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Parenting
Category

  • The Magic Christmas Tree

    My favorite part of Christmas is the tree. The etymology of this symbol is rooted in ancient traditions of celebrating mid-winter by bringing nature inside to honor her glory. I like to fancy myself a pagan moon goddess who worships mother Gaia with my sacred dances of the primal birth while howling ageless rhythms into the ebony night sky… so I am totally down with the vibe.

    Even though I am technically an adult… I don’t have “adult-like” things – such as Christmas ornaments. Last year my mom had kindly given me some, which then lived in the back of my car until August, and that I smartly put away somewhere I can’t find…. THEY ARE OUT THERE MOM SO DON’T BITCH AT ME OKAY?!

    When we brought home the tree for Munch, she was irrationally excited – as she should have been because holy fuck there is a tree inside the house!!!! I did have lights, thank the universe… so I am not a total failure… but then Munch wanted to decorate the tree.

    Toni: Well… I can’t find the ornaments that Manna gave us… so… but I will probably find them tomorrow? We can do it then okay?
    Munch: But I really want to decorate the tree today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have those ornaments that Gramma gave me!?
    Toni: Okay cool! Lets use those!

    So then we had 3 ornaments on the tree….

    Munch: We need more things to decorate with!
    Toni: Well, like I said… we don’t have any more Christmas ornaments so…
    Munch: That is okay! We can just find stuff around the house!! Let’s look for things that have a hook! Or a loop or whatever!

    The Munch and I then went on a scavenger hunt looking for stuff we could decorate the tree with. And you know what?? You would be surprised by how much stuff you have laying around that is perfect for a Christmas tree! We used about 6 of my necklaces, a Hawaiian lei, a wool sock I tied a string around….

    If you take a step back, our tree is just as beautiful as any tree out there – it is only when you look up close that you would say “wait… is that a pot holder?”

    (Kids really are creative, awesome, and better than us in every way… )
    xmas-tree-blog-1

    xmas-tree-blog-2

  • The Chubby Mermaid

    Not to brag or anything, but my kid is kind of a genius. No, she isn’t a 4-year old fashion designer for J-Crew, and no she doesn’t paint pictures that get sold for thousands of dollars… but she does know how to work my iPhone like a fucking pro. I feel like this is only the beginning of The Munch’s mastery of technology… even if her main motivation is to watch the new Taylor Swift video. But who knows, maybe she is going be the next Steve Jobs – but whose goal is to make 3D digital holograms of Katy Perry that project directly from your eyeballs thanks to an implanted nano-tech microchip.

    I know there are parents who never let their kids watch any modern media, and if they do, it is a supervised experience where they enjoy the wholesome story of Heidi (the 1937 version staring Shirley Temple). Together, they sit around a crackling fire eating fresh popcorn harvested from their farm while the children blissfully fall asleep from their full day of frolicking freely in the forest.

    Then there is my approach of handing my kid my phone/computer/iPad/soul and saying… “Here… watch whatever you want, just let mommy be alone.”

    Now the problem with this strategy is that The Munch then has access to peruse through Youtube, and find other things she may want to watch. She will scan the “related videos,” which may or may not actually be “related” to the initial media I approved of. I would set her up with something innocent to watch like “Curious George,” but then come back 20 minutes later to find her watching a BBC expo about a baby in Indonesia who smokes 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

    There was also a time where Munch found these videos that some charming person had created with the PBS character Caillou. Let me just say, I actually hope Caillou dies a horrible death where he is mutilated by rabid wolves. The show is terrible, and Caillou is a whiney little prick that deserves to suffer. So I can get how it would be funny to take this shit-head character, and re-edit the videos so all the audio is a raunchy dialogue filled with a myriad of swears. Yet despite my present attempt at humor, it was a sad and rude awakening to overhear The Munch listening to Caillou calling his baby sister a “fuck-face.”

    In order to preserve my child’s innocence and shield her from the vulgarities of the world, I had to to say to her, “Hey Munch, you have to check with me before you watch something – because there is some seriously fucked up shit on the Internet.”

    The Munch, who is an honest person, has kept to her word and now comes to me for my approval.

    Munch: Mom… is it okay if I watch “The Chubby Mermaid?
    Toni: WHAT????!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Okay… so lets get real. One thing we can all admit about society is that media FUCKS UP YOUNG GIRLS when it comes to their body image. The last thing you want for your daughter is for her to have an unhealthy relationship to her body, and feel she has to conform to a photo-shopped standard of beauty where her thighs are thinner than her forearms.

    I couldn’t understand WHO ON PLANET EARTH would make a cartoon called “The Chubby Mermaid!?” (Answer: Someone on the Internet – that is who.) My main concern was the term “chubby,” and how The Munch internalized the Meta meaning of that word. I started to panic, wondering if lifelong damage had already happened.

    Toni: Why is it called “The Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: Well, the mermaid is chubby because she ate too many gummy bears.
    Toni: Well “chubby” is not a very nice word.
    Munch: Why?
    Toni: Do you know what “chubby” means?
    Munch: It means you have a round tummy – like the “chubby” mermaid who ate too many gummy bears.

    HOLY FUCK YOU GUYS!!! I was like “shit, shit, shit, shit in the ass shit!” Of course “eating too many gummy bears” is not a good idea for anyone. Especially since they are made of gelatin composed of horse hooves – I mean basically they are molded balls primed to give you diabetes… But still! I don’t want The Munch thinking that fat shaming a mermaid is okay just because she happens to have a penchant for gummy bears!!

