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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass


Author: toni

~ 07/11/16

Glitter Girl by Toni Runkle and Stephen Webb

Glitter Girl by Toni Runkle and Stephen Webb

Greetings Mammakazes!

Is there one among you who does not know the angst and agony that is junior high?

The raging hormones, the insecurity, the struggle to find oneself, to deal with shifting friendships and the feelings of alienation?

I would dare to say, “Probably Not”. Not if you have a daughter or if you were in junior high yourself.

My writing partner Stephen Webb and I have written a middle grade novel that deals with that transitions from child to adolescent, from a girl’s point of view. Perfect for 5th to 8th grade readers. It’s available for sale at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Glitter-Girl-Stephen-Webb/dp/1402285574/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1468256637&sr=8-6&keywords=glitter+girl

Reviews:

“GLITTER GIRL flows like a sparkling river through the shifting sands of 8th-grade Alpha Girls and their BFFs. Puberty rocks at Wendell Wilkie Jr. High, where the motto might as well be ‘Study? I’m here to see my friends!'”  — Richard Peck, Newbery Award Winner”A fun book for teens and tweens. GLITTER GIRL has a lot to say to teenage readers, given it’s the most influential time of their lives. Mostly it’s about friendship and loyalty, and doing the right thing; perfect for a high school library!” — Wondrous Reads

” Runkle and Webb deliver an empowering message about striving to be true to oneself for middle school readers.
” – Kirkus

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Author: toni

~ 05/09/12

 

Like returning to this blog after an extended absence, I have recently returned to the gym. Not sure what prompted me. The realization that I am an older mom with a 10 year-old daughter who has triple my energy, the way my belly looked like two lumpy blueberry muffins protruding from the top of my “fat” jeans, or the fact that swimsuit season is rapidly approaching. For a woman, these are all powerful motivators and probably each played an integral part in my finally getting up off my butt and committing to losing some weight and getting in shape. Oh, and that really cool MyFitness app I have on my new Smart-phone  that helps me track my daily calories didn’t hurt. Yeah, there’s a little tech geek in me.  

Well, in addition to feeling healthier in general, my return to the gym has opened up a whole new world to me. One of MORNING TELEVISION. Did you know that ellipticals have personal TVs on them? Yeah, you probably did. Tells you how long it’s been since I’ve hit a gym. In my defense, until a recent hip injury, I was always a runner.

Anyway, now that I’m spending an hour a day on these joint-friendly machines, I have seen all manner of drivel compelling stories on the tube. For example, I know that Kelly has a new set. That Lamar and Khloe aren’t happy in Texas. And that most hair stylists are handling scissors and bleaching products while drunk. (BTW that Tabatha is one scary $#@&%).

But just yesterday, I saw something that really got my panties in a bunch. Something so moronic and utterly ridiculous I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry.

One of the news shows did a hard-driving, in-depth piece on an Olympic athlete who had started her own line of activewear. As she was presenting her various pieces, holding them up for the camera (and all her potential customers in TV Land) to see, she pointed out what she thought was their most important and sellable feature. No, it wasn’t the vibrant colors that are guaranteed to draw the attention of that rock-hard guy at Gold’s Gym who is busily turning his six-pack into an eight-pack. It wasn’t the revealing little cut-outs that add that titillating little glimpse of the small of your back that silently screams “come hither, rock-hard dude!”

It was their ability to WICK MOISTURE! That’s right. These overly-priced gym clothes are guaranteed to SOAK UP and HIDE YOUR SWEAT.

To this I vehemently, though kindly, say: No thanks, Gold Medalist chick!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to the gym and work my butt off so that I can hide all evidence that I have been working like a maniac. When I get off that machine, I don’t want to look like I just spent the morning doing light errands about town. I want to LOOK like I did intervals at levels 10 and 12 for an hour! As I gather my water bottle, cell phone, ear phones, towel and gym bag I want to glimpse my reflection in the mirror and see the sweaty fruit of my hard labor. I want to walk past those who are just entering the gym on the way to their workout and think to myself as I pass them… “Yeah, that’s right, ya’ll. I kicked butt on the Precor today”.

AAAAND…. If I so happen to run into someone I know at the Starbucks after my workout… well, I can’t help it if they admire the sweat stains on my pits and belly, can I?

