Archive | February, 2013

Successful Sunday: What’s In The Oven?

18 Feb

Sunday is my day off. That’s my big joke, because every day is my day off. I’ve been procrastinating all week. My kitchen table was laden with thrift store glassware, enamel paints, brushes and a dozen champagne flutes for days. So, Sunday was my self-inflicted deadline to get off my lazy butt and get some painting done.

I planned on painting a dozen champagne flutes for a wedding shower gift and a few small vases that I bought at the Samaritan Inn Thrift Store. These vases are my trash to treasure finds that I use for special gifts. A hand painted vase with a dozen roses is always appreciated by friends, and recycling and repurposing inexpensive vases makes these gifts even more meaningful.

Glass painting is fun and easy. I use Folk Art Enamel paints, clean the glass with alcohol, paint using One Stroke Painting techniques, let dry a couple hours then bake 30 minutes in the oven. Voila! Homemade gifts. Any questions? Just ask me. So, instead of my usual lazy Sunday, I had a very successful Sunday. Guess what’s in the oven right now?

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Saturday Salutations: Tipping Your Conscience

17 Feb

The sunshine was inviting, but the outside temp was still a little chilly, well, at least for Texas. It was one of those stay under the covers kinda days, and since my morning writing group was cancelled, that’s just what I did. Of course, that doesn’t last too long when you have a nine month old puppy the size of a Shetland pony barking incessantly.

My Saturday usually entails taking care of the dogs, checking emails and Facebook, calling Mom, frantically trying to type something witty to take to writing group, and fighting with an uncooperative printer. Then I’d scurry off to the Square for our meeting, have lunch at Snug, and walk around visiting with friends. Yep, pretty much my routine every Saturday.

Today was pleasantly different. After taking care of the dogs, a leisurely cup of tea and the newspaper were my companions. I watched more mindless television and did all that email stuff. But, something strange happens when you are used to scrambling around. You start to get antsy by noon. So, I called my friend, Della, and we met at Olive Garden for lunch. I know what you’re thinking, “Yuck! Olive Garden?” But, it was a brisk soup and salad kinda day, so there!

Our young waiter’s name was Jake. He probably wasn’t old enough to shave yet, but he was very attentive and did a great job. Jake brought us more salad, refilled drinks, and pretty much worked his butt off for his little measly compensation. I have this philosophy about tipping at restaurants. It really isn’t the amount of your bill that you should use to calculate for your tip, but the amount of service and the circumstance.

I have been to fancy-dancy restaurants where the waiter comes by a couple times, pours some expensive wine and gets 20% of a $400 check for a couple minute’s work. Poor Jake hustled for about an hour and a half, probably stopped by ten times, and my bill was $7.50. I ask you, how is that fair? 20% would have only been $1.50, and a lot of people don’t even tip 20%. I left the kid $11, and even felt guilty about that. That’s over 40%, but the young man treated us like royalty and deserved every penny.

On our way out, I made sure to tell the hostess that Jake was an excellent server. I find that people tend to complain about poor service, but rarely compliment good service. So, think about that the next time you go out to eat. Tip your conscience, not the numbers. All the Jakes in the world will appreciate it.

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Another Frivolous Friday: I Watch Too Much TV

16 Feb

I confess, I watch way too much TV. How about you? It’s not always that I’m watching TV, sometimes it’s just background noise while I do other things. Like right now, I’m watching, or should I say, listening to recorded episodes of “Jeopardy” while thinking of what to write for today’s blog. I’m not sure how much I actually hear, but I did guess the correct answers to a bunch of questions. “What is MoMa, Museum of Modern Art, Alex?” I knew that one! I guess a lot and shout out my answer, but then, I’m not wagering real money, so it doesn’t much matter.

The nice thing about a DVR is, it records countless, mindless TV episodes that I can watch later at my leisure. When I got up in this morning, I watched four episodes of Dr. Oz in less than an hour by fast forwarding past commercials and zipping through the dumb visuals of plastic poop and simulated green slime mucus. Then, I saw two recordings of Ultra Eye featuring the New York art scene and the other, the beauty that is Rome. Again, less than an hour.

