A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-9


For the first time this winter they predicted snow. It started snowing Thursday afternoon when we drove to dinner. We heard that the schools were closed that day and the next day. Not familiar with frequent snow, people here do not know how to drive (extra carefully) and are afraid of icy roads. A large snowplow stood at the ready, waiting for things to come when we drove down for dinner. After dinner, we found a good inch of snow on the car, which slowly melted off in the garage that night. The road and side walks were still clear. I have one appointment early tomorrow morning, which I will cancel if they are open, which I doubt. It was supposed to stop snowing at 1:30 a.m., and it did. Right at 1:45 a.m. Lani started barking and when I got up I heard the scraping sound of a snow shovel nearby – in the distance that of the snow plow. Planning not to go to breakfast at the Club, we got up a little later than usual and at that time someone was throwing rock salt on roads and sidewalks, even up to our front door and garage door. An hour later I could walk Lani in my snow boots on clear walkways and she had fun dashing in the snow.

Spinal Surgeon

At an early visit with the spinal surgeon, she decided that, after an injection in the SI joint, which had not helped, she would give me another guided injection, in 2 places left and two on the right of the lower spine. The lower back pain which I have been taking PT for since late October is apparently caused by age-related mild arthritis here and there which caused a slight spinal stenosis.  Actually, I’ve had that since we lived in Prescott, Arizona and for six years I had no problem with it. The constant sudden pulling of the dog renewed the problem. The proposed injection(s) will eliminate the pain, even though it won’t cure the arthritis. Well, it could be worse. Moderate arthritis in my lower spine? Nothing to complain about. I can still walk, dance and exercise.

After my appointment, under darkening skies, I drove to Trader Joe’s and purchased a large bush of forsythias, to get some spring color in the house. And when I saw that they had the first daffodils on sale, I could not resist getting a few bunches of those as well. Then I stopped at the alteration store and dropped off a dress to be shortened. I used to do those things myself, because I love sewing and I still have my old Singer, but at this time in my life I want to do other things (which is another way of saying I am too busy!). Back home, I found two vases, filled them with daffodils and took them to some friends who can’t  just hop in the car and go to the store to buy flowers like I can. It takes so little time and effort to bring some sunshine in other people’s lives. And I love doing that.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-8

Valentine’s Day

 On Valentine’s Day, last Friday morning, they organized a party in the Dining Room for the renewing of our vows. We were welcomed with red carnation boutonnières, the ladies’ tied with a white ribbon. A crew from spectrum TV was setting up cameras and asked us if we wanted to be interviewed. They wanted two couples but one had cancelled at the last minute, and we ended up being the only one, because our interview lasted more than ten minutes. It was fun, and they told us afterwards that our interview would show on the five o’clock news. Because that was during our dinner time, we asked someone to tape it for us. On Sunday after brunch we went up to their apartment to watch it. Well, all that was left of the long interview were a few clips. But that day and the morning thereafter many people commented that they had seen us on TV. The couple with the most anniversaries, 69, received a red rose. We have just celebrated our 59th, but then we are ten years younger, so we have a way to go. One couple has 71 years to look back on, but they were not present, because the husband is in Memory Care.

A fundraiser for the Chef, a member of a charitable organization that was having a cooking competition, was another “red” event. We could send a red rose, a box of chocolates or a handwritten note to anyone for $2 each, or $5 for all three. That was really fun. We ordered gifts of all three to be delivered to many of our friends with the note saying  Sent with love by a secret admirer. It was fun to plan these surprises. The only thing was that we could never find out what the reaction was of the recipients, because it was all secret. I had sent a set of three to Mike, who kept guessing from whom it came, but he guessed wrong. I received a set of three from one of our friends, but that had a signed note from her.


On Saturday, we went to see our youngest grandson in action during the final basketball game of the season. This kid is tall in comparison, and he can run extremely fast. He scored four times out of fourteen, and it was fun to watch him. Because bleachers are not senior friendly, Dennis had brought two comfortable stadium chairs for us. We drove home in the midday sun. It has been a very unusual summer, to say the least. A few days of temperatures around 30 degrees and nights down to 24, but then days as high again as 70 with nights of 54 to 60. With sometimes hard winds it is cold enough for our liking, and we are looking forward to spring and summer.

Voting time

We were used to voting by mail when we lived in Arizona, so we requested absentee ballots again here. Although, with the big mess in the White House, the political fights and the enormous amounts of money being spent on the elections, you would sometimes be inclined to throw in the towel and do nothing.

We are thankful for our lovely cottage, the beautiful surroundings, the freedom to participate in activities or stay home, and the feeling that we are in a safe place, whatever happens.

It’s a wonderful Life!

Until next time,



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-7


On Thursday morning we received a warning about an impending tornado in our county. An hour later came the message from a family member, a pilot, to “hunker down, guys, this is going to be serious.” Schools were closed at noon, and remained closed the next day. Two gardeners walked down on the grassy slope behind our cottage to blow away leaves and needles and, with a net on a stick, clean out the drains coming from the property to drain into the large pit next to the house and the small pond at the very bottom. Minutes later, we saw them running back to their car, as torrential rains pelted down on them. Fierce winds blew rain against the windows. At the bottom of the lawn and into the Divide a new, four feet wide stream of water came gushing down towards the small pond. The little stream that flows from there to the large pond in Wimbledon exceeded its banks as far as I could see from the bedroom window and I can’t wait to go down there when the ground has dried a little and investigate my trail. That night, the rain subsided a bit and when I walked Lani in hurricane force winds, we almost stepped on a small frog. A new living creature to Lani, she did not suddenly pull to get it, as she would have done before, thanks to the new collar!

