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Theme Song Thursday:) If I Had a Hammer

19 Feb

“Life is all about building. We build relationships, a family, a home, and a better life for ourselves and others. Never put down your hammer, even when things get broken.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis
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“Sometimes while you are so passionately busy building, there will be others as busy destroying. Do not stop. One day you will notice how high above you get, and how down below they end up” 
― Sameh Elsayed

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This morning, I went to Zumba, went for a long walk, then decided that today was the day. Enough procrastinating! I was going to work on organizing my “craft” room. I call the room something else with a similar spelling, you know what I mean. I bought four sturdy plastic shelves months ago, and all I got accomplished was hauling them up the stairs. 

I figured if I tried to devote at least one hour a day on organizing, that maybe in a hundred days, I’d be done. (I have a lot of stuff. Very good, important, artsy stuff.) I climbed up the stairs around 3:30 and dragged the first unit into the middle of the floor and started to assemble. Four hours later, with a sore shoulder from pounding, dragging, lifting, and organizing, I managed to get all four shelves assembled, my long work table boxed up, ornaments put away, and glassware arranged. Now, I’m exhausted and hungry.

   
 
These three shelves were already there. Now, I need to organize a zillion bins onto the four new shelves. Perhaps another day, or month, or year. 

  
 

  
I’m building something new. Very symbolic!

Wednesday:) What Horsing Around Looks Like

18 Feb

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
~W. C. Fields**********

What a wonderful Wednesday. No alarm set, a cup of tea, talk to Mom, a long walk, then an even longer lunch at Snug with my friend Linda. It was a gorgeous sunny day on the Square. After lunch, I visited with Kathy and Elizabeth at Sweet Spot Bakery. 

The mounted patrol always passes by the bakery back door because Ranger and Ontario know that Miss Kathy has special treats for them.  

 
  
Just one of the many sights that makes McKinney a fun place to live or visit.

  
Good horse sense.

  
A small town with a big heart and great people.

Montage Monday and My Magnificent Sunset

16 Feb

A photo cannot capture that breathtaking feeling you get when you see a magnificent sunset, but it’s with a try.

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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My day in a nutshell…

  
I got up early to feed my doggie house guest, Miss Bella, and let her out. Went to my 8:30 kickboxing class at the YMCA, and it always kicks my butt and makes my brain work overtime, but I love it. Came home and took Bella for a long walk, lunch, emails, clean kitchen, procrastinate on Facebook, tinker on the piano, feed Bella, another walk, sit outside in the sun, more procrastinating, another quick walk to the pond to capture the glorious sunset…now, bore you with my day, and my week. I think I need a glass of wine!

Montage Monday…a week in a peek.
  
Now, for my magnificent sunset.  

   
Wouldn’t you agree?

Wednesday:) Why, What’s That On Your Head?

11 Feb

“All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.” 

― Cormac McCarthy, The Road

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Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. A day that we literally wear our hearts on our sleeves, or more like on our foreheads. A day to think about mortality, about what is really important in life. When I knelt to pray, I once again gave thanks and asked for continued strength. I prayed, “Change my heart.”  This made me think of one of my favorite hymns, “Change our hearts.” Well, guess what was the opening hymn. Yep, “Change our hearts.” This happened to me once before, over a year ago, and I sang and I cried. Today, I sang and I smiled. I smiled because my heart is changing. The pain of betrayal and anger is still there in my heart, but it’s softer now. A tiny bit softer. 

When I was at church with everyone else, it wasn’t unusual, but after Mass this morning, I needed to stop at the bank and the grocery store. At the store, I totally forgot I had ashes on my head because, well, I didn’t see myself. But, when people gave me a strange look, or a double take, then I remembered. At the bank, Independent Bank on Virginia, the girls there all know me. They just said, “Hi, Miss Toni. You just come from church?” I don’t even need to show a card or punch a code, they just type my name in on their screen, and take care of my transactions. That’s what I love about my town.

(AN EXPLANATION OF ASH WEDNEDSAY CATHOLIC TRADITION:)

St. Anthony Messenger

By Susan Hines-Brigger

Ashes to Ashes

If there ever is a day of the year when you can spot Catholics at a glance, Ash Wednesday is it. It is the one time when Catholics literally wear their faith on their foreheads. In fact, Masses on Ash Wednesday are better attended than Masses on most holy days, except Christmas.

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent for Catholics. The ashes we receive on our forehead in the shape of a cross serve as an outward sign of our sinfulness and need for penance. The ashes also symbolize our mortality, a reminder that one day we will die and our bodies will return to dust. Hence the traditional words, remember that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.
The tradition of receiving ashes has its origins in the Old Testament, where sinners performed acts of public penance. It was Pope Urban II who in the 11th century recommended that all Catholics take part in the practice of receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday. In the 12th century it became customary that the ashes used on Ash Wednesday were made by burning the previous year’s palm branches.

Ash Wednesday is also a day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. According to Church law, Catholics older than the age of 14 are supposed to abstain from meat. In addition, those between the ages of 18 and 59, not including pregnant or nursing mothers, should eat only one full meal. Smaller amounts of food�not as much as a full meal�may be eaten in the morning and either at lunchtime or dinner, depending on when you eat your full meal.

 

   

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

9 Feb

“You have no idea what joy is until you see it reflected in the eyes of another.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ― Tom Bodett

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What a busy week filled with activities, friendship, and joy. I love it! Lunches and brunches and bunches of hunches. I’m not sure about the hunches, but it rhymed. The highlight of my week was the Krewe of Barkus Mardi Gras dog parade yesterday on the square, and having the honor of being one of the three judges. Downtown McKinney was teeming with visitors, dogs and owners dressed in costumes throwing candy or beads into the crowd, hundreds of people lined the streets to watch. A fun afternoon.

  
Isn’t that a great quote? So true.

  

Super Busy Sunday:) Krewe of Barkus Dog Parade

8 Feb

“Joyful, joyful, joyful, as only dogs know how to be happy with only the autonomy

of their shameless spirit.” 

― Pablo Neruda

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A wonderful afternoon on the Square in downtown Mckinney. The streets were packed with packs of dogs and their owners for the Krewe of Barkus Mardi Gras Dog Parade. The theme this year was literary characters. Dogs and owners dressed as characters from famous books. Mitchell Park was teeming with vendors and visitors, music and marvelous costumed contestants.

This was the 13th annual parade, founded and coordinated by my friend, Blynda Christian, is a McKinney tradition. Hundreds of people and doggies descended on the square to participate in or watch the parade. It was a gorgeous sunny day.

   
    
    
   
   
 
The best part was, I had the privilege and honor of being one of the three judges for the second year in a row. It was very fun, but very difficult to choose amongst all the creative costumes and adorable dogs.

  
 
A Great Dane Day was had by all! Especially me!

  
Thanks for the photo, Michael Murphy.

Saturday:) Somemore Painting and Silly Friends

7 Feb

“Silly is always good, but silly  with friends is mandatory.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“It’s okay to be absurd, ridiculous, and downright irrational at times; silliness is sweet syrup that helps us swallow the bitter pills of life.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich

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Yesterday, I painted with my senior artist friends, and today, I taught a wine glass painting glass at Lone Star Wine Cellars on the Square. It was a group of nine girlfriends, out for the day and evening. They came in rowdy and giggling, and they just louder and sillier as the evening progressed. At one point, I had to use my loud school teacher whistle to get their attention. It was a fun night, and the energy was contagious. 

   
   
The ladies had a good time. The noise level was off the charts. At one point they asked if they were the loudest group that I ever had. I told them that they were not the loudest, but they were the “funnest.” They had dinner reservations at 6:30, so they left their glasses so they could finish drying and came back later to pick them up. 

   
 
  

Friday:) Friends, Food and Firemen

6 Feb

“It’s funny, the more friends you have in a room, the more room you have for friends.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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An early lunch with friends was a great way to start my day, sharing good times and good food. Then, off to the store to pick up some snacks and food for my senior art group, hotdogs, potato chips, cake, Coke, and vanilla caramel swirl ice cream. More sharing of food.

My friends at Towne Creek Senior Apartments are always glad to see me. Today, we were working on glass painting. They each painted two cut glass covered trinket containers. A little project for Valentine’s Day. One to keep, and one to give away. 

  
  

Mr. Angel is a wonderful artist. He also does wood carvings, and doesn’t mind being the only man in the group. 

  
Here they are, busy at work. While we were painting, an ambulance and fire truck pulled up to take one of the residents to the hospital. These happens quite frequently at a senior housing complex. 

  
Unfortunately, a common occurrence with seniors. Thank goodness, nothing too serious.

  
Then, we painted some small glass bowls, using reverse painting. Aren’t these cute?

  
  
Sharing food and friendship, art and painting. “It’s funny, the more friends you have in a room, the more room you have for friends.”

Theme Song Thursday:) My House

5 Feb

 “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” 

― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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While I was on my walk today, I saw the cutest little house drawn on the sidewalk with chalk. Obviously, the young artist loved his or her house, and wanted to share the drawing wih the world. That’s what artists do. It made me think of my house. I love my house, my neighborhood, and my many friends. 

My house is a very, very fine house, with no cats in the yard, life used to be so hard….

  
  
My first day in my new house, August 22, 2014. It’s a very, very fine house. 

“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” 

― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

  
A lovely house complete with curtains in the window. It’s a very, very fine house. 

Tuesday:) Today’s Funny Face

3 Feb

“I see funny faces in the strangest places. Especially in the mirror.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.” ― Marcus Tullius Cicero

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I started off the day with a lively Zumba class at the YMCA. I was pretty sore from yesterday’s kickboxing class, and I was up late last night finishing up a calligraphy project. But, once I hit the floor and heard the energizing songs, weary muscles and only five hours of sleep just melted into the music.

Later in the afternoon, I went for a long walk with my neighbor, Diane. She said she had a pot roast cooking and the house smelled so good. I pretend-looked at my watch that I wasn’t wearing and said, “I’ll be by around 7.” I joke like that with everyone, but she invited me to come over for dinner at 7. Pot roast? Who says no to pot roast? Not me.

I don’t like to go anywhere empty handed, so I came home and made a batch of brownies. If you know me, and some of you do, I usually make a funny face with the brownie mix before I stir and bake. It’s a long-lived personal tradition and weird obsession that I have. “I see faces in the strangest places.”

 

 Now, isn’t that funny? Oops! Almost 7. On my way for dinner.