Archive | June, 2018

Wednesday:) What Do You See?

20 Jun

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

― Confucius

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You know that I see and think differently than most people. That’s just a fact. It’s a gift, it’s a curse. I see faces in my brownie mix, and I even go a step further, and play with the concept, just for my own personal amusement. ie.

On my daily walks, I see animals in the clouds above, or heart shapes in the cement, beautiful shadows on the sidewalk, and sometimes I see signs. I find my lucky pennies, of course, always a good sign.

This morning, I rescued a poor wiggly worm that was flailing about on the hot sidewalk. I’ve finally gotten over my wiggly worm fear, for the better good of the poor worm community. I picked him up after the morning rain, and placed him in the cool grass.

As I continued my walk, I ran across a couple of less fortunate creatures that did not have a kind benefactor to save them from an untimely and cruel demise. Unfortunately, I can save them all, but I can only do my best. I asked myself, “To be or not to be. That is the……..” you know the rest.

These two previously wiggly worms formed a question mark, a thought provoking symbol. “What’s it all about?” That is the question.

You may see two shriveled worms baking in the mid-day heat. I see a sign, a thought provoking question.

What do you see?

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Everything But the Kitchen Sink Salad

20 Jun

“Never underestimate the power of good food. Eating delicious food can be a life-changing experience.”

Shon Mehta

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Many people say they hate cooking or they have trouble thinking of what to prepare for meals. I know I’m crazy, but I love to cook and bake. The secret is being creative.

I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan, but I’ll admit that I very rarely buy meat when at the store. Plus, I don’t eat fish, yuk. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll order a burger or chicken when I go out to lunch or dinner. Oh! Don’t get me started on chicken fried steak at Rick’s or chicken fried chicken at The Pantry. I just don’t prepare it at home.

I’d say that I fix salads 9 out of 10 times when I eat at home. My favorite salad is my Everything but the kitchen sink salad. I love organic baby spinach, so I buy the big plastic box to last me all week. I put a huge handful in a big bowl then add … a mixture of a lot of stuff.

Here’s my lunch for today.

I get a large bowl and add drained cans of….

I can garbanzo beans

1 can white navy beans

1 can sliced/diced beets (turns everything red, but that’s ok)

I can black eyed peas or whatever

1 chopped cucumber

1 chopped celery stalk

I diced apple

Some diced tomatoes

Some diced strawberries

30 or 40 grapes sliced in 1/2

Sometimes I add red onion…add whatever you like or have on hand.

Then I pour in some organic AC vinegar and a few squirts of Italian dressing. S &P and a few dashes of garlic powder. I don’t measure anything. Then, refrigerate. This is enough for all week, 5 or 6 salads.

I put a big handful of spinach in a bowl, top with about a cup or more of the bean/fruit mixture. Oh, I forgot. Sometimes I’ll sprinkle with some of the nuts that I keep around for snacking, adds crunch and salty.

I love my big easy-peasy everything but the kitchen sink salads, very filling, pretty tasty, and pretty good for you. And, it lasts all week.

After fixing this and feeling creative and healthy, that’s when I bake a few pans of brownies. I said I was creative. I didn’t say I was a health nut.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

19 Jun

I am so busy doing nothing that the idea of doing anything which as you know, always leads to something cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything. “

~Jerry Seinfeld

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Wow! A busy week. My first dance at the senior center, Zumba at the Y, pickle ball, Zumba gold, popsicles in the park, karaoke, lunch with friends, found a stray dog, ribbon cutting and anniversary at Sweet Spot, Tiny Art Show, and Father’s Day FaceTime with family.

Seinfeld put it pretty well, a lot of busy doing nothing. But, oh what fun.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

18 Jun

“When you plant a seed, make sure to water, nurture, love and repeat. The same goes for raising children and living your life.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.”

Chinese Proverb

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Wow! It was already blazing hot this morning outside of church. But, St. Gabriel’s is always cool inside with warm welcoming hearts within. We had a visiting priest from Quito, Ecuador saying Mass this morning. He travels the world raising money for The Working Boys’ Center in Quito. This center was founded in 1964 to help poor young boys working in the streets, then later entire families, helping them financially and spiritually. They have helped over 30,000 people through their programs. St. Gabriel is a very loving and generous parish.

Today’s Gospel, I thought, was very appropriate for Father’s Day… the parable of the mustard seed…

He said,

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,

or what parable can we use for it?

It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,

is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.

