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Author: toni

~ 01/15/10

Movies with really, really bad moms that make us feel good about our less than perfekt parenting skills.  

It’s been a while since I posted one of these but if you recall this is where I list movies featuring mommies in movies who are SOOO BAD, that they make us look like the Mother Teresas of mommydom. Cuz no matter how sucky we think we are, we can NEVER be as bad as these moms. Hence, the VINDICATION!


PRECIOUS - This movie about a horribly abused, obese, teenaged black girl from the slums named Precious, features a mom (played by Mo’Nique) who is soooooooooo bad that well, I’m not sure if she makes me feel better about myself as a mommy or worse about myself as a human being because I actually belong to the same species as her. This mommy allows her husband to start sexually abusing their daughter when she is only 3. And instead of feeling sorry for or helping the child, she grows jealous and resentful of her. Know why? Because over the years the dad actually prefers sex with his daughter than his wife. Lovely. And as a result, he gives his daughter two babies (one with Down’s Syndrome) and also infects her with AIDS. The mom grows increasingly resentful of her Precious and treats her like a slave. She is verbally abusive, beats her and in an attempt to make Precious less appealing to her father, the mom forces Precious to overeat so she becomes hugely obese.  To keep her welfare checks coming, the mom pretends to be caring for Precious’ Down’s Syndrome daughter when in reality the child is being cared for by her grandmother. And when Precious comes home from the hospital with her second baby from her father, her mother throws the baby across the room and then tries to kill Precious and the baby by throwing her TV down the stairwell at them. And yet this is supposed to be a feel-good film because Precious is a survivor. I dunno. But after this movie all I wanted to do was close my eyes, click my heels and get the hell home. Even Mariah Carey playing a counselor in a bad wig couldn’t take the edge off for me.

I think you’d have to feel like you screwed up pretty bad as a mom for this movie to make you feel good in any way. But if you’ve done something THAT bad, like forgotten your kid’s birthday or purchased straight-up corn flakes instead of the frosted kind, then by all means take a gander at this film. It’ll make you feel like Mommy of The Year. In theaters now.

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Author: toni

~ 01/12/10


I’ve been married a long time now. 11 years last August. Okay. Not a long time in terms of, say, dinosaurs roaming the earth (165 million years) or even those Old West marriages where people married at 12 and stayed married 70 years provided they didn’t die of influenza, rattlesnake bites or their prairie skirts catching fire. Still, 11 years is impressive if you consider the fact that I’m carrying on a marriage IN Los Angeles… D-I-V-O-R-C-E central.

That’s all a long-winded preface to my point that –  after a few years and a few kids, married couples usually get pretty complacent. And in fact, pretty much start going through the motions by rote. Yes, even sex. And it isn’t until life tests them in some way that they get a true sense of the foundation upon which the marriage is built. Tests such as job loss, the death of parent or furniture requiring assembly.

Any of these things can make or break a marriage. Especially the latter which is why, I’m convinced, most couples after marriage, stop shopping at IKEA.

Randy the perfekt husband and I did. Post-nuptials we began buying our furniture at places like MACY’s or ETHAN ALLEN where they deliver things FULLY ASSEMBLED – at a greatly increased price, natch. But hey, we were responsible grown-ups now. Besides, the marriage was fresh. Too soon for any major tests.

Well, flash forward to 11 years later. Recently, just before the holidays I fell in love with and BOUGHT a dining room set from, of all places COST PLUS

Now let’s be frank. Cost Plus is simply the Ikea for tonally darker tastes. Instead of blonde furniture with names like Mitvig and Bjorkvalla,  the furniture comes in colors like Espresso and Black with names like Sourav. Instead of Sweden, the items are manufactured in India. Instead of being translated from English (which all the Nordic countries seem to speak with fluency) the instructions are translated from Hindi to Chinese to English, which ultimately means jibberish. But for all intents and purposes, when it comes to price, lack of delivery options and necessity of assemblage by purchaser, these two places ARE THE SAME.

Putting together this dining room set, with sideboard and 8 chairs was a daunting and emotional test that, truthfully, could have gone either way.

We’d had a near-miss furniture assembly life-test a few years back. We had purchased a bed for Julia from, yes,  IKEA. I know. I know. You’re thinking. I thought they swore off Ikea! Well, we’d just had a baby. A baby that cost us a helluva lot more than we thought it would. I mean how many diapers can a new baby go through in a year? Turns out it’s around 10,000.

Anyway, we were trying to save money. We were weak! We found ourselves roaming the the convoluted aromatically meatballed walkways of our old haunt and actually purchasing a bed.

After we got it home (ourselves) and opened it up, my immediate thought was “why don’t we just draw up the final divorce papers already?” I mean, what is it with the Swedes that a simple bed has over 400 pieces? Is it the bleakness of their landscape that makes them crave complexity? Isn’t having to figure out the meaning of Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers” challenge enough?

