On the Kardashians, Magic, and Fiction. For real.

I do not want to write about this. I don’t! I swear to you! But…I. Can’t. Stop. Myself.  

Why? Why do I insist on writing about the Kardashians? And her broken marriage?

Bear with me. (Or is it ‘bare’ with me. No. Can’t be that. We don’t want to be naked together). Bear with me. I have a point to make. And it’s a point, actually, about fiction and magic.


Magic doesn’t exist. I’m sorry. It doesn’t. But we WANT it to. And there are magicians out there who are terrific and making us see things we want to see. They’re illusionists. We watch them knowing they’re playing tricks on us, but we go into it willingly because if an illusionist is good, really good, then they make us BELIEVE that magic is actually possible, even if we know deep down it’s not. The trick isn’t about seeing birds appear or disappear. The trick is making us believe the impossible is possible.

I realized this is true with fiction at a young age. I remember telling a story on the playground. I must’ve been in fourth grade. I had a whole group of kids listening to me as I told them about a story where I knocked a kid out and sent him to the hospital. My audience was enthralled. They couldn’t believe it! They laughed. They were shocked! “Really?” they asked me “You did that?” I felt proud of my story. So I told them the truth: I made it all up. I thought they’d commend me on a great story. Instead, the group turned on me. They called me a liar. They were mad at me for making them believe. They were upset that the story wasn’t true. They had wanted THE BELIEF and I took it from them.


This is why people are upset with Kim Kardashian. It isn’t about her or her marriage. It’s that we’re fascinated with reality stars because they’re just human enough to create a fantasy world that we can believe in. We can see ourselves living in a mansion, being beautiful, having crazy exciting things happen, having a wedding that costs ten million dollars. We know the whole thing is a sham…but it’s just real enough to make us believe for a little bit that  this kind of life is possible. For a while, we live as them. As disturbing as it is, we ARE the Kardashians.

It’s the relationship of fiction. A world is created the people can visit, inhabit, and feel is real. What happened this week is that the Kardashians said “It’s all fake” even though we all know it’s fake. But by ending the relationship with her husband, Kim Kardashian almost admitted to the sham. She’s a magician who showed the trick to the illusion. And we didn’t want to know the details.


I guess the deeper question to all of this is why do we need fiction at all? I think of it as the way in which I can live multiple lives without repercussions of actually making those choices. In my real life, I’m a mom and a wife. In my imaginary life, I’ve been an explorer, a heroine, a victim, a magician who can save the world. I know it’s not real, but I don’t need anyone to tell me that. I enjoy the fantasy.


I think what happened this week is that Reality TV just admitted that it’s not real. It’s a bit like hearing that Santa Claus is really a metaphor and not an actual person. It’s sobering. It’s sad. But it isn’t anything surprising.


In a while, a new celebrity will rise up and we’ll be able to believe the fantasy all over again. Until then, maybe people should just read some books. There are worlds to inhabit out there where the magic is still very much alive.




The Wedding

I'm still processing everything...but what I can say right now is that I had my dream wedding. It didn't involve a hugely expensive dress or gigantic flowers. There were no violins or love poems. There was great food, great drinks, and one of the shortest ceremonies ever. There was Star Wars music, Elvis, "Dancing in the Moonlight" and my family and friends laughing, applauding, and dancing the night away.

I'll blog more about it later.  I'm hoping that for everyone there it was more than just a was a time to relax and have fun with the people important in your life.

Here's the song my brother danced me down the aisle to. I wanted to enter the marriage with pure joy...and it's totally how I feel about Kealoha. I never really believed in soul mates, until I met him. I love that man. If you know him, then it's easy for you to see why.


On Getting Married. A Letter To My Former Self.

The wedding is finally here. It’s really here! Kealoha and I are officially getting hitched. Hotel is booked. Flowers ordered. Food set. Dress and all that jazz ready to go. Friends and family coming in to town from all over Michigan, New York, and Florida. We are so excited. Of course, to say that this makes me a little emotional and weepy is an understatement. Last night I was crying while watching Chopped. Granted, I cry while watching Chopped a lot, but this time there were big tears. Sometimes being happy is hard to handle.

I’ve been thinking about the blog I wanted to write before the wedding. Most of what I want to say about Kealoha, I’ve already said.

What I want to do instead, then, is talk to my former self, my self from two and a half years ago. If I knew how this story would end, I could have told her so many things. Of course, you can’t know the future…you just have to believe there is one. So. I write this letter to who I was two and a half years ago, but maybe I’m also writing it to some of you. I’ve had comments from readers and friends going through things I went through. So. This is to me and to you.


