Tag Archives: travel

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


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.

Tuesday:) Toni’s Taking Off

31 Jan

“Airports are a great place to meet new people, have a gourmet meal, go shopping, and sometimes, even get on a plane and go somewhere.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


I’m not a big fan of traveling. I think it’s more about the preparations and anxiety before the trip that make me nervous, But, I’m fortunate that I have friends and family that take me to and from the airport. Karen and Brad drove me to the airport this morning, arriving several hours before my flight. This gives me plenty of time to relax, get something to eat, people watch, and talk to strangers. My son was going to pick me up.

Here’s a cool thing. You may or may not know my thing with lucky pennies. Well, when I was dropped off at Terminal E6, I stepped out of the car, and there, right beneath my feet was a shiny lucky penny.

When I went to the kiosk to check in, it said I had to speak to a United representative. A very helpful gentleman waved me to the counter and took my information and printed out a boarding pass. Then, the security line was so quick, I couldn’t believe it. This gave me plenty of time for a gourmet meal.

Chick Filet in a paper bag. It doesn’t get get more gourmet than that.

I still had a couple of hours to kill, so I went over to the information desk. The nice gentleman asked, “Can I help you with something?” I just told him that I had a few hours to kill so I thought I’d chat with him.

This is Ron, a volunteer. He used to be a school counselor, so when he retired, he wanted to help people. He said his wife teaches fourth grade, and hasn’t retired yet. We had a nice chat. I waved to him later when I passed by after I sat at the wrong gate for about an hour. Hmm? I really didn’t want to go to Houston. I’m glad I noticed that the board never changed to say Chicago.

The plane was packed, but I was fortunate enough to get the very furthest seat at the very back of the plane. So, there no one was behind me. I got to lean against the window and close my eyes. My seat mate was a pilot, so I felt confident. If our pilot fell asleep up front, we had a back up in the back. Also, I didn’t have to fight the mob de-planing because I was the very last soul in the back.

Oh, then it was very exciting when the beverage and snack cart came by. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to eat again. I was so full from the 16 mini pretzels and half of a cup of orange juice.

It was a good flight, and we even touched down about fifteen minutes earlier than expected.

Travel doesn’t have to be traumatic. But, if it is, make a few new friends, take some pictures, and savor the moments.

Thursday:) There Are No Strangers, There Are Only New Friends

29 Dec

“I meet people and they become chapters in my stories.”

Avijeet Das


Meet my new friend, Gustavo Bastidas. Gustavo sat next to me on my flight from Chicago.

I was supposed to sit in 15B on this tiny American flight, the kind with two tiny seats on one side and one on the other. I tried to get my backpack in the overhead compartment. Not a suitcase, just a backpack. It didn’t fit, and I managed to bump my head about twenty times trying to do so. In the meantime, I was in the aisle seat of two when a couple came by. The husband had the window next to me and the wife in the row behind me. While I was still struggling to figure out what to do with my backpack, I offered my aisle seat to the wife so they could sit together.

I scrunched into the row behind me, and decided to just scoot to the window seat and give my future seat mate the aisle. Heck, seat 16 was near the back anyway, I think only 18 rows. 3X18=54. The plane only held 54. I squeezed my smaller bag in the overhead and shoved my backpack under my seat. Ok, it fit, but no place for my feet. My feet rested on the pack and half in my chest. Ah, comfort on American Eagle! Not!

A young man came down the aisle and sat next to me. He offered to crawl over into the window seat, but I said I was fine. We buckled up and the plane was taxiing within a few minutes. The young man closed his eyes and I leaned against the window and tried to snooze. We didn’t talk.

It was just under a two hour flight. About an hour and a half later, I noticed my neighbor was drawing in a sketch book. I asked to look at his drawings. He was happy to show me the pen and ink characters, calligraphy and graphic designs. When we started talking, I noticed a slight accent and asked where he was from. Gustavo was originally from Venezuela.

