Tag Archives: Friends

Sunday:) Happy New Year~ A Decade, A Year of Goals and Accomplishments

2 Jan

“Looking back at this decade, I can see how far I’ve come, learned, grown, suffered, healed, blossomed, and accomplished. Life is good.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Today is January 1, 2023…….. On January 1, 2013, I gave myself a daunting challenge to start a blog on WordPress and see if I could find something to write about EVERY DAY, for one entire year. Well, I met that challenge, and today, I have written a blog post EVERY DAY for ten years, an entire decade. Wow!

When I started out in 2013, I was married, with a beautiful family and a host of wonderful friends. My life was great. My stories were about fun activities on the square, tennis matches, art venues, visits with my sons, Mom, and sister in Chicago, and great times with friends. By the middle of that year, my life was turned upside down by a blind-sided betrayal and looming divorce. 2013 was not a great year. I was a mess, but I kept writing and sharing my stories. Some were painful and others promising. That’s when I discovered that sharing my stories with family, friends and complete strangers helped me heal and grow. THANK YOU ALL!

I’ve decided that this will be my last day of daily journaling here on WordPress. Not because I’m out of stories, but because I’m out of data storage here, and they charge a lot of money each year to add more storage. Once I stop paying, all my posts will be deleted. But, Sid is trying to back-up my posts so I can have a 10 year journal of my life. It’s fun to look back and see my journey. I’ll still post on Facebook and maybe find another site, but I’m retiring my WordPress renewal. So when that’s up, “That’s all she wrote.” Ten years is a pretty awesome accomplishment. 👍🏼 “I AM AMAZING.”

Over the course of my ten years of blogging, I have posted 3,665 stories, with 158,100 views, 86,500 visitors and 1,850 followers. That is AMAZING!

Another tradition of mine is on January 1, I read all the little notes in my GOOD JAR. These are notes that I put in about good things that happened, and also notes that friends pop in there when they visit. I love looking back at the good times and reading the messages. I also count up the coins and lucky pennies that I’ve found along the way. I put them in a ziploc bag and mark the year. Everyone should have a GOOD JAR. Awesome memories.

Other accomplishments have been my walking and photographing sunsets. I try to get out every day and walk, enjoying the sunshine or braving the cold. The best part are the awesome sunsets. I looked at my phone and it said I took 1,493,945 steps in 2022. I looked up about how many miles that would be… around 653.4 miles…give or take. Cool!

Living here in Texas, another tradition is to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day for luck. So, I made a big pot from scratch, with the dried beans. I never did that before. Now, I’m going to turn it into my awesome Texas Caviar Salsa, with roasted corn, jalepeño diced tomatoes and salsa. Yum!

My New Year’s Eve was pretty quiet. I stayed up till midnight and toasted with water. I’m taking strong pain meds for my back, restless night. Sid and Kira (German shepherd) stopped by for a little while this afternoon, and we had pizza and toasted the New Year with sparkling cider. Then, I got to FaceTime with the grandkids. It was so different after seeing them live in person every day for 25 days. It’s been a good day… except for the nagging back pain.

The past ten years have taught me SO much, and with each year I have blossomed into the AMAZING person that I am today. OK, that’s an inside joke with my friends. I always say, “Miss Toni is….?” And they have to say, “AMAZING!!!!” (But, it’s true.)

Happy New Year and may you have an AMZING 2023! ❤️


Friday:) Friends, Food, and Filling Up The Fridge

31 Dec

“Normal life continued on, heedless of the occasion.”~ Alison Fox


Well, I woke up this morning still suffering some with back pain. I decided to call my doctor to see if I could get in right away. After nearly 20 minutes on hold, the first available appointment would be next Tuesday at 3 with the PA, physician assistant. By then, I should feel better or be dead. I figured if the pain gets unbearable, I’ll just go to one of those walk-in urgent care places or the ER.

Today I was a little better, but not great. I hadn’t eaten much in the past 3 days and had nothing interesting in my fridge, so I asked my neighbor, Miss Kathy, if she wanted to go out to lunch. We went to Palio’s for Italian food. Miss Kathy drove, this way I could see if I was mobile enough for a car ride.

