Saturday, March 31, 2012

For Mom

Gwendolyn Ardythe Simm Goodwin
 August 6, 1925 - March 31, 2011

Miss you,  Mom and Dad

  Written for Mom's Memorial Service in June 2011

I’ll Remember You
Melissa Ann Goodwin

I’ll remember you

on the rocks at Gray’s,

your knitting needles clacking

and the seagulls flocking.

When sunny days seem to last forever

and thunder rolls

like a distant drummer,

I’ll remember you,

in summer.

I’ll remember you

at the kitchen door,

as I waved goodbye

‘neath an autumn sky.

When leaves are piled and chestnuts fall

with bittersweet vines

and popcorn balls,

I’ll remember you,

in fall.

I’ll remember you

knitting mittens

by a fire warm

in a snowy storm.

When stars shine bright like cosmic glitter

and snowflakes fly

and winds blow bitter,

I’ll remember you,

in winter.

I’ll remember you

on days in May,

when poppies bloom

and winter’s gloom is left behind.

When all the world

feels fresh and new

And robins sing,

I’ll remember you,

in spring.

June 1940, age 14. Just before returning to the U.S. from Wales at the start of WWII

Probably around 1938 or 1939, near Chester England,.
She's got the required haircut of the Liverpool Blue Coat School

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More Things I'll Miss About Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a great walking city. It feels more like a town than a city really - there are no tall buildings here, and the old Spanish architecture has been well-preserved. Santa Fe recently celebrated its 400th anniversary - that's right, I said 400! In fact, it claims the status of "oldest capital city" in the U.S., because it was a capital city in Mexico before the territory became the U.S. state of New Mexico. As an aside, I am amazed at how many people (Americans) do not seem to understand that New Mexico is one of the 50 states of the U.S.A.! When we moved here from Arizona, we had a heck of a time convincing the person at Allstate to give us car insurance, because she was convinced New Mexico was not in the U.S. Why the concept is any different from New Hampshire and New York, I don't know; but it seems difficult for some folks to grasp. But I digress.... :D

Santa Fe's downtown streets are narrow and winding. They remind me a little of the streets of Old Quebec. The Plaza is the central gathering place, where major events like Indian Market are held. On any given day, the Plaza buzzes with the energy of tourists, vendors and street musicians. It's where you go on the 4th of July for the pancake breakfast and the bands that play all day. So here are a few more pictures we took when we were around and about town the other day. Enjoy!

The Plaza on a sunny spring day. Soon the trees will leaf out and it will look beautiful. In the background is The Palace of the Governors, where the Native Americans sell their jewelry and pottery. As s I understand it, The Palace of the Governors was the secret entrance for the scientists who began working on the atomic bomb. Not my favorite part of the Santa Fe story, except for the intrigue.
The Lensic, where many wonderful cultural events are held. I've seen plays and concerts here, also also saw/heard writer Anne Lamott speak here one wonderful night.
The cathedral, right in the center of town. The La Fonda Hotel is on the right.

Closer view of the cathedral

Inside, it is SPECTACULAR!

Front doors of the church

Beautiful artictecture

Lobby of the La Fonda Holel

One of our favorite dining spots - Burro Alley Cafe on W. San Franscisco Street

Lots of boutiques with great fashion

These shoes are funky, but I kind of like and want them. What do you think??

And as promised, a picture of me sitting in our empty living room of the Tiny Little Unit, in my new beach chair and wearing my new red boots.  P.S. Never let someone take a picture of you sitting down, it's not a good angle!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Today we move almost everything else out of the Tiny Little Unit and into the Storage Bunker, or the smaller Storage Bunker Annex. By tonight, we'll have just two beach chairs to sit in, our TV, a couple of lamps and air mattrasses for sleeping upon, here at   the Tiny Little Unit.  Since it's a busy day, I'll direct you over to the hubby's blog post at RVPainter -  he's written a cute post that will give you an idea of what our day will be like.

