My Real Life

December 22, 2015

For the Kids, For Us All

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have four kids.

As a result, over the past 14 and a half years, I have seen A LOT of kids movies.

Probably way more than my share.

But, if I’m honest, kids movies aren’t something that were new to me once Monkey Girl arrived.

In college, I actually had a subscription to Columbia House Video Service, and the movies that I ordered, every month, were Disney.

I believe I owned all of the Disney movies on VHS at one point, and I was probably 25 years old at the time.

So, saying that the movies are related to my kids is probably not being entirely honest.

I remember how I felt when I watched them all.

I couldn’t get enough of The Little Mermaid, and I could recite every word of Aladdin.

And Nemo?

Forget it.

Even the earliest Disney movies sucked me in.

I used to shudder at the evil queen in Snow White time and time again, and sing along with Aurora in Sleeping Beauty.

But, there seems to be a difference in the movies that are produced “for children” these days.

I loved those older (and I’m using a broad time span in the term older, here) kids movies, but the movies today…

I love them more.

Yes, there is certainly the digital quality aspect, but when the Lion King came out, we all marveled at the visual wonder it produced, because, for it’s time, it was amazing.

It’s the creative way that these films are no longer films for children, and they leave us thinking about them far after the screen has faded to black.


In 2012, Disney released Wreck It Ralph and I was mesmerized.


The creativity in that film is beyond anything I could ever hope to have.

I watched, entranced, as video game characters left their games at night and gathered together to party, participate in support groups, and used a surge protector as Grand Central Station, and electric cords as a means to travel from world to world.

The worlds created in the games danced in my brain for months, and the plot?

The desire of Vanellope to be accepted was familiar to the remnants of my teenage self, and Ralph’s quest to be good resonated in my home with a boy who struggled to behave, and whispered the words from the movie in a small plea, as he snuggled in his bed one night, long after we had seen the film.

“I don’t have to be the bad guy, right Mom?”


Frozen made me weep from the first preview we saw.


Frozen was definitely more of a traditional Disney film, but oh, how it grabbed me.

The story of the sisters, to the sister-less me, made me yearn for a sibling, and the music…

Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell were the perfect choices for those songs.

I cried through the entire movie.

I have seen it at least 100 times since the first time and I love it more every single time.


And then came Inside Out.


You want to talk creative?

The way the film created a visualization for the brain and memories, and the personification of the emotions.

Beyond my wildest imagination.

The islands of personality.

Long term memory.

Core memories.

Commercial jingles that get stuck in your head.

Growing up.

The importance of sadness.

I can’t even begin to describe how I feel about this film.

And, again, it has captured the brain of a boy who is uncomfortable with emotion, does not want to discuss sadness or fear, and struggles to hold it all together, at times.

I would be underestimating if I said that he references the movie only once a day, and every time he does, it is with a question or a personal note.

“Remember when Sadness was touching the happy memories and making them sad? That totally happens sometimes.”

“Joy just tried too hard. She didn’t understand that all the emotions are important. Right?”

“Wasn’t it funny when the teenage boys brain just went on full alert when he saw a girl?”


Kids movies are no longer just for kids, and they are definitely no longer just for entertainment.

These major blockbusters are meant to touch us and meant to make us think, and they do.

Oh, they do.

I still love my “big people movies,” as Tiny calls them, but if I want a good case of the feels…

It’s gonna be a kids film every time.


April 30, 2012

Frozen – The Final Chapter

Filed under: Writing — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: ,

You can read Frozen – Part 1 here, and Frozen – Part 2 here.

She really had enjoyed herself at dinner.

So much so that she ignored her common sense nipping at her consciousness, telling her that the snow was coming down too hard and she needed to get going before it got too bad to get home.

By the time everyone started putting in their money toward the bill, the ground was covered in a few inches of snow and the temperature was dropping quickly, making the wet pavement icy beneath it’s new, white blanket.

Two of her female co-workers walked her to her car, the three of them holding each other up, and sent her on her way, yelling promises that she would go slow and carefully.

And she did.  But all the caution in the world couldn’t have prepared her for the patch of black ice on I-39 that sent her gliding too far to the right and right into the guardrail.  Luckily, her speed was low and the impact was almost graceful.  No airbag, no whiplash…just her and her Altima, angled off the road in the snow.

