Friday, January 25, 2013

packing and unpacking

I probably ought to be packing but I'm waiting for some photos to upload to Flickr so whilst I'm at the computer I may as well be doing something useful...

I've got two lots of packing going on at the moment - firstly we're getting the house re-carpeted, all the carpeted rooms at once except the (newer) sunroom. It is probably the first time the carpets have been replaced in the best part (or worst depending on your perspective!) of 40yrs if not more. Apart from the fact that they are worn thin and thus not very insulating (nor attractive) in places they are worn out and thus not very safe either. So we've been busy packing things into bags, boxes and suitcases etc so that furniture can be moved around more easily. We're not quite sure when the carpets are going down, but I'm going away on Sunday for a fortnight hence doing what we can now whilst I'm here to help. If we end up living with empty shelves for a few weeks then so be it, the plus side of that being if we then only put half the things back the shelves will still look full rather than empty! As Granny Weatherwax would call it, that is good headology (and a lot less dusting!)

So rather obviously the other packing I should be doing is my rucksack for going away. This ought to be easier given the substantially smaller quantities involved but my trip is to Melbourne where they are currently sweltering in the mid 30s, followed by a few days most likely in the Bay of Plenty where the temperature is more likely to be anywhere in the 20s. Not quite as extreme a range as autumnal Dunedin to Kenya in the one trip last year I'll admit, but still a challenge. I guess there are always op shops if I get desperate for something I don't have.

Last time I went to Melbourne was in March 2004, after my first trip ever to Aotearoa NZ. I arrived absolutely gutted at having to leave this place behind and for the first time I experienced the strange sense of being 'homesick' for the land I'd known for only two months. I still hate flying out of the country and when sitting by a window have yet to manage it without at least a tear in my eye even if I'm only going for a short trip, it just feels wrong seeing the coastline slip away. But as with any other trip overseas it is knowing who I'm going to see at the other end that gets me on the plane.

Luckily when I get back to these shores the catching up isn't over as I'll have a few days with an old friend from (UK) uni days and then the bonus of catching up with a Wellington friend who happens to be up north on my route home. You know I could get used to this redundancy malarkey and not having to be back for work on a Monday morning!

It seems like good timing to be going to Melbourne again. Last time I arrived still not quite knowing how life, or even the rest of the year, was going to pan out - I had some ideas (like emigrate!) but no firm plans or knowing if or how I could make it work. This time I have even less idea what life holds, but know I'm heading towards people who are good for working things through with, even if in Kylie's case she's probably thinking oh no here we go again...!

Being somewhere so different last time really made me appreciate how much this land had come to mean to me, not just the people. I have some wonderful and dear friends in Australia (which is why I'm heading over!) but the land doesn't call to me at all. I don't do extreme heat very well, I prefer my land masses to be crossable by road in one or two days rather than weeks, I tend to be allergic to bitey things and I can't stand lager... I must admit though they do produce some rather nice wine. We'll just not mention the cricket though eh?

The Tom Waits song San Diego Seranade talks about needing to go away from something to see it more clearly, hopefully this trip will help with that again and who knows I may come back with some answers as a souvenier. But just to be on the safe side today I've made sure my name and phone numbers are on the kindergartens' relieving lists ready for when I get back.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

update on life

For anyone wondering where my life is going now, post redundancy here is a bit of an update. Basically I still have no idea!

On Boxing Day I headed off to join just over 70 other Quakers for Summer Gathering down near Pukerau outside of Gore on the Mainland. With Meeting for Worship every day and lots of F/friends very good at asking the difficult but needful questions I had wondered if perhaps inspiration would come as to my next direction but instead I came away with an even longer Quaker to do list and the realisation that there really was no point in trying to find a 'proper job' until March at least as I had so much else on my plate until then.

Two reports for Documents in Advance, a considerable amount of legwork on YM Nominations and about half way through the MM end of year accounts later I'm rather glad not to be trying to fit in a real job as well just yet! Especially as I still have to finish the accounts, plan a seminar weekend and keep plodding away to to find a way to ensure that JYF Camp happens in July this year that doesn't mean me doing it on my own...

I've also been asked if I'm available for something else in the winter and now I'm wondering if maybe a 'proper job' can wait until after that! Luckily some odds and ends of work to help out friends/whānau have been put my way so financially it isn't totally unrealistic if I can also get some relieving work in Terms 1 & 2.

The fact that things keep turning up is leading me to think that this is how things are meant to be right now. Being available to help out where and when needed certainly looks like keeping me busy for a while yet that is for sure!

Friday, January 18, 2013


(I wrote this before Christmas - no idea why it didn't get posted at the time...)

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in life has a purpose."

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

I came across this quote a few days ago in a book of quotes I was leafing through checking if it would be a suitable gift for someone and it jumped out at me. It reminded me of a conversation with Rosie at the World Conference about grief and 'why did Annie have to die?', and how much easier that was to answer until it was Natalie who had died too. I was reading this quote just a few days after the Sandy Hook shootings and endlessly we were hearing about it on the news, plus the anguished pleas from various concerned others on facebook that we not forget the deaths of children in Pakistan, Afghanistan etc at US miltiary hands. To what purpose are all these deaths? The individuals taken from us too young from illness, those who lose their lives in conflicts between countries and within the heads of disturbed individuals?  

