A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-61

The hawk

On the one sunny day after two weeks of rain, when I walked with Lani around the building in the afternoon, she suddenly stood stock still and looked up. I heard the sound of an airplane, so I said, that’s an airplane, and looked up as well. I did see the airplane, but closer, right above my head, on the street sign that read Kirkshire Circle, I saw Larry. I don’t really know if it was Larry, the Waltonwood hawk, who lives in the Divide and surrounding forest, because I never saw Larry from so close by. We stared at each other, the three of us. I couldn’t help admiring how beautiful he was, and how big, compared to the ravens I see around all the time. And just when I started thinking about the capture of my big bullfrog on the beach of the pond, and the threats to the ravens’ nest every year, Lani barked. I think she shared my feelings that went from admiration to loathing. And Larry felt it too. With formidable hauteur he lifted off the street sign, made a half circle and soared into the Divide, where I saw him descend on a tree branch in Wimbledon. The Divide is completely see-through in winter, because all deciduous trees are bare and the pines and firs are tall. How is it possible, I thought, that Lani noticed the hawk while she walks face down most of the time? Was it instinct? A sense of threat?  And of course birds of prey need prey to stay alive, so I should not despise Larry.

The dining room is open!

Last Tuesday, the dining room opened for breakfast. We have a choice of “dining in” or picking up. For now, because we don’t get up at 5:50 anymore, after a year of laziness, I am picking up breakfast every day. It stands ready, with many other breakfasts in white plastic bags, on the table and bar in the Café. On Sunday, there was a long line, from the dining room entrance all the way to the Players Club Room; every body wearing masks, but not spaced 6 feet apart. A sign at the entrance said We are understaffed today, breakfast will be served from 8:15 a.m. They are struggling in the kitchen: with lack of trained workers and workers who just don’t show up or quit. I think that this is by far the lowest point we have reached in the Covid year, with many vacant apartments and lack of variety in the menu. But then, the end is in sight! We are all vaccinated, visitation is allowed again, as long as we make a reservation at the front desk. The dining room was open for dinner on Monday, even allowing tables of three. So we are hanging in there, and…I made a wonderful discovery.

Thai Lotus

A Facebook friend recommended a Thai Restaurant close by, with very good reviews, and they deliver within a 4.5 mile radius. We are just over that at 4.8 miles, but they made an exception! So on Monday we ordered Thai dinner. It came 40 minutes after my phone call and it was wonderful. It was warm upon arrival, so did not need re-heating in the microwave, and it was fragrant and delicious, with just the right spiciness. (to compare, think of the special Valentine’s treat from the kitchen: steak and lobster – heated in the microwave!) So we decided that we would order Thai food every time the kitchen menu does not sound delectable.


An Indo friend posted a nice poem on Facebook in Dutch and Indonesian. I could not resist translating it into English so that more English speaking Indo’s and other people can enjoy it. Perhaps they will post it in The Indo Project (TIP) as well.


A land exists that no one can imagine,
But it exists, and is close to my heart.
And like a child who dearly loves her mother
I do adore my lovely motherland.

This land, recurrently appearing in my dreams
Is with me still throughout the day.
She does not leave, she wants my company
And that is hurting, yet it gives me joy.

Oh yes, I know, so many years have passed,
But long ago, that’s where I saw the light!
I had to leave, regardless of my prayers,
But mentally I never left her sight.

And that’s ok, I think. We lost something,
A thing of cosmic value:
The country of our birth, a part of us,
A part of Mother Earth.

Now, people are complaining things are bad.
But I am silent: We gave up all we had!
Does anyone on earth fathom our loss?
Did you receive a band-aid for a gash?

Does anyone perceive what Indo’s suffer?
Uprooted and put down in foreign soil?
I think not! So I will keep on loving
That land of unity, of peace and of allure,

That country full of youthful memories,
The most alluring country in the world:
My precious island girdle,
My lovely Emerald Belt.


It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,











A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-60

Life savers

Two life savers brightened my days last week! One is a set of two fast wireless charging stands for my cell phone; one for the desk in my office, one for the kitchen counter. Now my phone is always charged, and I can always find it, that is, if I remember to put it on the stand and not somewhere on the table or in a coat pocket. The other one is a set of Lock Laces. Hallelujah! What a wonderful discovery that was. For years, because I have been walking so much, I had the best hiking shoes I could find. They had round laces, and I had to tie them and then tie them again, otherwise they would come undone in no time at all. What a pain in the neck, or rather, more and more, what a problem for my aging hands! It was not good for my nails and it took extra long before the dog and I were finally out the door. Last week, I remembered seeing kids with funny shoe laces and I went to Amazon to see what was available. Bingo! Lock Laces! I received them in two days and now I don’t have to tie my running shoes again but I can slide right into them. An afterthought: in December, when I decided to take it easy, I walked on my regular Sketchers; and after a little while I got the problem with my Acetabulum. I am happy to say that I healed the rear ligament, but now the front ligament is hurting (there are three). So I will continue with my treatments, and I must say that rest and walking less were definitely important factors in the healing process. I even got daily notifications on my cellphone that I had reached my goal in reading! I did not even know I had a goal for reading! But reading I did!

More healing

Mike’s shingles are healing as well – thankfully, and probably because of the fact that we got shingles shots years ago. He is off the medication and Tylenol and we both sleep tight every night; for me it was an exhausting week.

