Archive | November, 2019

Saturday:) St. Gabriel Holiday Boutique and Some Artist Friends of MAST

10 Nov

“Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.

~Dee Hock


I have so many talented and creative friends. Today was a good example of just how many. I bumped into several artists and crafters and friends at St. Gabriel’s Holiday Boutique.

Helene and Pat met me there and we shopped, finding many adorable treasures and gifts for the holidays.

It’s always great to see my friend Mary. She was working at the Pro-Life table. I found a beautiful crucifix from Jerusalem to add to my cross wall there. Oh, look at this cute reindeer towel holder.

The St. Gabriel’s Women’s Club puts in so much time and effort in making this annual event such a huge success.

After the Boutique, Helene and I had a quick lunch and then stopped by the home studios of a couple of artist friends who were on the MAST TOUR (McKinney Artist Studio Tour)

Leslie Ortega (middle) is a fabulous artist. It was so interesting to see her studio and learn about her inspirations. She has been working with several natural and organic painting mediums, including coffee, beets, and other plant based sources. Every artist has so many creative tips and techniques.

Our next stop was the home studio of Alex and Sandy Forbes. Their home is like a walk in museum with paintings everywhere on every wall and every space, there were dozens of paintings from trips and travels and several collaborations of paintings.

I got home in time to take a nice long walk and enjoy the rest of my evening before it got dark.

Tomorrow is another artsy day. After church, there are so many more artists to visit on the MAST TOUR.

Friday:) Cooking Frenzy, St. Gabriel’s, Towne Creek Artist Friends, and My Firemen

9 Nov

“I recommend you take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves.” – Earl of Chesterfield


I hit the ground running this morning, a busy day planned. I walked the dog around the pond and enjoyed the morning sun shimmering on the water and all the American flags displayed for Veteran’s Day.

As soon as I got home, I started baking the brownies, boiling the mostaccioli noodles, and working on the Italian sausage pasta sauce. I also put together some snack bags and candy mason jars for my senior artist friends. I sure can make a mess.

I spent a couple of days gathering the right art supplies, finding paints, glassware, glitter, brushes, jewels, glues, and other Christmas crafts for our projects. I decided to bring a variety for them to choose from. Everything got packed up in the car. My first stop was Fire Station 9. I hadn’t been there in three weeks. I wonder if they missed me,

The other brownies were for the St. Gabriel bake sale. Tomorrow is their annual Holiday Boutique and Bake Sale. That was my next stop. Then, a quick stop at The Sanctuary for a prayer.

The ladies from the Women’s Club were busy all day decorating, packaging and pricing baked goods, and setting up for tomorrow. Wow! So many wonderful yummy things.

Off to Towne Creek for our monthly art group. It took four trips from the car, with all the bins and bags.

Everyone did such a great job making beautiful holiday gifts for friends and family.

While all the paint and glue dried, we had our feast. Pasta, salad, drinks, and Helene’s amazing Snicker pie. Oh my!

It was a fine Friday with friends, cooking, baking, sharing, caring, and creating.

Happy Friday, my friends.

Theme Song Thursday:) With a Little Help From My Friends

8 Nov

“Strong people don’t put others down… They lift them up.”

― Michael P. Watson


It’s great to be home and back to my routine. It seems like the Chicago weather followed me back to Texas. It’s pretty darn cold out there right now. I miss my family and friends back in Chicago, but I also missed my friends here.

Today, we had a chance to celebrate Sherry’s birthday, a few days late, but when friends are together, it’s never too late, it’s perfect.

These are the girls who have been by my side, have held my hand when I was down and lifted me up, and wiped away my tears. How fun to celebrate birthdays and good times! Happy birthday Sherry.

I get by with a little help from my friends…

This evening was back to karaoke at Delaney’s. More fun friends, sharing good times, laughter, music, dancing and food. I missed these good friends, too. Even Elvis made an appearance.

I had a great time dancing and singing, doing the things I love to do with the people who I love to be with. Great times, great friends.

This is my Thursday. Feeling blessed.

