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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.

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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

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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.

Memories….

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

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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.

Toni’s Repeat Tuesday: MY AOD

21 Aug

“Maturity is recalling the outrageous things your former spouse did to upset you, then turning over and going to sleep.”

– Eileen Dight

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Another year has passed, so this is the 5th anniversary of my divorce, AOD. Over these past five years, I don’t think of them as painful, as much a a huge blessing. I am more than convinced that God was looking out for me and saved me from what could have been a huge disaster, even life threatening. You think you know someone after being with them and loving them for 43 years. But, you don’t. And the sad part is, it can happen to anyone…and it does. I was lucky. I don’t wake up sad everyday, especially not today. I say, “THANK YOU LORD.”

REPEATING MY POST FROM LAST YEAR…

When I looked at my cell phone to see what time it was this morning, I realized it was Aug,20, the 4th anniversary of my divorce, (Today is the 5th Anniversary.) and the 5th anniversary of his moving out,(6 years.) Now, I pretty much did what the quote above said. I remembered how that afternoon he came from the court hearing, handed me the final signed divorce documents in my driveway, like he was handing me the newspaper, got back into his car, then drove away without a word. Anyone that cold and cruel just isn’t human or worthy of any more tears. I remembered that vivid scene this morning, then I turned over and went back to sleep.

I’m looking forward to Thursday, Aug. 23rd, when I celebrate the anniversary of my new home and my new life with a whole bunch of my very dear friends. That will be a fun celebration and post to share. PARTY!!!!! I’ll keep you posted. (My party is this Friday this year-stop over.)

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So, when I was trying to think of what to write about today, I thought that repeating my divorce date today was the most appropriate. This is a good day to count my blessings and thank God, my friends, and my family for my wonderful life,

I looked up acronyms. I didn’t see one for A.O.D, anniversary of divorce. I guess, now there is one.

But, I did find a lot of funny quotes and memes and cartoons. I’m glad I can smile and laugh about it now.

I guess a lot of people have gone through the same thing or there wouldn’t be so many poignant and funny things to share. Here ya go…

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

20 Aug

“Busy is as busy does. I’m pretty good at doing busy.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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I guess you can tell from all the smiles that my wonderful busy life is filled with great friends and a beautiful family.

A week in a peek…

Happy Monday, my friends.

Sunday Sermon and Some Sirens

19 Aug

Sometimes the Gospel reading is right on target. I think God has come to bring fire to the earth, and He started in Texas.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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It was already in the 90’s this morning, with a heat advisory for the day. I was able to greet and hug a lot of friends before Mass. I had to laugh when the Gospel mentioned bringing fire to the earth. It was quite appropriate for the recent weather.

Gospel, Luke 12:49-53

49 ‘I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!

My take on it… the word fire may refer to a different kind of flame. Jesus came to ignite us with his teachings, that He might light up the world with love. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could light up the world with the glow of love, harmony, and peace. Let’s work on that,

After Mass, Helene and I stopped at McDonald’s to chat and catch up on her trip to Maine and Canada and my trip to California. Then, I stopped at the store to pick up some last minute items for my dinner that I planned for my friends at Fire Station 9. I got the OK from the Captain last week to come by around 5 or 5:30.

As soon as I got home, I started baking my fruit upside cake, started the pasta sauce with Italian sausage, boiling the mostaccoli pasta, making the garlic bread, and preparing the salad.

Every thing was piping hot and ready to go. As I loaded up the back of my car at 5, wouldn’t you know it, I heard the sirens blaring. The station is just a few blocks away. I drove over there, called on the outside phone, and of course, the station was empty and all were gone on a call. They knew I was coming because I stopped after church to remind them that I’d be there around 5. So, I left a note taped onto the big glass window in the entry hall. It just said to call me when they get back. But, they may not see the note, so I’ll mosey over there in a minute and see if they’re back. Here I go…

I’m back. The guys were back at the station, and when I picked up the phone, I said, “Hi, it’s Miss Toni, You didn’t call me!” I was just teasing, but the young man said, “We just got back and we had some injuries.” Oops! He didn’t need to explain. They sent someone out to help me with my bags and bins. A few of them were already sitting at the table eating something. It was after 7 and they were probably starving.

I lined up the still warm foil covered containers, and cake, and ice cream and salad and garlic bread on the counter, and explained what everything was. Two kinds of mostaccioli, one vegetarian and one with sausage. There’s enough for a couple of shifts, and they said that they were still hungry and would put a good dent in the meal. They really appreciated the effort and home cooking.

I always enjoy baking and cooking for these guys. They are part of my family. We aren’t related by blood, but they certainly would, and do, put their lives on the line every day for us. That’s what family is about.

Speaking of family, I got to FaceTime with Belle, and Sophie and Joe and Lindsay and Nana today. I had a nice chat with my sister, too. I am blessed to have such a great family and great friends.

Happy Sunday my friends.

Saturday:) Strangers On A Plane

18 Aug

“When strangers start acting like neighbors… communities are reinvigorated.”

~Ralph Nader

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I finally had a lazy uneventful day. It’s too hot to go for a long walk, and no one called to invite me on an adventure. How lovely.

Today, I wanted to tell you about a lovely lady I met on the plane when I was returning home from California last week. If you’ve done some traveling, I’m sure you know that cramped uncomfortable feeling of sitting elbow to elbow on a jam-packed airplane. It’s a giant sardine can in the sky. The only redeeming grace is meeting interesting people along the way.

I have a tendency to talk to strangers, but I also have a keen sense of who is approachable and who I should avoid. I strongly believe that people give off an electrical energy that can be sensed if you just pay attention. A slight smile and friendly body language are other indicators. I’ve been fortunate to meet the most interesting people when I travel,

My new friend Judith and I started our conversation with a few pleasantries. By the time the coffee/beverage cart came around, we were sharing family photos and funny stories. I showed her pictures of my artwork and of course, my grand-daughters. She has identical twin daughters and a wonderful husband.

Judith was traveling to Dallas with her husband, but he was up in business class and she was way in the back with me in “low class.” We laughed about that. He was speaking at a conference on business with his ticket provided, and she wanted to tag along and see Dallas and had to buy her own ticket. He walked back later and apologized, saying that he was going to come back and switch seats with me, but he had fallen asleep. I told him that I was happy that he fell asleep because I got the chance to spend time with his charming wife. His name is Tony…HA! That was easy to remember.

I also shared several baking tips with my new friend. The next day, when she texted me from her hotel, she reiterated the tips I gave her on using mini marshmallows in brownies, aluminum foil at the bottom of upside down cake, and putting fresh bread slices on top of day old brownies to keep moist. I was honored that she remembered. She also sent me a lovely picture of her family.

The world is filled with beautiful people, you just have to take a little time to say hello and meet them. You never know, you just might make a new friend.