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Saturday:) A Soggy Saturday With Sabrina at The Bluebird Cottage & Cafe

14 Apr

“I don’t want to be famous. I like to be able to sit in a cafe and watch the world go by and observe people.”

~Sophia Myles

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The torrential rains began about 4 am according to my blasted weather app advisory that bings and dings to tell me it’s going to rain. Thanks a lot. I’ve gone into settings many times to turn the darn alerts off. It has a mind of its own-really. It rained all morning, but Helene and I decided to venture out for a late breakfast/early lunch. She’d never been the the Bluebird Cottage & Cafe, just up the road, so we donned our raincoats and off we went.

We zigged and zagged down the scenic rural road, past farms and fields. The parking lot was already pretty full as we dodged gravelly puddles.

(A previous photo. It was too wet for an outside photo op) It was nice to see the quaint restaurant busy on such a dreary rainy day. Maybe everyone else had the same idea.

Breakfast was yummy and the service was excellent. Our server, Krystal with a “K” was cute as a button. Sabrina, the owner and “Jill of all trades” was busy clearing tables, serving coffee, ringing up checks, but still took time to come over and chat with us a few times. Krystal asked if this was our first time there and Sabrina chimed in, “Oh no, Toni is an old dear friend.” Gosh, how did she even remember my name? So many people in and out, and I hadn’t been by in a couple of months.

Helene and I just sat and chatted as the rain pelted harder and louder against the windows. We planned on staying till it slowed down. Sabrina came over and asked, “Do you like tiramisu? We’re trying out a new recipe, and I need an honest opinion.” Well, she brought over this humongous piece of tiramisu. I was hesitant because I don’t drink coffee, and I can’t stand the smell or taste of strong coffee. Every tiramisu I’ve ever tasted was so overwhelming that I’d take a bite and spit it into a napkin.

OMG!!! This was soooo delicious. I didn’t even notice a coffee taste. It was creamy and not too sweet, with almost a cheesecake consistency. When she asked us how it was, I was perfectly honest and said, “FANTASTIC, and I’m not a big fan of coffee.” She said the secret (don’t tell anyone) was a whole lot of mascarpone cheese. Most bakers don’t use a lot because it’s pretty expensive.

Both of us managed to eat less than half of the tiramisu, so a little to go box was in order. Before we left, we asked Sabrina if we could get a photo op. Thank you, Sabrina.

Such an adorable little cafe, and the friendliest folks. Make sure to stop by and say Toni sent you. (But, save me some tiramisu. OK?)

Friday:) Friday Friends

13 Apr

“Friday friends are the best. Friends don’t let friends drink alone.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This is going to be short and sweet. The girls are over and we are laughing and drinking and having fun. Cheers! Happy Friday

Thursday:) The Art Club of McKinney

12 Apr

“All forms of madness, bizarre habits, awkwardness in society, general clumsiness, are justified in the person who creates good art.”

― Roman Payne

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The second Thursday of the month, The Art Club of McKinney holds their meetings at The Hub, just north of the Square. We start out with a general meeting at 9:30 am, then we take a short break for refreshments provided by different members each month. We were treated to an Easter themed extravaganza.

We also have a raffle, the prizes donated by members. It’s always great to win another artist’s work. Members are also encouraged to bring artwork for Artist of the Month, where members vote on their favorite work. I usually forget to bring something, but today I was feeling nostalgic and brought the portrait of my mother. I didn’t win a prize, but it was nice to show off my mommy to the group.

Our guest speaker was Melissa Patrello.

Melissa is owner of Stageworthy Arts, located in downtown McKinney.

StageWorthy Arts is a theatrical design studio owned and operated by Melissa Patrello. She creates unusual sculptures and wearable kinetic art. Her puppets and mechanical sculptures have been featured in many stage and theatre productions throughout the U.S. Melissa creates one of a kind puppets, props and rentals for the stage.

It was so interesting to hear how her passion for puppetry grew from an occasional volunteer challenge to a full-fledged creative business. That’s what’s so nice about The Art Club of McKinney. We are motivated and encouraged by so many different speakers and artists. It makes you believe that you can do anything as long as you love what you do. Thank you Melissa.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t07goVVLZFs

We are blessed to live in a community of such talented people. And those people are happy are more than to share their passion with us.

Wednesday:) What Did I See On My Walk and Why Was I In Trouble?

