You’ve got mail

Dear fellow bloggersdownload

I’m sorry it has been a while since I’ve been in touch. I’ve no excuse for my absence and vow to stay connected from now on.

At the beginning of 2016 I stated my intentions and thus far feel happy that I have honoured my promises.

I’ve grown as a person by standing up to certain people and not allowing them to make me feel inferior. I’m sticking my head out from my protective tortoise shell and I’m not as afraid of being crushed anymore.

Another area of my life that needed my attention was reconnecting with people I’d lost touch with over the years. I’ve reached out to some old friends and family and it’s wonderful to feel a sense of belonging to a community again after years of imposed isolation.

We have been working on creating a family business with our son Chris who wants to open a trendy men’s barbershop. Fingers crossed we find out today if we secured the lease of a shop. If so we will be working hard over the next six weeks fitting it out and getting ready to open. We see this as an opportunity for Chris to follow his dream and for our whole family to work together and share their collective skills to make this dream a reality.

Other exciting news is that our daughter Laura has produced a CD of her original folky songs and will launch it in the coming months. I’d love to share her music with you when the CD is available.

Although I haven’t been on my blog site for a while I think of you all often and hope you are all happy and well. I’ve promised myself to spend time each morning to catch up with your news and reconnect with my treasured blogger friends.

Your friend

Jenna Dee

Moving on

When a New Year dawns people vow to instigate change to improve their lives. In the past I’ve cited old chestnuts like quitting smoking, losing weight or finding a better job, but this year my intentions are new. I’m moving on with my life.

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.
~ Joel Osteen

These are my intentions for 2016

  • I will reject rejection
  • I will forgive others and myself
  • I will sever contact with people who cause me pain or anxiety
  • I will live by the words of Eleanor Roosevelt “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
  • I will speak the truth
  • I will say no if I want to
  • I will expect to receive the same respect I extend to others
  • I will embrace and remain true to my introverted personality
  • I will continue to live a simple life and be grateful for all I have
  • I will continue to love and cherish my husband and children in the only way I know how, unconditionally
  • I will accept my feelings and actions as the whole truth.

Happy New Year



Thanks for being you

Thank you to my blogger friends for sharing your lives, thoughts, adventures and experiences during 2015.  I value your company and friendship more than you will ever know.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.    ~Leo Buscaglia
Christmas message 2015
Christmas message from Jenna Dee

A tale of two chapters of travel

Europe Journey 2015 – 46 days, 6 countries

j&P collage2The best way to discover more about yourself is to step away from familiar surroundings and travel to new places as far away from home as you can imagine.

Our recent trip that closely followed an eight-week trip to Europe last year felt like a continuation or a second chapter of travel.

The weather was perfect during our trip last year (chapter one) and when the sun shines everything sparkles. We visited areas of Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Italy. I loved the newness and discovery of things I’d only heard about or seen in photos and felt like an excited child opening presents on Christmas morning. No matter how advanced photographic technology has become I discovered it is impossible to fully capture nature’s beauty. Printed images lack depth and appear overlaid with an unnatural filter. You need to physically experience the magnificence of nature and the world using all your senses. Standing beneath the majestic Alps in Switzerland under a cloudless sky breathing in the crisp mountain air was electrifying and woke me from a hibernation from life. During the first chapter almost everything seemed magical. On reflection this wasn’t always true but it is how it felt at the time.

During our latest trip (chapter two) we travelled around the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. This time the weather was mostly gloomy and cold despite travelling at exactly the same time as last year. The first nine days it rained most days and the sky remained grey making it difficult to plan sight-seeing activities. However in Paris the sun shone in a cloudless sky for three days allowing discovery and appreciation of everything this cosmopolitan city offers.   As quickly as the sun appeared it again disappeared on the morning we left Paris and for the rest of our trip only ever appeared intermittently amongst a whole lot of rain and fog.

