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!

Monday, December 31, 2012

525, 600 Minutes of 2012!

I was wondering what direction or really how to "end" this year's challenge I took on exactly one year ago today.  But the idea found me when we were listening to Pandora's musical hits this afternoon and the "Seasons of Love" song came on from the musical "Rent", and I knew-that's it!  Here are the words (albeit condensed just a little):

"525, 600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.  525, 600 minutes - how do you measure a year?  In daylights? in sunsets? in midnights? in cups of coffee (for me tea)?  In inches? in miles? in laughter? in strife?  In 525, 600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?  How about Love?  Measure in Love - Seasons of love!"

"525, 600 minutes, 525,000 journeys to plan.  How can you measure the life of a woman or man?"

"In truths that she learned, Or in times he cried.  In bridges he burned, Or the way that she died....."

"It's time now to sing out, the story never ends, let's celebrate and remember a year in the life of friends"

"Seasons of love"

This song just hit the jackpot with all the moments I felt this past year, and I'm so very thankful I took on the challenge (Thanks, Don!).  And it's in the moments, both big and small, that life happens. It's all the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months strung together to get to this very moment of 365 posts.  Everyday I felt more alive and aware knowing that I would take one moment from the day to be thankful for, and then post to this blog by day's end.  In there lies the power of each moment of a day...

I also want to give a big shout of thanks to everyone who followed along, sometimes everyday, to my blog posts!  Many of you have given me encouragement and positive feedback throughout this year and that continued to fuel my need to live each day to my potential!  For that, I humbly thank you for those kind words.  Remember, the power of each of our lives lies in those moments!

Tomorrow I will do my "full" recap of the year.  I have not gone back to read any posts, so it will be interesting for me to go back and take a look and see what I wrote and how far I've come in the "blog world"?  This blog is certainly not over, just not daily for awhile, but I intend to keep posting. (Who knows, I may miss it so much I'll go back to daily?!)

And lastly, BSoleille, is a "French word" that means: to be happy or to be sunny (Soleille); I threw the "B" which should be spelled "Be" in front; but I liked BSoleille best as my end line.

My last photo of the year is just one, my incredible family - Bill, Olivia and Ryan.  They kept me "whole" on all fronts this entire year.  They are the love and light of my life and I'm so very thankful for them each day!  I am glad we are on this wild journey called life together!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

A New Quilt Project

Even though I have many UFO's (unfinished objects) in my quilting world, I would be remiss if I did not include one more post of something "quilty" on this blog. Those great fabrics I bought a month ago have been washed and ready to go. So today I decided to begin a new quilt because my guilds annual quilt show is just three short months away and I would like my idea/finished quilt realized and hung in the show.

However, no sooner than I cut a few pieces and started working and sewing we had a power outage that last almost six hours. That killed my sewing for today but at least I got to start it and I'm thankful for that!

BSoleille! The bright side of starting something new!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Date Night +1

The day started out with a quick breakfast run with the family to Chick and Ruth's Deli to visit with the Walters/Verrecchia clan who drove in from Arlington, Virginia. The #114 on the menu is my favorite (veggie and cheese omelet) but the Greek omelet that two others ordered looked very good!

But the treat for the tonight was going to the movies with the husband. I have seen lots of movies but just not on the big screen in a theater since February. However, once we decided to see "Les Miserables" the best daughter wanted to see it too. Of course we said yes and were delighted for her to join us! We have seen the theater production on several occasions and wondered about seeing it on film, especially a musical. But I/we thought the movie was spectacular! Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe were superb!

I heard Daniel Day Lewis was terrific as Lincoln and I intend to see this too but I'm predicting the Oscar will go to Hugh! Now I need to dig out my Les Mis CD to sing along (more like hum) to the score.

BSoleille! The bright side of seeing a wonderful movie on the big screen!


Photos from breakfast and the movie.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Warrenton Virginia - Elway Hall

Interior designer Barry Dixon invited the whole family down to his "farm" when we were at the Georgetown Jingle two weeks ago (he was Ryan's Christmas tree designer). However as this day approached, only Ryan and I could make the trip down. And man was it a treat! Barry's "farm" consists of a nearly 20,000 square foot estate on approximately 500 acres of rolling Virginia countryside. Even in wintertime the manor and the property were breathtakingly beautiful. My photos here do not do justice but trust me, it's gorgeous!

Being a quilter and a lover of all types of fabric, I was in heaven with all the upholstered furniture, pillows and draperies throughout the home. I had to lovingly touch just about everything and Barry claimed he didn't care that I did and actually encouraged me to do so. Most of the fabrics were from his own line as well as the many cool pieces of furniture he also designed. He certainly pays attention to detail and this was clearly evident throughout every room in the manor. I just loved the way he mixed old world antiques and collectibles from around the globe.

