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Adventures
Category

  • Mushrooms On A Mountain

    It’s been a long time since I’ve done mushrooms. Partly because no one has been offering them to me, and partly because I’m a goddamn grown up… if you forget the fact that I’m currently growing out my armpit hairs with the sole goal to dye them blue. I could claim my motivation is a video I want to shoot, but I also think it’s crucial to my personal development that look like I’ve permanently got Gonzo in a headlock.

    It was my friend’s 40th birthday and she had a vision to hike the mountain on mushrooms. Now who am I to deny anyone of their dreams? That would be like someone telling me, “You know Toni, I don’t really have to taste my own feet for your sketch comedy skit do I?” Yeah, you goddamn right you do!

    That isn’t to say I wasn’t nervous. I was!! I didn’t know what mushies even felt like anymore. Plus I’ve been watching NOTHING but Twin Peaks for the past month so my brain is ligit scarred. I can’t see a log anymore and not think it’s talking to me about owls.

    But I was in great company, and that made me feel safe. Plus there was also plenty of weed, weed tincture, edible weed, and weed lube in case it became that kind of party.

    At the base of the mountain we each ate one, and then starting hiking.

    Now in the past if I were to eat mushies I’d probably mow down about ten of them and see what happened. But those were the days where I had fewer responsibilities, and could do stuff like that. It’s not like today where I have the very important task of making a realistic looking Donald Trump Sex doll hanging over my head.

    Yet I think if adulthood has taught me anything, its moderation. When I was young I would do drugs until I felt that feeling of, “whoops, I’ve done too much.” But now I know to pace myself, take it slow, and see how it plays out before taking any more. AREN’T YOU SO PROUD OF ME MOM?

    I have to say, this was an epic experience. When we got to the top of the mountain to our surprise no one else was there! It was such a gift to be the only humans at the top. You know how random people have a way of tainting a quasi-spiritual drug induced experience. Mostly because they can’t understand why you’re telling jokes to a pinecone.

    The wind was unbelievable at the summit. I was overwhelmed by the power of this invisible force; a breeze that I couldn’t touch, or hold, but that still cradled me with its intensity. The element of wind seems so ethereal because you can only see its consequences on the world, but not the wind itself. We stood at the highest peak with our arms outstretched, and leaned into it so much that we were at a 60-degree angle from the ground. It was so loud it was as if we were in a giant subwoofer, the base of the mountain penetrating our ears.

    I stood there for almost a half an hour, until my ears may or may not have started to bleed. I can’t be sure because that also could have been a Fairy’s menstrual flow she accidently left behind when whispering to me. Sometimes Fairy’s tampon leak too you know! We then watched the sunset as a cloud enveloped us. We were straight up inside of a goddamn cloud Carebears style!

    At that moment I felt sooo much love and appreciation for my friends. This overwhelming gratitude for their existence took over my mood. Yet at the same time, I also felt this intense sense of melancholy. The pain that comes with love, and the inevitable suffering that goes hand in hand with loving hurled this shadow I couldn’t escape. As much as my heart opened to the exaltation of love, it still couldn’t hide from the tragedy. So I did what any normal person would do. I hugged a rock until the darkness came.

    We then hiked down in haze. At one point we sat on the forest floor and turned off our headlamps to experience the blackness of the woods. It was so dark you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, but you could see the giant’s hand over the moon of course. Because we had had our headlamps on, we hadn’t seen the fireflies that had been following us. Yet once we shut off our manmade halogens, we could see the hundreds of glowing bugs serenading us under the eerie canopy of the trees.

    The whole experience was like a vacation from myself. It was a holiday from the thought patterns of my mind. Rather than thinking about the usual things – the details of life and anxieties about the past/future – I instead meditated on the nature of reality. How reality is like an infinite layered cake, with infinite possibilities all stacked on top of each other. We shape our reality based on the decisions we make at any one moment. Our decisions shape the realties of others, and we are all tied together in this netting of the decisions we decide to act on. If you’re sitting in a field, one potential decision is to smell a flower, another is to dig everything up and build a Wal-Mart. We are the architects of reality because of the decisions we make, so we should really take more time to think before we act.

