Tag Archives: old friends

Wednesday:) When Wonderful Old Friends Gather

16 Dec

“When you get together with old friends that you haven’t seen in a long time, it’s like it was only yesterday.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


We had our almost annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange tonight. The only thing missing was our dear friend Lin. Last year was a Covid kinda Christmas, and I wasn’t in Chicago, so we didn’t meet. But, most of the earlier years after I moved to Texas in ‘04, I would visit at Christmas and the old gang would get together. We used to bowl together when the kids were little, and we’ve been friends for over 30 years.

Vicky and I have a tradition. I visit her earlier in our get together day, and she makes me some of her famous baklava. We have tea and I Stuff my face with delicious fresh out of the oven baklava.

When it comes out of the oven, I always say, “Well, here’s mine. Didn’t you make any for yourself?” She sends me home with most of the remaining pan. I leave her a few pieces for her sweet husband, Nabeel.
Vicky has a vast collection of hand-painted Toni ornaments from over the years. She hung up this year’s right away. (She almost couldn’t find an open spot. Quite a collection from over 20 years of painting ornaments,)
Me, Dian, Vicky and Vivian. (Just missing our Lin, who was with family, but she was with us in spirit. Hopefully next Christmas we will be all together again.)

Vicky offered to host our dinner at her house because of my Covid concerns. We usually meet at a nice restaurant. That was very sweet. and they let me pick dinner options. Lou Malnati’s Pizza!!!! Score!

Lots of good food, conversation, and great gifts.
It was a fine fun day with great old friends.
Vicky sent me home with all the leftover vegetarian deep dish pizza and my baklava. I wrapped up the pizza, and snuck just one more wedge of baklava, calculating how many days this feast would last me. Maybe two?

Throwback Thursday:) Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Present

16 Jul

“When you have the greatest friends, time stands still.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I looked back at some old photos from past visits and gatherings with my old friends and found a few old classics from Christmas’ and summers’ past when I came in from Texas to visit family in Chicago.

Today, my friend Vicky came over to pick me up. We stopped to pick up some lunch at Pita Inn, went back to her house, and she made a big batch fresh baklava.

I said, “Well, there’s my baklava, where’s yours?.”

Today, we laughed and ate, drank wine, and time stood still, just like the old days.
Lou Malnati’s deep dish pizza. Yum! I think I’m going to explode.
Love these girls!!!!!

Wednesday:) What Wonderful Friends I Have

31 Oct

” The nice thing about reuniting with old friends is no one seems to be getting older. We just don’t notice. Plus, we are old, so our vision is as bad as our memory.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I had the privilege of meeting some old friends for dinner tonight. They aren’t really old. Well OK, yes they are, but don’t tell them I said so. We usually only get to see each other once a year or so when I come to Chicago for Christmas. So this was a special treat.

First, Vicky picked me up from my son’s house around 1pm. We were meeting the other girls for dinner at 6, so she invited me to her house for lunch. I had mentioned that I had a bad cold, cough, runny nose etc., so she made me some homemade lentil soup. She was also going to show me how to make her world famous baklava. She knows I love it.

When we arrived at her house, we headed straight for the kitchen to start the baklava and get it in the oven.

She makes it look so easy. Actually, it didn’t seem too bad. I may try it sometime. Nah! It’s never going to taste as good as hers.


We sat and had our soup while the baklava baked in the oven. After the simple syrup was drizzled over it, and it cooled off, we had a tea party. Lin texted around 4, asking what I was up to, I said I was at Vicky’s having tea, so she joined us. Vicky made a big pot of tea and set out a big plate of the fresh out of the oven baklava. I asked her, “Well, I see my plate. Where is yours?”

Before we knew it, it was time to meet Vivian and Diane at Carson’s for dinner at 6. Carson’s is famous for their ribs and steaks. I’m not a huge fan of either, so I had the Greek chicken. Oh my. That was delicious. We sat and visited and reminisced and giggled like school girls for a couple of hours. Oh yes, and passed around grand baby photos on our phones. It wasn’t that long ago we were passing around photos of our own little ones. But, not photos on our phones. Those were the prehistoric hard copy Kodak kind of photos.

We had a great visit and planned our Christmas reunion dinner for when I return in December. Wow! Twice in a year!

I am blessed with the greatest friends all over the country, old and new. But, there are no friends like your old friends. We share a lot of memories. And sometimes we share our reading glasses, and our arthritis medicine, and our BenGay, and our Tylenol, and I could go on….

I’m sorry… this was too funny not to share…

Tuesday:) Toni’s Brownies and Those Terrific Firefighters

29 May

“Hug a firefighter and feel warm all over.”

~ Unknown


Today is Mr. Mike’s birthday, so I decided to make some brownies. He’s trying to be good and not eat sweets, but it’s his birthday. Not a day to be good. I just took him one big square brownie with a candle. He also doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday, but I don’t follow directions.