    Toni: Well, what do you think of the “Chubby Mermaid?”
    Munch: I like her… that is why I want to watch her???
    Toni: I mean, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: Huh? What do you mean?
    Toni: Do you think she is bad for being “chubby?”
    Munch: No???
    Toni: So, do you think she is a good person?
    Munch: I don’t know mom??? I haven’t seen the rest of it yet? I only saw the beginning?? I don’t know her yet?
    Toni: Well do you think it is nice to call the mermaid “chubby?”
    Munch: She ate too many gummy bears, so she has a chubby tummy? Like it pokes out a little bit.
    Toni: Do you think she still has value to society even though she ate too many gummy bears?
    Munch: Huh? I don’t know??? I haven’t seen the whole video? Wait Mom… do we have any gummy bears??

    From the Munch’s perspective, being “chubby” wasn’t an insult. It was just a descriptive. Like having blond hair or green eyes. She couldn’t tell me if the mermaid was a good person until she actually saw what she was like as a person. Nor did she think there was anything wrong with the mermaid because she was chubby. She just ate too many gummy bears. In Munch’s mind being chubby was simply a consequence to an action.

    Placing moral judgment because of someone’s weight is a learned behavior. The idea that being “fat = bad” is a notion society has constructed. The Munch didn’t see the “Chubby Mermaid” as less than, but simply a mermaid whose mom didn’t micromanage her diet to make sure everything she ate was organic, biodynamic, and macrobiotic.

    Weight has become a barometer of self-worth that is deeply psychologically engrained in adults. Being thin means you feel better about yourself, regardless of actually being healthy. A super skinny model that subsists on champagne, lettuce, and cocaine is not in prime physical condition – even if she is slender. You can be “overweight” but also strong, dexterous, and able to climb stairs without passing out from fatigue.

    The body is a handy mechanism that moves us around planet earth – it is not the gauge with which we should measure our importance. I think it is completely possible to shape a child’s understanding of the body on function rather than form. There is no reason to condition our kids to think that their body weight has anything to do with their status as a human. You want to watch what you eat because a lot of processed food products are essentially poisoned. Pesticides, GMO-s, hydrogenated oils, refined sugar, preservatives… are not nutritious and may cause long-term damage. We should be cautious about what we consume not because culture will demoralize you for enjoying butter, but rather because we don’t want to ingest toxins.

    the-chubby-mermaid-blog-(i)

     

  • Supportive vs Competitive Friends

    I tend to attract really intense people. I wouldn’t call them crazy, but more bat shit crazy. I am sorry you guys, but you are. I love you. Shhhhhhh… it’s gonna be okay.

    The kind of person who is balanced, believes in the benevolence of the world, and feels comfortable in their skin is not going to be drawn to me. But if you are tortured, sweat profusely at the thought of your uncertain future, and are passionate about the minutia and ambivalent about the Meta because all life is meaningless – then chances are we are going to be real close.

    The people I connect with are complex individuals – that is what probably magnetizes me to them. I see the absurdity of existence, yet I usually maintain an emotional distance from the pain of it all. Even though my fantasy was to be raised by a pack of wolves, I had to settle for WASPs… so needless to say I am pretty repressed. What I appreciate about those who teeter on the edge of sanity is that they inspire me to feel. Without them, my sense of empathy would plateau by my even keel – otherwise known as a severe suppression of all feelings.

    I like those who question reality, but the more you question, the more questions you have. The quests for questions are plagued by more questions as the answers slip farther away in the black hole of unknowing. AHHHH I can’t take it any more!

    Friendships have always been important to me. Perhaps because my best friend died, I find it increasingly hard to let go of people. I tend to be fiercely loyal. Unless you rape my cat in front of me – I am a pretty forgiving person. Not that I like my cat that much – just seems like really rude thing to do.

    It takes a lot to push me away because I believe friendship is one of the safest relationships you can have. Your friends are the people you should feel most uncensored with… as long as you don’t show me your anal leakage. You can tell me about it, but just don’t make me look. Some things are meant to be private. The platonic love of friendship is a unique bond because hopefully the commitment is less about wanting something from someone, but more about appreciating their existence on planet earth.

    Even though I idealize friendships, I also feel they can be super complicated. Sometimes someone I really like, and have a lot of fun with, is also SUPER competitive with me. That doesn’t mean they are a bad person, but that does mean the dynamic is tainted by that energy. What I look for most in a friend is someone who is ultimately supportive of me. The kind of chick that would say “yeah, I will do a video with you promoting the usage of eco tampons and allow you to shove your head between my legs while I sit on the toilet. I get believe in your vision.” I mean, that is a damn good friend!

    The people who are closest to me get that I am totally nuts, and are still on my team! Just like I am on theirs. Now that The Munch is of the age of making friends, I want to make sure she learns how to not only be a supportive friend, but also seek them out. Young kids play on the edge of being kind and cruel, and experiment with having power over each other. The difference however, is that the stakes are lower. It doesn’t really matter who gets to play with the yellow haired Barbie but when adults act like that, shit can get ugly. Get off my Ken doll you bitch!!

    When The Munch was a baby, she didn’t really play with other kids… they just played near each other and fought over toys. Now that she is a kid, she and her friends go off to connect without constant supervision. When I observe her playing with her little buddies, my instinct is to interfere and micro manage how they treat each other. Yet if I hang back and give them a moment to feel their rage, jealousy, or selfishness, they tend to move through it pretty quick.

