A New Life: Great Expectations! 2023 – 12

A Gentle Leader

A couple of weeks ago, walking on the trail without Lani, I met a lady with two Doodles. When I explained why I did not have mine with me on the walk, she showed me what her dogs were wearing: a head collar named Gentle Leader. I found it on Amazon – of course – and tried it on Lani right away. After only one time Lani was used to it and we have walked the trail twice already together. She “leads” me gently (a very appropriate name for the collar) but never pulls anymore. No more back pain, no more frustration, it is absolutely wonderful, and I can highly recommend it to any of you who own a pulling dog. It comes in sizes: Lani has a Small, but we are regularly meeting a 100 lb dog on the trail with a size Large. His name is Braum.

Through the dogs I meet, I get to know about all the video games that the younger generation is crazy about. Blessed with massive biceps and an even bigger heart, Braum is a beloved hero of the Freljord. Every mead hall north of Frostheld toasts his legendary strength, said to have felled a forest of oaks in a single night, and punched an entire mountain into rubble. Bearing an enchanted vault door as his shield, Braum roams the frozen north sporting a mustachioed smile as big as his muscles—a true friend to all those in need. Well, the Braum we meet on the trail is huge, but that is about the only thing that the owner could have considered when giving him this name. This Braum is a gentle giant, with very long, fluffy white hair, beautifully groomed, always eager to greet us.

And then we often meet AelaAela the Huntress is a member of The Companions guild and is a Werewolf in Skyrim. Skyrim is a rare kind of intensely personal, deeply rewarding experience, and one of the best role-playing games yet produced. Aela is a specialist and highly skilled in Archery. Her primary skills are Light Armor and Sneak. Her secondary skills are One-Handed and Speech. Well, this Aela is a sweet one year old brown mix, slim and very timid. She (or he?) seemed to like us at first sight, and her owner says every time that she (or he?) has not come close to anyone else like this; and her (his) day would be very happy because we met.

At least we think that the name Lani we chose for our Doodle is more appropriate; it means heavenly girl, and that she is!

The neighborhood is rapidly changing in appearance and color. From bare-branched trees and brown borders along the roads and in the back, suddenly everything is green! The landscaping is great: flowering bushes and azaleas, trees, and it is all new to us, because we moved here in November. The area is a little hilly, and the architecture of the different homes is beautiful and interesting.

Our dinners are varied and delicious. After some trial and error, I now order dinners straight from nearby restaurants. And twice a week MyChef caters two dinners and desserts to the neighborhood, and delivers them around dinner time.

Motorized Solar Screens

They are here, installed within an hour, after the original vertical blinds had been removed. What a fantastic solution to the sun coming far into the room at the heat of the day!

Another Mohs Surgery

In case you don’t know, it’s actually quite interesting:

Mohs surgery, developed in 1938 by a general surgeon, Frederic E. Mohs, is microscopically controlled surgery used to treat both common and rare types of skin cancer. During the surgery, after each removal of tissue and while the patient waits, the tissue is examined for cancer cells. That examination dictates the decision for additional tissue removal. Mohs surgery is the gold standard method for obtaining complete margin control during removal of a skin cancer (complete circumferential peripheral and deep margin assessment – CCPDMA) using frozen section histology.[1] CCPDMA or Mohs surgery allows for the removal of a skin cancer with very narrow surgical margin and a high cure rate.

The Cary Skin Center is famous for this type of cancer surgery; people come from all over, book a hotel so they can make the often early appointments. I am a regular now, sadly. They know me by name, check me in the moment I enter the door,  even without signing in. This time it was on my left forearm, two cuts, and a total of three hours.

The good thing is that during the wait times for lab results, I had a chance to read! I am well into Madam, My Mother, the English translation of the book by Yvonne Keuls, Mevrouw, Mijn Moeder. The person who translated this wonderful book is Renske Mann-van Slooten, a cousin of Yvonne Keuls and herself a published author. I read the original in Dutch, and am delighted with the English translation: English is such a beautiful language, and definitely more personal (meer eigen) after having lived in the United States for over fifty years. How I loved to translate my mother’s journal of our years in the Japanese concentration camps.

I can’t redo all the years of sun damage during my life. But I cover up with long sleeves and my cowboy hat whenever I go for a walk in the sun, you can believe that! I don’t know if I will sit by the pool or swim this summer. We’ll see.

The Kentucky Derby

Another party is coming up at the club! Complete with dollar bets on horses, mint juleps and hats! I am now in the planning stages of dressing for the occasion and of course finding an appropriate hat! I have never had a mint julep before in my life, have you? I had to look it up on Google and I can’t wait to taste one!

And that’s a wrap!

Until next time,








2 thoughts on “A New Life: Great Expectations! 2023 – 12”

  1. Just a question, do you cook at all?
    I love Yvonne Keuls books. Listening to the audio book going to work often left me in stitches
    I will order her book in English so my other daughter can enjoy it also
    Be well

    • Hello Iedje,

      Thank you for your question. No, I do not cook at all, have not cooked in five years, since we lived in the retirement community. But…I just now ordered spices for nasi goreng and rendang! Plus extra firm tofu. I love tofu. Those seemed easy to do. And… Costco has fully cooked sate ajam, which I ordered last week and served with katjang sauce. So…back to the basics of my homeland. Mike loves it too. The only thing I have made over the years is banana-ginger jam, dating back to our years in Hawai’i, when we had banana trees down by our stream and a ginger farm across the road. Those were the days!


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