I will post pictures of us sitting in our beach chairs in our living room tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Big Week #1

It feels like every week for the foreseeable future will be a Big Week, because we will be transitioning from one way of life to another and each week will represent a different stage of the process.

Today is my last day of work at YogaSource, but I'll write about that another day because YogaSource is a very special place, filled with very special people, and deserves its own post.

Tomorrow, we move the rest of our stuff to the infamous Storage Bunker, and on Saturday, we officially end our six month stint here in the Tiny Little Unit. When my friend Cynthia comes to pick up the big flat screen TV on Saturday, then we'll know our time here is done :D

Next week we fly to Indiana to get the RV. We’ll actually live in it right in the Nexus parking lot so that we can holler, “Hey you guys, get over here,” if something doesn’t work right.

Then we’ll move to a nearby campground where we’ll be on our own for a few days. We’re looking forward to going back to Shipshewana, the lovely Amish town not far from Elkhart.

We head back toward Santa Fe around April 9th. That should be interesting, because we’ll be driving and then finding someplace to stop over at night. If we can’t find a campground, or a Sam’s Club (where they let you stay the night in their parking lot for free) we’ll just go to a hotel. No need for any scary drama on the first leg of our journey - there will be enough of that just driving the RV!

The last two weeks of April, we’ll be back in Santa Fe, getting our stuff and continuing to practice playing RV House. I’m looking forward to that last chance to say goodbye to my YogaSource family and hopefully get in some yoga classes.

Oh! And ever since we moved to the Southwest 12 years ago, RVPainter has been nagging me to get a pair of cowgirl boots. Cowgirl really isn’t my fashion style, but I had recently been warming to the idea of a nice pair of boots. Problem is they are so pricey and I just couldn’t see spending the money! Then RVPainter spotted a gorgeous pair of RED Ariat cowgirl boots on sale at Zappos (don’t ask me what he was doing on Zappos). I had to admit these boots were fabulous and the price was right so they are now mine and HERE THEY ARE:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Things I'll Miss About Santa Fe: Canyon Road

Well, we're winding down now, so over the next week and a half, I'll put up  posts about some of the things we'll miss about Santa Fe. They aren't in any particular order, so I'll begin with pictures  from Canyon Road.

Santa Fe is full of art galleries, but Canyon Road is kind of the official art district. It's a narrow winding road, lined with galleries, shops and restaurants. We love walking up and down it, in every season.

Love these dancing sheep!

RV Painter loves the dancing sheep too -a little too much, if you ask me!

Cool Bronze

Funky Santa Fe style

A little side street off Canyon Road

Guess we better buy folk art ...

We bought a Happy Rug like the red one - it will go in the RV

The only reason this restaurant is worth mentioning is that actress Kate Walsh ate there the same day we did

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Our RV is fini! Here are better pictures than what you've seen before...

The kitchen

The Basement - that's where all my shoes will go :D
Also it's your guest room :D

Looking toward the back - that's the bedroom back there.

Shower with glass door

cabinet in the bathrrom

Self-explanatory :D

My couch has seatbelts, does yours?

This is Claude - he owns Nexus and he is covering up our Dreamcatcher logo because we want to see it for the first time when we get there - and not before!

The slide-out that makes the living space bigger

The retractable awning that makes a nice outdoor living space for us

Looking toward the front through the living area

Our dining table has cup holders :D

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Roundup

I'm amazed at how things seem to circle back around just as you are about to leave a place. For example, in yesterday's Santa Fe New Mexican, there were two articles to which I have a connection.

The first was the letter that hubby and I wrote about the whole You Can't Walk in the Santa Fe National Cemetery thing. That was in the "My View" section. It had been a while since we sent the letter to the paper, so I figured maybe they just weren't going to put it in. Frankly, though we're still ticked off about it, at this point we are ready to move on and leave it behind us. But it is nice closure to see that we pursued it as far as we could.