    I guess it is time for me to face the reality that The Munch has a life beyond me. She has to operate in the world by her own set of standards. It is my first moment of letting go. I have to hope that my influence is meaningful, and that Munch is a good person who is supportive. And you know what? She is! Munch wants her friends to be happy, and often makes sacrifices for their joy. But… I also don’t want her to be a total push over – so Munch you get that yellow hair Barbie from your bitch friend.

    supportive-friend-blog-(i)

    December 3, 2014 • 4 years old, Behavior, Mommyhood, Musings, Parenting, Playing, Relationships • Views: 219

  • Sassy is The new Classy – Thanks Sasha and Malia!

    Although social media is cool because we get to look at pictures of our ex-lover’s new lover, it is also a platform for straight up antagonistic bullshit. Elizabeth Lauten went on a Facebook rant about how she didn’t like the faces Sasha and Malia Obama made during the press conference while their dad pardoned a turkey for Thanksgiving. Ironically she was the Communications Director for GOP Representative Stephen Fincher from Tennessee before resigning today. She also said the girls should get a little “class,” not dress like they are “at a bar” and “act like the white house matters to you.” Ummmmm Elizabeth you may want to reconsider your approach to communications; attacking children doesn’t exactly make me think you have a ton of class.

    Of course it takes a village to raise a child and theoretically you want other adults to take an interest in your kid’s behavior. If my child was acting like a dick at your house, I’d appreciate you addressing her actions. Yet I hope you would be kind and empathetic in the process. I would be less pleased if you said to my kid, “shut up you little asshole.”

    Elizabeth Lauten not only insulted the Obama girls, but used them as a vehicle to demean their dad.The crux of her point was less about eye-rolling and pouty looks, and more about how they are representatives of the people who raised them.

    “Then again, your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter,” Elizabeth added. “So I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department.”

    Politically, I am not an Obama supporter. Anyone who becomes president of this country is a highly compromised individual with too many people to appease (and by “people” I mean the ruling elite who control all banking/industry/corporations– and who may or may not be the decedents of lizards). My interest in this saga is less about “how dare you Republican Elizabeth attack the blameless Democrat president,” because that is par for the course. Yet what I do have a problem with is her blatant attempt to devalue Obama by insulting his children.

    We know Elizabeth is familiar with the teenage experience. After all, she herself was arrested for shoplifting during those prime years. Surely she remembers the complexity of those tempestuous years. Rather she decided that insulting Malia and Sasha Obama was the perfect chance to attack the President. Generally, our society operations from the understanding that children are the psychological property of their parents. To make the leap that some sassy stares means Obama is a horrible father, and therefor president, was a jump that made sense to Elizabeth.

    The cultural implication of viewing children as extensions of their parents is that a kid’s successes/failures are not theirs alone, but also that of their mom and dad. We can’t truly know the precise nature vs nurture ratios, so we tend to cherry pick the traits we want to believe are our flawless parenting techniques or supreme genes. How much of my kid is her personality and how much of her is my amazing mom style? This is not an equation we can quantify.

    It is pretty common for parents to take credit for all the parts of their children that they like. “My little Timmy is such a good dancer. He gets that from MY side of the family because I learned the fox trot.” Or “Little Susie is so clever. I think she gets it from me because I once figured out how to untangle my headphones in under 7 minutes.”

    We love to attribute ourselves for the ways our kids are remarkable. Yet when our kids suck, that is usually because that is “just they way they are.” We rarely hear parents say “Oh well, Jimmy has major control issues and hits other kids because we have no boundaries in our house. I also often bribe him with sugar just so he will leave me alone for 20 minutes while I cry in the closet. Not to mention I hate my husband, and Jimmy looks just like him so I sometimes get irrationally angry just looking at his face.” It is much easier to just be like “Jimmy has had a strong will since he was a baby. It is just who he is.”

    It we hold ourselves responsible for all the goodness in our children, we have to be equally responsible for the bad. Yet I don’t think that is giving them enough credit, nor the variety of other influences they are exposed to.

    Maintaining this level of attachment to our kids as ambassadors for ourselves because puts excessive pressure on the relationship. How many adults continually trying to appease their parents rather than finding their own path? A lot. “I am going to be a lawyer just like you daddy… even though inside I just want to design costumes for figure skaters.” Our children aren’t our possessions; we are merely the stewards of their development.

    As a parent, I want the best for my child but that can’t mean wanting her to be the best reflection of me. Maybe the best for her will be to live in a cave subsisting on plankton while contemplating cloud formations. I won’t know unless I let go of the idea that my kid is an echo of me. Any motivation for interfering with her behavior can’t be so she makes me look good, but because that is the best way for her to learn how to be a good person with a fulfilling life.

    Sasha and Malia are the daughters of the president. They are also their own people trying to understand their place in the world.They cannot be held accountable as white house diplomats for our public viewing pleasure, nor should they bear the burden of their dad’s reputation. We have to stop treating kids as commodities of their parents, and more like evolving creatures they are, with a variety of inspirations to contend with. As parents, the less ownership we feel over our children, the more honestly we’ll experience since our egos and agendas won’t blind us.

    Besides… considering the Sasha and Malia are 13 and 16, I am pretty sure they are mature as shit. If my dad was president and I was a teenager in the White House, that press conference would have been a whole different scene.

