Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

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First Snow of 2011

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on January 11, 2011

Actually this is the  first snow of the winter for us. These are pictures from the front porch at around 8 am. It is very cold – about 10 degrees but it sure looks pretty.

The Australian update is that the Australia medical board needs ANOTHER copy of Fergus’ high school transcripts – they misplaced the original one we sent.  This apparently will be the “proof” they need that he speaks English. I guess they don’t know that they don’t teach “spoken English” in the English classes.

He has already requested the FBI report they want but that can take several weeks. The Adelaide hospital says they have everything they need and he can start work immediately, it’s the medical board approval they are waiting for.

We are figuring nothing is going to happen for a couple of more months. We decided to use our Frequent Flyer Miles and visit Leslie,  Manu,  and Paco in Belgium. Leslie has arranged for the five of us to go to Paris for a few days while we are there. So at the end of this month we will be going to Belgium. I hope to have lots of pictures to post.

Posted in Info, People, photos, travel | 1 Comment »

Happy Holidays

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on December 23, 2010

Dinner with Helen And Steve.

I was hoping to have more news about Australia for you all before I posted a new entry but alas , nothing new except they want more paperwork. So here is what we have been doing in the meantime. We went to Portland to visit Fergus’ niece , Aine, who is going to the University of Portland. We also had a chance to visit with my niece, Janet and her husband Mark who live about south of Portland. It was a quick trip. Fergus has a college friend, Steve and his wife Helen who also live there. Steve wasn’t able to make the trip to Santa Barbara for the fraternity reunion so we had a chance to get together while in Portland. It rained most of the time- well what do you expect, it’s Oregon after all but it didn’t dampen our visit one bit.

Aine and Fergus at the waterfalls near Mt. Hood.



Janet and Aine with me in the middle.










Fergus parents are here with us again this Christmas. No snow and not as cold as last year which is good for them. I hope to have more news for you all about Australia – as soon as I know something. Have a great Holiday.

Posted in People, photos | 1 Comment »

Where has the time gone?

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on October 23, 2010

So much has happened since I last updated my blog. Some of the hold up was computer problems but the rest is just plain laziness and other things getting in the way. Here are the highlights in a nutshell with pictures.

I went to California in September to visit family and Fergus has a fraternity reunion at US Santa Barbara. I drove up to see my niece Linda, who is going through chemo-therapy for an aggressive uterine cancer. I met her partner Jackie for the first time. They are both lovely and I had a wonderful visit.

Sunny, Jackie and Linda

Linda and I picking flowers at the community garden they belong to.









On the way back to the Bay Area I stopped in Santa Rosa and had lunch with Paul Haut and his partner, Todd. I have known Paul since the second grade and we have always had a special friendship all these years. We had a blast reminiscing about school and old friends.  Paul and Todd will be moving to Hawaii soon, I’m glad we had a chance to see each other again before we are all so far away.

Todd, me and Paul.

We stayed at Fergus’ Mom and Dad’s house. Here is a picture of them.

Martin and Maragret

We had lunch one day with Scott, Fergus’ oldest friend and Best Man at our wedding. We forgot to take a picture.

We drove down to Santa Barbara for the weekend and Fergus spent three days of reunion fun for his college fraternity.  He was so happy and enjoyed seeing his old frat buddies. It was kick for me to see him so animated, relaxed and excited to see people. One day while he was at the frat house for breakfast, I visited my great-niece Justina, Bihn and baby Dax, my great-great- nephew.

Dax, isn't he cute?

The Happy Family

Justina and I took a drive to the cemetery in Goleta to see Mom and Dads burial sites and Justina found her mother’s father’s grave site. It was a bit of a search but I’m glad we did it.  It’s been along time since I was there so I couldn’t remember exactly where it was. Justina has good eyes so she spotted them eventually.








On our last night in Santa Barbara we had dinner with our friends, Jan and Dan. It was so nice seeing them.We laughed and even shed a few tears.

Dan and Jan

Brother Danny and Chris had an early surprise birthday party for me.

The Big 60!

Curtis and Chris

Me and Danny











Fergus and I celebrated my actual Birthday back in Wichita – a day late because he had to work – at our favorite restaurant, Chester’s.

I only look a day over 60.

And there you have it – September 2010 – in a nut shell. Every day and each person mentioned deserved a complete blog entry of its own.  I so loved the visits with my friends and family. The drive up and down the California coast was so beautiful and brought back so many memories. Saying what might be my last good-bye to Mom and Dad was special and sweetened even more having shared it with Justina whom I have become so attached to. Seeing “niblings”, a word that Paul coined that refers to nieces and nephews of both sexes, is always a joy. Seeing Fergus so happy seeing his friends from college and Dan, Jan and Scott, was a highlight of the trip for me. Laughing with Linda and telling her stories of Mom and Dad was bittersweet. She is so strong and brave, a true inspiration to her old Auntie Anne Marie. And always feeling like I am coming home when I visit Danny and Chris. And sharing most of this with Fergus. I am one lucky lady.

I promise to write October’s blog before November rolls around. There is much to tell…a new baby, a trip to Philadelphia, completed quilts and, ta-da –  THE CONTACT ARRIVED. Stay tuned.

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“Airedales Downunder”

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on August 10, 2010

The project has been officially released. Check it out at –

This is what I have been working on since returning from our October trip to Australia. The story is included on the website so I won’t repeat it all here. Make sure that when you watch the “Airedales Downunder” video link on YouTube that you turn on the sound. Here is the direct link to the video, “Airedales Downunder”.

The quilts will be “awarded” in October in Montgomery, PA and I might try to be there to see who wins – maybe it will be someone out of all my friends and family- so be sure to “donate” for your chance at all the quilts and wall hangings.

If you like this one, Sue, Jenny and I are already thinking about our next project for 2012 – we will need to skip next year since I will be busy packing and moving.

Posted in dogs, Info, People, photos | 3 Comments »

Jesse and Luisa’s Wedding

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on August 9, 2010

Jesse and Luisa Sullivan

My  great nephew Jesse Sullivan, my sister Margie’s grandson, got married this past weekend. It was a great weekend with an opportunity to see some of my nieces, two new great-grand nephews, a great grand niece and my siblings.

We had a terrific time just hanging out, reminiscing and laughing. We spent much of time trying to get facts straight about the past, trips we took as kids, people our parents knew and who there were, when we lived and where at different times. It was funny. Since I was the youngest most of their memories were way before I was even born.

Dallas, Texas is pretty hot this time of year but is wasn’t as bad for me coming from Kansas since it has been pretty hot there too. My niece, Janet and her husband Mark came from Oregon. It was the first time I got to meet Mark and he was a trooper to put up with the likes of us. He fit right in giving it right back to us jab for jab.

Alora and Uncle Mark

Justina, her husband Bihn, and their new baby Dax where there. I have pictures of Justina and her family after Dax was born but here is one of them at the wedding.

Dax, Justina and Bihn

I also meet Kara who I hadn’t seen since she was a baby. She lives in Texas was there with her little girl Alora and her new son, Xavier and her husband, Tony. We were relaxing by the pool the morning of the wedding.

Kara, Xavier and Janet

Jesse is my sister’s oldest son John’s youngest child. John died quite a few years ago and his kids have been living in Texas for a long time so we didn’t really see them much when they were growing up. It is nice to see what a nice young man he is and how much he looks like my nephew John, his dad.

Marge and her great grandson, Xavier

The bride, Luisa was a bit shy with all of the Serrano’s around but I think Jesse was pleased to have some family from his Dad’s side there.

Bob, John and Danny

It might be a long time before my brothers and sister and I all see each other all together. We are planning it already – 2013 for my sister’s 80th birthday. In the meantime we had a terrific time just hanging out, reminiscing, and laughing.

Posted in Info, People, photos | 5 Comments »

The Adventure Begins Again!!

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 5, 2010

Tomorrow we are off to Adelaide Australia. Fergus has an interview with the organization that staffs several hospitals in the city. It will be a quick trip, we will be there a week.  We are hopeful that the job is a match for him.

Our friend’s in Melbourne got me connected with a couple they know who live in Adelaide, Sally and Rob, and we are going to get together with them while we are there. Rob is a GP in the area so he knows the hospitals and the medical community and can hopefully give us some insights. They also happen to be Airedale people, three Airedales , two of them rescue ‘dales.

I know I hinted about my “project” but I can’t reveal it just yet so you will have to keep tuning in.

I have an update on Leslie, however, we finally got a pictures of her “baby bump”. I see a visit to Belgium in the not too far future.

Leslie and baby in Mallorca

We will wait to go until after  the baby is born but go before Leslie has to return to work.  I’m hoping we will be settled in Australia by then. If not we will go anyway because we haven’t seen their new house and we’ve been wanting to go for a long time now.

The happy couple

I will try to write more during our trip if I can get internet access. Cross your fingers that all goes well.

I mentioned Justina had her baby. I also received a photo of the happy family.

My great, great newphew. Isn't he just GREAT?

My great, great newphew. Isn't he just GREAT?

Before we move to Australia I will definitely have to make a trip to California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho to see friends and family. I’m going to start making a list of places to stop so make sure you email and let me know if you have room for me and I will put you on the itinerary.

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Gonna be a Grandma- sort of…

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 28, 2010

Leslie and Manu, our surrogate daughter and her partner are expecting a baby boy in November. We have know for awhile but she wanted us to keep it a secret until they were sure all was well with mother and child. I am so excited for them. We had such a wonderful visit with them when they came to visit us in Australia and we suspected that it wouldn’t be long before they started their family. They had just purchased a house before their visit and it was the natural next step.

I see a trip to Belgium in the near future.

Speaking of babies, Justina’s baby is due next week. I hope to have pictures to post, hint, hint.

We are going to Boston next week for Nathan’s graduation from MIT. WOW, it’s hard to believe it has been four years already. He will continue there for his Master’s degree. I am so proud of him. Of course I had nothing to do with it, Danny and Chris have done a wonderful job parenting Nathan and Curtis, who just became an Eagle Scout and will be starting his senior year in high school in the fall.

The trip will be a bit of a family reunion. Now with our family growing larger and farther away I need to take every opportunity to see them.

Posted in People, travel | 2 Comments »

Too Much Sadness

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on February 20, 2010

I don’t like to add sad or upsetting items in my blog but I have been so disturbed by recent events that I thought I should probably write about them. In the past three weeks I have learned of the deaths of three people I have known.

A few weeks ago I was reading a novel by an Australian author about a guy who surfs. It got me thinking about my old boyfriend, Mark. He loved to surf. One morning I was listening to an oldies station on the radio and they played a song that again triggered my memories of him. So I googled his name to see if had a Facebook or a blog. All I found was an obituary from 2005. Of course obits don’t say anything about cause of death and he was still to young to have died of “natural causes”.  After spending a day trying to track down his brothers I was able to talk with his ex-wife, Karen.

There are some differences of opinion about what happened but it seems he died of an overdose of pain pills and possibly alcohol. For those of you who knew Mark please write and I will tell you more. It was disturbing because it happened almost 5 years ago and although I haven’t spoken to Mark in over 17 years it still is weird to imagine that towards the end of his life he wasn’t the same life-loving young man I knew.

The second loss was my good friend Judy’s mother death. For those of you who have been reading about our Australian Adventure from the start may remember we visited Judy’s parents on our stop in LA before flying to Sydney. Jane was frail at that time so I suspected she was ill. I am so glad we had a chance to visit with her and that I had a chance to tell her and AD how much they meant to me. They treated me like a second daughter. Death is sad even when it inevitable.

