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Sing a Song of Sunday: Leaving on a Jet Plane

27 Jan

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan
I hate to travel! If you know me or have read my blog, you know this. Today, I bade a final farewell to the frigid Chicago temps and headed back to temperate Texas. (Did I just say, bade farewell? Is that even a word.)

My sister was kind enough to brave the cold to take me to the madhouse that is O’Hare Airport. We left three hours before the flight, just in case. No traffic on Sunday, so we got there quickly. There was no long line at security, I was sent through that short, don’t take off your shoes line, and I walked over to F14. Easy-peasy! With plenty of time to spare, I did a little people watching, did a some writing, and checked my email. Smooth!

With about forty-five minutes to go, I decided to take a little stroll. Boy, am I glad I did. I went over to that white board that had the flight info on it. Cleaveland? I wasn’t going to Cleaveland. Yikes! I scurried down the corridor to the arrival/departure board. The Dallas flight was changed to E2. Why didn’t they tell me. Don’t they know I hate to travel, much less a change in my travel plans? I hate change! So much for smooth. (It wasn’t that bad.)

We started boarding a few minutes later. I was paranoid that my cell phone boarding pass scanner thingy wasn’t going to work and they would send me to security or Siberia or something. It worked fine. I was even able to shove my luggage in the overhead compartment without whacking anyone in the head. All was well, so I decided that this was the perfect time to break into song. Not really. But, I did Google the perfect song that would capture the moment. I’m into capturing the moment.

Leaving the friendly frozen confines of Chicago.

Welcome to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
My friends Karen and Lynne picked me up at the airport, and were waiting for me at baggage claim. We stopped at On the Boarder for dinner, and because I wasn’t driving, I had a tall frosty margarita. Woo-hoo! I am so grateful for family and friends who are always there to ease my travel traumas.

I’m celebrating the journey, pot holes and all. Life is good!

Saturday: Sun and Fun on the Square

29 Dec

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”
― Helen Keller
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday. No way was I going to sit in the house all day. Our writing group wasn’t meeting, but I decided to head over to the Square anyway. I had a leisurely breakfast at Sweet Spot Bakery then meandered over to Snug on the Square for a tall hot chocolate. My buddy Daniel always gives me a big ol’ smile and a hug when I come in. Snug and a hug go hand-in-hand.

I sat outside, positioned my chair directly into the sun and absorbed every ray of sunshine and vitamin D possible. It felt invigorating. I bumped into Jeremiah Hammer and chatted a couple minutes. Then, my neighbors, Sheila and Bob Johnson, strolled by. We ended up talking and sipping our drinks for over an hour. That’s what downtown McKinney is all about.

On my way back to my car, I popped into Art on the Veranda. It’s an adorable gift and art shop that features local artists and crafter’s work, and has the most creative gifts. They also offer a wide variety of classes. I just so happened to peek in during a Zentangle class. If you aren’t familiar with this fabulous doodling art form, make sure you check it out. Anyone can learn and create some nifty projects. (Did I just date myself and say, “nifty?”)

Zentangle instructor/artist, Angie Vangalis, leads a class at Art on the Veranda.

I was so pumped by the sun, fun and friends on the Square, that when I got home, I strapped on my tennis shoes and went for a long walk. More sunshine! Life is good!

The perfect end to a perfect day!

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: There Is Only One Religion

26 Dec

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
My religion is simple. My religion is kindness.
Dalai Lama
It’s Christmas Day, a day for family, friends, laughter and joy. Not everyone is so lucky or blessed. I happen to be one of the lucky ones. My sons called me today, as did many of my dear friends. My friend Karen and her husband invited me to their home for dinner so I wouldn’t be alone for Christmas the first time in my life. I baked and dropped off some more cookies to take to Fire Stations 2 and 8 on my way. After a lovely dinner, I stopped to visit my sweet friend, Della. We shared a cup of tea, cookies and conversation. What could have been a sad and lonely day, turned out to be a delightful day, all due to the kindness, love and sharing of time with others. Yes, I am truly blessed. Feliz Navidad!

Why, what did you have for breakfast today, Toni? Well, chocolate chip cookie dough, of course!

Firefighter Craig Ferguson over at Station 8.

Firefighter Brent Jones at Station 2. Don’t we have the nicest, most handsome firefighters? And they like cookies, too!

Yes, there is only one religion! When you share kindness, you receive kindness in return.


Tuesday Tips and Chocolate Chips: When the Going gets Tough

24 Dec

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
When the going gets tough, the tough bake cookies.
Yes, I’ve been baking my Christmas cookies. Yesterday, I took the first batch over to McKinney Fire Station 5, as I have since we moved here in ’04. Firefighter Dave Paranteau answered the door and welcomed me. I asked if I could see their Christmas tree, and was delighted when I saw that all the ornaments I had painted over the years were prominently displayed.


Dave and I ended up chatting for about half an hour. Turns out he is a graphic designer and we exchanged art, painting, and creative stories. That is, until the alarm sounded and a call came in. Dave said he’d try and make it to a McKinney creative Community gathering sometime.

