Archive | October, 2016

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

30 Oct

“One sincere apology is worth more than a million regrets.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

“A good name is still to be preferred over great riches. Especially it is to be preferred to the appearance of riches, aquired with nothing down and nothing to pay for 2 months.” 

― Ezra Taft Benson


A spectacular Sunday morning. I was slow to get moving this morning, after staying up pretty late. It didn’t help any that the Cubs lost last night and looked pretty stinky.  A few beers were consumed and a few cuss words were expressed. But, I got to church half an hour early to greet at the door with Mary before 9 o’clock Mass. The Cubs lost yesterday.  But, today’s another day.

The Gospel today was about the tax collector who declared to Jesus that he would give half his wealth to the poor and repay four times all those he cheated.

My take on it… when you finally wake up and realize the wrongs you have done, it’s not to late to make amends. Repay and repent. Be honest, be sincere.

Gospel LK 19:1-10
At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. 

Now a man there named Zacchaeus,

who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man,

was seeking to see who Jesus was;

but he could not see him because of the crowd,

for he was short in stature. 

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus,

who was about to pass that way.

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said,

“Zacchaeus, come down quickly,

for today I must stay at your house.” 

And he came down quickly and received him with joy. 

When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying,

“He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” 

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord,

“Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor,

and if I have extorted anything from anyone

I shall repay it four times over.”

And Jesus said to him,

“Today salvation has come to this house

because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. 

For the Son of Man has come to seek

and to save what was lost.”


On my way out the door, these adorable little girls were playing duck-duck-goose. So cute. 

I stopped at McDonald’s for an iced tea and chatted with Mr. Dave, who was eating breakfast alone and trying to figure out how to use the camera on his phone.

I didn’t want to go all the way home because there was a Q&A about the annulment process at church at 12:30, so I chatted with Mr. Dave until 12:15. Then, back to church, just less than a mile away. I popped into the sanctuary to light a candle, and low and behold, all the candles were lit. Not an open votive. So, I just added my prayer with all the other prayers being offered. 

My friend, Mary, is so sweet. She is a volunteer advocate for the archdiocese and our parish, and has been instrumental in helping many with the complicated Catholic annulment process. St. Gabriel has a very active, giving, and thriving parish here in McKinney. 

So, it’s been a good Sunday so far. Now, if the Cubbies can just pull off a win tonight, it will be a wonderful day. Go Cubs!!!

Saturday:) Some Spooky Stuff In The Neighborhood

29 Oct

Everything becomes magnified at night. Sounds travel in a different way, it’s dark, and everything seems far more spooky. 

~Jo Brand


It’s fun living in a diverse neighborhood, all ethnic backgrounds, all religions,  with young families,empty nesters,  singles, and old people like me. When I go for my daily walks, I get to enjoy all the holiday decorations, and occasionally chat with my neighbors.

This morning, I bumped into Mr. Larry and Ms. Sandy. Of course, I was persuaded to sit and visit in the garage a while. It wasn’t even 10am, so I wasn’t offered a beer. I’m sure if I’d asked, it would have been given. About half an hour later, I continued my trek. This time I bumped into Ms, Bernadine and we walk a few blocks together, then back to her house. Her husband Vince was in the driveway. More chatting. When I left and ventured home, Melody and Ben were in their garage working on a project. Had to discuss the latest refurbished furniture.

I think, out of the 2 or more hours I was gone, I probably walked a good forty minutes. The only thing that gets exercised is my chatty mouth.

But, there were some fun houses along my way. Here are just a few. Some spooky, some pretty cute.

OH!!!! WAIT!!!! This was the spookiest scariest thing of all, today. I went out and voted today in the early elections. My polling place was at Collin College. It was Saturday afternoon and not one single person in line in front of me. I went directly to the tableto show   my voter card and ID. Scary. Right?

Friday:) Friends, Frosting, and Go Cubs!!!!

29 Oct

“Friends don’t let friends watch the World Series alone.Especially Chicago Cubs fans. Go Cubs!”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…said Mr. Rodgers. Wonderful weather and several walks with Bella, precluded my baking Friday frenzy. I was on a mission to make some mini cupcakes for a Cubs watch party I was invited to.

I usually start out by making a funny face with the ingredients before mixing. It gives me inspiration.

Linda picked me up, and we went over to her friend’s house. It’s a beautiful house with a lake in the back. Great view and great people. They served real Chicago style hot dogs.

Well, I’m back from watching the game. Unfortunately, the Cubs lost tonight…but there’s always tomorrow.

Go Cubs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday:) The Quest For Perfection Continues

28 Oct

Without the quest, there can be no epiphany.” ― Constantine E. Scaros


My day started out with a perfect sunrise. I took Bella for a walk around the pond, and the weather was perfect, cool with glorious peach clouds, and a light breeze.

Off to Zumba at 8:15 for a fun class of dancing, wiggling and giggling. Home for another long walk. My friend Linda texted me, asking if I wanted to continue our quest for the perfect Chicago hot dog in McKinney, TX. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. 