I’ll admit, at the time I wasn’t secure enough in myself, my marriage or my ability to hold a slat straight enough to please my husband who, in addition to being perfekt, is also a perfektionist. Also, I still hadn’t lost my baby weight which made me really cranky.

But alas, the marriage was to continue, untested. Because as it turned out the assembly of the bed coincided with a visit from Randy’s folks to see our new house which meant Randy could recruit his father BILL,  whence the perfektionist gene had originally sprung. And let me say, it was a grueling 8 hour marathon of bed building that nearly ended their multi-decade relationship. They’ve only just recently been able to look at that bed without old animosities bubbling to the surface.

So it was back to REAL furniture stores for for us. Until I saw that dining room table. And my desire for it outweighted any fear I had for my marriage. Call it maturity. Call it devil-may-care. Call it “I was of a certain age” and DESERVED that set. But the fact was that the furniture assembly test I had managed to avoid all these years had finally come. And I couldn’t get out of it this time. Randy’s dad had no plans to visit anytime soon. And even if he did, he had long since sworn off furniture building.  So I had to put up or shut up because I CHOSE that dining room set. The one that  took multiple trips to get home. The one that had the words HEAVY FURNITURE – TEAM LIFT REQUIRED stamped all over the boxes.

Despite my resolve to HAVE THAT DINING ROOM SET, once I opened the boxes, I got really scared. The dining table and the sideboard weren’t so bad. Except for the part where I didn’t hold up my end of the 120 pound table and it ended up on Randy’s toe. But he has ten of those, so I was good. But then there were the chairs. 24 pieces of hardware x 8. That’s 192 pieces!

And wanting desperately to make the whole process go as smoothly as possible, while Randy was at work I took all the chairs out of their boxes. Put all the bottoms in one pile. All the backs in another. So we could do it assembly-line style. BIG MISTAKE! Because “handcrafted in India”  actually means each chair is unique in its, shall we call them, mistakes? The screw holes varied from chair to chair. So we spent hours trying to line up backs with bottoms that belonged together. This caused much irritation on Randy’s part and considerable defensiveness on my part. Two big buttons that should NOT be pushed simultaneously. But ultimately, to my surprise, even Randy had to admit, having grown up in a cookie cutter society, that he hadn’t foreseen this problem. I told my attorney I’d call her back.

Once we got the tops and bottoms back with their original partners, to my great shock, things went amazingly smoothly.

In fact, somewhere around chair 3 Randy and I became like a surgical team. He – the surgeon. Me, the surgeon’s very attractive head nurse. I was anticipating his every move. I knew which part he wanted even before he knew it. I was so there. WE were so there. Working, screwing, as one. Well, you know what I mean. And we put all eight of those chairs together and there was a great sense of accomplishment… and relief that we had survived such a grueling test.

And a thrill discovering that after all these years we were not only up to the test, we were yin-ing and yanging each other. We had forged an unspoken bond. The kind usually only found between mother whales and their calves or college roommates during a game of TABOO where they only need to throw out a one word hint to get their partner to guess it.

During the 11 years of our marriage, Randy and I had unknowingly formed that bond. And, I’ll admit it, it was a turn-on. And the result was that our new dining table wasn’t the only bit of furniture that got a LOT of use that week.

Okay. So it’s a little goofy that the booze and clandestine meetings of our youth have been replaced by “furniture assembly” as an aphrodisiac in our relationship. But then as you get older, your tastes change. You go from blonde wood to dark. From fear to surprise. And from complacent to assured. I think THAT’S what they call maturity.

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Author: toni

~ 01/10/10


I meant to do this list as 2009 came to a close. But I avoided it. I think it was because things were going so well for the first time in a long time, that I really didn’t want to relive the horrors of the past year. Well, enough time has passed and the new year has begun on a pretty good note. So I can comfortably look back now at the year that was and share with you why I’m glad IT’S FINALLY #$%&* OVER!  


  1. Rattlesnake bites
  2. Laryngeal Spasms
  3. Inexplicable coughing fits that resulted in countless tests and visits to specialists
  4. Hit and Run Drivers in Gray Volvo SUVs who obviously couldn’t afford car insurance or they would have stopped instead of drive off like the miserable cowards they were thus forcing us to shell out $1000 for our deductible
  5. Cracked Rims on ALL our Honda tires for which Honda would not take responsibility. Apparently we “drive over too many potholes” here in our well-paved suburbia.
  6. Kidney Stones…Randy, not me for a change.
  7. Swine Flu
  8. Recession
  9. Suicide

Uh. Wait, That’s only 9. Okay. Maybe 2009 was NOT as bad as I remember it. Oh. Who am I kidding? Yeah it was. Just because MORE things didn’t happen doesn’t mean that the ones that did weren’t horrible.

