Archive | December, 2017

Wednesday:)What Ya Been Up To, Miss Toni?~ ~PROCRAFTINATING

20 Dec

“I am an artist and a crafter. I have glitter in my veins…and on my face and clothes, all over the floor, on the table, in the carpet, and sometimes in my lunch. ”Tis the season.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Mom and I have been crafting this holiday season. She still has pneumonia and still feeling horrible, weak, and coughing. But, every now and then, she musters up the energy to work on a craft project with me. Yesterday, we worked on mini snowmen.

I think we got a little carried away. These were made with those mini Hershey candy bars. A lot of work, but so cute.

We also made some full size Hershey bar snowmen.

Also, I cut out some cute Santa wrapping paper and cut a slit in front to add a mini candy cane.

OK, we went a little overboard, but that’s what crafters do. PROCRAFTINATING!

Happy crafting, my friends!!!

Tuesday:) Toni Takes After Trini~ Like Mother, Like Daughter

20 Dec

As mothers and daughters, we are connected with one another. My mother is the bones of my spine, keeping me straight and true. She is my blood, making sure it runs rich and strong. She is the beating of my heart. I cannot now imagine a life without her.     

Kristin Hannah

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I always tell my sweet mother, “The nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.” She always tries to correct me and says, “It’s supposed to be the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I tell her, “No, you’re a nut.” Mom and I were working on some cutesy crafty things today, and I thought how much I am like Mom. Just a couple of nuts.

Later in the day, my sister and I went over to the Gail Borden Library, and when we were just about to leave, I asked, “Is Mom’s mural still hanging here in the library?” She said it was upstairs. So, we went up so I could take some pictures. Mom is a very talented artist. She hasn’t been able to paint much these last few years, but she has quite the portfolio and stockpile of paintings and drawings. Trini Armenta didn’t even start painting until she retired in her 60’s. Can you imagine if she had the opportunity to utilize her talent when she was younger?

This will show you how large this painting is.

I am honored to be one of the nuts fallen from the family tree.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

19 Dec

“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.”

Trenton Lee Stewart

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Another fine week with family and friends. The Chicago weather has been AWESOME. My sister and I actually took a nice stroll to the store and back this afternoon, just to scrape off the cobwebs of going stir crazy.

A week in a peek… Family and friends.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

18 Dec

“Perhaps we all have a face behind a face…Good and the bad, happy and sad, sane and insane. We all have an angel and the stranger and we all have the choice!”

Nino Varsimashvili

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Mom and I went down to her community room for Mass this morning. Mom always does the Second reading before the Gospel. I usually comment on the Gospel here, but today, I was impressed with Mom’s reading. Paul tells us to always rejoice and to pray. Then, we should always be thankful. I guess the interpretation of “do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything;retain what is good, could mean a lot of different things to different people.

My take on it… First of all, I totally agree with always being thankful. If you start every day counting your blessings, you have a blessed day. If you only count and recount your suffering and woes, you will suffer every day.

As a cradle Catholic, I grew up believing some of the most stringent and constraining concepts of my faith. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized that I probably wasn’t going to hell if I accidentally ate meat on Friday, or if I feigned illness if I didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, or maybe even disrespected my father or mother.

So, in this second reading, it says to “test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil.” Now that I am an old lady, relatively speaking, I have learned to test what I have heard, and retain the good. Just as I’ve surmised that many of the things I’ve done are not mortal sins that will banish me to a fiery hell, I also do not believe that I can run to confession and all my sins will be washed away. But, the fact that I can acknowledge and admit my failings to a priest, this will help me do better next time. It’s kinda like the Weight Watchers of Catholicism…accountability. You get on the scale and see how you’ve progressed. When you fall off the wagon, you get back up again. Rejoice, pray, be thankful, and always do what you think is right. That’s all God expects of us. I CAN DO THAT.

1 THES 5:16-24

Brothers and sisters:

Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.

In all circumstances give thanks,

for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Do not quench the Spirit.

Do not despise prophetic utterances.

Test everything; retain what is good.

Refrain from every kind of evil.

May the God of peace make you perfectly holy

and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body,

be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The one who calls you is faithful,

and he will also accomplish it.

Later in the afternoon, my very, very good friend, Debbie came all the way in from the city to come and visit Mom a while, then we went out to lunch and shopping. First stop…PIZZA!!! I’ve got to get my quota of Chicago pizza before going back to Texas.

Thanks Deb! We made a lot of stops and bought a bunch of things that we really didn’t need, but they were too adorable to pass up. That’s what the holidays are all about. Especially the friendship. Debbie and I have been friends since around 1977 BC… the BC stands for Before Children.

Last stop before going back to Mom’s…ice cream, of course. The perfect ending to a perfect day. REJOICE AND BE THANKFUL

A Special Saturday Story:) Mr. Dan

17 Dec

“In this world of memories, there’s no need for strangers.

-Kenshin to Kaoru”

Nobuhiro Watsuki

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The day before I left McKinney to fly back home to Chicago, I had some last minute Christmas orders, painting ornaments, shopping, and scrambling to get ready. I always like to share my Mr. Dan story. Most of my friends know it and laugh when I say, “I have to paint my Christmas gift for Mr. Dan’s dead wife.”

For those who haven’t heard the story…A few years back, I received a call from an artist friend who said that an elderly gentleman came into her art studio asking if she could paint on porcelain or chinaware. She recounted the story to me.