It’s good to get back to normal, or at least as normal as I can get. 🤦‍♀️ Instead of Black Russian Friday, Kathy invited me over for hot tea and coffee Friday. Her cats are so happy to have me back home, too.
After lunch, I came home, hopped in my car, (not really hopped, more like slowly slithered into) and drove over to Kroger to buy groceries to fill up my empty fridge. I only spent $77 and got a lot of good stuff. I even bought some raw black eyed peas so I can make my traditional Southern New Year black eyed peas. (It’s a Southern thing.) I’ve never soaked and cooked them from scratch before. Wish me luck.

It’s almost New Year’s Eve and hopefully a great New Year is ahead for us. Happy Friday my friends.

Thankful Thursday:) So Many Blessings

30 Dec

. “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue but the parent of all other virtues.” — Cicero


Today is my first full day home after visiting my Chicago friends and family for 25 days. It was a wonderful busy wild and crazy visit.

I came home to a clean house and tons of mail to go through, and an empty fridge. I haven’t unpacked, checked the mail or gone to the store to restock the fridge. Sometime last evening, my back that had been a little funky and sore for a few days really acted up. It was so bad during the night that I almost called 911. It’s a bit better today, but not great. So, I’ll see what tomorrow brings. I’m just glad I got home before this all happened and not far away, being a burden on family. Feeling thankful and blessed.

The fridge may be empty, but not my thankful heart. (Note the fuzzy green moldy muffins that I came home too.🤦‍♀️) Cheers!

Thursday:) Those Thrilling Adventures in Grandma-land

16 Dec

“Children are a great comfort in your old age, and they help you reach it faster, too.”– Lionel Kauffman


Well, I’ve been in Grandma-land for a dozen days now. I’ve come to realize that chasing little ones around is not for the faint of heart, nor for the old of heart. My hat goes off to all those grandparents who watch little ones all the time. Bless you!

Belle, the newly turned 6 year old asked me this evening at bedtime why my hair wasn’t gray, because I’m a grandma? I said, “Wait, by the time I leave, it will be!” Not really, I didn’t say that, but I thought it. 🤦‍♀️

This morning, everyone got off to school and work, and I waited for my dear friend Debbie to come for a visit. Debbie and I taught school together at Conrady Jr. High in the 70’s B.C. (Before Children) She taught English and I taught Art. A great team. She corrected my grammar, and I would draw pictures for her. Good times.

I forgot to take a selfie today, but this one is from a previous visit. Plus, I’m wearing the same ND jacket that I’ve worn for the past 20 years. 🍀

Guess where we went for lunch???

Yes, you can never get too much Portillo’s. Well, you can, but who’s counting?

Debbie was kind enough to travel over an hour from the city out to the burbs. We did a bunch of shopping after lunch, she brought a bunch of presents for the girls and some for me, and we had such a nice visit.I felt bad because she got stuck in traffic on the way home, and it took her an hour and a half home, with a dusting of snow. Now, that’s a good friend. Thanks Deb!

Tuesday:) Toni’s Timeless Adventures

14 Dec

“Time flies when you’re having fun, but rolls back in time when you are with old friends.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Today was our annual Christmas/birthday celebration with the old girlfriends from bowling. We all get together during the Christmas holidays when I’m in town.

As per tradition, Vicky picks me up, we pick up massive quantities of food at Pita Inn, go back to her house, then eat like there’s no tomorrow. When we finish, Vicky gets out all the makings for her famous baklava. She prepares a great big pan, and as tradition demands, I always say, “Thank you! That looks so good. Aren’t you going to make any for your family.” (She always gives me most of it to take back with me.”

Best baklava I’ve ever eaten. Seriously!

After it came out of the oven, we had some tea and fresh from the oven baklava. Now here comes the painful part… this was about 3:30, and we were meeting the other girls for dinner at 5. 🤦‍♀️

We had lovely dinner at Cooper Hawk and exchanged gifts. So many gifts!

