Grace Notes...Grandmothers and Grandfathers

Ferry passing, Sydney Harbour

Dear Friends,

It's been wild here in Sydney these past weeks. Since I last wrote, Mr. H flew into Sydney for a week and flew back out to Hong Kong. We had a wonderful time, celebrating a wedding anniversary, catching up with family and friends, exploring and discovering four more Australian Aboriginal paintings to add to our Tahilla Farm art collection. I love them all but am particularly excited by the one below. It measures 4' by 6.7' and will hopefully hang above our kitchen island. We have been wanting something special for that space and as soon as it graced our presence we knew it was the one. 

"Art does not reproduce the visible; 
rather, it makes visible." 
– Paul Klee

New addition to Tahilla Farm
Painted by Australian Aboriginal artist, Walangkura Napanangka

I am feeling like a "good mum" these days. It's all about "the boy' at the moment. Mrs. H and my youngest son, Connor, are in serious study mode while he prepares for his final high school exams. Two down and four to go. Once the last paper is passed in we pack out bags for Hong Kong and Tahilla Farm. I am still SO, SO, SO excited!! 

Feeling Grand....
I  want to thank you so much for your kind notes and messages on our impending journey into 'grandparenthood'. Mr. H and I are delighted to read that there are so many of you who are well versed in the subject and can guide us along. 

I have had many questions about what I plan to call myself. Granny, Grandma, Nana...?

As you may have guessed by now, I am not one to think simply. If there is a chance to add an unusual twist to something, I will. I have to think of every possibility and then some and usually find myself right back where I started....but I feel better for the case there are any lingering doubts.

My process for picking grandmother names has been interesting to say the least.

I should start by saying that Mr. H has had his name in waiting since we met, "Beau Pa" after his maternal grandfather. His maternal grandmother was "Mimi"

My grandmothers were called "Gub" or "Gubby" and "Nana". My mother assumed "Nana" when her time came along. My stepmother is "Nonie"

Mr. H's mother is "Mere" and his father was"Mugwup"...that's a long story. ;)

My list..

Gigi, JijiGG... yes, they all sound the same, and yes, I was going for something like that but I nixed them because they didn't feel like 'me'.

These two came to mind while we were on safari, named after African animals...Kudu and the end we decided these would be better suited for future dogs. I also feared that a toddler might turn one of those into "Dudu"...pass.

Kuku... I decided this was to close to the truth and would have my grandchildren and children in stitches for years to come...I am ok with a good laugh at my expense, but not for the rest of my life. ;)

Considering my Irish heritage (O'Neil) I thought the following might be nice....
Seanmháthair...Irish translation for grandmother meaning "old mother" the end I felt I did not want to spend my days explaining that one away. 

More Irish....

Máthair mhór "great mother"...I would be more than happy to explain this one and or Máthair chríona "mother of the heart" but decided that the pronunciation could be 'iffy' for toddlers and adults who are not well versed in Gaelic. I am not...which could be painful. I have enough trouble with "Henriques" and always having to spell out H-E-N-R-I-Q-U-E-S...and then sighing when people pronounce it "Henricks". In case you are wondering HEN REE the way we pronounce it. 

Other possibilities for my "grand' name..

Oma- German
Nonna- Italian
Avo- Portuguese (Henriques heritage)
Bibi- Swahili
Mata- Indian 
Kuia- Maori 
Tutu- Hawaiian
Gigi- Ukrainian
Yaya- Greek
Mawmaw- Cajun

After considering and anguishing over all of the above, I still was no closer to a finalist. Weeks went  by....

Then one day, I decided. 

It should be "Mimi"

For Mr. H's Beau Pa and his Mimi.


I am ready for grandchildren now.  :)

In other news...

Glenmore Giveaway
I want to congratulate Deborah Bray for winning  The House and Gardens at Glenmore book Giveaway. This truly is one of my favourite books. During my time in Sydney I have had the pleasure of meeting the author, Mickey Robertson, twice. I attended one of her cooking classes with Belinda Jeffery (another favourite) and have two more events to go before I leave Sydney,  A Herbal Garden Workshop with Anthia Koulloros  and Open Garden for Matilda Dumas Exhibition. Truth be told...I would love to do something like this at Tahilla Farm one day. Always nice to have a dream or two....and Mickey to inspire me. 

Taking flight, Glenmore House

Sydney Postcards
If you asked for a postcard, it should be on it's way. I had a slight miscalculation (must have been while I was pondering grandmother names) and bought more postcards and stamps than I actually need. If you missed out and would like one, you can write to me by any social media platform you choose (see links below) or email me 

Postcard days in Sydney


Once upon a time I wrote about grace notes. I first read the expression in the book Playing with Water...A Story of a garden by Australian author, Kate Llewellyn.  The book is "meditation on nature, on community and on the cycle of life". As soon as I read Kate's interpretation of grace notes in relation to her garden I knew they would appear in my life again and again. 

