Friday, April 24, 2009

Tanya Writes About Arbor Day...and a Special Fifth Anniversary!

Ditsy Tanya's Almanac #12

I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.
--Joyce Kilmer

J. Sterling Morgan, editor at Nebraska' most influential newspaper, established Arbor Day in 1874 to stress the value of trees. Indeed, the event is mentioned in my first Western romance, The Outlaw's Woman, set in Nebraska in 1877. In 1885, Arbor Day was recognized as an official legal holiday in Nebraska, and now is celebrated nationwide on the last Friday in April.

Ah. Trees. The shade is divine. The birdsong coming from the branches the hymn of heaven.

Today is also a special day for my precious son and DIL. Five years of marriage, a lovely welcoming home...and my to-die-for grandson. Ah. God is good.

Happy Anniversary, dear hearts, and many, many more. May your love story be a million pages long!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tanya Writes About Earth Day

Ditsy Tanya's Almanac #11

After reading Thoreau, I felt how much I have lost by leaving Nature out of my life. --F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter, March 11, 1939

The earth is our mother. The native Americans called it so, and for the Greeks, it was Father Time (Kronus) and Mother Earth (Rhea) who started it all. In myth, Antaeus came back to Mother Earth the way real-life Henry David Thoreau kept coming back to Concord. How could he not? Look at that picture of Waldon Pond in early fall!

So why are we so mean to our mother? Grrrrrrrrrrr. I'm a mom myself, and I wouldn't like it.

Well, today we celebrate her. Earth Day is actually two separate holidays observed each year, during spring here in the Northern Hemisphere and during the fall in the Southern Hemisphere.

Earth Day observances are meant to inspire appreciation of our environment and earth's resources. The United Nations celebrates Earth Day each year on the March Equinox. The celebration originated with John McConnell in 1969.

The world-wide observance was originated by Gaylord Nelson in 1970 and is celebrated in many countries, including the United States, on this date, April 22.

It was at an Earth Day rally some years ago that our daughter got the idea for her Science Project on polluted water. Pollution by Dilution. She understood from a display how just a small amount of pollutant can harm a water supply. To demonstrate, she took a cup of food-colored blue water, then slowly diluted it in six more cups until the water was clear.

Well, it looked clear. But if the blue food color had been a poison, the water would still have been harmful to people, plants, and animals.

Hopefully you respect and honor our mother, Nature, each day of the year through recycling, bicycling, taking along reusable shopping bags, walking more and driving less, rescuing abandoned or abused creatures.

I try to do all of the above. Happy Earth Day, Mom.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tanya Writes About the Rude Bridge that Arched the Flood


By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Oh I loved this poem the first time I read it. Taught it. When a student essayed on the "Conquered" Hymn on a test, I hardly minded.

And being there, on the North Bridge, seeing the gentle flow of the Concord River...feeling the heroism that still lingers...seeing the Old Manse where Waldo's grandfather watched those first fired shots was a moment to encapsulate in my head and relive over and over.

Forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tanya Writes About Paul Revere's Ride

Ditsy Tanya's Almanac #10

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yes...on this date it all started, the freedoms you and I enjoy. I learned this poem in school, loved it, but it wasn't until visiting New England that I got it.
We even learned on a tourist talk somewhere during our visit that Paul Revere didn't actually row anything LOL. Lexington is a horse's ride from Boston Harbor. But it makes for glorious poetry.

The Old North Church was amazing. Sadly, the other day we attended a funeral at its exact replica at Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills. (more on that later.)
So was staying at the Concord Colonial Inn where Sam Adams and other revolutionaries held secretive meetings. On the place reeks of history.

This weekend the inn is celebrating its annual Patriots Day complete with parade. Ah, how I wish I could be there.

And sometimes I wish I'd lived there, then. Or later on and hung out with Louisa May and Henry David. And Waldo himself, who I'll write about later, too.

Or not...hmmmmm. Since there weren't flush toilets or antibiotics or....wait for it, computers. The accouterments of daily living I can't imagine living without.

