Archive | October, 2018

Saturday:) Sunshine, Sanctuary, Sprouts and Stranded

21 Oct

“Construction of the ark has been delayed because of an U.S.O. sighting~ an Unusual Strange Orb in the sky~ the sun.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“Don’t let yesterday’s storm keep you from enjoying today’s sunshine.”

― Matshona Dhliwayo


The sun finally made an appearance for the first time in a very long time. It felt so strange to grab my sunglasses and walk with the sun warming my face.

I needed to go to the bank and run some errands. I was so close to St. Gabriel’s, so I decided to stop in a few minutes to light a candle and say a special prayer. There was some kind of small service going on. I thought that maybe in was a couple’s workshop or something. Audrey, the events coordinator was by the door. She asked if I was there for the funeral. I told her I just wanted to light a candle. She said the candles hadn’t been replaced and none were available, but I was welcome to stop in or go to the chapel. I decided to just sneak in the back and listen to Father Don’s Gospel reading and homily.

Kneeling in the back, listening to Father’s words, I got a bit teary eyed. He spoke about the man who had passed away, and about the legacy he left to the world. Father spoke about how sometimes the legacy we leave is not monetary or tangible, but how we influenced the people around us. It’s how much we love and are loved. Those are the true measures of a life well lived.

It’s funny, last Sunday when I stopped for coffee with Mr. Jerry after church, I asked him if he thought I was goofy. He said I was very sweet and kind and generous. Then he joked and said, “But, there is that time you crashed that funeral at St. MIchael’s.” In my defense, it was Ash Wednesday, and I thought it was a regular Lenten service. I smiled and thought, well, here I go again, crashing another funeral. At least this one was in English.

Afterwards, I stopped at Sprouts to pick up some vegetables to make a big pot of chicken soup. I bumped into my friend Deborah Ricci. She was sharing info and samples of natural and healthy skin products. We chatted and I showed her grand-baby pictures. Good to catch up.

Well, I put my groceries in the car and went to start it up…. dead as a door nail. It wouldn’t even turn over, just red lights flashing on the dash. No, I hadn’t left any lights on or anything. When I got my oil change last month, the guy did say that my battery was low and he tried to talk me into a pricey battery. He had already talked me into a pricier oil change and changing a couple of filters, so I really didn’t believe him.

I called AAA service. They said it would be an hour and twenty minutes. There was a Dunkin Donuts across the parking lot, so I walked over and asked for the gooiest filled donut to drown my sorrows. As I waited, I received several texts from friends Jerry, Bob, and Doug, who were watching college football, bantering back and forth about the games. Doug was at a bar with friends, Bob was sitting at home with candy and Jerry just got home from his grand-daughter’s cheerleading practice. I said I was drowning my sorrows at Dunkin Donuts with a dead battery and waiting an hour for AAA.

Jerry texted that he could be there in five minutes. Before I could reply to say that wasn’t necessary, he texted, “I’m on my way.” The funny part is, just as I read the text, a song playing in the restaurant said, “I’m on my way.” I laughed out loud, and also thought, how lucky am I to have such nice friends.

Jerry arrived in five minutes and sat with me while I waited. I said maybe I was being punished for crashing another funeral. He laughed. Then, he drove me back to my car when the AAA guy called to say he’d be there in five minutes. The young man was very sweet. His name was Fernando, and we chatted about his unusual name and other family names and how some cars have batteries hidden or buried under all kinds of stuff. He checked the battery, and it was extremely low. He jumped it and it started up right away. But, I asked if he could just replace it because, the way my luck was running, it would die again before I could get it to an auto shop. So, he put in a new battery.

Poor Jerry was missing his beloved Michigan game, but he said he’d probably get home before the final. Now, that’s a real friend. I’m very blessed.

So, that was my strange Saturday. I got my sunshine, but I had to weather the storm.

Friday:) Faces, Places, Fishing, Friends and Firemen

19 Oct

“It’s been raining so much that I’ll be able to go fishing from the upper deck of the ark I’m building in the backyard.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Here’s the cutest face that I’ve ever seen. My grand-daughter gets cuter by the day, and she looks so much like my angel mother.

