Happy Independence Day!
Biasi Celebrates BFF's Chemo Success, Reunion with Famous PSU Alum, and Daughter's Stomach Bug RecoveryNaples, FL - July 4, 2010 - In a happy 4th of July week for Jen Church Biasi, which culminated in her daughter Lila's "feeling awww better" [sic] after an apparent stomach bug, her friend Heather Hickey received stellar cancer test results and fellow Penn State alum Lara Spencer reunited with her for wine and chips at Ft. Myers Int'l Airport.
"It's true," Biasi said, while Mr. Cleaning the hell out of the kid's table and tossing out a mold-ridden beach towel. "Here I am thinking that my life of late has become undeniably mundane, and then three beautiful girls turn those silly thoughts completely upside down."
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Heather and I met at work (a publishing company in Darien, CT) back in 2001 and spent a number of years attached at the hip. Had Anthropologie sold 4-legged Adriano Goldschmeid jeans, we may have seriously considered buying a pair. We practically lived at each other's apartments and we definitely finished each other's sentences. And each other's Big Macs. She gave me strength to get through some really tough times during and following my divorce - I doubt she'll ever know how much she was a rock for me. There were days we missed the movie because we were too enveloped in talking, we missed the beginning of a comedy show because we were too busy getting lost in Long Island looking for a damn Chili's (for which we both share a burning passion), and we've missed each other because we're now 1,200 miles apart.
I don't know exactly what a cancer marker is, but I know that the more of them one has, the more dire the situation is. Heather had 655 before she began chemotherapy nine weeks ago. She found out on Wednesday that she now has 33. Her doctors are calling her a rockstar. The news about Heddy, one of the most beautiful people I know, made me simultaneously want to chug a bottle of champagne, jump into the ocean, hug anyone within a 1/4-mile radius (Yes you, 14 oddly cheerful Delasol community landscapers. And the pool guy, too.), and fly on up to give her and her family a hug. Though I didn't drink the champagne, hop into the waves or hug men on lawnmowers, I do have a plane ticket to see my lovely Heddy in two weeks. Oh, and I may have
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I met Lara at Penn State in 1990 and we became instantaneous friends. A few years later found us galavanting about New York City without a care in the world. While my career has since then, umm, taken an interesting route, let's just say, Lara has moved on with her career at lightening speed. From SNL page to Eyewitness News reporter back in the early '90s, to big-time host for Hollywood's "The Insider" today, she's taken her brains, beauty, wit, and drive so very far and I couldn't be more proud of her.
Meeting up with her Friday night at the airport Chili's (but of course) after about a dozen years had us giggling just like we were 21 again, sitting outside at Cafe 210 on PSU's main drag. We reminisced about silly things, like how she used to unknowingly sing the wrong lyrics to a certain Peter Gabriel song, happily flitting about her upper westside apartment, pretending to be carrying heavy grocery bags and shouting: "Goin'. to. the. GRO-cery store!" (I, to this day, cannot even fathom that this song has any lyrics but Lara's. Nor can I remember what song it is. I seriously just Googled "goin to the grocery store" and came up with, well, going to the grocery store. Soo... there's that. And while I, strangely enough, love to research all topics under the sun, I think it would take me just a little too long to find a song with similar-sounding lyrics from Peter Gabriel who penned, I'm guessing, close to a hundred or so songs in the latter part of the 20th century. Man, I can get off-topic. Sorry - I digress.) Another fond memory was that of my unfortunate out-loud musing (to a party of no less than 20 while watching a Penn State football game), "Junior Deftackle? That's like the perfect name for a football player!" Blonde moment and I may not be proud. Oh, but this was all still such silly, wonderful stuff...
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And my little Lila. Monkey Girl. Lila Bean. Lady Love. Honey Bear. Pork Chop. It's all the same. She's a gorgeous, hilariously silly, positive little spirit who threw up at daycare on Friday, lost her voice, and didn't eat for almost two days. I'm not sure what made the lump in my throat bigger: Was it that Lila didn't feel well? Or was it because she was undeniably determined that she was going to feel better. Was it tiny hoarse comments like, "I cough, Mama. I go to doctor and miss you." ? Or was it the repetitive whisper: "I feel better and then we go to Cargit [sic] and I can have princess panties." (offered up with a silly side-smile and all of her little monkey fingers wrapping themselves around my ring and pinky fingers).
Lila's all better now, save for the tiniest trace of a hoarse giggle. And all she does is giggle because she's ecstatic to be feeling better. My directive has changed from making sure she gets better to making sure I get my ass to Cargit to get her some princess panties. (Oh, please let such training pants exist within a 10-mile radius. Please.)
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On holidays, I become equal parts nostalgic and thankful, and this 4th of July was no exception. If the 4th had fallen just a week prior, I just may have been feeling grateful for a slightly different set of people and things. But thanks to this past week's spotlight on the feats, accomplishments, and strength of my friends and my daughter, I can even more proudly say: "Happy Independence Day." I am so proud to live in a country where great strides in medicine are letting my friend live, and live strong; where women can achieve tremendous things; and where daughters know that, with strength and a positive outlook, it is possible for every girl to get her princess panties.