Monday, January 06, 2014

"Blogger Block" and the Dance of Life

Views to the Tasman Sea..from a beachouse.


It is that time of year, when I do "the introspective", the mindful dance of life. The dance where I put my head in the clouds, procrastinate and think about life... and my blog.


I wonder about the who, what, where, when and how of blogging, to write or not to write as I sit before my computer, staring at the clouds outside my window, staring at my computer screen, staring at my keyboard, listening to the clitter-clatter of the Vietnamese men and women outside my window... thinking it might be time for another cup of coffee and then it hits me...I have been struck by a serious case of "BB"..Blogger Block. 

My "Blogger Block" is essentially a 'word block'. It is that moment when you realise that you have so many word swirling in your head that attempting to catch one or two makes you want to climb inside a book, close the cover and put up a sign that says "Gone Reading".


It is when all the words in your mind play hide and seek...they run and hide and think you are a crazy fool for looking in all the wrong places. As if to say..."silly woman, there she goes again, over-analyzing life..will she ever learn?" Ummmm...no.


Well..I had an epiphany this morning and it was simple.. to find words you are looking for, write to a friend. So take that Blogger Block!

I wrote a letter to a friend in the wee hours of the morning and was surprised, at how easily the words flowed.  For those of you who ever feel a case of "BB" coming on, my solution is to write a letter. Pick a friend and write..the latest news, your hopes, expectations, heartbreaks, gossip, rants and raves...your favourite books, movies...all the things you did last week or hope to do this week. The secret is to make it one to one. Write to one person, someone you enjoy and can comfortably tell anything. Think outside 140 characters, 10 words and one photo that says it all... and write.


So..friend to friend..here are a few thoughts that came my way this morning, written from my corner of the world...to yours.  


Happy New Year...and for many of you, a snowy one at that. 

I wonder if you you are enveloped by snow these days. I am having serious winter envy...desperate to "rug up" in all the winter essentials.  I am sure I may regret those words one day...but until then, I will dream of long winter days wrapped in warmth...not a caftan. Mr. H on the other hand thinks I am out of my mind...I think I may have to blindfold and sedate that man to get him back to a cooler climate, even if for a few months. Saying that..the weather was pretty fabulous over the holidays...

From Vietnam...to New Zealand..to Australia...to Vietnam


We returned to Vietnam on Saturday after a three week journey around New Zealand and Australia. One week to celebrate Christine's University graduation and explore the outer reaches of Christchurch and two weeks nestled into the hillside above Whale Beach in the northern beach area outside of Sydney. We popped the champagne for Christmas and New Year's with family and Aussie friends. It was some kind of wonderful and it made me long to be back amongst them all. With Christine now settled in Sydney, Patrick in Melbourne and Connor back to Sydney in just three weeks..I have dreams of retirement on two continents. Such is the life of an expat...and a dreamer.





Back at the farm...snow and more snow



Tahilla Farm is never far from my mind. The architectural plans are coming together in what we know will be a wonderful family retreat. Gordon and Mary Hayward stopped in at Tahilla Farm last week and took a few photos. My dreams have been filled with visions of winterberries, a mountain and open fields ever since. Thank you Gordon and Mary! 



Books and movies and TV shows..because they are always on my mind..

Books...
I am in the midst of Open Secrets by Alice Munro, a collection of short stories. I have not read her work before. I recommended it for my book group for our meeting next week...I am curious to see what everyone thinks. We recently read The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon which gave us plenty of material for discussion.  If you read Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and enjoyed it, I recommend The Angel's Game.

Christine and I share books on Kindle. I can tell you...it holds quite a range of books! Not so sure that she is keen on The Best of Everything After 50 by Barbara Grufferman  and I can not say I am in a hurry to read Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James  but between us we have an interesting collection. Remind me one day to tell you about Mr. H's foray into our Kindle world. He was on the plane, looking forward to reading a good book, thought Fifty Shades of Grey was the latest murder mystery, checked out a few sample pages and as he put it, turned fifty shades of red. Christine and I had a good laugh over that one! 


Song for Marion via
Movies...

I enjoy the flight from Saigon to Sydney, a nine hour trip, brief by comparison to the trip to Boston. One movie I laughed and cried over was Song for Marion with Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp. I should scratch cry and say blubbering idiot. What not to do on a plane... get so emotional over a movie that people look at you strangely. My only saving grace was that the lights went out...but I loved the movie and the red mottled mess over my face disappeared by the time we landed. I also watched Woody Allen's latest, Blue Jasmine with Cate Blanchett. She never disappoints, it was gritty and real and she played the part superbly. While in New Zealand we saw the second installment of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Love the whole series...and can't wait for the next. Will also admit to secret crush on Richard Armitage...just sayin.

