Archive | August, 2019

Friday:) Friends, Fierce Storms, and My FireFighters

31 Aug

“There is peace even in the storm”

― Vincent Van Gogh


I started out the morning with a fun Zumba class at the YMCA. Always great to start your day with dancing and music. After class, I stopped at McDonald’s with Doug for a quick breakfast. The skies were getting really dark. I was going to stop at the store, but then I decided to go over to St. Gabriel’s for Adoration instead. The second I walked out of my car into the chapel, the skies opened up and the thunder boomed. Good timing. What better place to wait out the storm than in the chapel for Adoration.

It was a three rosary storm, about an hour and a half. The rain was pelting against the windows and the thunder boomed, but it was surprisingly calm and peaceful inside.

The rain let up, and I scurried home. I decided to go for a walk around 7, as the temps cooled into the 70’s and it was gorgeous out. I only got as far as a block away. Mr. Vince and Miss Bernadine were sitting in their driveway and invited me to set a spell. Well, the spell lasted till well after dark. Thus, I didn’t get much of a walk in, but nice to chat and catch up with neighbors.

Now, for my firefighter friends. After my big party last Friday night, I had all kinds of food and baked goods to take over to Station 9 Saturday morning. I always make extra, just for that purpose. It was so funny. I had just pulled into the driveway when the fire truck was pulling out. The truck stopped behind me and the captain opened the door and said, “Hi Miss Toni. We’ll be right back. You can leave it by the door.”

I stopped by a couple hours later because I was making myself some lunch and totally forgot to take them some guacamole to go with the chips, salsa and nacho cheese.

Later in the week, I stopped by with some of Miss Pat’s cookies and some of my brownies for Station 9, and to pick up my previous containers. They had some visitors from other stations.

Then, a stop at my old original Station 5. This was my go to station when I first moved to Texas in ’04 until I moved a little north and the new Station 9 was built last year. I try to get to both stations when I can.

Captain Novatzyk at Station 9, walked me back to the door the other day, and she thanked me for all the visits with food and brownies. She said they really appreciated the thoughtfulness. I told her, “You all are like my family, and I appreciate all you do.” How blessed am I to have such a fine extended family?

Theme Song Thursday:) Karaoke or No Karaoke

30 Aug

I’m a huge karaoke person even though I have the worst singing voice. When you love doing something, who cares?

Hoda Kotb


Today is karaoke Thursday. We all showed up at Delaney’s Irish Pub, just like we do every Thursday night. Sherri Murphy said she was going to join us tonight and offered to pick me up so I could have a glass of wine. I don’t drink and drive. I was pretty excited because I love when Sherri joins us. She’s a happy fun singer.

We arrived before 7, only to find Paul, out KJ was setting up in the back of the room. He said there was a group watching the Texas A&M game, so we’d be on the other side. A few minutes later, Paul was told that karaoke would be canceled because the room was reserved for the A&M group. Well, we had already ordered food and drinks and were pretty annoyed. We’ve been coming every Thursday since January. They cancelled karaoke last minute for a football game. They could have let us know last week.

So, we finished our food and drinks, and most everyone else went home. Sherri and I googled and called some other places that might have karaoke. We found The Revel in Frisco. Now, the cool part is they had a live rock band for back up instead of recorded music. Sherri and I went over there. Neither of us had ever sand with a live band before, and we were both nervous.

Sherri was awesome.

My first song was SO atrocious and off key. Yikes. I tried another one later, then gave up.

I guess my rock star days and going on the road ain’t happening any time soon. I’m not quitting my day job. Wait! I don’t have a day job. But, it was fun night. Thanks Sherri Murphy.

Wednesday:) What’s Happening in McKinney, Miss Toni?

29 Aug

“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.”

― Idowu Koyenikan


Today was a crazy busy day, but what else is new? I picked up Bella around 8 am, and took her for a long walk, then off to Starwood to meet the JULIETS (Just Us Ladies Into Everything Together Sisters) for breakfast. Wow! I forgot to take pictures. I’m slipping.

Helene and I decided to go to visit our dear friend Jerry later in the afternoon. He had back surgery and was finally feeling a little better and up for some visitors. It was good to see him smile and make a few jokes. I think the heavy duty pain mess helped a little on that count.

I got home in time to feed the dog, another walk, then head over to the Square to meet Linda, Sara, and some other wonderful ladies at Landon’s Winery at 5. We were there to brainstorm about the upcoming Holy Family School fundraise. It was a little warm outside, but still lovely when spending time with friends.

Linda Grossman (World’s Greatest Realtor) and Sara Thomas (World’s Greatest Lender Specialist) are so involved in our community. It’s inspirational just to be around them.

Here are a few of the behind the scenes angels supporting Holy Family School.

The big Gala Fundraiser is coming up in a few weeks. Linda invited me to join her and the other ladies planning the gala. I wanted to get a little more information about the fundraiser and how I could help. I also wanted to bring my donations for the auction. I put together a couple of gift baskets with some of my hand-painted wine glasses and a bottle of wine.