Okay, maybe admire is too strong a word. Actually, I’m not really so delusional. I know no one is looking at me when I leave the gym. I know the barista is probably thinking “Ew. Why can’t this lady go home and shower before she comes in here?” And I don’t really run into people I know at Starbucks that often. And even if I did, most of the sweat is gone by the time I get there.

I guess I just need to see the sweat for me. So that I can get some outward validation of the terrific mental energy and resolve it takes me to drag myself to the gym everyday. See, it’s not easy for me. And it’s gotten harder the older I get. But I know I need it to feel healthy and better about myself. And honestly, so I can be around for as long as possible in my little girl’s life.

Unlike my mother who had me at 21, I was older when I had my daughter. So I think a lot about my life expectancy and how much of her life I’ll get to spend with her. Because I’m an older mom I’ve cheated myself out of a decade or more of her life. Of seeing where her life leads her, of being a grandmother to her children, of being there for her when she needs me.

So I guess it’s not really the muffin tops or swimsuit season. The main reason I’m sweating is for my kid. Because kids need their moms in their lives for as long a possible. (Whether or not they’ll admit it).  And I WANT to see the immediate results of my efforts – every stinky, sweaty drop of it – because then I know I’m making progress to this end.

So sorry, Miss Nine-time Gold Medalist. This is one mommy who won’t be purchasing your moisture-wicking active wear. I’ll stick to my worn-out Old Navy T’s from three seasons ago. Because, like the wrinkles at the corners of my eyes, they honestly display what I have experienced. Pit stains and all.

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Author: toni

~ 02/18/11

Those of you who follow MAMMAKAZE read all about the over-the-top Harry Potter party I threw for my kid’s 8th birthday last year.

Well, not to be outdone by myself, we followed that extravaganza with a Pirates of the Caribbean party for her 9th Birthday this year. And while Pirates don’t hold the same charm for me as kid wizards, I still (with the help of MAMMAKAZES Jennie, Angelica, Zadrina and Gloria) put my heart and soul into turning our garage into a pirates’ lair worthy of any Disney imagineer (on a mommy budget that is).

Though some of the pictures are brightly lit, imagine the whole party in low light, which is how it actually was!

ARRGH! JULIA, TONI & RANDY THE PERFEKT HUSBAND

 

SETTING THE MOOD WITH A PIRATE TABLE FULL OF JEWELS, COINS, GOBLETS & OTHER ILL-GOTTEN ITEMS

 

SKULLS, RATS, GOBLETS, COINS & JEWELS, OH MY!

 

DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

 

OL’ UNLUCKY LUKE IN THE PIRATE QUEEN’S CHAIR. HE’S HOLDING THE BASKET OF PIRATE SKULL NECKLACES (EACH MATEY GOT ON INITIATION) & A BASKET OF PIRATE INSULTS FOR THE PIRATE INSULT GAME!

 

ALAS, POOR YORICK! OH WAIT. WRONG TALE… 

 

EACH TABLE REPRESENTED A DIFFERENT SHIP:

DAUNTLESS, INTERCEPTOR, FLYING DUTCHMAN &  BLACK PEARL

 

TABLE SETTINGS: OLD NETTING, BATTERY-OPERATED CANDLES, COMPASSES, COINS, JEWELS, RATS & MAPS

 

PLACEMATS. I DOWNLOADED A PIRATE MAP, PERSONALIZED IT WITH THINGS LIKE “TESORO DE JULIA” & BURNED THE EDGES TO MAKE IT LOOK AUTHENTIC. YEP, MY HOUSE SMELLED LIKE  A FIREPLACE FOR DAYS!

 

THE PIRATE QUEEN & HER BOOTY. PROPS COURTESY OF AL & ZADRINA!

 

THE CAKE. I DOWNLOADED THE PICTURE FROM ONLINE. ADDED THE WORDS IN PIRATE FONT. EMAILED IT TO A CAKE PLACE FOR THE CAKE ART. AND HAD COSTCO PUT IT ON TOP OF ONE OF THEIR CAKES! A BARGAIN!

 

 

MATEYS! Thanks for getting into the spirit of the party Wayne, Cheri, Cathy, Claire & John! (Jennie too but I have no pic of her!)

 

COMING SOON. A STEP-BY-STEP ON HOW TO THROW YOUR OWN PIRATE PARTY!

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Author: toni

~ 02/03/11

 

A friend called me the other night. She was crying. She had just heard that another friend of hers was in the final days of his cancer battle. She said she wasn’t sure why she had called me. I had never even met her friend. Still, she said, she just wanted to hear my voice. Then she said she was sorry she called and bugged me.

