Tag Archives: McKinney

Saturday Celebration:) The Gilda Garcia Garza Aquatic Center Ribbon Cutting and Fiesta

17 Sep

“That every day should be a fiesta seemed to me a wonderful discovery.” ~Ernest Hemingway

This afternoon, the city of McKinney posthumously honored lifetime McKinney resident, community activist, city council woman, and friend to everyone who new her by dedicating the Gilda Garcia Garza Aquatic Center in her honor.

The event perfectly coincided with the Hispanic Heritage Celebration and Mexican Independence Day at Old Settlers Park. Also, it just so happened to be her daughter’s birthday. Andrea Nichols knew that someone up there made that all happen on this same day. 😇Coincidence? I think not.

Mayor George Fuller and several council members, friends and family all spoke about the lifetime achievements of Gilda Garza.

Miss Gilda’s daughter, Andrea, sang a beautiful Mexican ballad in her mother’s honor, then cut the ribbon for the official dedication.

Andrea’s beautiful song that I posted on YouTube. (click the link)

After the dedication, speakers, and ribbon cutting, there were performances by mariachis and several Folklorico dance troupes.

Old Settlers Park was decorated with colorful banners, flowers, and there were food trucks and vendors lining the park. Everyone was eating, drinking, and enjoying the performances. The open swim, entertainment, music, dancing, and festivities would continue until 8 pm. I left around 3:30. A perfect day of celebration.

I ran into several old friends and made a few new ones.
I have been Facebook friends with Gilda’s daughter, Andrea, for a while, but we never met in person until today. The mariachi band also played “Happy Birthday” and the traditional “Las Mañanitas” for her very special birthday celebration.

It was a very special day, honoring a VERY special lady. Miss Gilda is smiling down from heaven. Abrazos Amiga.🤗

Thankful Thursday:) Miss Gilda Garza 😇

10 Jun

“If Angels up in heaven can smile, I know for sure that Miss Gilda Garcia Garza has a great big grin on her face today.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I recently heard that the McKinney City Council was considering renaming the aquatic center after after my friend Gilda Garza. Today, when I read that the motion was approved, I was so pleased that the city of McKinney is honoring this dear sweet lady, former lifetime McKinney resident, and City Council Member. I know you are smiling up there in heaven, Amiga.

Always smiling.
My favorite story about Miss Gilda is the time we met for lunch on the Square and she said, “Toni, hop in my car. I’m gonna take you for a ride around my hood.” She drove me just a few blocks away to the east-side of McKinney. She showed me where the day laborers stand outside and wait for people to drive by and pick them up for hourly labor jobs. She drove past some old abandon buildings and some small rundown homes with streets lined with potholes that could swallow up a Volkswagen. Then, we drove past modest homes with tiny porches where dark haired children laughed and played, and over to the guarded and gated Job Corp facility where she worked.

After driving around awhile she leaned over and said, “Does this neighborhood make you nervous?” I replied with a grin, “You do realize, Miss Gilda, that I grew up on the south-side of Chicago, right? Looks like my old neighborhood.” We both giggled and after that, we shared a very special bond. (Missing you and your lovely smile, Miss Gilda.😇)

City of McKinney renames aquatic center for former Councilwoman
At the recommendation of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Board of the City of McKinney, City Council has approved the renaming of Old Settler’s Aquatic Center to the Gilda Garcia Garza Aquatic Center.

A lifelong resident of McKinney, Garza was elected to City Council in 2000 and re-elected twice. She was instrumental in the development of a city aquatic facility in District 1, now named in her honor. Shortly after her passing, Mayor George Fuller designated May 16, 2019, Council Woman Gilda Garcia Garza Day to recognize her dedication to the community and public service.

The facility is located at 1101 E. Louisiana St. The name change will go into effect immediately, while new signage will be installed in the coming months.