    First of all, I would have been stoned out of my mind. Not only would my eyes be as blood shot as Vince Vaughn on a Sunday morning, I would also be munching brownies with my mouth open while staring off into nothing and giggling randomly. When my dad tried to engage me to participate in this absurd American tradition, I would have gone on a 15-minute diatribe about the mass murder of millions of turkeys and described in detail the process of their slaughtering. Then the ecstasy I took would kick in, and I’d probably dry hump the turkey while mumbling about how politics is a cover up to maintain financially tyranny over the world via private banking systems and endless wars. I would then scream, “I hate you Dad! No one understands me,” collapse in a pile of my own sweaty vomit, and cry because I was really hormonal at 16.

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    December 1, 2014 • Current Events, Musings, Parenting, Political Banter • Views: 272

  • Can You Sprinkle Some GMO’s in my DNA?

    Now that it is winter, and I basically live in the open Tundra, I have had a lot more time to stare off into the distance and think about the future. Not my future silly… that just feels like a bleak road of endless mediocrity and stalled dreams – the future of humanity! Wait… that also feels pretty dreary. FUCK!

    I wonder what the evolution of our species is going to look like. Technology has so drastically impacted our environment and society that it seems impossible our DNA won’t be affected. Don’t you feel like extreme shifts in culture would force our biology to adjust just as much as shifting natural ecosystems did? If simply walking north was the catalyst for all racial differentiation, how is our iWorld going to influence our brains? What is the exposure of hundreds and thousands of chemicals going to do to our bodies? How are our psychological selves going to adapt to a world where social media takes precedence over human contact?

    At least this is the crap I think about during those moments when I am sitting with my kid spending “quality time” with her. You see… as long as you look like you are paying attention, it is totally okay to daydream about our transhumanist future!

    The other night I was playing in The Munch’s room watching her practice handstands. I observed how she endlessly kicked her legs in the air, awaiting a moment of balance to feel the lightness of suspension. Part of me was impressed by her tenacity, but I was also thinking how I have seen 4-year olds on Youtube dance the Salsa like their feet were on fire. I know talent is relative, but I also can’t help but compare The Munch to the countless of amazing children I have seen on the Internet! Some of who are infinitely better than me at everything I do!

    It is hard to be blown away by anything any more because we have infinite exposure to everything great humans do all over the world. Someone in Uzbekistan can fart so forcefully that they propel themselves into the air, land on a tree branch with their pinkies, and then somersault off while contorting their body so much that they land inside an Evian bottle – and I will see it on Facebook! Then all my farts would seem subpar, and average, as they just blandly soak into the couch. I SUCK!

    When you see someone do something you can’t, the normal human reaction is to feel awestruck, but also inadequate. The prevailing internal monologue is usually “wow, that is cool, but I can’t do that ☹” We don’t all have the natural ability, or commitment to be exceptional at everything, yet we still have the urge for excellence. But don’t worry everyone! I think science will soon change all that!!!

    Because we live in a genetically modified world, I think we are approaching the point were we are going to start genetically modifying humans. Science is on the precipice of making this a reality, and as soon as rich people can get access to this technology, they are going to use it. They will not only manipulate genes for beauty and physical prowess, but also manufacture immunities to best deal with the impending environmental catastrophes before us. This super race will not only be aesthetically perfect and intellectually advanced, but they will also have the biology to withstand the breakdown of nature. Yet of course there will also be a race of humans who can’t afford to purchase these targeted mutations, and they will sadly be at the mercy of natural selection. Maybe the super race will then use the blood of the pathetic unmodified people for fuel… or inject it into their bodies to stay immortal.

    OMG what is wrong with me!? Why can’t I just play “Go Fish” with my kid like a normal person??

    But maybe I need to start saving up $$$ so I can shoot GMO’s into The Much so she can stick that handstand?

    gmo-dna-blog-(i)

    November 19, 2014 • Current Events, Environmental Impact, Musings, Playing • Views: 216

  • Just Because You Are Privileged Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be Entitled

    My kid is privileged. Not like Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West or anything… she doesn’t have $100,000 diamond earrings, wear designer Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses, of have birthday parties where a giraffe does cocaine off a hippo’s tits. We don’t have it like that. But The Munch lives in a house where she is fed, warm, and has plenty of toys. She attends a wholesome school where they learn what acorns are made out of, and the biggest stress of her day is not getting to eat as many cookies as she wants. Compared to the vast majority of the world, pretty sure she has it fucking made.

    I know there is only so much you want to expose your 4-year old to regarding the tragedies of the world – but I also don’t want The Munch to be an entitled little shit who doesn’t understand how lucky she is. There is innocence to childhood you don’t want to corrupt, but letting your kid believe the world is exclusively a benevolent place can also be corrupting. There is a delicate balance between being truthful, and just traumatizing. I don’t think I need to explain the horror of child brides in India, but I do think we can talk about sweatshops making crappy plastic toys she doesn’t need. I am not trying to make my kid fear the world, but I do want her to have a realistic perception of it.

    I try to make these conversations authentic, and come up when appropriate. It is not like I put her to bed at night and whisper in her ear, “sleep well sweetheart… and just remember 90% of the indigenous tribes in the Amazonian rainforest have been destroyed, and every 2 minutes someone in the United States gets sexually assaulted. Nighty night.” Yet there are many opportunities to talk about complex issues and give The Munch some perspective.

    I try to provoke exchanges that help Munch understand that the world does not exist to serve her every need. No dude, you cannot keep the water running in the bath just so you can fill cups with the “waterfall.” Water is a precious resource and we have to respect it. There are children who have to walk miles to get access to water. Yeah running water is fun to play with, but once the bath is full, you have to shut it off so you don’t waste it. Fine maybe this comes to bite me in the ass when she insists I wash dishes with only a stream as thick as a pubic hair, but at least she has got the right idea!