She put the car in reverse and slowly tried to back up.  The car moved a few inches, but she could feel, instinctively, the way it unevenly bumped it’s way back that there was a problem with the tire.

She sighed, pulled her coat tightly around herself and got out.  She could see no damage to the side of the car that was facing the road, and so she walked around to the other side, steadying herself with one hand on the car.

There was no apparent damage, so she stooped down to inspect the tires and found that the front, right tire was, in fact, flat.  She looked at the flat for a minute or two, willing it to inflate on its own, but when that didn’t happen, she opened the passenger door, crawled across the seat and popped the trunk latch.  She backed out, moved to the trunk and pulled out the jack and the tire iron.

She was grateful to be close enough to a streetlamp, that she wasn’t working in total darkness, as she bent down and began the tedious work of loosening the lug nuts.

When she finished with the loosening, she put the jack in position and began to pump the car up, a fraction of an inch at a time. Headlights swooped across her field of vision and she felt herself grow both relieved and nervous at the same time.  She was all alone on a fairly deserted highway.  This was the first car that had passed since she had run off the road, and she felt defenseless.  She kept her head down and kept working.

A car door slammed and the icy snow crunched under heavy feet as the driver of the other car approached.

“Need a hand?” a deep, gravelly male voice asked.

Her hands stilled.

That voice.

Immediately she began to tremble.  She let go of the jack and instinctively pulled her coat and scarf tighter around her body and head.

“I said, do you need a hand?” he asked again.

Clearly she needed help.  And yet this…this was the last person in the world she would ever want to meet again, much less ask for help.  Yet, she was fairly certain he couldn’t see her face, as bundled as she was, and so she decided to do whatever she could to get out of the situation as quickly as possible.

She nodded.

“Where’s your spare?  In the trunk?”  The man didn’t even wait for an answer…just walked to the trunk, lifted the lid, and pulled out the dougnut.

His footsteps crunched back to her and he said, “Move back…I got this.”

She obeyed, sliding out of his way, and moving to stand beside him as he knelt next to her car and began to shimmy the old tire off of the axle.

She watched his glove hands grip the tire and she knew that on the back of his left hand would be a small scar…maybe almost completely faded by know…but still there, in the shape of her teeth.

She had been coming home late from work, that night.

She was cursing herself for walking that day when she had known that she would have to work late to meet her deadline, and so she walked as quickly as possible, down dark, deserted streets.

She had thought there was the possibility of someone following her…the hairs on the back of her neck were standing at attention, but every time she turned around, she saw no one and nothing out of the ordinary.

She kept walking.

When she reached her building, she punched in her access code and quickly ran up the one flight to her floor.  It wasn’t until she was at her door, pulling out her keys that she realized she hadn’t heard the building door latch behind her.

It was her last thought before he was on her.

He came up from behind, one hand strong around her mouth, the other holding her around the waist.

“Open the door.  Do it now and don’t make a sound.”

She almost dropped the keys twice in her attempt to put key to lock, but she managed to get it done, despite her state of terror.

When she turned the handle, he shoved her inside, and she stumbled to the floor.

“Get up,” he growled, and she scrambled to her feet, desperate to do anything he asked so that he wouldn’t hurt her.  “Move,” he said, and she walked backward down the hallway, toward the kitchen.

As they entered the kitchen, her eyes noticed the knife on the counter at the same time as his.  They both went for it, but he was bigger, stronger…faster.

From there, everything that happened was a blur of sounds and smells.

Clothes ripping.

Loud grunting.

The odors of sweat and beer and cigarettes.

And the knife.

Right up against her neck, daring her to struggle…to try to get away.

At one point, he reached across her with his left hand, and her survival instincts kicked in and she leaned her head forward and clamped down, hard, with her teeth.

He swore and backhanded her, pushing the knife harder into her flesh.

“Do. Not. Move.” he growled.

And she did not move again.

When he was done, he left her on the kitchen floor, shrugged back into his clothes, putting his finger to his lips, whispering “Our secret…or I’ll be back.”

She had never told a soul, and he had never been back.

She knew, in her heart, that this meeting in the snow was all a horrifying coincidence, and yet, she couldn’t help but think that it was a punishment for beginning to enjoy life a bit.  Her first night out since the attack, years before, and he arrives?

