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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

As 2013 ends, I hope 2014 will be an exciting and great year! And as life throws its curve balls to one and all, I am thankful and grateful for the many blessings bestowed to me and my family this past year. 

More importantly, I want to give a shout of many thanks to my faithful blog post readers throughout the past two years. I cannot believe I have written over 700 posts (it can be challenging at times) and plan to continue in the new year providing I can keep it "fresh"!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a Happy Nee Year!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Cookies Anonymous Anyone?

Tis the season of over indulgence of cookies and other truly irresistible goodies. So, because there are many blank anonymous groups, there has got to be one for cookies too. If not, there should be. I could be a charter member: "Hi, my name is Terri,  and I have been a chocolate chip cookie addict for over 25 years."  Back in my early 30's, I ate those "CCC's" for breakfast, lunch and dinner -and I'm not joking!  Lately I have found, the older I get, the less resistance I have to any type of cookie, not just CCC's. Anyone in for Cookies Anonymous?

BSoleille!  The bright side of a perfect cookie!


Photo of three "Pheen girls" for our annual mother/daughter dinner: me, Angie Koz, Olivia, Katie and Patty Git and Alyssa Kozlowski 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

On The Road Again

Traveling is big fun but sleeping on air mattresses, lumpy sofas and floors can be challenging. So with safe travels today, albeit some heavy traffic in Pennsylvania, we are home and cuddled up in our own beds as our home temp is  a "comfy" 58 degrees!  Quilts are stacked high on the beds for warmth, haha!

My photo today is taken at the Franek's (Tom and Rosalie) of Hiram, Ohio. I'm thankful we got to sneak in one more visit as we headed East home. Bridget was home from Oregon, and younger brother Josh just got home from traveling abroad (France) over the past three months. At 23 years old, Josh had some wild experiences on his trip and wrote about it in his hilarious blog included here:  http://joshfranek.blogspot.com/

BSoleille!  The bright side of traveling over 1200 miles (round trip) this holiday.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

I Survived!

Do you ever have a day that you cram in so much, but then at the end of that day, you really believe it was so worth it?  Today was one of those days for me. It began with breakfast with three "outlaws"/husband's side of family; a visit with my Mom where we "escaped" the nursing home for a burger at a local Wendy's; a trip to downtown Cleveland with my friend Patty to see the Titanic Exhibit at the Great Lakes Science Center and dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant with my family and my husband's twin and his family in North Olmsted, Ohio. Whew!

For history buff's though,  the Titanic exhibit was terrific. It's in Cleveland until January 5, 2014, and I suspect, will be traveling to other venues. If you like the history and lore if this great "unsinkable"ship, it's worth the effort to see it. "I survived" because the "passenger ticket" I got "issued" to go into the exhibit in the name of Mary Davis, age 28, from London, England, survived the catastrophe. And, I must admit,  the IMAX movie called "Titanica" was also worth the price of admission. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of a lot of activity and experiences...in one day!


Friday, December 27, 2013

A Monster Game

Cleveland's AHL Hockey Team is called the Lake Erie Monsters. Although a good crowd and ample fun with all the goings on surrounding the actual game (like $1 hot dogs and cokes), the Monsters got spanked 4-0 by the Chicago Wolves! In any event, we all sang along to the 80's songs and cheered the home team on anyways. A great outing with the family, and I'm thankful for that.

And I'd like to give a shout out to my high school pals as we squeezed in a quick lunch at the Winking Lizard this afternoon. I'm glad Robin, Sarah (and her 2 girls), Debbie and Sue were able to make it for some overdue catching up!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas on My Side

The "Nolan" Christmas has its traditions with gift giving and a fish (salmon this year) dinner, but a relatively new one is the annual ping pong tournament. This year marked its third time with a "buy out" last year, meaning Christmas was hosted at a house without a ping pong table.  So upon arrival the early rounds begin in bracket play. Most everyone gets three games and we continue up through the brackets and knock out rounds. "The Best Daughter" and husband Bill really gave a great showing,  but the nephews Brandon and Nathan were too good again this year and came away in first and second place, respectively. Bragging rights for another year with these guys...

BSoleille!  The bright side of holiday ping pong. 


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas Day!

Hope Santa was good to all my blog readers!  I am "still" a believer myself....and I'm thankful today was a nice day spent with the Tomoff Family at Eliza Jennings Nursing home where matriarch, Dorothy, 92, resides. 

