A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-14

Stricter Measures still

Our retirement community is one of a chain of like facilities with headquarters in Michigan. Guidelines and Orders as well as daily menus are all coming from Michigan. We in the Cottages have been getting our “news” and updates on menus and programs in a folder at the front desk of the main building. Sometimes we get the news too late: if the activity has already taken place and we did not get the announcement until the evening, well, too bad. Now, things have changed. We have been getting one or two letters a day from the General Manager. They get delivered to our cottage and clipped to the front door with a plastic clipper that was glued to the doors a few months ago: for up to the minute news and announcements. Yesterday, we were informed that from now on we will get three meals delivered to our cottage: the dining room at the Club will no longer be used for meals. We got a large sheet with menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner for each person for today. We filled it out and put it back on the front door, as they requested. This morning, the menu was gone, and around 8:45 a.m., someone rang the bell and we found our breakfast on the chair by the front door. What a tremendous organization. We had more for breakfast than we normally have, and have not even finished the orange juice and milk. It is truly amazing and we feel safe and very well cared for.

Because lunch is not really included in our rent, we will now be charged $5 for lunch and $5 for delivery. Breakfast and dinner are still free of course. We don’t order lunch, because we still have enough supplies in the house to make our own for several weeks, and Lani gets her rubber toy filled with peanut butter and three green beans daily. We have enough peanut butter but are running out of green beans so I requested a handful of raw green beans from the kitchen on our dinner form. And yes, they sent a box with raw green beans special delivery!



The parked cars, the benches along the road, the roads themselves and sidewalks on campus show a layer of yellow pollen. Lani comes home after our walks with yellow paws and a yellow face since she is skimming the grass with her nose. A lot of pollen floated on the surface of the pond and collected in one corner. I took a little video and tried to get it in this post. If you are connected to the internet, click on the link above; on the page that opens click on the long version of the link; you will see a small picture on a dark page. Click on the picture and you will see the video. the water is rippling because of the fountain in the center of the pond. Isn’t that interesting?

The other day, when I picked Lani up from a half day at Camp Bow-wow, she smelled and so I shampooed her in the bathtub for the first time. The last time I bathed her was in the kitchen sink! She gets groomed officially every 7 weeks or so, but this time she needed an in-between bath. Going for her grooming session this week is out of the question, though, because we are in lockdown. So I will have to comb her knots out of her fur and if that does not work I’ll have to clip them out. With the lockdown in place, I will have time for that; I hope to have time for reading too. Reading, reading and more reading; too many things used to take priority daily, but now….

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,



















A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-13

Drastic Measures

Management and servers had created a drastic change in the breakfast setup in the dining room when we came in for breakfast Thursday morning. Instead of the long buffet table in the center, where everyone could serve themselves from various containers of grits, oatmeal, yoghurt, cottage cheese, fruit, chopped up fruit and more, plus juices, cereal and toast on the side board, the buffet was set up at the end of the room and gloved servers provided everything upon request. They toasted bagels, muffins and toast, served cut fruit in closed cups, fresh bananas and apples wrapped individually, pastries served on plates, water in covered plastic glasses, as were condiments like raisins, brown sugar and so on. Dinner on Saturday night was buffet style as well, with soup and desserts, coffee and tea brought to the tables.

Déjà vu

March 13, 1943
The camp is closed.

..…A neighborhood boy came running in to tell us that the camp gate was closed and no one could get in or out. Imagine the shock. We couldn’t get out…
…The central kitchen dished out one flat scoop of rice per person and one ladle of watery soup with a few vegetables….

I see it again, the way Mamma described it in her journal… How eerie it is! The unimaginable camp experiences of a little girl re-lived seventy-seven years later. The menacing killer outside not the cruel Japanese, intent on conquering all of Asia, but a virus so lethal that it is conquering the whole world.

