A New Life! Retirement at its Best 79

Dentist Day

After almost 2 years we have found a great dentist here in Cary, the third one we tried. Different procedures are done in the same building on the same floor but behind separate doors. Cleaning takes place at #1 and other procedures (they make in-house crowns too) at #2. I was due for a bi-annual one hour cleaning. My hygienist performed the final rinse of my mouth when I felt something drop down on my tongue and it was not water. It was the filling of one of my pre-molar teeth. The hygienist stopped spraying, shocked at what she saw, and I closed my mouth and then, when she held a cup in front of my face, I spit. But there was no filling. I rinsed and spit over the sink (I could sit up faster than she could manipulate the chair in an upright position) but no filling. After all this water splashing I had to go to the bathroom and in the mean time the hygienist checked the chair and the floor: nothing.

I could not help laughing. It was a large, old amalgam filling, it did not hurt, and it was definitely the most ideal place to lose it! After finishing up my cleaning session the hygienist took me to the other department, where the dentist was able – in between other clients – to fill the remaining hollow tooth in preparation for a crown next week. And then I will have a nice, white porcelain crown. In the last six years I only needed cleaning, and I will always remember that my mother proudly said when she was 101 years old, “I still have all my own teeth!” And that despite 4 years in a Japanese prison camp with severe malnutrition; something to be proud of indeed.

Growing up Tales

Lani has just passed the 7 month mark. At this time she weighs 18 Lbs. Statistics say she can be expected to weigh between 15 and 35 Lbs. I hope she will not get much heavier that she is now, otherwise I will not be able to carry her anymore. Ha! We thought we were getting a really miniature golden doodle, small like her mini poodle Dad. One that could sleep in a little basket underneath the coffee table. But she will be more like her mom, only mom is white and Lani is black. A sign that she is getting older an that she knows all the regular things that are going on in the house, is that frequently she does not hang around us in the living room ready to play, but stretches out for a nap on the cool tiles close to the front door. Or, when I am working on the computer, she lies down on the plastic desk chair mat behind me. I can imagine that you don’t want to lie on carpet if you have all that long hair! And with her body, her hair is growing too, straight and wavy, she looks pretty shaggy. But so far, so good. I’ve been able to keep any tangles out, but she is slowly getting too big to bathe her in the kitchen sink. Tomorrow, when we are both busy, she will go to the doggie day camp again; no longer with the teacups, she will meet and spend the day with the larger size dogs. A new experience.

She barks unexpectedly at a variety of things that she sees or hears and are new to her: A sun spot on the wall above a painting, the pattering of the rain on the patio outside, which she peers at through the glass window pane next to the front door, the sounds of the blender, a new, large candle on the coffee table. Funny moments for us, learning experiences for her.

Our older grandson here has gotten his Driver License and is now officially driving. A blessing for this very busy family of five; we trust he will be a safe and good driver. The second grandson turned 14 this week and both he and his younger sibling are tracked out for three weeks. Hoping we could do something fun with them, like take them to the trampoline jumping alley, we were told No, because he had suffered a concussion in a head-on collision during a LaCrosse game four days earlier. The boys were both wearing helmets but the one boy hit heads with our grandson on purpose! His parent was later heard saying to his son: “You did not hit him hard enough!” 

In what kind of world are we living? Two Middle School boys, on the same team, one being instructed by his parent to hit another one hard on the head! And when he did, he was told it was not hard enough.

Signs of spring

We are having cold nights and warm nights, cold days and warm days, up to 70 degrees, rain and sunshine. All that has caused the blossom trees, white and pink, to spring into bloom and it is a delight to see them all around. Last Sunday I took Lani in the car to a new greenway and we walked for a good hour. Lovely. One goose pair has decided to stay at our pond. They built a nest right next to one of the big, rocky drains, completely in the open, but high enough above the waterline as it is now so future rain storms hopefully won’t damage it like they did last year’s nest. I watched Mother goose line it with feathers and sticks, while Father goose floated on the water keeping an eye on her. Can’t wait until the irises and other greens shoot up to at least partially hide the new nest because there are hawks in the air above. We have a new addition to our garden menagerie: a pair of Woodpeckers. And I have hung our hummingbird feeder on a branch in the pink tree, just within reach from the fenced dog yard, waiting for last year’s hummingbirds to return or new ones to discover our paradise. Spring is in the air!

It’s a Wonderful World!

Until next time,




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 78

If you can’t beat them, join them!

A few weeks ago, when I felt so down and defeated about someone else’s book that is going to be a movie, a Linked-In business friend wrote this to me: If you can’t beat them, join them. And I thought, what can I do that stands out, so that my book gets more publicity, without hiring a professional marketer or spend money on expensive ads? The same friend, at the same time,  recommended a way to promote Rising from the Shadow of the Sun in the Media. How lucky could I be?

I started with pictures and text from my book on Facebook and Linked-In. And now, since March 8, I have had a daily promotion running on both sites. On Linked-In the posts get views, and on Facebook many friends share my posts. I discovered that many friends, although they know about my book, have not read it, or they have read my first book In the Shadow of the Sun, published in 1992. But after that, I added historical facts I found through more research, as well as personal things, so Rising from the Shadow of the Sun is definitely worth reading. I highly recommend it to those of you, followers of my Blog, if you haven’t read it yet. Also, I would love a review on Amazon from you if you haven’t done that yet. You can do it under a pseudonym so your privacy is protected, and it is really easy. I don’t want to sound pushy, because I am very grateful for all the reviews I already have, but I just thought I should mention it 🙂


Everywhere white-blossomed trees are gracing the landscape. Around our pond the whole white tree circle is in bloom. And pink buds are bursting open on the tree by our bedroom window. Gorgeous! Very soon now all the “dead” bushes and trees will be green again and fill the area between the back yard and the freeway, so that the traffic becomes invisible. These days, when I let Lani out of the back door to quickly go potty, she goes to the fence and starts barking at all the traffic she sees. Never even hearing my command to come in for her breakfast, she barks and barks. I’m afraid she will wake up the whole neighborhood! So now, I put on shoes and wrap my robe tighter around me and put her on the leash to go out, so I can reel her in after her shi-shi (That is what we call a #1 for girls in Hawai’i. For boys we call it pi-pi).


In 2008, my right hand was so painful because of arthritis that I could not do anything with it. I learned to do things with my left hand, because the pain did not let up. Then our neighbor recommended Original CMO. I ordered it online and used it for three weeks. Pills, accompanied with a strict diet: no coffee, tea, wine, red meat, night shade vegetables and more. A month after the three weeks my hand was normal again and I have been pain free ever since! That was eleven years ago. I was so excited and recommended it to many of my friends. But they could not stick to the diet and it did not work. Until our handyman, who was going to retire because of the arthritis in his hands, was so desperate that he followed the instructions to the letter and…it worked! He was delighted.

Two weeks ago, I noticed swelling in one index finger, and a thickening joint. Could I have arthritis again? I searched the internet and finally found a phone number for the company. Alas! They are going to close their business at the end of this month. They were out of the pills but they had cream, which would have the same results, the secretary said. So I ordered two jars and hope they will cure my arthritic finger, and hope too that it will last just as long.

A Celebration

We celebrated March 15 (the day we met 62 years ago) with an “Indonesian” dinner on the 16th at the family’s. I cooked lemper and krupuk, got saté at Costco and made the delicious peanut sauce to go with it. I’m lucky to have found a small Asian store about 2 miles away and they have a lot of Indonesian spices. I served a crisp kale salad with it ( from Trader Joe’s, just around the corner) and large chocolate chip cookies for dessert. So with a little cheating we had a delicious dinner and the family loved it. I had to borrow an electric frying pan from someone in one of the cottages down the street to fry the krupuk, and I had to be very inventive to steam the 6 cups of sticky rice, because all I have left is a small rice cooker. But it worked!


I got to know the old couple in the cottage three doors down from us. I became friends with the sweet lady by the name of Madeline. We met at the Club when there was entertainment, and always at brunch on Sundays. I had not seen her for a while and walked over for a visit. I found her in bed, looking lovely but very frail. There were cards and balloons in her room and she told me she had just celebrated her 90th birthday. Aww, I could have known that if I had looked at the member directory. When I left I promised to bring her something as a belated birthday gift. I bought daffodils at Trader Joe’s and dropped them off, arranged in one of my vases. A week later, figuring the daffodils would be gone, I bought another bunch. At home I cut them to size again so the caregiver didn’t have to do anything, just plop them in the vase. I repeated that a third time, asking the caregiver to put them so Madeline could see them from her bed. I heard then that she was not doing well at all and, peeking around the corner, I could see the end was near. She passed away peacefully, so much like the lady she was, on Sunday afternoon; I heard it today. Sad days for the family, and I will miss her too, because we had become so close this past year.

Life goes on, and we are blessed to be healthy.

Until next time,



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 77

Mardi Gras or Carnaval

On March 5, we celebrated Mardi Gras at Waltonwood. There were refreshments and shiny necklaces for the taking in the Players’ Room, and people from Assisted Living came by with decorated walkers in a parade. I missed the parade, because I went downstairs for the 30 minute “Circuit” exercises. Nobody else showed up, so I had my private trainer, and she worked me hard! That exercise, plus the 30 minute chair yoga of that morning, and the 3 mile total walks with Lani, made me feel very happy that I could just change into something pretty and go for dinner to the Club!

In my mind’s eye I went back to the times of Carnaval in the Netherlands. In the southern (Catholic) part of the Netherlands they celebrated for four days before Ash Wednesday. After we had lived in the town of Son, in Brabant, for a few years, we found out that Carnaval, aside even from the giant parade and the special music, could be a lot of fun. So while the grandparents took care of our girls for four days, we dressed up and went dancing and drinking (beer) in town: leaving around 9:00 p.m. and coming back several hours after midnight. The men used to dress up simply in a blue jacket and cap with a red scarf around their neck, the women wore all kinds of costumes. Those were the days that I did a lot of sewing, so for one evening, celebrating at the nearby Air Force Base, Welschap, I dressed up as my version of Barbarella, an outer space figure in those years. I was wearing an all silver metallic mini skirt, a top with long sleeves and a tight silver helmet on my head, black knee-high boots on my feet. I wish I could see me now, but we didn’t take many pictures in those days. At the end of the night, after lots of dancing, I drank beer with one of the F16 pilots under a giant parachute, and I could drink more beer than he!  So I went to find Mike and we drove home together.

For another night, the “couples night”, I made an Indian girl outfit. Again, a mini skirt, sand color, looking like leather, with Indian style decorations, a top in the same style, with fringes on the sleeves and at the hem of the skirt. A black wig with two braids, and I forgot what I had on my feet. Probably boots again, good for dancing. That night, someone danced (and drank beer) with me all night. We had fun. And then Mike, who had had a fun evening with someone else, took me home again. We did have a car in those days, and nobody cared if or how much you drank before driving home.

The next morning, in church, the gentleman with the offering plate looked down at me and started laughing. “I think we met last night,” he said, “the little Indian girl?” And that was the beginning of our families becoming good friends and Ronny taking over from him the task of Church Treasurer – after training of course.

International Women’s Day

1975 was International Women’s Year. That year, the United Nations (UN) began celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. Each year, the special Day has had a theme. The 2019 initiative is #BalanceforBetter, aimed at gender equality, a greater awareness of discrimination and a celebration of women’s achievements. 2019 is the second year that we celebrate International Women’s Day here at WaltonWood with a spectacular luncheon in the Dining Room, with flowers, music and speeches, honoring four women with an award for their achievements. This time, the four awards were given for Lifetime Achievement, Kindred Heart, Humanitarian and  Entrepreneurship. And I was honored with the Entrepreneurship Award for Waltonwood Cary, NC.