11 Apr

“I guess there’s a fine line between admiring beauty and being seen as a possible threat. It’s all in your perspective.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It was a really hot and terribly windy day here in North Texas, but that didn’t stop me from my daily walk. My walking is my pensive contemplative time. I also love taking pictures of butterflies, beautiful flowers, wonderful weeds, sidewalk chalk art, and meeting new neighbors and chatting with old friends.

Well, today I was just about a mile into my walk when I saw some beautiful chalk art drawings in a driveway. I stopped to take some pictures. The sun was very bright, so I walked around, trying to get just the right angle.

Look how cute.

This was my favorite, the tall tree covered most of the drawing, but the cool blue sun popped through the shadow. A nice symbolism of the sun bursting through the shadows. I continued my walk. I saw several butterflies, but by the time I got my phone out, they would flutter down the street.

Now here’s the funny getting into trouble part. When I got home, my phone dinged with a neighborhood ring doorbell alert. It was a neighbor asking, “Does anyone know this lady? (It was a video of me taking pictures of the driveway art,) She was taking pictures of my driveway where my daughter drew some pictures with chalk. Is she the HOA lady? Doesn’t she have anything better to do than write citations for chalk art?”

Well, what followed was a barrage of comments about the HOA and how ridiculous they are and how they can’t come onto private property. Then, other people commented about how mean that was. One person even said, your garbage can had blown over in the street, she could have at least picked it up instead of taking pictures of your driveway.

I just laughed as I read the comments. I went to the comment section and wrote, “Oh, this is funny. My name is Toni, I’m your neighbor. I walk every day, and when I passed by your driveway this morning, I saw this beautiful artwork on the driveway and just had to take some pictures. I’m sorry if that made you nervous. And, it’s a good thing you are being careful. We need to look out for our neighborhood. I would have done the same thing.”

As I read more comments, I smiled. Several neighbors wrote, “I know that lady. She’s an artist and a wonderful neighbor. She was probably admiring the art work.” Another friend commented, “She’s the sweetest lady and she loves artwork and I’m sure she was taking pictures of the drawings. She volunteers teaching art and bakes brownies for the firemen. She’ll probably bring you some brownies.”

About an hour later, I was on my way to take some art supplies to Towne Creek, where I volunteer. Miss Kathy wanted to paint a couple of bowls today and didn’t have the materials. But first, I stopped at the house where I took the pictures and got in trouble. And yes, I took some brownies. When I rang the bell, there was no answer, so I talked to the ring doorbell, knowing that I’d be on video. I explained who I was and apologized if I worried anyone, and I was starting to walk away when a lady came to the door.

This is my new friend Wei. We talked for quite a while. I told her how much I admired the artwork and that I was a former art teacher. I said I walk past her house every day, and that maybe one day I can come a draw with her and her daughter.

Later on, there was a comment on the neighborhood Ring Doorbell Alert from Wei saying that she met the very nice lady who was taking pictures of her driveway and there was no problem. I guess the video feed was deleted. I was hoping to share the funny video of the mysterious picture lady. I do look rather suspicious. NOT!

Yep, it’s all in your perspective.

Tuesday:) Today From Sunrise to Sunset

10 Apr

” A lot can happen from the time the sun scorches the morning sky till it slithers in a glowing retreat below the dim horizon.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I have no idea how an entire day can slip away in the blink of an eye. Especially when you go to sleep at 2am and the alarm blares at 7. I was out walking the dog by 7:30 and out the door for Zumba by 8:15, then home before 10. Then, Bella stared at me with those big puppy dog eyes, and we were off to the park again.

Sunrise

When my phone clicked with a text, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from my neighbor Allison. She asked if I had plans for lunch. I told her I’d stop by while I went out for the rest of my solo walk. (Let me check my miles for today on my phone. 4.5mi.) Zig-zagging through the neighborhood, I ended up in front of her house, where she was busy planting, tilling, and weeding.

She said if I wanted to pick up some lunch, we could sit in her beautiful backyard under the big shady tree. I offered to make some black bean quesadillas and bring them over. I love to cook. We had such a relaxing lazy lunch under the shady tree. It was already in the 80’s, but there was a wonderful breeze.

The afternoon slipped away with good food and fun conversation. Allison asked if I wanted to hit a couple of thrift stores with her. Cool! We started at INN Style then off to Goodwill, just looking for possible trash to treasure items. I found a couple of big glass bowls for next year’s Empty Bowl’s Charity event, a little cross for my cross collection wall, and a few other treasures.

