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!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crepe Myrtles

The season for the brilliant hued Crepe Myrtles is just about done, and for some reason, they seemed to have bloomed for during the past six weeks. We have a medium pink one in our front yard, but the entire area has been awash in all colors, including white. I would plant a few more but they grow so fast and big that it is hard to keep up with all the trimming needs (at least for me!


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Show

Jimmy Buffet live at Hershey Park was a great show, and I am thankful it was such a great summer night for the outdoor venue. What we noticed the most was the span of generations enjoying the show-20's to 70's and everyone in between. What a tribe of Jimmy Buffet fans, cheeseburger heads and parrot heads!

BSoleillle!  The bright side of Margaritaville!

Photos of Bill, Olivia and Terri and Chelsea Allen. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Kitchen Renovation Phase 2

Twelve years ago we did kitchen "reno" #1. That included 160 square feet of new space and two skylights. It really opened up the area and at that time we decided we did not "need" new cabinets. I am thankful today that those 40 year old cabinets (originals) that were painted probably 25 times are a thing of the past and we are on to something new!  Demolition began yesterday with ongoing construction etc. of the new today and through the Labor Day Weekend. 

Photos are of old and demolition. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of the process of a new kitchen. 


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2015 Raffle Quilt Revealed

My quilt guild, the Southern Comforters, had our "big" reveal at tonight's meeting-the 2015 Raffle Quilt!  It was designed by guild member, Trisha Rader, and Long-Armed quilted by another guild member, Julia Graves!  This quilt will now travel through the state visiting other quilt guilds, selling tickets (hopefully lots of them), and will be displayed at our Annual Quilt Bingo on October 19th at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bowie, Maryland. A shout of thanks to Trisha and all participants who made blocks for this quilt!  Beautiful!!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a surprise "reveal"!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

National Dog Day

I did not know there was such a thing until I checked out the newsfeed of Facebook and it has been "all the rage" today!  Cool thing is I snapped this photo earlier today with my two pups "sharing" a dog bed that is based in the living room (as opposed to their respective dog beds in our bedroom). 


Monday, August 25, 2014

Another School Year Begins

Today is the start of the 2014-2015 school year for many of the public schools, colleges and universities in Maryland and around the country. Student, teacher or staff, I hope the next nine months are met with enthusiasm, lots of learning and application, and of course, fun!  Good luck to all the kindergarteners and college freshmen; the two biggest leaps in the world of education. (Of course everyone else as well)!

BSoleille!  The bright side of new pencils, paper and notebooks (and an iPad is not too shabby to add to the backpack).


Son heading to Anne Arundel Community College

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dr. Shad's Picnic

I believe this is the 16th year Dr. Aziza Shad has hosted her annual picnic for all the Georgetown Hem/Onc families, again for the second year at the Smokey Glen Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland. A great day and a great turn out was just the ticket needed for many families to enjoy the beautiful park and BBQ. Live entertainment and face painting were all a part of the fun. 

A Big Shout of Thanks to the Secret Service who donate the funds for this annual event-all the families certainly appreciate the fun day! And Patty Lubin who made it all happen-Thank You!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Wounded Warrior Soccer

After refereeing my three youth soccer matches this morning,  I headed over to the main stadium (Germantown Soccer Plex) for the Wounded Warrior Soccer match that this August Cup Tournament is noted for. I was especially excited to see Noah Grove, age 15, playing on the team. Noah was diagnosed with osteosarcoma 10 years ago and had his left leg amputated to completely rid his cancer. (We have known the Grove family from our Georgetown days as our boys' patient rooms were right next door to each other at one point).  Obviously, a gut wrenching decision by his parents, Rachel and Chris, but to see him now, thriving, is really quite remarkable! 

The best part is that Noah was selected for the USA's World Cup Amputee Team, the youngest member on the roster, and maybe the entire tournament to be held this winter in Mexico. What an honor and I am very excited for him and his family as he continues to be the best player he can be!

BSoleille!  The bright side of Noah Grove!

Friday, August 22, 2014

"The Boys and Girls of Fall"

Giddyup!  Kenny Chesney says the "boys of fall" are football players. For soccer aficionados it is time for fall soccer (as well as the English Premier League), and for me, thankfully kicked off this afternoon at the Germantown Soccer Plex with a three game set!  High school games just around the corner.....Whoohoo!

BSoleille!  The bright side of being on the soccer pitch!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Urge to Purge

Junk or Stuff!  I think military families have one leg up on the rest of us with their "junk" as they move every three years and simply get rid of it (most of the time I imagine).  They can pare down quick as opposed to me vacillating between keeping two valentine vases (hey, I may want to decorate for the holiday!). I am proud to say I did donate the vases. 

I am no where near done with this project, but I am making headway. In fact, I had to laugh out loud when I found this broken toy car wheel today. Why did I not throw it out before?? 

BSoleille!  The bright side of getting rid of stuff (I just have to keep at it all the time!)


