Tag Archives: everyday life

Wednesday:) Warbles and Words of Wisdom

27 Apr

Sing free as a bird, alone in a tree

With no one around, with no one to see 

Perched high on a branch, you know where to start

Sing free as a bird, a song in your heart. 

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


“She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.” 

― Monique Duval


It was cool and damp after the morning storm. The streets were wet and the skies grey when I set out for my walk. I never get bored on my regular route because Mother Nature has a funny way of showing me some wondrous sights. Every day the sky is different, the trees change with each day in each season, and the crawling and flying creatures are always entertaining.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tip of the Day…Take Your Time

26 Apr

“Wisely and slowly; they stumble that run fast.” ― Hugh Howey


Fortunately for me, I can’t run fast any more, so there’s no chance of me stumbling. Well, at least not while running fast, maybe just tripping over my own big feet. 

Before I went to Chicago on April 5th, I made several trips to Home Depot for mulch and top soil. Three trips in all, with lots of heavy lifting and stacking. (I’m really getting too old for this stuff.)

I bought 25 bags of mulch and 10 bags of top soil in all. I could barely lift them out of my car, and the nice men who put them in the back for me were not able to come home with me. I asked. 

The bags sat around dispersed in front and in the back. Today, I actually had a little ambition, and decided to tackle a few bags. I had to do a little digging, raking, and trimming beforehand, but I decided, “Slow and steady wins the race.” I’m going to take my time working on the mulch and dirt. “It ain’t going nowhere.” (Had to throw in some Chicago talk.)

Take my advice… and in all things, not just with tedious tasks…take your time.

It was getting dark, so I came in. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and completion. But, don’t hold your breath.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

25 Apr

“There is no mile as long the final one that leads back home.” ― Katherine Marsh


I’m back home after two weeks in Chicago and Elgin. It’s good to be home, but sad to leave family and friends. Catching up and getting back to my routine,

A week in a peek…

Friday:) Friends, Feathers, and Freshly Picked Lettuce

22 Apr

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.~Emily Dickinson

Now that I’m back home, I’m back to my usual running around. I was doggie sitting, walking my usual route, and catching up with chores around the house. Last night, I met some new friends at Panera, joining a new writing group. They are children’s and young adult writers and illustrators. New group, new beginnings and challenges for me. 

Right from the writing group, I went over to the Lone Star VFW Hall, where another group of friends was meeting for karaoke night. I just walked in the place when Danny, the DJ said, “Toni, you’re up next. What ya singin’?” I said,” Bob and I will do our duet. Let’s Give them something to talk about.” The rest of the night, there was a lot more singing, dancing and laughing by all. A little drinking too, but my drink of choice was Diet Coke. (No drinkin’ and drivin’) Fun fun, night with friends.

Today, I did more morning walking, visited and with my friends Sandy and Larry. When I saw them working in their garage, it was a good time to take a break for us both. They missed me, being somewhat of a daily walking institution and visitor. They invited be to see their latest projects and the progress in their garden.

After a nice visit, I was sent home with a bag of freshly picked lettuce. I may have to stop by more often. The tomatoes will be ready in a few weeks.

Another fun find this week was a beautiful handpainted rock with feathers that I found by my front door when I came back from my Chicago trip. (Hmmm… lots of alliteration.) Perhaps the Fun Feather Fairy left it there to welcome me home? Thank you!

Good to be home…miss my family and friends, though.

Wednesday:) What’s Up Miss Toni? Well, That Would Be Me

20 Apr

I decided to fly through the air and live in the sunlight and enjoy life as much as I could. 

~Evel Knievel*************

What’s Up? ME.  Again. I was up early this morning, getting ready to fly back to Dallas from Chicago. There wasn’t much to pack, traveling with just a single backpack. Then, a relatively hassle free trip to the airport, my sister dropped me off at O’Hare with nearly two hours before my flight. I always rather be too early than too late.

I went through security then walked a good mile before I got near my gate. I stopped at McDonald’s and got a mango smoothie. When I looked around to find a place to sit, I also scouted out someone interesting sitting alone to talk to. This is Dave…

Dave works on electrical transformers all around the country. He does a lot of traveling, and was on his way back home to Ohio. It’s funny how you can learn a lot about a stranger in just a few minutes. I mentioned that I was visiting friends and family in Chicago, and the best part was seeing my new four month granddaughter again. At the same time, we pulled out our cell phones to share grand-baby pictures. He had a little granddaughter too. It was a nice half hour chat, then we both went off to our respective gates. Two strangers sharing some time, some stories, bragging about grand-babies, and off into the sky.

My flight boarded right on time, and ready for the runway at 11:45. Just as we started to taxi  away, the pilot announced that there was a lightning strike nearby, so we had to sit and wait until we were cleared. I was scrunched in the middle seat between two men, one a fairly young man, maybe early twenties, plugged into his headphones. The other, an older heavy set gentelman, wearing a Cubs cap and a smile. As I looked out the window, I noticed the rain pelting against the window. Oh no! I was hoping it wouldn’t be a long delay. Thank goodness, only about twenty minutes and a few Our Fathers and Hail Marys, and we were cleared to go. The skies still looked pretty scary.

As we started taxiing, accelerating, and flying into the stormy clouds, the elderly gentleman on my right made the sign of the cross. Ah, I asked, “Are you Catholic?” He said, “Why yes. As a matter of fact, I’m a Catholic priest. Father Frank O’Mally from St. Catherine’s.” He extended his hand, we shook hands, and I introduced myself. “Nice to meet you.”

