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More Monday Manners: What ticks you off?

29 Jan

There are no hard and fast written rules for manners. We learn from our elders, parents, teachers, and friends. But, what about those idiots who wouldn’t know kindness if it came up and smacked them upside the head with a two-by-four? Were they raised on Mars?

Example one: I went to the post office today to mail three big packages. An elderly woman walked in behind me after parking in the handicapped spot. She waddled over to get an envelope from the wall and proceeded to fill it out at the side counter. By the time she finished, there were four people in line, so she waddled to the end of the line. I was next to be waited on, so I looked back and said, “Mam, you go ahead. You only have one item.” Her eyes lit up and she shuffled forward and thanked the others in line. That is just common courtesy and respect for our elders. I’m hoping to teach by example.

Example two: While I was driving home, I was in the right lane. I could have made a right turn on red, but NOOO! The car in the middle lane on my left, had inched up so close to the intersection, that I couldn’t see oncoming traffic. He couldn’t go, but he made it impossible for me to turn. I usually hang back when I’m in that situation.Then, don’t even get me started about those Pac-Man drivers that zig and zag in traffic, with less than a cars length, they cut in front of you and you are forced to slam on the brakes. Then, ten minutes later, they end up right next to you again. Manners dissuade you from displaying a particular digital acknowledgement.

Example three: I have found that most drivers in the state of Texas believe that turn signals, stop signs and red lights are totally optional. I once asked the mechanic at the car dealership if turn signals were removed before shipping new cars to the state of Texas. Then, there’s the four-way stop etiquette. The rule is…stop quickly for a mili-second, then step on the gas. It doesn’t matter that three other drivers were stopped before them. No common courtesy on the road.

Example four: But, on the other hand, when a woman walks toward a door, men will open the door for her, tip their hats, or help her lift a heavy bag when a woman is struggling in the Walmart parking lot with a twenty pound bag of dog food. Here in Texas, they say, “Yes mam and no sir.” The only thing I can’t figure out is why the huge discrepancy. Perhaps, there are different rules for manners on road than there are for kindness to the elderly and women. Oh yes, it seems that the older or the prettier the woman is, the kinder and more helpful the man is. That’s just universal.

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Forgetful Friday

26 Jan

FEED THE HUNGRY AND FEED YOUR SOUL

Did you enjoy my blog on Friday? Of course not! I forgot to post it! I’m such a space queen, or perhaps it’s old age or sensory overload. Either way, I was so busy replying to emails, commenting on blogs and posting pictures on Facebook, that I plum forgot to post my blog.

Friday was such a cool day, too. I ran a bunch of errands, stopped at Papa Murphy’s to pick up our traditional Friday night pizza for after art class. I had my shopping cart parked outside the window at Papa Murphy’s, and I stopped to take a picture of Miss Karri and Justin, who prepared my pizza. I told them, “You never know when I might need a picture for my blog.” When I walked outside, my cart was being rescued from the middle of the parking lot by a young Albertson’s employee. I guess my cart got tired of waiting for me, and was heading over to my car by itself.

When I returned home, I unpacked the groceries and packed up my car for my senior art class over at Towne Creek. Everyone was excited because we were going to paint glass bowls for the February Empty Bowls fundraiser at St. Peter’s Church in McKinney. We had a few people still sick, so the group was small. A couple teenagers and their little sister were visiting with their grandma in the hallway, and they popped into the activity room to see what we were doing. Well, to make a short story long, we invited them to join us. Their grandma and mother sat and visited while the girls painted. They loved the fact that the bowls would be given to attendees of the fundraiser for their $20 contribution to help feed the hungry and less fortunate.

The bowls turned out great, everyone had fun painting, and the group learned new painting techniques. The grandmother, Patricia, who had just visited with us and didn’t want to paint, was so moved by our gesture, that she insisted that I accept $10. She knew that I supplied all the materials, paints and snacks every week, and she wanted to show her appreciation for what we do. After a long argument, I graciously accepted her donation, but told her that I was going to buy more bowls with her contribution, and hopefully next week she would join us. These senior residents have very little money, so $10 was a huge gift. I was humbled by her generosity.

I always tell everyone that they are welcome to join us. When you share the gift of art, you share the gift of friendship. I have made the most wonderful friendships that will last a lifetime.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

25 Jan

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Why write a long, boring craft tutorial when you can just share a photo that pretty much explains it all. Well, almost all.

Today, I thought I’d change things up and share some of my handy-dandy crafting tips. Being a self-professed frugal Baby-Boomer, I’ll take this opportunity to confess…I save everything. Yes, everything! Just yesterday, my husband was ready to toss out the 2 inch stub of the romaine lettuce, when I rescued it from the trash saying, ” Stop, I’m going to paint roses with that.” He doesn’t even question anymore. He just shakes his head and walks away. (I’ll post the roses another time.)

So, anyway, you know all those paper towel and toilet tissue rolls you have saved after the paper is all used? OK, so you don’t have any now, but you will. Well, take 4 or 5 of those rolls and soak in a bowl of water for a few hours, pour the mixture in a blender with a sheet of torn up newspaper,(I know you have that) and pulse the blender a few times until you have paper mush.(technical term) Then add some crumpled rose petals that you have dried and saved after your last birthday or anniversary.(Yes, I have tons of those too.) Pulse a couple more times. Place a splatter screen over an empty bowl or pitcher and pour some of the mixture inside a cookie cutter of your choice. Press inside shape with a damp sponge until most of the moisture gone. Play and experiment. Remove cookie cutter and flip screen over on a paper towel. You can put another paper towel over it and roll with a rolling pin, or just air dry. ( But, the more paper towels you use, the quicker you’ll have some of those empty rolls saved up…ha, ha.)

