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  • The Worst Day of My Life! (Munch’s Eye Surgery Saga)

    The night before Munch’s wandering eye surgery I couldn’t sleep. Not only because The Munch was getting her eyeball cut open the next day, but also because The Munch was getting HER FUCKING EYE BALL CUT OPEN THE NEXT DAY! I guess the thing I was most nervous about was the anesthesia. It would be a real bummer if that shit killed my kid.

    We had to wake up at 5:45 in the morning to get to the hospital on time. The Munch was in good spirits, and there was a beautiful sunrise on the way. Seemed like a good day to stay alive. When we got there we were waiting in the waiting room and a mother came out from the back where the surgeries were taking place. She was hysterical, and collapsed in her husband’s arms to weep. Munch’s dad and I looked at each other and were like “holy shit.”

    The woman was crying because she had just watched her kid go under, which was obviously pretty traumatic. I looked at Munch who was peacefully coloring, and knew I was in for a fucking experience. Yet because I am a good New England woman who was raised by WASPs, I also knew I would probably just keep all my feelings deep inside and have mental breakdown later when it was appropriate.

    When we were called in, we went to the back room to get prepared. They gave The Munch hospital pajama’s to put on – which was probably the most traumatic part of the story from her perspective. The Munch did NOT want to wear these tiger pajamas. She is SUPER compulsive about her clothes, and seriously wears the same outfit for 3 months in a row. Getting her to change her clothes is like trying to change the mind of a religious fundamentalist.

    But you know what? Because The Munch is a good New England child raised by WASPs, she kept all her feelings inside and put on the outfit. There were a pair of yellow sox she didn’t want to wear, because she NEVER wears socks inside, but when the nurse asked her to put them on, she complied.

    The Munch was then poked, prodded, examined, and check out. She did everything she was asked, and was extremely cooperative. The nurses and doctor kept saying “what a good listener she is,” and “she is so composed and brave!” Which she was! She knows how to be stoic in times of stress, but I also knew that she wasn’t expressing what she was actually feeling – because she learned from the BEST!

    The Munch was then asked what flavor she wanted her anesthesia mask to smell like, and she chose watermelon. When it was time to take her back, I had to put on MY blue hospital gown and doctor’s hair net. And holy shit I did not like that… especially since I and been wearing the same thing all week.

    I held Munch’s hand, and we walked to the operation room – both in outfits we did NOT like. The room was filled with nurses with their blue masks. Munch was told to lie on the bed, and when she did, her little body looked so small. The nurses started strapping her down, and put the anesthesia mask on her face.

    Toni: Does it smell like watermelon?

    Munch nodded her head, and looked around. I put my hand on her heart, and started doing reiki on her. (I of course am a certified reiki practitioner which is a type of healing touch – I mean you can’t be a new age mom and NOT practice reiki. It’s in the handbook). The Munch looked into my eyes and I smiled at her. You can’t act scared in situations like that! Even though in my mind I was thinking “ummmmm this is so mother fucking scary, maybe this was a bad idea.” I was trying remain calm as Munch’s tiny body convulsed as the anesthesia took over.

    Nurse: This is totally normal… nothing to worry about. She is already asleep.

    Munch’s eyes rolled in the back of her head as she thrashed around. Then suddenly, she was still. It kind of looked like she died.

    Nurse: Give her a kiss on her cheek.

    I kissed Munch on her cheek and everyone looked at me.

    Nurse: Are you okay?

    Toni: Of course.

    I went back out the waiting room and immediately sat down to meditate. So yeah, maybe it is kinda weird to be sitting on a waiting room floor meditating, but that is the kind of person I am. I then did some distance reiki on Munch to support the surgery. Which also included whispering and weird gestures. Again, because that is how I roll.

    The TV was on, and I could hear Curious George. It was the same episode Munch was watching on the drive to the hospital. It made me think of her, and wonder if the sound of Curious George would forever mock me if something terrible happened.

    After two hours the doctor came, told us everything had gone well, and that she was sleeping. The doctor explained that she was going to go do another surgery, then come back and check on Munch because if she had over-corrected/under-corrected the eye, she was going to have to do another surgery that day.

    Now part of me thinks that if Ben Carson is a skilled surgeon, then surgery can’t be THAT hard. But isn’t it also kind of insane that a doctor operates on MULTIPLE people a day. If I had just cut open a kid’s face, I think I would need the rest of the morning to recover.

    When The Munch finally woke up, she was in a lot of pain and really disoriented.

    Munch: Can I put my clothes back on?

    The Nurse: We have to wait for the doctor to see you first.

    We sat with Munch as she tried to make sense of the world, and I held an ice pack to her face. The doctor came and put all these eye drops in her eyes, which really stung and hurt her. But The Munch didn’t complain, and just let it happen.

    Doctor: She is probably the easiest patient I have ever had.

    I started to FREAK THE FUCK OUT that the doctor was going to say she had to go back in and do another surgery. I watched as she did all her doctor texts, and noticed she was surprisingly peppy considering she had just done 3 operations and it wasn’t even 10:30 am. Usually by 10:30 I have accomplished eating breakfast and not peeing on my hands.

