Saturday:) “Something To Talk About” and a Soggy Penny In a Puddle

26 Mar

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

 – George Bernard Shaw


Everyone should have a a “bucket list.” It shouldn’t be things you want to do before you kick the bucket and die,  but rather the fun things you’ve always wanted to do to fill your bucket, and see your bucket overflowing day after day while you’re still alive.

I used to be a self-proclaimed fraidy-cat. Well, I still am a nervous-nelly, but I’ve been expanding my horizons, testing my wings, and working on my bucket list. One of the things I was afraid to do was get up in front of people and sing. My friend Sherri Murphy invited me to go with her to sing karaoke last year. I was nervous and I sang sooo bad and off key, but I did it. That was on my bucket list.

So, when a few friends planned on going to the local VFW Hall to sing karaoke a few weeks ago, I thought, hmm…I should join them. I need to keep filling up my bucket and enjoy the challenges. I was a little nervous, but my friend Bob offered to do a duet with me. I had to think of a quick song for a duet. We sang Bonnie Raiit’s “Something To Talk About.” Fun song.

Here’s the song, in case you aren’t familiar with it. It’s not me and Mr. Bob singing. We’re not ready to go on the road yet. 

So, this past Thursday, the gang was going back. Bob and I sang the same song again, this time it was much better and pretty funny. Then, I sang a solo, one of my favorites, “Leaving On A Jet Plane.” No longer a fraidy-cat, just another off key karaoke kid.

I love to sing. I’m going back again next week. I always say, “I sing loud. I sing proud. I sing off key.” I’m not quitting my day job! Oops! I don’t have a day job. Lucky thing. Speaking of luck…

Today, while I was walking, my eye glanced down and found a lucky penny. I have no idea how I even saw it, with dirt and leaves and sitting in a puddle. Just meant to be, just for me. Of course, I picked it up, wiped it off and put it in my pocket. Lucky me.

Friday Friends, Brownies and Beer

25 Mar

“Good neighbors always spy on you to make sure you are doing well.” ― Pawan Mishra


If you didn’t read my post from yesterday, my back fence was falling apart, flapping around from the strong winds. I tired to brace it up with a chair and a few rusty wrong sized nails. Didn’t work.

All night, I heard the squeak, creak of the wobbly section of fence. When I woke, I heard the rain and wind, fearing that my fence would be laying flat on the grass. Fortunately, it was still standing, but resting against the chair. The rain finally stopped and the sun came out around 1. I decided to go for my walk and hopefully run into Mr. Larry. 

I passed the garage, but it wasn’t open. Oh no! I walked slowly past the front of the house and I saw Mr. Larry by the front window. I waved and suddenly the garage door opened. I said it was to early for a beer as he reach for the fridge door. “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, I know, but I have a handyman question,” I sputtered as I plopped in my chair.

Ms. Sandy came out just in time to hear my falling fence story. They both offered to come over and take a look at the problem. I’ve got the greatest neighbors! 

The doorbell rang about twenty minutes later, Mr. Larry with his power drill and Ms. Sandy with a box of 2 1/2 in galvanized deck screws. Long story short, they removed my makeshift patch and secured the fence with six screws. It’s a cheap, not that well installed fence, like all the others, but it’s a lot more secure for a while. (I should have taken a picture.)

Neighbors looking out for neighbors. After they left, I started on a batch of brownies to take over later. Of course, I had to make a funny face in the mix. It’s tradition.

I walked over later with some brownies and a beer for me, but the garage was closed. They were eating dinner. I was invited in, but I stayed only a minute, put my beer in the fridge, and said I’d finish my walk and stop over after dinner. 

About an hour later, the garage was open, I grabbed a beer from the fridge, sat and talked with nice neighbors, and all was right with the world once again.

Theme Song Thursday:) If I had a Hammer

24 Mar

“Love and kindness are the hammer and chisel that gently chip through barriers and long-held beliefs to reveal the magnificent soul contained within every human.” ― Molly Friedenfeld


It’s been a blustery windy day, fortunately, I’m well anchored, so I didn’t get blown away, but the wind went sweeping in one ear and out the other. A little joke…nothing between my ears to stop it. 

Afterwards, I decided to sit in the backyard, do a little reading, and enjoy the sunshine. As I sat there, I noticed that my back fence was swaying back and forth. Hmmm? I walked back there and saw that the corner section of fence was anchored to… absolutely nothing. It was floating, not connected to the fence next door or the other back fence. There was a center wooden post, that didn’t look sturdier than a fat toothpick. 

