Archive | May, 2013

Tuesday: Tips and T-Storms

22 May

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.”
Aeschylus

Crazy weather here in North Texas today, but nothing compared to the devastation in Oklahoma. Mother Nature is not always kind. This morning the skies were clear, and it was so warm and muggy that you could perspire just standing still. I was already sweating before I walked in the door at the Y for my 8:30 Zumba class. The hour long class didn’t kill me, (I always consider it a plus when I live through an entire class) so I asked a few of the gals in class if they wanted to stop at McDonald’s afterwards. (Tip: Take time for friends.)

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We were laughing so hard and talking so loud that when the manager came over to our table, I thought for sure he was going to ask us to leave. He crouched down next to us and said, “Ladies, whatever your doing, keep it up. You’re having such a good time!” (Close call!) We told him if we got too loud, he could banish us into the kiddie play-land. He laughed and shared a story about how he got stuck at the top by the climbing slide when he tried to rescue a little kid. (Tip: If you’re gonna be rowdy, make friends with the manager.)

The dark clouds started rolling in fast, so we left our laugh-fest and headed home. A about an hour later, the skies opened up and all H..E..double hockey sticks broke out. (Tip: Make sure you have one of those severe alert weather radios and fresh batteries.)

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Rain pelted at the windows and the wind whipped the trees all around. The power didn’t go out here, but a few miles away, trees were toppled over and power lines snapped. After a few hours of torrential rain, the clouds drifted away, and the birds chirped a happy song. Oh yes, the dogs were happy to be back in the family room watching TV, and not huddled in the bathroom. (Tip: The doggies get scared too. When they jump in your lap, give them a little love and reassurance.)

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When all is said and done, any time you survive a storm…it’s a good thing.

Monday: Motivation, Mindless Meandering and Junk Mail

21 May

If you are the author of one of the many blogs that I follow, rest assured, I read your stories, poems and enjoy your photos. I often get motivated by your words. This morning, I was commiserating with the dieting waitress about her struggles to lose weight and keep up with exercise while working two jobs. I commented on her post, “You are an inspiration. I’m going to go and do some sit ups right now.” Guess what? I closed my iPad, turned on HGTV for background noise, and did 200 sit ups. See, I do get inspired!

Dan motivates me with his historical photos, Seth has knock-down gorgeous photos, and Becca is one wild and crazy gal. I get tips on writing, poetry, blogging, art and more. The blogging world is amazing.

After my inspirational exercise, I hopped in the car and drove over to Office Max to get some copies made of some of my artwork and photos. When you’re an artist, you get to know your friendly neighborhood copy guys. Here’s Daniel at the computer and Chris’ arm. Hi Guys!

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Next stop, Bed Bath and Beyond to buy some more wine glasses for painting. Then, next door to Half Price Books to check out the art books. I always find something good. A couple hours fly by, and I haven’t had lunch. Panera is my favorite people watching spot, (that isn’t on the Square.) Good time to check more emails and blogs. (I didn’t mention that all these places were within walking distance.)

Enough meandering, the dogs are home and getting hungry too.

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Oops! I needed a couple things from the store. Sorry puppies! Market Street was on the way home. I picked up a few things and scurried home, grabbing the mail on my way in the door. The mailbox was jam packed with junk mail. What’s with that? I think five full grown trees died just for today’s pile of paper. Don’t you hate that?

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Well, that was my day of meandering. Now we’ll see what inspiration arrives in my inbox tomorrow.

Sittin’ Around Sunday: Another Lazy Day

20 May

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
Albert Einstein

Thank goodness Mr. Einstein was talking about men and not women, because I spend way too much time reading my emails, blogs, and the newspaper, and very little time using my brain. So, I’m not lazy, maybe just a little preoccupied.

After I made all my phone calls, ate my funny-face breakfast, looked at the Sunday paper, and watched several recorded Jeopardy episodes, I actually got some painting done. See, not all lazy!

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Breakfast- my breakfast is looking at me.