I am hoping future flights will feature Philomena, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Saving Mr. Banks. Our movie choices on the big screen in Vietnam are slim...it's all about the airplane movies for me. ;)

TV shows...

Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic via
Our eldest son Patrick gifted Season One of the TV show, Castleto Mr. H for Christmas and a Castle marathon ensued from that night onwards. Speaking of secret crushes, Nathan Fillion is on my list as well. He reminds us of Mr. H in a crazy, zany sort of way.  I started Castle long ago at the advice of Facebook friends. They also put me onto Parenthood, The Good Wife and Suits, all fab. Clever friends!



Downton Abbey, Season 4 via

Mr. H brought back Season 4 of Downton Abbey  from London, just before Christmas. I have not started it yet. I thought I would watch along with America. I wonder though if I will be able to stop with just one episode. I am not very good at waiting..you know the person, who reads the last page of a book because she can not wait until the end? That's me. I recently jumped the gun and read the recap on the latest episode of Sherlock. Waiting two years to learn about the ill fated yet miraculous jump off a very tall building was more than I could handle. 

And so...


It is Monday morning and I should be unpacking...forever the procrastinator. The only thing I enjoy about suitcases and travelling is when I get to unpack my clothes when we reach our destination. I hate packing for a trip..too many choices, too much time..words find me on those occasions and I would much rather write when they do. Unpacking is dreary...words find me then as well.

That reminds me...in addition to writing a letter to a friend to unblock "Blogger Block"... try procrastinating..something is bound to come up. It always does for me. ;)

With my head in the clouds, yet again, along the hillside of Whale Beach, northern Sydney, Australia.

Ok...your turn..
Thoughts on books, movies, TV shows, 
blogger blocks, life, procrastination...
I accept anything and everything...
and if "mum's the word" that's ok too!
;)

Wishing you a wonderful day...evening..
from my corner of the world to yours.


Photos of Australia and New Zealand...me
Photos of Tahilla Farm...Gordon Hayward
Media photos...as noted above.

43 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos Jeanne, your Australian beach house looked & sounded wonderful.

    Lovely to see photos of Tahilla Farm too, can't wait to see what 2014 brings for it :)

    I must admit that I haven't been on a flight long enough to watch a movie for too long but there are lots of good films out now it seems, my children returned to school today so my much-loved weekly Wednesday cinema evenings with the girls will begin again, hoorah! I think this week will be either "Long Walk to Freedom" or "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty".

    Am laughing about Mr H & "50 Shades....", it's never going to be a book that I'll read, clearly he feels the same!!

    I very much enjoyed reading this post, Happy New Year to you Xx

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    1. Thank you Simone...you are very kind. I will keep an eye out for "Long Walk to Freedom". Mr. H was in hysterics this morning over a trailer for "The Grand Budapest Hotel"...looks like fun. Happy New Year my friend.. xx

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  2. Oh, to have your life!
    Blogger block be damned.
    Just tell us what's happening, Jeanne, and we will be happy.
    xx's

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  3. Well you managed to push through your blogger's block to create this epic post! I think everyone goes through these phases. From having so much to say that you just can't say anything. I find that those are the times I write to my family instead, or do something else entirely. Some weeks I post every day...other weeks not at all! There are no rules, so it's all good.

    Your pictures are wonderful, and I've been daydreaming at all these lovely summertime Australia/New Zealand pictures I've seen in my blog feed. I really must figure out how/when to get back there. In the meantime, I'm enjoying snowy New England. For me, Christmas and New Year's are chilly outside, cozy inside by the fireplace with family and friends holidays.

    Downton Abbey! Yay!

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    1. As Christmas and New Year's should be Mary (says the New Englander at heart). I hope you had a fabulous holiday...sending you warm wishes from Saigon for a wonderful year with your family. xx

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  4. Jeanne, I understand blogger's block. I find words confuse and leave me when I feel things, "life", spinning out of control. The past year has been one of those years for me. Here's to a new year when words will find a little discipline and mind their manners.

    I discovered Carlos Ruiz Zafon late last year, reading The Shadow of Wind and The Angel's Game as if they were one book. I am finishing The Prisoner of Heaven now. He is a master at storytelling.

