A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-72

A tree frog on the wall

When we lived in Hilo, Hawai’i, we thought we heard a nightingale one night – then a similar call in the far distance. Wondering whether that was true, I went to the University to ask, and there they told me it must be a tree frog or coqui, smaller than my thumb and bright green. It was the beginning of a coqui infestation all over the Big Island; the sound of thousands of coqui was deafening a year later, and nothing was able to stop their expansion. It actually became a tourist attraction. 

When we were sitting on the front porch on Sunday afternoon, and I looked up, I saw a little gray frog – white/grey, exactly like the color of the cement it was sitting on. Hours later it was still there; I googled it and found that some  gray tree frogs change their color to the background on which they are sitting, and they eat insects, which explains its proximity to the outside light fixture. My first reaction was how can I catch it without dropping it, and take it to the little pond in our back yard. Then I had second thoughts. 

I once went through quite a hassle to catch a small turtle I found crossing the trail in Wimbledon and take her all the way to the pond. I put her half way into the water, where she sat, motionless, while five turtles from the pond swam up to her, as close as one foot away, to check her out. Then I decided she was probably a pet turtle who had run away and did not belong in the pond at all. So I took her back to the trail and it quickly shuffled away in the dry leaves.

So I will keep my eye on this little tree frog and hope to see it move sometime. I would really like to hold it in my hands and look at it up close, but that would scare it, i’m sure. On Monday, it was still sitting there, in the corner of the brick wall, motionless.                        

On Tuesday morning it was gone, leaving a deposit. I was glad I did not try to move it. It got there on its own, climbed the wall, ate bugs to its heart’s content, and left its mark before leaving.

Thai dinner

On Saturday night, when the Club menu was not looking good, we invited good friends from the cottage across the street for a catered Thai dinner. We had a wonderful evening and delicious food, and the Brut Champagne we opened went with it very well.

The 84- year old champagne glasses we have were a wedding gift to the wonderful Pasadena couple who were our neighbors when we emigrated to the US. We became very good friends and threw a combined surprise 45th Wedding Anniversary party for them and my parents at our house up the hill in 1982. My parents were staying with us to celebrate their anniversary, and the party was a secret for them as well. One of our wonderful parties and fond memories.

Anyway, when Johnny passed away, and Ann went to an Assisted Living, she gave me her six champagne glasses, dating back to 1937. We still have five of them and have used them often 🙂

And this must be the end of my post because of meetings I had with Management and the sales office yesterday afternoon, walks in Wimbledon, and more.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-71

My Kirkus Review Ad one more time

It is a beautiful Ad, that I am very proud of. It is still being advertised in black and white in Kirkus Review Magazines until June 4.

The next promotion: my autobiography about the camps, will be published in the Moesson International on August 15, the day the Japanese surrendered and the War was over. And that will, for me, mean the start of my retirement. Really. I am planning to still write my weekly Blog Posts, but I will end all the promotion for my books, my mother’s story. I am really looking forward to spending more time with Mike and Lani, our kids and two remaining grandkids here (one is graduating and will be leaving in the Fall for college) and to read more; because that has fallen by the wayside lately, the reading that is.

Months ago, my friend Harvey Stanbrough, a very successful fiction writer, sent me the first book of his 8 part story The Ark. I made time for it and could not wait until I could read the second book. But those few hours of reading I had carved out for myself disappeared as soon as I had read the last chapter, because Life demanded attention. I am not complaining, I am just planning to retire.

Associate of the Month

Every month, each Resident here gets a sheet of paper on which they can select one Associate who has given outstanding service for that month or longer. On it we write the Associate’s special merit, sign it and turn it in to the front desk, from where it goes to Management. Last month, one Resident approached Ann and me with a stack of papers she was handing out left and right, saying, “Here, sign this and turn it in. We are choosing Sylvia this month.” Ann and I looked at her and said, “What? We both had Mary in mind to get the honor this time.”

“Well, we can select Mary next month. This month it has to be Sylvia, and she needs all our votes. Go, sign it and turn it in.” I saw a page full of hastily scrawled words. like Sylvia is very good; she works hard and more. It was dishonest and disgusting, and I did not want to sign it, but she was pushing Ann and me towards the front desk. So I signed Mike’s name and decided I would talk to Management later on.

Can you imagine my surprise and joy to read that the Associate of the Month was not Sylvia, but someone from Associated Living! Can you imagine that something like this happens in a facility like this? Manipulation of people, most of whom are too docile to refuse, me included! Once, but never again.

The new Executive Director

spoke forcefully at our first after-Covid Residents Meeting. He has great plans, and although he started out saying that Waltonwood has nothing to fix (like the other retirement homes he has worked at), he now said that he would fix everything, replace old and broken things, and more such statements. We applauded the message that he had heard that the remodeling, which was stopped before it could start in March 2020, would now start at the end of August. They will remodel the public areas, in a different color scheme, from the fourth floor down. It is going to be beautiful. This facility is twelve years old! Apartments and cottages will follow hopefully, but much later.

Cutting Costs

Gas prices suddenly went through the ceiling, and gas is even hard to get. But being taken to doctors appointments with the bus (on certain days of the week) had just been reinstated. Last Friday, walking with Lani, I asked a friend who was sitting at the front entrance if she was going out. “Well,” she said, “my husband and I had to see the doctor, but they said to take us with the bus is too expensive, so Danny is using the Cadillac. But he could not transport the two of us plus two walkers, so my husband went first, and when he comes back, Danny will take me.” Now I am asking you, what is less expensive: two rides in the bus, back and forth, with two people and walkers or four rides in the Cadillac, back and forth twice?