Growing on our verandah in Sydney

"Behind the pine, a Murraya, or mock orange bush, 
had been planted flat up against the bedroom window. 
There was another Murraya at the front fence 
in a corner of the drive. These were in full bloom 
and their orange-blossom scent wafted around. 
Every life, every house and every garden 
needs grace notes. 
These two bushes gave them and I took heart."
by Kate Llewellyn

I couldn't agree more...every life needs grace notes. I see them as those moments that come in and out of our life and give us pause. No matter the size and or gesture. 

I would like to add grace notes to your life...just as you have done to mine.

In doing so, I will share a few grace note from a fellow Collage of Life reader, Francine from Quebec. She has sent me several in the past weeks. I am happy to share them with you and hope you might want to pass them along...

Grace Note #1
 La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel. 
(Life is a flower whose love is honey.)
 – Victor Hugo

Flower market, Sydney

Grace Note #2
Beauty and the art of Veronica Halim

Grace Note #3
« For travelers, the stars are guides. »
The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

With thanks to Francine 
for passing along these lovely grace notes.

And you my friend.
Thank you for reading along.

Jeanne xx

You can find me...
our and about in Sydney.


  1. Jeanne,

    Good luck to you and to Connor with his exams. I am sure that it is nerve wracking and exciting at the same time.

    Congratulations again on becoming grandparents. I have two grand-sons (step-grandsons) and we have so much fun together when we are together in Argentina and here in the states,. Each week they FaceTime with us and their favorite thing is when I send them boxes of crafts or when we are together and we bake.

    You are going to be a wonderful and adventurous grandmother.

    Put my name on the sign up list for any and all events, cultural, spiritual, cooking, artistic or whatever you come up with at the Thallia Farm retreat center. Perhaps I could be the cook/baker? And by the time you set it up the yogi!

    I am in love with your new painting. Please share photos of the other pieces that you selected!

    Have a wonderful week. You are almost in the home stretch to your beloved farm!

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! A yogi and a baker sounds like a perfect combination to me. :)) I also like the idea of crafting and you do with your grands-sons.

      Connor is tracking well, three exams down, three to go. Nearly there...

      I will be sure to post more photos of the new paintings...I find the stories behind each piece so fascinating. You can never go wrong with a good story...

      Wishing you well Elizabeth and Happy Baking!

  2. OKAY MIMI..................good WE SOLVED THAT!
    SOUNDS Like you are ready...................XX

  3. Mimi is such a cute and great name...our first granchild tried saying came out as Gaga. My automatic response while laughing was, "We'll work on it". I am now and always will be Gaga to all five grandchildren and wouldn't change it for the world. It's become very endearing. Enjoy this fun time! =)

  4. I think you will be a great Mimi. A friend of mine wants her great-grandson to call her Gigi, which represents the two G's in Great-Grandmother. Of course she thinks he hung the moon, so he could probably anything he wanted and she wouldn't mind. 😂

    1. HA! That is so sweet Judy, I hope he does and if he doesn’t I would love to know what he comes up with...just love this name game! ;)

  5. Ah grandmother names. How complicated deciding what you want to be called becomes. In advance of granddaughter #1, friends decided nothing ordinary for me would suit. They came up with Lulu which my daughter also suggested. I'll not go into all the details about how the name came to be, but I love it. So many people now call me Lulu and I'm perfectly comfortable with that.
    Off tomorrow to India with Jean. I so look forward to meeting her as we feel we've become friends over the last years since Vietnam. To think we owe that to you!

    1. I love Lulu! The Travelling Sisterhood unite again! Very excited to see that you are travelling again with Jean, I am sure you will have a wonderful time togehter. I look forward to following along on IG...keep us posted ! xx

  6. Hi Jeanne,
    The joy of being grandparents. The anticipation.
    I love the idea of grace notes.
    You have all the days of gratitude.
    All the best,

  7. The name game big time, haha! You've chosen well for you - I'm just plain old Grandma!
    Speaking of 'old' dear Jeanne - this week I will celebrate another birthday and I've just received your beautiful postcard so will display along with my birthday cards - perfect timing and many, many thanks.
    You will enjoy being a grandmother - it's so special, so I just hope you will be able to spend time as often as possible with this little one.
    BTW - have you watched the TV series (and it's now available on Netflix) 'A Place To Call Home'? A sweeping Aussie family drama set in the 1950's, it is awesome in every way. We're now watching 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries' set in the Roaring 20's in Melbourne and it too is great - especially the magnificent wardrobe worn by the heroine!

    Hope Connor's exams go well and you enjoy your time back in Sydney - such a fabulous city!
    Hugs - Mary

    1. Hi Mary, so glad you received your postcard. I love hearing from friends around the much fun to think about all the directions they have flown in. I have seen 'A Place to Call Home' and 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries'...both a lot of fun and very Aussie. Interesting story to 'A Place to Call Home', it was cancelled at one point and there was such an uproar by followers, that they staged picnics in the theme of the show...they brought it back! Very well acted...

      Only one more exam to go and then we are home bound!! xxx

  8. I love. love that Aboriginal art piece - the colors and movement!! I would love an "extra" postcard. Millholland 4804 Old Field Dr Kennesaw Ga 30144 Thank you!


Post a Comment

Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you...

Popular Posts