    Sending you wishes for a wonderful New Year. Bonnie

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    1. Bonnie...here is to keeping those words in check! I am very excited..."The Prisoner of Heaven" is new to me. You are so right, he is a master storyteller. I love when books like that come along. Warm wishes to you Bonnie for an inspiring year.. xx

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  5. what a grand idea for BB + loved your ramblings + watched DA last night in US + ok, i will not spoil it for you. wonderful photos. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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    1. Thank you Peggy...I am behind! All those weeks I waited and I still have not started DA. It will be a must for today, with a cup of tea..xx

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  6. Wonderful post, I enjoyed the reading very much.
    I've recently became a fan of "Castle," and "Bones." The reruns are on next to each other.
    I've been reading Louise Penny's mystery series with Gamache, the Canadian detective. I Hope to see them as movies. The characters are perfect Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward type couple.
    For blogger's blog, I go to the unique holiday website and dream. I love Chocolate Cake Day, 27 Jan, and Umbrella day in February (reasons to bake and shop). And this year, I've written a schedule of blog ideas for each month.

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    1. Maywyn...the ideas do floweth (I hope that is a word). Thank you! All new to me, I love when that happens. Sending you warm wishes from Saigon for a wonderful day... xx

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  7. Jeanne

    I can't imagine you ever getting writer's block! I can imagine that you might want something on another coast where it is warmer!!

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    1. I seek balance in retirement Cindy...but first we have to retire. A few years to go..and when it happens, expect many posts to follow! xx

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  8. Enjoy your colourful warmth there today, Jeanne.
    It's 6F here. Coldest weather in over a decade. Soup's on and knitting needles are out.
    Wrestling with the novel once again!
    xoxo

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    1. Novel? Novel? Novel? I missed something, are you writing a novel? Please tell me you are. Soup and knitting needles by the fireside sound like an interesting source of inspiration. Write my friend, write...because we love it when you do.. xx

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  9. I really enjoyed reading this Jeanne. Yes I get BB from time to time. But on other days it's like I cannot stop writing. I am looking forward to seeing second part of The Hobbit and Saving Mr Banks. Song for Marion sounds interesting too. Your photos are so lovely! If you haven't read it, you might enjoy The Cellist of Sarajevo. have a wonderful week.

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    1. Thank you Loree...I will definetly check out "The Cellist of Sarajevo"..right up my alley! Best wishes for a wonderul day...xx

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  10. To have BB you did a heck of a good job entertaining us with your never-dull life. Thanks for the review....a wonderful trip to NZ and Australia, dreams of Tahilla Farm (so cold right now, but beautiful in a coming season), movies, books. What more could we ask for! Thanks. Keep it up.
    Farm Gal in VA

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    1. So glad you are enjoying the post Farm Gal (BTW...love that name)! There are several good recommendations in the comments here as well. Thank so much for stopping by...sending you warm wishes from Saigon..;)

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  11. I am experiencing Blogger's Block right now too. I just it must be normal especially during this Winter time. We kept being snowed in with this Polar Vortex that is happening here in the North East and Canada. I guess we just have to see the beauty wherever we are. Your beach photos are wonderful. Good thing, Downton Abbey premiered here in North America yesterday. We have something entertaining to watch. Enjoy watching Downton Abbey.

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    1. I have been following the weather pattern with great interest Pamela. So cold! I hope you find your way out of "BB", darn nuisance when that happens! Sending you warm wishes... xx

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  12. Wow...for having blogging block you did an amazing job on this post! I really enjoyed reading about your holiday adventures. I am coming off a nearly two week blogging break and am feeling a bit blocked myself. Enjoy your summer weather...it is TOO cold here in New England! xoxo

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    1. Thank you Sandy...try the letter, works a charm! xx

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  13. Dear Jeanne
    You very cleverly started typing and voila a post ensued. If you start it it will get finished, a favourite expression from Mary Rose Holmes one of my art partners. I love Alice Munro and have read several of her books. I have noted Carlos Ruiz Zafon and will check him out.
    Sydney looks are beautiful as ever.
    Song for Marion is excellent and I can see how you had a good sniffle. Blue Jasmine was also wonderful.
    We saw Philomena and yes you have a good movie to look forward to.
    I shall say goodnight and sweet dreams
    Helen xx

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    1. Mary Rose sounds like a wise woman and it's true...eventually, it does get finished. Although...I probably would not want to mention the endless posts sitting in my draft file. I may have to go live on an island for a year to finish all of those. An interesting thought!
      Sweet dreams...xx

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  14. Love this post Jeanne - hugs from Sydney xx

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    1. Thank you Francesca....warm wishes from Saigon...xx

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  15. I've taken plenty of blog breaks this year but its been for major life happenings. Right now recovering from total hip surgery so home curled up under blankets with more time than usual. You long for snow and cold? We have about 6" of snow and -11* temps with wind chill feeling like -32*. Brrrrrr! Send a few sun rays over here, would you?

