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!

Monday, August 3, 2020

Pool at Sun Up and Pool at Sunset

I am so thankful that my pool is open this summer, albeit with a few changes due to COVID, plus social distancing and how many can be at/in the pool at the same time. We have sign-ups every week, and I think the whole program is going as well as can be expected, though no snack bar or parties that our community looks forward to every summer, but that's okay for the summer of 2020; there is frankly, no other choice.

The thrilling part for me yesterday (a hot one at that), was the early morning "adult float around." I think it was close to 80 degrees at 8:00am when I jumped in to float around (borrowed a floatie from the guard); the pool sparkling clean and very refreshing. The two hours quickly went by, and I was on to the next thing...tennis with the family. 

Later in the afternoon, I refereed two games of youth soccer, and it was wonderful to be back on the pitch since March, even in the heat of the day. I'm not sure how much soccer will be played this fall, but I was happy to get in two good games nonetheless.

By early evening, I appealed to my two guys to come with me to the pool for a "sundowner swim around" (my words/idea). They both surprisingly obliged! It was fun to splash around for a bit and cool off with the water so inviting and tranquil; especially as the sun was going down. 



Photos below at sunup and sunset...

Saturday, August 1, 2020

M&M Sew Charming's Virtual Class!

My friend Mary Nielsen, and her quilting friend, Marjorie Mulla, both quilters extraordinaires, started M&M Sew Charming to keep the glue going with their Florida quilting guild during COVID. They are like the Laurel and Hardy of the quilting world. Funny and articulate with a wealth of sewing and quilting knowledge between them, it behooves you, if you are a quilter, to tune into their antics, quilt talk (think a la Car Talk on NPR) plus tidbits, and yesterday, a virtual class through Facebook Live. They are also learning "on the job" of how to use FB Live and Zoom in conjunction to putting on a class for many to enjoy. These gals can go national with their schtick, and you can report back that you heard it here "first."

Click the link below to check them out:

This class was the catalyst I needed to get my creative juices flowing once again with something new and fun (think summer quilt!), sew my other projects with NeedleOnFull will fall back in line nicely. A huge shout out to Susie Stevenson for hosting me at her great big social distancing dining room table, working and cutting and sewing on our own fabrics and quilt. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a fresh summer quilt I'm naming: Ladybugs & Lemons! I've only finished (9) blocks; with (26) more to go; it will eventually be a nice sized quilt for sure...and I love the newspring background!


Friday, July 31, 2020

#CelebratingOther with James Ford Rhodes High School Class of 1980 Graduate: Jim Kolar!

It has been a wild couple of weeks for me, but I am thrilled to be "back in the saddle" and continue with my "CelebratingOthers" posts on Fridays. I reconnected with "neighbor," James (Jimmy/Jim) Kolar before our trip West and all that that entailed; and very happy to share once again how 40 years melted away while we caught up with each others lives most recently. 

Jim lived about 10 houses down from me (different street), but they were small houses, and therefore, small streets, so in effect, really close. But Jim stated he spent more time with the kids on the street behind his house that one neighbor actually installed a gate for Jim's easier passageway to that group of neighborhood kids (about a dozen or so boys.) How's that for a friendly neighborhood?

Like most kids growing up in Old Brooklyn, Jim was born in in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1962, to Mary (deceased in 2005) and Joseph Kolar (age 94 and still living in the same house Jim and his brother were raised in!) His older brother, Joe, was 10 years older than us and graduated from Rhodes in 1970, marrying his high school sweetheart, Linda. They have three children and reside in North Ridgeville. 
Though he revealed a great childhood, his brother likes to tease Jim that their parents had two "only children," due to the age difference, but, thankfully, there was plenty of love and affection to go around for the both of them! 

Jimmy reported he had a summer garden at Benjamin Franklin like a lot of kids in our neighborhood, and we both attended the same schools all the way through, sharing at least the second grade in the same class, and we suspected, other grades too (couldn't remember the other ones, though,)

By high school, Jimmy was a part of the "FunLovers Club," the Men's Varsity Soccer team and one of my lunch table-mates our junior and senior years. He even "remembered" me eating the two powdered sugar donuts and a red delicious apple every day. 

After our July 18, 1980, graduation, Jimmy went to work for the Cuyahoga County Auto Title Bureau for six years. He applied to Kent State but decided not to go, and didn't care for government work either (he did not like to wear a tie!) By 1986 he moved to Queens, New York, and then Freehold, New Jersey, to work as a Pipefitter (NY) and then as an installer for Fire Protection systems (NJ.) Jim admitted he loves construction and is very handy around any power tool (big or small), and in fact, worked with his uncle in the cement business since we was 16 years old during summer/winter breaks. I also have to interject here that Jimmy became a New York Rangers (NHL) fan when he moved East, and still follows them. Funny thing is that he and I have "battled" it out in fandom with me being a huge Washington Capitals fan, and him...a Rangers fan?! We always kid each other about "our" teams, especially when they play each other.

After several years in NY/NJ, Jimmy moved back to Cleveland to help his parents, especially his ailing Mom who was diagnosed with Lupus. Upon his return he also became fully vested as a cement mason with the Local #404 - Cleveland Cement Finishers, and has been working in cement business every since. Today, he is a concrete foreman who works in large commercial projects (hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital; The Intercontinental Hotel; and several large high schools in Cuyahoga County plus many many more very large projects). He mentioned that he loves his job, and therefore has "never worked a day in his life."

