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Saturday Sad Songs and Celebration

13 Jul

“If I cannot fly, let me sing.”
― Stephen Sondheim
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Second Saturday on the Square. The jam session and sing-a-long at Sweet Spot Bakery tonight, was a celebration of music and life, commemorating the life of Brian Spray. His smiles, music and songs will be missed by all. Brian’s family and friends came to sing and play the music that Brian loved so much.

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Friday Fraught With Tradition

12 Jul

“Tradition becomes our security, and when the mind is secure it is in decay.”
― Jiddu Krishnamurti
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Let my mind be secure and in decay…that’s OK. Some traditions are worth the price. Friday night always used to be family pizza night for a zillion years, but the kids are gown, gone and far away. The family is not a family any more. So, when my friend, Linda Grossman, invited me to stop and grab a bite after her long day, I thought, “Pizza Friday!” We stopped at Rosati’s Pizza in McKinney, and got their smallest deep dish pepperoni pizza. It was huge!

Nothing will ever taste as good as REAL Chicago deep dish, right out of the brick oven pizza from Uno’s or Lou Malnati’s on “da sout side,” but for a Friday night in McKinney, Texas, it was delish! It was Friday, and almost felt like tradition.

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Saturday Snugs, Hugs and Smooches

6 Jul

“A hug is the perfect gift- one size fits all and nobody minds if you exchange it. ”
― Irvin Ball
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My Saturday re-cap and highlights: 7:30 am walk 4.5 miles, call mom, shower. 9 am straighten house, revise art club story, print for writing group, get dressed and out the door before 10. Meet Mandy at Sweet Spot, chat, sip tea, review pages, gossip, laugh, off to Snug for a late breakfast. Mandy shared a little of her omelette with me because I was meeting Chris for lunch. (Here’s where all the hugs and smooches come in.)

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The folks at Snug are so sweet. Fourth of July they celebrated their second anniversary being on the square. I get big hugs from pretty much everyone, but the big bear hugs from Daniel can take your breath away…literally, I think he squeezes so hard that I stop breathing sometimes. He’s so cute, and he has the most adorable wife and little boy. Now, here’s my smooch.

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Then, off to Mellow Mushroom for pepperoni pizza with Chris. It was so good. Hadn’t had pizza in a while.

Maura, who used to work at Spoons, gave me a hug. After a late lunch, Chris and I wandered over to Art on the veranda and visited with owners Judy and Dana. More hugs. Next, across the street, back to Sweet Spot to visit with Miss Kathy. Another hug, visiting and a little impromptu karaoke sing-along.

A busy, snugly, hugly, warm and friendly Saturday with friends.

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Fourth of July Friday

5 Jul

“A procession is a participants’ journey, while a parade is a performance with an audience.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
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Mckinney Texas is a fairly large city with a quaint small town feel. I always look forward to the Fourth of July parade on the Square. Hundreds of people line the streets to watch a single police car and fire engine start off the route around the square with sirens blaring, followed by the mayor and his family waving to the crowd. (It’s cool when the mayor’s wife waves and says, “Hi Toni.” Everybody knows every body.) Then, there are a couple of dozen old time cars, a few local businesses had floats, several boys scout and Girl Scout troops, Rotary Club, and my favorite, the Art Club of McKinney float. (Thanks, Lynda Kingsley, family and friends.) etc. Of course, you have to have horses. It’s Texas, there must be horses.

I think it took people longer to find a place to park than it took to watch the entire parade, but the point is, it’s all about tradition, family, waving flags and being proud to be an American. In the afternoon, there was a car show with dozens of old, vintage and souped-up cars. The shops were busy, the restaurants packed and the atmosphere, well, it was a fun place to be on the Fourth of July. I LOVE McKINNEY!

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Tuesday Tips and Treats for the Fourth of July

2 Jul

Erma Bombeck
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
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The Fourth of July is right around the corner. I hope you all have some fun plans for our country’s big celebration of freedom. There are many fun things to do, fabulous foods, and friends and family to celebrate with. But, always remember to stay safe and remember why we celebrate.

Thank you to all who have sacrificed, who have served our country, and continue to protect us. We are home of the free because of the brave,

http://www.thecottagemarket.com/2013/06/fourth-of-july-desserts-red-white-blue.html

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Tips to stay safe.11 Tips for a Safe Fourth of July

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

Be a safe swimmer. Water sports and fireworks are two of the biggest pastimes for Fourth of July celebrations, and these are both linked to numerous deaths and injuries each year. Never swim alone, and make sure that kids’ water play is adequately supervised at all times. Many drownings occur when parents and other adults are nearby, so always have a designated chaperone for water play and don’t assume that others are watching the kids. Statistics show that most young children who drown in pools have been out of sight for less than five minutes.

