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Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass

Author: toni

~ 09/03/10


MAMMAKAZE Jennifer posted this on her Facebook. She didn’t make it up. Someone else did. I guess it’s been around a while which means that of course I’ve never read it before. In case you’re like me – completely out of the loop – and/or if you’re feeling the need for a little mommy appreciation – either directed at you or to a mommy you know – read and enjoy.  

It’s about how we look at mothers at various ages/stages in our lives. I’ve lived these stages with my own mom. I’m reliving them as we speak with my own kid, only now the tables have turned and I’m the one being judged. But I can handle it knowing that one day Julia will be in my shoes.

It’s all about PAYBACK, baby! Eer, I mean, it’s all about the beauty of the natural cycles of life repeating themselves endlessly through time. See how I spun that? Now you think I’m a nice mommy. I’m clever that way.


4 years: Mom knows everything!

8 years: Mom knows a lot!*  

12 years: Mom really doesn’t know everything!

14 years: Mom knows nothing!

16 years: Mom, what mom??

18 years: Mom is outdated!

25 years: Maybe mom knows!

35 years: Before deciding let’s ask mom!

45 years: I wonder what mom thinks!…

75 years: I wish mom was here to ask her!

* (Note: This is where I am with my kid, with some eye rolling thrown in)


Aw. Isn’t that lovely?  And so optimistic that we older moms will actually be around long enough in our kids’ lives that we’ll live to see them eat their words appreciate us again.

In any case, I thought it was a nice piece. And since I already admitted to crying four times during Ramona and Beezus, it can be of no surprise to you people that I have a sentimental side – albeit one with a sarcastic underbelly.

So sue me! And have a nice Labor Day Weekend!

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Author: toni

~ 07/27/10


Ever heard the saying “looking at life through rose-colored glasses”? Then you know it refers to someone who looks at life with a rosy optimism. I wish I was guilty of that. I’ve always envied people who manage to be endlessly upbeat and full of optimism and hope. You know them, they’re the ones who make lemonade when handed lemons. When I get handed lemons I suck on them and make a sour face.  Anyway, Melanie in “Gone With The Wind” was one of those lemonade-making characters. No matter that the Civil War stripped her of everything, no matter that she was starving, no matter that Scarlet was so mean to her and secretly on the prowl to steal her husband Ashley – although heaven knows why she wanted that man pansy when she had Clark Gable  – that Melanie, she could find the good in everything and everyone. I hated envied her.

But that’s not the point of this post. The point is that I’m guilty at looking at life THRU something all right.  But it isn’t rose-colored glasses.

I’m guilty of looking at life through a Canon digital camera viewfinder. And as I only recently came to realize, there’s nothing rosy about it.

I was at the Hollywood Bowl a couple of weekends back. It was the first trip for my daughter Julia (who is eight) and we took her to the Bugs Bunny show where the L.A. Philharmonic plays along to the cartoons projected on big screens. And as I was videotaping the fireworks finale at one point I turned the camera toward my daughter, you know, to capture her expression. I could see her there, in profile, her wide eyes lit by the flashing fireworks in the sky, her face filled with awe and the joy of the moment. I paused for a moment, sort of taken aback by the utter rapture  she seemed to be experiencing. I mean, what we were doing was cool, but was it truly that amazing? 

At first I attributed it to the fact that she was only 8 and at 8 one is experiencing so many things for the first time. And as we all know, the first time is the most exciting. After all, it had been that way when we took her to Disneyland for the first time. So thrilled was she by the sights, the sounds, the magic of it all that it even rubbed off on jaded old me who had been to Disneyland too many times to count – for whom the magic had completely worn off.

But when I put down the camera that night at the Bowl and I looked at what she was looking at, I mean REALLY looked at it, through my very own eyes, not the viewfinder of my camera – I realized, her feeling of awe had nothing to do with being 8. I looked up at the fireworks in the sky, big and beautiful and sparkly, shattering light over the dome of the Bowl. At the crescent moon that hung in the distance on that crystal clear summer night. At the 18,000 upturned faces all experiencing this moment together. And you know what? To my amazement, it truly WAS amazing!

And I realized, I hadn’t been seeing it. I mean, I was  seeing it on the tiny video display but I wasn’t seeing  it seeing it.

And in that instant, it also occured to me that this has been the case for the last 8 1/2 years of my life! Why 8 1/2 years exactly? Because that’s how long my daughter’s been in the picture – figuratively and literally.

