Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our Last Few Days in the RV

Well, it's hard to believe, but we are down to our last few days living in our beloved motorhome. On New Year's day, we move into a condo here in Punta Gorda. We're having the RV driven back to Indiana, where the manufacturer will handle the resale for us. It's been such an emotional decision, letting go of this lifestyle, but I am looking forward to having a homebase, and especially to teaching yoga and writing again.

The year seemed to go by at warp speed. It was both wonderful and deeply challenging for me. We learned how to live simply- scaling our lives down to the bare minimum. We learned to be mindful that we had everything we needed - we didn't need to accumulate.The only clothes I bought this year were a sweater in Beaumaris, Wales and a top in Quebec City. We didn't "stock up" on food or supplies - we bought as we needed.

We visited so many beautiful places and were blessed with extraordinarily beautiful weather along the way - an offset for some of the challenging times - like all the problems we had with those darn levelers. I spent more time by the ocean and outside in nature than I have in years. We saw family and friends and I got to talk with kids at schools and to do readings and other book promotion along the way.

The lessons and blessings of 2012 will continue to reveal themselves with time and distance. I know that I will look back on it as one of the best years of my life, packed with vivid memories of people and places. I am grateful that we were able to have this unique experience, and especially that RVPainter and I could spend so much time together, still learning and growing closer even after 30 years.

I said that I may stop blogging, but whenever I say that, I am moved to blog again! So we'll see! I hope actually, to be more of a blog visitor than a blog writer, so I hope to see you more often at your place.

Here is a photo I took of the little Buddha that has traveled with us this year, and our blooming Christmas cactus. I wish you all a beautiful and peaceful 2013 - Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wishing you all a Peaceful and Joyous Christmas Day!

Friday, December 21, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Wishing all my friends a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

Please enjoy this fun & funny rendition of White Christmas - my Christmas card to you:
WHITE CHRISTMAS

I'd also like to invite my blog friends to Friend me on Facebook - after the new year, when we are settled into our new home, I plan to re-dedicate myself to writing and to teaching yoga. As a result, I will likely stop blogging. But I am active on Facebook, and I'd love to keep our connection if you'd like that too. So here is the link to me on Facebook (this is my personal facebook page, not my author page). Click HERE to find me on Facebook and send me a friend request- I hope you will.

Lots of love and gratitude for your friendship,

Melissa

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Exciting News for Writer - Blogger Becky Povich!

My friend Becky Povich has exciting news to share - she is moving ahead with publishing her MEMOIR, "From Pigtails to Chin Hairs!"

If you didn't already guess it from that great title, Becky is funny, witty and wise. I know her book will be wonderful! I  am first in line to buy a copy when it comes out. Well, maybe I'm second in line - but only because the person ahead of me camped out for a week in the rain to be first. In any case, I can't wait for this book to come out!!

I don't want to steal all Becky's thunder, so please stop over to her BLOG and read all about it!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Good Books!


My friend Arthur Wooten has just released his latest book, DIZZY. This one is a fictional memoir, based on his all-too-real experience with bilateral vestibular disease with oscillopsia - a disorder that destroys your sense of balance. Information about Arthur's book is below, but first I want to also mention some books I read this year that I highly recommend.

Cat and the Dreamer by Annalisa Crawford. This novella hooks you from the start and doesn't let go. It's hard to tell when the hero, Julia, is fantasizing, or when things are really happening, or if Cat is a real person, or a composite of many "Cats" sharing similar frenemy tendencies -but that's a big part of what makes the story intriguing. There's a romance, but this is more of a psychological tale than a romance. It kept me guessing throughout, and rooting for our hero to break out and really live. A great read, and I'm looking forward to more from Annalisa.

A Cat's Life: Dulcy's Story and  A Cat's Legacy:Dulcy's Story by Dee Ready. Both books tell the story of the love affair between a cat, Dulcy, and her chosen human, Dee.The books will definitely appeal to cat lovers, but don't be fooled - they aren't at all "cutesy." They are beautifully written and moving. I reviewed A Cat's Legacy not long ago - here's the LINK to my review. I read A Cat's Life second, and was a little worried that it would seem redundant, but it wasn't.  Read them both - they are wonderful.

