The Tovsky Tribe

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Monday, November 21, 2011

School Pictures

School Pictures usually prove to be....interesting.   Chase and Ryder's first school picture, though decent, had Chase looking like he had a jew-fro and Ryder's hair seemed to get a bit mussed along the way.   A catastrophe by way of his 5 year old standards.

In 2009, I liked it at the time, apparently, but looking back am not sure why I liked Ryder's picture.  Chase, however, did pretty well.

In 2010, their pictures were fantastic. Head shots.  And, for a reason I can't explain, I never posted them to this blog.   DUH!  I will get them and scan them because they were the keepers.

So, here we are in 2011.   This was Turner's first year with a school picture and Chase and Ryder's first year with school pictures through Council Rock.   On Richboro Elementary School's picture day Chase was sick and missed it so he is now not in his Kindergarten picture.  Awesome.  And, Ryder, who dressed to the 9's (as usual) in suit and tie, and did his hair with a hardened gel look did not take his very best picture.

So, with that being said I was looking forward to "retakes" at Ohev.  Turner, as influenced by Ryder, let me put gel in his hair and spike up the front.  Ryder gelled his hair to his idea of perfection AND dosed out the pommade for the whole class.  Chase wouldn't let me comb his hair at all because "I AM NOT LIKE RYDER, I DON'T WANT GEL" and was being rather difficult but still bared his best smile.
Here are the photos from this year's shoot:

Just for purposes of record Keeping:
KE 2011
Miss Stephanie Roth, Mrs. Kari Spivack
Jonah Hattingh, Eric Jaffee, Andrew Zazoff, Aaron
Drew Freeman, Chloe Connors, Eli Segal, Riana Dion, Micah Mercado, Ellie Betesh
Chase Tovsky, Drew Borden, Oren Fuchs, Ryder Tovsky, 

The 2's
Eileen Kaufman, Jordana Shapiro, Sophia Adelman, Kathryn
Ethan Pachman, Haley Genovesi, Dalia Hattingh, Bram Kose
Manny Sigman, Jagger Fink, Turner Tovsky, Addison

Friday, November 11, 2011


DISCLAIMER:  Defending Penn State, or even Joe Paterno does not, in fact, make me, or any of us, pro-child abuse, sexual abuse, or pedophilia. 

I went to Penn State.  Main Campus.  I lived, unhappily, in Happy Valley for four years.

Most alumni from the ever great STATE address that same first sentence boldly.  Perhaps, in CAPS.  Most alumni bleed blue and white.

I am not that alumna but not because I am not Penn State proud.  I do believe Penn State, Happy Valley, is one of the greatest places on Earth.  I chose Penn State because of the pride on the streets, the pride that travels across the country, across the ponds.   I chose Penn State because, most of us, bleed blue and white.

I am not over-dosed with State pride solely because of the state of mind in which I existed during those 4 dark years.  Lost, unsure, scared, and completely insecure of my present day and the future I was supposed to be preparing for, I was not able to revel in the glory of State.  That glory, however, did not go unrecognized.  And, somehow, despite the wall of steel I had built and the sticky resinous shield I carried, that glory managed to seep through.  I am glad that it did.

I also was a student athlete.  My stint was short lived.   So short that I hardly earned the right to say “student athlete.”  But, it was long enough for me to learn that being a Penn State student athlete earns you certain privileges.  Sure, we were held to higher standard but, still, privileges come with the title.  I am pretty confident that my first privilege was the acceptance letter I had received.

I put all of this out there so that I can be clear in my point of view as I write the rest of this….opinion.

I can state and re-state what the world is screaming…that this scandal is horrific.   I can use any of a handful of adjectives and my point would be the same.  I can shout just as loudly that these poor boys were victimized in ways that nobody ever should be; that these crimes are unforgivable; that there is no proper justice. 

But all of that has been said.

So, where do I stand?

I stand behind Penn State.  What has happened is disgraceful, unconscionable, and unforgivable.   But, if I am to walk away with my back to my Alma Mater over this than I, like everyone else, am making Football larger than the University.  It is not.  It never was.  It never will be.  The fact that people believe it is, is the first offense that allowed all of these other crimes to come to be.

Sandusky is a heinous villain hardly worth my mention here.  No good he has ever done can outweigh the crimes he has allegedly committed.   He deserves to die.

I have mixed feelings on Joe Paterno, his role in this scandal, and his legacy.  So much so that I have had a hard time properly stating my point.  JoePa is a football coach, and a legend.   He is the embodiment of everything Penn State is.  Or was.  He has dedicated his life to the University and, so it goes, he can dedicate his downfall  to the University.  He did report the “crimes” to the proper channels though he never went above their heads to proper authorities.  Let’s say, for a minute, that he assumed that everyone did what they were supposed to do.  He did.  So should they.  And so, he went on with his job of being football coach.  I am not saying he could not have done more.   I am not defending his actions nor his inactions.  But, it is very easy to judge a situation that we were not in.  It is easy to say what you would do until you are there, presented with issues that go way beyond anything we have read in grand jury reports, or through media scandals, or facebook statuses.  And, as the facts indicate NOW, JoePa did not witness anything and he had no proof.  One can’t go to the authorities on hearsay, despite that fact that it would be Joe Paterno saying so.  
Although it may be weak, or far from the perfect standards of a legend, it is not illegal to act cowardice when one needs to be brave.   Most people are cowards in spite of the tough talk they spill from the outside in.  Still, the right course of action is Paterno being dismissed from football.  From the University.  His time has come.  For better or worse.

