Archive | March, 2018

Friday:) From Here to There

31 Mar

“God never ends anything on a negative; God always ends on a positive. Because what is negative about going home?”

Shannon L. Alder


A long day, a travel day, back home after a long visit in Chicago. There’s no place like home.

My sister took me to the airport in record time with plenty of time to people watch and relax. Of course, security meticulously went through my bag because I had a huge ziplock bag of costume jewelry that I wanted to keep from Mom’s many treasures. A lot of metal.

When I got to my gate, I noticed a young girl, a college student, all decked out in her Norte Dame clothing and backpack. I had to say hello, and get a selfie. I was wearing my Norte Dame jacket, and told her my son went there, quite a while ago.This is Mariah.

My flight was not only on time, it left and arrived a few minutes early. My neighbor, Kathy picked me up at DFW, and we stopped for dinner. I was starving, as I only had pretzels to eat all day. Thanks Deb for the chocolate pretzels.

I am so lucky to have great friends. Kathy picked me up, and we went to Nom Nom for dinner.

My neighbor Diane brought in my mail and left it all on my kitchen counter, and she and Sue left me beautiful flowers, a sweet card, and a Godiva Chocolate bunny.

Yes, I have the best friends, the best family, and a beautiful life. I am blessed.

Theme Song Thursday:) This Is Who I am

30 Mar

“I am so clever that something Mrs I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.”

~ Oscar Wilde


Today is the day I tell you about the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. I have always been proud of my Mexican heritage, but I was even more proud when my son asked me to go with him to this museum on Sunday. He’s not really a museum kinda guy, but he wanted to do something special for his momma. On our way there, driving through the Pilsen neighborhood, I asked him if he is proud of his Hispanic heritage, and he said that he was. His other half is Lithuanian, and I think he respects both. But, he did say that he often rides his bike over to Pilsen, walks around, and stops for some tacos. (That’s my boy~ Mijo)

Today, the National Museum of Mexican Art stands out as one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. We are home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 9,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present.

As the only Latino museum accredited by American Alliance of Museums, we recognize our unique responsibility to present exhibitions of artistic and cultural value and to deliver high-quality education that demonstrates the breadth and depth of Mexican art, culture and history.

The very first room we entered, and the first work that caught my eye was an interesting photograph. It says a lot. Pride in who you are… THIS IS WHO I AM!

The rest of the museum featured works from well known famous artists, all the way to local school children. That’s how it should be.

A few of my favorites…

This mosaic above is made up of tiny seed beads. Millions, I would imagine,

A wide variety of styles, techniques, and expressive opinions on life. But, isn’t that what it’s all about? We enjoyed our visit very much. I’d like to go back again sometime. Of course, there’s always the tempting tacos down the street afterwards at El Milagro.


Wednesday :) When You Share, You Show You Care

29 Mar

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”

L.M. Montgomery,


There is something surreal or sad or unreal about going through dozens of boxes, closets full of clothes, and hundreds of photos and thousands of treasures that you have to decide what to do with. Going through Mom’s things was tough. We’re still not done, but getting close.

I think what made the process most tedious was, we tried to find a good home for the special things, mostly because of all the memories that went along with each item. Mom had so many friends, especially here where she lived.

These past few days, I walked around dropping off little mementos on the front shelf in front of her friend’s doors. Everyone knew where it came from because Mom always did the same.

Yesterday, I saw a group of Mom’s friends sitting by the activity room after dinner. I went upstairs and found a variety of necklaces to share with them. As it turned out, the color selections were perfect. I had a purple necklace for the lady in purple, brown for brown, etc. I put a necklace on each lovely lady, and they beamed, each appreciative be of the kind gesture.

They said to make sure to come and visit them whenever I’m back in town. I just may do that.

Still a lot to do. Back to work….

Tuesday:) Toni Takin’ it to the Streets~ Great Food

28 Mar

Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.

~Jonathan Safran Foer


Sunday was a fabulous fun and food day. After a beautiful Palm Sunday Mass at St. Mary of the Angels, my son took me to the Mexican Heritage Museum, (more on that another day) and we walked around the Pilsen area of Chicago. The funny part is, our family lived in that area for many years when I was growing up. But, that was a long time ago. Nothing looked familiar.

After the museum, we walked over to his favorite taco place, El Milagro. He said he often rides his bike or walks over on a nice day. I ordered two chicken tacos. One couldn’t possibly be enough, because I was really hungry. Wrongo. They were huge, so I only managed one with a side order of rice and beans. I’m not usually impressed by “Mexican Food.” I always say, “At home, we just called it food.” But, this was sooooo good. I brought the other one home.

See what I mean? There must have been a pound of stuff on each taco.

Then, we walked next door to the tortilla storefront next door and bought a couple of dozen tortillas. 75cents a dozen! Wow! Still warm.

It was a sunny, fairly warm for Chicago day, so,we walked around the Pilsen neighborhood. Of course, we had to stop at the Mexican bakery down the street. (When in Rome)

They even had vegan pastries and cupcakes for my vegan son. I could never be a vegan. I could give up meat, but NEVER cheese or pizza or real brownies or cream cheese frosting on real cupcakes.

We went back to Matt’s, watched some Final Four games, then he worked on my taxes. My own personal tax and financial advisor. If you’re going to have children, try to raise a financial guy, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a nurse, or just some wonderful children who are happy to help you out when you’re old and grey. (Well, I’m old, but the grey is on hold) I’ve got a couple of very fine sons. Lucky me.

The evening rolled by, and guess what? It was time for dinner. More food! Matt wanted to take me to his favorite pizza place, Pequod’s. Yep! More food. You can never have too much Chicago pizza. Well, you can. I just did,

I waddled back to the car, more leftovers in hand, and I managed to clump and climb up the three flights of stairs, back up to his apartment. Oh yes, the view. Let’s not forget the view from his rooftop deck.

