Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hong Kong, London, Tahilla and a Christmas Book List

Birds of a feather flock together and guard the Christmas trees in New Hampshire, USA

There is no other way to start this blog post other than jumping in and saying HELLO!  Some of you may have thought I had travelled off into the midnight blogging sky never to return...again. My great attempt to complete a 30 post writing quest by the end of 2016 has gone life often does. I have decided to postpone it for another year....when life settles down a bit. (cough, cough, if ever) ;)

If I told you what I have been up to in the past month you would think I was nuts. As I know many of you already do...I won't add to that number!

Monday, November 14, 2016's me

Just checking in to say...
I did something out of the ordinary recently
and booked myself a photo session.
It was time to be me.

Say what?
Yes, time to be me.

Simply said..
I hate having my picture taken.
The art of dodging an eager photographer 
is a specialty of mine. 

The only one who always 
seems to be one step ahead of me 
is my mother-in-law.
Clever woman.

I decided to 'just do it'
and where better than Sydney.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

What's with the Happy?


What's with the Happy?
My youngest son and I have been spending quality time together these past weeks. He is embarking on his senior year of high school, prepping for a long year in anticipation of the HSC (High School Certificate) in New South Wales, Australia.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Walking on Sunshine with Lucy, Ethel and a Winner...

Good Afternoon!

I am signing back in from Sydney 
with a view to the Harbour Bridge.
I snapped this pic on my morning walk.

I love this time of year...
when the Jacaranda trees start to burst 
with beautiful lavender blooms.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Quickie Giveaway....


I am jumping right in here to say I am offering a quickie giveaway and am delighted to do. I just want to do say thank you for your readership in my own special way. It's been a while since I have had a giveaway.  For me, it has to be something I am loving at the moment and this week I am loving a book by one of my favourite Aussie magazines, COUNTRY STYLE.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Taking a "CHILL" Australia

Big view on a cloudy day in Sydney.

Hello from Australia!

I am taking a break in Sydney to visit with family and friends. I have had a few questions about our Sydney connection and decided this is as good a time as any to fill you in. So here's the scoop.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The L.L. Bean Man


L.L. Bean Man
Once upon a time...a dear friend told my about "this guy" who she called the "L.L. Bean Man" because he never seemed to wear anything else but L.L. Bean attire. He was the good friend of her boyfriend at the time and she thought we might get along. We eventually met one snowy Super Bowl Sunday in Manhattan. That was over 30 years ago and today I am happily married to the L.L. Bean Man.

For those of you unfamiliar with L.L. Bean, it is an American retail company specializing in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment based in Freeport, Maine.  You can read all about it here.

If you live in New England chances are you will have at least one item from L.L. Bean. If you happen be be a member of our family you will have lost count of how many items in our house are from L.L. Bean. This is what happens when you marry the L.L. Bean Man.

Before you know become the L.L. Bean Woman.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Story of Buddha...

Pam in New Hampshire asked me about the story behind the large Buddha wood carving that used to hang in our entry at Chateau Mango in Vietnam. I have been meaning to write about it and thought now is as good as time as any.

The shop around the corner..
It all started in a shop around the corner from where we live in Ho Chi Minh City. It was early days, maybe a week or two after moving to our new house that I stumbled upon this shop. In fact, what drew me in was the statue sitting on the center of the table. I had seem something similar in a local museum and thought it might be a nice starter to our Chateau Mango collection. Of course, I couldn't help but notice the wood carving of the Buddha behind it...and I adored it but at 8' tall and 200 lbs I thought it might be one of those things that I would come to regret purchasing. So I left the store...empty handed.

Over the next month, I went in and out of the a state of ' do I or don't I?". In case you guessed, I am not very good with on the spot decisions...especially big ones. A month later I took Mr. H along for his thoughts...and he loved it. That did it, we bought it...size and weight would be a problem for another day. 

That day started one day later when three men delivered it and started chatting, measuring and scratching their heads on the best way to hang this more than life size piece of art. Lucky for them they only had to hang it two feet off the ground.

"Maybe if we..."

Mission accomplished, we placed it in our entry. 
For four years, Buddha welcomed us home in Vietnam.

Happy Buddha...hanging Chateau Mango, Vietnam

Buddha and Tahilla
I would like to mention that at the time of purchase, Tahilla Farm, our antique/new farmhouse in the woods of New Hampshire was just a smidge of a notion. I had yet to start my official house hunt when I bought this piece of art. The house hunt came two months later.

