A New Life: Great Expectations! 2024 – 43


Hello again, dear friends! I hope this finds you well and happy, because Life is a wonderful gift, no matter your age. The things to enjoy in life are different in each stage; to realize and appreciate that is a gift as well. Being 85 brings not only memories of joy and traveling, but also consequences of the limitations of an aging body. We are not traveling anymore, and most of our enjoyment comes from the shared travel and activities of children and grandchildren. To name a few: one grandson, on his nineteenth birthday, flew as co-pilot two passengers from Raleigh, NC to Tampa, Florida, first time in a jet. He is now studying to become a flight instructor. At nineteen! A granddaughter won third prize in a running competition of a district of fourth graders. Yet another granddaughter sings in an acapella choir and traveled to Carnegie Hall in New York to perform. We watch the collegiate rowing races of another grandson on TV, and the excitement of watching his boat of 8 pull through the finish line as number One is real. I am on the edge of my seat, pointing out the yellow shirts in the third boat: that’s him! This time of year, proms and graduations are happening, and we are getting lots of pictures from near and far.

The last all-family reunion we had was for our 60th wedding anniversary, three years ago. Eleven of the fifteen family members our de Jong family has grown into could make it. Our joy these days is that the three siblings have mini reunions whenever there is an opportunity. And once or twice a year our daughters fly to North Carolina to see us. We are staying in the loop.


While my writing had already changed from books to articles to Blog posts, it is now re-routing to reading more. Not only good books, but articles on exercising, staying healthy and improving memory. Right now I am reading The Women, a cannot-put-down story about nurses in the Vietnam war. Why another war story? Well, I know nothing about the Vietnam war, and although I have read several good books about WWII in Europe, stories about the war in Asia interest me more.

Lumosity has been a favorite mind strengthening program for years, and now they are offering a special online class in improving your memory 100%. It requires commitment on the computer for six or seven weeks. But since I can see and hear Mike from my lovely, sunny office, I should be able to do that.

Soon, I will resume the exercises on my yoga mat. Right now, I am recovering from a fall. On April 15, on an early walk with Lani, she saw another dog and dashed around me, her leash pulling me down. And I fell. Supported by my guardian angel, I fell in the border on my side with my hands out. It took the wind out of me, so I sat for a few minutes, but then got up and walked home. Not a single bruise, no pain, I could just go to work. The pain came a day later, in both my sides, and was so severe, that I got the strongest pain killer Google suggested: Aleve. I took it twice a day for five days. Then, when I did not feel so well and took my blood pressure, it was so high that I had to go to the ER. Our Apex hospital is only 4 miles from here, so we were there fast. All tests were good, so I was home again in time for dinner. Apparently, the Aleve conflicted with one of the two medications I am taking. From now on I will check interactions whenever I get a new prescription for whatever! I have my own cuff now, and store it in a rattan basket that I used to keep my Hawaiian leis in when I was still dancing, just a few years ago, in Waltonwood. See the shift here? From garlands around my neck to one around my upper arm. 🙂

Quiet contentment

Mike loves to watch the many concerts of world famous Dutch violinist André Rieu on Television from his recliner and we usually watch the news during our lunch hour. I love to do some gardening outside in the border and inside repotting plants that are doing well. I have a beautiful red poinsettia that dates back to December 1, 2023. I will have to find out if I can hold it over till next December. That is not all though. My days are full with the things I mentioned earlier and also with making doctors’ appointments, ordering groceries and meals, and all the other things needed to keep a household running. Together, we make a happy life.

Regular weekly posts will be a thing of the past. Do not expect any, then it will be a surprise if a new post arrives in your mailbox. I would love any messages and comments and of course emails and texts if you have time. Stay safe and healthy!

Until next time,