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Taco Tuesday

12 Feb

Every day should be a special day…don’t ya think? If we gave each day a label, we could make each one special. Yes, a category for each day, then at the end of the year, you could count how many Manic Mondays or Terrible Tuesdays you had. Wouldn’t it be great to have 50 Fabulous Fridays or 50 Wonderful Wednesdays? I think I’ll do that. At the end of the year, I’ll sum up all my categories and post the results.

“It was a dark and gloomy Tuesday.” I just wrote that for my writer friends, because we always joke about the cliché opening lines of stories that are so annoying. But, in fact, today was cold, dark, rainy and dreary all day long. But that’s OK, because, when the going gets dreary, the dreary go out to lunch with friends.

Today was Taco Tuesday at Rosa’s Cafe and Tortilla Factory in McKinney, so when I called my friend Della to see how she was feeling, she suggested going out to lunch. Well, you don’t have to ask me twice, or even once. The decor and colors in the place are so bright and cheery, that it could brighten up even the gloomiest of days. So, I’ll share some photos that I took at Rosa’s with my high tech super camera with telephoto lens…NOT! I used my iPhone. They turned out fine.

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Wednesday Words of Wisdom

6 Feb

“If at first you don’t succeed…”

Now, you fill in the blank and have your own words of wisdom for Wednesday.

Here’s mine:
“If at first you don’t succeed, sit down and have a nice cup of tea and a double chocolate chip brownie.”

Yesterday, I was so unsuccessful that I inadvertently poured myself two cups of tea. They say with age comes wisdom. I say with age comes forgetfulness. Now, where’s my brownie?

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Saturday Salutations: Growing Old

2 Feb

GROWING OLD

There’s nothing pretty about growing old, or is there? There is no actual growing involved, but rather, a lot of shrinking, sagging, and deterioration. We may have pins in places and saggy faces, but the one thing we do have control over is our disposition. We can choose to be happy or decide to be miserable. I choose happy.

This morning, I called my sweet mother, as I do every morning and said, “Mom, when you get old, don’t ever get crabby!” She cheerfully agreed. Mom is eighty-five years old, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen her crabby, angry or mean spirited a single day in her life. Needless to say, she was a bit curious. I shared with her a few examples of some run-ins I’ve had with a group of cranky seniors who have nothing better to do than snarl at people, especially if others are having fun, laughing, or loud with merriment.

What causes people to act that way? There’s the stereotypical cartoon with the old person waving a wooden cane, and shouting, “Get off my lawn.” Are they so unhappy with their lives that they can’t stand to see people enjoying themselves? It’s not just seniors. I’m sure you know a few people who have a permanent scowl on their face. What’s with that?

I’ve actually gone out of my way to smile and make pleasant small talk with people I’ve run across with aforementioned affliction. Amazingly enough, I have gotten some very nice smiles and conversations in return. Maybe they were just having a bad day, and all they needed was a kind word to cheer them up. But, it doesn’t always work. All you can do is try.

I told Mom, “When I grow up, (I’m only sixty), I want to be just like YOU.” Even if I’m falling apart on the outside, I want to be shiny-new and young on the inside. So, if you ever see me with a scowl on my face, don’t worry. It’s probably just gas, and that too will “pass”.

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Sanctimonious Sunday

21 Jan

SWS is a very serious affliction plaguing the country this time of year, especially on Sundays. It’s not Swine Flu or any other form of influenza. No, it’s Sports Widow Syndrome, and it has hit all time epidemic proportions. Severe and debilitating side-effects may include charge card trigger finger, excessive chocolate consumption, red wine whining, shortness of breath, and depression with occasional thoughts of manslaughter.

If you experience any of these symptoms, call a girlfriend or female family member immediately. Do not attempt to drive while under the influence of a three margarita lunch, a shopping frenzy at the mall, or if chocolate overdose is suspected. Notify your sister or a neighbor as soon as possible if you start sharpening all the kitchen knives and meat cleavers or start frantically scouring the drawers for the gun safe key.

