Tag Archives: Friends

Tuesday:) Toni’s Tune for the Day

4 Dec

“I think you travel to search and you come back home to find yourself there.”

― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I couldn’t decide bet ween this song or “On the Road Again.”

But, here I am, traveling back home again. Yesterday, I was visiting with friends who asked if I was all packed. I just laughed. People who know me would laugh too. I’m a last minute procrastinator. I finally went to bed about 3 am and my alarm set for 7 am. I packed this morning around 8am, seeing as Helene wasn’t picking me up till 9:30 for the airport. Yep, I’m a procrastinator.

Traffic was good and we arrived at DFW in less than an hour. I went to the kiosk and printed out my boarding pass even though I had it on my phone. I strongly believe you can never be too prepared. Then, here’s a really cool thing. I looked around to see where the line for security was, and I found the long maze of silver posts that wound round and round. As I started my maze adventure, I set my suitcase down a second to fumble in my purse for my driver’s license, and… tada… there on the ground next to my bag was a shiny lucky penny.

What are the chances? Someone sending me a sign? I think so!

Every leg of the trip went smoothly. When I finally got to my seat way in the back, as I was boarding group 9, the overhead bins were pretty full. A nice attendant found a spot for my bag near the back. While I sat in the jammed packed plane, I couldn’t help but smile, thinking about the nice lady I met on my flight back to Dallas from LA a couple of months ago. We became fast friends and exchanged phone numbers, even though she lives in California. So, you know what I did. I texted Judith out of the blue and told her I was on a plane and was thinking of her. She texted back, wishing me safe travels and happy birthday wishes for the granddaughters. I sent her this photo.

When we were up in the air, my eyes were getting heavy and I could barely keep them open, having less than four hours of sleep. So, I decided to see what movies were playing. I looked at the choices for comedy and found one of my favorites, “Ferris Buehler’s Day off.” Plus, it takes place in Chicago, AND my adorable daughter-in-law, Lindsay, had a brief screen appearance from when she was a little girl. That made me smile, and I watched the entire movie without falling asleep, even without any sound. I’ve seen it a zillion times.

There’s my Lindsay! Now, she’s a mommy with two little girls of her own.

Well, just day one of my own adventures, with many more to come. I hope you have some grand fun adventures this holiday season.

Montage Monday:) A Week In A Peek

3 Dec

“Happiness is a matter of one’s most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.”

~Iris Murdoch

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I read this quote and have no idea what it means, but it sounded very profound.

Here’s a week in a peek…

Sunday Sermon and Some Special Friends

2 Dec

“A mirror cannot reflect your spirit as well as the eye of a friend.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis

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A very chilly morning. My personal Google Assistant told me it was 42 degrees, but with the wind chill, it feels like 34. Normally, I would spurt out some expletive, but today I said, “All right. I get to wear my sock monkey hat today.”

From my vantage point, I get to see when the bus from the Chateau rounds the corner, then I can scoot through the long hallway and run over to the side door and greet the bus as the lovely ladies get off the bus. They all get a big hug, and I get the biggest smiles.

Today’s Gospel was from Matthew, telling us that just like in the days of Noah, we will not know when the Son of Man comes. There will be no warning.

44 Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

My take on it… Gosh, nobody really knows when their last day will be, or even when the end of the world will be, or even if there is a heaven or hell. So what? Just do the best you can, be the best you can. If you are happy with yourself and happy with your life, that’s all that matters.

After Mass, Helene and I held the doors for the exiting congregation. Those doors are huge and heavy, and there are so many elderly folks and families with babies. So, it is really appreciated. See! Little things like that are what makes you smile inside. We stopped at McDonald’s afterwards for hot chocolate and tea, then over to the grocery store. I needed to get some fixin’s for the dinner I was preparing. It was so cold, I decided potato soup and salad would be perfect.

While the soup was simmering, I got to FaceTime with the granddaughters. They are just so cute. The baby was busy biting her toes, and the three year old was eating a waffle and working with some play dough.

At 6 o’clock, the TOTS were coming over for our annual Christmas dinner and gift exchange. (TOTS- Table Of Talent Sisters.) They wanted to get together before I leave for Chicago. I am so lucky that they agree to come to my house because I really don’t have any family here to celebrate holidays with. So, when they come to visit, my house feels like a home.