All I could think to do was prop up a heavy metal patio chair to prevent the cheap fence from falling over. That didn’t help much. I went in the house. I knew I had a hammer somewhere, but I don’t have a tool box with nails or screws. Mr. Ex took all that stuff. All I had were some small picture hangers and a few nails that I found in the street on my walks.

I attempted to pound a couple of nails from the end of my fence to the one next door. They just popped out with the first gust of wind. I found a piece of old wood to try and join the seems. That didn’t work either, and I had to run off to meet some writer friends at 5:30. I just left the chair to hold up the section.

As I sit here tonight, the fence is squeaking, squealing, and flapping in the wind. I just hope it is still there in the morning. I may have to give my neighbor, Mr. Larry, a call. He has a garage full of tools. (Not just beer) Maybe he’ll have an idea as how to secure the sections. The fence isn’t even three years old. Crazy! 

If I had a hammer…I’d…I’d have a few words with the guys who pretended to put up my fence.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom in the Walsh Garage

23 Mar

Never judge someone by the way he looks or a book by the way it’s covered; for inside those tattered pages, there’s a lot to be discovered.     
~Stephen Cosgrove


Where do you get your latest news, important information, and neighborhood gossip? Do you watch CNN, Fox News, or BBC World? Personally, I don’t watch the news, it’s too depressing. Once in a while, I’ll get a glimpse of something vital about world events when I scroll through my Facebook page. But, the majority of all the important worldly news I’ve gleaned has been imparted when I sit and have a beer in Larry and Sandy’s garage when I go for my evening walks.

Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy sit in their garage pretty much every evening, with their gorgeous and well trained German shepherd named Wolf. I’m always invited to sit, grab a beer from the well stocked fridge, and find out what’s happening in the world. John, nextdoor, is often there to share in the wisdom. 

Oh, you should have heard the conversations during the heated election. But, for today, I found out about the rigorous basic training regime when Mr. Larry joined the Navy. The commentary is often humorous, with funny jokes or smart retorts. He said he joined he Navy because of the slogan, “Join the Navy and see the world.” They forgot to mention that you had to know how to swim, which Larry did not. He almost drowned before he even set foot on a ship. 

As we sat and listened to more stories, there was a constant play-by-play of who just got home from work, or which kids riding their bikes or playing in the street are in danger of getting run over. At one point Larry said that Mrs. Brown just got home. I chimed in…”And does Mrs. Brown got a lovely daughter?” I didn’t think he would get the song reference, but he did, and commented that she had three lovely daughters. Sandy thought the song was by the Beatles, and I thought it was Herman’s Hermits. I started to sing the song…Mrs. brown you’ve got a lovely daughter… I said that I’d Google it and see who sang it. I was right.

I asked Larry if he ever looks up facts or songs on his phone, and he said that he didn’t have a smart phone, just an old fashioned flip phone. Then, something silly popped in my head. I said, “Mr. Larry, you should invent your own app. Everyone has a Smartphone, or a Smart-TV, or Smart technology. You should create an app with just your phone number. People call you on your flip phone and ask you a question, and you give them a Smart-Ass answer. You can call it the Smart-Ass App.”

Oh boy, everyone had a good laugh. (And I didn’t even have a beer this time.) But, the little glimmer in Mr. Larry’s eye made me think that he was seriously contemplating the possibility. And you know what? I think he could pull it off.

Tuesday:) Technology Is Not Toni’s Friend

22 Mar

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards.” 

― Aldous Huxley


Okay, I’m going to rant about AT&T and Directv. First of all, they charge you an arm and a leg and other body parts for their service, THEN, when it’s time for a repair, adjustment, or installation, it’s like dealing with a pre-schooler at nap time.

Last week, my TV was acting up, popping in and out and then all my recorded shows could not be accessed. I made a call. You know how that goes. Press 1 for this, 2 for that, and 3 when you’re ready to shoot yourself . After a long wait of Muzak, telling a person with a mysterious accent my account number and secret passcode, I was asked what my problem was. After a lot of back and frothing, I mean forthing, I was told it sounded like a dead hard drive and they would send a new one in the mail in 2 to 3 business days. (Lucky I don’t watch a lot of tv.) 

Two days later, my new box arrived with installation instructions and return label for the old one. Seriously? I have to install this myself. Lucky I have that $9.99 a month service fee that replaces the box. It doesn’t come with a man that replaces it. I looked in the box, no man.

