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!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Breaking Free

After three days of being stuck in bathrooms, painting, and my choice to hire myself, I was able to break free today and host my 'Just Sew Bee'. I have to admit, we did a little extra curricular of "just sewing" and headed to Crofton Swim and Tennis Club to hang out in the pool. It was a hot day of "Just Sew and Swim", with a couple hours of sewing (though I did not sew at all, but the others did), and a couple hours cooling off in the refreshing pool. I can't believe it was my first time in the water today...summer to going by blazingly fast! We've got to hang onto it and lot while longer...


My JSB: L-R: me, Shelley J.; Carrie Casto, Deb Hoppe and Karen Todd

Humble Abode for 20 Years

It was 20 years ago today that we moved into our Crofton home. Unfortunately, I was not here that day, as I was hospitalized with Ryan at Georgetown, but "helped" move via phone calls (the old-fashioned kind!). It was thrilling nonetheless, and I am grateful for neighbor Dave Bieler, and my sister-in-laws, Stephanie Godleski and Jan Williams, plus bro-in-law, Paul Godleski, who came to town and became a fine team to get the walls painted and move us in with "grace under fire". No, not really, but there was that carpet guy...and the movers... that they had to direct on where to put things around the house. It was weeks when I got back and had to call one of them to find out where Bill's belts were located, or where they "hid" the tea bags. Everyone has their own way to organize, and I was thankful for the head start, but I had to figure out where everything was laid to rest while I was away.

Fast forward to today, and I've been painting for the past three days. I figured I'd tackle one more bathroom since all the painting stuff was out and screaming at me to be used and accounted for. Those brushes and rollers are sick of being in a hot garage, so I put them to work with lovely colors of Sherwin-Williams (for Josh Franek and Alyssa Kozlowski that is....) that transformed these bathrooms from good to great.

I can't believe we've been here for 20 years!!

BSoleille! The bright side of a fresh coat of paint, it certainly brightens up everything, doesn't it?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Wildflowers of Colorado

While in Crested Butte, CO, and camping with little or no cell service, Linda Misencik and I did our best to communicate via our cells, but mostly when we got back into town. I have been viewing the photos I took of the trip West, and took many of the beautiful wildflowers blooming throughout the state of Colorado in late June/early July (thanks to everyone who I was with on being patient with me as I stopped 'everywhere' to take photos of them...even close to mountain tops - I saw those eyes rolling...!). A blog post from that time included a few "blurry" photos of some wildflowers I took, but I was trying to use the wifi in the restaurants to post, and did not do a good job of posting "good ones".  Fingers crossed as I hope the few posted today will make up for the blurred ones!

Curiously enough, my first photo is when we were camping 20 miles North of Crested Butte, and came back from a hike near Lost Lake and the Gunnison National Forest, when we happened to notice the flowers on the windshield of my car. No note was attached and we really never talked to anyone except for the guy at check-in. It was certainly a nice gesture...and "coincidentally" all Colorado wildflowers that "we" were on the "hunt" for the whole trip ;).

BSoleille! The bright side of "chivalry" in wildflowers...


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Home Ownership and a Happy Ending Story

We all know home "ownership" is "overrated", but I'm very thankful we have one to work on, improve, update and cultivate the DIY that's in everyone of us! Today, with plenty of good tunes to listen to, I once again hit the painting trail, this time the master bathroom that is undergoing a renovation that I elected myself to do the honors. Those "cut-ins" really are a time crunch, but I'm happy to say I finished the ceiling and walls in two colors. Tomorrow, more of the same (touch-up where needed) and maybe a second coat with one of the colors (have to see it in daylight) and, lastly, trim work. Yippee!

It will be great when it is all said and done, so I'm keeping my eye on the "prize" of finish-hood!

Incidentally, while ordering this and that for the bathroom (like vanity and countertop and faucets etc.), the double-sink vanity top purchased at Lowe's was delivered with a broken corner.  I took it back and they exchanged it with no problems. I thought I looked over that second one well enough, but that proved futile. This time I called the store to report this countertop had deep cuts and scratches on top that we did not detect upon purchase (merchandise well covered with plastic and styrofoam around edges).

