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 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 defintely been a challenge every day throughout the past three years, but I welcome the challenge again this year 2015. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beckwith Pass

About 20 miles north of Crested Butte, Colorado, lies some of the most beautiful wilderness in the United States, especially the "white barked" aspens which we hiked through this morning along panoramic vistas at every turn on the pristine Beckwith Trail.

We learned from our waiter, Sam, at the Bonez restaurant last night in CB, that the Kebler Pass, located in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado, is home to one of the largest aspen groves in the United States. This aspen grove has been tested and found to be a clonal colony and grows from a single root system and is a single living organism! It is a spectacular sight for sure. The hike was very isolated (saw only a few people) and forded several creeks and rivers (mountain run off) as we continued to be in total awe throughout the entire morning of the sights and sounds in this mountain range with clear blue skies and striking beauty surrounding us. (Photos simply do not do justice with the depth and breadth of the ranges).

Once back to our primitive Lost Lake camp, we were met with an anonymous delivery of hand picked wildflowers set on the windshield of our car, and we felt it was a fitting send off for our time totally off the grid for almost three days!

BSoleille! The bright side of mountain hiking.


Photos from the glorious day

Lost Lake

Linda in the Aspens

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wildflowers Galore

Although we are "off the grid" for most of the day, in town we can get on our data/wifi; hence my posts. Thankfully, the phone cameras work (along with the others cameras brought) without service and turn into "data junkies" when service is available.

The Lupine Trail we did today yielded an abundance of photo ops of wildflowers posted today. There is certainly an adventure around every corner as well, mostly culminating in all the majestic panoramic views from any coordinate. This country is blessed with so much beauty and I am/we are grateful to witness a small sliver of western Colorado in all its summer glory!

BSoleille! The bright side of summer wildflowers...


wildflower in red

Linda in the Lupine

Laying in the Lupine

wildflower in orange

view from our campsite tonight - Lost Lake (20 miles and a 45 min. drive from town)

Summer Solstice Off the Grid

Deep into the "wild and free" areas of Crested Butte, Colorado, there is "no service" whatsoever and there is a sense of being truly unplugged to the "outside" world. But beauty abounds in every direction; from the snow-capped mountain tops, to the blooming lupine and wildflowers, to the waterfalls and lastly, the babbling Slate River running through Crested Butte at every turn.

Travel companion, Linda Misencik, and I are pinching ourselves on how very thankful we are to embark on this adventure and the celebration of the summer solstice at 10,000 ft. and higher!

BSoleille! The bright side of sweet smelling pine mountain air!

Photos of some of the sights in CB

Judd Falls Trail Head

wildflower of Colorado

view from trail

beautiful green wild"flower"

lupine in all directions

home sweet home!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1742 Miles

Final destination to Boulder, Colorado safely reached! I am thankful for the last three days of sunny skies and open roads across this great land through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado! My observations over the last 26 hours of travel include: the most polite drivers (includes use of blinkers, no tailgaters and easy mergers for oncoming vehicles), hands down "winner"- the great state of Iowa; the most "popular" pickup truck colors - Silver Silverados and red or black Ford 150's; and since it's vacation season and lots of RV's on the road, I only saw two cool Airstreams. A good night sleep is welcome to be rested for the next adventure here in Colorado.


Photo upon my arrival to Boulder

Monday, June 19, 2017

Trio Travel

"Trio travel" (by automobile), as in; me, myself and I, is not too shabby. I am currently on a solo trip bound for Boulder, Colorado (to meet up with friends...and a wedding at the end of the month), and have traveled close to 1200 miles in the last two days. So far I have listened to two books, as well as a few music CD's and have been "lost" in thought for many miles. I can say that traveling across the great ole USA on I80 the last two days: the wheat is definitely waving, there are acres and acres of amber waves of grain, and the corn is knee high to a grasshopper. I am thankful for this adventure, as "in a straight line going West" instead of "around a corner", and love spotting interesting things along the way. Check out my photo for today...as SUV carrying their kids bicycles..

BSoleille! The bright side of on the road again...


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers Day 2017

Happy Father's Day today and everyday you make a difference to your own kids, your nieces and nephews, the neighbor's kids, and the world around you! We are lucky to have you all in our lives, making us better as people, holding us accountable and being a friend when we need it the most.

My own dad (ojciec in Polish and pronounced: oy-chetz) is gone now, but he gave me lasting "words of wisdom" that I try to implement in my own life on a daily basis (the best one...if you can't say anything nice...don't say anything). And the Father to our children are also lucky to call Bill Tomoff...Dad!