The rain hasn’t slowed down, nor is there any end in sight. I haven’t actually started building the ark, but a canoe might come in handy soon. Plus, I don’t eat fish, so I won’t be fishing either. But, seriously, prayers and good thoughts for all those really under water and in harms way right now.

Last night, I went over to the VFW for karaoke night with a bunch of friends. It wasn’t very crowded, so I got to sing a lot of songs.

It was still raining this morning, and I was tired from all my late nights painting, writing and watching endless episodes of Murder She Wrote, so it was 11 am before I slithered out of bed. I said, “OOOH, if I get dressed really fast, I can get over to the 11:30 Zumba class.” So, I scurried. It was a good class and great workout. It helped ease the gloom of day.

On the way home, I stopped at Fire Station 9 with some brownies for the guys. They must have been doing some training because there were several trucks from other stations. If I would have known, I would have brought more, but I’m sure they appreciated the thought.

Happy Friday, stay dry, and cheers. It’s Black Russian Friday.

Theme Song Thursday:) Here Comes the Sun…NOT!

18 Oct

“The rumors of the sun making a brief appearance in North Texas have been greatly exaggerated.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This morning I woke up at the crack of noon…just kidding, I woke up around 9, but I went to bed at 2:30 am, so I just lolligaggled around till noon. (Is that a real word? Spellcheck didn’t like it.) To quote a line from a Santana song, “Evil Ways,”…”My house is dark and pots are cold.” It’s been rainy and gloomy and cold all week, actually a few weeks. My house is dark and I guess my pots are cold. I really don’t have any pots. We went from the scorching heat of summer to instant fall.

I made a cup of hot tea and sat with my iPad, checking my emails and Facebook. One of my friends posted that the sun was out. Oh man! I looked out the window. It wasn’t too dark, there was no pelting of rain. Promising. Hope springs eternal. I posted on Facebook that I heard a rumor that the sun was out, so I was going for a walk.

Optimistically, I put on my gym shoes and grabbed my sunglasses and scurried out the door. I never did see the sun, as it was veiled in whitish grayish streaks of clouds.

Instead of being disappointed, I thought, “At least it’s not raining!” Now, that’s a glass half full or all the way full kinda attitude. As I strolled under the trying-to-come-out sun, I sang an optimistic song. The power of positive thinking, or positive singing.

“Here Comes the Sun…”

My weather alert on my phone just dinged this very second, “A brief rain shower will begin around 5:06.” It’s been dinging all week. ENOUGH ALREADY!!! I better keep singing…Here comes the sun…da da da da…here comes the sun.. Everybody sing along with the Beatles.

Wednesday:) Walk Softly and Carry a Big Umbrella

18 Oct

“When the going gets tough, the tough go for a walk in the rain.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It has rained almost every day, on and off all week, mostly on and not so much off. I hate to miss my walks, so I just grab my big Norte Dame umbrella and walk in the rain.

Needless to say, I didn’t run into any other walkers out there tonight.

Even though these endless rainy days could be depressing, I don’t let it get me down.

Ah oh! A show tune coming on…”Rainy Days and Monday’s.” I’ll have to sing that tomorrow at karaoke.

This morning, my friend Diane and I went to the movies to see “A Star Is Born.” Very good, pretty sad, great singing and acting. (Spoiler alert) A few tears at the end. Good movie for a dreary day.

With all this rain and dreariness, a good tip to avoid the blues is keep busy and keep moving.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tasty Tip of the Day

16 Oct

“If your food is colorful and beautiful, it’s going to taste wonderful, too.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’m not a super big bagel fan, but I saw these yummy looking asiago cheese bagels with jalepeños the other day at Tom Thumb, and they were…yes, you guessed it…on sale.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I probably wouldn’t have a problem with it because I’m not a huge meat eater. But, I could never be a vegan. Me NEED cheese and ice cream! So, most of my meals are meatless, but there’s always cheese around somewhere.

For three days in a row, I’ve had a toasted bagel with a little melted cheese, avocado, tomato and spinach. Today, I ran out of tomato, so I put some thinly sliced cucumber. YUM!

Remember last week when I bought all those avocados on sale? I’ve been eating one every day, either on my bagel or in a salad. And spinach… I could eat baby spinach every day too. Hmm…I think I do.