Linda checked out the time and menu for Top Dog Taco on the Square. We met around 2. They were closing soon, but they didn’t mind staying open for a couple of crazy Chicago Chics on a mission. We need to report back to all the Cubs fans and Chicago transplants in the McKinney area. Yes, we’re on a mission.

The owners, Jen and Kristen hesitantly agreed for a selfie photo op. I can be quite annoying and nag until I get my way. (I mean persuasive.)

Their Chicago dog had all the right ingredients, right down to the celery salt and sport peppers. Yum!

If you’re looking for Top Dog Taco, it’s across the from the feed store… like that is helpful. 104 S. Chestnut. That’s more specific.

Oh yes, you’ve probably heard of “Cheddar Heads” from Wisconsin, but have you ever heard of a “hot dog head” from Texas?

My perfect evening ended with another walk and yet another glorious sunset. 

Without the quest, there can be no epiphany.” 

― Constantine E. Scaros

Wednesday:) Wiggly Worms Warrant A Wittle Wespect Too.

26 Oct

“Look at the worms, Eric. See how they glow with life? Like jewels! Aren’t even the smallest lives beautiful?” ― Tim W. Burke, The Flesh Sutra


Forgive the alliteration. I was in a silly Elmer Fudd kinda mood today. Sleep deprivation will do that to you sometimes.

I did get about five hours sleep last night, so that’s better than the zero hours the night before. So, things are looking up. It was a beautiful morning for a long walk, already getting warm, the sun was out, and the skies were clear. 

My walking time is my thinking time, and there’s always something rattling around in that old brain of mind. But, my friends the butterflies and dragonflies fluttered by, greeting me as I walked. I smiled and returned the greeting. As I was crossing the street, I saw a long wiggly worm slithering around on the dry gritty road. It pained me to see his hindered movement, knarled and struggling, covered in dust and dirt.

I’m still a bit of a girlie girl, and can’t just go over and pick up a wiggly worm. So, I looked around and found a couple of dried leaves and attempted a rescue. My slimy friend panicked and protested at first, coiling and writhing, but I actually said, “It’s okay, I just want to put you in the cool grass. I’m not going to hurt you.” ( I do talk to creatures. And NO, they don’t talk back…well, sometimes…but they just send me thoughts. But, that’s another story.)

After he calmed down, he slowly slithered onto one of the leaves, then I scooted the rest of him  up with the other leaf. I carefully walked him over to the nearby grass, where he calmly rested, safe and out of the Texas afternoon heat. 

Doesn’t he look much happier now? Every creature deserves a helping hand now and then, not to mention a little respect. ALL CREATURES.

This is not the first time I’ve rescued a wiggly worm, and it won’t be the last. Call me silly…many do. It just makes me feel good.

“Look at the worms, Eric. See how they glow with life? Like jewels! Aren’t even the smallest lives beautiful?” 

― Tim W. Burke, The Flesh Sutra

Tuesday:) To Be or Not To Be Sleepy. That Is The Question

26 Oct

“It was that sort of sleep in which you wake every hour and think to yourself that you have not been sleeping at all; you can remember dreams that are like reflections, daytime thinking slightly warped.” 

― Kim Stanley Robinson


Did you ever have one of those nights? You stay up late, you try to fall asleep, sleep doesn’t come. It’s 3 a.m., it’s 4 a.m., it’s 5 a.m., it’s 6 a.m., then it’s time to get up, but you haven’t slept. I had one of those nights. I thought I’d sleep instead of going to Zumba, but I couldn’t sleep, so I got dressed and went to Zumba. After Zumba, home to try and take a nap. No sleep. I went to lunch with friends, came home and tried to nap. No rest. Then, off to Dempsey’s with Linda and Julie and some friends to watch the Cubs.

Dempsey’s has a Chicago dog. They look pretty good. I didn’t have one, but Linda and some of the others did. They said they were pretty good…but not perfect. We’re still on the quest, a mission, to find the perfect Chicago dog in McKinney.

Unfortunately the Cubs didn’t win, BUT…it’s only the first game. Good luck, Cubbies. Anything is possible.

Maybe even some sleep tonight…wish me luck.

Monday On A Mission:) Looking For a Chicago Hot Dog in McKinney and My Montage Monday

25 Oct

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” ― Gautama Buddha


Another fun afternoon with Linda, joined by Julie, on a very important mission. Linda and I are both from Chicago, and while we were watching the Cubs game at Dempsey’s Saturday night, she suggested that we go on a mission or quest to find the best Chicago hot dog in McKinney, TX. A few places boasted Chicago dogs, but they were either closed on Monday or not open until dinner. 

We thought we’d try One & Only Burger on 380 and Hwy 5. They have burgers and hot dogs made to order. The thing about Chicago dogs is there are certain things you need. Poppy seed bun, all beef dog, mustard, tomato wedge, fluorescent relish, diced onion (I like grilled) a long kosher pickle slice, sport peppers, and a generous sprinkle of celery salt.