I called Mom around 9 am, while sliding by several HGTV shows. Then a cup of tea saw me through the recordings of “Suits,” and “Person of Interest.” The day continued like that, emptying the dishwasher and making pasta salad while listening to Fox 4 News at 12. Maybe that’s why my head is so full of useless trivia and insignificant information. I probably can pack fifty hours of vital television viewing into an eight hour day of zombie watching. Yep, I watch way too much TV. Thank goodness I’m done writing this blog because “Blue Bloods” is on in ten minutes and I haven’t even had dinner yet.

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Theme Song Thursday: Break the Chain

15 Feb

Do you have a bucket list? Most people think a bucket list is that desperate checklist of outrageous or dangerous things that they always dreamed of doing before they die. Why do we need a bucket list before we kick the bucket? I like to look at life a little differently. I have a “thimble list.” It’s more like a little, teeny-tiny thimble of small things I’d like to do someday. It could be something as simple as taking a pottery class or something spontaneous like dancing in a flash mob.

Today, the city of McKinney had a flash mob on the Square to support the One Billion Rising. The event is a worldwide activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Facebook friends were talking about participating, so I decided, “why not!” It was spontaneous and fun. I didn’t care that I didn’t know any of the steps, nor did I care. Just like the NIKE slogan says…Just do it! Three little words small enough to fit in a thimble.

Townesquarebuzz was on hand to record the event.

http://townsquarebuzz.com/ams/50382/watch-flash-mob-mckinney-v-day-mckinney-joins-global-campaign-end-violence-/0/ams/50382

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Words of Wisdom Wednesday

14 Feb

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ”
― Pablo Picasso, Pablo Picasso: Metamorphoses of the Human Form : Graphic Works, 1895-1972

Me and old Pablo have a lot in common. We both have a “different” way of looking at things. Well, my friend Señor Picasso is no longer around, but if he was, he would say, “Si, me gusta… I like that, Toni!”

“I have seen what is and ask…why can’t everyone else see this too?” Everyday activities and tasks present new perspectives. Today, after doing some laundry, I removed the lint from the dryer trap. When I examined it closely, I noticed the beautiful colors and texture. Who else would be in awe of the glory of dryer lint? That would be me. I did a load of darks and reds today, so the lint sheet was dark grey on one side and reddish on the other. With Valentine’s Day being around the corner,…like tomorrow, I decided that a heart would be in order.

I folded the muted colors, bending and twisting the shape around my fingers. It was amazing how the tiny particles of lint from a routine chore like laundry could become a fluffy art form. Yes, I see things differently, but my buddy Picasso would have approved.

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Pablo Picasso captured my natural beauty. I posed for him…not really, but I can pretend, can’t I?

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A lovely “Lint Heart.”

Taco Tuesday

12 Feb

Every day should be a special day…don’t ya think? If we gave each day a label, we could make each one special. Yes, a category for each day, then at the end of the year, you could count how many Manic Mondays or Terrible Tuesdays you had. Wouldn’t it be great to have 50 Fabulous Fridays or 50 Wonderful Wednesdays? I think I’ll do that. At the end of the year, I’ll sum up all my categories and post the results.

“It was a dark and gloomy Tuesday.” I just wrote that for my writer friends, because we always joke about the cliché opening lines of stories that are so annoying. But, in fact, today was cold, dark, rainy and dreary all day long. But that’s OK, because, when the going gets dreary, the dreary go out to lunch with friends.

Today was Taco Tuesday at Rosa’s Cafe and Tortilla Factory in McKinney, so when I called my friend Della to see how she was feeling, she suggested going out to lunch. Well, you don’t have to ask me twice, or even once. The decor and colors in the place are so bright and cheery, that it could brighten up even the gloomiest of days. So, I’ll share some photos that I took at Rosa’s with my high tech super camera with telephoto lens…NOT! I used my iPhone. They turned out fine.