Dear Tanya of 2009,

Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. Know that with choosing to start over, you are choosing a hard road, a sometimes lonely road, but it is the right road. Stand up for yourself. You don’t need to justify your choices to anyone or defend. Just be quietly strong. Others will come around to seeing why you made the choices you did.

Believe the future will be better. You will find yourself one day with a broken foot. You will collapse on the floor of your kitchen and you will cry and sob at the sheer weight of your losses and your fear. You will have no money. You will be afraid of losing your teaching job and your narration gigs. You will be terrified of losing you children. You will not be able to walk on your own. When your sister says, lovingly, that at least thing can’t get any worse…laugh…and believe her. From that moment on, you will be stronger. You will be new. You will emerge, a Phoenix.

Fight for what you want. You will do surprising things. You will buy a house because you are determined and you don’t accept people telling you ‘no’ anymore. You will teach and give your heart to your students. They will appreciate you for who you are.

You will be lonely. You will cry. It’s okay. You will need to be on your own for awhile….because you will need to remember who you are. You can only remember who you are when you are quiet and there is no one around to distract you.

You will screw up. You will make bad choices. You will go on bad dates and try to convince yourself that this is what you deserve. Then you will wise up, and your new strength will tell you to move on. You will not make those mistakes again.

You will open your heart. You will learn to love a friend. Your kids will thrive. Your new home will be warm and inviting. There will be laughter again. Your confidence will grow. You will still worry about money and choices and whether you are a good mother to your kids, a good partner to your fiancé. It’s okay. It’s good to worry about these things.

And when you are ready, when you have finally stopped being angry about the past and when you can be strong in the choices you’ve made…then…then you will wear a 1950s dress and your friends and family will watch you marry the man who has been in your life for 15 years, but always on the outside of it…until time and experience and living allowed you to see him for the first time.

No matter how bad things get, believe things will change. Things will change, because you have made them change. You did not leave it up to Fate or wishful thinking. Things will change because you willed it to happen. Things do change. For the better. You can do this.



Maybe I couldn’t tell myself these things then, but I think somehow I believed them anyway.

So. A letter to myself…but also to others of you out there. Maybe the whole foot thing won’t apply to you, but it might if you think of it as a metaphor.

Cheers, Tanya of 2011

Engagement Photos (aka THE HORROR!)

Kealoha and I were having a lovely time during our engagement photo session with Josh Martin of Verve Imagery when a very strange thing happened. Sometimes, words just can't explain. You have to see it for yourself.

Yes. It's going to be that kind of marriage. It's okay though. We'll have each other through good times, through bad, and through attack of zombies and/or Japanese Horror film ghosts. Rock on.

*High five!*


Special thanks: To Josh Martin of Verve Imagery for his pictures.

To Kalie Hoodhood for her zombie-ness. She's also an artist. Check her stuff out at the Eastown Artfair, coming soon.

And to Kealoha, for spending time on the pictures by 'enhancing their magic'.

How A Writer Brain Can Take Over Your Life, Blob Style

Sometimes, having a Writer Brain really sucks, especially when you’re worried about something. Now, when you’re writing a scene or plotting a novel, it’s great to have your brain flying forward and imagining all these possible scenarios. For instance, a young woman walks into a restaurant. Here are things that could happen:

  • She sits alone at a table. Checks her watch. Orders. We think she’s been stood up. We find out that she wasn’t expecting anyone at all. She’s a lonely woman who pretends to be waiting for someone, and hopes maybe one night, someone will share dinner with her.


  • She meets some girlfriends for a reunion. They haven’t seen each other in ten years. She is having an affair with one of the women’s husbands.


  • She meets a man she’s been set up on a blind date with. He is seated at the table. He’s cute. They laugh. They flirt. After a bottle of wine, he gets up to go to the bathroom and she sees that he has really short legs. In fact, the guy is only about 4’4”.


See? Lots of possibilities. But when you apply this same Writer Brain to a real life situation, it sucks. Big time. In fact, a Writer Brain can take over your life Blob-Style.

Consider Kealoha’s concussion that I mentioned last week.


In reality, I know that he has a mild concussion and that they’re very common and that unless something goes really wrong, he’ll be totally fine in the next few weeks. Hopefully before the wedding.


But it’s that phrase “unless something goes really wrong” that makes my brain go into overdrive.


Here’s what I’ve been thinking. I imagine full scenes happening in which:


  • Kealoha goes in for a scan and finds his brain is swelling at an abnormal pace. They call him in for immediate brain surgery. I have to work but Kealoha tells me he’s fine. It’s only a little neurosurgery. Then he gets his head shaved and is operated on. He has to relearn how to walk. At our wedding, he waits for me at the aisle in his wheelchair. It’s very emotional because everyone is like, dude, he just had brain surgery and he’s still here. He must really want to get married. He can't say "I do", but he can say "Errggg" and everyone pretty much thinks that counts.




