A New Life! Retirement at its Best 30

Extra News on February 14, 2018

I love to share with you all a review of my friend Anna Konya.
Check out her website when you have a few minutes…

Review of my Audiobook by Anna Konya (http://annakonyadesigns.com)

Why and when an Audiobook makes more Sense!

“This is just to let you know that I listen to your fabulous story while working on skirts, and I’ve absorbed much more with the audible version. I love hearing the correct pronunciations, the amazing history, everything. There is so much to be done around here that sitting and reading has kind of gone by the wayside. But listening is quite another thing. I’m loving it. Hope you can “read” all your publications. I know it’s quite an undertaking, but I love it, so of course you’ll do it for me, ha!

At the moment I’m on Chapter 23. Wow, what an adventure. And I must say that your life has certainly encompassed many lives. So many of us get stuck in the arms of habit. Listening to your story is a mind opener for me.  Thank you so much, Ronny!”

Anna Konya touches on the fact that for readers who have no knowledge of life in the Indies and all the “foreign” words that are a large part of my book, it is more enjoyable to listen to the story than to read it, precisely because of the better understanding they get of the whole story with the correct pronunciation.

I wrote my books in the first place for the second and third generations of those of us whose parents were incarcerated but could not talk about the horrors of those years. Through the insightful words of Anna Konya I now realize that the Audiobook makes my story more enjoyable for other readers all over the world as well. Thank you Anna Konya!

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next Time!



A New Life! Retirement at its Best 29

Happy Valentine’s Day to all my friends!

Well, it certainly has been quite a while since I have been in touch. We had a lovely cruise and this time we both stayed healthy thank goodness. It was not until two days afterwards that Mike broke out in coughs and sneezes, probably got the virus on the plane home from Miami, and on Saturday I started. Despite our early flu shots we both got the flu and are staying put with lots of medications. The weather is cooperating, dark clouds and periods of misty rain make it cozy to stay inside.

We left Miami on January 23 in the late afternoon/early evening, capturing a view of the Miami skyline:

After two days on the Caribbean Sea we visited first the Island of Aruba, then Bonaire, both still with strong ties to the Netherlands. Aruba and Bonaire, currently self governing island nations, used to be part of the Dutch West Indies and both produce their own supply of water from seawater. They also produce literally mountains of salt for export to Europe, Asia and America.

Bonaire is famous for snorkeling and especially diving, all around the island. I do not dive, because you need training and a license for that, and there is enough to see with just snorkeling along a reef, I always thought, but I was not aware of “snuba diving”. And now that I am, I have put a new item on my bucket list!

Snuba diving is a relatively young form of diving that was invented in 1989 and further patented in 1990. Since its inception, it has become popular in a large range of locations throughout the world, such as the Caribbean and Hawaii. So what exactly is Snuba diving?  In essence, snuba diving is a combination or snorkeling and SCUBA diving. Snuba diving, like snorkeling, doesn’t require carrying an air tank in order to breathe while swimming underwater. Instead, the air tank is connected to a small raft that sits atop the water above you. Snuba divers are connected to the raft via a lengthy hose. This hose allows divers to dive down approximately 15 ft. and stay there for an extended period of time, swimming around freely without the need to come up to the surface for air, which is one of the primary disadvantages of snorkeling. Whoa! Does that not sound fantastic? There was one other island on our cruise that offered the option of a Snuba diving expedition, but when I wanted to sign up for that on the ship, they said it was canceled because of lack of participation. Had I only know sooner!

In the sixteen hundreds slave trade was rampant in these islands. Tiny living quarters for the slaves were constructed out of stone, rising no higher than a man’s waist with a small entrance to crawl into. Some of these tiny dwellings, in which a man sadly can not stand upright, provided sleeping quarters for up to six people. There must also have been white slaves, since the yellow rock in front of one of the slave quarters indicates “white slave”. In my picture you see the window. On the other side, facing the ocean, is a narrow door opening, the top of which came to my waist.

On both Aruba and Bonaire, Organ Pipe cactus grows everywhere. And of course through the ages people have made use of the things at hand: we saw cactus fences in many places. Now those are fences no burglar will climb!

On Grenada I took a catamaran tour to a snorkeling place and “the most beautiful beach in the world”. Well, the snorkeling place was just from the beach to a rock wall, and the most beautiful beach in the world can’t compare to the beaches in Hawai’i, where I had the privilege to live for twelve years.

One thing is certain though, the Caribbean as well as the Hawaiian waters are warm, turquoise and blue, oh, so blue!


It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time!


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Once in a while you need to escape every day living, and so, when the opportunity arises to celebrate something, we do! Right now, we are celebrating our 57th Wedding Anniversary and are sailing in the Caribbean Sea on our way to Southern islands that have not been hit by the recent Hurricane. Looking forward to visiting Dutch speaking Aruba and Bonaire…

When I get bored I may take to my iPad again, but for now I’ll say, “tot de volgende keer!”

