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, December 31, 2015

525,600 Minutes...

How do you measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, or cups of coffee? Simple living in the moment that I hope all my blog post readers had in 2015, and will have in the new sweet 2016 that will be here shortly!  

Reflecting back on the year I had some "firsts" that I am tickled about (Triathlon and a daughter that graduated college), and ushered a new era of running over 50! Travel was also high up on the list that I am thankful for (South Africa and out West), plus reuniting with many friends and family through our respective visits. The year also had the loss of my mother-in-law, Dorothy Tomoff, my good friend, Lori Costello, and our beloved dog, Lucky. 

But I am most thankful for a year of healthy family and friends!

BSoleille! The bright side of "Seasons of Love"!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

One Last Gift...

While unpacking the car, I came across one gift that was never opened. For the life of me, I could not remember what it was it who it was for. No tag. Now it's the first gift already wrapped for next year. And with racking my brain for two days, I finally remembered what it is; I should write on the post it what it is before I forget again (I could unwrap and rewrap though, but that's not going to happen).



Tuesday, December 29, 2015

But We Were Such Good Traveling Companions

I am not sure on the life of a "checked bag size" suitcase, but the one I have traveled with for the past 15 years had its last trip this week. This precious inanimate object has been near and dear to my heart, and fell apart on me once it was fully packed before Christmas. A couple "needed" zippers had their last zip, and the handle broke in two places, but since we were driving, I was able to gingerly maneuver the bag and give it a prominent place in the back seat of the vehicle!

Thankfully, there is even new "technology" in suitcases since 2000, like four wheels and super duper lightweights (4 or 5 lbs). I will be on the hunt for that perfect piece of luggage in the new year!

BSoleille! The bright side of traveling thousands of miles with a beloved suitcase!


Monday, December 28, 2015

Blasts from the Past

Memories flooded back to us (my sister Kimberly and me) as we weaved down the Cleveland city streets to the "only red brick house" on Birch Lane and visits with some of our old neighbor's during Christmas week. Maryann Moose, an original first owner 50 years ago (and first photo here) was my sister's 6th grade teacher at OLGC.  It was great to wish her well this holiday season! 

A couple visits to see my Mom was great, and we snuck a trip out to her favorite restaurant- Wendy's!

And lastly, an old family photo album that was completely forgotten about (especially by me), and shared this week was totally awesome. Once the front cover was peeled back and the pages filled with pictures from the 60's stared back at me, time melted away and the memories and feelings from those bygone days flooded back like an avalanche!

BSoleille! The bright side of "yesteryears"!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Cousins

Getting together with family and friends is what makes the holiday magic. But it is nothing to see the "young" cousins laughing and giggling and probably making fun of their folks! All in good cheer, I'm sure. The mild temperatures were swell to take a few photos outside and even a few deer were on the lookout for some extra treats!

Here's hoping the magic wand was waved over you and yours this Christmas season! That "magic" could be simple as some good hot coffee and tea and a plateful of scrumptious cookies or meeting up with a close friend for lunch!

BSoleille! The bright side of playing and shouting "BINGO"! (I never got to shout it today).


Photos of Tomoff cousins, my side of the family cousins and Jodie Smith and me.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

I am hoping Santa was good to everyone and, seriously, hoping for peace in our world in 2016!

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Festivities

First stop on our Ohio holiday journey is the Franek's Butternut Hill Farm. A jammed packed late afternoon run (the girls: Rosalie, Bridget, Olivia and me), with a sunset hike through their woods and tree farm (complete with a cool scavenger hunt), and with the guys (Tom, Bill and Ryan), ornament making and a delicious lasagna dinner! A great visit for all! Then onward ho to Cleveland to finish the day's drive. 

Butternut Hill Farm Photos:

Pretty White Lights

We hmmed and hawed about putting up a tree (OK, me), and the tree won out. However, no fuss, no muss, just the white lights and pretty packages underneath. Easy!  I then put up about three more decorations and "The Best Daughter" exclaimed, "why so much?" If you can't beat 'em, join'em!

Safe travels to those joining friends and family near and far for a no snow blessed Christmas!


Monday, December 21, 2015

If I Won the Lottery...

Of course I would donate to several charities that are near and dear to my heart, but if I could buy something considered "conspicuous consumption", it would be, hands down, a genuine bonifide authentic arcade Pac-Man game machine! So, I was delighted to see one today for sale at a local TJMaxx store, of all places to find one, right? I took a few moments to genuflect, then slid my hands over the sleek screen, then finally grasped the red controller to see exactly how that felt. It was wonderful. I then glanced at the price tag and thought to myself, "when you win the lottery, girlie!"

For nostalgia, I played only one game today on my computer and thankfully, went over 100,000 points! (First 100,000 game in a long time on my first try). 

BSoleille! The bright side of pac-man games no matter how or where played!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Last Quilt for 2015

My last tshirt quilt for 2015 was picked up today. I have another satisfied customer, and I am thrilled about that. A special momento pocket was cleverly disguised with the Echo Hill patch in the middle of the quilt. I sewed 3/4 around, leaving the top open for the "clasp"!