If fireworks are legal in your community and are a part of your celebration, be sure to store and use them safely. Keep the kids away from the fireworks at all times, and keep spectators at a safe distance. Attending fireworks displays organized by professionals is always safer than trying to put on your own show.

Use alcohol responsibly. Alcohol and fireworks can be a hazardous and dangerous combination. Also, have a designated driver to bring partygoers home from the festivities. Remember also that alcohol and swimming can be as dangerous as drinking and driving.

Lakes, waterways, and seas will be crowded with boats. Review safe boating practices, and don’t drink and drive your boat. Alcohol consumption while operating boats or other motorized water vessels is illegal, and you can be arrested for a BWI (boating under the influence!). Be sure that you have an adequate number of life preservers on hand for extra guests. Become familiar with the boating laws in your area.

Cover food and beverages outdoors to discourage bees and wasps from attending your party. If someone is allergic to insect stings, you should have an emergency anaphylaxis kit on hand. Wearing shoes, long sleeves, and long pants outdoors and avoiding fragranced body products, bright colors, and sugary drinks can also help prevent bee stings.

Apply sunscreen both before and during an outdoor party. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause both premature aging and skin cancer in the long term, and a painful burn the next day. Even those with darker skin should use a sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, according to recommendations from the American Academy of Dermatology.

Check prescription medications you are taking to assure you will not have a sun-sensitizing drug reaction to the medication.

If you’ll be hiking or camping in an area where ticks are abundant, wear long-sleeved, light-colored shirts and long pants tucked into socks or boots to protect yourself from tick-borne diseases. For your skin, you can use a tick repellent with no more than 30% DEET according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Products containing DEET should not be used on children less than 2 months of age and should not be applied to the hands or face of young children. Check yourself (and your pets) for ticks at the end of the day.

Spend adequate time indoors or in the shade and drink plenty of fluids to avoid heat illness in extremely hot climates. The risk of heat illness is increased when participating in strenuous activity or sports, and those with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are also at an increased risk of heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Alcohol consumption can also promote dehydration and increase the risk.

Keep children away from campfires and grills. Gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks can be a cause of grill fires and explosions.

Don’t leave the picnic spread out all day. Allowing food to sit in outdoor temperatures can invite foodborne illness. The U.S. FDA suggests never leaving food out for more than one hour when the temperature is above 90 F and not more than two hours at other times. Foods that need to be kept cold should be placed in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezing packs and held at a maximum temperature of 40 F. While mayonnaise and other egg dishes are often associated with food poisoning, any food can potentially become contaminated. Adequate hand washing and food preparation can also help prevent food poisoning.
REFERENCES:

CPSC.gov. Fireworks Safety.

USCGboating.org. Boating Saftey Resource Center.

Last Editorial Review: 6/30/2011

Sunday: A Time to “Gather”

29 Jun

I am so blessed with good friends and family…I honestly have been gathering all the words of wisdom and have been applying them to my life. -unknown
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Wow! I wish I said that. Wait, I have been living that quote, so, in a way, I have been saying that all along. I have been blessed, I’ve been gathering words of wisdom, “trying” to apply them to my life, but also sharing them with you. (Or y’all, as we say here in Texas, even if we’re born and raised in Chicago.”

My day: out the door before 7am for a 3 mile walk, shower, and off to 9am Mass at St. Gabriel’s. (I was even early, extra prayer time.) Sunday church service is an important time to “gather” and show your appreciation for God’s grace and gifts. Home by 10:15, a cup of tea, emails, phone calls and over to Towne Creek by 1pm to pick up my senior artist friends, Miss Eleanor and Miss Kathy. We met Miss Della over at “GATHER” on the Square.

Gather is a delightful and quaint restaurant that also serves a lovely Sunday brunch. A great place for small weddings, showers, parties, etc. The old brick walls, antiques, and rustic charm provide a peaceful atmosphere for fine dining with friends and family.

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We enjoyed a leisurely brunch, and I consumed massive quantities of yummy bacon, eggs, fruit, salad and pastries. Did I mention key lime pie? Yikes! Those of you concerned that I am not eating…rest assured, I have witnesses, I’m eating, I’m eating!
Gather is located at 207 E Virginia St, McKinney, TX
(972) 548-8882

If you haven’t been there, maybe give it a try. A great place to “Gather.” Something new and different.

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Sentimental Saturday: Sitting, Sipping, and Sharing

29 Jun

Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.”
― Charlotte Brontë
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Another busy Saturday. A quick five mile walk in the morning, off to the Square for writing group, lunch and socializing. (Lots of hugs today.) Back home to put my feet up a bit, check emails, watch tv, and work on some writing. Then, another fast three mile walk before dark. The sipping isn’t too exciting. Not a tall tempting alcoholic drink, rather three glasses of cold water with lime. All that walking makes me thirsty.(I’m not saying a beverage is not in my future.)

