A daily record of gratitude; from quilting to photography to a mix of technology, books, movies and the musings of life!

Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!

Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two (or paragraph or two) about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2019. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Sophie Nolan - 11/23/1931 to 7/9/2020

A depression baby (youngest of five) born to immigrant parents from Poland, Zosia Borkowski made her way through life in Cleveland, Ohio, (not always easy) as best as she could under whatever circumstances were thrown at her. She gave a valiant fight through dementia for the past 12 years +, and then six days ago, tested positive for COVID-19; not a good combination to have for anyone. 

Now, here is where the "rubber meets the road." Due to my mom being transferred from the nursing home where she spent the last 9 years on that long road of decline with dementia, and in lockdown (no visitors...AT. ALL), she was transferred to another nursing home with an entire COVID unit, and once again, NO VISITORS allowed unless a "thousand" page waiver was signed...ahem. Since that was not going to happen, we had to share our concerns (maybe construed as begging?) with the nursing staff (very accepting, thankfully) on holding her hand and whispering in her eye how much we love her throughout her very short time there. 

The heartbreaking thing was that due to all of the above, and the state of the entire world, at the very end of our loved one's life, we could not be there with her for us to hold her hand and whisper a prayer of God's mercy in her ear. I must add, though, once my/our mom passed peacefully, with a great nurse at her side, she called us immediately, and through tears, told us she was sorry. I replied back with sincere gratitude and that she was a "stand in" daughter for all three of us and our entire family. The poignant moment was never lost on her or any of us.

At 88.5 years old, Sophie was still tough as nails and her strength was beyond measure (she once lifted a car to save one of her nephews life back in the day); a Girl Scout co-leader, and a friend to many.

She loved her family and loved to cook big Polish dinners, especially during the holidays. She was a bowler (until she fell down a step and shattered her elbow); an excellent crocheter (she did not wing her stitches like me!), loved reciting the rosary and going to Church.

Living a long life as she did, despite her medical challenges, afforded to see her three daughters grow up and marry, and truly loved being a grandma to seven grandchildren (six boys and one girl).

She had a big heart and even kept a positive attitude in assisted living, and then in a nursing home, which was not easy feat.

Sophie/Mom/Grandma/Auntie will be missed dearly by many, but her legacy and that Polish strength that served her well her entire life will live on in her daughters and grandchildren. God Bless you, Mom. RIP



Photos from the family - below from circa 1973

Sophie and Kimberly

Grandma with Nate, Justin, Brandon and Kimberly

Getting the Wendy's fix!

Terri/me and Mom

Olivia and Grandma in Crofton, MD

Ryan, me, Grandma and Olivia

Mom and her daughters; Kimberly, Annette, and me

Sophie and baby sister, Annette

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Ryan's Good Sinai Appointment with Dr. Shad!

Today was our first time back to a hospital clinic visit (scheduled) after several telehealth calls (since earlier this year), and Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, is kickin' it! They were so efficient in how patients (and a loved one) enter the hospital (with masks), as well as a few health questions and taking our temperatures - that it all felt just right. We then walked down a few hallways and entered the Hem/Onc clinic and were quickly ushered into a sparkling clean exam room that was ready for Ryan. 

Labs were drawn, medication rundown completed, and Dr. Shad performed a very thorough physical exam that we were on our way with a good report in no time. Efficient and quick!

We never take these days or these medical appointments for granted. We are very thankful to all the medical staff in staying the course, keeping their patients in good standing, and all the while with a smile and upbeat attitude they all seem to muster day in and day out! Thank you ALL!!!



Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Summer Lap Swimmers

I've never met a pool that I didn't want to swim laps in, especially on hot summer mornings. Thankfully, our pool has early morning lap swimming times (first session starts at 8am - and I am in that first session), but next week, they are offering 7:00am swims! I'm not sure about that time, but it will be good for some of our members I'm sure. These sessions are 30 minutes long to maximize the membership in taking advantage of the lap lanes, and the "regulations" on how many can show up at each session. So far I am pleased how everything is working with the sign ups, and even more pleased with jumping into the water, starting down a lane (freestyle) and thoroughly enjoying the water washing over my shoulders with each stroke I take!

BSoleille! The bright side of being a summer lap swimmer...


