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 - 2020 - Covid and all. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Mazda Miata My Favorite Car!

My Favorite Car of All Time - The Mazda Miata

Oh, no, I’ve never owned my favorite car of all time, the Mazda Miata. But my good friend Debbie has. She has never driven a jalopy in her entire life, and I share that comment lovingly. She likes the new and shiny and never apologizes for her wheels (nor should she). Since I’m such a good friend of hers who loves cars like she does, Debbie lets me drive them or borrow them when I’m in town (Cleveland, Ohio should I fly).

Debbie and I have similar tastes in vehicles in color and designs. A lot of the cool cars she drove in our youth either she bought, or her Dad bought. I was never jealous or envious because I either couldn’t afford them, or did not want to part with a wad of cash to get from Point A to Point B that an old beat up reliable jalopy got me there. I was thrilled for her when she would wheel up to my house in her new gorgeous sports car. Within moments of some oohs and ahhs out of me, we’d drive off as only two good friends can into the sunshine or evening or black night.

Remember the Pontiac Fiero Gt 5-speed? Deb had a fire engine red one. I had the deep pleasure to drive it on occasion. More recently, she had a beautiful navy blue and white striped Mini-Cooper. Also one of my favorites. I think I drove it once when I was in her neck of the woods.

However, when Debbie bought her navy blue ragtop Miata 6-speed back in the early 2000’s, I was all in and thrilled for her. Since she knew I loved that car so much, she let me drive it anytime I was in Cleveland; sometimes for a week, and definitely for weekends. She would even go so far as to drop it off at my sister’s house so it would be there when I arrived. One time I took it to a wedding in Toledo, Ohio for the weekend. It was a solo trip for me and I took to the open road with the top down thinking I was one of the cool kids. I loved careening down the highway with the sun on my face and wind in my hair…that is until the weather turned on a dime and it began to rain. I had to pull off the turnpike to put the hard top back on. I wasn’t sure if I could press the button and it would go on safely and snuggly traveling at 65 MPH, so to be safe, I grounded my ride to a full halt.

Once we got a little older, she still drove a few sport cars. In fact, she had (2) Ford Probes. In more recent years she relented and began driving sedans, though sporty sedans like the Grand Prix, Monte Carlo SS and an Acura. Since I was also driving sedans along with Minivans, the allure to drive her cars bottomed out to zero.

Today, every time I see a Miata on the road, I truly pine for one of my own. There was one older one for sale near my home that was fire-engine red that I considered for a brief moment this summer, but alas it was sold quickly to someone else. I run/walk past it quite often since it remains parked on a street in my neighborhood. Often my mind wanders to: what if that car was mine.

I’ll keep dreaming of adding a Miata to the fleet, that way someday could become a possibility, but I won’t hold my breath.



Me and Debbie's Miata in 2002

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

CRV in 2003!

Our only small SUV, purchased brand spanking new in March of 2003, is still going…strong. Okay, maybe I should accurately say, limping along but it’s a strong limp nonetheless. Our son, Ryan, drives it. The mileage is high—approaching 240K miles. It’s in the shop with Joe the Mechanic a lot, but usually for little pesky things like a tail light is out or the window went down and won’t go up. That last one cost us though, the window motor had to be replaced. 

Most people would be fed up if they had to unlock the passenger door to get in, but not us. It’s what we do to keep the ride alive. Frankly, it's more Ryan having to open and crawl over the seats to open the driver’s side lock. He’s thrilled if he has a passenger to help with the locked door arrangement. He unlocks the passenger as required, then the passenger gets in to unlock his driver’s door. This only plays out if the car is locked, which I think he does most of the time. 

The back seat is messy and the cargo area has become the repository of golf clubs, tennis rackets, tennis balls in a holder, bottled water, sunscreen and many more items. He says he has to lock it up so those items don’t walk away. I can't blame him there.

Instead of duck-tape, some areas of the car are covered in stickers to hide any imperfection, or, to spread the message that there is a NY Yankee fan driving the vehicle. Back in the day, I put on the first sticker of a quilt block. Thankfully, it’s never been removed and I grin when I see it and Ryan driving away in it with the sticker proudly displayed below the back bumper. Maybe someone will think twice about doing anything bad to the vehicle if they notice a quilt sticker…because quilters are good people, sew don't mess with our vehicle! 

Every time I enter this car, I say to no one in particular, this thing needs a cleaning. A deep cleaning. Ya know what I mean? I'd like it if Ryan would heed those words: deep cleaning. Those words I utter fall on deaf ears though. If the Peanuts character Linus had a car, this would be his, or something like it. I don’t know how Ryan “thinks” when driving with all the c-r-a-p in it. I certainly can’t. 