March 13, 2020
In Lockdown

We are strongly urged not to leave the property. No people from the outside are allowed to enter with the exception of medical personnel. The postman just drops off all the mail outside the front door. A staff member sorts the mail and delivers it to the shelves outside everyone’s apartment. We, at the cottages, get our mail in a large mailbox on the street with individual slots, and that will stay the same. Groceries can be ordered from local stores to be delivered, including medications. Our local pharmacy does not deliver however. So I ordered three refills of each medication we needed, a 90 day supply, and our son, still on the “outside”, picked them up, delivered them to the chair outside our front door and in the process took home the bag with a birthday gift for one of the grandsons. We all depend on family members on the outside, who are still healthy and able to get necessities for us that Waltonwood does not supply.

Our fobs, with which we could enter all side doors and the doors to Assisted Living, were dismantled – everyone has to enter through the front door of Independent living and have his temperature checked. Mine registered an error message time after time and I had to wait in the hall until it registered ok. Apparently, coming from the outside, my forehead was too cold – the gadget only registers temperatures between 94 and 100 degrees.

On Monday, the breakfast room was set for four people per table, normally seven. And at dinner time, again, we sat with four to a table and only 49 people were admitted for the first seating at 4:30 p.m.; the people who came later had to wait until the tables were empty, wiped down, including the chairs, and set again. And that is now the new normal. We decided that we will order in for a while. Many people already did that tonight. We can call the front desk around 3:00 p.m. and order from the menu, to pick everything up around 4:45 p.m. (That’s like collecting it from the central kitchen).

To be sure, as far as care and food are concerned, we are far better off than in the camp seventy-seven years ago. All these strict measures are to keep us safe. In 1943, we were locked up so that the Japanese could systematically eradicate us all in the most cruel way. But the women persisted! They fought back as if their lives depended on it; which they did. And they survived! Because of the strength and faith and love of my Mamma I am alive! Alive and thankful for all the blessings that continue to come our way.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-12

Being Prepared

After all the information that comes to us from various directions, we have learned that people over 60 are more susceptible than younger ones. Because we are definitely in that category, we will have to prepare for the fact that we could be asked to self contain in our cottage for a period of time. How blessed we are to live in a cottage away from the main building! I went shopping to get some supplies at Costco and Walmart. Costco seemed well stocked as usual, but Walmart had many empty shelves: all vitamin-C shelves were empty and there were no disinfectant wipes and very little toilet paper. I thought of the years that we lived on the Big Island. Toilet paper was always in short supply because it had to be shipped in from the mainland, and people stocked up as long as it was available. And I thought back to the years in the Dutch East Indies, Indonesia, where I was born and grew up.The locals always had a bottle with water next to the toilet, because water cleaned more thoroughly than paper. That bottle was called Botol Cebok. They cleaned themselves with their left hand (that’s why they always used their right hand for eating).

And then we have the memories of cruising to small, primitive islands in the South Pacific. Going on a land excursion, we were advised to take toilet paper with us. If there was a toilet for the tourists, it would definitely be a squatting toilet. Next to it would be a bucket with water and a scoop to clean oneself. Sometimes they had a dirt floor and the better ones were tiled, like the one in the picture. A toilet like that was offered for tourists at a museum for instance. In the corner was a wastebasket to deposit any toilet paper instead of in the no-flush toilet. Sometimes only a curtain provided privacy. So I decided that, in case of an emergency, as long as we have water, I can use a botol cebok and we will save the paper, as long as we have it, for Mike.

I did find a small jar of Clorox pills, which I can dissolve in water to disinfect surfaces with in the house. That’s better that having to store a gallon container. We are to some extent prepared, but hope it will not get that bad in our environment.

I have been suddenly confronted with the fact that other people see me as an older lady! Someone at Costco offered to take my cart to the depository after I had put my groceries in the car; the attendant in the guard house at the gas station rushed over and offered to finish putting gas in the tank; You just sit down lady, and I will finish up for you and bring you the receipt; and next time I will help you too. Well! A personal attendant at Costco! Not bad! But what are they thinking? I am not grey, I am not stooped, I walk like a teenager! At least that is what I think since I have no more back pain and have been working on my posture. Sigh. It happens, I know. My dear Kumu Hula in Hawai’i got a shock when someone called her Auntie. And she was only sixty-five.

Tax Break

We are now seriously getting ready for tax preparation, so I don’t know if I’ll have to skip a week. We’ll see.