Thank you, patriots. Minutemen. Founding fathers and mothers. God bless America!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tanya Writes About Remission: The One-Year Anniversary

Hard to believe how sick he was one year ago. So sick that when the doctor announced remission from testicular cancer on this very date last year, my hero didn't even hear him the first time. I burst into tears, and when our daughter came back into the hospital room and saw me crying, she began to sob, too, thinking we'd gotten dreadful news.

He's hale and healthy and hot, my hero. How's that for alliteration?

We're busy here at home, getting ready for our daughter's wedding next summer. Invitations get ordered next, and I think I found The Dress. On sale, yet. Of course, it will needs the stamp of approval from the bride, but I can hope, can't I?

And today, my own doctor said my foot is healing great; I can now wear a normal shoe (something comfortable with a bit of support, like my Ahnu sneaker. No Choos just yet for these toes.) And drive. myself. My hero has been such a sweetheart, chauffeuring me all over the last five weeks. I think he deserves a break.

And Easter is upon us. Having given up wine for Lent, I can now imbibe again. We'll have a wonderful brunch at our son and DIL's, which means a whole day with the grandbaby, hunting eggs and eating chocolate. I found him a set of camouflage plastic eggs in which I will stuff little cars. My son chuckled. Do you think he'll find them if they're camouflaged?

And we spent today with friends from Florida who showed off their adorable new grandson.

Still, these are still tough days for other loved ones. I'll tell you more some other time. Do keep them in your prayers, though. Death and cancer are just not good things.

But today, as we drove along the coast, I saw the sea daisies that only grow for a few weeks in the spring. Glorious yellow tufts that sit atop scrubby mini-Joshua trees. They brighten life and lift spirits. That's such a good thing.

How I miss them when they're done blooming. Sigh.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tanya Writes About Scanxiety

Ditsy Tanya's Almanac #9

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works. If from the head, almost nothing. --Marc Chagall

Today, I decided to do Mark Chagall again, for two reasons. This comment fits me to a T. Second, his airy floating colors and shapes calm me. And today I need it.

My hero is the logical one in my life. He teases me endlessly about my lack of common sense, my ADD, my daydreams. I need him. As I know he needs me for just those same reasons.

My heart tell me today's routine CT scan will be free and clear and just in time to celebrate one year remission on Wednesday. But he says, cancer never leaves my head. The reality is always there. He's deservedly nervous today.

Most times we don't let it bother us, that ugly thing that came to live with us last year. It's been thwarted by gruelling chemo (3 X BEP) but tends to buzz around like a big fat stinky fly whenever a test or scan or blood work or doctor visit looms. I look at him, strong, hale...his hair kept short ala' Justin Timberlake to remind him, to remind us both that each day is a gift.

So I know today is a gift. As was this past weekend, with the grandbaby spending the night and our beloved sister and BIL visiting on their way north. And I know the scans will be clear. It's just...the frickin' seed of doubt the ugly thing left behind. It's called Scanxiety, and it's real, for survivors and their families. Two guys from our TC loop sent us private messages of good cheer. One is my cowboy friend in Texas...himself done with chemo just last week but sicker than the proverbial dog, awaiting his own CT Scan on Friday.

So if you're reading this, some prayers and good thoughts for my hero, for my cowboy, for all taking this tough journey, would be most appreciated.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tanya Writes About Colors...and Marc Chagall

Ditsy Tanya's Almanac #8

All colors are the friends of their neighbors and the lovers of their opposites. --Marc Chagall

I just remember loving his work, Chagall's, when I studied Art in college. And although I spend most of my current life creating on the page, I do love the smell and slide of oils and paint on occasion. Colors smush in that way only oil paints can. In fact, when I got in a creative slump one time, my prof said, are you rich?

Spoiled, I replied.

Then get yourself some oils. You'll like them better than arcyllic. And how right he was.

I guess it's kind of like writing: typewriter vs. computer. Both work but one is better.

And Chagall...not only was he Russian and Abstract (I am both)...but I love the legend that every painting features his wife Bella somewhere in the composition. And with Notting Hill being one of my all-time favorite movies, well, remember the Chagall poster in Will's blue-doored house that was "how love should be" and snooty actress Anna gives him the original oil after being so mean to him? Sigh.

Now IMO, that's the stuff of great art and fiction. Agree?

Next up: Scanxiety