Friday, September 30, 2011

We've Moved!

That's not really us!

My goodness, what a week! We moved out of our house on Tuesday and closed on the sale Wednesday. As one of my FB friends said, "Done and Done!"

As many of you know, this move is a two-step process:
1. Move to apartment here in Santa Fe for six months
2. Buy an RV  and hit the road in April 2012.

I learned a couple of important things this week:
1. We still have too much stuff! We threw away, donated and stored a great deal BEFORE the move. But as we loaded and unloaded the truck on Tuesday, it was clear that more had to go. Nothing encourages you to get rid of your stuff as much as having to carry it into a truck and out again! We are opening every box and tub with an eye to what else can go can go.
2. We are not as young as we used to be. 'Nuff said.
3. We are very, very fortunate. It's hard to sell a house in this market, but we did. And many people have had to move out of necessity, not choice. I know how lucky we are to have been able to do this as a positive choice, and I'm grateful.

I have slept better the last two nights in our cozy little apartment than I have for the last six months. Not just because the move was exhausting, but because of the relief of the stress of it all. I feel clear and uncluttered in my mind now too.

In the midst of all that, I got the second proof of The Christmas Village yesterday, and this should be (fingers & toes crossed) the thumbs-up, which means it will be up on by 10/15 and available from me for those who want signed copies, sooner.

I'll be doing a bunch of fun interviews and posts all over BloggiLand now through year-end, so I hope I won't annoy you too much with all that. I'll be asking you to spread the word about the book, and I'm very grateful for all the support you've given me and the smiles you bring to my face.

Hugs n More Hugs!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My Interview on The Christmas Spirit Blog

Michelle Miller generously offered to kick off the countdown to the release of The Christmas Village at her blog "The Christmas Spirit." Michelle loves all things Christmas, and she loves books, so you know she is a terrific person! She also writes a blog called "The True Book Addict."

Michelle asked me some great questions about the book and my writing process, as well as my writing motivation. And, if you leave a comment about the interview, you'll be entered into the giveaway for a signed copy of The Christmas Village. If you go to The Christmas Village Book Facebook page and LIKE it, you'll be entered for an extra chance to win!

Many thanks, Michelle for your generous spirit and kind heart.

Won't you pop over to Michelle's blog and leave a comment? Here's the linky: The Christmas Spirit Blog

Thanks so much!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Santa Fe Farmer's Market

A nice little break from packing, moving or marketing a book ... this morning we went down to the Santa Fe Farmer's Market, which is now located at the new Railyard Park that was built around the the old Santa Fe train station.

The market is a smorgasbord of sensory delights. Today the spicy, woodsy smell of roasting chiles saturated the air.  The abundant offerings of fruit and vegetables reflected the colors of early fall: bold red and yellow tomatoes; orangey pumpkins; deep purple eggplants and shiny red, yellow and green peppers.

The Farmer's Market always reminds me that so much that is beautiful in the world is Mother Nature's freely given gift. Here are some photos that I took today - some of the beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables, and a few examples of what we call "Santa Fe Style," - the very individualistic and rather eccentric way that Santa Feans like to dress.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Life in Storage

Happy Buddha watches over our stuff

Does it ever end? The packing I mean. Last weekend, we moved most of our stuff to storage. There it is in the picture - our 31-year-life together in a 10 by 10 storage unit.

Today we made another trip there with a few wayward things that didn't make it on the first go-round. The rest of the day, I've been packing up the stuff that will go to the apartment with us. And you know what? It's still seems like too much stuff!

We have sold some pieces of furniture and donated countless others. Every day we put things out on the curb with a Free Stuff sign, and it's gone in minutes. Dick has donated paintings for silent auctions and given others away to friends. I like the idea that we can visit his art when we visit them.

In spite of how much work this is, it feels good. Once you get started with the purge, it's hard to stop. I'm amazed at how ruthless I can get - more than once, I've clung to some item, but then when it doesn't fit in the 10 by 10, I am miraculously able to part with it! Over the next six months, I'm going through the stuff I've kept and I'm sure the purge will continue.

This view of our stored stuff below looks like it might have been taken on the Titanic after it went bottoms-up...

Creative use of the available storage space

Friday, September 16, 2011


Moving is such a strange and emotional experience. I am the kind of person who likes to stay put, so to think that I have now lived in 9 homes in 5 states is quite surprising. I personally, am flabbergasted by it. My parents lived in their home for 54 years, and honestly, if there had been a category for high school yearbook awards for "Most Likely Never to Move More than 50 Feet from the House She Grew Up in," I would have voted for me!

This current move is a particularly strange one, because we aren't moving to another house. We are moving into an apartment for six months, and then in the spring we will buy an RV and travel for the foreseeable future - as long as it takes us to see what we want to see and get tired of it.  So, this weekend, we are moving most of our worldly belongings into storage and I don't know when I'll see them again.

Stuff is just stuff. I know that. We have sold a few pieces, donated much, and thrown a lot away. But there are things I simply can't part with - my mother's china, her tea cup collection, a few family antiques, some pieces that Dick and I bought during our 31-so-far years together.