You can use these handmade paper shapes to embellish cards, make jewelry, or larger shapes can be made into books. So many options, so little time. If you need anything, let me know. I’ve got it saved somewhere.

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Taco Tuesday

23 Jan

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There are two words that can bring delight to my heart, and they are…Taco Tuesday! I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to texting, but when I hear that little “ping” and my friend, Karen, sends a text that only reads…Taco Tuesday, with a question mark, I’m quick on the draw with a two letter reply..O and K.

The food at Rosa’s Cafe in McKinney isn’t out of this world fantastic, but it is pretty good, and the three taco platter is so darn cheap, I couldn’t make it at home for the price.(Under $4 on Tuesday) Believe me, I should know. I’ve been making delicious homemade tacos since I was a little seƱorita.

But, it isn’t just the food, colorful decor, and authentic ambiance that entices me. I thoroughly enjoy an impromptu lunch invitation from a friend. It means we get to sit for a couple hours jabbering about our week, complaining about our husbands, and extolling the praises of our now grown children. Funny how, as the children get older and move out of the house, they tend to become so wonderful and accomplished, and when the husbands are around all the time, they tend to lose their glowing status and credibility. I guess we just need something to complain about.

The point I’m trying to make is, friendships are special, and Girlfriends are extra special. So if you have the opportunity to make someone’s day with a note, a call, or an impromptu lunch, JUST DO IT! And to quote Carly Rae Jepsen…”Here’s my number. Call me maybe!”

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A Special Saturday:Sharing A Special Tree For Christmas

20 Jan

I shared this special story with my Facebook friends at Christmas, and thought I’d share it with my new blogger friends. Perhaps you have a “Pay It Forward” story that you’d like to share. I’d love to hear it.

A SPECIAL TREE FOR CHRISTMAS

It is believed that the tradition of the Christmas tree spread across America during the 1800s with the arrival of German immigrants, a reminder that the dark grey of Winter would soon bring the green renewal of Spring.The Germans would bake fancy ornaments for their trees and then eat the decorations when the trees were taken down. Fruits, nuts, flowers and lighted candles also adorned the first American Christmas trees, but only the strongest could support the weight without drooping. So, German glassblowers began producing lightweight glass balls to replace heavier, natural decorations. These lights and decorations were representations of the joy and light of Christmas, with the star on top of the tree a symbol for the “Star in the East.”

This is such a wonderful American tradition, but what about those who don’t have a Christmas tree, ornaments, toys and freshly baked cookies? The thing I love about America, Texas and the marvelous city of McKinney is, when there is a need, there is a way to fill that need.

One of my own personal holiday traditions is giving my hand-painted ornaments to friends, neighbors, and family along with homemade cookies, cupcakes or brownies, because “nothin’ says lovin’ like homemade.” This week, when I stopped at my neighborhood McKinney Fire Station 5 with my ornament and a dozen chocolate cupcakes, as I have for the past eight years, I was greeted with the usual smiles and appreciation.

As I was escorted back to the kitchen, I asked, “Can I see your Christmas tree?” I remembered how beautiful the tree was last year, and how all my ornaments from the previous years were carefully displayed on the branches. The young firefighter just smiled and said, “Well, it’s not much of a tree, but come on in.” He turned on the light in the dimly lit space, and there to my amazement was a bare five foot metal pole with a red light on top.

I asked, “Where is your Christmas tree?”

“This is it,” was the only response.

I knew there had been a big change in personnel this past year when the new fire chief took over, and a lot of the guys relocated to other stations, but I didn’t think that would effect Christmas. I asked, “Where is your beautiful tree and all your ornaments? I’ve been bringing ornaments for years.”

The perplexed fireman responded, “I don’t know. Maybe they took them over to the other station.”

I shook hands with everyone on shift that afternoon and wished them a Merry Christmas, walking out with an unsettled sadness. Not quite the feeling I was expecting.

When I got home, I went to my handy iPad and posted a picture on Facebook of the ornament and cupcakes that I had taken to the fire station. My message retold the story of the sad looking “Festivus” looking metal pole that took the place of a traditional Christmas tree at the fire station.

To might delight, when I checked my page an hour later, there were so many comments from friends and neighbors appalled at the situation. There were several offers of Christmas trees from neighbors. My friend, Kim McCraw, said her son Shane was working at Christmas Traditions on US75 and they said that they would drop off a freshly cut evergreen tree the next day. Wow!

Saturday afternoon, I drove over to Station 5 with a box of newly purchased blue ornaments for our friends in blue and their new tree. When I arrived with my gift, a gorgeous nine or ten foot tree adorned the space where a sad metal pole stood the previous day. I explained that I was “the ornament lady” from yesterday, and that I had posted on Facebook that Station 5 didn’t have a Christmas tree this year. They were all smiling and honored when I told them that just one Facebook post had inspired a dozen offers of trees and goodies to brighten their holiday.

When I looked at the beautiful tree, there was a single ornament on a branch, and it was one of mine from 2008. They were waiting to decorate the tree until they purchased some new lights. Off to the side was a box with decorations and ornaments that they must have found in a storage room somewhere, many of which I recognized from my signature matching hand-painted boxes. I was delighted, humbled and grateful. The old “Festivus” metal pole was off in a dark corner. What could have been a dreary space for a group of gallant firefighters, was now a bright and cheery room better suited for a group of kind men and women who are always nearby to serve and protect.

I returned New Year’s Day and found a beautifully decorated tree. Fire fighter David Crump, wife Barbara, and young son Coleman were enjoying some family time at the station. I asked if I might take a picture, and they happily obliged.

The tradition of the Christmas tree is alive and well in McKinney. “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

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