    Of course I can’t rely on magic mushrooms to bring magic into my life, but that doesn’t mean that making space for magic isn’t crucial. Maybe I don’t always have the luxury to carve out the time and space to allow my consciousness to wander into the wacky world of psychotropic substances, but that doesn’t mean the substance of my thoughts have to be so mundane. I don’t need drugs to open my mind, but I do need to make sure I don’t get shut in by the needless worries my mind creates. Mushies are just are a gentle reminder that reality is more complex then it seems when I’m purely focused on the minutia of everyday life. If I spent my days doing mushrooms on mountains I would look at my phone way less, but I also could just look at my phone less. The point of mind-expanding materials is not to do more materials, but instead use them as a guide to remember to make sure I expand my mind in the material world.

    June 22, 2017 • Adventures, emotions, Musings • Views: 321

  • I Need a Vacation From Myself

    When most people go on vacation, they find themselves relaxing at the beach, drinking Mai Tais, taking in some light reading, and sleeping in. When I try to vacation I tend to have my ego ripped out of my psyche so I can fully examine all my demons and search deep into the dark depths of my soul to uncover all it is about me that is vile. To each his own.

    It’s not like I had that intention when I got on the plane to California. My initial vision was that I take a work meeting, and then visit my lovely friend in LA to go on adventures. It was the perfect idea to get me out of my head because so far, no matter where I go, I keep bumping into me. I figured hanging out with a childhood friend who also happens to be one of the best people on planet earth would be the ideal getaway. Not to say that didn’t happen – but it wasn’t exactly the light-hearted jaunt I had intended.

    The first 24 hours were pure bliss. Everything you dreamed a vacation would be. But then, on a hike, my knee started to hurt. Not because of any reason mind you, it just hurt. I knew what this meant. It meant it was time for my soul to communicate to my ego through the language of my body. OBVI!

    My knee hurting was holding us back from all the fun things we could be doing. I knew the pain was a message I had to decode, because my body breaking down is when I am forced to do my deepest self-reflection. Otherwise I’m always on the move, trying this, doing that, being here, going there. But when my body slows me down, I am forced to think about all the things I avoid thinking about.

    In a way, the ego journey was obvious. I was in LA. LA represents much more to me than just a city that will soon be underwater, or blown up by North Korea. LA is the mecca of ambition and success in my creative field. A lot of people ask me why I don’t move to LA, especially because it’s kind of hard to network / break into the business when you live amongst the trees in rural New Hampshire. Sure I often go outside and pitch my witty feminist script ideas to the squirrels, but they are so damn critical about narrative structure.

    I’m an obsessive and ambitious person, but I don’t really thrive when I’m in places like New York and LA because I get too distracted. My FOMO takes over, and I end up flitting about to this place and that like a hummingbird with ADHD – always looking for the next place to be, or the next person to talk to. But when I’m isolated in nature, with nothing to pull me away from my work, I’m infinitely more productive. As an artist my life choices make sense because they facilitate creativity and productivity, but it’s not like I have any big success to brag about either.

    A lot of these questions were coming up for me, but they are nothing new, and were not the mystery behind my knee pain. Then my friend made a comment… “You want to come here to LA to make big strides” and it really struck me. Not only because I have freakishly long legs, but also because the wanting to make strides was so clearly manifesting in my knee.

    That night I went to bed, and I couldn’t sleep. I started thinking of how unconsciously judgmental I can be of my friends who are more focused on relationships than me. How there is this way I’ve felt superior because where they’re busy thinking and talking about guys, I am busy thinking and talking about my career. Constantly. I had to realize that I am no different than my friends looking for love. The yearning I have for my career is the same. I’m just as pathetic as a teenage girl the morning of prom, waiting to see if someone will call. I’m just as boring talking endlessly about this project or that, as any girl talking about this boy or that. I mean both conversations involve dicks, mine just happens to center around how to turn the vas deferens into a character for a video.