I spent several hours making the potato soup with all kinds of vegetables and even a pound of sautéed bacon and onions. Combined with a big salad and Snicker peanut butter pie for dessert, it was the perfect dinner. There was plenty for leftovers and doggie bags.

We sat and talked and ate and talked and laughed and exchanged beautiful gifts. These are the girls who have seen me through some pretty tough times, and I know they’ll always be around, through good times and bad. True friends. (True friends stay and wash all the dishes and clean up even when told not to.)

As the Gospel said, you never know when your last day will be, but I can’t help but think, isn’t it wonderful to have a day like today?

Some Saturday Highlights and Adventures

1 Dec

“Some adventures require nothing more than a willing heart and the ability to trip over the cracks in the world.”

― Seanan McGuire

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Well, I didn’t do any Black Friday shopping yesterday, but I ventured out today. Big mistake! My first stop was Michael’s Craft Store, where I bought way too many things just because they were on sale. Plus, there was an additional 25% off. That’s just too tempting. Crafters have no will power. I wasn’t the only powerless person. The line to check out was a mile long.

My next stop was Joanne Fabrics, again with the sale and coupons. I was stronger this time and only bought a twin pack of white paint pens. I got out of there under $5. A Christmas miracle.

Harbor Freight was right around the corner and on my way to Olive Garden, where I was meeting Zelda for lunch at 12:30. I love Harbor Freight. They have the coolest tools and stuff that I have no idea what it’s for. PLUS! Of course, they had a sale and coupons.

I bought an engraving pen, a cool LED cordless light switch, a couple of headlamps, and 2 awesome emergency lights. (I had a coupon and the lights were free.)

I met Zelda for lunch and I told her about my bargains at Harbor Freight. She said she’d never been to one, so off we went after lunch. She found several things that she couldn’t live without either. She also got a free light.

It turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon after a real yucky drizzly morning. My friend Pat texted a bunch of friends and planned an impromptu dinner or ice cream gathering at Braum’s at 5:30. I had enough time to walk the dog and run back out be meet the gals. I had a large yogurt twist cone. Yum!

I have the bestest friends. I know that’s not grammatically correct, but it is the superlative of best, and they are the bestest.

Then, to make a good day even better, it looks like Notre Dame had a great game today. How can they lose? They have the cutest cheerleaders.

Happy Saturday, my friends.

Friday:) Sharing and Caring and My Firefighters

30 Nov

“For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.”

― Virginia Woolf

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Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I am am very thankful for the wonderful meal I shared with my friends the Murphy’s. I am also thankful that I didn’t bring home any leftovers that were so kindly offered. I did a lot of baking, so I had no room in my fridge or my tummy.

I have to admit that this batch of brownies I made were probably my best ever. Not only did I use mini marshmallows and chopped up Mars Candy Bars, but I also chopped up several dark chocolate gourmet chocolate bars that I sprinkled on the top. Can you believe that I didn’t get a chance to eat them? My friends always give me chocolate gifts.

The brownies were going over to Station 9 because they got a Snicker Peanut Butter pie last week. Station 5 was getting a Snicker pie. Both stations were receiving a hand painted Christmas ornament for their tree.

Station 9 has only been around for a couple of years, and they just so happen to be less than a mile from my house, so they get a lot of Miss Toni visits.

Fire Station 5 was the first station I started visiting with my baked treats back in 2004 when I first moved to Texas. I don’t get there as often as station 9 since I moved, but I absolutely had to give them one of my special hand painted ornaments for their tree. It’s a tradition. They should have about 15 of them by now. I remember running into a few Station 5 fire fighters last year at the grocery store, and one young man said, “You’re the Christmas ornament lady.” What a nice compliment.

Well, there were a few brownies left over, so I know the mailman always appreciates a surprise.

“For pleasure has no relish unless we share it.”

― Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

Oh, I almost forgot it was Friday… Thanksgiving always confuses my internal calendar.

I can’t forget Black Russian Friday… my personal Friday tradition.

Cheers, Happy Friday, my friends!

Thankful Thursday:) Happy Thanksgiving

29 Nov

Neal A. Maxwell

“We should certainly count our blessings, but we should also make our blessings count.”

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When I woke up this morning, I couldn’t help but think that Thanksgiving isn’t just a day on the calendar. Thanksgiving is a way of life, and I am thankful for my many blessings, my beautiful family and my wonderful friends.