And, so must the others.  They all must walk away, step down, get fired.  They  must take that same pride in Penn State that they feel elevated them, that same pride that may have forced them to sweep such atrocities under the rug, and realize they are now causing more harm than good.  And walk away.  Goodbye.

As for the rest of us.  The Alumni, the faculty, the students, and the future students. Those of us innocent of all moral and legal crimes related to this scandal.  We must not walk away.  Not now, not ever.  Because it is of vital importance that we let the whole world know that Penn State is not just Sandusky, Curley, McQueary, Spanier, or Paterno.  Penn State is not just football.  Penn State is an institution of greatness above and beyond all of this and it is our responsibility to prove that.  We must be brave and hold our heads up high because if we are not than we too are nothing more than cowards. 

There are such things as good and evil, and we must burgeon with the good, the greatness of Penn State. Otherwise, we will perish with the evil.  The evil does not represent us, it does not represent Penn State.  Unless, of course, we let it.


Last weekend I had the honor of signing the ketubah for Rob and Jamie.   I was thrilled to witness their union and honored to be chosen, an allowance only acceptable by the fact that their ketubah was an inter-faith one.   I have always loved Jamie and am so thrilled to have her in the family and am so happy that Rob and I continue to cherish our friendship even in our different adult lives.

At the rehearsal dinner I gave the toast below.  I shook like a leaf the whole time but managed to deliver it clearly enough to induce proper laughs.

Their wedding was a blast and I am so happy we got to share in their memories.

For those who don’t know me, I am Rob’s cousin, Wendy.  I’d like to thank Uncle Marc for having all of us here tonight.  I’d also like to welcome the Fenerty’s to the family.  Good Luck.  There’s a lot of us.

Rob and I were more than just cousins growing up.  Raised like brother and sister, twins in fact, there are few memories that don't involve him right by my side.  We were best friends.  We understood each other better than most, and argued better than most. Rob, as you all know, is a very good arguer!

Growing up, I've served as the skins for Rob's drumming practice, the target for his throwing practice, and the scratched victim of the Wolverine claws he believed he possessed.  But, also thanks to Rob, I was inspired to read classic books, exposed to great music, and shown the power of a great debate.

Together, we've driven endless miles to nowhere, trekked through 8 countries, and skiied many mountains.  Growing up, during high school, and even right through college we shared friends, good times, and laughs!

Because of all of this, I assumed that when it came time for Rob to marry that I would help choose his wife.  This was a selfish assumption as I wanted to be sure that I would love her like he did.  That she and I could be friends and our hanging out and our arguing could continue as it had.  In fact, I thought I would just pick one of my friends for him.  I had never discussed this with him and, instead, he went out and found himself a wife.

When Rob brought Jamie home there was never a doubt that she was perfect. We all fell in love with her also, and we kept our fingers crossed that she would one day be family.  Their courtship was nothing short of… long
We all waited, so long in fact that we were starting to lose patience, so much so that I was considering choosing her over him had they parted ways. 
But, over all of these years things have changed in Rob. For instance, now his tardiness has been reduced by half.  Also, it turns out that Rob does actually have a bedroom floor.  And, we have all benefitted from the fact that Rob cooks more often now that he has someone to cook for.  And, when Rob was single he watched all 82 games of the Flyers live or on DVR.  And, now that he has Jamie, he STILL watches all 82 games of the Flyers live or on DVR.

On behalf of Todd and myself, and perhaps the Bernstein family, I'd like to thank the Fenertys for giving Rob a place of his own to stay at the shore.  Of course, I think it will take the desire of a kid of his own for him to actually want to spend time on the beach.

Rob, I thank you for finally proposing. I thank you for choosing a girl I can call my cousin, my pseudo sister in law, my friend.  And, I thank you for not making me choose between you! 

Jamie, thank you for your patience and for welcoming our tight knit family into your heart with wide open arms. I hope your welcoming from me and from all of us has been just as wide

To you both, Todd and I, and Chase, Ryder and Turner, love you and are so excited to be a part of this wonderful new chapter in your life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween 2011

Halloween is highly anticipated every year.   Around November 5th Ryder starts thinking about what costume he wants to wear next year.  This year costumes were chosen, officially, about 3 weeks out.
Chase chose Bumblebee the transformer, which was a surprising choice.   Turner's Smurf costume was chosen by me when he didn't have an opinion.  Because he knows I love the Smurfs, and because he saw the movie, he was perfectly happy dressing as the cute little blue guy.  Ryder chose Michael Jackson.  He has a new obsession with the King of Pop and his costume had to be altered and corrected before he would wear it.   My mom had to take apart and resew the glove so it would fit him, and the cheesy pull-over coat was less than perfect for Ryder because he really wanted the REAL jacket, THAT  ZIPS.  I told him I wanted the real one too, back when MJ wore it.

