Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inspiration from Darkness

     Tonight, my favorite show ever came to a perfect ending. Sons of Anarchy has revolutionized television for me. I have never been so engrossed in a show EVER. Spending my days day dreaming about what will happen next and who will die and how in the world everything is going to come together. Sometimes, I felt like I cared more about these characters than I did real people. Each and every death hit me like a ton of bricks...or like a gunshot to the head or a razor blade to the neck or a fork to the head. I owe it to creator Kurt Sutter and to the cast and crew for creating an all around perfect show. Each character has a beautiful and dark story and each actor portrayed them fantastically. I especially have to give shoutouts to Charlie Hunnam, Maggie Siff, Katey Sagal, and Theo Rossi.
     Of course, the ultimate shoutout goes to Kurt Sutter.
     The sick and twisted things this guy comes up with somehow ended in a poetic, Shakespearean way. Truly beautiful. And though I am sad that this show has ended, I am satisfied with the way it had to end.
     I didn't start watching the show live until season 5. I watched the first 4 seasons on Netflix in a week. Yep....a week. I would wake up with my iPad next to me and just automatically hit play. I carried that thing around with me all week and any free moment, I watched the show.
Then as season 5 premiered, I watched it along with my million twitter friends, each of us trying to figure out what will happen next, trying to get in Sutter's mind. Each week, a new path. A path that lead us all on this incredible journey, this amazing, emotional ride.

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be liar;
But never doubt I love
-William Shakespeare

     Sutter bases his story off Shakespeare's Hamlet. The classic "to be or not to be" for Jax Teller, as he struggles to find balance in his life, trying to figure out what is best for both his club and his two young sons.With pressure from his mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), and his wife, Tara (Maggie Siff), Jax is torn between the life he has always known and the new life he has created. But the takeaway from the quote above which is what Sutter leaves us with is that we do terrible things because of love. We don't need hate to have a miserable time. Love will ruin us.
The crow flies straight...
    Gemma is probably the most perfect symbol of this. Everything she did, she did out of love, her weird, twisted love and what she thought was right and was the best for her and "her boys." Unser died as a result of his love for Gemma. Everyone died as a result of their love for the club, the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original. His depiction of the crows as a symbol of death, with the homeless lady as the angel of death and the final scene with the bread and the wine  - the body and blood, was a perfect final picture for the fans. The ongoing symbols pulled the story together. It came full circle with the crows eating the bread in the very first scene in the pilot and ending with the crows eating the bread in the last and final scene of the series. Truly brilliant writing, truly brilliant way to tie up all the loose ends, like Jax did before he left his club. The love Jax had for his sons lead him to his ultimate demise, killing himself to save them from the life he led, from the life his father warned him of, dying the way his father had.
       Someday, I would like to be a TV writer and as I am wrapping up my time at Marywood, I'd like to start writing and make that happen. Watching this show and getting an inside into Kurt's work through his YouTube channel and blog and being able to attend the Sons for Sandy event last year, I have learned so much. Simply through watching his writing come alive on television, I have learned what brilliant writing is.
       Sons of Anarchy is so much more than biker clubs and violence. It is a story of a man torn by love; love for his mother, love for his wife, love for his children, and love for his club. It is the story of how these intense loves affect a person, how it can build you up and how it can destroy you. It's a dark story, but what is light without darkness?

     With that, I leave you with something author R.M. Drake posted on Instragram tonight, perfectly aligning with the Final Ride of Sons of Anarchy.

"There must be about a million ways to let yourself be destroyed. But then, there is love, and I think tonight I am in the mood to break apart and let myself be consumed by all the things I know I would never be able to recover from."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I'm Thankful for Life and Other Things

    This Thanksgiving, there will be an empty seat by me. My buddy, my Noni won't be sitting by my side. You never know how much time you have left, how many more holidays with friends and family. And so, for that, I say go out and tell people you are thankful for them. I'm thankful for all my friends and family. And an array of a other things.

