Saturday, January 28, 2012

Kangaroos, Communion and Cock Roaches

Kangaroos, Communion and Cock Roaches

We have a park not too far from our apartment where the kangaroos come out every afternoon around 4:30. Today we were able to get some up close pictures. They were very curious and stood up on their back legs to check us out-when they do that they are pretty tall. It was neat.

Our first Sunday back at church after being gone for two months caught me off guard. As usual we had communion. I am usually reminded by the server that wine is in the cups on the outside circle and grape juice is in the cups in the inside circle. Forgetting this bit of important information, I picked up a cup from the outside circle, threw my head back, gulped down what I thought was grape juice and promptly began to spit, sputter and cough uncontrollably for the next five minutes. After church the server came up to me and ask me if the wine was ok. They had heard be coughing and were just wondering.

On Wednesday I went to lunch with some ladies from the complex to celebrate Chinese New Year. We had a banquet meal consisting of Prawn Crackers, Beef Tips, Prawns (shrimp), and Broken Chinese Noodles for good luck.

It has been raining non-stop (see pictures of flooding close by) here for a week but it did clear just a bit on Thursday, for Australia Day. Norman and I took the train into Brisbane to attend our first ever Story Bridge Cock Roach races. There were about a thousand people in attendance. It is a fundraiser to help needy children in the area. Last year they raised over $30k. They had several races, each called by a different name and each time the cockroaches were escorted into the arena with a bag pipe band. The roaches where then released onto a plastic mat and allowed to go in any direction to cross the lines around the edge of the mat. Trophies and prizes were given to the top three sponsors of each winner. It was interesting to say the least.

We also rode the river taxi, strolled around the river walk and came across a rather large river lizard.

Well that is all for now from “down under”.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Journal Entry #8

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View of Tweed River from our tent

The "Sweepers"

All the pretty hats

Marg, Tony and Dale

Jenny and Mimi @ the Melbourne Cup Day Luncheon

Sorry it has been so long since last I blogged but I have been a bit busy seeing the sites of the Gold Coast. Yes, I now have wheels! Two that is and granted it is not my red Camry, it is a ride other than the bus and I love it. It gets great gas mileage, has a basket and is called a pushbike in Australia. My pushbike and I have already traveled several miles.

After an interview with the Red Cross I have been cleared to do volunteer work here on the Gold Coast. I have chosen to help with the delivery of Meals on Wheels and Sailability.

For Meals on Wheels I ride with Anne, a 69-year-old retired nurse who works part time at a nursing home 4 nights a week to supplement her income. She wears a wig because 9 months ago she decided to shave her head for the Leukemia drive. It was on her “bucket list” she said. We deliver to 7 or 8 elderly people who pay $8 for a box meal, a soup and a dessert. The other morning we were delivering to Mr. Martin. We rang the doorbell, knocked on the door, called out “Meals on Wheels” but no one answered. We began to walk away when we heard him tapping on the window and telling us he was coming. A few minutes later a white-haired ninety-year old grumpy little man answered the door in his speedo underwear and a t-shirt. I thought he would be scrambling for a housecoat but no he stood there talking to us as if he were fully clothed. Another lady we visited tried to sell me a delivery movie service and another was thrilled when we arrived so she could have her dessert with her morning tea. You just never know.

The Sailability is a program just down the rode at the local marina where people with disabilities come and get the chance to sail. Depending on their disability they can sail on their own or with some one. There are two hoists for those that are not able to get in and out of the boats without help. It is organized chaos that serves some fifty people with various levels of disabilities. The smiles on their faces while sailing up and down the bay is simply priceless. I love this activity and I am learning a lot about sailing. I can now tie a sailboat to the dock. Who knows what I will learn next week.

We have been meeting lots of nice people. Last weekend we were invited to go camping with 11 other John Deere couples and their children-lots of children. One of the guys let us borrow a tent, two bag chairs, a tarp and a cooler and off we went. The “caravan” - campground
was only about 45 mins south of where we live in the Australian state of New South Wales. We stayed right on the Tweed River, which was only about 5 minutes from the ocean. Norman was able to catch a flat head and one of the guys cooked it for him. We saw lots of river lizards, whales, a huge school of dolphins, a lighthouse, and some beautiful water. The weather was perfect and the people were very welcoming. We played our first game of cricket. Norman caught a pop fly in his hat. It was a great weekend and I am marking that as one of the spots to see for all visitors.

On Tuesday, November 1st I celebrated my first Melbourne Cup Day. It is a huge day not just in Melbourne but also throughout all of Australia. Many businesses close, restaurants have special luncheons, and work stops everywhere (even at John Deere) to watch this famous horse race. It is much like the Kentucky Derby, with all the women making a fashion statement with new frocks and pretty hats. Every group that gathers has a “Sweep”. In a Sweep you pay $1, $2 or $5 dollars to draw the name of a horse. If your horse wins or places then you win a small amount of money. My horse led at the very beginning but did not even place at the end. Our complex had a very nice potluck luncheon. I met many new people and tasted the dessert of Australia, Pavalova. It was delicious. The lady in the pretty hat in the pictures above was a nurse in Dallas, Texas back in 1963. She worked at the hospital where they took President Kennedy when he was shot.

Exercising is going well. I am still enjoying my running/workout in the park and I have also started water aerobics two days a week. It is so much fun and a good workout, too.

The birds and pelicans are just a short ride on my bike to Charis’s Seafood. They congregate there every day for a 1:30 feeding. See FB for video.

Church is good and we are growing to love our little congregation of Christians here in Australia.