BSoleille! The bright side of...sail on young man!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

"We Know Him"

And that would be Santa, hohoho! For kids it is all about Santa coming and bringing presents, for adults, random acts of kindness has "Santa" written all over it. We can all strive to be the Santas of our families and communities, maybe on a daily or, at least, weekly basis. We do not need at list, but can fill a need for someone we know and then we all will feel good about that. So cheers to all the "real" life Santas out there! May you have a blessed week of giving good cheer!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Carols Around the Piano

I love a good party, and a family friendly neighborhood one is simply the best. Loads of Christmas cookies and a smorgasbord of holiday delectables made the evening very light and festive. One of the highlights was singing carols around the piano with Allen Murray at the keys...very cool!

BSoleille! The bright side of Holiday cheer!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone!

How often do we step out of our comfort zone? Try a new skill? Or sharpen a skill we used to have? Last month I took on a project that sort of "rocked my world" (I could not say no). I finally got to work on it this past week: a horse ribbon quilt that I, now thankfully am DONE, took on. I figured to myself, how hard could it be? And even though I have the skill set to sew, this was different in working with a hundred horse ribbons and rosettes, and make something the young lady that commissioned me to make for her/and her mom that was appealing! (She did send me a photo of an example). 

I think they are going to love this wall hanging quilt, and reflect on the stellar equine star she and her horses were in her youth!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

She Said, "Yes!"

My friend Susie Stevenson's son, Scott, got engaged to his girlfriend, Kayla, this past weekend at Homestead Gardens. They had their second date there selecting a Christmas tree a few years ago. When she mentioned it at our quilt guilds' Holiday Party I thought this was a cool idea and put it in the back of my mind. As Friday afternoon rolled around, I casually mentioned the engagement situation to my son and wondered if he would like to go with me. He also thought the idea was pretty cool, so we got down there at the appointed time and hid amoungst the trees waiting until Scott and Kayla got to the fire pit and he popped the question. 

I am thankful that both families were present along with a "hidden" crew of staff that were in on the surprise. It really was a magical moment, and I wish them a happy engagement. 

BSoleille!  The bright side of a "yes" moment!


Monday, December 14, 2015

Nope, We Are Not Coming Down

Mid December and these trees refuse to shed their leaves. It is like they are playing the waiting game as in who will go first and drop one. Thin, scraggly and very brown, you would think they would have dropped by now. Not even a good wind will knock these off! 

BSoleille! The bright side of obstinate but ordinary trees. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Last "Race" of 2015

I am very thankful in writing this post today after finishing my last race of the year: The Annapolis Striders 15K at Quiet Waters Park. I am doubly thankful for running it with "The Best Daughter", and her friend, Liz Verrecchia, and the fact we ran in shorts and tanks in mid December since it reached 70 degrees by the time we crossed the finish line!  Last year it was 20 degrees this same race day, so a completely different running experience for all participants. 

BSoleille! The bright side of running my hardest today, leaving everything I had on the course and feeling great about the effort (heart pounding at the finish for a good bit too!)


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Ladies of the "H"'s

The Crofton Parkway streets are set up on the alphabet system, and the ladies of the "H" section had our cookie exchange today hosted by Christie Best! She is the "best"! She and her planning committee of Mary Kay Carlo and yours truly, set it up with 20 ladies bringing five dozen great (and all different if you believe that!) cookies each, plus food and a Yankee Swap gift exchange that rounded out the very fun afternoon. All the food and conversations really put me in the holiday spirit, and I am thankful for all the wonderful ladies living in the neighborhood. 

BSoleille! The bright side of 20 different kinds of Christmas cookies!

Photo of the committee of me, Christie and Mary Kay and some of the neighbors enjoying the day. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Spa "Time"

When you buy a watch from Brighton, battery changes cost $2.00, flat rate. They usually last one year, sometimes to the date. So this year, on 11/18/15, my battery stopped and I took it in for a new one. The very kind people at Brighton (Annapolis store), said the lady who changes the batteries is out sick, so it will be a few days to get it done. No problem. Less than a week later, I entered the store thinking my battery had been replaced, and it would be a quick stop. Nope, the kind sales lady who took care of me said they shipped my watch to California to replace the $2.00 battery!!

What?? Oh well, nothing I could do about it. I called a few times in the last three weeks wondering if it came back. Luckily, it did this past Thursday, so I bravely set out for the mall, and thankfully, was back and fully operating. The kind sales lady said it went for "spa" treatment, and she was not kidding. The battery was changed and all, but they made it look brand new! Wow! And she said because I waited so long for the repair, no charge. 

BSoleille! The bright side of good customer service!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Tables are Set

And my quilting guilds annual Holiday party is in the books. Potluck of appetizers, food and dessert that leaves no one hungry, and good conversation with the table mates celebrating the year of quilting and the like in 2015!  And I am thankful for that!

Photo of our line at the food table and a selfie with guild member, Jean Dwyer. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fat Backs

As in TV's with the fat backs like The one I "found" while on the Crofton Parkway this morning. Folks cannot get rid of them fast enough, but nobody wants them. Everyone likes the sleek looking ones that now can hang on the walls, ceilings, or just about anywhere in the house. Entertainment centers are a part of the extinction tract as well, and they are given away at a rapid rate too. 


