29 January 2011


A week has passed since my last post and it's been a week of contrasts.

Right smack bang in the middle of week, Wednesday, was Australia Day, a public holiday.  As usual, the weather was fine and hot and so the day was spent with family and friends around my daughter's and son-in-law's pool.  Accompanying the water was yummy food and pink bubbles...no Australia Day is complete without pink bubbles...as well as fake tattoos of the Australian flag.  This is in the spirit of celebrating all things Australian, you understand.  It is mandatory that everyone sports a fake tattoo, placed anywhere on the body and some find the most interesting sites on which to place a tatt!  It might have been a different story if the tattoos were real...

The next day, my youngest daughter posted on Facebook that she had that vital glowing and healthy look (otherwise known as sunburn).  I had that look too.  I think it had to do with the pink bubbles myself.

Yesterday (Friday) I had an appointment with the ophthalmologist to see if my cataracts had advanced enough to be removed.  I figured it would be cheaper to do that than to keep having the lenses of my glass changed every few months.  But sadly, no.  I was given a script for new lenses instead.  Oh well, the upside is that I can now see the road a bit more clearly when I drive...

Next month I have an appointment with a rheumatologist.  Now that's a worry.  One can't help thinking that rheumatitis equates to getting older.  Oh wait...that's right, I am getting older...which was another event that happened during the last 10 days or so.  I have officially been a pensioner for the last three years now, I have a pension card and a health care card to prove it.  Anyway back to the rheumatology appointment...

A couple of months ago my left ankle became very sore and swollen overnight.  This phenomenon also happened about five years ago.   My first thought was gout, but an x-ray showed nothing.  This time the doctor decided to do some blood tests and the rheumatology markers were raised...so he referred me to the rheumatologist.  At least I get to have lunch with a friend, who works in the same medical centre...

I now go to yoga twice a week as a vacancy has come up in the Thursday morning class, much to my delight.  I love yoga...especially this particular group.  Our teacher is very good, the other ladies are a lot of fun (we're all of a "certain age") and the yoga stretches our minds as well as our bodies.

Jane's hand is completely healed and I passed your good wishes on to her, thank you very much.  She's a fast healer, that one.  We were worried she wouldn't be able to get in the pool on Wednesday, however she was able to swim and enjoy herself rather than sitting on the sidelines watching the rest of us.

We weren't able to go to the markets last week because of Jane's injured hand...she would have had trouble carrying things and she was too sore, anyway.  So, tomorrow we're off.  I need yoghurt, Jane needs the yummy organic sausages we buy and we are both hanging out for our weekly breakfast of Romanian pie.  It's like a huge savoury pancake with bacon, feta, dill, spring onion, etc., with lemon juice squeezed over the top.  We have half each and that, along with freshly brewed coffee, is our Sunday morning breakfast and it is soooo delicious!  Occasionally we also buy cinnamon covered almonds, not too often, but as a treat to nibble on during the week.

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As if Queensland hasn't suffered enough, the poor people up north in Townsville are being monstered by a cyclone which is due to cross the coast Sunday or Monday.  This cyclone, named Anthony, made it's appearance earlier in the week then drifted away from the coast as a low.  Now it's turned itself into a Category 1 cyclone and has decided to pay a visit.  Great...not!

Brisbane has got itself up and running again although the ferry services will be out of action for months, the River walk is going to take millions of dollars to repair and of course, some people's homes are ruined.  But you can't keep people down for long and the optimism is quite palpable.  How does the song go?  "We get knocked down, but we get up again.  You're never going to keep us down..."  That about sums it up.

Have a nice weekend.

23 January 2011

We Are Getting Over It!

The big clean up of our city and surrounds is well and truly underway with thousand of volunteers from Australia as well as other countries pouring in to help.  Already businesses and houses are being rebuilt, people are remaking their lives and schools will be opened tomorrow.  Of course, there are exceptions with some businesses, schools and houses too bady damaged to be rebuilt or reopened immediately.  However, the indomitable spirit of Australia shines through as does the sense of humour.

Some examples.  A photo of our very swollen and swiftly flowing river showed a sign which said, "Missing since Monday, three goldfish."  Another showed a flooded street and a notice announcing, "Caution.  Wet surface", and still yet another example of the Aussie sense of humour.  Someone had piled all their damaged and broken belongings on the median strip to await council pick up, with a notice, "Garage Sale".  There were a lot more examples of humour in the face of adversity which goes to show that laughter is never far away and we really needed some light relief.

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On to other things...thank you for all the kind birthday wishes.  I had a lovely time and my family also took me out for lunch, which was delicious.  I just had an entree sized meal (I don't want to put on the weight I lost a couple of years ago!) of prawns and garlic sauce on basmati rice.  It was absolute heaven on the taste buds.

A very funny incident happened during lunch.  For some reason, we were talking about freckles (yeah, I know...we are weird) and Cooper, who is now four and a half, pipes up and says, "I got a freckle on my finger," and sticks up his middle finger in the age old gesture to show us.  Of course, he was totally innocent of what it meant...it was just us adults who fell about in hysterics of laughter.  However, because we were laughing, Cooper was laughing, too, but without really knowing why.

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You may or may not realise, but Jane and I go to the markets every Sunday morning to get our fruit, veges, meat and fish and anything else that may catch our eye.  So yesterday, as usual we casually confirmed that we were still going.   However, last night when I was watching the Australian Open on TV, a woeful Jane came over with her right hand all bandaged up.  She had pulled a hot casserole dish out of the oven (using an oven cloth) and set it on the bench.  She then checked a pot or something on the stove top, then turned around and grabbed the incredibly hot casserole dish...without the cloth!  A trip to emergency ensued and she came home all bandaged up and not very happy at all.  I'm going to pop over shortly to see how she is.  Poor darling...she won't be able to work or drive anywhere for a while.  I'll keep you posted.

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Margaret and I are planning a trip out west later on this year...during the Dry!  We are taking the overnight train, "Spirit of the Outback" out to a town called Longreach which is where our national airline Qantas started.  Qantas - an anagram for Queensland and Northern Territory Air Service.  We will also be taking a coach trip to see the Stockman's Hall of Fame, petrified dinosaurs and evidence of the footsteps of a dinosaur stampede, as well as a cruise.  This will all be first class and is at a good price.

Also four of us are planning a cruise up to the Whitsunday islands around August.  It's for seven days and six nights.  Toni and Darryl did that cruise last year and highly recommended it.  By then, I'll be ready for a break.  Gee, semi retirement is busy and I need to take some time out now and then...smirk.  Anyway, that's this year's travel organised.  Next year?  I have my plans and will post about those later.

That's it for now.  I hope you are enjoying your weekend.

13 January 2011

Our Devastated City

For graphic videos and pictures of Brisbane during the flood, click this link.

It's distressing to see our beautiful city so devastated.  No power, domestic water supply threatened, limited transport and food shortages are just some of the things already being experienced.  We have been asked to conserve water as one of the supply stations has been damaged.  There is raw sewerage floating through the streets and the threat of E. coli is very real.

The State Emergency Service, Police, Red Cross and thousands of volunteers are doing a fantastic job.  Roughly 30,000 homes have been affected, thousands are in evacuation shelters and of course, their pets are missing or dead.  It's just too much to comprehend.

The whole State will be affected by this...the Port of Brisbane is closed and supplies are going to have to be airdropped or if possible, delivered by road.  The supermarket shelves are almost empty.  Because of the tsunami like wave of water in the Lockyer Valley, our fresh vegetable industry is no more.  The farmers can't get their stock to the abattoirs, so no meat. Wheat exports will be badly affected.  We have to boil our water and then there is the very real danger of mosquito borne diseases such as Ross River fever and malaria.  

I'm so proud of my family.  My daughter and her husband were out all day yesterday with their truck and trailer helping people move their belongings and will be out again today and for as long as it takes.  My granddaughter and her friends have registered as volunteers to work all weekend from Friday evening on, after working a full week at work.

There are some dreadful stories coming out of people trying to save others and losing their own lives.  But there are uplifting stories of people risking their lives, with no thought of their own safety, to help strangers.

The one blessing at the moment is that the sun is shining, which makes it harder to get one's head around the devastation.  However, one of the worst things is the stench and then the clean up.  It's going to take months, possibly years, before Brisbane is returned to its former self.  But Queenslanders are a tough breed and in interviews, the most common attitude is "just to start all over again, there's nothing else to do".

It's the CBD and 32 river suburbs which are the most badly affected.  Brisbane is Australia's third largest city and a major port for imports to the country.  Unfortunately, those container ships will have to be diverted elsewhere.  Three quarters of the State of Queensland has been declared a disaster area...our Premier, Anna Bligh, although I have never been a supporter of hers, has done a fantastic job of keeping everyone updated.  

I must give credit to the Queensland Police Service who, through Facebook, have kept those of us with power or fully charged batteries informed with constant updates.  There are stupid morons who disseminate false information and the Police are onto those immediately, putting people at ease that the dam walls are not going to collapse and so on. 

Then, of course, there are the low lifes who have been looting.  What sort of mongrels are they to steal from people already devastated by this disaster?  They have been caught, which is wonderful to hear, and all I can say is, what goes around comes around and in those cases, will be well deserved. 

We would be grateful for your prayers for our beautiful city and the poor souls who have lost everything.  Thank you.