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!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What is an Infusionarium?

Infusionarium...A new word in the pediatric cancer world, and Ryan and I were invited guests for the "big reveal" of this wonderful set up at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, this afternoon. The creator of the Infusionarium (and set up in approximately 16 hospitals nationwide thus far) is Co-Founder of Reimagine Well, Roger Holzberg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Holzberg. We had the chance to meet Roger, plus the donor for this amazing "treatment tool", Paul S. Pariser too.

According to the Wikipedia on Roger Holzberg, an Infusionarium is a "media set up which helps a child with cancer cope with treatment by asking the questions designed to determine what setting would be best and most comforting to them, and then using virtual reality technology and live events, to immerse them in such an environment during treatment."

So if a child would like to go on an African Safari while getting a sack of platelets, consider it done. Cute puppies, kittens and bunnies while getting a long infusion of chemotherapy, you got it. One of the best things about the unit, it's portable, and can be used by several patients at one time. Now that is something to be thankful for!

So a huge shout of THANKS to Paul S. Pariser for having the vision of helping kids in the Sinai community and Dr. Aziza Shad for coordinating all the variables to make the Infusionarium a bona fide "reality."

Paul Pariser; Neil Meltzer and Dr. Shad

Ryan and Roger Holzberg taking the Infusionarium out for a test drive!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Feisty Fabrics

Feisty fabrics are also known as scraps, and quilters are notorious for their scraps. Some have more than others, and many a quilt is made from lots and lots of scraps. Frankly, there are many books dedicated to the "scrap quilt", so it is a thing! Of course, over the years, I have accumulated many "feisty fabrics",  and, I must admit, they do come in handy even when a scrap quilt is not involved.

Today I have been working on a few quilts, but one in particular needed just a little bit of color and pop. No need to use a large piece of fabric for such tiny pieces, so into the scrap bag I went and dug though...looking for the exact color I needed. Sure enough, the scrap bag does not disappoint and I was able to carry on with the task as hand without missing a beat. Thankfully, I am working on a deadline, because while looking through the scrap bag, my mind started wandering on making something else with all those scraps...like a scrap quilt! Nope, not today!

BSoleille! The bright side of a large inventory of feisty fabrics!


This is a scrap bag of feisty fabrics that is 2 ft. high!

One of my current projects; the star and bulbs are "scraps".

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Cookie Party 2017 in the Books

If you have hosted, or attended a Christmas cookie exchange, you know how fun it is! I love the fact of baking one kind of cookie, then exchanging with a dozen or so other people who brought different cookies, and the best part, we all go home with a plethora of super delicious treats to share with our loved ones. The Harcourt Avenue (and alumni/friends) ladies had a great time and a big shout of thanks goes to hostess Christie Best in accommodating the "crowds" and the cookies too! Food and Fun for sure; always a favorite during the holidays.

BSoleille! The bright side of a sugar high...one cookie at a time...


Saturday, December 9, 2017

First Snow of the "Winter"

Winter doesn't officially start for another 10 days or so, but you would not think that by the looks of the white out today...especially on the soccer field (grass, not turf). It certainly gave way to some very sloppy play, but it was fun (according to the teams playing). I am thankful that I was the center referee on the first game since I ran plenty and felt warm through two 45 minute halves. But, by the second game, and as an AR (Assistant Referee), the cold wet feet and heavier snow really got me, and everyone else quite chilled. I even threw on an extra down coat under my jersey and that still did not help too much.

While trying to keep warm, I started to think about how a hard cold rain is tough to gut out in outdoor activities, but so are freezing temperatures and 2-3"of snow scattered about a soccer field. I had to "rethink"my stance of loving the outdoors and "opting outside" over sipping hot tea and quilting/sewing in the comfort of a "warm" home than being out in the elements today!


After the first game with Mark Jennings, one of my Assignors!

Cold and icy feet!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Driver's License and Registration Mam

Those were the words uttered by a young female Maryland State Trooper to our bee-mate and driver, Deb Hoppe, who got pulled over (with four other bee-mates in the vehicle on a road trip to Lancaster, PA. We were on our way for a fun day of friendship and fabric acquisition, and in heavy Baltimore rush hour traffic, when Deb noticed the flashing lights illuminating the back of her vehicle. We all knew she wasn't speeding, nor was she following the car in front of her too closely, so we were all fairly clueless in why "we" were being pulled over. Lo and behold, Deb had one tailgate light out, and a work order to fix and repair was written, and thankfully, we were back on the road with no further incident.

