A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-57

Reach for the Stars!

Before I welcome you to my Website I have news that is so exciting I had to add it here:

From Kirkus Reviews:

Rising from the Shadow of the Sun is “An unflinching account of one family’s fight to survive Japanese occupation during World War II.” — Kirkus Reviews

And also, “An eye-opening remembrance that focuses on a courageous mother and her children.” Kirkus Reviews

Click the link above to get your copy today!

And you can click here to read the rest of the review


This is the new Welcome Page on my website ronnyhermandejong.com. I am thrilled with having a Kirkus Review in addition to the 77 other reader reviews I already have on Amazon. It’s complicated there: The 2011 publication (with a commercial publisher) received 52 reviews, and the 2015 publication, the Second Edition, self published, basically the same content with the addition of a few items and better pictures and new cover, received 25 reviews. KDP was able to separate the two, and so the reviews were separated too. Do you follow?

For now, this Review is featured on the Kirkus Reviews website. In March, it will be featured in their bi-monthly magazine and promoted in Kirkus emails. A new readership  to look forward to!


When I went to the Club on Monday to drop off some letters to friends I met Pam coming out of the elevator, “the lady who knows everything”.  I heard that two people had passed away, one with Covid. The halls don’t look like a happy place anymore. Some people sit along the side by the Players club and watch others come and go, including a man on a gurney; some have a distant look in their eyes, one person looked so unkempt I felt sorry for her. I saw an old friend we had dinner with at a table of eight sitting in a corner, sipping coffee. He had lost his wife a few months ago and could not be with her because he fell and broke his hip so had to go to the hospital. I pulled up a chair six feet away and talked a bit with him. He will be moving to a one bedroom apartment this week. We laughed at a few things. It makes me feel so good when I can make people laugh. But I am counting my blessings that we still have each other and live in our cozy cottage until it is safe to go to the club again and things will return to normal.


Poetry today is quite different from the poetry I learned in grade school and even high school. In the Netherlands, it is customary to write a poem with every gift we wrapped “from Saint Nicholas” on December 5th. So around that time of year we all became little poets. But compare that to the poetry of today. I have four friends who are poets – two of them in Arizona, one in Kansas and one in North Carolina. Three of them are published. I have read their poetry and have begun to understand the meaning of their poems.

Then, last week, as a total surprise, a young girl made history during the inauguration services of the new president. 22 Year old  Amanda Gorman  became the youngest person in US history to deliver a poem at a U.S. presidential inauguration, reciting her poem The Hill We Climb. Click on the links and you can read the poem she recited and everything else about her. Her presentation was impressive and the poem was amazing to me in its descriptive clarity. Her books rose to the top on Amazon in one day and she was so delighted. She has a bright future ahead of her!

This is it for now. Today, my mother, Jeannette Herman-Louwerse, would have celebrated her 111th birthday. Her story is about to reach new audiences.

It ‘s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,






A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-56

Exit of the therapy program

After three treatments from the lead therapist, I cancelled further treatments. He showed me two stretches, and twice “massaged” my upper leg (yes, right next to my groin), but that was not a massage as I know it. He was just pinching.  So I decided that the stretches I can do myself several times a day, sit with a heat pad and take Tylenol is another thing that may help, so why let Medicare pay for something I really do not need? I will add the stretches to my daily exercise program and I will go back to my masseuse soon! Two weeks after the second vaccination we will be immune. So I scheduled several appointments already for February and March. Mike’s favorite barber John has not worked there since the pandemic started they said, and he relocated to another location. So Mike will have to try someone new. The barbershop is great, so we hope the lady he chose for his next appointment will do a good job.

Moesson International

Moesson, hét Indisch maandblad, has gone International! The first edition came out this month, in the English language, to reach more people around the world who have ties to the Indies and do not speak Dutch anymore. I signed up for a subscription – four issues a year – and hope to get the first edition soon. Looking ahead, I hope they will publish a story about my books in the second edition. It may also be a good source to find an Indonesian restaurant within driving distance. Since I have not cooked anything Indonesian lately, except for lemper, we both would love to eat Indonesian food again. Thai food comes closest, yet it is not the same. So we’re looking forward to Moesson International!

It is a busy week again with another Covid test and taking the dog to the groomer, and I hope to start a new book while I am sitting down with a hot pad on my hip, so this is a short post.

It’s  a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-55

Covid Testing again

On Wednesday we were tested again for Covid, because three people of the staff have tested positive again and are ordered off the property until they are better. And this Wednesday we will be tested again. We can’t wait for the second dose of the vaccine! We have been postponing all our dental visits for almost a year now, and I need to see the ophthalmologist and Mike the audiologist for checkups. but it seemed too dangerous to go out with all the Covid spikes after Thanksgiving and Christmas.

