Archive | November, 2016

Tuesday:) Let’s Talk Turkey

30 Nov

“…no one is born a great cook, one learns by doing.” 

― Julia Child, My Life in France


Thanksgiving dinner is synonymous with leftovers. I haven’t made a turkey dinner in several years. So, this year, I decided I was going to make a turkey and all the fixings. It was delicious…now, what to do with the leftovers…

Rule number one: always have several very big pots and pans.

Rule number two: try and use as many leftovers as possible. Experiment.

Rule number three: share with friends and neighbor’s because you couldn’t possibly eat all that food yourself. And, your freezer is probably as full as mine.

I boiled the remains of the turkey for three hours in a very large pot. Then, I carefully removed all the good meat and broth. There was enough to make two big pots.  I chopped carrots, celery, potatoes, and onions. One pot I made soup and the other I made a creamy stew. 

Then, there was some leftover turkey breast for making turkey salad. I added grapes, diced apples, cream cheese, mayo, then sprinkled with walnuts. 

Just when you thought I was done and couldn’t possibly make any more turkey dishes, I used some of the stew to make mini pot pies.

I rolled out some biscuits, buttered a muffin pan, filled with the stew, sprinkled with a little cheese, and topped with another thin layer of biscuit and bake. Oh boy! These were soooo yummy.

Yep, these are as delicious as they look. I just ate one. Yep, delicious. I’ve been sharing with friends. That’s rule number three.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

29 Nov

“An enlightened person strives to live a meaningful life, defined by their personal humility joy, passion, and profound reverence for life.” 

― Kilroy J. Oldster


This was a fine week with fine weather with a Thanksgiving holiday wrapped around it. McKinney had their annual holiday festival on the square this weekend, and I spent time with good friends, shared good food, and had a good week. I sure hope you did too.

Sunday Sermon and a Pancake Breakfast 

28 Nov

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.” 

― Robert A. Heinlein


A little chilly this morning, a gloomy grey sky, but it’s Sunday. Sunday is always a good day. I start off with a call to Mom on my way to church. Hugs, saying hello, and greeting before Mass. Today, the Knights of Columbus had a pancake breakfast after 9 o’clock Mass.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus telling the disciples that during the days of Noah, no one knew when the flood was coming. So now, we need to be aware, because we don’t know when the Lord will come. My take on it…just like the old Boy Scout motto, “Always be prepared.” If you live a good life every day, well, you have nothing to fear if today is your last.

Gospel MT 24:37-44

Therefore, stay awake!

For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. 

Be sure of this: if the master of the house

had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,

he would have stayed awake

and not let his house be broken into.

So too, you also must be prepared,

for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”


After Mass, I went over to the pancake breakfast and sat with Virginia and Joe. Later, Mary and Pat joined us. The Knights always work hard to prepare a nice breakfast.

After church, I stopped at the store to pick up some essentials, i.e… Decadent fudge tracks chocolate ice cream. Oh man…that stuff is wonderful. There’s this rule that I have. To allow for the melting and expansion of the ice cream that occurred on the way home, I’m forced to skim a little off the top before I put it in the freezer. It’s a physics thing.

Saturday:) Celebrating on the Square~ Home For the Holidays

27 Nov

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.” 

― Laura Ingalls Wilder


The city of McKinney puts on an amazing Home for the Holidays festival. Yesterday was the tree lighting ceremony. I didn’t make it out for that, but I went down to the square tonight. It’s always great bumping into friends, watching the families laughing and celebrating, everyone in a festive holiday spirit. Arriving in the late afternoon, I was able to watch the sun set, changing the daytime mood into a nighttime festive glow.

    Who’s that with the Grinch?

    Bumped into friends Kelle, Lynda and Mary.

    My friend Brad Donaldson was showing his wonderful work in front of LAST Gallery.

    Kelle and I stopped at Sweet Spot Bakery for some hot chocolate and coffee. It was so busy, I barely had a minute to say hi to Kathy and Elizabeth.

    I’ll just share a few pictures.

    Nighttime magic.

    McKinney does it right, day and night. A fun day on the square.

    Forget Black Friday:) It’s Black Russian Friday

    26 Nov

    Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have. ~Unknown quotes  


    It’s true, after contemplating about all the things I have to be thankful for yesterday, I had trouble thinking that I needed to get in my car and go shopping. I’ll admit, I was tempted by all the online bargains that filled my email inbox this morning. As tempting as they were, I refrained from making any purchases. I could use a new pair of walking shoes, as mine are more then well worn and falling apart. But, I can wait. Now, is that self control, or what?

    Instead, I had a leisurely morning, a long walk, a nice lunch of leftovers, visited my neighbor’s cat while she was out of town, checked on Bella, my doggie buddy after Mr. Mike had to take her for an emergency vet visit, then an evening stroll, capturing the sunset. These are the things that make me happier than Black Friday sales. 

    The best part though is…IT’S BLACK RUSSIAN BLACK FRIDAY! Cheers!


    Amazing evening sky. This beats any shopping spree. 

    Thankful Thursday:) Happy Thanksgiving Y’All

    25 Nov

    “The more we thank God, the less we ask of him.” ― Ron Brackin


    It’s nice that we set aside one day out of her year to be thankful. But, why is it just one day a year? Maybe we should have Thanksgiving every third Thursday of every month. Wouldn’t that be nice? We could have a big turkey dinner with all the fixings, and have all the relatives over,  and then everyone lay around like overstuffed gorillas. Okay! Never mind. That’s not such a good idea after all.

    But, it would be a good idea to set aside more than just one day to be thankful. How about every day that ends with “y.” Today I am thankful for many things. First and foremost is my family. I have two amazing sons, a wonderful mother, two sisters, gads of aunts, uncles, a zillion cousins, and many special in-law relatives that will always remain part of my family. I don’t get to see theses folks often, and some I have never even met. But, they are family, and I love them. Thank goodness for Facebook, because I get to keep in touch with family far away. 

    Then, I have so many dear friends here in McKinney, back home in the Chicago area, and others scattered around the country. So, yes, I have much to be thankful for. I have many material possessions, a house, a car, and stuff. It’s all stuff. Friends and family are the most important.

    Today, I am thankful for all the calls and texts from family and friends. I am thankful for my dear friend, Jim, who not only helped me prepare a wonderful dinner, but also washed all the dishes and helped me clean up the mess. 

    It was a beautiful sunny autumn day here in McKinney, a beautiful Thanksgiving day. I hope yours was great too.

    “The more we thank God, the less we ask of him.” 

    ― Ron Brackin

    (I guess I don’t have a lot to ask Him for.)

    Wednesday:) Wonderful Fort Worth Museums

    24 Nov

    “When you look at a painting, it’s more than a canvas with  paint and a gilded frame. You are looking into the heart and soul of the artist.”

    ~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


    “To preserve the past is to save the future…” ― Nanette L. Avery


    It was a lovely sunny afternoon, a fine day to visit the Amon Carter and Kimbell Art Museums in Fort Worth. The Kimbell had a fine exhibit of Monet, The Early Years. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed, so I  have no pictures to share. But, here was the focal point as we entered. I just googled it. Very famous. And yes, it was displayed in this format. Apparently, some of the parts of the painting had been damaged over the years, and this is what remains.

    The Amon Carter was just an amazing wealth of fabulous paintings and sculptures. I’ll let a few of my photos do the talking.

    When I visit these amazing galleries, I am humbled. Being an artist and writer and a realist, I know that I’ll never attain this level of talent or immortality. But, I do know that loving fine art somehow brings you closer to it.

    Tuesday:) Talking About Terms Toni Didn’t Know

    23 Nov

    “You can never know a lot but you can always do a lot.” ― Filios Sazeides


    If you take a look at my blog regularly, you will note that I like to take selfies. Me drinking Black Russians, me with a sunset, me at McDonald’s, etc. It’s all about me! Not really. I just take a lot of pictures. I just happen to get in the way. Well, I recently found out that the term selfie didn’t apply if more than one person was in the photo. Dang! I’m always running around and grabbing people saying, “Come on, selfie time.” 

    I decided to look up the correct word to use. 


    What do you call a group selfie? An usie, of course!

    As in “us.” Pronounced uss-ee, rhymes with fussy.
    “Usies are a growing trend that I think have far more social value than selfies,” said Michal Ann Strahilevitz, a professor of marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco who studies consumer behavior. “It’s magical capturing moments we share with other people.”
    In contrast to one-person selfies, usies are “more about the relationship, and less about you and your hair,” she said.

    Well, there ya go. I learned something new. The reason I thought of it was yesterday, I was at one of the Collin County  Municipal buildings, and I ran into Zane Williams, famous McKinney singer/songwriter and all around nice guy. I bumped into him at the post office the other day, too. He was waiting to get a vehicle sticker for his tour bus. So, I plopped down next to him and asked about the kids and how it was going. He said he’s been busy, a lot of travel, but he was fine and the family was good. Then I said, “Selfie time!” I pulled out my phone and took a picture.

    Isn’t he adorable? Great singer and very nice person. Well, now I know it wasn’t a selfie. This is an”usie” of me and Zane Williams.

    Here’s my favorite song of his. If you’re now familiar with his music, check him out. 

    Here’s to more usies and learning something new everyday…

    Did you know that? Listen…Silent, interesting.

    Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

    22 Nov

    “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” 

    ― Marcus Aurelius


    A busy, fun, lazy, crazy week. A birthday for Sherry, a shot in the knee, sipping beer with friends, prayers said, and candles lit, sunshine, and sunsets. A good week. Sounds like a poem waiting to happen…Ok, here we go…
    A birthday for Sherry, then a shot in the knee

    Waiting in a long line, at the dumb DMV

    Some sunshine and sunsets, and a beer with a friend

    A candle with a prayer, my blessings never end.

    (Not so bad, not so great. It’s a poem, not my fate…I’m an artist, not a poet…obviously)

    Sunday Sermon and Some Other Stuff

    21 Nov

    “Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” ― Will Smith


    A chilly morning greeting before Mass, but I had my warm red coat on. It’s always warm and welcoming inside. 

    Today’s Gospel was Luke 23:35-43. It was the story of the crucifixion, when people chided Jesus, saying if he really was the chosen one, he should save himself. Then, one criminal hanging next to Jesus defended him by saying, Jesus did nothing wrong, but he and the others were justly being  punished. He asked, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”He replied to him,“Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

    My take on it…genuine repentance will invoke genuine forgiveness. At least from Jesus.


    With the cooler weather, it’s finally starting to feel more like Thanksgiving, with the holidays soon behind. As I went for my walk through the neighborhood, dozens of garage doors were open, and people were out on ladders putting up Christmas lights. Kids were in the park throwing the football around, and families were walking dogs or pushing strollers. It was like the cool temperature was a magical elixir. The sunset was a painting waiting to be captured.

    I was so inspired that I decided to clean out the freezer, rearrange and reorganize the overflowing mess, and throw out those ancient freeze dried crusty antiques hidden under the ice cream.

    The amazing thing is, there is actually a teeny tiny empty space left on one of the shelves. Now, I don’t have to wear a helmet or steel toed shoes when I open the freezer door. So many times, when I’d open the door, frozen packages would land on my toes or whack me in the head when I leaned in to reach for my chocolate ice cream.

    It was a good day. Happy Sunday!