Lori Henriksen

author of The Winter Loon


I’m Back

Word of the day ~ Undertake. A  pick from Roget’s International Thesaurus. Ran my finger down a randomly selected page with my eyes closed and landed on undertake. Would normally think caskets, mortuaries, funeral planning. But the word I landed on is a verb and a subsection of address oneself to. I do love a good romp through a thesaurus. Undertake, such a humble word has too many synonyms to mention and has inspired its own stable of cliches:

Knuckle down ~~ Put one’s shoulder to the wheel ~~ Take the bull by the horns

I’ve done all three the last few weeks, editing my manuscript, my excuse for being away from my blogging.

And why the association with grave diggers?

Word Origin and History for undertaker
c.1400, “a contractor or projector of any sort,” agent noun from undertake (v.). The specialized sense (1690s) emerged from funeral-undertaker. = {http://www.dictionary.com/browse/undertaker}

Back to Thoughts While Walking the Dog.

Happy Spring!

new rainbow.jpg

I’ve just finished reading ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr. If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it along with the majority of the other, over 23,000, reviewers who also wrote lovely descriptions of the story on Amazon and Goodreads. Many more reviewers raved about the book than those who criticized it.

I found much beauty and suspense in the novel along with the horror of WWII and the Nazi regime. I  felt immersed in the lives of the characters and once I got into the story had no problem following the back and forth in time.

Of course the book got me thinking about war and good vs. evil. One NY Times reviewer criticized Doerr for including von Rumpel as a not fully developed character along with Frederick, Werner’s friend in the Nazi Youth School. I guess both fall into the category of minor characters, not much backstory to flesh out either of them or make us care too much about them. But for me the two of them are metaphors for the theme of good and evil inherent in most stories about Nazi Germany.

Frederick represents the delicate nature  of good in the face of evil. When he defies authority, he is  severely punished. Werner knows in his heart the right thing to do, but does not have the courage to act. There are many, many riveting scenes, but that one stays with me. I keep asking myself – What would I do in a similar situation? Would I have the guts to  defend a friend or loved one in a situation where we would both more than likely lose our lives if I speak up?

Sgt. Maj. von Rumpel is evil to the core, toeing the party line and being eaten up inside by his cancer. Isn’t that the very essence of evil to destroy itself in the end. Doerr spared us a narrative about evil by showing it to us in the character of von Rumpel.

Did you read the book? Do you have a scene that stays with you? I’ll be away from my computer for the rest of the week on family business, but look forward to any comments you have.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Word of the day ~ regenerate. The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus says revise, revitalize, renew, breathe new life into. I’ve chosen this word because I’ve spent way too much time in the last few days trying to breathe new life the appearance of my blog site. Thanks to my website advisor, Maggie McLaughlin, changes are happening.

Perhaps the word should have been choices. So many choices in designing a website. So many choices in life.

My main character in THE WINTER LOON, Ruth Thompson, makes a choice early in her life based on what she doesn’t want. She questions the values she has been raised with and society’s expectations for young women in the 1930s. Her choice opens the door to a whole new life. Along the way there are many changes. Many times she must renew the direction of her life in order to follow her heart.

Still reading LOVING ELEANOR. I can’t help believing that Eleanor Roosevelt was the first blogger with her My Day daily newspaper column that ran in almost one hundred newspapers. Her choice to write the column took away from precious time she could spend with Lorena Hickok, the woman she loved. It was Lorena’s choice to suggest the column and to encourage her writing success that caused the whole world to fall in love with Eleanor.



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Rambling Thoughts

Word of the day – Halidom – picked out of the Scrabble Dictionary at random. Feeling lazy I look up halidom on thesauraus.com. It’s not an accepted word and the computer corrects me to halidade, which also has no synonyms. Thesauraus.com wants to know if I mean haloed—close, but not quite. Still too lazy to lift the heavy two volume Oxford Dictionary, I look up halidom on dictionary.com. Aha. It means a holy place, a church or sanctuary.

The British Dictionary describes halidom as an archaic noun. In 1906, L. Frank Baum used halidom like this: “By my halidom, churl—” He stopped to glance at the fat man. Perhaps it would make more sense in context. It’s from a book called JOHN DOUGH AND THE CHERUB. By the way, L. Frank Baum also wrote THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ.

Anyone interested in either of these two books can read them for free on Gutenberg.org. If neither of these is of interest, there are 51,341 other free eBooks on the site. Amazing where an unfamiliar word has taken me.

Blue and I dashed out between storms to walk through our halidom of trees today. Water droplets glittering on pine needles in weak sun, drenched us as the Ponderosas bow in the stiff breeze. A holy experience indeed to be out

I’m reading LOVING ELEANOR by Susan Wittig Albert. This historical novel tells the fascinating and endearing story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok, an AP journalist in the 1930s. Since writing THE WINTER LOON, I’ve become fascinated with the 1930s history and its impact on women. More about Loving Eleanor and women in the 1930s as my blog develops.

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Thoughts While Walking the Dog

Meet Blue my companion walker, a Border Collie/Whippet in one bundle of energy. Always ready for a frisbee toss.


Word of the day ~ Humble. We walk every day among the Ponderosa Pines, Madrones and Douglas Firs, magnificent in their stature. Silent. Breathing in Co2. Breathing out the fresh, clean air that only exists in a forest. We walk the paths of Native people who inhabited this land when the tress were young, strong and healthy. Legend has it that the Native women were the keepers of the forest, clearing dead wood, maintaining trails along the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains all the way to Mt. Shasta. It’s on our walks that I do my best thinking, so I’m calling my new blog Thoughts While Walking the Dog.

Last night I finished reading GOD HELP THE CHILD, Toni Morrison’s latest novel.Her powerful words stun me, humble me. Someone please make this beautiful, visual novel into a film. The face of the Oscars will never be the same again.