Tablecloths: I’ve heard they tell stories.

20140506-073654.jpg. The entire eating at the “table” thing is so full of ritual and tradition.

Today, the master of ceremony for this discussion will be the tablecloth.

The tablecloth is not simply a cloth thrown over a slab of wood or metal. It is a covering, protective and decorative and sets a mood or season with its multiplicity of functions.

Lace or plain, cotton or wool, full of color and pattern or just plain white, this woven piece of threads sets a mood; a mood for the people who will gather round its girth for a meal or a snack or even wine and conversation.

In the photo, top shelf and bottom cloth: rose colored Apples on a cream background, it’s a durable cotton; this I like to use in the late summer when apples are on everyone’s mind. I think of trips to Cynthia’s farm and Mama’s apple strudel and Grama’s apple pizza! Harvest is in full swing and Autumn is in the air when this cloth is on the table!

Second cloth from the bottom; a faded aqua background with a rusty toile pattern. This cloth is versatile and always delightful; country French and makes me think of Grama Thibault and her mother, Celine Tetrault. Celine was a single mother (never found out what happened to Grama’s father) who owned a Millinery in Quebec. The story goes like this: whenever the day was going slow and sales were shabby, Celine would turn her statue of St. Joseph upside down until a sale was made! Tough French little lady for sure.

Third from the bottom; a navy and white stripe background with cherries bordering the hem; great for any summer event, patriotic and picnic-ish for sure. I think of Karen and Janet Szachta, old friends and neighbors from my childhood. They had a cherry tree and every year gave Mama a bucket full of cherries! Then Mama would make Danish pastry for all of us to share! What a treat!

Then one of my favorites is the green and white HERB tablecloth depicting fresh herbs used in so many good Italiano recipes; takes me back to old days and Tuscan vineyards. Reminds me of all my Aunts who made so many celebrations extra special with their delicious cooking skills!

Then there are the solid linen tablecloths in white and pastels; also good for any occasion. Lace trimmed tablecloths are for special days or special meals. Lace always adds a touch of the “sacred” to the table. The pink pastel cloth was given to me by my mother-in-law who used it on very special occasions. It was given to her by a cousin who worked as a “waiter” on a train. When the train closed its dining car the tablecloths were SHARED with the employees…at least that’s how the story goes. Now it is a treasure and I use it as a topper over a plain white cloth on Mother’s day.

The bottom shelf holds Fall coverings and Holiday cloths…need I say more. My favorite is the Christmas tablecloth Mama made for a Christmas eve many years ago. She appliquéd Christmas trees all around its border. Always a hit with the kids….and for everyone young at heart.

This morning I opened an old cupboard door (which is where I store my tablecloths) to put away Sunday’s washed and folded linens. Sauce stains and Jello spills and even wax drippings come out with washings and time. However, some things will never wash out of tablecloths. Memories will not fade in their color.
Greetings from old and dear, dear friends will always remain in their woven threads.


Princess Nellie


A few weeks ago a baby Prince was born across the pond…

Two days ago a little Princess was born down the street from me.

All these Princes and Princesses…

Every child is born a Prince…a Princess…a very special and unique child of GOD. HE loves them from the moment they are conceived.

With the birth of a child comes many emotions and a blessed cause for wonder…and hope…hope in things eternal, like love.

How beautiful life is now YOU are in the world…

You Prince George and YOU Princess Nellie and YOU thousands of babies born in between their birth days! LIFE is more beautiful because YOU have been born, because YOU are in the world!

And a special message to those thousands of Princes and Princesses torn from their mother’s wombs during this same time period. Your throne is not earthly because darkness and ignorance prevail. Yet you wear a crown in Heaven that was promised you at conception..the crown of life and LOVE eternal.

Love lifts us up


My sister Irene and her husband Danny are in Iceland and then will be off to Norway for a wedding. They are also celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary with this adventure.

Dear cousins of mine are in Chicago and will celebrate their son’s marriage tomorrow.

The squirrels are building nests and gathering acorns. It seems these little critters have no rest…

While sipping my morning coffee I thought about last night’s sunset and how vivid pink and gold the sky was! The moon was almost half full and so bright in the evening sky. The moon made me think of Irene and Danny in Iceland and if they had seen the moon last night. The moon made me think of Kathy and Chuck and if they will catch the waxing moon tonight after the rehearsal dinner…

“The world is charged with the grandeur of God”. Gerard M. Hopkins

The world at any given moment, in any given space, in all its glory or in all its shame, exists because of God. We exist because of Him.

He created us from Love…to love.

Truth. Beauty. Love.


Beauty places us in the arms of Love…then Love lifts us up to know the Truth.

Glacier and lava rocks in Iceland, St. Michael’s Catholic Church in old Chicago and an even older Catholic Church in Norway (1150 AD), a squirrel’s nest in an oak tree on my front lawn, sunshine on my patio this morning…I am in HIS arms of Love.

WE are in HIS arms of love…

Beauty beauty everywhere…replenish. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. It will always be about LOVE. Celebrate!


The 1150 AD Catholic Church in Norway.

