Friday, October 29, 2010


Kyle Massey
    Any higher with the hand and my momma will neuter you!
  Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough (my favorite pro dancer)
I used to have an idea of  who watched Dancing With The Stars.  I envisioned a decrepit woman in her shag-carpeted living room,  Swanson TV dinner on her metal tray.  My TV trays are wood and I'm still a couple of sciatica attacks away from feeling old.   I'm gonna  blame my tumble into television Wasteland on the lack of better choices during Monday night prime-time.  I'm hooked now;  I'll stop apologizing.  Have you seen the show?

It's been an interesting season in that everyone seems more D-List than usual.  Where was the hole they dug  Michael Bolton out of to do the show?    Jennifer Grey (Baby in the Corner) is fantastic.  She's quick, lively,  and has quite the hard bod.  I adore Kyle Massey,  a young Disney Channel star. The kid oozes chutzpah;  I almost choked when he said he was 19.   I was sad The Hof was voted out so quickly;  he was good for some cheesy Baywatch flashback moments.
 Alaska's 1st Daughter is a dead carp. I know some bad dancers (some are reading this).  But she's dreadful.  And  yet she's still there.  What gives?  I can only think it's her mother and the Vast Right -Wing Conspiracy tying up the phone lines with votes.

Really, do me a favor.  Tune in on Monday night,  ABC, 8:00,  7:00 central.  I couldn't give a hoot about dancing,  but just seeing the elaborate costuming gives me the mid-Olympic ice skating fix I crave.

 I even have Scot watching.  Shhhh... he'll be mortified I told you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Re-union of Souls

                                                        Will and Toni
                                                         Diane and Toni
                                                                    Toni and Jen
                                                Toni,  Jen's head,  Will (sideways)
                                                         Jen, Diane,  Toni
                                                            Will, Jen,  Toni

We were touring  Camden Catholic last weekend,  looking at the Wall of Honor,  the gym,  the sports fields,  etc.,  when an old classmate named  Michelle turned to me.
"Toni,  did you do any sports or activities when you were here?"  she asked.

" NO,  Nothing.  I did nothing." I smiled.

I answered honestly.

I wasn't a jock.  I wasn't a student government prepster.  Not a stoner, a nerd, or a drop-out.  For three years at that intimidating school,  I was afraid of everything.  So instead of putting myself on display and risk failing,  I did nothing. 

I had friends.  At a school where it was hard to fit in,  hard to find my place,  I found friends who embraced the awkward teen I was.  They chose me.  And at 14,  all I wanted was a place I felt safe.

At 38,  I've figured out who I am.    I have confidence to spare,  and have made something of myself.  I have run,  I have led,  and I've dropped out.

I went back last week,  head held high.    I could keep pace.  I could join the in-crowd,  and be accepted.

But did I want to spend three precious hours with people who never took the time to get to know that timid,  frightened girl?

Or,  did I want to surround myself with the people who gave me the confidence to find myself?

No brainer.

What a blast I had with Jen, Diane, Will,  and my old friends.  It was  comforting  to know that while  I have changed and matured,  I wasn't a complete idiot at 14. My instincts were  right-on.  My friends were the best.  And they  still are. They are now  warm, smart, fully-developed adults.

I never did talk to the popular girls, still skinny in their tight jeans.  And I didn't approach the then-chiseled boys who were now  chubby dads. 

I wasn't afraid or intimidated.    I just didn't want to waste the scarce  time I had.

  I spent the time with people who  knew that the kid who did "nothing",   was still a "someone."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reunion - Part I - Jennifer

I have returned from the reunion.  Not unscathed,  but I'll go into that tomorrow.

I met Jennifer at Camden Catholic.  I'd like to say in what class,  or what funny thing was said,  but I don't remember.  I'll be honest;  I don't recall half the crap people were reminiscing about all weekend.  

I liked Jen right away.  We had similar tastes in music,  fashion,  and shared the same bubbly spirit (sarcasm). 

Jen and I lost touch for eighteen years.  After two years of looking for each other,  we met up again on Myspace.  It was like time had stood still;  we gabbed about the same old bands and makeup.  We also discussed jobs and wrinkles.  

About six months ago,  Jen invited me to stay at her house for our 20th reunion. 

