Archive | April, 2013

Monday Memories: My Art, My Father

30 Apr

Today, my Monday memories are of my father. He was born in Amarillo,Texas in 1925, and passed away in the Chicago area in 1999. The many years in between were peppered with the good, the bad, and the ugly, but when all was said and done, he was my dad and I loved him.

Dad served in the army during World War II, and often spoke about being stationed in the Philippines. Of course, like most veterans, he never talked about the negative aspects of war. All we knew was where he served, and about his buddies that he served with. He was very proud of his service, but very quiet about those years.

A few years back, I created a watercolor montage of the Philippine Islands, layered with palm trees, then a rendering of my father in his uniform in shades of jungle/army greens. I was always fascinated by his old army stories, photos, and medals, and this was my way of combining these memories and honoring my dad. My only regret was he never got a chance to see it. But, I see it every day. So, I’m sharing this painting and these memories with you.

Quote courtesy of
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
Jim Valvano


Sunday: The Domino Effect

29 Apr


You know how one thing leads to another…and another…and another? It’s the domino effect. Last week, when I went for my weekly trip to the grocery store, I found some pretty great sales. There were some super in-store coupons and a few can’t pass up specials. I had bought a couple of packages of cream cheese at regular price the week before, but this week the eight ounce package was only fifty cents! What? I had paid $1.99 earlier. So naturally, I bought eight of them. I’m always baking and making dips, so this was too good to pass up. Glancing at the sale flyer, I noticed eggs were on sale 99 cents a dozen. My inner karma was saying, “Cheesecake.”

Friday, I had made a bazillion little mini cheesecakes, and had left over batter that I used to make a 9×12 slab of plain old cheesecake filling. I still had about 10 mini cheesecakes and the slab leftover after Friday’s tea party. So, today I cut the mini’s into quarters and dipped them in chocolate, of course. Then, I cut the slab in half, put strawberry jam on one half, topped with the other half and froze it. Once frozen, I cut into tiny squares and dipped those in chocolate. All of the dipped bite-sized chocolate delights were then frozen and popped onto many small ziplock bags to be used for emergency chocolate fixes and functions. They freeze very well, and I can sneak into one of the bags and take out one little bite and not feel to guilty. It’s when I take out five or six that I feel guilty.

Thus, the domino effect. Cream cheese and eggs on sale leads to cheesecake, which leads to left-overs, which leads to little dipped chocolate bites, which leads to… well, I guess leads to having to go to the gym and work overtime at Zumba class. Down go the dominoes!


Sidecar Saturday: Sharing and Pairing

27 Apr

Photo: Seth Johnson

Morning Sun

The morning sun ignites the sky
With hues of reds and golds
To pierce the dark in dawn’s reply
A mystery unfolds.

Toni Andrukaitis

Just one of the amazing photos shared by Seth Johnson on his blog. He invites everyone to share their thoughts or just enjoy his fabulous photography. I’m always inspired by his photos and thought you’d enjoy them too. I keep saying I’m going to try my hand at a few watercolor paintings inspired by the beautiful glimpses of nature, but so far, just short poems have been written. Someday!

More Friday Night Lights: You Light Up My Life

27 Apr

Friday is always a good day. It’s the beginning of the weekend and I always have a great day. I made mini cheesecakes, chocolate covered strawberries, and little cucumber sandwiches to take to our senior art group at Towne Creek. We had a tea party. Little Andrea helped set the table with plates and napkins. We ate, chatted, sang songs, and painted. It was a good day.

These special times and special friends “light up my days and fill my nights with song.”

Written by Joe Brooks
So many nights I sit by my window
Waiting for someone to sing me his song
So many dreams I kept deep inside me
Alone in the dark but now
You’ve come along

You light up my life
You give me hope
To carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song

Rollin’ at sea, adrift on the water
Could it be finally I’m turning for home?
Finally, a chance to say hey,
I love You
Never again to be all alone

You light up my life
You give me hope
To carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song

You light up my life
You give me hope
To carry on
You light up my days
And fill my nights with song

It can’t be wrong
When it feels so right
‘Cause You
You light up my life


Theme Song Thursday: Growing Pains

26 Apr

We all have faced our own growing pains, as children where everything was new and difficult, and as adults, just trying to get through each day. Today’s theme song is from the old TV sitcom that aired from 1985-1992. I liked the lyrics, especially the part that says, “The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreamin’.” As long as we have each other, anything is possible. I like that.

Growing Pains theme song

Show me that smile again. (Show me that smile)
Don’t waste another minute on your cryin’.
We’re nowhere near the end (nowhere near)
The best is ready to begin.
Oooohhh. As long as we got each other
We got the world spinnin right in our hands.
Baby you and me, we gotta be
The luckiest dreamers who never quit dreamin’.
As long as we keep on givin’
we can take anything that comes our way
Baby, rain or shine, all the time
We got each other Sharin’ the laughter and love.


