Archive | September, 2019

Thankful Thursday:) Thank You Says I Care

20 Sep

“A little “thank you” that you will say to someone for a “little favour” shown to you is a key to unlock the doors that hide unseen “greater favours”. Learn to say “thank you” and why not?”

― Israelmore Ayivor

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Yesterday, the guys from JD’s Make It Green came to cut my grass. This company has been cutting my grass for nearly fifteen years, five years at this house and ten in my last. There’s usually a different crew every few years, it always three Mexican guys crammed in a white truck. And, for fifteen years, I’ve always given them a bag with three cold cans of soda and some sort of snack, either chips, granola bars, cookies or homemade treats. About 90% of the time, I’m home when they come, and I scurry out the door, hand them the bag and say, “Gracias.” They are always appreciative, nod with a slight bow, and say, “Thank you.”

So yesterday, I was still in my Jammie’s when I heard the mowers and blowers humming out back. I quickly got dressed, grabbed my snacks and ran out the front door as they were putting away their equipment. I ran across the street, handed them the bag and said, “Muchas gracias.” They nodded, and I shook the first man’s hand and said,”Y como se llamas?” He replied, “Modesto.” I repeated shaking hands and thanking the other two young men, Esteban and Luis.

They were used to me running out and handing them something cold to drink and a snack, but this was the first time I stopped to ask their names. This makes it so much more personal and sincere. These men work very hard all day, in the blazing heat, and I’m sure they don’t get paid a ton of money and very rarely feel appreciated. Well, I appreciate what they do, SO, I say THANK YOU.

It only takes a few seconds to make someone feel appreciated, and if you feel like going out of your way to do so, you never know how much that might mean to them.

OK, so the funny part is, when I walked back into my house, my alarm system was screeching. When I ran out the door, I had forgotten to turn off the alarm. I didn’t hear it from across the street. Two seconds after I shut it off, the alarm company called to ask if everything was ok because they got a notification. I was embarrassed and explained that I had run outside. So, I had to give my name and secret password for them to believe me.

Thank goodness I remembered after five years. I had to laugh. Well, at least I know the alarm system works and I came back inside before the police were sent out. Now, that would have been embarrassing!

But then again, I would have offered them some brownies along with my apology.

Wednesday:) When You Give Back, You Take Away More

18 Sep

“I believe that we all have a responsibility to give back. No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, and a little luck. Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful.”

~Ron Conway

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Last Thursday, my friend Joyce Martin, invited me to the 2019 Scholarship Awards Ceremony and dinner at the Plano Event Center. Joyce sponsored two nursing students with a scholarship in honor of her late husband. She said that when her husband was very ill, she was so impressed with the nurses and doctors who attended his needs, that she wanted to give back by helping some young people going into this very compassionate, costly, and complex field. Her husband became very attached to one of the male nurses who assisted him in his darkest hours, so she sponsors one male and one female nursing student.

There were dozens of corporate, business, and individual donors offering financial assistance to these students, and the recipients greatly appreciated the fact that total strangers were investing in their education. How wonderful is that?

As the quote said, “Giving back creates a virtual cycle that makes everyone more successful.”

Thanks to the generosity of individual, corporate, foundation, alumni donors and many more, the Collin College Foundation is able to offer scholarships to outstanding students right here in our community.   The foundation awards annual scholarships of $500 – $3,000 to upwards of 700 students each year!  

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tips for Today~ Jammed Garbage Disposal

18 Sep

“If at first you don’t succeed, look it up on YouTube.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My kitchen was a mess, the dishes were piled in the sink, and I finally talked myself into doing some housework after much procrastination. The dishes, bowls, glasses and pots and pans were all neatly stacked in the dishwasher, all that was left to do was to clean up all that sludgy residue in the sink and scoot it down the garbage disposal. I turned on the water and turned on the disposal and heard…CRUNCHHHHHH. Oops! I turned it off, stuck my hand inside and found half a mutilated plastic fork. Then, I ran the water and turned it on again. Now, it only hummed. I turned it off, and put my hand in there again, trying to wiggle the blades. A few seconds later, the humming stopped and it was totally silent. Oh no! Will I have to call a plumber?

Toni’s Tips for Today

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Tip#1- When you feel guilty about a messy house, just feel guilty and go sit down with a glass of wine and binge watch Downton Abbey or something. A clean house will just get messy again.