  • Kealoha’s brain is so rattled that he can no longer smell or taste anything. He has a life changing moment where he decides he needs to hit every tiki bar in the country before he can say his vows, in the hopes of getting back his taste and smell. He packs his bag and decides to take a trip for a while. He’s not sure if he’ll be back for the wedding, but he’ll try.



  • Kealoha falls into a deep coma. That’s all I’ll say about that one, because everything that happens in this scenario is so depressing that I can’t even talk about it.


For some reason, my Writer Brain didn’t envision what actually happened.


  • Kealoha goes in for a scan. It takes five minutes. They say that if anything is really wrong, he’ll hear from the doctor right away. Friday ticks away. We don’t hear anything from the doctor, thus we can assume everything is fine. We spend the weekend taking it easy. I run errands, obsess, and am generally anxious. Kealoha takes codeine and giggles. And he takes naps.


Hopefully, everything will be just fine. It will be just fine. I’m just having a deep panic attack about the wedding. And whenever I’m happy, I brace for something bad happening. So. I know this. I know I need to relax and stop worrying.

My biggest worry is my weight. I've been trying to lose weight for two months, but I lose some and then gain it back. I'm not committed enough to do a deprivation diet. I just can't! I also know that I am the same weight I was last year so I need to stop obsessing about what everyone will think of me when I walk down that aisle. I need to remember that the people coming to the wedding are our closest friends and family and they love both me and Kealoha just the way we are.


Ah. I do need to say that in all my terrible visions, I never once imagined abandoning Kealoha even after he needed speech therapy and had to relearn how to walk. In my mind, I’m always there with him. I even push the wheelchair.


Now that’s love.

Puffy, Streaky, and Awkwardly Happy. (Misadventures in getting hitched)

When this wedding is over I am soooooo going to Paris. Actually, that’s not true. We can’t do the honeymoon yet (we need to save for it and I don’t have a break from teaching until next summer) but I’m starting to see the point of a vacation after the chaos of the wedding. Most of the wedding planning has been an exercise in communication AKA walking through a mine field. I’m trying to include the Moms in decisions, and sorta made a big error there this week. Trying to make sure Kealoha has a wedding that represents him and me and our values and our sense of humor and is respectful and….Aw, man. It’s exhausting.

This week, though, was actually fun, even though Kealoha is battling a migraine that makes him all squinty-eyed and a little morose. Still, he plowed through it.

On Wednesday afternoon, I got my hair done. I asked for highlights and requested that they not look steaky. I said I was getting engagement pictures, and I wanted to look all auburn sexy. When she was done with my hair, it basically looked exactly as it had when I came in…only STREAKY. Dammit. It was too late for me to do anything.

I ran home. Got dressed. Kealoha was in the basement with a slight fever and his shirt off, panting or something. (Migraine, I’m telling you.) So I got things ready for the engagement photos. We planned it outdoors and it was a beautiful day until the photographer got here and it started pouring. And I never did lose the weight I wanted to. I pretty much look puffy.

We did the awkward poses while Kealoha tried to keep his eyes open (hard to do with a migraine) and I tried to suck in my gut while looking deep into his eyes and smiling. I’ll tell you more about this experience, but I’ll wait til I can show the pictures. In short, I’m bloated-looking, streaky, and awkwardly happy. Just perfect for a picture above our fireplace. That will be there FOREVER. * sigh *


Then, oh THEN, we had our tasting at the JW. They’ve never done an hor d’oeurvres wedding before, so the staff seemed excited. They led us into the belly of the JW, through back hallways. I was wearing really tall sandals and I was hoping I didn’t fall and break my foot. Again. Then they led us into the kitchen and into the chefs’ office, where a table was set up just for us. There was some general awkward conversation with the JW event “Dream Maker” and the woman in charge of the running of the wedding. Then they brought out the food.


I have to say, I’m damned excited. It’s soooo good. The foodie in me was delighted. The mushroom soup is creamy and umami is probably lurking there (but I still don’t understand what that is). I ate everything in front of us, and some of Kealoha’s. It’s probably why I’m all puffy still. He tried the mai tai, made some educated corrections, and the second mai tai was perfect. They also mixed us a mojito. So divine. Our dessert is a mini dessert buffet. We nixed the flourless chocolate cake and replaced it with a cupcake. It’s okay. The truffle is pure decadence…and I actually licked my crème brulee bowl.

