A New Life! Retirement at its Best 99


Will I ever teach this stupid dog not to pull? I was almost in tears. Monday was an “open” day. It was also National Dog Day. I was planning to take Lani to the Seabrook trail and walk with her for an hour, be back at 9:30, shower and be ready for the day. But nothing like that happened. First of all, she did not want to come when I called her to put on her leash. And that while she has been so good at “come when called.” I know why she did not come: she does not like to get into the car. Perhaps memories of throwing up when she was a puppy? But now we have an anti-static strip underneath the car so she never throws up anymore. Perhaps visions of a visit to the Vet who gives her shots? I don’t know, but it took a long time before I finally had her on the two leashes and in the car. On the trail she pulled and pulled, barked at a passing dog, tried to jump on a jogger, and I finally had had it. Halfway the trail we turned around and walked back to the car.

The latest thing is that she does not come when Mike calls, perhaps because she knows he will put her in the sunroom because we are leaving. On and on, she is very disobedient. In class she was again the loudest dog of all, even within the two “walls” of her “apartment”. I could hardly get her attention. At home, working on the homework assignments, she was better, but we have a long way to go.

Comings and Goings

A lot of moving is going on this month. One couple is moving from an apartment to a cottage and the single lady from that cottage is moving into the apartment of the couple: a good switch for both parties. One couple is moving to a retirement facility in another state, close to their daughter, one single lady moved to a less expensive place in town. Two people moved down the hall to Assisted Living, one lady from one of the cottages moved to another town to live with her daughter. Healthy, beautiful, well traveled, with a darling little dog, she will live to be a hundred in March 2020. I miss her. Another dear friend Lysette, broke her arm, went to the hospital and is now recuperating with family.

New Connections

On Friday afternoon during happy hour, one of our friends introduced us to his grandson from Idaho. The grandson was a language specialist, working with a company that needs to translate advertisements for large businesses. When I asked him in Dutch if I could be helpful with translations to the Dutch language, he understood most of it when I repeated it slowly, because, just that day, he had found the Max Havelaar and was reading it. We started talking about my presentation at NCSU and my mother’s journal. It turned out that he has connections with NCSU from the time he lived in Raleigh. He suggested to preserve the journal by copying it digitally. “The university,” he said, “has a machine on which you can easily make a digital copy, page by page, of something like that journal.” WOW! For many years, I have asked myself what would happen to Mamma’s original journal when I could no longer be the guardian. Now almost eighty years old, it is still in excellent condition. I take it to all my presentations for people to look at, touch and admire the fine handwriting. Who would be interested in a journal about the women and children’s camps, written in Dutch? How long would it last? Well, Johnny opened a whole new window of opportunity. He promised to read my book (in English) and check out the possibilities of digitalizing the journal at NCSU the next time he will be in town to visit his grandfather. Thinking about it, I realize that I will need someone to do this for me to get the best result. But with Johnny’s knowledge and connections I am sure we can find someone and get it done. WOW again! I do not believe in coincidences, so I thank God for continuing to keep an eye on the preservation of this remarkable story; the story written painstakingly day by day by my amazing Mamma, who had the gumption so many years ago, hanging on to life while taking care of her two precious little girls during four years in Japanese captivity, to write detailed letters to her parents in a secret journal. With God’s help, through modern technology, her story will live on!


While the month of August had a lot of festivities, September looks kind of “open”. I say kind of, because I can already see the dog training classes every Saturday morning and three Mondays with classes for me at NCSU. I signed up for an OLLI  membership and registered for three classes about the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia. Just like when we lived in Pasadena, California and I did not know anything about death and dying but wanted to be a Hospice Volunteer, I took classes and became familiar with Kübler-Ross and her theory about the five stages of grief in terminal illness: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Here and now, I am surrounded by people many of whom are in various stages of Memory Loss. I want to know more about Memory Loss so I will know how to deal with friends who are suffering from it; how I can help them perhaps by visiting with a little therapy dog. Therapy dog? Ha! For now, I only have a stuffed one: Sad Sam. Does any of you remember what Sad Sam looks like? He is white and brown, with sad eyes, cute and huggable, and quite a bit smaller than my big DOG, who is still far from being therapeutic! But then, she does not know any better, and I am her Mom, who needs to have more patience and keep teaching. One of my pastors once said, when I was desperate that people did not understand what I had told them many times already: Teaching is repeating. And so it is.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 98