I've heard various responses about god's will, etc some off the scale of idiocy as far as I'm concerned and others more reasoned. Peter Beck's words in the wake of the fatal February 22nd 2011 Christchurch earthquakes came back to me that (to paraphrase) the earthquakes weren't an act of god, they were an act of nature, the acts of god were in the work of those doing the rescue and clean up work. So I guess in theory the same can be said in terms of everything having a purpose - it isn't the events themselves that happen for a reason but it is how we respond to them that can give them purpose and meaning.

This year some friends of mine in Scotland have been doing 12 challenges in 12 months in 2012 to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Our F/friend Anders has Cystic Fibrosis and is currently undergoing assessment for a lung transplant - he has given them a sense of purpose (why else would you ride a tandem up the 7 hills of Edinburgh in Victorian costume or do every single class at at training gym in on day?), same as all those who have been fundraising for cancer research and hospices have been motivated by the loss or impending loss of someone dear to them or from the gratitude for still being alive thanks to earlier research.

Adversity is a strange beast , but it can often bring out the best in us.

Books of 2012

I've been meaning to share this list on here for a couple of weeks... anway here it is! I'm quite proud of myself for getting through a whole year without any re-reads. 2013 won't match that as I'm going to have to re-read Brisinger before I read Inheritance as I can't remember where the had plot got to!

As you can see I got hooked on two new series of books. The Rangers Apprentice which I've been meaning to read since Ryan told me they were his favourite books (the boy has good taste!) okay so they are meant for children but like so many good children's books they are a good read for adults too. The Liaden Universe series by  Sharen Lee and Steve Miller are described as 'space opera' and I'm enjoying having some generally easy reads to fall back on when travelling as I have the full set as e-books. I'm now most of my way through them all but am saving the last block of them for my travels at the end of the month!

I think I achieved my goals of varying my reading though and certainly reached an average of a book a week. Now to see how 2013 goes....

* means I'm still reading it

Jan - March 2012
i.  The New Natural Alternatives to HRT - Marilyn Glenville (started in 2011)
ii. A Testament of Devotion - Thomas Kelly (started in 2011)
1. March - Geraldine Brooks
2. The Land of Painted Caves - Jean M. Auel
3. An Echo in the Bone - Diana Gabaldon
4. Foodwise - Wendy Cook
5. Love Over Scotland - Alexander McCall Smith
6. The Bone People - Keri Hulme
7. All Fall Down - Sally Nicholls
8. Kenya - Lonely Planet Guide
9. The Quilter's Legacy - Jennifer Chiaverini

April - June 2012
10. The Winding Ways Quilt - Jennifer Chiaverini
11. Under the Frangipani - Mia Couto
12. Corduroy Mansions - Alexander McCall Smith
13. A Very Short Introduction to Quakers - Ben Pink Danelion
14. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
15. The White People - Frances Hodgson Burnett
16. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
17. Walking Back to Happiness - Anne Bennett
18. Hand Me Down World - Lloyd Jones
19. Honouring the Other - Kevin Clements (Quaker lecture 2010)
20. Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan - John Flanagan
21. Ranger's Apprentice: The Burning Bridge - John Flanagan
22. Then She Found Me - Elinor Lipman
23. The Journey - Marvin Hubbard
24. Shatterglass - Tamora Pierce
25. The Garden of the Prophet (and other short stories) - Kahil Gibran
26. Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land - John Flanagan
27. Ranger's Apprentice: The Oakleaf Bearers - John Flanagan
28. Ranger's Apprentice: Erak's Ransom - John Flanagan
29. Ranger's Apprentice: Socerer of the North - John Flanagan
30. Ranger's Apprentice: Siege of Macindaw - John Flanagan
31. Ranger's Apprentice: King of Clonmel - John Flanagan
32. Ranger's Apprentice: Halt's Peril - John Flanagan

July - September 2012
33. Ranger's Apprentice: The Emperor of Nihon-Ja - John Flanagan
34. Ranger's Apprentice: The Lost Stories - John Flanagan
35. The Quaker Movement in Africa - Ane Marie Bak Ramussen
36. Leaving Alexandria - Richard Holloway
37. Travellers Joy - Hannah Taylor & Ruthanna Hadley
38. The Scottish Prisoner - Diana Gabaldon
39. Body Ecology Diet - Donna Yates
40. Yes - Deborah Burnside
41. Local Custom - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
42. Costing Not Less Than Everything - Pam Lunn (Swarthmore Lecture 2011)
43. Scout's Prgress - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
44. Truth of the Heart - Rex Ambler
45. A Home Companion - Wendyl Nissen
46. Conflict of Honors - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
47. The Dearly Departed - Elinor Lipman
48. The Friday Night Knitting Club - Kate Jacobs
49. I Shall Wear Midnight - Terry Pratchett
50. Agent of Change - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
51. Carpe Diem - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

October - December 2012
52. Letters from a Fainthearted Feminist - Jill Tweedie
53. Plan B - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
54. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
55. I Dare- Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
56. * Medicinal Cookery - Dale Pinnock
57. * The Spirit Level - Richard G. Wilkinson & Kate Pickett
58. Brideshead Revisted - Evelyn Waugh
59. George... Don't Do That - Joyce Grenfell
60. Balance of Trade - Sharon Lee & Steve Miller

Still to read list...
Inheritance - Christopher Paolini 
This Charming Man - Marian Keyes (totally swayed by 'The Smiths' song title!)
Finding Our Voice - Australian YFs (Backhouse Lecture 2010)
In Search of Simplicity - John P. Haines
Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela