A New Life! Retirement at its Best 83

What a Day!

The last few weeks I plopped down in bed at 9:30 p.m. sighing, what a day! Every single day was gratifying, but exhausting. Monday was regular laundry day, and I worked on getting my winter wardrobe cleaned and put away and getting my summer clothes out of their boxes, from high on the shelf. I got part of it done, not all. Hey, I have a tip for you! Instead of ironing the clothes that have been folded during the winter, I put five or six garments in the dryer together with two wet towels that just came out of the washer. The wrinkles and creases disappear without ironing! Try it!

The handyman came to change the filters in the ceiling. Then I picked up dinner at the Club, ate at home with Mike and took Lani to her second obedience class. This time, she did not learn very much. She could not focus her attention on me because another Doodle of the same age joined the group of three and that was a wonderful playmate! Added to that was my inability, once I did get her attention, to hold one treat in my left hand, and a treat plus a clicker in the right, plus grip the leash and prevent her from dashing off to her new friend. I did get new instructions on walking Lani on the leash, with the promise she would learn not to pull in two weeks. We have started that regimen: we are on day 4.

On Tuesday, after walking her, I took Lani to the groomer’s at 7:30 a.m., we had breakfast and then I took Mike to the dentist. In the mean time, starting at 9:00 a.m., the carpet cleaner came to clean the carpet throughout the house. I forgot to say that starting at 5:30 a.m. after we had coffee, we proceeded to move as much of the furniture off the carpet and into the sunroom or kitchen or piled on the bed. Since neither one of us is supposed to lift heavy things, that meant a lot of dragging. Phew! I missed chair yoga; we had lunch at the Club while the carpet was drying, and at 2:00 p.m. went to the circuit exercise class with my private trainer (private, because nobody else can do what she makes me do). During the class I got a text that Lani was ready, so right away from class to the groomer’s, and back home we took a walk in the park, stop and go! And so on and so forth, not sure you are really interested, but this is just to get an idea of how I felt two days of this week at my age! Oops, I never say that often, at my age! But I do feel that I tire more quickly, and I have started putting on my pants and socks and shoes sitting down. No kidding!


In a matter of two weeks the flowering trees have lost their blossoms and everything has sprouted green leaves all around. In a matter of two weeks we are not able to see the homes in Wimbledon anymore, nor the traffic on the freeway, other than some lights here and there. The temperatures day and night are higher, we can walk without jackets, and it feels like summer is here!

At the end of last year, the landscapers removed the dead dogwood tree from the front of the house and planted a new one. A new little tree, that is. We had no idea, and still don’t, what kind of a tree it is. They did the same at a cottage two doors down, and her tree is showing little white flowers; she thinks it is a Cornaceae, in the family of the dogwoods. We’ll see in a little while what kind of flowers our tree will produce and then we can find out what tree it really is.

Guess what? It is Wednesday night that I write this, and I just found out that it is Wednesday night! I am usually publishing my posts early on Wednesday morning! So here is goodbye!

It’s a wonderful life!

Until next time!



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 82

Thunder and Lightning 

Last Monday evening was the first group obedience training for Lani and me at Camp Bow Wow. Our trip started at 5:30 p.m. in the pouring rain with a line of traffic of about a mile long, no kidding, on the Parkway. Construction work had stopped by that time of course, but it was rush hour, not only on the freeway, which we avoided, but also on the Parkway. Good thing we  had left early. I hesitated, since we were early and the traffic eased some, whether I would swing by Costco to get gas, because it was pretty low. But, I thought, since the sun would not go down until eight, and the class would be over at seven, I could do it on the way home. Just then, the “low on gas” sign came on, an orange sign which I had not seen before because I always make sure to tank when the arrow is on half full. But we were past the point of no return and proceeded to Camp Bow Wow.

The trainer came late because of the rain and the traffic. There were two other dogs there, and it was an interesting class. Before we knew it, the clock showed 7:30 and I said I’d better get home before dark. The sun would go down at 8? Yeah right! the sun had not shown all day! The rain was torrential. No time to let Lani sniff and go shishi. Slushing to the car through the streams of water on the parking lot, I opened the door, threw in my purse, the treat bag and the folder I had received, picked up Lani, who was drenched in the mean time, and got in myself. Once on the road again I called Mike and told him I still had to go to Costco for gas. “OK, call me when you leave there”, he said, worried.

At the gas station, standing dry, my Costco card did not work. I mentioned “help!” to the agent in the little house. He first had to put on his yellow rain gear but finally reached me, not all too friendly. When my card did not work for him either he pulled his card out of his wallet, stuck it into the machine, ripped it out, stuck my credit card in, ripped that out too, and left without another word. During the tanking, the loudest thunderclaps I had ever heard sounded right over my head. Not one, but four. And the rain increased in strength from torrential to hurricane force. I wish I could have measured it. But I stood dry, and only got hit full force when I drove away. At 20 mph, hardly seeing stop signs or the center line of the street, I called Mike again to tell him I was on my way and to have towels ready when we came home. When I took Lani out of the carrier, I was not surprised that the red pillow was wet: she could not hold it after such a long time, I thought, and together we ran through the kitchen and the sunroom to the back, where she did a very long shishi. We had a cozy half hour before going to bed. On hindsight I thought that the pillow was probably wet from her soaked fur; in that case I am even more proud of my million dollar doodle!

