Theme Song Thursday:) There’s No Place Like Home…Depot

20 Jan

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” 

― James Baldwin


I’ve been back home for a week now. Chicago is home, but McKinney is where I live. So, this is home. My first night back, I woke up around 5 a.m. Startled and disoriented, sleeping in my own bed was unfamiliar. It took about a week, but now I’m all back to normal. I take that back…I’ve never been normal, so that would be impossible to accomplish.

The last few days were rainy, but today the sun came out and I went to Zumba in the morning, went for a long walk, had lunch, another walk, went down to the Square to visit Kathy and Elizabeth at Sweet Spot Bakery, then ran some errands. I ended up at Home Depot. I love hardware stores.

I was looking at vacuum cleaners, but found myself wandering the tile aisle. It took all my self control not to buy some ceramic tiles to paint on. Artists always look at hardware stores as possible treasure troves for creative ideas.

While I wandered somewhere between the tile and caulk aisle, I stumbled upon a hands-on workshop in the tool aisle. Two female Home Depot clerks were demonstrating power tools  to a group of women. I think it was a workshop or class. After the demonstration, volunteers from the audience were asked to use the power saw. The first woman was a bit nervous. After she chopped a section of two by four, the other ladies all applauded, taking pictures, showing support and admiration. I was tempted to sit down and join the group, but I am terrified of power tools.

There’s no place like HOME…DEPOT.

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni~ Waste Not,Want Not

19 Jan

“The best remedy for a gloomy rainy day is a yummy batch of freshly baked cookies. Ask me how I know?”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Holy Crazoli, it was a gloomy day today. But, I was in a great mood. With no agenda in the morning, I didn’t roll out of bed until 11. Wow! Haven’t done that in a while. I actually had some interesting dreams that I remembered for a couple of hours, forgotten now. They involved intrigue, and some foreign Russian spy type people, but it was better than no dreams or bad dreams.

I took a couple of misty walks during the day, just bundled up, put on a hat and gloves, and enjoyed the moisture. I like to think of it as a free facial.

This evening, I decided to bake some cookies for my divorce support group at church. I usually try to bake something for the group. I had several rolls of cookie dough in the freezer that I made at Thanksgiving. Plus, I really need to make room in my over stuffed freezer. I freeze pretty much everything. I also had a zip lock bag with left over Russel Stover and Godiva fancy chocolates that I had frozen for a rainy day. Hey! It was raining!

I sliced and shaped the dough into small rounds and cut the fancy candy to place on top. I know, hard to believe that I have left over chocolates,  but I do. I receive many gifts of chocolate candy, and couldn’t possibly consume it all.

Well, I don’t want to brag…well, yes I do. These were probably the best cookies I ever made. They were enjoyed by many. 

The best remedy for a gloomy day…lots of cookies.

Tuesday:) Two Cups of Tea, a Tree, and Spacey Me

18 Jan

“There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” ― Lin Yutang, The Importance of Living


I have this daily ritual of starting my day with a big pot of tea. The pretty pot usually sits on the counter for most the day. I pour a little in the cup, microwave it for a minute, and go about my business. Did you notice that I didn’t say that I actually drink the tea? Most of the time, that one minute it takes before the mircrowave sounds it’s annoying beep, I find myself distracted by some other project or activity, i.e., laundry, Facebook, emails, a walk, and so on. 

An hour or two later, I say to myself, “Self, did you forget to drink your tea?” Sometimes I respond and answer out loud, but most of the time I just tap the 1 minute again on the microwave. I’ve been known to do this four or five times before I actually remember to sit down and sip my tea. Does anyone else do that?

Well, it happened again today. I made my tea in the morning, but ran out the door for Zumba class at 8:15. My first time back to class in over a month. I’m a little sore right now. A little too much jiggle in my wiggle, and “Lanza in my panza.” (Mexican inside joke-my belly) When I got home, my tea was more than steeped, so I popped it in the micro 1 minute. I stepped in the other room to make the bed and hang up some clothes and put on a warmer jacket for my walk. Then, off I went for my walk. 

About an hour later, I walked in the door, a little chilly and decided to have a nice hot cup of tea. Where’s my cup? It’s not on the counter. Did I leave it in the bedroom? Nope! Bathroom? Nope! I know I was walking around with it this morning. Oh well. I grabbed another cup from the cabinet and poured. Off to the microwave to warm it up. (You can tell I’m not a tea connoisseur.) Aha! There it is!

Which one do I warm up? Heck! Just do both or I’ll forget again. This time I stood there the entire minute and waited for the beep. I get too easily distracted. Only one cup was consumed.

It was still chilly around 4p.m. I took little Bella for a walk through the park and we admired the knarly old tree that is sprawled across the grass, taking a few pictures.  I can relate to the old tired tree with thick weary limbs and bare winter branches. We’ve both seen better days, but…here we are, still hanging in there. A few limbs trimmed and worse for wear. But, a few specks of green. A sign of a little life still left.

I walked in the door, warmed up the second cup of tea still in the microwave, and decided, even if I’m old and spacey, there’s still a little life left in this old knarly tree.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

17 Jan

“Success is to wake up each morning and consciously decide that today will be the best day of your life.” ― Ken Poirot


Happy Monday. A new day, a new week. Let’s make the best of it.

