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.

The Sydney Connection..
Thirty years ago... Mr. H and I wed along the shores of New England...and the next day flew off (by way of a honeymoon in Bora Bora) to start a new life together in Sydney.

Quiet time Balmoral Beach, Sydney

Since then, in addition to our other expat travels, we have had two expat assignments in Sydney. As Aussie luck would have it, each time we settled into Aussie life... a son was born.  My first when I was 32 and the lucky last when I was 42. Our two girls were born during the ten years in between while living in Connecticut. I should add that our beloved family dog, Tika, was born in Australia too.

During our second assignment in Sydney we all became Australian citizens, adding an Australian passport to our American passport. A handy combination when travelling between countries. We also bought a house, Windswept ,which sits in wait for our eventual 'winter' retirement from expat life.

Three of our four children (and one Aussie daughter-in-law) currently live in Australia, two are based in Sydney. Daughter #1 (25 years) is spreading her wings in the world of business. Son #2 (16 years) is hitting the books in boarding school in Sydney.

Son #1 (27 years) and DIL are based in Townsville, Australia. Since I have listed all but one, I would like to include Daughter #2 (23 years) who is living in Botswana, Africa. All I can say is thank god for the Internet which allows us to  SkypeWhatsAppFaceTime and Facebook Messenger around the world. They are the threads that keeps us all together.

By the sea... Bondi to Tamarama, 

All hands on deck mom...
Visiting Sydney means I get to be an 'all hands on deck' mom again....and I love that. An extra bonus this trip is having Son #2 stay with me. It's great being a school mom again, having those hours in the car (Sydney traffic) to chat back and forth between school drop off and pick up, the hovering during homework hour, the endless trips to the supermarket to 'feed the boy', the reminders to go to bed and repeated reminders to wake up in the morning. I have been fussing and prissing and I am sure driving him crazy...but I secretly think he enjoys it...I know I do!

Lorikeet tweet

Daughter #1 recently took the big step to explore new horizons, leaving one job to start another. I am so glad I could be here in 'real time' (same time zone) to say how proud I am of her and encourage her along. We took a day out together and visited the Sculptures By the Sea exhibit from Bondi to Tamarama. It was one of those spectacular blue days that we frequently have in Sydney. We followed it with lunch at Bill's and a visit to one of my favorite shops, Aesops. It was the perfect mother/daughter outing.

I did text her on her first day of work to say... if she sees me hanging outside her new office building looking up to the sky, waving...not to worry. She asked that I please refrain from doing that as she would like to make friends in her new job.  I just love mischief making with my kids...in Australia ;)

Speaking of mischief...you know how we say it's always the little things in life that can make our day?  I had my little thing moment while driving my son to school this morning. He asked what I was going to get up to during the day. I told him I was going to take a "me" day and delve into my mindbox. He looked at me with one of those 'cringe' expressions on his face and said "Mom...NO... please don't say MINDBOX...it's weird and it makes you sound OLD. Just say you are taking a CHILL DAY."  To which I replied..."OK, I am going to take a chill day...with my mindbox."  ;)

Coffee rainbow in Sydney

Later in the day I recounted the story to a girlfriend ( Z.) over coffee and she looked at me with the same quizzical look and said "NO Jeanne...NO NO NO...it sounds like a recovery step for dementia. Please do not use the word mindbox!" I laughed hysterically as I always do when I am with her. Laughter truly is the best remedy.

So let's talk mindbox... because now I really need to talk about it.

What is it?

It's actually very simple...it's for those times in your life when you feel like you need to clear your head. For those times when you feel like your brain just might....EXPLODE...if you do not do something PRONTO.

I need to tune out before I can tune in again. I give myself five choices. I can either create, go solo, go mellow, exercise or reach out. If I can cover a few of these in the same day all the better.