There is a strange dynamic that kicks in when I am packing to move. While I am emptying cupboards, wrapping fragile treasures in paper and bubblewrap, I am forced to look at my life as represented by these things. This was from our first Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, these were Grandma Goodwin's playing cards, this was from our house in East Boothbay, we bought this when we moved here....every "thing" represents a person or a phase in my life, or both. While I am packing, my heart is leaden with sadness. But then, when the boxes are taped up and stacked away, I feel strangely ... free.

It happens every time. While you're doing it, there is sadness. But afterward, there is liberation. It felt wonderful yesterday when the fellows from Salvation Army carted off some furniture. And it felt wonderful this morning when we dragged out boxes for the large-item pick-up.

Stuff is just stuff. But some stuff is the stuff of our lives and we shouldn't feel bad about wanting to keep it. Now that it's boxed up and ready for storage, I am fine. I don't miss it, and I feel lighter. And sometime, on the other side of our travels, I will be delighted to see it again. It will be a bit like Christmas, opening the boxes.

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Circle Game

I noticed something on Facebook the other day - maybe it's something new, or maybe I just never noticed before. Over there on the right side was the re-posting of a post I made a year ago. Another day, I saw one from "this day in 2009."  Last week, my Phantom Facebook Retro Post was one word: "FINI!" Only I could know that this post from September 2010 referred to the fact that I had just finished writing my book. That was kind of cool, but honestly, I don't really want FB to recycle my old posts and just toss them back at me like that. It's disorienting!

For some reason this all reminded me of the chorus from the Joni Mitchell song, The Circle Game:

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return, we can only look behind from where we came
And go round and round and round in the circle game.

The song has been in my head all week, and now, I suppose, it will be in yours.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

You are the first to see the cover of The Christmas Village!!

I'm so excited to show you the cover of The Christmas Village! It won't be long now until the book is a book and available for sale. I will keep you posted on that (of course :-)

The Christmas Village now has a Facebook page, and I would love it if you would visit sometime soon and "Like" it. And, if you would spread the word to your followers and ask them to "Like" it too, well, I will just kiss your pretty little bloggi feet! Or, at least I'll send you a Big Virtual Hug!

Here's the Facebook link: The Christmas Village Facebook Page

I'm very grateful for the wonderful bloggi friends I've made over this past year. It's remarkable how we manage to find each other out here in cyberspace, and make lasting and heartfelt connections.  We share not just our journeys as writers, artists and bloggers, but also as regular old people who are just trying to navigate through life with grace, compassion and humor. In yoga, we have the word "sanga," which means community. This is truly a bloggi sanga of generous souls who make me think and make me laugh. Thank you.

There will be a separate website for the book once it's available for sale, but this blog is something I do for me, not for the book, and I'll be keeping it.

Thank you again for all the kindness and support that comes my way here in bloggi land. XOXOXO

Monday, September 5, 2011

Book Signing Date Set!

I'll be holding a book signing for
The Christmas Village
 89R Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts
 Saturday, November 12th, from noon to 5pm

Hope to see you there, and please tell your friends who live in Massachusetts or in the Southern New Hampshire area!

Click here:  The Andover Book Store
The Andover Book Store is a Hugo Bookstore
Phone: 978-475-0143

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hurry Up and Wait

We've had good news on the home sale front - the house appraised for the agreed-upon price, and our list of home-inspection to-do's is short and to-doable. So we'll be to-doing the to-do's pronto mundo.  But we're still in a bit of limbo, because the buyers have to close on the sale of their house ...

It's a bit of a conundrum, because, if all goes through, we'll be moving out at the end of the month. So, we've had to find a place to move to (temporary digs until spring) and we've had to start packing. The house is starting to look bare, which on the one hand is painful, but on the other hand, makes it feel less like home, and easier to leave!

And, we will have to move our stuff to storage - potentially before we know for sure-for sure that things are for sure...

It wears me down! Plus packing makes me sad - it's like packing up and putting away a phase of your life. These packed boxes mean the Santa Fe phase is over, and Santa Fe has been a wonderul phase. Sigh. I know, endings are beginnings, and I'm looking forward to this new beginning. It's limbo land that I don't love so much...

On the very positive side though, I chose my book "cover concept" - meaning the style of font for the title, my name and back cover text. This means that the book is very close to FINI! I think we are talking two weeks to holding one in my hand.

And this past week, Tony from the Blue Coat Brotherly Society sent me an email to say that some of the "Beaumaris Girls" had been talking about my inquiries about my mother's time at the Liverpool Blue Coat School and as an evacuee with the school to Beaumaris, Wales in 1939, and they had started (possibly) to remember things about Mom. One of the "girls" - now in their early 80's, had asked for my address so that she can write to me. For some background on this, you can read some of my older posts called "The Kindness of Strangers." Having someone actually remember Mom, and to remember sharing those days with her, would be remarkable, and moving and just a wonderful, amazing gift.