A New Life! Retirement at its Best 43

It’s Family Time!  

It’s the year of our bi-annual Family Reunion! We now have two families on the West coast and two on the East coast. For previous reunions, we always found a lakefront home in California, but two years ago, when our family had expanded to 15, there was not a waterfront home large enough with enough beds for all of us. So at the suggestion of one of the grandsons, the one who wants to be a pilot and loves to fly, we broadened our horizon and found a beautiful house on one of the beaches of Oahu. We were lucky and could rent it for ten days instead for the usual week that most homes rent for. We had a wonderful time. It was truly a Paradise Found.

This year, we found a home in Duck, on the grounds of The Four Seasons on the Outerbanks. We are renting it from June  30 until July 7, the only week that all families could make it. One West coast family will come a week early and the other will stay a week after, so everybody has two weeks vacation. Last night, Saturday, the California family has arrived and we will have them plus the three grandsons here over for brunch at the Club and the fun starts there!

So I am taking three weeks off, because I don’t think I will get close to a computer when I’m on the beach or lounging at the pool or walking on the Boardwalk or watching the Fourth of July Parade. I did take a quick picture of our front entrance, where I love to sit in the cool evening hours with a good book and a glass of wine, watching the fireflies flit back and forth. It’s like my little garden.

Have a wonderful time yourselves, my friends, and count on it that I have exciting news by the end of July!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next Time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 42

Blood Draws

Every quarter, our Primary Physician, a member of  “Doctors Making Housecalls”, orders a blood draw from the Lab for all Residents. In Prescott we had that done once a year, during our physical. But here, a person from Quest, the Lab, goes around on Wednesdays to draw blood from Residents between 6:30 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. She goes first to the apartments in the main building, then comes to the cottages and we are done just in time for breakfast at 8:00. I asked Jolene, one of the people at our dinner table one day, “Who is awake at 6:30 in the morning to give blood?”
” Not many of us, to tell you the truth. I certainly am not. But she knocks on the door, comes in, tells us who she is, and comes to the bedroom. Then we, half awake, hang our arm out of the bed, she takes blood, covers the pin hole with a bandaid, and disappears. We turn over and go back to sleep.”

We are glad that we are last on the list and will be showered and dressed to open the door. And we refuse a bandaid, because taking it off causes a multitude of bruises on your arm. Bruises are the norm here by the way, either caused by ripping off a bandaid or just appearing out of nowhere. Like, “how on earth did I get this one? I didn’t hit anything; I only touched my arm with my thumb when I was soaping up in the shower.” They just appear, large and small bruises, on arms and hands and legs. I started getting them about five years ago. We get them probably because our skin is getting thinner as we age. They do not hurt, and everybody has them, so it does not matter. And in this day and age of tattoos it does not matter at all!

Spring Cleaning

Last week the pressure cleaners were here. They come once a year to pressure clean the roofs, the outside of the main building, the cottages and fences. Our turn was on Tuesday. We had moved the chairs, plants and doormat inside the garage and were ready when they came. They sprayed one time with a light chlorine solution, the second time with clean water. They did a pretty good job and our house and patios are clean! Just before our kids arrive!

On Friday, about 6 cleaning ladies and their manager came to clean the inside windows. And not just with a wipe, but there were bugs, dead and alive, between the screens and the glass, so after they understood how I wanted them to clean the windows and the screens, they did a thorough job. I am sure though, that none of them had ever done such a thorough cleaning job on any of the windows in the eight years of this facility’s existence. It takes a Dutch housewife to know how to clean, or so they say!

When the window washing ladies had taken off, two handymen and their manager showed up and went to work: taking the hardware off the front door and proceeding to paint it. All front doors were a dark green before; but they can’t get that color anymore, so now all the doors are painted black. With the doors of the main building finished last month, we were the first of the cottages to get the royal treatment. We were again critical, because it all would have to last a long time before another maintenance job would be due, so we asked to also paint the white door frame. The hardware came off easily, but when put back on, we could not properly lock and open the door. So someone else came to redo them. And the door itself still showed green in the grooves so it needed a second coat of paint. Someone came back to work on those final touches.