Since my contractor Mike S. was here to install everything, I asked for the store manager at the Bowie, MD, Lowe's. Thinking this may not go well, I was pleasantly surprised in talking with one of the manager's, Don Terry. He was "johnny on the spot", and remembered me from the first countertop return. He mentioned if they had a "good one" in stock,  (he, personally was going to open the box and check it out with a "fine tooth comb"), he would drive it over to my house in his personal vehicle/truck. And that is exactly what he did, with a "good one" in fact, and made this customer very happy with the service he provided for a "damsel in distress" and her contractor! Now that is excellent customer service...and with a smile too!

BSoleille! The bright side of a SHOUT OUT of THANKS to Don Terry of Lowe's in Bowie, MD!


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Soccer

I must admit that refereeing on a hot summer day (on turf) is blazingly hot for sure! Thankfully, all three games were fairly good soccer, evenly matched teams, and 35 minute halves which made it tolerable to be out there under humid conditions and full July sunshine. Iced cold water was the ticket at half time and in between games for all the players, coaches and referees to "cool" off for a few moments. My gear was soaking wet and "wringer worthy" after the three game set. A huge sigh of "Ahhhh" when I got to my car and cranked the air conditioning at full blast until I was comfortable. Now that is truly something to be thankful for and greatly "needed" on a day like today.

BSoleille! The bright side of vehicle air conditioning!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Gang is Home

I did not write a blog post yesterday due to a FB video posted that was done by our niece, Kristin Tomoff. No, she was not at the event, but due to a diligent Bill Tomoff working his phone in overdrive to constantly snap photos and use the Snapchat app (10 second video snippets), this provided lots of content for Kristin to carve out the "meat" and compose that awesome ESPY video. The girl definitely has talent in putting it all together, with music that fit the occasion perfectly. Kudos and THANK YOU for the hours spent wielding it all together and for the many folks who viewed it to "feel those precious moments", sports fan or not.

The whirlwind few days my guys spent in LA were met with awe and wonder, and very thankful hearts for those that made it happen; namely, Bill Gawne and his contacts and ESPN (ABC). We can't THANK them enough I don't think. Collectively, they quickly put together a trip for a very sport loving and deserving kid. THANK YOU BILL GAWNE!

And lastly, what a difference a year makes, yes? Last year at this time he was just given the "green light" to get out of the house and "do things" following his major tongue surgery at the end of May 2016. This year; walking the red carpet at the ESPY's. Who would have ever thought it could happen? I am thankful it did for sure!

BSoleille! The bright side of my guys meeting many athletes, but their favorites were Israel Del Toro (the injured soldier in Iraq who received the Pat Tillman award), and Chris "Boomer" Berman...THEY...WENT...ALL...THE...WAY...TO...LA...and back now.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

O What a Night

My guys are having the time of their lives at the ESPY's 2017 in Los Angeles, and I could not be more thrilled for them! They rocked the red carpet, enjoyed the show and now headed to the After Party. I do not have too many details, but a few photos from the event so far. These have all been "pinch me" moments for sure (even me on the sofa while following along, clapping and crying through all the stories told tonight with their recipients).

We are so thankful to Bill Gawne of Nike, ESPN, and others who made this trip possible for Ryan and Bill. For sports fans, you know what I mean! A once in a lifetime opportunity bar none!!

BSoleille! The bright side of wonderful memories at the 2017 ESPY's


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Spa Treatment for Proud Mary

While I was away for a couple of weeks on vacation, "Proud Mary", AKA Handy Quilter (HQ) Long Arm machine was safely tucked away at the spa, AKA SpringWaterDesigns in Columbia, MD. "Proud Mary" desperately needed a good deep cleaning and a new part to keep her running like a top! I am thankful she has kept my quilts looking good with beautiful even stitches, but a check up every now and again is warranted to keep her humming along at our frenetic pace.

Now that she is back at the ranch, I am itching to get back to my sewing projects, quilting and NeedleOnFull Tshirt quilts!


Photos of traveling to the spa, and then with owner of SWD, Dawn Stewart. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Five Time Cancer Survivor Ryan Tomoff to Attend ESPY Awards in LA

In a "last minute" call this past Friday, family friend Bill Gawne pulled the coup of all coups, coming up with two tickets to ESPN's ESPY awards this Wednesday, July 12th, in Los Angeles, California!