When I found Tahilla Farm I knew that Buddha would never see the light of day there...unless...we renovated.. and fortunately we did. When it came time to put ideas to paper with the architect I had one request...we had to allow a spot for this piece of art. We decided that the entrance was it's best shot and we 'drew it in'.

When our containers arrived this summer...Buddha was the one item I was most excited to see. It's time had come. Our construction crew had been hearing about "the big one" for over a year. Once it arrived I started to worry... that it might not work, that if might fall, I had all but given up the notion of hanging it. Then I realized...these were builders, they built our house. Surely they could handle a 200 pound wooden piece of art. I felt so much better once that clicked in my worrisome mind.

First they measured....
and I watched...nervously.

Then they measured again and 
brought in reinforcements
and I watched...
a tad less nervously.

And then they did it. 
Our Vietnamese Buddha 
had oficially found it's way home.
to Tahilla Farm.

Buddha greets one and all as soon as they enter
just as it did at Chateau Mango.
Peace reigns once again.

And that's the story of our Buddha
and its journey from Vietnam
to Tahilla Farm in the woods
of New Hampshire.

With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going
I'm already home.

Lyrics 'Living in the Moment' 
by Jason Mraz

For you..something to brighten your day. 
I hope you have a spectacular one!

Thank you for reading along!

Jeanne xx

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Big Room, Little Room, Winter Room, Summer Room

We have all done it, moved from one humble abode to the next. There is no question that whenever you move houses you often do it with a hope and a prayer (unless you are exceedingly organized) hoping that you called it right and your furniture will transition easily into your new home.

That is the premise I always have worked with as we moved from home to home, country to country....a hope and a prayer. After 30 years, I managed to get it somewhat barely a whisper at times, but I got it...until now.

So...I MIGHT have a decorating dilemma but then again I might not. Let's see what you think.


Home sweet home... Auckland, New Zealand 

The photo above was our living room in our home in Auckland, New Zealand. We purchased the couch, chairs, ottoman and bookcase to scale for 13' high ceilings. We filled the room, as we often do, to accommodate crowds of all sizes. With a family of six and then some you never can have enough places for people to lounge. 

And then we packed up and moved to England...where the bookcase made it into the new living room by nearly a whisper to accommodate the ceiling height of 8'. 

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Travelling Spirit...are you ready to fly?

Lauren Bacall, Rome. 1960

I am feeling that whole 'woman on a mission' vibe that Lauren Bacall did so well. Since I last wrote I have started systematically checking my travel lists for upcoming trips to Sydney, Vietnam, Hong Kong, London and the USA. For the most part, I will be travelling solo, a mix of business and pleasure. The best part of all the air miles I am about to clock in is that I will be able to visit with my children in Sydney and celebrate a significant wedding anniversary in London with Mr. H...our 30th! I guess it is only appropriate that 30 years on we are still playing 'plane tag' across the globe.

"Sometimes the smallest step 
in the right direction 
ends up being the biggest step 
in your life."
~Naeem Callaway

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Heart to Heart...

Misty morning in the garden, Tahilla Farm

I have had several heart to heart talks these past few days…some of the longest days that I have ever had. I talk and I talk and I talk…until I think the words will no longer come...but then they do. I am talking in myself…every minute and hour of the passing days as I take in the full measure of life and death.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bless This Mess...

Moon rising over Tahilla Farm in July.

Hooley Dooley! Has it really been that long since I last wrote a post?? In case you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth...I am still here, in a mess of sorts. A good mess.

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Military Wife...

I am sharing... a post written by my daughter-in-law, Cherie Henriques. It is a wonderful, heartfelt perspective on life as a military wife. As a mother, I feel especially blessed to have Cherie by my son's side. We are both feeling an extra tug on our heart today as my son leaves for an overseas assignment. We are all praying for his safe return and are proud of him and the commitment he and his fellow officers have made to protect and serve. God Bless each and every one.

Being a Military wife...
by Cherie Henriques

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tika of Tahilla…she made it!

Passing rainbow cloud…Tahilla Farm

There has been some serious nail biting going on at Tahilla Farm this week as we patiently awaited Tika's arrival from Ho Chi Minh City to Boston. Everything went topsy turvy when President Barack Obama arrived in Vietnam earlier this week. For security reasons, Tika's flight was pushed back two days. I admit it had me in a panic…something that is easy for me to do.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Whispers…lots of little white whispers

Whispers….lots of little white whispers. 

We spend most of our time in a kind of horizontal thinking.
We move along the surface of things…but there are times when we stop.
We sit still. We lose ourselves in a pile of leaves or it's memory.
We listen, and breezes from a whole other world begin to whisper.
~James Carroll

Sunday, May 1, 2016

My Secret French Girlfriend and the travelling washer...