For now, It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-11

The Coronavirus Threat

Coronaviruses were first discovered in the 1960s. The name “coronavirus” is derived from the Latin corona and the Greek κορώνη (korṓnē, “garland, wreath”), meaning crown or halo. The name refers to the characteristic appearance of virions (the infective form of the virus) by electron microscopy, which have a fringe of large, bulbous surface projections creating an image reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona. This morphology is created by the viral spike (S) peplomers, which are proteins on the surface of the virus that determine host tropism.

The particular strain of Coronavirus which is now spreading and causing great anxiety around the world, COVID-19, originated in Wuhan, China. It is a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. Like other coronaviruses, it has come from animals. Many of those initially infected either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of the Chinese city.

The virus can cause pneumonia-like symptoms. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, high temperature fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases there can be organ failure. As this is viral disease, antibiotics are of no use. But a crucial difference is that unlike pneumonia, there is no vaccine for the new coronavirus, which means it is more difficult for vulnerable members of the population – elderly people or those with existing respiratory or immune problems – to protect themselves. Hand-washing and avoiding other people if you feel unwell are important. Recovery depends on the strength of the immune system.

People who show the symptoms of this disease have to be tested and quarantined. The problem is that as of right now, there are not enough test kits available in the United States. Last Thursday, the first case became known of someone with the symptoms in our county. It was travel related. We are constantly being informed of the status around the world and in the USA.

Professional Information from a doctor who worked on coronaviruses in the 1970s.

Tip:  buy some Zinc!

Subject: What I am doing for the upcoming COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Dear Colleagues, as some of you may recall, when I was a professor of pathology at the University of California San Diego, I was one of the first molecular virologists in the world to work on coronaviruses (the 1970s). I was the first to demonstrate the number of genes the virus contained. Since then, I have kept up with the coronavirus field and its multiple clinical transfers into the human population (e.g., SARS, MERS), from different animal sources.

  • The current projections for its expansion in the US are only probable, due to continued insufficient worldwide data, but it is most likely to be widespread in the US by mid to late March and April. Here is what I have done and the precautions that I take and will take. These are the same precautions I currently use during our influenza seasons, except for the mask and gloves.:

1) NO HANDSHAKING! Use a fist bump, slight bow, elbow bump, etc.

2) Use ONLY your knuckle to touch light switches. elevator buttons, etc.. Lift the gasoline dispenser with a paper towel or use a disposable glove.

3) Open doors with your closed fist or hip – do not grasp the handle with your hand, unless there is no other way to open the door. Especially important on bathroom and post office/commercial doors.

4) Use disinfectant wipes at the stores when they are available, including wiping the handle and child seat in grocery carts.

5) Wash your hands with soap for 10-20 seconds and/or use a greater than 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer whenever you return home from ANY activity that involves locations where other people have been.

6) Keep a bottle of sanitizer available at each of your home’s entrances. AND in your car for use after getting gas or touching other contaminated objects when you can’t immediately wash your hands.

7) If possible, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue and discard. Use your elbow only if you have to. The clothing on your elbow will contain infectious virus that can be passed on for up to a week or more!

What I have stocked in preparation for the pandemic spread to the US:

1) Latex or nitrile latex disposable gloves for use when going shopping, using the gasoline pump, and all other outside activity when you come in contact with contaminated areas.

Note: This virus is spread in large droplets by coughing and sneezing. This means that the air will not infect you! BUT all the surfaces where these droplets land are infectious for about a week on average – everything that is associated with infected people will be contaminated and potentially infectious. The virus is on surfaces and you will not be infected unless your unprotected face is directly coughed or sneezed upon. This virus only has cell receptors for lung cells (it only infects your lungs) The only way for the virus to infect you is through your nose or mouth via your hands or an infected cough or sneeze onto or into your nose or mouth.

2) Stock up now with disposable surgical masks and use them to prevent you from touching your nose and/or mouth (We touch our nose/mouth 90X/day without knowing it!). This is the only way this virus can infect you – it is lung-specific. The mask will not prevent the virus in a direct sneeze from getting into your nose or mouth – it is only to keep you from touching your nose or mouth.