She stood, watching him begin to tighten the nuts on the spare and her anxiety began to rise.

He would soon be finished, and then what?  There was no one passing by.  Nothing to stop him from shoving her in the back of her car and hurting her, once again.

The snow was falling faster and harder, yet she could see that he had set aside the tire iron as he began to pump the jack.

Without much planning, she reached down, picked up the tool and raised it above her head.  He noticed the shift in her body weight and turned his head, his eyes widening in recognition as he saw her face, for the first time.

As he moved to block her movements, his glove caught on the edge of the jack, leaving him unable to protect himself.  She swung and iron connected with flesh with a crack in the quiet night air.

Soundlessly, he fell over, into the snow, unmoving.

She stood, stock still, unsure what to do next.

She stared at him, holding her breath, and it wasn’t until she realized that no puffs of breath were visible in the cold, night air that she exhaled.


With that thought, her brain began to work again, and she began to make swift, calculated moves, feeling as though it were the first time her mind was clear in years.

She looked at the blood on the tire iron and leaned down and wiped it off with the edge of the man’s coat, making sure to get rid of all visible traces.

Quickly and decisively, she pushed the body under the guardrail, rolling him into the ravine below.  She picked up her tools and put them in the trunk.  She moved back, got the flat tire and put that, too, in the trunk.

The snow was falling so fast, now, that she noticed that her tracks were getting covered almost as soon as she stepped out of them.  Still, she kicked around the snow where he had lay and where she had pushed him under the rail until she was satisfied that no one could look at this spot and figure out what had happened.  She could no longer see the body, as it had fallen too far, and was, most likely, already covered with a light dusting of snow.

She walked around to the drivers side, got in and turned over the engine.

It started immediately, and she slowly backed up, turned the wheels, and then carefully made her way home.

The whistling tea kettle broke her from her reverie and she stood, stretching her limbs.

She poured the water into her tea cup, pulled out her bagel from the toaster, sat at the table, and began to eat.

When she was finished, she walked to the bedroom, pulled back the covers, climbed in and almost instantly fell asleep.

And as she slept, she smiled.

April 16, 2012

Frozen – Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized,Writing — Amy @ 6:00 am
Tags: , ,

You can read Frozen – Part 1 here.

She walked to the bedroom and opened her dresser.  She pulled out a clean, white pair of underwear and tried to put them on, while standing on one leg.  She found that her balance was not quite returned, and so she sat on the edge of her bed as she dressed.

As she reached back to fasten her bra, she felt an ache in her shoulder.  Makes sense, she thought.

She put on a pair of sweatpants, a too-large Harvard sweatshirt she had pilfered from a college fling, and a thick pair of wool socks. She went back to the bathroom, hung her towel, and looked at herself in the mirror again.

She turned her face to the left and to the right.  She put her hands on her cheeks.  The same.  She couldn’t take her eyes off of her reflection, unsure of how she could look exactly the same as she did this morning when she was so fundamentally changed.

She stared at herself until her stomach growled, shaking her from her reverie.  She turned off the lights and walked the kitchen.  She went to the stove and turned on the tea kettle, opened her tea cannister and selected a decaf tea bag, and set it in her favorite mug.  She then went to the breadbox and selected a bagel, and pulled out a kitchen knife.  She turned it over in her hand, looking at the dull blade and muttered, “This just won’t do.”

She went back to the pantry and moved aside the cereal boxes.  On the very back of the shelf, she found a dishtowel.  She pulled it out and walked over to the table.  She placed it, gently, on the table, and sat down.  Slowly, carefully, she began to open up the towel.  Inside, lay a bread knife.  The sharp, serrated edge glinted in the low light.  She picked it up, turned it from side to side.  She ran her finger along the blade, then, unconsciously, put her fingers to her neck.

She stood, walked to the counter, bread knife and towel in hand.  She placed the towel on the counter and picked up the bagel.  Cautiously, she put blade to bread and began to saw back and forth.  When the bagel was in two, she wiped the blade with the towel, turned to the knife block and slid it into it’s home.

Still fits.

Once she put the two halves of the bagel in the toaster, she sat on the floor, drew her knees to her chest, wrapped her arms around her legs and began to rock.

To rock and to finally allow herself to remember.

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