I’m a smart girl. I can do this. I opened the box, put on my glasses, and got the step stool and started reading the instructions. Yes, you heard it right. I actually looked at the instructions. Not like me. I went one step further. I put the new box on top of the old box so I could replace each wire and cable one at a time into the correct place. (I’ve learned that the hard way,) I’ve been known to put cables in places they shouldn’t go.

Wow, that wasn’t hard at all. I took out the old box, put it in the return box and was ready to watch tv. But, NOOOOOOO! Now it said, “Set up instructions.” Here’s the abridged version…I couldn’t figure it out so I called the technology support number. Another LONG wait, two different calls, different people, and didn’t get it to work. Finally, the last lady tried talking me through the steps for about an hour or more, then we both gave up and set up an installer to come out in the next day 8-12. I was beyond frustrated after 4 1/2 hours. Yep!

The tv was on, but only on the Directv info station. I turned it off and went about my day. Finally around midnight, I played around with the instructions and set up again, once last ditch effort. All of a sudden, it was working. Yay! 

I went to the website to cancel the installer, as the phone lines were unavailable, and I got the instant chat help. I said I wanted to cancel and install. They said they had no record of an install to cancel. Ok, I’ll just wait till morning when they call. Around 1 a.m., I realized, I didn’t check the tv upstairs. I just assumed both worked on the same box so it would be workingtoo, but NOOOOO! Dead as a doornail. But, that’s OK, the installer was coming in the morning.

But NOOOOO! When I called to check on the installation time in the morning, they told me it was cancelled. Do you see now, where I wanted to hurt somebody? They directed me to technology support again to reschedule. To my delight, a very nice and patient young man asked if perhaps he could walk me through the steps to set up the upstairs TV. 

I told the young man that I was old, so he needed to talk in old people language and be patient. He complied as I hobbled up and down the stairs getting pass codes from the tv downstairs to type into upstairs.  FINALLY, after about another half hour, both TVs were working, and I could set up to record with the DVR. The bad news, ALL my previous recordings and movies were GONE. All my Star Trek and Murder She Wrote and Artful Detective….GONE!

Did I mention that I hate AT&T and Diretv? Technology is not my friend! Where’s a twelve year old kid when you need one?

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

21 Mar

Monday can be a blessing or a curse. It’s best to count your blessings and stop cursing. Just sayin’.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Just another manic Monday. Oops…. a song coming on. Hope you had a good week and have a great week coming up. My week in a quick peek.

Sunday Sermon, A Sunset and Some Other Stuff

20 Mar

“Each time you say hello to a stranger, your heart acknowledges over and over again that we are all family.” ― Suzy Kassem


This morning I had the distinct pleasure of attending two church services. The first at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church and the other, the First Presbyterian Church across the street. The good part was that both services had the same readings, so today, I actually remembered the Gospel without looking it up to write my post.

The Gospel was the story of Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well. First, Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along and weren’t supposed to speak to one another, and then, women were not supposed to talk to strange men, and this woman did not have the best reputation. But, Jesus not only spoke to her, but revealed Himself as the Messaih. This is an important lesson, and happens to be the longest recorded scripture reading in the Bible. 
My take on it…Jesus is showing, by example and words, that we should treat all people with respect, kindness, and compassion, whether it be friends, family, enemies or strangers. This is not necessarily a religious virtue, but should be just an everyday human kind virtue. It was a good lesson.
After church, Jim and I went to the local greasy-spoon diner and sat by the window at a vintage (nice way of saying real old) booth with torn red vinyl seats and a well-worn Formica table. The food was good, inexpensive, and the waitress was attentive. As we sat there, an elderly gentleman shuffled ever so slowly from his car to the door. It must have taken him a good ten minutes. He sat up at the counter and ordered a hamburger, no fries, no chips and water. The waitress poured him a cup of coffee, as he protested that he didn’t order it. She smirked and said to the regular, “Just drink your coffee John.” He smiled back and drank his coffee.

I made a smiley face in my hash browns, and you can’t beat biscuits and gravy with your omelette.

When we got our check, Jim asked our waitress to put John’s burger on our bill, and I handed her a $20 bill for her tip. That was probably the first time she ever got a $20 tip for a $17 check. And, maybe that was the first time someone bought old John a meal, maybe not. But, it was a nice way to share a little kindness and friendship on a fine Sunday with a couple of strangers. Also, a nice way to share today’s Gospel by example.

It was a beautiful warm day, and when we went out for an evening walk around Boomer Lake, God painted a picture perfect sky, and a red-winged blackbird squawked as he balanced carefully on a long bare limb, silhouetted by the setting sun.

 Happy Sunday!