A New Life! Retirement at its Best 87

Our Puppy becomes a Dog

What a day, I say again. Emotionally draining for me. Lani went in for her third grooming session. I dropped her off at 7:40 a.m. and discussed the grooming do’s and don’ts with her groomer. Because of the recent rains, dreadlocks had formed at her throat, underneath her collar, and on various other places. Those dreadlocks can’t be cut but have to be shaved off. Lani was always calm and easy to work on when I had put her on the counter and recently I combed two handfuls of burrs out of her fur, but then I gave up, the combs were not good enough. And so, the groomer and I talked about the length of her fur, her facial trims, legs and so on. Aww, she would lose her 4″ long baby fur! I could not imagine what she would look like and was anxious all day about the outcome of the trim. At 3 p.m., the call finally came and I went to get her. It was a shock to see her coming through the door, so changed! With 1″ long hair she is still fluffy and her head looks like a poodle (her dad), very cute! In four days she will be 9 months, and as of today she weighs 19 pounds.

After breakfast we had a fire drill in the main building, which took almost two hours; now I know how to operate a fire extinguisher should I be near one when a fire breaks out. One thing did not make sense: the fire hydrants in the main building are in a locked closet with a glass door. If you are a little old lady, even if you would remember how to use a fire extinguisher, you would not have a key to quickly open the closet, you would not be able to smash in the glass, not even if you could manage to take off your shoe to try to do it with, and you would not be strong enough to lift up your walker to smash the glass door with. All you could do would be cry for help. But nobody would hear you because everyone would have exited the building, according to protocol, at the first sound of the alarm. You would be a helpless victim. Something to bring up to Management!

Clock work

For the past three weeks something was wrong with the little hand of our 120-year old clock. I called the clock repair guy and decided to take it over to him on the spur of the moment because he would not be in on Friday; it gave me something to do to take my mind off Lani. A distance of 18 minutes, it took some time to go there and come back, and then, hopefully, Lani would be ready. I made it before rush hour back and forth, and by now, Thursday evening, Lani, our mini Goldendoodle  is home again and peace has returned to the de Jong residence.

Swan Lake

Imagine sitting in the huge Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, the crown jewel of North Carolina performing arts, which opened in 1932, and, after some dramatic renovations in 1990, now blends state-of-the-art technical amenities like sound-reflective mahogany walls and intricate lighting systems with grand theater traditions. With its dramatic atrium lobby, twin floating staircases and gorgeous Doric columns, Raleigh Memorial Auditorium brings the magic and inspiration of all these artists to life for visitors.

This Saturday afternoon we were watching Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, performed by the Carolina Ballet, accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle in front of the stage. And there, among the talented musicians, we could see our son Dennis play second trumpet! Let me tell you that we were the proudest parents in the audience! What an amazing son we have. He had a contract for two evening and two matinee weekend performances with the ballet, with barely a break in between. And, thinking he had at least the Saturday morning off to spend with his family, that did not turn out to be. He left the house at 9 a.m. and showed five Million dollar properties to clients (He is also a realtor). He picked us up to go to the show, took two bananas and a small bottle of water to eat en route, played from 2 till 4:30, took us home, then hopefully got a bite to eat and was ready again for the evening show. Sunday morning he played for an Episcopal church in Raleigh, then off again to the final matinee.

On Tuesday night we have been invited to a recital of the best students and alumni of the Community Music School of Raleigh, of which he is the Executive Director. He is so busy with all kinds of work and performances, that he declined to play for the musical Annie which is coming to town later this month. Because his family comes first and he spends quality time at home with his wife and three sons. We are the proudest parents ever!


Last Friday, I heard that one of my friends at the Club, suffering from a second round of cancer, and on oxygen 24/7, was taken to Hospice – one of the Hospices in town. I had not had a chance to say goodbye…So yesterday morning, after finding out where she was, I went to see her. What could I give her? What can you give to a person who has little time left on this earth and can’t take it with her? I decided on a small tube of hand cream, lily-of-the-valley fragrance, that I had in my bedside drawer. One of my girls gave me a box with six of those for Mother’s Day, different fragrances, and I have not used them yet. I also took four 2.5″ smiley face stickers.

At the Hospice building, named after the founder, Dr. William Dunlap, I found a very friendly volunteer at the front desk, and behind her on the wall a large painting of Mr. Dunlap, another person with a friendly smile and warm eyes. What a wonderful first impression of Hospice. I thought back to my own years of being a volunteer for Verdugo Hills Hospice-in-the home in California, in the eighties. Hospice is still close to my heart. My visit was short, and my friend, who was depressed, did not want any gifts. I said, “I will show you what I have and when you don’t want it, I will take it back.” She smiled at the first sticker and told me where to put it. Three others followed, and she kept smiling, pointing at places where she could see them. The last one I stuck on the bathroom door across from her bed. When she saw the hand cream, she reached over and said, “thank you Ronny.” When I left, I hoped to have brought a little sunshine in her day.

Table talk

For almost two years we have shared a dinner table of four with another couple from Arizona. That “tradition” has come to an end, and how relieved we are! The other gentleman is not happy here, and all he did was complaining about the food, the service and many other things. The complaints found their way to the kitchen, with the result that our dinners often showed up before we had finished the soup or the salad, and our table was the first to finish. We finally decided that breakfast and dinner at the Club were the times that we enjoy talking to people – we do not participate in many activities at the Club, because we are still so busy at home. Which is great for us. But we were not enjoying the “fast food service” any more and today for the first time sat at a table for seven. And enjoyed it tremendously. And we were still home at 6:00 p.m. Sometimes, a decision to make change is the thing to do. We have also changed to another table for breakfast for a change in scenery and to meet new people. Change is good!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


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