Anne Marie's Australian Adventure

Follow the Adventures of Anne Marie, Fergus, Cooper and Bean Sidhe in Australia!!

So here’s what’s new.

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on October 30, 2010

I promised I’d get this need blog out before the end of October and here it is already October 29!!!! Where does the time go?

Leslie and Manu’s baby, Paco was born about a month early on October 3. He was in the neonatal unit for a while but he is home now and is doing really well. We can’t wait to visit them in Belgium. We don’t know when that will be but it has to be soon. Here are some pictures. He had to have some surgery on his forehead but he is fine.

 

Paco with Daddy.

Mommy and baby.

Paco

We love getting pictures.  We see the changes in him every week.

I went to Montgomery, Pennsylvania for the dog shows where the Airedale Rescue quilts were raffled.  After working on the “Airedales Downunder” I couldn’t bear to just mail it off into the world without being there through the entire process – concept to handover. If you didn’t have a chance to see the quilt that Jenny, Sue and I made look back a few blog entries for Airedales Downunder it will link you to the YouTube video I made.

I hung out with Marianne, a friend of Sue’s.  She picked me up at the airport, drove us everywhere. We sold tickets all weekend at the different dog show venues. It was a long tiring weekend but well worth the trip.  Here are some pics of the weekend.

Me and our wall hanging.

The main quilt -A is for Airedale-very cute.

Parading the quilts before the drawing.

I was so excited because I sold the tickets to the woman who won our wall hanging. It made the entire trip worth it because even though she wasn’t there the final day to take it home, I met her and helped her fill out her tickets and liked her and I know that “Airedales Downunder ” went to a nice lady.

 

The contract from Adelaide arrived and we are in the process of gathering all the paper work they require. That’s only for the hospital we haven’t even gotten immigration papers yet. We are plodding along and haven’t given up that this might really happen.

 

We have a couple of people interested in the house. One young couple who may have to rent-to-own since the land that they need to sell for a down payment isn’t selling for the amount they are asking. Another couple looked at it yesterday – their second visit – and seem to be serious.

 

Since making the wall hanging, and two baby quilts one for Dax and one for Paco, I have gotten the quilting bug. I know, I know, Fergus says quilting is for old ladies but I am loving it. I took a class at my local quilt shop and made a sampler quilt, at the same time I worked on a quilt using Australian Aboriginal inspired fabrics and I took a second class on how to make a quilt with circles. I had that one – which I call “Sun-Kissed Garden” professionally quilted. The other two I will attempt to quilt my self – a bit scary. Here are pictures of  the finished quilt , the Aussie quilt and the class “Sampler” quilt tops.

Completed "Sun-Kissed Garden" and matching pillow cases.

Class sampler - too ig to get into one picture.

Close up of the applique border of morning glories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The center blocks of the Australian quilt which I am calling "Dreamtime".

These two quilts are for a king size bed so I can’t get the entire quilt in the picture but you get the idea. These tops still need to be quilted. I was doing a lot of quilting but now that the weather is cooling down and it has been tolerable to work in the yard.  Time to get prepared for winter.

So there you have it. See you November.

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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 –

http://www.airedalerescue.net/alphabet/a_is_for_airedale/index.htm

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.

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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.

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AUSTRALIA here we come!!

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 18, 2010

Fergus was offered and accepted the job in Adelaide, yea!!!! So the adventure begins again. We will find out what we have to do next. Probably lots of paper work, take the English test, sell the house, pack what’s left to pack, etc.etc. We don’t know what the time frame will be yet. Immigration will probably be the longest part of the process.

Keep posted. Know anyone who wants to buy a house?

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Whirlwind Trip

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 17, 2010

I can’t believe we are back in Kansas again, already. It was a fast trip even though the delays and snafus made some days seem longer.

We finally got to Adelaide and I loved it. It is pretty city with lots of parks and trees. There are lovely hills all around it and the beach is not too far from the city center. There was so many “touristy” things I wanted to see and do. I am hoping that we will be coming back to Adelaide in the future and I can still do all that.

Fergus had several interviews at the various hospitals interested in hiring him. We were taken on a three hour drive around the city with a tour guide who pointed out places of interest and possible neighborhoods and areas we might like to live.

There was one area that reminded us of the Orinda/Lafayette/Oakland Hills area of California. Hills with houses and eucalyptus trees everywhere. There are views of the ocean and valleys that are so peaceful looking.

My friends, Jenny and Sue in Melbourne, got me connected with Sally and Rob who live in Adelaide. They are another Airedale family – two ‘dales and three daughters. We had dinner with them and had a great time. Rob is a GP so he and Fergus were able to discuss important issues around the medical system and particulars in South Australia (that’s the state that Adelaide is the capital of). Their girls are delightful and their ‘dales are so cute and visa-versa. It was nice to be able to just sit and relax in a house after the hassles of travel and hotel rooms.

We had one day  to ourselves and we drove to the beach and walked along the sand, had brunch at a seaside cafe and then drove to two local wineries. The weather was good, not too cold for mid-winter and just a bit of rain the days we were there. Fergus is concerned that it will be too hot in the summer but I liked the idea of no snow in the winter.