Remember that Sunday is a sacred day. It’s a time for prayer, meditation, and reflection. If fourteen hours of consecutive pre-game, post-game, regulation and over-time madness is just too much to handle, hopefully there is another television somewhere in the house. Make some microwave popcorn and settle in with the Hallmark or Lifetime Channel. It certainly beats life in prison. But then again, they don’t have televised football, basketball, baseball or hockey in maximum security.

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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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Wild Whacky Women on Wednesday

17 Jan

What’s crazier than a group of wild whacky women? Answer: A group of wild whacky women artist girlfriends learning to knit after too much caffeine.

Today being Wednesday, I knew it was going to be a whacky day. The TOTS, (Table Of Talent Sisters) were meeting at SNUG on the Square Coffee Shop in downtown McKinney to learn how to knit. Knit? You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and you can’t teach this old gal how to knit. It was hilarious!

Our good friend, Gail, had knitted some beautiful scarves for all her friends this past Christmas, so we all wanted to learn how to knit scarves. Well, almost all of us. I am dexterously challenged. Today was the day. Today was a joke! But, I must admit, after four hours of poking, tangling, laughing, crying and yanking out mistakes, I believe that I have the most beautiful six inch chain stitch known to man. Well, maybe five inches. It’s like men and fishing, the fish gets longer each time the story is repeated. (We won’t even go there.)

The moral of the story is, you can lead a whacky woman to water, or coffee in this case, but you can’t make her knit.

(These are my girlfriends. They all did a lot better than I did)

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Tedious Tuesday

16 Jan

I confess! I have an affable affinity for the allure of alliteration. It has plagued a plethora of playful print, and has spoliated many a splendid speech since my challenging childhood. There! I got that out of the way. But, there’s more.

Today, being another tedious Tuesday in Texas, I found it necessary to cordially conform to this criteria. A shimmering shawl of snow conveniently covered my car this morning, so I didn’t go to my cardio-crazed Zumba class. At noon, I was invited to yet another belated birthday brunch, then tea at two with the elegant Miss Eleanor. Afterwards, my fear of influenza forced me to find a pharmacy to get my first-ever flu shot. On my way home, I stopped at the store to purchase plenty of perishable items to prepare a delightful dinner.

Now that I have totally voided my vast vocabulary and beleaguered a bounty of other bloggers, I bid you a glorious goodnight. Enough already!!!

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SUNDAY: SECRET GARDEN

14 Jan

SECRET GARDEN

There is a secret garden
That few have ever seen
A hidden path to nowhere
With walls of evergreen
But there within this fortress
A lovely angel stands
With wings of gray and glory
A dove held in her hands
If you come upon this angel
Beneath skies of azure blue
You need only look to heaven
To make all your dreams come true.

Toni Andrukaitis

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Thankful Thursday

10 Jan

They say that sixty is the new fifty. First of all, who are THEY? I tend to agree, but more from a cerebral mathematically calculated perspective. My current deteriorating and saggy sixty year old body feels more like an antique eighty year old body. But, on the other hand, my relentlessly inquisitive and creative mind feels like its only twenty years old. So, do the math. 80+20=100.To find the average or median, add the two integers and divide by two… VOILA… 50! I’ll take fifty. I prefer thirty, maybe even forty, but I’ll settle for fifty.

Today is only the first day in my newly acquired sixty year old skin. I remember when I thought sixty was soooo old. Now that I’m there, it’s not lookin’ so bad. I started off the day with an invigorating rockin’ Zumba class at the YMCA, a quick shower, off to my art club meeting followed by a weaving workshop, and home by 2pm. Once home, did my old bones collapse in the nearest leather recliner? No! I hadn’t eaten all day and was starving. So, I had a quick lunch, checked emails, played with the dogs, wrote this story and got ready for a fancy-dancy dinner.

The outside may be rusted and antiquated, but the inside still has a lot of mileage left. Happy Birthday to me!

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Wonderful Wednesday

10 Jan

You know what’s better than girlfriends? NOTHING!!! When you’re feeling down, they’re there. When you need help, their hands and hearts are always extended. When you are crazy and goofy, they laugh along with you, not at you. And the number one greatest thing about girlfriends is….when you have a birthday, they make it the best day ever. Girlfriends rule!

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