The house was built in 1907 for a Virginia governor at the time. Barry shared one of the most interesting facts of the estate (at least to me) that all the stain glass was commissioned and made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Barry had it authenticated by the Tiffany Company from New York as the original drawings and designs are kept in a vault there. And that stained glass is worth more than the manor itself! Wow!

I'm very thankful Ryan and I had the opportunity to visit Barry and Elway Hall today. After the condensed lesson in art, architecture and design Ryan told me on the way home he liked riding on the ATV's best! Spoken like a true teenager!

BSoleille! The bright side of our visit to Elway Hall!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Five More Posts for 2012

Well, as this year draws to a close, I cannot believe I've posted every day and I have "only" five more to complete my challenge that I set on January 1, 2012.  For the last few posts, I will recap and tell some of the "behind" the scenes, so to speak.  It's really not that much, but may be slightly interesting.  One of the only disappointments I've found was the spam emails from "Quilts From the Heart"; and I have really tried to expel all spams by changing my passcodes on numerous occasions to no avail; they still seem to slip through, including a few yesterday.  For this I truly apologize to those following along with me, and once I notice or get notified, I go and delete the foul post from that far flung location.

I have decided that I will post my "final" recap on January 1, 2013, and this will most likely be my longest post (I've been thinking ahead to what I want to write), but nothing you can't read in a few minutes, so no worries there.

I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to write every day, and lovely people to read it as well.  That's the true bright spot!


Photo of Winter (in Ohio at Christmas!)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A "Bear" Night

A safe "race" back to Maryland from Ohio last night was just the ticket considering all the inclement weather facing many locales (even snow in Texas!).  As we all quickly unpacked the car, played and petted the dogs and let the house "heat" up a bit, we were all a little more tired than usual and hit the hay within an hour knowing we could all sleep in and let the rain and sleet hit against the windowpanes all night and day.  I think we all slept like bears because we put in an 12 hours of straight sleep (I did happen to let the dogs out two times though) and never felt better after all that rest.  And, of course, I was sleeping on those "17 hour" flannel sheets I love so much....

Watching movies after a great meal of salmon, squash and salad rounded out this cold grey and rainy day.  I'm thankful for the warmth of a kitchen of filled with the aroma of lemon pepper seasoning on the salmon!


Photo of our meal tonight

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Our last Cleveland Christmas get together was this afternoon with the Tomoff clan. It was great to see the in-laws and "out-laws" (I'm one of those who married into the tribe), plus the Grandkids and matriarch Dorothy at 91 years young. She is still a fashion maven and sported a lovely red hat for the party.

Just as we were all eating and talking, all our phones went off simultaneously with a severe weather alert for the area. Of course this included possible blizzard conditions and travel advisories. Thankfully we were all packed up due to yesterday's forecast and decided to head back to Maryland ahead of the storm.

I hope everyone reading this blog had a very blessed and Merry Christmas with their loved ones!


Photo of 9 Tomoff siblings and their Mom-DART and of the Grandkids.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

A great Christian holiday this holy day of Christ birth. A good time to reflect on the year and thank The Lord for all his goodness!

My family celebrated this evening with Mark, Linda, Kyle, and Caitlin Misencik plus their extended family (four out of five Misencik brothers) with a total Slovak tradition of pierogis, Lake Erie perch, communion wafers and garlic and honey. A good thing for a Polish girl! Everything was delicious and made to perfection. You just can't beat homemade pierogis!

Photos of the Misencik clan plus the ladies of the kitchen (I admit I did nothing-but Linda, Beth and Caitlin take the honors)

BSoleille! The bright side of Christmas -so shiny and bright!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Is For Kids!

Just like the one line in a favorite holiday carol, "The Christmas Song": 'to kids from 1-92', everyone in my family fits into that category and therefore we are all kids!  So at Thanksgiving when the nephews came up with the idea to pick names and swap gifts at Christmas in the $10 range, we were all on board to participate, and tonight, enjoy the gifts and reveal all the secret santas!

My secret santa was my 12 year old nephew Dylan, and he selected all on his own (according to his mother/my sister) a wonderfully scented candle that I'll defintely use.  I was secret santa to my other 12 year old nephew Justin, and I got him a nerf football that got thrown around my sister's house the rest of the day.  She was a little nervous of the "breakables" around the house, but I did see it being tossed around anyways.

Thankfully, the secret santa idea was a successful one and everyone was excited to see their gifts!

