Monthly Archives: April 2013

I’m no longer an expat: I just mailed off my income tax

Got my income tax done and mailed off. If I hadn’t needed to come back here to do my income taxes, I might have continued to travel. But now that I’m here, there is much to do.


People keep asking about my favorite place, and I don’t really have one. Each place had something to offer. I suppose it might be where I forged friendships.


Today, I’m going through all of the brochures, pamphlets and my notes to begin the process of putting together a power point presentation.


I have wheels

I have wheels! After one whole year of buses, trams, taxi’s and planes, I have my own Ford Escort.


My son Ronnie picked me up in Half Moon Bay and after we talked awhile we drove to Aromas and had barbecued chicken with my other son, Larry and his wife, Sue.

Afterward we turned on the radio and heard my grandson, Bobby Crocker playing baseball in the Ports, the farm league for the Oakland A’s.


Today was a real homecoming, as I got to re-experience the good, old mellow feeling I always get as I get close to Santa Cruz where I raised my three sons.


While I was on my journey, I sent accumulated papers, brochures, maps and other material to “Laureen’s Car, in care of Larry Crocker.” So tonight, getting back to Half Moon Bay and dragging packages back from my car, I was surprised to see how much I had sent back. Amazing.


Moving along, step-by-step. I’m getting there.

Turkish food

Last night, Brad, Debby and I went to Redwood City to a Turkish restaurant and sampled several typical Turkish appetizers.

The owner of the restaurant was a bit surprised when he told us where to sit and I thanked him in Turkish. That was fun.

I am so fond of Turkish food that I purchased a cookbook from Amazon and it should be here soon.


Moving along in my quest for a settle-down, I’m about to do my taxes, and it should be easy as I made very little money last year. See, there’s a benefit right there.



Pursuing the rest

Pursuing the rest: what I mean by that, is I have so much to do here in the U.S. to get on with my day-to-day life.

Today I walked to the charming town of Half Moon Bay and into a Coast Side Senior citizen second hand store. I found  Neman Marcus cashmere cardigan that would cost well over $200 for only $35.

Then I checked into the senior center and located some senior housing available on a sliding scale. So I will put my name on the waiting list.

This is difficult for me. I cannot imagine that I’m a senior citizen.

The other night we watched a video of the movie, “Chasing Mavericks”. It’s a movie about a young boy who wouldn’t give up until he surfed Mavericks – one of the most difficult surfing spots in the world.

There were many shots of Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz where the lead character was raised.

So when I see Santa Cruz on film, where I lived a good part of my adult life, I think that would be an idea place for me to settle. But then there is Monterey where my writer friends all live and where we meet to share our written stories.

So you see, where I settle depends on what I can find affordable, but any three of those places would suit me fine.

Tomorrow I’ll see Susan, one of my writer friends and we’re going to the Bay Area. It will be great to be on the road again, if only briefly.


Big Butt and me at the DMV

I spent over one hour inside the Department of Motor Vehicles in Redwood City. I walked in and saw a long snake of a line. “It looks too crowded today. Maybe I should go back another day.”

One man standing near the door, said he had been been trying to find a non-busy DMV place all day, and finally realized he should stay and wait. “Where do you get the number for your turn?”

He laughed and told me that the long line was the line just to get the number. So I snaked along with everyone else, until I got to the end.

Meanwhile,  a woman got in front of me. And when that happened,  a stringy, red-haired, big butt woman in tight white pants, standing behind me, asked her why she was so special.

“I waited for a long time in the wrong line, so I have to wait here.”

“Well, you should go to the end of this line.”

“I would have been in front of you anyway, so it won’t matter if I’m in front of you now.”

“You are setting a bad example for children.”

“No, I’m not. I waited for a long time over there.” She pointed to a line for people who had a reservation.

“You are teaching your children to cheat.” Big Butt said.

I told Big Butt that the lady was only one person. “I don’t care. She needs to get over there.” She pointed to the end of the line.

I told the lady in front of me not to pay any attention to her. “Just stay here, it’s okay.”

She waited already for a long time.  If she had just walked in and crowded in line that would be wrong, but that’s not what happened.

I finally got my number and sat down. Meanwhile the angry one got served before all of us and and left in a huff, wagging her big behind.

So, after an hour, I now have all the paper work finished and I can pick up my car in Aromas this weekend. Today, I’ll also have health insurance after I speak with the insurance person over the phone. Everything can be done electronically these days. I even electronically signed my name for the car insurance.

I’m getting there: next on my list is a place to live, a job in the arts, and work on the second book. I have fifty books of “Too Close to the Sun” a Dutch boy becomes a man during WWII, to sell, as well.

And I’m working on a power point presentation of my journey.


Explosion in the kitchen and soon I’ll have wheels

Leaving the U.S. and returning is not easy. There is so much to do, but the familiarity of my country makes it possible. If I had to do what I’m doing now – purchasing health and auto insurance, paying income tax, looking for a way to earn some income, and a place to live – it would be twice as difficult. At least I can function in my language. I’m hopeful, and taking a step at a time. It is a comfort to be with my son and his family right now, even though I’m a danger near the stove.

