December 28, 2010

Pax is a Winner!!!

So excited - I usually never win anything so this is such a happy surprise.

A wonderful author who's books I adore had a "12 Days of Giving" competition.  One of the prizes was an offer of a donation of $100 to your favourite charity/non-profit group.

So I nominated Soldiers' Angels and I WON!!!

Definitely a gift that will keep on giving :)

December 24, 2010

Twas the day before Christmas....

and all through the house....

Actually there's a wee bit of chaos in my house today and once I manage to wake up a bit more (reaches for the caffeine.... gulp... ahhhh.. that's better - brain cells beginning to come online) I will reach for my To-Do list and get cracking.

First on the list:- work out where I have hidden all the gifts for giving (for family & friends) and begin the wrapping process.  I have the niggly feeling I've missed something on the "go buy this" list - I have the rest of the day at least to make it back to the shops [today is the first day of my 12 day break from work - which is lovely!]

Should I confess here that I love this time of year?  Celebrating the Birth of the Saviour and as an extension of that - celebrating love and appreciation of my family and friends.  Not so big on Santa as an icon but willing to accept that he's part of the Myth of the Season (but *not* the Reason for the Season).

I was raised by my Grandmother Marion to believe that Christmas is the time to give love and appreciation - and yes, gifts - to your friends and family.  She taught me that it's not enough to just spend lavish amounts of money on things (not that we have $$$ to lavish - working class bods here) but that you need to take the effort and care to find something that will make the recipient smile, and let them know that you care enough to understand their interests and hobbies.

She also taught me (and this was a hard hard lesson for a child to learn) that receiving gifts yourself shouldn't be the main focus.  And that regardless of the gift, you should smile and say Thank You (a good lesson in  manners for all).  I miss my Nanna Marion - she taught me to laugh at the universe and not to mind too much when the universe laughs back at you.

Second on the List:- write up a Grocery shopping list.  Our local shops will be closed for the next few days so we need to think ahead and have enough food to tide us over.  Of course this means I will need to brave the insanity of the day-before-Christmas shoppers (prayers should be said, thanks!).  I think I'll wander about with a smile on my face and let people cut in front of me in the check outs - should be good karma points in that (not to mention the look of befuddlement that crosses their faces)

Third on the list:- put up the Christmas tree.  It's small and glittery and probably should have been set up ages ago (I spent the last 5 days cleaning and reorganising furniture whilst the boyfriend was away visiting inter-state. Apartment is now sparkly clean but lacking in holiday cheer).  Boyfriend has now returned but not in any mood to celebrate Christmas with me (he's not into that "stuff" so he reminds me).  Good thing I didn't make him that elf costume isn't it?!

After all that I will probably collapse with a drinkie and watch some sappy Muppet Christmas movies.

So Merry Christmas to all my friends. May you stay safe, be warm (or cool and dry if you are in Australia) and know that you are loved (even if it's just by a goofy Aussie you have never met)

December 21, 2010

Pre-Christmas Paxing

Just a quick all around update.

*Justin is (according to Soldiers' Angels) now home and safe.  Glad he made it back safe & sound, sad that I never made a "connection" with him.

SA has over 1300 military persons waiting to adopt too.  I'll need to have a good look at my finances to see if I can afford to go back to having four adoptees at one time before I say yes or no to a new one (SA will allow you to have up to three at a time, and my fourth is my MP adopted via a friend). The cost of weekly letters and a monthly parcel does start to mount up when added to the mortgage and other bills I have.  But... then I think "there is someone out there putting their life on the line whilst I dither about at home, safe & sound"... definitely conflicted about it and feeling that I should do more.

*The Pink Pony of Pinkness arrived downrange and JJ's planning on an epic photo shoot with his buddies.  Very happy it reached him so quickly :).  He also received the Aussie Christmas wreath and tells me it is hanging in his work area.

*Must catch up with C & K and make sure they received their Santa stockings, and hopefully their Christmas wreaths.  Must also check if they need extra warm things.

*I joined a new Soldiers' Angels group recently too.  It's called "ePal" - it's a new program where you are assigned one person to exchange emails and chat with - no major expenditure is expected other than the time to make contact.  My person is (I think) Airforce. Sadly I've not heard anything back from him yet so I'm hoping he's safe & well (and hopefully not too disappointed/weirded out that he's acquired an Australian Angel and not a home grown one). 

*I have received three "please write back" notes from service members in the Cup Of Joe (Green Beans Coffee) program.  Initial contact emails sent and hopefully I'll get the chance to make a few new friends from this.

In at home news - I visited with my mum & dad yesterday. Mum is battling against constant fatigue so we keep the visits short and full of the happy.  Thursday she will hopefully find out the results of the last batch of tests she had - as to whether the cancer has entered her bone structure or not.  She's remaining up-beat yet quietly organising things for a worst-case scenario.
Family Christmas this year will be packed with as much family love and time as possible - just in case.

And I had better run - need to be at work in an hour (no rest for the Pax - at least not for the next 3 days!)

December 13, 2010

Oooh Santa Baby!

Dear Santa,

..this year I have been a very good Pax and a fair-to-middling decent Human Being.

I would really like "Peace on Earth" but if you can't manage that then please add a prayer to mine that all those serving come home safely...

Pax

oh.. and maybe chocolates... a cowboy... the video game Red Dead Redemption... and a PS3 to play it on... did I mention a cowboy? yeah.. one of them :D



Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby (Top of the Pops)
Uploaded by capriclaude. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

December 9, 2010

Pink Pony by Pax

Santa stockings have begun to reach "the guys" - JJ got his yesterday and advises that he's already devoured the accompanying Timtams...

But what's that you ask? How did I manage to get some Australian themed Santa Stockings to the boys downrange??

Well firstly I took outrageous advantage of the lovely guys at Simply Australian who advised that if I could find some Aussie Santa bags, then they could fill them with a selection of goodies and post out (they are based in the USA so there would be no picky Customs officers checking on the contents and delaying delivery by weeks).

Hmm... Aussie themed Santa bags... that was a bit tricky. But luckily the Australian Koala Foundation had just the very thing I needed AND they came in a handy 3-pack too!
They are actually wine bottle bags so they won't hold very much however they WILL look excellently Aussie to the average American eye (got to work to our audience you know :D)

Bags purchased, received via mail and then posted off International Airmail to Simply OZ in Ohio.  They arrived a few weeks later and then began the fun and games of "so what will actually fit into these"

Luckily Dave from SimplyOz has a great sense of Humour, a tape measure and a mobile phone...

rather tight!


