Tag Archives: neighbors

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom About Fences

24 Jul

“Good neighbors make good fences.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“Good fences make good neighbors.”

~Robert Frost

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Several weeks ago, as you may recall, we had a big gusty storm that had my back fence flopping in the wind, and teetering on the brink of collapse. I didn’t know the neighbors behind me, (quite unusual) but I went and rang there bell a few times and never found them at home.

I had a call into the man who repaired other sections of my fence previously, because the fence looks like it was put together with chewing gum and popsicle sticks. (Pretty much) Every minor storm wreaks new havoc. The entire neighborhood is the same, with many brand new fences being put in on homes just a year or two older than mine. Well, my fence guy never called me back with his estimate. I waited patiently for a couple of weeks, and still no neighbor to discuss our mutual back fence.

Then one day last week, I heard hammering and sawing and other strange noises. My neighbor was repairing and shoring up the fallen fence. I went out to introduce myself and discuss the fence.

Well, long and short, my kind neighbor Bob, said that he would repair the fence, put in strong metal posts instead of the flimsy wooden posts previously installed, and he would do all the work himself. Instead of paying a contractor hundreds of dollars, he said we could just split the costs of materials. Wow!

Bob spent three or four different days shoring up, cutting down, digging up, sawing, mixing cement, and I’m not sure how many trips to Lowe’s. When he removed the old ragged posts, he said only one of the three was actually cemented in. This kind neighbor also reinforced with new wood, a different section of my fence that wasn’t even on his side.

Yesterday, I got to meet Bob’s wife, Christy, as we talked between torn out picket fence posts in the back yard. Such nice people. I asked if they would be home later because I wanted to make them some brownies. They said they would. I still can’t believe all the work my neighbor did.

Well, anyone can make brownies, so I decided to also bring them a nice bottle of wine and a couple of my hand painted yellow rose wine glasses. Neighbors sharing their gifts with neighbors.

So, the proverb about “Good fences making good neighbors,” should actually read, “Good neighbors make good fences.”

Here are my very good neighbors Bob and Christy. Thank you for my very good fence, and a new friendship.

Good fences make good neighbors

Until it falls apart

Then, your neighbor comes to fix it

From the goodness of his heart

A fence is just a symbol

The means unto an end

When you have a special neighbor

You also have a friend.

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

(For Bob and Christy, my new friends)

The proverb ‘Good fences make good neighbours‘ is listed by Oxford Dictionary of Quotations as a mid 17th century proverb. Robert Frost gave the proverb a boost in the American consciousness with his 1914 poem Mending Walls. … He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

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.

Wednesday:) Waiting For the Rain to Stop ~ Happy Halloween

1 Nov

“Halloween is the only day of the year that you don’t mind if your kids take candy from strangers and get all crazy.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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This morning, I put on my gym shoes and got ready for my walk when it started pouring rain. Oh no! It’s Halloween. I just hoped that it would stop by evening. I couldn’t get out for my walk, so I did what any self-respecting artist-writer–procrastinator would do. I made a cup of tea and watched Hallmark movies and ate a bunch of Halloween candy. (I needed to check for freshness)

Actually, I did do some painting in the afternoon. It’s that time of year where I start painting my Christmas ornaments. Miles to go before I rest. Glitter is my new accessory.

Around 6:30 pm or 7ish, the rain finally stopped and the doorbell started ringing. Great news! I wouldn’t want to have to eat all that leftover candy. The kids were all so cute and polite and happy to be able to get out for this once a year fun event.

Now, saving the best for last. Lindsay and Joe posted some pictures of the most adorable costume and little girl of all time…my beautiful granddaughter. I don’t get to see her in person, but I appreciate all the photos.

Now, that’s a SUPER GIRL if I ever saw one.

Happy Halloween.

๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ‘ป๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ‘ป๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ‘ป๐ŸŽƒ

Wednesday:) When A Wagging Tail Follows You Home

14 Jun

โ€œA dog has one aim in life… to bestow his heart.โ€

โ€• J.R. Ackerley

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I walked Bella this morning, then headed out for my hot steamy solo walk. I’ve been zigging and zagging the neighborhood, and going across the street to the older section with the taller more mature trees, because they offer more shade. It was already HOT before 9am.

When I rounded a corner, I saw a young boy petting and talking to a really cute dog. I said good morning to the mother trying to get in her car. She asked if that was my dog, as they were trying to leave, but the stray dog kept trying to jump into her car. I continued my walk, and the cute dog started following me.

I saw a few neighbors outside and asked if they recognized the dog. No one did, but several said they saw her coming from that way, as they pointed. So, I walked that way. When the dog ran towards a house around the corner, I rang the bell, thinking that was her home. Nope. Finally, after a few more steamy blocks, I decided to have her follow me home. We were both hot and thirsty and hungry, and my back yard afforded some shelter and shade.

She was very accommodating, scooting right into the back gate. I got her a big bowl of ice water and gave her some of Bella’s food. Bella, who normally growls and doesn’t play well with strange dogs or people, enjoyed her company.

I posted a picture and info on the lost dog on the neighborhood Nextdoor app, and also on Facebook. A neighbor recognized the dog and sent the owners over. It was a happy reunion.

The boy was very appreciative and thankful. I forgot to ask the doggie’s name, but they just live one block down if she ever gets out again. She’s a digger, and I have a big hole under my gate to prove it.

All’s well that ends well. A happy “TAIL” with a happy ending.

Sunday Sermon and Graduation Celebration Times 3

11 Jun

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolvedโ€”I do not expect the house to fallโ€”but I do expect it will cease to be divided.

~ Abraham Lincoln

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Another steamy Sunday, but it’s always cool and comfortable inside the sanctuary of St. Gabriel’s. Today’s Gospel was according to Mark. Jesus was with his disciples and relatives and scribes gathered accusing him of being possessed and driven by demons. His reply was in parables. Some of the rhetoric might sound familiar.

“How can Satan drive out Satan?

If a kingdom is divided against itself,

that kingdom cannot stand.

And if a house is divided against itself,

that house will not be able to stand.

And if Satan has risen up against himself

and is divided, he cannot stand;

that is the end of him.”

My take on it… Let’s work together here, people!!!! Our country cannot flourish and prosper if we are divided. Our homes and families cannot flourish and prosper if we are divided. So, don’t let Satan into your heart, your families, or your country. Evil will try to divide us. Sometimes you have to remove, expel, just kick out the old damn devil. He can’t flourish where he’s not welcome.

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On a brighter note…๐ŸŽผ…, this afternoon, my friend Linda Grossman (World’s Greatest Realtor) and I went to a graduation party. This was a very special event. My little next door neighbors are all grown up now. The triplets were only five when I moved to McKinney, and now they graduated from high school. All off to different schools in different states. I have such fond memories of watching them grow up, playing games, having tea parties, throwing the football, doing crafts, and watching “Dinosaurs.” (Anyone remember that show? So funny. The baby called his father…”Not the Mamma.”)

But, my absolute favorite memory is of me and little Rebekah baking brownies pretty much every week. When she was 5 and 6 and 7, I would tie an apron around her tiny frame, and she would stand on the step stool while I cracked the eggs and she did all the rest of the brownie preparation, including licking the spoon and bowl. We would sit and chat and nibble on chocolate chips while we patiently waited for the brownies to bake. We did that for many years until I moved away in 2014. I miss those days.

I’d like to think that maybe a few years down the line, Rebekah will bring her little girl over to Miss Toni’s for a tea party and to bake some brownies.

Today, I baked a batch of brownies for my little chocolate buddy. There was a lot of chocolate at the party, including a chocolate fountain.

Here are my little neighbors all grown up. Mom and Dad are very proud of these three amazing young adults.

John (Dad), Rebekah, Joseph, Jacob, Mom (Margaret) Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with me. Love you guys!