    I woke up that morning and my knee pain was gone! I did it! I was free to finally enjoy myself right?

    NOPE!

    Then the next day my back went into spasm. Of course.

    What the dick universe? Now what?

    I could barely stand without shooting pain, so I had to think, and I had to think fast. Why? Why was my back in this tightened state of constant spasm? I realized that the seed of the spasm had been planted in a yoga class my friend had taken me to earlier in the week. I don’t usually go to yoga classes because I’m a teacher, so I practice yoga on my own. There doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to go to class because no one challenges me in the same way I know how to challenge myself. So this yoga class felt easy to me – which of course I KNOW IS NOT THE POINT OF YOGA, but I had a lot of energy to burn that day. Rather than just enjoying the experience I was having, I kept making everything harder for myself. Doing 7 of a pose instead of just the few she was suggesting. I had to realize that are many times where I’m trying to make the moment more than what it is.

    That was exactly it. That was my problem. Always wanting things to be more than what they are. The struggle of enjoying what is in front of me. Now this is something I know intellectually – that I should honor the process not focus on the goal – but having a philosophical understanding is not the same as a visceral one.

    The challenge is that existing in the present is a lofty goal, because if you think about it, there is no present moment – only the past and the future. What we think is the present moment is actually the past because it takes time for our brain to process the data and information to make sense of the reality in front of us. The now is already over. This moment just happened. It’s like the line of the horizon – it actually doesn’t exist. It’s just our perception. In theoretical physics, there is no difference between the past and the future because they’re treated exactly the same. Yet we are told to live in the present to avoid the suffering of obsessing about the past and future. Suffering is not caused by the external realities around us, but rather the internal thoughts inside of us. Our minds are the cause of our suffering. Wanting to be somewhere else other than where you are is the root of suffering. Not being able to appreciate what is happening because you have a craving for something different. A person who does not crave cannot suffer, yet achieving that state of Nirvana takes a discipline so many of us lack. So we run from pain towards pleasure… always wanting less pain and more pleasure. As long as we exist in that paradigm, we will never be satisfied because we will always be in this state of craving more or less of something. That is the irony of the human condition, one obsessed with the illusion of linear time. Time is a circle. Time is infinite. The past could be the future. Time is barely relevant in this multi-verse of multi dimensions of infinite time and infinite space because the universe is not only expanding away from us it’s also accelerating. That’s all I had to learn. DUH!

    Here I am when I was 19 and on vacation in Greece… god I was so much simpler then! Just sticking my tits out enjoying life like a normal person.

    May 3, 2017 • Adventures, ambitions, emotions, Musings • Views: 782

  • It’s Going to Hurt!

    We adult humans spend a good portion of our lives avoiding pain. When we get too cold, we most likely go inside to stop the discomfort of freezing fingers. When we’re too hot, we again go inside – but this time into chilly air-conditioned rooms. We take painkillers to dull the uncomfortable sensations in our bodies, and medicate our brains to ease the uncomfortable thoughts in our minds. We often don’t attempt physical risks in fear of injury, and will avoid relationships altogether that we think have the potential of breaking our hearts. And when we participate in golden showers, we do so in the comfort of a Ritz, not in a grimy a Holiday Inn.

    We run from pain because we fear it.

    Because of this pervasive trepidation of suffering, we socialize our children to avoid pain also. If you go to a playground, you will hear a chorus of parents shouting “careful,” over and over in a round – like an extra annoying version of “row row row your boat.” Parents are constantly trying to protect their children and keeping them from falling – forgetting that a face-plant is actually a pretty important part of learning. Sometimes falling off the monkey bars and getting the wind knocked out of you is a good thing. That way next time you’ll know to fall on top of another kid, to soften the impact.

