the things on my Twenty Wishes for 2013 list, but I did a lot of things that weren’t on the list and are even better.

Sometimes you need someone else to remind you of how good things are.

So, here’s to 41, which was beyond amazing, and here’s to 42 that is rife with yet unfulfilled promise.

January 6, 2014

The Men’s Side

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

My Grandma was both a librarian and a beautician.

When my Dad was growing up, her shop was in her front room, but by the time I came along, she had her shop in the basement.

When I would spend my summers with them in Ohio, I would sit on the stairs for hours and listen to my Grandma and her customers, who were neighbors, relatives and friends, chat away the afternoon.

I have continued that pattern into adulthood.

When I head out to get my hair done, I sit in the chair and I listen.

I don’t talk, which often baffles the hairdressers for the first five minutes, but then they realize that I invented the comfortable silence and have even thanked me for not forcing them to engage in small talk.

Let’s be honest…my job is talk, talk, talk, and when I am home, I have four children who want to discuss everything with me.

When I get my hair done, I just want to sit and not talk.

And, I don’t need to.

At the salon, there are plenty of other people talking.

Women go to the salon and share their life stories with their hairdressers.

I have heard stories that would make you cry, curl your toes and make you stick your fingers in your ears while you scream “TMI! TMI!”

But, last week, when I went to the salon, because I don’t have my own, special hairdresser that I see every time I go, they assigned me to the new girl, and the new girl’s chair was on the “Men’s Side” of the salon.

It was uncharted territory, for me.

Instead of taking me left, down the long hall of gossip, Joanna took me right, and into the hall of silence.

I mean, serious silence.

This. Was. Going. To. Be. Awesome.

I love peace and quiet.

I was thrilled at the prospect of just sitting and being and enjoying listening to the buzz of the razors, the clip of the scissors, the swish of the broom.

The men in the chairs sat there, staring at their reflections, while the women and men who were attending to their hair snipped and cut in an efficient cone of silence.

I sat down, Joanna asked how much I wanted taken off, I answered, and she started to work.

She leaned me back in the chair and began to scrub my scalp and I realized that, without the constant gossip of my neighbors, I was truly left with my own thoughts.

“How’s my skin?  Are there boogers in my nose?  Is my breath bad?  Does she see all the silver strands in there?  Did I remember to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer?  Can I wait another day before I do some school work or do I need to start when I get home?  Is Lori pregnant with Shane’s baby on Walking Dead?”

So many thoughts that have long been drowned out by the chatter of others at the salon.

Adding to my mental imprisonment was the fact that I was visually imprisoned, as well, because when you get your hair done, you take your glasses off.

Without my glasses, I am legally blind.

So, not only was I not hearing anything, but I couldn’t look at anything, either.

Well, I mean, I could, but I wasn’t going to be able to make any sense of anything my eyes “saw.”

So, I sat and thought and worried and made lists and lived inside my head.

And then, suddenly, I heard it…a woman walking down the aisle, already oversharing a story about her Grandmother falling and breaking her leg on Christmas Day and how the whole family had to change their plans to come home to see her in the hospital and how she and her boyfriend/fiance/husband didn’t get to eat anything all day, so they made sure that someone gave them a whole tray of lasagna to take home with them and they were happy because, seriously, everyone should get to eat a lot on Christmas, and how she was so upset that she had to change her hair appointment so that she could go be at the hospital for her Grandma’s surgery, but that she was happy to be able to be able to fit in before New Year’s Eve because she didn’t want to have to have dark roots at her New Year’s Eve party because she had a friend that would probably have something to say if her roots were dark and…

You get the picture.

And as she spoke, I could feel myself relax, feel my mind begin to empty, my hands begin to unclench…to-do list forgotten, worries gone, self-concern out the window.

Because, as much as I thought I’d like being in the silence of the “Men’s Side,” it turns out that the comfort of the salon, for me, is the chatter of the women who remind me of the days of my childhood, sitting on the basement stairs at my Grandma’s house.



January 1, 2014

Twenty Wishes for 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I love the New Year.

I hate the New Year.

So many new possibilities.

So many new ways to fail.

As you read, yesterday, I didn’t do so well with my Twenty Wishes for 2013.

