Friday Fulminations, My Firemen, and Some Feathered Friends

16 Apr

“Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”

Michael Caine

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So, we have had SO much rain lately that I told a few friends that I was running up to Home Depot to pick up a lot of lumber and start building the ARK. Now, how to gather all the animals two by two is another story. Well, most people know my weird sense of humor, or lack there of. Miss June gave me a funny look while she pondered how I planned on building an Ark. she got it after a little reflection.

I almost had a head start this morning when I was walking the dog in the rain. A few friendly ducks were across the street waddling around on the neighbors front lawn. Plenty of water around.

Now for the fulminations. I stopped at my fire station with some brownies this afternoon.

A few minutes after the young man went back to check on my other empty containers from the previous weeks, one of the captains came out to talk to me.

“Sorry Miss Toni. We aren’t able to accept homemade treats yet. The other guys didn’t realize that the chiefs are frowning upon and are insisting that no homemade food be brought in. Not even from home or their souses. It’s a safety issue with Covid . Pre-packaged items are ok. But, we have your number and you’ll be the first one we call when we get the ok.”

Well, back to my packaged tortilla chips, canned beans, and Bernard’s Salsa. “”Sigh.”

Happy Friday, my friends.

Self-Quarantined Karaoke Thursday:) Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue

16 Apr

“I appreciate when people listen to the sad songs, because it’s almost like telling someone your problems and having them listen with a compassionate ear.”

~Jhene Aiko

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Such a yucky rainy day all day today, with chance of continued yucky tomorrow. Instead of “Rainy With a Chance of Meatballs,” it’s more like “Rainy With a Chance of a Tall Glass of Chardonnay.” (Just sayin’.)

I guess the gang is getting together for karaoke on Fridays now at the VFW, like the old days. I haven’t joined them yet. Delaney’s replaced their backroom with pool tables, so no more karaoke and socializing there. I may have to hang up my self-Quarantined microphone and get over to the VFW. But, for today… singing at home..all by myself. Oops…that’s a good song too.

https://youtu.be/XVv70SOq4eI

My brown eyes aren’t so blue anymore. ❤️

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom~What Are You Doing For Others?

15 Apr

“Life’s persistent and most urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

Martin Luther King Jr.

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Sometimes I wonder if people reading my stories about taking brownies to the firemen, or volunteering with local senior artists, or taking food and treats to the preschool, well, I wonder if they think I’m trying to toot my own horn or show off. The truth of the matter is, I have found that when I share some of these random acts of kindness, often times, other people are influenced to join in on the fun. Yes, fun. Friends have given me checks to donate, others have given me cookies to take to my firemen, and others have joined me in volunteering. And guess what? They had fun and felt joy, too.

There is no greater satisfaction in the world than making someone smile. It could be something as simple as paying a compliment to a stranger, or writing a note or making a call to an old friend. And, my firemen love my brownies and always smile. From my own experience, I have found that the more I give, the more I receive.

I always say that my cup isn’t half full or half empty, but rather, it’s always overflowing. I have been blessed with so much that I try and share a little of my blessings with others. Then, right when the cup starts getting a tiny bit lower, it gets filled to overflowing again, so I need to share again. That’s how my universe works.

Monday, Helene and I went over to Holy Family School over on the east side. During the course of the month, we shop the sales at different stores for items that the little ones can use, anything from baby wipes to cookies to, the ever popular, Mickey Mouse Goldfish crackers. We delight in sharing our bargains. Then, about once a month, we gather a trunk load of items and take it over.

This month, I hit the jackpot, apple juice was only 99 cents, as well as the bags of cookies. Helene had puddings, cookies, and a bunch of other treats at her house.
Between the two of us, we had a trunk load of goodies for the little ones.
Miss Melody greeted us with the biggest smile, even under her mask. She knows that we are just two ladies that appreciate what the school is doing to help the young children and families in the neighborhood.

If we all just give back a little to our community, the world could be a better happier place. I know Helene and I are happier every time we visit.

Toni’s Tuesday Time-lapse Video~ Painting Grapes With An Ear Plug

14 Apr

“Artists pretty much use everything but the kitchen sink in their artwork. Well, maybe some even use the kitchen sink.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Today, I was trying to think of a simple painting projects, easy enough for kids and even easier for adults. Adults don’t always like to play and experiment with their artwork.

I Googled a bunch of examples of different art techniques , but I ended up going up to my studio to look for inspiration. Aha! A note card of a cluster of grapes using an ear plug for a perfect circle every time.

My first layer was a lighter purple,then a darker layer for the second layer. A few little white highlight C strokes, a stem and a few leaves, and VOILA! A pretty gift card to add to a bottle of wine or a pair of hand painted wine glasses. Since I already had the paint out and only one original card left, I made a few more. Remember…I don’t like to waste paint.

https://youtube.com/shorts/TYezopV-JBY?feature=share

I can’t just paint one. Just like cooking and baking… I get carried away.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

13 Apr

Keep busy at something: a busy person never has time to be unhappy.Robert Louis Stevenson

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It was a fun busy week. I don’t have “time to be unhappy.” The days are getting longer… well, a day can’t really get any longer than 24 hours, but the daylight hours are getting longer . This allows for longer evening walks, sunsets, and glorious days.

A week in a peek… Happy Monday, my friends. ❤️

Sunday Sermon and In Person Live Didn’t Show Up In My Pajamas Morning Mass

12 Apr

“I don’t know about you, but I was so nervous that the first Sunday back to church in person, that I would show up in my pajamas and slippers. Phew! I remembered to get dressed. You’re welcome!”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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A very special Sunday for me. I attended 9 o’clock Mass at St. Gabriel this morning. This is the first time in many months. I’m feeling more confident having had my vaccines for about a month now. It was wonderful to be back. (And… I didn’t show up in my pink polka dot pajamas.)

It was nice to see familiar faces and good friends. I sat with Jerry and Helene, and even though we are still wearing masks and distancing, families sit together, and we are family. (Just not by blood.)

Today’s Gospel was the ever popular story of “Doubting Thomas.” Jesus appeared to the disciples locked in an upper room in fear after the resurrection. Thomas was not there, and when he returned, he did not believe that Jesus appeared, saying that he would need to see and touch the wounds to believe.

A week later, all were in a locked room together and Jesus appeared, again saying, “Peace be with you.” Jesus challenged Thomas to touch the wounds if he needed proof…

“Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me?
Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

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Ah, that’s a good one. My take on it is pretty much the same as yours. Those who believe without physical proof are blessed. You haven’t seen God, but you still believe. You haven’t seen heaven, but you believe. I believe in Angels and haven’t seen one, but I have felt a presence and guidance. Then, there are those lucky pennies and feathers that appear. Thats the definition of faith.

Ohhhhhh! I was so delighted and amazed that the church had a sensor activated holy water dispenser! Did you ever? I never heard of such a thing. There hadn’t been any water in the front or holy water dispensers for like a year. When we were exited, I noticed people putting their hand beneath this dispenser and it said HOLY WATER. How clever! Who comes up with these things? Must be a miracle! Just kidding, but some clever innovator at work.

It looked just like this. I googled it, as I didn’t want to cause a scene by stopping to take a photo at church in wild amazement and admiration. Cool!

The rest of my Sunday was great. How can you go wrong with church, special friends, communion, holy water, hugs, kisses, and dancing and singing in the kitchen?

Happy Sunday, my friends!

Saturday on the Square:) Arts In Bloom 2021

11 Apr

“Art is in the air, art is everywhere, must be because… it’s Arts In Bloom on the Square.”

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It was the perfect afternoon for Arts In Bloom on the Square In Downtown McKinney today. The three day festival had a shaky windy start Friday evening, but today was gorgeous and tomorrow should be even nicer. Yay!

Helen and I met Sherri, walked around a little, then had a yummy lunch at The Pantry. The Square was packed and we ran into a lot of friends and artists on our adventures.

So many talented friends, so much to see, so little time.
Musicians performed along the streets and the wine tasting venue was hopping.
Colorful flowers, crowded streets, food vendors, packed restaurants, and artwork everywhere. Many people were wearing their masks, unless they were eating or drinking. (But, most everyone was eating and drinking) We had our masks on except for photo ops.
Of course, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to take a photo with a few of McKinney FD’s finest. A few familiar faces under those masks.
There was also a nice representation of McKinney PD officers.
A fine fun day was had by all.

Friday:) A Few Fanciful & Fabulous Clouds

10 Apr

“You may run into some gray clouds along your journey, so hold on tight to the sunshine within you.”
― Christine E. Szymanski

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This evening’s sky was filled with fabulous clouds that escorted me on my evening walk. Some people may see the same sky and the same view, but each night, I see a totally different and magnificent masterpiece in the sky.

My first loop around the pond.
My second loop around the pond. (Can you see how just a few minutes can make such a difference?)
A different view in the southeastern sky.
Now, you see why I love my evening walks.
And guess what? It’s Friday, my friends. You know what that means. Happy Black Russian Friday…CHEERS!

Quarantined Karaoke Thursday:) Sealed With a Kiss 💋

9 Apr

“Love can be expressed in a myriad of different methods, but the most timeless and most treasured will always remain the classic love letter.”
― Auliq Ice

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I heard this song the other day and it brought back memories of way back when I was young and this was a popular song, I have always loved the concept of the love letter. Very nostalgic. “Sealed With a KISS.”

https://youtu.be/BTjAGkFSPho

Happy Quarantined Thursday , my friends. 🎤

Wednesday:) What’s Cookin’ Miss Toni

8 Apr

“Recipes, we don’t need no stinkin’ recipes!”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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As promised, or threatened, depending on how you look at it, I wanted to share my awesome secret un-recipe for tuna salad. I made a whole bunch of sandwiches on Good Friday to share with my senior artists at Towne Creek.

One package of cream cheese softened. I mix and soften with my mixer to soften before adding about 1/4 jar of Miracle Whip or mayonnaise. I just used what was left in my jar. If you don’t blend the cream cheese first, sometimes the mayo doesn’t blend smoothly. (Learned the hard way)
What makes it really special, I sauté one onion and about 3 stalks of finely chopped celery. The onions brown and get sweet. Uncooked onions can be sharp and bitter. (I learned the hard way.)
Then, I added 6 cans of drained tuna. When I blended it together, it was still a little thin, so I added 2 more cans of tuna. The cream cheese will firm up when refrigerated. I kept It in the fridge until getting ready to leave, and made the sandwiches fresh. No one likes soggy tuna sandwiches. I know, that’s a lot of tuna, but I made a lot of sandwiches and had some leftover for me.
I added a little finely shredded lettuce into the mixture before spreading on the bread and buns. I waited till the last minute to make up the sandwiches.

An easy way to make a lot of tuna sandwiches for any occasion. This would work with canned or fresh shredded chicken too, it just happened to be Good Friday and I couldn’t eat meat. (So, no one eats meat.)

Of course, a lot of cupcakes were made too!