Author: Caryl Dierksen

Picking up the Pieces

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Home Elements/Decorating

Hi readers, I’ve missed you, and I’ve missed blogging. It has been 15 days since my last post, and nearly a month since I lost Mom. As I said when I last wrote, my thoughts have been too scattered to concentrate enough to write. Or, for that matter, even to read. I was relieved when someone told me that this confusion can be a normal part of grieving. Lately, I’ve been feeling better—most of the […]

Remembering Mom

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Mostly Musings

I lost my mom Sept. 7, two weeks after her 96th birthday. I keep reminding myself that she lived a very long, full life, with 95.5 of those years good quality time. That helps, to a point. I have no doubt that she is, as they say, in a better place. But this is a bewildering time of transitions for me. I’m working to let go of the images of her final week on earth […]

My Champagne Girlfriends

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Just for Fun / Social Life

It was late August, my first summer at The Maples, a hot, sunny afternoon at the pool. Two of my best friends, Marylee and Margie, were over for one of our monthly get-togethers. Because it was their first time at the pool, I wanted to make it a bit celebratory. What better way, I thought, than to share a bottle of champagne? I got the girls situated at a table, cranked up the umbrella, and […]

The School Bell Tolls

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Mostly Musings

Therefore, send not to know For whom the bell tolls, It tolls for thee. —John Donne Nope, sorry, John Donne. You’ve written a nice poem, but you’re wrong. The school bell does NOT toll for me. Not anymore. I am R-E-T-I-R-E-D. Mr. Donne, I am done. ••• Tomorrow is the first day of the new school year in Woodstock. It will mark the 15th time that school has started without me. How does that make […]

The Beauty of Maturing Landscaping

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Nature

When I moved into my Abbey in October 2010, I didn’t really have expectations for how its landscaping would change over time. I guess I was concentrating on the home’s interior and just assumed that bushes would grow larger and I would plant flowers in the spring. That, of course, is exactly what happened. But this summer I’ve opened my eyes to the changes and the beauty that now surrounds me. Before I offer some […]

Hunting Pokémon at The Maples

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Just for Fun

I step out my front door, ready for adventure. It’s time to see what this Pokémon Go craze is all about. I have a brain in my head, an iPhone in my hand, and tennies on my feet. I’m logged onto the app. Let’s go! I barely get to the sidewalk when a neighbor drives by. She opens her car window and says, Watch where you’re going, Caryl. You don’t want to fall and break […]

A Follow Up on Afternoon Treat

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Just for Fun / Woodstock

My post below, which I titled Afternoon Treat, has been well received. It has been viewed 95 times here on the blog itself and many more times on Facebook. I can’t keep track of the number of views on FB because the post has been shared by many people, some of whom I don’t even know. A few minutes ago, I heard from Jenn, one of the riders in the picture. I thought you might […]

Afternoon Treat

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Just for Fun / Woodstock

So this happened a few days ago. I love living in a place like Woodstock, where country still comes to town occasionally. It doesn’t happen as often now that our population is nearly 25,000. Yes, we are a stop on the commuter train line. But no, we are not a suburb. I hope the riders offered their horses a DQ. Maybe a hay and oats Blizzard?

Father’s Day Without Dad

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Holidays / Mostly Musings

This is the 21st Father’s Day I’ll spend without my dad. I haven’t done the math for quite a while. The number of years has sneaked up on me. But no matter how many third Sundays in June remain in my lifetime, I’m sure I will still feel that punch in the gut when I remember that he is gone. Physically gone. The photo below is the oldest I can find of the two of […]

May Thunderstorm

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Nature

First comes the thunderstorm watch notice scrolling along the bottom of the TV screen. Then ominous clouds roll in, darkening the sky when it should have yet been light. Then the winds gust. In the distance, thunder rumbles and lightning streaks through the black clouds. And then it is here. Sheets of wind-driven rain send me hurrying indoors to protect my camera, and myself. The storm is Mother Nature’s display of drama, beauty, danger. It […]