I am thankful for:

  • Potatoes
  • People who don't drive slowly in the left lane
  • 4th of July fireworks
  • Lord and Taylor sales
  • Butt warmers in the car
  • Sam's Club free samples and hotdog combo
  • Glen Oak
  • Meryl Streep
  • Acid reflux pills so I can go to Moe's and also eat pizza
  • Netflix
  • People who don't have their high beams on when they drive toward me
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Everybody Loves Raymond marathons
  • Jimmy Fallon thank you notes
  • Ballet
  • The new CVS in Clarks Summit with the better parking lot
  • The giant pockets in my winter coat because they are big enough to fit a hoagie
  • Hoagies from the Waverly Deli
  • Taylor Swift singing "cuz darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a day dream."
  • Buzzfeed articles that distract me from doing important things
  • The Xfinity remote app because I always forget to record my shows
  • Pepperidge Farm bread
  • People who aren't mean to waitresses
  • My Twitter followers
  • Spongebob's wisdom
  • Billy Crystal and Bette Midler in Parental Guidance
  • People who use their blinkers
  • The Katy Berry at State Street
  • The Allentown rest stop
  • Kurt Sutter
  • Gertrude Hawks Smidgens
  • The free sample Auntie Anne's lady
  • Beyonce
  • Holiday hours at the mall
  • People who stop at stop signs
  • That I was able to see Joan Rivers in person work her magic
  • Salerno's Pizza
  • That I've seen Barry Manilow 5 times
  • Smart TV's
  • Oprah's favorite things
  • My blankie
  • Rewards points at stores that get you free things
  • Ceiling fans
  • Coupons
  • Chapstick
  • The energetic music of ABBA
  • Beats headphones so I don't have to hear my mom vacuuming
  • Frozen because Olaf
  • Beaches (the movie and the ocean-y sandy places)
  • People who smell nice
  • People who read articles before commenting on them on Facebook
  • The year Charlie Sheen went crazy and ran Twitter #winning #AdonisDNA #tigerblood #goddesses
  • Owning waaayy too many Alex and Ani bracelets
  • My pillow
  • People who tip 20% (or at all)
  • My ukulele that I still don't know how to play
  • Mr. and Mrs. Howell from Gilligan's Island
  • The grilled cheese sandwiches in McGowan
  • That the guy who's car mirror I knocked off like 3 years ago was a super nice old man who told me his life story and then offered me a grilled cheese
  • That every time I take a "Which Golden Girl are you?" quiz, I get Rose Nylund
  • Judge Judy's snarky comments like "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."
  • The little lemur dude that sings "I Like to Move It Move It" in Madagascar
  • Airplanes and airports because they fascinate me 
  • The thrill of Black Friday
  • When FX plays The Devil Wears Prada before Sons of Anarchy on Tuesdays
  • When things don't interfere with my TV schedule
  • Wendy's chicken nuggets
  • Living near a golf course
  • My pool
  • Sunglasses
  • The TV Guide app
  • President Clinton's Burger Stand game
  • Chocolate pie
  • The socks I carry in my purse in case I don't have any on and I have to try on shoes that need socks
  • Any books on Princess Diana
  • 39dollarglasses.com
  • Baby powder
  • The free flashlight coupons for Harbor Freight in the Sunday paper
  • Noni's pasta sauce
  • The lady that works the checkout counter near the purses at Macy's
  • Non-depressing news stories
  • When I can actually sleep
  • 1970's Keith Richards
  • Still thankful for sneaker wedges (sorry haterzzz but they are comfortable)
  • TMX Elmo
  • The Rob Lowe Direct TV commercials
  • St. Germain
  • TJ Maxx and Marshalls
  • Paris Hilton perfumes
  • Bon Jovi and anything and everything related to Jon Bon Jovi
  • That one time I tried stand up comedy
  • Lava lamps
  • When I don't forget to put my earrings on
  • That one time I asked Clay Aiken if he wanted to go to lunch
  • Free shipping
  • That one time I didn't burn anything in the kitchen (I can't recall a specific time, but I'm sure it's happened)
  • People who read these silly posts
Ok I'm tired of this now and I'm sure you're tired of reading it. Time to eat and shop. Peace out girl scouts. Go buy some cookies.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Think I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder

    So today, it is very cold and windy. I hate cold. I hate wind. I hate winter. I hate darkness. I hate snow. I hate ice. I hate having to start my car to warm it up. I hate coats. I hate gloves. I hate bare trees. I hate scraping the snow off my car. I hate wearing a million layers of clothes. I hate being cold. I hate the salt on the roads. I hate when the salt from the roads gets on my black boots. I hate being outside when it's cold. I hate when I walk outside in the cold and my nose hurts. I hate runny noses. I hate shoveling. I hate when the snow turns brown. I hate the giant piles of snow that take up the parking spaces at the mall. I hate that wintery-white-salt look outside. I hate hand warmers because they do nothing for your fingers. I hate how winter is basically the longest season. I hate January and February. I hate how January and February go on forever. I hate how in January and February, there's nothing to look forward to but summer. I hate that my feet and my hands are always cold. I hate that winter amplifies that whole "I'm always cold" thing. I hate how the sweaters in my closet take up so much room. I hate that I have no room in my closet for all my clothes. I hate that I have to change my clothes by season. I hate when it gets below 70 degrees. I hate that my pool is closed. I hate that the Glen Oak pool is closed. I hate that when I go outside for a break at work, I freeze. I hate that I am currently wearing socks for gloves. I hate typing with socks on my hands. I hate that my steering wheel is too cold to touch. I hate pumping gas when it's cold. I hate that the cold makes my face all red. I hate getting out of my bed when it's cold. I hate sitting on the leather seats when they are cold. I hate walking from class to class in the cold. I hate that there's not a warm shuttle to drive me from class to class in the cold. I hate that I don't see the usual walkers around the neighborhood because it's too cold. I hate that I don't hear that nice sound of a driver hitting a golf ball off a tee because it's too cold. I hate that there's no one at all on the golf course. I hate that the greens are covered in a white sheet-like thing that looks like snow. I hate turtle necks. I hate having so many layers of clothes on that I can't move. I hate hats. I hate how hats mess up my hair. I hate that I could be living somewhere warm but I decided to stay home for school. I hate that when I tell people I want to move somewhere warm, they say it's too far. I hate that people like skiing. I hate how I don't understand why people like skiing. I hate how my toes feel like they are going to fall off when I am outside for longer than 30 seconds. I hate how I don't understand why some people like winter. I hate that people like winter. I hate how "winter" just sounds like an evil word. I hate when people disagree with me on how awful winter is.
I hate that I hate the cold.
I hate that winter makes me a negative person.
WebMD says this is called "Seasonal Affective Disorder." (SAD) (how ironic)
I'm SAD that it's winter and it can't always be summer. Summer - when it's warm, and there's not a big green cover over my pool, and I can hear the sweet sound of golfers and I can not wear pants.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

All Kinds of Kinds

    Until very recently, it had been months since I had written. When I lost my Noni, not only did I lose my best friend, I lost myself. I hated that I had to go through each day without her. I still do. She was my inspiration, especially for my writing. When I lost her, I lost my voice.
     Well, she would smack me and tell me to quit moping and keep moving. So, even though she is not physically here, I have now found her in myself. That tough cookie that was in her is in me. So I continue to move, even though some days are harder than others, forward, which has become my new favorite word. Forward.
      So with that sappiness out of the way, Noni talked to everyone. Even if she didn't like you, she talked to you. She knew everything about everyone and everyone went to her for the scoop. Why isn't the rest of the world like this? I have adopted this way of life. I like people, most of the time. Sometimes they are just plain stupid. BUT most of the time, I like people. People are entertaining. Even the stupid ones. Maybe especially those ones. 
      Barbra Streisand even wrote a song, "People." People who need people are the luuuuckiest peopleeee in the worldddd. I know you're singing it. (unless you're under the age of 50 and uncultured. then i feel sorry for you) As people, we need each other to survive. You never know what anyone is really going through, even though they are happy as can be on the outside. You should know that people have feelings. So - why can't we all just be like Noni and be kind to each other? Talk to each other. Learn about each other. Believe it or not, you can learn things from other people!
       I read Hoda Kotb's autobiography a few years back. In one chapter, she talks about her breast cancer diagnosis. The people at the Today Show asked her if they could follow her through her breast cancer journey. Hoda was unsure if she would like that. She sat next to a man on a plane who told her, "Don't hog your journey." Share your journey. Someone else is probably going through the same thing somewhere in this world. And isn't it always comforting to see that someone else has been through a similar situation? When you hog your journey, you are being selfish. 
        I could end this with a million silly quotes about journeys and battles and somehow incorporate the word "brouhaha" because that's just a great word, but I'll just say this : be kind to one another. It's really, very simple.