Halloween included a week in advance pumpkin picking, a snowtober day of carving,  a party at The Little Gym, a (lame) Halloween Parade at the elementary school, and a night full of trick or treating with our neighbors.   Everyone had a blast.

Ryder busting out the moves!


Our pumpkins: Phineas (without the Ferb,)  A "don't confuse me for Pooh" Mickey, and Jayden the red Power Ranger Samurai's fire symbol.  All chosen by the boys themseles.

The best part of the night...laying out the candy.
Until next year:

Read about Halloween's past:

Halloween 2007

Halloween 2008

Halloween 2009

Halloween 2010


I am a biased mom and I think my sons are gorgeous.  All of them.  I think they each offer something different to the eye and to the camera.  Although we are constantly complimented on each of the boys, Ryder, however, has always been the pretty boy.  The one that people notice, if they have to choose one.    Lately, with his desire for perfect clothes and perfect hair, he may be in the fast lane to Hollywood. 

But, then, he comes home with THIS school picture.   His hair is gelled, he is wearing a shirt, a tie, and a vest.  The combination could be awesome, or well....the opposite of that.   In this case, when you add the goofiest smile you can come up with you get....the class dork!  I never thought that would be his title but if you look at the Kindergarten picture it is possible that this is the consensus.  

We will be grateful he has another chance when he takes the enrichment picture at Ohev.   We will show this picture to his girlfriends, at his bar mitzvah, when he is crowned prom king, or just at his wedding.  But, for now, we will just laugh about it.   

Ryder had no opinion that he spoke of regarding this photo:

Chase missed picture day due to an illness.  He did not seem upset about it and I suppose being:  NOT PICTURED HERE is a slight promotion from class dork?

A Hairy Situation

Ryder.   Ryder has always had a fashion sense.   From his costumes, to his ties, to his choice in shoes and belts, there was hardly a day that did not come with some sort of fashion war.  A war I believed was fought by girls. Over the years I have learned to handle his opinionated wardrobing and we have come to an understanding that makes our mornings much easier.  More often than not he wears what he wants and it will, without a doubt, have a unique look to it.  Down to the socks.  He actually does a very good job, and unique or not, he almost always looks handsome.

But, recently, Ryder has also grown obsessed passionate about his hair.  It began innocently enough choosing to gel his hair back on occasion to complete the Superman costume.   But the gel and the man of steel costume are no longer a package deal and most days Ryder spends a good portion of his morning routine in front of the mirror.  Wetting.  Gelling.  Combing. Parting.  Brushing.  Primping.

He is actually getting quite good at styling his mane and I can't say I am disappointed that he likes to look good, though I never dreamed I would raise a metrosexual.

But, things got interesting the other day when I received this part of an email from Ryder's elementary school teacher:

Well, today Ryder went into the bathroom, I thought he needed to go, and came out with his head soaking wet and soap in his hair. His shirt was wet as well so he went to the nurse to change shirt. He told me he wet his hair because he forgot to put gel in his hair today and he thought this would work. I talked to him about this and said that he looks great either with or without gel and that he can not do that again and we also agreed that if he forgets to put gel in that he has to leave his hair how it is. He was good about getting his work done and his focus was ok. But he did need a few reminders but he was a little distracted with his new shirt and wet hair.
For the record, Ryder told me about the incident BEFORE I received the email.  But, I was unsure of what he was actually saying until I read it in the teacher's words.  I admit it, I laughed at first.  I don't want to have a disrespectful kid, and I certainly am not raising a child to think that education is not important, but I laughed that he took the time to do his hair, in the bathroom, during class.   How could you not?  I am pretty confident that it wasn't Ryder's intention when he went to the bathroom.  Any one who knows him knows he pees.... A LOT.   Likely, he went to the bathroom to actually use the toilet, but when he looked in the mirror he was unhappy with how his hair looked.  So, he did something about it.  I am not sure when this hairanoia took over my kindergartners mind, but clearly he and I don't share THAT same gene.

I didn't let Ryder know how hilarious I found this situation, but I didn't pretend that he dumped an entire bottle of Walnut oil on the floor either.  Instead, I addressed the matter sternly but calmly and let him know that the classroom is not the time nor the place to do his hair (hold back the laughter,) that he should save his primping for home (tongue in cheek,) and that it is important he realize that everybody in the classroom is trying to learn and he has to respect their time as well.  Then I pulled the discipline card and told him that if he chooses, again, to disrupt the class with such hair antics that I will take him to Sarah Jane (our hair-dresser) and have her cut it all off.  SHORTER THAN TURNERS.  He said he didn't want that and I don't believe he was trying to cause a problem.  He also told me that Mrs. Delfini said that if it ever happened again he would lose his bathroom privilege, which would actually cause greater problems.

Truth be told, I can't guarantee it won't happen again.  He won't intend to, but, he will glance in the mirror and see an untamed cowlick or an uneven part and there will be no telling what will happen next.  Hopefully, it won't involve flooding out the bathroom.