But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants

and puts forth large branches,

so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”

With many such parables

he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it…

My take on it… whether it be the kingdom of God or our life here on earth, the tiniest seed can become the largest plant. How we raise our children, live our lives, share with others, these are the seeds that we plant today for the future. The smallest kindness or good example or generous act we do may go unnoticed by us, but may plant a seed in our children, families, friends and neighbors.

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This morning, seeing that it was Father’s Day, I went onto Facebook and posted a picture of the best father that I know. All of my friends had posted photos of their dad or their husband, saying what great fathers they were. I posted a picture of my son Joe. He embodies everything that I think a great father should be. He adores his little girl and spends so much time with her. She adores him right back. He is a wonderful son, good husband and great dad. My dad wasn’t always that great. Joe’s father wasn’t that great. But, my son Joe is that little mustard seed that absorbed all those amazing worldly nutrients and became a great dad. I can honestly say he is the best father I have ever known.

When I was looking through photos to use for my post today, I saw a picture that Joe posted on our iCloud share this morning. I may not get to see my sons and family very often, but thank goodness for technology and FaceTime. This really made me smile and tear up a little.

That little mustard seed….

My little granddaughter has the best standard by which to measure. Happy Father’s Day, Mijo.

Saturday:) Toni and the Tiny Art Show

16 Jun

“Don’t despise the little steps you know you can take every day. There are tiny miracles in each and every one of them.”

Israelmore Ayivor

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Last night, I had the pleasure of attending THE TINY ART SHOW at The Cove. If you missed the opening night last night, you’re in luck. The show will be open tonight from 6-9 pm. It was so much fun. Check it out.

Wendolin Mercado’s Tiny Art and her enormous talent and huge dreams inspired a Terrific Tiny Art Show.

Other amazing artists…

There was an artist station for visitors to create their own tiny masterpieces to add to the gallery.

I didn’t have any artwork on display, but I did provide some Tiny Brownies.

A fun Friday night with fabulous local artists and friends. McKinney really is an amazing town.

Come on down and have a tiny ice cream cone…or two.

The Tiny Art Show, curated by Wendolin Mercado

The Tiny Art Show is here!

June 15th and 16th 6-9pm

Don’t miss this unique, lighthearted gallery showing of tiny works of art.

Join the show by creating your own tiny work of art to be displayed!

(Tiny art supplies provided.)

Tiny snack and big fun will be provided!

Friday Friends, Firemen and Other Fun Folks

15 Jun

“Sometimes, the simple things are more fun and meaningful than all the banquets in the world …”

E.A. Bucchianeri

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Having one best friend is wonderful, but having a zillion best friends is a never ending blessing. One friend isn’t better than another. Each one is unique, special, wonderful, and I like to think of as a special gift from God. God has really blessed me.

After a steamy morning walk and a very cold shower, I scooted over to the Square for the McKinney Chamber Ribbon cutting ceremony at Sweet Spot Bakery. They had been closed for nearly 3 months for renovations. But, it is also their 5 year anniversary. I was honored to be included as part of their ceremony and special ceremony.

Sweet Spot has been my home away from home for 5 years and Kathy and Elizabeth have become best friends and family. When the chamber members asked Kathy about the bakery and what they offer the community, I had to chime in and say, “Everyone who walks in the door becomes a friend. It’s a very special place. These wonderful ladies are not only good friends, they’ve helped me get through some tough times. They even helped me move. Now, that’s friendship.”

After the ribbon cutting, I was meeting three other great girlfriends for an impromptu lunch. I love it when I get a text that just says, “Who can meet for lunch tomorrow?”

We had hot dogs over at Top Dog on the Square, then over to Fritos for cold refreshing popsicles.

The mounted patrol were stopping for lunch and cooling down the horses. I went over to say hi. Of course, they know me pretty well. We’re friends.

While I was chatting with Officer Lindsey about her recent trips, (We’re Facebook friends) Justice leaned over and gave me a nudge and a big kiss.

I’m just squinting from the sun, I look scared here. Justice is a sweet loving horse. He likes to give kisses.

After those adventures, I stopped back at Sweet Spot to meet another friend, Mercedes. But, I forgot to take a picture. Oops.

Now, for my firemen. This was from the other day, but I was waiting for Friday to post my picture. I like alliteration, if you haven’t noticed. I took some brownies and cookies over to the guys at our new Station 9. They’re always happy to get some goodies, but I think it’s even nicer that they know how much they are appreciated. Thanks guys!!!

