A New Life! Retirement at its Best 36

2018: The Year of The Dog

We had an interesting Saturday. We took a trip to Liberty, to the breeder that we have selected for our puppy. They have a large farm, where they breed not only poodles and goldendoodles, but horses as well. In the midst of forested nature we found a number of large barns and a couple of homes. The owner came to meet us and showed us two litters of miniature poodles that had just been born, behind curtains in bins in one of the barns. Lovely miniature poodle mothers came to the gate to greet us then hurried back to their litters, little pups of about 6″ long in various colors.

Then we went to indoor/outdoor cages where we were greeted by about twenty dogs of buff and black and brown and beige and copper colors in small,  medium and large sizes. All overjoyed to greet visitors, and a joy to behold for us. We spotted the prospective parents of our puppy and fell in love with their size, looks and behavior. Further down a number of dogs were running around and playing in a large fenced dog run.

A couple arrived to pick up their eight week old puppy and we followed them into the house. A buff goldendoodle was cuddling in the arms of his new owner, who was very kind and let us take turns in holding him. All puppies are cute of course, but it was nice to see all this, because we have been without a dog now for almost a year, and we never had Isabelle as a puppy. It will be a totally new experience for us.

More Young Life expected
Last week, I walked around the pond as I love to do; the water level is higher now and the fountain is spouting high. I noticed one goose sitting about three feet above the water’s edge. Strange that she did not move. I went closer and called out to her but she still did not move. Then I noticed that twigs and straws jutted out from underneath her and I thought she must be sitting on a nest! Sure enough, she has not moved at all, feathers spread out in the back, head facing me as I stood still to watch her. That’s exciting!  It takes about thirty days for goose eggs to hatch after they are laid, and if she laid them ten days ago we will have new goslings in about three weeks, which will be a week after Easter. How special! Then again, if she has been sitting there before I noticed her, the eggs could hatch right at Easter!

But then it started raining; a little at first, then a lot, then a whole night long, and the following morning the water level had risen to the very edge of where the goose was still sitting on her nest. I could not see if it was actually in the water or not, but the goose had not moved. Today, the sun has been out, the water has receded and the nest is at a safe distance from the water again at two feet. I will keep you posted. It is lovely to live in a densely populated area with freeways all around and yet to be able to enjoy nature in walks and flowers, birds, geese, deer and turtles. We have not been here in the spring; who knows what else we will experience.


In the main building, the Club, a lot of moving is going on. Sometimes we find that people we knew have moved to Assisted Living, sometimes we hear that someone has gone to the hospital. Most of them come back from the hospital to resume life in Independent Living, but a couple of people have died recently, and that is always a shock. We attended a lovely Memorial Service in the Garden Room downstairs; that is a practical place if you want Residents to attend. For most of those who don’t drive anymore, attending an outside Memorial in a church or cemetery is not possible, unless they can take a ride with someone. Today after breakfast I visited Emily who moved to Assisted Living recently. She and her husband were always at our breakfast table. She has been on oxygen and Hospice care for a long time, but her husband, still in good shape, moved with her. On my way to her apartment I passed familiar friends, greeted them by name, gave them a hug: “A hug a day keeps the doctor away.” They loved that. I had promised Emily I would give her a manicure for Easter. She had recently fallen and broken two fingers, but the tips were sticking out of the bandage, so we could go ahead. She selected a light coral color from my collection and chose a soft pink glitter as a second coat. We had a lovely time, talking story, sharing anecdotes, and the time flew by.

It was time for my book group meeting in Independent Living, and afterwards I needed to get my car inspected. We discovered that here in NC you can’t register your car for the next year until it has received a safety and emissions check. That’s every year! Pretty safe place to drive here! Once I had found the Inspection Station, which took 45 minutes, the inspection itself took only 10 minutes. I passed!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next Time!





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 35


For as long as I can remember I have had dogs. After the war we moved back from Camp Halmahera to Soerabaja and found an empty house on Djalan Tjimanuk. We found some furniture for our house here and there and our Pappa joined us again, and normal life resumed, with Pappa going to work, Paula and I going to school, Mamma overseeing the servants who had come back, and writing letters to Oma and Opa in Holland and sewing clothes for us. I don’t remember when, but Roeli joined our family at a certain time, a stray female medium size brown dog, who loved being a member of our family and getting enough to eat. In those days we did not walk our dog, she just stayed around. Smart dog!

A few years later, when Pappa’s boss left for Holland, we got his dog. Her name was Darky, she was small, black, with bulging eyes, a mix between a Pug and a Pekingese. I had fun training her. Her best trick was jumping through a hoop with a grain of rice as a reward. Really, she performed for one grain of rice!