On Friday,  I arrived and was treated to coffee and cinnamon rolls.   She spent the weekend fufilling my every Jersey wish.  We had cheesesteaks,  Philly pretzels, and homemade chowriffic Cioppino (her recipe is on her blog).  We visited a friend,  went to see her mom,  drove by my old house.  She  had a friend over, and hosted a reunion pre-party.  Wheh...

Jen makes you feel needed,  listened to,  appreciated.  And you feel the same for her.  She has an appreciation for culture.  She is patient.  She is kind.  She makes you laugh your arse off.

I'm glad she's in my life again.  Great weekend,  great friend. 

They say friends come into your life for a season,  a reason,  or a lifetime.  I think we're shooting for the last one. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

We're more than just spray tans

I'm used to Jersey jokes.  For some reason,  New Jersey is everyone's punching bag. For the most part,  I laugh it off.  But sometimes,  it gets annoying.  Why always Jersey?  I don't hear about people in Des Moines being picked on for their potatoes.

  I've told a lot of folks  I'm headed back to Jersey  (this trip is  exciting for me,  as I haven't been to the homeland in almost nine years).  With straight faces,  three people  asked me if I know Snooki.   Are they serious?  Are these the same people who would ask  "what exit?"

Yes,  Jersey has its share of scary things like Snooki, Newark, and the Jersey Devil.  But I  think of Jersey and have better visions.  I see   Princeton, Mendham, Cape May,  tomatoes, antique shops, and  cider doughnuts.

I must tell you,  I was insulted.  Really truly insulted. 

Do I look like I would know a Snooki?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jersey Gurl

Scot is still in disbelief he married a Jersey girl.  He always thought he'd meet a Georgia Peach. Not sure what the  hell form of perfection he believes that term implies, but   I feel obligated to inform to him that Paula Deen is from Georgia.

We'll meet strangers and he'll actually mention  my state of origin in the introduction.  

"Yeah,  her name is Toni and she's from Jersey." 

I'm not sure what that means.  Does he feel fortunate  he married someone so outspoken and cool?  Or is he horrified?

Jersey has competitive shopping, traffic circles, crazy hot-blooded Italians and long diner lines.  With all those every-day life stressors,  everyone's inner biotch has to emerge.  If it doesn't,  you will be walked over,  and your table will be taken.

Whatever.  I'm damn proud of it, biotch.   Jersey gave me my voice.    It molded my personality and allowed me to ask my microbiology teacher why she was "staring at me like I was crazy."  Okay,  maybe it also  deleted my vocal sensor.
 On Friday,  I will be seeing some of my favorite Jersey People.   I will be staying with fellow blogger and friend Jen.

  I  can't wait to see and hear my favorite fellow Jersey Gurlz.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Good Times!"

When the shit  hits the fan around these parts,  Scot looks at me and says
"Good times.  Yep,  good times." 

  Sarcasm at its best,  or worst,  depending on your view of sarcasm.  We don't know any other language around these parts.

Since mid-August,  it has been "good times,  good times" around here.    For the past 8 weeks Nora  has been sick,  on-and-off.  School one day,  home sick the next.  Nothing awful,  but something slightly sinister right under the surface.  .  It started as a fever, morphed into a sore throat,  soon engulfed her urinary region,  returned as a fever,  and at times wreaking  havoc on her stomach.

After six trips to the doctor,  which included blood work and urinalysis,  one trip to the ENT,  and  an X-ray,  we still didn't have any answers.  She didn't have strep throat or mono.  But she had swollen lymph nodes and a fever.  Symptoms of lymphoma.  Yes,  I said that.  Nora's pediatrician threw that word out and for the next week all food that entered my system funneled out my ass as fast as it went in.  I lost my sanity and five pounds.  Last week,  we had a CT scan performed.  (Did I mention this was all covered with our great, new employer- sponsored insurance?  What a blessing.)

On Monday we received wonderful news.  Nora's scan was clean.  With the exception of a few raised nodes in her neck,  lymph nodes were all normal!   It is assumed the neck nodes are a lingering reminder of the phantom virus she harbored.  Her fever is  gone, and she is my plain old , regular Nora.  A vibrant spitfire. 

We are relaxing in the family room right now.   No coughing,  no hot head.   Just the sound of the Braves game in the background,  and the kids complaining of being bored. Every so often Nora comes over the lap top and knocks into my hands,  scattering my type.  What  should have taken me ten minutes to write has taken me a kid-distracted half hour.  

   "Good times, good times."   

And it really is.