During chapter two we felt the tension bubbling in countries trying to limit entry of refugees fleeing the Syrian Civil War. Although we don’t speak French or German we sensed this issue causing anxiety in European countries. At the border entry to Germany from Austria we sat in a traffic queue kilometres long while 10 police peered into every car and truck wanting to gain entry into Germany. The mood was somber and apprehensive.

My highlight of chapter two was seeing the Lippizan stallions perform at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, our days in Paris, visiting Salzburg and the storybook surrounding Austrian countryside. I also adored the bright floral window boxes and obvious house proudness of the Austrian and German people.

Chapter one was akin to falling in love for the first time and during chapter two it became like an old love that deepened and become more realistic. Although the level of excitement was subdued during chapter two I enjoyed the countries and places we visited more than I did on our first trip. I related to life in France more than I did in Italy and saw much more of Austria and Germany, which I adore, during chapter two.

During chapter one I felt like I was floating on air but in chapter two I thought about things on a deeper level. I imagined how the two world wars must have affected the people who lived in the places I visited. I thought about how the refugees must feel fleeing from their country to an alien land where people speak a foreign language and don’t seem to want to provide the required assistance. I thought about how living in another country is so different yet so familiar. I had more time to think about how I see myself in relation to the world. Although the two trips occurred only one year apart I feel wiser after our second chapter of European travel.

Travelling is fascinating but travelling is also hard work. It puts you outside your comfort zone and challenges you not only to cope with obstacles and disappointments but also to enjoy yourself and learn from new experiences. Travelling with my husband of almost 30 years is a joy and has strengthened our already rock solid relationship. We compliment each other like yin and yang.

Despite the contrasting nature of both trips  I’ve loved the entirety of the two chapters of our European travel. I’m proud I accepted the challenge to experience all that both trips provided. I’ve learnt much about the world but more importantly I’ve learnt much about myself. However I’m tired after travelling 46 days this trip and 44 days last year and want to return to my home and familiar life which I now have an even greater appreciation for.

Something deep down inside tells me that there will not be a chapter three but I’ve learnt that nothing is definitive and that only time will tell.

vintage travel lady

Strobl and Salzburg, Austria

Europe Journey 2015 – Day 36 to 39austria stamp2


austria postcard2After the intensity of the large city of Vienna it was a welcome relief to arrive in the charming small quaint village of Strobl on Lake Wolfgangsee. Strobl exudes a peaceful atmosphere where people seem content to relax and enjoy a simple life. Unfortunately during our visit the weather was cold and rainy with the clouds camouflaging the mountains which restricted our sight-seeing activities. I am sure that Strobl would be picture perfect on a lovely sunny day.

The weather was clear on the day we visited Salzburg, an Austrian city on the German border. Salzburg is famous for being the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for the film “The Sound of Music.” The city is divided by the fast flowing Salzach River, with medieval and baroque buildings of the pedestrian Altstadt (Old City) on its left bank.

Salzburg AUSTRIA 2-I found Salzburg endearing. I loved the winding cobblestone lanes with intricate black swirling wrought iron guild signs above each shop and the tidy high, narrow houses tightly nestled together.

We took the funicular to Fortress Hohensalzburg that sits above the baroque towers of the city. This castle in Salzburg is an unmistakable landmark providing the city’s world famous silhouette.

Our day in Salzburg was perfect in every way. It reminded me why we leave our homes and travel to discover the beauty of different places.










Vienna – Austria

Europe Journey 2015 – Day 32 to 35vienna stamp-with-St-Stephen-s-Cathedral-and-the-word-Vienna-Austria-inside-Stock-Vectorvienna-austria_222

Day 32

We drove from Alpbach to Austria’s capital city Vienna that lies in the country’s east on the Danube River.

Day 33

Vienna austriaWe took the local tram to the heart of the city of Vienna and wandered the streets marvelling at the magesty of the historic buildings. Vienna’s Ringstrasse is 5.3 kilometers long and houses monumental buildings built during the period of Historicism in the 1860s to 1890s.