I’ve been thinking about becoming a little more involved in my community. Holy Family School on the east side is a perfect place to start. My sister, JoAnn, is one of my inspirations of someone who works tirelessly to support her community back in Elgin, Illinois. And another inspiration was my friend, Gilda Garza, who recently passed away. She was a dedicated supporter of Holy Family School and the Hispanic community here in McKinney. I need to do more. I’ve been so blessed.

After talking to Linda, who is petitioning a seat on the board, I think I may see what more I can do. I’ve been given much, so much is expected. JFK said so, it must be true.

Well, my day wasn’t finished. I scooted as fast as I could, around 6:45, from the Square over to the west side to St. Gabriel for our Wednesday support group. I was only 10 minutes late. It was a good group with good discussions. I got home by 9pm.

A long day. A good day.

Tuesday:) Two Pennies and a Feather

28 Aug

“Here’s the thing about luck…you don’t know if it’s good or bad until you have some perspective.”

― Alice Hoffman


I truly believe luck is in the eye of the beholder. If you tell yourself that you are unlucky, well, then you are. You just said so. It’s your personal perception. Some people don’t believe in lucky pennies or lucky feathers, or signs, but I absolutely believe. They always seem show up when I need them, or just for a quick pat on the back.

When I was in California last month visiting my son Matt, we were walking towards the beach under the huge palm trees. He stopped me and pointed towards the ground. Barely visible in the tall grass were two pennies and a dime. He knows my thoughts about finding lucky pennies, but he really doesn’t believe. I was excited because he found the coins. I didn’t see them. They were meant for him, and I told him so. He just rolled his eyes. But who knows, maybe one day he’ll believe too.

Friday morning, I had a million things to do, but I met my friend Sherri on the Square to sign and witness some legal papers for her. We stopped for a little breakfast at The Red Canoe. I thought, life is too short, slow down, just enjoy the day. Afterwards, I stopped at WinCo to pick up last minute beer and wine and snacks and ice for my party, my 5 year anniversary in my new house and my new life. I pushed the heavy cart through the parking lot to the back of my car, thinking about all the things I needed to get done. I opened up the hatchback, and there right beneath my shopping cart…. two shiny pennies. Someone in heaven saying, “Relax. Have a great party. I’m so proud of you.”

Then Saturday, a few friends and I went to the Cotton Mill for ArtFest. It was a great art show with a lot of good friends displaying their wonderful art. When we walked back to the car, off to the side, sitting on top of the leafy ground cover, was a lucky feather. Another sign? Words of encouragement? I just smiled. Just the fact that such things can make me smile, well, isn’t that pretty lucky? I BELIEVE.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

27 Aug

“Life is but a timeless tapestry made up of a fabric patchwork of family, with interwoven threads of faithful friends.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


When I put together this montage of my week, it reminded me of a tapestry. Thus, inspiring a quote about a tapestry. I feel like my life has been pieced together with so many beautiful friends and family, creating this amazing tapestry, all stitched and combined to form a beautiful work of art.

The funny part is, I couldn’t even sew a straight line or thread a needle if my life depended on it. And, I have a few friends who can attest to that. Therefore, I sew with my words and my thoughts and my art.

A big THANK YOU to all the precious people who make up my tapestry. Especially those not in this picture, yet always in my heart. (You know who you are.) This is just one week, of many weeks, in many years, and hopefully many more. Mushy… I know. But, very true. I am blessed.

Sunday Sermon and Smiling Grand-babies

26 Aug

A beautiful Sunday morning, but the Texas summer heat soon took over. But, all was cool and comfortable inside beautiful St. Gabriel church. I’m still in awe of the gorgeous architecture, stained glass, statues, and phenomenal paintings. It’s a peaceful place.

Today’s Gospel was about Jesus teaching and stopping in various towns on the way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him who would be saved.

24 ‘Try your hardest to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

25 ‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself standing outside knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us,” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from.”

My take on it…the narrow door represents how life is not always easy, and not everyone chooses the right path, so we must choose wisely. When your earthly life is over and you stand before your Creator, the good and just will be welcomed and those who were not, and chose evil, the doors will be locked. You can’t live a horrible selfish life then last minute, show up late, then knock on the door and expect to be welcomed with open arms.

After Mass, the Knights of Columbus hosted a pancake breakfast. I sat and visited with friends and even met a new parishioner, Peggy, from Illinois. We talked a while and I gave her my card so she could contact me.

Later in the afternoon, Joe texted asking if I wanted to FaceTime with the girls. Of course. I love seeing them grow, it seems like every week they get bigger.

Look how adorable. She giggled and gurgled and rolled over the whole time.

This little angel sang a song for me that ended with “Shhhhh.”

Then, she picked out her favorite book from the shelf. Lindsay said she picked it out from the local library book sale. It’s an illustrated book of the entire skeletal system of the human body. I think she’s going to be a doctor. Hopefully, in 25 years, she can help Gamma with her old body. I plan on hanging around.