My kitchen table has been covered with glass vases, paints and brushes all week. Needless to say, nothing got painted. So, today was the big day. I actually started late last night, but finished the majority of the painting today, two coats. Then, I got interrupted letting the dogs in and out and in at least 50 times. What do you think?

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Of course, there’s always time to do a little baking. Not my famous brownies or peach upside-down cake. Nope! I have to bake the glassware after painting. My second favorite kinda baking.

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Look what’s cookin’!

Yep, another sittin’ around Sunday!

Saturday on the Square

19 May

I had something totally different to blog about today, but my Saturday on the Square in downtown McKinney always lends itself to a more exciting blog. (Hint: I’m saving the best for last.)

Our writing group meets at 10 at Coffee2. I am so lucky to have the greatest writing friends. They are so talented, not to mention helpful in every aspect of the writing process. I think we spend more time laughing and razzing each other than we do critiquing, and often bump into friends or neighbors popping in for coffee. Needless to say, we don’t always spend all our time working.

This morning, I had two different people say, “Hi, are you Toni?” The first was John Wynn, owner of Guitar Studio on the Square. He was talking to Kathy White, owner the the new bakery “Sweet Spot,” inside the coffee shop. We never formally met, but have been Facebook buddies for quite some time. I didn’t know who he was, but he knew me from my photo. I told him, “I didn’t recognize you, John. You’re so much taller than your half inch picture on Facebook.” We talked a while, and I vowed to get over there and take some lessons someday.

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A few minutes later I heard, “Excuse me, are you Toni?” Well, it was Laura Bartlett, Executive Producer, and one of the ladies who make up the hilarious comedy group, FOUR Funny Females. Again, a Facebook friend who I’d never met in person. It was a Facebook kinda day. We talked a long time, sharing stories about our backgrounds, hometowns, and mutual love of McKinney. Oh yes, we also discussed our mutual innate ability to procrastinate an entire day away.

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It was such a glorious day, that I decided to treat myself to a yummy lunch over at SNUG on the Square. As I sat waiting for my lunch, perusing my emails, and people watching, I saw the most delightful sight. An elderly couple strolled down the street, walking hand-in-hand. They stopped in front of SNUG, he held open the door for her, and they walked in. I couldn’t help but get all goose-bumply.(I think I made that up.) I wondered, how do they keep that beautiful magic alive? I sat there a while, still smiling. Yep, I couldn’t resist. I sauntered over and said, “Would you mind if I ask how long you’ve been married.”

The lovely lady replied, “We’ve been married fifty-five years, but we’ve known each other since the sixth grade.” I told them that I loved how they held hands while they walked down the street. The gentleman smiled and said, “We always hold hands.” I told them that they looked like newlyweds, and that if more couples held hands all the time, more marriages would last forever, like theirs. I asked their names and if I could take their picture. The charming Carol and Dave from Plano were more than happy to oblige.(I told you I saved the best for last.) Such a fun day!

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Friday: Friends, a Frosty Drink, and a Ford (Harrison that is)

18 May

Friday is my art day. I go over to Towne Creek around 2:30, but I was a little late, as I stopped at Michael’s Crafts. What can I say… there was a sale! I made cheese quesadillas for our snack and I did a demo of some hanging wisteria flowers with pastel chalk. No photo…I forgot. The hours really fly by when I’m painting, cooking, cleaning and answering a zillion art questions. (If I don’t know the correct answer, I just make stuff up. But, that’s OK. I told them up from that I do) So, that’s the friends part.

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Friday nights are my favorite. I always have a cocktail and the end of the busy day. Sometimes it’s just a rum and Coke, but today was warm and muggy out and that called for my famous Black Russian. A couple scoops of chocolate ice cream, 1 shot of Kahlúa, and 2 shots of vodka. Voilá…a frosty drink.

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While sitting in my Lazy Boy chair, (They really should market a Lazy Girl.) flipping through all the bazillion channels on the TV, I was left with a conundrum. What is that you ask? Well, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Presumed Innocent” were both on at the same time. I love Harrison Ford, so how do I choose between the two movies? Harrison’s hair is short and strangely weird in “Presumed Innocent,” and he plays an awful arrogant cad, but it’s an interesting story line. Then in “Raiders,” Dr. Jones is a ruggedly handsome archeologist who saves the Ark from the evil Nazis. What do I do? The answer…just flip back and forth and watch them both. Two Fords for the price of one. A little popcorn and my frosty drink, now that’s a fun Friday.