When I was a freshman at Leiden University, I saw a little dog in the window of a pet shop, could not resist the temptation and went in to buy her. Do you remember the song How much is that doggie in the window? I could just afford her. I was living with two roommates in a small apartment on the second and third floor over a baby shop in the main street, Haarlemmerstraat. We had a shared living room on the second floor with my small bedroom and a toilet, and a large attic with a bedroom for my two friends on the third floor. I came home, proudly took the little puppy out of my bag and put her on the floor of the living room. “Ina, Marjan, look what I got! Another roommate! I will take care of her and she can sleep in my bedroom.”

“Oh no!” said Ina, “No dog in my house! Out with her!”

“But I just bought her. She comes with a certificate of health and had all her shots.”

“No way! Take her back! Now!”

Ina had joined us from Venezuela, and was used to returning purchases she did not want. In Holland, however, we could not return anything in those days. If you bought it, you had to keep it. So I didn’t think that I could return a live puppy. I had no choice, however. Ina was adamant. So before the store closed I took the puppy back and explained that my roommate was against having a dog in our house. Thank goodness the store owner took the dog and gave me my money back.

Many years later, when Mike and I were married and living in Son and our older daughter was almost two years old, we decided it would be good to have a dog. After some research we ended up with Roy, a Chow-Chow. He was beautiful but had a mind of his own, which of course we knew he would have. I can still remember that once he escaped through the back yard and ran along the street in the back of our house with Mike running after him at full speed, dressed for work in a long sleeved white shirt, tie and beige pants. Roy emigrated with us to Pasadena in 1972 and lived another six years, very content with the southern California sunshine. A puppy joined him at one point, with an injury on his leg, given to us by a colleague  in Mike’s office, just to take care of for the weekend while she was out of town. But when she came back she had decided her life was easier without a dog, so we got to keep Barney.

When we lived on the Big Island we first rescued a “miniature Rottweiler”, from her owner, who had her tied down with a heavy metal chain around her neck in the garage. The poor dog was shivering when we came to look at her, in one of those cloudbursts of a Hawaiian Monsoon. Well, Lani was six months old already and only half Rottweiler, as we found out later, but we felt sorry for her and took her home. We also got a Doberman-Pinscher mix from the pound to keep Lani company. All dogs in Hawaii are mixes, by the way, they just happy-go-lucky mate with whichever bitch is in heat, and since they are all roaming around that is easy to do. They are called Poi dogs.

We fell in love with the character of a Rottweiler and in Prescott we bought a two-year-old female from the breeder. Isabelle became our faithful companion until she got cancer and we put her to sleep peacefully, just a week before we moved to Cary. It could not have been a better time.

And that was a long introduction to the news that we are planning on getting a puppy! We are limited here to a small dog, maximum 40 Lbs, but that is fine, because we don’t want a dog that can pull us over when we take her out on a leash. After researching breeds and breeders and everything else we decided to get a miniature Goldendoodle. It’s a relatively new breed, but they are selling like hotcakes here. They are hypoallergenic and do not shed, so that’s perfect for our little house. I started researching in December and finally found the perfect breeder only an hour away, so we can pick her up when she is ready. Mind you, she is not even born yet, but she has been conceived, and when we get her this summer she will be 12 weeks old, potty trained, leash trained, and trained in basic obedience. How about that!

It’s a wonderful life!

Until next time!



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 34


It’s that time of year again, and I am always looking forward to doing our taxes with TurboTax. We have been doing them ourselves for about fourteen years now, are always early and always got them approved a short time after filing. During the year, Mike is collecting all figures of donations, taxes paid, Medical expenses and the like. That of course is the Lion’s Share (he is a Leo after all). This year, we expected it to be more difficult. We moved from one state to another, we sold a car and bought another one, we sold a home, and more things like that. But when we started, about  week ago, it was as easy as all the previous years, perhaps even easier. It was a good time to do it because we still have not regained our strength, so we haven’t been out a lot. And so, within three days, we e-filed and our returns were accepted, Federal, Arizona and North Carolina, in the same day! We are done with taxes!


On Saturday March 10, I did a Presentation at the White Plains Methodist Church for about 53 men and women; I planned to do the most updated Keynote, but their sound system could not connect with my iPad somehow, so I ended up doing the Power Point one, very similar. Thank heaven (I did!) for an excellent technical helper who figured it all out and made it work.

Today, Wednesday, I am doing another one, a Keynote if it works, at the Cary Senior Center, and they assigned me the Grand Ballroom, as I told you before. Right now there are 53 reservations, a nice crowd. I will have more time today than I had at the church and much more than I will have at the Rotary meeting the day after Easter. For them I will have to work hard at talking less, and forwarding the slides faster. But oh joy! I have a new presenter! It is a Satechi Bluetooth Pointer, and it works like magic. It came in the mail yesterday and I already tried it out with the iPad. Magic! That tiny little thing in my hand can move gigantic slides on the big screen with just a light press of my finger!