My sewing kit

Most Sundays, Mike and I ride the bus to church together with our daughter-in-law’s parents, who came to live here almost two years ago. Sitting behind them, I noticed that the hem of Mia’s jacket was hanging loose. And again, I noticed it later on when we had brunch at home. So on Thursday evening, after dinner, Mike went home and I picked up my sewing kit and walked back to Mia and John’s apartment in the main building. I had called ahead of time, and so the door was open. Together we found the jacket and I went to work. I love to sew and even to mend, and I am a good story teller, so the time went by fast, we laughed a lot and, using my sewing kit after a long time, I told them its story.

“In 1960 we were engaged to be married. In August of that year, Mike got an invitation from the Netherland-America Foundation to work in the US for a year on a Business Exchange program. He was going to leave on January 13, 1961. What a terrific opportunity! I thought of a practical gift for him, a small sewing kit, so that he could at least sew on a button if it came off. On December 24, riding the train to our parents’ home for Christmas, I said, “Here is a little gift you can use when you are all alone in New York.” He opened it and thought for a few minutes. Then he said, “Ron, why don’t you marry me? We can go to New York together!” We had a lovely wedding two weeks later, and I have been sewing on his buttons and hemming his pants and mending his socks for the next 57 years, not only in New York but in many places all over the world! I say: Good deal!

It’s a Wonderful World!

Until Next Time!





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 41

HAWAI’I  A 3.0 earthquake under Kilauea Volcano on April 15, 2018 was quickly followed by five more on the same day. Heavier quakes shook the southern part of the Big Island in the ensuing days, until on May 4 a fissure opened up in the area near Leilani Estates, followed by more and more fissures, spewing smoke and lava to blacken the sky and covering everything in it’s slow moving path, crossing roads and homes, trees and cars, slowly moving down to the ocean. We have all been able to watch the eruption of Kilauea, still going on today. Actually, the eruption itself started in 1983, fountaining, followed by years of flowing lava, dangerous gases and small earthquakes.

We lived on the Big Island for twelve years, 9 miles north of Hilo. We never witnessed a close-up of a fountain, but frequently took guests to the Caldera and down the Chain of Craters Road, from where we could take a good look at the lava flowing down from the Pali (cliff) and could feel the enormous heat while we were taking pictures.

During the current wrath of Pele I have kept in touch with 4 sets of friends who live on the east side and north side of the island. They have all assured us that Kilauea’s terror is more raging in the south and they are not in danger. They can hardly believe that the gases can get to 10,000 feet into the air, but most of the bad vog goes to the Kona side. Another friend, whose mother lives on the Kona side assured her that it is not as bad as they say it is. However, for the people living in the Leilani Estate area, and Kapoho, and Pahoa, the people who have lost their home, it is a disaster. Because with the lava enveloping everything they have also lost their land – you can’t build on lava. Insurance is hard to get; those who have it must be pretty affluent, but those living in the affected area definitely are not.

A month ago I tried to get a hold of friends living in the Pahoa area. I knew they had listed their home for sale but had not heard from them since Christmas. The phone number was discontinued, I could not find the listing of their home anymore, but finally, my email reached them. They had just arrived in Berkeley, with her family, and would go to Vermont to be with his family the next day. The earthquakes had started in early April; Escrow closed on April 30th and they made it out to Waimea in the north for an overnight while the fissures started cracking the roads open.

Just this week we got an email that they will be the proud owners of a house in Fairfield Iowa, close to everything (they don’t have a car but she bought a bike) so they can walk everywhere and start a new life. Winters will be cold for them, but it’s better to be freezing than to burn up! Fairfield has a University, like Hilo, and they are already planning to plant fruits and vegetables, like they had in Hawai’i. We think it’s a miracle that the sale of their home went through and hope it will stay out of the danger zone.