And now, here's more about DIZZY by Arthur Wooten:

From the AuthorDizzy: A Fictional Memoir is fictional in that the story is told through the voice of Angie Styles, a Broadway star. However, it reflects my own experiences in that I have been diagnosed with the same disease she suffers from, bilateral vestibular disease with oscillopsia. This traumatic brain injury destroys the body's ability to detect where it is in space. All sense of balance is wiped out. My main objective in writing this book is to reach as many people as possible, let them know they are not alone in this struggle and shed light on this serious and silent disease that affects thousands of people worldwide.

Editorial Review:

Dizzy - Angie Styles, a beloved Broadway star, is struck down at the height of her career by a mysterious disease and is forced to reexamine her life and the people in it as she fights to survive.

On December 15, 2005, Mr. Wooten’s life as he knew it changed forever. Diagnosed with bilateral vestibulopathy with oscillopsia, this is the same illness that Angie Styles,the lead character in Dizzy, develops. This is a unique and fascinating read in that it marries two genres: an exciting backstage show biz tale coupled with a frightening medical drama.

Asked why he created a fictional memoir instead of writing about his own life Wooten laughs, “My life is too boring. But there are similarities between Angie and myself. I was an actor for fifteen years before segueing into writing and all of the symptoms, causes, diagnoses, treatments, and time lines described in Dizzy, I have experienced and are true.”

This disease has robbed my body of all sense of balance. My brain never knows where I am in space. It’s ironic, since I was a dancer and gymnast. My hope with this book is not only to entertain but also educate and bring awareness to this disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. And if just one person suffering from these same symptoms reads Dizzy and realizes they are not alone, then my job is done.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIZZY ON AMAZON

Arthur Wooten

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Heartbreak and Gratitude

It is impossible to make sense of yesterday's tragedy. We can ask all the questions, but there will never be an answer that can make it make sense. Our hearts break for the loss of the young lives and the heartache of their families and of a whole town - and all the towns like who look and say, "there but for the grace of God go I."

"Where is the hope?" we might ask. This is where I find hope: Every day, hundreds of millions of people the world over wake up and love each other. They take care of each other and nurture one another. They do their jobs and play with their children. They support each other and root for each other and laugh and play together. They hug and kiss and say I love you.

There are so many people on this earth, and some percentage of them will, for reasons we can't know, be damaged in ways that cause them to do something terrible. But 99.999999% of them won't. And that is something of a miracle in itself.

I pray for the families who have lost their beloved ones, and I find my hope in the hundreds of millions of people who live their lives in friendship and peace and love. May we all comfort one another and be kind to each other.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

TWINS!!!!

Paul Anthony Shortt, author of LOCKED WITHIN is my guest this week with a guest post just below this one. This is a year of major births for Paul - his book, and now, TWIN GIRLS Erica Grace and Amy Louise.

Please join me in congratulating Paul and his wife on this joyous occasion! Welcome to the world Erica Grade and Amy Louise!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blog Visit from Paul Anthony Shortt, Author of LOCKED WITHIN

I'm delighted to welcome Paul Anthony Shortt to my blog this week. Paul has just released his supernatural thriller, Locked Within, and I can't wait to read it. He's an inspiration, because he's written and published this book during a time of deep personal sadness, yet his attitude toward life has remained unceasingly positive.
Please welcome Paul and check out his book. He'd love it if you'd leave a comment to let him know you came by. Links to Paul's blog and his book on Amazon are toward the end.

Guest Post: Christmas Wishes

I’m a massive child at heart. So much so that one of my favourite things in the world is sitting on the couch watching Christmas movies, wrapping presents.

It’s safe to say that for a very long time my primary Christmas wish was to become a published author. This year, it happened. Locked Within tells the story of Nathan Shepherd, a man working in a dull office job with a struggling relationship. A man obsessed by patterns in small details. He investigates a series of murders which he comes to believe have been committed by the same person, or persons, over the course of 160 years. His search leads him to a hidden supernatural society within New York, populated by vampires, ghouls, and other monsters. But Nathan is not powerless against them. He is reborn, a person who can remember past lives and use their knowledge and power. Can he free that power to use it against the creature preying on the innocent? Or will he lose everything he cares about and become lost in this dark world?