The "backstory" is when Ryan battled his new tongue cancers and surgeries (May 2016; Dec. 2016; and Jan. 2017), he mentioned, ever so casually, that one of his wishes, if and when he comes out of all this craziness, is to attend an ESPY award ceremony. I know what you are thinking...a naive kid with a big dream that is nearly impossible to attend, and I hear you loud and clear. But as I milled the thought around in my head for a bit, and know first hand how Ryan has courageously battled all five cancers with more focus, drive and passion than any professional athlete that attends this show, I had to at least ask...and I did.

"Feelers" went out early in the year after his last surgery in January, but because it was such a longshot, we forgot all about it until the unexpected call came this past Friday from Bill Gawne. He was so giddy with excitement that, not only was the offer for two tickets to attend the Awards, but also the red carpet parade and the After Party - as are all part of the "package"! We were squealing with delight (Ryan and I were driving through Kentucky) when the call came in. The next call was to Bill Tomoff, and the "coin toss" of who was to accompany Ryan to the event in LA. Of course, I wanted to go, badly, but cooler heads prevailed when I recognized the fact Bill T. dedicated close to 20 years of his career working in sports, and, for him, going to this event is totally fitting. I am thrilled "my guys" will be able to share this very special event from all perspectives of working for, spectating many games and loving sports of all kinds.

Interestingly enough, when the kids were young, we set up on ESPN "booth" in our living room for Ryan to "interview" his soccer playing sister, Olivia, who had just won a big tournament. Donned with sport coat and tie, he was serious as he asked her pertinent questions of her role and her teams' role in winning said tournament. Of course, I had to photograph their ingenuity all those years ago and am glad I did!

My request is for you to try and tune into the show this Wednesday, and if not then, maybe catch some of it afterwards (they tend to show this type of event multiple times on ESPN, or at least I think they do). My hope is to catch a glimpse of Ryan and Bill enjoying their big night on camera...you just never know...

BSoleille! In the words of Chris "Boomer" Berman of ESPN: "HE...WILL... GO... ALL...THE... WAY... - TO... LA..."


Sunday, July 9, 2017

More Observations from the Highways and Byways

As Ryan and I drove 1700+ miles home from Colorado, this time taking US 64 to US 79 to US 68 and then finally to US 70 and home to Crofton, I could not help but notice all the beautiful scenery throughout this great land called America! From the corn fields (and there were a lot of them) to the wheatfields (not as much, but still out there) to the Appalachian Mountains across West Virginia and Western Maryland, it was all so lush and green and truly spectacular. Even the cloud formations kept us entertained with big puffy ones or "storm" clouds out in the distance. It was easy to tune into the beauty when driving about 600 miles each day, along with getting lost in deep thought, and even prayer. Believe it or not, I was thankful for each mile clicked off the odometer until I pulled into my driveway.

My other observations included all the traveling families either coming or going to their next destination, and "all" seemed to be in happy moods, or, at least that was my perception. It's vacation season so why not? This was all witnessed at road stops and gas stations along the way including food stops too.

But one of the most interesting signs noted were in the state of Kentucky. You know those huge (mostly blue) road signs that reveal the fast food/restaurant/gas stations coming up, well, many of them also included thoroughbred race horses as well. So, you can stop at at McDonald's for a burger and coke, then go around the corner and pick yourself up a thoroughbred race horse (a dark brown one is my favorite), all in one fell swoop! And let's not leave out the Bourbon Trail signs, along with more thoroughbred horses and Chik-fil-A's....all conveniently located in a "historic" town, because they ALL are in the Bluegrass state!

BSoleille! The bright side of many, many miles of safe travels...


Photos of "travel" photos

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Thankful for a safe trip back home with co-pilot Ryan; three days on the road with a few great stops along the way. Our last "tourist" destination was the Slugger Museum in Louisville, Ky, this morning, then strapped it in for a 600+mile drive home (though a huge storm in WVA)! Whew!

BSoleille! The bright side of sleeping in my own bed... and over 4700 miles traveled over this great land (return trip: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia and Maryland).

Photos from Louisville bat museum

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cruising through the Heartland

Saying goodbye to the Colorado Mountains was somewhat "sad", but driving back East with my co-pilot/son, Ryan, to the rest of the family and a routine, seems just about the "ticket" right now.