Monday, July 6, 2020


My "kid" sister, Kimberly, is also a quilter, and a very good one at that! She certainly has her own style and loves the soft colors and does beautiful piecing (meaning her sewing skills are excellent and her points match - but we have NO Quilt Police - ever!) Sew, while here on the holiday weekend, Kimberly brought this quilt top for me to Long Arm quilt it, and I did! It turned out awesome, and I even put on the binding for her to she could go home with a completed quilt for her enjoyment! How's that for a holiday treat?

BSoleille! The bright side of "Cheerio!"


Sunday, July 5, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with James Ford Rhodes Class of 1980 All American David Gentile!

Growing up in the midwest, specifically, Cleveland, Ohio, where folks here love their hometown, their sports teams, and living the good life on Lake Erie, it is a beautiful thing. A huge fan of Cleveland and all its offerings is an All American "kid" who grew up less than a mile from me (and was my first crush in the 2nd grade); David (Dave) Gentile. By the time we were teenagers and runners on the cross-country and track teams in high school, we did a lot of fun and goofy stuff, but looking back, it was always "clean fun." That "clean fun" comprised of riding bikes, playing a lot of tennis with the NJTL Program (National Junior Tennis League); going to all the summer movies (and ice cream afterwards at Baskin-Robbins) hanging out at each other's homes (along with his younger sister, Ann); and running lots of miles. 

Once we both got our driver's licenses at age 16 (learning to drive in the Blizzard of 1977), our world exponentially increased and we traveled (with a large group) - on day trips all over Northeast Ohio (and many concerts at Blossom Music Center as "lawn seats" were $5 a concert - and thankfully, we enjoyed seeing all the big names in rock and roll as they came through the venue - sometimes up to three concerts in one week!) Talking with Dave recently, I told him that he was the brother I never had and he lived up to the title superbly!

Dave was born in Cleveland to Italian parents who coincidentally grew up in an orphanage; Louis (passed away in 2013) and Thelma (passed away in 2018). He also has two siblings, an older brother, Louie (also a Rhodes Grad who is married and has two children) and younger sister, by three years, Ann Kukucka (married with three children, and now, three grandchildren!). It was a busy and fun childhood growing up in Old Brooklyn where Dave attended the same schools as me and his parents and siblings enjoyed big Italian meals with homemade pizzas and the most awesome homemade chocolate chip cookies in town.

Dave also reminded me that once we hit James Ford Rhodes High School, he became involved in the "Funlovers Club," started by a few upperclassmen to do fun and crazy things together (most likely trying to get the girls attention) by rolling people's houses (with toilet paper), delivering flowers to said girls, going on huge summer picnics in the MetroParks and planning events to have big fun. By the time Dave graduated in 1980, he made great friends and decided to continue his education at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio.

And as the running craze continued throughout the 1970's and 1980's, Dave continued to run his way onto the cross-country and track teams at BW. Dave admitted that his 'guilty pleasure' is a long run, so it made perfect sense that he took that all those miles, and being in great running shape, to parlay his team to do well and excel throughout their conference meets all four years he was on the team. Ultimately, Dave continues to run - 12 miles a day (rarely takes a day off), and has run 15 marathons with a best time of 2:24 (that's 5:30 per mile pace). While home on summer breaks, we signed up (with Ann too) and ran many road races together throughout NE Ohio and loved every minute of it, typically winning our age groups at most races.

Although college running was a lot of fun for Dave, he also continued to excel in the classroom, and the reason we go to college - to get a great education, right? Dave majored in Business Management with a concentration in Marketing, graduating in 1984 with honors. 

He then began his illustrious career, mostly in medical devices (dental), commonly known as biologistics in dental implants within a couple of years after graduating. But before I go into more detail on Dave's career path,  the job market was scarce in 1984, so Dave began working in retail (Chess King) to make ends meet (and also worked there as an intern while in college and on breaks). By 1986, with few interviews in what he'd like to do (sell medical devices/pharmaceuticals), nothing was panning out, at least not yet). So, by divine intervention in looking back, Dave decided to enter the Higbee Company Store Management Training Program, where lo and behold, met the love of his life, Beth, who was in the same company's Buyer Training Program. 

Interestingly, this blue loving guy was only in the program for one month because one of the companies he was interviewing for had an opening and Dave was hired. In the meantime, Beth had moved from Springfield, Ohio, to Cleveland with Higbee's, was was only there a month when a mutual friend introduced them because she wanted to know more about her new city, and their mutual friend "knew a guy" who was "Mr. Cleveland" and could show her the sights and sounds of her new city. Love blossomed after a whirlwind romance ensued and they married on June 10, 1989, in Springfield, Ohio. 