House Guests at Home Sweet Abbey

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Home Elements/Decorating

My brother and sister-in-law flew in from Denver last week to spend a few days with Mom and me. They visit a couple of times a year, and now, after several stays, feel quite at home. I especially appreciate the Abbey floor plan when house guests arrive. That large second bedroom offers them all the space they want or need. For 50 weeks of the year, the room serves primarily as my office and looks like […]

My Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Move-in Ready Home

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Construction / Home Elements/Decorating

If something happens once, it just happens. But if the same thing happens again, you may be establishing a pattern. I have now undergone the same experience twice in less than six years. My pattern appears to be purchasing brand new, move-in ready homes. It’s becoming a compelling, expensive habit. In 2010,  I stumbled upon the Abbey that would become my home. Then last December, I accidentally found the Palazzo that I hope to soon […]

The Leonardo Hoax

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Just for Fun / Woodstock

Part 1 — in which hopes are dashed and hearts are broken I was scrolling down my Facebook page last week when a headline and photo grabbed my eye. Here’s the article, by The McKenzie Post, that went viral with Woodstock Facebook users the day after the Oscars: Leonardo DiCaprio is Moving to Woodstock, Illinois Located about 50 miles outside of Chicago, Woodstock, Illinois is a peaceful town filled with people who have almost no […]

RIP Harper Lee

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Mostly Musings

If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. –Harper Lee, 1926-2016 One of my favorite books to teach was To Kill a Mockingbird. I didn’t count how many times I introduced a class of freshmen to Atticus, Scout, […]

Proud Teacher Moment

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Just for Fun / Woodstock

You can be sure that I will be glued to the TV during the Super Bowl tomorrow evening. I hope the Broncos win, but it’s not the football game that I’m most interested in. So you read that and thought, ah ha, she’s going to say she’ll be watching the commercials, right? But no, that’s not it either. The big attraction for me will be the halftime show. And not because I’m a Cold Play […]

Thank You, Readers

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Blogging

I try to convince myself that I do not care much about statistics when it comes to evaluating this blog. I’m writing for my own enjoyment, I tell myself, to convey my excitement in living where I do, to connect with others, to exercise some creativity. All of this is definitely true. But… WordPress, the company behind my blog, is so very expert at sharing statistics with its users. With one click, I can find […]

My Sunday Afternoon Decluttering Project

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Home Elements/Decorating

If there’s one thing I hate, it’s clutter. It’s not only unsightly but also stressful. I guess I like to imagine myself moving through life with as little physical baggage as possible. Much of my home meets my stringent rule of less is more. But one area has been gnawing at my peace of mind for too long. It’s time to rework the shelving unit in my office/guest room. And today’s the day I’m going […]

A Wonderland of Trains

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Home Elements/Decorating / Just for Fun / Neighbors

Six years ago, Bob and Linda arrived at the Maples at the Sonatas sales office with a specific wish list for their new home. At the top of the list—in fact, a deal-breaker—was a basement. Bob really needed a basement. When our sales consultant, Jon, broke the news that these homes do not come with basements, Bob thanked him for his time, and he and Linda started for the door. Just as they reached it, […]

Rays of Sunshine

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Holidays / Mostly Musings

Normally, I would not be happy to see this. It’s all a matter of perspective, though. In June, this is a yellow weed thumbing its nose at our landscapers. On Dec. 9, it is a lovely flower marking a winter warm spell. The dandelion got me thinking about other little things that have brought a smile to my face recently. Here are a few of them. 🙂 Yesterday in yoga class, my teacher was describing […]

Far From the Maddening Crowds

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Mostly Musings / Woodstock

“Honey, why did they do it?” I was having lunch with my 95-year-old mother on Nov. 14. Because of her dementia and poor hearing, she misses a lot of what is going on around her. But that day she caught a bit of conversation from the booth behind her as a couple talked about the Paris attacks. When she asked what they were talking about, I gave her the shortest, least threatening explanation I could. […]