BSoleille, the bright side of fun gift-giving!

Photos of all the 'kids' and my sisters/mother.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Visiting Friends During the Holidays

The hustle and bustle of the season slowed down a bit once we got out to Hiram, Ohio to visit with college friends Tom, Rosalie and their son Josh Franek, plus Scot, Jodie and their daughter Carmen Smith who drove from Sylvania, Ohio, for a much anticipated visit with all three families.  Our day started with Rosalie's promised "farm-fresh" eggs, Christmas cookies and other baked goods plus hot beverages to top off all the sugar.  After catching up a bit, we geared up with boots, hats and gloves to hit the "back 40" for a "snowball" hike through their trails.  Honestly, I am NOT a big fan of the white stuff, but just for today, I'll admit it was just beautiful on the trail and on the big pine trees throughout the hike.  Snowballs were flying all over the place, but we managed to walk on and check on the beauty of a peaceful winter day.  Once back to the barn, we made homemade Christmas ornaments, played ping-pong, and ate chestnuts that Tom roasted on an open fire!  Daughter Olivia commented that she felt like she was in an LLBean postcard!

Once we said our goodbye's  and "Merry Christmas's", we were back on the road again, this time heading back to the west side of Cleveland to meet another family: Scott, Gina, Haley and Ben Nelson.   We met playing co-ed volleyball over 25 years ago and have remained in touch through the years.  We try to see each other when we can and today was that day.  Our kids are the same age and they "kind of grew up together" until they moved to Sylvania, Ohio, and we moved to Maryland 16 years ago.

I'm thankful for the friendships with all the families, and big hearty laughs, and good food we shared throughout this day!



Friday, December 21, 2012

Rockin' & Rollin'

Winter started with a vengeance today in Northeast Ohio and thankfully all the driving on the snowy roads brought us to our various destinations safely.

My morning started early in downtown Cleveland (CSU) with the interview for the Stella Walsh documentary, then meeting hubby Bill, daughter Olivia and nephew Brett for lunch (Corner Alley) and ending the day at the Cleveland Cavaliers vs Indiana Pacers basketball game (Cavs lost). And two trips back and forth to downtown in two snowflakes short of a blizzard! Whew!

Photos from the day!


Thursday, December 20, 2012

To Cleveland We Go

I'm thankful we had a safe drive to Cleveland, Ohio today amid strong winds and lots of rain. Thank goodness it was not snow, although it is in the forecast here for tomorrow, ugh!

A stop to visit my Mom with her Grandkids in tow was a highlight of my day. She was in great spirits and looking forward to spending more time with family over Christmas break!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Piecemaker Bee Christmas

Tonight my bee celebrated Christmas by a meal of great Chinese food, good desserts and our annual exchange of gifts (hand-made items are a hit as well) in the $2-4 range.

Years ago we picked names etc., then when we all liked what everyone else got someone suggested we make or buy the same thing for everyone. The challenge was coming up an item that first year for about $2.00. But we did and it was a hit! As "inflation" hit we've sort of upped the gifts in the $3-4 range. It's exciting to see what we've all come up with from year to year. And there have been no repeats!

My photos include the gifts and the bee: from L-R: back row: me, Cathy Brown, Georgia Moritz, Susie Stevenson, Loretto Cartney. Front: Flo Marion, Marcy Hess, Lori Costello, and Mary Lopes!

BSoleille! The bright friendships of our bee; starting our 13th year in January.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cookies Again

Cookies tend to disappear quickly around here even after a plethora of them were here following the neighborhood cookie exchange. So "The Best Daughter" and I decided to make a few more batches for good measure. I don't think these will last either, but who am I kidding? Some will definitely go to my bee tomorrow night and the rest we will savor and enjoy!

BSoleille! The bright side of baking yummy cookies!


Monday, December 17, 2012

Do You Know What a Package Wrangler Is?

Neither did I until Sharon Johnsen and I arrived to volunteer at the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland, to wrap gifts for NIH Charities. Special Love is one of the beneficiaries of this holiday program and we were both thrilled to dig right in and wrap, wrap and wrap for about three and a half hours straight.

We were told by the ultimate package wrapper,Therese, that Sharon would be mostly wrapping presents and I would be, not only wrapping when I caught a break, but "wrangling" customers by assessing their gifts and what boxes would fit their treasures, lining those said boxes with tissue paper (I love tissue paper), collecting the donations by check, credit or cash and writing out tickets and post it notes for each gift! I felt like a three ring circus. One present took me 30 minutes to wrap because I kept getting interrupted with new customers and gifts to assess. Lol!

Really, it was great fun and it was neat to see what people buy for their loved ones.
And, helping such a great cause.

