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!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Oh What a Year 2016

First and foremost, I am grateful for all my blogpost readers and commenters this year. Today is my 1,664th post, and tonight's post culminates five years of almost daily posts. That is a celebration in and of itself and I'd say I've learned a thing or two about blogging, improving my writing, and feeling more grateful each day (one day at a time) over the last five years for sure!

All day long this last blogpost (written in the last hour of 2016) has been ping ponging around my head, and the song: "Seasons of Love" from "Rent" is the song I cannot get out of my head. So to sum up the year in song, I must share the first verse once again:

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure - measure a year?
In daylights - in sunsets
In midnights - in cups of coffee
In inches - in miles
In laughter - in strife

Except for the "cups of coffee", that about sums up Sweet 2016 for me. The song covers the glorious days and beautiful sunsets (in the USA and Africa), the cups of _____, the inches of fabric I meticulously sewed and quilted, the miles (of running and races), and the great laughter and the strife (Ryan's medical issues). Yep, all there tidy and clean in a simple song.

My hope for 2017 is that each of you find the Happy in the New Year! Maybe sprinkling in Peace in your lives and around the globe, and letting go of the "small stuff" to make room for all the good stuff that's bound to take its place. Live and love fiercely - you won't regret it!


Photo: Cheers from my family to yours in 2016!


Friday, December 30, 2016

Girl Meets Boy

"The Best Daughter" brought home a boy...for dinner...twice. This young man, named Brian, hails from Dallas, Texas, and is a slow talker but no drawl that I can detect. When your adult kids seem happy, then "everyone" else is happy too, or at least I think that is so. Menus were approved for salmon and chicken and Ryan's famous wing dings that were simply delicious. A good time had by all, and I am thankful for these holiday times spent together!


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Walk in the Park

A sunny 45 degree December day lent itself to a nice local hike with my friend "Tall Linda" Duret. Linda and her husband have been hiking this trail since early summer, and she wanted me to experience this trail too. I was not disappointed, as they are building additional trails for longer distances of hiking and mountain biking/cyclocross in this Crownsville, Maryland location. I am looking forward to more hikes there and spotting some wildlife; because we only saw a few birds today.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Taveling Man er Lady

Driveable traveling is best suited with bright sunny skies and dry roads. Even chilly temperatures are fine since the sun warms the vehicle quite nicely. And then traveling with furry four legged family members, sometimes the "hot" sun beating down in the back seat can be downright "pant" worthy that some windows need to be cracked for some fresh air. Our Loo-C-Loo is now quite happy to cool off and do some major air sniffing whilst we travel back East, especially through the mountains of Pennsylvania.

Cheers to all the road warriors for safe traveling conditions this coming week (with or without furry four legged companions)!


Monday, December 26, 2016

Mini BG Reunion

What do you do when ten BGCC/Track alumni (and families) gather together for a mini reunion? Set a time for anyone that wants to and could go for a run and "run". We did just that and ran three miles at 3:00, or at least that was the plan. Walkers were welcome and encouraged and we had a large gang until it started raining! Once all were back and quickly showered the athletic juices flowed in Chris and Mona Koehler's basement with pool, foosball, Mario Cart and Arcade PAC-MAN, golf, centipede and darts, plus air hockey and basketball. The tunes from the jukebox kept spinning songs from our "era" and I believe everyone had a great time catching up with each others' lives. I was simply giddy with hanging out with my college buddies and playing games. Food and photos were also a part of our afternoon together!

A big shout of thanks to our hosts, the Koehler's, who just may have to consider a new tradition during the holiday season.

BSoleille! The bright side of renewing collegiate friendships from the 1980's! Wow!


Photos from the gang including Alumni Chris Koehler, Joe McGill, Jay Yuhas, Scott Wargo, Scot and Jodie Smith, Tom and Rosalie Franek, Laura Murphy and me.

And then photos from the BG gang, spouses, children and grandchildren!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas 2016

Blessed beyond measure and grateful for a Merry Christmas to one and all!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Elves Have Left the Building

One of Santa's elves dropped their hats and walked off the job, with the other elves following suit (and that's a Santa suit)! And you know what that means...a million wishes for a Merry Christmas to all my faithful readers of my blog. I am so grateful and humbled throughout this year especially through some challenging times with love and support by many folks near and far.

So enjoy this time with your loved ones, squeezing everyone a little tighter on your greetings this week.

Merry Christmas!

Photos of Nolan Family Christmas and lifelong friends, Bill and Colleen Gawne, and my Mom with me and Olivia

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Cousins at Christmas

Besides our brothers and sisters, our "other" first friends were our first cousins. And as our respective families grew, grew up and married, we always seemed to remain family. So getting together tonight with our two cousins, Shelli and Ray, and their spouses, as well as my sisters (including spouses) for dinner was a great kickoff to the Christmas weekend. I'm thankful for that lasting friendships.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Say Yes to the Dress and Then

A NeedleOnFull customer, Donna Bartlett., commissioned me to turn her Mother's 1947 satin wedding gown into six heirloom pillows. This project really stretched my sewing and quilting skills, but the most daunting task was taking a pair of sheers/scissors to make that first cut into the beautiful dress. I swear I heard a faint "oh no" from the dress just as I made that first careful cut into the very long train. The second cut was not as bad, whew! And as I methodically continued to cut, quilt and sew the pillows, the significance of the legacy of the woman who wore the dress bore into my heart and soul, knowing her daughters and her daughter's daughters will each have a keepsake of that special day almost 60 years ago. I am thankful I played a small role in keeping their legacy alive.

I would be remiss if I did not give a shout out of Thanks to my go-to embroidery gal, Sheila Walker, who beautifully used the best font she had from that era to craft the bride and grooms' names and wedding date label for the front of the pillow. It all came together so splendidly, I am giddy and thankful for this unique successful project!


Photos of the dress... and then the pillows.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Caps Quilts Caps

A big hearty THANK YOU to Laurie Strongin of Hope for Henry and the Washington NHL Capitals as they scored big today with a visit to kids and families at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital! The whole team came to "syringe paint", draw Christmas trees with some of the little ones, take selfies with adoring fans, and gave good cheer to the brave kids fighting the battle of cancer. Of course, Ryan Tomoff (BIG FAN), had his arsenal of items he wanted signed by the players which  included hockey pucks, a couple jerseys, and a poster. All were signed with a tender smile and firm handshake by many of the players.

But not only did we all enjoy the Caps and all their good wishes, but Ryan and I delivered two large bags of quilts from my quilt guild; the Southern Comforters of Bowie, MD. This is part of our community outreach, and one of two hospitals in the area to receive the cherished quilts to each new pediatric cancer patient. It is, after all, the season of giving...and giving back! The kids love the quilts and the families are very appreciative of all the efforts from our quilters. Win-Win!

Lastly, one of the missions of Hope for Henry is "distraction mode", making kids and families smile and forget about treatment and everything associated with cancer for an hour or two, and that was definitely achieved this afternoon for all who attended the Peds Hem/Onc Clinic. And this is really something to be thankful for today!


Photos of: 1) Ryan and Ovechkin; 2) Tracy Councill, Ryan, and Denise with quilts; 3)Nate Schmidt and Ryan; 4) