Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tanya Writes About New England's Covered Bridges. Sigh.

Oh, some things are just too darn romantic. I don't mean foreplay-romantic like strawberries and champagne or a candlelit dinner with fine wine. I mean things that follow the true definition of romance: idealism. Just how you want things to be.

Like a perfect flickering fireplace with rain splashing against the windows. (Or if you live in a land of snow, with flakes landing noiselessly outside.) Sunset especially over any body of water. Half Dome in the dusk with lights from the Ahwanee Hotel behind you. A full moon any time. And--

Covered bridges.

Now, a few years ago there was a book and movie celebrating covered bridges and a love story. But I didn't like the plot. I'm just not into adultery, and the cuckolded husband was a good guy. (It might have been bearable if he'd been a jerk.) But the bridges. I did get that.

So when we had the chance in New England, we scoped out those beautiful structures. Yeah, I know. The reason for them isn't all that beautiful: To keep heavy snowfall from crushing a bridge into the river below.

To prevent cows/horses from getting spooked when they saw/heard rushing water below.

But to a California native, the covered bridges were better than...Disneyland.

And now with fall upon us again, I look back on those days with wonder. Waterville Valley in New Hampshire is full of them...Some lucky person lives next door to the
Blair Bridge. It's just an everyday thing to that family.

To me, it was, well, dare I use an overbloated word like surreal?

Wow, to quote the grandbaby.

I can just imagine how beautiful the leaves back there look today. Because I've been there. Done that.

And will be doing it again.

(P.s. My hero and I are off to the tropics for almost two blogging will be next to nil. We intend to snorkel and read and relax and--ahem--do some romantic things as well.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tanya Writes About Concord Where She Lived and Died

Louisa May Alcott.

The Christmas I was eight years old, I received a life-changing book. No, not some Dummy how-to or Chicken Soup. Little Women.

Thank God there were two sequels so I didn't have to say good-bye. Little Men and Joy's Boys. And she penned other favorites like Jack and Jill, Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom.

When Ned died in Jack and Jill, I sobbed my brains out. Still tightens my chest when I recall that scene.

But it was meeting Jo that let me know I wanted to be a writer. Amy burning Jo's handwritten manuscript in a fit of rage was a true tragedy. Especially in those days with no hard drive, flash drive, e-mail storage or writable CD's.

(Okay, Tanya. It was just a story. But it was based on real events of Louisa's life.)

So visiting Orchard House in Concord and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and (wait for it) Walden Pond were so on our list of things to do a year ago. Louisa was a teen when Henry David spend his landmark 22 months at the pond. They all hung out with Emerson and Hawthorne. Gosh, I'd have loved to have been a fly on a wall of the old Manse.

Or better yet, a real life person hanging out with that group.

So Louisa inspired me, still does. Thoreau taught me not to get to the end of my life and not have lived. Emerson reminded me to be selfish when the muse hits. (Although my sweet hero doesn't get that LOL.) Hawthorne, dang, he was nothing but a 19th century X-File writer.

And it was memories of that perfect autumn day at Henry David's leftover homestead that brought me through that darkest hour during my hero's ordeal. When the chemo almost killed him and he lay in an ER bed, gray and drawn and I thought he had died.

Concord rocks for another grand reason. On the rude bridge that arched the flood...was fired the shot heard 'round the world. Thank you, Ralph Waldo.

I got to say my own good-bye to all of them at Authors Ridge.

I've got some books to re-read. (Yes, I did buy another copy if Little Women at the Orchard House well as a LMA pen and ruler! It was a gift set.)

What a time it was. A time blazed in my memory. My heart.

Hopefully, my words.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tanya Writes About Boston: A Dream Trip before the Nightmare

Ten months ago, we lost Mike. Our kids' uncle. My hero's closest friend since age 6. My twin brother. We shared the same birthday...found that out in high school, and we celebrated more than thirty of them together.

So when he got sick, with no hope at all, my hero and I took to heart Tim McGraw's song and lived like we were dying. Last October, we took that long-longed for trip to New England to peep at leaves turning. No holds barred. For the first time ever, we didn't care how much stuff cost.

Little did we know, a month after Mike died, my hero would be diagnosed. Those visions of Boston and beyond brightened us during the dark times.

We stayed at an elegant hotel in Copley Square (yes, Copley was named for John Singleton Copley!) that hooked to shopping centers by glass-covered walkways above the street below. Trinity Church was right there...and the Public Library. We we were so close to the Public Garden that I had no trouble making way for those ducklings.