Well that one won't fit!
Dave gave suggestions and offered advice, and eventually we found enough things to make it a proper Santa Stocking (i.e lots of sweets and a toy in the bottom!)

After sending them payment, they boxed up each stocking (along with a packet of Timtams each) and shipped them off Downrange for me.


One packed - two to go!
I didn't have the heart to have a note attached to them reading
"NOT TO BE OPENED TILL CHRISTMAS" 
as I figured that K, C & JJ might need a sugar hit before the 25th.

So Merry Christmas guys - from your Aussie Angel. I hope that you stay safe and well and come home soon to your families.

*******
Oh and the Pink Pony???  Well JJ asked me if I could possibly send him a replacement for his workshop mascot (it's apparently had a wee bit of an accident).

So my shopping foo was great and I found him "the very thing".  I have to say it's not quite what I imagine when I think "Big Tough Army Guys" but I'm sure it will give them a giggle.

And before any of you go "Bad Evil Pax" - it's *exactly* what he requested (well.. he did say I could choose the colour :D)

December 3, 2010

Warmed by Pax

Hey Look! It's post number 100!  Does this mean I waffle too much? :D

It's no surprise to anyone that knows me what a delicate petal I am - being born & raised in the sub-tropics means that cold (and this is anything under 16 degrees Celsius.. erm... about 60 degrees Fahrenheit for those of you on the Imperial spectrum) causes me to whimper and hide under blankets.

So you can guess just how much sympathy I have when I hear that one of my adopted soldiers is not coping well with the change in temperature from home (TX) to "over there".

Fuzzy fleece sheets (we call them Flannelet over here in Australia) found, ordered and now on their way to him.

Mmm... Fuzzy!
I did ask him first if he'd be okay with having red ones sent (I was worried about the "laundry oppsies" since pink knickers aren't very manly).  He's assured me that he'll remember to wash them separately if they look like the colour might run.

Must remember to start signing off on my letters to him as "Stay safe - Stay Warm" :)

Edited to add.... I lamented to a friend (V) that I really wished I could afford to send JJ a Texas flag blanket to keep him extra warm & toasty.  V's google-foo is legendary and she managed to track down just the very thing at an affordable cost.  So now there's even more warmth heading my soldier's way

November 30, 2010

Red Bulls for the Win!

If you look to the right of the screen (and also below) you will see a photo of my favourite Red Bull and his team.  All safely home now.

The Flag they are holding was signed by each of them and posted to me earlier this year.  It's carefully stored away for now - maybe one day I'll find a big enough frame so that it can be hung on the wall.

November 27, 2010

Pax'd and Posted

Two more parcels posted off on Friday - the last of my overseas Christmas gifts being sent from Downunder (there are a few more gifts to go but I'll be using USA based suppliers to avoid the whole "Australia post charges like a wounded bull and then transports slow as a snail" problem).

Along with those gifts I found a cute & cuddly toy to send to a young Marine (a RAK - random act of kindness - for a young man known to a blogger friend of mine). Hopefully it will make him smile
Roo!
An Aussie Christmas card will also be shortly on it's way to the same young marine and a few others.

***I can afford to send an additional 10 or so Christmas cards next week [it's Aust $2.20 to post each card so you can see why I need to budget] so if you know a deployed service member that would like a random "oooh mail from Australia!" - drop me a note at my email account. paxford@gmail.com. You will need to include a valid mailing address but I promise to keep them all confidential to protect the OpSec***

In other news - I've added a link in my side bar for the fantastic "Cup of Joe for a Joe" coffee program that Green Beans Coffee runs.  Usual disclaimer that they aren't paying me anything to advertise for them - I just think this is a great way to show deployed military that people care about them.  For every US $2 that you donate, it's $2 off the service persons drink of choice.  And sometimes you receive an email saying thanks [fangirl squee... my last 'thank you' note came from a Colonel at Camp Phoenix.  That's my very first ranking officer encounter.  Painless one too :D]

I've made a few lovely friends from the CoJ system - those few that have asked me to write back and aren't
  • A) hoping I'm single, young & exciting (sorry the reality is that I am... involved... older... tireder... and a bit dull)  and 
  • B) hoping I match their viewpoints exactly on religion/sports/politics (all three points I prefer not to talk about - religion & politics because I think each to their own; and sport because I am both inept AND Australian... although I have a wondrous fascination for Ice Hockey :D)
Sadly I've lost contact with a few really lovely people, due I think, from them realizing that I'm not in a "Conventional" relationship with Mr B (yes.. that's right... living in sin**... sorry about that but resolution of that situation would involve *him* asking and *me* accepting - both of which seem unlikely in this current reality)

Actually I do worry sometimes about how many people seem to see the Milsupport idea as a
"great way to hook up with someone". 
I *have* learnt to not reply to any email requests originating from anyone with an email address including the words "PlayaDude...." - so I guess it's a good learning curve :)

Those that I write to / send parcels to / say prayers for - definitely hold a place in my heart but it's not Loooove, Love... Ya know?  (It *is* however "Love" - unconditional caring involving thought, some financial sacrifice and the investment of time).  I don't find that I can switch off caring for someone simply because they are home safe & now not on my list of "must communicate with".  So I'll keep saying a quiet prayer for all "my" troops (and their friends - Hi D!! :D) - and hope that the downunder "warm & fuzzies" help to make a difference on the bad days.

Pax over & out for today.

**I would like to state for the record that "Living in Sin" sounds far more decadent & exciting that reality has it :(

November 20, 2010

Pax'ing Presents

I've been busy ordering & shipping things off all over the place this month.

Two of my adopted soldiers had birthdays this month - so interest appropriate gifts were found and ordered and hopefully reached them (JJ's still home on leave so he should find his when he gets back to base).  So Happy Birthday to K & JJ - and I hope that your day was peaceful, quiet and spent hearing from loved ones.

Some goodies have also been ordered for Brandon & his team mates.  Some long sleeved shirts shipped out from Amazon during the week; and an order of Aussie munchies, including the pin that I love to send my Adopted troops, has been placed with the USA based Aussie supply group - Simply Australian.  I heartily recommend this company if you are looking for Aussie munchies and other goodies - the owners are true-blue and super honest & helpful (one of them is even helping me with "Operation: 2010 Santa Stockings").  They have shipped goodies off to all of my adoptee's (and a number of "RAK" - random acts of kindness - troops that I have found via friends online) and I have never had any problems.

