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!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

To my faithful blog readers near and far, costumed or not costumed, I wish you a very "Happy Halloweenie"!  Let us all have a safe and fun night, paying extra special attention to all the trick or treaters. I like the treats, Reese's peanut butter cups!  What's your favorite?

BSoleille!  The bright side of a spooky night!

Photo includes the many gourds I found growing on a long vine in my backyard this fall. Never planted it....

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Today was a great day to make pillows, as I have several to make for a few customers, and my photo is one of them for Alyssa!  I turned a blanket and a misspelled last name into a great keepsake for her. Now to finish them all tomorrow....


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Harvest Moon/Sunset

I have always maintained that the January skies are the best. However, this month of October, and especially tonight, the sky was lit in brilliant hues too good not to comment on and snap a quick pic to capture the moment. It appears  autumn is descending quickly like it or not. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a crisp and colorful fall sky. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Patuxant Wildlife Refuge Research Center

A "field trip" to this wonderful National Park in Laurel, Maryland, with Mary Nielsen, was a surprising two-fold visit. Our quilt guild, Southern Comforters of Bowie, has several members (including myself) that have "wildlife" quilts hanging in the visitor center that we wanted to check out. What a nice display it is with plenty of colorful animal and plant life quilts in a great setting. Mine, "Kavi, the Elephant Artiste" is hanging near the entrance of the gallery. 

But the beautiful, sunny and warm late morning gave way to checking out a sliver of the 12,000 acres this park encompasses. FDR deemed this land for research in 1936, and it has certainly evolved from its 2,000 original acres to what they have now including two small lakes. We did not see any wildlife (unless you call a couple of classes of second graders), but the trees were at their peak coloring!

BSoleille!  The bright side of taking in a new adventure. 

Monday, October 27, 2014


It seems to me that the media has "attempted" to create panic with the Ebola virus, and I am not mitigating Ebola and the seriousness of it, but I wish they would spend the same amount if time touting the benefits of the yearly flu shot. We have a much greater chance of coming down with the flu, of course, and that is no fun. I got mine last week and I am thankful I did. I hope my blog readers are considering it as well, and thanks to those who already got one for this season!


Sunday, October 26, 2014

One Last Game

A "changing of the guard", so to speak, for JMU Women's Soccer as the red shirt seniors played their last regular season game this afternoon. We drove down to Harrisonburg, VA early this sunny morning to catch this game and congratulate those special seniors (from "The Best Daughter's recruiting class) and their parents. The Lady Dukes won 1-0 over Elon in overtime for a successful Senior Day!

And the spectacular array of changing leaves in the Shenandoah Mountains was not too shabby as well. 

This photo is from my phone. The best photos of the day my husband took on the "good" camera, but gmail has been down all day and I could not include his photos as originally planned....

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Baby Shower 101

A baby shower for Kim Frank, daughter of friends Michelle and Carl Frank, lent itself for me to make another baby quilt, yay!  Since I typically make large quilts, it has been fun for me to make a couple if smaller ones!  From the "baby loot" I saw today, there is a lot of cool stuff out there for babies born in 2014!

All the best for Kim and her family on a new baby boy (due December)!


Friday, October 24, 2014

Nutty Squirrels

I wonder if some squirrelly "fairy" dust has descended down on earth to drive all squirrels mad. At least that is how it looks since they are scrambling all over the place any time you look outside. (Hopefully not a sign of a colder winter). The wind was howling yesterday and I noticed this crazy squirrel "shivering" on this fence post. He hung around for quite some time until he jumped to another place down the fence. Ever wary of our dogs, they tease them merciless racing up and down the fence posts. 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Silver Polish

Thankfully, my household has only one silver piece, a bowl, that I am quite fond of. While the kitchen was under renovation I kept glancing at this tarnished bowl that needed a much needed cleaning. But let's face it, it is a thankless job, and did I really want to spend 15-20 minutes polishing the thing. The answer was "no" until today when I finally decided to break out the silver polish and give this bowl a whirl, and a new leash on life!

My how it cleans up well; as it was practically all black when I started. I hope not to wait too long before polishes....

BSoleille! The bright side of the "magic" of silver polish. 

Photos:1) half done;2)all done;3) all done but better with the candy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Quilt Historian

My quilt guild's program tonight was Bunnie Jordan, self described as a "quilter, appraiser, teacher of quilt history, and sometimes author and curator".

She focused on Asian works and the history of the elements in Chinese and Japanese arts, which translates into a lot of art produced world wide. 

