A New Life! Retirement at its Best 40

The Menu

The nightly dinner menu offers several choices. On the right page we find the soup of the day, a choice of two entrees and a choice of two starches. The entree is chicken, pork, fish, veal or beef and the sides are rice or potatoes or pasta and a vegetable. Most of the time we can find a good choice that is tasty and healthy, although there is not a great selection of fresh vegetables other than sautéed squash or zucchini with onions and peppers. Sometimes beets and carrots, root vegetables, which I like.

On the left side of the menu is the A la Carte, available for a whole month. There is a nice choice of salads, Caesar salad, House salad with dark greens, arugula, tomatoes and cucumber, and more. For sides there are fish cakes and a variety of other items like hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and a vegetable. The names of various items often are a source of amusement. Sometimes things are not what we expect when we read the name. All of last month one of our favorites showed: Hari Covert Beans. They were always prepared well, green and crisp, and the servers understood what you wanted if you pointed at the item on the menu or plainly called them green beans. “Ah yes, green beans.” Then, also last month, they added a vegan dish: Vegetable quesadilla. We don’t know of any Mexicans working in the kitchen, but the first night it was offered I ordered it; my expectations were high, because I love Mexican food. However, I was disappointed this time. The contents of a small, folded tortilla (I got only one) consisted of a few slices of zucchini, a couple of strips of red pepper and some mashed spaghetti squash, oh yes, and some onions. No cheese. Really? Yup, no cheese. So a few days later, when one of our  table mates said he did not like all the cheesy sauces on everything, I could honestly say, “Have a quesadilla.” That evening, the kitchen staff had wizened up though, and the quesadilla did contain some shredded cheese, but most of it could easily be scraped off because it had not melted – sometimes the food is not really hot. All in all though the staff really works hard to serve the food as quickly as possible, on heated plates, the chef tries to please everybody, and the pastry chef makes every dinner a success, night after night.

This month, a new item on the A la Carte menu was another dinner salad, a Spinach salad with sliced chicken breast, goat cheese, strawberries, nuts and a strawberry-champagne dressing on the side, at least, it looked and smelled like strawberries and champagne . We have had other dinner salads, like a Cobb, and a Mexican tortilla salad, but a Spinach salad is one of my favorites. The third night, Dolly and Rex joined us for dinner and two of us highly recommended the spinach salad. When it was her turn to order, Dolly looked up at the server and said, “I would like to have the Spinach salad, but  please leave out the spinach.” One other person at the table and I exchanged a look and a wink, the other four did not notice a thing. “I’m sorry Ma’am, but the Spinach salads are already plated in the kitchen, so I can’t leave the spinach out.” Dolly decided on a hamburger instead.

Jordan Lake

One of the favorite outings is a trip on the bus to Jordan Lake. They organize it twice a year. For all outings you have to make reservations on a list in the Activity room. The bus holds only twelve people, and is prepared to transport walkers and/or wheel chairs in the back. This time it held cases of bottled water and wraps and cookies, our lunch on the water. Two weeks ago we were lucky to make it. Jordan Lake is a reservoir west of Cary that covers 13,940 acres with a shoreline of 180 miles (290 km) at its standard water level of 216 feet (66 m) above sea level. The water level can fluctuate quite a bit, as our guide pointed out, showing a level mark far above our heads on a pillar of one of the bridges. It was developed as part of a flood control project prompted by a particularly damaging tropical storm that hit the region downstream in September 1945. Constructed at an original cost of US $146,300,000, it is owned and operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which dammed and flooded the Haw River and New Hope River between 1973 and 1983. This spring, one of our grandsons had Regatta races with his rowing team in the Marina area, there is a State Recreation area and many undeveloped camp sites offer the opportunity to be one with nature for a while.

After about an hour we parked the bus and boarded a pontoon boat, which took us to many parts of the lake. We were hoping to see a bald eagle, and we were lucky, we saw three, two adults and a junior, a rare occurrence according to the driver of the boat. Sightings of other birds, the Dam, built in the seventies, and more of his stories enlivened our tour, and lunch, with complimentary pita chips and artichoke dip went down well.


Not only are medical buildings close by, but shops and restaurants are as well. Last Saturday after breakfast I took the opportunity to go shopping early because there is no PT on Saturdays. I needed new running shoes; the old pair still has good soles, but my big toes start peeking through the canvas top. When I got to the shoe store I discovered to my dismay that I had forgotten to bring my insoles and socks, and my cellphone as well. I can’t tell you how often I forget to take my cellphone! That’s really awful, and every day I try to remember not to forget anything. Anyway, I should have gone home right away, because Mike would be wondering where I was  without hearing from me. However, I decided that, since I still had the old shoes, plus a heavy duty pair for long walks, and since Dillard’s was only five minutes away, I would go to Dillard’s to look for a bathing suit for our upcoming family reunion. I still have a bathing suit, two actually. You can’t very well live in Hawai’i and go swimming daily at Richardson’s or at any of the white sand beaches on the other side of the island without multiple bathing suits, right? The third one I owned, my favorite one, had lost its elasticity. So to go back to having three, I went to Dillard’s just to look for a bathing suit; I had not seen any nice ones anywhere lately, but you never know…It is a trait left over from the war, when we lacked everything. It will stay with me for as long as I live, I think, I have to make sure I always have two of everything. Just in case one gets lost, or I can’t get another one, or… To make a long story short, I went shopping for running shoes and came back with a beautiful bathing suit. Mike had been terribly worried about me because I stayed away for so long without a call, but when he saw the suit he liked it so much that he just frowned and told me to always take my cellphone with me from now on. I promised to do my very best.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,



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