A central theme to the book is that of rebirth. I’ve always seen Christmas as that. A time for hope and joy. The death of one year, which allows the rebirth of the new. You see, there are no endings. Only new beginnings. Christmas is a time to celebrate the good that’s come before and look forward to the good that is yet to come. We gather together for warmth and companionship, reassuring ourselves that we are loved and that we love in return.

This year sees an added blessing.

As some of you may know, my wife and I lost our first son last year when he was just three days old. We came through that horrible ordeal stronger, and more aware of how much our friends love us, than ever before. While we still miss him, we have not one, but two babies on the way. Our twins are due to be delivered by c-section on the 31st of December. A perfect way to see out the year.

By the time 2012 comes to a close, I’ll have realised my lifelong dream of becoming a published author, and seen the birth of my second and third children. I can’t imagine any greater wish to have come true this Christmas.

What are some of your Christmas wishes?


Bio:

A child at heart who turned to writing and role playing games when there simply weren’t enough action figures to play out the stories he wanted, Paul Anthony Shortt has been writing all his life.

Growing up surrounded by music, film and theatre gave him a deep love of all forms of storytelling, each teaching him something new he could use. When not playing with the people in his head, he enjoys cooking and regular meet-ups with his gaming group. He lives near Dublin, Ireland with his wife Jen and their dogs, Pepper and Jasper.




Book Blurb:

The supernatural realm and the mundane world have existed side by side since the dawn of time. Predators walk the streets, hidden by our own ignorance. Once, the city of New York was protected, but that was another age.

Now a creature emerges from the city's past to kill again, with no one to hear the screams of its victims. The lost and the weak, crushed under the heels of the city's supernatural masters, have given up hope.

But one man finds himself drawn to these deaths. Plagued by dreams of past lives, his obsession may cost him friends, loved ones, even his life. To stop this monster, he must unlock the strength he once had. He must remember the warrior he was, to become the hero he was born to be.

His name is Nathan Shepherd, and he remembers.

CLICK HERE FOR LOCKED WITHIN ON AMAZON


Paul Anthony Shortt  http://paulanthonyshortt.blogspot.com/

Let the end of the world come tumbling down

I'll be the last man standing on the ground

And if my shadow's all that survives

I'm still alive

Monday, December 10, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

I've been procrastinating writing this post, because it makes me feel a little sad. Our 9-month RV road trip is coming to an end. RVPainter and I have decided to rent a condo here in lovely Punta Gorda, Florida starting January 1st. That sounds like a good thing, you say? Well, yes, it's certainly not a bad thing, it's just that it wasn't the original plan.

We had thought to continue on in the RV through this time next year - staying in Florida through March and then heading west and northwest. But I have realized that while I LOVE traveling and experiencing new places in the RV, it doesn't work for me as a "way of life." It works as a way of being on vacation, but I need the normal routines of daily life in a familiar place too. I need a homebase from which to go out into the world - I can't be out on the go all the time. So, we are establishing a homebase here, at least for this coming year. We'll see how we like it (especially summer!)

The sad part is that we plan to sell the RV, because we can't really afford to rent a place AND keep the motorhome and do all the traveling in it (that part's not cheap!).  If we can find a way to keep it and be able to use it, we'll do that, but right now we don't see how to make that happen.

It's strange, because I find this decision far more heart-wrenching than I found selling our home in Santa Fe and hitting the road - or than leaving any home we've had for that matter. And I really loved some of our homes! I think it's the letting go of a cherished dream that is hard - it's been such a unique and intense experience.

If you've followed along with the blog this year, you know that we had WONDERFUL adventures and spent time in beautiful places. We saw new places like San Antonio, Charleston and Nova Scotia, and got to revisit beloved familiar places like Maine and Quebec.

We were so blessed to have this experience - so fortunate to be able to take the time to hit the road and just see and do. There were scary and stressful times too, but life is filled with those no matter whether you are on the move or staying put. I will cherish the memories we have of this year forever, and every time I look back at the photographs I will be right back in those places.

Thank you for being with me along the way. Endings are beginnings, so we look ahead to the next adventure.

