All posts filed under: Neighbors

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 […]

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. […]

Welcoming Spring

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Nature / Neighbors / Social Life

Yes, spring has sprung here at the Maples. After countless days of dark, cold skies, punctuated by driving rain, the sun returned today. And a most welcome visitor it was. This afternoon I sat at my computer, diligently working on a writing project. At one point, I glanced out the window behind my monitor and saw activity across the street. First, it was two neighbors talking near our community garden. Then a third came along […]

The Happiness Quotient

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Mostly Musings / Neighbors / Woodstock

I was feeling happy that morning as I began another day of retirement. And why not? I had slept until after 8, with no alarm clock or cat waking me up. Sunshine was streaming in my windows. Angie and Shadow kept me company, until they left for their own happy places in the sunroom. I had finished breakfast and was reading my print copy of the Chicago Tribune while I sipped a second mug of […]

The Turnover

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Growth/Sales / Mostly Musings / Neighbors

Tomorrow will be a red-letter day here at Maples at the Sonatas. Actually, make that a red-box day, according to my calendar. But however you highlight it, the day will be significant.     Tomorrow is Turnover Day, the moment when our community takes its next step toward completion. At a meeting tomorrow, our builder, Jamie Wilcox, will officially turn over the homeowners association to us, the homeowners. As is customary with construction, the builder […]

Connections, Maples Style

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Holidays / Neighbors / Social Life

There’s no better time of year to celebrate connections than the holiday season. Physical connections, social connections, historical connections—all seem to carry more significance as we approach Christmas. And here at Maples at the Sonatas, we have our share of celebrating to do this year. Physical connections first. Our growing community is now connected in a new way: Our last street, Verdi, has joined Handel and Schumann as officially completed streets. The view, which not […]

Tom’s Trail

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Nature / Neighbors / Pictures

My neighbor Tom prefers living off the beaten path—taking the road less traveled, if you will. Sometimes that even means constructing the trail himself. And that is fine with him. He and Brenda moved into their Portico a year ago. Their Phase 3 lot nestles along the treeline at the edge of the Maples. A few steps beyond their courtyard is a low stone wall marking the line between our property and undeveloped land owned […]

Happy Birthday, Bob!

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Neighbors

Today our neighbor, Bob, celebrates a milestone birthday. He woke this morning to find this greeting from his loving wife, Linda! Yes, he has officially joined our growing group of lively octogenarians. Since the day he and Linda moved here late in 2010, Bob has been working to beautify the Maples and add to our quality of life. He’s the guy who put up his outdoor Christmas lights immediately upon arriving, before unpacking any boxes. […]

Jan’s New Year’s Eve Letters

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Moving / Neighbors / Social Life / Wilcox People

Jan began a new tradition after moving here with her husband, Steve, in 2013. Each year since then, on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, she sits down at her computer and writes a letter to Jamie Wilcox, our builder. These letters are part thank-you notes, part accounts of her year, and part personal reflections. The letters are personal, yet not private. She shares them with others and has given me permission to quote from […]

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, […]

A Great New Neighbor

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Animals / Neighbors

Meet Tak (pronounced Tuck). Tak is a 6-year-old Great Dane with a Swedish name — Tak means thanks. He moved into the Maples last week, along with his humans, Tom and Brenda. By far the largest of the many dogs who live here, Tak commands attention when he and his owners walk through Phase 3, where they live. For longer trips, he rides in the backseat of a car purchased especially for him. Tak is […]

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

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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 […]

September at the Pool

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Nature / Neighbors / Social Life

Labor Day is considered the traditional beginning of fall. But that was not the case this year at Maples at the Sonatas, where we enjoyed three-plus weeks of bonus summer. There were still several sizzling hot days for swimming. Our walking group, known for getting outside in challenging weather, took their exercise in the pool a few days. Don’t they look nice and cool here? And they can spell too. A-A-R-P… The weather has turned […]

Art’s Excellent Adventure

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Neighbors

My neighbor Art doesn’t have a formal bucket list. But if he did, sky diving would be item #1. He has wanted to try it for the longest time—so long that he doesn’t even remember how long. But life kept getting in the way, and he kept putting it off for various reasons. Then, a couple of years back, it looked like health problems had closed the window of opportunity on Art’s dream. That all […]

Two New Bloggers in the Neighborhood

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Blogging / Neighbors

Two of my neighbors and good friends have taken up blogging recently. Both started their blogs to share information on subjects they are passionate about. I’d like to introduce each of them and give you previews of their sites. First, we have Barb, who created Crawford/Comfort Family Letters to share information from her genealogical research. She is posting correspondence between Hiram and Nancy Crawford and their eight children, as well as other family members and […]

Water’s Great! Come on in!

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Neighbors / Social Life

Our swimming pool officially opened for the 2015 season this morning. At 10 a.m., to be exact. I walked over at 10:02, and found that Joe and Sylvia have kept their record in tact. For the third consecutive year, this couple, aka the Lake Superior dippers, are first in the water. Thanks to the brilliant sunshine today, and our trusty pool heater, the water is fine. The air temp may be only     But […]

Final 4 Fever

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Just for Fun / Neighbors

Here it is, one of the biggest weekends of the year. It’s Final Four time. So it was no surprise to hear some rivalry talk at our community coffee this morning. We had a fan of Michigan State wearing green. We had Wisconsin supporters in the group too, along with Big 10 fans happy that their conference had two teams in the finals. But only Sylvia and I broke out our team shirts this morning. […]

Changing the World One Child at a Time

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Neighbors

My neighbor Bob believes that every child should have an opportunity for happiness. My neighbor Jane, who spent her career working with children, saw so many who needed an advocate in life. My neighbor Maureen is willing to step out of her comfort zone to fundraise for a cause she truly believes in. All three found an ideal outlet for their desire to help children in CASA of McHenry County, an organization that provides volunteers […]

It’s March. Give Us a Break.

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Nature / Neighbors / Uncategorized

This time the weather forecast was right on. A winter weather advisory posted yesterday was amazingly accurate. Unfortunately. The sleet hitting my bedroom windows was loud enough to wake me just after 6. I peeked through the blinds to see that 3″ of snow had fallen during the night. The sleet continued off and on — mostly on — for an hour. No yoga class for me this morning, I said to my cats. ••• […]