A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-96

The lists of things to do are getting longer  ——————————————

The days are getting shorter  ——————

And my Blog posts ——–

…are becoming shorter still —-  It is clear: the holidays are near!

Last Sunday we visited a newly discovered Presbyterian Church with our best friends from the cottages and found one of the pastors to be from the Netherlands. So after the service, we “spoke in tongues” for a while, and decided, based on the light and modern setting, the beautiful music, the sermon and the friendly people, that we would visit again next week. In the afternoon we went to our son’s house for a few hours, to watch them in action after setting up their large Christmas tree. Our oldest grandson and his girlfriend were over from Florida, the girlfriend of our second grandson was also there, and we thoroughly enjoyed the interaction of the younger generation.

Our youngest grandson, Peter, had offered a while ago to help me with the outside lights. I would have to order new lights on Amazon, because last year, our whole wall of lights woven through the fence, was so difficult to get off in the January cold, that I took scissors, cut all the light strings and threw them away. However, even though I had planned on buying new lights, that had not happened yet. And last night, when I got a call that Peter and his Dad would be here to put up the lights around 10 a.m., I had to confess that I would have to make an early dash to Walmart to get them. “No, don’t worry about that”, said our son, “We will bring lights in the morning. Just get out the extension cord and the timer and we’ll see you around ten.”

How about that for a wonderful Christmas surprise!

May your days be peaceful but exciting!

Until next time,





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-95

Fall Colors are everywhere around. Our son took us for a ride around town and Lake Johnson, and treated us to a peppermint chocolate chip milkshake, a seasonal special.f Chick-Fil-A. We had a wonderful time. Around our campus and neighborhoods the fall colors are beautiful as well.
The temperatures are dropping in the night into the thirties, but it is amazing that now, in the middle of November, the day time temperatures are still in the sixties. Wonderful weather for walking.

The return of the Rabbit

Many years ago, in the late nineteen eighties, I inherited some money from my aunt in the Netherlands. We lived in Pasadena at the time, and according to the fashion, ladies wore shrugs, also to sit on the bleachers watching the Rose Parade. So I went to a furrier, who designed a silver fox shrug for me and embroidered my name on the lining. Six months after that, we moved to…Hawai’i! I had no need for any fur in Hawai’i! The furrier kept my shrug in cold storage for twelve years. After we came back to the mainland and settled in Arizona, I had no need for a shrug there either! The furrier was nice and let me trade it for anything in the store. And there was this lovely rabbit fur bomber jacket: fancy enough to take on outings in Prescott and walk around the square, and simple enough for walks in the forest. I loved that jacket! I wore it for about 17 years, into our time in Cary. Where I took it to Phoenix for storing and cleaning in the summer months, I had just kept it in the closet here in Cary. So it was in dire need of cleaning and repair. I took it to a local furrier and after two seeks I got it back! It’s beautiful, like new, and it keeps me wonderfully warm! More next week!

May your days be peaceful and happy.

Until next time,




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-94


Now that we are approaching year-end, the end of the year 2021 that is, I noticed that all year, on all my Blog Posts, I mentioned the year 2020. How is  it possible that I did not notice that before? My eyes are good, and I detect every spelling error in every text that I read, others’ or my own. I was still living in the past, that must be it. Correction applied!

Covid concerns

When the CDC put out a mandate recently that all companies and organizations had to have masks in the workplace, there was quite an uproar here. Unbeknownst to many, several employees of the Physical Therapy department, a separate entity within our Senior Community, had not been vaccinated. When that became the law, they left or were fired; which gave many patients peace of mind. The leader assured us that she had already hired other therapists, so nobody needed to worry. Whatever happens in the larger community happens mostly without anyone noticing the details. New employees get hired, get trained, and a month or so later disappear again. Old-timers vanish because they can get a better paying job somewhere else. Wonderful servers who worked in the dining room during the summer, left for college. The kitchen has constantly been understaffed, and we have had many buffet dinners. Lately, we were happy to have three evenings a week with a proper sit-down dinner, and that is when we like to go. On buffet evenings I go through the buffet and take our dinners home. We can also arrange to have our selections bagged for pick up, and we used to do that, but at those times we did not always get what we had signed up for.


They finally announced that Walgreens Pharmacy will come to give us booster shots on the 17th. That was still such a long wait that several people decided to go to Walgreens and get them sooner. We did. I made appointments online, filled out the required forms and we went last Wednesday afternoon. There was no wait, and we had absolutely no adverse reactions. Done! We are safe once again!

Unsafe Drinking Water

Two weeks ago, we did not get anymore bottled water. At the same time, articles appeared online: tap water was unhealthy, and plastic bottles could also be dangerous. I have no idea what is going on. When I texted the chef, he said that ‘they started giving out the small bottles during Covid, but now they would no longer do that, because of the great expense. Drinking water out of the tap was ok.’ I question both, but I asked our daughter-in-law for a second opinion. She advised to purchase a pitcher with a filter for cold water from the refrigerator and said that tap water had contaminants in it (10 in Cary) but was not dangerous for drinking. Not like water in Mexico or third world countries. So…Amazon to the rescue for a water filter pitcher.