Much love,
Melissa

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Children's Book by J.D. Holiday "The Spy Game"




I'm delighted to let you know that author and illustrator J.D. Holiday's new picture book THE SPY GAME is out! Here's my review:

The Spy Game is a fun story about a boy named Eddie, whose family adopts a big black dog named Sidney. Eddie is not that thrilled about Sidney, because he wanted a puppy that he could train to do things, not a grown dog already set in its ways. Eddie's Uncle Reese said that Sidney had been named for a famous spy, but Eddie still wasn't impressed. I won't give the story line away, but let's just say that Sidney manages to impress after all, and together, he and Eddie use their spy skills to good effect.

J.D. has a unique illustration style that I like very much. I especially like the picture of Sidney when he smiles :).

This book would make a great gift for the early reader or to read aloud. The story is fun and the illustrations engaging. The book is available from Amazon.com, and J.D. is offering a discount of $2 that can be gotten by following the links here and selecting Book Garden Publishing:

for a sign copy of The Spy Game,
just $8.00/plus shipping!
Just choose  BOOK GARDEN PUBLISHING, LLC
Click HERE

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JD HOLIDAY is a children's book author and illustrator

PICTURE BOOKS:
Janoose the Goose
The Spy Game
Matt Shelley’s Halloween Misadventure, co-authored with Award Winning author Christy Condoleo

CHAPTER BOOK:
The Great Snowball Escapade

A chapbook of her short stories, called,  Trespasses, was published in 1994. Her short stories have been printed in literary magazines and she's had numerous articles about writing and publishing published. She is  a host on  a radio show for kids on The World of Ink Network at Blog Talk Radio,  called, It’s Story Time, Gather Round; An International Children's Reading Story Radio Show with Hosts Authors JD Holiday and Christy Condoleo.

Her site: http://wwwthebookgarden.net/
Her blogs: http://jdswritersblog.blogspot.com & http://itsstorytimeforkids.blogspot.com



Monday, December 3, 2012

A Lovely Sight by the Side of the Road on a Monday Morning

This morning I was on the road early, traveling up to NH for a morning of classroom visits. As I drove along, I was thinking about the state of the world and how frightening it can all seem sometimes. I said a prayer for the world to be a little kinder and to slow down to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.

Along the highway there came a place where the road widened out to accomodate a scenic overlook. A fiery orange sun was just rising over foothills shrouded with morning mist. First I noticed the car that had parked there. Then I noticed something else: An adult sat on the guardrail, facing the foothills. The adult held a child in his or her lap. Both were parka-clad with hoods up, huddled together for warmth in the chilly morning air.

There, on a manic Monday morning, when most of the world was still rubbing its eyes awake and finishing that first cup of coffee during the morning commute, a parent had decided that it was extremely important to share the rising of the sun over the misty foothills of Western Massachusetts with his or her child. It was the most comforting sight, and the memory of it stayed with me throughout the day.





Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Morning

Last night I fell asleep on the couch. I knew I should go up to to bed, but I couldn't seem to make myself leave the living room. There is something so soothing and healing about a wood fire and it seemed like it would be such an effort to lift the quilt that covered me and pad upstairs. Besides, the old cat sleeping in my lap would not have been pleased.

This morning, the world outside is all one color: White. Not because it is snowing, but because a thick fog embraces us. It's created a sort of painting, in which the bare branches of the trees and bushes are sillouetted against a white background.

With fog, you can't see too far into the distance. In life we are often looking too far ahead, thinking that we can know the future. The fog reminds us that we can only see a little way. It reminds us that if we walk into the fog, what lies ahead will be revealed only with that next step, and the next. And the next.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Staying Present

I'm in New England now, and it's snowing out. My neices are in school and my sister and brother-in-law have gone to work, so I have their lovely home to myself. I brought in a bunch of wood so that there would be a good supply of dry wood, and then I took a walk.

Walking in the snow is such a peaceful, healing thing to do. Somehow everything seems quieter when it snows. Now I'm sitting in a comfy chair in the living room, feet up on the hassock and a cozy blanket covering my legs. I've got a nice fire going in the hearth, gentle music playing and a hot cuppa coffee by my side.

