09 December 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 awry...as 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!

14 November 2016

Hello...it'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.

07 November 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.

03 November 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.

30 October 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 it...to 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.

29 October 2016

Taking a "CHILL" day...in 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.

19 October 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 it...you become the L.L. Bean Woman.

13 October 2016

The Story of Buddha...

The Mom Talk...
I recently gave one of my children 'the talk' about setting goals, staying motivated, focused and moving forwards. After giving myself a pat on the back for a mom talk well done...I turned to my blog and realized I should practise what I preach. Just 20 posts and it is already October...yikes. So...I have set my own goal, a personal one.

The 30/60 Writing Challenge..
Here it is...Thirty posts in 60 days to be completed by December 31, 2016.  It also allows me travel time and down time and thinking time in between. And...I think it will help keep my sanity. I have roughly 80 days to accomplish this task. I think I can do it...and if I am feeling really ambitious I might just hit 40 and pass the 2015 mark of 56 posts. I have a list and a lot of air miles to cover between now and the end of the year. I think it will be fun! I hope you do too!

Happy Me! 
And...I am celebrating another anniversary this month...seven years ago in October 2009 we were packing up our home in New Zealand to move to England. And I thought...why not write about this crazy life I live in? Well, I can't believe I have blogged through three country moves with one more to come. If you are wondering where that might be....stay tuned...all will be revealed in my 30/60 writing challenge. ;)

11 October 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 right...by 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'. 

02 October 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

05 September 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 silence...to myself…every minute and hour of the passing days as I take in the full measure of life and death.

23 July 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.

07 June 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

27 May 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.

14 May 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

01 May 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...

27 April 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.

19 April 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.

11 April 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...

29 March 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.

23 March 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 jeannecollageoflife@gmail.com.  I would be happy to write to you!

16 March 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. 

11 March 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.

24 February 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

28 January 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.

16 January 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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