"Ever since the beginning, to keep the world spinning, it takes all kinds of kinds."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oh Wow That's Awkward

    You know what's awkward? When you hold the door open for someone, yet they are an awkward distance away and so then, they do that funny run to the door. That's awkward. It's like when you let someone cross the road while your in your car, and they do that funny run across the street that's like a half run half walk.
    You know what else is awkward? When someone says hey or hello and you say hey back and they were not at all talking to you. They have a bluetooth in their ear (which is always AWKWARD)  (Also, is this 2006?) or they were talking to someone behind you, or next to you. You just try to make it look like you never said anything and immediately look the other way.
    Which brings me to waving. I hate waving unless someone is waving and yelling "HEY ERICA!" Waving to people is the most awkward thing ever. When someone waves in even remotely the same direction you are standing, you never have any idea if they are waving to you are not. If they are waving to you and you don't wave back....AWKWARD. If they are not waving to you and you wave back, AWKWARD. So if you're gonna wave to me, yell my name.
    When you can't hear people, that's always awkward. And I hate saying, "excuse me" a thousand times so then I just say, "uh-huh, yeah." And thennnnn we end up in the awkward puffy shirt "I don't wanna be a pirate!" Seinfeld situation.
      When you sneak a picture of someone funny or something stupid and the flash goes off. AWKWARD. This has happened to me countless times, in class, in Walmart, in The Cheesecake Factory.
      I was watching Everybody Loves Raymond today (surprise surprise) and Amy came in Ray's house after that horrible situation with the janitor and his kid (season 9 for reference) and said "What? Did your mother come in and make things worse as usual?" not realizing that Marie was behind the door. I'm sure basically everyone in the entire world has been in this AWKWARD situation. Oops.
      I read a story today about a lady who got stuck in a chimney after attempting to sneak into an ex-boyfriend's house. Obviously AWKWARD. The fire department had to rescue her. Totally awkward all around.
      People always get my name wrong. They spell it with a k. I don't know how to correct this, especially if it's gone on for a while. Or…when people message me on Facebook "Hey Erika." My name is literally right above. How do you get this wrong? And then when people say "Nealson" or "Nelson." Where is there an S in Nealon? Where do you see it? Nowhere. The most awkward situation is when people call you the wrong name, especially if you correct them once and then the next time they still say the wrong name. I get "Erin" all the time. My name is not Erin. Stop calling me Erin. Stop spelling my name with k and saying Nealson. Stop making this AWKWARD.
      You know what else is awkward? Public bathrooms. Need I say more? Especially if someone tries to open the door of the stall you are in. Helloooo don't you see my shoes? I don't think people just leave their shoes in public bathroom stalls.
       When you are in your car and some butt head cuts you off and then gets stopped next to you at the red light. HA I find this hilarious but talk about AWKWARD for that stupid guy. He's over there trying so hard not to make eye contact while I'm cracking up laughing.
       Speaking of cars, I often sing in my car like I am Celine Dion. It becomes AWKWARD when you are stopped at a red light and everyone stares at you. Even worse if your windows are down and they can hear you. One time I stopped at a light in a construction zone listening to Bey and Jay Z Part II On the Run and the windows were down as I was rapping (yes, rapping) and the construction worker told me to work it and turn it up because obviously I'm not Celine Dion. Or Jay Z.

    Now, I'll start with some more personal awkward situations that have happened to me, and in one case, my sister in real life.

