A New Life: Great Expectations! 2023 – 27

Sweltering heat no more!

The air conditioning was fixed, but it will not be needed for long: A full day of rain caused by Ophelia, the storm that blew right onto the North Carolinas, brought cooler temperatures. And September 23 was the first day of Fall!

Welcome fall! The autumnal equinox—the September equinox or the fall equinox—arrived on Saturday, September 23. Not only do temperatures drop, but plant life slows down and so do we. The fall equinox and the first day of autumn arrives on Saturday, September 23, 2023, at 02:50 A.M.EDT in the Northern Hemisphere. The equinox occurs at the same moment worldwide. I had always associated September 21 with the first day of fall, but apparently that happens rarely. A September 21 equinox has not happened for several millennia! In the 21st century, it will happen twice—in 2092 and 2096. So, that will not happen in my lifetime!

Meniscal tear update

Last Monday, after eight weeks of physical therapy with a great guy, my non-surgeon took 25cc of yellow fluid out of my knee and injected some pain reliever. The next day I was on Cloud Nine: no pain in my knee at any time. I was delighted that I could walk Lani at night, half a mile, and I walked her again on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning was the first time that I had to put on a jacket and a scarf. From now on I hope to be able to walk her again in the evenings. In the mornings Mike needs me and I can’t just leave him in bed for too long. We are early risers, I get up at 6 a.m. and Mike at 7.


Last week we had some delicious dinners from several restaurants: Turkish Tzatziki Chicken and a Vietnamese spicy lemongrass dish with tofu. Both so delicious that I have ordered them twice in two weeks. Tofu, in Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese dinners is a delicious, healthy alternative to chicken, and we try to limit eating a lot of red meat.

Flu shots and Covid tests  

We both got our flu shots at the pharmacy last week. The Pharmacist came out to the car to give Mike his shot, so Mike wouldn’t have to come in. The new Covid shots will be available in October, and we are on the list. Then, we also heard that 4 new do-it-at-home Covid tests are available free of charge. We have a box full of free Covid tests in the closet, but I heard for the first time that they have an expiration date, that expiration dates have been extended, and that there is a list of extended test expiration dates you can check. So that is another project: check all the tests we already have and see when their expiration dates really expire! They say that it is now clear that every year, together with our flu shot, we should also expect to get a Covid shot. If you get them at the same time, do them at different arms, is what my doctor advised.

I also heard that it is better to get your annual flu shots always in the same arm. Why? Because they then go to the same lymph nodes each time and you will build up better immunity that way.  And so we strive to go into fall and winter healthy, and always happy and thankful for the blessings we receive daily.

And that’s a wrap!

Until next time,






A New Life: Great Expectations! 2023 – 26

A Makeover

A good friend has a business in makeup and asked if I was interested in a Makeover. Well, of course, any time! She wanted me to take a selfie of my face without any makeup in natural light and send it to her. I’m sure that everyone has taken many selfies, but this was my first one. Ha! It is surely not a picture to put on my website! Since my acting days are over, I have never used stage makeup anymore, but rather like the natural look with a little less makeup. So I was very curious how the Seint beauty products would give me a natural, but more beautiful look. The session with my friend was fun, the products I ordered are on their way, and in a few days I will proudly be able to wear my Hawaiian name Makalani again. Perhaps then I will take another selfie to show you the results 🙂

Back to the basics

Since I twisted my knee and tore the meniscus last June, I have not had much exercise, and I miss it. So I just set up a daily schedule for myself to get into the swing of things again: a goal that must be attainable. PT three mornings a week, dog walks two evenings a week, and two times a session of exercises for core and back on my yoga mat. Starting today: I’m looking forward to it. I did sign up  for a month of chair yoga on the computer, but found out that’s not for me. I prefer to go down on the mat.

Blackout: sweltering heat!

Two days ago, we had a short blackout, which threw off the computer. I got that started again, but I am afraid it disabled the thermostat. Two nights ago, it felt very warm, and indeed, it was 74 degrees when I got up instead of 60. Yet it showed that the cool air was running according to schedule. Well, 74 is ok as a daytime temperature, so I did not think about any possible problem. But at night, it was 77, then 78, and so I turned on the ceiling fan in order to be able to sleep. At 1:15 a.m., when I woke up, I shut the whole system down and opened the sliding door to the patio, because Alexa told me that it was 72 outside, and it was 79 inside. Today, Tuesday afternoon, it went up to 81 (27 C for my Dutch readers). When I found out that none of the fuses was off, I called an HVAC company and they promised they would come out today. But the day is almost over!

Coffee hour at the Club

We were lucky that today, the second Tuesday of the month, we could go to the coffee hour at the Club and be in a cool room with neighbors to talk to and delicious treats to eat with our coffee. Tomorrow morning, after PT, I will go to the pool again. It’s a funny thought: the pool water is right now 82 degrees, and it feels wonderfully cool. The house is up to 82 degrees as well, but it is stifling.

Dog training

Because Lani’s daily barking at everybody that comes by the window, and at every delivery, and at the gardeners on Wednesday was finally working on our nerves, and talking to her did not help a bit, I went on Amazon and found an NPS dog training device that has rave reviews. It came the same day. After charging and watching the training video, I have great expectations about the results.

Dinner’s coming

My Chef can be here any minute with dinner: a shrimp cacciatore for Mike and chicken cacciatore for me; with vegetables and desserts. Aren’t we lucky to have a Chef just around the corner in the next street, who cooks dinner for our neighborhood twice a week? We are truly counting our blessings!