However, the "deal" was to stop at Major League Baseball Parks on the way home for a home game in that city. No home game for the Kansas City Royals as we cruised through yesterday, but thankfully, a day home game for the St Louis Cardinals fit the bill today! And as the 7th Inning Stretch and sing-a-long draws to a close, the Cards lead 4-3 (Cards even had two exciting home runs in the game thus far!)

I must admit, The Cardinal Nation Field is quite lovely with its amazing sight lines and backdrop of the "Gateway to the West" Arch, with the temperature at game time - 85 degrees and sunny skies - what's not to like? Play ball!! Thankful!

One last thing for my blogpost readers (l love you all!), the corn is now about up to my chin (that's through Kansas and Missouri), so its grown about 2ft. in the last two plus weeks-Wow!

BSoleille! The bright side of a baseball rally (almost) and the fact that Ryan (and Daddy Bill) got to a home Colorado Rockies game in Denver as well during the trip.


Ryan enjoying the stadium and view

Cardinal Field in St. Louis, MO

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

14er or Bust

To go out with a "bang" on this Colorado vacation, and July 4th to boot, summiting a 14er was at the top of the list for the trip. This "list" also includes "the bucket list" too, since these types of hikes are quite hard to do, but I am thankful I was able to complete the 9 mile trek and climb an elevation of 3,000 ft. on Grays Peak (9th largest mountain of 14, 000 ft. or higher out of 53 total 14ers in the State of Colorado), along with my hiking companions; "The Best Daughter, Brian Phillips and Linda Misencik. I must admit, I was a little apprehensive in the magnitude of this hike, but was advised "slow and steady" with lots of water breaks will enable us to reach the tippy top! It worked! The hike was an unbelievably amazing trek in every step (a lot of slow ones) of the way, and I burst into tears when we all reached the top.

Interestingly, a  week ago in Crested Butte, the snow was too high still to climb a 14er in that neck of the woods. Today I/we learned from a mountain "scout" that up until last Tuesday, Grays Peak also had too much snow to hike through to the top.  Truth be told, there is a very slight window of time to get in that type of hike and elevation with such a short season of around four weeks. Snow will start flying in August. I can't even imagine the "gymnastics" needed to hike Mt. Everest...(seen the movie!)

This adventure was definitely a way to stretch the comfort zone since the wake up call came early at 4:30am, a departure time of 5:00am and on the trail by 7:30am (finished the hike at 2:00pm). It was a great double nickel tour experience for sure!

BSoleille! The bright side of hiking up to 14, 270ft. on Grays Peak (as listed)! And "The Best Daughter and Brian hiking two 14,000 peaks with the add on of Torreys Peak!


Photos from today's adventure

Monday, July 3, 2017

Cannot Get Enough of Fresh Mountain Air

It seems that the more you hike in the mountains, the more they draw you in and want to be out on the trails. Today, I finally "convinced" Ryan that an "easy" hike would do him good; as that fresh mountain air can't be beat. Thankfully, he completed a four-mile hike to Skunk Canyon near the Boulder Flatirons and was proud of himself upon finishing. Not sure if a pair of bona fide hiking boots will be in his future, but I/we certainly hope today's hike sparked a flame to do more. Only time will tell, I guess. But the rest of the gang thoroughly enjoyed the gentle climb on a very sunny morning.

And to digress for a second, yesterday's "big" hike included one to the Royal Arch in Chautauqua too! Beautiful views of the surrounding area from the top for sure!

BSoleille! The bright side of taking advantage of the Boulder Flatiron trails at Chautauqua!

Photos from today's hike: Group shot included: Brian Phillips, Don, Beth, Olivia, Terri and Kristin, Ryan Tomoff and Linda Misencik; and yesterday's hike: Brian Phillips, Bill, Don, Olivia, me and Beth Tomoff.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Our Love is Electric

#ourloveiselectric is the hashtag for the Caitlin Misencik and Julian Wheating wedding weekend! And what a wedding it was! Awesome really. I needed another 12 hours to "process" all that went into preparing for their special day in Lyons, Colorado, on a farmette, to post. Their wedding day was truly picture perfect and we are all happy for the newly wedded couple to share their special day with us! I could go on with all kinds of adjectives, but I believe my photos of this blogpost will convey the feeling of "love is in the air"...in Boulder, Colorado!

Kudos to Linda and Mark Misencik on hosting such a beautiful event in every possible way. It was an honor to be a part of the 125....