A Facebook friend shared this article and I wanted to pass it on to you. It's about our tendency to allow worries about imagined future events to steal our present joy. The author expresses it so beautifully and compassionately. This is something I've struggled with a lot this year, as I sometimes allowed my fears about the future impose on my enjoyment of the present. It's something I've consciously worked on - and continue to work on, and it was nice to have someone else express the experience and feelings out loud so the rest can remember that we are not alone in our challenges. Here's the link to the article: NYT Article

While you read it, I'm going to stare out the window at the falling snow, listen to the music, enjoy the warmth of the fire, and try to stay with just the experience of those things, in this moment, now.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The winners of  THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE BOOK GIVEAWAY are ...

DRUMROLL.....

M.K.
AND
SUZANNE DRAZIC!

CONGRATULATIONS! Please email me at melissaanngoodwin@yahoo.com with your mailing address, and I'll send your signed copies to you next week.

I'm off to New England for 10 days of classroom visits and signings! Talk to you all soon.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Author JD Holiday reviews The Christmas Village

Pop over to author JD Holiday's blog for this review of The Christmas Village, which she calls "the best Christmas story I've read." Woo-hoo!!

Here's the link: JD's Writer Blog

And don't forget to leave a comment here this week to be entered to win a signed copy of The Christmas Village!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Check Out My Feature Article in Cape Women Online Magazine

Hi Everyone!

I've got a feature article in the holiday issue of  Cape Women Online Magazine. It's called, "Weaving Tales with Childhood Memories," and talks about how those memories factored into the writing of The Christmas Village. Many thanks to editor Katie O'Sullivan at the magazine for the invitation to contribute.

Pop over and check it out if you have a chance. Here's the link: Weaving Tales

AND, my BOOK GIVEAWAY continues through this week (see previous post) so if you'd like a chance to win a SIGNED COPY of The Christmas Village, leave a comment on any post through the week and you'll be entered. And please pass on the word to your followers.

I'm so grateful for all my wonderful friends and all the blessings of life. Happy Thanksgiving week to all!

Melissa


Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Giveaway: THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE!

With gratitude for all my blessings, I'm having a
BOOK GIVEAWAY!


I'll be giving away two signed copies of
The Christmas Village



Here's how to win:

Leave a comment on this post and you are entered!
Mention my book on your blog, you are entered again (Just let me know that you did) Let your followers know that they can enter the giveaway by popping over here and leaving a comment.

Tell your followers to mention they came from your blog, and YOU are entered again.
The blogger who sends the most followers is entered again.

That's lots of chances to win!

I can only ship books within the U.S., but if you are one of my international friends and have someone in the U.S. you'd like the book to go to, you can enter and win it for a U.S. friend. (Sorry about that - I have so many friends in other countries and you know I love you!)

The giveaway is open through the day after Thanksgiving! Thanks for letting everyone know!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Empty Bowls

Tonight we went to an Empty Bowls fundraiser to raise money for food for homeless students at local schools.


You get a bowl handmade by a child from a local school, and local restaurants provide soup and rolls:



These guys played great Blue Grass music:


It was a good time, supporting a good cause.

The other day we went to a beautiful beach called Boca Grande. This blue heron was on the beach:


He started following me - I turned around and it looked like he was sneaking up on me! It's very lovely here and we are considering it as a place to settle down. I'll keep you posted on that!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day

Sending out thoughts and prayers to all who served and serve in the military - thank you for your sacrifice. I long for a future in which we need not send you off anymore. Be safe, brave ones.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Punta Gorda, Florida

We're settled into a motorhome park here in Punta Gorda, Florida for a while. There is a nice swimming pool, and I am able to put my yoga mat down beside it to practice. It's the first time I've had a really decent spot to do my yoga since hitting the road. That's because many of the camping spots were gravel or grass, or sometimes it was just too buggy. I'd do a little bit of yoga without my mat and wearing my sneakers for traction, but it's not the same.

Despite that, my body it isn't sore like it often was when I was practicing more regularly. I find I can move into the poses more easily, and I kicked up into handstand easily yesterday. Sometimes, less is more.

We have friends who settled here after traveling in their motorhome for a year. It's nice to have people take you under their wing and let you know about fun things to do and places to go. Sometimes on the road you feel like you are out there all alone, so it's nice when we stop in places where there are familiar faces nearby.

Friday, November 2, 2012

And now we rest ....