Nowadays, the only time I put my foot down to have it cleaned it is when we have a trip planned and go to Kelleys Island, Ohio. Since this model has an extra spare tire wheel on the back, it’s easy to put on a bike rack to travel. We’ve taken up to three bicycles on our tiny bike rack which is really quite remarkable. I'm lazy to buy another bike rack to fit onto a sedan, so we pray this elder vehicle will make it. Once home from this type of trip with bikes on the back, the car stays clean for the week or so. Then it goes back to the messy mess per usual, ugh!

I gave up wasting my breath in getting it cleaned up the rest of the year. However, I'm thinking if it gets cleaned up, and cleaned out, maybe it can reach the next mileage milestone of 250,00 miles. 

I'm crossing my fingers for both a quick tidy (at least) and reaching 250K. Ha!



Monday, September 20, 2021

Should You Lock a Duck-Taped 20 Year Old Car?

The car stories I’ve been writing have been super fun to write while tearing them out of the recesses of my brain. I’m also blessed with being an A-B driver. You may know the type, they don’t care what set of wheels they are driving, they just hope and pray they can get from Point A to Point B safely. My dad must have broke me and my sisters in early with that scenario of driving jalopies, and I kind of still dig it today. Bucking the trend of driving something brand spanking new and shiny (good luck buying something new today though) brings me joy. Oh yes, my non-mechanical husband can’t do any maintenance, so every decade or so we spring for a bright and shiny new vehicle. Let me add that what he cannot do in car maintenance, he can instead do a spread sheet on something financial or car maintenance that can rock your world!

It’s amazing that the jalopies we drive can be parked anywhere-especially the small ones! And, is it an oxymoron to lock the doors of a 20 year old duck-taped car that many people have told us they wouldn’t be caught dead in it? I don’t know the answer to that one, but out of habit, and a hat tip to the newer ones we’ve got, I locked those beat up doors anyway.

One of the benefits of living in the Mid-Atlantic area is that our cars don’t turn into rust-buckets like they did living in Ohio near Lake Erie. We do not need to replace them as often. Maybe that’s a double-edged sword. Perhaps folks get tired of them before there is something wrong with them. We never tire of them until they’ve driven their last mile and cannot go another inch.

Despite all the funnies I’m making about our cars, they are well-maintained by our mechanic, Joe, that I aptly named: “Joe the Mechanic.” He keeps them humming along and purring like a basket of kittens. He gives every car he touches TLC, even old beat up things like ours.



2001 Toyota Corolla (looks great from a distance!)

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Lotta Work and Effort for a One Minute Video

Before I get back to finish the '73 Mercury Maverick car story, I wanted to share that prepping, videoing (sometime more than one take than I like/hubby likes since he is the videographer) and loading it all up to social media takes time. More than I thought.

However, I am very happy to do so in spreading our message of hope and inspiration. I am/we are doing that one family and one person at a time which has been my mission the entire time. 

Thank you for reading along. Here is a sneak peek at the behind the scenes of setting up the videos.



Using my quilting design boards!

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Flushing Out A Car Story '73 Maverick

If you are a reader of this blog, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am thinking that when I am done with my 3000 post by years' end, I maybe switching it to a new format, perhaps a new name. There are a lot of ideas swirling in my head, but I can tell you that I will continue to write, no matter where it ends up. Those reading here will know first!

So here goes a story I am working regarding a car I drove in college. It's not perfect, but still working on it. Thanks for your patience!

Let’s Party…Giddy up in a 1973 Maverick

Way back in the day, during the first two years of university, I didn’t have a car. Not many kids did unless they lived out of state, or their parents were generous enough in buying their son or daughter a set of wheels—not necessarily new. This was in the early 1980’s. My dad thought he was cute when he bought me an old bicycle that was painted red -EVERYWHERE.

The wheels, handlebars, spokes, seat, any other metal, plus the body, was painted fire engine red. It was a sight to behold. I never had to lock it because no one would be caught dead riding it, even for kicks or a minute! When I was finished with all the jokes and barbs of riding it around campus, I took it out to the train tracks to be run over by the next passing train. Hey, I was goofy and in college and that’s the kind of thing kids did then.

After I moved off campus to an apartment with three other roommates (Buff on Clough - Buff was the name of the apartment building and Clough rhymes with Buff. I used to like to say, “In the Buff on Clough…), my dad bought me a car. Now this was no ordinary car. It was a 1973 beat up Maverick with a landau top (does anyone remember those-they were vinyl or cloth instead of metal?). The driver’s side did not open. I had to exit the vehicle through the passenger door. It had “Let’s Party” written on the driver’s side panel, but was spray painted over though the words still seeped through the spray paint and still could be read - especially from a distance. It had an extra long tail pipe because the shorter one was dumping obnoxious fumes into the body of the car. No one could put their feet down on the carpeting in the back seat directly behind the driver because there was some type of gooey oil all over it. However, except for the oil on that side of the car, the backseat was in pristine condition.