Two Flags
Actually at some point I should get myself one of these pins so I can wear it on my work blazer (along with one of these from Soldiers' Angels).  Lol.. one day I'll get organised enough to order something for me :)

And in the "Pax has been crafty" - last weekend saw my bestest friend Cozzles over and helping me create some Kitschy Christmas Cheer (try saying THAT three times quickly!)   Some photos are below of the creations (minus any action shots of "Pax discovers that Glue Gun Glue is HOT!!!" or of C laughing herself silly at my attempting to throw the hot glued item away from me... yeah yeah... glue is STICKY too... *grumps*)  The Flowers & Leaves are all fabric/artificial so hopefully the USA customs crowd won't have a conniption fit (the customs slip will have it listed as "wire based / artificial flowers decoration")

Items gathered - glue gun primed - lets begin!

Belled and be-ribboned

and en-beared!

Finished!!
Two are completed - the third almost done (I ran out of ribbon).  Soon they will be twisted slightly out of shape (so they can fit in the boxes that will only cost me an arm and half a leg to post airmail to the States) and sent off to my three adopted soldiers for a spot of goofy Aussie Christmas cheer.   

I have a few of the central belled & beared decorations left so a few of you may just receive something goofy in the post. Bwhahahah!!!

November 18, 2010

Of Love and War

Last week I attended a training seminar at the Queensland State Library.

It was a nice morning - I caught the early morning bus across town, and then over the river bridge. and hopped off at the Cultural hub of Brisbane (the complex consists of the State Library, the Museum, the Performing Arts complex and the Art Gallery). 

To reach the Library (at the back of the complex) I walked past the Museum along the Great Whale passage

The Whales are suspended from the ceiling - posed as though they are swimming through the air - and the passage way has whale song playing lowly through the speakers.

I then passed behind the art gallery and it's flowering trees


For the next 4 hours I spent learning all the updates on the Australian Copyright laws** (riveting stuff!).  My lunch time however was spent at the newly opened "Of Love and War" exhibit. The Exhibit belongs to Australian War Museum and has been sent interstate as a travelling exhibit.

**(The following images taken at this exhibit are displayed for Review purposes only. All Copyright remains with the display owners and no infringement is intended)

The following is an excerpt from the exhibition.
Of love and war explores the relationships forged during times of conflict, and the emotions felt by couples as a result of separation, loss and reunion.

It details the excitement of blossoming romance, passionate affairs and whirlwind weddings that have taken place since the First World War, and continue today.

It tells of sweethearts and lovers separated by war, the loneliness and trauma that could tear some apart, and the anguish of those who had lost a partner. Finally, there are the stories of the survivors and their new beginnings when peace returned: the joy of reunion, the challenges of relationships built on wartime experiences, and the new discoveries by war brides resettling in foreign lands.


Exhibit entrance

It's an emotion inducing exhibit - you can read some of the letters sent between sweethearts, see the treasured mementos they carried through the war years, view their wedding gowns and some uniforms, and then read the short biographies of the couples.  As in life - not all the stories have happy endings, and a few tears fell over the display of the World War 1 lovers that were never reunited (on a personal note - my great-grandfather did not return from the battle fields of WW1 - leaving my Grandmother [Nanna Marion] to never have known him beyond the stories told by family)

If you happen to be in Brisbane and have the time, the exhibit runs from 6 November 2010 until the 20th of February 2011, and there is no charge to view it.

November 14, 2010

Can you assist?

Soldiers Need Immediate Assistance - Urgent (reposting from Facebook message received 13/11/2010)
by Chuck Palmer on Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 1:39pm
http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/note.php?note_id=106829132720972&id=1486095187
Help our Soldiers Need Help Now - Louise Stanley  Soldiers' Angels Northern California Chapter

"May No Veteran Go Unloved or Be Forgotten..."lstanley@directcon.netwww.soldiersangels.org"It is vital to the future of our nation that we keep the faith and that we stand up with courage and conviction to defend our American way of life and our veterans who have made it possible."

Angels, Please send all items for the unit to our hero from Colusa:

Brandon Middleton
(****For OpSec reasons I have removed Brandon's address - please contact me directly - paxford@gmail.com for his FOB address or go to the Facebook link address or email the contact at bottom of message. Pax****)

The Tri Counties Blue Star Moms have been informed of an Army unit in Afghanistan that is in need of EVERYTHING. This unit arrived in Afghanistan and discovered their storage crates had been broken into and all of the soldier's personal/military gear have been stolen. (Angels, remember when the supply route in Pakistan was closed for about 3 weeks last month -thousands of supply trucks were backed up, bombed and looted... looks like our heroes belongings were in that mess.)

About 200 soldiers are left with the clothes on their backs. They are without sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, thermals, PT gear, socks,underwear, hygiene items, etc., etc., They are also trying to get creative to replace all of the military gear - uniforms, coats, etc. Winter is approaching fast and getting them warm gear is a priority. The Tri Counties Blue Star Moms have snacks and hygiene packages already packed and will be mailed by Monday. (Angels, they are at an FOB which means they are out in the middle of nowhere and it takes time to resupply them which is why we can do what we do best and help them now.)

I am reaching out to all of you in hopes you can help us collect items for this unit, or direct me to someone/organization that can help. One of the soldier's is a local guy, Brandon Middleton from Colusa. I am working closely with his mom and brother to help this unit.

E-mail I received:

Brandon along with 200 other US Army service men and women were shipped from Louisiana to Afghanistan. Upon their arrival, most of the unit found their personal possessions had been removed from the shipping boxes. These young military men and women are in need of personal supplies and clothing.Personal items such as toiletries, white socks, underwear, tooth brushes,pillows, blankets, sheets and snacks can be replaced through donations.Butte Community Bank in Colusa can take these items and get ready for shipping if you live close by; otherwise, please send your donations to Brandon and the unit directly (see address above). Gift cards are not a good value as their base store is very small with limited items.

One of the larger concerns involves the arrival of winter within the next month and items such as jackets, long sleeve shirts, sweats and thermal wear.

Whatever you can do to help will be greatly appreciated. (Angels, get your children/school classes to send them holiday cards too!)

May your garden of life be filled with hope, love, and gratitude for those protecting our freedoms.
Lori J. Danby Zone AdminNorcal Bins
(530) 671-7854(530) 674-7388
FAX My e-mail Address will officially change 12.31.10 tolori.j.danby@pepsico.com. You can use it now!
********************

Note from Pax : It's a bit hard to know exactly what to send them - I guess anything warm would be a good start. I have just ordered a few long sleeve t'shirts (black) via Amazon that should ship to them next week.  Aussie Munchie parcel also being arranged.  Constraints of finances mean I can do just a little - but if you can add to this, and pass on the message, then a little becomes a lot.