By 1992, Jim was introduced to his wife, Susan, on Good Friday, by one of his cousins. Sue is a retired Cleveland Public School Special Education teacher after 30 years, but couldn't stay away from the kids she loves to teach, and the whole education process, that she has subbed, and teetered between part time and full time positions for Keystone and Cloverleaf High Schools since her retirement. They married on September 23, 1993, and their boy/girl twins were born in May of 1994. 

Their daughter, Emily, now engaged, and a graduate of Ohio University with an Applied Science degree, is working in customer service at Forest City Enterprises. Their son, Jacob, who also graduated from Ohio University in Sports Management, is also working at Forest City Enterprises and coaches youth and high school basketball, something their Dad did while they were growing up as well. 

In addition to the typical youth sports (soccer/baseball); Jim founded their local AAU Basketball club and team when his kids were in third grade. They all love basketball and they made it a family affair for many years; especially traveling to games and tournaments throughout Ohio and the Midwest. 

This blue-loving and super handy guy is so talented and loves "figuring stuff out," that he was giddy about designing and building his beautiful home from scratch! Not only that, but he's also built a cabin in Cooks Forest, PA (generational property), that he loves taking the family there at least once a month. Some of his favorite things to do there are fishing and hunting and hanging with his family. During hunting season, he spends most weekends there. But...one of his favorite places on Earth is his family's island (Kolar 446) on Lake Temagami (it's an Algonquin name meaning "deep water by the shore") in Canada. It's desolate, it's primitive, but it's "home" for Jimmy and anyone that ventures up there with him.

Interestingly, Jimmy has collected Marvel Comic books since the mid 1960's and has a wonderful collection of football cards dating back to 1968! That's collecting 350 cards each year for over 50 years!!! Wow! 

Lastly, Jimmy is super jazzed about his wonderful family and living in his personally designed and built home in Wellington, Ohio; loves to watch old movies, and his favorite song; aptly for Jim - "Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. 

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Jim Kolar; along with his superpower - always looking for the best in everything! That is something we call all aspire to, right? 


Photo selection below provided by Jim:

Jim at the "reel."

Susan and Jim

Jim, Sue and family

The "Cement" Man

Coach Jim


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Where Are All the Butterflies?

I love butterflies! Who doesn't? But, unfortunately, here in the Mid-Atlantic, I have not seen many yet this summer. A few moths have flitted by, but not the "standard" butterflies I'm used to seeing on a daily basis. I even have "butterfly" friendly plants, but still have not seen the usual suspects I enjoy see fluttering by. 

But, just down the road a couple of hours, in Charlottesville, VA, I did see more butterflies! I suppose they haven't made their trek further North yet. Who really knows? 

I'm glad to capture one pictured below; and very happy to have my butterfly fix for the summer (but truthfully, not enough.)



Tuesday, July 28, 2020

We Made the Local News in Charlottesville, Virginia!

It did not take long for six strong and intelligent woman make our mark on the town of Charlottesville, VA. While sitting and enjoying last evening at the Charlottesville Mall in downtown, a local news reporter, Carly, stopped by our table to ask our thoughts of the newly instituted Covid 19 "restrictions."

Robin, our fearless "leader" did not hesitate to answer Carly's line of questions on the local Charlottesville news, but only a very little sound bite was shown. 

We are enjoying our last night in the beautiful house we rented, and back to our real lives tomorrow. So thankful for us to share the last few days together!



Debbie, Kata, Robin, me, Sue and Sarah at Pippin Winery

Sarah Marriott striking a pose

Pippin Hill Winery

Wine Tasting Sommelier Sarah! 

Monday, July 27, 2020

20+20=40 Year Reunion

I couldn't be happier than sharing a few days celebrating our friendships and high school graduation with my "childhood" friends in Charlottesville, VA! From taking hikes in the Virginia countryside, to hanging out in our Airbnb and reminiscing about the "good ole' days at James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland, Ohio, to a couple of wine tastings in the area, and walking through the Charlottesville Walking Mall, it's been a great getaway time for all of us. 

There is something to be said about bonds of friendship that date back to the second or third grade, and have gratefully, continued to today. They are mom's, career girls, a teacher, a doctor and pharmacist amongst us. We loved where we grew up to learn the "ways of the world," and parlayed our educations to the wider world no matter where we lived and worked in the last 40 years!

So cheers to the ladies and I'll have your backs for the next 40!



Below: Kata Pagon, me, Sarah Marriott, Debbie Martinko, Sue Doerle (and Robin Chandler though not in this photo)

Robin being interviewed on the local news about COVID-19 in downtown Charlottesville, VA

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Zucchini on the Grill

Have you ever tried zucchini on the grill? It's been awhile for me, but two awesome gardeners, Mark Misencik and Tom Franek, gave me some "fruits," er, vegetables of their labors. The big Z's tend to be delicious anytime of year; and in the wintertime, roast mine in the oven. But with summer, and not wanting to use the oven on these hotter days, there is nothing like putting them on the grill to "roast." 

All they need are some spices (salt, pepper, paprika and a dash of olive oil, or any oil, really) and they will melt in your mouth once cooked. My one super big Z yielded what is in the bowl (second photo). I'll eat to that!