Well, that was yesterday. Today was a tough day. It’s Christmas Eve and my mind and spirit are not in a very happy place. I went to my 8:30 Zumba class in the morning and wiggled and jiggled out a lot of frustration. Then, there was an even tougher afternoon. When I finished feeling sorry for myself, I took out the huge bowls of cookie dough and started baking cookies. Thus, when the going gets tough…


The holidays can be wonderful or they can be difficult, but one thing is always true. If you hold Christmas in your heart, love in your soul, and you know there are people out there that care about you, everything will be OK. Share your love AND share your chocolate chip cookies. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday Words of Wisdom

19 Dec

All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.
Ellen Glasgow


I deplore change! I love writing my blog and I am comfortable with the format, but while attempting to start a new blog for a friend, somehow the format was all different on the new site. What’s that all about. I spent endless hours trying to figure out how to get the photos posted and how to add the text. I must have added and deleted a dozen things. It finally got posted, but not the way I wanted.

My friend, Linda Grossman, is a local realtor and over-the-top busy lady. She has complimented me many times my writing skills and style, and asked if I’d help her set up a blog about local activities and great places to visit in McKinney. Right up my alley, piece of cake, no problemo, right? Wrong!
Although I deplore change, I thrive on challenge. I’ll figure it out. Here is the link. What do you think?


Montage Monday: A Week in a Peek, a Festive Peek

16 Dec

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman
It took a few days to defrost from the frigid winter storm that zapped north Texas. It’s 61degrees right now. Yippee! But, that too may change at the drop of a hat…so don’t drop your hat. There were a lot of fun activities happening in McKinney. I didn’t get to all of them, but, sure got to a lot.


Tuesday:Tips, Tasty Treats and Time Travel

10 Dec

The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.
Abraham Lincoln
FINALLY! Most of the ice has melted from the roads, and my weather inflicted exile is at an end. Four days of housebound insanity with endless-mindless television and cups and cups of hot tea. But alas, the sun came out this morning…oops…almost found myself bursting into song. “The sun will come out tomorrow…” I threw on my gym shoes and exercise clothes and headed to the YMCA for the 8:30 Zumba class. I knew it didn’t look good when only five or six cars were in the parking lot. My friends Karen, Mercedes and Mary Beth arrived and were equally disappointed.

So, instead of drooping our heads and going home, we went into the back yoga room, I plugged my iPhone into the mini-boom box, and Mary Beth led us in some exercise and Zumba alternatives. (It kinda looked like geriatric Zumba.) After an hour of giggling and wiggling, we drove over to Market Street to get some coffee. It was fabulous to be able to leave the house, drive on the street and see other human beings again. I was delighted.

Later, I went to the post office to mail a couple packages. Tip #1: during the holidays, you must be patient when waiting in long lines. Thus the the term, “Going Postal.” I passed the time away by chatting with the lady in front of me for about twenty minutes.


Then, I came home to bake my brownies for our McKinney creative Community gathering. Tip #2: Tasty treats are more fun when you make funny faces first.


Last but not least: Time travel. Well, I didn’t go back in time or into the future, but being cooped up for so long made me appreciate every little moment of time I get to spend with friends and going places. I will never take it for granted again. Well, maybe until it gets to be too hot, 105 degrees and I refuse to leave the house.


Ferocious Frigid Friday

7 Dec

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
Freezing rain, snow, sleet, and snush (snowy slush…I made that up) pelted north Texas last night and all day today. It was a good day to stay under the covers, especially when I woke up to find the power had been out all night. I put on some sweatpants and a hoody, then climbed back under the covers till the power came back on around 10ish. The extreme cold and ice played havoc with Mother Nature too. Tree limbs and power lines were strained or damaged under the burden of heavy sheets of ice. Thousands were were without power. But, I must say, it was so beautiful.



After hearing the heat click back on, I went into the freezer and took out a container of frozen homemade chicken soup, perfect for such an occasion. After a lovely lunch of soup and hot tea, I decided to work on painting some more of my ornaments and boxes. The view out my window was a winter wonderland.


They are predicting the freezing temps to continue for several more days. Oh no! The street outside my house is still a giant ice rink. Who knows how long I’ll be stuck here? I may get a lot more painting done. Or not! Maybe I should write that great American novel I’ve been meaning to get to. Wish me luck.

And here’s a little humor, compliments of my old friend Becky Hill. Well, you’re not old Becky, just we’ve been friends a long time. Good to talk and catch up with you today.


Montage Monday: a Week in a Peek

3 Dec

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

From Thanksgiving to giving thanks, from Home for the Holidays on the Square to just staying home, here is a week in a peek.


Saturday on the Square: Home for the Holidays

1 Dec

Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale

Downtown McKinney celebrated Home for the Holidays this weekend. There were train rides for the children, live entertainment, skating, food and art vendors, and a gorgeous carousel. Of course, Santa was on hand for photos and to listen to the requests of the children for Christmas morning. Even the Grinch who stole Christmas was in a good mood. It was a fabulous Fall day on the Square.

Santa was the star of the show.

Chris and I sang, “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch,” but this was a penitent Grinch. Very friendly.

Miss Jan and Miss Lynda dressed in old-time costumes represented Imaging on the Square and the Art Club of McKinney. Lovely hand-made costumes.

The charming carousel sparkled in the afternoon sun.

A cup of hot tea and an ooey-gooey bar at Sweet Spot bakery ended the visit and a spectacular sunset guided our way home.