November 11, 2010

Rememberance Day

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th Month, people stop for one minute to remember those that protected us.
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.  Laurence Binyon


 

November 5, 2010

Pax on Earth!*

*sorry.. I should really resist the Pax-puns I know :D

Christmas plans for "My Guys" are trundling along.  I've just ordered a box each of these -
for C & K.  They come in 70 to the box - blank inside - and of hopefully okay enough quality that the guys (and their team mates) can use them for all their nearest & dearest; and that they will survive the rigors of the USA postal system.

I'll have to wait before sending JJ's - he's due home shortly to the USA for an all-too-brief holiday and I'd rather not worry about his mail being re-routed back & forth.

I thought this might be a good thing to supply them with as it means they won't have to worry about how to get their hand on cards to send their families back home (plus with that many in the box all their team mates can share in the gift too).

I'm still wishing I could afford to do the "whole team gets Santa Stockings" this year - feeling a bit bad that I'm not more organised on that front.  I *will* be ensuring that there's a big box of sweets or maybe peppermint candy canes that can be shared out.

October 31, 2010

Justin found and coming home (?)

Last night I finally managed to track down some information on my Silent Soldier Justin - and it looks as though his unit will be returning to the USA by the end of November. 

The information is from his Brigade's facebook page so I'm really hope that it's all of their troops coming home, and not just a few of them.

With luck he'll receive the Quackers Parcel before he heads home - their information on the "going no mail" reads
We're getting closer...November 1 is the last day to mail packages/letters to our Soldiers.

so hopefully it will make it to him in the 1 week/10 days time frame they allow.

J - if you ever read this - know that I'll continue to think of you and send the occassional prayer heavenwards that your life goes well.
Pax

October 28, 2010

Pax has gone Quackers!

Found something super-silly for Justin today.

Not sure what he'll do with them but the possibilities are endless (why yes... yes I *do* have a fertile imagination - thank you for noticing :D)
you can get them here

 And yes.. it's another parcel sent out into the ether since I'm still not quite sure if Justin is receiving anything.  I guess if I see a weird news report about "Talib claim Alliance forces using weapons of Mass Duck-struction" I'll know it's made it to him.

October 23, 2010

Pax confused...

Wait! What!! - when did it suddenly become the end of October?!?

I am woefully behind on *everything* and just realised that I should have started working out the adoptee's Christmas stockings at least a month ago :(  [advanced planning required if you're half a world away from where things have to be shipped to]

Sadly this year I can't afford to treat every one's team with stockings (It was lots of fun last year but the postage costs alone were staggering - Team DarkSide Cookies are both having to watch our pennies a bit more carefully this year). I think we supplied about 26 or so stockings - full of both Aussie & USA treats - and loved every minute of the plotting.  [Team DSC consists of myself and the Fabulous Vicki in California who took delivery of everything, sorted it out into stockings, added lots of extra goodies and then shipped it all out. She's amazing! :)]

And I'm sure I read somewhere online that the "Guaranteed to deliver to troops for Christmas" deadline was earlier this year (sometime in November?!?) - still trying to remember where I saw that so I can go back and check.

MEEEEP!!!!!!

So... utterly unorganised... lacking in clues... the Boys sure are gonna be *surprised* this year :D.

Hmm.. maybe I can see if Amazon will ship small Christmas trees for me? that would be a starting point (often I get the whole "will not ship to that address" problem - meaning they realise it's going out of country via a military address and won't allow it due to liability clauses. May need to re-route to an assistant for resending... OOOH VICKI!!!!! :D)

October 20, 2010

Pax annoyed

Sorry for the delay in posting - it's taken me a little while to work out how to discuss this incident without including any rude words.

A few of you might know that I play an online multi-player computer game. Social interactions there can run from dealing with nice, kind people to avoiding the utter idiots. Keep in mind that it's a world-wide game where people from any country can belong to different servers. Our local server is predominantly Australian / New Zealand due to the local time zone factor (if you play within your own time zone you have more players online at your shared night time etc) however shift workers or insomniacs (that'd be me) sometimes play on international realms to suit their own quirky time patterns*.

In the game itself you can belong to a "guild" - basically a (hopefully) like minded group of people sharing the fun and helping each other out.

So just recently I was in a 10 person group when the leader was called away unexpectedly for work ( no big deal really - it happens to most of us at one time or another since we all have Real Life obligations, so for most of the players it was a "see you next time, take care" situation). One of the group was less polite and asked what sort of work he does that dared to interfere with our game time. His best friend (and workmate) replied "Oh we're in the US Army".

Cue the idiot blathering on about them being "paid to kill night and day".

Guess who saw red?

But you'll be pleased to know that I kept it polite and simply shot back a (typed) comment reading "actually (idiot's game name) - they are PROTECTING day and night".

Idiot was wise enough to type a half-@rsed apology and then go off-line before I could work out how to reach through my computer screen and beat him about the head with my mouse.

The really sad thing? - the player in the US army had obviously had this comment thrown at him before and was then surprised to have someone else stand up for him.
I haven't seen him back online since. I really hope that he'll accept the reality that there are idiots in all countries; and that it doesn't interfere with his future game enjoyment. (meanwhile the "idiot" is on my watch list - one more xenophobic asinine comment and I'll recommend that he's booted out of the guild)

And on the "would you join up" question that's thrown at me occasionally? Well.. baring the age factor (sadly the "never grow old" thing only seems to apply to vampires and Rock Stars with botox budgets) I'm not sure that I have the personality type that the military would find useful. I'm timid, docile and prone to tears if people yell at me. However I think I'd make great support staff (NATO standard coffee anyone?**) - and I deeply believe in supporting those that are brave enough to stand between me and harm*** (oh okay... I may also be admiring just how nicely they look in their uniforms too... it's a girl thing ya know)
We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." - Winston Churchill
*I should mention here that I'm in the middle of a move across to a USA based server. Part of the move is to deal with the weird hours I've been keeping (3 a.m... oh I'm awake *again*) - also to become part of a guild that a friend of a friend is in (it's been described as an "awesome group of ADULTS" - which is novel enough for me to want to experience it first hand. They've kindly allowed one of my characters to join them and yes - definitely Awesome so far. Now to afford to move my main characters across so I can be useful :D)

**Did you know? - The phrase "NATO Standard Coffee" is widely recognised to mean "Coffee, White with One TWO Sugars" [CORRECTED SINCE I AND EVERYONE ELSE I KNOW AGREE'S IT'S TWO]

***I also deeply believe in freedom of speech. If your arguments are well reasoned, and articulate I’ll gladly debate with you. Tell me how you feel about the ongoing military situation by all means (I may even agree with some of your points) but Don’t DON”T ever try to reason your arguments with attacks against those that are doing their sworn duty for their country. The Chain of Command requires them to follow orders. So if you feel strongly enough about changing the situation as you see it then learn how to VOTE – and do it effectively – because it’s those at the Top that call all the shots.