I have my fingers crossed that he will accept the job and we can start the process of immigration which will be another hurdle for us to jump. One of the things we need to do is prove we speak English. To do that we have to take a test both written and oral. I finally found out where and how we do that. We have to go to a test center in the US – for us the closest is in Texas. It’s a long test four parts, each with a speaking component where you have to meet with an evaluator. I’ll tell you more once I know the details.

So we are back. I didn’t take one picture while we were gone.

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Why I Hate To Travel

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on July 7, 2010

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to new places, it’s the “getting” there that I hate.

Forget the usual annoyances, i.e. taking your shoes off going through security, not being able to bring a bottle of water on the plane, cramped seats, crying babies etc. I’m talking about the DENVER airport!

It didn’t start off to well. The plane in Wichita was delayed because of  a “mechanical” problem so we had to sit on the plane for an hour and 1/2 before we could take off…”no problems” said the, in his, by now, irritating overly cheerful voice, “he would make up the time in flight.” Not quite possible since it is only an hour flight.

True to his word he went fast but only to have to circle over the Denver Airport because of thunderstorms they weren’t letting any planes land or depart. So we did this for a FEW hours more until he started to run out of fuel.

So we flew a little further west to Grand Junction to refuel and sit on the tarmac until we got word from Denver that we could come on back. They were so nice they showed us a movie while we waited, everyone on the plane had a chance to use the toilet, all the crying babies had their diapers changed, we got FREE water, juice or soda – no wine since we were on the ground.

Now it is about 9 pm Denver time – we should have arrived at 4:30pm. Oh that’s okay Grand Junction is only a half hour flight to Denver – going east – the opposite way we want to go.

By the time we arrive in Denver at 9:30 there are on more flights to LA, the customer “dis”service  has a line that circles the Denver concourse so long it looked like a line for tickets for a Rolling Stones concert. The ticket desks just kept telling us to call the United 800 number since they didn’t have any information about flights. HUH?

To make this long story short- we missed our connection to Qantas in LA, we had to stand in line for hours, literally, to get a hotel for the night, we were on two cells phones with United and Qantas to make alternate arrangements, we had to wait for what seemed like FOREVER for the shuttle to take us to the hotel which was probably 1/2 away.

We were in bed by 2am. And only one hour flying time from Wichita.

So this morning we are up and at it again!  “Australia or Bust”! as they say. Today the weather here in Denver looks good, we have tickets for LA and new itinerary for Australia – LA to Brisbane then to Adelaide. We will be a day late and a bit more travel-worn but they can’t keep us down.

This is the second time I have been stranded in Dever due to weather – in the winter it’s the snowstorms in the summer it is thunderstorms. Why would anyone build an airport in a place so unsuitable for airplanes?

We are getting ready to board our flight to LA. I’ll write more later.

Next installment I hope I can bring you more positive news.

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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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Nathan’s Graduation

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on June 23, 2010

I  am a bit late on reporting about Nathan’s  graduation but I was waiting to download some pictures and I have been working on a “project” that I need to complete before I can “reveal ” it to the world.

First, Nathan’s graduation from MIT in Boston was fantastic.We had a fun week in Boston the several days we were there before the graduation. We walked the Freedom Trial with a guide, a history professor in full Red Coat attire. He was interesting as well as entertaining.

Freedom Trail Tour

We had seafood every day: the  clam chowder was outstanding every place we ate. The beer wasn’t too bad either.

The night before graduation, Nathan, Chris and Chris’ sister, Barbie and I went out to dinner and then to see the Boston Pops who were giving a special performance for the graduating class and the 50 Reunion alumni. Both the dinner and the concert were great fun.

Barbie, Nathan and Chris.

Graduation Day was HOT!! We were sitting with what seemed like a zillion people. There were almost 3000 students who graduated when you include undergrad and graduate students. They read off everyone’s names – rightly so- but it made for a long morning. Danny and Chris were visibility proud as were we.

The Serrano Family

That evening we went to Joanie’s house, Chris’ other sister, for a BBQ. It was quite an adventure getting there. What should have been a 15 minute drive took us over an hour. If you’ve never driven in Boston I would recommend not to do it or at least pay the extra money for a GPS in the rental car. That city is so confusing, the road signs are non-existent and if there is one it is confusing as to where they are directing you. Add to that the traffic and it’s enough to mad.

On our final day, Fergus and Nathan went to an old battleship yard (yawn) so I went to two art museums – terrific! The day flew by. That night we all went to Nathan’s favorite restaurant in Boston, Abe & Louie’s. It was a wonderful end to a fantastic week of family, fun and celebration.

Nathan and family at Abe & Louie's.

There is more exciting news that I will report in a future blog. We are going to Australia on July 6 for a job interview. And in the next week I hope to add a blog telling you about my “project”.  Tune in soon.

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New Baby & Boston

Posted by Anne Marie Serrano on May 31, 2010

Justina had her baby. I don’t have all the details yet but I’m sure I will hear soon.

We are in Boston now. The weather is perfect and today we will see Nathan, help him move some stuff from his dorm to his new living quarters for the summer. Later on we will do some sightseeing.

I’ll try to add some pictures along the way.

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