Tip#2- Don’t ever put your hand down into a jammed or clogged garbage disposal.

Tip#3- Say a thank you prayer to Saint Joseph, patron saint of home repair, BECAUSE you didn’t observe tip #2 and stuck your hand in the jammed garbage disposal, retrieving half a mutilated plastic fork with all your fingers still in tact.

Tip#4-If at first you don’t succeed, look it up on YouTube.

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I watched the video, looked in the garage in my toolbox for a hex wrench. I found a different tool that didn’t work, so I had to wait till the next morning to go to Lowes to buy the proper tool.

I love hardware stores. So many shiny tools and thing-a-majiggies. When I got home, I rewatched the video again, opened my new jam-buster wrench, got a broom and followed directions. I used the tool and wiggled it back and forth in that slot. The tool started to move, but it still wouldn’t work. Then, I remembered the reset button. VOILA! I un-jammed my disposal all by myself.

I Googled how much it would have cost to call a professional plumber.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Garbage Disposal? Most garbage disposals cost about $250 to fix, including labor. This total ranges from $70 to $400. Labor for a plumber run around $80 an hour but varies between professionals.

HomeAdvisor.com › cost › kitchens

2019 Garbage Disposal Repair Costs | Fix or Replace a Disposal …

WOW! My jam-buster tool, $7.99.

“I AM AMAZING!” Not to mention brilliant.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

17 Sep

“If silence is golden, then a noisy Monday must be some strange shade of marvelous magenta.” Not sure what that means, but it just popped into my head.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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What a crazy busy hectic marvelous magenta Monday kinda day!

A week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and a Sunset

16 Sep

“Accomplishments don’t erase shame, hatred, cruelty, silence, ignorance, discrimination, low self-esteem or immorality. It covers it up, with a creative version of pride and ego. Only restitution, forgiving yourself and others, compassion, repentance and living with dignity will ever erase the past.”

― Shannon L. Alder

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Another beautiful Sunday, and great morning to meet and greet hundreds of friendly faces at St. Gabriel’s before 9 o’clock Mass. Today was Father Don’s birthday, so every one sang happy birthday after the announcements.

Today’s Gospel from Luke was about some people complaining that Jesus welcomed sinners and eats with them. Jesus told parables about a man with a hundred sheep who lost just one sheep. He searched and rejoiced when the one was found. Also, a woman with ten coins, lost only one coin, yet searched and swept, then rejoiced when she found it.

Then, the last, and more familiar story of the prodigal son who moved away and squandered all of his inheritance and returned destitute and repentant. His father welcomed him with open arms and rejoiced. The son who had remained at home, loyal and hardworking was angry. The father said, “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours. But now we must celebrate and rejoice, because your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.

My take on it… like the faithful son who was always good and loyal, you are always in God’s favor and will be rewarded. And, like the prodigal son, if you lose your way and your sins are many, if you learn from your mistakes, you repent, and change your ways, making atonement, vowing to sin no more, THEN, you will also be welcomed with open arms. But, the key words here are repent, remorse, and change. Both are equally loved by the Father.

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After Mass, Helene and I stopped at McDonald’s for a drink and a chat, scooted over to the grocery store for a few things, then went over to visit

Mr. Jerry, who was feeling much better after his back surgery a few weeks ago. I forgot to post this cool picture of Mr. Jerry enjoying an adult beverage after a long dry spell.

It was good to see his smiling face.

When I got home, I had many well intentioned plans of getting some housework done. So instead, I took a nap. 🤦‍♀️

But, I didn’t fall asleep right away, and my nap was short lived. So, I got up and went for a late evening walk. I went and picked up my doggie buddy, Bella. We had a nice long walk.

We were just in time to catch the gorgeous and brilliant sunset.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday On The Square:) Art and Music

15 Sep

“Art allows you to see the world with your heart, and music allows you to feel the world with your soul.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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There were a lot of things happening around town today. The downtown square was active with Second Saturday activities. With no plans or commitments today, I decided to just go and spend the day on the square.

My first stop was Last Art Gallery. Brad Donaldson had some of his fabulous resin artwork paintings on display outside.

Maria Hampton and Leslee Ortega were demonstration alcohol ink techniques inside.