BSoleille! The bright side of a "perfectly" wrapped present!


Photo of me and Sharon at the start of our shift.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Georgetown Jingle

This evening's Georgetown Jingle held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington DC is one if my favorite event of the year. I really look forward to it and all it's tradition and finery. With the premier designers of the Washington Metro area and their trees designed with their patient ambassadors in mind, coupled with tastings of all the top restaurants and everyone dressed in their holiday best, what's not to like?

I am thankful that my family was there to support Dr. Shad and her programs plus have fun and enjoy the night together.

Photos of the evening

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pheen Family Dinner

Without the daughters who brought the families together through youth soccer, three couples got together tonight to celebrate friendship and Christmas cheer! (And we were missing one couple who could not make it)

Great food and good conversation plus catching up with our kids lives made it a wonderful evening! Thanks for the memories!

Photos of the gang and the uber decorated house of John and Angie.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Connecticut Families

Although I try to post upbeat and positive gratitude(s) to my blog, today as a parent and a school health care worker (lately in an elementary school in Annapolis), my heart breaks for the tragedy in a Connecticut elementary school this morning.

Please join me in sending healing thoughts and silent prayers to all those affected. I refuse to watch any coverage of this extreme sadness, as most of the families and youngsters were likely looking forward to all the festivities in their families and community, and hope that somehow this madness will. stop. today!!!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Little Red "POS"

Due to car drama this summer when one of our "older",but much beloved, autos got hit and totaled, I subsequently am driving the eldest car of the fleet. And don't tell my wonderful Hondas but I'm driving a 2001 Toyota Corolla, that at first, we called (and really still do) it a "POS" or piece of s#+! But as the miles unfold and the little bugger is getting me from point A to B, I'm getting used to the idea.

And the best part to be thankful for is that Joe the Mechanic (and that's really his name) told me he can keep this thing humming for a long time! Oh boy!!!

Photo of my current set of wheels!

BSoleille! The bright side of a used car?!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Table Top Winner!

The 2Bee Elves won the "most creative" category for our "Winter Wonderland" scene at our annual quilt guild's holiday party tonight. Monday's post contained a glimpse of our production line in making the snowmen. And those snowmen are not just ordinary snowmen. They are special because the bottom of it contains home made hot chocolate mix! Yummy!

My photo is the "Winter Wonderland" and the cute snowmen on top of the tulle with white and blue lights underneath the white tulle. The second photo are the blocks made for our annual Christmas block swap. (Over the years I've always made two, one for the swap and one for me. I then had enough to make 4 Christmas quilts two years ago-plus others gave me additional blocks as well).
P.S. I made the Elf block.

BSoleille! The bright side of hosting and decorating a festive table for eight!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A New Quilting Record Broken

Now that is not a headline you will ever see in print in a media outlet. Frankly, establishing any type athletic record is a thing of the past, but alas, personal records can be broken on a daily basis. Today I broke my machine quilting record by one- meaning I machine quilted three decent size T-shirt quilts on my "baby long-arm". And I'm tired, as that took me just under nine hours. But I'm thankful that the machine behaved and I accomplished what I set out to do!

Tomorrow I will finish my last T-shirt quilt for 2012-whooohooo!

BSoleille! The bright side of a new personal record!


Photo of 3 out of the 4 quilts to finish by Christmas (I've got this one in the bag).

Monday, December 10, 2012

2 Bee "Elves"

My 2 Bee (me and fellow quilter, Trish) got together today and stayed busy as Santa's elves making our tabletop decorations for our quilting guild's Christmas party. We volunteered to be table hostesses and will decorate one round table for eight. I'm thankful we have a pretty good theme and will reveal it Wednesday evening.

My photo is our table favors in the production line.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

I Love Cookies

This afternoon I hosted about 20 ladies, mostly from the "H" section of Crofton, MD, in what I believe is the first ever Christmas Cookie Exchange here. (One original home owner attested to that assumption). We did a lively version of a Yankee Swap with a "white elephant" and then swapped cookies. I'm thankful that all the cookies were different plus delicious!!!

BSoleille! The bright side of connecting my neighbors with dozens of cookies.


Photos of cookies, ladies selecting their cookies and Lori and Angela!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Girls Night Out

My friend Leslie (crazy black girl-her words, honestly) had a fun Christmas party at her, over-the-top-decorated-inside and-out, house. She was also dressed head to toe in everything Christmas (see photo) and great food too! What's not to like? And as she so sneakily does it, you end up going home with more loot than you came in with.
I am thankful to have been invited :)

BSoleille! The bright side of this happy season!