But because Randy the perfekt husband always accuses me of being a glass half empty kind of gal, I am going to attempt to look at the bright side of the year from hell.


  1. Discovery Channel’s special on The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake
  2. Finding out we live only minutes from a hospital that has LOADS of experience in rattlesnake bites
  3. Finally overcoming the slew of health issues that befell each of us
  4. Having insurance to pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills we incurred, including the $80,000 in anti-venom!
  5. Taking Julia to see her WV relatives – her great-grandmother just turned 95!
  6. Hawaii… ‘nuf said.
  7. Watching Julia sing “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” in a cockney accent in front of the whole school
  8. 11 years of marriage – woulda thunk?
  9. The way our good friends came through for us when we were really ill
  10. Getting Botox, even if it wasn’t in my frown lines
  11. Losing twenty pounds, even if it was because of illness
  12. Randy’s promotion to Sr. VP in spite of a crappy economy
  13. Surviving one of our worst years ever as a family
  14. Julia winning the scholarship award twice
  15. Buying size 6 jeans again. I thought that would NEVER happen.
  16. My brother John getting married. HE thought that would NEVER happen.
  17. Getting an iPod – OMG! How did we ever live without it?
  18. HOLY MOLY! A late addition I thought of AFTER I posted. I started MAMMAKAZE last year!

Well, looks like in retrospect, the glass is more on the FULL side than the empty. That’s the great thing about retrospect. It comes with it’s own special set of glasses… usually in a rose tint.

And in the end, any year that one survives…after which one is still standing, is a good year. No?

And now it’s a new year. 2010. New opportunities. New possibilities. New everything. I’m feeling the excitement of it. Are you?

To quote Natasha Bedingfield, which I don’t normally do but, hey, she said it well:

Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.


Here’s wishing all my MAMMAKAZES a wonderful 2010… without any rattlesnake bites! 

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Author: toni

~ 01/05/10


Well, isn’t this a fine way to bring in the NEW YEAR?

In the category of “idiotic parenting that makes me feel less guilty about my own parenting skills” a Georgia woman and her boyfriend were charged with tattooing their 6 underage children (ages 10, 11, 11, 12, 15 & 17) some of them his, some hers.  And they did it using a homemade tattoo gun that featured an ink pen barrel, a motorized device, a sharpened guitar string and bottle of ink. Ingenius. They’re like the Leonardo da Vincis of the South. 

Uh. You needn’t bother to ask if it was sterilized because I’m sure you know the answer.

Check out the video below for the Mother’s “shocked” response to the overreaction of law enforcement officials who arrested her after the REAL MOTHER of two of the children saw the tattoos.


That’s right. While most of us parents strongly discourage our kids from getting tattoos (and hepatitis) these morons did it to their kids themselves. And I don’t even want to know what the “black cross” is supposed to symbolize.

Sorry Patty “Jo Jo” Marsh. But we at MAMMAKAZE don’t feel this has been, as you say, “blowed up so big”. In fact, if we had our way, in addition to charging you and your bozo boyfriend with illegal tattooing, cruelty to children and reckless conduct, we’d also throw in an improper grammar charge.

Count yourself lucky you aren’t in my court, lady!

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Author: toni

~ 01/04/10


After a long break (my longest since I started posting last April) MAMMAKAZE is back!

While I felt guilty about not posting for so long, I have to admit, it also felt good just hanging with the family. No pressures.  But now I’m ready to get back to the business of mommyhood and all that entails. And it entails A LOT! And let’s face it, I have a LOT to say.

I look forward to the New Year for many reasons, not the least of which because LAST YEAR SUCKED! But, I’m not complaining.. too much. We’re still standing. And that’s something. That’s a lot in fact.

And truth be told, there were good times too in 2009. In fact, I’ll do my TOP TEN WORST AND BEST of 2009 LIST this week because I’m sure you haven’t had your fill of those already.

Also I’ve got big plans for Mammakaze this year. I want to open a store section in which I will feature mom-related items as well as my own line of snarky greeting cards. Because let’s face it, a Hallmark card doesn’t always say what you want it to say… their in-house counsel won’t let them.

Needless to say, I don’t have an in-house counsel, though I may well wish I did upon my expansion.

Anyway, that’s the plan. I’ll keep ya posted.

Meanwhile, please come back regularly and tell a friend who’ll tell a friend who’ll tell a friend and so on and so on….

HAPPY NEW YEAR. May this year bring you all much prosperity and fewer dishes.

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Author: toni


It’s here. The day I’ve been dreading for two weeks. As of this morning, the Christmas break is over. Two weeks of family, food, fun, staying up late, sleeping in, no schedules, no pressures. Well, unless you count the fact that laundry (like rust) never sleeps, even during vacation. Ugh.