Then, it’s always great bumping into friends who were also soaking up the sun and art on the square. Karen and Lynne and I stopped at Spoon’s for a quick lunch.

Then, a Lynne Hubner sighting. She was just visiting the artists, it she is an amazing printmaking artist,

Maribeth Jagger was doing an alcohol ink demonstration over at Filtered Coffee Shop. Maribeth has probably taught alcohol ink techniques to half of the McKinney artists.

While I sauntered around the Square, I stopped in the Visitor’s Center, and I was excited to see my friend Beth Shumate was at the desk. Well, we talked for over an hour about McKinney happenings, and about friends and family, etc. The time just flew by.

It was still pretty warm out, and down the street, I could hear some familiar Bublé songs. It was Armon Ramirez, a fabulous singer that I’d met a few weeks back. I sat and listened to his silky voice for a while.

on my way back to my car over behind Cadillac Pizza, I saw one of our fine Mounted Patrol officers. It was Officer Lindsey Paul. She was stopped in the street, and several children were petting and admiring the horse. I heard one of the children giggling and saying, “She let me pet the horse.” Everyone is impressed when they see the Mounted Patrol.

Well, the night was still young, so I went over to The Cove to see Megali Muñoz Smith’s show. The Joy of the Moment was her theme, with colorful island and tropical paintings. Of course, more music to add to the mood.

Her show continues tomorrow from 2-4 at The Cove if you missed it today.

It was a busy dizzy dazzling artistic kind of day on the Square. McKinney has the greatest art community and the greatest artists, and fortunately for me, most of them are the greatest friends of mine.

Driving home, I was treated to an amazing sunset. The sun was a HUGE red-orange orb in the cloudless sky. There was no great place to pull over and get a photo, so I just clicked one at a stop light. It was breathtaking. The perfect end to a lovely day.

Friday Friends and Fun at Towne Creek

14 Sep

Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.

Francis Bacon

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Today was my volunteer day over at Towne Creek Senior Apartments. I spent several hours last night trying to decide what art project to work on. I went through a lot of bins and boxes and books, before I decided we’d work on a project with a horse theme. I packed up stencils, markers, chalks, poster board, colored pencils, and stamps. I like to have a variety of materials and projects to allow my friends several choices.

This afternoon, I made a big pot of mac and cheese using Alfredo sauce and nacho cheese with two boxes of shells.

I always prepare a dinner feast for my artist friends, and it’s usually a good break for letting some paint project dry. I brought hot dogs, bean salsa, chips, popcorn/snack mix, dessert, and Dr. Pepper. Helene brought the ice cream.

Everyone enjoyed their horse project. We used pastel chalk for the background then a variety of acrylic paint for dip-dot designs.

Now, on to the feast. One of the aides stopped by and gave us a cheesecake to add to our ice cream dessert. We told stories and laughed. At one point Dorothy and Linda started laughing so hard that they couldn’t stop. A good time was had by all.

Happy Friday, my friends. Now, time for my Black Russian.

Thursday:) The Art Club of McKinney

13 Sep

“The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”

~Robert Hughes

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Today was our monthly meeting of The Art Club of McKinney meeting. After the general meeting, artist of the month, raffle and refreshments, we watched the movie “Loving Vincent.”

Loving Vincent is a 2017 experimental animated biographical drama film about the life of a painter Vincent van Gogh, and, in particular, about the circumstances of his death. It is the first fully painted animated feature film.[7] The film, written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, is a Polish-UK co-production, funded by the Polish Film Institute, and partially through a Kickstarter campaign.

First conceived as a seven-minute short movie in 2008,[7] Loving Vincent was realized by Dorota Kobiela, a painter herself, after studying the techniques and the artist’s story through his letters.[9]

Each of the film’s 65,000 frames is an oil painting on canvas, using the same technique as Van Gogh, created by a team of over 100 painters.[10] The film premiered at the 2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival.[2] It won Best Animated Feature Film Award at the 30th European Film Awards in Berlin and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 90th Academy Awards.

As you can see, the artwork was stunning, colorful, and the story line intriguing. Everyone enjoyed the film.