    I am a waitress. I am sure all waitresses can relate to this. When I am out to eat and the waiter or waitress walks up to my table, the talking at the table usually comes to a halt. Well, apparently, not all people follow this. When I as the waitress walk up to a table and they continue to talk, talk about AWKWARD. I usually stand there for a second before I say anything to see if they will stop, but if they don't, then I just look like an idiot. Then, I have to awkwardly interrupt their conversation. And what's even worse is when they keep going. I never ever know what the protocol here is. I just talk and pray at the same time that they will shut up so I can get their orders in and give them their food so they don't complain that they've been there an hour and have had nothing to eat yet. Not my fault, lady chattily.
    Once, I had to dress as the Easter bunny for work. I was on a hopping break, chilling in the locker room, when I heard footsteps. Someone was coming in the ladies locker room to use the bathroom. It was a mom and her little kid. There is nothing you can say to a little kid when she sees you in the Easter bunny body without the head. Nothing at all. Think about it. There's nothing. You just scarred that kid for life. Talk about awkward. And life ruining.
     I took my sister to confession because we are good Catholics (actually, you just have to do that before Confirmation) and toward the end, the priest went to bless her. As he raised his hand to do his Father, Son, Holy Spirit bit, SHE GAVE HIM A HIGH FIVE. The priest thought it was hilarious, but still, holy awkward.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Goal in this Life: Stay Away From the Pole

     It's been a while since I've written in my blog and to that, I apologize. I have been doing endless soul searching (and shopping, but that's a different story) trying to figure out what in the world I am doing with my life. Don't worry, I'm no where closer now than I was then…or ever.
     About a week ago (sorry I couldn't resist), really, about a year ago, I found out that I would be graduating college early. Yipee! Right? Not exactly. This just means that I have more work to cram in and less time to figure out what next. Well, everyone can stop asking me now, because, really, I have no flipping clue. Does anyone ever really know? I guess if you're going to school to be a teacher, you find a teaching job. Pre-med? Med school. Accounting? Accountant. Communications? TV writer? director? producer? journalist? editor? All of the above? I don't have a set path. I mean, I'd love to be like a Ray Romano or a Tina Fey and create, produce, and act in my own TV show. Where do I start? Comedy school? Get a side job and just keep writing? Find a production assistant job and work my way up? Whatever it is, I don't know, but what I do know is that it's going to take major time to work my way to where I want to be. No one else understands this. The entertainment industry is "fluff." I'm going into an impossible world. It will never happen. I will never be able to do what I want to do. This is what people say, maybe not so directly, but they might as well.
       "So, Erica, what do you want to do with your life?"
       "Well, I'd love to be a TV writer and comedienne."
       "Oh, that's nice, what's your back-up plan?"
        Hey, I don't have one.
        I don't even really have a plan A.
        When I was in the second grade, we were having a school play. The subject was baseball. I remember, I wanted to be Britney Spears. She was my idol. She was my everything, really. To be Britney Spears, I had to make myself stand out. I had to entertain people. So finally, during music class one day, I mustered up the courage to sing "Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail" and nailed the audition to have a singing part in the school play. I was ecstatic and I knew - this was my first step to becoming Britney.
       Of course, it can't be that easy. There had to be some kind of obstacles in my way to becoming Britney Spears. And there it was. The day of the school play, I was playing tag at recess. I ran into a pole and chipped my two front teeth. That's right, I ran into a pole. The school nurse didn't even believe me. She questioned me about a hundred times. "So, you tripped and fell into the pole?" No. Nope. I ran right into it. I felt the pieces of the teeth in my mouth and spit them out and started immediately crying. Talk about Oops!
        So I cried and cried, but luckily my dentist got me in before the play and fixed my teeth and everything was fine. I was great. Probably the best rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game of any second grader ever. And now, every day, I look in the mirror and see that stupid cap on my tooth and I am reminded of the tragic, yet life changing experience I had with "the biz" in the second grade. I know where I want to be. I know there's a way to get there. I know there will be obstacles (hopefully I won't run into any more poles). I know that it may not work out, but in the end, I'll find my way. Whether it is in the entertainment industry, or in something else. Does anyone ever really know where there life will take them? And if we did, would we try to change it? Would life even be worth living? Diving into the unknown is the thrilling part. And I'm an adrenaline junkie, so this should be fun. Nothing is really worth fear. Fear is such an abstract feeling. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. It wasn't meant to be. If you never try because of fear, you will never get anywhere.
       This is my little insight for today. Now, I have some more Gossip Girl to watch, so if you'll excuse me. Watch our for those evil poles on the playground….or on the street.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Noni. My Angel.