The Weather

The last few days have been freezing and last night we got a little wet snow. The third Northeaster is beating the coastal areas north of Washington DC with more than a foot of snow, so we can count ourselves lucky, I guess. The pear trees around the pond are flowering with white blossoms and everywhere on campus red and pink blooms appear also. Today I purchased an armful of daffodils and filled two vases for shut-in friends and one for ourselves. Spring is coming, and we are so looking forward to the warm summer. Island girl that I am, I can’t wait.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time!


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 33

Working out of the house

I’ll try to make a long story short…I did have my own business selling acrylic nail product way back in the early eighties when we lived in Pasadena. I called it “Her Nails”. I enjoyed meeting many people and although I never learned to apply perfect acrylics myself, I could sell the product with success. In the two years that followed however, many new nail products came on the market, and simple acrylics didn’t tickle everyone’s fancy anymore. From do-it-yourself glue-ons, to wraps, to gels, to various nail art, nails took flight and I ended my business. All that took place in the early eighties.

In the late seventies, after our immigration in August of 1972, when we had adjusted somewhat to our new life in Pasadena with three kids and a dog, when the girls were in elementary school and Dennis in Kindergarten, I needed to go to work to supplement our income. I found (that’s a story in itself!) a wonderful job with CSC, Computer Sciences Corporation, part of NASA, in Flintridge, California, close to our home. I shared it with a college student: I worked in the mornings and she worked in the afternoons and it worked out well for all of us. We “sent the Viking to Mars” from 1974-1976. Then I could retire from that job and follow my dreams. First I went to Acting classes in Pasadena, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. That led to leading roles in four stage productions. I could not keep that up because of the many weeks of evening rehearsals, but they were wonderful experiences. Looking for daytime jobs, my Agent found me several Print Jobs and some extra parts on a TV show with Sarah Jessica Parker, Archie Bunker’s Place and General Hospital, and one black and white Pilot movie with Jessica Lange, where I was a mother in a dark theater being shot while I had a baby in my arms. I did a great job in only one take, and now, thirty-five years later, that pilot would have definitely become a blockbuster, and I a movie star, but not then, alas…

It was really fun when Dennis was old enough to get his own Agent and we did a few Print Jobs together. He was shy on the interviews in the beginning, and he had a disadvantage over other boys, because he was tall as a six or seven year old, but being only five, he could not read fluently yet. He did enjoy the Print Jobs though and earned a nice base for his college education. And then I discovered Commercial Acting, perfect for my situation. My Agent would send me on interviews in the mornings, sometimes I would get a call back, and once in a while the job! The job was usually a one day shoot on location, and I could manage to find after school solutions for the kids if I would be late coming home. Commercials brought in the most money, because the one day shoot, if it was for a national commercial, would send me residual checks every time it showed! We took a trip back to Holland with that money and surprised Mamma and Pappa (well, mostly Mamma) with first a dishwasher and then a dryer 🙂 Pappa did not see the need: “Your mother can do the dishes perfectly well, and she loves to hang the laundry on the line.”

Back down to Earth

Have you ever been sick, taken medications and more medications and nothing seemed to make you feel better? Well, that happened just now to me. After I recovered from the Flu in eight days thanks to Tamiflu, I got sick again on a Friday. On Monday I got prescriptions from a doctor’s assistant for an antibiotic, eye drops and cough medicine, but nothing changed in the way I felt. So last Thursday I asked if I would perhaps have a viral infection instead of a presumed bacterial one? The doctor herself came by for a swab, and today I got the news that I had been right, and should discontinue the antibiotic. I am now diagnosed with RSV. I knew only RSVP, but the P is missing here, and this  is a Viral respiratory disease that I’ve had long enough now so I’m not contagious anymore. I just need R & R, which gives me the excuse to stay put and write, and read books, and next week I can get prepared for three upcoming Presentations.

Calendar Page

Talking about upcoming Presentations, my Webmaster added a new Page to my Website: Calendar. It’s not just for interested people to find out what’s happening and where to go, but mostly for me, to make sure that I will be there with all my paraphernalia, and to make sure that my equipment synchronizes with the equipment of the presentation hall. Last Friday, I called the Cary Senior Center, where I hope to speak on March 14.

“Yes,” they said when I asked, “people need to register for your lecture.”

“Oh, how many people have registered so far?”

“Twenty-five, that’s all the room will hold, and there is a waitlist of eighteen.”

“What? Don’t you have a larger room?” Silence, checking going on…

“Yes, if you can change the time from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., the Grand Ballroom will be available.”

“Does it have a projector and large screen?”

“Yes, it does.”

And so I am going to check out the Grand Ballroom for my lecture next Thursday. I wish there would be a Big Band and I could go dancing in a beautiful gown with an adorable partner! I would surely dance all night!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,.