Tag Archives: McKinney

Wednesday:) Waiting and Wandering and Wasting Time

12 Oct

Nobody likes wasting time, but time isn’t wasted if you are learning, observing, and enjoying the journey.

Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Another wonderful day of waiting at the Social Security Office. I arrived right when they opened at 9am, along with another fifty or more unsuspecting suspects. By the time I got to the kiosk to get my number, there were no more chairs available. So, I found a wall to lean on and I stood, and I stood, and I stood.

During my 2 1/2 hours of standing, shifting, and various yoga positions, I observed and chatted with other wall leaners. Actually, we whispered, because the overzealous security guard kept shushing us and barking orders.

The good news is, it was only a 2 1/2 hour wait and after 3 1/2 hours last week, I’m finally signed up for Medicare. YAY!!!! I’m officially OLD.

Off to celebrate with lunch at the Pantry and visiting friends on the Square. Check this out…

Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes smothered in country gravy, and fried okra. I was in a cholesterol coma of joy. A doggie bag was required.

I stopped at a few shops and visited with some friends.

Sweet Spot Bakery. Miss Kathy knows and prepares Mr. Guy’s order before he even gets up to the counter.

The gals at The Last Gallery.

I love passing by the old-time barber shop, complete with barber pole out front.

It was a good day of wasting time and wandering around the Square.

Saturday:) Somos Familia~ Hispanic Heritage Day Festival

16 Sep

“The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you – black, white, Hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight.”

~ Maya Angelou


I like to think that we are all related in one way or another. People are people. Why do we have to judge or comment about heritage. I think we should be proud and celebrate our heritage, but we’re Americans. Right? We can celebrate both, all, and celebrate each other.

There have been many times that I’ve seen people’s mouths drop open when I say that I’m Mexican-American. They look at me and say, “NO WAY!” There were a few times when acquaintances or neighbors would make comments about Mexicans that weren’t always that complimentary, and I would just say with a smile, “I’m Mexican!” Well, the room would get very quiet and I would ask, “And you were saying?” Either nothing was added or they’d say, “Well, not you, Toni.” I just laugh, but hopefully they will think differently or think twice.

Today, there was a festival at the John and Judy Gay Public Library, celebrating  Hispanic Heritage Day, was hosted by McKinney Hispanic Chamber of Commerce  and Tri-County Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The festival celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of those whose ancestors came from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The parking lot was packed and I ended up climbing up the curb and parking on the grass along with many others. The first person I ran into was my good friend, Gilda Garza. She was on the city council for a number of years, and has been and will always be very active in the community. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the great weather, fine music, and yummy food. And it wouldn’t be a McKinney event without bumping into my friend Sara Thomas.

Sara, Gilda, and moi. (Oh, and there’s the police chief doing a photo bomb in the left hand corner, right under Miss Sara’s ear. ) I should have had my sunglasses on. We could have been the Blues Sisters.

There were Folklorico Dancers and mariachis, and other dance and school groups performing.

Mayor George Fuller declared today McKinney Hispanic Heritage Day, presenting the certificate to the Gonzales family.  They have made many contributions to the city of McKinney for decades, as teachers, nurses, business men, and activists in the community, and they have been a part of what makes our city one of the best places to live in the country.

St. Gabriel’s Knights of Columbus served hot dogs and spicy fries. I saw a few familiar faces from 9 o’clock Mass.

There were vendors, realtors, insurance angencies, free blood pressure screenings, and raffle drawings. Several beautiful children’s bikes were given away as prizes for the coloring contest. Not that many children entered, so the chances of winning a bike were pretty darn good today.

Officers Guerrero and Guzman were at hand to answer questions and greet people. Oh, not only do they serve and protect, I needed to ask an officer to open my stubborn water bottle for me. That’s part of the “serve” in the motto, I guess.

It was a fine day with friends and a fine festival to celebrate heritage…mine, yours, ours.