All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.
T. E. Lawrence

Wednesday: Words of Wisdom

25 Apr


Excellent words to live by. Everyone has special talents and gifts, and they should be used and shared with everyone. Maybe you can’t draw or paint, but perhaps you bake, sew, sing, or write. Your gift might be being able to make someone smile or laugh. There are so many ways to create. You may not believe you are creative, But YOU ARE! Think about it. What are your gifts and how can you share them?


Tuesday: Artistic Tips and Tricks

24 Apr

Positive anything is better than negative nothing.
Elbert Hubbard

Positive and negative, Yin and Yang, black and white, they are opposite, but one requires the other to fulfill its purpose.

I was playing around with some positive and negative forms and shapes. The peace sign is making a comeback.(Far out, man. Who knew the 60’s and 70’s would return?) I took 2 sheets of different 12×12 paper in ‘groovey’ colors and traced a peace sign and cut them both out with an exacto knife. I glued the black patterned peace sign on the rainbow paper and vice-versa. It looked kinda plain, so I embellished with silver paint to look like metal.(hard to tell on photo) It was a fun project, and made me contemplate how this relates to life. You can take the negative and turn it into positive, you just have flip it over to work for you.

The moral of the story is: look at both the positive and the negative. You can make the best of both.


There are some interesting videos on Notan design art on YouTube if you want to learn more.



Monday Movement: Quiet Shadows

23 Apr

Have you ever been awestruck by shadows dancing across a wall? I have become fascinated with the evening shadows that play hide-and-seek on different surfaces around the house. They are simple art forms in shimmering shades of grey. You can find beauty everywhere. Just open your eyes and your heart.

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.”- Carl Sandburg


Sunday Salutations and Other Sentimental Stuff

21 Apr

So much craziness is going on in the world, it’s refreshing to hear the voices of people who just want to enjoy life without being inundated with mayhem 24/7. One of my friends, Gail, posted on her Facebook page that she was sick and tired of it. Well, good for her. I strongly believe the more violence and terror you see, the more it effects you. That’s why I try to post mostly happy or uplifting stories, except of course, when my dogs drive me nuts. Here’s what Gail had to say, and I totally agree. Then my friend, Carolyn, commented with such a lovely response about my writing.


Carolyn wrote: “Yes, I agree with you Gail. Funny, that is what Fr. Michael’s sermon was on this morning. We are inundated with news now as compared to when he was young and one could sit with a cup of coffee and read the newspaper or turn on the TV at your own decisive time. My one comment was we could sit around the radio and listen. Then spend time looking at the beauty around us and thank God for those times also. I have been thinking a lot about Toni Armenta Andrukaitisitus lately. As I was perusing my facebook there were all kind of hate messages against and for our president, against the bomber, etc. Then I came across Toni’s post. She sees something good every day in her life and writes a post about it. So refreshing and fulfilling. Thank you Toni!”

I am honored that so many people are influenced by my positive and humorous writings. If we all shared a little sunshine instead of gloom, the world would be a much better place. Have a great day, as the old annoying cliché goes!



Sentimental Saturday

21 Apr

To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life, and this is a softness that ends in bitterness. Flannery O’Connor

Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m extremely sentimental. There are certain treasures that mean the world to me. These treasures aren’t made of gold or encrusted with diamonds. Quite the contrary. My lower left-hand dresser drawer is jammed with small boxes filled with homemade jewelry and gifts made by tiny pre-school hands. Mixed in with the ancient playbills and old letters, I have a pair of tiny white baby shoes worn by my husband at his christening and by both my sons at theirs. On top of my dresser, I have photos of my family and friends, little knickknacks, and a silver jewelry box. Inside the box, I keep all the lucky pennies that I find. Tucked behind the jewelry box, I display a small stuffed animal that my son brought back for me from his trip to South Africa a few years ago. “These are a few of my favorite thing.” (Oops! Show tunes.)

I like to see my treasures every day, that’s why they are strategically placed on my dresser. So, you can imagine my horror when I saw Buck traipsing through the family room with my beloved lion cub. A piercing scream stopped him in his tracks, and I rescued the toy before it was damaged. I tucked it safely behind my back so I could continue reading my email. When the phone rang and I jumped up to answer it, I totally forgot my treasure. In my state of distraction, I never noticed that Buck snuck the toy outside with him when he scratched at the door for the fiftieth time. Some ten minutes later, I peeked out the window to check on the dogs, only to see Buck gnawing on the furry toy. This time, a blood-curdling scream heard round the world ensued. Still in my night gown, I chased him around the yard with a broom, yelling bloody murder. By the time I saved my precious lion, it was slimy and covered with mud. I raced to the sink, cursing, sobbing, and scrubbing the beige fur.

To make a long story longer, I cried like a baby. I’m not sure why I was so upset. All I know is, every time I saw that stuffed animal, I thought of my son and how he carried that special gift in his backpack all the way from South Africa just for his mom. So, I cried, and I cried, and I cried. Buck is just a puppy and probably doesn’t know better, but for now, he’s really in the dog house. I can’t stand to look at him. My cherished lion cub is disheveled and will never be the same, and neither will I.