Author: Caryl Dierksen

Remembering My Dad, A Would-be Veteran

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Mostly Musings

Note: This post originally ran on Veteran’s Day 2013. I am reposting it today without changes. My emotions remain the same. The facts remain the same—with the exception of the last sentence. I can no longer walk to the end of the street and see a farm. In the past 7 years, the Maples has grown to fill its available space. But that is another post for another day. My father, Carl Dierksen, tried very […]

Dear Reader, Let’s Have Coffee

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Mostly Musings

I’m so glad you could come over. It’s been way, way too long since we’ve spent time together. Look, I have us set up here on the patio, safely distanced, and ready to enjoy today’s cooler weather. Won’t you join me?   If we were having coffee… I would first of all ask you how you are. Because I really want to know. Because this question—which used to be a throw-away conversation starter— has a […]

Revisiting ‘Far From the Maddening Crowd’

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To the reader: This is the last entry in a series in which I revisit earlier posts. Once again, I have chosen one that I think has something new to say in our current pandemic times. The month of November 2015 was brutal. Do you remember why? I didn’t. So let me remind you what was going on in the world at that time. In November 2015 — • In Paris, a series of suicide […]

Revisiting ‘A Glass Already Broken’

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Today I begin my second week at home, doing my own small part to combat the pandemic. I still haven’t tackled even one item on the list of household projects that I jotted down eight days ago. I always seem to find something more important to do. You see, I have a lot of things to figure out, and that takes up most of my mental energy. I keep asking myself questions—most of them unanswerable […]

Revisiting ‘Bloom Where You’re Planted’

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Mostly Musings

It is March 19, 2020; I am four days into social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Life has been turned completely upside down. Most of us try to follow the new curve-flattening rules to protect ourselves and everyone else. But already, I yearn to go back to “normal,” assuming that the old normal will ever exist again. We can’t sleep, we stress eat, we have trouble concentrating. We either watch the news obsessively, or […]

Kitten Talk

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Animals / Just for Fun

Joy: Hi there, humans. It’s okay. You’re not bothering us. We’re awake, just lounging here. Wanna know something? A secret? Then come a little closer. Yeah, that’s better. You ready for the secret? Lean in nice and close so I can whisper it. People can’t tell us apart. I know. Crazy. Sisters are supposed to look alike, right? Sometimes humans can be so dense. Gracie: Joy, I love humans. ‘Specially Mom. What’s dense mean? Cuz […]

02022020—A Great Day in Woodstock, IL

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Woodstock

Groundhog Day became a major holiday here in Woodstock in 1993. That year marked the release of the film Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, that was filmed largely in our town. But if you were paying close attention this year, there were hints that something bigger than usual might be happening. First, there were calendar-related clues. Take another look at the title of this post. Today’s date is a palindrome; it is the same whether read […]

Kittens—the Good, the Bad, the Cute

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Animals / Just for Fun

The doctor tapped on the door of the examination room and walked in. He shook my hand as usual, then paused and said, “Caryl, what have you done?” It was a good question, and it came from a man who knows me well. Dr. C. has taken wonderful care of my cats since the ’80s. I consider him a friend as well as a veterinarian. That morning my friend was a bit perplexed, perhaps a […]

Tales of Joy and Grace

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Animals

On Aug. 14, I lost my cat, Shadow, only four months after losing my other cat, Angie. I knew ahead of time that each was reaching her final days. I thought I had braced myself for transitioning to a home without the welcoming presence of a cat. But I was wrong. I had forgotten how utterly silent and lonely it would be. And no wonder. Angie had been with me since 2001; Shadow had been […]

A Return to Home Sweet Abbey

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Blogging / Mostly Musings / Neighbors

It’s been more than a year since I posted on this blog. Maybe you thought I had decided to close it down. I wouldn’t blame you. There were times when I thought that’s what was happening too. It seemed like I had run out of ideas and of inspiration. I would sit down at the computer and try to write, but my topic wouldn’t work out. There were even more times when my mind was […]