I hope there are "grand" gestures of gratitude for the guys that get ties, hold the bags and put up with a lot of "you-know-what" most of the year. You are loved and cherished!

BSoleille! The bright side of a Happy Father's Day!

Photos of Bill with Olivia and Ryan and my own Dad

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pesky Buggers

One would think since it's been so nice outside that bugs and spiders would love being out of doors and windows, and never even "think" of trying to get inside...a house or car. Haven't they waited as long as we have for nice warm weather to play and have fun in the sun? So today I decided to have some fun taking photos of a bug (not sure of name) that kept hanging around the sliding glass door, and seemingly, wanting to get in. That was not going to happen if I could help it, and it seemed "patient" enough for me to take a few pics of him/her. After a long while, I'm thankful it went somewhere else outside to play, and not hang around the door for it to open and then fly inside.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Throwback Thursday Photo

Early 1980's; Reagan is President, breakdancing is in the streets, and we all went to the movies to see Ghostbusters. The happenings also included: "Tear down that Wall" (East and West Germany became one once again), Madonna and Michael Jackson were the queen and king of pop and a new generation of "preppies" were created to "have it all".

So I found this family photo while cleaning up some things and wanted to share. I'd say it was early 80's (Annette, Mom, Kimberly, Dad and me).


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sands & Hearn

Childhood grade school friend, Kelly Quinn Sands, and her new husband, Richard Hearn, composed an eleven song "labor of love" country/folk/bluegrass album entitled: "Time is a Line" which I received via "snail mail" this week. I've been listening to the CD (I also purchased the downloadable version) since the moment I retrieved it from the mailbox. It's that good!

A Kickstarter campaign in May/early June afforded them to release their album; with all lyrics and music written by Kelly and Richard! Wunderbar!!

BSoleille! The bright side of bravo to their time and talent in producing such a great body of work!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Still Blushing 30 years Later

Milestone wedding anniversaries are really something, yes? Today marks 30 "blissful" years for us! Sometimes it does not seem possible that 30 years flew by so quickly, and as Harry Chapin says in a song: "All my life's a circle; but I can't tell you why; the season's spinning round again, and the years keep rollin' by!" What a ride this has been with my guy taking on the world together with love, faith and laughter. Is there any other way?

To Bill Tomoff: I love you to the moon and back and then around the world for good measure!

BSoleille! The bright side of celebrating 30 years of marriage! "Our life is like a circle, so let's go around one more time."


Sunday, June 11, 2017

What a Crowd at Kelleys Island

A strong finish to the Kelleys Island race weekend was the big crowd of rookies (Kocan family and Brian Phillips) and "oldies" (Tomoff/Misencik/Koehler/Smith/Murphy-Neal) completing either the 5K or 10K runs! One member of the "BG" tribe, Casey Neal, won the 5K race by a good margin! Fourteen others from our "tribe" finished the 5K with three tribe members running the 10K.  In addition to the big 5K win by Casey, hardware was also won by several of us: Jodie Smith, Laura Murphy, Bill Tomoff and Shana Koehler! And in the 10K, Olivia Tomoff, Brian Phillips and Mark Misencik! A beautiful day with brilliant sunshine and a slight breeze made running this morning so worthwhile! I am always grateful for this special weekend; however, am especially thankful for our hosts, Scot and Jodie Smith, who graciously open their home for 15 of us to share in rest and relaxation all weekend long. It simply can't be beat...

BSoleille! The bright side of being on 'island' time and sharing with family and friends, and still missing a few (Franeks!).


Photos of the tribe; cheering section, Olivia Tomoff, Brian Phillips, Jodie Smith, The Koehlers, Scot and Chris and the Cousins...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Thousand Word Photo

Beautiful day with this glorious sunset on Kelleys Island!

Lake Erie Islands

Many people travel to "the islands", and that typically means the Caribbean (St. Croix, St. Maarten, Virgin Islands etc.), but for folks in the midwest, the Ohio Islands like Kelleys, Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass (along with Peeley on the Canadian side), are wonderful places to visit, especially on a warm sunny day.  I am grateful to have made a quick trip to Put-in-Bay with my nephew Brandon and son Ryan today by taking the Jet Express from Kelleys and tooling around this fun island that took about 20 minutes to get to (33 mph is how fast that boat travels). It's a "destination" island for the party crowds, but today it was fairly quiet (during the daytime hours).