Sunday Sermon, A Selfie, and Other Stuff

15 Jan

“The nice part about being away for a month and missing your friends is all the hugs you get when you return.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I really missed my McKinney friends when I was in Chicago for a month. That is a long time. But, now I miss my friends and family back home too. Torn! I was excited to get back to church his morning. I missed greeting at the door with Mary before Mass. it was chilly and foggy, so I donned my sock monkey hat. I got a lot of nice hugs from people that missed me and compliments on my hat. (I’m old, I can get away with being silly.)

It was a yucky day, so everyone could use a smile. I took a few new grandbaby pictures to show friends and strangers alike. I even pestered Father Don before he processed into the sanctuary. He said Belle was beautiful and congratulations.


See! I told you it was foggy this morning.

Today’s Gospel was about John the Baptist announcing that Jesus was coming. John was just a messenger.

My take on it…sometimes we need to give credit where credit is due. Praise and honor the good deeds and accomplishments of others. By lifting up others, you raise yourself up. Don’t be jealous, be grateful.

Gospel JN 1:29-34
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,

“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

He is the one of whom I said,

‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me

because he existed before me.’


So, back at church, back to greeting at the door, I was so excited to see my friends. Mary gave me a big hug. Miss Virginia and Mr. Joe were saving my seat inside. More hugs. Mr. Jerry was happy to see me. More hugs and plans for coffee after Mass. Oh, I probably showed a good fifty people baby pictures and received almost as many hugs. It was a good morning, a good Mass, singing, renewal, and most of all, thankfulness.

After Mass, I met Mr. Jerry at McDonald’s, as our usual tradition. Dave was there already and we bumped into Jackie. A lot of chatting and laughing. I imposed on Mr. Jerry to take a selfie.

After church, a well needed visit to Sprouts for fruit and vegetables and such. Oh yes, dark chocolate covered almonds on sale…don’t get me started. They had a great sale and my fridge was pretty empty. Well, never empty, but low.

They really shouldn’t have such a good sale. It’s too tempting. Blackberries only $1, strawberries $1.25 for the large pound container, cucumbers 2/$1, mangos 2 for $1, green peppers 3/$1, I can go on. It was insane. All this on the counter was a little over $20. I bought some other things too, but these bargains were so exciting. I love Sprouts! (Fridge no longer empty.)
I came home all happy, and now I have some chicken boiling on the stove. I’m going to cut up a bunch of vegetables and make some chicken soup. Life is good!  Ah….HAPPY SUNDAY!

Saturday:) Candles and Crosses 

15 Jan

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.” ― Anne Frank


It took me several days to go through all my mail and packages after being gone for a month. The  first thing I did was make piles, priority 1-packages, 2-bills and statements, 3-medical statements and health insurance, 4-Christmas and birthday cards, 5-flyers, advertising, nonsense for the trash. It took three days to go through everything.  

Packages are always the best. I received a book from my friend Donna B. in Ohio. A cool book about Feng Shui for the sign of the dragon. That’s me.

Then, I received a book from??? don’t know who??? Who sent me this??? Thank you!

If you sent me this book, thank you very much. 

Then, my absolute favorite was a package from my sister-in-law Ann. It was a beautiful crucifix to add to my collection. I called her to thank her and chat a bit. As soon as I hung up the phone,  I got out the hammer and picture hanger, and added it to my wall of crosses.

The nicest part of receiving a gift is the personal attention and thought that goes into finding just the perfect gift. Thank you Ann.

Now, what goes hand-in-hand with crosses? Why, candles of course. While I was in Chicago, I was able to visit a couple of different churches. I always light a candle and say a special prayer. There is always something to be thankful for and petitions to request.

Always say THANK YOU!

Friday:) Finding Freedom and a Butterfly

14 Jan

“Alongside the practical thought something else struggled and, like an escaped butterfly, took wing: the assurance of something wonderful awaiting her. Just around the corner……” ― Norah Loft


My relationship with butterflies is more than remarkable. There are many myths and explanations for certain animals or creatures being spiritual guides. I believe anything is possible, so when I found myself frequently visited by butterflies this summer and fall, I appreciated the symbolism. I have many photos and stories to tell about these winged friends, but I won’t delve into detail right now.

We are deep into the winter season here in Texas, we’ve had some unseasonably warm days, but today was cold, grey and gloomy. But, after a deep freeze month long visit in Chicago, I decided that I needed to get back into my walking routine. This morning, I bundled up with hat and hooded winter coat, and off I went. 

I walked to the pond, then stopped to pick up my furryfriend, Bella. We did our usual circuit, but instead of going back up her driveway, (Mr. Mike’s house) she pulled me towards the park across the street and towards my house. I guess she wanted to go home with me. There was a little dog yipping along the fence on one side of the park, so we walked he other way. There on the grass, right next to the path, was a beautiful butterfly. I couldn’t help but think, “I very rarely walk this way, and there it was, a butterfly. Was it a sign?

(Butterflies have been associated with the transition between one lifestyle, personality, or journey into another. If you have been going through a major life change, you might spot more butterflies than normal as they accompany you on your journey and encourage you that everything will turn out okay if you take the leap of faith with grace and bravery.~ from http://www.powerofpositivity.)

Here’s the thing. It’s January. It’s cold outside. There arent supposed to be any butterflies out there. But, there was one there in my path.

My friend the butterfly was not dead. I picked him up, still fluttering, and I held him in my hand. And yes, we had a little conversation. And no, the butterfly didn’t talk. I did all the talking. 

I believe in signs. This was a beautiful sign for me today, assuring me that everything will turn out okay. The butterfly said so.