To this I say… Friendship means never having to say you’re sorry. 

 

Yeah. I know  the REAL saying is “Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. But to me, friendship and love are the same.

There are few things in life that can’t be made better simply by the sound of a good friend’s voice. It’s not a cure-all. But it’s a balm. A salve for an aching soul.

Unlike family, we CHOOSE our friends. And if we choose carefully, these relationships can really help us traverse the rocky road of life. And as we all know, it can get pretty rocky at times.

My friends have helped me through some of the bigger bumps. Heck, in some cases they have held my hand as I crossed a tightrope over a bottomless crevasse. All the while encouraging me to not look down. To keep my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel. Even when that light was nothing but a pin dot.

They’ve been with me through good times too. That’s the easy part. Okay, maybe it’s not always so easy, like the times when I force ask my friends to karaoke on my birthday. But that’s just once a year. I’d do it for you!

The true test of friendship is when the difficult times come. Not everyone can handle those. Not everyone is true friend material. 

I hope that I am a true friend to my friends. I try to be. I try to give as good as I get. 

And offering up some soothing words or just listening is the least I can do. 

So NEVER apologize for taking my time in your time of need. Know why? Because…

Friendship (and by that I mean LOVE) means never having to say your sorry.

It DOES, however, mean that you will occasionally have to karaoke.

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Author: toni

~ 01/01/11

 

Well, here it is. Another year. And no matter how I try to stop time, it simply refuses to bend to my will. Everything around me is changing. Lines form around the eyes. Parents get older. My kid starts asking the difficult questions like “Where did the legend of Dracula start and why does garlic gross him out?”  

I kid you not. I spent a good part of yesterday while we were shopping/returning  telling her the history of Vlad the Impaler which then led to a whole discussion of how the fear of the atomic bomb influenced 1950s filmmaking resulting in movies about giant spiders and the like. She was shocked to learn that the original “duck and cover” was a safety drill in case of an A-Bomb attack  and not prep for the big earthquake.

Anyway, it’s little milestones like my kid asking me if the Egyptians believed in mummys coming to life or if it was more of a  20th century idea that makes me keenly aware of  the infernal passage of time.

Thing is. I don’t FEEL like I’m getting older. Well, except when I have to bend to get the tupperware out from under the cabinet where I put it when my knees where 6 years younger. And it’s not so much that my knees hurt or anything when I bend to get it. It’s more that I SIMPLY DON’T HAVE THE DESIRE to bend.

I think that’s where it starts. The whole aging thing. It affects the desire first. Then it moves on from there. I’m noticing I’m having a lot less desire for a lot of things I used to eagerly do. Like jumping out of bed and exercising first thing in the morning. Or cleaning out the crumbs from the corners of my kitchen drawers. Or lying on my back on the grass on a chilly night to watch a meteor shower. Or staying up until midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Yeah. I stayed up. But only because my kid did. It’s still a big deal to her. She’s only 8. SHE STILL HAS THE DESIRE.

Truth is. She’s what’s keeping me young. She’s the reason I stroll Disneyland for 14 hours at a pop. Heck, she’s the reason I go to Disneyland at all. She helps me to see things the way I used to. With the excitement and awe of a newbie. I owe a lot to her.

For the other things in my life for which she cannot inspire the DESIRE, I shall have to find it on my own. And that brings me to my New Year’s Resolution.

I resolve to rediscover my desire.

My desire to engage. To laugh. To enjoy. To see things in a fresh way. My desire to better myself. To continue to learn new things. My desire to see the glass half full instead of empty. My desire to work everyday to make everything around me better. My life. My marriage. My friendships. My earth.

The thing I know about desire. Is that while it may not be evident. It is there. Sometimes buried under a pile of work, or laundry or exhaustion. But if you make the effort to find it, it quickly reawakens. And then you wonder why you don’t make the effort more often. Because desire feels good! And so do its results.

So this year, more desire!

But first… a quick nap!

HAPPY NEW YEAR MAMMAKAZES!

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Author: toni

~ 09/12/10

 

MAMMAKAZE Will sent this video. Julia loved it and so did I. It put a smile on my usually jaded and cynical face. So…

Just to kick off the week and simply for the sheer joy of it! 

ENJOY! AND HAPPY MANIC MOMDAY!

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