“A nice elderly gentleman has been buying a special hand-painted Christmas gift from a local artist for many years. He has been married for over fifty years, and every year he surprised her with a special white porcelain gift with bluebonnets painted on it, and an inscription on the back. She has passed away, but he wants to continue having a gift made. I know you paint on glass and paint bluebonnets, do you think you could help him out?”

Well, I was so moved and saddened that this man lost his wife, but wanted to continue the tradition of having a special gift made. I agreed to meet Mr. Dan and see if I could help him. We met at Snug on the Square, and he brought a few examples of previous gifts. I told him that I’d be happy to do that for him.

The hardest part was finding the right piece of white milk glass or porcelain. He left all the details to my discretion. I scoured antique shops and thrift stores looking for a perfect piece. When I found a lovely white chinaware heart shaped covered box, I painted it and wrote on the bottom, as petitioned, to Sue Lobe Dan, with the date. As I painted bluebonnets with glass paint, I felt so sad for Mr. Dan, and thought how he really must miss her. He still wants to get her a gift.

When all was done, I met Mr. Dan to give him his gift. He really liked it, and I was hoping it would give him comfort. Then, Mr. Dan said, “I’ll be able to sneak this in the house without Sue seeing it. She’s at her sister’s house.”

What? I didn’t say anything to Mr. Dan about his dead wife not being dead. I was too embarrassed. Then, it dawned on me. Oh! The artist who had painted the gift had passed away, not his wife. Now, every year around Thanksgiving, Mr. Dan calls and asks if I’d still be able to paint a gift for Sue. And, every year, I say of course, and laugh to myself. And every year, Mr. Dan takes out his check book to pay me, and I refuse to take his money. I tell him that my only payment is a hug and to give my best regards to his wife, Sue.

Mr. Dan walked, ever so slowly, back to his truck with his cane in one hand and gift in the other. I gave him a hug and said, “See you next year.” He smiled and said, “God willing.”

Friday:) Fun Friends, Favorite Cousins, and FaceTime with Belle

16 Dec

“The love of family and the admiration of friends is much more important than wealth and privilege.”

~ Charles Kuralt

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Mom and I went downstairs this afternoon for a crafting class of making ornaments. She painted some lovely green trees and some snow on hers. I made mine all silver trees. After we went back upstairs, I added glitter. One must have glitter.

Later, I received a call from Joe asking if I wanted to FaceTime with Baby Belle. Silly question. She was so cute and was gurgling some secret baby message to me. She even waved hi a few times and ended with a wave goodbye to Grandma. My heart melted.

Yes, I was making silly baby noises.

About an hour later, a visit from my cousins who I haven’t seen since Mom’s birthday this summer. Cousin Jeff saw my post on Facebook about Black Russian Friday, and didn’t even realize I was in town. So, he and his sister Kathy said they would be here to help me celebrate my Friday tradition, and see their favorite Aunt Trini.

I sure am blessed. Happy Friday, “Y’all.” Oops, I’m in Chicago…Happy Friday “You’se Guys!”

Theme Song Thursday:) These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

15 Dec

“We don’t need to have just one favorite. We keep adding favorites. Our favorite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favorites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favorites. They’re always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.”

Lloyd Alexander

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During the holidays, we are reminded of age old traditions, we think about family and friends, and we reminisce about our favorite things.

These are a few of my favorite things…

FAMILY

FRIENDS

FUN WITH MY ARTWORK

FUN WITH FOOD

There is so much more and so many more family members and friends, but you don’t have time to look at all 6,349 pictures on my iPad. Or do you?

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom and Funny Quotes

13 Dec

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.

~Maya Angelou

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“It may be cold and bleak outside, but there’s always a ray of sunshine when you smile.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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Here are a few funny words of wisdom, cartoons, and quotes to brighten you day.

This is my all time favorite… it’s a Mexican thing… Save your ransom money. No one will be calling you about me.

Yay! I’m getting a dictionary for Christmas!!! I hope it’s a red Webster. I seemed to have lost mine.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Two Minute Movie Review: COCO

13 Dec

“We must always follow our dreams because those who came before us made those dreams possible.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything,”

~Plato

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A shivering Chicago afternoon was a perfect time to get out and see a heart warming movie. My sister, her friend, Edith, and I went to a matinee showing of “Coco.” And guess what? Today was free popcorn Tuesday at the Elgin theatre with your rewards card. Yay!

This delightful Pixar Animation Studios production is a must see for all ages. Twelve year old Miguel has music in his soul, but his family has banned all music from their lives because of a painful misunderstanding several generations earlier. Caught up in the magical mystery of the Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos, honoring the relatives who passed away, Miguel is transported into the enchanting and colorful Land of the Dead.

This all might sound scary or strange to some of you, but it really depicts the long honored tradition of remembering our ancestors and keeping them alive in our hearts. Not scary…beautiful.

We sat in the dark, nearly empty theatre, laughing, giggling, with a few tearful moments. I didn’t think I’d need Kleenex for this one, but if you haven’t seen it, make sure you have a tissue handy. They were beautiful sentimental tears. And some of the giggling came from memories only Mexican cultures would understand. But, the common thread was, families are so important and our ancestors should always be honored and remembered.

“We must always follow our dreams because those who came before us made those dreams possible.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Wintry Peek

12 Dec

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

John Steinbeck

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The days slither by like cold molasses, but the weeks fly by like the flash of a lightning bug on a warm summer’s night. In other words…where has the time gone. Home for the holidays.

A week in a peek. Visiting with friends, time with family and loved ones, painting, crafting, church, and good food, and Friday Black Russians. Pizza, don’t forget Chicago pizza.