It’s a Wonderful Life!


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Free Audiobook!

Hello dear friends,
Nothing seems more exciting at this time than my Audiobook! It has finally been accepted by Audible (Amazon) and below is the link to my Youtube Preview.

To all of you who are willing to listen to the story and write a review for me on Amazon, I will send a Special Promo Code when you contact me so you can download the Audiobook for free.

If you have relatives or friends who also want my book free of charge, ask them to contact me as well and they will get a Promo Code in exchange for a review by return email!

Contact me through my email ronnyhermandejong@gmail.com or my website: http://www.ronnyhermandejong.com/contact/

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next Time,


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Hanging out with my Grandson

Last weekend all activities in this area were cancelled because of snow earlier and black ice. So all the plans of the de Jong family were deferred to the following weekend, but then they were added to the commitments of that weekend, and that did not all work. That Saturday, the two older boys had auditions with trombone (2) and trumpet for the regional bands and the jazz band, all the way in Greensboro. Their mom took them and had to leave at 5:30 a.m. to make the first audition. Dad had an all day rehearsal in Raleigh for the Sunday performance of the Chamber Orchestra and had to leave at 8:15 a.m. That left a very boring day for the youngest grandson: he had to go along with his brothers with nothing to do all day than hang around. But then there was OmaRon!

We had not been able to celebrate Grant’s 8th birthday because of snow and ice, so I still had his present, and we decided we would spend the day together. I left my house at 7:45 a.m. with the birthday gift and a Dutch treat, picked him up at his house and took him to his basketball game at the Apex Community Center. I learned a few things: for little kids they lower the basketball backboard and net and I think the court is shorter. Those kids could run! And score! It was an important game against a team they had not defeated before, but they did now, with 32 against 23.

When we got home, two girls pushing a cart were on the front door steps. “Hi there, can we help you?”
“Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” one of them said and showed us a list. It was rather early in the year, I thought. Usually I would have to order them and they would drop them off at a later date. We had always bought a few boxes from our granddaughter in California, who then would save them in the freezer until we visited her again.
” Do you have them with you?”
“Yes, we do.” That was an advantage, for them and for us. I selected one box and Grant pointed at another kind, “That is one Mom always buys.”
“Do you have change for $20?” And then the two mothers, who had been waiting at the curb by the car, came closer and produced change.

A lucky day for all, but it was cold and we quickly went inside. Next, we took the dog for a walk. But it was very cold and windy, so we did not go as far as we had planned. Back home, Grant took a shower and then he made us both a mug of hot chocolate. It was hot and delicious. We sipped it sitting on the stools at the kitchen table. Then he climbed down and got a plastic tube out of the fridge, which he tore open at one end and started sucking. “What is that?”
“Soft yoghurt.”
“Really? What flavor?”
“Does berry taste good with hot chocolate?” A shrug.
“I am sucking it to make my mouth cool off, so I can drink the hot chocolate. It is very hot you know.”
“Yes. But what you could also do is put an ice cube in the chocolate.” Ah, that was a good idea. He climbed down from the stool again and got an ice cube, then took another sip of the chocolate. But the ice cube got into his mouth without melting, and so he had to get another one. We decided we would leave the Dutch stroopwafel treat for later that afternoon because we were first going for lunch to Chick-Fil-A, his favorite place, where he knew exactly what to order. 6 chicken nuggets with fries and a small chocolate milkshake. I decided on 6 baked chicken nuggets and a similar milkshake. Delicious. When we had finished he neatly collected all the discarded items in the bag and took it to the waste basket. Then he went to was his hands and waited until I had washed mine, and then we went in search of the movie theatre.

Even with my navigation system, and even though the theatre was supposedly on the same street, we could not find it. We asked twice, and then found out we had to go to the next shopping center with the same street name, up the hill and down the hill and around the traffic circle. And there it was!

We went to see the movie Paddington 2. I had heard the name Paddington but was not familiar with the character. It was a very enjoyable movie, with lots of laughs, some harrowing moments, a few moving scenes, and a happy ending. We had mutually agreed not to get popcorn and a drink after our lunch, and had a wonderful time watching the show. I must admit that I dozed off several times, but I caught at least the beginning and the end, and several adventures in between.

When we came home his Dad was home early, and after Grant had opened his gift and enjoyed his stroopwafel we hugged goodbye and I drove home, arriving just in time for our dinner at the Club. What a day! Mike had enjoyed a peaceful, relaxing day, just the way he wanted, and I had spent an active day hanging out with my grandson. A joy I had not known before.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


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More Celebrations

It was so wonderful two days ago to walk early in the morning, after a night’s gentle rain at the beginning of a whole hew year! The roads were clean, the sidewalks and the greenways had no more leaves and branches and needles, and the air was fresh, just like an early morning in Hilo, Hawai’i. Ah! What a blessing on this special day, our 57th Wedding Anniversary.