What a wonderful week we had with our daughter, who flew in from Canada. We went to see a movie in the IMAX theatre about the Spirit Bears in Canada, who are being protested by First Nation people. We went shopping, walking the dog, and had dinners out and at home with the rest of the family: a reunion with 8 of us. On the first evening I prepared Indonesian Lemper with the help of the wooden box my friend Margie had sent me. I had prepared it before for the de Jongs here, but our daughter had never tasted it. Other evenings we ordered Thai food takeout and all together drove to Chuy’s, our favorite Mexican restaurant. Pizza at home with a nice glass of red wine, and chocolate ice cream for dessert, we enjoyed every minute.

Keynote Presentation

On August 14 I gave my third annual Presentation in the Independent Living Theatre. It was well attended again, since many new people have moved in during the past year. One repeat person in the audience told me afterwards that it was the best of the three she had seen. I was happy to hear that, after I had made a change in the June presentation at NCSU. Eight people took advantage of my August special: two books for the price of one. That reminds me to let you know that my special also counts for you all: for $20 plus shipping I will send you both books currently in print. Of course, if you want to avoid shipping charges, you are more than welcome to pick them up when you are in the neighborhood!


Lani is one year old as I write this, on August 20. We have started obedience classes again one morning a week, and the only problem we have with that is that we do not have enough people come to the house so I can tell her to sit and not jump. When I go to the Club, I find so many people with mobility problems, I would not want Lani to push them over if she jumps up at them before she learns the command sit. Perhaps we can try to engage passing staff members, we’ll have to see.


This Wednesday, the kitchen will prepare a birthday dinner of steak and lobster for all those with an August birthday plus one guest each. A few months ago, when the chef served something else as an entree, so it would not become boring, everyone protested. So the month thereafter it was steak and lobster again. I do not care for either animal on my plate; rather see them in their natural habitat, so the chef graciously prepares a dish of my choice. This time I specified a salmon steak swimming in a sea of spicy chili sauce. The chef thought it an excellent choice (and easy for him to make :-)) We missed our cruise to Alaska, so I have never seen salmon swim and jump in their natural habitat; therefore, to have it on my plate will be okay.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 97

Tweeting Tweets!

August is a very important month for me. It is the month in which, in 1945, the Japanese surrendered and World War Two came to an end. It is the month that Mamma, Paula and I had survived the horrors of the Japanese extermination camps and could begin a normal life again. It is a joyous month, and I am going all out to share this with the world.

In the first place, Findaway Voices, the company through which I published my Audiobook of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun, offered an August Promotion of my Audiobook in Apple Books, Google Play Book Store, Nook Audiobooks, eStories, LibroFM, and Instaread.

Then, an organization named AskDavid.com offered to promote all my books on their site and give me 30 free tweet links for tweets to their 58000 followers for a minimal six-month membership fee. I had worked with them in 2016, when the Second Edition of Rising had just been published, but at that time I didn’t know much about tweeting, so I did not take full advantage of the offer. But now I do! For the past five days I have been working on tweets with slightly different texts and using ##, hashtags in them. Hours of work, but fun! These tweet links that I got are valid until January 2020, but I am probably going to use most of them in August to get the attention of all of those 58000 followers :-). A bonus: every day David gives an extra tweet link away to the people who gain the most retweets in 24 hours. I fell into that category three times already in five days, and I used that extra link right away!

And last, but not least, I will give my third annual Keynote Presentation here in the Waltonwood Theatre. Afterwards I will announce my own August Promotion: Everyone who purchases a copy of Rising will get a free copy of Survivors of WWII in the Pacific.

In case you were planning to get one copy, or more for Christmas gifts or Birthday gifts, I am extending the August Special. For $20 plus shipping, you will get two books, a value of $30, with my autograph if you like. You can let me know your wishes in the Contact Page after this Blog post; I will respond privately to your email address and will let you know the added cost of shipping.

Daughter’s Visit

The next weeks will be full of activities. Our daughter from Canada will be with us for a week and we have several things planned to do with her and give her a memorable vacation week. She deserves it after another year of hard work. And so, if my Blog Posts are shorter, or missing, you know why. I’m busy having fun!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,