    The Munch and I can talk about resources, environmentalism, the economy, whatever – it just has to be in a context that has meaning to her. For example, she loves to eat candy so we can debate how certain candy has a lot of chemicals, and that is why we don’t buy that kind. The chemicals are bad for your body, unfairly compete with farmers who grow organically, and make the ground all yucky. I don’t have to say how Monsanto products cause cancer or factory farmed meat comes from animals who lived in torture chambers and then were mercilessly murdered – but I can say that meat didn’t come from a happy cow, so lets find another kind.

    Kids are way smarter than we think, and they do have a sense of empathy even if they are mostly driven by their egos. They are kind of like men in that way. JUST KIDDING! There was one afternoon when Munch and I talked about homelessness, and she wanted to know if there were any children that didn’t have a house to live in.

    Munch: Who are they mom? Do you we know any of these children?
    Toni: No we don’t know them, but there are millions of them in the world.
    Munch: Can we see them?

    So we went online and looked at pictures of homeless children, and talked about why some people have money, and others don’t. It is not like we discussed major economic theory or the Federal Reserve, but she does understand the concepts of selfishness, and greed.

    Toni: Certain people have so much money that they are able to ensure that they keep making more money. Once you have a bunch of money, it is easier to maintain because you are running the businesses that make all the money. It isn’t that there isn’t enough money to go around; the problem is the way it is distributed. The people who have the most want to keep the money for themselves, and not share it.
    Munch: Why don’t they want to share? Didn’t they go to school and learn about how it is important to share?
    Toni: Well they did. But it isn’t just about the money. Money also means you have power. And people want power.
    Munch: But is the power more important than children? Why can’t the people with money give money to the children so they can have houses?
    Toni: Well, that is a good point. But it isn’t just the people that need to change. It is also the systems.
    Munch: But who makes the systems?
    Toni: The people.
    Munch: So pretty sure the people just need to change – then there will be no more children who don’t have homes.

    (Turn off that fucking bath water!!)

    privilidge-blog-(i)

  • Peer Pressure Boston Adventure

    I used to be strong. I had never been susceptible to peer pressure. I was committed to my convictions, and believed in the validity of my perspective. And then something happened. Something that confused me, wore me down, and pushed every button of my being like I was a Nintendo 64. That something I am referring to was the meshing of my DNA to create another human.

    Since squirting out The Munch, I doubt myself more. Not because I don’t think I know what I am doing, but because there is someone talking in my ear every second of my life, and I have no peaceful moments to think. I am easily flustered because from the second The Munch opens her eyes, she is spouting the utterings of her consciousness like silence is something that must be destroyed by the sound of her high-pitched voice. When she is not talking, The Munch is doing something that I for sure don’t want her to be doing – but because she is being quiet I take my sweet time investigating the shit show she is creating in the other room.

    The other morning I was rushing to get ready to take Munch to the doctor’s in Boston to get her lazy eye checked. Unlike my hippy doctor where we make appointments days in advance, the “White Man’s Western Medicine Doctor” means I made this appointment 6-months ago… and of course I was running late. Why you may ask… because a certain someone had to change her clothes 7 times that morning. (I have a lot of sweatpants to choose from).

    While I was getting everything ready, and packing snacks for the car, The Munch was in the bathroom “playing.” When I finally went in to grab her, I discovered that she was actually painting the bathtub, and her face, with red glitter.

    Toni: Whoa dude… that is an insane amount of glitter.
    Munch: I was just making the bathtub pretty and my eyes beautiful for the eye doctor.
    Toni: Okay cool… but that is really quite a lot. Let me wipe some off so your doctor doesn’t think I am breeding you to become a stripper in Tampa.
    Munch: Where is Tampa?
    Toni: Uhhhhhh Munch… why isn’t the glitter coming off?
    Munch: Oh. Because I glued it on.
    Toni: What?
    Munch: Yeah… I just used this glue right here…
    Toni: Wow… you sure as shit did.

    I then shoved my harlot daughter into the car and started frantically driving to Boston. Even if we didn’t stop once, we would maybe have 3 minutes to spare. When we were about 20 minutes away, I called my mom and asked if she would figure out the exact building we had to go to in Mass General…. She called back to say my appointment was at 9:45 not 11:15.

    Toni: That is a fucking lie!! WHAT THE DICK!!!!!!!!!! They told me 11:15!!!!!!!!!! I even called the other day and they never corrected me? WHAT THE FUCK!!
    My Mom: I don’t know what do say. You can still spend the day in Boston and enjoy yourself while I hang with Munch?
    Toni: AHHHHHHHHH I CAN’T ENJOY MYSELF! It is going to take 7-months to make another appointment. FUCK FUCK FUCK!
    Munch: Mamma, what is wrong?
    Toni: We missed your appointment…
    Munch: That is okay. We can just go another day.
    Toni: Munch you don’t get it… that means I just drove 2-hours for nothing when I could of spent the day hating myself in front of the computer!

    When we got to Boston, my mom suggested I go to the hospital and beg them to see me. My whole walk there I prepared my speech. My approach had to be flawless or else they would turn me away from the hospital, and I would have gotten Ebola for nothing. Luckily I convinced the receptionist to see us because I am just that convincing. The doctor did a bunch of tests and told me exactly what I knew she was going to tell me. All the hippy stuff I did is great and all, and it is cool that she wore the eye patch, but she still suggests surgery. Come to think of it, she probably knew she was going to suggest this from day one, and the eye patch was just a formality. Something tells me eye surgery is kind of like the c-section for ophthalmology. Not always necessary, but a well-rehearsed process.