Saturday and Some Special Artists at The Cove

2 Sep

“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact. ” ― William S. Burroughs


If you’re not familiar with the little art gallery in McKinney called The Cove, you need to become familiar. It’s a charming space just north of the square at 402 N. Tennessee St. From the outside, with its plain white unassuming walls, you’d never guess it was a wonderful art gallery. But when you stroll inside, the walls are filled with creative and unique works of art. Pretty much every weekend,  local artists are featured and a wine reception allows visitors to meet and talk with the artists.

This weekend, my friend and fabulous photographer, Don Simmons, is featured along with Sam Rogers, another fine local artist. A treasure trove of other artists have work on display.

So, if you are around McKinney tonight, Sept. 2, 6-9:30 or tomorrow 2-4, stop by. If you can’t make it this weekend, look them up on Facebook or Google    thecovemckinney.com

I popped in for the opening Friday evening, and bumped into a dozen or more good friends, all local artists. McKinney has an outstanding and supportive arts community.

Don has a fabulous eye. Well, I guess both eyes are pretty keen when it comes to capturing the perfect image on his camera.

Sam and Annie Royer chatting about their work, both amazing in their own right.

These are the REAL ARCHITECHTS of change…

“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact. ” 

― William S. Burroughs

Thursday:) The Art Club of McKinney

11 Aug

“Artists never get old. They just slap on a new coat of paint.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Active art associations create a dynamic atmosphere that positively influence artists as well as the viewing community.

~ (Karen Honaker)


Today was our first Art Club of McKinney meeting for the year after our summer break. We meet the second Thursday of the month at 9:30 am. I actually got there on time, a first for me. It was good to see all my old artist friends. And yes…most of us are pretty old. Just kidding. Artists never get old, they just they just slap on a new coat of paint.

Our first Fall meeting in August is always my favorite. I like to call it Show and Tell day. After the general meeting with minutes and business, then a short break for coffee and wonderful snacks, members have the opportunity to go up to the front and talk about what they’ve been working on lately, bringing examples, this show and tell. 

You can see everyone’s eyes light up because they are getting ideas for their own projects. That’s what’s cool about the club, everyone is always happy to share ideas and many offer classes and workshops to teach others their techniques, tips, and secrets.

Here are just a few artist friends.

Lynne Weinberger is normally a textile artist, but she has been going crazy with alcohol inks and other mediums.

Maribeth Jagger has taught alcohol ink classes to the majority of the city of McKinney, yours truly included. 

Kim Guthrie has such a funky style. She has a studio space at Orison’s Gallery on the square and teaches some cool workshops.

Here are a few more talented friends.

You don’t have to be an artist to join the Art Club of McKinney. You don’t have to be artistic or talented. Heck, they let me in! But, if you like art, you like people, you like learning about different art mediums, this is the place to start.


Tuesday:) Today, Two New Friends

9 Aug

“Every person is a new door to a different world.”~Six Degrees of Seperation

Today after Zumba, I stopped at Pioneer Ridge retirement facility. Gina, our new Art Club of McKinney president called me the other day, and asked me if I’d consider coordinating some outreach volunteering for our club. It’s fine that we have our monthly meetings, but she feels our group should be doing more in the community. She thought because I’ve been volunteering at Towne Creek Senior Apartments for over ten years, that I’d be the perfect candidate to coordinate volunteer activities. I don’t need or even have room for another place to volunteer, but I’d be happy see if we can get some volunteers from the art club.

Gina said that she talked to Andrea Wyatt, the activity director, at Pioneer Ridge. It’s a very large looming building in Stonebridge Ranch, tucked away behind Walgreens and the bank. At first I thought, why should I even bother arranging volunteers for a fairly affluent facility. They could afford to hire someone. Then, I remembered my senior group at Towne Creek. Their federally subsidized housing and meager living spaces doesn’t change the fact that many seniors, wealthy or just barely getting by, most are lonely. Many have no family, friends or visitors to spend time with. Everyone deserves some companionship, friendship, and fun activities to brighten their day. Yep! Let’s see what we can do.