But tragic death is the hardest of all. Last weekend my newest friend, Mary Beth was “allegedly” murdered by her husband and he is in the hospital in critical condition from an apparent suicide attempt. I introduced you to the couple last summer after I met her during my garage sales. This has been such a shock for this small community. I have talked with mutual friends and no one had any suspicion that there was any trouble with their relationship. They have been together since high school or early college – 30 years. They were trying to adopt an baby.

We may never know why this has happened. Her husband shot her and then tried to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. Fergus said that even if he lives he will probably be brain damaged.

When I think  of the lovely dinners we had a their house, their four beautiful dogs, their fluffy white cat, Mary Beth’s vivaciousness, it brings tears. How could something like this happen? There were no signs.

So there you have it. Too much sadness for one month.

Posted in People | 6 Comments »

Quick Note from Downunder

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on October 2, 2009

We arrived safely on Wednesday morning but feeling a bit out of sorts after 26 + hours of traveling. Eric and Helen picked us up at the airport and had us back to their place in no time where the kids were there waiting for us. It was a wonderful reunion – they hadn’t forgotten who we were.

Yesterday we hung around their house, took a walk with the kids, took a drive to one of the wonderful local wineries and just relaxed. We have few plans other than visiting Bill and Sue in Dixon’s Creek, Jenny and Gary towards the end of next week and Fergus’ interview on Tuesday. We want to do a little sightseeing of some places in Victoria that we didn’t get around when we were here before.

We saw an echidna in the wild yesterday when we were driving around. I will post his picture in another entry.

The weather has been good, a bit colder than Kansas and today it is a little misty but we are well and happy to be back. I have limited access to a computer and the internet so I will try to keep you posted if we have any exciting news.

Posted in dogs, People, travel | 2 Comments »

Dinner and a Movie

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on August 24, 2009

Yesterday I was invited by one of the library ladies I met a few weekends ago during my garage sale to go a late afternoon movie and then come over for dinner after the movie. Fergus was working so I said sure.

We went to see “Julie & Julia” and it was delightful. I highly recommend it but be sure to arrange to eat after you see it because it will make you hungry. Mary Beth – the lady who invited me, had prepared two Julia Child recipes and they were cooking in her slow cooker while we were at the movie house. Sylvia brought a eggplant dish (some French name that I can pronounce nor spell), also from the Julia Child cookbook. I brought wine (’cause I don’t cook and I wasn’t asked to anyway). It was FABULOUS!!

And just like in the movie we sat around and talked and ate and drank and laughed. It was the best day I’ve had since leaving Australia. Their husbands were there too so I felt bad that Fergus missed all the fun and great food. They said we will do another get together before we move back to Australia. It turns out that one couple lived in California near where I use to live and she even worked in the building down the street from where I worked – small world. Her husband, Mel is a retired research botanist (can you believe that Sue). He went to Sydney several years ago to present a paper on a banana fungus (or some such thing).

Another small world connect is that Mel is the President of the Fredric Remington Historical Society – Remington lived just a few miles from here when he was in his early twenties. Well my ex-sister-in-law Julie, is Remington’s grand (or great) granddaughter. Mel was the person who organized and constructed the Remington plaque at Remington High School. When I went to my brother John’s 50th wedding anniversary party a few years ago I took a picture of that plaque and gave a copy of it to my nephews, Paul and Dan, Julie and Bob’ sons. Mel is working on creating a garden around the monument and is planning a celebration for the unveiling of the garden. He found out that there is a couple in Wichita who are avid collectors of ORIGINAL Remington works. He is going to see if they would be willing to display some of his art during the celebration. All of this is happening within a ten miles of our house. We have lived here for TEN YEARS and I never knew any of this.

For my Aussie friends I want to remind you that Kansas is like Alice Springs – not dry and red nor all that difficult to get to – but right in the middle of the country. And Whitewater is this tiny little community far from anything. How one can find herself so connected in so many ways to such a place is a mystery to me.

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