Notre Dame University’s NEW Organ 2016


Notre Dame University’s Admin Building – view of the Golden Dome.

Next year Notre Dame University (ND), South Bend, IN will have a NEW organ in their church the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

My friend Dave, who went to ND, has been keeping me up to date on the news. See his Blog: Life In A Word where he gives details on the new organ.

I, along with his wife, attended Saint Mary’s College (sister school) across the street, so we know this church quite well. He was a Domer and we were SMC Chicks!

This is quite an undertaking by ND. The sound quality of the current Holtkamp organ had declined. Thanks to a very generous donation by Wayne and Diana Murdy a new organ was commissioned.


Photo of the Basilica of the Sacret Heart church at ND taken by Julie Delio located on

I am thrilled to say that the new organ is being built “right here” in the Seattle area by Paul Fritts and Company Organ Builders. They have extensive experience building intricate organs for the U.S. and Europe.

This new organ will be four stories high, so right now ND is renovating the church for the arrival of the new organ next summer.

The organ will make its debut Christmas 2016 at ND.

More good news… Paul Fritts & Company will be hosting an Open House Spring 2016 for us to see this amazing instrument. Six craftsman have been hard at work these past few years.

View the YouTube video, “Making the New Basilica Organ” to learn what goes into making this work of art.

I admit that when I was young, listening to an organ was like eating peas — I DIDN’T LIKE THEM!   As the years progressed my palet changed, I now eat peas and appreciate the sound of different organs.

AND at four stories high, there will be some incredble sounds coming out of this organ.

Stay tuned!

Christmas Memories of Marshall Field and Company

imageChristmas / Holiday traditions always seem to change every few years, because our family dynamics change. I was at Macy’s the other day and memories hit me when I saw Frango Mints. Suddenly, I was back in Chicago for Christmas. I felt like I was in a Hallmark movie!

When I was young, growing up in Indiana, we would take the South Shore Train from Indiana to Chicago to look at the Christmas decorations in the Marshall Field and Company department store windows on State Street.

Anyone from Chicago knows how special this was. We would trudge through the snow all bundled up, ears/nose and toes about to FALL OFF from the bitter cold, but that did not stop us. We were SO excited to see the window decorations, go up to the TOP floor to see all the children’s toys and hear the Christmas carolers singing. Marshall Field, for us, would be equivalent to going to Harrods in London — luxury shopping.

Here is a photo of the Marshall Field clock from Full Perspective Photos. Adam Dooley has taken some wonderful photos and kindly said I could share this one with you. Visit Full Perspective Photos website and read his article on “Meet Me Under the Clock!”

As you see, this beautiful clock is hard to miss, so it was often a meeting place for all of us. If you get lost, “stand under the clock.”

Of course, there are other memories. My mother brought us to see “The King and I” with Yul Brynner. A snow storm prevented people from attending the show, so we sat in the front. Wow — he was fantastic.

Rebecca V. Larkin has a wonderful video on YouTube called, “Marshall Field’s Incredible Impact on Chicago.” I didn’t realize Marshall Field (a brilliant business man) also created the “L” Train.

Chicago — I am thinking of you!

So, who knows, I might just receive a box of Frango mints this year! I admit, I might get a little choked up, memories do that to us.

By the way, I hear that Santa’s cut off for presents getting on his sleigh is around December 21st… there is still time (smile)!

Here’s to wonderful memories that come to us when we “least expect it.”

BE READY, smile and pull out your hanky when that memory hits you!

Christmas in the Pacific Northwest


Photo taken by Danny Schmalz on CP’s Facebook page

This is my first Christmas in Seattle and I am learning how they celebrate and honor this event in the Pacific Northwest. It makes me feel like a child again and reminds me of when I first moved to California. I had never been to Disney Land. Californians were in shock, because as children that’s where their parents took them on family vacations – it was tradition for them!

Setting up tradition with family and friends is wonderful. We look forward to the holidays knowing that we will do “special things” at that time of year that we do not do at any other time of year.  That is why it is SPECIAL.

So, I am in that mode of finding “new” holiday traditions to celebrate with family and friends here in Seattle.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from a friend telling me about the Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train that goes through different cities in Canada and the U.S. raising money and collecting food for local food banks. This is fantastic!

Have you seen the train?  It’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Click here to see a video on their website that shows the train and talks about their food bank program, live music, and more. Notice the Canadian and American flags in front of the train!

I hope you share the video of the Canadian Pacific’s Holiday Train with others. It spreads good cheer and will encourage people to donate to food banks this year.


Amazon gift idea:  Train puzzle

When I was young my father would put a small heavy metal train around the Christmas tree. We LOVED this as children, especially when he added the purple drops to the engine, so that the train would smoke and blow it’s horn as it went around the tracks.

This Canadian Pacific Hoiday Train brings back special memories to me on a larger scale, the video shows the train going through the mountains – it’s spectacular!

If you are still scouting out Christmas presents and like puzzles, here is a great gift idea from Amazon.

Here is to the start of a wonderful holiday season!