We've made it to Punta Gorda Florida, and we'll be staying in this general area for several months now. We're at one RV park for a couple of months, and then we move around a bit, but never going too far - until we head toward Miami in March.

Later this month, I'm heading back up to New England (by plane, not RV) for classroom visits and a book signing on Cape Cod. I'll be talking with 3rd, 4th, 5th & 6th graders at five schools. My signing is on Friday, Nov. 30 from 6 to 8pm at the One Centre Street Inn in Yarmouth Port, MA.

I feel ready to get back to writing and hope to make some headway with that. I actually have three projects started, one of which is the sequel to The Christmas Village. We'll see which project calls to me strongest, though I suspect that meeting with all the kids later this month will probably push me in the direction of the sequel.

These past six months have been a whirlwind of travel and adventure, which really hasn't been the best environment for trying to write. It's been a wonderful gift to spend more time with my dear hubby, RVPainter. We've been through the ups and downs of this together and we make a pretty darn good team.

After a few months in, I just decided to let it be okay to not try to accomplish things, and just take in and enjoy all that we were seeing and experiencing. That's a new thing for me - letting it be okay not to strive, or produce or accomplish. Are you like that?

As the season progresses, I hope you'll mention my book, The Christmas Village to friends and family. It's gotten great reviews on Amazon.com, on Goodreads and from bloggers - but most importantly, from kids. You can read some of those reviews down the right side of the blog.



Talk to you all soon my friends!




Saturday, October 27, 2012

On the Road: We're off to Santa Rosa Beach

We've been in Pensacola for just about two weeks and it's time to head on to the next stop.

One of the fun things to do in Pensacola is to visit the National Naval Air Museum on the Pensacola Naval Base. It's FREE! There are planes from WWI to present, though none of the current technology of course - as they wouldn't want to be giving away military secrets. RVPainter and I were reflecting on how much history we've learned on every stop of our journey, and how much of that history revolves around war.

And, I was able to sit in one of the Blue Angels jets - many mornings they fly overhead practicing formations, and they are so much fun to watch.  Well, we're off to Santa Rosa Beach, which is not too far a drive from here. It looks like it's beautiful there too, so I'll let you know.




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On the Road: Gulf Breeze, Pensacola, Florida

We've made it to Florida! We'll be heading down to the Punta Gorda area soon, but right now we are in Gulf Breeze on the Florida panhandle. The beaches and water are gorgeous:


Beautiful sunsets:



And lots of wildlife - birds, including eagles, as well as lots of butterflies. In fact, they've got this sign posted on the road:


Sure do hope he makes it wherever he's going!

Pensacola is the home of the Blue Angels and the National Naval Aviation Museum. This morning on our walk we were treating to a Blue Angels practice overhead - but of course I didn't have my camera! Well, take my word for it, it was spectacular and so fun to watch!

Hope you're having a great October day :)




Thursday, October 18, 2012

On the Road: Memphis, Tennessee

I'm a little behind in posting - we've actually moved on down to beautiful Gulf Breeze, Florida now. Our last stop - after Nashville - was Memphis, Tennessee. We were there for just two days, so the two things we did were to go to Graceland and to the National Civil Rights Museum. What a contrast!

We tried something different with the camping - there is an AgriCenter International where they do farming and have a big events complex and also a great Farmer's Market, and they have an RV Park. We knew the RV park would be "rustic" - meaning it was more or less a field with RV hook-ups. But since we were just there a couple of nights and the idea of the big Farmer's Market was appealing, we gave it a try. Well the RV park was pretty dumpy! I can't recommend it even as just a stopover. So, as Forrest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get." We add to our list of "experiences" - which is our way of saying that even the things that aren't great are still part of the adventure ....

The Farmer's Market was extremely nice:



The first day, we went to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. I was curious to see it and much of it was quite interesting. I have to say though, that it is the most over-commercialized place I have ever been, and that part is almost offensive. And, it's quite expensive - you pay $10 to park and the Platinum Tour is $36 per person. So that is $82 for two people to visit Graceland. I don't regret it, but if you plan to go, just know that it's pricey and you may feel as I did - Glad I saw it, but not sure it was worth the price!

