A Beautiful World

Colors

Early this morning, stepping out onto our patio, the walls around me were colored. Straight ahead a brilliant yellow, then to the left and right vibrant orange and deep, dark burgundy, and brown, and peach, and then the green of the pine trees, the magnolias and the holly. And the sun is not even up yet. Yesterday morning, the tree in front of my office window was a see-through, shining orange, hard to describe, and a picture does not do it justice. It is beautiful all around. We don’t have to go on a trip or a cruise to see the fall colors, we’re right in the middle of them.

Walking on a textured tapestry covering my forest path and spilling over to both sides, I smelled –  what shall I compare it with –  soil, a nutty fragrance, mushrooms. Multi colored leaves of all shapes and colors continued to dwindle down all around and on top of me, while my feet made a rustling sound on the reds and yellow and browns and burgundies and oranges and even greens of the carpet beneath me.

Driving anywhere, I am surrounded by the tall majesty of many-colored trees. While the trees immediately surrounding our home are about 20 to 30 feet, the outer circle consists of pines and oaks and trees I have never seen before that are 50 to 100 feet tall. Really amazing. In the Nature Preserve in Wimbledon, I found out the name of one of the tall pines, the Loblolly tree. Who has ever heard of a Loblolly tree? It has a different kind of trunk, grows fast to about 100 feet and has no branches on the lower 30 feet. Anyway, nature is beautiful.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,

Ronny

A New Life! Retirement at its Best. 18

  EXTRA!  EXTRA!                                                                             EXTRA!  EXTRA!

Next Saturday, November 18, we are going to a fantastic performance: Gypsy. At Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the musical will take place in:  MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM

Opened in 1932, Memorial Auditorium is the crown jewel of North Carolina performing arts. Over the years, this richly historic theater has played host to a dazzling spectrum of artists and performances. Just a sample of the list quickly becomes dizzying: Sinatra, Gillespie, Baryshnikov, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughn, Itzhak Perlman, Natalie Cole and Prince. Broadway blockbusters like Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera, Disney’s The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Miss Saigon, and Rent have also been staged here.

Memorial AuditoriumMoreover, just stepping into the theater, with its dramatic atrium lobby, twin floating staircases and gorgeous Doric columns, brings the magic and inspiration of all these artists to life for visitors.

After some dramatic renovations in 1990, Memorial Auditorium now blends state-of-the-art technical amenities like sound-reflective mahogany walls and intricate lighting systems with grand theater traditions. It currently is the home of Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre.

Eighty-thousand square feet of stage, house, rehearsal hall, lobbies and public areas make Memorial Auditorium one of the most decisively versatile facilities in the Southeast. Stage-level dressing rooms (with mirrors, dressing tables, showers and restroom facilities), an elegant rehearsal hall for more intimate theater productions, dinners and meetings, and a state-of-the-art box office are just a few of the reasons that each event or special performance will be a seamlessly professional and inspiring one for attendee and performer alike.

The orchestra pit is impressive. At a width of 51′-6″ and a depth of 12′ at center, tapering to 9″ at offstage edge, it is a hydraulic lift that can be set at any height from basement to stage level. The only access to the orchestra pit during performance is through the house or from the stage. The lift cannot be operated during a performance or at any time while the general public is in the auditorium, without special consent of the Production Supervisor.

Why do I elaborate on the theatre and the Orchestra Pit? Because I am so proud that our son will be playing his trumpet in this impressive Broadway production! Even though we won’t see him, we may hear where he is sitting if we recognize the special sound of his trumpet, which we often do.

For this occasion we are riding the Waltonwood bus, so that we do not have to be concerned with finding the theatre and finding parking. We’re looking forward to this wonderful 1959 Musical with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,

Ronny

 

 

 

 

A New Life! Retirement at its Best. 17

P.T.

P.T. has had several different meanings during my lifetime. During my high school years it stood for Present Tense and Past Tense, and it had to do with grammar.

In my college years it stood for Pro Tempore, which is often used to describe a person who acts as a locum tenens (placeholder) in the absence of a superior. In today’s world we could say, if President Trump became deathly ill, the Vice President would act as the country’s leader Pro Tempore, or Pro Tem. This expression is derived from Latin, meaning “for the time being.”

After we emigrated from the Netherlands to California with three kids and a dog, for a long time P.T. to us meant Pacific Time; right now we live in Cary and we live on E.S.T., Eastern Standard Time.

When we were new immigrants in Pasadena and we needed some extra income, I applied for a secretarial job with CSC, a NASA contractor at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, close to home. It was a P.T. job, one that I shared with a college student who worked in the morning so I could be home in the afternoons to be with the children. P.T. then meant Part Time, and it worked out beautifully for both of us. In 1974, when I worked at JPL we were sending the Viking 2 to Mars. In 1976, NASA landed robotic spacecraft named Viking 1 and Viking 2 on Mars. One of these landers worked there for nearly 4 years and the other lasted more than 6 years. Among their scientific experiments were the only ones so far specifically designed to discover whether there was something tiny (like bacteria) living in the soil. I am still in touch with my former boss, who, at the time, had a special bottle of wine which he kept for the time they would find life on Mars! I don’t think he ever opened that bottle, because at the time he gave up hope the wine was definitely too old.

When I did research for my books on World War Two, In the Shadow of the Sun, and Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, I learned yet another meaning of P.T.: a PT boat (short for Patrol Torpedo boat) was a torpedo-armed fast attack craft used by the United States Navy in World War II.

Years later, when I got onto Facebook and Twitter to promote my books, I found out that PT stands for Patriotic Tweeple. Tweeple means ‘people’ in Twitter slang.