Saturday:) Sometimes You Need To Call A Friend

25 Jun

We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know. 

~W. H. Auden*************

Sometimes you need to call a friend…with power tools….not afraid of ladders and electricity ….and will crawl in your steamy attic when it’s 100 degrees outside. Now, that’s a friend.

My neighbor and good friend, Mr. Mike, (yes, I call him Mr. Mike) was kind enough to install that new RING DOORBELL security system in my house a few months ago. I have the greatest neighbors and friends. I doggie sit for Mr. Mike when he has to travel, and sometimes I’ll pick up some groceries for him if I’m at the store. If I’m out walking, I’ll stop by and take Bella for a walk around the pond. Whenever I need something or have a problem around the house, I just call Mr. Mike and he’s on the computer researching or at my house with his tools.

While I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, for some reason, the RING system stopped working. When I told Mr. Mike about it when I got home, he came right over with his power tools and a flashlight. Yesterday was a very hot day, well over 100 with the heat index, and even Mr. Mike couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the doorbell. It wasn’t getting power. He crawled up in the attic, which was more like an Easy Bake Oven up there. After taking everything apart, removing devices, and spending over an hour testing and sweating,  he went home to investigate possibilities on his computer. 

After ordering a part on next day Amazon and stopping at the hardware store for a new doorbell unit, Mr. Mike came over today and climbed back up into the attic, installed a new transformer, reattached the RING system at the door, changed out the old doorbell system that was broken, and VOILA, I was back up and running.


OK, don’t tell him I was taking pictures of his handy work. (I did ask if his last will and testament was up to date when he was joining the live wires.)


The RING system is pretty cool. It takes pictures of people and motion near your door, even at night. It notifies you on your cell phone or computer, even if you are away. It takes great pictures, doesn’t it? “Hi, Mr, Mike!” (Don’t tell)

The point of the story is, I have the greatest neighbors. I’ve always been blessed with great neighbors who have become good friends. 

Thank you, Mr. Mike. I owe you A LOT of doggie sitting and frozen pizzas. Lots!


Friday Friends, Brownies and Beer

25 Mar

โ€œGood neighbors always spy on you to make sure you are doing well.โ€ โ€• Pawan Mishra

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If you didn’t read my post from yesterday, my back fence was falling apart, flapping around from the strong winds. I tired to brace it up with a chair and a few rusty wrong sized nails. Didn’t work.


All night, I heard the squeak, creak of the wobbly section of fence. When I woke, I heard the rain and wind, fearing that my fence would be laying flat on the grass. Fortunately, it was still standing, but resting against the chair. The rain finally stopped and the sun came out around 1. I decided to go for my walk and hopefully run into Mr. Larry. 

I passed the garage, but it wasn’t open. Oh no! I walked slowly past the front of the house and I saw Mr. Larry by the front window. I waved and suddenly the garage door opened. I said it was to early for a beer as he reach for the fridge door. “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, I know, but I have a handyman question,” I sputtered as I plopped in my chair.

Ms. Sandy came out just in time to hear my falling fence story. They both offered to come over and take a look at the problem. I’ve got the greatest neighbors! 

The doorbell rang about twenty minutes later, Mr. Larry with his power drill and Ms. Sandy with a box of 2 1/2 in galvanized deck screws. Long story short, they removed my makeshift patch and secured the fence with six screws. It’s a cheap, not that well installed fence, like all the others, but it’s a lot more secure for a while. (I should have taken a picture.)

Neighbors looking out for neighbors. After they left, I started on a batch of brownies to take over later. Of course, I had to make a funny face in the mix. It’s tradition.


I walked over later with some brownies and a beer for me, but the garage was closed. They were eating dinner. I was invited in, but I stayed only a minute, put my beer in the fridge, and said I’d finish my walk and stop over after dinner. 


About an hour later, the garage was open, I grabbed a beer from the fridge, sat and talked with nice neighbors, and all was right with the world once again.