All posts filed under: Pictures

Watch Us Grow!

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Construction / Growth/Sales / Pictures

This isn’t the end, but you can see it from here. Work has begun on Phase 4, the final phase, of Maples at the Sonatas. I know it’s too soon to get all nostalgic about this. So I will spare you those posts until later in the journey. For now, I’ll just share a visual progress report. Here we are—Maples at the Sonatas—from the air. Three pictures taken from three small airplanes in three different […]


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Animals / Pictures

Shadow is a seeker of light and of heat. During the daytime, I often find her napping in a pool of sunlight on a bed or a rug. On cold winter nights, she will sit quietly in front of the dark fireplace, waiting for me to turn it on. She understands what it means when I walk over and flip the switch. The word ambience is not in her small cat vocabulary. She doesn’t know […]

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 […]

A Study in Feline Beauty

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Cats are difficult to photograph. At least, for me they are. My two are often so cute/playful/beautiful/cunning/charming that I plead with them to hold the pose long enough for me to grab my phone. They almost never do. But this morning, for whatever reason, Shadow decided to cooperate, and here’s the result…. Well, here’s the result after I chose the best of three shots, cropped it, and played with the color. I don’t mean to […]

Escaping the Gray

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Nature / Pictures

It’s record-settingly official. The Chicago area just survived its cloudiest June on record. Books close on Chicago’s cloudiest Junes on record and one of its wettest; May-level chill settles in as July 2015… — Skilling (@Skilling) July 1, 2015 If you were to read the entire post, you would find all the depressing statistics. If that sounds too gloomy to tackle, here are the highlights—or, should I say, lowlights:  Last month our total sunshine […]

Aerial Views of Maples at the Sonatas

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My neighbor Barb had a gift to share with us at Coffee and Conversation this morning. She brought photos that her son-in-law, a private pilot, took while flying over our neighborhood last month. It was fun finding our homes and other familiar locations in the prints. At the suggestion of several neighbors, I’m posting the photos for anyone who might be interested. Thanks, Barb! (As always, click on a photo to enlarge it.)

Christmas in Woodstock

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Pictures / Woodstock

Christmas is a truly magical time in Woodstock, IL. And the magic is centered in the heart of our town, the historic Woodstock Square. During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, workers string thousands of lights in the trees on the Square and on the buildings surrounding it. Then, on the night after Thanksgiving, Miss Woodstock flips the switch. This year more than 2,000 people were there to ooh and ahh at the beauty. Rather […]

Snapshots of Today

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Construction / Nature / Pictures

Maybe it’s the sunshine today. Or the bluest of skies, or the vibrant colors of October. If there is such a thing as a photogenic fall day, this is one of the best we’ve had. I couldn’t wait to put on my walking shoes and grab my camera. I was on a mission. I would wander our community, snapping photos of anything that caught my eye. I would try to use little details to capture […]

My Remarks at the Wilcox Conference

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Pictures / Wilcox People

Before we left for Columbus, I thought I understood what an honor it would be to speak to the 80 or so Wilcox staff members gathered at their first annual conference. But I didn’t really comprehend what a gift I had been given until later. It began sinking in after my presentation, when Ember came up to make an announcement and stopped to hug me on her way to the podium. When I saw Carol, […]

Heaps of Snow

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Pictures / Uncategorized

Anyone want some free snow? We have more than enough, thank you! After getting over 60 inches this winter, we have run out of room to stack it. So our snow removal company, Langton, is “relocating” it today. It’s time to call in the heavy equipment, much to the delight of Shirley’s little granddaughters who have a closeup view of the operation.

Beyond the Writing

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Blogging / Pictures

When I began writing Home Sweet Abbey a year ago, I had a lot to learn about blogging. A half-day workshop I had taken a few months earlier had hit the high points. But there was so much left to learn that I kept studying to try to improve my craft. And I’m still doing that. One of the first things I learned is that a well-written article is not necessarily enough to attract readers. […]

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 […]

A Beautiful Place to Live

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A delightful surprise was waiting in my email this morning. Thanks to my neighbor, Lorraine, who was up early with her camera. We awoke to lightning and rain this morning, then enjoyed the briefest burst of sun before the day turned cloudy and gray. Lorraine caught that fleeting moment of early-morning sun and was thoughtful enough to share it. What a beautiful place to live, her message said. So gorgeous and peaceful. I couldn’t agree […]

Beating the Heat, Day 4

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If the forecast is right, today will be our hottest day yet…but also the last before a break from the 90s. With this is mind, I’ve saved my heat-beating big guns for this moment. Remember back to February 2011. It was my first winter here at Maples at the Sonatas—a memorable one that delivered our third biggest snowstorm ever. It was known as the Groundhog Day Blizzard, and, to use Groundhog Day lingo, it was […]

Beating the Heat, Day 3

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When it’s 91 degrees before noon, you know the afternoon is going to be another scorcher. So my heat-beater for today is the simplest of all. Stay inside in the air conditioning whenever possible. That’s what I’m doing, and my cat Angie loves having me home with her. I sat down with a tall glass of ice water and The Tribune this morning, ready to take it easy. But I had neglected to put my […]

Big and Beautiful

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Every time I go in or out of my garage, I pass by these glorious hydrangeas. Not having planted them, I take no credit. The little bushes were here when I came. Now in their fourth season, my, how they have grown. Their location is perfect. I can even see them from my bed when I wake up in the morning. Home Sweet Abbey just became a little sweeter!