Considering Mike’s asthma (which he got from that same Kilauea), we are glad we are not living on the Big Island anymore. Although our home’s new owner in Onomea, who has a bed and breakfast there, assured us that Hilo side is safe and tourists keep coming (with a little education on what is happening). Hey, here’s a thought. If you want a very exciting vacation, go to the Big Island, Hilo side, make reservations for staying in our former Onomea house (the original carport has been refurbished and turned into a beautiful studio) and witness the excruciating labor pains of the birth of new land. The continually descending lava, flowing into the ocean and hardening, is creating land, attached to the Big Island and many thousands of years from now, people will be able to live on that land.

For those of you who have my book Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, you may want to read again my story of one eruption, describing the wrath of Pele, Goddess of the Volcano, and the lunar rainbow I watched later that night driving up the chain of Craters Road (Pages 329 and 330). My dad, during the war, witnessed such a Lunar Rainbow when he was stationed on the Cocos Islands. Has any of you, my friends, ever seen one? I would love to know when and where that was. Just leave me a note on the Contact Form below this Post. Lunar rainbows do occur, but only under certain weather conditions, such as a full moon and a misty rain.

Another active volcano is creating underwater activity: Lōʻihi (also known as Lōihi Seamount) is an active submarine volcano about 35 km (22 mi) off the southeast coast of the island of Hawaii.[6] The top of the seamount is about 975 m (3,000 ft) below sea level. This seamount is on the flank of Mauna Loa, the largest shield volcano on Earth. Lōihi, meaning “long” in Hawaiian, is the newest volcano in the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain, a string of volcanoes that stretches over 5,800 km (3,600 mi) northwest of Lōʻihi. Unlike most active volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean that make up the active plate margins on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Lōʻihi and the other volcanoes of the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain are hotspot volcanoes and formed well away from the nearest plate boundary. Volcanoes in the Hawaiian Islands arise from the Hawaii hotspot, and as the youngest volcano in the chain, Lōihi is the only Hawaiian volcano in the deep submarine preshield stage of development.

Lōihi began forming around 400,000 years ago and is expected to begin emerging above sea level about 10,000–100,000 years from now. At its summit, Lōʻihi Seamount stands more than 3,000 m (10,000 ft) above the seafloor, making it taller than Mount St. Helens was before its catastrophic 1980 eruption. A diverse microbial community resides around Lōihi’s many hydrothermal vents.

I copied this information from the internet because there are so many interesting clickable links to explore! And then, just for fun, there is a wonderful YouTube video of about 6 minutes called LAVA. I loved it, and hope you will too. check it out!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next Time!


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 40

The Menu

The nightly dinner menu offers several choices. On the right page we find the soup of the day, a choice of two entrees and a choice of two starches. The entree is chicken, pork, fish, veal or beef and the sides are rice or potatoes or pasta and a vegetable. Most of the time we can find a good choice that is tasty and healthy, although there is not a great selection of fresh vegetables other than sautéed squash or zucchini with onions and peppers. Sometimes beets and carrots, root vegetables, which I like.

On the left side of the menu is the A la Carte, available for a whole month. There is a nice choice of salads, Caesar salad, House salad with dark greens, arugula, tomatoes and cucumber, and more. For sides there are fish cakes and a variety of other items like hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and a vegetable. The names of various items often are a source of amusement. Sometimes things are not what we expect when we read the name. All of last month one of our favorites showed: Hari Covert Beans. They were always prepared well, green and crisp, and the servers understood what you wanted if you pointed at the item on the menu or plainly called them green beans. “Ah yes, green beans.” Then, also last month, they added a vegan dish: Vegetable quesadilla. We don’t know of any Mexicans working in the kitchen, but the first night it was offered I ordered it; my expectations were high, because I love Mexican food. However, I was disappointed this time. The contents of a small, folded tortilla (I got only one) consisted of a few slices of zucchini, a couple of strips of red pepper and some mashed spaghetti squash, oh yes, and some onions. No cheese. Really? Yup, no cheese. So a few days later, when one of our  table mates said he did not like all the cheesy sauces on everything, I could honestly say, “Have a quesadilla.” That evening, the kitchen staff had wizened up though, and the quesadilla did contain some shredded cheese, but most of it could easily be scraped off because it had not melted – sometimes the food is not really hot. All in all though the staff really works hard to serve the food as quickly as possible, on heated plates, the chef tries to please everybody, and the pastry chef makes every dinner a success, night after night.