It was a total surprise at first. When I was invited to sit at the Reserved Table in front of the room, I thought, hm? Then, just before the lunch was brought in, son Dennis sat down next to me. “Dennis? How come you are here?”

“I got an invitation, and Dad did too. Where is Dad?”

“At home. We thought it was a luncheon for women only.”

Things happened fast after that. I called Mike, Dennis went to get him with the maintenance manager in the golf cart, and the three of us enjoyed a delicious lunch and watched the Awards ceremony. And then the veil was lifted: I received the Entrepreneurship Award! What an honor!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next time,




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 76

The Tooth Dragon

Oh! Oh! Accidents do happen when you least expect them. A few months ago I purchased a box of beautiful cherries, totally out of season, and served them with lunch as a surprise. Mike happened to break a tooth when he bit on one. We called to make an appointment with our dentist and heard they were moving to another town! Just then a nice flyer had come in the mail from another local dentist and we moved there right away. Actually, that sounds easier than it was: it involved lots of paperwork and two appointments, and it all took time. To make a long story short: because of lack of communication we went to yet another dentist, this one at the recommendation of our son, and last week Mike had oral surgery. It went very well, he had no pain afterwards. It meant he had to eat soft foods, so we ordered in from the Club, and I ran his whole meal through the VitaMix. We did that for three days, and on Friday went back to the Club for dinner. Nice to see everyone again. The total treatment is not quite over yet of course, but the worst is.

The Grooming Salon

For the first time in her life Lani went to the grooming salon. I dropped her off early on the morning and she was ready for pickup at 3:00 p.m. When they brought her to the lobby I burst out laughing. Her coat was brushed back smoothly, they had put a little pink ribbon on top of her head and two dark, shiny eyes looked at me. For the first time we could clearly see each other! Since then, I have gotten used to her new face, and am trying to teach her to catch treats, which she had a hard time seeing with all the hair in front of her eyes. She has gained weight, and at 6.5 months is now 16.5 pounds. Still light enough to carry her across the Divide to Wimbledon for long walks, which we have done several times already. Also this week we received the cover for her kennel. She needed one, because every time she saw a reflection in one of the windows, or flickering lights of the candles at the front door, or she heard the rain on the back patio, she started barking. The cover has two flaps that can be rolled up, one in the front and one on one side. We leave the side one down, because she never exits the kennel through the side door, and the front flap is up, so she can see into the room, where we are, ands does not see the windows on the side. She immediately felt at home in her cave, and wanders in and out to retrieve toys or her blanket.

Visits to Assisted Living

Sometimes, when I visit friends who have moved to Assisted Living, I take Lani with me to socialize her with many people. She is still pulling too hard and jumping up, but on Wednesday the trainer will come again for another teaching session. When Lani is mature and calmer, I want her to be a therapy dog in our facility. Take that with a grain of salt, because I can’t train her to be a real therapy dog of course, but people love to pet her and that could be therapeutic for some. That will take a while still!

An Exciting Offer!

If you like to listen to Audiobooks, whether driving long distances, doing housework or cooking, or just relaxing in your recliner or in bed, I have an exciting offer for you. If you send me your email address with the request for an Audiobook, I will send you a promo code with which you can download a free copy. Not from Amazon, who tries to sell you a subscription for a monthly payment, but from a private Author Source. I only have a limited number of Promo Codes, and I believe I will get some for the UK as well, so whoever contacts me the first will get a PC for sure, as long as they last. Even if you have read the book, listening to the story gives it a whole new dimension. Give it a try! It’s free! Now, of course I would appreciate it very much if you would write a review for me on Amazon. My goal is a total of 100 reviews; I currently have 60. Be the next!

It’s a Wonderful World!

Until next time,