Chrys and Gabriele, owners of the place tried to accommodate us, but didn’t have the sport peppers or celery salt. The rest came pretty close. And, oh man, their fries are amazing.

This is what they should look like.

Tomorrow night, we will see how good the Chicago dogs are at Dempsey’s when we go watch the Cubs win. Linda said she would bring the sport peppers and I’ve already got the celery salt in my purse. GO CUBS!!!

This was only DAY 1. We will keep taste testing and reporting until we find the best Chicago dog. Wish us luck. We’re on a MISSION!

Montage Monday.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

23 Oct

“Heroes are heroic no matter if everybody is watching them or nobody watching them.” ― Amit Kalantri


A beautiful Sunday. I actually got to wear a warm sweater for church this morning. Yay! There were also two baptisms during the service. Good Gospel today.

Gospel LK 18:9-14
Jesus addressed this parable

to those who were convinced of their own righteousness

and despised everyone else. 

“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;

one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector. 

The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,

‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —

greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. 

I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’

But the tax collector stood off at a distance

and would not even raise his eyes to heaven

but beat his breast and prayed,

‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’

I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;

for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,

and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”


My take on it…those people that do supposedly goodthings, offer charity, show up to church or events only to be seen, and look down on other people, those people are phonies. If no one was looking or taking note, they wouldn’t do it. 

I knew someone once…for a long time, that always liked to pick up the tab for drinks or dinner wherever he went, and act like a big shot. He never did things unless someone was watching, patting him on the back. He would chastise others for taking cookies to firemen because they already get paid plenty. He constantly talked ill of friends and family behind their backs. These people called him friend or family, or brother or uncle, but he joked about them and had derogatory comments about them. But, to their faces he was sweet as pie. He smiled and spoke, and only lies came out. Do you know someone like that? I think everyone does. Sometimes God blesses us and removes those toxic people from your life.

So, the Gospel teaches us to be humble and not exalt ourselves. Be honest and true at all times. Pretending to be good and honest doesn’t make you good and honest.


After Mass, I went to McDonald’s with friends from church, then home to change and go for a long walk. It’s a gorgeous fall day. I visited with Miss Kathy across the street, and when I came home perplexed as what to fix myself for dinner, I got a text from Linda Grossman, (world’s best realtor and good friend) who asked if I wanted to get some dinner. Problem solved. We went out and watched the Cubs game last night too, so my weekend has been busy, good, and fun.

A good Sunday! Happy Sunday! I’m cutting this short here. I’m going to go out and have a margarita. Olé!

Saturday:) Just Sitting Around

23 Oct

“When bored of sitting, move! When bored of moving, sit! Balance your life or there will remain neither moving nor sitting in your life but only falling!” 

― Mehmet Murat ildan


Another lazy Saturday. Beautiful weather and nothing to do. I can only walk so many miles before my shoes wear out. Then.. my friend…and world’s greatest realtor, Linda Grossman called and asked if I wanted to go somewhere for dinner and watch the Cubs. Yay!

So, I’m  off in a second. Rescued again from the Saturday night doldrums. 

Maybe we’ll bring them some luck from down in Texas. GO CUBS!!!

Friday’s Fabulous Finds and My Furry Friend

22 Oct

For where thy treasure is, there also will thy heart be.” ― Anonymous, Holy Bible: King James Version


If you open your eyes, truly open your eyes, you will find treasure in every day. I find lucky pennies and feathers that give me hope. Then, I find beauty and inspiration every evening in the glorious sunset that paints the night sky. Finding treasure in an ordinary day is a gift, a gift you give yourself.

Look how amazing the sky was tonight. Gold treasure in the night sky.

Earlier this afternoon, I found another beautiful butterfly to have a friendly chat with. This is not the first time that a butterfly has befriended me. I was able to pick him up in my hand, but couldn’t snap a picture with the other free hand. I’m not sure why butterflies feel safe and agree to sit in my hand, but they do. Call me silly, but I think they like me.

I found a big ol’ nail in the street, again saving the world from flat tires. I’m always finding rusty nails and screws and pick them up. I often wonder if other people would take the time to pick them up or just keep walking. Maybe that’s why I see them, to prevent a problem for someone else. ( This was a big one.)

I texted my friend Karen to see if she was free for lunch today, and I found her at home and free. So, we met at Nom Nom for a yummy burrito bowl, and a quick three hour lunch. I truly have the finest friends. Having good friends is another treasure.

My furry friend, Bella, has been staying with me for a few days while Mr. Mike is at a training session. She not only keeps me company, but keeps me on my toes. Every three or four hours, she gives me those big puppy dog eyes and says, “Let’s go for a walk.” I think we went out five or six times today. She watches me paint, cook, clean, follows me around, and stands vigil by my side.

“For where thy treasure is, there also will thy heart be.”

These are my treasures, here is my heart. I am truly blessed.