I don’t care what I looked like, licking the bowl with my florid face and streaky hair. Kealoha could barely see me with his eyes pinched closed, and his opinion is the only one I care about anyway.

So. Next week. Back to teaching, narrating (abridged book) and more wedding details. The Moms are working on cocktail tables and centerpieces and I’m trying to stick to a no wheat, veggie loaded diet. Muther humper. But in a little over thirty days, Kealoha and I will be hitched, and all of this stress will be far away. We won’t be in Paris, but we’ll be one step closer.

And I have all those appetizers to look forward to.

I Feel Dirty -- OR-- How I Was Just Emasculated By The Florist

You know the term ‘penis envy’? What’s the female equivalent of that? Whatever it is, I feel like I just experienced it.  And it happened at the florist’s. I was totally just emasculated, and felt a deep feeling of Penis Envy, although not for a bigger penis (or any penis at all for that matter). No. What I felt was like a total loser for not having a bigger budget and getting bigger flowers. Or at least more expensive ones. Rat bastards.

Kealhoa and I want to have a good party, but we’re putting most of the budget into the food and alcohol and the really great location (The JW Marriott). I really didn’t want to spend a fortune on flowers. As pretty as they are, they’re a suck of money. They look pretty but you can’t eat or drink them and they die in a few days. I want people happily full, drinking till they’re dancing and stupid, and celebrating in a great place. So I decided to cut back on the flower budget. Surely I should be able to get a decent bouquet for my sister and me for a couple of hundred dollars…and buy some flowers to put in the centerpieces. It’ll all be classy and sophisticated and save money for the more important things (like flourless chocolate cake).

Today I walked into the “Appointment Only” florist and should’ve known by that sign alone that I was out of my league.

I entered a brick building/warehouse and opened the door to a plushly decorated waiting room. I immediately encountered a Future Bride and her Floral Consultant. The Future Bride was about 22 with tiny perky breasts (from what I could see), wearing a silky skirt and shirt, hair in a happy-horse-like ponytail, and perfectly arched eyebrows and makeup. I was wearing old jeans, a gray t-shirt, and I haven’t washed my hair because it still has yesterday’s style and looks 60% decent. The Floral Consultant was in gray wool pants and a bright green cardigan. I have a feeling it was cashmere.

She was talking to the Future Bride about the furniture they could bring to the event and how she can have a buffet of pies and smores and her fresh apple cider…and I thought “Man, I want a buffet of pies”. Then they started to talk about all the flowers and decorations and I experienced a deep pang of what can only be Penis Envy only I was envying the Future Bride’s youth, dress size, and bottomless checkbook.

I met my consultant and told her that I was looking for two bouquets and maybe some flowers for the centerpieces. Then I told her my budget. There was a slight pause, an inhalation of breath and then she turned and looked longingly at the other Future Bride as if to say “I so wish we were besties”. She controlled herself then said “Well, what about boutonnieres?”

“Yeah,” I said, feeling like I was developing a slight rash or something. “The guys really don’t want those.”

Her face contracted as if she’d just swallowed a piece of glass. “Ah. Really. Well, I've never heard of that.”

"Yep. Well. Golly. Uh..." I responded.

The whole meeting took ten minutes and I left with her promise that they would get back to me with an estimate (in about a week). As I left, another Future Bride came in with her Even Planner. They were actually in matching outfits.

Somehow I crossed over into some freaky alternate universe and/or a Twilight Zone episode. That is sooooo not where I belong.

Thank god we’re tasting mai tais today. That’s something I can handle, without feeling like a Flower Loser.

How about a naked wedding?

So the muther humping dresses I ordered don't fit. I'd like to blame the company I ordered them from, but I think instead I'll blame my genetics. When people ask me my nationality, I usually say, I'm not sure but we were a people who birthed babies and carried heavy objects. Hence my hips. And, apparently, my ENORMOUS ribcage. If I wear a cape for a wedding, no one will know that the blasted thing won't close and I can give up my impossible dream of trying to diet myself into thin-dom. I am not thin. I'm no Princess Kate. I'm possibly TWO Princess Kates sharing the same body. Yeah. Each one of my legs is a Princess Kate.

I'm not bemoaning being fat. I know I'm not fat...but searching for a wedding dress is bringing up every single insecurity I've ever had in my entire life over everything.

(Sometimes, a girl needs hyperbole.)

My future mother-in-law is coming over in a few minutes to take my enormous hips out to find a dress. I envision much crying to come. Why is this so hard? Why is it hard to find a dress that is flattering to a woman with hips and knockers? Huh? I ask you, why is it hard to find a dress for a WOMAN, a dress that doesn't look like a mumu, or like I can hide midgets under my skirt, or a dress that is so tight I can't breathe or if I want to breathe then I have to remove some ribs?