Well, you know me. We shared pictures, and stories of families, friends, and artwork. I showed him some pictures of my hand-painted glassware, ornaments, and paintings. I even practiced some of my rusty Spanish with him. Then, of course, I had to take a selfie and ask if we could be Facebook friends.

Gustavo lives in Michigan, with a degree in commercial design, very talented and creative, and is looking for work. If you have any prospects, let me know.

I meet the nicest people at the airport or on the plane. I’m glad I offered my seat to the young separated couple. Look forward to keeping in touch.

Montage Monday:) A Week in Three Peeks

30 May

“What I tell you three times is true.” ― Lewis Carroll


Normally my Momday montage consists of a quick week in a peek, but this week it will take theee peeks to even begin to catch a glimpse of my week of travels through New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. 36 photos, not even a tenth of the photos I took. It was hard to decide which to share…

Saturday:) Sitting Still In Stillwater, a Sunset, and Something Yummy to Drink

28 May

“In an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent as sitting still.”

~Pick Iyer


The final leg of the journey, with about twelve hours of driving from Alamosa, Colorado to Stillwater, Oklahoma. A few stops along the way to take more pictures.

Capulin Volcano National Monument.

A view from the top. 

A quick stop in Trinidad…because, well, because that’s Mom’s name. Had to get a picture or two.

Views and vistas.

A gorgeous sunset.

Now, a couple of days in Stillwater to unwind, put my feet up, and look at my hundreds of wonderful photos before heading home.

CHEERS!!!! A long awaited Black Russian with a twist…Dulce de Leche ice cream instead of chocolate. Yum!

Wednesday:) Welcome Home Miss Toni

12 Jan

“Home is where you go to find solace from the ever changing chaos, to find love within the confines of a heartless world, and to be reminded that no matter how far you wander, there will always be something waiting when you return.” 

― Kendal Rob


I spent a spectacular month, four fabulous weeks, with my friends and family back home in Chicago. My sister got up early and gave me a ride to the airport. Today, I traveled back home to Texas, and my marvelous McKinney. But, not before a few airport adventures. I hate to travel, but I enjoy people watching and meeting people at the airport. 

OK, I’ll tell you about my airport adventures, while they are still fresh in my head. I was TSA approved for some unknown reason, so no long line and no taking off shoes for me. Cool! But, when my bag went through the scanner, I was called aside and they said they had to go through my bag. We went to the back counter and the uniformed TSA guy first asked all the usual, “Do you have anything sharp, weapons, etc?” Then he proceeded to take EVERYTHING out of my suitcase, one item at a time. I foolishly had dirty clothes just laying on top of a plastic bag instead of inside, so it could lay flat to fit better. So, as my dirty underwear and socks and stuff were being unpacked and strewn about, I asked if he could tell me what they saw that flagged a search. He said something hard like a book or magazine that was suspicious in size. Ah, I figured it was the Grandma picture frame Lin gave me for Christmas. He took a look at it, but kept looking. He said there was something else. While he carefully took out every darn item, one by one, I told him about my trip and the grandbaby, and being a new first time grandma, etc. Then he found what he was looking for. He said, “Ah, here it is.” The bulky thing was the big folder from Walgreens with my nearly 100 baby photos. 

I said, “Seeing as it’s not too busy, do you want to look at my cute grandbaby?” So he glanced at a few photos and said she was cute. I told him to show the TSA  guy next to him. So, he showed the guy and said, she’s a new grandma. Then, he asked how the baby was doing. I said a little fussy at night, but she’s doing well. He told me about some kind of water that he and his wife used for his son when he was colicky, I forgot the name. I just laughed to myself because I figured since he was using up my precious time, I’d use up some of his and show off the baby at the same time. He did say he was sorry for the inconvenience, and I told him that I was glad that they were being careful. He said he could repack my bag or I could do it myself. And yes, every single item was on the counter, underwear, socks, church bulletins, paint brushes and all. I chose to repack myself.