Dave and Beth then moved around quite a bit (Cleveland/Chicago/Columbus) as Dave was building his career in dental implant companies, becoming the CEO of two companies and a COO of one company. 

They also began building their awesome family of four children; Ian, born in 1990 - graduated from BGSU and has a Masters from Ball State, and works as an applied behavior analyst; Gabby, born in 1993 - graduated from Kent State and works as an account manager for a Cleveland Ad Agency; Rebecca, born in 1996 (in Chicago) - graduated from John Carroll University and currently earning her Masters Degree at Cleveland State University in Non-Profit Administration, and Sophia, born in 2000 - a sophomore at Xavier University in their Honors Program and according to Dave, affectionately stated that she will be next "RBG or Ruth Bader Ginsburg." 

For the last 15 years, they've been residing in a Cleveland suburb with Dave still working in the dental implant industry and Beth going back to work once the kids were grown as a dental implant coordinator for a couple of oral surgery practices in their local area. They both love their work, their home and enjoy their children fiercely. Dave revealed that having his kids was the best gift(s) he ever received, and that  his family makes him brave. They also make him tick with pride that only a father can understand. He then admitted that he loves surprising his whole family with gifts and trinkets and even trips when possible. 

When I asked him what his favorite possession is, he rattled off very quickly it is his St. Christopher medal that helps keep travelers safe (and Dave did a lot of traveling on his job through the years). He'd like to keep the good karma of his medal with a bucket list trip to Rome, Italy, preferably with his entire family. I do hope the world will open up once again for that kind of travel, and Dave and Beth can get in that trip!

As I wrap up this post, it was certainly a pleasure for me to catch up with "my brother," and have to confess that we giggled and laughed for the first 20 minutes of our "interview." What I couldn't remember, Dave did, and visa versa. I'm so proud of him and his family, and can't believe 40 years melted away as we spoke, 'er, laughed.

And lastly, I would like to share one funny story that really had us laughing; the ride to Blossom Music Center in my Dad's 1973 Maxi-blue Gremlin for a summer rock and roll concert, probably the summer of 1978. I don't believe we were late in going, but without a GPS/iphones/Alexa/Suri/or a Tom-Tom for directions, we either had to use a map or wing it (Blossom was about 26 miles from where we lived). While driving, I realized very quickly I missed a key exit, but told the folks in the car not to worry as I proceeded to cross the barriers from one interstate to the other (I480 to I77). Do you know what the grassy areas have between those highways? They have big concrete "boulders" that you cannot see to the naked eye - especially with all that green grass. Only when you have a Gremlin sitting on top of one do you know. After we settled down from laughing so hard, we all got out of the car and rocked it back and forth until it "fell" frontwards and I was able to drive out and get onto the correct highway...and my Dad never knew...(they don't call me Wild Ter for nothin').

BSoleille! The bright side of shining the spotlight and #CelebratingOthers with David Gentile!


Photos provided by Dave:

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Maryland Crabs on the Fourth!

Those who live in Maryland, visiting or are familiar with Maryland Crabs certainly know the delicacy that they are, and, of course, loved by many. They are especially great on a hot day, not only enjoy cracking them open to "find" the meat, but washing everything down with a tall glass of iced tea or an ice cold beer. I don't think there is anything like it around (though I do love Lake Erie perch, but no need to crack anything to get to the 'meat').

BSoleille! The bright side of eating crabs, Maryland style (brown paper for table cloth and plenty of old bay and butter to go with)! Also, a couple rounds of corn hole is also a crowd pleaser for sure!


Brandon and Bill

Jerry and Justin

Friday, July 3, 2020

Happy July 4th Weekend 2020

A family visit from my sister Kimberly and family was just the ticket to kick off this holiday weekend despite COVID (we are all healthy). Sew...while the cousins slept in, the rest of us hit the parkway early this morning (high temps of of over 100 degrees later in the day) and glad we did to get in a quick 4 miler and the chance to eat a wee bit more than we would otherwise with all the "exercise."

So cheers to safe get togethers, grilled burgers and chicken and delicious sides (watermelon and strawberries) and anything else to make a great picnic!

BSoleille! The bright side of July 4th Weekend celebrations!


Kimberly and Jerry; Terri and Bill

The cousins with Jerry and Bill