This shouldn't be so hard.

If this doesn't work, then I'm sending out new invitations to everyone. They will read as follows:

Please Join Kealoha And Tanya for their Clothing Optional Nuptials. Please note, they will not serve hot food or drinks to cut down on possibilities of burns. They will also not offer a limbo contest (for obvious reasons).

On second thought, if I don't find a dress, maybe I'll just paint one on. The wedding is during Art Prize after all. Maybe we'll make the top ten and win a big prize. Maybe even a trip to Paris!!

*sigh* Let me have my fantasies, please.

In Search Of The Perfect Font (warning: mildly offensive)

Along with working like mad, writing, exercising, and wrangling children, I’m also planning a wedding. Now, I’ve done plenty of event planning in my day (I have a background in fundraising) so I didn’t think any of this would be a big deal.  

I totally underestimated that. There are a million ridiculous decisions to make AND THEY’RE ALL EXPENSIVE. I never thought I was a cheapskate, but apparently I am. I just can’t pay $3,000 for a photographer. Now, I know it’s an important day and all but I can barely look at myself in the mirror in my underwear and I don’t really want a photographer to capture me in my undies pulling a dress over my hips while I repeat “Dear Jeevus, let this bastard fit me”.  Nor do I want pictures of jumping bridesmaids, high-fiving grannies, or a picture of my aging hand over Kealoha’s hairy one in an awkward embrace signifying our future together. It just makes me uncomfortable. (Not that Kealoha is hairy. He’s not. That’s just an example.)


We’re pretty much behind on everything….but we’re getting there. I ordered my dresses, planned a menu, we’ve got the venue, fixed a glitch at the hotel so our peeps can actually reserve rooms, and the invitations go out tonight. My mom and future Mother-in-Law are coming over to help me. If we drink enough wine, we’ll all be real relaxed.


I wanted to address the invitations by hand, but Kealoha was hesitant. He very delicately said maybe he could find a cool computer font that would make the invitations look really professional. In my mind, I quickly used my Star-Trek-like Universal Translator to understand the following: “Tanya, please don’t address the invitations. Your writing is just shy of looking like you’re entirely nuts and possibly have palsy.” Kealoha has a point.


So he’s been looking for fonts while I’ve been throwing a hissy fit about a photographer. (Finally found a great one.)


I was on the couch last night watching “Chopped” and then “So You Think You Can Dance” while Kealoha researched fonts. There are a million fonts. Seriously. And each one says something slightly different about you and your wedding and who you are as people. Arrrgggh! Why does it have to be so hard?


This one says we’re more sophisticated than we are:


This one says we drink champagne and are skinny:


This one is disturbing but also makes me laugh:


And then these…THESE are just so wrong, I can’t even describe it!

But they’re also intensely funny. I'm not sure what the 1st and 3rd fonts spell out, but it certainly is, uhm, educational. What is wrong with me? I actually want to write a letter in these fonts! I mean, take a good look at “Cocksure”. This will send a message that we’re kinky and/or looking to procreate. But the idea of sending out invitations like this also makes me laugh. Maybe for my bachelorette party…Hmm.


No. Kealoha assures me he’s found a good font that says we’re stable, fun-loving, non-kinky people and that our wedding will be relaxed and fun and a celebration.


That’s what I keep reminding myself.


Now, back to my To Do List. It involves calling my doctor for some anti-anxiety medication. Ah, wedding planning.

Scenes From My Life

I am on day four of my staycation and weird things are happening. I think I’m relaxing. Seriously. I know it’s hard to believe but I’m starting to feel the way I feel after taking a Valium to visit the dentist, you know, all loose and totally okay with someone sticking foreign objects in my mouth. Huh.

Maybe that’s not a good comparison. Let’s just say I’m feeling good. I'm "chillaxed". Like this dog:

I’m also accomplishing my daily To Do List of read, write, and work out. I usually throw five or six other things on the list, because, well, that’s what I do.

I mixed a new audiobook demo in hopes I can branch out and get some more work. I’d love to install a home recording studio. Here’s the demo if you’re curious. Oh. Wait. I can't upload it. Damnation! Anyway, it has excerpts from “Exclusive” by Sandra Brown, “Blunder Woman” by some freak, and “Ice Cold” by Tess Gerritsen. I wish I could’ve put her new one on here that I just recorded because I LOVE it. Ah well. *Kealoha rocks! Here's the demo.