I was in a good mood, so it didn’t bother me. All was going smoothly, and traffic was great getting to the airport, so I was counting my blessings. K4 wasn’t too far away, so I went over to the food court and got some McDonald’s. My APP had a buy one get one sausage biscuit, so I got that and an orange juice. I was scouting out a place to sit, and as is my airport tradition, I looked for someone interesting to sit with.

 I saw a grey haired gentleman sitting alone in a curved booth, and asked if I could join him. I’ll just summarize…Terry was delayed 2 1/2 hours. He lives in Georgia but was flying to St. Louis to pick up a car. He is retired and works occasionally for Auto Nation who hires independent people to pick up cars and drive them to their destination when a buyer want ps a new car that’s on a lot somewhere else asap. I thought that was interesting. He does a lot of traveling and a lot of driving. We just talked about fifteen minutes or so before he had to leave. He congratulated me on being a grandma and said have a safe trip.

By now, I was done with my first biscuit when a smiling middle-aged lady asked if she could sit down. Cool. People usually don’t approach me, I’m the goofy one. It was a pleasant surprise. She sat down and we did our introductions. Now, to make a long story even longer, Diane is from Minnesota, coming home from a trip to Puerto Rico that her son and fiancé had invited her on. It was to meet the future in-laws. She said it’s beautiful there. I told her that I’d never thought of visiting PR, but maybe should reconsider. Well, the more we talked and exchanged pleasantries, we shared more family and personal information. A lot of personal information was shared. After about an hour of laughing and a little crying, we exchanged names, email addresses, and hugged before saying goodbye, both rushing off to our different gates. My plane was already boarding.

My flight back to DFW was perfect and on time. Lynne was there to pick me up like clock work. How often can a traveler say that the entire journey was smooth as silk? When I stepped outside in my big bulky winter coat, it was 75 degrees and sunny. I threw off my coat and stretched my arms out toward the sunny sky and said, “Welocme to Texas Miss Toni!.”  Lynne and I stopped for a bite to eat on the way home. Good to be home.
I have the greatest friends here in McKinney, but I’ll miss my family and friends back home in Chicago. TORN BETWEEN TWO HOMES!

Sing a Song of Sunday: Leaving on a Jet Plane

27 Jan

“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan
I hate to travel! If you know me or have read my blog, you know this. Today, I bade a final farewell to the frigid Chicago temps and headed back to temperate Texas. (Did I just say, bade farewell? Is that even a word.)

My sister was kind enough to brave the cold to take me to the madhouse that is O’Hare Airport. We left three hours before the flight, just in case. No traffic on Sunday, so we got there quickly. There was no long line at security, I was sent through that short, don’t take off your shoes line, and I walked over to F14. Easy-peasy! With plenty of time to spare, I did a little people watching, did a some writing, and checked my email. Smooth!

With about forty-five minutes to go, I decided to take a little stroll. Boy, am I glad I did. I went over to that white board that had the flight info on it. Cleaveland? I wasn’t going to Cleaveland. Yikes! I scurried down the corridor to the arrival/departure board. The Dallas flight was changed to E2. Why didn’t they tell me. Don’t they know I hate to travel, much less a change in my travel plans? I hate change! So much for smooth. (It wasn’t that bad.)

We started boarding a few minutes later. I was paranoid that my cell phone boarding pass scanner thingy wasn’t going to work and they would send me to security or Siberia or something. It worked fine. I was even able to shove my luggage in the overhead compartment without whacking anyone in the head. All was well, so I decided that this was the perfect time to break into song. Not really. But, I did Google the perfect song that would capture the moment. I’m into capturing the moment.

Leaving the friendly frozen confines of Chicago.

Welcome to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.
My friends Karen and Lynne picked me up at the airport, and were waiting for me at baggage claim. We stopped at On the Boarder for dinner, and because I wasn’t driving, I had a tall frosty margarita. Woo-hoo! I am so grateful for family and friends who are always there to ease my travel traumas.

I’m celebrating the journey, pot holes and all. Life is good!