Turtle sighting

Early on my morning walk with Lani this Tuesday morning, I quickly walked back home to get my cell phone. Because there, by the mail boxes, following the curb, was a giant turtle – a Snapping Turtle, someone said when they saw the picture. It posed for my picture and I could get a good look at it. The back of the shell was beautifully scalloped, the tail fiercely serrated, the hind feet were webbed for swimming and the front had dangerous looking claws. I texted three pictures to my youngest grandson, who collects turtles and he texted back he would tell me all about the difference between regular turtles and snapping ones. When I returned from my walk around the building the turtle sat in the middle of the street and after I had taken Lani home and went back to look at him he had disappeared in the pond. Proof for me again that turtles do not really walk all that slowly! I think the same turtle came through our back yard a year ago, on his way from the Wimbledon pond to ours, but then I did not have quite as good a look at him as just now. The rewards of and early morning walk!


Last Monday night, the torrential rains made the water of the pond rise, and rise, and rise some more. The next morning, at first light, when I walked to the pond, I saw what I had feared: the turtle nest was gone; it had totally disappeared beneath the surface of the water. Two days later, the water had receded, and I noticed two large goose eggs higher up on the slope. The following day, two more eggs appeared, and then one more on the water’s edge. Mother goose and her gander were swimming around, walking around, and then they disappeared for a while. They will have to start over, if that is even possible this late in the season. I wondered if the turtle would not happily snap up the eggs, because they lay untouched and unprotected, but so far he has not been hungry enough.


The first hummingbird appeared at the feeder yesterday afternoon, in the misty rain. I took the feeder in to fill it with new sugar water and hope he will spread the word!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 81

Medical Appointments

It is amazing how many appointments are made here in this facility with people of the medical profession. The bus takes many people to their appointments when they are made on specific days of the week. Then there is Uber and people who still drive privately. Let’s do the math. Take me, for instance. I am in perfect health. During the year, I have checkups: 4x Primary (the doctor makes house calls once every 3 months to check my vitals 😊) – 4x Dentist – 1x ophthalmologist – 2x dermatologist – 2x Podiatrist. That makes 13 visits total for the year. I included 2 extra visits with the dentist because of my crown this year, but that is an exception. So, for a healthy person like me, that is an average of 1 visit per month. I am not counting the visits with the surgeon and Physical Therapy which I needed after my shoulder surgery. And I have no need for a Cardiologist.

Currently there are 150 residents. If they were all healthy and needed an average of 1 visit per day with a medical person, that would make 150 visits per month, which would come down to 5 visits per day for the residents of Waltonwood. However, about 145 people here are not as healthy as I am and need many more visits per month, also including a cardiologist and one of the hospitals. An astronomical number of health professionals is needed every day to keep all of our residents who are 80 and over alive! If you need care from so many doctors, there is hardly any time left to do fun things! So enjoy the wonderful, fun, delicious , beautiful, interesting things that life has to offer while you can, and try to keep healthy and fit!

Changing of the Guards

Three weeks ago, the General Manager came by each table at dinner time to tell us that our Activity Coordinator had left the company. Most of us had liked her, and through the grapevine we heard later that she and her husband went back to their family in Tennessee. So a happy ending there. Two weeks later, the Assistant Activity Coordinator who had taken over the responsibilities, was gone. We heard it from the bus driver on the way to church. Why? Well, she had hoped she would get the top position, but she was not fully qualified for the job. I happen to know that she had another part time job, so she was not totally adrift. One of the two handymen, whose work we really appreciated, will leave in six weeks or whenever the sell their home to go back to Vermont. Why? His wife does not want to live so far from her sons and grandkids anymore. And he had just come to love the beauty and the climate in Cary during the past three years! A new, pleasant Dining Room Manager appeared on the 18th, then left to the other Waltonwood facility nearby for some training, then appeared again. And during brunch this past Sunday, a tall, handsome young man did the rounds, introduced by the Chef as the new Kitchen Supervisor. This is a new position and we hope he will work out. New servers have appeared in the evenings, and one by one we get to know them. Knowing all  this, it is amazing that our Waltonwood Cary during the Nation-wide Symposium of twelve participants at headquarters in Michigan came in first place for the “Lowest Associate Turnover” for the past year. Goodness! It must be difficult to work in a place like this. But yes, there are many people who complain about a lot of things; out loud in public and in the form of emails and phone calls to the General Manager. That said, we are very happy to be very independent, living in our beautiful cottage, surrounded by nature yet close to everything, with all the benefits this retirement place offers. We are happy and thankful and hope to enjoy it for many more years.