Wednesday:) When Artsy is in Your Blood

7 Nov

“When you’re an artist, there’s no such thing as free time. If you’re not creating something, you’re busy thinking about the next creation.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


My last day back home visiting with my sister, I asked her if there was anything I could paint or make for her before I left. She loves my hand painted notecards, and loves giving them to her friends. So, I went down in her basement, where she has been kind enough to store all kinds of art supplies, paints, and brushes for me. I have several designated shelves with my art supplies.

She had some blank notecards and envelopes that were just perfect for painting. I took over half of her dining room and started my assembly line painting. There are several steps, and I always paint the envelopes too. A couple of hours later, a dozen notecards were painted and ready for distribution.

I think handmade or hand painted things are the best. Don’t you?

Tuesday:) Travels With Toni

5 Nov

“There’s no place like home, but sometimes you have several places that you call home.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


This morning’s adventure started before 5 am. I had an 8 am flight from Chicago to Dallas. My sister was kind enough to wake before the crack of dawn to take me to the airport before 6. Traffic was pretty busy at 6am. So many people rushing off to work.

Although I say there’s no place like home, there are so many places that are home. When I’m in McKinney, I tell my friends that I’m going back home to visit family and friends. When I leave Chicago, I say I’m going home and back to my house and friends and old routine. I’m home at my sister’s. I’m home at my son’s. I’m home when I’m at a friend’s house. I guess it’s true. “Home is where you hang your hat.” (Even your Grinch or sock monkey hat.)

My flight was only delayed about half an hour. I sat patiently by the gate, along with hundreds of other passengers. At one point, a little boy shrieked out to his dad, “My nose is running!” Dad, being a man, didn’t have a Kleenex, so he used his fingers and wiped the kid’s nose. Mom looked over, mortified, and searched through her bag for a Kleenex, to no avail. I quickly dug into my purse and took out a new travel pack of tissues and handed it to the appreciative mom. She tried to return the remainder, but I told her to keep it, and she’d probably need more in a minute. She thanked me. (Moms have to look out for one another.)

O’Hare is a super busy airport. I decided to get to the restroom well before boarding, to allow for distance. I was getting ready to wash my hands when I saw a familiar face reach over to hug me. It was Louise. My friend Vicky’s sister-in-law or something like that, a close relative of hers who I probably haven’t seen since one of the weddings or birthdays many years ago. But, through the magic of Facebook, we all get to keep in touch. So, of course, I said, “Let’s take a selfie.” O’Hare Airport restroom selfie…

Back to the gate and all the hurry up and wait routines.

The flight was packed, but managed to arrive on time. I spent most of the two hours trying to keep my eyes open while watching the movie “Coco” on the tiny screen. I think I nodded off more than watched, having had only about four hours sleep.

Helene arrived early and was waiting by baggage claim while I was outside in the drizzle texting her whee I was. I told her to come late so she wouldn’t have to wait. We kept texting, I’m upstairs, no I’m downstairs, and missing each other. Finally, I said stay still, I’ll come find you. I put in about 2 1/2 miles just airport walking today.

We stopped for lunch on the way home. I was hungry and tired. When I got home, I quick like a bunny, found my voter registration card and went to the college to vote. Last day today.

On the way home, I stopped and picked up Bella, my canine companion. She was happy to see me.

I took her for a walk in the park, then went over to Kathy’s to get all my mail. Lots of bills and statements and flyers and so many Medicare and supplemental advertisements.

Instead of taking a rest, I’m off to have dinner with friends, because…. There’s no place like home.

Happy Tuesday, my friends.

Montage Monday and a Little More

4 Nov

You have to squeeze every creative moment and be grateful.

Erica Durance


A week in a peek…. a fun, busy week with family and friends.

My last full day in Chicago/Elgin. My sister and I couldn’t decide what to do today. It was too chilly and damp for an all day outdoor excursion. We did rake the entire front yard this morning, and put all the huge piles of leaves by the curb just in time for the city leaf collection truck to suck them all up.

