Tag Archives: TX

Tuesday:) Two For The Road

20 Feb

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

~Robert Frost


It was a gloomy rainy morning. I was too lazy to get up at 7 and walk the dog early so I could go to Zumba at 8:15. So, I didn’t set the alarm and figured I’d go to the 10:30 Zumba gold class instead. I was in the park with Bella at 10 am when my cell phone rang. Sherri Murphy asked if I wanted to go on a road trip to Sulphur Springs, about an hour and a half away. I said it sounded like a great rainy day alternative. “Two for the road.”

Sherri picked me up at 10:30 and off we went, taking all the back winding roads. I turned on YouTube and played the song “Rainy Days and Mondays,” as we sang along with the windshield wipers swiping back and forth in rhythm.

We pulled off the side of the road on the way into town for a photo op at the Dairy Museum. Who doesn’t want a photo in front of two giant cows in the rain?

The streets were pretty empty and most the shops were closed, but thank goodness the restaurants were open, because we were starving. A very nice lady at one of the gift shops gave us the scoop on the best places to eat. We chose the Redneck Cafe.

When we finally finished with our yummy lunch of chicken fried chicken, mashed potatoes and biscuits and gravy, we ventured out into the pouring rain. Hmmm? I don’t think we ran into more than one or two pedestrians the entire afternoon. The rain never let up, so we took a few pictures and headed home.

Hopkins County Courthouse, beautiful even in the pouring rain.

Thanks for a great rainy day road trip, Sherri Murphy…or should I call you THELMA? Or do you want to be Louise?

Sunday Sermon and Remembering 9/11

11 Sep

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.”

~ President Barack Obama  2011 radio address.


A cool morning, finally, here in McKinney. While greeting before Mass, I noticed the normal scamper to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning, was replaced by leisurely strolls into church.

The Gospel today was the famous prodigal son sermon. One son demands his inheritance from his father and squanders it away, while the other son remains and works hard. The prodigal son returns impoverished and repentant. The father welcomes him, rejoices and prepares a feast. The faithful son is jealous.

My take on it…God’s love or a parent’s love is unconditional. The return back to the fold of a lost child, repentant and grateful, is worth celebrating. But, on the other hand, the faithful, hardworking son is not loved less and should not be jealous, he should rejoice too, because the Father has his family together. There is enough love to go around.

Gospel Luke 15

My son, you are here with me always;

everything I have is yours. 

But now we must celebrate and rejoice,

because your brother was dead and has come to life again;

he was lost and has been found.


9/11 is always a sad day. So many lives lost, so much heartache and senseless loss. Fifteen years later, the memory is still fresh in many hearts. There are always tributes and commemorative ceremonies. 

I remember going to the tenth anniversary ceremony in McKinney in 2011, with tears streaming down my face, I took pictures to share the day.

As is my personal tradition, I did my baking marathon and dropped off fresh out of the oven cookies and brownies to three neighboring fire stations.

This is an oldie but a goodie brownie funny face.

The house smelled of chocolate and oatmeal and yummy cookie goodness.

I delivered my treats last night while the cookies and brownies were still warm right out of the oven. I always love the smile on the young firefighter’s faces, especially when they say, “These are still warm!” I knew today, 9/11, many of the stations would be at ceremonies, so last night was a better day to deliver and say thank you. I shook each hand and knew that each of these brave firefighters would be willing to sacrifice their life for mine. There is no greater gift than that.

My old friends at Station 5. The counter was empty. I guess I was the first to drop off a thank you tray of goodies last night. I hope that today, all 8 fire stations have counters filled with offerings of gratitude from residents, neighbors and friends. If you didn’t get out there today, any day is a good day to say “Thank you.”

A couple of the guys at Station 2. Big smiles.

Station 1, right off the square, also houses a neat fire engine museum with memorabilia, photos and historical records.


 My 4th of July :) Red, White, and Blue

5 Jul

“Happy 4th of July. I’ll be celebrating this evening with my iPad, some ear plugs, a glass of RED wine, a WHITE Russian, and a PBR~ Pabst BLUE Ribbon beer. Just kidding… I don’t have any ear plugs,”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis





Just a little 4th of July Humor. 

The morning storm threatened the McKinney July 4th celebrations and parade, but the skies cleared up a bit, and it was actually very pleasant for a Texas July day. The lingering clouds protected the celebrants from the extreme heat. My first thought was to stay under the covers when the thunder was booming at 8am. By 9, the rain stopped, so I donned my red-white-and blue and headed off to the square to watch the parade. I actually found a decent parking spot, but was a little embarrassed when I made a right turn onto Kentucky, not realizing it was blocked off for the parade route, and I was NOT supposed to be on the roped off street. Oops! I blushed a little, waved to the crowd, and proceeded to the parking lot.