Many know the feelings of that crazy adrenaline rush and increased heart beats when those flashing lights seem brighter than a tequila sunrise,  and Deb was no exception to those reactions. But, I have to admit, she continued on like a champ and we were safely "chauffeured" around Hinkletown, Bird in Hand, Lancaster, New Holland and Intercourse, Pennsylvania for the rest of the day!

BSoleille! The bright side of safe traveling...even with one tail light out!

Just Sew Bee L-R: Deb, Susie Stevenson, Carrie Casto, me and Karen Todd

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Drone Came to the Hive

Well, if bee-mate Mary Nielsen has moved on, and to Florida at that, it's very difficult for her to come to a bee when it's hosted in Maryland. Not to fear, though, guess who showed up to bee yesterday? Why her husband, Steve, that's who! What a nice surprise for sure, and I'm thankful he stopped in to say "hello" and hang out for a spell with his wife's bee (she is still part of our hive!). But not only did Steve "spin some yarns", he came bearing gifts of quilts (for Quilt Bingo/Community Quilts) that Mary knew would fit into his suitcase (he flew to Maryland on a business trip/Caps game(s)). I hope Mary is not too jealous!

BSoleille! The bright side of our "hive" welcoming the "drones, as well as the "worker bees" -us!


Photo: Susie Stevenson, me, Steve Nielsen and Karen Todd

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

End of an Era with Family Piano

The Nolan Family "Kimball" piano that my parents bought in 1972 in Cleveland, Ohio, was passed on to a new generation today to David and Mari Clow and their two year old twins in Crofton, Maryland. For 46 happy years, the piano found two generation of kids "plucking", maybe even, "tickling", away on the "ivories", taking lessons, practicing when we could, and giving "concerts" to anyone who would listen. But the time has come for a whole new era of budding pianists (kids and adults) to enjoy it. Let's face it, when it remained silent for far too long, it was a great surface to place photos, trinkets and tchotchkes from around the globe.

But I have to admit that I am very thankful for the wonderful Clow Family that contacted me after I ran the ad in the "Nextdoor Crofton" last week.  They diligently found someone to haul and transport it to their home, all very seamlessly, and that it all went down today!

BSoleille! The bright side of passing an "heirloom" that will be lovingly taken care of, just as we did (my parents, sisters, and my family) for the past almost half century! Now that is something to be truly grateful for!


The move...

In the Tomoff home


Careful with every move to the vehicle

All set up in the Clow Home!

Monday, December 4, 2017

I Know Him!

It's Santa! And, thankfully, we can never be too old for Santa. The "I know him" is from the movie, Elf, stated by funnyman, Buddy (aka Will Ferrell). But yesterday's Special Love's Holiday Party at the Firehouse in Franconia, VA, the "real" Santa paid us a visit. And when in Rome...



Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Gift that Can Never be Bought

Today's my husband Bill's birthday (along with his twin, Don), and what can you buy for a 59 year old lad(s)? Well, it just so happens to be the Super Moon, so that is "my" gift to Bill (okay, two bottles of his favorite wine too!), but who's keeping tabs? The Supermoon is the best gift on anyone's special day, and it just so happens to land on December 3rd; the only one in 2017; so that is quite special, don't you think? The moon is extra close and extra bright today, a double whammy for a double birth exactly 59 years ago!

So, Happy Birthday to a very special guy today! Love you to the moon and back!!

BSoleille! The bright side of a bright supermoon on December 3rd!


Photos of the supermoon from my "baby Nikon"; no filters used!

Supermoon photo taken around 6:00pm

Bill and family from Thanksgiving!

Supermoon captured through some pine trees

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Etsy Live

Etsy “Live” is your local artisans craft show. Instead of clicking through hundreds of pages (of maybe something particular) on-line, “live” means perusing hand-crafted items by wildly talented artists and talking with them about their wares...even possibly buying a trinket or two. 

Today I headed over to the Greenbelt, Maryland, Craft Festival where some very talented artists were selling their items (juried in). But the best thing was my quilt guild, the Southern Comforters of Bowie got into the show and had a booth to sell raffle tickets for our 2018 quilt, plus afforded several members to sell their hand made items as well. With so many talented members, it was, thankfully,  another venue to showcase their items and hard work that goes into making them.