    Thank Mother Gaia the doctor was happy with her job, and said we could leave.

    Munch: Can I put my clothes back on now?

    We brought The Munch home, and she was pretty fucking miserable.

    Munch: This was the worst day of my life! Almost as bad as if I had Becca over for a playdate!

    Toni: Whoa really? And is Becca really that bad that she is worse than surgery?

    Munch: She is just so annoying and asks too many questions.

    Toni: Well, I hope you are nice to her anyway.

    Munch: I am. I just never wanna have her over for a playdate!

    The doctor had given us eye drops and eye gel to put in Munch’s eye for the healing process. But you know what you really don’t want to happen to your eye after people have been cutting it open it all day? Putting eye drops or eye-jelly in it! I knew she didn’t want to do it, but Munch’s eye also looked like a cyborg! The whites were completely red, and I felt like I should probably do what I was told.

    Toni: Listen Munch, Mama will do the eye drops first, and you will see it doesn’t hurt. It’s not the stingy kind the doctor had. That kind had steroids in it. This is just plain moisturizing eye drops!


    The Munch then started to cry… but these weren’t normal tears. These were tears of blood. Seriously, my child was CRYING BLOOD! Part of me wanted to take a picture of it for Instagram. It was just so poetic, and disturbing. But even I knew that wasn’t a good idea. (Please note that was me being SUPER mature and putting someone’s feelings above my own artistic social media expressions).

    Toni: Watch Munch, I will do it to myself and show you it doesn’t hurt!

    I put the eye drops in my eye, and you know what? It fucking hurt.

    Toni: Uhhh let’s try the jelly instead.

    After an hour of negotiations and 4 cookies later I finally got the jelly in her eye.

    That night I slept in the bed with Munch because I wanted to make sure she was okay. It was a bit like sleeping next to a rabid octopus who was on meth. She did not sleep the whole night. She kept thrashing, pulling at the covers, sitting up, and wiggling around. By the time morning came around I was delirious.

    Toni: Munch are you okay? You didn’t sleep all night.

    Munch: How do you know that?

    Toni: Because you were moving around and I was right next to you! Was your eye hurting?

    Munch: Yes but I didn’t want to complain. I was trying not to wake you up so you could sleep.

    Ummmmm that is so fucking sweet, and obviously indicative of how many times in my life I tell her not to wake me up!!!

    The Munch wanted to play with her toys, but she also was seeing double out of the eye she got surgery on. The first thing she wanted to do was make a necklace out of beads. You know what is really hard to do? String beads onto a necklace when you fucking can’t see. It was so heartbreaking to watch her attempts, and a really ironic activity choice on her end. She would eventually get the bead on after about, oh I don’t know… 45 tries or so. Then she wanted to play with her “play mobile toys,” which are literally the size of molecules. All her toys are so goddamn tiny!!!!!!!!! Why can’t they make a princess crown that is bigger than a ladybug wing?!

    At this point Munch’s eye really hurt, but she didn’t wanna take the medicine.

    Munch: I don’t want that grape medicine because it is too sweet, and so was the watermelon they made me breathe in! IT IS TOO SWEET AND I WON’T TAKE IT!

    Okay, so I guess that serves me right for being an organic eating hippy who gives Munch dirt flavored gum as a treat.

    I tried putting the medicine in ice-cream, but she wouldn’t eat it. I tried crushing up the pills, hiding it in Nutella, and spreading on toast – but after a few bites she noticed.

    Munch: Why does this Nutella taste like grape?

    Toni: It doesn’t.

    Munch: Then what is this purple powder right here? YOU ARE TRICKING ME!!!!! WHY ARE YOU TRICKING ME!!?

    Toni: I’m sorry! I just want you to fell better! I don’t know how else to make you take the medicine.


    My mom then went to the store to get “baby aspirin,” which according to my mom tasted delicious. She gave it to Munch who immediately spit it out.

    Toni: Come on Munch, just eat it.


    Toni: No it doesn’t Here, lemme try it. I will show you.

    I took one of the “baby aspirin” and chewed it to show Munch she was being ridiculous.

    Toni: Jesus H. Christ that is fucking disgusting!!!!!!!!! Give me that bottle mom.

    So it turns out it was just regular aspirin. Not children’s chewable aspirin. Just adult aspirin you swallow. Now not only had I taken an aspirin for the first time in 15 years for no goddamn reason, but I also couldn’t get the taste of aspirin out of my mouth for the next three days.


    My mom went BACK to the store and got another painkiller that tasted like cherry. Thank god Munch would take that one.

    That night I was really on the brink of sanity. I was trying for an hour to get Munch to do the eye jelly, and she wouldn’t. Every time I got close, she would get super upset and run away. I couldn’t hold her down, because it is her eye I am dealing with, and you can’t force someone’s eye open.

    Munch: I don’t want you to see the redness!

    Toni: Munch I don’t care about that!? Would you care if I had a red eye?

    Munch: No. But I don’t want my eye to be red. I don’t want jelly in my eye! I shouldn’t have chosen the surgery. I should have just seen double forever!