I watched the parade with some friends. There was a huge turn out for such an iffy day. A wonderful small town feel. That’s my McKinney!

After the parade, my friends Sherri and Michael called to see where I was so we could meet for some ice cream or cookies over at Sweet Spot Bakery.

Michael was hiding behind a car and took a sneak peak picture of me rounding the corner.

We always take open arms photos of each other. It’s a inside joke. Aren’t they cute!

Me and Sherri, compliments of photographer Mr. Murphy.

Do you see that devilish grin? Yes! A huge ice cream cone for breakfast. Caught me, Mr. Murphy.

A very nice way to celebrate the independence of our country…friends, parades, ice cream and staying home tonight to avoid the fireworks and frenzy. I’m getting too old for that stuff.

Happy 4th of July!!!

Thankful Thursday: Remembering 9/11

12 Sep

For some people, today was just an ordinary Thursday, an ordinary September 11th. But, to those of us of a certain age, “We will never forget.” That image replays in our heads over and over, just like it did on every TV channel, over and over. Do you remember where you were?

As I mentioned yesterday, I like to bake to show my appreciation for our fire fighters. I made the brownies and mini cup cakes last night and frosted them today, just a few minutes before I took them over to Stations #2 and #5.


As I parked my car over by Station #2 around 4pm, I noticed a few of the guys out back throwing a football around, so I walked across the grass with my big aluminum pan filled with treats. From a distance, I could see my buddy, Quincy, with a big smile on his face.

Here’s the part that melted my heart. Quincy shouted out as I approached , “I was wondering where you were. You never miss a 9/11.”

That’s Quincy on the far right. I met him a few years back when he was over at Station #5, and I interviewed him for a story I was working on. Now, we are Facebook friends, and I get to see photos of his lovely family and friends. That’s what I love about McKinney. Friends become family.

Then, I scooted over to Station #5. I picked up the call phone outside the door and said, “Hi, it’s Toni with some treats for you guys.” Not only was I welcomed, but I was invited back for a photo op. Fire fighter Stephens has been on duty quite a few times when I dropped off brownies or cupcakes. He knows I like to take pictures. I told them that I moved and Station #2 was closer to my new house, but I’d still be stopping by with my brownies. Then Stephens said, “Well then, we should adopt you as Station Mom.”

I kinda like that…Station Mom.

So, it was a good day of remembering and honoring and saying thank you.
I didn’t have my brownie face making props handy when I was baking yesterday. I’m sure they’re in a box somewhere deep in the recesses of the garage. So, here’s one of my favorites from the past. Throwback brownie Thursday.


Theme Song Thursday:”Making Our Dreams Come True”

14 Mar

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight
Schemeel, schlemazel, Hasenfeff Inc
We’re gonna do it!

Give us any chance – we’ll take it
Read us any rule – we’ll break it
We’re gonna make our dreams come true….
Doin’ it our way

Nothin’s gonna turn us back now
Straight ahead and on the track now
We’re gonna make our dreams come true…
Doin’ it our way

There is nothing we won’t try
Never heard the word impossible
This time there’s no stopping us
We’re gonna do it

On your mark, get set and go now
Got a dream and we just know now
We’re gonna make our dream come true
And we’ll do it our way – yes our way
Make all our dreams come true
And do it our way – yes our way
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you


Music is wonderful! There’s a theme song for just about everything. Today was a very fun day in little ol’ McKinney. I went to the monthly Art Club of McKinney meeting after meeting a dear friend at Starbucks this morning. More fun and friendship, with a little dose of art. Then a few of us stopped for lunch at Snug on the Square, our favorite place to go.

Snug is one of those special places. The minute you walk in the door, there’s a special ambience, an electricity of friendship and family. There are hundreds of regulars and locals who think of Snug as their special place. Hey, it’s MY special place! Sandra, the perky pint-sized owner, had a dream of creating a cozy little coffee/cafe shop on the Square, where everyone who walks in the door becomes family. Well, she and her wonderful staff made that dream come true.

When I was thinking about my theme song for today, I thought how perfect. Someone has taken a dream, did it her way, and is making her dreams come true. She also encourages others to make their dreams happen by promoting local artists and musicians. Here’s young Ryan Cline serenading us at lunch today.


Theme Song Thursday: Break the Chain

15 Feb

Do you have a bucket list? Most people think a bucket list is that desperate checklist of outrageous or dangerous things that they always dreamed of doing before they die. Why do we need a bucket list before we kick the bucket? I like to look at life a little differently. I have a “thimble list.” It’s more like a little, teeny-tiny thimble of small things I’d like to do someday. It could be something as simple as taking a pottery class or something spontaneous like dancing in a flash mob.