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Theme Song Thursday: Bosom Buddies

17 May

Wow! This wasn’t that long ago, but look how young Tom Hanks looks. “Bosom Buddies” didn’t last that long on television, (with good reason) but it had a great theme song.

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Wikepedia
[Original run November 27, 1980 – May 27, 1982
Bosom Buddies is an American sitcom starring Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari created by Robert L. Boyett, Thomas L. Miller and Chris Thompson (Miller/Milkis/Boyett Productions). It ran from 1980 to 1982 on ABC and in reruns in the summer of 1984 on NBC. The show features the misadventures of two single men, working in creative advertising, struggling in their industry while disguising themselves as women in order to live in the one apartment they could afford. Gender stereotypes and male/female interpersonal relationships were frequent themes.
The show became known for its quirky humor and its frequent use of improvisation, especially between stars Hanks and Scolari. Though the show started out with good ratings, it failed to hold the public’s interest and was canceled after two seasons.]

My Life Lyrics by Billy Joel Theme song for “Bosom Buddies”
Album:
52nd Street
Lyrics:
Got a call from an old friend
We used to be real close
Said he couldn’t go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house
Bought a ticket to the West Coast
Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.

I don’t need you to worry for me cause I’m alright
I don’t want you to tell me it’s time to come home
I don’t care what you say anymore, this is my life
Go ahead with your own life and leave me alone…

The song goes on, but this is pretty good advice. “Go ahead with your own life and leave me alone.” In other words…live and let live.

I was thinking today how our two dogs are inseparable, kinda like bosom buddies, best friends. Ergo: theme song for today.

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Wednesday: Words of Wisdom…Chocolate

15 May

The quote, “Life is short, eat dessert first,” has been attributed to a couple different 20th Century authors. (I, personally take full credit, as I have stolen it and used it as my mantra for decades.) I also like to take credit for, “Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt,” but upon further investigation on Wikepedia, I think it was some ancient Mayan or Aztec ruler dude who said it first.

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[The history of chocolate began in Mesoamerica. Chocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao, can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 BC.
Chocolate played a special role in both Maya and Aztec royal and religious events. Priests presented cacao seeds as offerings to the gods and served chocolate drinks during sacred ceremonies. All of the areas that were conquered by the Aztecs that grew cacao beans were ordered to pay them as a tax, or as the Aztecs called it, a “tribute”.] (See what I mean!)

So really, it doesn’t matter who said it first, it still rings true today, “CHOCOLATE RULES!”

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This was given to me years ago by a dear friend who knows me very well.

Now, I’ll paraphrase/combine my own creative quote. “Hold your friends close, and your chocolate even closer.” Those darn friends won’t think twice about stealing your chocolate. Feel free to steal it any time…the quote…not my chocolate.

Tuesday Tips from Toni: Take Time

14 May

Tip Número Uno: Take time out to enjoy each day, even if it’s five minutes on the phone, an hour in front of the TV, or lunch with a friend. Today, I had lunch with my talented artist friend, Ed Hernandez. We met at El Juarez Mexican Restaurant off the Square. I’d never been there, and it was yummy, home cooked food. I tried something new, and that’s not like me. Progress! (Notice the Spanish influence in my numbers?)

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Tip Número Dos: Take time to celebrate life. Today was Sandra’s birthday, (owner of Snug) and her parents surprised her with a visit. Happy Birthday, Sandra! Glad I was able to share the day.

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Tip Número Tres: Take time to play with your food. I always make funny faces with my brownie mix, and today, I was making brownies. (So, what else os new?) Yes, I’m a bit crazy, but that’s what makes me…ME.