    Toni: Dude this is the worst it’s gonna be. You’re gonna feel so much better tomorrow I promise! And then you won’t see double any more.

    Munch: I don’t care if I see double… I wish I never had surgery.

    Toni: You are gonna be all better soon. We just have to put the jelly in your eye to help you.


    My Mom: Why don’ t you leave, go get some dinner – I will do the eye jelly, give her a bath, and put her to bed.

    Toni: No. I am not leaving. I’m just going to put her to bed.

    My Mom: I can put her to bed. You have to take care of yourself too. Just get out of the house, eat, and take a break.

    Toni: No I wanna be there for her.

    My mom: But she is resisting you to resist you right now. Just go. I can do it once she has settled down and in a better mood.

    Toni: I’m just gonna put her to bed, then I will go.

    My Mom: Let me put her to bed, you are being really annoying!!!

    Whatever Mom, you are annoying!!

    I put Munch to bed, went downstairs, and got dressed to go get food. As I was leaving I could hear the bath running, and Munch chatting away happily to my mom. I ran upstairs and there she was, out of bed, and in the bath.

    Toni: What the dick Mom? She was just in bed!

    My Mom: I got the jelly in her eye, and now she is having a bath before going back to bed.

    Toni: Oh. Thanks.

    All and all, Munch was really fucking impressive. It was not a great experience, but I am hoping it works for the long term,and this is the only time she has to go through it. Not to mention how fucking nice, supportive, loving, and caring all our friends were. SO THANK YOU for going through this journey with us! Especially her little friend who was so worried about what Munch went through, she watched videos of eye surgeries for over an hour to understand the experience. I am dead serious about that…


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    November 23, 2015 • Adventures, Family Drama, Health • Views: 236

  • Getting Stoned and Being All One with The Universe

    Last week was a meteor shower. Since I live in the country, I had to make the effort to appreciate that biological phenomenon and shit. If I didn’t get all up in that stargazing, then what the hell is the point of being here? Part of living in nature is getting down with it…. Aww yeah.

    Wednesday was the pinnacle of this celestial occurrence, and I decided I would take it seriously. I woke up in the middle of the night, brought a blanket out into a dewy field, and watched the comets fly for 3 hours. I mused about the meaning of my existence, contemplated the future of humanity, marveled at the beauty of our boundless skyward landscape, and prayed that my future would be spiritually fulfilling.

    There was something so awakening about allowing the stardust to pour over me, and surrendering to the mysteries of the space. I felt so at peace with the unknown. I allowed myself to melt into the dark matter, and revel in the expansiveness.

    The next night my friend was visiting, and she suggested we smoke pot before looking at the stars. Now I haven’t been stoned in a few months because I have been so busy working and stressing out, so the thought of puffing on some weed was a pretty damn good idea. Yet every time I take breaks from being high, I get a little tentative, and fear I will get TOO high.

    But that doesn’t stop me!!

    Soooooo…. I took one small hit, and was totally fine. A half hour later, I took another. All good. Nothing unexpected. No big deal. Just two girls appreciating the beauty of all things while staring at balls of light while they fly through the sky.

    So I did what any normal person would do. Took one more HUGE hit!

    I knew I was in trouble, but I was trying to be chill, so I didn’t mention anything. I lay back down, looked at the sky, and tried to play it cool. Then all of a sudden I could see the stars moving towards the right, and feel as the earth rotated to the left.

    Toni: Dude. I can seriously feel the earth spinning on its axis, and floating through space.
    My Friend: It’s like I’m on acid right now.
    Toni: I think I’m gonna barf. I’m too aware of the earth moving, and it’s going so fast!!!! I’m super dizzy! We have to get off this ride!!!

    I was official wayyyyy to high.

    We started walking back to my house, and even though I was really trying to keep it together, I was also totally losing it.

    Toni: Dude, smoking made me too open. I don’t think I can handle being connected to all things right now. I don’t want to be a conduit for the eternal bonds of molecules. I can’t be a vessel for the cosmos to pass through. I have to go eat a bunch of chocolate, dull my senses, and just be a normal person who isn’t one with the universe.


    August 17, 2015 • Adventures, Musings • Views: 507


    When I go hiking, my objective is to get to the end of the trail. I am NOT the type of person who can trek half way up a mountain, and then turn around. No fucking way. If I start walking up a goddamn hill, you bet your sweet ass I am going to get to the top!

    I am definitely not one to dilly dally, dawdle, or meander. I wouldn’t dream of straying from the trail. I look straight ahead and propel my body forward. I don’t take breaks. EVER! I barely stop for water, and certainly wouldn’t dream of eating – that would slow me down! I’ve got places to go!!

    So can you imagine my horror when I realized that I have given birth to the type of hiker who wants to linger and explore!?

    This was my experience hiking with The Munch.

    .1 miles in: “Mom! Lets go check out these rocks over there!” (She jumps over rocks for 10 minutes).

    We get back on the path and walk 25 feet. “Hey, look at this right here. These rocks! Let’s go check them out!” (She plays on rocks for another 5 minutes.)

    “Mom, I am hungry! Let’s have snack!” (She eats a bar).

