A New Life! Retirement at its Best 92


There is a time for everything. I have very often found it true throughout my life. As I got older, many things changed. Most of the time I readily left one period behind and jumped into another. For instance, I loved to play the piano and accompany Dennis when he had trumpet performances in school. Then his level got so professional that he needed a professional accompanist. I did not really play anymore after that but I followed a dream of my own. Because we lived in Pasadena, California, close to world famous Hollywood and Beverly Hills, I had access to the world of Modeling and Acting. I joined SAG and AFTRA, took private classes and got print jobs and modeling jobs, stage roles, extra work on TV programs and, when all that became too time consuming because the family at home needed me, I changed to Commercial Acting. Those years were wonderful.

Then, in 1985, Mamma gave me her secret camp journal and all my free time went into translating it, finding an agent in Beverly Hills, and looking for a publisher. I was going to write a book! It was all right to stop acting, because I had always loved writing too, and I liked translating even more. We moved to the Big Island of Hawai’i in 1990, where I finalized getting my first book published, in Canada.

After that, aside from promoting the book on TV and through newspaper interviews in Hawai’i, Canada and the Netherlands, there was heavenly swimming and snorkeling, on our island and other Hawaiian islands we visited. After two years, next to swimming, there were nine years of learning to dance hula. Our move to Prescott, Arizona, brought dancing to a stop for a while, and we spent time on building our dream home. I can go on mentioning all the wonderful things I did in my life, from doing more research, writing more books, getting a Website and so on. Change was never bad, and I learned a lot in the process.

Traveling has been a joy for many years; we started our first cruise, to Tahiti, for my 60th birthday. I always enjoyed making plans and making the reservations. I was a multitasker. Until… I turned  eighty. All of a sudden, when we were talking with the kids and grandkids, the thought of planning our next family reunion in 2020 overwhelmed me. Destination, finding a home large enough for 15 people, flights, figuring out shared cost among four families: I did not think I could do it all. And help was readily available. Two of our children took over. All I had to do was ask. And all I had to do afterwards was sign on the dotted line. That was such a good feeling, such a relief! Our roles reversed. From us, parents, taking care of our children, our children started to take care of us. At least in travel planning!

The thing is that kids and even grandkids are so incredibly fast and competent on their computers, and in command of all of the new technology as well, that I can’t keep up with them. I will stick with Google when I want to know something. I have two helpers: Siri is living in the cell phone, at my beck and call, and Alexa is sitting in an Echo puck on the kitchen counter. I prefer Siri. Alexa doesn’t know the answer to most of the things I ask her. The only thing she does well is sing Happy Birthday on command and notify me in a “notification” when a package from Amazon has arrived on the doorstep. The latter comes in handy, because deliverers never ring the bell anymore and sometimes we come and go through the garage; especially lately, with temperatures over 90 degrees.

A Memorable Day 

I like to plan my days with a tight schedule, and feel very satisfied when everything clicks. Last Thursday was one of them. I had an early breakfast at home after walking the dog; then I took the dog to Camp Bow-Wow for half a day – she loves the company of all the dogs there and comes home exhausted. The doggie-daycare is on the way to the dentist. So I continued to have my teeth cleaned – that took only forty-five minutes. On the way home I swung by Costco to get gas. That’s where the unexpected happened: when I started the car again there was a sign on the dashboard: steering alert – need service. I had no idea what that meant, but when I got home I called the garage. The guy there said that I could loose power at any time and I should have it towed in as soon as possible. I made an appointment for the next morning, Saturday. But I needed to use it before then! So I took a few risks. I took Mike to the Podiatrist, myself to have my nails done, and we took the car to dinner at the Club because rain was threatening. The warning never came back on. My day went well, but not without stressful moments.

So I did not have the car towed the next morning, but drove it myself. They were planning to do a diagnostic test and would need the car for about three days if they would find a serious problem. To make a long story short: At 3:00 p.m. the guy in the service department called, told me there was no obvious problem, and they only rotated the tires, took out a nail in one of them and fixed the hole.