And that’s a wrap!

Until next time,


A New Life: Great Expectations! 2023 – 25

Labor Day Weekend

It was a hard labor week: days without caregivers, a visit to the dermatologist in Cary, always a hassle. But there were many positives: the clock repair man came to the house to do the bi-annual clock maintenance, the dermatologist prescribed a new medication for Mike, and the new physical therapist visited twice.

The weekend was memorable! I made time for myself and read and finished a great book. Because I was pain free one whole day, I had so much energy that I made nasi goreng for dinner one night and nasi with saté ajam and green beens another night! Our friend’s grandson came over and – although he said he had never done this before – he took all the weeds out of the border, so it looks beautiful. Perhaps he will get other job offers now: the neighbor across the lawn was also interested.

A Dentist’s visit

Not the same as a visit to the dentist! This dentist came to the house and gave Mike a professional cleaning plus x-rays while he sat in his own comfortable recliner.  He mentioned that he also visits people in Waltonwood and other retirement places. We knew about that, but in those days we still had a dentist in town and moving around was not as difficult for Mike. Four years can make a great difference when you are 85!

Two evenings I took Lani out for a half mile walk, and it went reasonably well. Our dog walker was out of town and her sister took over in the mornings. I am less and less thinking about that knee, and moving around without pain is wonderful. From now on, I will appreciate every day that I can walk on both legs; I will not take it for granted as before. You think you are invincible, but slowly but surely, when you are in your eighties, body parts wear out. It happened to me. Just my knee though, the rest is still in optima forma. 🙂

At the end of the month the pool will be closed. So yesterday, I put on my suit and UV protective long sleeve shirt and went to the pool down the street to do some water exercises. No swimming yet. The water temperature was 85.5 degrees, just wonderful. Three other residents joined me after fifteen minutes, nice to get to know them.

Trying to save my Cat Palm

It was beautiful when I got it, but I put it in the wrong place and gave it the wrong fertilizer. Poor thing. One by one the fronds turned brown. After I had moved it too my office, the wonderful sunny room, and it got some morning sun, new fronds sprouted out. And today, before it got too hot outside (98 degrees) I repotted it and cut off all the old stuff. It does not look good yet, but where there is life, there is hope, and I will try to get it nice and green again.

And that’s a wrap!

Until next time, stay well.




A New Life: Great Expectations! 2023 – 24

An impromptu dessert birthday party

Mike’s 86th birthday started with a lot of surprises. When I opened the front door, there was a box with six fresh donuts. Ten minutes later, somebody brought two bouquets of flowers, a delicious cheesecake dessert for two, an apple pie, a chocolate bar and a small balloon. Dennis and Stephanie brought us a delicious lunch from Chick-fil-A, and the next-door neighbor brought a container of frozen custard.

My thoughts: Let’s share, let’s have a party! I made three phone calls, and five guests appeared at 7 o’clock on our doorstep. The apple pie was delicious with the frozen custard on top, and we also had chocolate oatmeal cookies, and chocolate Oreo cookie balls, leftover in the freezer from the time our grandson made them during his visit.

An hour and 45 minutes later the guests had left, there was very little to clean up in the kitchen, and we sat and reflected for a while on a wonderful evening.

Physical Therapy

It’s going well! I have a great therapist, five minutes from the house, who does special strengthening exercises with me for left knee and hip. On Monday, I will see the surgeon again and hopefully, when he sees my improvement, he will prescribe more physical therapy and forget about surgery. Ultimately, my goal is to walk again without pain, and not just around the house, but three miles a day with the dog.

Because Mike would also benefit from physical therapy, but it is difficult for him to go places, I looked for outpatient therapy services. Online, I found a company by the name of LUNA, that does just that. I called them yesterday, and already today a very sweet therapist came for an evaluation. She will come back twice a week. The company also gets in touch with Mike’s Primary Care Provider and they will bill Medicare. If I had known it was this easy, I would have started looking  earlier.


The day before Mike’s birthday, Lani turned five. It is amazing to watch her mature and change her likes and dislikes. When we still lived in Cary, she slept in the sunroom, separated from the living room by a half wall, and closed off for the night by a 24″ high little gate. She never attempted to jump the gate, although she could jump on the loveseat and in our laps. One night, she did not want to sleep there anymore. when I tried to force her, she almost bit me. I bought her a little basket that fit under my vanity in the bedroom. She loved it. For almost two years. Then, just around the day she turned five, she jumped on our bed. Try as we might, she would jump off and right back on when the lights were off. And that’s how it stayed for two weeks now. She sleeps at the foot end of our bed on top of the bedspread between our (moving) legs, until the birds start singing in the living room: that is our alarm, singing birds: time to get up, 6 a.m. Our dog walker Monica will stay on until my meniscus has healed enough that I can walk any distance with Lani. It’s been two months since the injury, and going well.

Labor Day

Everyone is excited with the long weekend, the end of summer and start of fall. Some of the plants in the patio border are blooming again, and I desperately need someone to do some weeding for me as long as I can’t squat down yet. Perhaps the neighbor’s grandson will be interested in earning a little money. Where has the time gone that my sister Paula and I were happy picking up snails for 1 cent a piece? We got buckets full of them, at least once a week. That was after the war, in our yard in Surabaya. A few years before that, during the last war year in the Halmahera camp, we ate them, if we could find any before our neighbors did.

Anyway, I’m wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Stay safe if you are traveling!

Until next time,