    We walk 100 feet farther down the path: “MOM!! Check out these rocks! Let’s go over here! Aren’t these so cool!?” (More rock playing).

    We get back on the path. “Mom. I’m hungry again. Can I have my seaweed chips?”

    She walks WITH her seaweed chips for .2 miles.

    “Mom, let’s take a little rest. Can I have some of my sammich?”

    She eats half, of a half, of her sammich.

    Back on the path for 20 feet.

    “Mom, can I have the other half, of that half, of my sammich.”

    She stops, finishes that half, and we walk 80 feet.

    “Mom, can I have some water?”

    She drinks water, we walk .2 miles.

    “Mom!! Check out this hill! Can I go up it?”

    I remind her that the hill is NOT on the path, and we should continue on the path.

    “Ummm I think I’m going to go up and down this hill a few times. Will you come with me? PLEASE!?”

    I again remind her that said hill is NOT the path.


    We go up and down the hill a few times.

    “Can I have the other half of my sammich?”

    She eats her sammich.

    This was my experience for the ENTIRE 3 MILE HIKE!! And get this. SHE DIDN’T EVEN CARE ABOUT GETTING TO THE END OF THE TRAIL! She just wanted to enjoy nature, look around, take breaks, eat snacks, and investigate the terrain. I guess where I am more “goal oriented,” The Munch is more “process oriented.”



  • Shingles and Shenanigans

    The other day my mom calls me up and says:

    My Mom: I think I have a tick bite on my chin.
    Toni: I seriously doubt that.
    My Mom: Well I seriously think a tick bit my chin.
    Toni: Mom, you look in the mirror all the time. You would have seen a giant tick hanging off your face sucking your blood.
    My Mom: You’re probably right.

    She calls again the next day.

    My Mom: I think I have shingles on my chin.
    Toni: Why would you think that?
    My Mom: Because my head is all tingly, and my face hurts.
    Toni: Shit.
    My Mom: Can you come over and look at my chin?

    I went over to her house, and looked at her chin. Sure enough, I thought they were shingles too.

    Toni: I think you’re right.

    Now here’s the thing. My mom usually lives in Boston, so she doesn’t have a primary care physician in New Hampsha. The longer you let shingles shingle, they more shingly they get. And let me tell, shingles fucking suck so hard. For me, they were worse than childbirth.

    So OF COURSE I wanted to help my mom and take her to the emergency room so she could get the medication ASAP. But it was also 10pm, and I hadn’t eaten dinner yet.

    Toni: Do you want me to take you to the emergency room?
    My Mom: That would be really nice, yes!
    Toni: Ummm but we could go in the morning right? Like, you’re already all cozy in your jammas?
    My Mom: Oh sure, we can go in the morning.
    Toni: I will go get you some of my hippy shingles medication for tonight.

    As I left her house to grab my new age bark paste –  I felt guilty as fuck. I knew the right thing to do was to bring her to the emergency room that night and not wait until the next day….

    Toni: Here is some dragon eggshell mixed with Echinacea that I used on my shingles… but maybe we should just go tonight?
    My Mom: You don’t mind?
    Toni: OF COURSE NOT! Let me just go eat my hamburger for dinner and then I’ll take you.
    I ate one hamburger, and left my second hamburger behind because I didn’t want my mom and her shingles to wait too long.  For me, this is a lot more tragic than you would think.  But you guys, ever since I was pregnant, I got into the habit of eating TWO hamburgers.  Eating just ONE feels wrong!

    My mom and get to the hospital, she checks in, and I am still super hungry.  We get called back into the room, and the nurse starts checking her vitals.

    Nurse: Now why are you here this evening?
    My Mom: Well my neck has been feeling weird, and I thought it was because I got too enthusiastic in Yoga or something. Like maybe I did a shoulder stand for too long. But then I realized no I didn’t do any such thing. It’s not the yoga. I have shingles.
    Nurse: I see. Do you have any allergies?
    My Mom: No. Well I sneeze all the time, but I’m not allergic to any medications or anything.
    Nurse: Do you take medication for your sneezing?
    My Mom: I take Benadryl every night.
    Toni: HOLY FUCK YOU DO??
    My Mom: Yeah, it helps me sleep.
    Toni: Seriously, I think there are better ways.
    Nurse: Are you two sisters?
    My Mom: I AM HER MOTHER!! BUT THANK YOU!! Everyone always thinks that.

    The nurse left, and the Doctor entered. Now this doctor was not exactly the most jovial character on planet earth. He is an ER doctor in rural New Hampsha and exactly how you would expect him to be. There was no kidding around for him.

    My mom however is a personality and a half. She likes to say things to get a rise out of people, and entertain herself. If you are wondering where I get it from… well there’s your answer.

    Doctor: What brings you here today?
    My Mom: I have shingles.
    Doctor: And why would you think that?
    My Mom: Well at first I thought it was the yoga but… then I realized I didn’t hurt myself in yoga. It’s shingles. See look.
    Doctor: Usually shingles happen with our older patients.
    My Mom: Well I am 63.

    The doctor looks again.