Don’t blink!



Sometimes I’ll see something inspiring, something beautiful, something I couldn’t explain with even a thousand words…

And in the time it takes to get my camera, the moment is diminished…sometimes lost and soon forgotten…

Like today’s early morning sun on the top of my lilies which grace the patio…it was truly a prayer, a gift given for just a moment or two!

Boom! It was vibrant! Then literally, in a blink, it became more ordinary…still beautiful, but not saying in its reflection what it had told me just seconds before.

Just a couple of weeks ago while at my summer cottage, and while attending Mass at St. Francis De Sales Parish, another such moment as the one with the “sun on my lilies” was given to me. It was during the SIGN OF PEACE.

A very elderly woman shook my hand and then pertly gave me a wink and a smile. Immediately I felt her love and a message.

Oh I could have quickly dispelled it in a SEINFELDIAN way as a twitch I suppose, but I knew it was more than that. Her smile gave the wink credibility and purpose. She wanted to say so many things, but her wisdom (given to her through longevity of years) told her a wink would suffice.

Her smile became young. Her blue eyes though worn and pale from years on this earth, seemed to sparkle after the wink…my heart and soul sparkled after her wink.

All gifts are given.

In a blink some beautiful moments pass…and sometimes through a wink, in the time it takes to blink,
some beautiful things are spoken in volumes and never forgotten.



Like when Horton heard a who…this Cosmos sent a “BOO”… WAKE UP!…Corn is as high as an elephant’s eye…crickets soon we will hear…the Ides of july…August is near…what to fear… seize the day…make hay while the sunshines and the flowers bloom…tis summer! a time to be gay!






For Sure A Dash Of Whimsy


Once upon a time, not too long ago, actually June 28, 1973, my little sister got married. She and her husband were both 19.

Now, 40 years later they are celebrating this Wedding Anniversary up North! Danny rented three cottages this weekend at a lovely spot in Michigan for he and Irene and his mother and their four kids and spouses and 10 grandchildren. A true celebration of their love.

Their two poochies stayed home and I dog-sat.

On one of my visits to let GINO and PAOLO outside to do their thing, I meandered around Irene’s home. Inside and out. It’s beautiful…full of charm and so joy filled in its decor. There is no design category for Irene’s style and taste because like Irene, her home reflects a one of a kind “soul”. Seriously, there are many areas where the magical and mystical with a dash of the whimsical make your heart overflow with a sense of, “I want to live here.”

For example, over Irene’s kitchen sink is a lovely window where the view takes you immediately outside to pale pink begonias blooming. On the inside of the window’s generous ledge which is just above the sink’s faucet parades black metal ants holding tiny American flags! One is carrying a drum, another is riding a bike and all of them are wearing old fashioned newspaper hats! It’s soon to be the fourth of July! And, yes, in Irene’s home six inch tall ants march in parades for the 4th. of July!

Then as I was adding dry dog food nuggets to GINO and PAOLO’s breakfast food, my eyes caught a SECRET GARDEN in the corner of Irene’s kitchen counter top! It is about 15″ X 15″ and depicts a walled garden of climbing ivy complete with mini red and green garden lights…like a mini TAVERN on the GREEN. Little mice are the “caretakers” of this magical square which comes with a garden bench for imaginations to rest upon and potted flowers the mice tend so dearly.

Paintings of our Blessed Mother hanging here and there, some old some new, remind me of Irene and Danny and who my family is…and where we are going. There is the one old painting of Blessed Mary very similar to the one my Grandma used to have in her bedroom and another one Irene found at a garage sale, knowing instantly she had to rescue this wooden icon of Mary, too. Then there is the print of an oil painting by Jean-Francois Millet depicting two peasants bowing in a field over a basket of potatoes to say the Angelus prayer at noon. Every time I look at this painting I am there, in that field, grateful for my faith…the faith of my father and mother and Grandmothers and Grandfathers. Grateful for Irene and Danny and all of my brothers and sisters and their husbands and wives…

A row boat full of taxidermied wild animals sits on the fireplace hearth calling out for me to row with them a bit down the whimsical river of life! Irene’s dining room table for 18 invites me to dinner and to break bread with so many of the people she and Danny and I love! There is a niche or corner or view from an overstuffed chair to inspire everyone who enters this home. Everything is wonderfully beautiful! But it is the little magical spots in Irene’s home, the mystical spaces and tiny hidden places that pop out at you around a corner or up a staircase! It is a home that reminds me of the unique way Irene loves and inspires LOVE.

I never meandered through a home more full of LOVE! All the little (and some not so little!) things that make a house a home are there along with the recipe for making a marriage not only work, but make it a feast to behold and emulate!


My Country tis of me, oops, I mean Thee



People cheering on a woman who is rambling on and on against Texas abortion limits?


Who would ever have thought there’d be the day when a child could be ripped from its mother’s womb and they’d call it “CHOICE”!

Against human nature. Abortion is a crime. Evil incarnate.

Red, white and blue…some have made a mockery of you.

Amazing grace…one nation under God. What have we become.