3) Stock up now with hand sanitizers and latex/nitrile gloves (get the appropriate sizes for your family). The hand sanitizers must be alcohol-based and greater than 60% alcohol to be effective.

4) Stock up now with zinc lozenges. These lozenges have been proven to be effective in blocking coronavirus (and most other viruses) from multiplying in your throat and nasopharynx. Use as directed several times each day when you begin to feel ANY “cold-like” symptoms beginning. It is best to lie down and let the lozenge dissolve in the back of your throat and nasopharynx. Cold-Eeze lozenges is one brand available, but there are other brands available.

I, as many others do, hope that this pandemic will be reasonably contained, BUT I personally do not think it will be. Humans have never seen this snake-associated virus before and have no internal defense against it. Tremendous worldwide efforts are being made to understand the molecular and clinical virology of this virus. Unbelievable molecular knowledge about the genomics, structure, and virulence of this virus has already been achieved. BUT, there will be NO drugs or vaccines available this year to protect us or limit the infection within us. Only symptomatic support is available.

I hope these personal thoughts will be helpful during this potentially catastrophic pandemic. You are welcome to share this email. Good luck to all of us! Jim

James Robb, MD FCA

Protect your wonderful life as best you can!

Until next time,






A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-10A

Back in touch!

I am absolutely delighted to have received 7 responses from followers, indicating that they have received my last Blog Post again. Wonderful! Thank you for responding! With the help of my terrific Webmaster we got the subscriber connections up and running again.

By the way, if you have not received my posts for a while, my Webmaster strongly urges you to look in the right margin of my website. At the bottom you will find my Archives and there you will find, by date, all the previous blog posts, which you can open and read. That means you can go all the way back to the one that sounds familiar to be up to date. On July 26, after we had moved to North Carolina, I started the series A New Life! Retirement at its Best. Keep on reading if you like. You could fill a book with all the stories. They go back to April 2013; that is seven years!

Happy reading!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time!



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-10

A Heimlich Maneuver 

Two days ago, during dinner, loud coughing alarmed everyone and we all turned our heads towards the table the sounds came from. It was Ben. He was bending over, coughing and apparently choking. From the table next to his, we saw Connie jump up, run over to where Ben sat, wrap her arms around him and start thrusting her clasped fists into his abdomen: in and up. It was over in a few minutes – Ben was sitting upright again and Connie went back to her table. It was amazing to watch someone perform the Heimlich Maneuver; it was even more amazing that it was Connie, who did it. Connie has early Dementia symptoms, mild, but noticeable to an outsider. We learned later that “in her former life” she had been a nurse. And in this moment of urgent need, her knowledge of the Heimlich emerged and she demonstrated the skills of a professional without a moment of hesitation. Which proves the adage Never judge a book by its cover.

Celestial Celebration!

On February 27 and 28 we were celebrating our 60th Engagement Anniversary. Sixty years ago, we were in Amsterdam and had a reception in Nijmegen. We were on Cloud Nine! Now, 60 years later, in a clear, cloudless sky, we witnessed the moon and Venus in close proximity to each other. We could not see their actual rendezvous, because that happened when they were below the horizon (under the covers?), but this picture will show you what we saw in the starry night sky last week. Venus sparkled and the moon shone! A few days later, they were much further apart.

Tax Time

Mike is getting his files sorted in preparation for tax time. We have done our taxes for many years on Turbo Tax and it is a team effort. He has the information and I get it into the computer. Usually, a few hours for two days is all we need. So early next week we’ll start.

Weekly  Blog Posts

I have a request to all of my followers, to let me know whether they have not received my weekly posts for a while (even though I  published them weekly) and if they are now getting them again? Please let me know with a few words yes or no. Something was wrong with my website so that two friends emailed me to see if I was ill, because they were not getting my Wednesday posts. You would do me a great favor by just sending me an email or respond in the Comments below this post with a simple YES, I have continued to receive them or NO, they stopped coming – but now we are getting them again. Or NO, we haven’t seen any for a while and are still not getting them. I hope to get my website fixed soon.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time!