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pyramids to Technology

I love technology, and our world has gained significant strides in a lot of areas in the last 30 years or so.  The World Wide Web certainly helped anyone who adopted the notion of instant knowledge in this ever changing computer world, and the mobile devices out now took it all to a new level entirely. Fascinating!  "They" say in 25 years we will not be using cash money, but payment for anything "bought" will be made through our phone or whatever the in vogue device will be in 2039. 

But through time, there has been some pretty incredible things built without the use of a computer, or a mobile device or the World Wide Web to look up the "how to".  Think the pyramids, The Great Wall of China, European Cathedrals, and even the airplane the Wright Brothers developed. Good stuff!  Ideas are endless...


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rub a Dub Dub

Lucky dog in the tub!  "The Best Daughter" exclaims that our cute "puppies" S-T-I-N-K. Thankfully, little Lucky does not mind a bath or he is too little to protest. Lucy-Loo, on the other hand, really does not like the water, except to drink it. We bathed her outside using the garden hose, and she made it very clear to both of us when she really had enough of the rub-a-dub-dub stuff and pulled me down and dragged me to the door (I was already kind of in a squat though so not hurt in the process)!   

BSoleille!  The bright side of good smelling and shiny coated dogs after their summer baths. 

Photo of "the best daughter, Olivia, and Lucky 

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Good Sharp Knife

Just like anything in life, a good tool makes or breaks a project. In my case today, I am thankful that I purchased a few good knives last year because cutting vegetables now is a breeze (albeit it takes awhile). But the actual cutting part feels easier. Working with dull knives or out of date software can surely slow the process down in any project. 

Let's make a pact that we will try to keep our minds sharp, our knives sharp, and update our tools in our vocation or avocation to keep our work sharp!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a "sharper life"!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Baltimore Farmer's Market

The plethora of summer vegetables and fruit just got better today when we visited the farmer's market in Baltimore (the one under the I 83 overpass) for the first time. It did not take us too long to peruse the area and make tasty choices in fresh fruits and veggies (and coffee for the guy who loves coffee!). A friend recommended us on going, and if you are local, I am extending the recommendation. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of a "garden of loot"!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

No More Teenagers

Today ends the run of teenagers living in our home as my son Ryan turned 20!  What is interesting is that I remember being 20 and 22 with no problem (as opposed to being under ten or five for that matter), and that our kids are now in their 20's. How did they get to those ages "so fast"?  Hopefully, Ryan is enjoying his day at camp as he has done many previous years since his birthday falls that very same week as Camp Fantastic!  How-How!!!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Front Royal Bound

Special Love's Camp Fantastic has commenced in Front Royal, Virginia, every year for the past 31 years (4-H Center).  It is a camp for children with cancer and my son Ryan was a camper for many years (currently holds the record for most years attended).  However, after a gap year in 2013, he returns to camp this year as a genuine camp counselor!  He is slotted with helping 11year old boys, tennis and shooting sports. We hope he has a great week! 

The counselors meet up one day early to get the "lay of the land" for the approximately 100 kids who will descend at camp tomorrow. Ryan met up with Nathan, Danielle Eichner, and John, (camp counselors in the photo) to drive to camp this afternoon. "How How"!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Second Chance

There is a house on my street that is in the process of "deconstruction". What that means is "the process of removing a building by taking it apart in reverse order of construction."  It has been a very interesting project and they are in the second week of deconstructing. The workers are very methodical by taking a two story home down one two-by-four at a time. (Also removing the nails from each board!)

However, according to their website: www.secondchanceinc.org this organization creates "green collar jobs" by taking apart buildings that would otherwise be demolished and dumped into a landfill. They then offer the reclaimed materials to the public at a discount, helping fund jobs and workforce programs. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of repurposing a deconstructed home! (And I won't mention the neighbors said it was "haunted")


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

I would be remiss on not mentioning this iconic comedian's death since this tragedy has been trending on every social media outlet the past two days. The guy was pure comic genius, and the best ad-libber in the industry. I bet the directors and producers of the movies he made were quite maddened by his quick wit and relentless ad-libbing, blowing through the scripts with his own spin on everything.  But, that is precisely what we all loved about him. 

Plus he was a track and cross country runner (1:58 800 meter runner?!)

RIP Mr. Robin Williams

Monday, August 11, 2014

Summer is Not Over

Nope, summer is not over, in fact, not until September. So I/we must ignore any sign of falling leaves in August....as one landed on my windshield on August 1st no less. I am still counting on hot days and trips to the pool, though only a few more weeks for pool time!

BSoleille! The bright side of a 7/11 Slurpie!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Tomato Story

Earlier this week someone dropped off a lunch bag full of tomatoes much to my delight and surprise on my doorstep.   No note or markings on the bag, so I had no idea who would have known or remembered how much I/we love that red fruit. Fast forward to this afternoon when I met up with a friend at the pool, and then made quick dinner plans at their house for an impromptu BBQ. As we starting talking about their huge garden with lots of tomato plants, (as well as a large bowl of them in their kitchen), in passing, I mentioned "someone" had dropped off a bag of them several days ago.  Bingo, it was them, they just forgot to tell us!  So a huge thank you to the Flanagan's for the delicious homegrown delectable sweet tomatoes of 2014!