Photo of my family with Dorothy!


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

A great day of celebration; hopefully, you are all enjoying this wonderful holiday with family and friends today and through the Christmas season!  I love the good food, cookies and conversation.....

Joy to the World!


Photo of The Misencik's Traditional Slovak Christmas Eve (loved the Lake Erie perch, Mark!)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Shortest Day of the Year

Winter solstice was actually yesterday (or maybe the 21st), and the shortest amount of daylight the entire year. So after a grey day with lots of rain, a burst if sunshine broke out just minutes before sunset and an ink stained sky!  I captured this moment for my photo today, as it lasted maybe five minutes. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of a sunburst rising out of rain clouds. 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ice Skating or Bowling?

That was the question discussed this weekend on a holiday family outing. As you can see by the photo, the bowling won!  And you know what?  It is a lot more fun once you get the shoes, lane assignment and names programmed in the computer, and then roll that first ball down a highly veneered beautiful wooden alley!  Let those strikes and spares catapult us pass a score of 100!!!  The "special" cost me $21 for three people to bowl as much as they could for one hour. Definitely worth it I'd say. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of rolling two strikes in a row (choked on three)!


Friday, December 20, 2013


Last fall I watched the entire series of Friday Night Lights on Netflix. This past fall I watched Glee through the end of season 4. It is currently in season 5 and I still need to catch up. But for now I'm done with it. So this past Sunday I was thankful to talk to one of the cast members of Glee, Telly Leung, who played the part of Wes, a Dalton Warbler! He attended the Georgetown Jingle and did some Master of Ceremony duties, plus some singing (he is really good). He was a delight to talk to and gave me some insight on the show, the characters and the actors. One interesting tidbit he shared was that the Dalton Academy used to be an all boys school in Pasadena, California, and that the setting used for filming was an old Red Cross Building no longer in use. Cool stuff!



Photo of me and Telly

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Merry Christmas Package

Putting the finishing touches on my last tshirt quilt for 2013, I was under a deadline to get to the UPS store today by 6:30. It's only a 5 minute drive from my house, so I called the store around 6:15 to see if the driver was coming, still there loading or had already left. Thankfully, he was still there loading boxes and would wait for me to arrive before he left (I'm glad I called "ahead"). Now that's some great customer service for sure!

BSoleille!  The bright side of that quilt on its journey to Chicago by good timing and grace. 


Photo of the last box being loaded in the big brown truck. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Electric cars have been around for awhile, but nothing has intrigued me more than this new brand, Tesla!  There is only one "showroom" in Maryland, and you can only order one online and that's  no joke. They are way out of my price range but I think this one is a game changer and the futuristic technology will be the new wave of the future!  Plenty has been written about it so far but I still think its a cool car and even better concept of being electric and efficient. 

Since we returned to Montgomery Mall to do another gift wrapping volunteer stint, we decided to stop in Tesla "store" to sit behind the wheel and dream of the "future". No high pressure sales person either!  Do you know what a "frunk" is?  It's a front end trunk since there is no motor.....

BSoleille!  The bright side of cool car!



Did you ever stop to think, and be thankful, that you were born in the USA? Of course I have on occasion, but today I could not help notice the abundance of goods and stuff all around us, especially at the local grocery store. From the looks it with aisle upon aisle of every kind of food on the pyramid, and then some, our needs are definitely met. I almost feel guilty with so many offerings to choose from when I know there are many people worldwide that have very little. It was just an observation plus the thought that I am thankful to live in the US, warts and all!

BSoleille!  The bright side of choices. 


Photo of Santa making his neighborhood rounds on the fire truck. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Let There Be...

Refractory light!  I love how the rays of light bounce all around a room or wall from a round crystal ball. My photo is a display in a Swarovski Shop with artificial fluorescent lighting, but natural sun rays seem just as good, if not better, when it shines right through the many facets of the crystal. Pretty!

BSoleille!  The bright side and through cut crystals. 

Jingle All The Way

Today was one of my favorite days of the year - The Georgetown Jingle at the Four Seasons in DC.  (I am very content as I write this post at midnight, because that means we all had a wonderful time at  the two events).  The trees were decorated beautifully, everyone was dressed in their best holiday attire, and the crowds were joyful, jolly and festive. Can't ask for a better event than that!  Of course, all the monies raised tonight will benefit Dr. Aziza Shad's programs at Georgetown in the pediatric hematology and oncology department, with the hope of making life better for those in treatment and hospitalized for long periods of time. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of many giving people benefitting those touched by childhood cancer!