When I bake, I always make a double batch so I can share with my local fire stations. I also wanted to take some next door to my neighbors. Their son Jack came over yesterday to unload and spread ten bags of mulch for me. So, I had a lot of brownies to share.

After stopping to thank Jack, I drove over to Station 9. Firefighter Williams answered the hall phone and came to the door. She even had my other container to swap out from last time. She said they just got in from working the pass the boot fundraiser so the brownies would be well received.

My next stop was Station 5. This is the first station I visited regularly when I first came to McKinney in ’04. Even though I’ve moved a few miles northeast, I still stop by the 5 every now and then.

When I go to Station 5, I usually use a disposable container. I wouldn’t expect them to save my nice containers, as I only get over there once a month or so. I wrote on the container, Thank you. Miss Toni with a smiley face. Firefighter Yervasi must be fairly new, as he didn’t recognize me, but was thankful, none the less.

I walked back to my car and started up my car when I saw someone run out the door. The sun was glaring in my eyes when I rolled down my window and saw the navy blue shirt and the name Blount. I jumped out of my car and gave Quincy Blount a big hug. Quincy was the first fireman that I met when I started taking brownies and cookies over to Station 5 all those years ago. We are Facebook friends too. I love watching his young family grow and keeping up with their adventures. But, over the years, he was transferred to Station 2. I would stop by there after he got transferred. Then, he got transferred to and is still at Station 7, way on the other side of town. I’m bad, I don’t drive over that far.

Boy, was I surprised when he ran out the door to greet me before I drove off. He was assigned to the 5 for just a few days and Yervasi must have mentioned that a lady dropped off some brownies, so he knew who it was.

After a big hug and talking about his kids and family and plans for the future, I said, “Wait…we have to get a selfie.” So good to see my old young friend Quincy.

On my way home, I had to pull over in a school parking lot when I saw a faint rainbow out in the distance. A very beautiful, fun and lucky day for Miss Toni.

Friday:) From Here to There and Old Friends and Family

24 Mar

Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.     

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


This afternoon, my sister and I went to visit our old friends and neighbors Mike and Shirley. They weren’t able to make it to Mom’s celebration of life Sunday, so we went to visit them. It was around an hour drive, and everything looked so unfamiliar. After we sat and talked a while, we realized it was over fifty years when we had first moved in next door, WOA! How did that happen?

There was a lot of catching up to do after nearly five decades. But the thing about old friends is, when you get together, it seems like yesterday. After a lot of old stories, and “remember so and so,” and talking about all the neighborhood kids who are now grown and are now mom’s and grandmas, we decided that we weren’t getting old, everyone else was.

Mike and Shirley look exactly like I remembered when I was fourteen years old and a freshman in high school. I didn’t take a picture today, but here’s one from last year when they came to visit Mom. This is a beautiful picture. Lovely memory.

After that visit, we drove past Conrady Middle School, where I taught Art, way back in the late 70’s early 80’s. We made a quick stop at Auntie Ann’s house, right down the street. She was very sick with a cold/flu, so we just did a drive-by so I could drop of a couple of remembrances from Mom’s house. I did a virtual hug, set the things on the table, said, “I love you,” then back on the road. Also, no time for a picture, but here’s one of my favorites of her and my cute granddaughter, from last year.

They say you can’t go home again, and, well, I don’t get it. I do it all the time, and it’s great.

Saturday:) Some Special Old Friends and Sites on the Square

3 Apr

“They talked in the shorthand of old friends and shared memories.” ― Dee Henderson, Before I Wake


A sunny, lazy Saturday, a nice long walk and a leisurely lunch. Then, off to the square to visit my friends Kathy and Elizabeth at Sweet Spot Bakery. We joked about my encounter with George Clooney yesterday. I had a few people fooled with my April Fool’s Day story. 

We sat outside and did some people watching. There usually is a wedding at the Grand Hotel on Saturday, and we watched the guests, bridal party, and bride and groom come and go.  The couple walked around the square for special photos with old buildings for the back drop.

My friend, Laura Moore, was having her opening art exhibit at the Martin Place this evening. It was wonderful to see my old friend, and all the old friends who stopped by to support Laura Moore. 

Laura on the right.

It’s great having talented, creative friends. It was fun visiting with many of them today.

Wednesday With an Old Friend

14 Jan

“They talked in the shorthand of old friends and shared memories.” 
― Dee Henderson


Debbie and I have been friends since 1977. We met when we were teaching at Conrady Junior High. It was my first full-time teaching position. I taught art and she taught English. We were both young, crazy, and optimistic. We have been friends ever since, even after many moves, new jobs, travels, children, and troubles. There is no friend like an old friend.

So, Debbie arrived yesterday from Chicago to spend a few days in beautiful McKinney, Texas. When she left Chicago Tuesday morning, she had to shovel snow before leaving for the airport. After a long leisurely lunch and short sunshiny walk around the pond, we sat outside in the sunshine, 63 degrees.