Then, when I prepare my delicious, nutritious and yummy bagel sandwich, I always make sure it looks pretty too. Isn’t that pretty?

I drizzle a little ranch dressing that I dilute with apple cider vinegar for a little tang. Voila! A colorful, beautiful, tasty quick, easy, nutritious and inexpensive meal.

So, that’s my tip. Enjoy preparing your food, enjoy eating your food. And enjoy your life.

Montage Monday:) A Week on a Peek

16 Oct

” If we get any more rain, I’ll have to take a canoe to get down to the mailbox.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


A super soggy week here in McKinney. We got nearly 3 inches of rain just today. Wet and gloomy. The good news is I’ve been doing a little painting and housework. I was going to make some soup or chili because not only is it rainy, it got cold.

How cold is it, Miss Toni? It is so cold that I had to turn the heat on for the first time this season. The house got down to 65 degrees. Yikes! I’m comfortable around 80.

Well, I guess it beats shoveling snow…or does it? Here’s a week in a Peek…….

Sunday Sermon and Women of Steel (Stihl)

14 Oct

“A strong woman understands that the gifts such as logic, decisiveness, and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts.”

– Nancy Rathburn


A dark and gloomy Sunday morning, but this afternoon, the sun is out. Yay!

Today’s Gospel from Mark was the story of Jesus being asked by a wealthy man, what he must do to inherit eternal life. The wealthy man said that he followed the commandments as he was taught.

“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,

“You are lacking in one thing.

Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor

and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

At that statement his face fell,

and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,

“How hard it is for those who have wealth

to enter the kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words.

So Jesus again said to them in reply,

“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle

than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”


My take on it… my concept of what wealthy truly means here is not that you can’t have any possessions or have money, but if you are so obsessed with money and so greedy that you don’t help those less fortunate, then you have only accumulated treasures on earth and will not be welcome in heaven. When you are blessed, you need to share your blessings. Words to live by.

After Mass, I stopped and had coffee with Mr. Jerry. We laughed and joked around, shared of few family stories, and looked at each other’s grandchildren pictures on our phones. Then I said, “Mr. Jerry, you’ve known me for a long time, I want to ask you a serious question, and I want you to be perfectly honest. Do you think I’m goofy?” I thought it would be interesting to get an honest perspective on what a male friend thinks about me. I know all my girlfriends would say I was wonderful, but girlfriends are not always going to tell you the truth. I wanted in unbiased opinion.

Mr. Jerry thought a while and didn’t know what to say. I rattled off, “Do you think I talk too much? Am I too silly. Is it weird that I talk to strangers or hug people at church?” He thought a few more seconds and said, “I don’t think you’re too silly or goofy. BUT… There is that one time you crashed that Mexican man’s funeral at St. Michael’s.” We laughed. Oh, I forgot about that. I saw all the cars and thought it was an Ash Wednesday service. Well, it turned out to be a funeral, so I just stayed for the Mass and prayed for a man named Juan that I never met.

Jerry said, “Those are all good things and what makes you a nice person.” Okay. Well I guess that was honest enough.

Mr. Jerry went home to watch football, and I stopped at the store to get groceries and stock up on some sales. I like to get great sales on canned goods, etc. so I can take them over to the food pantry or share with the new moms over at the Bella House shelter.

As in today’s Gospel, it’s important to share your blessings. I don’t consider myself wealthy, but I sure have been blessed.


As I was sitting here writing and flipping through the channels on TV, I noticed a show called STIHL TIMBERSPORTS. I was fascinated because I have a couple of friends who are pretty important people in the STIHL Corporation. Stan Crader and his son Justin are a couple of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. When I was watching the show, there were these strong powerful women competing in different events using chain saws, and axes, in rather dangerous looking situations. I thought to myself, “Now, those are some women of STEEL”

As women, we need to be strong inside and out. And, I guess it doesn’t matter what other people think, as long as we know what we’re made of. Steel… we’re made of steel.

Soggy Saturday:) SEW WHAT!

13 Oct

“When I couldn’t draw, I took a drawing class. When I couldn’t cook, I learned from my mother. When I couldn’t sew on a button or hand stitch a hem, I just asked my mom or my sister or a friend for help. I’m SEW BAD!

