January 27, 2011

Cup of Joe... Pax is gobsmacked!

gobsmacked... it's a good thing :)

Well that was a lovely surprise - I'm subscribed to Cup of Joe on Facebook and this post popped up on my news list a couple of days ago

The Letter writer is now a Penfriend of mine - really lovely guy, serving Downrange and missing his family.

I love being involved with the CoJ program - for just a little bit of money I can send caffienated goodness and a letter of support to the troops [and yes... they sometimes have Aussies and Brits getting the free drinks too!]

standard disclaimer - I receive nothing in return for mentioning this group on my blog

January 26, 2011

Australia Day

It's Australia Day today so how about some photos?

These were taken by my Mum & Dad on their various travels out bush. 
Somewhere in Central Queensland - 2009 (during the Drought)

One of the Possums that live under my parents veranda

Carpet Snake - also at my parents place. Luckily it didn't stay around for long and did not (we think) snack on any of the possums

Gatheume Bay, Broome, Western Australia

January 22, 2011

Home improvements - Pax style

Yay!  The bed frame that we ordered on the 29th of December was delivered today in Flatpack boxes.

And with the main Assistance of Mr.B & Cozzles (BFF!) it has morphed from pieces of wood in to a very nice piece of furniture indeed. 

And so it begins...

all bits present and accounted for

with the cat supervising from on high!

All done! and the end section is a cunningly hidden drawer!
I still need to finance a new mattress - hopefully in the next month or two (must pay rates bill and mortgage first!) - however in the meantime we have the old inner-spring one to use.

Next renovation plan... to take back the closet space from the Evil Tribe of "Stuff". That's going to be a BIG job since it's currently crammed with clothes, medieval costumes, two extra dining room chairs [B's dining suite has 8 chairs - the living area only has room for 3! Another three are lurking at the far end of the bedroom covered in "more stuff"(Tm.) - and the wretched things don't stack :( ] and assorted flotsam and jetsam from my many many years of hording.

Wish me luck!

January 16, 2011

Catching up

Well I managed to trek my way into work last Friday - caught one of the few Public Transport buses running and hopped off as close as I could get to work (the Old Museum for those that are local). Walked up to Spring Hill from there (nice walk - have got to get in to the habit of that more often)

Arrived at the back entrance of the building to find a "everyone must sign in at security desk" notice - so up I went 3 floors and surprised the Security guys.  They advised that they weren't happy to see me (*pouts* but they usually loooove me and my goofy t-shirt slogans and perky, happy attitude *more pouts*) and said I shouldn't have come in.  I mentioned that I'd received an email from my Union that advised me of all the lovely penalties that could apply if I didn't make the effort to appear; and said I'd check things out in the library and then head on home early.

So Ironic that the first email I opened when I got the computer booted up was a directive from the Departmental Head, advising all staff not to come in until Monday the 17th [so utterly useful that he'd sent it only on the work network that so very few of us can access at home].  So I hung around for an hour or so - faxed off some urgent payments that were due; checked in with a few workmates; and then began the exciting trek home.  It took me almost an hour and a half to get home (walked from the Hill down to the city and then waited for a bus to arrive).  The Underground bus station was, of course, still closed due to the tunnels flooding and all buses were picking up passengers from the main street.

The CBD streets were eerily quiet on the lower Adelaide side - with neat piles of un-needed sandbags already lining the streets for pick up.   I walked through the Queen Street Mall - lots more people around & about there, with some of the stores open for business and others still without restored power.  A quick walk down to the next block brought me to Mr B's work building - the streets had already been cleaned off from the flood muck but the stench remained (mmm... river water + rotting vegetation + evil mud - always an olfactory delight!).  Not much lingering damage to be seen on the surrounding upper streets other than high tide marks on the postboxes and street lamps.  I decided not to be more of a lookie-loo and headed back to the bus stop.

Once home I collected Mr B and dragged him (kicking and screaming... well okay... merrily almost-skipping with the lure of Guinness) off to the local Pub for lunch.  Great lunch consumed but sadly the Guinness was flat so B had to make do with normal beer.

Home again where I made an effort to catch up with all the correspondence I have neglected in the last week.  Facebook messages sent off to J and C and K - advising that real mail from Downunder will take a few weeks to start up again (since the post office have asked for restraint until they get their local facilities back up & running); emails off to some new Green Beans Cup-of-Joe people asking for pen pals (I've sent off about 8 replies - anticipate only 2 or 3 will feel confident in engaging in correspondence exchange. I do try to be myself in those emails so I guess (maybe) I come across as a little bit too goofy for some). Oh... and I seem to have acquired a new Soldiers' Angel adoptee too.  All a bit odd in the way it occurred - more odd that the person asking via email was a friend of the intended adoptee and using a third persons email address (I think it's all above board and just a situation caused by communication issues downrange however I will let my SA mentor know about it so they can add new person on to my adoptees list). I've sent off the initial contact "I come in peace!" email so we'll see what happens from there).  Perhaps the lure of weird Aussie munchies will tip the balance of reply (bwhahahaa.... I'll begin with timtams and move on to musk sticks and Vegemite)

RAK (random act of kindness) that I organised pre-Christmas has also reached it's intended victim online friend. I actually got the message earlier in the week that it had arrived. So Big Goofy Pax smile that it made him happy.

I'm back off to work tomorrow (Monday) - leaving home earlier than normal in case the regular bus I catch isn't running. I can do the walk up the hill again if need be.

Oh... and for those that heard about my "oppsie" yesterday - my noggin is fine and the bump has gone down leaving just a bruise.  No lasting effects other than a tendency to be vague and goofy (ooh.. right.. that's normal... okay - NO LASTING EFFECTS :D)

January 12, 2011

Updates on the Brisbane Floods

I'm still safe - still at home.  Got up early this morning and checked online - work's official decree was that only essential travel should be undertaken and since Library's don't fall into the category I didn't try to get into the CBD to work.

Good thing too... since the public transport system is going to be shutting down from 1pm AND much of the power in the CBD has been shut off.  B's workplace have predicted that their building lobby will be about 1.8metres under water when the peak flow hits this afternoon.

It's a frustrating feeling - watching a force of nature head your way and knowing that there is nothing you can do to avert it.   I just hope that my friends who are in the flood path are now safe.

January 11, 2011

Pax may learn to paddle...

You might have heard on the news that Queensland Australia is going through some fairly intense floods.

This was yesterday (10th January 2011) up in Toowoomba - which is 127kms (79miles) from my home in Brisbane

The whole Brisbane valley region area is on flood alert here - with continuing rain, run off from upstate (including the water from the ranges),  overspill from the nearest dam and even high tides, it's going to get worse before it gets better!

Mr B & I are quite safe as we live on a bit of a hill away from the river and creeks.  No idea if the roads will be passable for me to reach work tomorrow.
Mr B works in the CBD which is *right* next to the river - so we suspect he won't be there tomorrow either.

My Dad has been in touch via mobile phone so I know my parents and eldest brother are okay (their home is on a ridge so they should be fine).  Other friends are either safely at home or preparing to pack up and move to higher ground.

More news here

Edited to add this handy dandy comparison map

January 10, 2011

Pax does the 12th century...

.... and the12th Century does Pax in.

Spent today working the kitchen for a Medieval feast for Mr B's re-enactment group.  B was the cook and I, his trusty sidekick and bottle-washer.

The Menu....

Fruit & nuts (almonds - both shelled & unshelled.  The unshelled ones being attractive to the male of the species intent on showing their prowess with nutcrackers)

Oysters on the shell (served with sea salt and lemon wedges)

Pea soup

Pullum Frontoniarium (an amazingly tasty chicken pieces [pullum] dish from Roman times. Chicken with leeks, coriander and thyme, baked in a tasty tasty sauce and served piping hot)

Pullus Fuscilis (another Roman era recipe - baked whole chickens [pullus] with a pork/veal and oats stuffing)

Fried carrots (julienned carrot slices cooked in butter with caraway seeds)

Rump roast (Cooked in a Weber BBQ for about 4 hours - absolutely amazing and so tender) served with white garlic sauce

Rabbit and Venison pie (aka Bambi & Thumper pie)

Summer pudding and cream (3 different sorts of berries - strawberries, raspberries and blackberries baked in a bread & butter style pudding)

The food was rich and plentiful, the company - for the most part* - was pleasant, and a good time was had.

I am now however stiff and sore from a day spent on my feet in the kitchen; and forswearing any future similar events unless a day-at-the-spa voucher is proffered first as a bribe.

*what IS it about flame/candles that brings out the idiots in some?
For lighting we were using tea-light candles with some of my smaller wooden platters underneath them to protect the tablecloths from wax.  After a spectacular demonstration of group Idiot "Ohh... look! Fire Burns" (after which the matches were confiscated and hidden) I now have two wooden platters with candle-shaped singe marks that are burnt through to the underside.  I've yet to check the tablecloths but won't be surprised if they are damaged too...  (mutter... grumble... this is a prime example of why Pax can never have nice things - for long!)