We celebrated with bouquets of flowers in the house, orange and yellow Alstromeria and cream colored roses. Two ladies from Management brought a card and a big balloon, and at night we had dinner in an authentic Thai restaurant less than three miles away. Delicious food.

Another reason that I am a little late with my weekly story is that Amazon, as one of the last, approved my Audiobook of Rising from the Shadow of the Sun. What joy! They have a special going: if you sign up for a free 1 month trial of Audible you get a free audiobook. Of course there are many other sources who are now offering copies for sale, and I believe that Barnes and Noble is the least expensive one at this time. Check it out!

Last, but not least, I have a preview video up on Youtube, where you can watch and listen to the introduction to see if you like it. Here is the link: Rising from the Shadow of the Sun Audiobook

If you like it, give it a Like, a Comment and Share! I am so excited that this dream finally came true.

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,


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It’s amazing how fast 2017 has gone by. Last year we watched Times Square at 10:00 p.m. (PST) while it happened live in New York City (EST) and called it a day. This year, we had a wonderful New Year’s Eve Party!

From 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Jacqueline, everyone’s favorite entertainer, came with her lively music program while people were seated around the dance floor and many got up to dance. The Activities Director served champagne, cheese and crackers, meatballs and bread pudding and to add some fun for those who wanted there were party hats and flutes.

At one point, Jacqueline played Mele Kalikimaka and before I knew it I got up and started dancing. I assume you have heard the song? It is “The Hawaiian way to say Merry Christmas to you.” Everyone loved it, and a little later, when more people came in, they asked for a repeat. At that point Jacqueline gave me a lei and I took off my shoes to make it all a little more proper, and there I went again. It was fun, and I thought I should practice some of my dances for future events!

After 9:00 p.m. Peter said he would get his accordion from his apartment and everybody lingered, and those who had left came back, for an hour of wonderful sing-along music. Peter is a fantastic accordion player, who twice played in Carnegie Hall with his German Dance Band. He lost his wife of 67 years last month and teared up once in a while; but he himself enjoys playing his music, as he says. So he plays for us often.

And so a new year has started and I am wishing you all a wonderful, happy and healthy year. We are looking forward to fun and exciting travels, big surprises and good times with family members, in particular an all-family reunion in July!


It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until next time,



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In Dutch we have a saying that, translated, reads something like this: Hours, and days and months and years are fleeting by like shadows.

And so it is, time flies. It was great to be seventy-eight and it will be fine to be seventy-nine! I had a wonderful birthday with our family; loved treating all seven of us to dinner and a show, which is my favorite way to spend my birthday.

Right away I have an announcement: Smashwords is having a year-end sale and my e-books are available for 50% off until January 1, 2018.

Rising from the Shadow of the Sun

Survivors of WWII in the Pacific


Rising from the Shadow of the Sun (Barnes and Noble)

This week’s post is very short, because time flies, and

It’s a Wonderful Life!

Until Next time!




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Christmas Lights

Last Tuesday, our two grandsons came over again and helped install the outside Christmas lights in the bushes by our front door. A timer lets them come on at 5 p.m. and go off at 10:30. What we first thought would look like two Christmas trees on the fence, in reality looks more like two angels, which is lovely. The rest looks more like the “Starry Night” by van Gogh.

Shortly after that, Mike got sick. The doctor came, (yes, we have “Doctors Making Housecalls”) and a technician came with a large X-ray machine to rule out pneumonia. The test was negative, and we hope that with the proper antibiotics Mike will be well enough for our family celebration on Christmas Eve.

We enjoyed a beautiful Christmas Cantata, orchestrated by Stephanie, with a string quartet, a harp, Dennis playing trumpet and Chandler trombone. The choral performance was amazing, with a choir of 36 voices instead of the usual 25.

Today it is raining. I just love the rain! Always looking forward to the pounding torrents like we had them sometimes in Hilo and Prescott, I will take the days-long drizzle anytime. It prevents me from taking my daily walk, but once in a while that is good, because then I can take care of other things.

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice — marking the longest night and fewest hours of daylight of the year — is Thursday. The winter solstice is the precise moment at which the Northern Hemisphere is tilted farthest from the sun. The solstice occurs at the same instant everywhere on Earth. In the United States, it happens at 11:28 a.m. ET Thursday (10:28 a.m. CT, 9:28 a.m. MT, 8:28 a.m. PT). I’m going to set my watch for that!

A few days after the solstice, right after Christmas, I will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday! I’m all excited. There are people that want to forget about their birthday. I have always wondered why. I think it is something to celebrate! Yes, of course, I am getting older year after year, but don’t you think it is better than the alternative? And don’t you feel inside like you will be forever 29? You bet do!

Actually, now living in the United States, I could celebrate my birthday on Christmas Day as well. That is because I was born in the Dutch East Indies, on the other side of the Dateline. So when it was December 26 on Java, it was still Christmas Day in the U.S. A double celebration every year! Who has it?

It’s a Wonderful World!

Until next time,