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!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Wolf of Wall Street"

I am still trying to finish up all the academy award nominated movies and just finished the provocative film; "The Wolf of Wall Street" staring Leo DiCaprio tonight. It is definitely a black comedy directed by the one and only Martin Scorsese, and based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name. Wall Street was shameless in the 1990's, and this movie depicted Mr. Belfort's firm that engaged in securities fraud and corruption during that time. Some very "raunchy" scenes throughout but the gluttony of earning millions seemed to be the draw of this flick (more like controversial)! Fasten the seat belt to view-my "warning". 

Believe it or not, I think I need to see only one more, "Gravity" to finish the 2013 run for Oscar. Maybe next week. 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Great Weather

An "ordinary" day can be "extraordinary" just by virtue of a perfect summer "today".  A high temp around 78 degrees with brilliant sunshine and low humidity just about equals perfection when it comes to weather, and I will take it gladly. Certainly hope you got out to enjoy some of that today no matter where you live or vacationing!



Monday, July 28, 2014

Tomato Love

The saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", is great, but I would like to change that from apple to tomato (I even like apples too!). I love tomatoes in any form or color and this month they are the best and juiciest around. The freshness is bar none, and they are good nutritionally too. What is not to love?

This past weekend I picked up several at a local farm market (my soil is too sandy to grow my own and I have tried many times), and the gentleman selling them had over 20 varieties to choose from. He mentioned to me that he grows over 40 varieties every year. Wow! That is a lot to keep track of.....



Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Great Night for Crabs

A warm summer evening shared with friends you have known for years is the best recipe for magic moments in time. Now throw in some cold ones to wash down some Maryland crabs (and crab cakes too), plus dining on the water of the South River in Annapolis (Mike's) and you've got a great summertime treat!  Tom, Rosalie and Josh Franek quickly mastered the "crab eating instructions" -Maryland style, and polished off a dozen "fatboys"!  (They had help with yours truly). I do not think they were totally sold on the concept since it is a lot of "work" to get the meat out of those things, but they will just have to come back and try it again.

BSoleille!  The bright side of Maryland crabs....yummy. My hands are still "tingling"


Photo of Bill teaching Rosalie how to eat a crab (notice her bib-she insisted on wearing one I swear!), and the gang inside and outside the restaurant. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Block Party

The day was great for our streets annual block party. Neighbors that wave at each other going to school or work or the gym sat for a spell to catch up on the happenings. I thought the cake made for the occasion today was pretty cool!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Night "Fete"

This includes a quick food bar meal and grocery shopping at out local Wegman's. But the best surprise while eating was the great sound coming from Ken Fischer on acoustic guitar. He played solo tonight but is a part of "Ken & Wayne - An Acoustic Duo of Live Entertainment". He played the easy going hits of the 70's and 80's, but according to their website, they play a little bit of everything to entertain a crowd!  And I believe Ken did that tonight with the diners and shoppers at the Crofton Wegman's.

Interestingly, while Ken performed, there were some diners eating of course, but many people were perusing the hot bar and salad bars, and then many people marching through the area to get to the grocery store area, but once he finished a song, everyone stopped to clap for his performance, and that was the beauty of the night!

BSoleille!  The bright "sounds" from an acoustic guitar (and singer)!


Photo of Ken Fischer

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Where's Lucy?

I have posted in the past about my JYD (junk-yard dog), Lucy. She is a big girl who loves to play hide and seek (though she does all the hiding). Today I noticed that our grass plant is all filled in and bushy, a perfect place to hide for Lucy. She made could on that and "hid" for quite sometime until I started taking photos of her from various angles (one of them honing in on her space). Yep, you could barely tell she was in there, so kudos to her on great place to hide on a summer day. 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Substitute Teacher Apology Letters

If you have ever been a substitute teacher, and realize what a tough job it really is (and I am not kidding), often times apology letters abound. Today while cleaning out the kitchen closets I came upon all my "sub" stuff which included many letters written from students who could not behave themselves while I was in their classroom. They date back to 2003, and looking back, I am thankful that the regular classroom teacher "taught" that skill of apology when warranted.  

The "good" kids just drew pictures for me as you can see from the flag. But a smile came quickly over my face when I picked up the one you see in the center of today's photo: "please can you be my girlfriend",  with boxes for yes or no. I do not remember if it was a boy or girl who penned that one, but that does not matter. It is the thought that counted!

BSoleille!  The bright side of the art of apology!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"Sky Quilt"

When I flew back from Colorado yesterday, I could not help but notice the "quilted" landscape in the eastern part of the state (away from the any mountains). From my photo, it looks like a modern quilt in both color (sort of monochromatic) and concentric circles, which are both cool choices for something different- maybe even a fabric quilt!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Vail in the Summertime

Vail is noted for excellent skiing and all the winter sports, but it sure was bustling with summer activity (lots of biking and a Farmer's Market in town). I am also thankful I was able to meet up with a BGSU Alumni/Cross Country and Track team mate, Clark Fox. He actually ran an half marathon in the mountains of Vail this morning and then had "enough" energy to hike a few more miles with me on a ridge trail (@10,000 ft.). Great vistas of a couple 14,000ers along the trail for sure. 