Today, the city of McKinney had a flash mob on the Square to support the One Billion Rising. The event is a worldwide activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Facebook friends were talking about participating, so I decided, “why not!” It was spontaneous and fun. I didn’t care that I didn’t know any of the steps, nor did I care. Just like the NIKE slogan says…Just do it! Three little words small enough to fit in a thimble.

Townesquarebuzz was on hand to record the event.



Sunday Afternoon in the Park: Going to the Dogs

11 Feb

Today turned out to be a beautiful sunny Sunday. Downtown McKinney celebrated their annual Krewe Barkus Parade on the Square, a combination Mardis Gras and doggie parade, complete with costumes and bead throwing. Yesterday was cold, damp and dreary, with a hailstorm around 2 am this morning, threatening today’s festivities. But, as luck would have it, the weather was fabulous. Hundreds lined the parade route to watch the dogs and their owners, dressed in costumes of their favorite cartoon, comic book or television characters. There was music in the air, tents with vendors, and animal rescue animals waiting for adoption.

One of the cool aspects of living in McKinney is that you can’t walk on the Square without bumping (literally), into a bunch of friends and neighbors. Today, I bumped into dozens of friends and their canine companions. The Square was hopping with visitors, pets, laughter, and family fun. If you think I didn’t have a great time, well, you’re just “barking” up the wrong tree. Woof, woof!













Theme Song Thursday

8 Feb

My theme for this Thursday is friends. Today, we celebrated the birthday of our dear friend, Carolyn. She says she’s 29, but we all know better. I’m pretty sure she’s over 30, seeing as she’s a grandma. But, we are all young girls when it comes to friendship and birthdays.

We met at our favorite coffee/sandwich shop in McKinney, SNUG on the Square for her birthday celebration. It was a glorious, sun-shining day. Good friends, good food, and lots of presents. Doesn’t get better than that. The FRIENDS television show theme song came to mind…

Theme song from FRIENDS…

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
(clap clap clap clap)
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year
I’ll be there for you (when the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you (like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you (because you’re there for me too)

Friends may come and friends may go
This fact is sad, but true
The ones that stay are best to know
I’m glad this friend is you.

Toni Andrukaitis




Super “BOWL” Sunday: No Football Involved

3 Feb

Our local art group, the Young At Heart of McKinney, finished hand-painting our twentieth glass bowl on Friday, for the Empty Bowls charity event at St. Peter’s Church that will be held on Feb. 21st. None of us are members of this church, but we are all members of a caring and generous community. The empty bowls will be given or auctioned off to attendees, to remind them of the many empty bowls of those who go hungry every day. Our group had so much fun creating these masterpieces. I had the pleasure of baking the finished products in my oven today, and seeing them all beautifully displayed on my dining room table after they cooled. (Yes, you do have to bake the glass paint for a sturdier finish.)They are so colorful and creative. I wish I could keep them all.

I had to smile when I thought about the big game today. When most of the country will be watching the Super Bowl, I’ll be watching the twenty “super bowls” that are sitting on my table. They will make their way to St. Peter’s this week, but I’ll get to enjoy their company for a little while. Unlike the Super Bowl, here, there are no losers, only winners. A win-win event!






Sunday and Sisters

28 Jan

There are sisters, and then there are SISTERS. There are the girls and women in our lives that we are related to by blood, and then, there are the girls and women who are often closer to us than any DNA molecules could possibly achieve. I’m talking about GIRLFRIENDS. There is no sibling rivalry, resentment, jealousy, or quarreling, only love and sincerity.

Don’t get me wrong. REAL sisters are wonderful, but girlfriend-sisters are REAL. This way we get the best of both worlds. The reason I’m feeling nostalgic is, the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the TOTS. The Table Of Talent Sisters here in McKinney,Texas. We all met by chance at different times, and our numbers have grown over the years. We started out with two friends and now we are about ten or more.

We did not name ourselves. We’re wonderful, but very humble. Not! About four or five years ago, a group of us were sitting at Spoons Cafe in McKinney,Texas. We are all artists, writers, photographers, and creative souls. Whenever we met for lunch, we would bring show-and-tell and share our latest endeavors. Our usual waiter, Collin, would often squat down next to us to take our order and admire the latest masterpieces. One afternoon, he just shook his head and said, “You ladies are just one table of talent.” Lightbulb moment! We decided to call ourselves the Table Of Talent Sisters, TOTS for short. Thanks, Collin! The rest is history.

What’s really wonderful about the TOTS is, we share everything. If we learn a new craft, we share. When a girlfriend has a birthday, oh my goodness, it’s like part and present city. At our last Christmas gathering at Snug on the Square, we took up the whole back room, and a very large U-Haul was needed to cart away all the handmade gifts.(Well, maybe several large shopping bags.) Then, if someone experiences a loss or illness, we’re there. When one girlfriend is hurting, we all cry. “In sickness and in health. Till death do us part”, GIRLFRIENDS RULE!