Grama Grama: a picture is worth a thousand words


Great Grandma Frances (AKA Grama Grama) is 94 and a half. She was the guest of honor at little Great granddaughter Maria’s FIRST HOLY COMMUNION.
I think if I asked Maria “What was the most special gift you received on this big day?” Maria would surely reply, “Having Grama Grama at the celebration dinner table!”
“Oh”, Maria would probably soon add, “And drawing the winning HORSE in the Kids Kentucky Derby raffle!”


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.

A Short Story Long or Stealing Is Wrong


The plate on the right is the average sized dinner plate. The plate on the left, and newly acquired, is bigger…fits today’s oversized portions. But portions and size isn’t what this blurb is all about.

This is about a plate that was intentionally (and rather joyfully!) stolen from the ristorante where it eclectically held PIZZA MARGUERITA in front of me on the table. Oh, the pizza was sooooo good but the plate served more than its function and in a way was more delicious to my senses than the pizza!

The plate is restaurant porcelain china, HOMER LAUGHLIN to be exact. It is very durable and though not FINE china, it is still very pleasing to the eye. Its background is off white with a garland of pink flowers. I’m sure this design reminded Mama of St. Theresa and her love of roses…

The delicate design on this plate is the same one on our restaurant china which my family used while I was growing up. My Uncle Pete used these in a restaurant he used to have and gave my father a service for 10. I still have 6 of the dinner plates, 6 of the bread and butter plates and seven cups and saucers. I am from a family of nine so even having this many after DECADES of use is amazing to me. I have them on my shelves and use them when it is just five or six of us for dinner. I love them!

So, today, on seeing the LARGE dinner plate in front of me, a dozen memories from growing up came back to me. Now I had to have this oversized plate like Mama’s to show my brothers and sisters! I’ll serve them fresh bread and olives on this plate and they will melt from nostalgia!

Being with my daughter and son-in-law made things (like stealing!) a little more uncomfortable than it would have been if I had been alone or with my husband. They kind of understood about the LIFT, and left a bigger tip and a promise to go back for dinner one evening…without me and my sticky fingers.

I’m not a thief. I have never really stolen anything in my life (and I am 64!) except for a few plates. I justified my actions using “LOVE” for the motive and Love for the excuse to do something inexcusable.

No excuses.

I know this is wrong but sometimes it goes beyond right or wrong. (Lax conscience once again kicking in!)

It is not like murder or grand theft or destruction of property…I am not a chronic clepto!

I feel guilty about taking the plate, yet even while writing this I feel so happy for taking the plate.

Am I happier today with the plate than I was yesterday without it?

Why did I take it?

Maybe because it was a reminder, just a simple little reminder from a time and place that I miss…

For a moment I was back on Teppert St. For a moment I was back home in our Italian kitchen (basement) having Mama’s ravioli, Daddy’s Peppers and Pork and Grandma’s special birthday torte on a restaurant white and pink floral designed plate. People I loved served love on these plates to the people they loved.

Not nice to steal…

One day I will return the plate…actually plates. Until then…

They make me smile.

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.

First garden tomato, garlic, flannel and Sinatra


First tomato from the garden. I placed it on the countertop.

So little, so alone. It needed a friend.


Garlic and tomatoes go together like Romeo and Juliette…like Chianti and pasta…Sinatra and love songs.

And how could I see the two together, the tomato and garlic that is, and not think of my Grandpa and my Dad and my father-in-law, Pete. These men made the best sauce from these two ingredients! Adding olive oil, basil, salt and pepper they made the best sauce you could ever serve with a barbecued steak! Now I’m drooling!

In a few days there will be enough fresh tomatoes on the vine to pick and then concoct the “sauce”…until then I have a little sewing to do.

I have my sewing machine set up in the garage today…

The fans are blowing morning air around my face while my “playlist” is creating a soothing sense of thanksgiving for having been raised in an era when love songs were just that…songs about LOVE…real LOVE. THAT’S ALL. What an incredible love song…”I can only give you love that lasts forever, and a promise to be near each time you fall, and the heart I own for you and you alone”.

My daughter Emily is expecting her third child next month (my eleventh Grandchild). I’m making some flannel blankets for baby girl Fairchild. I’m hoping she is born a few days early on August 10, my Grandmother’s birthday! And, I’m kind of hoping Filomena is her name…St. Filomena was my Grandma’s favorite Saint! P.S. I LOVE YOU.

Even if she is born on the 14th of the month and they name her Odette, she will definitely hear about all her family who were also born in the month of August. And, she will hear old love songs from my playlist as she grows up…lyrics her Great Great Grandparents, Great Grandparents, Parents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins all fell in love to and with and how a song can turn a simple pasta meal into a sacrament. She will hear about favorite saints and favorite family recipes and who made what the best and what the worst! Baby girl Fairchild will also hear about gardens and tomatoes and how fresh grown tomatoes are like GOLD and taste like Heaven! She will hear about the full moon on Christmas Eve…

Cousin Larry, Great Great Uncle Roger, Grama Brenda, Great Great Grama Theresa, Great Great Grama Antonia, cousin Luca, cousin Angelo, St. Monica…St.Augustine…crickets chirping…daylight shortening…sunflowers…lots of garden tomatoes…being Italian…French…English…Irish…


ALL MY TOMORROWS…”As long as I’ve got arms that cling at all, it’s you I’ll be clinging to”…who sings this better than Frank?

Garden tomatoes. Love songs. Flannel blankets. Tony Bennet.
“TIME IS SO OLD…and LOVE SO BRIEF. LOVE IS PURE GOLD and TIME A THIEF…our summer’s day withers away too soon…too soon!”

A little yellow grape tomato. A head of garlic. A new little baby is coming soon. Soft flannel pink blankets. The sewing machine is whirring. Love songs are playing. Lyrics are bringing to mind, heart and soul beautiful memories of loved ones from the past! Yes I hear them singing along and reminding me that whether it’s an ingredient we add to a sauce or the secret “fertilizer” we use in the garden, or an old love song that describes perfectly how we fell in love, these things in life will always be about the unique way each one of us loved and how we were uniquely loved by others. ALWAYS ABOUT LOVE.

As I unplugged the sewing machine and while the song “MOONGLOW” was playing, I thought I heard Great Great Grama Bolone say to me, “I am cheering for the name FILOMENA!”

Okay…okay…just saying. lol



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!