The second thing was the paper's headline saying that Scott Owens, who last year was found not guilty  of causing the deaths of four teenagers in a 2009 car crash, was arrested again for DUI. I was an alternate juror on Scott's trial, in which it was stipulated that he was indeed highly intoxicated, but his defense attorney argued that he nevertheless was NOT the cause of the accident. I was relieved not to ultimately be a deciding juror, but I did sit through the entire, very intense, 10-day trial.

I was shocked when he was found not guilty, and would not have voted that way. But when that's how it came out, I prayed that he would seize this huge second chance he'd been given, straighten himself out, live a sober life and be an asset to society.  So I am very saddened by this turn of events.

I've found this circling around of past events has happened every time I've been ready to move on from a place. Does this happen to you too?

Oh! And P.S. In just two weeks, we've raised more than $10,000 for Jenise!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


It's Thursday already, and I haven't been here at my blog all week. I do have updates about my friend, Jenise, who was in the car accident, and about her dog, Laverne, who was also badly hurt. But first, I want to share that my younger sister Jessica's best friend Claudia died Tuesday night from cancer. Claudia was only 53, but she looked 30. She was funny and fun, kind and a great cook. When my dad died, Claudia showed up at Jess' house with platters of beautiful food. I feel so sad about Claudia, and for my sister - who has lost both her parents AND her best friend in the past 3 years.

Jenise has had two surgeries: The first was on her spine, where they attached two steel plates to her L1Vertebra, which had "blown out." The second one was to fix her ribs, which also involved steel plates. The doctors say that everything went well and that "in 90 days she won't even remember the accident." But that's hard to believe after seeing her for literally two seconds yesterday, when she was in so much pain. I think though, that the worst is over and recovery will begin. She's a yoga teacher, so she's fit and strong. She's still in the ICU and I expect she'll be in the hospital for another week.

We've raised more than $7000 for Jenise by selling her handmade jewelry at the yoga studio and from donations. The wonderful thing is that there is no "big check" in that total - I think the biggest check I saw was for $250. So it's many, many people giving. So many people have offered to help her in different ways. An artist has given us her greeting cards to sell, with all proceeds going to Jenise. The interior decorator next door to the studio is donating 10% of all her retail sales through April.

Laverne is getting private physical therapy down in Albuquerque. A promising sign this week is that she tried to stand and put weight on her back legs. The spinal cord trauma takes 10 days to heal they say, and that's when they will know if there is hope for Laverne to walk. We've set up a separate fund to help with expenses for Laverne's care.

Life can be so sad, but there is also such kindness and love out there. Sometimes we don't know how much, until the bad thing happens. Jenise is overwhelmed that so many people want to help her, she said she "didn't think people would help so much." It's gone a great long way to relieve her anxiety about what comes next in her life.

So that's the scoop. RVPainter and I are having a day of errands to clear our heads. We're taking boxes to ship to Elkhart  - stuff we need in the RV when we get there. And then of course to storage to put stuff in and to look for my sneakers. :-) Weather has been like spring, so later we'll take a walk downtown (since we are still personna non grata over at the cemetery) and sit in the Plaza and watch life go by.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Picture of our RV Kitchen

Got this picture of our finished RV kitchen - I'd forgotten that we got the cherry cabinetry over the refrigerator too - I'm glad we did because it looks nice (you can see 1/2 of it over on the right) ! We are counting down now:

Three weeks and three days until we fly to Elkhart, Indiana to pick up the RV
Eight more days of work at YogaSource
As it gets closer, I feel sadder about leaving my friends here, but really, I am Ready to Roll!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Shhh...I'm still resting but I wanted to tell you this!!

Remember when Greg Allen visited not too long ago?

This is Greg - remember him?

                                                              And this is his book - remember it?

