A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2022-105

Whatever happened

to my blog post of last week? I could not line up the paragraphs properly on my Mac, and when I read it on my iPad I noticed that part of the text is in a very small font. No idea how that happened and I hope it will not happen again.

Snow and Ice

The past weekend’s weather forecast was so threatening that I went to Trader Joe’s on Thursday, in the rain, and stocked up on necessary items to be independent for three days. Even though we had about two inches of snow on Friday night, and temperatures in the twenties, the maintenance men here took the necessary precautions and the sidewalks were safe, a snowplow cleaned the road in the night, and the remaining snow was beautiful – and a new adventure for Lani. After walking in the snow, she came home with ice balls on her paws, which were hard to get off; but today the snow did not stick that much anymore and she was fine.

A Snowman

When the sun was out and I took a walk on Sunday afternoon, one of the old ladies was sitting in a chair outside the front entrance. “Are you going out?” I asked her. “No, I am just resting. I built that snowman over there.”
“A snowman? Where?” And there, on the front lawn, stood a cute three feet high snowman, with black eyes, a “carrot” nose, a red mouth, a red scarf, and a red heart at the end of one of his outstretched arms.
“Did you do that?”
“Yes, I was just going to take a picture.”
“Would you like me to take the picture with you standing behind your man?”
“Oh yes, you came just in time. How nice of you!”

On the sidewalk, she handed me her cellphone. At the same time, Lani ran around her, the poopy bag flew out of my hand and before I knew it Lorraine fell on the ground and her cell phone landed at my feet. I was shocked, helped her up and picked up her phone, which looked ok. Then I loudly commanded Lani to stay at a distance and sit. She did. “I am all right,” said Lorraine, “I landed on my butt and that is the best place to land on if you fall.” I was worried, nevertheless. Bad things happen when people fall. But she walked up to the snowman and posed for two different pictures and was delighted. She got her phone back and went inside, and Lani and I picked up the baggie and went home.

The next day I called Lorraine and asked how she was. She was delighted that I called and said the pictures had gone out to all her kids and grandkids. “They always sent me pictures of the snow, and now I could send them one of my own!” We had a delightful conversation. She is eighty-seven years old, no less, and we promised to meet again soon.

Busy Times, Happy Times

The snow is almost all the way gone and I can safely walk again with Lani. I am juggling my time between taking care of Mike’s leg, organizing things at home, making doctor’s appointments for both of us and much more. This week, we happily said goodbye to the Physical Therapist: Mike has reached his goals (or her goals?)! And today, the wound nurse will be here for the last time to sign him out; I think next Friday will be our last visit to the Wound Healing Center, and all of that because the wound has healed. Hallelujah!

Just yesterday, I heard that there are three more spots on my leg that are cancerous. The Skin Center will only do two surgeries at a time, so I am up for 2 of those! They will be under local anesthesia, thank goodness. I may even be able to drive myself home afterwards. We’ll see. I’m in the planning stages.

A blessing of the snow days was that I actually finished a book! Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert (his novel Moloka’i was a national best seller) brought back many memories of Hawai’i, but I also learned gripping and gruesome details of the detention camps in California where Japanese Americans were detained during World War Two. Those details were new to me, probably because I have been focusing my research on World War Two in the Pacific and the concentration camps. What a blessing for all that those war years are a thing of the past.

May your days be peaceful and happy!

Until next time





A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2022-104

Indonesia has named its new capital Nusantara, as lawmakers approve the shift from Jakarta to Kalimantan — a jungle-covered area on the east of Borneo island.
The new name translates to “archipelago” in the Indonesian language.
Concerns over the sustainability of the congested and rapidly sinking political center of Jakarta prompted the need for a new capital, and the nation’s House of Representatives officially passed a bill on Tuesday regarding the relocation.
“The relocation of the capital city to Kalimantan is based on several considerations, regional advantages, and welfare. With the vision of the birth of a new economic center of gravity in the middle of the archipelago,” said Suharso Monoarfa, the country’s Minister of National Development Planning, according to Indonesia Parliament TV.
President Joko Widodo first announced the capital would be relocated in 2019, citing concerns over Jakarta’s environmental and economic sustainability. “Joko” in short, is a great President and young enough to accomplish a lot of his plans.
Jakarta sits on swampy ground near the sea — making it especially prone to flooding — and is one of the fastest-sinking cities on Earth, according to the World Economic Forum. The former capital has been dropping into the Java Sea at an alarming rate due to over-extraction of groundwater.

