A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-101

Christmas 2021

What a wonderful Christmas it was! We touched base with many old friends through the exchange of Christmas cards through the regular mail and email. It’s about the only time of year that I connect with them, apart from the friends on Facebook. We are still in touch with four couples we met on various cruises, dating back to 23 years ago. We heard about the loss of one friend and received a picture of my former 1974 boss at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Flintridge, California and his extensive family.

Our son and his family came over with a lovely supper and we spent some time talking and opening presents, installing a new light rope on the kitchen cabinets and the new Keurig coffee maker.

The Second Day of Christmas was my 83rd birthday and I awoke an hour later than usual, after a wonderful nine hours of sleep: a great beginning of the day. Just as I was ready to step into the shower our son called, so I walked back to the living room, when somebody rang the bell. When I went to look, I saw a man and a woman put packages on the chair by the front door. Oops! I quickly dodged into the office to watch them get into a car and leave. After I was dressed and opened the door I found two bags and a bouquet of flowers from Whole Foods: a surprise from our two daughters and their families. Croissants and orange juice for breakfast and a lemon birthday cake. What a lovely surprise. It was a good thing, I thought later, that they had not sent wine or champagne which would have needed a signature!

After our “time in the spa” I renewed the dressing of Mike’s wound (which takes a total of 50 minutes and I do it daily now) and we were delighted to notice great improvement over the “plateau” the doctor had mentioned the Friday before. “Ha! I can do it better than anyone,”I said. “Perhaps we can go back to the clinic on January 7 and dismiss doctor and nurses because the wound is healed.”

We opened mail and birthday gifts, received phone calls and had a totally relaxing day. I sat on the back patio for a while, enjoying the 70 degree temperature, and we took a walk around the pond. After supper, which I picked up at the Club, another surprise arrived at the front door: another beautifully frosted tres leches cake with fresh fruit on top, tied to a Happy Birthday balloon. That made my day perfect: I love balloons, and the cake is decadent!


For all of you who don’t know what a stroopwafel is: it is the most delicious Dutch cookie. Two thin waffles with caramel in between. Warm it on top of your steaming hot coffee or put it in the microwave for twelve seconds, and you will agree that there is nothing better and it tastes like more. In December, Trader Joe’s carries them, 8 waffles in a blue tin with pictures of windmills. They are stacked high by every checkout. How wonderful! I purchased two for my friend who was going on a trip to see her daughter and one for ourselves. Planning to get some more before they would run out, I went back a week later and found to my great disappointment they had not a single can left. “Perhaps I have some in the back that are dented, but the contents are still good,” said a helpful employee.
“I would like ten cans please,” I said.
“Oh well, I don’t have that many, but I will see.” He came back empty handed. What a disappointment. A December without stroopwafels.

Back home, I looked on Amazon, where I order just about everything. Surprise! They had original stroopwafels from a different bakery. I quickly counted how many I should order so I could share with the family too. Eight to a tin? OK, these came in boxes. I ordered five boxes. Five boxes of eight that would make forty stroopwafels. Enough to share.

A week later, Amazon delivered a large, heavy box to our door. When I opened it on the kitchen counter, I was stunned. There were five boxes all right, but each box contained not eight, but twenty four  individually wrapped stroopwafels. That means I now had 120 stroopwafels, individually wrapped! Hm. Great for sharing all year long! My goodness! Where could I store them? They filled up a whole pantry shelf! And the story does not end there.

When we opened the gifts from our family, there was one bag with three brown, beautifully decorated cartons, each with 8 stroopwafels from yet another Dutch bakery. Of course we showed our delight, and did not tell them that we now were the proud owners, for the first time in our lives, of twelve dozen, or 144 stroopwafels. How does the saying go? Death by stroopwafels?

Whoever would like to come over for tea or coffee, spend a night or two for more tea or coffee, all with a stroopwafel or more, you will be welcome here!

Pornographic email to Ronny Herman de Jong

For at least three months, first in my Trash, then also in my Junk folders, I received porn. It started with a few messages daily, but quickly increased until I had about two times 600 of them per day. At first I scanned the Trash, to see if there was anything I should open, but later on I just deleted all of them with several clicks without looking. I missed an invoice from someone, who caught up with me later, but I have no idea what else I missed. Anyway, I never opened any of the messages and decided I would delete my email address at the beginning of the year.