A gentleman sat in a rocking chair out front. He smiled and said hello. I walked into the beautiful entry and saw the huge finely decorated dining room. I was impressed. So, here’s the thing, the elderly people shuffling past in walkers or wheel chairs all had one thing in common. They looked lonely, sitting by themselves, just staring and sitting. Our society really does ignore the elderly. It’s a shame.

I met with Andrea and we discussed possible art projects and activities. I certainly hope we find some volunteers to visit and share some time with these charming folks.

When I left, I stopped to visit with the gentleman in the rocking chair. Now, he was smoking a cigar and apologized when I sat next to him. We chatted a bit.

Mr. Dan was a very charming man. A few minutes later, a lady passed by and Dan offered his chair to Miss Becky. I asked her how she liked Pioneer Ridge. She said it was wonderful, but when I asked what kind of activities she enjoyed, she said she usually just walks around the building a few times. They have movie nights and other programs, but they really didn’t have any craftsmlr art projects. Personally, I think people, of all ages enjoy, creating and learning new things,

Let’s see if we can add a little spark and fun to these lovely lives. Perhaps, make a few new friends.

Saturday:) Some Talented Outlaws

6 Aug

“When the world becomes a massive mess with nobody at the helm, it’s time for artists to make their mark.”

~Joni Mitchell


This evening, I had the pleasure of attending the opening reception for “The Outlaws In Art” a ten year reunion of four fabulous artists and friends. The reception at The Martin Place opened today and will run through August 30th. 

Lisa Temple, Vicky Saylor, Tina Wantland, and Sandy Bauder have been friends for a long time and artists even longer.

The reception was packed, and the neat part about the McKinney art scene is, you’re guaranteed to bump into dozens of friends. Local artists always support one another. 

The Martin Place is located at 1799 N. Graves St., McKinney, TX. If you’d like to see some lovely pieces of art, stop by before the end of the month when The OUTLAWS will be riding out of town. Well, at least their show will.


Sunday Sermon and Saturday Night on the Square

10 Jul

“When the burden is too heavy on your heart. Cast the weight upon the Lord, for he cares that, you call out to his holy Name.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita


Sunday morning greeting at St. Gabriel was fun. Mary and I arrived around the same time, hugging at the door. As we said good morning to people, quite a few stopped to give Mary a hug. I said, “That must be the hug line over there on that side.” Hearing my comment, Mary’s friend came over and gave me a hug, too. That started the progression and procession of of shaking hands and hugging parishioners as they entered. Everyone smiled and laughed. It was hreat way to start the day.

Today’s Gospel according to Mathew was Jesus telling us about His Father and how we should relate to Him and how to live. 

My take on it…if you trust in God and lean on him, He will lighten your troubles and give you hope.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,

and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,

for I am meek and humble of heart;

and you will find rest for yourselves.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


I wanted to tell you about my fun Saturday night on the Square. My neighbor, Diane, and I stopped at a few art galleries for Seconday Saturday. Renee Wrenwood was featured at the Cove.

Then, we went over to Orison’s Gallery. My friend Kim Guthrie wasn’t there, but I bought one of her prints. I couldn’t pass it up. The two little cowboys reminded me of my two boys.

We strolled over to The Last Gallery, and ran into my friend Karen. Her husband, Brad Donaldson, was one of the featured artists. He is a self taught artist who started experimenting with various resin techniques and now he creates amazing abstract paintings,

Then, off to dinner, drinks and music at the Celt. We walked upstairs where the band, Cleghorn, was starting to set up. It was noisy and packed. There was no where to sit. All the tables were taken. When we scoured the room, a muffled voice said, “Would you like to join us?” Two ladies motioned for us to sit with them, so we did. The noise level was deafening, so I really didn’t hear their names that well, but we spent a few hours together, enjoying the amazing and peppy Irish rock music.

Our neighbor, Kathy, joined us later at the Celt. A very nice Saturday evening on the Square.

GNO Girl’s Night Out…