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Tip Número Cuatro: Take time to see the beauty in all things. I was spooning out some melted chocolate to drizzle over afore mentioned brownies, when I saw a beautiful rose taking shape. As I scraped out the liquid brown gold with a spoon, delicate petals created a chocolate rose. (Fancy way of saying I was licking the bowl) Art is everywhere! Mmmmm, chocolate good! (Say that in your Cookie Monster voice!)

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Tip Número Cinco: Take time to share with others. I have been so blessed. It seems like every day is a wonderful adventure and I want to crow about it to the whole world. Caw…caw…caw! I feel that when I recount my adventures and share my thoughts, it’s like everyone gets to share my joy. Hope so! Here’s hoping you have a joyful day!

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Monday Memories: High School in the 70’s- Far Out!

14 May

Just when I think I’ve run out of ideas to blog about, the universe throws something right in my lap. To be more accurate, right into my laptop. When I was checking my emails this morning, I found something from classmates.com. They’re always sending these cryptic posts saying, “Antoinette, someone is looking for you. See who it is.” (Who calls me Antoinette besides my husband when he’s really mad at me?) Well, anyone who has really wanted to find me has already found me. But, then I get curious and click on the link. Yep, the names are all blurred out and I’m asked to sign up and pay for a membership plan.

Today was different. There was a link to check out my high school yearbook. Was this just another ploy to get my money? I still have my yearbook from the prehistoric 70’s somewhere upstairs, but I thought I’d give it a shot. Low and behold, the entire 1971, Amos Alonzo Stagg High School yearbook was right there. It was scanned cover to cover. Ah, a walk down memory lame. (Freudian slip…or is it?)

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Oh man, memory lane is pretty lame.
It was fun looking at all the weird hairstyles, crazy clothes, and photos of my favorite teachers. The girls had long straight hair and the skirts were shorter than short. The guys had long hair too and bearded faces. (If they could grow a beard) Mr. Carroll was my all-time favorite teacher (art of course), then and now. I still keep in touch with him these forty some years later. Love ya, Mr. C!!!

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I’m the first one in the second row.(I used to straighten or iron my curly-kinky hair back then) I still look the same, don’t I? NOT!!!

It’s hard to believe how quickly the years fly by. But they do, don’t they? So, just a little stroll down memory “lame.” Admit it, you want to run and look for your yearbook, don’t ya? NOT!!!

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Sittin’ Around Sunday: Happy Mother’s Day

12 May

Hey, it’s Mother’s Day! Just another excuse to sell cards, flowers, and candy? Maybe, but let’s face it, everyone has or had a mother at one time or another. Sadly, some don’t know who their moms were, others wish they didn’t know them, (a few zillion teenagers, I’m sure) and some people like me have the best mom in the whole wide world.

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Love ya, Mom!

It’s already after 5pm, and I haven’t done anything all day besides sip tea, read the paper, check my emails, and peruse my Facebook page. Wait a minute, I do that every Sunday! So, how is today special? Well, today both my sons called and wished me a happy Mother’s Day. I always enjoy hearing from them, but I was feeling a bit sorry for my self. (Boo-hoo.) Phone calls are great, but you can’t tie them up with a pink ribbon and put them in the drawer next to the baby shoes and noodle necklaces. I kept thinking, “Why can’t they send a stinkin’ card? Would it kill them to pop into Walgreens and pick up a stinkin card?”

I convinced myself that I should be content. I have two wonderful sons who love me. Just get over it! Then, during my lengthy conversation with Joe, he asked, “Did you get my card?” Oh my! I said, “I got the mail yesterday. Didn’t see a card.” Well, now I was excited. A card? He sent a card! He DID think of me, stopped at the store and bought a stinkin’ card. That really made my day! Maybe I’ll get it tomorrow. After we spoke, I walked over to the front door and found a large priority mail envelope outside on the porch. The mailman probably couldn’t fit it in the mailbox and left it out front.

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So now, I’m happy as a clam, (not sure why clams are happy) sitting around watching endless, mindless episodes of the “Jesse Stone” marathon on the Hallmark Channel, (I love Tom Selleck) listening to the birds chirp, writing this blog, and enjoying a wonderful Mother’s Day. Have a great day!

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