If I see the images of poverty and dirt in the streets, I remember the great contrast to the walled-in neighborhoods with homes of the rich, mostly Chinese people, right next door. Not only in Jakarta, but in every big city we came through on our journey in 1993. What a shame that this beautiful country, the land of my birth, is so poverty-stricken that any help seems an impossible task. I am happy that we took that pilgrimage in 1993 and still experienced some of the beauty of the country and the friendliness of the people.

Ice and cold

As was predicted, we had one full day and night with freezing rain, low temperatures and an ice storm. We stayed home, and it was wonderful. With enough food in the house, there was no need to go out, with the exception of Lani of course. But precisely for occasions like this we built the fenced area behind the house, adjacent to the patio. Because she is not used to it, I sprayed part of the area with a dog-attracting spray. Well, it did not attract Lani. She did not do anything until 4:00 p.m., and nothing since, not even early the next morning. Thank goodness the sidewalks were dry and I could take her for a walk. And two more later on.

Final cleanup of Christmas things

It’s done! Our son came by to take the lights of the fence and yesterday I found boxes for the lights, the wreath and the Christmas wreath at the front door.
Having a wreath on your front door is not really a Dutch custom. But I have noticed them in the United States in many places. Just like the Welcome Garden flags. I often wondered if you would knock on people’s door, would you be really welcome?

But anyway, we first had a large wreath on the fence for Christmas, two years ago, the one I just put away. Then I found a wonderful shop on Etsy, that had a Gnome-themed wreath for Christmas. That one put away just now, I went shopping again and I found a Valentine’s Day wreath! If you are into wreaths, or want to start getting into wreaths, check out this website: shopwelcomewreath.etsy.com

If you want to brighten your day each time you enter your front door, find a wreath you love. They have wreaths and signs for all seasons!

May your days be bright and beautiful!
Until next time,

A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-103

Expired medications

Do you have vials of expired medications stashed somewhere in the back of a shelf, like I do? They say: do not dispose of in the trash or in the toilet. I am an obedient kind of girl. A rule is a rule kind of person. When we first moved here, almost five years ago, I found that the police office in Cary had a bin where you could drop them off. Not the whole vials though. I had to stand there and open them one by one and empty them in the bin. They stopped doing that. The police have better things to do than dispose of expired medications, I guess. Then I read about a program that offered a one day a year drop-off. Yeah right. That never worked. I continued my research off and on, until I found, in December, that the hospital where Mike was for two days, would take them. But when I came there, nobody knew anything about it. I continued with Google and finally found there was one Pharmacy, in downtown Cary, where I could drop off what felt like my contraband. What a discovery! It is an old-fashioned Pharmacy, with an eating area with cafeteria tables and benches, a store with many articles, cards and gifts, and in the back was the Pharmacy, where, on the side, was a bin that said: Expired meds. for disposal. I came prepared, with a ziplock bag containing what looked like candy. I’m so delighted to have found that place so close to home, that I can’t wait to go back there, perhaps only for a cup of coffee and to browse the merchandise. Oh, and on another shelf I found some more contraband! So I will have a reason to go back again soon. But just not now.

January Covid Threats

More and more people are testing positive and go into isolation, or getting Covid for real and even have to go to the hospital. Yes, even here where we live. Until yesterday, we were not informed of the fact that one of the key Associates got Covid on Christmas Day and is now in the hospital, poor soul. After two vaccinations and a booster we felt so safe, so secure. But as it is, the threat of the rapidly spreading Omicron is real. We have ordered the official, “best” KN95 masks, and a set of do-it-yourself 15 minute Covid tests from Amazon. On our way home from the Wound Clinic last Friday, we saw miles of cars from both directions heading to a “Covid Testing Station; Registration required” in a side street: stop and go.

