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
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. 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!

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!/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...""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 - 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 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.