    I guarantee you that the most crucial and life-changing moments of your existence were not your happiest – but rather overcoming something challenging. We don’t learn from ease, we learn from pain. When we breakthrough pain, we realize our own strength and resilience. That is how we grow and evolve. No one remembers the days that were super chill, nothing difficult happened, and someone served you bonbons on a golden plate. We instead remember the times a grown man pissed on a prostitute, or got pissed on by a prostitute.

    I think one of the greatest disservices that we can do to ourselves, or our kids, is thinking that life shouldn’t be painful – because guess what? IT’S GOING TO BE! The expectation that we can evade pain is not only unrealistic; it’s setting you up for a lifetime of disappointment. I don’t know about you, but I would rather know I can get through painful experiences than pretending life will shower nothing but prosperity upon me… because only then will I realize that I’m actually wet with urine.

    You guys… I just can’t stop with these references. It’s too special. Trump’s life is comedy gold…en shower.

    Back to the point. The other day The Munch got a splinter. Now there are two kinds of splinters in the world. A splinter that goes into your skin at a diagonal angle – which means it is easy to get out – and a splinter that goes into your skin at a 90 degree angle – which means your fucked.

    The Munch got a 90-degree splinter into the heel of her foot. I was out of town, and her dad called me to explain the situation. I told him to soak her foot in warm water to soften the skin… but I forgot to mention SOAPY warm water. So basically he put her foot in purely warm water, and immediately the wood expanded – making the splinter even harder to extract. He tried to get it out, but at that point it was too embedded.

    The next day I came back, and the splinter was still there despite many attempts, and holistic remedies. We tried olive oil, eggshell, banana peel, Epsom salts, whale sperm. Nothing worked. I could run my finger over the skin, and it wasn’t even poking out anymore. Anytime we tried to grab the end of the splinter with tweezers, the wood just splintered off. The Munch couldn’t walk, so there was no choice but to get it out, yet the question was how? I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to take a splinter out of a 6-year olds foot, but it’s kind of like wrestling a rabid wolverine.

    Munch: Ow mom OW!!!!! Don’t touch it! IT HURTS!!!
    Me: Well I have to at least look at it…
    Munch: OW OW OW OW OW OW OW!! STOP NO OWWWWWWW!!
    Me: I can’t get it out if you keep moving around and kicking your foot!
    Munch: YOU’RE NOT BEING GENTLE!
    Me: I am trying to be… but if you don’t let me get it out, we will have to take you to the doctor to do it. You can’t walk, and it can get infected.
    Munch: NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY!!! I AM NOT GOING TO THE DOCTOR!!!!!!
    Me: Then you’re going to have to let me do it.
    Munch: OW OW OW OW OW OW!!!
    Me: Dude you have to stop kicking!!!
    Munch: I CAN’T STOP KICKING BECAUSE YOU KEEP POKING AND HURTING ME!
    Me: Well, do you want to go the doctor then?
    Munch: NO NO NO NO NO I WON’T GO!

    You can see this was not going well. Then I realized something. Part of why The Munch was resisting so much was because she thought I was going to be gentle, and not hurt her. Yet the problem was that there is no way to dig a splinter out of a foot and not have it hurt! The only way to get this demon wood out was to pick, prod, squeeze, and shear the skin.

    Me: Listen. This is going to hurt. There is no way I can do this and it won’t be painful. But if you don’t want to go to the doctor, you have to let me hurt you.
    Munch: Fine, but you have to be gentle.
    Me: I’m will do my best to be gentle, but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to hurt. It is. I am going to hurt you. You have to wrap your head around that. But that’s the only way I can get it out. Life is full of pain okay Munch? There is no running from it. But you’re the bravest girl I know. You had someone cut your eyeball out of your face… twice. You’ve lived through surgery; you can live through this okay?
    Munch: Okay. Just don’t take me back to the hospital. I hate that place.
    Me: Deal.