    After we left, my mom offered to take Munch for ice cream so I could walk around and think about what to do. I said that was a good idea, but I really didn’t want to think about this at all so I decided to walk down Newbury Street and look for some birthday presents for the Scorpios in my life. Okay, now here is where everything went to shit for me. I was already in a fragile state from the chaos of the day, and I have not gone “shopping” in maybe 5 years. I live it the sticks, and the only place I go to buy stuff is the farm stand to get some squash cookies sweetened with intentions. Being in a store with sales people overwhelms the shit out of me. I start to panic just thinking about them asking if they can help me, and the potential disappointment they will feel if I say “no thank you” – or even worse… leave the store without buying anything! The responsibility for their wellbeing is just too much to bear!

    I walked into a store that seemed big enough were I could just peruse on my own, but this girl could smell my vulnerability. She came up, and stuck to me like a barnacle. She wouldn’t stop talking. It was almost worse than Munch because she actually expected me to talk back. At least Munch has the decency to talk AT me. My social anxiety disorder started kicking in, and I desperately wanted her to go away – but she kept smiling at me!! It is not that she was mean or anything. In fact she was super cute and friendly. Yet she wouldn’t stop showing me stuff in the store that she liked. I started to get so flustered I didn’t even know what was cool anymore because this 19-year old chick was chirping in my ear about music school and growing up in San Francisco.

    For some reason, my reaction was to lie about every question she asked me. I don’t know why I did this, but according to this girl I live in Boston, work in graphic design, and have a phobia of balloons. I also have a guinea pig named Coco who I knit sweaters for, and I only wear wool socks. Things got so out of hand. I didn’t want to buy anything, but I couldn’t leave unless I did. I felt too guilty because we had been talking all this time, even though I didn’t want to be talking to her in first place. She showed me some hats, and even tried them on for me. I picked two thinking it would be the cheapest option, and left paying $145!!! FOR TWO FUCKING HATS!! I can’t believe I got peer pressured by a child to buy an $80 leopard print hat!?

    By this point I was about ready to have an aneurism. I decided grab some dinner for my mom and Munch, and go home. Yet the restaurant I ordered from had a wait of 20 minutes to get our food. Wait… did I mention that my phone was dead by this point?? Well it was!! I couldn’t just sit somewhere no phone to stare at and entertain me. THAT WOULD BE FUCKING INSANE!!

    I went back to the street, but everywhere I looked there were shops! I went into one jewelry store hoping I wouldn’t be noticed. Everything was insanely expensive and I was spotted within seconds. “How can I help you?” The expectations of the sales clerks were too much! I felt like I was disappointing them just by being there. It was as if I was the tap dancing son of a football coach in the South. I had to run out of there and hyperventilate against a wall. Why did they keep saying “hi” to me!! What do you want from me?!! Can’t you just leave me alone to look at stuff I will never buy?

    I still had 18 minutes to kill, so I decided to stand outside of restaurants and read their menus. This may have been slightly strange for the diners in the windows, but at least I didn’t have to converse with them, or pay for their rigatoni.

    (Here is sparkle eyes Munch… and the top picture is me and that stupid fucking hat)

    boston-blog-(i) boston-blog-(i2)

  • A Distraction From Life

    You know what blows? When you are really excited for something to happen, and it doesn’t go down the way you had planned. It is like experiencing emotional blue balls. You just want to release your joy all over the back of existence, but then some metaphoric knock pounds down the door to cock-block your bliss.

    Disappointment is probably the most dissatisfying emotion. At least if you are angry or sad there is some spice too it. You can punch walls, or weep until your eyes look like Bill Clinton’s. Yet when you are disappointed all you do is turn yourself inside out like dyslexic calzone – oozing cheesy self-pity all over the place, but too despondent to spread the sauce of your agony. There is a pathetic flavor to disappointment. You are inherently admitting anticipation that was squelched like a weed in a soybean farm sprayed with pesticides. There is nothing cool about being let down, because it shows you cared in the first place.

    Over the weekend I was going to host a dance retreat so some friends and I could spend our days dancing our asses off. Not in a twerking kind of way where we bounced our asses until they created so much friction they combusted, but in a sweet way. I like having women’s weekends where we eat copious amounts of kale, drink an absurd amount of tea, and talk incessantly about how we don’t need men – because if we discuss them constantly that means we totally aren’t thinking about them am I right?

    The first night I led a yoga class where we explored our 2nd Chakra. You know how bitches are all about opening up their hips and shit. That evening, while washing homemade hummus off the dishes, I told my friend I was going to bail on the morning Kundalini yoga adventure.

    My friend Sarah: NO! You have to go. That is part of the whole plan.
    Toni: I don’t know… it is just so early. I will just meet you guys back here when yo are done.
    My friend Sarah: Dude… it is one morning. We are all giving and we are all sharing our talents. Don’t be a wimp.

    So I womanned up and went to the class. The thing about Kundalini yoga, is that it is all about moving energy and going into the crevices of the body to address core issues. It is more intense than other kinds of Yoga, which is why it is both amazing and terrifying. Not everyday you are psychically prepared to look your inner demons in the face and have a conversation about your damaged childhood.