October 11, 2010

Warning : Musk Sticks are not for the faint of Heart

So I sent J2 a care parcel recently with some Aussie sweets and munchies in it.

Included therein was a packet of
J2 has given me permission to quote the following message he sent:-

The Must flavor Sticks were a trip i have a sensitive sense of smell so i got sick but the reaction when my buddies ate them was priceless
I'm not quite sure what "priceless" means in this situation... hopefully it doesn't translate as American Military speak for "we shall track you down and tell you awful jokes until you are sorry" (or some variation on the theme).

Bwhahaha.... next month I'll see about sending him some Vegemite

October 10, 2010

Pax is a Slacker! - updates follow...

I swear that I think to myself "I must go update my blog" and then life intervenes and I'm once again weeks away from the last post and feeling guilty [actually I do guilt really well - the nun's at my girls school *really* had an effect on me... but that's another tale]

Updates on the "Boys":

Justin *may* have been located.  Actually he may be where he's always been just that my mail is now reaching him(?)  You might recall that I had the Cunning Plan to send a small parcel to him via Amazon.com.  In the Past if I've had parcels rebound to them they have advised me promptly, so I knew that if J's parcel bounced back to them I should hear about it in 3 or so weeks from sending date.  Last week passed by and nothing received from Amazon so I'm really hoping that he got the book okay.  I've now resumed my regular letters to him in the hope they get through too - I can hope at least.

K is home on leave - happy thoughts are directed to him and his family.

C had a birthday late September. Parcel with cake in it arrived early and I remembered to think Warm, Fuzzy thoughts at him on the day [yes yes... points to the peanut gallery ... it IS a fact that so many of my normal thoughts are naturally "fuzzy" - these ones had extra fuzz applied :D]

J2 has been in touch via Facebook and Myspace (oooh social networking how I do love thee, you maketh it easy for me to know people are safe).  He's reported back on the Aussie treats he received and I'm hoping he'll let me quote his reaction to the Musk sticks :)

Oooh and I may have a guest blogger or two lined up. Kyle (he of the air force and amusing quips) has agreed to be Primo Guineus Piggus so we'll see how that goes.

In 'at home' news - work: we may be back in our library by the end of October (see my post on what happened to it here). The refit is shiny & new & utilised all of the insurance money. It's also in shades of grey, white & charcoal (dull dull dull) and we are verbotten from putting anything colourful (or interesting) on the walls or in our cubicles. I'll post photos when I get back down there.

My mum... she has been getting along okay. Remaining cheerful. They can't give her Radium treatments unfortunately (aparently you can only have one dose of those in a lifetime and since she had a cancer 20 years ago that was her 1st & only chance at that). So they are giving her some sort of oral treatment that will hopefully disperse the cancerous cells missed by the op. Time will tell how that goes.  My Middle brother Mike & his family travelled up from Sydney for a weeks long visit.  Two of my three nephews were there (the eldest had to work unfortunately) so Mum & Dad had two rambunctious teenagers (14 & 15) running about the place. They looked like they loved every minute of it.  Family lunch on the weekend (BBQ with the Men tending the flames and the women sitting & chatting - got to love tradition :D) saw all of the family gathered together for a few hours. Good to see them even if the reason to is a sad one.

It's Sunday Pm here so I need to stop larking about on the computer and go do some chores (walk to the shop in the rain for some groceries; clean the kitchen; vacuum the cat.. okay vacuum the cat FUR off of everything but idea 1 might stop the problem at the source)  No rest for the wickedly Pax.

September 21, 2010

Pax Nostalgic

Have I mentioned that I love 1940's music?  Especially the Andrews Sisters & Glenn Miller and his Band?

I was probably the only kid in the 80's that would rather watch an old Black & White World War II era musical than Countdown (For my USA friends think a variation on Solid Gold without the fabo dancers).  This fascination was rivaled of course with my love of John Wayne* movies
"Private Buckaroo"
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy


Glenn Miller
IN the Mood - Glenn Miller & his Band

Definitely the Golden Age of Swing!

*(it became tradition from when I was very young that I would always watch John Wayne movies with my Uncle George. He'd lost his own children to a very bitter divorce and an embittered ex-wife who whisked them out of his life; and this became one of our bonding rituals whenever he would return from his long months of construction working jobs. Over the years I must have seen almost all of The Duke's films, all made that much more enjoyable by spending the time with a dearly loved and now sadly missed uncle.  He never did get me a real six-shooter - which considering how my mum feels about my natural klutziness was probably a good thing - but that promise of "one day, when you're grown up, and if you are good" kept me toeing the line for years.)

September 16, 2010

RAK's make me a Happy Pax

One of the Bloggers that I follow - AirManMom - posted about a young Marine of her acquaintance who is back Downrange.

Small RAK* package of Australian silliness and munchies heading off to him shortly, with love from Pax. (musk sticks and a tinned marsupial *may* have been included - wicked grin)

*Random Attack of Kindness

*******************

In other news, Kyle finally made it home! (I'll see if he will allow me to post about some of his travel adventures at a later date)

September 6, 2010

Spring has Sprung!

Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere - where Spring begins on the 1st of September and we go from wearing an extra jacket to ward of the cold (no seriously.. anything under 15 degrees here and we think we're freezing!) to breaking out the flower allergy meds and summer clothes.

I love Spring - despite the occasional snuffly nose & swollen eyes from the flying pollen - Brisbane is semi-tropics so Spring & Autumn are the best seasons here. (winter as I have said is chilly & windy for we poor frail bunnies and summer is heat and humidity). October / November will see the Jacaranda trees bloom too.

 I'd love to send my adoptees some blooms but can you imagine the dramas the Customs people would have over it? [Bwahaha.... "parcel marked as floral delights" - probably wouldn't make it through]

In "My Guys" news - C & K look to be going okay.  C has a birthday later this month so some Aussie Yums have been ordered and will hopefully be dispatched to him shortly. There's a fruit cake in the parcel but no candles unfortunately... oh and some Musk sticks which another adoptee has described as
"I finally know what the colour pink would taste like - let's never do THAT again!"
Newest Adoptee J2 is a sci-fi lover too so I'm going to be happily sending weird stuff (tm) to my hearts content. Oh and possibly some useful stuff too since that always seem to be appreciated.