    For the next hour of our lives, with her dad holding a flashlight to The Munch’s foot, I dug into her skin. Sure The Munch would have to take breaks, but there was no more resisting, no more kicking, no more shouting. She just let me carve my way into her foot and then squeeze the shit out of it to try and loosen the splinter. Then, I finally saw my moment. I got the tweezers, and pulled it out. We all started screaming and jumping up and down in celebration. I swear on everything holy pulling that splinter out was as emotionally satisfying as watching the birth of my child. In fact, it was more gratifying.

    Obviously the Munch had a shift of consciousness. Once she not only expected the pain, but also accepted it, her tolerance quadrupled. She was able to sit there peacefully and deal with the discomfort because she had surrendered to that reality. Once you allow the pain, you realize, that it’s not that bad. You will survive, and the satisfaction of getting through it is profound. I think we all can remind ourselves that pain is not the worst thing that can happen to us. Stagnation is. Allowing ourselves to be stifled by the fear of suffering. So go out there, make mistakes, get hurt, have someone destroy your heart. You’re going to be okay! I promise. Live life embracing pain. I know I for one am going to remember this the next time I get pee in my eye from a presidential golden shower, because that shit does sting.

    The tools and splinter

    splinter-blog

  • Making Memories Isn’t Always Easy

    The thing that sucks about growing up is that we get too attached to our mundane patterns of existence. You wake up, go to work, come home, cook food, watch TV, and go to bed. Maybe every once in a while you go out to dinner, get laid, or attend a party where you awkwardly chat until you’re tipsy enough to flirt with someone you’re not supposed to. But even when fun presents itself we often shy away because, “we have to get up early the next day.” So we say “no” to taking ecstasy on the beach with a bunch of strangers with lotus flowers weaved into their blond dreads – even though maybe 10 years ago you would have been the one dry humping the waves.

    Now that I’m in my 30’s, I have different priorities than I did in my 20’s – my work, making my work meaningful, and being successful at work. Oh yeah and my child/family/personal growth/health… snore I just feel asleep. There are more meaningful parts of my life that pull me away from frivolous fun because I know that I have to work hard in order to get the work done. Oh and also spend time with people I love.

    Even though I may not be as reckless as I was in my past, I still feel this undying urge to break out of my own shell. I don’t want to lose myself in a schedule, or in a regime of my own making. When my weeks blend together like an amorphous routine, time becomes indistinguishable. I find myself wondering, “Did that happen that last week, or 7 months ago?”

    The days of doing cocaine on a rooftop may be behind me (probably because more than my soul blew away that evening), but that doesn’t mean I want to live everyday like I did the last. The way I make memories is not by doing the same thing day in and day out, but instead by doing something out of the ordinary.

    When I do something unusual it makes me think of conformity, and reminds me how desperately I want to push against the status quo. I used to do that with bong hits and watching conspiracy theories, but that resulted in eating a lot of cereal. I want to be responsible, but I don’t want to be conventional. I want to be doing things that other people aren’t because being on the fringes of culture is where I like to be – it’s just that now I have to be more creative about finding those moments.

    ESPECIALLY BECAUSE I LIVE IN THE WOODS and am hard pressed to be seduced into making bad decisions by hanging out with the wrong trees.

    In my quest towards making memories I do things that challenge me, scare me, or make me uncomfortable. The more I struggle through something, the more it imprints in my psyche. So if something is hard, you bet your sweet ass I am going to try and do it.

    So last full moon I decided I wanted to bathe under its luminescence and swim across the lake. Now, this is not my first time doing this. Swimming across the lake is something I have done for most of my adult life. The lake has a 3.5-mile circumference, so you do the math of how far that is because I cheated in high school geometry. The probably with this adventure was not the act itself, but the fact that it was the coldest day of the summer at 55 degrees.

