Fiona McIntosh

February 23rd, 2008

I have unpacked my books and its been lovely to rediscover some of the series that I had put away. Ive just done a big binge reading the Myrren’s Gift series & not being ready to leave Fiona I sat down last week and started rereading the Trinity series. Ok so the books haven’t lasted long, but I have been having fun with the pace and style. I enjoy the way Fiona brings her sub plots together, and the way characters pop back up later on with more depth. Perhaps it is the forbidden love / powerful magic / unknown powers themes I am drawn to, but I have had a couple of late nights and though bleary eyed in the mornings enjoyed being lost in the worlds that have been created. Who needs reality when there are palaces and inn’s, pirates and herbwomen, dark enemies and gods all playing in my imagination. I am still waiting for the final paperback of her Percheron series. As far as I am concerned - this author has got better and better. Thumbs up from me.


February 23rd, 2008

This week we got up early and watched for the International Space Station. Scanning the horizon as the sun was starting to come up we saw what looked like a slow shooting star! It was very cool. The space shuttle was meant to be there as well, but because we had lots of daylight I think it all looked like one light. Will have to do that again.

Closer to home! Hugo came home from the temple of Bunnings with some garden solar lights. We spent a while this afternoon locating them along the driveway. Now waiting for the darkness to fall to see how they look. Anything to help our friends as they come out stay on the driveway would be good. We also put up some solar powered coloured LED’s in the tree that you can see out the kitchen window. Its been one of my little dreams - to have the lights on not just at Christmas, but all year round. Sigh. Small things make me content :)

I’m back…

February 3rd, 2008

I dropped blogging. Life got messy. It does that. This is my catch up.

We moved from mums at Mckellar out to Carwoola in the first week of December, just after Rachaels 8th birthday. Hugh and I were crazy and managed to unpack the essential things (beds, kitchen) and then over 2 weeks everything else - enough to get rid of one of the shipping containers. We have kept the other one for our garage stuff, bikes, and boxes that are seasonal (winter things) or Hugh’s treasure trove of magazines, computer bits, cables etc. It was an exhausting process, but wonderful to be reunited with our household goods. After a few months living at mums I was stoked to have all my kitchen gadgets back again - yes I still love my food processor!

We jokingly told people we had become worshippers at the Temple of Bunnings (Hardware shop) because in the first month we were here it felt like we were buying things from them every day. This trickled down to just the weekends and now finally we think all the hooks, shelves etc are complete.

Not long after getting here Hugh managed to make a pilgrimage to Ikea in Sydney and came back with a hat rack and 3 very large shelving units. It all just fit into the ute - clever flatpacking yurgens. Building these units fitted in between Christmas and New Years. Our Holiday was very much spent at home unpacking/building/reorganising.

Hugh also constructed the most amazing cat run outside for Duck and Drake. He was assisted in this process by Roger (visiting from the UK). It must have been the season for OS visitors as Jock (Dave Girvan) managed to arrive a few days later.

One of our first lots of visitors was the Struik family, they arrived to find that the BBQ needed constructing before we could all have dinner. It has been noted that visiting at the moment comes with the risk of being utilised to help with whatever project is being undertaken.

Most of the infrastructure is done now! Sigh. But it never really ends. The building is yet to have its final inspection (sometime in the next few weeks we think). The final invoice from the builder looms - he and his family have been away for the summer - they had a ski holiday booked between Whistler/Europe/Japan. Say no more!

It has taken me a while to actually feel like I belong here. There was so much happening with selling the house, packing, cleaning it up, moving things to store out here, getting essentials to mums, finishing the school term for RKB, unpacking. My head was spinning most nights with the volume of tasks and changes. Redirections, disconnections, connections, chasing unfinished tasks all took so much time. I am a creature of routine and I work best in organised and structured places. Its been hard, because for me to relax Ive had to cope with the chaos and uncertainty.

Life is becoming more settled now. I have a 6 month contract at the Ngunnawal Centre, continuing the ITAS role I did last year so I know how my working week should look. Its back to two part time jobs as Im still coordinating the Spiritual Meeting Place, so that covers a big chunk of my day time.

Rach starts school at Radford tomorrow, so we can set her activities into routine as well. This term she is not doing swimming and pottery after school. Instead it’s extra things at school- drama, piano and choir and she has added 2 hours of circus on fridays after falling in love with it at a 2 week summer program.

We have timed our daily commute and can tell you that it only takes us 14 minutes to get to the runway at the Canberra airport. To get to uni/school is another 15-20 minutes depending on the time of day and traffic. In the mornings we listen to the ABC news and “AM” so I feel much more up to date on current affairs. Afternoons are talk time, reviewing the day. On the rare times I don’t have her in the car I have been letting loose on old music on my ipod at dangerous volumes.