I've still had no word on Justin but I have a cunning plan - actually it's more that I've realised just how efficient the mail services are in returning things to Amazon.Com.  So there's a book been sent off to J at the last known address and I will wait for 3 or so weeks to see if Amazon contact me to say it's returned (I'm being hopelessly optimistic that the mail-return snafu was simply from him being home on leave or something. Best leave me to my delusions of his safety - I get less teary-eyed that way).  I also found someone on Myspace that may or may not be in his unit and have left a message that hopefully does NOT come across as weird fangirl stalker.  Just a message asking if he does know Justin to pass on that mail has been returned and I'm worried about him.  Probability of that reaching a) the right person & b) eliciting a reply is very low but any chance at knowing that he is okay (alive, well, happy, finds-me-too-weird-and-could-I-go-away-please) is one that I'd like to take. The Not knowing is the hardest part.

And in the Random Friends met recently - I have a new penfriend courtesy of Green Bean's Cup of Joe program.  W is funny, articulate and amusing and I'm really enjoying chatting back & forth with him via emails.   If you think you'd like to do a spot of troop support but can't afford the time or funds for Soldiers Angels then maybe give Green Beans a go and help support the caffeine addiction of your troops at the front (go oooon.. you know you want the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you've helped a fellow coffee lover to attain their daily "fix" :D)**

Oh! and Kyle who I mentioned in my last post (also found via Green Beans) should be home to the States this week.  Very happy to know that he'll be home & safe and within walking/driving distance of a Caffeine source that doesn't require him to keep his weapons with him at all times.

**legal disclaimer - I don't get any benefits from either of these groups and am quite sure they'd both be going "umm.. how the heck does an Aussie know about us?"  and hopefully not plotting how to get me to go away :D

More spring blooms!

August 24, 2010

Pax Augustus

I am not quite sure where the month of August went - I *blinked* and suddenly it's almost gone.

So a bit of a recap for all those following at home.

No word on Justin :( - I have been back in touch with my mentor at Soldiers' Angels and she is still looking into the situation.  It's possible that some of my mail got re-routed by error (via the USA Baghdad Embassy which.. I don't know.. seems more worrying than anything) and J is both safe & well and possibly wondering why the annoying Aussie lady is neglecting him (I really really hope & pray that's the case).  I have been considering seeing if I can find a contact for a Chaplain at FOB Stryker - just someone who can say "Yes! He's fine - stop worrying". I don't really know though if that would breach privacy or Opsec or SA rules so I'll think on it before I take any steps.

M.P. C finally received his replacement toys (the first order of two blue ones missed reaching C at his original base by 3 days and was promptly returned to Amazon by the express plodding pony post. 3 weeks later I was advised it had been returned & refunded... so new order arranged, resent)  - two of these to make the hot sunny days go by faster.

Newest adoptee J2 should have received a SA's hygiene pack by now too (my friend Vicki in California had to be my liaison for that, since I can't actually buy directly from SA's store [you have to be a resident of the USA to be able to use your credit cards there] and she included a sweet note from me to J as well).  September parcel for J2 will be Aussie sweets and a tinned marsupial since it's important to start the Aussie madness early (keep 'em laughing is definitely my motto.  Oh okay.. I lie.. My motto is actually "nothing in writing, nothing on film. Maintain the denability" but lets not scare the nice bewildered american military... at least not till they *really* get to know me :D )

K is going okay I believe - he posts on his Facebook page occasionally - helps me know he's safe & well.

Oh... and did I tell anyone about Kyle?  He found me via Green Beans Cup of Joe program and we've been exchanging emails for a while now.  Absolute Geek - I loves him lots (in a totally platonic he's-super-funny/lots-of-fun & gets-my-weird-movie-references kind of way of course).  I just recently organised a parcel O' goodies for him - including Vegemite with crackers and a tinned marsupial... reptile (I *ordered* the marsupial honest! but they had to make a substitution just before shipping. Sigh... at least it still required a can opener to get into).  He tells me that he has some really amusing photos of his boss trying the Vegemite (i suspect my trans-national love vibe is not working with *that* air force gentleman now Bwhahaha!).  Really - there's a trick to eating Vegemite and one day I'll share it with you all (maybe *wink*)

For those who have asked, and sent prayers, my mum is going okay. Still recovering from the operation and about to be subjected to some more scans and proddings (sadly the specialist believes they have found more tumours).  Mum is making sure that she greets every day with a smile and tries to appreciate the little joys that life brings.  So one day at a time and we are all counting our blessings as we go.

August 3, 2010

A Prayer for Justin

O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer,
please set angels over me to keep me in all Your ways,
to bear me up in their hands and to keep my feet from stumbling.
http://www.prayer-and-prayers.info/favorite-prayers/soldier-prayer.htm

Mail I have sent to my Strong and Very Silent Soldier, Justin, has begun to be returned.

Please send prayers his way as I try to find out from Soldiers' Angels if they know if he's simply headed home (I hope) and gone "No Mail".

Sad Pax

July 28, 2010

Pax extended

Well that's a surprise! - I've just discovered that my blog has been listed at Milblogging since June.  No idea how it got there and I'm a bit gobsmacked to be in the company of so many wonderful wordsmiths (shh.. don't tell them I'm a goofy aussie - let them discover it the hard way :D)

Of course I've got a major grin on my face - cause.. WOW so amazing to be lumped in with the Cool, Talented Kids (double shh.. maybe if I carry Sherpa's & A1S's books & scribe their history notes I can keep tagging along)

July 22, 2010

Pax's heart is working fine!

And I know this because I just emptied my post box to find a returned letter. 

A Returned letter from "over there"

I focused just on the "return to Australia" and the address all crossed out in black and broke out in a cold sweat - hands shaking - heart thundering.  Chaotic thoughts rolling through my brain that it was returned because something Bad or Worse had happened to one "my" adoptees.

After what felt like an eternity - but was probably only a minute or two - my eyes refocused enough to realise that it was a letter address to "C".  Instant relief as I'd seen him post on his Facebook account just yesterday.

So thank you over-efficient Mail workers of the USA Army - I'm sure that my letter arriving 3 or so days after C's unit was moved to another base obviously put it into the "suspect" box.  I really REALLY hope that none of C's nearest & dearest had the same thing occur - at least my hearts working fine enough to cope.

July 20, 2010

Pax status is AMBER

Hello My friends - I"m sorry for the lack of substance posts in the last month. Unfortunately a family health crisis popped up late June and I've been dealing with both the emotional and logistical stress since then. Now that my middle sibling has been advised (he's in Sydney so mum didn't want to call with the news until she had all the decisions made) I can mention it beyond one or two friends.

