A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-28

 A Pillow Project

Did you ever move to another place, house or country? If so, did you find that things may get a different purpose in your new abode? We have many such things. One of them is a beautiful antique beam, coming from Mike’s mother, originally a roof support of an old Dutch farmstead. With four sturdy legs, it served as a display shelf for an antique copper kettle, an antique cast iron sewing machine, a pewter spoon set and more such things. Then we moved to another part of the country and into a smaller house. There was no more room for the beam in the living room and it landed in the hallway. And ever since a little dog entered our lives, I sat on it to put Lani on the leash and put on my walking shoes, two pairs of which are stored underneath. Our decorative beam had become a practical bench. When it became an uncomfortably hard sit, I had a folded towel underneath my tush for a long time. I finally thought, that looks so ugly! I need to make a pillow to sit on. Where can I find material?  The answer came immediately: the unused dust ruffle of the trundle bed in the office! With the help of the maintenance man I got the old Singer from behind the love seat (an excellent storage place) onto the dining table and went to work. The old Singer by the way, which I had purchased from a little old lady in Pasadena, who was our neighbor, screamed at me for not using it more often and not keeping it lubricated. I kept talking to it, hoping it would continue, stitch after stitch, until I would have finished the pillow case plus two short dust ruffles for head and foot end of the trundle bed. I had to change bobbins twice, but Singer kept on going. Lucky me! Then, the filling. Ah! Foam rubber pieces. Can you imagine that I had an almost full bag of them in the garage? Dating back six years ago to Prescott, where I had to add some pieces to a My Pillow? Who moves across the country to a smaller home with half a bag of foam pieces? I did! Because you never know when you would need foam pieces. And lo and behold, my foresight helped me to fill a pillow three years later, while in lockdown!

Another item that changed functionality: a wrought iron candle holder, a gift from a good friend for our 25th wedding anniversary, holding two tall candles, was honored as such in Pasadena, Hilo and Prescott. Now, since we don’t burn candles anymore, certainly not those tall ones, it has become a very practical hat stand for me. Voilà the transformation!






The start of Communal Dining

The news that all previously positive tests came back negative a second time filled us all with joy. The Executive director announced that we will start communal dining in the dining room again on July 7, at tables of two, with four seatings: 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. We, in the cottages, will be in group 4, dining at 6:30 p.m. That is about the time that we were used to having dinner before we moved here. While the next group of diners are waiting their turn (fifteen minutes, for the servers to reset the tables) they can wait in the Players Club, which is across from the Café, and enjoy refreshments. They mentioned wine and beer! Really? Free wine and beer every night? They said yes, but we’ll see. Free wine, by the way, is now delivered for Happy Hour every Friday afternoon by the girls in the golf cart. In the Café we could always have a maximum of two glasses. Small glasses. Some of the men could not live on two glasses of course and went back to the bar to get one more please, sweetheart? We could take our glass to the dining room and have our wine with dinner if we liked. Very early on, the wine came out of bottles and we could choose, red or white. The connoisseurs of red wine could even choose between Merlot and Cabernet. But then, perhaps with the change of management, (we had three of those changes in three years) the wine was served out of large carton boxes with a spout. And, no matter how often we told the “bartenders” that red wine was supposed to be at room temperature and white wine chilled, it was never understood that way. White wine lovers had to add an ice cube or two, that’s to say, if they cared. And the “red” residents? We would warm our hands on the glass and savor our wine a sip at a time. By the time the second glass had lost its frigidity, it was dinner time. That was all before Covid-19 entered our lives.

Nowadays, the girls in the golf cart come by on Friday afternoons at Happy Hour with our red wine, which they pour in plastic cups, standing in the driveway (the girls, not the plastic cups, they stand on the floor of the golf cart). And one day, when I went out to meet them to carry our “glasses” inside, I thought myself back in biblical times when Jesus was talking to his disciples about old wineskins and new wineskins. A wineskin in biblical times was an ancient container made of animal skin, usually a goat, used to transport liquids such as water, olive oil, milk, and wine. Two thousand years later, the animal-skin wineskins have been modernized of course. They are now made of plastic. When I got to the golf cart, I saw to my amazement that Cindy was pouring red wine out of a plastic bag with a black spout. It looked like a bag of blood for a blood transfusion. Or like the catheter bag that hung on the side of the bed of some of my hospice patients many years ago. But those bags contained yellow fluid, not red. It made me think twice about the wine they serve here. It’s a good thing that these days, from the golf cart, we only get one glass. Between three and six o’clock, standing on the counter in the kitchen, decanted in real wine glasses, the wine will have time to acclimatize and we can drink it with dinner.

We have one big concern about the new arrangement of communal dining. Which items on the menu will the kitchen run out of by the time the fourth seating is looking at the menu? It happened before, when there were two seatings, that the second seating often lost out on the choice of meat or dessert. We’ll have to wait and see. It will be a challenge for the kitchen, no doubt. We heard from the chef that several of his crew had left, and recently four new applicants never showed on the interview and then turned around to the Unemployment Office and said they had applied for a job but didn’t get it. How low can you get, even considering this miserable pandemic we are in, to lie and deceive like that?

July Fourth, Independence Day

We had a quiet weekend and watched a lot of beautiful fireworks. Over Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, over Washington DC and over New York City. We were at all three places when we were just married, in 1962, on our way back from California to New York, to the Netherlands, after eighteen months in the United States. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota in fourteen years. Completed in 1941 under the direction of Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln, the sculpture’s roughly 60-ft.-high granite faces depict U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. When we were there, in the time of fewer tourists, there was a tourist information building where you could buy postcards. Now, the site features a museum with interactive exhibits and more. We also visited the Crazy Horse Memorial, 17 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore. The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills, started in 1948. It will be larger than Mount Rushmore and depict the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. It was very impressive when we were there, and then we could only see the outstretched arm and the rounding of the horse’s head. The reason it is not yet finished while they estimated it would take 30 years, is that it is on private land and funded privately and through donations and entrance fees only. The vision of Korczak Ziolkowski, it is the world’s largest mountain carving and considered The Eighth Wonder of the World in progress..


To have seen both these gigantic sculptures in person is an awesome memory.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,



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