Five days in that incredible city were NOT enough. But we managed to squeeze in a game at Fenway. Our own Angels played them in the ALDS...and our kids got us tix on e-bay. Our Angels lost (Manny crushed a three-run homer over the Monster in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to my un-hero Frankie Rodriquez) but oh, just being there hearing the roar. Sweet Caroline at the 9th all rocked.

Freedom Trail. Old North Church. U.S.S. Constitution. JFK Library. Duck Tour. Beacon Hill. State House. Cheers bar. Paul Revere's homestead...we wondered why Gramma Revere got that big ol' bedroom all to herself, with 16 kids running around.

Too much more to do. So we plan a trip there next fall.

Mike would want us to.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tanya Writes About the High School Reunion

Oh, yes. We were cheerleaders, photographers, majorettes, editors, athletes, bandmembers, choristers, friends. We gathered together last weekend at a beautiful harborside hotel after all these gentle decades. (I will not reveal how many decades; suffice it to say folks displayed photos of their grandkids this time, not their offspring LOL.)

Last Friday, I still felt so ill my hero said, Maybe you better stay home. I don't mind going by myself.

I giggled back. What? Do you can hook up with the Homecoming Queen again? Besides, I reminded him. We had a hotel room, and I could take a nap if I needed to.

But I didn't. I stayed on my feet and held my own. Maybe it was happy memories, fun people, great music. Wine. I still sneezed and coughed (the cough was the worst, it came upon me Friday...after I went to the doctor on Thursday of course!) but everybody was hoarse by Sunday brunch.

The best thing about it: Everybody is still recognizable. Although hair colors have well as the amounts on top LOL.

Another best thing: A bunch of the old herd reads my books! Yowza. In fact, my business cards were the ones making the rounds for everybody else's e-mail addys and phone numbers. So hopefully my rep will spread even more.

The room was beautifully chosen, French doors opening onto the marina and beautiful springtime breeze blowing through all the well-placed windows. No big-box impersonal ballroom for us. The co-chairman Phyllis set me to work on the centerpieces. So fitting. Seashell-trimmed straw chargers with glass hurricanes, candles set in sand, surrounded by more shells and orchids. Perfect.

A hospitality suite beforehand...and dinner rocked. Salmon. I hadn't eaten much for days but this went down so easy.

Two teachers came. Our music teacher directed those of us who'd been in the choirs in the Alma Mater. (The committee had wisely printed out the lyrics again.) I had to tell our popular poetry teacher about the Williams Carlos Williams poem we studied that has never left me. The one about the plums you were saving for breakfast. Wow.

Poignant: A little memorial to those of us who now live with God. Including my twin brother Mike who will be a blog all his own...he left me last Christmas and I can barely breathe sometimes.

We had alums there all the way from Manhattan, Chicago, Minnesota, Oregon. I hit up the Manhattanite right away. Amazingly, I know right where she lives...near the UN. (We'd strolled their one night during our trip last June, struck by the charming residential architecture.)

One buddy, the class shutterbug, couldn't attend, but he sent tons of snapshots he'd taken over the years. I took a few pix from the collage to frame. As my hero told our kids, Mom looks about nine.

The former mayor of L.A. emcee'd. We girls danced in swarms. (What is it about guys who won't dance with their ladies?) And a great time was had by all.

Oh, by the way. The Homecoming Queen wasn't able to make it back here from New Orleans...she'd just been out in June visiting her family.

We missed her.

But three of the four princesses made it!

And the grand conclusion was, we don't dare wait ten more years to get together again. There's already a committee afoot for a five-year.

January 10 has already been carved in stone for a mini-gathering. Golf for the guys, bike ride for the girls. Followed by wine and whatever.

Well, enough reminiscing. I better get something done.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tanya Writes About Mourning Marley

I came down with a viral respiratory infection on Monday and keep saying I'm sick as a dog.

But it isn't true. I'm not as sick as my Marl was. She had to die.

I'm approaching the second month without her. Often when I come downstairs in the morning, I say Hi Marl, like I did for ten years. I just expect her to be lying on her favorite rug.

Now, for most of those ten years, she and the boy black Lab Seau, and the yellow girl Tawny (RIP May 2004) slept in the room with my hero and me. When he was at the firehouse, she slept on the bed. But when his ordeal started, that harrowing chemo, the snorts and sneezes and panting and farting and running against the wall just got too much for him. So we put up a baby gate. And now because of the grandbaby, it's still in place. It was a good idea; neither dog needed to run up and down the stairs any longer.