Allison bought some really cute plates and glassware for a garden project. While looking at the glassware, she saw some margarita glasses and said, “Now, I’m really craving a margarita.” Well, I wasn’t driving, so I was more than happy to join her for a happy hour beverage. We went over to Pepe’s Tacos Y Mas. I’d never been there before. It was a really cool place and my margarita was magnifico. Pepe, the very sweet owner, served us and brought us complimentary chips, salsa and queso. It was yummy. As you can tell, the glasses and dishes are empty. Gracias Pepe. (How ironic- on the tv behind Pepe, there was a news report about Taco Truck Tammy in the background.)

When I got home, I fed the dog and took her for a walk later in the evening, just in time to catch the sunset.

Every day is an adventure.

Monday:) McKinney Creative Community Native McKinney

9 Apr

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals.”

~Jean Vanier

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We had another great turnout for our monthly McKinney Creative Community potluck. Great food, drinks, desserts and conversation with old friends and new friends is always a great way to start out the networking meeting of local artists, writers, musicians, potters, dancers, and all around creative folks.

Our guest speaker was Lanie Dunford. She and her sister, Nikki Olson, opened the upbeat and innovative shop, Native McKinney, located on the Square. The shop offers an wonderful variety of eclectic decor, native plants, and creative items made by talented local artists.

Lanie described the shop as a family friendly space, and said that if you stop by, most likely their kids will be running around and playing because it’s all about family. The two moms love McKinney and wanted to bring a feeling of fun and creativity to their community.

They offer a variety of workshops ranging from painting to planting, with more possibilities in the future. Also, a space is available for creative parties and workshops.

We enjoyed listening to all the ideas, hopes and dreams that the Native McKinney store owners have planned. The group was also invited to share ideas, comments, and possibly see if their talents could fit into the new shop. That’s what community is all about. That’s what our McKinney Creative Community is all about.

Lanie, seated next to her husband and little son, shared her creative passion with the group of local artists and artisans.

Sunday Sermon and Very Special Grand-babies

8 Apr

“She loved them so much that she felt a kind of hollowness on the inner surface of her arms whenever she looked at them- an ache of longing to pull them close and hold them tight against her.”

― Anne Tyler

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Wow! Anne Tyler got that quote right.

Another Sunday, another overcast and dreary day. But, as always, a good day greeting before Mass, hugs and handshakes, and dispensing little toys to a few little friends at the door.

The Gospel today was the story of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life after being dead for four days. The sisters, Mary and Martha, had faith in Jesus even though their brother was dead.

40 Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’

My take on it… the early followers of Jesus came to believe His divine powers and infinite love by His many miracles and teachings. Sometimes it’s difficult to believe in something we can’t see, but if you have faith and trust, then you will see clearly. If you think about it, when we are little babies, we have to trust that we will be loved and nourished and taken care of. When a loving mother holds her newborn baby in her arms, she would sacrifice anything for that child. That’s how God must feel when He looks at His children.

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After Mass, I stopped at McDonald’s all by myself. I didn’t have a friend to stop and have coffee with, so I decided that I kinda like my own company, so I treated myself to a large iced tea. I sat and read my bulletin and just people watched a while.

I stopped at Tom Thumb to pick up a few things. Oh no, another sale. I bought more cake and brownie mixes and canned pie filling. Miss Suzy, the checkout lady, asked if I planned on doing a lot of baking. I told her that I do bake a lot, but I always double my recipes so I can take some to my friends at the fire station. I had to laugh when she told me, “There’s this sweet lady that comes in here all the time and buys a lot of baking supplies too. I call her the cookie lady because sometimes she brings me cookies.” Ha! I said, “That’s my friend, Miss Pat. Everyone calls her the cookie lady. She bakes cookies for everyone.” Small world.

When I got home, Helene texted asking if I had plans for the afternoon. We met for a long lunch at Panera. When I got home, Joe texted to see if I wanted to FaceTime with my grand-daughters. Yay! I wasn’t expecting another call because we did FaceTime yesterday when Uncle Matt was visiting. My little girls are getting so big. Thank goodness for technology.

I FaceTime and talk on my iPad and take pictures and videos of what’s on the iPad with my iPhone. Pretty good for an old grandma. I love my little girls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CPL81vBv1E

She loves her singing penguin and plays it all the time. Some crazy old grandma got that for her at Christmas. Drives Mom and Dad crazy. (That’s what grandmas are for, right?)

She was putting on her pretend eye makeup and said, “Now Gamma?” So I put my face up close to the camera and she put pretend eye makeup on my image on the phone. Such a beautiful imagination.

Sundays are so special. I hope yours was great too. Happy Sunday, my friends.