I’ve also developed some kind of alien cold. When I breathe, I make this whistling wheezy sound and I’ve started coughing like an old smoker; you know, that kind of cough when you hear someone do it you think, my god, they’re going to cough up a baby. It’s super sexy. Kealoha can’t keep his hands off me, especially when I’m all hooo-waaahh. Yummy.

I took my mom out to lunch to smooth some things over with her. Found a home for one of the cats, and might have a home for our three-legged one…that leaves one more home to find for sweet Mercedes. She’s a cat that likes to sit on your shoulder and stick her butt in your face. Want her? She’s awesome.

And I sent out 5 agent queries on the 4th of July. One of them wrote me back that day and said: “First I have to congratulate you on one of the best queries I’ve read in some time. I’d love to read your novel.” Now, if I can just get her as excited about the novel as she was about the query.

Today it’s Movie Day with a girlfriend, tomorrow it’s Polish Sausage Night with Kealoha’s parents. The excitement just keeps ticking.

Oh. And I bought my wedding dress. I couldn’t decide which to get so I bought two. I’ll wear the one that makes me feel pretty and thin and the other one I’ll just pull a Miss Havisham (as suggested by writer Jennifer Armintrout). Yeah. I’ll put the wedding dress on and go grocery shopping, or to the dentist, or to the allergist’s, and pretend that it’s TOTALLY NORMAL.

Then I’ll hock up a loogie. Just for that final touch.

Loogie. Ew.

That was probably too much information. I should probably go sit in a moist, hot room or something for a while. See if I can birth me an alien baby.

In love and light, Tanya

And so it begins...Again. Again to the power of 4.

Damnation!  I promised I was through with dieting! I swore to the air gods above and said: I! WILL! NOT! DIET! Then I ate a ton of crap and couldn't fit into any more of my pants.

Now, with the wedding looming in just 98 days (holy shit! That's less than 100!) I've realized that I just have to suck it up, because if I want to wear the wedding dress I've got my eye on...just sucking it in won't be enough.

So I'm starting a diet. Again. But, yeah, I'm trying to be all healthy about it and not actively DIET--more like just stop eating all the crap and exercising more.

If this works, I'll turn it into a book and sell millions. It will be called "Stop Eating Crap. Exercise More". That'll be the whole book. I'll just fill the other 300 or so pages with lots of meaningless stuff about buffalo and bigfoot and then put in some recipes.

So. Here I go. Starting right now. I'm going to put down my chip and walk away. Walk slowly away.

I probably better step away from the bacon too. Hmm. Make that run away. Run so FAR away. And with that, I leave you with this:


On Weddings (more deep thoughts)


This weekend was a weekend of weddings with a heavy side of expectations and disappointments. Now there’s a sentence that will make you want to keep reading. It’s not depressing; I promise you.

We went to a friend of Kealoha’s wedding. Funny thing is, once upon a time, she was friend of mine. In fact, she was a housemate of mine fifteen years ago, in the very house I met Kealoha. She was the owner of the house and the hot tub (from which I emerged wrapped in towels). I lived with her for over a year or so and it was the first time in my teenager and young adult years (I was 22) that I lived in a home that was both beautiful and safe.

She was older than me…I think she was 35 to my 22 and I remember thinking how ‘old’ she was, something I laugh at now. Watching her get married, a peculiar thing happened. I was flooded with happiness for her, but I also felt regret…for ways I’d behaved when we were roommates. In my early twenties I was particularly self-centered. Lots of reasons for that, but a lot of it came down to immaturity. I didn’t understand loneliness at that time, or wanting to find a life partner, and I wasn’t very sympathetic to her wants.

Now, at almost 38, having felt deep loneliness and luckily having found my ‘life partner’ I can look back and think: man, I was an insensitive little turd. That’s right. A turd.

So I attended the wedding as I am now: 37, with my 2 kids and Kealoha and lots of learning under my belt, but my younger self was there too…in how people I haven’t seen in a decade or more responded to me, and that little ghost whispering behind my ear.

My roommate did eventually find love. She married and was happy for a time, and then became a widow. Then she found love again and the couple beamed with good humor and love and warmth. It was lovely. Plus, there was a crab boil afterwards. I don't know. It gave me hope for my girlfriends who are still searching.

It was light and summery and fun….and I just thought for a moment that isn’t life funny, the way it works out. 15 years ago, I never thought I’d have a family of my own, never imagined my life would turn out the way it has. Thankfully, where I’m at now is exactly where I want to be, even if all the details are different than I imagined.