'Celestial Rings' by Inge King
Sculptures By the Sea 2016
Bondi to Tamarama


On my list... 

go for a walk
listen to music
read a book
write in my journals
write a letter
write a postcard
write a blog post

get hysterical

grab a camera
 get lost 

Bondi Icebergs Pool
Bondi Beach, Sydney

escape into movie land 
with the BBC

go shopping
explore a museum
gallery hopping

get messy..
in the garden
in the house

bake brownies
bake a cake
make ice cream
eat cake and brownies
and ice cream
and drink a glass of wine
might as well go for it all

spa day


catch up
 family and friend

write to you

'Mountains Air-Circles' by Koichi Ishino
Sculptures By the Sea 2016
Bondi to Tamarama

And there you have it...my mindbox. 
At any age, it works!

 How about you? 
Any of the above helpful to you?
What you do when you need to tune out?

Have a thought?
You can leave a comment 
or write to me

As always, 
to hear from YOU!

Jeanne xx
Walking along Bondi to Tamarama, Sydney


  1. Thanks for this Jeanne. I loved reading the journey that has you being in so many places with family spread near and far. With your hectic schedule is it any wonder you need to "mindbox"!! I love that term ( dementia references aside ) and with my children and grandchildren and a newly retired husband about all the time, I truly need any of the above to escape to regularly. At the moment it's my garden...an escape with benefits!! Exercise, creativity and a pretty vista to gaze upon with a g&t!! Hope the rest of your visit passes splendidly!! ❤️

  2. It sounds like you are having a purely heavenly time...mindbox or no mindbox!! I am going to remember that term. We all need a "mindbox" now and then.

  3. Thank you for inspiring smiles and laughter
    And the tiny glimpse into living in different parts of the world. Mentally I have you settled in NH. Today, my brain background goes to Sydney, with I add, an ever present Mango Mansion atmosphere over it all. One minute I'm thinking woods and the sweet smell of a wood fire, and the next I'm hearing the surf, and thinking of "The Bondi Vets," right down the street! :)
    Your bake brownies is being added to my list of things to do on a do something day.

  4. So...what's so "wrong" with mindbox? I usually try to get really involved in something... movie, book...even cleaning! Bondi Beach sounds like a great distraction...enjoy your family! ;)

  5. Hi Jeanne - hope someone is caring for Tahilla Farm whilst you are down under!!!
    Yes, you've really have lived in some great countries - and I too love Australia but must say one visit to Vietnam I certainly found stunning also. I want so much to return to both places if ever possible.

    Following our recent Kenya trip we've just enjoyed two grand weeks in northern California. In December we'll travel again - more on that later on the blog!

    Stay safe, enjoy being with family and friends - time goes all too quickly. When I want to 'tune out' I plan a place to visit that I've never seen. . . . . . . or go get a pedi, pull weeds, sit with something good to read - glass of wine within arm's length, or write (letters, e-mails or create a new blog post).
    Hugs - Mary

  6. I love the CHILL & MOTHERING and the MINDBOX and its glossary of things to explore.

    O, the blessings of children and their growing and excitement of places.

    You are blessed.

  7. Oh. I thought Mindbox was very hip of you! The very popular "Sherlock" series has Sherlock going to his Mind Palace, so I don't see any reason why you can't have a box! ;-)

  8. Jeanne, Thank you for your wonderful posts. They have kept me entertained, both your blog and your instagram account. I have a broken foot at the moment, and have spent the last month with it elevated on a pillow. It has been the perfect opportunity for me to start my instagram account (thank you for following). My husband and I have been fortunate enough to travel a bit, and I have taken some lovely photos that I wanted to share with then world. I also love being a home-maker, so I enjoy sharing photos from home also. I have followed your blog for a while now, and think I have finally figured out how to post a comment. Well done on bringing up 4 independent and wonderful children. The internet has managed to make the world a little smaller and bring us all a little closer to one another. John and I come from Sydney. We have lived in Brisbane since 2000. Your recent photos have made my homesick. I honestly think Sydney is the most beautiful city in the world.
    Thank so much for sharing.

    Gabrielle ( gabriellew861)

  9. How wonderful to be with Connor! I am sure that it must be fabulous to drive/pick-up from school and catch up on all of the latest happenings. How lucky to be able to be with him and with Christine as she starts her second job.

    I love your "mind-box", when I am feeling as you describe I either journal or bake! I hope that you did one. many. or all of the above.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures.


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