You know, in a way it conjures images of my mother’s experiences when we were incarcerated by the Japanese, and she had to get registered. The threat of not knowing what would happen to us, the loud commands and brutal treatment must have scared her immensely. Can you see her, a young mother with a toddler and a three-year old, not knowing what was in store? And then experiencing three years of harsh punishments, malnutrition, diseases and no medication, without any indication that the war would soon end? On a small scale that is what we are going through now with these terrible viruses. We are being punished with headaches, fever, breathing difficulties and even death. It has lasted for two years already and the end is not in sight! We ask ourselves, will it ever end or will we have to live with it for the rest of our lives?

We, in our cozy cottage, are doing the best we can to stay safe. We have cancelled appointments with the dentist, ophthalmologist and more; cancelled a flight from one of our children who wanted to come and visit. I just shopped at Costco with Instacart, groceries delivered to the door. The only doctor I saw last week was the dermatologist, who took a slice of my recovered wound (from the time in November when I fell off a step-stool) and sent it to the lab. Now I keep my fingers crossed that it will come back negative, benign, and not cancerous.

Let there be Light!

On January 10 we celebrated our 61st Wedding Anniversary. It was a wonderful, relaxing day, with fond memories of the reunion we had in the house on the beach last summer, to celebrate our 60th. Our son searched online for the kind of gift appropriate for a 61st Anniversary and could not find any, other than diamonds for a 60th. But what he brought was magnificent! Lights! A long strip of LED lights to put on top of our bookcase in our fairly dark interior. It replaced a four-year old strip, which had dimmed over the years.

For the same celebration, I did a fantastic kitchen remodel. I created four windows with an ocean view!  I had noticed that the Anthuriums I had never flowered again; and the orchid was not even growing new leaves. They needed light. I put them on the kitchen counter under the fluorescent light of the overhead cabinet. But plants need to be in a window sill, not on a kitchen counter, I thought. Right? So I went to work and in a few days, one Anthurium is sprouting two flower buds, the orchid is showing the start of a blossom stalk between the leaves, and the new Amaryllis (not in the picture yet) grew three inches! Take a look at my windows and let me know what you think!


It’s a Wonderful World!

Until next time,



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2021-102

A Pictorial Blog Post

The past week’s time to write evaporated into thin air. We watched the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, dozing off in our lazy chairs; I actually read a few chapters in a new book! My acquired wound dressing  skills became helpful when a friend in the main building called: he had fallen two days ago and badly injured his arm. A friend down the hall, who used to be a nurse, came to the rescue, but she put several bandaids on, and blood kept pooling underneath. It caused excruciating pain when I had to pull them off and, with all the leftover supplies I have collected from Mike’s wound dressings, I was able to put on a professional pressure wrap. The doctor and wound nurse were going to take over the next day.

On Monday, I cleared away all the Christmas ornaments until December 2022. Among them are two Arizona stockings which we have never used, because we moved to North Carolina. If anyone is interested, please let me know, and I will sent them to you. We have no fireplace, nothing to hang them from. So they are free for anyone who has a good use for them.

The temperatures dropped from the seventies all through Christmas and New Year’s, to the low thirties in one night, with a flash flood warning and torrential rains in between. some images from my walks in the neighborhood: this little volunteer wasn’t sure if it was still summer or whether to drop its leaves because it was fall…

This little pumpkin, leftover from Thanksgiving, was first “tasted” by a few birds, then by squirrels, who were looking for the seeds inside, and then visited by tiny snails. A sight for Halloween… I finally picked it up and threw it down the hill into the forest for whatever creature would be interested in feasting on it some more.

And if you look closely, new buds are visible on some of the trees by the main building. Lured into thinking Spring was just around the corner by the unusually warm temperatures.



We have started a new year. I hope it will be a good year for all of us and wish everyone the very best.

May your days be peaceful and happy

Until next time,