Then for father’s day, we went over to Kealoha’s parents for chicken and corn and pie. Mmmm. After dinner and while the kids played over and around Kealoha, his mom and I went into the basement to look at photos. She showed me their wedding album from about 45 years ago. It was actually really interesting. I loved her dress and the bridesmaid’s….and how everyone was just plain young. She pointed out people in the wedding and on the dance floor and told me of their future.

Some of them divorced; some remarried. Some stayed single. Some were gay. Some died early; some died after a long life. Some struggled. Some were happy. Some she never saw again. It’s all very Our Town.

It was all so random…and then I had one of those moments thinking about the wedding we were just at, and the wedding we’ll have in October. How all these people will come together to help us celebrate. For that one moment, we’ll all be frozen in what will be (hopefully) a joyous occasion…and then life will go on. There will be heartbreaks, and disappointments and joy and love and twenty years from now who will be left? And who will be living exactly the life they envisioned they would?

Kealoha’s parents thought they’d be grandparents by now, but they aren’t. I feel for them. It's hard to have expectations and dreams that you have no control over. By this time, I thought I’d have a bestseller and a huge house and a kitchen with an island so big you’d get lost on it. (Actually, that was just a dream, not an expectation.)

I don’t know. I guess what I’m saying is I realized that even though you plan your life out, you never know what’s going to happen. I guess there’s something beautiful to that too. That life will, no matter what, surprise you.

My roommate found love not once, but twice. I’ve found love at 37.

We’ve all grown up, lived, suffered, rejoiced. I find this to be really, really comforting.



Gnomes & the Application to Date Me filled out by Kealoha

I woke up this morning with a firm plan. 1) I will work out for an hour at the MVP.

2) I will fix a chapter in FOODIES.

3) I will eat a balanced breakfast with lots of fruit.

4) I will go to my voice over at 10 and be totally relaxed.


Yeah. That went out the window right away. I’m currently on my second cup of coffee, no breakfast, and I won’t have time to work out because I’ve been looking at wedding stuff all morning and behaving like a ridiculous girl. You know, that silly kind of girl in horror movies that’s all stupid and says in a high, soft voice: “Oh! I think I’ll go down this incredibly scary dark alley all by myself because surely a crazed killer wouldn’t hide there!”

I blame my Mother-in-Law-To-Be. She sent me links to beautiful frilly dresses and now I Can’t. Stop. Clicking. (Check out one of the sites she sent me HERE.) I also can’t stop thinking about if I wear poofy crinoline, just how enormous will the lower half of me look?

I don’t want to look like I’m hiding children under my dress. Or gnomes or something. That would be bad wedding behavior.

To stop obsessively looking at dresses I can’t even fit into (because I’m not working out enough or eating well enough), I started tweaking our wedding website.

We have the cutsie story of how we met. It’s very “When Harry Met Sally”, but without the orgasm scene in the restaurant, although I’ve done plenty of moaning over a good meal.

Anyway, remember that application to date me I posted about a year ago? And that Kealoha actually filled it out. Here’s the application he sent me. I’m posting it because it’s cute. And manly. Really, it takes a real man to fill out an application to date someone, especially when that someone is you. Or me. Or whatever. Anyway, it was flattering to the nth degree. And here it is:

Now back to obsessively clicking. Wish I could find a good 1950s style dress that won’t make me look like a whale and will highlight my cleavage without turning it into a the sole focus of the evening. I really don’t want people to say “Man, I don’t remember anything about that wedding but Tanya had ENORMOUS boobs, and I’m pretty sure there were gnomes hiding under her dress.”


On Writing and Living


This was my first weekend of not obsessively tweeting, posting to Facebook, or tirelessly promoting my work. Instead, I read 200 pages (for pleasure), took naps, and enjoyed time with my fiancé and the kiddos. What a revelation! I said to Kealoha: “I don’t know why I’m so tired. I think there’s something wrong with me.” And he said, “Uh, you’re relaxed.” I was pretty shocked. I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve slowed down this much, so much so that I didn’t even know that I was relaxed.

Of course, two days isn’t saying much, but I’m trying to look at it as a ‘life change’ and not a ‘weekend change’. I’m tired of running and doing so much.

I was lazy. I didn’t clean, do a To Do list, prep an audio book. I didn’t write, didn’t obsess nearly as much, didn’t scour the internet looking at reviews and comments about my stuff. What I did do was cook, play, and go for walks. On one of my walks, I started thinking about a short story I’d like to write. It’s been a long time since I’ve dipped my toes into short stories. I’d like to try it again. This week, I’m going to start writing again….but the kind of story I want to tell (even if it’s hard).

And I thought about the wedding coming up in October.