This month, a new item on the A la Carte menu was another dinner salad, a Spinach salad with sliced chicken breast, goat cheese, strawberries, nuts and a strawberry-champagne dressing on the side, at least, it looked and smelled like strawberries and champagne . We have had other dinner salads, like a Cobb, and a Mexican tortilla salad, but a Spinach salad is one of my favorites. The third night, Dolly and Rex joined us for dinner and two of us highly recommended the spinach salad. When it was her turn to order, Dolly looked up at the server and said, “I would like to have the Spinach salad, but  please leave out the spinach.” One other person at the table and I exchanged a look and a wink, the other four did not notice a thing. “I’m sorry Ma’am, but the Spinach salads are already plated in the kitchen, so I can’t leave the spinach out.” Dolly decided on a hamburger instead.

Jordan Lake

One of the favorite outings is a trip on the bus to Jordan Lake. They organize it twice a year. For all outings you have to make reservations on a list in the Activity room. The bus holds only twelve people, and is prepared to transport walkers and/or wheel chairs in the back. This time it held cases of bottled water and wraps and cookies, our lunch on the water. Two weeks ago we were lucky to make it. Jordan Lake is a reservoir west of Cary that covers 13,940 acres with a shoreline of 180 miles (290 km) at its standard water level of 216 feet (66 m) above sea level. The water level can fluctuate quite a bit, as our guide pointed out, showing a level mark far above our heads on a pillar of one of the bridges. It was developed as part of a flood control project prompted by a particularly damaging tropical storm that hit the region downstream in September 1945. Constructed at an original cost of US $146,300,000, it is owned and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which dammed and flooded the Haw River and New Hope River between 1973 and 1983. This spring, one of our grandsons had Regatta races with his rowing team in the Marina area, there is a State Recreation area and many undeveloped camp sites offer the opportunity to be one with nature for a while.

After about an hour we parked the bus and boarded a pontoon boat, which took us to many parts of the lake. We were hoping to see a bald eagle, and we were lucky, we saw three, two adults and a junior, a rare occurrence according to the driver of the boat. Sightings of other birds, the Dam, built in the seventies, and more of his stories enlivened our tour, and lunch, with complimentary pita chips and artichoke dip went down well.


Not only are medical buildings close by, but shops and restaurants are as well. Last Saturday after breakfast I took the opportunity to go shopping early because there is no PT on Saturdays. I needed new running shoes; the old pair still has good soles, but my big toes start peeking through the canvas top. When I got to the shoe store I discovered to my dismay that I had forgotten to bring my insoles and socks, and my cellphone as well. I can’t tell you how often I forget to take my cellphone! That’s really awful, and every day I try to remember not to forget anything. Anyway, I should have gone home right away, because Mike would be wondering where I was  without hearing from me. However, I decided that, since I still had the old shoes, plus a heavy duty pair for long walks, and since Dillard’s was only five minutes away, I would go to Dillard’s to look for a bathing suit for our upcoming family reunion. I still have a bathing suit, two actually. You can’t very well live in Hawai’i and go swimming daily at Richardson’s or at any of the white sand beaches on the other side of the island without multiple bathing suits, right? The third one I owned, my favorite one, had lost its elasticity. So to go back to having three, I went to Dillard’s just to look for a bathing suit; I had not seen any nice ones anywhere lately, but you never know…It is a trait left over from the war, when we lacked everything. It will stay with me for as long as I live, I think, I have to make sure I always have two of everything. Just in case one gets lost, or I can’t get another one, or… To make a long story short, I went shopping for running shoes and came back with a beautiful bathing suit. Mike had been terribly worried about me because I stayed away for so long without a call, but when he saw the suit he liked it so much that he just frowned and told me to always take my cellphone with me from now on. I promised to do my very best.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,