    Doctor: Yeah, it does look like shingles.
    My Mom: Aren’t I clever?
    Doctor: What do you mean?
    My Mom: Aren’t I cleaver to diagnose myself with shingles.
    Doctor: Not really. A lot of people diagnose themselves with shingles. And they’re usually right.
    My Mom: Don’t you still think I’m clever?
    Doctor: I don’t know about that.
    My Mom: I knew if I came in quick, the shingles would go away faster, and hurt less.
    Doctor: There are only half-truths in that statement. That isn’t exactly the case.
    My Mom: Isn’t it better to come in within the first 72 hours? That’s why we rushed over.
    Doctor: When did they start bothering you?
    My Mom: This afternoon. So that’s why we came tonight. Aren’t we clever to get here on time?
    Doctor: Well, you had about 68 more hours you could have waited.
    My Mom: But we are clever.
    Doctor: I will be right back.

    The doctor left and I just sat there with my head in my hands not knowing whether to laugh or try and drown myself. He then returned.

    Doctor: Okay well…
    My Mom: Are you going to prescribe me Valtrex or something?
    Doctor: What I was trying to say is…. I am going to give you something tonight that you can take immediately, then you can fill your prescription tomorrow morning…
    My Mom: Do you think CVS is open right now?
    Doctor: No. Which is why I said I was going to give you something tonight.
    My Mom: Okay well the less drugs the better.
    Doctor: What do you mean?
    My Mom: I’m just not the type of person who takes drugs.


    Doctor: Well I can prescribe you something for the pain, and you don’t have to fill it if you don’t want to.
    Toni: Mom, shingles are seriously painful.  They may not hurt yet because you just got them, but they will.
    Doctor: What did you take for your shingles?
    Toni: I was given the Valacyclovir.
    Doctor: Yes, we could also prescribe steroids, but it is not given to patients under 55.
    My Mom: Well I’m 63. Even though we look like sisters.
    Doctor: I was just saying that’s why they weren’t given to her.
    My Mom: Should I take steroids if I am sad?
    Doctor: What do you mean sad?
    My Mom: Just if I get sad from my shingles.
    Doctor: We can prescribe them. And the painkillers.
    My Mom: How will I get the drugs? Do I just call the hospital and mention your name and they will give them to me?
    Doctor: No. Not at all.
    My Mom: Well how do I get the drugs?
    Doctor: I will write you a prescription tonight that you can take with you.
    My Mom: So I shouldn’t just come in here and drop your name.
    Doctor: Definitely not.

    As you can see, this doctor was just NOT getting my mom at all. Here she was dropping comedy gold, and he was taking her so seriously!! I thought they were going to kick us out of the hospital. There was no way she was going to win this guy over.  But then… he entered with the prescriptions.

    Doctor: Here are your prescriptions for the shingles and also for the pain.
    My Mom: Am I going to turn into Rush Limbaugh if I take painkillers?
    Doctor: Why would you say that?
    My Mom: I just don’t want to turn into Rush Limbaugh.
    Doctor: I don’t think that’s going to happen. You’re not a big fat idiot.
    My Mom: Can you believe that Al Franken was able to go from Saturday Night Live, to writing a book called “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot,” to being the senator of Minnesota?

    AND just like that –  they were friends!! They talked about Al Franken for the next 5 minutes!!

    Doctor: Well that was quite a tangent. Good luck to you, and if you have any problems come back and I’ll take care of it.
    My Mom: Great. I’ll just drop your name.
    Doctor: It’s a good thing that you came in early and took care of this.
    My Mom: I don’t fuck around.
    Doctor: I can see that.

    The doctor then shook our hands and left as the nurse came in to give my mom her pills.

    My Mom: Nurse, would you mind looking in my ears? They have been really itchy and I just want to make sure there are no ticks in my ears.
    Nurse: Have you been outside?
    My Mom: Just in my screened in porch.

    And sure enough, there were no ticks in her ears.


    July 30, 2015 • Adventures, Family Drama • Views: 431

  • Me, My Brother, Mania, and the Muse

    Last year something very important happened to me. I was feeling tired all the time, and like I didn’t have enough hours in the day to get things done. Then my brother suggested the revolutionary idea that I get up earlier so I could be more productive. My retort was that then I would be even more tired, to which he suggested, “not if you drink coffee,” – and then my life changed FOREVER!

    I drink coffee like a holy sacrament. I don’t fuck around once I’ve ingested this sacred sap of the muse’s teat. As it pours down my esophagus and infuses into my veins, I only direct my attention towards truly celestial creative work. Then the mania begins.

    My brother is probably the only person who truly understands just how severe the hysteria can be. How once I feel the artistic fervor to accomplish something, it takes over like parasite – engulfing all the mental microbes of sanity. I then enter into a trance where all that matters is the vision locked inside my being that I have to release from the asylum of soul.

    But let’s say I drink the blessed beverage, and then perhaps, get a phone call, or come across another human being. The result is by no means a normal exchange between two rational adults. It’s more like if you encountered a strange humanoid that had been living in a cave and was raised by bears. When someone has to deal with me after I just drank coffee, they will experience the unleashed OCD energy that should ONLY be channeled into a solitary act of my own making.