Theme Song Thursday:) You’re a Grand Old Flag

14 Jun

I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.

~ John Thune

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Today is Flag Day. A pictures is worth a thousand words.

Wednesday:) When A Wagging Tail Follows You Home

14 Jun

“A dog has one aim in life… to bestow his heart.”

J.R. Ackerley

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I walked Bella this morning, then headed out for my hot steamy solo walk. I’ve been zigging and zagging the neighborhood, and going across the street to the older section with the taller more mature trees, because they offer more shade. It was already HOT before 9am.

When I rounded a corner, I saw a young boy petting and talking to a really cute dog. I said good morning to the mother trying to get in her car. She asked if that was my dog, as they were trying to leave, but the stray dog kept trying to jump into her car. I continued my walk, and the cute dog started following me.

I saw a few neighbors outside and asked if they recognized the dog. No one did, but several said they saw her coming from that way, as they pointed. So, I walked that way. When the dog ran towards a house around the corner, I rang the bell, thinking that was her home. Nope. Finally, after a few more steamy blocks, I decided to have her follow me home. We were both hot and thirsty and hungry, and my back yard afforded some shelter and shade.

She was very accommodating, scooting right into the back gate. I got her a big bowl of ice water and gave her some of Bella’s food. Bella, who normally growls and doesn’t play well with strange dogs or people, enjoyed her company.

I posted a picture and info on the lost dog on the neighborhood Nextdoor app, and also on Facebook. A neighbor recognized the dog and sent the owners over. It was a happy reunion.

The boy was very appreciative and thankful. I forgot to ask the doggie’s name, but they just live one block down if she ever gets out again. She’s a digger, and I have a big hole under my gate to prove it.

All’s well that ends well. A happy “TAIL” with a happy ending.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Terrific Blogging Adventure

12 Jun

“Life is short. Live it, taste it. Never waste it.”

“My daily blogging has become an intimate personal diary of my life. I have shared my joys, laughter, tears and sorrows. And, because of you, there is never a day that I can’t find something wonderful to write about.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I’ve been anxiously awaiting this benchmark number. You may recall, my original challenge to myself was to write a daily blog for one entire year. That would be 365 consecutive days. Today, I have written and passed the 2,000 mark of consecutive posts, with over 92,000 views, and 49,000 visitors. I have 774 WordPress followers, 347 Facebook followers, 135 on Twitter, and 38 on Tumblr. I think that’s pretty awesome!

THANK YOU!

It’s been over 5 years of blogging, telling stories, taking pictures, and sharing my little world with the rest of you. If I have influenced, inspired, or brought joy to just one person, I have accomplished my goal. This has made my life so joyful and rewarding. Every day, I wake up wondering what I’ll write about. I see beauty that I’d never seen before. Writing helps me focus on what’s important. And that is… “Life is short. Live it, taste it. Never waste it.”

Montage Monday and My McKinney Senior Center

12 Jun

“I don’t understand people getting depressed about getting older. There is nothing you can do about it, so you might as well embrace it.”

~Twiggy

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It’s been a busy week and a fun week. My friend Loretta and I spent most of Saturday at a movie and on the Square. While we were chatting, she suggested that we go over to the McKinney Senior Center on Monday. They host an afternoon dance. I love to dance. Unfortunately, it’s like my singing. I love to sing, but I don’t do it well. I love to dance, but really never learned how to dance. I was married 39 years to someone who didn’t like to dance, I guess it’s never too late to learn.

Loretta and I met at 1 at the Senior Center. It was my first time to check out the dancing, and she had only been there once before. It was a 50’s day and some of the ladies had poodle skirts and the men had rolled up jeans and white t-shirts. It was cute. Of course, as is typical of any dance, there were a lot more women than men. So, they had a couple of segments called “chair dancing” where the ladies lined up behind a chair, and the men took turns asking the ladies in line to dance. They would stroll and dance around the floor, escort the lady back to the end of the line then dance with the next lady in line. They had a sign in sheet and there were 68 people, and I guess the ratio was about 40/28 or there abouts.

I hadn’t been to a dance like this since high school, and that was 1971. I had a blast.

At 2:30, they took a break for refreshments. I guess people sign up, like a pot-luck, and serve the others. That was so nice.

Then, back to the dancing.

You’re never too old or too young. It’s like the three bears, you’re just right. Enjoy! Life is short, eat dessert first, sing out loud, and dance till your feet

A week in a peek….