Photos from the Jingle with Patty Lubin, Marilyn Eichner, Liz Verrecchia and Dr. Shad and the kids of Georgetown. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Santa's Elves in Action

The kids and I spent a good part of today volunteering for NIH Charites benefitting  Special Love (Camp Fantastic and Brass) and the Children's Inn at the Montgomery Mall in Bethesda, Maryland.  I wrestled and wrapped presents, Ryan was a "package wrangler", and "The Best Daughter" handled the cashier duties.  Thankfully, we were busy and having fun at the same time. If local, and shop at this mall, the gift wrapping is near photos with Santa. Check it out!  

BSoleille!  The bright side of a beautifully wrapped present!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Hokie Decoration

Typically when walking through a neighborhood the pace is a bit slower than a run or jog, and there is a better chance of "noticing" things. So my photo today is of a Christmas decoration of super heroes, truly something different, and not expected, as I rounded a corner on one of my walks. There is a wrapped present if you look carefully; I did not notice it at first glance thinking it was a Halloween leftover. I guess these folks figured there are enough reindeers, Santas and lighted trees so they decorated their yard with "Superman" and "Spider-Man" and "The Hulk". 

BSoleille!  The bright side of "to each their own". 


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Hand Made Christmas Tree

Yesterday I drove to Alexandria, Virginia to drop off several customer tshirt quilts at Upcycle CRC in the Del Ray area of Alexandria. What intrigued me was this "granny squared" (both knitted and crocheted) layers of an hand made tree. All the ornaments were also "hand" made and very sweet as they each had a prominent spot on the tree. The city has a competition on the best one in town and I think this one could win (using recycled materials). I am thankful to enjoy the season admiring other highly decorated trees!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a decorated tree using recycled and hand made items. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Winter Wonderland

This was the theme of my quilting guild's Christmas party. I've got to hand it to my co-creator table hostess, Trish, with her master plan of a "snowy day in the kitchen". So, for this idea we made aprons (eight for our table in which we made them several weeks ago), plus little recipe books, and of course, cookies.  It was stiff competition with the other table hostesses and their creations, but our table won the "best originality" table!  Fun!

BSoleille!  The bright side of "a snowy day in the kitchen"!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lunch for the "Hardy"

Even though this morning's snow storm stopped a few folks (schools were closed too), it didn't stop this former Ohioan to slug it out and commute the 2.3 miles to the office. What's a few flakes?  I'm thankful that the drive was safe and the handful of people who came in also arrived safely. And due to our efforts, lunch was called in for the "diehards"!  

BSoleille!  The bright side of a good snow scraper!

Photo of co worker BJ Diamond excited for the pizza and salad. 

Monday, December 9, 2013


Tools can make or break most projects, and one tool I cannot live without are a good pair of scissors. I like them so much I have several pairs, big ones and small ones, pinking shears and embroidery scissors, really various kinds that serve different functions (at least for me). One sharp pair I use when I'm using the long arm is on a tether cilipped to my shirt. They are always at the ready to clip stray threads and a must while I'm working on most sewing or quilting projects. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of a useful tool!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oh The Weather Out There is Frightful

Does it ever occur to you, as it does me, that once the weather turns dicey with snow, sleet and ice, about 80% of the Christmas songs played on the radio make sense?  Old Man Winter found Maryland and we are on the charts now for "accumulation". I'm going to still think warm thoughts and I'll help them along with lots of hot tea and hot cocoa!  Brrrr!

And just for giggles and grins, my wonderful brother-in-law, Don, commented to me on yesterday's blogpost that there is an "actual" name for watching TV and "playing" on the phone, computer or tablet. It's called the "second screen trend". Now, how about that!  So from the looks of some bad weather coming our way I'll be watching some TV (movies most likely), and definitely will be employing the concept of "second (and third) screening"!

BSoleille!  The bright side of hot tea and hot trends. 

Slide compliments of Don (thanks) and winter.....

Saturday, December 7, 2013

TV Watching

Can you just simply watch TV and not look at a magazine or paper?  That was so five years ago, right? I know I can't, I have to "watch" the game with several electronic gadgets at my disposal and mulitask on all three!  I haven't cracked open a magazine in several months and I don't like that. They are certainly piling up and I think I'll get to them "someday". I hope I do. Interestingly, there are three of us watching hockey and college football, (toggling) back and forth, and we are all peeking at the TV over our computers and iPads!  