My dad paid $100 for it.




Photo of my roommate Jen with Mav

Friday, September 17, 2021

A Perfect Day of Greenlights Last Post

Since it was early afternoon, I figured traffic wouldn’t be an issue. It wasn’t. We sailed through the city to Maryland. However, about five miles from home we faced stopped traffic on the off ramp to get home. Bill suggested we take another exit off the ramp and drive through the adjacent city until it dumps us back out to the road we wanted to be on in the first place. I took the other ramp, but then jumped back on the road he suggested I stay away from. I saw in the distance that traffic was moving so go me. 

This road is 60mph but still has lights on it. They are spread out, but if stopped by a red light, they last between 3-5 minutes to go again. We never faced a red light; they were all green. Then Bill suggested for me to stop at our local Dunkin Donuts as he wanted a cup of coffee. No problem, but we were sailing through several miles of lights that we may get there before his order (on the app) is ready. When he punched in his order; it came back FREE. Another Green Light.

Where this DD is located there is a huge intersection. We always wait at the light for several minutes and rarely, if ever, get a green light. The magic wand must have been broken because plumes of fairy dust cast over our vehicle and we never had a red light at all. As soon as we approached the intersection, the lights turned that color of money. By this point we couldn’t believe out “luck.”

Our afternoon went quick. Once home I got ready and left to officiate a Boys Varsity High School soccer game, and Bill took Ryan to a dermatology appointment at the University of Maryland. Thankfully, after a week of crazy high school coaches in my craw, I refereed the most beautiful game of soccer with two Christian High School teams. I never heard a word out of a parent, student, player or coach. We all stood in the center of the field and the coach from the home team said a prayer before the start of the match. He did it at the end too. It was exactly what I needed to see. Green Light.

One more incredible moment happened when I called a woman who was trying to get in touch with me for a couple of days. Her mother lives on my street and is quite lovely, a retired 4th grade teacher. The teacher’s daughter, a woman I’ll call Roxanne, wanted to share a story with me regarding my book. She recently bought two signed copies at a locally owned store that sells unique items and gifts, and reluctantly gave her second copy to a friend of hers that has 1 year old son  battling cancer; neuroblastoma Stage 4. This woman I’ll call Lola told Roxanne that my book couldn’t have come at a better time in her life. Her son is in his focused fight at Johns Hopkins and took a photo of her reading the book with her one year old son laying in the hospital bed. Powerful connection. Green Lights all around. 

I knew my book could help others: one person, one family at a time. It is happening. The powerful words, the resources, the hope and inspiration in my message has been taken to heart by Lola and her family. I am over the moon with gratitude that this book is HELPING THEM! 

I cannot thank Roxanne enough either. Roxanne also sent me a lovely card, and a T-shirt with Lola’s son’s name, Jagger, on it for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I am going to wear it proudly.

As for Ryan’s dermatology appointment, he had an ALL CLEAR except that the doc had to remove one skin tag. 

It is rare to have those perfect Green Light Days in life. What I’ve leaned into though, is recognizing them. Counting the blessings. It was one after another, so it was difficult NOT to see what was happening. We all get these type of days now and again. My hope it that others will tune into those seldom days and celebrate the moments no matter how big or small they may be.

Green lights.




One more photo from Grand Rounds at Georgetown


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Green Light Day (continued)

By noon, another group was taking over the auditorium, so we took our group out into the hallway. There, Ryan, Bill and I, along with Dr. Shad, fielded more questions from the students. They couldn’t get enough, or so I thought. When Dr. Shad mentioned that I had written a book, 8-10 students clamored around a small table to buy one since I brought several just in case this would happen. One student, who wants to be a cardiologist, told me that it was the best lecture she’s heard all year. It was profound, powerful and raw, she added. Others chimed in similar what the potential cardiologist said. 

After all the hullabaloo died down and everyone moved on, Ryan mentioned that he’d like to have lunch in Georgetown. Bill and I were OK with it, but I was not sure because of parking problems on the main streets. The distance of the hospital to the restaurant was over a half mile away. The temperature was hovering around 90 degrees. I made a deal, if we could find a spot to park, we could do it. We drove over to Wisconsin Ave where the restaurant he selected was. Sure enough, the magic wand full of fairy dust began its swathe over us. There was exactly one large parking space right in front of the restaurant. Green light? Miracle?

When I put the parking location in the persnickety app to pay for the space, it worked like a charm. Green light. Lunch was fabulous and the three of us left elated.




photo from lecture at Georgetown Medical School