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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:


“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

~ 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

~ 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

~ 05/06/10


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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Author: toni

~ 05/02/10

Here at MAMMAKAZE we’re all about helping marriages (in addition to getting you over all that mommy guilt you’re carrying and providing yummy recipes for cocktails).

So check out the following ad for a marriage saving blanket. I’m not sure who invented it. I suspect those guys who created that amazing Snuggie, or the Chia Pet.

Now I’m not pointing fingers. I definitely don’t think it’s always the men who have this problem. I’m just sayin’, if you do, and that BEANO isn’t working, might want to invest in one of these babies.

Now if only there was something that would eradicate snoring. And blanket hogging.  Oh and ESPN. Can anyone do anything about THAT? Surely there’s a guy at a Radio Shack somewhere who has the perfect inexpensive solution. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

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Author: toni

~ 04/20/10


I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for fun things to entertain my kid. And if it can be a learning experience, all the better.

So when MAMMAKAZE Bruce sent in this little physiological bit, I showed it to Julia. Well, it passed the kid test and she was sooo delighted. And it has since delighted several of her friends. Also, it frustrated her dad who was determined to overcome the wiring of his brain but wasn’t able to.

Let’s see if you can. So, try this. It takes 2 seconds and it is absolutely true. It is from an orthopedic surgeon.   




1. While sitting in a chair, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number ‘6’ in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction! 



Isn’t that crazy? Apparently, there are some things that the brain cannot handle.  You know, besides the clearance shoe rack at Macy’s and the steady application of eyeliner.

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