    The other day, I went to Boston for a “girls night out” for my friend’s birthday. I think this is an important thing to do as a parent, because you need nights where you think to yourself “my butt can still vibrate to the beat.” It makes you feel alive. I always have a good time because hey, no one is asking me to make them a sandwich made with mayonnaise, peanut butter, and cereal. There was one time when I was out dancing with my friend, and someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “why are you having so much fun?” to which my explanation was “because I’m a mom from New Hampshire.”

    So when I woke up the next morning after my night on the town, I went downstairs to gather my things to leave. My brother was in the kitchen, and in the middle of experiencing his righteous ritual. He looked up from his coffee with wild eyes. Now remember, we have the same DNA. We react the same to all substances. So once my brother gets an idea on coffee, his idea WILL be executed!

    My brother: Baby sister sit. We talk about the succession of the South, and how World War 3 might be here by the fall.

    Toni: I have to go pick up my friend to get her back to New Hampsha on time.

    My brother: Baby sister is hung over. You are going nowhere! You will be drunk driving!

    Toni: No I am not! I am fine! I promise!

    My Brother: Look at this picture of Baby Munch! She will say to me, “Why did you let my mom leave that morning! Why didn’t you make her stay!? Now I have no mother.”

    Toni: I’m so fine!!! I swear to you on everything holy!!

    My Brother: No baby sister! Make this friend come to you! I insist! Sit! We chat!

    There was NO changing his mind, or making him see the world differently. I had interrupted his consecrated custom, and now all that prana was directed towards me. The muse had spoken to him, and he was committed! But I was already late to pick up my friend, and also pretty sure my brother was going to tie me to the chair to hear his analysis on race relations in modern times.

    Toni: What if I go get some coffee? Then will I be okay?

    My Brother: Oh. Right of course that’s what you should do. I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.


    July 15, 2015 • Adventures, Family Drama • Views: 606

  • I am a Dance Mom Failure

    For the past year, The Munch has been attending dance classes at the local dance studio. I’m usually teaching dance or dancing myself during that time – so her grandmother has been forced to be the stand-in “dance mom.” Since I have not really been around, I was totally clueless to the culture of this studio, and just how much they were seriously not fucking around.

    It all started with the impending dress rehearsal. I asked Munch’s grandmother if she could take her, and she started to get very nervous.

    Munch’s Grandmother: Oh I was hoping you could take her to her dress rehearsal.
    Toni: I would but I have a super important meeting and then I’m teaching. Is there anyway you could?
    Munch’s Grandmother: I can, but they want her to be in full costume with make up and a bun. I only had sons, so I don’t think I can do all that.
    Toni: I’m sure it won’t matter. She’s only four. Just shove her hair up and slap some eye shadow on her face.
    Munch’s Grandmother: Ummm, they are very particular about the buns.
    Toni: Okay, well I will send her to your house with a bun already in her hair.
    Munch’s Grandmother: Okay, they are just really serious about those buns.
    Toni: I’m sure it will be fine.

    That Monday, I got Munch ready in the morning for her afternoon rehearsal.

    Toni: Listen, I have to do your hair now, because Grandma isn’t sure about putting your hair back in a bun for your rehearsal. So just try not to mess it up.
    Munch: Okay. But can you put two braids in the side and then a braid around the bun?
    Toni: Do I seriously have to go all Game of Thrones on your hair right now? Can’t I just do a regular bun?
    Munch: I WANT BRAIDS WITH MY BUN!!!!!!!!!!!

    So I did what any normal parent would do when their child screams in their fucking face. I did exactly as she asked.

    I brought Munch to her Grandmother’s house and she was immediately anxious when she saw Munch’s hair.

    Munch’s Grandmother: Oh her hair looks very pretty, but are you sure those braids are okay?
    Toni: They’ll be fine. It’s a dress rehearsal! Who cares?

    Well it turns out those braids WERE NOT FUCKING FINE AT ALL! Munch’s Grandmother was scolded for having the wrong kind of bun, and the owner of the studio had to do ANOTHER PERFECT BUN! She then sent Munch’s grandmother home with hairpins, a hair net, and specific instructions for me on how to get her bun perfect!

    Okay fine.

    The night of the show, I gave Munch the best goddamn bun you ever did see. But her “Dust Bunny” costume, which was a tutu adorned with pink feathers, was fragile. So I decided I would just get her dressed at the venue, so as not to smash her tutu during the car ride (or have pink feathers all over my car). We drove to the performance venue with the windows rolled up (so as NOT to disturb the bun), and got there just on time.

    As I was dressing Munch, another Mom told me she was going to leave early, as the “Dust Bunnies” were the first to perform, and it was a long show. She was afraid her daughter would be too tired for the next night’s performance if she had two late nights. Her logic made perfect sense to me. One because who wants to deal with a tired kid? And two because who wants to sit through 2 hours of watching other people’s kids dance?

    After Munch had her 3-minute moment on stage, we sneaked out, and I went to find her backstage. I guess leaving 5 minutes after the show has started and taking your kid away is NOT exactly “Dance Mom” etiquette. So as I was leaving her teacher walked past perplexed.