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


On this dreary soggy Saturday, I was thinking about what I was going to write about today. So, I did what I always do when I need to think. I went for a walk. It was only drizzling a little bit, so I put up the hood on my raincoat, grabbed my umbrella and went for a walk. I stopped by Mr. Larry’s and Ms. Sandy’s house a few blocks away, and I knew they wouldn’t be sitting in the garage, so I called on the phone. They didn’t answer, but the garage door opened up a few seconds later. They saw me. It was only about 10 am, so it was too early for a beer…darn. We sat and chatted a while about neighbors and news and old age health issues, etc. Suddenly, the rain came pelting down like crazy.

We sat there a long while, and it never did clear up. About an hour passed, with no end in sight, I pulled up my hood and opened my umbrella and said “adieu.” Actually, I don’t speak French, I just said that I needed to go. I was offered a ride home, but my sneakers were already soaked and I was pretty damp. By the time I got home, I was drenched.

The good news was, just as I approached my front door, my phone rang. My friend Sherri Murphy asked if I’d like to go with her to the Flower and Bulb Sale at Myers Park. I said sure, and when she asked how soon I could be ready, I said that I just had to peel off my sopping wet clothes, put on dry clothes and find a pair of shoes in the driest condition. Did I mention it’s been rainy a lot? All my shoes are wet.

We had fun looking at all the different flowers, shrubs, plants and bulbs. I didn’t buy anything, because if you know me…I kill everything green. I have a black thumb. I can paint a flower, I just can’t grow a flower. After the sale, we had a yummy lunch at Taqueria Hernandez on Tennessee. It’s Mexican food, but I laugh and just call it “FOOD.” I’m Mexican…little joke, there.

Now for the SEWING part of the story. I never did learn to sew when I was growing up. Both my sisters could sew up a storm and could create any beautiful outfit without blinking. Mom didn’t even use a pattern. She would just look at something, cut out some fabric, and a few minutes later, it was done. When my kids were small, Mom would come to visit for a few days, and in the closet of the guest room would be all my mending needs, hemming, buttons, tears, etc. I kept her pretty busy.

This is how I mend today…

My black slacks that I wear to church. The hem came undone, and I was running late for church. That was a year ago.

This blouse needed a couple of stitches. Well, I don’t own turquoise thread. Who has turquoise thread?

SEW WHAT!!!! That’s what God made safety pins for. I would have used glue, but it might have come out in the wash. I’m not lazy, I’m just creatively resilient and clever.

Friday:) A Feather, Fall Weather, and A Black Russian

13 Oct

~”Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

~F. Scott Fitzgerald


Fall has fluttered in like a fluffy feather, heavy with raindrops. The steamy summer heat has slithered away, but the constant rain has put a gloomy damper on these October days.

I always smile when I find a feather along my way. Perhaps a message from an angel. “Feathers appear when angels are near.”

Such a dreary day. A good day for a movie, Olive Garden soup and salad, a misty walk in the rain and my traditional Friday night Black Russian.

Ah, Friday at last.

Happy Friday, my friends.

Thursday:) The Art Club of McKinney- Portrait Painting

12 Oct

“When I look at great works of art or listen to inspired music, I sense intimate portraits of the specific times in which they were created.”

~Billy Joel


The October monthly meeting of the Art Club of McKinney was an inspirational one. Our guest speaker and demonstrator is our own local artist, Rachel Reitan. Rachel has a charming studio on the square, located at 109 E. Virginia. All are welcome to go on up and visit her studio when her sign on the sidewalk is out, revealing artist at work.

Rachel started us off with the absolute basics of roughing in the outline and sections of the face, giving proportion and direction.

I was just amazed at how she could demonstrate and talk at the same. A difficult task.

Rachel prefers to work with live models and spends a lot of time talking to the “sitter” or model, getting to know them and get the feeling for that person’s character before even picking up a brush.

She brought a nearly completed painting to demonstrate different techniques of underpainting, shadows, skin tone, etc. Rachel is an amazing artist.

I’ll have to admit that I was very inspired and even contemplated running home to attempt a portrait. But, the mood passed after walking around the square a while. I’m not a portrait artist, although, I did paint one portrait of my mother quite a few years ago, and I’ll “never have that recipe again.”

Miss you Mom!

You can find Rachel on Facebook at rachelreitanfinearts