    I asked my friend to join me, and she was down… yet as the day went on, we had our doubts. All afternoon it rained, and my friend and I went back and forth on whether or not it was worth it. The rain stopped so we met up, but still deliberated. We sat in our sweatshirts and looked out at the dark water – smoking weed and losing our courage. We took off our clothes and dipped in our toes, both shivering uncontrollably.

    My Friend: Should we do this?
    Toni: I don’t know. I am getting eaten alive my mosquitos though.
    My Friend: What should we do?
    Toni: We don’t have to do it?
    My Friend: But maybe we should?
    Toni: Let’s do it.
    My Friend: But it’s so fucking cold.
    Toni: I know. We don’t have to if we don’t want to.
    My Friend: But we’re here.
    Toni: So let’s go.
    My Friend: But I’m freezing.
    Toni: We have to decide this is crazy.
    My Friend: So what should we do?

    Come to think of it, maybe being stoned was not helping our decision making process.

    My Friend: If you go – I will follow you. But I’m not going to be the one who makes this happen.

    I counted to 3, and dove under. I swam as fast as I could until my body no longer felt numb, and then looked up. Around the corner I could see the moon rising, and it was SO FUCKING WORTH IT!

    It seemed insane that we were the only people making this life choice that night. Yes it was cold. Yes it is cozier inside. But nothing could rival the beauty we experienced, and it was only highlighted by the effort it took to be there. It’s like we were in on a secret that no one else knew. If you push past the discomfort, there is a glory to behold that is a much greater gift.

    For the next hour, my friend and I swam towards the open arms of the full moon. We talked, laughed, thought, and dreamed. From the second we submerged ourselves we were so grateful that we had. Everything that we went through, the struggle, the cold, the indecision, made it all the more memorable.

    I realized something about myself in the middle of that lake. I almost need things to be hard and arduous to fully lose myself in the process. My friend is the type of person who could just go for a night swim. She could swim around, enjoy her self, and then get out. But not me. I’m the type of person that’s either swimming across a fucking lake or not at all.

    When I do something with a specific goal, like getting to the other side of the lake, I can let go of thinking about all the discomfort of getting there. I don’t allow myself to dwell on how my body is cold, or that my neck is tired from holding my head up. Anytime my mind wanders to complaining, I just say, “Well there’s nothing you can do until you get to the other side – so think of something else.” Having a goal keeps me in the moment. It frees me up from thinking about all the things that make it challenging, and anchors my mind in the present. It’s when I’m in that kind of headspace that there is the potential for spiritual awakening. When I am not thinking, but being. That is when I am most myself. When I am most creative. When my heart is most open to listening to my soul’s cries.

    lake swim weather

    August 4, 2016 • Adventures, Musings • Views: 925

  • 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!

    Munch: NO I DON’T WANT ANY MORE 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.

    Munch: I AM NEVER EATING GRAPE MEDICINE ON NUTELA AGAIN!

    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.

    Munch: IT TASTES DISGUSTING!

    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.

    Toni: MOM WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?

    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.

    Munch: BUT I DON’T WANT ANY MORE JELLY IN MY EYE!

    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: 1069

  • 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.

    meteor-blog

    August 17, 2015 • Adventures, Musings • Views: 1038

  • WHAT IS THE POINT OF HIKING?

    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.

    “COME ON MOM! PLEASE!”

    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.”

    OF COURSE THE UNIVERSE GAVE ME A CHILD WHO APPRECIATES THE JOURNEY NOT THE OUTCOME – TO TORTURE ME!

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  • 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.

    COMING FROM THE WOMAN WHO TAKES BENADRYL EVERY NIGHT MIND YOU!?

    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.

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    July 30, 2015 • Adventures, Family Drama • Views: 1044

  • 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.

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    July 15, 2015 • Adventures, Family Drama • Views: 1216