...There's a long concrete breezeway between our house and the fence. Every time I came out to load the recycle bin, Marl would wait at the end. So I'd kneel down and call her, and she'd come running with kisses. It hurts so much now just to take out the trash!

Somebody might say, what are you on about? She's just a dog.

Well, she wasn't. She was my baby, my comfort in the empty nest after our babygirl went off to college. She had a cute way of cocking her face, like she really was listening to you. And she knew when it was dinnertime; she'd come to me with a little throaty whine.

But others might say, after what you and your hero went through already this year, losing a dog to cancer was just another blow you didn't deserve.

And I kinda think those people are right. For the last couple of years, Marl had to drink purified water due to an unrelated condition. These days, I can barely walk through the grocery store without crying. All those months of buying nausea food and constipation food and Popsicles for my hero...and now the bottled water aisle too...

I do have my sweet boy dog. He's the one with ultra health issues. We actually thought we'd lose him first. But he's the independent one; we adopted him when he was about five. Marl was the cuddle-muffin who always had another dog in her life. She wouldn't have lasted long without him.

So I guess this was a backward sort of blessing.

A couple weeks ago, the grandbaby saw a dog on a Natgeo show and called out, "Morley. Morley." Oh the pup looked so much like her, black with a white muzzle. Marl always had that whiteness around her mouth; she looked like a gramma dog since she was about two.

Last weekend in the local paper, the "Pet of the Week" was a black Lab mix, Nico, with Marl's same goofy ears. As soon as I looked up, my hero said, no. Seau is enough for now.

I asked him if he misses her, and he said of course, but he knows not quite the way I do.

After all, she was my baby.

I worked on my roses one of Marl's last days on earth; she and Seau laid under the tree, on the soft grass of a perfect sunny summer day.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tanya Writes About an Amber Alert

I got this alert from a friend at myspace and since I'm a mom, I thought I better pass it on. Help if you can.

(P.S. My hero took me to the doctor today. Feeling better...)


Staff Sergeant Rick Williams
Rolla Police Department
1007 N. Elm St.

Rolla , Mo.
(573) 364-1213
Fax (573) 364-6346

Please look at the picture, read what her mother says, then forward.
Thank you!

My 13 year old girl, Ashley Flores, is missing.

She has been missing for now two weeks.

Maybe if everyone passes this on, someone will see this child.

That is how the girl from Stevens Point was found by circulation
of her picture on TV. The Internet circulates even overseas, South America , and Canada etc...
Please pass this to everyone in your address book or friends list.

With GOD on her side, she will be found.

I am asking you all, begging you to please forward this email on to anyone and everyone you know, PLEASE.

It is still not too late. Please help us.

If anyone knows anything, please contact me at:
I am including a picture of her.

All prayers are appreciated! ! '
It only takes 2 s econds to forward this.

If she were your child, you would want all the help you could get!

Thank you,
Melissa Mikulski

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tanya Writes About Being Sick. (It sucks.)

Well, loser Blogger still considers me spam. I am sick anyway, of it and just plain sick.

So this will be short. I caught something from the grandbaby; his mommy and daddy are down with it, too. At least Grampa, my hero, is still on his feet in case anybody needs him.

But I will rant about something else. I get google-alerts when my name shows up on any Internet search. Okay, sounds reasonable. Except I get every crap alert for ANYBODY with a name remotely like Tanya.

Tania. Tonya. Tonia. And anything Hansen. I mean, come on. An O is NOT an E.

The names don't even have to be a pair. Anything Hansen or Hanson or Tanya or Tania or Tonya or Tonia gets sent to me with any kind of first or last name attached. Can't google spell?

To make it all more fun, I get all the references to Tanya Hansen, a big porno star. At first I didn't mind because I usually get traffic to my website because of her But these days, enough already. Her "floatation devices" and her "Nurse F*@k" video references aren't one single bit funny.

Well, I'm done ranting. At least sitting at the computer for a bit lets me breathe. When I lay down, everything stops up.

Arrrrgh. There won't be any picture today. I'd scare you to death. And as for dear Miss Tanya HANSEN. I don't need to clutter my already-robot infected blog with porn.

It sucks being sick. But it's nothing like my hero suffering through chemo. So in a way, this is no biggie at all.

Good-bye for now. I'm not done with Sarah Palin yet but my brain's too tired and my fingers to weak...