The quick list of great things about living at Carwoola in the last few weeks.
- That we as a family have a home, and we all helped to get here.
- Stunning stars at night.
- Sounds of the bush (reminds me of camping when I was a child).
- Early morning walks in the clean air, watching local birds and wildlife.
- Time with our friends here - people visiting relax more than in town for some reason.
- Playing in the mud while clearing out the drains and culverts of the driveway.
- Hanging out in the hammock with Rachael and Hugh
- Realising this is just the beginning of what we can do with the land

Stay tuned or vist me on my latest addiction - facebook (mainly for scrabble).

Cardbord boxes

September 22nd, 2007

Ok, so its now less than a week before we “move” and most of my life is in cardboard boxes. Its been interesting to see the progress and work out which things we can do without and what gets packed last.

So far I have kept my Anne Mcaffrey books till last, with my set of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller series. I packed all of Sharon Shinn’s last week (hard to do) I guess that it is easy to tell my comfort authors. If you count cook books they have also stayed out. I managed to pack half, but there is still a box or so that will be coming with us to my mums. The other set of books that has survived are my bibles/worship resources/prayer/inspiration books. Funny sort of mix eh! My three passions according to the “packed last” law appear to be reading science fiction/fantasy, cooking and God.

For Rachael the complete set of Daisy Meadows fairy books have been moved to her room at my mums. This is a sure sign she is settling in there. I was pleased to see the “Dealing with Dragons” Patricia C Wrede (also wrote episodes Star Wars) boxed set there also, so perhaps there is some hope that she will move on to less commercialised fantasy books. I took her to Dymocks today for a special “Fairy” promotion (buy 3 for the price of two). There was also a special offer limited edition teaser book that they got free for going today, balloon etc. Talk about brand loyalty - its there. At least she is reading and already hooked on books as a reward.

Better get back to the packing of boxes… Moving day is next Friday 28 September, settlement day 4 October. Still no idea when the shed will be finished, but we will be happy in the interim at mums. She has shelves of SF books - thinking of rewards…

Under offer… almost sold

July 6th, 2007

Next Wed arvo we are off to our Solicitor to sign the contract of sale on our house. I met with the “buyers” last Friday and negotiated the final details, before handing it over to the legal people this week. We have a price agreed and a date for the final settlement of 4 October. It turned out a longer settlement suited us both, we needed the time for our shed to be up and they didn’t want to move before the end of the school term. This means we really need to move out to Carwoola on 29/30 September! Get building Peter - we have a firm deadline now (that is all under control thanks to Hugh).

I didn’t blog about the offer before because the reality was still sinking in, and I guess I didnt want to jinx things.

All in all I am pretty happy with the way I managed things. Murphys law said that Hugh would be overseas when it all happened. But Hugh being on the other side of the world was surprisingly more positive than I thought because being in different time zones meant I was forced to be more considered in the decision making process, getting my ideas straight and summarised before we discussed things.

I also spent quite a lot of time discussing negotiations with our friend Christopher. My friend Michael at work was great on the advice too. It pays to have positive people who believe in you and are happy to spend time sharing their knowledge. I was not confident at the start but wanted to prove to myself I could do this.

I am very glad I followed my instinct. Overall I have managed to reduce our advertising costs to $600 for internet advertising, $40 for the newspaper and $80 for a Private sale sign. This is a hell of a lot cheaper than all of the “advertising packages” that the real estate agents were proposing (starting price $1,200 most round $2-3K. Then there is the commission part, its been pretty good knowing that I have saved us paying thousands of dollars. Someone asked me what I was going to spend my commission on. Hummm I hear that it might be good to invest in land at Carwoola.

And the best bit is … now I can stop cleaning and tidying up like a mad woman for a little while.

What I have learnt in the last few weeks:

I can research and learn about things that I never understood before.
Im not afraid to ask hard questions of total strangers.
Im not afraid to ask for help from my friends when Im lacking in confidence.
Homestyling exists (google it) and does help people imagine their stuff in your space.
I quite like living in a decluttered house.
Flowers are cheap at Aldi for when the house is being shown.
I like having flowers and will still just get them for no particular reason in the future.
You can get a for sale sign made in 12 hours for $80
Some people believe in you whatever you are doing and celebrate your wins, others never will.
Cats calm you down a lot when you are stressed.
My mother loves me so much that she minds not only my child but my kitten, for sleepovers!

Miaow our house is on the market! The block has power and there is a silver ute in our fleet.

June 11th, 2007

I feel like I have disappeared off the face of the friendship earth. Sorry all who care, but I have been cleaning, packing, recycling, throwing out and moving stuff. After 3 weeks of all of this horrible process, Hugh was able to take some decent photos of a made over interior and we have got our house up on as of last Thursday. My cousin Rowena, a friend who is a marketing lecturer, H and I wrote the advert. Im now having to keep my mobile with me and just waiting on people to call. Hopefully someone will fall in love with the place and want it as much as we did 7 years ago. A variety of people have told me I am stupid to try selling privately, but this has been balanced by those who have been supportive. I figure I will give it my best shot and see what happens.