Since she was born and I got my first high quality digital camera, I have chronicled every move, burp, smile, gurgle, and later dance recital, talent show, piano recital, etc.  It’s the reason  Randy the perfekt husband gave me the nickname MAMMARAZI. And while I have recorded all these moments in her life for posterity, I never really experienced them first hand because I was separated from these events  as they were happening – by the camera!  So busy was I  making sure the images were centered, that no one was walking across the frame, that the focus was right, that there was enough head room – that I never truly got to enjoy them. Because I was never, not once,  in the actual moment – watching my little girl sing joyfully at the top of her lungs, tap dance to the perfect rhythm of a song, or even smile shyly as she was handed an award for being an exceptional student.

And suddenly I was very sad. Suddenly, the loss of the last 8 1/2 years hit me like a ton of bricks.

And I realized we have become photo obsessed, we parents these days.  That’s right. It’s not just me. There isn’t a single birthday party or school event I go to that doesn’t feature dozens of parents jockeying for position to get the perfect picture or video of their kid.  It’s such chaos and madness you’d think Brangelina was on the red carpet announcing another adoption! One MAMMAKAZE joked about the fact that whenever her one year old heard the word SMILE, he immediately struck a pose, even if there wasn’t a camera around! This is how conditioned our kids have become to having a camera in their faces.

I mean, my stepdad was a professional photographer and he never took as many pictures of the four of us kids the whole time we were growing up as I have taken of my one, single, only child in the past 8 years!  

I don’t know if it’s the ease and cheapness of taking pictures now – the fact that we can immediately see what we’ve taken and delete what’s bad without having to wait a week and pay a fortune for images that feature closed eyes, a partial thumb over the lens or some wise-acre sticking two fingers up behind someone’s head.

Whatever it is, we’ve created a whole generation of parents that will have a lifetime of memories of taking pictures of their kids , but not of the moments themselves. Very sad.

So I have VOWED that next time Julia gets an award or does a performance or blows out a birthday candle I will sit back, relax and take it in, burning it forever on that brilliant little hard drive known as the cerebral cortex.  Well, I mean, as long as Randy is taking the pictures with the Canon. Oh. And my brother John is doing video on that amazing Nikon he has with the super long lens. That thing captures images like nobody’s business!

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Author: toni

~ 07/21/10


Hey all you Los Angeles  area MAMMAKAZES out there!  Want to take some time off from all the mommy madness, hobnob with celebrities AND be a shining example to your kids? Well, here’s your chance.

Fellow MAMMAKAZE  Zadrina, whose good friend ANDY SWAN is battling Stage IV lung cancer, has produced a film about Andy’s career and is having a screening of that film to benefit THE LUNG CANCER FOUNDATION OF AMERICA.


  • WHEN:  This Saturday July 24, 2010   6pm
  • WHERE: The Pasadena Playhouse, 39 S. El Molina Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
  • TICKETS: $20.00 in advance. $25.00 at the door if available.  CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE



  • Part One: A special Screening of SWAN, a biographical documentary focusing on the development of award-winning filmmaker Andy Swan’s career. The film highlights the many layers of the creative process through visualization.
  • Part Two: A Tribute After Party at El Portal Restaurant featuring Live Music, displays of props from various films and special displays of Creature Effects.


Attending guests will have a chance to win prizes including Video Symphony Scholarships, a day on the set of CRIMINAL MINDS and other prizes.

The Event (produced by Area 9 Productions)  will be hosted by Exec. Producer, Ed Bernero and members of the Cast of CRIMINAL MINDS.



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Author: toni

~ 06/18/10


I’ve seen a lot of disgusting stuff in my 8 years as a mommy. I have seen pea-chunked puke and curdled milk  drool. I’ve seen poop that defied gravity and actually made it’s way UP and OUT of the diaper of an upright toddler. I’ve seen vomit SHOOT out of a mouth and HIT a curtain 10 feet across a room with the velocity of something created for the military by Lockheed Martin.

And you know what? As mommies we expect that. Well, if it’s our first child, we don’t. But we quickly learn that “gross” and “disgusting” come with the territory. And we accept it because, well, what else are we gonna do? Give the kid back? Hire a nanny like Uma? Have daddy deal with it? Yeah, right.

So we do our duty and we clean it up. No matter how stomach-churning. No matter that the scene might look like something that Crime Scene Clean Up would gag at. Because, well, it’s our job.

Somehow, however, in my naivete, I assumed most of the grossness would disappear after the potty training stage ended. But it doesn’t end. It just…changes.

Case in point. Recently, my kid got a T-Rex. No, not the dinosaur brought back to life by brilliant scientists with God complexes. A palate expander put into the roof of her mouth by her orthodontist.