We’re planning a 1950s Cocktail Party/ Luau theme. I had no idea how much goes into a wedding….especially how much it costs. My first marriage we didn’t have a wedding ceremony. Just us and two witnesses. I dind’t want a big to-do, then, and maybe that was a sign.

With Kealoha, it’s different. I actually want to stand up with him in front of our friends and family and do the whole exchanging of vows thing. I want to make it official. Still, it’ll be relaxed…basically a fun party for us and about 100 guests (most of whom are our family). Appetizers, music, fun outfits, gifts, a mai tai toast…gah!  So much to plan! So much money to spend. I’m also learning a lot of weird wedding stuff. Stuff that makes me just shake my head, like the coordinator at the JW Mariott who calls herself a “Dream Planner”.

On Sunday we had a little ‘engagement party’ at Kealoha’s parents. I met his extended family. There were a lot of jokes, some cussing, and one of his cousins repeatedly asking me: “Are you sure about this? You want to marry this guy?” I assured her I did.

Kealoha’s parents loaded us up with sausage, chips, taquitos and M&Ms for our trip home. I sat in the back seat in between Louis and Simone, my mom was in the front, and Kealoha was driving her car. I had a sort of surreal moment where I thought “Holy shit. This is my family.” Of course, at the time my mom was telling Kealhoa a complicated story about clowns and drunkenness, so I was actively trying to zone out.

It was a fun weekend. A real weekend. A weekend in which I spent more time actually living my life than running from task to task. I could get used to this. And thanks to Kealoha, there is now a hammock in our back yard that is whispering my name. I better go check that hammock out. You know, make sure it works and all.


My Week of Mushrooms-Rings-Shots-Audiobooks-Students-Kiddos-GarageSale

I’m tired. I’m so tired I’m walking around all hunched over and saying (in one of those old man/Hepburn voices) “Oh, my bones! My aching bones!” It’s very satisfying to do that.

We’ve just had the kind of two weeks where you go…uh…what the hell were we thinking?


Last weekend was mushroom hunting with my crazy-wonderful family. (see previous post)

I narrated all day on Monday, and then that night, Kealoha proposed and we had a few days of endorphin highs as we responded to lots of well wishes.

Tuesday my classes started and I had to remember how to teach a 3 ½ hour long class, and figure out how to teach two in a row without going brain dead and/or spontaneously combusting.

Wednesday, Kealoha and I took my son in for another shot of allergy testing. Get it? Another ‘shot’ at allergy testing. Oh, the puns. Anyway, we were just guessing what he was allergic to before since he only made it through half the testing, but this time, he made it through 14 scratches on his back and 24 shots in his arm. The only way we could get him to do it was heartbreaking and funny. He sat in Kealoha’s lap, one nurse held his arms, one nurse have him shots, I coached him, and we all said “Crap crap crap crap crap.” The only time I’ve let him ‘swear’. The stream of craps evolved to crappycrappycrappy pooppooppoop and then I threw in a chicken butt. My son looked at me and said “What?” and then we returned to the crap chanting. All five of us. Even the nurses. I think we all cried a little too. We now know that Louis is allergic to cats, dogs, mold, trees, grass, dust and possibly goat (but we didn’t test for goat).

Wednesday night and Thursday brought stressful conversations with my ex as he yelled at me for not immediately ‘getting rid of’ my three cats. I said that the doctors didn’t say we had to and they suggested our son get allergy shots to build up his resistance to, well, AIR. We’re still talking. I’m taking my daughter to the allergist in two weeks and I’m doing more research on this.

Thursday and Friday brought more narrating and driving an hour to Grand Haven and just being exhausted and bloated and not able to exercise. Thursday evening and Friday evening, we prepared for the Rapturous Garage Sale.

Saturday: Rapturous Garage Sale and hence why I’m so tired. (I’ll blog about this one separately.)

Sunday, I took care of kiddos, we cleaned the house, I prepped for 7 hours of teaching on Tuesday, read through the next audiobook script, finally got a workout in, made shrimp with lemon risotto, and fell asleep watching “The Tourist”. I’m not sure if that says something about how tired I was or the movie itself.

Oh, yeah. And I gave up wheat last week.

Yeah. One crazy week. This week will be about as intense. Kealoha and I are checking out a wedding venue, I’m teaching and narrating…blah blah blah. I see the light though. It’s in two weeks when I’m done narrating, and in five weeks when I get an actual vacation from everything. I am counting the minutes.

Okay. I’m not really counting the minutes because I’m too brain-fried for math. But I am counting the days. Sort of. It’s something like 42.

(pause) (pause)

It just dawned on me what “42” is. Dammit if Douglas Adams wasn’t right. It IS the answer to everything!