In the middle of all this unsettled crazy preparation to sell/move we got a kitten. He is a real character and has lived up to his name Drake (had to be to go with Duck). He proved his water liking ability by arguing with Duck about who gets to drink the shower drips first and falling into the bath last week. Miaow! I must admit, his arrival has been great for me because I stop cleaning to play with him. He has got an amazing purr and is very relaxed. I had some people looking through the house yesterday, so took Drake and Rach to my mums to keep them out of the way. He was so relaxed and happy over there he ended up having a sleepover with R. Duck appreciated being an only cat for the night, so everyone was happy.

Everything seems to be happening at once.

Hugh came home with the much researched Ute on Friday. Girl answer - it is silver and I havent even got round to driving it yet. It was put straight to work moving boxes to mums and also gear out to Carwoola. It has a few dings, and makes some wierd noises but all this shall be sorted this week when it goes in for a service. Its very wierd having two cars after 3 years of only having one. Oh well it had to happen before we move out of town, and now is very useful.

The progress at Carwoola has been amazing. There is now a power pole, a phone line and a little shed. Lots of machinery and sub contractors have progressed things in a huge way, site works are all happening with trenches and fill. Hugh has been flat out coordinating everything but it has paid off in a big way.

Ive also realised I need to be spending time working on things for the Baptists Today conference because it is sneaking up to August and the promotional mail out needs to go this week. I have to work out how to get open office to do mailing labels before Thursday. Yep, fun everywhere.

Im having to go up a gear in so many things at the moment. Its sad that I feel that going to work is a break…. And the womens mentoring group I am facilitating tomorrow is working on work life balance this week. Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

And yes I think I have lost it. Bed time.

Finally! They are engaged.

May 15th, 2007

I did keep a secret, my little brother told me at Easter he had ordered the ring. I have been waiting waiting waiting for the phone call and tonight it came. Yay Mark, good work.
more details on Andrea’s Blog - and a picture

The Last of the nomads W J Peasley + Sunday Reflection

April 1st, 2007

My father in law was reading this book and loaned it to me after I started reading it at his house on Thursday. Its a short but powerful narrative and I would now like to see the documentary (apprarently it won a New York Film Festival Gold Medal).

It is the story about the search for Warri and Yatungka, two of the last traditional Mandildjara tribe living in the western Gibson Desert region in Australia. It follows Dr Peasley’s journey with Mudjon (an old friend of Warri) and support people to see if they could find this couple, who had pursued a nomadic traditional existance in time of drought in the late 1970s. It was a fascinating read, thought provoking for me as it gave good insights into the sacred relationship between the Aborigional people and the land.

Sunday Reflection
I was struck too, that reading this story at this time of year was significant. There is something special about the sense of country and identity that we do not understand. One of my friends is researching in this area noting in the sense of dislocation and what it means to live away from your land and culture. This can be seen not only in Australia, but in many other places in the world currently and through history. I see also the link with the Old Testament and the significance of land and identity.

Today I was the communion steward responsible for a prayer of thanksgiving. After reading this book, thinking of pilgrimage this prayer came to mind.
It was interesting that I had not consulted about the theme for the worship but the link was so strong it could have all been planned that way. Being Palm Sunday Jeanette had also prepared her sermon on the theme of Parade and Pilgrimage, talking about the discipline of being in community. The MP3 will be up on the Canberra Baptist Website soon. Here is the prayer.

On Track (Bruce Prewer - Jesus our Future, Prayers for the Twenty first Century)
Lord of pilgrims,
when the track that looked promising
peters out and my energy is gone,
when all I can do is take shelter
from the chill wind,
then I find you waiting
with bread and wine
and a hand on my shoulder
which turns me
in a new direction
where I never expected
to travel.

Then as I set out,
surprised at the renovation
within my being,
delighted with the eagerness
which now spurs
my mind and my feet,
I discover fresh tracks,
new vistas to inspire me,
new valleys and streams,
new melodies on my tounge
and new hopes that pray
themselves into action.

Thanks, Lord of pilgrims, for your renewing Spirit. (the final words are mine) For this time to reflect on all you have done. For Lent which takes us back to basics. For this communion meal where we gather in one body to give thanks. Amen

Howard Jones Acoustic Tour 2007

March 29th, 2007

Last night we went to see Howard Jones play. It was surreal to see him here in Canberra playing live. Howard’s music has been a steady influence in my life since I was a teenager. I have wanted to see him play and had it down as something I would do if I ever got to ENGLAND. I think I am still on a natural high (watch out world). I couldn’t believe it when I actually got to meet him after the show. Whoo hoo! It was wonderful to be able to say thank you for all of the times his music has been precious to me over the past twenty something years!

Lucy and Howard

Photo in the paper

March 14th, 2007

I was interviewed in the Monitor - the Uni’s online newspaper. My friend Ed (who is the Editor) took a very lovely photo - I wish I could have something like this on my drivers licence!

The link is here.
(For some reason I cant make it all seamless and beautiful).