Very recently I found out that P.T. is a first-person psychological horror video game developed by Kojima Productions, under the pseudonym “7780s Studio”. I have never checked that out, because I’m not much of a horror fan.

And last, but not least in my life’s experiences, I personally learned the meaning of P.T. as the treatment of a disease or an injury of the muscles or joints with massage, heat and exercise rather than with drugs or surgery. The good thing is that living in this retirement community, the P.T., or Physical Therapy is administered right here on the first floor of the main building, and it is all covered by Medicare. Why do I need P.T.? Well, back in April, on April 4th to be precise, I visited my daughter and her family in Victoria, Canada, shortly before we moved to the East Coast. I had bought my little granddaughters two special frisbee rings each, and the very first day we had fun on the lawn for about half an hour, throwing frisbees. Afterwards, my right shoulder was sensitive. I thought it would go away with time. But it did not go away. And in June, a month after our move, I developed neck pain as well. That, I thought, is because our pillows are no good. So in July, August and September, I bought, tried out and returned six different pillows in three different stores. The neck pain did not go away and neither did the shoulder heal itself.

So yesterday I checked in with the P.T. department. After an evaluation they told me that shoulder and neck were two separate issues, but the neck problem was caused by the compromised shoulder and not by too soft or too firm a pillow. Hm. I’m looking at six weeks or less of treatments, in P.T. and O.T., which means one or two hours a day, plus exercises to do at home of course. Now, in my case, O.T. stands for Occupational Therapy, but it has different meanings as well, which I will not go into at this time.

I strongly believe in the healing qualities of P.T. and it has some advantages as well: they recommend a massage once a week and nice warm compresses when I am relaxing in my chair as often as I do sit down. I had very few massages in my life, usually as birthday gifts, so I will enjoy them once a week as a luxury, for however long they will last.

I believe in healing qualities of massage as well. During my years in California, when my hands were still strong, I took massage classes, basically to treat my family members to a wonderful, relaxing massage once in a while. Nobody in the family was interested however, with the exception of our son Dennis, a young teenager at the time. By lack of a proper massage table, Dennis would climb up on the kitchen counter, stretch out on a blanket, feet dangling over the edge on one side, and enjoy my skills put into practice. I forgot how many times we did that, but I will see him this Sunday, so I can ask him if he still remembers.

It is such a joy to live close to and participate in events of his family! On Sunday afternoon the whole family is going to a performance of the Triangle Youth Jazz, presented by the Philharmonic Association in the Cary Center for the Arts. Our elder grandson will be playing his trombone in one of the three youth groups performing.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,

Ronny

 

A New Life! Retirement at its Best. 16

Forgetting…

Is forgetting age-related or is it contagious? In my case, I like to think that it is contagious, being among so many seniors daily who forget everything, your name, where you came from, appointments, taking medications, you name it, people will forget things. In my case, this is what I forgot.

Coming home after shopping at Costco last Tuesday morning, I discovered that part of the groceries had slipped off the back seat onto the floor of the car. So I picked up the plastic bag with ten bananas that was on top of the groceries and put it on top of the car, temporarily, so I could pick up the pears and coffee and other things. I took everything inside and put things in their places. I forgot the bananas on top of the car.

The following day I took Mike to a dental appointment and ran errands in another part of town for a couple of hours, then we went home and enjoyed the rest of the Wednesday. On Thursday at lunch time, I could not find the bananas I knew I had bought at Costco. Could they still be in the car? No, the back seat was empty. Then, when I closed the door and looked up, there they were! Saved by the luggage rack on top of the car, and not in the least damaged by the ride or the hot sun, it was a miracle; but one I never want to repeat. I was lucky. Just imagine I had left my wallet on top! It would have slipped out from under the bars and fallen somewhere on the freeway!

Remodeling

For the past two weeks our kitchen went through a remodeling phase. The private dining room  was serving as a storage room with sheets in front of the windows, the tables in the dining rom were put closer together and an outside catering service served breakfast, lunch and dinner, all dished up in the Café and brought to the tables. It took only one day for the servers to make everything move smoothly. In the meantime, the whole kitchen floor was pulled up with a lot of noises and dust, and replaced with a smooth epoxy surface that will be easy to clean. In preparation, the workers taped large sheets of clear plastic to the two door openings and in one of them installed two 6′ red zippers. Kind of a clever way to do that, easier than putting a zipper in a garment. They taped two 6′ long zippers to the plastic, about 2′ apart, and then cut a slit in the back of each along the full length. It worked beautifully. When both zippers were up, the flap allowed workers to go in and out.

The catered food was all right, but we were happy when we could resume the old routine, with the breakfast buffet in the center and oatmeal and grits, raisins and cottage cheese back instead of the large baskets full of sweet rolls and pastries, which, believe it or not, gets boring after ten days.

Halloween!

Would you believe we had a Halloween Party last night at the Club? In the Café delicious treats were served with peach punch, and one of the Residents played many familiar songs on his accordion. He was a professional in “his previous life”, who once performed with his group in Carnegie Hall! Many people, including the new manager, who arrived two days ago, were in costume, some very good ones. Mike wore a captain’s hat and I had my hair long, and a black mask on my face, so many people had to do a double take to recognize me. It was fun, and now it’s back to the Audiobook, burning a disk for a presentation later this month in Sanford, where they don’t have a big screen an a projector, but I can play a DVD to show on the TV. I have never before burned a disk but assume that with an intelligent computer like mine it will be a synch!

It’s a wonderful Life!

Until next time!

Ronny