Being Measured and Falling Short

There are so many pleasures that come with entertaining in your home.  Memorable times abound with family and friends in the privacy of your own four walls and around a kitchen or dining table.  

One thing I have always enjoyed is setting the table for dinner when entertaining.  Somewhere along the way I became interested in napkin folding.  Indeed, I have come to think about napkin folding among my few talents.  I was going to add it to my resume at one point but then thought better of it.  Over the years I took napkin folding to heart.  I have two books on the subject.  I used to think of it in a small way as an artistic addition to the table.  I used to think of it that way.


Thinking of writing this blog has been in the works a long time.  I came upon a piece almost five months ago that poured cold water all over my idea of folded napkins and it’s taken me this long to write about it.  An article in the Globe and Mail this spring focused on the book The Butler Speaks: A Guide to Stylish Entertaining, Etiquette and the Art of Good Housekeeping.  The book was written by one Charles the Butler.  

And when it came to folded napkins, he writes: “Overly intricate folds may be seen as a sign of lack of sophistication, and even as unhygienic: a professional butler will do everything in his power to avoid touching your napkin.”

I noticed today that there was a chance to ask Charles the Butler questions after the article was published.  I was hoping someone would challenge him on his severe view of folded napkins.  But no, no one asked about napkin folding.  

Here I sit, now, unsophisticated, perhaps even unhygienic looking through my books to find a fold for our upcoming dinner party.  I have decided on one fold I will use today.  It consists of folding that newspaper article in half and feeding the page through our paper shredder.

In the world of entertaining, have you ever done something you thought was really quite eye-catching or fashionable to be told or to read that someone thinks you have fallen short of their etiquette measurement?


The Place You Were Formed

It is the same for almost everyone, I’d bet.  When you have moved away from the place where you grew up (my sister jokes she has always lived in the same postal code) and you return home, it’s a wonderful experience.  I blogged about a trip home to the province of Saskatchewan last year.  Another trip this year was to attend the reunion of my College of Pharmacy class and then some driving around the province to see family and friends.  All those loved ones.   It was a big number, this reunion.  We are, as far as we know, the only class from the College of Pharmacy in its 100 year history who has held a reunion every 5 years since graduation.  

The campus of the University of Saskatchewan is a beautiful place and it doesn’t get any better than being there on a warm September afternoon.  

The Thorvaldson Building
The Thorvaldson Building
Inner passage in the new health building
Inner passage in the new health building
The Bowl
The Bowl
View from a boat cruise on the mighty Saskatchewan
View from our boat cruise on the South Saskatchewan river

The boat cruise made me think of a song by the Arrogant Worms “The Pirates of Saskatchewan”.  

Harvest was in full swing when I was ‘home’.  It’s a bumper crop this year, some say the crop of a lifetime.  My 91-year-old Uncle Albert called it “two crops in one”.  For my part I loved to see the combines on the land, the hauling machinery and the size of those machines.  Much different from the 60’s and 70’s when I operated the machinery on our farm in Saskatchewan.  Many of the pieces of machinery now cost the same as a very comfortable single family dwelling.  How in the world do they make a living with such costs?

I loved that trip home to Saskatchewan, where the skies are bigger than anywhere else, the place where I was formed.