A New Life! Retirement at its Best 23


In Dutch we have a saying that, translated, reads something like this: Hours, and days and months and years are fleeting by like shadows.

And so it is, time flies. It was great to be seventy-eight and it will be fine to be seventy-nine! I had a wonderful birthday with our family; loved treating all seven of us to dinner and a show, which is my favorite way to spend my birthday.

Right away I have an announcement: Smashwords is having a year-end sale and my e-books are available for 50% off until January 1, 2018.

Rising from the Shadow of the Sun

Survivors of WWII in the Pacific


Rising from the Shadow of the Sun (Barnes and Noble)

This week’s post is very short, because time flies, and

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next time!




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 22

Christmas Lights

Last Tuesday, our two grandsons came over again and helped install the outside Christmas lights in the bushes by our front door. A timer lets them come on at 5 p.m. and go off at 10:30. What we first thought would look like two Christmas trees on the fence, in reality looks more like two angels, which is lovely. The rest looks more like the “Starry Night” by van Gogh.

Shortly after that, Mike got sick. The doctor came, (yes, we have “Doctors Making Housecalls”) and a technician came with a large X-ray machine to rule out pneumonia. The test was negative, and we hope that with the proper antibiotics Mike will be well enough for our family celebration on Christmas Eve.

We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Cantata, orchestrated by Stephanie, with a string quartet, a harp, Dennis playing trumpet and Chandler trombone. The choral performance was amazing, with a choir of 36 voices instead of the usual 25.

Today it is raining. I just love the rain! Always looking forward to the pounding torrents like we had them sometimes in Hilo and Prescott, I will take the days-long drizzle anytime. It prevents me from taking my daily walk, but once in a while that is good, because then I can take care of other things.

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice — marking the longest night and fewest hours of daylight of the year — is Thursday. The winter solstice is the precise moment at which the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest from the sun. The solstice occurs at the same instant everywhere on Earth. In the United States, it happens at 11:28 a.m. ET Thursday (10:28 a.m. CT, 9:28 a.m. MT, 8:28 a.m. PT). I’m going to set my watch for that!

A few days after the solstice, right after Christmas, I will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday! I’m all excited. There are people that want to forget about their birthday. I have always wondered why. I think it is something to celebrate! Yes, of course, I am getting older year after year, but don’t you think it is better than the alternative? And don’t you feel inside like you will be forever 29? You bet do!

Actually, now living in the United States, I could celebrate my birthday on Christmas Day as well. That is because I was born in the Dutch East Indies, on the other side of the Dateline. So when it was December 26 on Java, it was still Christmas Day in the U.S. A double celebration every year! Who has it?

It’s a Wonderful World!

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 21

Losses and Treats

As we are getting to know most of the people here by name, it gets to feel more and more like a wonderful group of friends. We are starting to care about each other, and if someone goes missing at breakfast or dinner we try to find out where they are. Some residents move away unnoticed. Several, whom we have come to know better have moved to the other side of the building, to Assisted Living. I miss them. But they are only gone from our immediate sight, and all it takes is walk over there and visit. Our closest neighbor moved “over” after a hospital stay and a prognosis of “live each day to the fullest, because each day may be your last.” She was our Ambassador for four months and faithfully dropped off flyers and news bulletins at our door all summer. Now I visit her once a month with a bouquet of flowers or, just now, with a poinsettia. She loves it, and so do I.

The other day, one of the residents with an aide by her side was blocking my way to my friend’s apartment. She was delivering flyers from her walker and had two in her hand when I asked her, “Do you want me to be your courier? I am visiting Ginny and will give her your flyers.” As I stepped in front of her and took the flyers in my right hand I saw that it was Paula May and I said, with arms wide open, a plant in one hand and the flyers in the other, “Hey, Paula May! Do you want a hug?” She let go of her walker, stepped into my open arms and said, “You did it!”

“What did I do? Did I make your day?”

“Yes, you did! Come and visit me sometime please.” The aide showed me the number of her apartment, two doors down. And so I can make the rounds whenever I have time; of course that is when I make time.

Another friend had to go to the hospital and in a matter of days passed away. We heard she had leukemia. Her husband stays here, and he frequently plays his accordion for whomever wants to listen. We did attend the memorial service in their church last week – a beautiful, modern church, a beautiful service with many people of the congregation in attendance.

Today was the day we finally got our two youngest grandsons over. Last week they were going to help us decorate our tree, but they got sick. Today they helped decorate the outside and strung lights on the fence and in the bushes by the front door. I had purchased a timer and an extension cord, and tonight we’ll see the results of their efforts. Before we did that, however, I took them on a walk to show them my “secret passage through the Divide” to Wimbledon, warning them about the loops of barbed wire that are sticking out from the brown leaves on the ground. Next we went into the Nature Preserve where they walked on the “balance beam”, a tree trunk on the ground, and hopped up and down on the trail of cut tree stumps, one of which has a tic-tac-toe nailed on it, and we found round wooden game pieces between the leaves. The fish were out from their hiding places under the rocks, hovering together in the center of the pond.

On we went to the smaller of the two “lakes”, and I told them there is an underground tunnel through which maintenance men can drain water from one lake to the other, so they can go down on a metal ladder to make repairs in the leaking cement blocks of the walls of the tunnel. Interesting! (at least to me) From there we crossed the street to the Wimbledon Clubhouse and found my greenway which we followed until we came to the place where I had seen a swing, consisting of a round metal disc suspended from a very high, bent tree branch on a very long rope. I had never tried it out, but let them use it, because they are lighter. After letting them take turns several times I noticed high up that it looked like the rope was starting to fray, and I told them we’d better go to another swing. We walked along the larger lake and passed the Little Free Library. And then it must have happened. I took my Fitbit One out of my pocket and told the boys that we had walked 5000 steps. When I put it back in my pocket I must have missed, and I lost it. My precious Fitbit. My everyday companion for years now. It never fell out of my pocket because they are deep. But even when I went back this afternoon to walk the same stretch of greenway, I did not find it back. I am so sorry. But “it is what it is,” our faraway neighbor in Holland would say. “It is what it is.”

Back at the Clubhouse is a small playground, and they both had fun on the swings before we headed up the stairs, past the tennis courts, and through the “Divide” back home. We all had a delicious Dutch Stroopwafel, which I had found at Trader Joe’s, the real thing! If you have a chance, go get a few of the traditional blue tins, and if you want to have a treat for the Christmas days, get a few cartons of Marzipan Stollen as well. Delicious with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. But hurry, they are selling like hot cakes!

To end the morning we all went to Chick-fil-a for lunch, and then we took them home and admired their outdoor and indoor festive decorations. We had a lovely time together.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,




Dear friends,

Many of you have not heard from me for a while. When three friends told me about that, I checked with my webmaster and he found out that for some reason my JetPack Plugin was deactivated. Why? How? We will never know.

Everything should be up and running again, but please, anyone that gets this Alert, please let me know THAT you received it.

And if any of you can look back and let me know which number was the last one you received, please do.

In the mean time, I have published a Blog Post every Wednesday, so if you want to read the ones you missed, please find them on my website at http://www.ronnyhermandejong.com/blog/

It’s a Wonderful Life, most of the Time!