The Good news - my Mum will be going in for an operation on the 30th of July and her surgeon is cautiously optimistic.  The Bad news - it's a pretty aggressive cancer (two tumours) so recovery and follow up treatments will be on-going for a good while to come.  Any prayers you can spare to send her way would be appreciated.

I don't yet know if I will need to move back to their home to assist with the nursing. I have made the offer and have mentally plotted out the hows & can-dos to ensure I can keep my job and still be of help to the family.  I am also postponing my university studies for another year - I really don't need the added stress of juggling assignments when I want to be there for my mum.

So far my parents are resisting my good efforts (I suspect they feel that having one offspring - ie. my eldest brother - living with them is enough excitement for now; especially since brother R & I get on *exactly* like a house on fire) and they will be having a Blue Nurse carer come in daily to change the dressings and administer any medications.  I guess if I were there I'd be just doing the "keep a cheery face / do the housework / drive my dad insane*" thing, but I'd like to be involved if I can. So far the plan will be that I will be living at their home on the far side of Brisbane on weekends - and back to my place for the weekly working commute.

Eeh.. so yes.. I've been stressed.. non-communicative... shorting my friends; and worse - my adopted soldiers - with only hastily written emails, letters and postcards. I'm not currently sleeping beyond 3 or 4 hours a night and living on sugar & caffeine (lets NOT even talk about the pudge factor from that). I can see where I'm failing and will get my act together *after* the 30th. Till then I reserve the right to be a squirrilly basket-case.

Oh... and whereas other (normal) women manifest stress-coping factors by shopping, I seem to channel all that into adopting more bewildered Americans.  Just got my 3rd Soldiers' Angel adoptee for this year (I can have 3 SA's at a time plus my very special MP from TSBTS) and I'm about to introduce him to the joys of having a quirky Aussie Angel (Bwhahaha!). I do promise to instigate a "capture-release" program for them all at the end of their deployment (although I *have* noticed that the requests for timtams never seem to cease)

*I love my dad - we share a common sense of humour which any of you that know me well would say is a sad sad thing. Unfortunately we both manifest stress in hideously over-emotionally ways and the verbal fights can be devastating

July 15, 2010

Pax would like...

one of these (so long as it comes with a six-pack of crew ;D)



Spotted in Brisbane city this morning :)

July 9, 2010

Pax needs YOU to read Red Bull Rising

http://marionsmeepings.blogspot.com/2010/07/pax-needs-you-to-read-red-bull-rising.html

This is my friend's web blog - he's about to go "downrange" and his words on the ins & outs of pre-mobilisation/family love & team spirit bring both smiles and tears to his readers. Definately one of the Good & True - 5 Pax thumbs up

http://www.redbullrising.com/

Pax popping past to wave

http://marionsmeepings.blogspot.com/2010/07/pax-popping-past-to-wave.html
Sent to me by a good friend - thank you John!

Read Each One Carefully & Think About It a Second or Two

1 No man or woman is worth your tears, & the one who is, won't make you cry.
2. Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to, doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.
3. A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand & touches your heart.
4. The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside them knowing you can't have them

5. Never frown, even when you are sad, because you never know who is falling in love with your smile.

6. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

7. Don't waste your time on someone, who isn't willing to waste their time on you.

8. Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one, so that when we finally meet the person, we will know how to be grateful.

9. Don't cry because it is over, smile because it happened.

10. There's always going to be people that hurt you so what you have to do is keep on trusting & just be more careful about who you trust next time around.

11. Make yourself a better person & know who you are before you try & know someone else & expect them to know you.

12. Don't try so hard, the best things come when you least expect them to.

REMEMBER: WHATEVER HAPPENS, HAPPENS FOR A REASON.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." -

-- Reinhold Niebuhr

June 30, 2010

Musical interlude aka Pax is being dull

http://marionsmeepings.blogspot.com/2010/06/musical-interlude-aka-pax-is-being-dull.html

My Johnny was a shoemaker and did he love me
My Johnny was a shoemaker but now he's gone to sea
With pitch and tar to soil his hands
And to sail across the sea, stormy sea
And sail across the stormy sea

His jacket was a deep sky-blue and curly was his hair
His jacket was a deep sky-blue, it was a do declare
For to reeve the top sails up against the mast
And to sail across the sea, stormy sea
And sail across the stormy sea

Some day he'll be a captain bold with a brave and a gallant crew
Some day he'll be a captain bold with a sword and spy glass too
And when he has his gallant captain's sword
He'll come home and marry me, marry me
He'll come home and marry me

More lyrics: http://www.lyricsty.com/lyrics/s/steeleye_span/#share

June 26, 2010

A Question on Balance

Serious post tonight - a question aimed at my friends that have supported Troops abroad or *are* themselves military and been stationed abroad.

I try very hard to keep my communications with my adoptee's upbeat and happy - I figure they have enough dramas and worries of their own without me adding to it. But what happens when something goes wrong at home - something life shattering enough that will colour all I do and say?

Am I wrong in keeping it from people that I've developed a connection with - or should I just pretend everything is 5/5 and not add to their burdens? Do I make a brief mention and then gloss over the details - leave it all "stuff  is about to happen/has happened but I'm getting there" and go back to the quirky Pax-did-something-foolish tales?

What would you prefer if you were the one I was writing to - week in & week out - for months on end? Would you want to know?  Would you be angry & hurt if you found out from another source? Or is it just one thing too many to have to deal with?

I really don't know what to do

[and no - I can't give specifics here - it involves a family member and one of my siblings hasn't yet been advised]

June 21, 2010

Pax impressed(?)

http://marionsmeepings.blogspot.com/2010/06/pax-impressed.html

So I've heard from one of my adopted guys - seems like a nice normal enough soldiery sort right up to the point where I watched the videos of him on facebook experiencing tasering and mace as part of his training**

HOLY SHEEP!,* BATMAN!

And in both the vids he's like super cool. shrugs it all off... very smooth.   (yes yes we all know that at that point I'd be blubbering like a girlie but if I can't use my girlie points for something - what use would they be?)

So having managed to acquire Mr Extreme as an Adoptee how the heck am I going to be able to keep him amused with "Pax is a Klutz" tales in my weekly letters?  The Poor lad is going to be bored witless.

Sigh... maybe I should just start juggling chain-saws - there's got to be an amusing story or two I can dictate to someone with fingers afterwards.

**Looks at the CI & Momma sorts to ask - so do all law-enforcement types have to be on the receiving end of that to "know what it feels like"?