Now, I felt much better. I was sitting next to a priest. What could possibly go wrong? I took out my iPad and was looking over my gazillion baby Belle pictures. Both men on either side now had earphones and were listening to music. A few minutes later, the plane started bumping and jostling around. The flight attendants were asked to be seated. I still wasn’t too worried. That is, until the pilot came on the intercom and asked everyone to remain seated with seat belts on. That’s when I noticed Father Frank take out his black rosary and begin to pray. Now, I was getting scared. 

All of a sudden, the plane took a sudden dip, shaking and quaking from side to side. I turned to the praying priest, as he moved from bead to bead on his rosary. Then I pleaded, “Father, Father…do something… do something…Catholic!” The priest contemplated for a second, then took off his hat, handed it to me and said, “Here…pass this hat around, and we’ll take up a collection!”

OK! Ok! That was a joke. Did you see that coming??? I love that Catholic joke. That’s the only joke I could ever remember and found it appropriate for the flight today.

 But, I did poke the man to the right of me when we took off and said, “Before you get settled, let me tell you this Catholic flying joke.” He thought it was funny. 

Actually, our flight was pretty smooth, except for a couple of little flutters. When we touched down safely in Dallas, two hours later, I leaned over and said, “Aren’t you glad we didn’t have to pass the hat?”

Good to be home.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tip of the Day~ Make Soup While the Sun Shines

19 Apr

“When you wake up each morning, you can choose to be happy or choose to be sad. Unless some terrible catastrophe has occurred the night before, it is pretty much up to you. Tomorrow morning, when the sun shines through your window, choose to make it a happy day.”

~ Lynda Resnick


I know the expression is make hay while the sun shimpnes, but frankly, I don’t know how to make hay.  I didn’t know you could make hay. I thought it grew in the ground. What do I know? I’m not a farmer…

“Make hay while the sun shines” is an old saying that’s considered a proverb. A proverb is an old, usually short saying that communicates good advice or something true. If you make hay while the sun shines, it means that you take advantage of the chance to do something while conditions are good.

Today is my last full day here in Elgin. I was up late writing and reading, so I hadn’t noticed that Mom had already gone downstairs for the arts and crafts workshop here friend Mary Ann was giving at 10. I had promised I would join her. So, I got up and dressed faster than a jack rabbit on hot asphalt on a Texas August afternoon. (That’s pretty fast.)

When I got there, Mom was already cutting, pasting and adding stickers on her note cards. We had a nice time crafting together. “Craft while the sun shines.”

After our crafting adventure, I went to lunch with my sister JoAnn. One last chance to get Chicago pizza. “Eat Chicago pizza while the sun shines.”

We stopped at the store to get the rest of the fixin’s for homemade ham and navy bean soup. We had A LOT of ham left over from Easter, so I started simmering the ham bone and leftover ham in two large pots. Yes, two. I always make a ton. “Make soup while the sun shines.”

While the ham was simmering, Mom, JoAnn and I went outside to sit by the babbling brook, and to enjoy the gorgeous Spring day. It was warm and…the sun was shining. Mom hadn’t been outside to enjoy the sun fresh air in weeks. I’m not sure what the brook was babbling about, but it sounded pretty happy. It was a perfect day. “Sit outside and enjoy the day while the sun shines.”

Now, I have to do A LOT of chopping and cooking to finish the soup. I best get back to the kitchen. Have a great day and remember to “Make hay while the sun shines, or do some crafting, or go to lunch, or sit outside in the sun, or make some homemade soup.” 

If you make some hay, let me know how you did that. I’m still trying to figure it out.

Saturday:) Some Excitement and Some Cute Firemen

16 Apr

Firefighters are indispensable foot soldiers here at home.

~ Christopher Dodd


“Don’t you long for something different to happen, something so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?” ― Juliet Marillier


We woke early this morning to the blaring screeching deafening fire alarm here at The Greens of Elgin. I jumped out of bed. Mom was leisurely walking around. I asked, “Do we need to go downstairs? Is it a drill?” Mom replied, “Oh, it goes off all the time. No one pays attention.” What? Over seventy-five units, maybe a hundred people, and no one pays attention to the fire alarm? What if it’s not a false alarm.

I quickly got dressed and Mom and I went downstairs. The elevator was still working. Usually, those get shut down. No smoke or smell anywhere. By the time we got down to the main lobby, firemen were scrambling around with flashlights and axes and walkie talkies. 

Mom and I sat on the bench by the desk. As everyone scurried, we noticed that no one else came out of their rooms. Well, just Jim, the gentleman who is president of the homeowners board. They still didn’t know why the alarm was wailing, but after about twenty minutes, they found that a water pipe had burst in the kitchen. Still no people, just lots of firemen.

The people at the desk finally got around to calling all the residents to tell them it was a false alarm and not to worry. It seems like they weren’t worried. I asked Mom what would she do if the alarm sounded next time. She said she would just stay in her room. So many of the the folks living here have walkers or wheel chairs and certainly couldn’t use the stairs. I told her, “Well, at least unlock the door and wait for a cute fireman to come and rescue you. She liked that.

After we sat a while, I went outside to see how many fire trucks were dispatched. Wow! Five trucks and an ambulance. That was very comforting to know that all the residents here are in good hands should there be a real fire or serious event.

An exciting morning.