And remember how he wrote us a nice post about the inspiration for his book, Chicken Boy, The Amazing Adventures of a Super Hero with Autism? And how he asked us to vote for it in the Mee Genius Author Challenge? And remember how lots of us did?


He won!! Here's the link to prove it: Mee Genius Challenge Winners

I'm still resting :-), but this was too exciting not to share right away! Greg says thank you again for all your support and your kind comments when he was here to visit.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Too Pooped to Pop

My mom used to say that: Too pooped to pop. Did she make that up or did everyone say it? Anyway, that's what I am today. There was much to do to organize a fundraising campaign to help Jenise, besides all the emotion and shock of having my dear friend badly injured. So too pooped to pop is what I am today.

I'm holding a benefit Restorative Yoga Class on Saturday, where all the donations will go to Jenise, so I am saving my energy up for that. So I'm going to take a bloggibreak through this weekend. I'll probably come visit you at some point, but I don't plan to post.  Your sweet, supportive comments have been much appreciated throughout this week. Thanks so much. Have a lovely weekend, and stay safe!

P.S. If you think to tell your friends about the half-price e-Book promotion for The Christmas Village on Smashwords through this week, that would be appreciated.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Quickie

With everything going on with my friend (update follows), I forgot to mention that I'm participating in the Smashwords Read an eBook Week. The e-book version of The Christmas Village can be downloaded to Kindle, Nook, Ipad, PC and all e-thingys for $1.50 (half-price) all week. I'd love it if you'd share that information with your friends. The link to my book is here: The Christmas Village on Smashwords.  A whole buncha reviews of the book can be found HERE.

My friend Jenise's surgery (see previous post) was postponed to the weekend. She needs operations on both Friday and Saturday. There is talk of inserting metal plates or rods, they have to fix her punctured lung, and there is some damage to her vertebrae. I'm afraid it will be a long haul.

Jenise is a person who always steps in to help when help is needed. Now it will be our turn to take care of her while she heals. We'll set up a schedule for delivery meals to her. Someone has offered to pay for the dog's MRI. The husband of one of our students is the head anesthesiologist and he's going to check on her and if possible, be the one to handle her case. I'm going to organize benefit yoga classes, and we'll see what other ideas we come up with. If you've ever doubted that people will help if something bad happens to you - DON'T. I guarantee you, people will help.

Thanks so much for your kind words and support after yesterday's post. xoxo

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Carpe Diem, but Slow Down and Pay Attention

We seem to be in a strange phase at the yoga studio. I told you about our dear teacher Cynthia, who got the sudden diagnosis of breast cancer. Then yesterday, another teacher, Jenise, was in a bad auto accident. She is in the hospital and will have surgery today. They are putting steel plates in her ribs, and they need to see how much damage was in her back. Her dog, Laverne was also in the car, and Laverne is not in good shape either.

Cynthia, I'm happy to say, is doing well after her mastectomy. Please say prayers for her continued healing and for Jenise, who was actually the first person who befriended me here in Santa Fe and at YogaSource. I'll go to visit her later today, after her surgery. And prayers too, for Laverne, whom Jenise dearly loves.

I'm co-teaching the Level 3 yoga class this morning. We're going to do a wall rope sequence that elongates the spine. I'll start the class by having everyone chant the Lokah chant 8 times. The words are:

Lokah Somastah Sukino Bhvantu

The meaning is: May all beings in all realms experience joy.

It's the one we do when we need to send loving and healing thoughts to someone - or to the whole world. I'll be saying prayers too, but there is something powerful about a group of people sending a beautiful sound into the world. Jenise has a beautiful singing voice, and she belongs to a group that sings for Hospice patients. Her group is going to sing to her before her surgery this morning.

Last week, both RVPainter and I fell down. We weren't hurt, but whenever you fall, you could get hurt. I take those unexpected events as signs: SLOW DOWN and PAY ATTENTION were my interpretations. Then my friend Jenise decides to go for a hike with her dog on a beautiful spring-like Santa Fe morning. She's driving up the mountain road, reaches for her water bottle and ... in that flash of a second everything changes. She veers off the road and into a ravine.