    Dance Teacher: Are you taking Adelia? She’s not going to stay for the bow?
    Toni: No. I’m getting her home early so she isn’t a total A-Hole tomorrow.

    So I guess “Dance Mom’s” also don’t refer to their child as an “A-Hole” in public.

    The next night of the 2nd performance I figured I could have the same routine as I did the 1st night. I did the bun at home, and assumed I could get Munch into her costume backstage again. Yet when I tried to enter, I was stopped.

    Dance Mom Volunteer: Are you a chaperone volunteer?
    Toni: No?
    Dance Mom Volunteer: Well you can’t come in here. Dancers only.
    Toni: Okay, I just wanted to get my kid dressed real quick.
    Dance Mom Volunteer: You were supposed to do that at home. She was supposed to come dressed and ready to perform.
    Toni: Well is there a bathroom I can use?
    Dance Mom Volunteer: No. There isn’t. She was supposed to come dressed and ready.

    My mom and I took Munch around the corner, found the fucking bathroom that this chick pretended didn’t exist, and proceeded to put on her goddamn costume and makeup.

    Toni: Jesus H. Christ she was being aggressively unreasonable.
    Munch: Who was mom?
    Toni: Nobody. Don’t worry about it.
    Munch: That mom that wouldn’t let you in that room?

    I mean that was a lot of stress! Now I am not saying that Munch wasn’t the most AMAZING Dust Bunny… but basically she just skipped across stage a few times with a bunch of other girls who looked just like her, and then rolled on the floor.



    June 22, 2015 • 4 years old, Adventures, Education, Family Drama, Mommyhood, Parenting • Views: 669

  • Real Life Instagram

    We all know that we create personas on social media. Usually we broadcast the best parts of our lives, but never really the shitty, mundane, or unflattering.

    So this is my “real life Instagram” for last weekend. It’s not that glamorous. But it’s what happened.

    1) This one is The Munch Yelling at me because the iPad was buffering.


    2) These are my legs from far away


    3) These are my legs up close


    4) This is me cleaning Munch’s feet because she asked me too… the power dynamics are pretty clear.


    5) This is me being all one with the animals and shit. Or goats are just eating my shorts.


    6) This is Munch jumping, and my double chin.


    7) This is me on top of a mountain. But rather than enjoying the epic view, I spent the whole time trying to unclog my pipe to smoke weed. Said pipe was clogged because I had rammed a stick in it, with the purpose of unclogging it, and the stick got stuck. My solution you may ask? To shove more sticks in.


    June 3, 2015 • Adventures, Musings • Views: 613

  • Not My Proudest Moment

    Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by life. My plates too full, and I’ve been on the grind – burning the candle at both ends because I’m busy as a beaver that doesn’t even have time to get waxed. Frowny face.

    When things get hectic, I tend to get in this manic state of rushing through life trying to get everything done. This chaotic energy makes it impossible to relax when it’s finally time to unwind at night. Rather than doing what normal people do… ie sleep… I stare at the ceiling sweating while wondering if my life will ever have any meaning. It’s not as peaceful as it sounds.

    The other night I was particularly anxious and thought, “Hey, maybe if I smoked some pot I would loosen up.” Because that is what grown ups do with their feelings – stuff them deeper inside so they eventually get colon cancer.

    I took a few hits and settled in to watch an old Saturday Night Live (when it was good) and within 20 minutes my body started to liquefy. My cells were so relieved to not be drowning in floods of stress hormones that all systems shut down.

    I was suddenly so tired my eyelids officially protested opening. My lashes clasped together like multi-racial hands in the face of a police barricade at a political rally. So I decided to concede to my body’s desires, and get up to go to bed.

    I stumbled into the kitchen to turn off the lights and then suddenly remembered I had cheesy crackers – THAT ARE FUCKING DELICIOUS WHEN YOU ARE STONED. Yet as much as I wanted to satisfy my munchies and mow down, my eyes still refused to open.

    So I did want any responsible adult would do. I ate an entire box of cheesy crackers standing up with my eyes closed.

    (Good thing I didn’t see the bag of cookies… or I would still be standing there eating those too)


    May 27, 2015 • Adventures, Musings • Views: 898

  • Getting Frisky On Kevin Allison’s “Risk!”

    I spend a lot of time alone, in front of my computer, and staring at a screen. I guess I have a LOT in common with porn addicts, but my keyboard is sticky from tears. The life of a writer is lonely. Hold me.

    Even though I am pretty comfortable being emotionally open on paper, that’s because I’m not with you when you read this, or aware of your reaction. I don’t have to sit next to you to hear if you are laughing as you peruse through the 90 different euphemisms I use for my vagina. I am actually watching you from outside your window, so I can’t hear anything. OPEN YOUR FUCKING WINDOW ALREADY!

    There’s a safety to being hidden behind a screen because I am semi-protected from your response to me. Of course there are people who comment on my articles and say mean things, but don’t have to read those. I can just pretend everyone loves everything I say. Who cares if “bonertown23890947567839847” thinks I’m a dumb cunt who should be taken out back and shot,” because I never even read that comment! (*Chokes back more tears).