What happened? Just before Christmas I found only a handful of messages, and today, there were only two. They all gave up when they discovered that Ronny Herman de Jong was not interested in Russian girls and the like. Miracles do happen!

Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful, healthy, happy New Year. And Believe in Miracles!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-100

Amusement in the Waiting Room

When we exited the waiting room of the Wound Healing Center last Friday, we talked for a moment to the two ladies behind the desk. One is a Nurse-assistant, the other one the Secretary. Both are wonderful people. The secretary wears hats, a different one every time, underneath from which pours a river of shiny hair: sometimes black, sometimes brown, this time a glorious red. I commented on the red: “What a beautiful color, Sandy. My mom had red hair like that.”
“Thank you. I like your hair. I wish we could trade.”
“Well, we can’t trade my hair,” and I pulled on the short strands on top of my head.
“You should get a wig, then we could trade.”
“Oh, I have a wig, a long one, to my shoulders. But I only wear it when I dance hula.”
“You dance hula?” They both looked up and started laughing, waving their hands like everyone does when hula is discussed.
“Yes, but not like that. I dance the real hula.”
“The real hula? Oh, you must teach us. We can go in room 3, that is a bigger room, and we can take turns answering the phone.”
“No, it’s not that easy.” People do not realize that Hula is an art and takes many hours to learn.

Then I had a thought: “I can teach you one thing,” I said, and I went through my knees and made the Circle Island motion with my hips, first right, then left. “This motion means going around the island.” The people in the waiting room turned to watch the spectacle, and by that time the two ladies behind the desk were laughing so hard that Mike and I started laughing too. We opened the door to leave. Over my shoulder I called, “Room 3, I will remember.” They were in stitches. The laughter followed us all the way to the car.


When I picked up dinner at the Club last week, after dropping off some Christmas cards at people’s doors, Julia stopped me and told me how much she had liked my short stories. “We should have a meeting every week,” she said, “where people read short stories and then discuss them. Like a Book Club for people who can’t see very well. There are a lot of them.” Julia is the leader of one of the two book clubs in our facility, and both clubs are reading the same book once a month. “I haven’t read a good book in I don’t know how long,” I said. Whereupon Julia commented that the book the club was reading this month was very, very good, a page turner. She asked me to wait at the elevator, went to her apartment around the corner and came back with a book, a second copy she had laying around. “Here,” she said, “you may keep it until the day after Christmas.”

What Julia did not understand was that I have a Kindle library full of great books, but I am lacking the time to read them. I have no time in the day to sit down with a book! It has been so for months. But she meant well, so I took the book, and that night after dinner, I decided to read one chapter. I did, and I was hooked. For that is vital for a good book: it has to have a hook right at the beginning. I read four chapters. But today, there was no time, and tomorrow we’ll see. But reading is something I love, almost more than writing. So, since I am retired from Book promoting, I am hoping I will have plenty of time to settle down with one of my good books in the near future. And then another one, and another one…

It’s a Wonderful Life!

I wish you all a Sparkling, Joyous Christmas.

Until next week,




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A Week in Review

What a week it was! Mike is doing well after his hospital visit and we decided that we will watch the church services from our living room for a while.

I need a few nights of 9 hours of sleep to be able to have productive days; this schedule of doctors and physical therapists and dressing changes is exhausting, even if most of them come to the house. So I am rewarding myself with a manicure tomorrow afternoon. I found a new short story to tell on Thursday: A Christmas Cup of Tea. I heard it on a DVD many years ago – just lovely. And the long story is about The Fourth Wiseman. A fun event to look forward to, Stories and Carols.

May your days be peaceful and happy.