Photo of the Southern Comforters Booth (with Joanne Parrish and Margy Hill) and crafter/vendor Dawn Thorp, a Box Maker, with her business fittingly called Treasured Boxes. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Season of Light

I love the lights of the season especially the white twinkling ones. But my all time favorite is a simple candle flickering during the shorter days of late that burns all day...and into the night too. The fragrance is a nice added bonus and I’m thankful for the sweet smells that “illuminates” the house!



Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Blues

On this last day of November, with a super moon on the horizon in the next couple days, I couldn’t help but take one more photo of the late November sky...sans leaves on the trees. The ink dark sky developing with the last bit of bright orange and yellow light cast an usual juxtaposition of this scene.

 Let’s all take a deep breath before the “madness” that typically sets in the month of December...Santa and all!



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Caught Sleeping Around 

...the house. Not what you were thinking, it’s Loo-C-Loo finding “comfort” in any fashion she can. Sofas and beds seem to be her favorite (of course,as in most dogs...if they are allowed!). It’s not she is allowed, per se, but she’s 75lbs and we don’t “argue” with her sleeping choices!



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rockin the Red Part 2

Yesterday I shared a story of Rockin’ the Red with the NHL Washington Capitals and their visit to MedStar Georgetown. It was a great afternoon and Ryan and I are still glowing about it. 

But while out on a run, the beauty of the vibrant colored leaves...”leaves” me speechless. Of course, a photo doesn’t do proper justice, but I will continue to try to capture the moment of the autumn beauty that abounds steps outside any door. These maple leaves are simply spectacular!

BSoleille! The bright side of the morning light dancing around the “rockin the red” leaves”. 


Monday, November 27, 2017

Rockin The Red

If you are a CAPS CAPS CAPS fan, you know what Rockin' the Red means. For Tracy's Kids Alum, Ryan, and his tag-along, Mom Terri, it meant meeting up with the entire team today at Medstar Georgetown Hospital in Washington D.C., compliments of the Hope for Henry Foundation. The team wore light purple jerseys in honor of their cancer awareness month (November), and Ryan, was ironically in his "happy place" in the Peds Hem/Onc Clinic.

Laden with a backpack of pucks, player cards, posters and a jersey, Ryan bantered with the guys as they signed their "John Hancocks" on many of the things Ryan asked and handed them over to sign. They were all very good natured about it, and Ryan was giddy with the "up close and personal" with many of his favorite NHL players. For a huge sports fan that Ryan is, he was definitely thankful to hang with them for an hour this afternoon (and so was his mother!).

But a picture is worth a thousand words...so here are a "few" from this afternoon.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

I Wonder

I realize that "not many" folks like to fight the crowds, the cool/cold temperatures and the pricing of going to the movies nowadays because of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and a host of other ways to download movies and TV shows in the comfort of your own home. But, I am going on a limb here, if you want to see a great movie, IMHO, get to your nearest theater and take in "Wonder"! It was date night for me and hubby Bill, and he suggested it (and highly recommended by friend, Debbie Martinko, and Brother-in-Law, Alex). We were not disappointed, shed a "few" tears throughout the entire movie, and were the last two in the theater as the credits scrolled on...with many tears in our eyes.

This movie resonated with us and our family dynamics in more ways than one! If you do see it, or have already seen it, many themes paralleled our young lives with a child with cancer. Certainly, this movie will resonate with many families facing incredible battles with sick and "different" children, of course, but, more importantly, I hope it will open up the eyes and hearts of many people on how we all march on day by day with whatever the world throws in our paths. The Good, The Bad, The Ugly...

BSoleille! The bright side of....Wonder!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Friday Family Fun

I know I am posting on Saturday, for Friday, but "Black Friday" was more like "Sunny Friday" (here in the mid-Atlantic) with a little shopping, a lot of family time and ending the day with Blue Crabs at Cantler's in Annapolis. I do have to interject here, though, that I am more of the "opting outside" gal, but the "little shopping" brought a whopping surprise for me.

For the record, my son Ryan "quit" wearing denim jeans when he was 18 months old. That is absolutely true, and he "threw a fit" if I/we tried to wrangle a pair on him while getting him dressed as a wee toddler. So we "quit" too, and soft sweat pants or shorts (and hospital gowns) were it for him for a very long time. Ten years later, when we was 12, he was cast in the ensemble of his middle school musical, Oklahoma!  The director insisted that the ensemble wear denim jeans, so Ryan reluctantly wore the two pairs of "Goodwill" jeans I got him to wear for the play for two or three consecutive weekends. Once the musical was done, the two pairs were donated back to Goodwill.