I wanted to make dinner, and turned on a burner to boil water. I went about doing something while the water boiled. Then I smelled smoke and heard a popping sound and an explosion.

Running into the kitchen, I found I had turned on the wrong burner and the burning one had a glass lid on it. Glass was everywhere and the telltale smell left behind still lingers in the air.

I haven’t been near a stove for so long.

The good news is that I now have car insurance, and just need to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and show them my insurance paper work and then  pay something – then it’s all ready for me to get my car from my son, Larry.

Soon I’ll have wheels

Step one accomplished

Hello friends,

It’s surprisingly complicated to get re-established back into the U.S. Who would have thought?

I just got up to  par with technology. My son Brad, daughter-in-law, Debby and grandson, Brandon, saw that I got a phone up and running. So if anyone wants my telephone number, just ask.

Today, I’ll be working on getting my car legitimatized with DMV. It has been stored at my other sons’ property. I won’t get the car yet, but will have it removed from the non-operating status.

I’ll also get my medication prescription from the It’s quite different process here than in foreign countries.

Right now I’m uninsured due to the company being sold to another company, so establishing an insurance is on the agenda today, as well.

Step by step….I’m getting there.

Stepping up and stepping out

Yesterday after a cultural event, I went with Brad and Aleida (Debby) to Verizon and purchased a new phone and Ipad. If anyone would like my new telephone number, email me and I’ll send it to you.

That was a step forward to my acclimation back in the United States. There is more work to come…get health insurance, my car out of storage, a place to live and an income of some sort.

I have been invited to speak to two Rotary clubs and will do that as soon as I can get some photos printed or create a short photo-show on my lap-top. My grandson,Brandon, the family king of family technology, has a lot to show me this morning.


Traditional dance of Bali, Indonesia

Yesterday before going the long trial and error of picking a phone, I went with son, Brad and daughter-in-law Debby to a Bali, Indonesian holiday celebration in a Richmond home. There, several Balinese women, in their colorful dress, performed their traditional dances. A gamelan band played the traditional music for the dancers.

The women and the men sat and conducted a ritual prayer and ceremony before the dancing began. After the dance, my favorite food in the world…Indonesian, was served.


So now, I feel I’ve been to Indonesia.


Returning home

There’s so much to do. I’m in Half Moon Bay with my son, his wife and my grandson. I’ve got immediate issues to deal with. When I got back, I found out that my health insurance was cancelled, through the company my husband worked for, for over 40 years. So I have to get that cleared up and I need to get my medicines filled, but since I haven’t seen my doctor for one year, I cannot go to him without insurance. I’m hoping he’ll let me have a new prescription until I can get there. That’s in Soledad a long drive from here.

I also have to go to DMV and get my car upgraded from non-use to use. The car is at my other sons place, also a long way from here.

Then on my list of to-dos is a place to live and a way to make some money so I can pay for an apartment.

I sent one of my favorite photos to have it enlarged. I will get a few more in due time, so I can figure out a way to sell them.

So…here’s my welcome back challenges in America.  I will meet them!!!! Watch me!!!!



Back home again in the land of poppies

Woke up this morning to a knock on my door. Within one half an hour I was in a taxi on my way to the airport in Istanbul. It took three times in customs – take off my shoes, my jacket, the computer out of its case that was inside my carry-on, and walk through the detector for the country to be certain I wasn’t carrying anything detrimental to my health and to others on an airplane. (You know, like bombs, guns, knives, etc.)

On the third time, a customs agent told me to hurry up…that made me so mad that I nearly told him off, but that might have landed me in prison.

Then after I landed in Heathrow, from British Air – a fabulous airline, by the way; two more times in customs, computer out of bag, blah, blah, blah….but I’m just happy they are cautious even though it is inconvenient.

I flew from London to San Francisco sitting next to a lovely gentleman from Israel who will be attending a orthodontists’ seminar/conference in the Napa area. He showed me from his computer, what he will be updating his expertise in at the event.  It has to do with the xray inside the head that shows what needs to be done to correct the structure of the placement of teeth. Wow, this is difficult for a ‘know nothing about teeth’ person, but it sure was interesting to see inside a person’s jaw in three dimensions.

So, I sat for nine hours that went quickly, with the help of three movies: The Life of Pi, Chorus, and The Last Great Scot King”. The food on the flight was phenomenal, and drinks were offered all throughout the flight.  Good job British Air.

Then I landed in San Francisco, only to go through customs again to make certain I wasn’t carrying anything that would harm the good earth in California.

Actually, I didn’t bring in anything except Turkish Delight candy.

Now that I’m here, I’m just as curious as you are about what I’ll do next, so just stay in touch with me and you’ll know as soon as I have figured it out.

Thank you all for following my journey.


There will be many people mentioned in the following blogs about the awesome people I met…so stay tuned.