Monday, November 09, 2015

Three Moves and a Funeral...

On Monday, lounging at  Hong Kong airport…

Dear Friends,

What a week, it's hard to believe all that has happened in the past few days. On the first day of November, I posted on Instagram ..

Hello, November.
Surprise me.

 I had a feeling when I posted it that I should be careful what I wish for..and I was right.

From Vietnam..on Monday

On Monday, a view to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

On Monday morning I said goodbye to Mr. H. I was restless about this departure. It's always hard to say goodbye when you know it will be weeks and months before you see each other again. We have been here many times over the years. Except this time it is different. In the past we have said goodbye as he moved ahead of us to the next assignment. Sometimes for a few months and the longest for a year. Instead, I am the one who is coming and going. With that thought in mind I settled into my flight, weary and a bit nervous about what lay ahead.

 To the Hill Cabin..on Monday

On Tuesday…view from the Hill Cabin,  New Hampshire 

Twenty four hours later, on Monday evening (Eastern Standard Time) I arrived into Logan airport (Boston)..which was actually Tuesday morning in Vietnam. I love gaining a day when I travel stateside. Some of you may remember the cabin we rented last summer. It is a five minute drive from Tahilla Farm and seemed the most sensible place to park myself while settling into the move. Plus…I was desperate to see that beautiful view one more time. I rented the cabin for three nights but was so excited by the move and what I saw at Tahilla Farm that I packed my bags a day early and decided to sleep amidst the boxes.

To Tahilla Farm..on Wednesday

On Wednesday..views from Tahilla Farm, New Hampshire

I am happy to report that my mission is accomplished…the boxes are in and the packing paper is flying out of them as quickly as my little hands can move. I give myself an A+ for my adeptness with a case cutter. I haven't cut myself once…yet.  I decided to go solo on the move and I am glad I did. If anyone was trailing behind me as I move from one area to the next they would be banging their head against the wall. I should finish one room at a time but I don't and that's OK with me.  I see the method in my madness and that is all that matters. Right?

On Thursday, first morning views, Tahilla Farm.

I am taking it all in slowly and enjoying every aspect and angle, inside and out. Happy with the end result does not begin to describe it…ecstatic is more like it. When I finally get my head out of the boxes and into photo taking mode, I will update the Tahilla Farm story with a few more pics.

Yet, through all these days moving from one side of the world to the other, up a mountain and down a mountain, I have had a heavy heart...

On Saturday, the power of one, a keepsake flower.

A farewell…on Friday and Saturday

You might be wondering why I would include a funeral in this post. Sadly, I received news last Sunday that my uncle passed away. In his early 70's, we would have expected that he had many years ahead of him but God had other plans.

I had not seem my uncle for nearly15 years, we travelled different paths, mine the farthest. I heard tidbits of news about him but was never certain of the particulars. Living so far away, for so many years often puts you at odds with the dynamics of the family circle. You are in but you are out and just when you think you have connected again, you are on the move and into the world of disconnect.

I should preface that my family is catholic, of Irish heritage and hails from Boston. This can be a fairly intense combination especially in the context of a wake, a church service and the gathering that follows.     I had one thought throughout the service, that my uncle would have been happy to know that so many came together to remember him. When I was growing up, he was the 'cool uncle'. If you are familiar with the TV show 'Gidget'…to me, my uncle was the 'Moondoggie' of my world. Handsome, charismatic, sporty and a lot of fun, we all gravitated to him when he was around. He loved being with family and bringing them together. His interest in me was genuine and always appreciated. When he married we were even more excited to be a part of his wedding, Moondoggie had found his Gidget. His life story went in many different directions after that, some happy, some sad…as life is. We lost touch, I found my own Moondoggie and went onward and forwards.

If an outsider observed the ceremonies this weekend to celebrate his life they might have wondered what was going on. There was hugging, chatter, laughter and tears.  For me, it was especially bittersweet to walk into a room and see so many faces that I had not seen in many years, ones I thought I might never see again. We all connected with memories and stories. It was surreal, to think that it took a funeral to bring us together, one we would never wish for but if it had to be, it was as he would have liked it. Family and friends together, remembering and talking with laughter and tears. We celebrated his life. He was loved and will always be remembered.

My Uncle Tom
(my original Moondoggie)
Always in our hearts….

One week down in the month of November…
I am hoping for a rest on the 'surprise' factor. 
I think that'll do me for the month. 

Sending you best wishes
 for a wonderful week.
As always,
 thank you for reading along!

Jeanne xx

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Be the soul....

Thinking in Saigon..

