All posts filed under: Mostly Musings

Nighttime at the Maples

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Mostly Musings / Nature

Sunset is one of our loveliest times at Maples at the Sonatas. There is so much to savor in this time of transition. And then comes nighttime, which is downright magical. Darkness settles gently, gradually over the neighborhood, bringing with it an altered perspective. Our homes, our lawns, our streets — everything so familiar that we may not even see it any more — all becomes subtly new, demanding a second look. ••• It’s a […]

A Glass Already Broken

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Mostly Musings

“You see this goblet?” Chaa asked, holding up a glass.  “For me, this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; drink out of it. It holds water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on a shelf and the wind knocks it over and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ […]

Martin Luther King Day 2015

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Holidays / Mostly Musings

Martin Luther King Day has never meant more to me than it does today, as we celebrate it for the 30th time. I’ve said this before, but I can’t help repeating myself. With commercialization eroding our major holidays, I love the lesser ones more and more. I have vivid memories of April 4, 1968, the day that King was assassinated. I was a junior in college and attended the campus memorial service with an English […]

Happy New Year 2015

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Holidays / Mostly Musings / Neighbors

No one can say that 2014 was an uneventful year for Maples at the Sonatas. We had more than our share of ups and downs. Fortunately, most of the downs were accompanied by ups. Our list of injuries and serious illnesses was longer than anyone would have predicted at this time last year. The positive to come from the situation, of course, is the way we volunteered to help those in need. Certainly, none of […]

Thanksgiving 2014

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Mostly Musings

  So much to be thankful for today: • my country and my community • the health and resources to still be able to cook a modest Thanksgiving dinner on my own • my lovely Abbey kitchen in which to work • my 94-year-old mom with me for dinner • my two guests who are so accepting that I could serve anything and they would like it • you, the readers who make this blog […]

9/11/14 — We Do Remember

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Mostly Musings

It’s a dark, cold, blustery day here, most appropriate for somber memories. As we move through our mundane lives, I’m sure many of us will find ourselves reflecting on that day 13 years ago. I haven’t done this before, but I’m going to rerun my post from last year. Today is certainly deserving of fresh thoughts and new photos. But I don’t think I can do better than this. ••• I remember. I was teaching […]

Happy Mother’s Day

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Mostly Musings

The question that he frames in all but words Is what to make of a diminished thing. –from The Oven Bird by Robert Frost The majority of my friends no longer have a living mother to celebrate with today. I know that. I am grateful that Mom is alive at 93 and that she was able to spend a few hours with me this afternoon. But— Mom was diagnosed with mild dementia about seven years […]

Easter Nostalgia

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Mostly Musings

Do you feel it too? For me, holidays always bring back memories of the celebrations of my childhood. I can close my eyes today and see us so clearly. It is Easter. There is my family—Mom, Dad, Craig, Aunt Clara, Uncle Jack, and me—all in our farm house, sitting around the dining room table. It is set with Mom’s best china and the silverware that she kept in a velvet-lined wooden box except for special […]

The Winter of Our Discontent

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Mostly Musings

That phrase has been stuck in my mind for a while now. The January-type weather that began tormenting us in November appears ready to last into March. Endless snow events and eternally frigid temperatures have tag-teamed us for far too long. It gets downright depressing when there’s no end in sight. Nowadays we talk about cabin fever and seasonal affective disorder. But Shakespeare said it better when he opened Richard III with these words: “Now […]

Off to Columbus—I Hope

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Mostly Musings / Wilcox People

This is the title slide of a presentation I’ll be making at the Wilcox Communities National Conference in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday. Proud, honored, scared. This is how I’m feeling as I finish practicing my remarks and begin packing my suitcase. Oh, and as I keep checking the weather. We are under a snow advisory tomorrow. Yes, another one. Just before Christmas, Ember, who is executive assistant to Jamie Wilcox, called and asked if I […]

A Year Flies By…

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Blogging / Mostly Musings

A year ago tomorrow, on February 9, 2013, I took a deep breath, and another, crossed my fingers and toes, and then clicked on the Publish button that launched this blog. Home Sweet Abbey went live with my first post, My Journey Home, and a short About the Author article. I had drafts of two more posts ready to go and a list of perhaps 7 or 8 ideas to draw on beyond that. I […]

Hunkering Down, Part 2

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Mostly Musings / Pictures

This morning, Mark, one of my Facebook friends, updated his status to read: I think I’ve used the word ‘hunker’ more in the last 30 days than I’ve used it in my entire life. Me too, Mark. Me too. When I wrote about our extremely cold weather three weeks ago, I thought it was a unique event worthy of a post. So I wrote The Fine Art of Hunkering Down. But here we are again […]

The Fine Art of Hunkering Down

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Mostly Musings / Woodstock

By now, you may have seen this morning’s ugly numbers in Woodstock, IL: temperature -18 wind chill -43 Today we have no school, no public library, no garbage pickup, no shopping in my favorite stores. And at Maples at the Sonatas: no Wilcox staff, no construction workers, no potential buyers. Almost no people or vehicles to be seen outside. I’ve lost track of how much snow we have on the ground because it has fallen […]

Happy New Year from Home Sweet Abbey

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Mostly Musings / Neighbors

I wish we could “pause” time like we can a video, or even live TV. If it were possible, I’d be hitting and holding that pause button today, on January 1, 2014. To me, there is nothing more full of hope than a fresh start, a blank page, an opportunity for a do-over. New Year’s Day gives us those gifts. If the day fell in any season other than winter, it would be perfect. But […]

Thanksgiving Night

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Mostly Musings / Pictures

“I do not know which to prefer… The blackbird whistling Or just after.” These lines by poet Wallace Stevens sum up my feelings about holidays in general and today in particular. The feeling of gratitude, the feasting, and the fellowship of Thanksgiving make it one of my favorite holidays. But equally as much, I savor the time when the activity winds down and the guests leave. That is when I quietly reclaim my space. With […]

Remembering My Dad, A Would-be Veteran

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Mostly Musings

My father, Carl Dierksen, tried very hard to become a veteran. And I guess he technically would qualify as one, though he never claimed the honor. He was 22 when he and my mother married in 1940. The following year, during World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, both to serve his country and to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot. Dad reported to a base in Florida, where he had completed […]

Bloom Where You Are Planted

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Mostly Musings

All summer long, a planter full of petunias and vinca vines sat on my patio. It was pretty for months, but as we got deeper into October, the plants grew long and scraggly and unattractive. Then they were nipped by frost. And so, a few days ago, I decided it was time to let them go. I slid the planter away from the outside wall of my home and lifted it to carry over to […]

All Pooches Great and Small

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Mostly Musings / Pictures

I woke up this morning thinking about a photo taken at last year’s Pooch Plunge. I tracked it down so I could share one last picture of my canine neighbors before going back to writing about my human ones. What draws me to this shot is the interaction of two very different dogs meeting for the first time. I love their curiosity about each other, the gentleness of the big one, the lack of fear […]

9/11

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Mostly Musings

I remember. I was teaching at Woodstock High School. Near the end of my first-period Sophomore Lit class, an assistant principal came to my door, handed me a memo, and left. The first sentence, in all capital letters, instructed us not to share it with our students. An all-school announcement would be made at the beginning of second hour. So I tried to keep a straight face as I read the earthshaking news. Of course, […]