We never know what lies ahead, what the day will bring. The cover of the journal I bought for myself this year reads Carpe Diem. Let's all seize the day, but please Slow Down and Pay Attenion too. I pass on my sign in case it wasn't just for me, perhaps it was for you too.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Recently, several bloggers I follow have wondered out loud about the future of their blogs, especially how to manage the time that engaging in the world of blogging takes. There was a sense of fatigue attached to the discussion - a feeling of having been worn down by it.

It made me think about how my own blog has evolved, and how glad I am that it has changed over time to be something that I enjoy, rather than something that I "should do because I'm a writer."

In fact, when I started this blog, it was a very secret place - just for ME really - like an online journal. It's another funny "sign" story actually:

I was finishing up yoga teacher training, and in order to complete my certification, I had to do "svadhyaya"  - a self-study project. But I had no idea what to do. At the same time, I was struggling with the balance of yoga and writing in my life, which seemed to have swung toward more yoga and less toward writing. So one night before bed, I asked for a sign to help me know how to balance these two things I love, and oh-by-the-way, what should my self-study project be about? And that night, in the middle of my sleep, a loud voice very clearly said,


I kid you not. Voices in the night and everything.

Not me, but it looks nice doesn't it?

So I started this blog, and called it WriterYogini - now you know why that's my url. I wrote essays that related philosophical aspects of yoga to real daily life events. No one came to read, it was just me, writing about yoga.

Aslo not me, but it could be
Writing about yoga here on my Secret Blog helped me get back in the swing of writing regularly. After a while, it was time to reverse my priorities. I buckled down and finished my book, found an agent, and re-directed the focus of my blog toward writing and book promotion. I actively pursued followership, because I knew that I needed to create a presence for when the book later came out.

But a funny thing happened along the way. I realized that I don't much enjoy writing ABOUT writing. I like it when we just talk about life and the goings on of life. I'm happier just being me and I have observed that when we just talk about the stuff of life, we both have a much better time. Writing is a big part of my life, but it's not my whole life. I think that's where the yoga has helped me understand the concept of finding balance.

There are times, like last fall, when it was important to promote and talk about my book. That's a reality and I'm comfortable with it. And this fall, I'll be doing that again. I hope you can stand it :-)

I'm the one with the red hair ;-)

The point though, is that my blog has evolved from personal yoga journal, to writer-developing- followership, to gal-who-happens-to-be-a-writer just chatting with a bunch of great friends! I'm not out there trying to gobble up followers, I'm just delighted to have these conversations with those who enjoy stopping by.

So, thinking of those who are struggling with the direction of their blogs, or whether or not keeping them going is worth it, I think the problem is that the blog has become a "have to." Any time you feel like you HAVE to do something, it's become work, and when it becomes work it's not so much FUN!

I think that the more we stay with just being who we are and sharing that in a sincere way, it won't matter if we don't post for a few days, or if our latest post wasn't all that fabulous. Our friends will still be there and they'll grant us a ho-hum post because they know they'll probably have a few of those too, and they'll want reciprocal forgiveness. And, who knows, tomorrow's post may be brilliant!  (Hey - no promises!)

So, I'm just glad you're all out there and that we share stories together. What does your blog mean to you?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Where Did Everyone Go?

Was it just me who lost her whole blog roll yesterday? Every time I went to see the feed, there was nothing there! I haven't looked this morning - I hope that Blogger has put you all back where you belong so I can see what you're up to. Hope to make the rounds this weekend, during my writing breaks.

Oh! There you are!
Yesterday we had a snow-spitty day off and on all day. RVPainter kept saying, "I hope it clears up. I think it will clear up." I kept thinking, "I hope it snows all day so I can write." I won. Sorry, sweetie. Today the sun is shining, but the wind is blowing and it's COLD!