Photo is of one of Bunnie's quilts shown tonight. (Bunnie is at the extreme right). 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014


How many toothbrushes do we really need? I think one (and one for a travel bag). So I gathered up all the toothbrushes my husband had on the bathroom counter (and we have a very small counter), and asked him precisely if he needs all of them. He never really answered the question but I noticed there were only two on the counter tonight. Raise your hand if you use only one toothbrush at a time. I thought so...

BSoleille!  The bright side of dental care!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Keeping Focused

Life could be so much simpler if we could keep the focus...on anything. The making of some bear paw blocks is an xample of not paying strict attention to the way the points should be facing. Luckily, it was not a big deal to rip out the stitches and do it right. But sometimes it is not so easy to fix!


Example of correct block on top with the incorrect one on the bottom. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

4:05 am Wake Up Call

That early alarm on Saturday precipitated a whirlwind weekend of driving to Cleveland, Ohio, for the wedding of Michael and Tanna Lanza. Michael is my cousin Shelly's (and Franco) eldest son. Thankfully, there was very traffic in driving the 400 or so miles so we breezed in by 11:30am to enjoy the day and celebrate this wonderful occasion. A good time was had by all, and it is always fun to catch up with my family and cousins from near and far. 

The 6:00am alarm got us back on the road to Maryland today, once again little traffic and great foliage for our viewing pleasure. I "had" to get back for my quilt guild's Bingo!

BSoleille! The bright side of a jam packed 24 hours including 12 hours of driving!
Photo of bride and groom and my sisters and cousins (L-R: Kimberly, Shelly, Annette, Pat and me)

Friday, October 17, 2014

18 Years!

Today, thankfully, was a 'normal' day.  To work, to ref and to school.  It was a different story 18 years ago when my son Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  A game changer; a life changer.  But to the great care and support of many people for a looong time, he is 18 years past that life altering day, and as a family, we cannot thank enough!  So, THANK YOU!!!

BSoleille!  The bright side of our hero, Ryan Tomoff!

Photo from 1996

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Power of a "Live" Conversation

This post will be a little longer than usual, but it is one with a great ending:

No doubt, the power of social media has exploded in the last five years, and that is all fine and well and continues to grow.  But we must not forget the power of real time conversation, and the impact we still have with a "one on one"!

Last month, during Childhood Cancer Awareness in September, I posted about going to the check presentation from the Just Tryan It Foundation to the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic at Georgetown University Hospital.  This wonderful foundation has in place a family emergency fund for families, not only fighting the cancer battle with their children, but fighting the bills that come piling up very quickly.  It is a valiant effort in helping many families that would find if very difficult to march on without their assistance.

But that night, my husband came with me and ended up having a nice conversation with a board member of Just Tryan It.  They talked about many things (and I am sure he thanked the board member for their donation first and foremost) but they got onto the topic of Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Survivors.  My husband spoke from the heart about how thankful we are that our son (and many of the kids treated for cancer) survived the 'ordeal', but Late Effects are real and creep up unwittingly (high blood pressure, academic issues, growth issues, endocrine issues).  There is a large need to keep these children healthy and safe once they are done with their cancer treatments.  They ended their conversation with this board member stating that he will bring the Late Effects concern back to the full board and see what he can do.

Fast forward to yesterday morning when I received a call from Dr. Aziza Shad, Director of the Peds/Hem/Onc Clinic at Georgetown to thank me (really, my husband Bill) for that conversation Bill had last month precipitated the funding of a Nurse Practitioner position at Georgetown focusing on Late Effects of Child Cancer Survivors!  I/we are thrilled with this news, and, I believe, it was the power of the friendly and honest "one on one" conversation that edged that funding in that direction.  Their Family Assistance Fund is still top, but they are fully on board with Late Effects as well.  I am so thankful for that!

BSoleille!  The bright side of helping others in whatever capacity is needed...The Just Tryan It Foundation. justtryanit.com


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Candy Corn

The traditional yellow and orange two tone candy corn is pure sugar. However, in the spirit of Halloween, a friend has a candy corn plant blooming just in time for the spooky "holiday". No sugar there! Strangely, I have never heard of that plant until now. 


Monday, October 13, 2014

TV "Binge" Watching

Since we do not have the "fancy" TV controls to zip through commercials with our cable provider, the next best thing is Netflix. And just maybe the last several years TV was "OK" because there were so many reality shows on the airwaves squeezing out the comedies and dramas. A great way to view those sit coms and police shows are using something like Hulu or Netflix, or Amazon. 

Currently, my husband and I are "binge" watching, "Rules of Engagement". That means we will sit and watch two to three shows of 21 minutes each maybe twice a week. (It is taking longer than I thought).  I am also binge watching "Arrested Development", but I zip through the 21 minute episodes faster than "Rules" while pressing my quilting projects when I can. 