Today, the weather was just as wonderful. We went to the Square to enjoy a late breakfast at SNUG ON THE SQUARE.

We walked around and visited with my friends at SWEET SPOT BAKERY, popped in the Visitors Center, then stopped for frozen yogurt. A long walk was in order after that adventure.

Drinks and snacks every evening is a must when  friends visit. 

At the end of the day, we remembered that tonight was the big Power Ball drawing, so we drove over to the gas station to get our winning numbers, along with half the population of North Texas.  Wish us luck!

We talk in the shorthand of old friends. If we win the big Pwer Ball tonight, we’ll be talking shorthand and longhand in Hawaii. Aloha!

Friday and Really Old Friends From Freshman Year

19 Jun

They talked in the shorthand of old friends and shared memories.Dee Henderson, Before I Wake


Yesterday, another lunch with old friends. This time, two dear old friends from  high school. ( Not so old…same age as me…very young.)  Let’s just say our 40th reunion has come and gone. We met during our freshman year at A.A. Stagg and have kept in touch. We live in different states, but we all happened to be near Chicago at the same time. Old friends are the best. 

Diane , yours truly and Linda. It seems like yesterday in Mr.Dyer’s Spanish class or Mrs. Claypoole’s  PE class. Not to mention those gourmet cafeteria lunches. 

(Now, we are just missing Darcee GrayBrown…lost touch. And then there wasMary Flannigan Hodits, one year younger.  I know where you are Mary! Keep in touch.)

“Our hearts are as young as our memories.”

~Me.  Toni Atmenta Andrukaitis


Tuesday: TOTS Table Of Talent Sisters~ Old Friends and New Friends

22 Apr

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself alone. A man should keep his friendships in constant repair.

 ~Samuel Johnson


New friends become old friends, always making room for new friends.



Today, our little core group of girlfriends (known as the TOTS- Table Of Talent Sisters) had an impromptu get together to celebrate Lynda’s birthday. Unless I’m in the emergency room or out of town, a quick call or text for lunch is met with…”What time and where we goin’?” That’s what girlfriends do, especially good old friends. Actually, good friends. Nobody old here.


So, now to a new friend. When I’m out walking everyday, I usually wave or say HI to people passing by or sitting in front of their house. It’s a new neighborhood and everyone is pretty friendly. So, last night, I passed a neighbor sitting on her front porch, enjoying a glass of wine. I trudged along and asked, “You have an extra glass for me?” As I passed, the response was,”Sure, we’ll be here.” When I passed the second time around, she asked, “Ready for your glass of wine?” I laughed and said, “I’m almost done walking, I’ll be back.”

It was starting to get dark. I finished my walk and went home. I giggled to myself, unlocked the front door, grabbed one of my hand-painted wine glasses, and walked back around the corner. I introduced myself and Darla poured me a glass of white wine. We talked for over an hour. I have a new friend and Darla has a new wine glass. She said she’d keep it ready for me.


Sentimental Saturday and Senior Moments

19 Jan

I walk down memory lane because I know that I’ll run into you there.
Yesterday, I was talking about old friends, the old bowling team from the 90’s. Well, not to date myself, today, I had a brief four hour lunch with my girlfriend, Linda, from high school in the 60’s. I say brief because, we could have used another four hours and not run out of things to say. Unfortunately, the snow started coming down pretty fast and furious around 11am, but she ventured out anyway, picked me up at Mom’s place, and we slipped and slushed our way randomly down Randall Road looking for a place to have lunch.

The poor waitress at the Squire restaurant stopped by four or five times before we even looked at the menu. After we got our food, she didn’t check back quite so often, as she got the idea that we were in for the long haul. About two hours into catching up and sharing stories about kids, family, teaching and the old neighborhood and friends, we started reminiscing about old high school teachers and classes.

“Did you have Mr. Dyer for Spanish?” I asked. “Yah, I did,” was the reply. Then I chimed in, “I threw up all over myself the first day of freshman year, first period in Spanish class. I’ll never forget!” Yuk! What a way to remember Mr. Dyer and Spanish class. Ah, those were the days!

We were so young, innocent, and optimistic back then. I recalled my story about being moved up to Honors English a few weeks into the semester during sophomore year, and I cried for two days because I didn’t know anyone. I went to Mr. Ruby, my counselor, and cried some more. He wrote a note and I went back to my old regular old English class, in my old seat right behind Diane. (Did you notice I don’t handle change very well, not to mention parting with friends?)

Yep, a lot of walking down memory lane. The year was 1967, the school was Amos Alonzo Stagg H.S., the memories are clear and crisp, and the friends were amazing… and still are. Thanks Linda for a nostalgic stroll down memory lane and the corridors of high school. FRIENDS RULE…OLD FRIENDS RULE FOREVER!!!

Over 45 years later…still best of friends!