I poked my way through writing chapter three yesterday, but I've already got 4 & 5 sketched out, so I think I'll be able to have a decent 1st draft of chapters one through five by the end of the weekend. I'll feel good about that, because I know that later this month and into April, my writing time will be limited because we'll be starting the Big Adventure.

Have a good weekend!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Son of Storage

It's Friday - yay! I thought I would post something a bit more upbeat after my last post about the Bataan Museum. It's important to know about and honor such things, but then we need to lift our spirits. And I can't think of anything that makes us smile more than ... Another episode of Our Life in Storage!

When last we visited our Storage Bunker, it looked like this:

Nice and cozy, yes? But wait ... we aren't done because the storage bunker is holding stuff that will stay in storage when we hit the road AND stuff we are taking with us in the RV. The BIG problem is that the Storage Bunker also has to hold the furniture that we are living with in the apartment! And that has to go in BEFORE we can take out the stuff for the RV, because we have to go get the RV and bring it back here first! I know, it's complicated!!

So, in the spirit of our mottos, Make it Easy and Keep it Simple, we decided to rent a smaller Storage Bunker to put just the RV stuff in. That frees up space in the big Storage Bunker for the rest of our furniture.

So, meet Son of Storage Bunker, where the RV stuff is:

Now when we come back with the RV, we'll just empty this sucker out, turn in the key, and off we'll go!

This weekend I'm writing (working on the sequel to The Christmas Village) and hope to be through chapter five by Sunday night! Have a great weekend everyone :-)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Our Visit to the Santa Fe Bataan Museum

I want to tell you about our visit to the Santa Fe Bataan Museum last Saturday. I'm not really sure why they call it the Bataan Museum actually, because what it really is, is a museum that commemorates and honors the sacrifices of New Mexicans in ALL U.S. wars. So there are artifacts and exhibits from every war, going all the way back to the Civil War.

But the part of the exhibit that really moved me was a simple glass case in the WWII section that held these items:
  • A letter from a young soldier to his sister, reassuring her that he was well and asking her to give his love to the rest of the family
  • An unopened letter (yes, still unopened) addressed to the soldier, with the sister's return address
  • An unopened PACKAGE wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string (yes, still unopened), also addressed to the soldier
  • The army notification to the soldier's family that he had been killed.
More than anything else in the museum, this glass case with its tragic personal items brought home the sacrifice of war and made it feel deeply personal. A young man, thousands of miles from home and about to face battle, writes to his sister. The sister writes back and sends him a package. But before it arrives, he is gone.

The sister asked that her letter and the package never be opened, and there they are still, in a glass case. What did her letter say? What was in the package? We'll never know, because we aren't meant to. Their contents are between a young girl and her soldier brother, and belong only to them.

It made me think about my grandmother and my father, and what it must have been like on the day they got the news that their son and brother, Clinton Foster Goodwin Jr., had died in battle in France during WWII.

While we were wandering around the museum, I was also reminded of the first time I ever heard of the Bataan Death March. It was when I was watching a televised Memorial Day event. Actor Charles Durning, himself a decorated WWII veteran, read one soldier's personal account of the Death March. The whole time that Durning spoke, tears streamed down his face. It was one of the most moving things I've ever seen, and I couldn't believe that I had never really known about the Bataan Death March before.

Charles Durning

At the museum, I was also reminded of the book, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. It tells the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic hopeful who served in WWII. After his ship went down, he and two other men survived more than 40 days on a liferaft. But that wasn't the worst part. When they washed up on shore, they were captured by the Japanese. Louis was singled out by the camp commander for brutal physical and emotional torment. Nevertheless, Zamperini's story is one of survival, resilience and triumph of the human spirit.

Louis Zamperini
My post is serious today, but RVPainter has a funny one. He's had a visit from a famous country singer! Check it out HERE