BSoleille!  The "bright" side of "multitasking"!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sometimes Less is More

I am taking this heading quite literally this year with our Christmas tree thinking less (really, no ornaments just lights) is more. I threatened to do this a few years ago and broke down and put up 10. Last year I did the whole shebang with all decorations out on deck. But today, I will admit, I put on one, a star, a reminder of the reason for the season. Simple!

BSoleille!  "As we let our own light shine, we uncounsciously give other people permission to do the same" Nelson Mandela. May this good man rest in peace. 


Photo of our 2013 tree and two "clowns" too lazy to help out!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Laid Back Christmas Party

That's what my "new" bee is, laid back, and I love it. We also have a name now, "The Possibillabees"!  We had a potluck dinner but did not exchange any gifts...yet, we decided to do that next month since we are busy with finishing other projects before the Christmas deadline (except Mary)!  These ladies are awesome and I'm humbled to be a "Possibilibee". 

BSoleille!  The bright side of sharing a holiday dinner, the first of the season. 


Photo at Janet McCabe's (Carrie, Susie, Cappy, Mary, Shelley, and Janet)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Happy Place

At a recent get away weekend for parents with children diagnosed with cancer (in any stage), we did a guided imagery exercise on Saturday morning to help get us all in a stress free meditative state. It was one if my favorite moments of the weekend. I must admit though, my "happy place" tends to be warm/hot and involves a beach, sand and ocean. 

Thankfully though, through years I have come up with a few happy places (Barefoot Beach in Naples, Florida; Bethany or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; and Florence, Italy). But the one place that I feel the most relaxed is sitting behind my sewing machine and working on multiple projects in various states of completion and great music blaring out of the stereo. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of thinking of a happy place!


Photo of my sewing and quilting projects that seem out of control, but really not at all. 

Commercial Bombardment

I hope we can outlast all the commercials and advertising during this Christmas season. It can be so annoying especially the same commercial over and over again. It's hard to watch TV in the evenings. The radio time seems less intrusive to the psyche, but who knows? I know I will not be buying anything that has been advertised over and over and what does it all really mean anyway?

I'll just cocoon in the house with some good old fashion CD's and fragrant candles to usher in holiday spirit and cheer!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a nap with a favorite pooch!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A "New" Favorite Restaurant

Well, it's not mine exactly, but it's quite good - Genghis Grill - at Waugh Chapel in Crofton/Gambrills. Really, it's my son's and husband's "new" favorite, and we went for an early dinner to "celebrate" my husband, Bill's, birthday that's later this week. I will add that the food is good, but the service and attentiveness are excellent. Now that makes the dining experience really enjoyable and I am thankful for their efforts on this front. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of great service in a restaurant!

Photo of my two guys. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thankful at Thanksgiving

Isn't that what it's all about?  So many things to be grateful for?  I try to make it a daily conscience effort because I am better in the long run; as I hope a better spouse, parent, friend and sister, and worker. Why not be grateful?

I would like to take this opportunity today to thank my blog readers both near and far, daily or "check-in-when-you-can", and to thank you for the kind comments you have left throughout the year. In 31 more posts (providing I blog daily in December), I will be closing on almost two solid years of a great writing adventure. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of seeing each day more clearly!!!


Photo of my contacts, a "thing" I am so thankful for since I've been wearing them for 37 years!  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bright Friday

On a clear cold mid morning, the retailers  only made  a whopping $26.00 from my purchase of some quilting supplies at Joann's Fabrics. The crowds of retail enthusiasts were out in full force and there was not a single parking spot at the mall to be has (we tried), so we headed home to eat and walk dogs. (Better choice, really)

Lastly, I am thankful to help my sister Kimberly long arm one if her quilts, now that's a bright, not black, Friday. 

Photo of Kimberly, Olivia and the "dog cousins"!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

That Thanksgiving Spirit

For three out of four Tomoff's that's running a 5K race in the am when the temp was 28 degrees and windy, but sunny; getting the turkey in the oven for its six hour roast; and finally settling down with the family to eat the traditional Thanksgiving food all in about five minutes flat! (OK maybe 10, or it seemed like 10 minutes). The cleanup took the longest or so it seemed because the husband took the lead and did the majority KP duty. Now that's something to be thankful about!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

So much to be thankful for during this holiday time, especially family, friends and good food bought today to prepare tomorrow and share in the great traditional American meal!  I'm really thankful my sister and her family made a safe journey to Maryland (driving in from Ohio), and that we will enjoy the company for the weekend!

