20 December 2009
Tomorrow is officially the first day of winter and we've already had two snow storms. This one was serious, though. I think we got 16 - 20 inches! I'm grateful to have a warm, comfortable home to snuggle into and my husband to keep me company.


Top photo: nandina berries in the back yard. Bottom photo: looking out our front door.
6 December 2009
Because of the timing of our sojourn in Brisbane, Australia, and because their seasons are opposite to ours - we experienced spring and summer 2008 in the U.S., then spring and summer (08-09) in Australia, then spring and summer back in the U.S. (09). So, we've had a bit of an adjustment to the cold fall and winter weather. The snow is beautiful, though . . . from the comfort of our living room. :-)


9 November 2009
We are slowly settling into our new place in Ashburn, Virginia. We're renting a three-level townhome. Normally I don't like 3-level homes, but this one has a great floor plan. Since it has a detached garage you enter on the main floor (LR, DR, K). The second floor has the master bedroom and bath plus the laundry and a small office/study area. Then, the top floor has two bedrooms and a bath. We still have room for company, but can mostly just live on the first two floors. Love it!

Ashburn VA (population about 75,000) is located 30 miles west (and a little north) of Washington, DC in Loudoun County, Virginia and there are a number of horse farms in the area. According to some on-line info I found, Loudoun's population is the fastest growing of all counties in the United States. Nonetheless, it has a lovely, manicured, small town sort of feel.

Trivia about Ashburn: It is home to the Washington Redskins football team, the National Crash Analysis Center and the Old Dominion Brewing Company.

We've met some great people already - especially at church. The chapel is only about a mile-and-a-half from us. Plus Bob is only five miles from work (easy commute.)

We're also just a short drive from Dulles Airport in one direction and a large premium outlet mall in another. There's plenty of traffic - but less so in Ashburn itself than in other parts of the area.


9-16 July 2009
I loved finally getting to meet our newest granddaughter, Abby. She's wonderful!!



Had lots of fun with family and extended family this summer. Need to download some more photos from the camera - but here's a slide show of several we liked. Some are from our gathering in Chicago for Isabelle's baptism and some are from the family reunion in Missouri over the 4th of July weekend. It was great to see four generations together!


30 June 2009

I've been thinking lately about the need to record my life history. Over the years I've kept only a few rather skimpy and sporadic journals, and I'm now feeling a sense of urgency to leave behind some kind of first-person record of my life and my experiences.
I'm sure this desire was prompted by the fact that two of my friends died suddenly and unexpectedly within a day of each other at the end of May. Caryn was four years younger than me and had a brain embolism and Beth was four years older and had a heart attack. Though I'd known them both for more than 20 years, I learned some wonderful and delightful things about each of them at their funerals --- things I would have enjoyed knowing before they were gone. . .
Their sudden passing has renewed my sense of how tenuous life is and has inspired me to write about myself so that, perhaps, my children or grandchildren may know more about me.
I've written the first few pages and have made a list of photos I want to scan and include once we are more permanently settled (and can unpack all of our boxes).
Wish me luck - and perseverance - in this endeavor!


24 June 2009

For three days this week we're watching our granddaughter, Lily. She'll be one year old next month and is a real sweety! Lovin' getting to spend this time with her. Wishin' we could have this much time with all our other grandkids, too.


10 June 2009

Even though I just officially went to one crutch yesterday, today I am finally completely off of them. The PT said if I'm going to do a lot of walking or have a long day and need a little help at the end of the day, I can use a cane - until I'm stronger. Otherwise, at long last, I am done with the crutches!!! I'm so happy. I haven't walked anywhere without crutches or a cane since my accident last November 14. Today's a really great day!!!


Tuesday, 9 June 2009

I'm officially down to only one crutch and will soon be transitioning to none!! Hooray! Hooray! (I say "officially" because I've been cheating some, anyway, for the past week or so - using only one crutch about half the time. Now the doc says its okay.) :-)
I'm excited to know I'll soon be without these clumsy accessories I've had for so many months.


Sunday, 31 May 2009

This morning I had some leftover flaky biscuits (from a can) that I had baked yesterday morning. I split each in half, sprinkled some chocolate chips on top and baked them in a 300 degree oven for a couple of minutes to melt the chips. Then I removed them from the oven and spread the melted chocolate with a knife. Yum. Warm and tasty.
I don't think this would be any good with the standard canned biscuits. You need the flaky kind.


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

I thought I'd be rid of these crutches today. Instead,the doc said I have to take it slowly and have my physical therapist work with me to begin partial-weight bearing and gradually move toward full-weight bearing over the next month. I really don't want to be going this slowly!!

(postscript - June 25) I forgot to say in my earlier post that the AU doc was wrong when he took away the crutches in early February and said I'd be fine. There's really no way to be "fine" while trying to walk around on a broken leg! After a couple of weeks of constant pain, etc. I sought a second opinion. The second doc offered what assistance he could - but by then, we already were preparing for our return to the U. S. so he couldn't do alot except give me some strong meds and refer me to a phsical therapist who put me back on crutches until I could get the leg repaired properly.
As soon as we got back to the U.S., I contacted docs at Duke Medical Center and went in for surgery on March 16 to repair the broken femur in my right leg. All went well and after a good deal of physical therapy, am finally at this stage. . .