We also celebrated Lin’s and Vicky’s birthday. A good time was had by all.

Good friends. Good times. Terrific Tuesday.

Friday Family Fun

10 Dec

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”~ Pierce Brown


Another exciting day in Grandma-land. I was able to spend a lot of time with my little one before big sister came home from school today. We worked on some crafts, made funny face bagels, watched a lot of Paw Patrol, (my favorite is Chase, the blue dog), and we took the dog for a walk and splashed in puddles. Big snowflakes came down this morning, but it turned to rain by afternoon. No snow for me… yet. That’s OK. I’m not a fan.

Happy Friday, my friends.

Thursday:) Those Thrilling Adventures With Miss Toni

9 Dec

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Another thrilling Thursday in Grandma-land. After everyone was off to school and work, I walked the dog and worked on a few projects. I made a few phone calls, and got a surprise phone call from my Auntie Frances and Cousin CC in Kansas City. Nice.

I received a surprise call from my friend Lin asking if I was free for lunch today. Yay! I haven’t seen her since last year around this time. I told her I’d be home around 1 o’clock after Mass. Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It’s a holy day of obligation, and as long as it wasn’t pouring rain, snowing, or freezing cold, I was going to walk over to church. It’s not even a mile.

Lin picked me up after church. Can you guess where we went for lunch? Can you say … deep dish pepperoni pizza? Can you say elastic stretch pants? Yes, Lou Malnati’s.

When our waitress , Dawn, asked what we’d like to start with, I said, “ Your biggest pepperoni deep dish pizza as fast as you can. I’m starving, I’m from Texas, I haven’t had Lou’s in over a year, and I’m going to eat the whole thing. See what my friend Lin wants.”

As hungry as I was, I only managed to eat two pieces. But, those two pieces were probably equivalent to an entire extra large thin crust pizza. Can you say leftovers?

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

OK, I did that. Happy Thursday, my friends.

Montage Monday: A Week in a Busy Peek

6 Dec

“Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.”

— John Boswell


Another busy week, even busier than usual. With the holidays approaching, it’s a good time to concentrate on what’s really important in life. Count your blessings. Those are the only things that really count.

A week in a peek….

Friday:) Fun Friends and My Firefighters

3 Dec

“I believe that it is a mandatory Law of the Universe that on Fridays, you have to do something a little fun.”

~Hanna Rhoades


I always enjoy stopping off at my local fire stations with my cookies around the holidays, but my favorite part is bringing them one of my hand-painted ornaments for their Christmas tree.

Station #5. I’ve been taking them my special hand-painted ornaments since 2004. They should have a fine collection by now.
Station #9 is my usual drop off of goodies during the year because they are just down the street from me. Paramedic Curry was very appreciative. He gave me a hug and said, “Sometimes I come on shift and ask if Miss Toni’s been by today?” They enjoy my baking. That made my day.
My theme this year is the sunflower in honor of the Ukraine 🇺🇦. I was very limited on how many I painted. They were very labor intensive, having to paint each layer twice for viscosity. Then, I painted each box on four sides. But, I was pleased with the final product. I’m sure they will look great on their Christmas trees,
Then, this evening, Sid and I went to the holiday country dance at the senior center. A very fun day.

Happy Friday, my friends.

Thankful Thursday:) Holiday Celebration with the Girls

1 Dec

“The holidays are always a special time with family and friends. I have been blessed with the best of both.”

“You know what is even better than the gift of awesome girlfriends? Answer: Awesome girlfriends bearing gifts.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Today, we celebrated our belated birthday for Sherry and our annual Christmas celebration with the TOTS. (Table of Talent Sisters) Lynne was out of town, but missed.

We met at a Tender Smokehouse in Celina, and the waiter was smart to put us back in the back corner because we make a mess and make a lot of noise.

So many awesome gifts, great food, and wonderful longtime friendships.

“The holidays are always a special time with family and friends. I have been blessed to have the best of both.”

Happy Thankful Thursday, my friends.