Here are some pictures:

From the outside, Graceland is a gracious southern mansion



Inside, it's a time-warp - the rooms preserved as they were decorated when Elvis lived there. Of course the decor was from the times, and that in of itself is interesting! What were we thinking with shag rugs? But even for the times, Graceland's decor is rather strange - though I don't think anyone would be surprised by that!


The living room

The media room
The famous Jungle Room
Displays of Elvis perforrmance costumes
The Pink Cadillac
The next day, we went to the National Civil Rights Museum. This is located at the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was killed. This was a totally different experience - very moving and educational. And, parking was free and it only cost $11 per person for the museum. There was a 30-minute film about Martin Luther King's last days and his assassination. You can view the room he stayed in the night before he was killed, and the spot on the balcony outside his room where he lay shot. You also tour the building across the street, including the room from which James Earl Ray fired the fatal shot. But it's not just about MLK, there is the whole history of the Civil Rights Movement - the signficant events, marches, murders, protests and all the key players. Really inspirational to remember - or learn for the first time - about simple, ordinary people who put their lives at risk for equal rights.

The National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel


The wreath is placed where Martin Luther King was standing when he was shot. The cars are placed just the way the scene appeared at the time.


The place where Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony outside his room.

So, we visited two places of history, honoring two men who died too young, and who both were called "King." Graceland was interesting but very commercial. The National Civil Rights Museum was very moving and educational. It was a weird contrast for us over the two days, and I have to say that we got more out of the Civil Rights museum.

We're in Florida now, and we'll be moving further south in a couple of weeks.  Hope you're all having a great day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Looking Back on Six Months on the Road

Hard to believe, but RVPainter and I headed out on this RV Adventure just six months ago. I can't believe all we've done and seen in that short time - it makes it seem much longer, and yet it's also gone by in a flash! The trip to England and Wales came at the perfect time at the start of September. When we got back and started out again on the road, I felt different - more settled, less scared.

I have to admit that the trip to England and Wales was my favorite part of this year - because it had a special personal meaning for me; because we got to see dear friends Deirdre and Nigel and meet their little ones; because we made wonderful new friends from the Liverpool Blue Coat school; and because well, we simply loved it: London, Bath, Liverpool and Beaumaris.

Here's a little recap of this journey since it began when we started out on April 5th:


Back in a flash to Santa Fe to say Goodbye to dear friends


First major stop: San Antonio Texas:



Second major stop: Charleston, SC



Up to New England: Memorial Day with my family & Dick's family reunion



Up into Maine:



On to Nova Scotia...




Then to Quebec, "Our Paris":



Then ... Back to Elkhart, Indiana for warranty work on the RV :(

Who wants to see pictures of that??? Not me!!

Then! On to England and Wales.

London

London

Stonehenge

Liverpool Blue Coat School

Beaumaris

Then ... back to Elkhart again!! :(
No pictures for that either...

Then we headed into Kentucky and down here to Nashville. Next we're going to Memphis to see Elvis, and after that, it's on down to Florida.

10,000 land miles in the RV, plus a few thousand to England and back - it's been quite a journey so far.

Next post I'll tell you the best and worst parts about life on the road....





Friday, October 5, 2012

On the Road: Nashville

Well, we've landed in Nashville, Tennessee for about a week. Yesterday we went to the Grand Ole Opry Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry, and today we went to the Ryman Auditorium (the original Grand Ole Opry) and wandered around downtown for a bit.

I've actually been to Nashville once before -when I worked for UNUM, we had one of the sales conferences here at the Grand Ole Opry hotel. I remember walking around the hotel with my friend Sue. And, when our departure was delayed, Sue and I ended up going to a show at the Ryman. Vince Gill hosted it, and Tricia Yearwood was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry! Fortunate for us - we got to see two big name stars that night, just by chance.

Okay, here are some pictures of what we've seen so far:

This is inside the Grand Ole Opry hotel - that place is HUGE!

This is INSIDE the hotel! It actually reminded us of the Riverwalk in San Antonio

RVPainter outside the Grand Ole Opry

Johnny Cash's boots - at the Ryman

Inside the Ryman Auditorium - they are setting up the stage for tonight's show with Mary Chapin Carpenter

Down on Broadway

and more

BB King's restaurant and club

RVPainter enjoying ribs at Martin's BBQ in Nolensville