A little information about my friend Gilda. April 18, 1950- May 8, 2019

Gilda Garcia Garza of McKinney, Texas passed away May 8, 2019 at the age of 69. She was born April 18, 1950 to Raymond Earl Garcia and Maria Del Carmel (Urbano) Garcia in McKinney, Texas. Gilda was a 1968 graduate of McKinney High School. She continued her education at National Training Institute of Technology and Business College in South Dallas studying Computer Automation and attended Collin College majoring in Business Management. Gilda worked in administration for twenty years for North Texas Job Corps, a Department of Labor training program before her retirement in 2016. As a native of McKinney, Gilda contributed and served her city in many capacities. She was a member and served as a local and national officer for the McKinney LULAC Chapter #608 for many years. In 2000, Gilda was elected to the McKinney City Council, as the first Hispanic female to be elected to city government, and was re-elected twice, the maximum terms allowed. She ran simply because her District needed representation. She served District 1, which she felt had been neglected, specifically its infrastructure. She’ll never forget when a council member drove her around her district, one street after another, and together, they prioritized which street needed the most work. She also recalled standing up for her district when council proposed a new community pool. Thanks to her, the children on the east side of McKinney got their pool. Gilda was a lifetime member of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in McKinney

The Texas Bluesmen Live at The Hub 121

14 May

“Sounds like the blues are composed of feeling, finesse, and fear.” Billy Gibbons

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Last night, the awesome Texas Bluesmen performed at the new Hub 121 venue in McKinney. It was a free concert in a beautiful new outdoor concert arena. I haven’t been down that way in quite some time. Wow! They have all kinds of restaurants and shops and homes that must have popped up while I wasn’t looking.

Our group of friends are particularly fond of Paul and Justin who are the awesome Bluesmen duo who can rock any stage with their dynamic singing, dancing, harmonica and comedic antics.

Jake and Elwood, otherwise known as Paul and Justin. Check out this short video clip.

They also had a rockin’ band, and John, the young teenager there on the left, brought the house down with his awesome guitar playing.
If you haven’t seen them perform in North Texas, you’re missing out. They sound just like Akroyd and Belushi. They even have a Bluesmobile. Friend them on Facebook.

Love these guys! ❤️❤️

Wednesday:) Where Was Miss Toni? Holy Family School With Helene

12 May

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” ~Nelson Mandela

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Yesterday, Helene and I made our monthly pilgrimage to Holy Family School on the east side of town. The quaint little non-profit preschool has been a Godsend to working parents all around McKinney. With a beautiful Christian based atmosphere, children from babies to pre-schoolers are lovingly cared for.

Helene and I have been gathering up fun snacks and drinks and baby supplies for a few years now. When we see a great sale for the kiddos, we add it to our stash, then we plan a day around once a month to visit and drop off the goodies. Our friends June and Linda went with us last month and have started adding to our contributions.

Holy Family School has become our little family away from home.
The staff is always happy to see us and they truly appreciate our visits.
We had a trunk load of goodies to share with our little friends.

After our drop off, we stepped out back to see how the Community Kitchen and gardens were coming along. It’s so neat that the children get to see the vegetables growing right in their own back yard behind the school.

I bet the kiddos enjoy watering and watching things grow.
The pretty playground overlooks the gardens, providing a fun safe environment for these beautiful children. The little ones were all napping when we arrived, so we didn’t get any kiddie photos this time.
Here’s a cool photo from their Facebook page. Look at those smiles.

After our stop at Holy Family, Helene and I have a tradition of stopping at One and Only Burger for the best fresh French fries in town.

This is one medium order of French fries. That’s enough for two or three hungry people. That’s all we ordered and split it. And, that’s all I ate all day. Yum! So good.
After we rolled out of One and Only Burger, we stopped at “The Purple Store,” that it is known by, but actually the real name is the Samaritan Inn Thrift Store. I’m always on the hunt for a unique glass bowl for next year’s Empty Bowls auction. I didn’t find the perfect one yet, but I did find a bowl for an artist Collectors Club that might work. I’ll keep looking.

And, don’t forget …Tomorrow, Thursday May 12, 6-8 pm, is the Annual Empty Bowls Event on the McKinney Square.

Wow! That first bowl looks really amazing. I wonder who the talented artist is? 🤦‍♀️ 👩🏻‍🎨 The high bid is only at $400. And, it’s a very fun charity event for a very worthy cause. “Feeding the hungry, one bowl at a time.” (More on that tomorrow.)

Happy Wednesday, my friends.