But it’s over. Back to schedules and getting up early and having to be places on time. Me…I can handle it. I’m an early riser from way back. I’ve got the internal clock of a 90 year-old. Up with the sun, to bed with the sunset… and always, without fail, sporting thick, romance-killing socks. So the dread that I felt had nothing to do with me. And everything to do with my daughter Julia.

See… Julia, who is 7, has the internal clock of a teenager. And while other kids were excited for the break so they could sit in front of early morning cartoons in their jammies slurping on bowls of cereal, Julia looked forward to it so she could “stay up late and sleep in”. 

Yep. While other neighborhood kids were tucked sound asleep in their beds, Julia rang in the New Year with the adults, dancing to the Black Eyed Peas and Pink and playing pool.  In fact, for three days running she was up after midnight. One night she was up until 2am! I never stayed up that late even in my hard-partying college days (not that I ever had any).

Well, that’s all cool and good when she can sleep in until 9 or 10am. But when the first school bell rings at 8:10 am, and her wake up time is 7am…not so great.

I tried to get her readjusted to her school schedule prior to today. But I guess two days wasn’t enough.  (Me bad.)  Because this morning was no cake walk, lemme tell you. It started with GROANS when I came into her room to announce it was time to get up. I had to come back three times and finally had to drag escort her to the potty for her morning pee. As I did she demanded like some pint-sized Gloria Swanson “No lights!”

Seriously, she was so averse to lights of any kind that I thought for sure she had taken a secret dip in the mulled wine or Edward Cullen had paid her a visit in the night.

So I let her pee in darkness. And by the time she had finished washing her hands, her eyes had adjusted enough that she allowed me to turn on ONE lamp light as she dressed. And by dressed, I mean she stood there like a limp doll and I had to dress her.

ME: What do you want to wear?

JULIA: (yawning) I dunno. Will you pick out my clothes?

ME: Okay.

I pulled out a pair of cargo pants and a pink top.  Then she said in a tone so snarky it almost instantly brought corporal punishment into vogue in our house:

JULIA: I’m not wearing THAT top!

ME: Hey, you asked me to pick out your clothes!

JULIA: (stomping over to grab it) All right, I’ll wear it.

ME: Watch your tone young lady. And apologize.

JULIA: (without an ounce of sincerity) I’m sorry.

I put the dreaded top on her. At which point the shoe drama began.

JULIA: I don’t know what shoes to wear.

ME: Put on any pair.

JULIA: I can’t. If I have PE I have to wear sneakers. But the slip-ons are more comfortable. But I’m not allowed to wear slip-ons if I have PE. But I don’t know if I even HAVE PE today. Cuz sometimes we don’t after break. And I want to be comfortable.

ME: Then put on the ones that are like slip-ons but have the laces.

The logic of my suggestion seemed to irritate her further and she gave me a killer look as she grudgingly slipped on the lace-up shoes. I let it pass for the sake of time.

I took a deep sigh of relief as I looked at her sitting there on her floor, fully dressed, thinking that the worst was over. A major hurdle was jumped and we weren’t even running late. Woo-Hoo!

Now normally I would have been worried about the “what to have for breakfast” debate which can be a difficult and tedious one when she’s in this cranky mood. But I had cleverly thought ahead and made EXTRA chocolate chip pancakes the day before with the new ladybug, butterfly and snail molds that Julia’s friend Maddy had given her for Christmas. (Williams-Sonoma – totally cute – a must-have). And I knew that even Julia at her sleepiest and grumpiest would not complain about chocolate in the shape of cute garden insects.

Leaving her to brush her teeth, I headed to my bedroom to throw on some clothes.  I stood there in the walk-in closet thinking that this morning I had been dreading hadn’t gone too bad, considering. And that we were actually on schedule.  And then I turned to find her standing there in the closet doorway, wide-eyed and horrified.

ME: What’s wrong?!

JULIA: My-my-my…. pants make noise when I walk!

And she BURST into tears! And I felt like Jamie Lee Curtis when she thought she had slain Michael Meyers and was safe but then he suddenly popped up and she wasn’t.  

And so I calmly walked my sleep-deprived munchkin back down the hall to her room to the faint SWISH SWISH SWISHING sound of her cargo pants and we changed her into jeans. Which included removing the shoes, putting them back on, switching out the top which no longer matched resulting in her getting her way anyway on the issue… and finally having to rush at fever pitch to get her lunch and snack ready to get her to school on time.

And I confess that I take great relief in the fact that for the next six hours, she and her lack-of-sleep induced irritability are somebody else’s problem.

Sorry, Mrs. Turner. I know they don’t pay you enough.

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