One of the most interesting site on Put-in-Bay is the Perry Victory and International Peace Monument that commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie that took place near South Bass Island in which Commodore Oliver Perry led a fleet to victory in one of the most significant naval battles to occur in the War of 1812. The memorial also celebrates the lasting peace between the USA, Canada and Britain following that war. It still holds true today, and that is really something to be thankful for!

And the crowds heading to Kelleys...the friends and family making the trek for the weekend!

Photos from the day!


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Kelley's Island Race Weekend

On the road again...west to Ohio and the islands of Lake Erie for the annual race "running" weekend. Lots of outdoor activities planned (I think the weather forecast is good!) to run, bike, hike, and visit the state campground (Tomoff kin).

However, we had several stops along the way with visiting my mom/grandma; picking up nephew Brandon to come with us; reconnecting with my kids first pediatrician Dr. Debbie Ghazoul; and shopping for groceries! What a great day of travel and to top off the day...a gorgeous sunset!


Ryan and Sophie

Dr. Debbie Ghazoul

Brandon Kocan and Ryan

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Ryan Update One Year and One Week Later

The year mark of Ryan's SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma) tongue surgery "snuck" by, but not without Ryan posting a beautiful Facebook Post on what that day "looked" like on 5/27/2016 - and his recent post on 5/26/2017. But, the greatest "gift" is the one year (or six month from his January's surgery) follow-up appointment with his surgeon, Dr. Ord, and his thumbs up for Ryan's new tongue and surrounding areas (neck and anything in the mouth). We cherish these milestones and still take it one day at a time.

In addition to this good news, a "smaller" milestone came last week with an incremental decrease in one of his daily meds (a lifelong one), that is quite remarkable. The endocrinologist, Dr. Kaur, was very impressed on how much Ryan is going to the gym and working out several days a week, and believes wholeheartedly, that this could have been a contributing factor for a better thyroid function level and subsequent dose decrease. Again, we will take this "advancement", and hope Ryan continues with restored health and physical well-being. We are thankful and celebrate each day!

BSoleille! The bright side of #Focused Warrior; #RyanStrong #ItTakesACast ofThousands


Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Club in the House

Book clubs the world over have been around for hundreds of years (maybe since the printing press?). Our neighborhood one is every other month, and that works for most all the ladies that attend as they can get to read the book fully. Tonight's book was the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. The lively discussion circled around the room with those that read Shonda's book adding great perspectives and comments, especially about introverts vs. extroverts and doing things outside one's comfort zone. I really liked the book and recommend it for a fast summer read. Shonda Rhimes is a genius in her craft of writing TV shows like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Persons of Interest, How to Get Away with Murder and The Catch. She has a plethora of "crazy" characters inside her head and brain itching to get out and into a intriguing show at every turn. If you have watched any of her shows, you know what I speak of here. The book gets quite personal, but reading it felt like I was reading a long letter from a friend.


Sunday, June 4, 2017

The First and The Last

Crofton friends, Tom and Diane Lombardo, are saying so long to the community they raised their two girls and have lived in for 15 years. On May 30, 2002, I happened to pop over to their brand new home, a sort of "first visitor" if you will. Tonight, I popped over to pick something up Diane offered me, and I became their "last visitor" in their home as they settle on the house tomorrow and move to New Hampshire by noon. Like the Kenny Chesny song says, "don't blink!", fifteen years went by in a flash.

Best wishes to all moving near and far across the land...and all starting new chapters in their lives!


Tom and Diane on their last night in Crofton

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Another Tshirt Quilt in the Books

My cousin, Shelli Lanza, commissioned me make a Tshirt quilt for her daughter (my second cousin), Katie. This quilt incorporated Katie's many running shirts on races she finished, along with a few sentimental shirts and sweatshirts collected and worn over the years. The border has running shoes and race numbers that finished off this one-of-a-kind quilt for Katie; and I am very thankful that she loved it at first sight! Now, the "race" is on to use it anyway she sees "fit."


Friday, June 2, 2017

Garden Peas

The other day I wandered over to the Crofton Farmer's Market looking for the usual suspect of vegetables for the week/weekend. The peas I bought were not what I thought, snap peas, but quickly learned I bought garden peas, which have to shucked (or at least that's what I did with them). I cooked them today and they taste better cooked than raw (I tried to eat them whole...and raw).

BSoleille! The bright side of cooked garden peas!