    I am pretty sure that on this Saturday morning, I just wasn’t in the mental state to get to the bottom of my self-loathing and inner rage. We did all these positons and exercises that felt equally freeing and constricting. As soon as we left the class and I got into my car, I knew my back was totally screwed up. I was like “FUCK! Who am I kidding? I am white! I am not supposed to face my emotions, but repress them deep inside my body until I eventually die of a heart attack. That is the American way!”

    We got back to my house and I tried to do the ballet class – but I could hardly move. I forced myself to continue through the crippling pain for 30-minutes because that is what New England people do, but then I had to lay down and admit defeat. I had fucked my shit up hard core. I could feel it in my back and my hips – if I was a rapper this could have been a pretty sweet Hip Hop song.

    I tried to stretch to release the spasms, but it wasn’t working. I fell down the staircase of frustration because I knew that my dance retreat was ruined. There was no way I was going to have spontaneous recovery and pirouette my way out of this. All my excitement about the weekend was transformed into feeling very very very sorry for myself.

    One of my friends is OF COURSE a hippy healer girl, so she came over to do some voodoo on me.

    Hippy Healer Friend: I am getting a message that part of your pain has to do with your daughter. Not sure exactly what, but that is the information I am receiving. Maybe some issues of violence?

    Ummmm…. WHAT THE DICK!? The last thing I wanted was some peaceful yoga hippy girl to think I was beating my child or something!!?

    Toni: Ummmm violence?
    Hippy Healer Friend: Well it doesn’t have to be literal violence. It could be emotional. Or spiritual. Anyway… don’t get attached to any of this. Just something to think about.
    Toni: Uhhhh yeah okay…

    Not sure if you have ever tried to peacefully receive a healing while at the same time stressing out about what your healer thought of you. But let me tell you… it is NOT as relaxing as it sounds.

    I tried to think about why those were the messages this serene chick was getting about me. It just seemed so extreme?! I mean, I guess I had admitted to her the night before how I let The Munch eat ice cream for breakfast. I some how rationalized this because she also had green beans. The Hippy Healer girl also witnessed The Munch watching Snow White. Maybe in her pristine child-raising world where her daughter thinks raisins are candy and screen time refers to some mediation practice, exposing my child to Disney and vanilla flavored sugar was a type of violence?? Maybe Munch also casually mentioned how we eat meat too! BUT IT IS ORGANIC FLESH FROM A LOCAL FARM OKAY!!???

    I wasn’t exactly sure that my pain had to do with The Munch, and was more convinced it was my philosophic quandary regarding the futility of existence. This relentless knowing that no matter what life path I choose, it will be fraught with bullshit and the same patterns of consciousness that oppress me today. How regardless of my efforts, I will continually make the same mistakes while I swirl in a spiral of mediocrity. Come to think of it, I would much rather contemplate my relationship to The Munch than that shit!

    So I thought about my child, and how so often she can feel like a distraction from life. Yet in truth, she is not distracting me from my life. The Munch is my life. Maybe The Munch thinks I am not showing her that enough?? Perhaps she feels that our time spent together, I am too distracted from all my blaming her for being the distraction.

    I felt sad. Even though I can’t live my life where every second of everyday is devoted to my child, I still want her to feel valued. I decided we had to have a discussion about this so I could get to the bottom of my back pain … ummm I mean, be a good mother to my kid and figure out how she was feeling.

    Toni: Munch, you know how Mamma’s back hurts?
    The Munch: Yeah….
    Toni: Well, my friend says it is not physical. She says my spine feels aligned. She thinks it is an energetic block from something emotional.
    The Munch: What is emotional?
    Toni: Like my feelings? She thinks my back hurts because of my feelings. She told me it has something to do with our relationship. What do you think about that?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe your back hurts because you dance too much. Maybe you should stop dancing because it is so boring for me.
    Toni: Ummm well I love dancing so that is not going to happen. But what do you think about our relationship. Do you think I am a good Mamma to you?
    The Munch: Well sometimes. You always say “no” to me when I want more chocolate.
    Toni: Okay “more” chocolate… fine. But I have to do that. Seriously. Are there things you want me to do different? Is there ways I could be a better Mamma to you?
    The Munch: I don’t know. Maybe we just have to take care of each other more.
    Toni: Okay. That sounds like a plan.

    The next day, because I was hurt, I couldn’t do anything but relax. As a result, The Munch and I ended up spending 7-hours playing together with ZERO interruptions. We didn’t even leave the room we were in. I didn’t touch my phone. We just hung out – and rationed out a banana with peanut butter to survive. It was like we were in a vortex. Usually some thing breaks up your day, like going on an errand, or having some sort of obligation to do. Yet we were in this black hole of togetherness that nothing could penetrate.

    Things got kind of weird at times, we laughed, we fought, and she pretended to be a baby as I swaddled her in a yoga blanket. But it was amazing to just be present with her. I am not sure we have been like that since she was first born and I was high on all the new mom hormones. So even though it sucked my back hurt and I couldn’t dance for my retreat, it created the space for this memorable moment with the most important person in my life.

    distraction-blog

  • How Can I Get Out Of Being Around You?

    Most of adult life is spent getting out of plans with people. We say “yes” to something we feel obliged to do, yet when the time comes to actually follow through… we don’t want to anymore. But rather than say, “hey man, forget it. I am not into it anymore. I decided to stay home and eat a ball of buffalo mozzarella in front of my computer” we come up with some fabricated event that is beyond our control.