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    1. Gladly Donna...so lovely to see you here again, I hope you mend well and take care...xx

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  16. What? You are without words? Not so! But, thanks for words to express Blogging Block! Oh yes, that's how I'm feeling: I have nothing to say, there's nothing in my mind, no desire to speak. I'm simply getting through the wonderful days of celebrating the vacations (with us) of our children and their offspring...we're off to Disney World tomorrow with our son who will run the Dopey Challenge: a 5K on Thurs., a 10K on Friday, a half-marathon on Saturday, a full marathon on Sunday~48.6 miles on behalf of JDRF, juvenile diabetes research fund. He's running for Carson, his nephew, struck by diabetes at the age of 4. $2,500 is what he raised in research funds. We are happy to follow along and support :)

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    1. Wow Becky...your son is one to be very proud of. The thought of all those runs back to back..what a feat. A great cause and wonderful accomplishment. I wish him well... ;)

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  17. Thanks so much for this post. Have been experiencing major BB for several weeks, altho i see that historically i do this every January. This is such a good idea for how to approach it. A letter, indeed.

    Do give Fifty Shades a try. May not be your cup of tea - I loved it! There, I've said it.

    I think when you get to The Farm, you will have plenty of cold winter weather to keep you happy, so enjoy your caftan and be happy you are not sharing our Polar Vortex today. Glad you had a good trip and are home safely.

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    1. Thank you Webb...I hope you managed a letter this week. Thanks for the vote for Fifty Shades...maybe on one of those long flights to Boston.. Stay warm...think green..before you know it, spring will be wishing you well. ;)

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  18. Lovely, lovely post! Wow, you do have a lot going on...and what lovely things they are. I am so excited about your farm in New England and can't wait to follow its progress. Yes, blogger's block is something we all deal with and your advise was excellent! Happy New Year, Jeanne! And thank you as always for your kindness (linking to me on Facebook!). xx Sunday

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    1. You are very welcome Sunday...I mentioned your book recco to my bookclub group today. Thank you! xx

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  19. Napa Valley is sunny but we need rain very badly and snow in the mountains.
    Blogger's block like writer's block happens now and then. Your solution is wonderful: "So..friend to friend..here are a few thoughts that came my way this morning, written from my corner of the world...to yours."
    I enjoyed those 2 books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
    Movies: the Book Thief. Cheri and I saw Saving Mr. Banks at the Napa Valley Film Festival.Excellent.
    All the best wishes from Napa Valley to your part of the world.

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    1. Thank you Edgar...glad to read that you enjoyed his books as well. Geat news on Saving Mr. Banks. I am looking forward to it!

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  20. I just adored this post Jeanne! You seem to have the gift of creating and seeing beauty everywhere you go. Tahilla Farm looks like a movie-perfect version of what I imagine a New England farm in winter to look like. Books...currently reading City of Falling Angels by John Berendt. He has induced a writer's block for me... He writes so beautifully I found it ridiculous that I should even try. This is how a REAL writer writes, I thought to myself. Why even bother to type another word! However, I've realised that my amateur, childish attempts are still valuable to me as a creative outlet so I shall plough on regardless! Can't take oneself too seriously and all that:)

    Thank you for keeping on writing and sharing and inspiring Jeanne. Love your work! M xo

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    1. Thank you Meredy and you sold me on City of Falling Angels..I will be sure to investigate. Your enthusiasm for writing is contagious...keep writing, we all love it! xx

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  21. You wrote a great post for someone who has BB. My problem is that I have too many posts ideas – I wrote titles for them in a document, a title on each line, and am at 3 pages long by now. My problem is that I constantly come up with new ideas and cannot stay with those I am supposed to write about, like my past trips.

    I saw Blue Jasmine and loved it. I had read 12 Years a Slave this summer and just saw the movie – it is very good. Your photos of Australia are stunning – I always wished to go there but it was not on the way to France, unfortunately. About books – I just finished Murder in Retrospect by Agatha Christie – I have many of her books, some unread to read as “comfort book” when I am feeling a bit down. Right now I am reading “Enfance” by Nathalie Sarraute, in French – I think it has been translated into “Childhood.” I like it so far – she recollects her early years while talking to her alter ego. I hope your year will be a happy one.

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    1. Thank you Vagabone...I can appreciate your comment about having too many post ideas as well. I prefer weekly posts, writing them and reading them. Your posts are wonderful...so informative. I am coming back for your latest..I can tell at first glance that a cup of tea will be needed. I enjoy reading blog posts with a cup of tea in hand...;)

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  22. It seems I am late to the party, but I just had to take a moment to recommend a movie. If you like Richard Armitage, you might enjoy him in North and South based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel of 19th century industrialized England. Have you seen it? I swoon over the ending. I wish I could mail you a box of our snow for you to cool your toes in.

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Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. Just a few words or a
few paragraphs, no matter. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you... jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com

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