BSoleille! The bright side of some relaxing  (Bill on sofa) and early food prep. 


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Big Bird....Nests

When I let the dogs out this morning, and before all the rain hit our area, I noticed most of the leaves are gone from the trees in the backyard. And even though there were grey skies, it seemed a bit brighter out without all those leaves. That moment gave me the chance to look up and see four fairly large birds nests that I have not seen since last year. I guess time will tell if the wind and rain will knock them down eventually!  All that hard work in building them. 



Monday, November 25, 2013

Can We Say "Overachiever"?

In my quilting circles, if someone makes a lot of quilts or produces finished projects, someone may call you an "overachiever". A little ribbing for being productive but all in good jest (at least I hope it is)!  So this afternoon I decided to put my head down and quilt, quilt, quilt on my Handi-Quilter Long Arm. No excuses or getting distracted with anything else (like cleaning the house up for Thanksgiving), just quilt and finish quilts. 

I'm thankful I stuck to my guns and finished two big quilts and loaded up a third. I guess I would call that being an "overachiever"!

BSoleille!  The bright side of finishing projects. 


Photo taken by "The Best Daughter" who was impressed with my focus this afternoon. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

And The Final Speakers

Were Ryan and Olivia , the one-two punch, (if you will) on childhood cancer survivorship and sibling issues at the Special Love Parent's Getaway Weekend!  They really did an awesome job speaking from their hearts on how it was as a patient (Ryan) and how it was being a sibling (Olivia) through some very turmultuous and challenging times in their young lives. Their intent was to articulate to parents with young children going through similar battles what exactly those children may be thinking and feeling but cannot express yet. I believe they knocked it out of the park!  I'm so proud of them!

BSoleille!  The bright side of an heartfelt speech. 


Saturday, November 23, 2013


What or who do you think of when you hear the word "heroes"?  We have all heard of "fallen heroes", "sports heroes", and "boy scout heroes", but for me this weekend, it's been the couples and individuals I met facing courageous battles with their cancer fighting kids. 

At lunch today, our speaker was Tom (and his wife, Sheila) Baker, founders of Special Love in 1982 following the death of their daughter from childhood cancer. Their grief was so intense they wanted to do something to help others and lesson their struggles of moving forward.  So by the grace of God, they had 30 campers in 1983 in what they called Camp Fantastic in Front Royal, Virginia. Fast forward 30 years and this camp serves over 100 campers every summer and growing!!!  That's a big "How How"!

Tom ended his speech with the following poem he wrote in 2012 that I simply love. And may I mention Tom is a very talented guy, and learned everything from his wife! (wink wink) 



"Who are your heroes?  Are they on the screen?  Do they play football and act real mean?  Are they on TV or sing your favorite song?  Are they politicians and tell us right from wrong?"


"My heroes are young, some with no hair. Some walk with a limp because of the brace they wear. Some have a shunt or a tube or two, some have an artificial leg they wear in their shoe."


"Some may look different than the rest of their peers, some do not talk much and tell you their fears. They have more courage than I can say, and they love life in a special way."


"They love everyday and the people they meet. And vow to the world, the big "C" they will defeat."


"When they are around, we all learn a thing or two, these are my heroes, for them there is nothing I would not do."


"They are my heroes, I know they are yours too!"


Tom Baker 2012 (with permission to put on my blog today)



Photo of Shari Fisher, Maureen Lilly, Marilyn Eichner, Tom and Sheila Baker (me between them)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Parent's Get-Away Weekend

I'm thankful to be back in beautiful Old Town Winchester, Virginia, to be a volunteer with Special Love's Parent Weekend. This great weekend consists of bonding and connecting with parents of children with current childhood cancer patients, survivors and bereaved. A little bit of something offered to all who come including insurance issues (we could all use this one), relaxation techniques, a glamour institute, Pilates or just taking a stroll down Piccadilly Street in Old Town. I am thrilled to be part if this special group of very caring people who want to help others on their journey of dealing with pediatric cancer and all that it entails. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of "thanks and giving". 

Photo of my hotel room as we prepare the gift bags for the families including Sharon Johnsen, Maureen Lilly and Shari Fisher