Saturday, August 9, 2014


Guess who I caught on our bed after a quick shower? Lucky and LooCLoo (aka Lucy). They usually lay on the floor or the cool tiles (or good bed and other bed), so when I stepped out if the shower and they were "no where" around, or their usual places, I peeked around the corner and found them smack on the bed! Bad doggies?!  Lucky is no problem since he is a non shedder, but Lucy is blowing coat all over the house....


Friday, August 8, 2014

Secret Garden

There is a house in my neighborhood that the front yard is basically is a "secret garden". I love walking by it because there is always something new blooming or coming up to bloom. Lots of perennials too. My photos here do not due it justice, but it is a feast of the eyes (at least for me). Very little grass, but I am sure there is way more work involved with weeding and keeping it up than mowing a patch of grass!

BSoleille!  The bright side of a front yard garden. 


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Snazzy Shoes

After a week running and walking in a new pair of shoes with no problem, the second week brought on a huge half- dollar sized blister on my right heel. Well, that was not going to work, so I returned them with no questions asked (though I did mention the blister). So then I tried on every style of running shoes they had in my size (daunting task). I was just about to give up and then glanced at the Nike aisle. One pair caught my eye. They had my size, they felt comfortable as I walked around the aisles, and then I read the favorable reviews for this shoe on the web to my delight, so I bought them. So far, so good, and the blister healed right up thankfully. Looking forward to lots of miles with them....

BSoleille!  The bright side of a new, and kind of bright, pair of running shoes. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

"Ten Years Post Transplant is Great"!

That is what Ryan's transplant doctor, Vinod Prasad, said to us in today's appointment at Duke University Hospital. Much of the results on the testing done today will trickle in, but his blood counts were great and other factors were normal as well. Everyone is thrilled where Ryan is today, and so are we (parents/sibling). It is almost exactly 10 years ago today we went to Duke (bringing his Georgetown doctor with us - Aziza Shad) to consult with them on Ryan's behalf of a Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant, and I am glad that is where we ultimately went for this life saving treatment. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of almost 10 years post PBMT!

Photos of then and now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

First Stop

The Wing Stop in Durham, North Carolina, was our first stop today as "we"/Ryan head into a round of appointments at Duke tomorrow. This particular Wing Stop is near and dear to our hearts because this was the very first "bite of real food" Ryan could eat after his Bone Marrow Transplant almost 10 years ago. I guess with all that treatment and blown out taste buds, the intense flavor (although not the atomic ones) of the wings was something Ryan could finally sink his teeth into, eat and like! And the funny thing, he is still eating wings today, lots of them at any restaurant we dine in. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of bone in chicken wings!


Monday, August 4, 2014

The Art of CanningTomatoes

I am thankful to have learned a new skill and something I have never done before - canning. A year or so ago my friend Patty Lubin gave me a quart or two of her canned tomatoes and to Marilyn Eichner after a visit to her home. They were delicious and both Marilyn and I expressed interest in learning. 

Fast forward a summer and today was the day to learn this "old fashion" technique. We started with six boxes of large tomatoes and about 60 washed and sterilized ball jars. The "hardest" part was waiting for the blanched tomatoes to cool to remove the skin without burning our fingers. I loved the process and feel good about the ingredients used - just tomatoes! A shout out of thanks to Patty for teaching us and letting us make a "mess" in her kitchen (we cleaned as we moved through the process though). Haha

BSoleille!  The bright side of appreciation of any kind of canned tomatoes, heck, anything canned for that matter!


Remember One of These?

While picking up my son this evening at BWI Airport, I stopped in my tracks when I glanced up to see the bank of phone booths, but only one phone (still working). On closer inspection, there were also genuine and bonafide thin paper phone books as well. Not sure if anyone under the age of 25 would even know how to operate it, let alone use a telephone book. And who uses telephone books anymore? I guess they keep one phone around for the very few holdouts on a cell phone purchase. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of reaching a loved one at BWI Airport in case you do not have a mobile phone!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Peace Corp Volunteer

In 16 days "The Best Daughter's" bestie, Liz Verrecchia, will embark on a two year and two month assignment in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corp Volunteer. What an exciting opportunity for Liz, and she is very excited to pursue her passion in helping the community that will be assigned to her. It is kind of a "family thing" since her mother, Margaret, was also a PCV in the early 1980's stationed in Africa (The Congo)!

Tonight we toasted to a fun and safe journey for Liz!  May she have the experience of a lifetime!  Bon Voyage....

BSoleille!  The bright side of doing good in the world at large...as a Peace Corp Volunteer. 


Friday, August 1, 2014

Estate Sale-ing

Flea markets, garage and yard sales, and estate sales are really lots of fun and a sort of "seek in find" type of gig. Today I went with "tall" Linda Duret (as opposed to "little" Linda Misencik) to a local estate sale in a very beautiful home in Crownsville, Maryland. It is fun to see how "the other half" lives and poke around the house for the items for sale. Practically everything in the house was for sale. I walked away with one item, a Pampered Chef cheese grater. Linda bought several items that were a good deal (check out the lamp). So all in all a good day. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of an estate sale "treasure".