    Bailing on a commitment has to be accomplished with a certain amount of finesse. You cannot give the same excuse twice, and you must make sure that whatever you say borders between totally reasonable and completely insane. No one is going to tell you that your grandmother isn’t in the hospital because she choked on a gerbil. It could have happened, right? Somewhere in the world, at one point, that has taken place. The key is to make your explanation not only outlandish, but also tragic enough whereas to doubt the validity of your story would make the other person look like the asshole. The prevailing reaction to your fib must be “who would lie about Nana deep-throating a gerbil?!

    That is the beauty of adult relationships… the freedom to flake at any moment. Even if you are out with someone, you can bail on them if they were annoying the fuck out of you. You could easily pretend to get a text message saying you have to leave because a wolverine bit your Uncle Bam Bam. These things happen! Who would keep you from being at Bam Bam’s side while he bleeds to death?!

    Here is the thing that sucks about being a parent. You don’t always want to be around your kid, but it is not that simple to ditch them. I can’t be at a museum with The Munch and out of nowhere say “ummmm I am going to take off because I just got an email saying my dad gave birth to an acorn squash… so now he is a medical anomaly and I got to go be there for him.” The Munch would be like “yeah cool, well bring me with you because you are the person who keeps me alive and shit.”

    There are days when I don’t feel like catering to her needs, demands, and desires for candy. Yesterday, for example, I was in the middle of working but had to pick up Munch from school. I wanted finish what I was doing, yet if I was even 2 minutes late her teacher would be like “Come get your damn kid before I turn her into stew while singing a song about rabbits who like jumping through clouds.” (P.S preschool teachers sing while they do stuff). So I stopped everything, and got my child like a responsible parent.

    Even though I wasn’t in the mood to hang out with a four year old, I had no choice because she is my child and that’s just what was happening. I decided to take Munch to the park so I could stare off into the loneliness of space while she kept herself busy going down the slide. However, we stopped at the organic store to pick up some self-righteous and morally superior snacks. Rather than coming into the store with me, The Munch decided to freak the fuck out because her hair was in her face.

    Munch: My hair keeps getting in my face!
    Toni: Okay, wear this clippy. I can easily solve that problem.
    Munch: I don’t want to wear a clippy! They are too floppy and just flop around. I want a headband.
    Toni: Well, I don’t have a headband.
    Munch: I WANT A HEADBAND!!! WAHHHHHHAAAAAAHHHHHHHAAAAA!
    Toni: Dude! Relax… I don’t have a headband. Just wear this clippy and lets move on with our lives!
    Munch: I NEED A HEADBAND!! I WANT TO GO HOME AND GET A HEADBAND AND THEN COME BACK AND GET SNACKS AND THEN GO TO THE PARK!
    Toni: Ummm there is no way that is happening. Home is 20 minutes away. If we go home, we are not coming back. It is a beautiful day. Why don’t we go play and enjoy existence by emotionally avoiding it.
    Munch: I WANT A HEADBAND!! WAHHHHAHHHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHA!!
    Toni: UGGGGGGGHHHH.

    I didn’t have it in me to fight about a headband, nor did I think Munch would buy it if I said I had to take off because I left the oven on. She knows I never use that thing. I was stuck with her, and her shitty mood about a shitty headband. So we drove to CVS to buy a stupid headband because that is exactly what we need in the house – MORE HEADBANDS. 36 just isn’t enough.

    We then went back to the organic store, grabbed some heightened sense of self-worth, and finally got to the park. Once we are there, The Munch decided she didn’t like the grilled cheese sandwich on the gluten-free substance-free wrap I got her.

    Munch: I don’t like it. It is too cheesy!
    Toni: What do you mean you don’t like it? You said that is what you wanted.
    Munch: Well I don’t want it now. It is too cheesy.
    Toni: Do you want me to take some of the cheese out?
    Munch: But that is all there is? The rest is just air.
    Toni: Whatever fine. Don’t eat it then. Have some kale chips or mango chia pods.

    The Munch went to play for a moment and I did what any normal person would do. I ate her grilled cheese. SHE SAID SHE DIDN’T WANT IT OKAY?

    Munch: Mamma, where is my grilled cheese sammich?
    Toni: I ate it.
    Munch: What?! I WANTED THAT!!! WHY DID YOU DO THAT??!!
    Toni: You said you didn’t want it!? I didn’t want it to go to waste. It was $89?! They harvested the cheese from a golden cow!
    Munch: WWAHHHAHHHAHAAAA! I WANT MY GRILLED CHEESE SAMMICH!
    Toni: You shouldn’t have said you didn’t want it!! I am really sorry, but I didn’t want it to go to waste!!

    If The Munch had been an adult, I would have just left. No excuse necessary. I could have just been like “you are insane, and I am out of here.” Yet this was not an option. I HAD TO HANG OUT WITH HER EVEN THOUGH I DIDN’T WANT TO!

    Munch was furious at me. She stomped around and pouted about her sandwich while I tried to look like a good parent by checking my text messages. After about 5 minutes of this display, Munch decided to show me one of her amazing “tricks” – hanging on a monkey bar and then letting go to fall on the ground.

    Munch: Mamma look! Watch me!
    Toni: Great…

    As annoying as kids can be, they are also amazing at transitioning out of their crappy moods. Just like that,The Munch was as happy as a clam, which I assume is happy, even though clams seem really closed off to me. I followed her lead and we ended up having an amazing evening together. I guess that is the lesson I needed to learn. When you cancel on people or don’t show up, you never know the good time you might have missed.

    (Here is Munch about to discover her sammich has been eaten)
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