Both shows are very funny, the latter one quite quirky as well. Check them out if you are looking for funny!

Photo of neighborhood flowers, the last vistages of summer...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Falling Gas Prices

The cost of everything is going up is what we usually hear, so it was refreshing to see gas prices falling under $3.00/gallon this weekend. Falling so much that we filled up at $2.87/gal, and one-half hour later it was down 3 cents! Whoa!  But, hey, no complaints from us. 

BSoleille! The bright side of falling gasoline prices. 

Photos of falling gas prices and the whole family together for one last photo of the JMU weekend. 


Earlier this week I ran a 10 miler, the first one in over 14 years. So it was really crazy for me to run a second 10 miler today, but thankfully, I ran with and was pushed by "The Best Daughter". She is in great shape so she talked and "entertained" me while I huffed and puffed up and down the hills of the Valley.

A great treat for sure!  And the day continued with a blowout football game favoring the Dukes 64-7 over Towson; a delicious dinner with my daughter, her roommates and their parents at the girls place, and lastly, topped the night with the men's soccer game (tie 1-1) vs. UNCW.  

BSoleille! The bright side of a wonderful Parents Weekend at JMU!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Parents Weekend at JMU

The weekend started off on a high note when the Lady Dukes won 3-0 over College of Charleston in women's soccer this evening in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Even though "The Best Daughter" is no longer playing, she is still affiliated with the team during her final year here, and enjoying every minute (OK, maybe not all the studying) being surrounded by a great program. It was nice to cheer on the team, especially the two red-shirt seniors who are my daughter's roommates (Sam Lofton and Kate Courter)!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Cute Baby Quilt

I usually do not make small quilts, but it is a treat when I do. The photo today of this sweet quilt is for a girl baby yet to be born (later this month). I plan to add a few more items and this will be shipped off to Ohio for a lovely newborn and her family!

BSoleille!  The bright side of making a "small" quilt!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Quilt Show 101

If you have ever gone to a quilt show, whether  a local, regional or national one, they all take a lot of prep work with many hands on deck. The pretty quilts hanging are the fruits of all the labor prior to the show. So tonight, fellow guild member, and friend, Susie Stevenson, gave our members a talk on "Quilt Show 101"  She did a fantastic job of tying all the pieces that make a show successful, including the idea and creation of a quilt, then the journey it takes once an idea is executed!

Our show is in March, but it is never too early to begin the planning (quilts and otherwise). 

BSoleille!  The bright side of future pretty quilts!

Photo of Susie Stevenson 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Yellow Card, Red Card

The two color cards soccer referees keep in their pockets to help facilitate the Laws of the Game. Personally, I try to refrain from using the cards and instead try to practice "game management"!  I am thankful to report that I have issued only a few yellow cards in the 59 games officiated this season so far (August through today), and hope to continue a low card count until the end of the season. (The wearing of jewelry is the biggest rule breaker amoungst the players I am finding).


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fortune Cookie

A friend recommended a local restaurant that I took my husband to last night on a "mystery" date. The mystery part was the "new" eatery, and it was a pleasant surprise. The orders were huge and our two meals turned into four in a hurry. Even the won ton soup was good and filling. My photo shows the mama bear and papa bear bowls!

BSoleille!  The bright side of awesome Chinese food!


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Post Season MLB

If your favorite baseball team is still alive in October, that means post season, and good pitching for sure. So it is very exciting to have both the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals in the "run for the pennant!" Some fans have gone far on a limb to exclaim it is going to be a "beltway brawl" series. Who knows?  But it is now in the 17th inning in the Nats game and we need a winner (over the San Francisco Giants hopefully)!  Do we have the energy to stay awake and continue to watch?  


Friday, October 3, 2014

Big Heads

While walking through the produce section of a local grocery store, the big cauliflower heads caught my attention. On closer inspection I could not believe how big they were, and of course, snapped a quick pic.  Although I did not buy one that day, I am thinking about buying one soon and roasting it. 


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Unexpected Gift

My future ceremonial coin tosses were just enhanced by a coach from a high school varsity boys team I officiated in soccer this afternoon. He beamed with pride as he walked over to me and the other referee as we were getting ready for our game when he pulled out two armed forces coins and gave them to us. He mentioned that he used to ref, and claimed he never had a coin for the toss, but wanted us to have these shiny new ones. An act of kindness for sure, and I am thankful for that!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Maybe today is the day to relenquish summer and fall into the new season. Thankfully, the temperatures are still mild and Indian Summer is right around the corner. But the food being prepared as the leaves turn color screams autumn with hearty soups and roasted butternut squash!  Looking forward to that first bonfire!


Photo of lunch prepared by my friend Trish, a 2Bee Day.