An Xray on the coffee table

The last few weeks I experienced pain in my acetabulum, which is where the femur joins the hip bone. Around the house it was not so bad, but taking bigger and faster strides when I walked with Lani, it felt like a 2 or 3 pain. I decreased my walking from five miles to three per day, because walking was so uncomfortable. The doctor came and ordered an X-ray, for possibly the same day. We waited and then forgot about it until the bell rang at 6 p.m., when I was just serving dinner. The Xray machine, we knew, would not fit underneath our bed, because we have a platform bed. After some deliberation I pulled out one side of the love seat, sat down and then laid down on the coffee table, resting with my head and shoulders on the pulled-out loveseat. Mike should have taken a picture! The tech put his board underneath my hips and the X-ray beam on top and so took a few pictures, with straight legs, leg in and leg out, and that was it. A little hard, I must say, but the tech was very pleased with the best operating table he had found in the whole place all day.

Full days

These days are so incredibly busy that I have not sat down with a book for weeks and every night go to bed saying, What a day!  Not only the regular household things make it hectic, the laundry and dog walks, but online shopping, three-monthly blood draw for both of us, repeated Covid testing, phone calls and FaceTime with all the kids and grandkids, merchandise being dropped off, the Christmas tree, ornaments and decorations put away, including yesterday the outside lights and wreath, OT and PT for Mike a total of six hours per week, and now also for me, starting with stretches for my hip. Only two hours per week so far, and then of course homework. Exercise means that I don’t have a crack in my hip joint, and that is a very good thing. Exercise is something I believe in. It takes more and more time to exercise all the parts of my body to keep them in good shape, but it is worth the trouble.

Our Celebration

It is a good thing that we could turn off the TV and put on some background music, because on Sunday, January 10, we celebrated our 60th Anniversary. What an exciting day it was. We talked to all our children and grandchildren on FaceTime and were showered with 60 cream-and-red roses, a dozen sunset colored roses, a bottle of champagne and delicious cheeses and crackers. We decided to invite our three closest neighbors to share our champagne, masks on, then off, and we had a lovely time with the  first guests to come to our house since almost a year ago! Our crystal champagne glasses are an inheritance from our Pasadena neighbor, the Little Old Lady of Pasadena, who used them on her wedding day. So those glasses are at least 60 years old. We treasure a lot of old things coming from our parents and a even grandparents. It is wonderful to be surrounded by happy memories.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-54

2021 started with a bang, yes?

No, not really. We had a nice long weekend with mild temperatures, but the days were overcast and we had a lot of rain. On Thursday, New Year’s Eve, we were vaccinated with the first dose of Moderna, the second one due on January 28. They had taken all furniture out of the Assisted Living dining room except for four necessary tables and chairs. We got the call to come over to the Club two hours before we expected it, that is how fast it all went. We were asked to wait in the Assisted Living hallway, in chairs placed far apart, until it was our turn to go into the “treatment room.” The paper we had checked ahead of time was taken in and two technicians delivered the injections. After the shot, which we did not feel at all, just like a flu shot, we received a receipt and were asked to wait in the adjacent room for fifteen minutes to see if we had any after effects. We had none, so could go home and that was that. Two days later, I did not feel good; my bones hurt, but not like when you have a temperature. My vision was not sharp and I made mistakes in filling out a form, twice over. I took two Tylenols when I went to bed and hoped I would feel better the next day, Sunday. I did. Phew! One down, one to go, all for the good.

Our diamond Wedding Anniversary!

Those last two days of 2020 and New Year’s Day, I worked on a creative project: designing thirteen “invitations” for our special day: January 10, when we will be celebrating our 60th Wedding Anniversary. With Christmas cards still coming in from the US as well as from overseas, I could have guessed that my cards would not make it by next Saturday. But I did whatever I could to mail them express and special delivery with my fingers crossed. We are hoping that we can all come to our special reunion this summer and have rented a nice house on the beach in South Carolina. Half of our combined families can drive there, the other half will fly in. Hopefully Covid will have been contained and all of us will have received the vaccine.

The Kirkus Review of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun

It was published on January 3, 2021 on the Kirkusreviews.com website. There is still a problem with the link to Amazon and I spent a lot of time on trying to figure out what was wrong. I found it’s a glitch on their side and am hoping they will fix it today and I can start promoting it (the Review, not the glitch :-)). Amazing that I am not the only one with computer problems! The storage capacity on my Mac was nearing 100% full. I received warnings, but could not spend time on it until….things stopped. I could not send emails, could not even open my website. In an attempt to condense some files I disabled my Google account. Then I could not enable it again. Of course one of my grandsons could help, I thought. But he texted back he did not know much about Google. And his brother? Oh, he is worse. So back to the Mac. And I did it! With the help of a chatter who sent me a secret number I got Google up and running. Then I purchased extra storage of $1.99 per month (why did I not do that in the first place?) and I am good to go again.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,