Being a lazy steamy Sunday, I just lounged around all evening and picked a movie to watch. One of my all time favorites. FRIENDLY PERSUASION. Oh my, if you haven’t seen it, it’s a classic. I only cried three or four times. Mostly heartwarming tug at your heartstrings tears.

Oh, the theme song is so beautiful.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday on the Square, The Cove, and Artfest

25 Aug

“The best place to be is any place where you are loved.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


We are very fortunate to have so many fine artists and creative people in McKinney. This evening, a few of my friends made plans to go over to Artfest at the Cotton Mill. We bumped into a bunch of old friends and made some new friends. The artwork was beautiful, and the venue at the Cotton Mill is very Artist friendly with original exposed brick and old rustic charm. Brad Donaldson had his amazing resin paintings and furniture, and Jenny’s Bay Willow hats were the highlight. We all tried on hats and posed for pictures. Andrea’s beautiful bird paintings are precious. There were dozens of other fabulous artists and friends.

After Artfest, we went over to The Cove for Wendolin’s fantastic photography exhibit appropriately entitled “Breathless.” Gorgeous underwater photography that left you breathless. So creative, so surreal. Wendolin has a wonderful eye, capturing the essence water and movement.

Good to see my old friend Don Simmons. Another fine photographer in his own right. I love how local artists all come out to support one another.

We scooted over to the busy square for dinner and ended up at Spoon’s Garage. Who was sitting outside with some friends but my old “young” friend Oscar. I hadn’t seen him in over a year. Such a fine young man.

We had dinner and drinks at The Garage, amidst the hustle bustle and noise of the square.

All in all, another spectacular Saturday with good friends, enjoying fine art, fine food and friendship.

Friday:) My Amazing Anniversary Party

24 Aug

“Friends help you get through the tough times, and help you celebrate the good times too.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis.


Today was my 5th anniversary in my new house. My friends came to help me celebrate my new wonderful life. Love you guys!

Theme Song Thursday:) Painting Memories

23 Aug

We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.

Jeremy Irons


Tomorrow, Friday August 23rd will be the official 5 year anniversary in my beautiful new home and my beautiful new life. Being an artist, I have literally hundreds of paintings, drawings, sketches, hand painted glasses are, and endless craft projects crammed in bins, piled on shelves and leaning against the walls in stacks. When I moved into my house, I hung up a couple of store bought prints and gifts I’d been given, but nothing of my own. A couple of years ago, After Mom went to heaven, I did hang up the portrait I painted of her.

When I first moved in, my talented artsy friends had said they’d come and help me decide where to hang some of my work. The years flew by and we never got around to it. So, about a month ago, I brought down a bunch of my paintings and leaned them against the wall and floor to see where they might want to live. Actually, it’s called procrastination.

I gave myself a deadline of Friday to finally hang my artwork. For the last three days, I’ve been hanging paintings, playing music, and finding the perfect spot for my favorite paintings. This being done well after midnight. Last night it was 2am before I put down my hammer.

Here are my newly adorned walls. I need more walls, still so many paintings that need a home.

Then, to add a little excitement to my late night adventures, one of my smoke alarms started chirping around 1 am. So, I scrambled to get the ladder out, grabbed my cell phone in case I plummeted to my imminent death, and changed the battery.

Now, for my favorite wall of all… my wall of crosses and crucifixes, a constant work in progress. Many of these are gifts from special friends from special places. Each one has a memory. Each one is a blessing.


Wednesday With Friends at E. J. Wills Gastropub With a Mission in Mind

22 Aug

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful!’ and sitting in the shade.”

― Rudyard Kipling


When my friends Michele and David Bernard posted that they were being featured as guest bartenders at E.J. Wills Gastropub tonight, well, I knew I had to be there. Not that I needed a drink, (it couldn’t hurt) but because the proceeds were benefiting the Community Garden Kitchen.

David and Michele were both born and raised in McKinney and are lifetime residents. They have seen their little town grow into a thriving bursting at the seams city. But, at the same time, they have witnessed the growing need to help the many homeless and less fortunate in their community.

My good friends and creators of Bernard’s Gourmet Foods and Game Day Foods, featuring the world’s greatest salsa, (in my humble opinion) surprised me with a gift of several jars of their amazing salsa. (Which will be featured at my house Friday night and every night until it’s all gone.)

There were a lot of McKinney residents and friends out tonight, lending their support for a great community event. And, how very generous of E. J. Wills to support the event at their restaurant.

The angels behind the cause.

My dear friend Helene picked me up so I could partake of an alcoholic beverage at the pub. We ran into friends and had a great evening for a great cause.

The Community Garden Kitchen has joined with Holy Family School in an effort to create a shared multi-use facility that will help provide healthy meals for the school children and local McKinney residents in need. It’s a work in progress and financial and volunteer support is greatly needed.

That’s what I LOVE about McKinney. There are so many kind, loving and generous people. And, I am blessed to have so many of them as dear friends.

Happy Wednesday my friends.