I was just in time last week to fill up my car, and that will last me three months or so, given the short distances I drive. It is great to be independent and be lucky!

It’s a wonderful Life!

Until next time,








A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-70

My Mother’s Day Celebration

It was absolutely a celebration all weekend long! On Friday morning this        beautiful Hawaiian woven basket arrived from Maui, full of Hawaiian flowers. A yellow and an orange Heliconia with two Ti leaves behind them and a Protea, a red ginger and a yellow ginger, which started blooming (little flowers popping out of the  tight layers), orange and yellow Protea, purple dendrobiums, ferns and greens; such a beautiful, familiar arrangement. The basket will turn brown in time: I know, because I once joined a class on the beach at Richardson’s Beach Park in weaving palm frond strips into a bowl. I made two bowls, for my Mom and sister in the Netherlands. Other people made baskets and hats. I don’t know that I can still do those things, twenty years after we left the Big Island.

On Saturday afternoon our son came by for a visit and to – again – fix problems with the TV and the computer. And early on Sunday morning, three bags were delivered on the chair by the front door, from Whole Foods, ordered by our three children. We had fresh croissants with jam and cheese, and Mango, and there was a tube with hand lotion for me.

Because dinner at the Club, a choice of lamb or ham, with red velvet cake for dessert – no doubt delicious for many residents – would not be a special treat for us, we enjoyed Papa Murphy’s Favorite Pizza with a glass of wonderful red wine, served at room temperature (instead of wine from a box super chilled :-)) I slept like a rose.

A lovely, long stemmed pink rose from Management was delivered to the door, with a nice card, and I added a green branch to make it perfect.

Geese and a duck

Poor Mother Goose. We now think that she may be the one who lost her mate in the freeway accident and laid three unfertilized eggs, which of course will not hatch. But suddenly last week, another waterfowl, perhaps a duck, splashed into the water with five darling little ducks in tow. Neighbors have watched them for a few days now, counting every time if there are still five little ones.

A Doe in the back yard!

About three years ago, when we fist lived here, we saw a couple of small deer in the Divide; where did they go? where did they come from? We never found out. Until, this week, one of the cottage neighbors spotted a large doe in his back yard, unbelievable really, between his cottage and the freeway fence. There she was! All grown up; I believe it for sure, one of the two came back. We consider ourselves blessed to be able to live surrounded by nature, even though the freeway is within hearing distance.


It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-69

Mother Goose is still patiently sitting on her nest.

.I have not counted the days, but the eggs should hatch soon. She is so lucky that we had the heavy rains before she built her nest. The previous two years the nests were washed away and the eggs floated on the water. It is amazing that, quite suddenly, most of the geese have disappeared. One of the new cottage residents complained to the new Maintenance Manager because she was almost attacked. When we first got here, now almost four years ago to the day, there were 24 geese, coming and going. Even though we were not attacked, the sidewalks were dirty and difficult to traverse. Lately, we have only seen three geese, one of which lost its partner in an accident on the freeway entrance next door. This nest was built quite late in the season and for quite a while birds of prey have been circling in the air high above us.

Dancing around Covid-19

Even though Covid seems a thing of the past, new cases as well as Covid deaths in North Carolina pop up in the news. But here the rules are getting less strict, we are dining with four people to a table and outside entertainment is starting to come back. One of our favorites, singer Caroline, who used to perform for us every Thursday afternoon, is planning new performances. She asked me recently how my hips and shoulders were feeling. I had a series of problems when our little dog kept pulling me so fiercely that I fell and needed PT twice for a few weeks. The last time I danced I should not have, but I did it anyway and went right back to PT again. 🙁 Today, my hips and shoulders are well again and ready to dance, and I told her so. She will invite me when she is scheduled to perform, in July or August, and I will select a nice muumuu and leis and dance again. How wonderful. Things are getting back to normal.


One of our old-time (and yes, old) friends in Assisted Living passed away, and I got permission to visit his wife. I still needed permission, even though I am a fellow resident in Independent Living, but I got it, and we had a nice visit. I left a Sympathy card in her Bible, which was lying on the couch – a surprise for later, when she would be alone again. Two days later I called and asked if she had found my surprise in her Bible. No, she had not, and she immediately started searching for my brown envelope. Nothing. Until finally she said, “Oh, Ronny, I see your card! What a nice note, thank you so much.”
“Are you sure it was not in an envelope?”
“I am sure. It’s just the card. But my children were here after the funeral.”
I was really upset that visiting children would open their mother’s mail. But what could I do in a case like this? Let it rest, and be happy that only the envelope was taken, and not the card. Should I be aware next time, not to write something improper in case my friend’s mail get censored? Is this how adult children treat their old parents when they are in Assisted Living? I think not! I hope not! Perhaps when parents are in Memory care and don’t have their wits about them anymore; yes, then the children have to take care of all of their parents’ business. But not in this case, not until then!

Our son came to visit yesterday, to our great joy, and not only did we spend quality time together, but he also fixed our TV  and our MAC computer. His oldest son is about to be honored in church as one of the graduating seniors who will leave for college in the fall. It will be the first time back to church for us, and we still have to register ahead of time. But that is the new normal, and it is all right!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,