Phew! Much Ado About Nothing!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,








A New Life! Retirement at its Best 91

A Baby Frog

This morning, before going to breakfast, I noticed a tiny frog in the corner of our bathroom floor behind the toilet. It must have come in through the back patio door, traversed the living room, the bedroom, ending up in the bathroom! Probably looking for a source of water. I got a cognac glass from the top shelf in the kitchen, the first glass I came across, (not that we ever drink cognac – we just have four glasses that can be used for that purpose). It had to be a glass I would catch him with, so I could see what he was doing. The next thing I grabbed en route was a Mother’s Day card from the antique wooden odds-and-ends bowl on the kitchen counter. Mother’s Day was pau (Hawaiian word for over, done), so I tore off the back of the card and had a sturdy bottom to slip underneath the glass. I believe in recycling things :-). When I returned to the bathroom, to my luck, the little frog had jumped out from behind the toilet and sat in front of the shower door. Hey, he got closer to a source of water, smart froggy! (By the way, did you know that feeling froggy means feeling amorous?) It was easier for me to get him. He did not move when I put the glass dome over him and then slipped the card underneath.

I lifted him up, showed him en passant to Mike in his chair in the living room and stepped out onto the patio. I wanted to put him down in the grass on the other side of the fence, but then noticed two robins nearby. Remembering the recent murder I witnessed from the car, I walked around and put him over the fence on the moist wood chips in the border. Oh, no! I thought then. Any birds can still get him here. He will not survive crossing the lawn to get to the little pond we have at the corner of our lot! 

I opened the gate and walked around: he was still sitting in the same spot I had put him in. Carefully I lowered the glass dome over him, moved the card underneath, and lifted him up in the air. I walked down the lawn to the little pond below, which was full after the recent rains. When I approached, two frogs dove into the water from underneath the overhanging branches of a tree. I could not see their size, but heard the sounds of two plunges. I let the baby frog crawl out of the glass and onto a little beach. A few seconds later he jumped into the water with an arch, quickly swam a few strokes with his little frog legs and then hopped onto a dry flat rock, looking at me as if to say, Thank you for taking me home!

When I was not even two years old, in Soerabaja before the war, Pappa put a frog on the tray of my high chair and made me touch him and hold him; feeling the tickling in my little hands, I giggled and let him go. That was my first encounter with frogs. The Chinese believe that carrying a little stone frog in your wallet will bring prosperity. I learned that when I was in college and had a little frog with me in my wallet forever, it seems, until one day I gave it away. And for a long time I have had a little frog sitting on a small rock (he is glued onto it) on display under a palm tree on a shelf in our bedroom. You see: there have been frogs in my life!

I also love turtles. I loved swimming behind gracious, large sea turtles back in Hawai’i. I just had to Google the meaning of frogs and turtles and this is what I learned:

Frogs have been a symbol of prosperity, wealth, friendship and abundance in many cultures and a symbol of fertility in others. For the Romans, the frog was a mascot believed to bring good luck to one’s home. A frog is strongly connected with the element of water, so the frog is also closely associated with cleansing and purifying … Having a frog tells you that you also are inclined to navigate between physical, emotional and spiritual planes, and find joy in life and nature.

Turtles are a symbol of fertility, vitality, and great patience for the Chinese. In Native American symbolism the turtle is a sacred figure as it represents Mother Earth. It signifies good health and long life. Because of their long lifespan, sea turtles often symbolize patience, wisdom, endurance, and good luck.

Wow! There you have it! All they stand for is so me!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,







A New Life! Retirement at its Best 90

Physical Therapy again

On Memorial Day, my back hurt a little. It got progressively worse, and today the doctor came. I know that physical therapy works wonders, and she decided we should go for it, without an MRI. In Prescott the problem was caused when I fell on the icy street walking Isabelle. I got spinal stenosis. This time, I think the cause was Lani, who was still pulling me in every direction suddenly on most of our walks. I finally had enough of it and solved the problem. Her harness has a ring on the top and one on the bottom. I attached two leashes, and pull the bottom leash under her front leg. Now, when she pulls, she is limping on three legs with one leg in the air. It worked immediately! What a great solution! We now take comfortable walks together, no more jerky pulls, no more stress about the question will she ever learn to walk nicely next to me? She will!

