Archive | February, 2013

Theme Song Thursday

8 Feb

My theme for this Thursday is friends. Today, we celebrated the birthday of our dear friend, Carolyn. She says she’s 29, but we all know better. I’m pretty sure she’s over 30, seeing as she’s a grandma. But, we are all young girls when it comes to friendship and birthdays.

We met at our favorite coffee/sandwich shop in McKinney, SNUG on the Square for her birthday celebration. It was a glorious, sun-shining day. Good friends, good food, and lots of presents. Doesn’t get better than that. The FRIENDS television show theme song came to mind…

Theme song from FRIENDS…

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
(clap clap clap clap)
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year
But
I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you (because you’re there for me too)
*********************

Friends may come and friends may go
This fact is sad, but true
The ones that stay are best to know
I’m glad this friend is you.

Toni Andrukaitis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi1k8x__LaU&sns=em

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom

6 Feb

“If at first you don’t succeed…”

Now, you fill in the blank and have your own words of wisdom for Wednesday.

Here’s mine:
“If at first you don’t succeed, sit down and have a nice cup of tea and a double chocolate chip brownie.”

Yesterday, I was so unsuccessful that I inadvertently poured myself two cups of tea. They say with age comes wisdom. I say with age comes forgetfulness. Now, where’s my brownie?

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Terrifying Traumatic Tuesday

5 Feb

Yesterday, I wrote a happy little story about the carefree life of a young girl growing up in Chicago in the 1950’s. My train of thought was inspired by the game “steal the bacon” that we played as kids. I was waxing nostalgic about the simple games that required no batteries, data plans, or wireless remotes. My train must have gotten off the track, because I was later informed that I must have forgotten all the terrifying and traumatic events that took place during those years. Growing up on the southside of Chicago was often a dark and scary place. There were break-ins, muggings, and beatings happening all around us. Yes, I remember every single moment. I didn’t forget.

Unfortunately, I remember every frightening detail. Being an artist and writer, my right brain is very visually oriented and I have the memory of an ancient elephant. I could draw pictures in detail of my childhood home, the interior of each room, and pieces of furniture dating back well over fifty years. I remember old neighbors, and names of kids I went to grammar school with. Lambert Benavidez, if you ever read this, I had such a crush on you in the second grade. And, Bunny Masalski, we were best friends in ’63. What ever happened to you?

My memory isn’t bad, but rather, my choosing to write about the pleasant events and experiences is what brings me joy and comfort. I was just trying to convey that our simple childhood games have been replaced by high-tech mindless handheld brain-drainers. Life has its evils and perils. I just prefer not to write about them or read about them.Tuesday might be terrifying and traumatic for somebody somewhere, but for me, today is terrific. Happy Tuesday!

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Monday Memories: Chicago in the ’50’s

5 Feb

Growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1950’s was a blast. Well, at least I thought it was.To quote my mother, “We were poor, but everyone else was, too, so we didn’t know we were poor.”

Kids weren’t plugged-in and tuned-out back then. Everyone walked to school without earbuds blasting from an iPod or texting their every thought. After school, we played outside until we dropped from exhaustion or the front porch light flashed on and off, signaling time to come in for dinner and a bath.

Did you ever play steal the bacon? We used an old scrub brush as the bacon. Do you even know what a scrub brush is? Just kidding! We had two teams, each assigned a number. If the number one was called, the two kids who were ones, ran to the middle of the sidewalk, and one kid would try to grab the scrub brush and get back to home-base before getting tagged by the other kid. When we had a large group, we played in the middle of the street. Not much traffic back then. After 6pm, most everyone was home.

If you were a little girl, you played hop scotch and jump rope. Then, there was the complicated art of double dutch. I vaguely remember being able to jump between the two ropes, but I wasn’t that great at it. I spent endless hours playing with my Barbie doll. I made clothes for her with scraps of fabric and yarn. They didn’t have Barbie dream houses or pink convertibles back then. No Ken doll either. I think my Barbie was going to join the convent and become a nun. Can you imagine? Sister Mary Barbie?