Fashion Show

On Friday afternoon they announced a “wear red” fashion show at 2:00 p.m. in the dining room. Other than “wear red in honor of the victims of heart disease” not much information was forthcoming. When I arrived, I saw more than I expected. It ended up to be a real party. Tables set out with linen tablecloths, little plates with red napkins, pink mimosas. The chef at the head of the room had outdone himself on fancy appetizers (come and get it) and those who did not have anything red to wear got a red feather-boa. People from Assisted Living were already seated and others found a table in expectation of things to come. The music was lively and so were conversations.

Remembering the fun fashion shows in California I had showed in, I printed a one page document for the announcer to read, telling the audience what I was wearing. I fancied it up a bit, to make it more interesting. Just for fun, I will print it here:

Ronny is wearing a black sweater with a textured front, which she acquired in a boutique when she visited her mother in the Netherlands.
The white “thousand shells” lei comes from the Big Island of Hawaii, where Ronny and her husband resided for twelve years. In those days Ronny used this lei frequently when dancing hula.
At that point I was inspired to stand still, bend my knees and do a few hip motions indicating “around the island”. I had not planned that, but the audience roared 🙂
Ronny’s red, tiered skirt was manufactured by her friend Anna Konya, (annakonyadesigns.com), a special designer in California. Look closely and you will see some tiers in a Hawaiian design, like she does in every skirt she creates.
The red handbag is an original Gianni Bini, a designer who was born in New York from Italian Parents.
Ronny’s black leather boots are from the popular Born Footwear Collection.
And…because she always likes to be prepared, she is carrying her red travel umbrella, just in case of an unexpected shower.
(At that point I stood still, opened my little red umbrella, put it on my right shoulder and walked on. The audience cheered and laughed and clapped!)

The runway with the red carpet was very short, about 150 feet. As I would do in a professional show, I walked to the end, turning to the left and right to show my outfit, twirled twice, to show my wide, tiered red skirt, then back and forth again, at the beginning turned around and walked back the same way. What fun!

Other people were encouraged to walk on the runway, but of course they did just that, walk to the end of the runway, cheered on by the crowd. The new Executive Director walked, and a few employees as well. At the end everyone started dancing. An hour later we enjoyed the Friday Happy Hour and dinner.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-6

A new Boss!

We have a new Executive General Manager effective January 31! He seems like a nice guy with  plenty of experience in the field and is planning to stay. He is making an effort to meet people and he remembers names! Everyone is happy about that. The first thing he has on his program is the remodeling of the main building. It is ten years old and a lot of things need change and replacement. They will be starting in two weeks at the fourth floor and gradually come down to the first. Only the main living areas are getting a makeover, not the individual apartments, nor the cottages. But it will be great to get a new color scheme throughout.

Yesterday they were throwing a party with “cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres” at 3:00 p.m. to officially introduce the new Manager. When we got there, chairs were being set up in the Café and a man started to play music and handing out brochures. Then someone said: “The party is in the Players Room across the hall”. Carts with appetizers were wheeled in there, and they were pouring glasses of sparkling grape juice. “Real wine is served across the hall in the Café.” Oh? We walked across again to get wine, then back to the Players Room for appetizers. In the mean time people sat down in the Café and started singing and clapping to the music. The man handed out little flyers that spelled out: “You may have only five hours to live. And if you die, what then? Where will you go? If you want to go to heaven etc…..” A lot of small print and an address and phone number to contact “if you want to go to heaven.” The music was so loud that some people left and the Boss had to signal to the singer to tone it down and fifteen minutes before the time he signaled to wrap it up. Many people were upset and wondered why this guy had been hired without first checking what kind of music he played. Imagine someone, in a place like this, to talk and sing about the last five hours of your life! Sign here or else…Two events mis-scheduled at the same time, one of which was totally unheard of and it messed up the introduction of the new Manager. He borrowed the microphone from the performer and introduced himself.

Flower woes

While this “Party” was going on, I noticed that the maintenance man with a helper picked up the large flower arrangement from the center table, walked out with it to the balcony on the rear  deck and poured out all the water. What!? When they came back through the people gathered in the hall I called after him: “Hey John! What are you going to do with those flowers?”
“The Boss says to dump them because the roses are dead.”
“No way! Many of the other flowers are still good. Where are you going with it?”
“To the second floor Trash room.”
“All right. Do not dump them but leave them on the floor. After the party I will come and take the good flowers out.”

I was really upset. And I am not easily so disturbed. The large basket came from the Mass in memory of one of our residents who had passed away ten days before. I had asked the person at the Front Desk to make sure someone, anyone, would keep checking the water in the basket. Well, two days later the water was all gone. So I got a watering can from the flower room downstairs and filled the reservoir to the top. It held pretty well. A few of the rosebuds started drying out, but it was still beautiful. And now this.

I selected an armful of still good looking flowers from the basket in the trash room, one of the other residents brought four vases, and I made four lovely bouquets. Meanwhile the girl at the front desk gave me a list of the people who had come back from the hospital recently. One resident took one bouquet to one of those, I took two bouquets to two people in Assisted Living and a small one to the office of the Boss. Four people were surprised by a bouquet of flowers and the memory of our friend lasted perhaps another week.

Collar magic

I started walking with Lani on her new collar on Monday, January 27. A week later, after another PT session on the 30th, I have had four days without any pain at all and I cancelled my future PT sessions. What joy! They called me and asked if I could come in one more time for assessment and give me exercises to keep doing in the future, in order not to get a relapse, and I guess that is a wise thing to do, so I will go back one more time. To give Lani some excitement we took her to Camp Bow Wow again today and she can’t wait to get out of the car and into the door. Then she comes back exhausted after six hours; that dog play is really what she is missing with us and she loves it.

The weather has been really nice: today we had 70 degrees and sun! And it is still light when we walk home from the Club after dinner.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,