I Can’t Wait to Get Back to Three Pines

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Mostly Musings

Today, November 27, is circled in bright red on my calendar. It has been for months. You see, today is the release date for Kingdom of the Blind, book number 14 in Louise Penny’s series of Armand Gamache mysteries. Here’s how addicted I am to these books. I slept with my iPad on my nightstand last night. Immediately on waking up, I checked and found the ebook downloaded to my Kindle app, ready for my […]

My Radio Adventures

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It began as a 3-way chat on Messenger. It was a couple of weeks before my trip to visit Joe and Sylvia in Asheville, NC, and we were discussing plans for my stay. Sylvia and I were making decisions about places to visit and things to do. Then Joe jumped in. Wait. A set of questions about the novel I wrote?? I took a deep breath and typed: Yes, it turned out, that was exactly what he […]

The Bee in the Rose at the Biltmore

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Hi, readers… Long time, no see. Long time, no write. The ugly truth is that I haven’t blogged since July. Honestly, I don’t have a good reason for my absence. I’m not sure why I couldn’t get motivated to write. What I do know is that I’m back now. And it feels good.   A few days ago, I returned from a delightful week visiting friends in Asheville, NC. Joe, Sylvia, and Bandit were my neighbors in […]

Maples Friends Are the Best

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Neighbors / Social Life

I was working in my unofficial role of homeowner-sales assistant when I asked a question of a couple here on a first visit. It was a typical question that received an atypical answer. I asked when they might be buying their new home and moving. The wife answered: When I find what I’m looking for. I asked: What is important to you?, expecting to hear about square footage, number of bedrooms, price, or other popular concerns. […]

Perfectionism

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Mostly Musings

Hello, Perfectionism. My old nemesis. My worst enemy. My jailor. We meet again, though you have actually never been away. You lurk within my mind and taint my feelings. You judge me, then convince me that I will never be good enough. Then to make it worse, you subvert my best efforts to forgive myself. I don’t remember when you clawed your way into my psyche. I was probably too young to remember. And though […]

‘Thank You For Serving Our Country’

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Holidays / Mostly Musings

via Photo Challenge: Twisted The twisted object I choose to share today is a simple one—yet one that carries a timely message. It is a handmade, braided bracelet stapled to a card by a child named Audrey. The words, Hears A Bracelet, in her printing, tell me that she is quite young. Note the date—Valentine’s Day. The card is a love note to a veteran whom she has never met, and most likely never will. […]

Oh, Canada!

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Thank you to the readers who have asked to see more photos from my recent cruise. In my previous post (immediately below this one), I shared my pictures from our day in Old Quebec City. Now we sail on to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. And while we do, this is a typical view from our ship, Holland America’s Veendam.   Our first stop is Prince Edward Island, which is the smallest of the provinces […]

Where They Don’t Talk in English

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As I took my first few steps on the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Quebec City, fragments of a quote popped into my head. I wanted to share it with my traveling companions, but I couldn’t retrieve the exact sentence of dialogue from Our Town. It had been too long since I had taught or seen the play. As soon as I reboarded our cruise ship, I looked up Thornton Wilder’s words: Only it seems to […]

Heavy Lifting

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Construction

I woke up this morning and, as usual, looked out a window. It was a good start to the day because I didn’t see any snow. Given our recent weather, that cannot be taken for granted. But I did notice something unusual. Do you recognize the object in the circle? If not, you may not live in a community under construction. It’s the top of a crane, a sign of an interesting building day. Though […]

April 4, 2018

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Holidays / Mostly Musings

It has been widely publicized that today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is indeed a day to celebrate his heritage. His life and work have inspired countless people of all races, beliefs, and nationalities.         Today is also the birth date of another influential Civil Rights activist who knew and worked with Dr. King. Dr. Maya Angelou, who also championed women’s rights, was born […]