Name: Amanda O’Brien Milleisen
Where do you live? I live Montclair, right by Edgemont Park, with my husband of 16 years, our 14-year-old twins, 9-year-old son, 1 1/2-year-old standard poodle, and 9-year-old selectively loving cat.
When did you move there? We moved to Montclair in 2005 and have lived in our current house since 2010.
Where did you grow up? Miller Place, NY in Eastern Suffolk County on Long Island.
How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? I am a psychologist with a background in Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology. I assess neuropsychological functioning in adults and older adults. It’s a really interesting area. My everyday passion is staying active — I’m running a half-marathon in Brooklyn in a couple of weeks, I love tennis, spinning, lifting, you name it…This keeps me sane (most of the time). However, my middle-aged body doesn’t always agree with this great love of physical activity.
My other passion is supporting and advocating for women to continue to have the right to make ALL of their own independent medical decisions, unfettered by government interference.
Coffee, tea or … ? Coffee. Regular with almond milk in the morning and an almond mild latte in the afternoon for a pick-me-up/treat. As the weather warms, I grab iced coffee from Vesta (yummmmm). We are lucky to have so many amazing local coffee shops around town.
What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? On a perfect weekend day, I would wake up with no alarm and no immediate time pressures. I’d start out with run, which would be followed by hanging out with my three kids, husband, and standard poodle (our cat would be condescendingly, yet lovingly looking on…). We’d all walk into town for lunch and take our time catching up with each other. We’d follow this up with more time outside (a hike at Mill’s?) and a lazy afternoon nap. The evening would be a meal with friends with great conversation, lots of laughter and music.
What’s your favorite local restaurant? We are loyal Bluestone patrons since moving here in 2005. I also love The Corner, Red Eye, Samba, and Mercado for lunch. For dinner, we love Giotto Cafe, Scala del Nona, De Novo, family outings to Egan & Sons, and a good date night at Faubourg.
What’s on your nightstand? Water, a rotating stack of books about parenting teens, meditation, running, and various memoirs that I have very good intentions of finishing, my iPhone, a shell from a favorite beach, and a small seagull sketch my youngest son bought me for my birthday one year. I obviously need to clean off my nightstand.
What are you listening to? NPR is on in the mornings and in the car. I love the podcast Smartless (*favorite episode: Dave Grohl). I also listen to a lot of stand-up comedy. I love my eclectic mixes for long runs. They go from Stevie Wonder to Foo Fighters to U2 to Jay-Z to Coldplay (my favorite!), to Beyoncé, to Guns-n-Roses. I’m obviously stuck back in time because the mixes are heavy on 80’s-90’s jams.
What are your current indulgences? Time for those long runs (thanks, husband), massages to recover from said long runs, afternoon fancy coffee, afternoon naps on weekends after diving into a book.
What talent you would most like to have? To be able to sing. I would like a booming voice that would allow me to belt out the national anthem and rock the gospel choir. For now, I just torture my family with very loud off-key singing to my favorite tunes.
What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? Hopefully not a secret, but the number of gorgeous outdoor parks, gardens, reservations and other natural areas. We are so lucky to be so close to NYC but able to get lost in the woods for a bit. The view of the NYC skyline when hiking at Mills is uniquely beautiful.
Something else I truly hope will not be a secret is the Montclair Friday Group. It is a group of parents and caregivers of children with any type of special needs (i.e., learning, developmental, psychological, social, physical). Although the group meets in person on Friday mornings, I have lurked on the online group and gotten so much valuable information and support over the past 10-plus years from this knowledgeable, supportive and empathic group. You can contact Alma Schneider at alma@parentswhorock to be added to this phenomenal community.
What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? Likely cliché, but I hope that my family and friends say that they felt deeply loved by me, that I was always there for them, and that despite my obvious human flaws, I always gave my heart to the people and things I cared about. I’d like at least one or two people to comment on my fabulous sense of humor. I’d also hope enough people are laughing at great memories that they wouldn’t be able to talk too much at all.