Roadside service...Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
With thanks to my SFG for this photo!

I hope this post finds you well...I am taking a mini-break from my packing schedule to share a great photo sent to me by my Secret French Girlfriend. Say what? Yes, let me explain...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The 'Tahilla Pack' and men in black...

Chateau Mango, Vietnam

This morning eight men dressed in black whizzed 
into our driveway and parked their motorcycles 
alongside our house. 
They came to start the 'Tahilla Pack'. 
The time has come.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

For Ellie and Teddy....

I never ceased to be amazed by the magic of the blogging world. My family often teased me about my 'imaginary friends' those 'virtual men and women' spread out across the globe who I knew only through words...until I started to actually meet them. Some are now counted as some of our dearest family friends. It warms the heart to think how those friendships evolved.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Decorating Notes....Tahilla Farm

Transition new house to old house via a reading nook.

If you asked for a postcard last month, I am happy to report, it is on it's way! I also asked if you had any questions for me and many of you did. Tahilla Farm seems to be as much on your mind as it is mine. So let's begin...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Habit of Light...

An opulence of beeswax and light...Tahilla Farm

I discovered a poem today.
I read it once, twice..
and I know it won't be the last.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Postcard Trail....

First postcard to Mariana in Glasgow...from Hanoi

My postcard list is growing and I am delighted! If you asked for a postcard from me on my last post, consider it duly noted. If you would still like to receive one, please leave a comment or email me  I would be happy to write to you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Write to think, think to write...

I had an ‘OOPS’ moment last night in my attempt to do some editing on my blog.  I inadvertently published a post I wrote last year. When it arrived into my inbox I new the deed was done. So...if Hip Hop Happening Mama and a Paleo Priest sounds familiar to some readers, you are not imagining it. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

The beating heart of adventure...Antarctica

It is 5:15pm on Friday afternoon in Saigon and the house is extraordinarily still. I call this the bewitching hour, when I have the house utterly and completely to myself. I wander from space to space, inside and out, enjoying the silence. It is the time of day when my thoughts run away from me and when I realise it is best to just let them run and play. Given my nature, it won't last long so it is best to enjoy it while I can.

I am going to let them run and play all the way to Antarctica. Why? Because I can.

Mr. H and I have a travel bucket list and I have to admit Antarctica has been somewhere on it...until now.

We have had family and friends return from recent trips to Antarctica singing poetically about their travel experiences. Each time I hear a "YOU MUST GO TO ANTARCTICA' my heart starts to do a little dance. I am not sure if it's the thought of the extreme cold or the possibility that I will will fall in love with the vast wilderness of it all.

Enter Joan Lawson, who I have come to appreciate as a pollarhullar, a danish word for a person with the yearning for the polar regions. I have read that a victim of pollarhullar will forever be drawn back to the very extremities of the Earth. Joan has been to Antarctica 14 times and looks forward to the next trip.  I am hoping pollarhullar is not contagions but based on Joan's writing and peoples comments about their experiences I think it might be.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Quiet like the garden...

Quiet like the garden... in Tuscany
I never seem to end up where I began and it seems to be a common occurrence these days. I have been thinking of a blog post and started to write in earnest yesterday morning. I can't even remember what I started to write except that I found many excuses to walk away from my desk. I knew I was in trouble when I had the notion to pull all the clothes out of my closet and put them in a pile on the floor (at the suggestion of Marie Kondo of "the life-changing magic of tidying up" fame). 

"Keep only those things that speak to your heart. 
Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. 
By doing this, you can reset your life 
and embark on a new lifestyle."
Marie Kondo

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Putting your life on 'EDIT'..

Latest creation at Tahilla Farm... 'Beatrice of the White Plains'


I am putting my life on 'EDIT' 
and I am starting with my blog. 
Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning 
to determine where you are going next.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Over and through the woods we go...into 2016

Along the Tahilla Trail..

Dear Friends..

Happy New Year! Goodness...anyone else feeling like time is whizzing by? It's been an absolute whirlwind in my neck of the woods...literally. How about yours? We had our big event..the long awaited and much anticipated Christmas family reunion and it was a BLAST!  My new Aussie daughter-in-law, Cherie (Mrs. H Jr.) is now an official member of the American clan. She had quality time (days and days) with both sides of our family and was an absolute trooper. Mind you, all this happened in the midst of their honeymoon, a month long trip across America. Our families were  unable to attend the wedding in Australia so the honeymooners came to us. One big happy family! ;)
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