If you’d like more information about The Art club of McKinney, you can check out the website. artclubofmckinney.org

Wednesday:) 9/11 NEVER FORGET

12 Sep

“September 11 is one of our worst days but it brought out the best in us. It unified us as a country and showed our charitable instincts and reminded us of what we stood for and stand for.”

~Sen. Lamar Alexander

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September 11th is one of those days that we will always remember what we were doing in 2001. Everyone has each detail imbedded in their brain. Everyone remembers and grieves in their own way. I bake. That’s what I do. That’s how I say THANK YOU.

This year, my dear friend, Linda Grossman, (World’s Greatest Realtor) offered to go with me to deliver brownies and cupcakes to each of our nine McKinney fire stations. That’s a big task because they’re spread all over the city.

I started my baking frenzy last night. I made a zillion mini chocolate cupcakes with the cherry in the middle, then frosted them this afternoon, also baking two pans of brownies. My kitchen is still a disaster, but well worth the chaos. The smiles and grateful handshake and hugs were the greatest reward. Also, because Linda joined me, she was able to capture some great photos on her much better camera. And, ham that I am, I was able to get in the photos too.

It took about three hours to get to all nine fire stations. And, I’ll have to say, I was a little disappointed that more folks hadn’t stopped by with treats or cards or some kind of recognition today. We went back into a few of the kitchens and saw one or two containers on the counter.

I know it’s been eighteen years, but what happened to the “NEVER FORGET” part? Anyway, I’m glad we stopped by and each station welcomed us with big smiles.

What a wonderful way to spend the day. Here’s a funny thing… when we stopped at Station 5, Linda looked at the clock to check on our time, and the clock said 5:55 and we were at Station 5. She said, “Is that some kind of sign?” Spooky? Cool! Then, I walked behind my car to go around and get the cupcakes from the back seat, and there on the ground was… a lucky penny. Spooky? Cool!

When we stopped at 5, I asked the young firefighter if he might possibly have my container from last week when I dropped off cookies? He went back and checked and said, he didn’t see one, and apologized. I said that was fine, no big deal. As we were driving away, Linda said, “What’s that noise?” I thought my car was making a noise. Turns out, two of the guys came running out and yelling as they we’re chasing the car in the parking lot. They found my container. That was so funny. I asked Linda to take a picture of the out of breath firemen.

We are so blessed to have the finest first responders right here in McKinney. You don’t have to wait till 9/11 to say thank you to a firefighter or police officer. There are 364 other days in the year that you have the opportunity to thank them. (Thank You!)

Thank you, Linda, for all your time and photos. You rock!

Tuesday:) Towne Creek Activity Auction

11 Sep

“When we are active, we become stronger and more energetic. This, in turn, makes us more positive and self-confident. It’s a powerful cycle.”

― Ernest Cadorin

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Last week, Towne Creek Apartments hosted another auction for its senior residents on September 5th. Towne a Creek Apartments is part of RHF Retirement Housing Foundation, a non-profit organization providing housing options and services for older adults here in McKinney.

The TC Bucks Program was introduced by Christy Sadler, the Service Coordinator, as an incentive to get the elderly residents more involved in social and educational activities. Residents receive TC Bucks (play money), every time they participate in an activity. The hope is to encourage people to socialize, have fun, learn, share, and generally avoid being isolated or lonely. It seems to be working because everyone attending had envelopes stuffed with TC Bucks.

Donations were made by local churches, businesses, and friends and families. Several of my friends donated lovely gift items for the auction.

Each resident had an auction paddle with a number that they could raise while bidding on one of the many gift baskets, gift cards, small appliances, etc.

The very humorous Jim Smith was the auctioneer for the event. Jim is a local community volunteer, active in Kiwanis of McKinney, First United Methodist Church, and current Board President of “Clothe a Child.” He had an amusing story for each item.

I tried to think of something fun that I could donate, so I put together six snack baskets with bottled water, Gatorade, ginger ale, snacks, cookies, granola bars, chips, etc. Just something fun they could have while watching tv or visiting with friends and family. They were a big hit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6od6JVGXWg

Helene (left) and I came to help wherever needed. Jim, (auctioneer) Christy (service coordinator) Kelly (manager) and yours truly.

The auction was a great success, and the residents left with wonderful gifts and prizes. Refreshments were provided by Aunt Mae’s Home Care. A very nice afternoon for all.