And so it begins again...this crazy mixed up world of mine. I am in the throws of packing for my return to the USA, feeling as I always do, split between countries. Half excited, half nervous, half sad, half joyful. I am never sure which order to put it all in...or if I even need to put it in an order. Just being should be enough..but I am not quite there yet.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Poetry and Paint..a recipe for the soul

Collage of Life..the beginning here

Poetry and Paint...
Many years ago, I dabbled with poetry and paint. It seemed another life, those days living in Sydney, a time when I felt the call of New England (my roots) so strongly that the best remedy was to read poetry and think of how to translate it to something meaningful to me. Many paintings emerged, some to be forgotten and others remembered. Collage of Life was my first (above), in painting and blog.. here  The other is Winter Birch, below.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sharing the LOVE #1: Around the World

'Odalisque in Red Jacket'
by Henri Matisse, 1927

I have decided to jump right in and tell you about something new on the blog. I am going to create a series of posts entitled 'Sharing the LOVE'. Within these posts I will be sharing the love for..well...everything. Call it a few of my favourite's that I think you will like too. The timing is right with the holidays just around the corner and I always say there is no time like the present.

Shall we get started?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Christmas, Coconuts and Operation Xin Chao

'Room At The Top'
Mason Maloof Designs


People often ask me what I enjoy most about living in Vietnam. It's a long list but right there at the top has to be spa treatments. Massage, scrubs, facials, reflexology, mani, pedi...I am all for it. I am not afraid to admit it...I am a spa junkie.

So...the other day, there I was, ready to move into relax mode with a coconut scrub massage to the tunes of that all relaxing spa music where Tibetan bells ring and birds sing. It was perfect, until the music suddenly switched to...O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A classic, a secret, a gate and dusty bluebells...

Art. Poetry. Life.

Sometimes random things just happen and you want to share. I have been sitting here this past hour with a grin from here to there...loving the whimsy and nostalgia of English artist, Gary Bunt. I came across him by chance and thought I would share the smile.  Do you ever curl up with a classic, with your favourite pet snuggled in close? Have you ever stood in wonder at the mighty sunflower? Do you have a place where you go...where you just stop and wait? A secret place? Have you walked amidst the dusty bluebells or something just as breathtaking? If it sounds like you or someone you know, read on...

'A Classic'
by Gary Bunt
Portland Gallery, London

The sound of the sea
My dog next to me
There's nothing more that I need
Life seems complete
With the weight of my feet
And a Penguin classic to read
~ Gary Bunt~

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Girlfriend Factor...

I can't tell you how excited I was when a brown paper package 
appeared in my mailbox at Tahilla Farm.

I had been counting the days for it's arrival.

I tore it open, headed straight to our half constructed porch,
pulled up a chair in between the bzzzz, clang and boom 
of the chaos around me
and let myself get lost in the pages of Sharon Santoni's
 first book...

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Are we there yet?

?..are we there yet..?
Construction countdown....

Ever been on a long journey with someone asking "are we there yet?" every five minutes? Does it drive you crazy too? If it does, you will appreciate why I needed to take a blogging break these past few weeks...for I would have surely driven you as crazy as I did a few others. Tahilla Farm is in construction countdown and I have been beside a decision making frenzy.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Listen to your life….

Life… the holy and hidden heart of it in the mountains of New Hampshire.

If I were called upon 
to state
in a few words
the essence of everything
I was trying to say
it would be something 
like this:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Through The Looking-Glass…40 years later

Jeanne Marie
Favorite Saying:
Friendship is a horizon which expands as you approach it.
To discover the life of the mind, pursue wisdom,
and to take a place in the world.

Yes, my friends, that is me, a turtleneck kind of girl, sporting a classic high school yearbook pose in 1975. Have you looked at your teenage self recently? Earlier in the month, I took the plunge and went to my first ever high school reunion. Looking at my high school yearbook was the first step in my backwards journey.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Summer Rental and my Airbnb BFF

Mrs. H gets an idea…which leads to a summer rental and her Airbnb BFF.

Last summer I had an epiphany after a very large ailing maple tree was cut down at Tahilla Farm. The epiphany went along the lines of tweaking the architects plans to take in a wider view of the landscape. My idea was a long shot but it worked. Unfortunately, I was a bit short on the math in regards to timing. I packed up the house, sent the contents into storage thinking that we would return to Tahilla in May/June 2015. I was delusional and off by five months with a more realistic date given to me of October 2015.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Feels like home….

Construction anxiety….
It has been exactly one week since I returned to Tahilla Farm by way of a birthday celebration in San Francisco and our home, Chateau Mango, in Vietnam. I admitted to anyone who would listen that I was nervous about going back. Call it a case of construction anxiety but I could not help but wonder if I would drive up to Tahilla Farm...and fall flat on my face wondering what we had done. 


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