2013 was a year of big change for me, and if I’m honest, while the change was good, it knocked me for a loop and a lot of the things that I enjoy were left by the wayside.

However, I’m feeling like I’m in the groove now, and I am hopeful that I can be more successful with my Twenty Wishes for 2014.

I think it would definitely make for a happier me, and a happier me means a happier everyone around me.

So, here they are…my Twenty Wishes for 2014.

May I work hard to make them happen.

1. Take the family to DisneyWorld. There’s a reason this item was number one in 2013.  I’m leaving it here and making it a non-negotiable.  It’s not the right of every kid to go to DisneyWorld, but I’d love for my kids to get there while they are still kids.  I didn’t get there until my honeymoon.
2. Participate in at least one random act of kindness per week.  Obviously, the hope would be to do more, but I’m human, I’m flawed, and I get wrapped up in my own crap.  I don’t plan on reporting on these, because I think that feels self-serving to be telling you “Hey guys…here’s the nice thing I did today,” so for this, I’ll hold myself accountable, because more than making it a wish for 2014, I want to hold myself accountable for thinking outside myself as a way of life.
3. Get weight down by 15 pounds AND KEEP IT THERE. It’s important.  For my health, for my future.
4. Incorporate more vegetables into the family diet.  Did it last year…think there is still even more room to grow.
5. Make $1,000 by selling on eBay, consignment, etc.  We need to supplement our income, and because of the new job, I’m no longer teaching as many piano lessons.  So, here’s a way to help with that.
6. Blog at least once a week. I know I can’t do it every day, but I do hope to be able to do at least once a week.  Why?  Because I love writing here.  Because I feel better when I ‘get it out.’  Because I feel like I owe you all that…you’ve stuck with me a long time!
7. Make home office neat, organized, and functional.  The office gives me a tic.  Must. Get. It. Under. Control.
8. Read 50 books (and keep track!)  I did this last year, and I really want to continue with it.  I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs.  Reading (and writing) smooths out the rough edges for me.
9. Have one “No Spend Month.”  I want to challenge our family to have one month where we spend no money, other than our once a week grocery shopping, gas and bills.  No charging.  No cash.  No nothing.  Just to prove to ourselves that we can do it.  I’ve been thinking about it, and I think March might be the month for this.  Stay tuned.
10. Have family photo taken.  The most recent one we have is from Tiny’s baptism.  It’s time.
11. Really go through my closet and be ruthless with getting rid of what I don’t wear.  This serves a dual purpose.  Gets rid of the excess, allows me to donate to brighten someone else’s life, and I can sell some of it, as well, and work on two goals at once.
12. Play piano at least once a week. I teach piano lessons, so I am always at the piano, but I rarely carve out the time to play for myself. I went to college as a vocal and piano performance major and I feel like I’m neglecting that part of myself.  This shouldn’t be as hard as it is.  I need to figure it out and make it happen.
13. Only eat out once a week, if at all.  This is one that we did last year and I think is good to keep in the loop.  This year, with my longer work hours, it’s even more tempting to fall back on bad habits.  So, I’m keeping it in the rotation.
14. Write in my journal more often. I only wrote in it three times in 2013, so anything would be an improvement! I think keeping the blog up every day takes it’s place, but they have different purposes and I don’t want to neglect my journal writing.  I want to do this.  No reason I can’t make this happen.
15. Get published, again.  I was published in “I Just Want to Pee Alone” in 2013, and I definitely want to be published in 2014, as well.  Whether in an anthology, a short story, a magazine, a website…don’t care.  It’s important to me.
16. Re-edit my novel.  I’m hopeful to use my writer’s group for this.
17. Shred and pare down all of our files.  Because these are a huge part of the issue with the office.
18. Entertain more.  I enjoy entertaining at our house.  We just don’t ever get around to it.  I’m hoping to remedy that, this year.  This was actually the first New Year’s Eve that we’ve done something in 13 years, and we live in a neighborhood with some really great people, so I think it’s time to capitalize on that and get to entertaining!
19. Spend more time outside.  Because, even though I did well with this, more outside is always better.
20. Making it happen.  I’m a pretty smart woman and a very determined woman.  I let a lot of excuses get in my way in 2013, and I feel like 2014 is the year that I want to make it happen.  What is “it”?  Whatever the heck I decide I want.

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