What a difference was real shopping compared to shopping from catalogs or shopping on Amazon!

Our son took me shopping to Bass-Pro, an enormous store for outdoor articles, clothes and much more. Mike did not want to go, but I loved it! I bought some wonderful pants and flannel shirts for him. They were already decorating for Christmas and I saw a Gnome, so cute that I could not resist it. It has a light with a switch at the
bottom. I decided then and there that I will start a Gnome collection. Over the years, I have had many collections and it is a wonderful hobby. I have had a box collection, a perfume bottle collection, a paper weight collection and a bell collection. Each time when my interest waned, I would keep the nicest ones, and gave the others away. The paper weights are so functional that I still have seven. Does any of you have a collection that you want to share? Please tell me about it. It’s fun!

Yesterday I was in for a big surprise. Our daughter-in-law announced that she has a new gig: she is making wreaths and selling them on Etsy and soon on Amazon! I went to her Etsy shop and what did I see? She made one Gnome wreath! “I’ll be ‘Gnome’ for Christmas”. Two people already had it in their basket, but I beat them to it! She will hand deliver it soon! Lucky me.  I even see Gnome ribbons. She is so creative! We never had a large wreath on any of our front doors. We had a decorated horn, because our son was a trumpet player. If you would like to take a look at Stephanie’s Etsy shop, go to ShopWelcomeWreaths. She calls her creations Jubilant Designs. And I know two people who are on cloud nine!

May your days be peaceful and happy

Until next time,


A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-93

Halloween Costume Party

We had a great time at Happy Hour last Friday, when a handful of people had dressed up. We joined another couple from the cottages who did a skit. He sang songs in Italian and I was swooning, with long black gloves holding a long cigarette holder with a cigarette. The day before, I had no idea where to get a cigarette for my holder. This is a smoke free campus, and even my morning helper had no success.

On Friday morning, after my dashboard had indicated the car needed an oil change, I made an appointment with the garage. It would take and hour and a half, so after dropping off the car I took a walk on the shady sidewalk of the neighboring street. Fifteen minutes to the end, then back. On the way back, looking down on the parking lot of one of the Duke Hospital facilities, I noticed a parked car with an open window through which smoke drifted out. I walked past it, thought for a moment, then turned around and a walked back towards the car. ‘Where there is smoke, there are cigarettes’ I thought. I needed to walk down to the parking lot through a steep 8 feet border with pine needles and mulch, and then I walked around the car and stopped six feet away from the window behind which sat a smoking woman. Since I had no idea if she spoke English, I said slowly and enunciated: “Tonight, I am going to a Halloween costume party and I need one cigarette. Do you have one cigarette for me?” With a nice smile, she nodded and offered me a crumpled cigarette pack. In it was one cigarette. Her last one, and she offered it to me. For a party. Her kindness and generosity touched my heart. But I was prepared to give her something in return. With my left hand I carefully lifted the cigarette out of the pack and with my right hand I took a one dollar bill out of my pocket and handed it to her. You should have seen her smile! And mine!


Yesterday, after I had walked in Wimbledon with Lani, through what I call The Divide (the forested area between our two neighborhoods), I dropped her off at home and walked back to take a look at the large tree that had fallen over about two years ago in a storm. I have to duck underneath it every time I walk to and from Wimbledon, because it fell across the trail I had created. I thought the tree was long dead. Nobody would cut it down, because nobody goes there. It is no-man’s land. I looked at the roots, which were sticking up in the air vertically: a very shallow root system for sure. But when I looked closer, I saw that a small part of it, about 5 inches around, was still “grounded”. I looked again at the trunk of the tree. It had not fallen to the ground, but right on top of another, smaller tree, which had bent under the weight of the big tree. And then I noticed that all over the trunk of the fallen tree, thin branches had grown up, all full of leaves and about 4 to 6 feet long. The tree was alive! Thanks to the support of the smaller tree, it had not uprooted completely and crashed to the ground, but it was still alive, growing branches in every direction: a miracle in nature.

We have a friend, whose wife has a Glioblastoma tumor in her brain. It is terminal, they were told. The tumor affected her total right side: she can’t see, hear or move on the right. But her left side is still functioning. Left-handed, she has made the most beautiful quilts, small and very large: their house hangs full of them. When she could no longer handle the mental challenges of quilting, she started doing jigsaw puzzles, and playing Scrabble on her iPhone. She was diagnosed in 2016, that’s five years ago! She has had treatments and tests, has been on Hospice Care for two years, but now she is only on palliative care and a checkup  every three months. She sits in a wheelchair most of the day. Her husband is her full time caregiver. He takes her everywhere, even to the beach for family reunions. He is like the small tree that carries the weight of the large tree and keeps it alive. The two of them are a miracle of human love. We are blessed to be their friends.

May your days be peaceful and happy

Until next time,