After much pondering, we decided to take a drive over to St. Charles or Geneva. But first, where to go for lunch? We drove around Elgin, but couldn’t decide. Then, she had an idea. How about the buffet at the Grand Victoria River Boat Casino? Well, someone up there was looking out for us. The buffet wasn’t open on Monday, so we went to the little restaurant across the way. The place was empty.

Uh oh! This was almost as decadent. Patty melt and fries.

Neither Jo Ann or I are big on gambling. So, we’re probably the only people in the history of the gambling riverboat that ever just came for lunch and left without putting a single penny into a slot machine. We saved a LOT of money by not gambling and throwing away our money.

After our healthy lunch, (not) we drove along the river towards St. Charles and Geneva. There were beautiful houses/mansions along the river. Nice drive.

For excitement, we stopped at a drive through car wash on the way home. Doesn’t get more exciting than that.

Feeling full and guilty, we took a nice little walk when we got home. That was my mundane Monday.

Happy mundane Monday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Other Stuff

4 Nov

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

~John F. Kennedy


Today, the clocks moved back for Daylight Saving Time, and we got an extra hour of sleep. Well, some did. I couldn’t sleep, so I got up around 6:30 this morning. I told myself if I woke up before 7 that I would go to 8 o’clock Mass instead of 10. I’m so glad I did.

When I arrived at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Elgin, it felt warm and inviting and special. This was Mom’s parish, and the church and people she loved so much.

Today’s Gospel was the story of Jesus traveling through Jericho. A wealthy tax collector named Zacchaeus was curious and wanted to see Jesus. Being a very short man, he climbed a tree to see better. Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly for today I must stay in your house,” The crowd was upset that Jesus was going to stay with a sinner. Zacchaeus declared to Jesus that he would give half of his possessions to the poor, and repay anyone he cheated four times the amount.

“Today salvation has come to this house

because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.

For the Son of Man has come to seek

and to save what was lost.”

My take on it… It’s never too late to change. Some change is good. Some change is bad. It’s up to us to decide what path we follow. Sometimes we are given a second chance in life. Like Zacchaeus, we can see the error of our ways and decide to share our blessings and mend our evil ways.


After Mass, I stopped to shake hands and chat with Father. I noticed a couple of familiar faces in the vestibule. (I always liked that word- vestibule) I didn’t remember their names, but they were Eucharistic ministers who went to the Greens of Elgin where Mom lived, and officiated a service and brought communion on Sundays. I gave each one a big hug and thanked them for the many years of kindness to my mom and the other residents. They both said they missed Trini and her beautiful smile.

I went back into the nearly empty sanctuary to take a couple of pictures of the beautiful altar and stained glass windows.

As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed another familiar face sitting alone in the front pew praying the rosary. What are the chances? I scooted right next to her in the pew and smiled. Her eyes lit up and Miss Ilene gave me a big hug and said she was just thinking about me. Ilene was a dear friend of Mom’s. She used to pick Mom up every Sunday for Mass, when Mom was more mobile, and they would stop for breakfast and visit often. We sat and talked a good half hour. I didn’t want to disrupt her prayers too long, so I gave her my address and phone number, and took a quick selfie. Sweet lady and great friend to Mom.

I drove back to my sister’s with a wonderful happy heart. My early morning Mass turned into a celebration of life.

Talk about friends, my dear friend Debbie was coming all the way from the south side of Chicago to visit this afternoon. Debbie and I go way back from our teaching days in the late 70’s. She also was kind enough to scout out and score a dozen boxes of blank frosted ornaments from Hobby Lobby for me. I’ve had an awful time finding them. I need to paint them for gifts when I come back in December. Yay!

When she arrived, we discussed where we would go to lunch. I’ve been very good with vegetarian meals and eating healthy while I was at my son’s house and here with my sister. They are very inspirational with their vegetarian lifestyle. In my almost two weeks here, I haven’t had any deep dish Chicago pizza or my favorite Maxwell street Polish sausage from Portillo’s. My sister decided not to join us for lunch because she had a dinner meeting planned already. So, Debbie and I talked about a little cafe not too far, where they served healthy nutritional lunches. I even asked for directions.

