A New Life! Retirement at its Best 2020-50

Christmas Preparations

On Tuesday afternoon, I had so much energy when all things were “going my way” that I put up the Christmas tree and two little ones. The 12″ aqua tree that we always put in the bedroom because it blends in with the Hawaiian colors dates back to Christmas 1961: our first Christmas together. We bought it in the shopping center below Rockefeller Plaza, where I worked for a year. I had seen it during my lunch hour and could not resist it, and when Mike saw it later, he bought it for me right away. A 59-year-old Christmas tree, who has it?! Well, perhaps someone among you does have one 59 years or older. If so, let me know! We can share pictures.

My volunteer

This spring and summer, I watched as a little volunteer as they call it, grew in the pot of my gardenia. A pine seed had landed there and grew roots and a straight trunk. I took it out and put it in a pot of its own. Last month, I transplanted it into a larger pot, as an idea grew into my mind: I would make it a Charlie Brown Christmas tree! I found a little red ball, et voilà!

I also put the two lighted candles in the windows on the street side and set the timer. One needed some fixing, but I did it. Dinner came late, so we enjoyed some of our crackers and soft French cheese and opened the Thanksgiving bottle of Cabernet. It was all delicious and relaxing. We took it easy and were still in bed before ten o’clock.

On Wednesday I did more decorating in the house, and now the only thing left to do is putting the ornaments in the tree; that job will have to wait until Thursday.

Nail job

On Wednesday, when Mike had Physical Therapy with his personal trainer – he comes to the house during this time of Covid threat – I had the luxury of two hours of free time! I walked in Wimbledon wit Lani, a double walk, and after that I gave myself a professional manicure and applied Aloha, my favorite color red OPI polish. Years ago, I discovered that OPI, one of the most famous brands in nail polish, is manufactured in the Netherlands, in Helmond. Since March, my nails have grown out strong without the help of acrylic, and I hope to keep them this way. It saves time and money, and yes, I still do some harsh work with my hands, but not as much as before, and I wear rubber gloves whenever I need them for protection. I just feel better with hands that look elegant. I only wish I could cut my own hair! Looking back, we have saved quite some money in the past ten months on hair cuts, nails and gas. “Every cloud has a silver lining,” my mother would say.

The death of a WWII Survivor

Out of the blue, on Sunday night, I received a letter from a lady in Australia, letting me know that my friend and camp survivor Vera Radó  had passed away on November 10. It was a shock, and difficult to believe. She was one of the teenage survivors I interviewed in 2014 for my anthology Survivors of WWII in the Pacific. Vera Radó was a strong, remarkable lady. It took her fifty years to get over the traumas she suffered as a teenage prisoner of the Japanese, but in 2014 she sent me her Memoir to be included in my Anthology. A teenager during the war, she suffered and remembered much more than I, a little girl at the time. A good friend of hers in Den Haag had my first book In the Shadow of the Sun, and told Vera about it. We never met, but became friends at a distance, she in Australia, I in Hawai’i, then in Arizona and now in North Carolina. She was 94. The years don’t mean anything when you are talking and writing and feeling young. But it is a fact that I will need to think about more in the years to come.

We do grow older, and with age come physical changes, sometimes also mental changes. And, especially in these later years, you need to take more time to maintain every part of your body from your head to your toes. Getting a disastrous disease is beyond your control, but without that you can still enjoy many good years in relatively good health. Maintenance of your own body should not be delayed to later years, however. You will reap the gains of long-time health if you start early. I’m sorry, it sounds like I’m preaching. But it’s just how I feel. And an example like Vera’s inspires me.

Covid Testing

We got tested again on Monday, and that will continue weekly for a while longer, a safe feeling.

Dining apart together

For his August birthday, Mike had received a coupon for a Thai dinner. Since our home was too far from the restaurant for them to deliver, we made a deal with the young de Jong family. We chose from the menu, our son picked it up, delivered it to us, then went home to the family with the menu items they had selected and we were treating them to. Both our families enjoyed a Thai dinner, and we even had enough for lunch and dinner the next day! Great fun! Good deal!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,








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