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Monday Memories: Chicago in the 50’s

12 Feb

How far back can you remember your childhood? Can you remember things and people from when you were three or four years old? I can’t go back quite that far, but my memories are pretty clear after about five years old. There are some vague foggy snapshots in my head from earlier, but not that crisp. Mom didn’t have many photos from those early years. I guess she was too busy working and raising three young daughters to stop and take a photo every five minutes like parents nowadays.

The first house I remember was 2301 S. Ridgeway, in Chicago. I was around five years old, maybe a little younger. My phone number was LA 11344, and that was 1958. I’m not sure why I still remember that, but I imagine it was because it was the first important thing I had to memorize in kindergarten. The house was on a corner and the Burlington Northern trains ran just a stones throw outside our window. I can see it in my minds eye like it was yesterday.

Sometimes it’s interesting to research your past. Today’s technology is amazing and can be instrumental in uncovering buried memories. Google and Google Earth can become addicting when doing research. I found a photo of my old house, grammar school, and neighborhood. And yes, it’s still there. Well, not the school, but the neighborhood. I guess not everything can last forever, even memories. Too bad!

The photo of three little girls was taken in that backyard on Ridgeway. I’m in the middle.

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Sunday Afternoon in the Park: Going to the Dogs

11 Feb

Today turned out to be a beautiful sunny Sunday. Downtown McKinney celebrated their annual Krewe Barkus Parade on the Square, a combination Mardis Gras and doggie parade, complete with costumes and bead throwing. Yesterday was cold, damp and dreary, with a hailstorm around 2 am this morning, threatening today’s festivities. But, as luck would have it, the weather was fabulous. Hundreds lined the parade route to watch the dogs and their owners, dressed in costumes of their favorite cartoon, comic book or television characters. There was music in the air, tents with vendors, and animal rescue animals waiting for adoption.

One of the cool aspects of living in McKinney is that you can’t walk on the Square without bumping (literally), into a bunch of friends and neighbors. Today, I bumped into dozens of friends and their canine companions. The Square was hopping with visitors, pets, laughter, and family fun. If you think I didn’t have a great time, well, you’re just “barking” up the wrong tree. Woof, woof!

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Saturday Shadows

10 Feb

Sometimes a simple shadow can tell a complex story.

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Friday, Friends and Firemen

9 Feb

Friday is my volunteer day. I usually bake or cook something special for my senior art group, so today, I decided cupcakes were in order. But, one box of cake mix makes two dozen cupcakes. What a dilemma! I know, I know, I had several people say, “Bring them over here any time.” My modus operandi is usually to take one dozen with me to Towne Creek and take the other dozen over to my local fire station.

I made two dozen tasty cranberry cupcakes with homemade cranberry cream cheese frosting with a cute marshmallow heart for decoration. They turned out adorable. I made a huge mess in the kitchen, as usual, then packed up my car with my art supplies and cupcakes, then headed over to station #5.

I picked up the station phone in the front entry, as I have dozens of times, but this time there was no answer. A recorded message stated, “No one is available at this time. If this is an emergency, dial 911.”

Hmmm? Was this a cupcake emergency? Maybe not. Before I drove away, I decided to check out the back entrance. Sometimes the firemen are working on equipment and can’t answer the front entrance. I noticed that the door was propped open, and people were busy elsewhere. So, I just popped inside, set the cupcakes on a nearby table, and went on my way. I thought it would be a nice surprise when they discovered a dozen delicious cupcakes later.

My senior art group raved about the cupcakes so much, that I was forced to try one myself. I very rarely partake, always making sure there is plenty for everyone else. Everyone was surprised and Karen even said, ” I’ve got to see this. Toni’s eating a cupcake.” O.K., it was worth every bite.

So, today was a Friday of friends and firemen. Oh yes, and yummy cupcakes.

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