Mamma’s Quilt

We emigrated to the United States in August of 1972 with two daughters, 9 and 6, and an infant boy of ten weeks in a portable, flowered bassinet. With us in the same plane, in a kennel, flew our 7 year old sedated Chow, Roy. We stayed in a motel on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena for a month, found a small home with a pool in the foothills, moved in and waited while borrowing some garden furniture from a friend, until our crated furniture arrived from Holland. The girls went to neighborhood schools, Mike to his new job in downtown Los Angeles. With a company loan we purchased a car, a large yellow Gran Torino, which we called “The Yellow Submarine”.

My parents came to stay with us two years later, when we had added on a guest room for them. Mamma had mentioned that she wanted to make a quilt for our bed and asked what colors we would prefer. We chose beige, brown and blue. And what a gift she brought: A 6 x 8 foot quilt with a dark brown border. Looking at the squares, I recognized the patterns of many of our childhood and junior clothes! Flower squares of a favorite dress, polka dots of bathing suits, batik squares of shorts, skirts, tops, all the clothes she had made for us when Paula and I were little. Some squares I recognized as Mamma’s blouses and pants, and some must have been from skirts worn before my time. What a labor of love!

We used the quilt in Pasadena for a few years until we got a king size bed. Then, in Hilo, our double bed with Mamma’s quilt stood in the loft of the Master bedroom for twelve years. The quilt came out of the closet when we had guests in Prescott, and now, 45 years after Mamma’s painstaking work produced this wonderful gift, we use it as an extra cover when it gets really cold in the winter. Over the years, some of the paper-thin squares tore; but because I am saving scraps from way back when, like Mamma used to do, I could replace them by hand with identical squares and the quilt looks like new. The story it tells is a story of love and memories.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 80

The Taste of Waltonwood

It was a great event: staff and especially the chef and kitchen staff went out of their way to present a smorgasbord of delicacies between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Last Thursday. The main entry hall was decorated with lovely flower bouquets, the tables in the dining room with floral centerpieces. Glasses with rum-spiked pineapple cocktails decorated with a thin slice of pineapple or a floating dendrobium awaited us on the hall table, which was decorated Hawaiian style with a giant wreath of yellow flowers stuck in twined rosemary branches, encircling a large bouquet on a higher center tier. I wish I had taken pictures; it was all so tastefully and beautifully done.

Another tiered table with a tablecloth of many loose purple dendrobiums stood at the entrance of the dining room, filled with the most colorful delicacies and martini glasses with gazpacho. We were invited to fill a large black plate with items of our choice, and find a seat. At the other end of the room was a station where the chef and assistant were producing delicious crepes with garlic tomato or chicken on top. Because I had already had enough to eat, I asked them to make a couple of sweet crepes as a dessert. They looked at each other and shrugged. Chicken or tomato is what they were making. But when I asked, “How about some caramel sauce over the top?” one of them got caramel sauce from the kitchen and made a swirl with it on my crepes. Not enough! So I indicated to keep on going and they laughed, and I had my delicious dessert. Two others on our table of seven followed my example.

Separate bedrooms

After lunch today, each of us took a nap in different quarters. Lani settled down on the hardwood floor in the sun room, Mike slept in his chair and I laid down on our bed in the master bedroom. I don’t know who fell asleep first, but we all had a good nap. It is wonderful that we don’t have to put Lani in her kennel anymore for a nap. She has the freedom to plop down anywhere in the house; only our bedroom is kapu. And she has learned that she has to stay on the threshold and should not move any further. Sometimes, she creeps forward, when she wants to see where we are – most likely in the bathroom, out of sight. But most of the time, she stays put.

Pollen and Geese!

An overnight drizzle brought down a yellow cover on all of nature. First, coming out of the front door, I noticed it on the road, then on the surface of the pond, then on all parked cars in the neighborhood. So far, neither Mike nor I have been affected with allergies; we’ll knock on wood and hope that it will stay that way.

Mother goose sits on her nest. According to their habit, it is the same couple of geese that was here last year. From my office window I had watched their courtship. Then, the goose selected a location for her nest and worked at it with feathers and sticks. A year ago, the nest was too close to the surface of the pond and when the heavy rains caused the water to rise, the nest was destroyed and we saw some eggs floating on the surface. This time she built it higher up and on the other side. Before the sun goes down, if the weather has been nice, both are eating grass on the sloping lake side near the nest, the gander always watchful. When I walk the dog these days, I really have to be on the lookout, because the gander sometimes unexpectedly shows up on the left or on the right, running towards us with wide open beak, showing a pink inside, before I have even seen him. Lani of course wants to go towards him, but I pull her hard and go the other way. According to our trainer she would rather pick up the dog and run than get attacked by an angry goose. And I can not run as fast as she, not by far, because she is thirty years younger than I. So we take heed. Hey, if I were the gander, I would feel threatened too, especially if my partner was sitting on my eggs!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,