Funny story -- on the day of my surgery, the doc was late arriving for my operation. Turns out it was because he was in another part of the state that morning assisting with surgery on a polar bear!!


7 Mar 2009

"Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. . . ."Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Its absence—when this desire of our heart is delayed—can make 'the heart sick' (Proverbs 13:12)."Hope is a gift of the Spirit. It is a hope that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection, we shall be raised unto life eternal and this because of our faith in the Savior. This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment, and, as with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope. Hope in our Heavenly Father's merciful plan of happiness leads to peace, mercy, rejoicing, and gladness. The hope of salvation is like a protective helmet; it is the foundation of our faith and an anchor to our souls."

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Infinite Power of Hope," Ensign, Nov. 2008, 21–22


3 March 2009

Our son, John, and his wife, Amanda, were due to have their first baby on or about May 8 but she decided to arrive 10 weeks early and was born today at 6:58am (MST) She only weighs 3lbs 5 oz but seems to be holding her own. They've named her Abigail Marie Crenshaw and will call her Abby. Currently, she's in the NICU at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, Idaho. and will need extra care for a while. We're all praying for the three of them and feel comforted that everything will be OK. Wish I could be there with them. . .


1 March 2009

Now that I'm no longer Down Under, I thought it best to change my blog so I can keep it current. We loved Brisbane, Australia and especially the wonderful people we met there - and now it's time to keep on living our dream! :-)

We're very much in transition right now, but hope to be settled somewhere before too long. . .



Our final post in Australia
19-21 Feb 2009

We took a flight early Thursday morning and enjoyed two and a half sunny days in Sydney. Our hotel (The Menzies) was beautiful and also conveniently located - making it easy to get to Circular Quay and from there to Manly Beach (where we hung out with Nemo and gang -promoting tourism in North Queensland - and dipped our toes in the cool water of the Tasman Sea.) The fabulous and famous Darling Harbour was not to be missed and we enjoyed a wonderful alfresco meal at the Passello Italian restaurant on the waterfront. Glad to see this beautiful city before we leave to return to the U.S.!!


11-14 February 2009

We flew to Cairns then took a transit bus to Port Douglas in North Queensland. (One of the main highways is called Captain Cook Highway.) Took a Great Barrier Reef tour on the Quicksilver and got to do an ocean walk as well as view lots of coral and sea life through the windows of a semi-submersible craft. Awesome!

We also visited the Daintree Tropical Rain Forest and saw the most magnificent birds and butterflies - amazingly bright colors!!

Loved this whole area and wish we could have stayed longer and seen more. Highly recommend it to everyone as a great place to vacation. We also had fabulous food this entire trip - which has not generally been the case when eating out here in AU.


3 February 2009

Sadly, I'll soon have to end this blog (though, maybe I'll start another.) Bob's job was made redundant here and we'll be heading back to the good ol' USA at the end of February. Don't know where we'll end up permanently, but it doesn't seem likely to be NC. Will keep you posted.

We're looking forward to seeing family and friends when we get back, but are sad to leave the wonderful people we've met here. Its been a precious time because of them.

We're going to see the Great Barrier Reef and also take a short trip to Sydney in the next couple of weeks, so maybe I'll have a few more images and notes to post before we go.

Re: my health -- the doctor has taken away my crutches and my back brace - assuring me that all my bones have healed - and I'm limping along on my own now. Exercise will be the best aid for my continued recovery so I need to be diligent with that. Am enjoying hydrotherapy twice a week and feeling its benefits as well.


I forgot to say that I like what the Aussies call those strands of tiny white lights that are frequently used at Christmas. Here they're called Fairy Lights. Isn't that cute?


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

By popular demand - I'm giving you a few more Aussie terms.
You may have heard some of these before - especially if you watch any British TV - but in Australia, you don't check the boxes on a form, you tick them. And, you don't say, "good for you" when someone has done well or had good fortune. You say, "good on you."

If you decide to eat out here it's good to know that at Wendy's you won't find any hamburger. Instead, it's a chain of ice cream stores. And, if you go to a food court and order a kabob you won't get meat on a skewer. Instead you'll get shaved meat served with a flat Turkish bread (kind of like naan or pita). You may also want to know that if you want an ice cream soda (like a root beer float, except they don't have root beer here) you ask for a spider.

And, last but not least there are several Lowe's stores here - but they are neither hardware nor grocery stores. They sell discount children's clothing.


(photos from our trip to Tambourine. Center photo is our friend Joan in a Christmas shop. Bottom photo is Dirk, Kerry and Bryn enjoying a break and some ice cream.)

Friday, 2 January 2009

Today we drove up into the mountains about an hour-and-a-half south of us to the lovely little town of Tambourine. It has a lot of art galleries and craft shops along the main street and it was fun to stroll along and to step inside a few. There's even an authentic German cuckoo clock store. We went with our friends Bryn and Joan Bricknell and Dirk and Kerry Smibert. (Actually, I still wasn't yet walking well enough to stroll with everyone else, so they pushed me in the wheel chair.)

On the way there we stopped in the town of Yatala to try the famous Yatala Meat Pies. It was the best meat pie I've had since we've been here. Yummy.

We stopped and had some ice cream before leaving - and then, since we were in two cars went our separate ways. Bob and I stopped at Ikea on the way home to look at a dining room table we like.