That was just one day of Toni takin’ it to the streets of Chicago. I didn’t even talk about the museum yet. It was a very full fun foodie day.

Montage Monday:) A Week in a Peek

27 Mar

” It only takes a moment to peek into someone’s world. A few words or a few pictures can tell a long story.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Another week of lucky pennies, crazy good Chicago pizza and Mexican food, beautiful sunsets, friends, family, and faith. What more could you ask for? Counting my blessings!

Sunday Sermon and St. Mary of the Angels

26 Mar

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.

~Alfred Lord


This morning, I had the pleasure of attending 8 o’clock Mass at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago. It’s a beautiful church in one of Chicago’s many ethnic neighborhoods. The church bulletin is written in English, Polish, and Spanish, with different Sunday Mass times in each language. I chose English, as my Spanish is poor and my Polish non-existent.

I always light a candle and say a special prayer when I visit another church. When I saw the Blessed Virgin Mary in such anguish, tragically losing her son, I thought of all the pain and suffering that people endure when they lose a loved one. But, like Mary, we continue, we go on, and we can flourish with faith, by the grace of God.

Being Palm Sunday, the Gospel was the reenactment of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, while the crowd cheered and laid palms on the ground. The reenactment continued with the betrayal by Judas, the denial of Peter, the trial, crucifixion, death, and burial in the tomb. A very reverent and solemn Gospel.

My take on it… just like in life, often the road is bumpy and painful. Even if there is injustice and sacrifice, there can be a happy ending. Next Sunday, we celebrate Easter and the Resurrection, the happy ending to this sad story.

It was a lovely Sunday, the sun was shining even though a bit chilly. I was able to spend the weekend with my youngest son. We did a lot of fun things this weekend, but I’ll save that for another day.

Here’s my personal joke for today…

Today is PALM SUNDAY…here is my PALM…

Just kidding… here is my Palm.

Happy Sunday.

Saturday:) So What’s Cookin’ Today?

24 Mar

Keep busy while you are waiting for something to happen.

Robert Genn


Another spin my wheels kinda day. Sorting through a zillion photos, making stacks of who gets what, going through crafts, ribbons, jewelry, and another zillion things at Mom’s house.

I got started looking through some old VHS tapes in the cabinet and playing them on Mom’s ancient tv that plays both VHS and DVD. Oh, that wasn’t a good idea. Not only did I get mesmerized and misty by two little boys laughing and playing and singing happy birthday when they were four and six years old. But, I also started crying, watching our young family at play and on trips. That family unit doesn’t exist anymore. Sad…☹️

Oh my, that was so long ago, and the memories should have been beautiful and happy. THEY WEREN’T. Smiles turned into tears, and I had to turn off the TV and the sadness.

So, the best thing to do is keep busy. I peeled and rinsed and chopped and seasoned and baked a huge pan of vegetables.

Yep! Keep moving, keep busy. Eat right, live right.

Friday:) From Here to There and Old Friends and Family

24 Mar

Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.     

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


This afternoon, my sister and I went to visit our old friends and neighbors Mike and Shirley. They weren’t able to make it to Mom’s celebration of life Sunday, so we went to visit them. It was around an hour drive, and everything looked so unfamiliar. After we sat and talked a while, we realized it was over fifty years when we had first moved in next door, WOA! How did that happen?

There was a lot of catching up to do after nearly five decades. But the thing about old friends is, when you get together, it seems like yesterday. After a lot of old stories, and “remember so and so,” and talking about all the neighborhood kids who are now grown and are now mom’s and grandmas, we decided that we weren’t getting old, everyone else was.

Mike and Shirley look exactly like I remembered when I was fourteen years old and a freshman in high school. I didn’t take a picture today, but here’s one from last year when they came to visit Mom. This is a beautiful picture. Lovely memory.

After that visit, we drove past Conrady Middle School, where I taught Art, way back in the late 70’s early 80’s. We made a quick stop at Auntie Ann’s house, right down the street. She was very sick with a cold/flu, so we just did a drive-by so I could drop of a couple of remembrances from Mom’s house. I did a virtual hug, set the things on the table, said, “I love you,” then back on the road. Also, no time for a picture, but here’s one of my favorites of her and my cute granddaughter, from last year.

They say you can’t go home again, and, well, I don’t get it. I do it all the time, and it’s great.

Theme Song Thursday:) Pennies From Heaven

23 Mar

Pennies do not come from heaven. They have to be earned here on earth.

~Margaret Thatcher


I keep finding pennies from Heaven. While I was going through Mom’s many craft bins and drawers yesterday, there at the very bottom of the last drawer, I found a single solitary tiny ziplock bag with a lone penny. I smiled. My reward for a long day of sorting.

Gotta love Frank Sinatra….

This afternoon, my sister asked me to go to the car wash with her. We drove through and parked afterwards to readjust the side mirrors and wipe the excess water. As I stepped out of the car, yep, a penny right at my feet.

I think one lucky penny from heaven is worth a dozen dirty dollars from…. well, wherever dirty dollars come from. I am blessed.

I’ll keep all my lucky pennies from Mom in heaven in a special jar when I get home.

Wednesday:) Words of Wisdom From Facebook

22 Mar

“Pretty much everything I’ve learned in my life, I’ve learned on Facebook. Just kidding. Fox News is very informative. Not!”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


You think I’m kidding, but a lot of the time, I don’t know what’s going on in the world until someone has posted it on Facebook. I rarely watch the news because it’s too depressing. Until they have an ALL HAPPY NEWS STATION, I avoid the news as much as possible. So, if there’s anything important you’d like to tell me, well, just post it on my Facebook page. Thanks!