 You should listen to Brother Iz as you read this.

It has a been WAY too long since I've posted on my blog. Life happened.

I lost my Noni to breast cancer on 1/13/14.

It's hard to even type any more.

When I was little, I went to my Noni's every day. My mom worked as a nurse, so she always had some crazy hours. Every day, I'd pull up to Noni's house and say, "Hi Noni's house!" We would have our cheerios and watch our TV. Noni never changed the channel. The TV was on channel 2 (CBS) all day long. We would watch The Price is Right and then as the news came on, it would be time for lunch. Peanut butter and jelly. Every day. Then I would go down for my nap as she watched her "stories." And at 5:00, every day, Grandpa would come home and dinner would be on the table. He would put MASH on. I can still hear Noni yelling, "IACER!" to the MASH theme song.

Sometimes, my day with Noni would start at my house and she would eventually take me down to her house. On the way, we would count all the American flags. There were always 13.

In summer time, Noni loved to sit on her porch. All her neighbors would come up and visit and talk with us. Noni knew everyone. She would always say to me, "I just talk to everyone. Life is too short." I could sit on that porch with her for hours. She had this little black and white TV and we used to watch her stories on when we sat out there and she would do her crocheting and wave to every car that went by. She had so many friends, her neighbors, her card buddies, her church buddies, her Democratic Committee buddies - she knew everyone. And everyone knew her.

Noni's birthday, some year ago.

I remember when I was trying to decide where to go for college. Noni would always tell me about Marywood and the history and the sisters and then she would, of course, add, "If you go to Marywood, you can come visit me for lunch." And that's exactly what I did. I would make my school schedule so that I would have afternoons free to go have lunch with Noni. She always bought me my lunch meat and my cooper sharp cheese. Grandpa would always say, "Noni buys that just for you." Then, we would do the same thing. Watch our TV. Her stories, Judge Judy, Inside Edition. Last year, we bought her an iPad for Christmas, so as we sat watching our shows, she and I would sit on our iPads playing Slotomania or Candy Crush or Bingo or "Mahjahongy" as Noni called Mahjong. Every day.

The iPad Christmas 2012

On the weekends, the channel would actually change (WHOA) to the Game Show Network, where we would sit and watch endless episodes of Match Game and The Newlywed Game. I just enjoyed sitting there with her. Knowing she was there. She was like my best friend.

On her 75th birthday, we took her to her favorite place at the time - the Olive Garden. We had the greatest time. And she told us not to tell the waitstaff it was her birthday, but we did anyway. And she loved every second of it.

Noni's 75th

She loved being with her family more than anything. She loved our trips to Maxie's, our trips to the girls' basketball games, going to the Iacovazzi family Chirstmas party every year, having Christmas Eve with the Coleman's and just sitting and eating her homemade sauce with her family.

Noni was a big card player, and we would sit for hours playing our Kansas City Rummy. She played every Thursday with her friends at the Abington Senior Center, so I knew on Thursdays - I couldn't go over before 1:00. In the summertime, she literally played one day a week my Aunt Janet and their neighbor from 9-5.
Noni loved her Bon Ton and her Boscov's. The last place I actually took her was the Bon Ton before they went out of business. We had to get a new coffee pot. It was still too expensive in Bon Ton. I remember taking her to the Bon Ton in Wilkes Barre and she hated the highways so we would take all the back roads down there. Their Bon Ton had a bigger selection of her Alfred Dunner and Beckenridge. She always loved to show us her Beckenridge outfits with the tops that perfectly matched the bottoms. If the top had a sailboat on it, the bottom had a sailboat on it. We went on countless trips to the new Walmart in Taylor and every time we walked in there, she would say "Where do all these people come from speaking these languages? It's like we are in Puerto Rico." Every time. She used to take two other older ladies to the grocery store every Tuesday. When Noni couldn't drive any more, my mom would take them all. I took them once and Noni and I perused through the store and she would make me wait at the deli counter because they took too long for Noni to stand there and hold up her friends.