Prior to taking the Gondala up though, I marched myself around the town and "found" the Betty Ford Alpine Garden, a very pleasant surprise that was not in my "plan", but worth the walk over.  This garden has over 3,000 alpine plants and is one of the highest botanical gardens in the world. 

BSoleille! The bright side of unplanned happenings. 


Photos of the Betty Ford Garden, Clark and I, and mountain photo ops (too bad the depth is not totally captured in the photos)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Coors Beer Tour

Water, especially Rocky Mountain Spring water, is the number one ingredient in making a great beer!  This and so much more was learned on the free tour in Golden, Colorado, and I am thankful to Juilian Wheating, who took the time to take me out there. We also went to "Buffalo Bill's"  (William Cody) gravesite on Lookout Mountain. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of a very fresh brewed beer!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Wild Flowers in Abundance

One of the most prominent feature that has stuck out for me this trip out West is the abundance of flower gardens, mostly comprised of wild flowers and cacti. This is in addition to the wild mountain flowers that are everywhere along the paths. 


Friday, July 18, 2014

Mountain Hiking

In addition to the great mountain hikes in Boulder, I am not going to lie, I also like some of the touristy stuff. Yesterday we did the Celestial Seasonings Tour that was really fun, along with a tour of the Big Chill factory (not planned but awesome!) (Google "red refrigerator" and the Big Chill website should pop up.) They sell "retro" appliances that look classic from the 1950's and I would love a cherry red fridge!

A stroll on Pearl Street and dinner to celebrate Linda's daughter Caitlin's Birthday rounded out the day. 

BSoleille! The bright side of mountain air!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I am thankful that Linda, Gunner and I arrived safely in Boulder, Colorado after an 11 hour drive today. Weather and temperatures fluctuated all over the place (sunny skies to torrential rain and 15 degree swings in temps), but it was worth the drive once those fabulous Rocky Mountains came into view!  From prairies to mountains the United States is one big country for sure (especially after driving over 1700 miles)!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a Colorado adventure. 


By the way, Colorado is brown, not colorful!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thelma and Louise Trip

Without the cliff part....  

A few years ago I mentioned I would like to drive out to Colorado with my friend Linda Misencik, who has two grown children that live in the Rocky Mountain State. She has driven from Ohio to Colorado on several occasions, mostly alone, and is about a 20 hour drive (spread over two days). So today we started that road trip cross country, including her dog Gunner, a German Short Haired Pointer.   

Flat topography prevailed along with lots of farms and crops of wheat and corn!  We are staying overnight at the half way point in Des Moine, Iowa. Quite an easy drive really!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a 1300 mile road trip!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bucket List Bust

A planned sprint Triathalon on Kelley's Island, Ohio today with Mark and Linda Misencik ended in duathalon due to weather and safety (wind and white caps off Lake Erie). Though disappointed that we did not get to swim, the race organizers quickly changed it to a 2 mile run, 12 mile bike and 5k run. 

Bragging rights: Mark won the overall event that had about 200 athletes. And Linda won our age group (even after biking an extra 4 miles when she got off course). It was a nice event, but now I "need" to sign up for another Tri to check that off my bucket list!

BSoleille!  The bright side of the Kelley's Island Triathalon. 


Photos: before race and then Mark and Linda with their winning "hardware". 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Road Etiquette

Is it too difficult to use basic road etiquette when traveling the highways and biways this summer? Easy things like moving over a lane for vehicles to merge in, or just giving a little distance between cars (especially traveling at 70 mph or so). If we can all give a little, we can all reach our destinations safely. Jerry Seinfeld says of New Yorkers, "everyone fights for two inches"!  But, hey, that is New York. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of safe traveling!


Photo of my Mom (got to visit her today and we "broke" out for a Wendy's visit)!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Rainbows and Redskins

Maybe some blogpost readers have wondered if I was still quilting since I have not posted anything "quilty" in a long while. Ah, but I have, and today I am sharing the story that goes along with the tshirt quilt I made for Sharon and Lee Johnsen, with their "big" reveal today in LaPlata, Maryland. 

Our family met the Johnsen's at Georgetown University Hospital when their son Chad was battling his battle with childhood cancer.  Unfortunately, Chad lost his battle in 1998, but the family still remained active with Special Love and the camps and our cancer families "ties" remained close through the years. 

Then in 2008, their lovely daughter, Rachel, was involved in a single car crash  on a country road in Southern Maryland that was fatal. Heartbreak for this family once again. How do you go on you may ask yourself?  But they did....

And then the "impossible" happened, and Sharon and Lee received a call that their only living child, 28 year old Kyle, had died unexpectedly in 2011. Really this is incomprehensible to the human heart and mind, but this wonderful couple has endured through the pain and grief of losing all three of their children. 

So today it was great to spend the afternoon with them reminiscing about their children and presenting them a memory filled quilt with all three of their kids favorite shirts. It was a privilege and honor for me to painstakingly work on this quilt to make it "just right" for Sharon and Lee. 