Now eleven years later, with the influence of smart and good looking cousins, Ryan ventured into a popular store (with clothing that is age appropriate and fits great!) yesterday to slay off all denim demons he may have had and purchased, not one, but two pairs of denim/chino pants. I was floored (maybe a bit shocked as well), and, thankfully, he wore them out to dinner and looked great! Hopefully he will wear them again...



The Kocan Clan: Nathan, Jerry, Brandon, Kimberly, Justin and Ryan

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Birthday for Mom

It's a true blessing when it's Thanksgiving and your Mom turns 86 years old on all on the same day. With a lot of health issues of late, coupled with her late stages dementia, I am thankful to wish her a Happy 86th Birthday, albeit through the miles.

As for this Thanksgiving Day, I hope each and every one of you had a great day spending time with family and friends and grateful for the time spent together, and I hope your turkey and all the fixin's were as good as we had today (the smoked turkey was delicious!).

BSoleielle! The bright side of wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
86 year old Sophie!

Happy Thanksgiving 2017 from The Tomoff's and Kocan's

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Full Fridge of Food

I’m extremely thankful for a full fridge of food, bar none, as the Thanksgiving weekend approaches in the next 12 hours. Everything is at the ready to be cooked and made...except for the turkey. Son Ryan decided we should try a smoked turkey this year and ordered one from a local restaurant; he will pick it up in the morning and I guess it’s a “thing” now. I’ll let you know how it goes down. 

BSoleille! The bright side of Thanksgiving 2018!


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Backyard Beauty

We are, thankfully, heading towards the awesome sunsets where the ROY G BIV colors will light up the dusk skies. Tonight was one of those thick paint brush strokes of an amazing evening sky and sunset. This photo was taken "naked", on an iPhone; meaning no filter was used...just caught a backyard beauty in a moment!


Monday, November 20, 2017

Vacuuming Towards a Heart

While doing a quick vacuum on the floors today, I turned the vacuum cleaner around and, lo and behold, the cord shaped itself into a heart! It’s never done that before...so is it a sign? I guess vacuuming at all cannot be that bad, and maybe it’s a gentle reminder to get the job done, albeit with a smile...

BSoleille! The bright side of vacuuming...!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Giving Thanks

This blog's "purpose", or my "mission", is to find the "silver lining" or simply, the gratitude, found in each day, no matter the news of the day around the world, or in one's personal life. Somewhere, somehow, some way, there is a glimmer of hope, of gratitude, and possibly, a very faint line of silver. It's up to each of us to find it in our own way throughout our day(s). 

So as we bear down this week of Thanksgiving, in sincere gratitude I hope, I wanted to take a moment and  share a Seth Godin's gem with you in his: Thanksgiving Reader:


While hosting Thanksgiving for my family in Crofton over the past 20 years or so, our usual going-around-the-table-in-prayer-and-what-we-are-thankful-for, has thankfully, switched to using this Reader. It may not be for everyone, but it has been a poignant touch for my family including seven kids ranging in age from 15-25 (six of them are boys!). The first year we used it, I carefully preselected what each guest would read out loud. Some were short poems, and some were a little longer, but no one balked, snickered or complained, and the conversations that followed seemed deeper and, for some of those moments, very meaningful. Maybe even a few tears were shed because we realized how powerful the words were to bring a family a wee bit closer. We now select our own passages from the Reader, and it all works!

I would love to hear back if anyone has used the Thanksgiving Reader previous to this year, and what you thought of using it. I would also love to hear back to those who may try it out this year, and what you or your crowd thought of it. 

Let's be Thankful together!


Friday, November 17, 2017

Turkey Cookies

Look what’s clucking at a Cleveland bakery...sugar cookies in turkey cut-out shapes! Can’t wait to have one after a slice of the real thing next week. 



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Zookeepers’ Wife

Set in Warsaw, Poland, during WWII, this historical and true story movie, The Zookeepers’ Wife, was an excellent choice on crisp fall evening. All the great animals shown in their zoo reminded me of my trips to Africa and how I fell in love with elephants all over again...

If looking for a good movie from start to finish, take a chance and two hours of your time and see it!



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Two Runs, Two Different Scenes

Running is typically a solo sport, especially long distance running. There are local running clubs and teams around, but by and large, the miles are done solo (music helps!). 

So I took a photo on Friday during my solo run, and less than 24 hours, met up with thousands of other solo runners who planned on doing their best in a race and all together. Truly, I think that’s a pretty cool thing and looking forward to both in the future!