So, here are a few photos that I’d like to share from my last couple of days.

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Miss Bonnie finished painting her bird feeder Friday at Towne Creek.

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Miss Marie painted a quaint little scene complete with a cat amidst the flowers.

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Miss Nelma put the finishing touches on her ocean scene. Pretty awesome!

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O.K. Here’s my beverage from last night’s Black Russian Friday. I’m always happy to share my day, my photos, my words and… Feel free to stop by for a chocolatey Black Russian.

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Friday Fire and Brimstone

28 Jun

“There may be a great fire in our soul, yet no one ever comes to warm himself at it, and the passers-by see only a wisp of smoke.”
― Vincent van Gogh
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I’m not sure what brimstone is, but if it is anything as spectacular as the fabulous raku pottery that was being fired this evening at SPARC (St. Peter’s Artist Run Community), then you can see that “there may be a great fire in our soul.”

SPARC celebrated their grand opening this evening with guest potters, including Kym Owens from Sunset Canyon Pottery, Steve Macias, Laura Canfield, and other local potters.

Steve, with the help of other potters, demonstrated outdoor raku firing all evening, while inside, beautiful pottery was on display, and potters were on hand to share their creative expertise.

It was a warm McKinney night, the kiln was crazy hot, the company warm and friendly, but the artists, potters and friends enjoyed a wonderful evening of creativity.

SPARC is located at 405 N. Sherman Street, McKinney, TX 75069 and can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sparc405. There offer weekly hand-building, private wheel and pottery classes, workshops, parties, date nights and girls night out.

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Steve Macias is an amazing potter.

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Local artists display their work.

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Theme Song Thursday: Try Something New

26 Jun

Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is? ~Frank Scully
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I’m a creature of habit. I don’t like change. Very rarely will I order something other than my usual, go-to-written-in-stone favorite meal at a restaurant, much less go to a new place. Sandra, Daniel and Beth at Snug will attest to that. (Yogurt parfait story.) Miss Zelda and I meet at Olive Garden and I ALWAYS get the eggplant parmasean. See, I don’t do change well.

But, how will I know if something out there is better, or the food more delicious, or a new place more exciting? But then again, if where you always go, or what you always order, always makes you happy, then why change? You see my dilemma???

Yesterday, when Lynne and Karen invited me to join them for lunch at a Mexican restaurant (not on the square and I’d never been to before) for lunch, I actually said, “Sure.”

Taqueria Hernandez is on Tennessee, a couple of miles north of the square. It’s a tiny “mom and pop” type place with a handful of tables, one waitress and maybe half a dozen things on the menu. I ordered the crispy tacos and they were just like I make at home, and how my mom makes them. They were delicious. I may go back there again real soon. But, you guessed it, I’m going to order the same thing every time. (Baby steps…)

Sometimes I have to go out on a limb, isn’t that where the tacos are?
Every day is a brand new day, and each day holds new possibilities.

Here’s the theme song for today…

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1105 N. Tennessee St. McKinney

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Saturday: Simple Sights and Sounds

22 Jun

“What we do see depends mainly on what we look for. … In the same field the farmer will notice the crop, the geologists the fossils, botanists the flowers, artists the colouring, sportmen the cover for the game. Though we may all look at the same things, it does not all follow that we should see them.”
― John Lubbock, The Beauties of Nature and the Wonders of the World We Live in
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This morning started out with a morning walk with my neighbor, Kat. The birds were chirping and the squirrels and bunnies were romping in the cool morning grass. The sun was gearing up for another warm, muggy day. Then, a quick shower and off to the Square. (I love downtown McKinney.)

Our Saturday morning writing group met at Sweet Spot Bakery, but more socializing, sipping coffee, and gossiping took place. Three hours later, oh my, time for lunch at Mellow Mushroom for some yummy pepperoni pizza.

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Liz, Mandy and I walked across to “Mom and Pop Popcorn Shop.” They have the best popcorn and old fashioned candy. Bins, jars, and fun displays in every corner. Liz treated me to a bulls eye candy. Just one is all I needed to bring back that 5 year old feeling and fun childhood memories.

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Then a quick stop into Loco Cowpoke Salsa Shop. Two rooms of any kind of salsa, jams, jellies, pickles and condiments your little heart could desire.

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After our wanderings, I stopped in to visit the gals at Art on the Veranda, just plopped myself in a chair and chatted for a while. A quick stop into the McKinney Visitors Center to say hi to Miss Sue before heading home. That pretty much sums up my sights on the Square.

Now, just finish up this post, get my gym shoes on and see what evening sights and sounds will be discovered. The sunsets have been amazing.

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