*yes yes you all know the word I really wanted to use there but that's Baaaaa-d language :D

June 13, 2010

Treating the Troops... early June

http://marionsmeepings.blogspot.com/2010/06/treating-troops-early-june.html
Sorry for the recent silence everyone - some family health things are happening that are taking a lot out of me.  I've updated a few posts today. This one will be on the troopy treats (hey! we should totally copyright that name ;D)

Weekly letters sent off to my adoptees and hopefully goodies parcels should be reaching them this coming week (just some snacks & tinned/untinned marsupials for K & C; and the arrival of the WBL to J).

And I have heard from K via facebook - he seems a lovely soul and I'll enjoy sending him more munchies and postcards of Australia.

I've also been sending donations of pre-paid coffee vouchers to random troopers (RAK's* make me smile).  It's easy to do via the Green Beans "Cup of Joe" program.  For every US $2 you donate a Trooper gets either a standard cup of coffee or $2 off their special drinks. (mmm... caffeine!). I also added a personal note telling them "Hello from Downunder" and have received 8 different "Trooper X would like to be a penpal" responses.  I've sent emails back to all of them so we will see how many reply (I try to make sure I mention that I'm more of a "dotty-adopted-auntie" type person rather than "wow-chicka-dundee"** - don't want any mis-communications)

It's a long weekend here (sunday of the Queen's Birthday weekend) so I have a few plans of house cleaning and fabric sorting for pre-sewing (I was inspired at yesterday's History Alive event - need to get myself motivated and sewing medieval costumes again). Also need to deal with some family issues; and spend some quality time with B (he's become interested in Table top gaming again so he is busily creating tiny hills and townships. I'm hoping I can convince him he needs some toy electric trains too - I've always loved playing with those :D)

Catch up with you all soon - stay safe peeples!

Pax

*Random Attacks of Kindness

**well yes... in my dreams maybe ;)

History Alive!


Well yesterday Miss M and I headed out to the historic Fort Lyton site to attend History Alive 2010. We were to meet up with Cozzles there (She was one of the 14th century re-enactors and had camped on site).

The Historic range of groups goes from Romans up to World War II so it was pretty common to see them all interacting together. Best Historical dichotomy is summed up in the above photo. But then I guess they are both enacting Italians :D


Cozzles at war :)

Pax Romana (oh how I wish!)
And just before the medieval battle began one of the Australian Naval ships steamed into port.
Possibly a VERY good thing that the Queensland Regiments gun salute wasn't till later that day or things might have become "interesting"!

We definately had the best day - Thank you to C and her group Citadel for letting us invade their camp for chats; and to the Roman group for the laughs and hugs (and not looking too scared when I wanted to play with the ballista)

How can you tell it's winter in Australia...?




I Guess we can call them Wooley Jumpers!

June 6, 2010

Catching up

http://marionsmeepings.blogspot.com/2010/06/catching-up.html
Sorry - It's been a few days since I had meant to make a post (works' been super busy as it's almost the end of the financial year here in Australia. My job is purchasing/payments & worrying about whether next years budget will be enough to keep the libraries services ticking along. Finance books close on the 20th of June so I'm hoping things will calm down for a bit after that)

Well last weekend saw Pax & Cozzles (*aka Coral) off on another wondrous adventure.  C was indulgent enough to let me drag her off to the locally held International PBR (Professional Bull Riders) - think Rodeo but with huge Malevolent 1-ton+ Bulls - however her price was that I would travel with her up the coast to check out a new venue for an upcoming medieval event (C belongs to the 14th century Group Citadel that I am very tempted to join. I am actually a member of the SCA, a peer even, but I've lost the enthusiasm for it over the last few years)

So we headed off about lunch time Saturday - off towards Bribie Island (North of Brisbane on the coast).  Found our way to the Abbey Museum okay. Their new tournament grounds are at the back of the property so we needed permission to venture that far - easiest way to do it seemed to be to chatter to the ticket seller for the Museum; and since the entrance price was really reasonable we decided we would first have a browse through the collection and see what was new.



It's a fascinating place - their section on manuscripts is amazing (no photos as they don't allow flash photography in that area) and well worth the Aust $8.50 ticket. 

We then browsed the selection of touristy souvenirs (finding some cute knightly pins for my three adoptees) and then, grasping the hastily drawn map supplied by our Tickety host, proceeded to check out the swampish zone that will shortly be home to about 10 different medieval encampments and about 30,000 day trippers (it's a weekend event so X2 on that).  I guess the best that can be said of the area is that it's adequate and that everyone will be praying for it to stay dry [my last few times of camping at the Abbey event with the SCA involved much rain and being cold so it's not something I am keen to do again now that I'm older and have dodgy knee joints. Oh a note for the Overseas readers - it's winter here in Australia which means the locals are freezing even if the visitors from colder climes are wandering about in t-shirts and shorts, commenting on how temperate it is]. 

So fact finding mission over and local Kookaburra spotted and photographed (sorry it's such a bad shot - he was leary of the tall human creeping up on him and flew away before I could zoom in) we then headed off to the Boondal stadium and the fun of the PBR.

Hmm... they really should put a Dress Standard note on the tickets for these things. We were both rocking the jeans & boots fine but had NO HATS!!! (seriously I was feeling rather naked in a sea of Akubras & Stetsons)  That it was an INDOOR AT-NIGHT event? Yeah... made no never mind to the hat wearers (shakes head in bafflement - it's a country thing isn't it?). Actually C's jeans were sporting a super huge rip in the nether zones so she was trying to ensure her long coat covered the goodies at all times (and no - no photos - she's meaner than me LOL) - perfect excuse for her NOT to join our two Bunny-ish seat mates in the "shake your booty for a t-shirt" moment [I still think she should have had a go - I could have done with a new T from it :D]

So the Bullriding - Amazing! yet sometimes scary. I'm back to wondering about the sanity of these uber-buff (and yummy... opps.. sorry.. need to wipe the drool from the keyboard) cowboys. It was an international event so half were from the USA and the others were Australians.  They have some of the rides posted on their Youtube page if you are keen to see the talent.  Definately the best birthday gift I've given myself for years!

The Rest of the week has since been super busy and rather dull.  Highlights were sending off a few more goodies to my adopted soldiers (J now has a water balloon launcher heading his way; C & K have Aussie munchies due shortly and the usual weekly letters written. Of course they are now going to realise I am a tad weirder than first they suspected - the medieval/rodeo mix might give it away - but meh... unique & original aussies are hard to come by.  And possibly harder to get rid of :D)

Stay safe Y'all!

Pax