Until next week



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Misfortunes never come singly

On Sunday after church, Mike sat down in his recliner and suddenly started shaking. I’ll make it brief: E(emergency)M(Medical) S(Services) came, administered medication in the Van, then took him to the ER. It looked like Atrial Fibrillation, irregular heart rhythm. We spent hours at the ER, had dozens of tests done. At 8 p.m. Mike was admitted to a room in the hospital; still on Sunday, and he was discharged today, Tuesday,  at 3:30 p.m. I can’t remember how many tests were done, cardiac and neurological, and of course lab tests, and everything came back negative! That’s good! The last MRI took place this morning, and it was like hell, said Mike. But it is all done now and he was declared in good shape and sent home with some different medications.

What a scare! I’m thankful that I can report a happy ending and we are both turning in early tonight!

May your days be peaceful and happy.

Until next time.




A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-97

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…

Me? Fall? Well, yes. Last Thursday evening, getting off of my step stool in the coat closet, after looking for a pair of pants that had my Fitbit in it, I tumbled down, because I did not keep my feet in the center of the top. It was very, very painful. My right leg was crushed between the steps, but I was finally able to free myself and get to the bed. I was wearing leggings and dreaded the moment I would take them off. Mike came to sit next to me for moral support, and when I stripped down, we saw a 6 x 2″ strip of bare leg: the skin was hanging in shreds, unsolvable. Ouch, such pain! The legging was undamaged. I had a large supply of first aid stuff from the treatments of Mike’s leg wound and took care of it. After a week, it still hurts a lot. But there are two good sides to this fall: I landed with my head in a wall of skirts; and the next day we had to go to the wound clinic for Mike’s leg anyway, so his doctor could give me advice: “Only the epidermis is gone, it is not a deep wound and it will heal in time.” So now we are both hobbling along. But Mike’s wound looks almost closed and so we are pretty sure we will both be happily striding again when Christmas comes around.

Mele Kalikimaka

I was looking forward to dancing hula again at the Christmas show with Caroline; but I just cancelled, because if my leg hurts so much still to walk, dancing will be out of the question next week. But another plan formed in my mind: I would like to tell Christmas stories. It’s all arranged, starting next week I will do a one-hour Christmas program with a friend, Paula, who plays the violin. She has been playing Advent carols on Sunday mornings and is looking forward to three weeks of doing a Christmas show together: I will tell a story and she will play carols to fill in at the beginning and the end, with the theme of the story in mind. Another friend said, ‘Ronny, you just retired! And here you are doing another project?” Well, yes. I know some beautiful Christmas stories, and it is only once a year that I can tell them.

A funny occasion comes to mind. We had moved from Hawai’i to Prescott, Arizona in 2001, and had been visiting a particular church for a few months. When Christmas services were discussed, I said to the Pastor that I would be very happy to tell a Christmas Story instead of his sermon. The Pastor agreed, and when the time came, I went on stage and told my story. At that time, I still had it memorized, so I could act it out. But it is a lengthy story, about 25 minutes. I saw the Pastor from the corner of my eye getting red and restless. I had everybody’s attention and continued to the emotional end. The Pastor was clearly upset: there was no time left for him to do a sermon! “I did not know your story would take that long,” he said. But I had told him ahead of time I could do it instead of a sermon, so I did not feel bad.

A Christmas Program…Stories and Carols with Ronny and Paula

…is the title of our program. The Activities Director will design and print and circulate flyers each week and the only thing I have to do is practicing my reading and check the sound system. At my age I do not dare tell stories from memory any more, but I can do a lot with my voice, and that will be so much fun. Well, I also printed and stapled 30 x 4 music sheets and added stickers. Because I could not very well let Paula do all that alone.

A Wedding in Waltonwood!

My new best friend is getting married! Her fiancé moved to the Cottages in July of last year, and she came in October. We quickly became best friends. And recently, finally, he asked her to marry him! They are having a reception in the Private Dining Room, invited 8 people and asked me to be their MC. Only the Chef and the Dining Room manager know about it, so they can plan ahead with food and drink. He is 82 and she just turned 72 last week. And now I am so incredibly busy with things to do that I will stop right here.

My leg wound is hurting a lot, but getting smaller, so I’m hoping I will soon be well again. And how wonderful it is that I have all those wonderful long skirts from Anna to cover my injury!

May your days be peaceful and happy.

Until next time!