Lastly, the backing of the quilt is Redskin fabric since they are all fans of the team. The rainbow fabric used on the front symbolizes the rainbows Sharon had seen when Kyle died (she saw three that day) and other times as well. Goosebumps, yes?

Really though, the love of their family and friends have kept this wonderful couple going through some very difficult days for sure. And I am thankful for that!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How is the Summer Reading Going?

Lots of the summer issues of various magazines post "the best reads" for summer, along with their picks of blockbuster movies and the like. I would like to say I am in a sort of "trifecta" of World War ll history and the modern war movie: "The Lone Survivor" with Mark Wahlberg. It is the true story of Navy Seal Team 10 on a failed mission of "Operation Red Wings" in June 2005 to capture a leader of the Taliban. Gut wrenching that only one soldier survived, Marcus Luttrell (he wrote the book as well).  Excellent film!

After finishing this post I plan to finish the tome, "The Monuments Men" by Robert M. Edsel. I realize it is now a motion picture but want to finish the book before I see the movie due to all the detail that is in the book. I guess I never realized when countries go to war, so much culture goes to ruin as well.  During WW ll a group of dedicated "soldiers" were put in some very precarious situations to "save" or rescue the priceless pieces of art, culture, and architecture all the world knew and preserve Europe's greatest works from the Nazi looting machine. Tall order for sure!  

And lastly, I am listening to the book: "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. It is a true story about Louis Zamperini, a Track Olympian in the 1936 games, an airman in the Army during WW ll whose plane got shot down in the Pacific and "survived" on a raft for 47 days until he was captured, and then was a POW in Japan for 2.5 years!  It is really an incredible story of survival, resilience, redemption all rolled into one huge book (book on tape for me). Mr. Zamperini just past away last week, and a movie is in the works with Angelina Jolie directing (she was able to let him see several scenes before he died). A must read/listen to!!!

BSoleille! The bright side of reading something great and compelling!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Not only did we have a new bird nest built in a New York minute over the weekend, we had a fairly large branch snap off a tree on the side of the house. Luckily no damage to anything, but the dogs were very curious about having this limb find a resting spot in "their" backyard (husband was able to dislodge it and move it). We hope to break it down even more....


Monday, July 7, 2014

Mail Box Birds Nest

How long does it take to build a fairly intricate birds' nest?  Apparently, around here, just a couple of days. I last retrieved our mail last Wednesday, my husband or daughter on Thursday, and the no-mail holiday fell on Friday. On Sunday my son went to check the mailbox for Saturday's mail but was met by very hostile birds on his approach and almost attacked. 

So, logically, a few very industrious little birdies made quick work of their new home in our mailbox in say, three days tops?  And looking closely at their fine handiwork I was quite impressed to say the least. The family voted me unanimously as the "bird nest remover", so this morning I gently removed it and placed it in the flower bed (no birds in it or even in sight of nest thankfully). I hope they will not get too upset with "the move", as I kept their "house" fairly intact with just a few pine needles and tiny twigs falling to the ground. 


Bay Bridge Traffic

It is not pretty folks, especially after a holiday weekend when thousands of Washingtonians and thousands of Baltimorians are clamoring for beach time and fun in the sun. I am writing this post at 12:45am, just home and unpacked enough until the "real" morning, after a four hour trip (50 miles of the trip going 3-5mph in bumper to bumper). 

But do you know what the silver lining was for us?  A full tank of gas!  And we went through a half tank traveling only a 120 miles back home. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a full tank of gas!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Beach Fun!

There is nothing like an early morning bike ride (6:30am start) with bright sunshine and lots of company (my family and a bunch of other riders doing the same thing).  I am thankful for smooth roads on Highway 1 from Ocean City, Maryland to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, AND, that I was "fall free" this year. That left shoulder injury sustained on the same ride last year took almost a year to heal. Yikes!

Finished the day with dinner and the boardwalk, playing ski ball and horse races and winning stuff animals that we do not need (it's the thrill of victory-haha)..



Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America!

Thankfully, we have been able to live in a free country for 238 years; cudos to our fore fathers who had a vision for an independent new nation!  I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday from sea to shining sea!

BSoleille!  The bright sky on the 4th of July. 


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Going East to the Beach

After driving six to seven hours West to Ohio the past four weekends, it was quite refreshing to drive a couple of hours East to Ocean City, Maryland this afternoon!  Hot day all around but the ocean breezes feels great against the skin and I am thankful for that (as well as Thrashers Fries on the OC Boardwalk)!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dripping Drama

WOW. WOW. WOW. Even though the USA Men's Team lost to Belgium 2-1 (all goals scored in extra time by the way), it was a nail biter the whole 120 minutes played and simply awesome futbol!  I was out of my seat and screaming at the TV in cheering the Yanks on. 16 saves by keeper Tim Howard was no small feat either. So proud of USA soccer making headway on the world stage, and I am thankful for that. 

Looking forward to the rest of the games. May the best team win....

BSoleille!  The bright side of "dripping soccer drama"!