The Great Grandchildren. Kaylee and Brooke's 1st Birthday

Noni was an avid basketball fan. And every referee in town knew who she was. I sat with her at every game, no one else really wanted to. She would take her glasses off and offer them kindly to the ref as he ran by. She would tell them how awful they were. Our favorite line was when she told the ref to "Hang his shirt up and retire."

Noni loved her animals. She inherited a bird from my cousin, Joey. She got a cat from the animal shelter, and she LOVED her dog, Mya. She always teased her and played with her. I can still hear her yelling across the house to the dog. In her last days at home, she kept telling the dog, "I'm gonna miss you, Mya."


Noni was always there to save you. No matter what kind of trouble you were in. She would really take in anyone. She had many house guests over the years. I can recall this one time, my car and I got stuck in a ditch in Old Forge during a snow storm and one call to Noni and Grandpa was on his way to save me. Sometimes I wonder - who will save me now?

I have no idea what this is from

Noni never failed to make me laugh. When everyone was on my nerves or I was having a bad day, Noni was my escape. We could sit there for hours and just be happy. And she would make me laugh. I don't think she ever really realized how hilarious she was. That's what I really miss the most.

One time, we were sitting on her porch and Grandpa came out to mow the lawn. He did the whole thing and then came up and sat on the porch and Noni said, "Iacer, it doesn't look any different. What did you do?" He forgot to put the blade down on the lawn mower. Noni and I laughed the whole time he re-did the lawn.

Noni and Grandpa's Wedding, 1958.

Grandpa and Noni were married 55 years.  He told me they planned their wedding in two weeks. He said to her, "I want to get married and I don't want to waste any time." And on their 50th anniversary, we had a huge party - all the Iacovazzi's, all the Coleman's - it was everything Noni wanted. A great time with her family.
The Iacovazzi's. Anniversary Party 2008

When Noni told me she had "the cancer' (she always put "the" in front of everything) I lost it. This was not supposed to happen. Not to my Noni. I made it a point to see her every day. I had to keep her going. To lift her spirits. I hated leaving her. I would cry every time I had to go back to school. We would still sit there, watching our Queen Latifah and playing on our iPads. Her appetite weakened and so did mine. There were so many things it felt wrong to do if Noni couldn't do them. Still, we carried on as the doctors told us she would be in remission in six months and blah blah blah. I saw her every day - they didn't. I knew it was worse than they knew, but I still carried that hope. She told me she wanted to show me the pattern for the blanket she had started to crochet. I knew, she knew. She said she was too tired today. She would show me tomorrow. Tomorrow didn't exactly come as planned. I knew - when she didn't ask for her iPad - something was wrong. Aunt G and I never left her side - day and night. On her last day home, I sat by her. I couldn't leave her. Then they took her to the hospital. She moved to Hospice within 3 days.

Joey, Lindsay, me, Noni, Iacovazzi Family Christmas Party, 2012.

Being in Hospice was like a family reunion. There were no less than like...20 people there with her. Always. Talking to Noni, telling stories, playing on our iPads, eating together. It was like we were one of those families that all live in one big house - except it was just the 7th floor of CMC. She couldn't tell you, but I know she loved every second of it. She was in room 777 - the casino room, we called it. At night, we stayed with her - my cousins: Lindsay and Joey, and I - and every move she made, we were there with her. Anything we could do for her, we would. She never left us - we would never her.

It was a Monday night when she passed. 5:45 ish. As I saw her take that final breath - my world fell apart. How do we live without Noni? The matriarch of our family.

Goodbye is my least favorite word.

Though, I can feel her. She is still here, like in the book she gave me to read once, Johnny Angel. One day, I went to visit her, and I laid in the snow next to her and it was like I could hear her yelling at me.

I know she's with me. Every day.
I know when I'm running late and all the lights turn green, that's Noni.
I know when I'm having a bad day and I find a penny on the ground, that's Noni.
I know when I'm watching GSN and I actually get an answer right, that's Noni.
I know when I'm worried about a test and get a good grade, that's Noni.
I know when I've lost something and it turns up right by me, that's Noni.
I know when I need guidance, my guardian angel will help. That's my Noni.

Kaylee and Brooke's birthday, 2012

She taught me so much. I was lucky to have her in my life as long as I did.
I love her so much, and I will miss her always. 
My Noni. My Angel.