Saturday on the Square:) Art Fair at the Heard-Craig Center

30 Apr

“Sharing your art with the world isn’t always easy, but making art just for the pure joy is good for your soul.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Wow! It sure was a gorgeous Saturday to be walking around on the Square in McKinney. My good friend and fabulous artist, Sherri Murphy, was going to be at the Heard-Craig Center for the Arts today, displaying her adorable artwork. The courtyard was filled with local artists and visitors.

We sat in the shade and visited for about an hour, as folks meandered by.
Look at her cute paintings. She has such fun with color and whimsical styles.
I ran to my old friend Paula. We used to play tennis together, back in the day. She was, and still is an awesome tennis player, and she creates the most amazing jewelry for local sports teams, college teams and sports themes.
MY TEAM JEWELRY. Check it out on Amazon.
Miss Darby had some cool paintings, but also her own local honey. I had to get a jar. I love local honey called SUNKEN BOOT HONEY. Just had some in my tea. Yum!
Miss Janis had some fun little paintings. Cute!
On my way home, I actually remembered to stop by St. Peter’s to drop off the event bowls that my senior art friends at Towne Creek made a few weeks back. I was down there a couple of times before, and plum forgot to drop them off. 🤦‍♀️

And last but not least, I stopped over at Station 9 to drop off a dozen of my awesome triple lemon cupcakes. Yum!

Before and after! I dropped off more cupcakes today and picked up two empty containers from previous visits.

Funny story… one time, a few years back, I was dropping off some brownies and a brand spanking new fire fighter answered the door. I asked if he could find some previous empty containers. He wasn’t sure. He came back with the Captain and a couple containers. The Captain said, “This is Miss Toni. Make sure you save her containers. It’s in the handbook!” I laughed, but who knows? It might be in the handbook now. 🤦‍♀️

It’s been a great Saturday so far. Now, for a nice walk to finish up the day. I hope you had a great day, too. 🤗

Thoughtful Thankful Thursday:) Life is Good

1 Apr

“Take as a gift whatever the day brings forth.”- Horace

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Today, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for my family, friends, my dreams, talents, and my gifts.

One of my childhood dreams was to be an art teacher and artist. I was blessed to be able to teach art for a few years. I continue with my art six decades later. Another dream was to be a writer, so I always wrote stories and poems and journaled as long as I can remember. I still do, as you can see.

So, the other day, I was intrigued by a writing group that popped up on Facebook and was meeting at the MillHouse in downtown McKinney. I tried registering online, but I had trouble navigating the website to register. (I’m a writer, not a computer genius.🤦‍♀️) Therefore, I decided to show up in person to see if I could join the group.

Yesterday morning, I was shuffling through some ancient journals, folders, unfinished stories, and stacks of my writing. It was obvious that I had a lot to say but clearly never did anything with my words. I always said that I was going to write the “Great American Novel,” but never did. So, I grabbed a brand new notebook, a black pen, and took a leap of faith.

Just a smattering of my many pages, stories, poems, and the Great American Novel is in there somewhere. I belonged to a small writing group quite a few years back, but we disbanded when some ladies moved away. Those were good times.
My new writing friends at the MillHouse. (Missing one girl who left earlier)

Karen and Mellisa (on the left) facilitated the group, and we did some impromptu writing exercises and played fun writing games. Even though I was brand new to the group, they made me feel welcome, just like we were old friends. I have a feeling I found a place to make my dreams come true.

After our meeting, I had a little time before going over to the Cotter’s house for my weekly Charlatintos Spanish group. (More groups, Miss Toni?) I’m trying to work on my Spanish and our little group of four amigos has been enlightening.

As I wandered around the MillHouse, I found some old artist friends working in their studios.

Andrea Holmes is such a sweet, talented, and prolific artist. She was getting ready for one of her many art shows. She’s also famous for her awesome murals and window displays all over McKinney and nearby towns.
Lisa Temple is another talented artist and friend.
Then, I made a new friend. Robin Pedrero and I chatted a while. We probably have run into each other here and there, but never formerly introduced. New friend! 🤗

So, yesterday was a day of working on making dreams come true, making new friends and visiting old friends.