    Then last week my friend Miriam sent me an email saying how Kevin Allison – the comedian who started the podcast “RISK!”– was looking for submissions for his Boston show. At first I was like “Eh, every time I submit to things like this I get rejected, so what’s the point?” (*Tears of self-pity). It sat in my email box for days, just staring at me, reminding me of my insignificance in the universe. I noticed the deadline was soon, and said fuck it. I submitted this story about how my parents sent me to the Transylvanian Alps when I was 14, because seriously who the fuck does that?

    So it turns out that my story got selected to be on the show! Now here is the thing. I’ve never been on stage before, except for dance performances. My friend Grace was like, “just think of this as a noisy mouth dance,” which even though that made perfect sense, I was still SUPER intimidated. The weekend before was the first time I had ever spoken into a microphone! I’m on the board of the Monadnock International Film Festival, and I was giving out a grant I had created for a high school student filmmaker. I wasn’t nervous at all until I got on stage and saw all these people looking at me as if I was supposed to say something. I was a mess. My hair was in front of my face, and I looked like a 17-year old stoner who called myself Gangja Breath. I had no idea what to say, and was like “Uhhh I made this grant because education is good and stuff. Kids should like, make movies by trying to make movies or whatever… (long pause) San Dimas High school Football RULES!”

    I did a recording of my story so Kevin could give me notes. This is my favorite part of his email “One of the things that pops out at me about your story is this. It seems like most parents would be very careful about sending their 14-year old girl overseas without a chaperone or a highly reputed exchange program with references. Eastern Europe has been notorious for decades for culling young girls into sex slavery. At the very least, you could have been raped by the soccer playing boys you met over there. Most young people traveling overseas without guardians are at least college-age. And most American kids who travel go to stable, 1st world cities like London or Paris. Parents of the 90’s to today are constantly criticized for being way too overprotective. But your folks seem to have something else going on in this story.

    So it’s worth unpacking all that more. Because the audience will be thinking, “What was going on with this girl’s parents? How much good is it going to do for an American kid to get in touch with her Hungarian roots?”

    HAHAAHAHAHAH you bet your sweet ass I sent that to my parents so they could give me answers!!!!!!!! My mom was just like, “You were born in the 80’s – what do you want? I didn’t put a helmet on you to eat breakfast.”

    When I got to the venue, Laugh Boston, and realized that this whole event was part of a comedy festival and everyone performing was a PROFESSIONAL FUCKING COMEDIAN, I started to have a panic attack. I felt like I had to both explosive diarrhea and projectile vomit. It was a full house of over 200 people. Thank god my friend Grace came with me to be my moral support/self-confidence/person to alert me if my anal leakage was showing.

    I couldn’t admit that I was a total virgin to this experience, so I pretended that I at least finger-banged and gave rim jobs. As Grace left me in the Green Room to watch the show I was left alone, and started to shake. The comedienne that was going on before me, Robin Gelfenbien looked like a nice person, so I started talking to her to see if we could form a co-dependent relationship. She reminded me that being nervous was normal and to just be myself. She then checked to see if there were any brown stains on my pants, before going through her notes for her story. She had the genius idea of writing hers down, and bringing a printed copy. I was like FUCK FUCK FUCK… what is this story again? Why didn’t I think of that!? Grown ups do things like use printers!

    Kevin told his story and killed. It was about the time he got crabs, which reminded me of the time I caught Cuban crabs. (Technically it was body lice, but you know where they settled). Robin then went on stage, and I paced like an enslaved lion in a zoo. I tried breathing, but it just turned into hyperventilating so I stopped all together.

    Right before I almost passed out I remembered something. “Toni – you have a body! You should use your body on stage and say things with it!! Let your body help your story!”

    Thinking about my body got me out of my head. Kevin then introduced me, and I walked on stage. We shook hands, and he gave me the sweetest smile. It totally disarmed me, and I just started to tell my story. A story I have told countless times at the dinner table, whenever my parents are around and whenever they have guests… because seriously who sends their 14-year old daughter to the Transylvanian Alps to a place called Camp Commando?

    PS my parents totally did come to the show, so they could hear the story for the 400th time.

    PPS Here is my Dad’s reaction to the show.

    “Dear Toni,

    I haven’t yet written you to tell you how much I liked your stand-up.
    You have a real knack for live performance.
    Also, you were great at the microphone. Excellent distance… I didn’t hear a single puff into the audio. Wow, you’re a real pro.
    And I loved the material, even if I was the major foil.
    On the content, my only tweak… Camp “Kommando” is a vestige of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, I believe. So it has nothing to do with
    Nazi death camps. The closest thing to Nazi behavior was that of the Romanian “Iron Cross” between the two big wars. My info on all this is wobbly, I grant you – as you know better than anyone, I should have done more homework back then – but, I’m pretty sure about Kommando. Even I wouldn’t send you to a death camp.

    (Me getting ready for the show… I guess adults aren’t supposed to sleep with stuffed animals either. Fuck I really need a printer).


    April 27, 2015 • Adventures, Old School Stories • Views: 702