I received an early morning phone call from my friend Mandy who lives in California. She was in town visiting with family, and she asked if she and her husband Tim could stop by for a visit. Well, I was delighted. I haven’t seen her in a couple of years or more. What a wonderful surprise. I jumped out of bed and frantically started baking a batch of brownies and cleaning up the kitchen. I was so excited, I forgot to take a selfie of us …that’s not like me. So, I stole a photo from her Facebook page. So good to see you Mandy and Tim. Thank you for the visit.

After their lovely visit, I needed to walk the dog and gather up some last minute things. I called my sister Jo Ann, to wish her a happy birthday. Her birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving this year. When she answered the phone, I started to sing, “Las Mañanitas” in my very poor Spanish. (That’s the traditional Mexican birthday song.) She laughed, but appreciated the effort.

Then, I gathered up my brownies and Snicker peanut butter pie to take over to the Sherri and Michael’s. Here’s the cool story about the Murphy’s. When I opened my Facebook page this morning, there was a photo from 2013 of the fireplace at my old house, and a little blurb about what I was thankful for. The actual truth was, I was a total mess that year. It was my first Thanksgiving alone in 60 years.

I was going through a traumatic divorce in 2013. I was alone, afraid, and devastated. I was still married, but living alone in that big house while it was for sale and on the market. My not so discreet husband had moved out, living in a brand new condo, and was busy making Thanksgiving dinner for his girlfriend, the waitress from his country club. Those were not good days, but I was still thankful. I was thankful for my family and friends. But, I was still a big mess.

I’ll never forget that year. My friend Sherri Murphy had invited me over for Thanksgiving because she new I was alone, but I politely declined, Thanksgiving, to me, meant family, love, laughing, great food, and making memories. I felt blindsided and broken. That Thursday morning, I looked at my Facebook page and there was a cheery picture of Sherri Murphy’s beautiful kitchen, all decorated with pumpkins and the beautiful table settings. She posted a picture of the name tags she was making for each plate, and she said, “And I have one here for my friend Toni. I hope she changes her mind and comes for dinner today.”

Well, I cried like a baby, then later called Sherri and asked her what time I should be there. That’s when I realized that I WAS part of a family. Family isn’t always about blood relatives. It’s about the people who love you. I do have a wonderful family, but they live far away. But, I am truly blessed because I also have my McKinney family. They are right here, and I know I’ll always be part of their family.

Six years later, here I am. Life is good and I can honestly say that I am happy. I’ve been invited to the Murphy’s every Thanksgiving, and several other friends have invited me over too. But, I’ll never forget that day in 2013, and that place setting that said “Toni” on it, and I know that I’ll always be part of the Murphy family. I love you guys!!!

Family means love, laughing, great food and making memories.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.

Wednesday:) What A Weird and Wacky Fun Day!

28 Nov

“Never underestimate the importance of having fun.”

~ Randy Pausch

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A cool morning, a nice walk, and some errands to run. I hadn’t been to Hobby Lobby in a long time. For an artist/crafter, that’s literally unheard of. But, I keep telling myself that my ” crap room” upstairs is probably stocked better that any craft store warehouse. But, I needed just a couple of things. I was SO proud of myself that I left the store spending less than $20. It was a Christmas miracle. But, I did have to take a selfie with an old friend. (No, I didn’t invite him home.)

The grocery store was my next stop. I needed more Cool Whip to make a couple more Snickers peanut butter pies. I had to stock up in case of an emergency call for pie.

Well, I was at it again. Last week was the first time I made this pie, now I’m hooked, addicted. I wonder if they have a support group…PBPA…Peanut Butter Pie Anonymous?

I don’t always lick the beaters when I’m baking, but when I do, you know I’m making peanut butter pie.

I no sooner had the yummy no-bake pies in the fridge, when it was time to leave to meet some friends at ZinZen Bistro. We were meeting our friend Gil from church, to celebrate and congratulate him on his upcoming wedding. He met a lovely lady and they are getting married next week. Unfortunately for us, they are going to live in New York. So, we are going miss our very fine and funny friend. (She’s not in the group photo. She’s in New York) We did get to FaceTime with her.

Wow! What a day! It’s almost 11pm and I haven’t eaten all day. I did lick the beaters, does that count?

Hey, you all (Y’ALL, as we say in the South) have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow. And remember, life is short. Eat the turkey and gravy and have a slice of pie.