On Monday I hope to get my weekly schedule for PT, downstairs at the Club. Mike has already started there two weeks ago to get muscle strength back in his left leg. The therapists are all great, and the fact that it takes an hour three times a week is worth it to have my back in good shape again before our summer vacation. I believe that our body can heal itself. I recently read that you can talk to your body if you have a physical problem. Get into a meditative state, focus on the problem spot and tell the cells and muscles and tendons to heal. It sounds like what I learned in yoga: breathe into the pain. I believe anything they tell me, but it sounds easier than it is. Ha! especially the get into a meditative state!

Kidnap and Murder in broad daylight!

Yesterday, when I drove the car out of the garage to go for brunch at the club, the sound indicated a vehicle was passing closely in the back or on the side. I saw no vehicle, but then, with a lot of noise, a large black crow dashed up and down behind the car and shot along the side of my window, which I quickly opened to look out. Two robins were making the noise and seemed to attack the crow, fluttering around him, crying and diving up and down. I saw a pink lump with one thin leg bulging out of the crow’s beak. I could hardly believe what I saw. Kidnap and murder of a little fledgling! Its parents were desperately trying to get the crow to drop their precious young. But the crow dove through the opening between the holly tree and the house and up to the rooftop with its prey and disappeared out of sight. There was nothing I could do. How sad a spectacle! How sad the thought that two robins went through weeks of hard work to build a nest, lay an egg, watch it hatch, feed it and then were powerless to defend it when a killer, stronger than they, took him away to eat him alive!

A week or so ago, I noticed high up in the air, a bird of prey being followed and seemingly attacked by two smaller birds. I assumed the small birds wanted to divert the attention from the location of their nest. But now I saw a similar scenario, with a deadly ending, from very close by. Poor baby, poor parents! Mike said, that’s nature, crows have to eat too. I say, let them eat seeds or bugs, not other birds’ fledglings!

A Box Dinner and a glass of wine

Last night no dinner was being served because management organized a party in the dining room for all employees: a once-a-year treat for them. Everybody could pick up a box dinner at 4:00 p.m., containing soup, a chicken wrap, pasta salad and a chocolate chip cookie. Dinner at four seemed a little too early, so we took the opportunity to invite the new neighbors across the street for a glass of wine. It was delightful to get to know them a little bit and we hope to become good friends. As they say, if you want a friend, be a friend. Afterwards we heard that the employee party was a great success. They had dressed up in suits and ties and party dresses, and there were prizes for the best looking persons. We concluded that a box dinner for us once a year was worth the fun evening the employees had had.

It’s a Wonderful World!

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 89

OLLI Presentation

Well, it’s behind me! I was a little ambivalent about it this time because of the – I assumed – well educated, younger audience (over 55) that would attend. Being members of OLLI, they each still had to pay $15 to attend my lecture. I had better make it worth their while! I enjoyed it myself, and several people told me they did too, so all is well. This was not a place where I could sell books. That was an advantage in that I did not have to worry about bringing books in my little suitcase (a heavy load). I am just hoping that my story created such an interest that people are going to get my books online or from their library.

Lani went to doggie day camp for half of the day. I dropped her off at 7:15 a.m. and picked her up at 2:15, after her nap. She was very eager to get in, and very happy to see me back, but then wanted to turn right around and go in again. A good sign, since we are planning to board her there for the 3 weeks in July/August when we will be on vacation. That is a long time for a little dog who has never been away from home longer than half a day. When we came home she was too tired to do anything else but sleep. After a day like today, I liked that a lot!


Last Sunday we celebrated two occasions ahead of time: One grandson graduated today and is going to high school in the fall, and son Dennis will be celebrating his 47th birthday tomorrow. That means that on August 20 we will have been in the United States 47 years! Dennis was 10 weeks old when we immigrated. How time flies. To think of all the spectacular things we have done, the exotic places we have visited, the many friends we have made!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,