Leadership change 

The Regional Director sent us all a notice of the departure of the current Executive Director, who had been here for only 14 months. We have gone through three EDs since we moved here. There was one good one, and he got promoted to Regional Director at Headquarters in Michigan. However, to his credit, the ED we had (who we think was fired, because it was such an abrupt leave) led us safely through a year of Covid threats, with only a few positive cases and only one or two deaths. We are still being tested bi-weekly, but there have not been any positive cases lately, so this week the dining room will be open for breakfast, and next week also for dinner: with a maximum of three people to a round table for seven. The salon will open again, still with only two people present at a time, but we will have to remain vigilant. And, since we feel a little bit safer, Mike went to the barber and the audiologist and I to the masseuse for my hip. The world is slowly opening up again. When I picked up breakfast Tuesday morning, the dining room was full and buzzing; the chef was preparing what looked like Eggs Benedict, and it was wonderful to see so many people again.

Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day, I dropped off six boxes of girl scout cookies “from your secret Valentine”, and only one lady guessed it was me. And then we could order “love drops” consisting of a long stemmed red rose, a box of chocolates and a hand written note, to benefit the American Heart Association. They would be delivered for us, and all “from your secret Valentine”. What fun! I selected 37 men, women and couples as recipients, and nobody had any inkling who their secret Valentine was; 37 lonely people were pleasantly surprised on Valentine’s tine’s Day! And to make the day perfect: we received a box of  See’s Candy from one of the neighbors in the afternoon.

Tax Returns

We have started preparation for our tax returns, and since we hope to finish this project quickly, like last year, I am eagerly waiting for the final tax information to come in so we can finish and file! And guess what? This will be a short post again becauseI’m running out of time!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-59


The dog barked all night because she heard the owl. I had noticed a bloody feather in the border by the front door that day and thought that we had not heard the owl all year. But he was back. And I could not get Lani to be quiet for a long time, so we lost some sleep. Why do owls keep sounding their call if they are out to surprise a prey? I have wondered about that forever. If any of you know the answer, please leave it in the Comments below.

Then Mike got Shingles. He thought the pain in his side and back for the last week was due to exercises with the therapists, but the doctor made the diagnosis: You have Shingles. After we had been vaccinated in 2010, I thought we would not get shingles, but here it is. As one of our friends once said, One’s health is a fragile thing that can change in a moment’s time. 

So I am cutting this post very short. Medications, TLC, companionship, I am focused. I want to take care of my man, my buddy, my love.


Stay healthy!

Until next time


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-58

The aftermath of Moderna #2

We had hoped for the best and prepared for the worst. The second vaccine clinic at the Club was even better organized than the first and we were done quickly on Thursday afternoon. We had no commitments on Friday, so that we could just relax. Mike did not have any after effects, but I felt achy all day Friday. It was like I had a temperature, but frequent checking did not show anything abnormal. We were warned not to take any Tylenol within six hours of the shot, because it would diminish the effect of the drug, so we were careful not to, and on Saturday I felt fine again. The feeling of security is great and makes it all worth it. Two weeks from last Thursday, on February 10, the effect of the drug will have reached 100%. Of course distancing and a mask are still necessary, but the feeling of freedom after 11 months of severe restrictions is fantastic.

Girl Scout Cookies

It’s that time of year again: girl scouts are selling cookies. Our granddaughter in California now has a digital cookie website through which we can order cookies and her goal is to sell 150 boxes of cookies. In previous years we have either just made a donation, or we ordered cookies and asked her to save them for us in the freezer until the next family reunion in the summer, but this year the girl scout council offered to ship them. A minimum of four boxes would be shipped for a fee. What to do? We love especially the Samoas, but to eat four boxes of Samoas in February would definitely mean I would have to buy a new bathing suit for our summer reunion. I had an idea. To the great surprise and delight of our granddaughter I ordered fourteen boxes of a variety of cookies. Six of them were to be delivered to the military in my granddaughter’s area as a donation, and eight boxes will come here. I will save 2 boxes of Samoas for ourselves and, since they will arrive just before Valentine’s day, I will drop them off at the doors of six people at the Club the night before. There are single people who have no family, or are deep in their nineties, or whom we just love for the way they have braved these eleven months in lockdown. For that purpose I went to Amazon and found a box of miniature Valentine’s cards, the old fashioned style, very cute, and on each card I will write With love from your secret Valentine. Our granddaughter’s  troop has great plans: there are eight of them, and they are planing a trip to one of the Hawaiian Islands in the summer of 2022. They will learn how to plan the trip, lodging, food, entertainment and everything else. A true learning experience with lots of fun.

And I? Well, I have to dig up my beautiful bathing suit and see how many pounds I have to lose to fit it again and then judge if I can eat any cookies at all when they come. But then, in four months I can easily lose five pounds if I have to, so no worries. And Mike can eat any amount of cookies without any problem: his speedo will always fit! Lucky guy!

First snow and cold, dark, rainy days

The snow really only held on the roof tops, very pretty, and the bushes and trees, but had disappeared the next morning. And because walking other than with the dog is not attractive, it was the perfect time to start working on taxes. We have the TurboTax in the house, a CD, because that’s how we have always done it, and in anticipation of all necessary documents to come in I started it up. Last year it was so easy that we did it in one day. We don’t own property anymore, and that makes it easy. I do the computer part and Mike backs me up with all the documentation he has collected in his “active file” during the year.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,