Turns out she has a narrow palate and crossbite (thanks Grandpa!)  and they need to widen it so that her permanent teeth have room to come in straight.  This is one of those advancements that they have made since our childhood that has made our kids’ childhoods so much better than ours. You know, like TV remotes and video games that have 3-D exploding zombies instead of little white balls PINGING back and forth. I mean, if you can call watching entrails fly and sitting on your ass instead of getting up to change the channel, progress.

Anyway, in the old days, they’d wait until kids were in their teens (and  at their most emotionally vulnerable and self-conscious) to stuff them with a mouth full of metal. And because by that age their palates were set in bone, they’d have to pull healthy teeth to make room and then begin the years-long process of moving the remaining teeth into the gaps  so that they would be straight. In some cases there was also headgear that made the stuff they used to “inquisite” during the INQUISITION look like sand box toys.

Today, they have discovered that the palate is still cartilage when they’re young. And so they use the T-Rex to  slowly spread it to make it wider and then, VOILA, plenty of room for healthy teeth to come in. No pulling. And no mortification because when kids are 8 they actually think braces are COOOOL. Also, they don’t care what the opposite sex thinks, as long as they stay far enough away so as not to contract COOTIES.

Anyway, Julia has had the appliance for two weeks. And other than the first two days of minor discomfort, it has been a breeze, pain-wise. Cleaning wise, not so much.

Because that thing is DISGUSTING! Now the orthodontist did not explain why they call it the T-Rex, but I’m convinced it’s because it consumes everything that comes its way. Turkey, beef, edamame, couscous, bread…You name it, that thing grabs it and makes it its own.

And brushing doesn’t do it. No siree. The only way to get that T-Rex to give up its prey is high water pressure. Hence the purchase of a waterpik. But Julia and I  had no experience with a waterpik. And although I fairly quickly mastered the steady hand and aim, Julia didn’t quite catch on to the concept of keeping her mouth shut while I was pressing the “ON” button.

So in the last two weeks I have gotten face fulls  (and yes, even mouthfuls) of backsplash and backwash. Ew. My glasses have been speckled with food spray.  My hair has been drenched in spit water. And once, I looked in the mirror to find a RAMEN NOODLE ON MY CHEEK. Yeah, that’s right.

Did I gag? Did I throw up? Did I throw down that waterpik, say forget it,  and advise Julia that she should just enjoy her mini-snacks as they appeared randomly in her mouth later in the day? Nope. I kept on pik-ing. Because I am a mother. And that’s what mother’s do.

Yes, I have freed much captured  foodage in the last two weeks. So much so that I am wondering if she is getting any nutrition at all. But she’s not losing weight so I’m not worrying…too much.

Meanwhile, Julia and I have BOTH learned to keep our mouths shut during the process. Usually. Sometimes, anyway. And as much as it grosses me out to do this, I have learned to let go of that obstinate piece of food and let it’s find its own way to freedom. And usually it does.

I have also learned that the gross part of being a mommy never seems to end. I can’t imagine what the future has in store for me. Perhaps some late nights sitting on cold porcelain tile brushing the hair off a clammy face that is vomiting into a toilet as a result of a flu or, worse, an illegal beverage or three at a high school party.

I don’t know. I DO KNOW that I’ll do it. Without complaint. Because she’s my kid. And I love her. ‘Nuff said.

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Author: toni

~ 05/13/10


Check out this kid whose talent show performance is a web sensation.

Wowsa. Can anyone say INNATE TALENT?  Only three years of piano lessons and no singing lessons.

GREYSON MICHAEL CHANCE performs Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”

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Author: toni

~ 05/06/10


Still haven’t figured out what to get the mom in your life for Mother’s Day? Well, get on the ball, why don’t you? It’s this Sunday!

Meanwhile, why don’t you send out a “personalized” video. Yes, the folks at (a worthwhile organization by the way) and CNNBC, who were behind the personalized Mother of the Year videos last year, have created another REALLY COOL video in time for Mother’s Day.

Here’s what you do:

CLICK ON THIS LINK.  It will take you to their website (you can see a sample video).

Type in the Name and E-Mail Address of the Mom(s) of Your Choice

They will then forward a personalized video featuring that mom’s name.


It’s very funny and fun.  And the moms in your life will LOVE IT!

But DON’T think it’ll replace flowers or jewelry or a spa weekend. I mean come on! Get it together people. Let’s see some effort here!

Oh. And have a lovely Mother’s Day.

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