Monday, December 7, 2015

"Somebody to Love"


Before I get to my post today, I must give a shout out to The Voice's Jordan Smith on his rendition of Queen's (or Freddy Mercury's) "Somebody to Love" in which he blew the roof off the house, er, studio!!! Wow, simply stellar vocals, and I have listened to it three times since it aired live. Who knew so many were inspired by his vocal range? I know I am.   I think he sang it better than Queen's original version (in my humble ) opinion. That song is still lingering in my mind...

However, my "real" post was to thank my quilt guild, Southern Comforters, for their tremendous time and talents in donating a large batch of quilts to Georgetown Pediatric Hem/Onc Clinic. My son Ryan and I delivered them today, and they were well received by staff (giddy actually on how beautiful they are) to give to newly diagnosed cancer patients. 

BSoleille! The bright side of donating quilts and having "someone to love"!


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Santa Suit....

Dave Smith, CEO of Special Love, a great organization to send cancer kids to camp (Camp Fantastic), and their siblings to BRASS camp, plus16 other events throughout the year is no stranger to "dressing up"!  Today Dave took a spin on the traditional "Santa Suit" to a new level. Look closely at the photo for the santas, and hopefully this clever suit made you smile. 

And if interested in sponsoring a camper in 2016, and need a tax deduction, please look no further than this fantastic camp! My son and daughter were campers for years, and now are counselors to help kids just like them so many years ago!!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

College Football Playoffs

An all day affair to attend a JMU football game in Harrisonburg, VA, but worth it to be with my menfolk who really wanted to see the Dukes take on Colgate in high playoff fashion. The tailgate party, the sounds of the marching Royal Duke's Band, the high energy of the players and coaches, and the fans cheering on the home team made this final game loss more palatable than not. (Colgate over JMU 44-38)! Thanks for a great season JMU Football!

BSoleille! The bright side of a sunny December day for football. 


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Birthday For Bill

A Big Happy Birthday to my hubby, Bill, today (and, I should add his identical twin, Don).  He likes keeping it simple, and since it was not a "milestone" bday, we granted his wish, but still came up with a few ideas that he liked!  Bill started the year on the "austerity" kick of not buying any clothes for himself for the year 2015.  He has pretty much stayed true to that statement, but today the kids splurged on him and got him a fleece jacket and a thick Eddie Bauer shirt that he really liked and appreciated.  He cannot wait to wear his new threads tomorrow, and I am thankful for that attitude! He only has a few weeks left of this year in not buying himself anything new, so it was a good birthday all around!


Photo of Bill, most likely listening to "The Gary Vee Show" (Gary Vaynerchuk)


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Good Looking Vegetables

I am thankful for some good looking vegetables this time of year. I made two pots of chili (one mild, one not so mild) to host my quilting bee, and the "hot" one included lots of fresh and colorful veggies that looked good on the counter when I took them out of the fridge. But chili almost always taste better the second day when all the flavors blend so nicely together. Cheers to the second, third and fourth bowls on subsequent days. 


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Busy Time of Year

It is December 1st and there seems like so much that has to be done, and fast! With these "short" days (gets dark so early), even the nights are breezing by in a hurry. I want to slow it down, and just like the amaryllis, it will grow fast enough or slow enough (depending on how you look at it) to make its grand entrance to the world during the holiday season. I will be patient, but am looking forward to one beautiful flower when it is time. 


Monday, November 30, 2015

Post Weekend Reflection

While I was busy in the kitchen over the weekend, thankfully, the menfolk in the house tried to help with setting the tables and adding chairs to our one dining room table and then a six foot table to accommodate the crowd of 12. Napkins, water goblets and water pitchers were carefully placed amoungst the settings beautifully. When I finally walked in to sit down and eat, I was amazed to find an "extra" chair covered with an American flag. Puzzled for just a second, my son claimed responsibility of the deed and stated it is reserved for those who are serving or have served in our military throughout the years. I could not be more proud of him in that moment of complete empathy toward our men and women in uniform, and that he wanted to honor those who could not be with their families this year! 

BSoleille! The bright side of a good gesture that still resonates long after the turkey day meal. 


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Crabfeast

Not only did we feed and shelter 12 people for five days to celebrate the holiday, we decided we would close the weekend down with a genuine Maryland Crabfeast because a few in the crowd have never experienced one (albeit indoors, but hey, the idea was there!). We also had a friends added to the mix for a true soirée!

BSoleillle! The bright side of fun, family and friends...


Photo of the gang of Kocan's, Tomoff's, Kozlowski's and Duret's, plus the kids. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Bright Friday!

Bright and early this morning a hiking trip was first on the agenda much to our delight. The sunshine and mild temperature was perfect to hit the Billy Goat Trail on the Maryland side of the Potomac. It really is a great little hike of about two hours that involves a small rock scramble along the river. I am thankful we arrived fairly early this morning since the trail it got quite crowded in no time. It was a lovely hike with Bill and Olivia!

BSoleille! A "bright" (not black) Friday for us!