Then, to my delight, when I got home and checked my mailbox, there was a very sweet thank you note from the folks over at Towne Creek.

I am so thankful for all my blessings and it’s so nice to be thanked for the little things I do for others. It’s like a mutual admiration society with the world. I looked back at my journals today to see when I started volunteering doing art with the seniors at Towne Creek. I started in August of 2007. It’s been a while. Such blessings.

Happy Thoughtful Thankful Thursday, my friends.🤗

Wednesday:) Where In The World is Miss Toni?

31 Mar

“The more one does and sees and feels, the more one is able to do, and the more genuine may be one’s appreciation of fundamental things like home, and love, and understanding companionship.”

Amelia Earhart

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Yesterday, my good friends Helene, June and Linda met me over at Holy Family School. We were dropping off our donations for the little pre-schoolers. It’s always fun to buy and collect items during the month that we think the school could use, anything from crayons to baby wipes. It’s always an adventure.

It seems like every week, we can find some great bargain to add to our collection. This is what I gathered this month. Helene had her own trunk full of goodies.
Checking out the playground and Community kitchen construction out back.
Miss Roseanne gave us a little tour.

We were fortunate to have a chat with our friend, the very busy Miss Sondra.
The Community Garden and children’s playground are really coming along.

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After our visit to Holy Family School, Helene and I just had to take Linda and June over to One and Only Burger on Hwy 5. We’ve been bragging about their fries forever. They had never been.

They were duly impressed.

It was a good and busy and blessed day.

Saturday on the Square:) Meet the Artists Preview Night For Empty Bowls At the Cove

27 Mar

“You know what you call a large room full of talented artists? Amazing… you just call them AMAZING.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I swear, every year the auction and collectors bowls created by the awesome local artists and artisans gets more amazing each year. I use the words amazing and awesome so much when I describe these talented folks because there are no better words available.

Today was the preview night, and the weather was just perfect, sunshine and about 80°. I’ll just get right down to showing off my awesome friends’ and other artists’ work.

I have three different bowls donated this year. Sid and Helene joined me this evening. There were so many awesome bowls, and I got to see some dear artist friends that I haven’t seen in ages.
And who did we run into first thing when we arrived? The Murphy dynamic duo. Sherri’s bowl is so cute.
So many friends, so little time.

There were quite a few more beautiful pieces, but I didn’t photograph them all. I’ll have to wait till May 12th to see them all again. It will be the best year ever, I’m sure.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

16 Nov


“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld

It was a good week with friends, fun artists, and talking with family. Life is good, and capturing these memories that otherwise would be lost forever is wonderful.

A new week, a new adventure. Make it a great one. 🤗

Saturday on the Square and Elsewhere~ MAST (McKinney Artist Studio Tour)

14 Nov


“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
― Vincent Van Gogh

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Today was the first day of MAST- the McKinney Artist Studio Tour. If you missed it, check it out tomorrow. Helene and I traipsed around the east side of town this afternoon, stopping at the different studios, checking out the the fabulous artwork and bumping into old friends and making new friends.

Our good friend, Sherri Murphy was displaying her work at Jump Into Art over on Church Street. Magda Dia has turned this historic house into a wonderful art school and studio for local creatives.
We stopped at Bob Bruu’s barn and woodworking shop. Wow! His woodworking talent is amazing, but how he converted an old barn into a showplace workshop is a testimony to his true talent. And creativity.
We visited a lot of places, but Kim Guthrie Art Studio is always a must. She was working on a couple of adorable animal portraits. I have several of her pieces in my house. She has so many styles, from whimsical paper mache sculptures to beautiful Texas landscapes and historic buildings. She does it all.
Maribeth Jagger was over at Last Gallery along with several other artists. I love that so many of the most talented artists also happen to be good friends. I run around with a fun talented crowd.
We drove over to The MillHouse over on Elm Street. The old converted cotton mill is the perfect setting for more talented artists.
Gail Delger and Andrea Holmes were “in the house.” Awesome artists.
Meche Via and the other artists at The MillHouse rounded off our tour of some awesome artists and studios in McKinney. I don’t think we even got to half of the studios. We live in a very special town.