All posts filed under: Mostly Musings

Remembering Mom

comments 5
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 […]

The School Bell Tolls

Leave a comment
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 […]

Father’s Day Without Dad

comments 3
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 […]

What Room Does Fear Have?

comment 1
Mostly Musings

You have a way with words. Occasionally, someone will tell me this. And, of course, I love hearing it. But today it just doesn’t ring true. I can’t find my words. What could I possibly say about the nightmare that is Orlando this weekend? I can’t explain what is happening to our country. I don’t have the words to soften our sorrow and fear over it. I wish we could turn to our political leaders for direction, […]

My Abbey, Still My Sweet Home

comments 11
Mostly Musings / Moving

Yesterday I signed a sheet of paper, and one of my biggest adventures came to an end. A new buyer had fallen in love with my Palazzo, one whose cash trumped my contingency. So I had no choice but to officially void my contract. Certainly, I knew all along it could happen. The problem is, for four months I have allowed myself to live in a bubble of false security. Do I regret those four […]

Age Is Just a Number… If You’re a Single Woman

Leave a comment
Mostly Musings

Single, female Baby Boomers are happier and healthier than ever, according to a survey conducted last year by Del Webb. The polling group included women 55 and over, which is not surprising because that is the minimum age to live in Del Webb communities. Let’s break down the numbers. The chart below is a bit difficult to read, so I will “translate” for you. • 3 in 4 single women over 55 feel younger than […]

RIP Harper Lee

comments 2
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, […]

Is There an Expiration Date on Dreams?

comment 1
Mostly Musings

One of my new year’s resolutions—truthfully, the only one that I’m keeping—is to spend time each day reading others’ blogs. Some days only a few minutes, occasionally an hour or more—I almost always find content to interest or inspire me. I hope it’s making me a better writer. I know for sure I’m finding ideas that stay with me throughout the day, or longer. This morning I came across a post that particularly resonates with me. On the blog Live to Write […]

Happy New Year 2016

comments 4
Blogging / Holidays / Mostly Musings

  My motto/goal/inspirational saying for the new year is: If not now… then when?   2015 did a good job of reminding me how short and fragile life can be. I’m fortunate because I did not learn the lesson through personal experience. But I did share it through the hardships of some people who are very dear to me. As we enter the new year, I’m feeling the vulnerability of being in my upper 60s. […]

Rays of Sunshine

comments 2
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

Leave a comment
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. […]

11-22-63

comments 7
Blogging / Mostly Musings

Today I am pleased to welcome my first-ever guest blogger to Home Sweet Abbey. Joe Accardi, a friend, neighbor, and fellow writer, shares memories of the music that has shaped his life on Life Out of Tunes. This morning, both Joe and I commented on the same Facebook post about the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Seeing that, I realized we each had something to say about that fateful day. He agreed. Here is Joe’s […]

Happy Anniversary to Me

Leave a comment
Mostly Musings

Five years ago today — October 14, 2010, I left my closing with this key. Now, don’t worry. I’m not going to go all English teacher on you and begin discussing symbolism. We all know about the many meanings of keys. Today is for celebrating here at Home Sweet Abbey. And today is for appreciating the many blessings that have come with my  new home and community. Some of them were anticipated; many were delightful […]

Hey, didn’t you used to be Miss Dierksen?

comments 4
Mostly Musings / Neighbors / Woodstock

Hey, didn’t you used to be Miss Dierksen? Yes, I reply. Yes, I was…. In fact, I still am! I occasionally hear that question—and give that reply—when I’m out and about in Woodstock, though not as often as I did a few years ago. Now in my 14th happy year of retirement, encounters with my former students have become less frequent. But that makes them all the more fun when they do occur. Before I […]

My Family Treasure

comments 5
Home Elements/Decorating / Mostly Musings

My family celebrated Mom’s 95th birthday this week. My brother and sister-in-law flew in from Denver, and two cousins from downstate joined us for a family cookout here at Home Sweet Abbey. We shared many memories, mostly happy ones, as we chatted over brats and birthday cake. Despite Mom’s memory loss, there were moments when her eyes and face lit up at the mention of a long-ago name or event. Later, after Mom and the […]

Memories and Brick Streets

Leave a comment
Mostly Musings / Woodstock

The first time I drove into Woodstock, Illinois, my car found its way to the town square all by itself. Or at least, that’s how it seems looking back. I wasn’t searching for the center of town, or for a place of beauty, history, culture, and shopping. I was looking for a phone booth. It was early June of 1970, and I was on a mission. I was hoping to land my first teaching job, […]

Consider the Lilies…

comments 2
Mostly Musings / Nature

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symbol.” Something white caught my eye when I walked past my neighbor Ollie’s flowerbed this morning. Something that, as beautiful as it was, felt out of place. I had never seen an Easter lily growing outdoors before, nor had I ever seen one blooming in July. Yet there it was, a glorious, serendipitous surprise. Symbolically speaking, the Easter lily is identified with beauty, purity, hope, and […]

Father’s Day 2015

Leave a comment
Holidays / Mostly Musings

Happy Father’s Day! I hope you are celebrating with your dad today. But if you can’t, I hope you are enjoying a flood of happy memories of him, as I am. Here are two old photos of Dad, whom we lost in 1996. Both were taken on the farm where I grew up near Davenport, Iowa. Dad was proud of my brother and me, and also proud of his great corn crop that year. Yes, […]