Day 34

Today we visited Schönbrunn Palace, a former Austrian empire summer residence. We wandered through the extensive gardens and saw some of the rooms of the 1,441-room Baroque palace. The decorative garden leads towards a 60-metre-high hill, which since 1775 has been crowned by a Gloriette structure. We walked to the top to see spectacular panoramic views of Vienna.

Day 35 – Spanish Riding School

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world that has practiced for nearly 450 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the Haute Ecole.

When I was a teenager girls either liked boys, rock music, ballet or horses. For me it was horses. I read novels about them, plastered my walls with posters of them and watched movies and TV shows about them. I even owned a horse for four years. As I grew to adulthood I put my obsession with horses behind me and got on with establishing a career and raising a family.

One of the reasons we visited Vienna during our trip was to see a performance of the famous Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule). Seeing the performance was by far my highlight of this trip, or perhaps any other trip. Being in the Hofburg palace in the same arena as the majestic Lipizzan stallions and their riders sent joy through my body. I imagine people who love fine art or music would derive the same pleasure should they be in the presence of the artists. Watching the horses and riders harmoniously work together to classical music cast a magical spell over me and took my breath away. It was the pinnacle of horsemanship. All my teenage dreams came true, albeit 40 years later.

Later in the day we enjoyed a behind the scenes tour and saw the beautiful Lipizzan stallions in their stables. They were so calm and peaceful; I felt such a strong connection to them.


Alpbach, Austria

austriaEurope Journey 2015 – Day 28 to 31austria stamp2innsbruck



Day 28

Today we left Switzerlnd and arrived in Albach, Austria. Our GPS couldn’t find the address where we are staying so we asked some people in a cafe if they knew the place. They gave us verbal directions that we followed but ended up at the wrong place and asked them if they knew Gitti’s farm. They kindly said they would drive and we could follow them to the place we were staying. Eventually we found our cute authentic cottage, our home for four nights.

In Alpbach the grass is glossy green, the chalets are picture perfect and the smell of cows is in the air. It is approx 1,000m above sea level. Thanks to its homogenous architectural style and lovely floral decorations Alpbach is “Austria´s most beautiful village” and also “Europe´s most beautiful flower village”.

Day 29

Today we walked to a gondola to take us to the top of the mountain and we took a brisk Austrian walk for two hours in 0 degree temperature. The cold crisp air was exhilarating. Before coming down on the gondola we enjoyed a drink in a bar on top of the mountain.

Day 30
innsbruck austria 2 sun shone and the sky was blue so we drove to Innsbruck and ventured to the top of Mount Nordkette, which resembled what I imagine it would be like on the moon. This involved riding in three cable cars to get to the peak, definitely not recommended for people squeamish with heights. Later in the day we wandered in the old town of Innsbruck and then visited the Swarovski exhibition.

Day 31
Travelling for an extended time has its ups and downs, many parts are wonderful but it can also be stressful and tiring at times. Each time I travel I feel lucky to experience a few exceptional moments that make every trip worthwhile.  Usually they happen when I least expect them, which makes them even more special.

Today we went to an Austrian restaurant to hear live music. We hoped it would be traditional music but for all we knew it could have been a punk rock band, luckily it wasn’t. The first challenge was finding the place. After several wrong roads and u-turns on narrow streets we finally found the car park for the place, but there wasn’t a restaurant in sight. We noticed lots of people walking up a mountain and thought they were going for a morning walk. After wandering around the car park a few times we saw an arrow pointing up the mountain to the restaurant with 2km walk on the sign. We thought 2km isn’t far, no problem, but it was entirely uphill, so steep it took your breath away. So up and up and up we walked until we made it to the top to a traditional beer garden with huge wooden seats and benches overlooking the valley. We were the only tourists, which made it even better. The Austrians sure know how to enjoy themselves; the giant beers and schnapps were flowing. Turns out it was traditional Austrian music too. The sun shone, the drinks flowed, the music was great and everyone clapped, cheered and danced and had a fantastic time. The only problem was when it was over we had to walk down the hill again after many beers and wines and food. We took it slowly but we made it.