Yes, life was simpler back then. I’m not sure if today’s technology and modern conveniences have really changed the world for the better. The jury’s still out on that one. Wish I still had my Barbie!

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Super “BOWL” Sunday: No Football Involved

3 Feb

Our local art group, the Young At Heart of McKinney, finished hand-painting our twentieth glass bowl on Friday, for the Empty Bowls charity event at St. Peter’s Church that will be held on Feb. 21st. None of us are members of this church, but we are all members of a caring and generous community. The empty bowls will be given or auctioned off to attendees, to remind them of the many empty bowls of those who go hungry every day. Our group had so much fun creating these masterpieces. I had the pleasure of baking the finished products in my oven today, and seeing them all beautifully displayed on my dining room table after they cooled. (Yes, you do have to bake the glass paint for a sturdier finish.)They are so colorful and creative. I wish I could keep them all.

I had to smile when I thought about the big game today. When most of the country will be watching the Super Bowl, I’ll be watching the twenty “super bowls” that are sitting on my table. They will make their way to St. Peter’s this week, but I’ll get to enjoy their company for a little while. Unlike the Super Bowl, here, there are no losers, only winners. A win-win event!

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Saturday Salutations: Growing Old

2 Feb

GROWING OLD

There’s nothing pretty about growing old, or is there? There is no actual growing involved, but rather, a lot of shrinking, sagging, and deterioration. We may have pins in places and saggy faces, but the one thing we do have control over is our disposition. We can choose to be happy or decide to be miserable. I choose happy.

This morning, I called my sweet mother, as I do every morning and said, “Mom, when you get old, don’t ever get crabby!” She cheerfully agreed. Mom is eighty-five years old, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her crabby, angry or mean spirited a single day in her life. Needless to say, she was a bit curious. I shared with her a few examples of some run-ins I’ve had with a group of cranky seniors who have nothing better to do than snarl at people, especially if others are having fun, laughing, or loud with merriment.

What causes people to act that way? There’s the stereotypical cartoon with the old person waving a wooden cane, and shouting, “Get off my lawn.” Are they so unhappy with their lives that they can’t stand to see people enjoying themselves? It’s not just seniors. I’m sure you know a few people who have a permanent scowl on their face. What’s with that?

I’ve actually gone out of my way to smile and make pleasant small talk with people I’ve run across with aforementioned affliction. Amazingly enough, I have gotten some very nice smiles and conversations in return. Maybe they were just having a bad day, and all they needed was a kind word to cheer them up. But, it doesn’t always work. All you can do is try.

I told Mom, “When I grow up, (I’m only sixty), I want to be just like YOU.” Even if I’m falling apart on the outside, I want to be shiny-new and young on the inside. So, if you ever see me with a scowl on my face, don’t worry. It’s probably just gas, and that too will “pass”.

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Friday and New Friends

2 Feb

Friday has been a day of friendship and fun for many years now. A group of lovely seniors meet every Friday afternoon at Towne Creek Apartments in McKinney, Texas. Being a part of this group has been a highlight of my career. What career? I don’t have a career, I’m a writer, artist, and all-around goofy gal. But on Fridays, I’m the young gal who comes to spend some artistic time with the Young At Heart Artists, the YAH-YAHs. It feels good to be 60 years old and be the young gal. We paint, draw, create crafty projects, and have fun.

Today, was especially a fun day. It was Miss Kathy’s birthday, so I baked a chocolate cake and made Mexican food for the celebration. We had a new resident, Miss Elaine, join us for the first time and Mr.Angel came to paint with us. I met him over a year ago at the senior center and had invited him to join us. He showed up today. How cool!

Our painting project for the past few weeks has been painting glass bowls for the Empty Bowls charity event coming up February 21st at St. Peter’s. What everyone loves about the project is the fact that the bowls will be donated to raise money to feed the less fortunate, a way to “pay it forward.” So, having two new people join us, just added to our excitement.

I just love making new friends and spending time with old ones. Well, we aren’t really that old! I hope you get a chance to make some new friends on Friday, or any other day.

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Miss Elaine painted a lovely bowl. She hasn’t painted in many years and enjoyed her first attempt.

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Señor Angel had fun, too.