When we got in Debbie’s car, she asked which way to Sweet Berry Cafe, and if that was where I wanted to go. BLESS ME FATHER FOR I HAVE SINNED….

Oh my gosh… I’ve been dreaming about this for almost a year. I’ll go to confession next week. For today, I am one happy Catholic Chicago girl.

Happy Sunday, my friends.

Saturday:) Just Some Silly Stuff

3 Nov

“When you’re not sure what to do with your day, just be silly.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


It was a lazy Saturday. My sister and I just sat around the house most of the morning. We finally decided to go outside for a walk. Well, that didn’t turn out so well. The wind had kicked up and it was freezing out there. We did manage to walk a few blocks, then scurried home. But, we did rake and sweep some leaves that were covering the entire sidewalks and drive. I was in charge of the stairs. The leaves looked so delightful hiding in the corners of front steps, so I had to take a picture.

We finally got up the energy to get out of the house to run some errands. Our first stop was The Dollar Store. Who doesn’t love The Dollar Store. We found all kinds of treasures and a cart load of totally impractical unnecessary items. But, guess what? They were only a dollar!

I was remembering how we used to take Mom to this store and she loved picking out little treasures to give to her lady friends, or to make some craft project. Just as I was reminiscing, I looked down and found a lucky penny. Thanks Mom. Pennies from heaven.

While I was being silly, I saw this can of mackerel on the shelf. Laughing to myself, I picked it up the can to show my sister, and I said, “Look! Mackerel! I’m going to take this to church tomorrow and ask Father to bless it. Then, it will be……wait for it….. HOLY MACKEREL!

Yah! I know. I’m a nut. After this adventure, we drove over to Walmart to buy even more unnecessary items. Well, some were useful, but not many. Killing time can get expensive.

She bought me this cool Grinch sweatshirt for the holidays. It will match my Grinch hat that I have at home. Plus, it describes my personality quite well. “Naughty.” (Just kidding… I’m about as straight laced as a cloistered nun at the convent.-almost.)

By the time we got home, I was pretty hungry. It was after 6pm and all I had to eat all day was a peach and some tea. I warmed up some more tea. I’ve been drinking gallons of hot tea with lemon and honey for my cold/sore throat. Then, I grabbed a piece of Vicky’s delicious homemade baklava. (I always say to myself, “Darn you, Vicky Hodi!) Perfect! Just what the doctor ordered.

Now, the day is almost over. Time to relax, put my feet up, and maybe watch a movie. What I hard life I lead. Happy Saturday, my friends.

Don’t forget to change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time! Personally…IT AIN’T SAVING NOBODY NOTHIN’. I hate change!

Friday:) From Here to There

2 Nov

“Your whole world can change in an instant. Savor every moment.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


When everything was covered in a blanket of snow for Halloween yesterday, I thought how much the weather changed in just a matter of a couple of days. One day, I was playing outside with my granddaughter, splashing in the puddles and tossing the bright red fall leaves up in the air. Then, suddenly, she’s bundled up in snow pants, boots and mittens, making a snowman. It’s all fun and games when you’re 2 1/2. I’m getting too old for that nonsense.

Here’s that beautiful tree that was bursting with red-orange leaves just a couple of days ago. Look how sad it is now.

I’m glad that I can celebrate all the changes in life that come my way. All that matters is that I have the greatest family and friends to celebrate with.

Happy Friday, my friends.

Thursday:) This is Halloween in Chicago

1 Nov

“When the weather doesn’t cooperate for Halloween, build a snowman.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I almost forgot how erratic and annoying the Chicago weather can be in October. We woke up to even more snow this morning. So, instead of going trick or treating today, my little grand-daughter went out with her daddy to build a snowman.

“Oh no, Gamma! So much snow on the trees.”

I walked the dog this morning. A little different than my McKinney Texas walks. Yikes!

But, the girls did have a dress rehearsal last night, so I did get to see how cute they would have looked if they did get to go out for Halloween.

Better luck next year!

Happy Halloween my friends. Now, I should go dig into all that leftover candy that didn’t get dispersed.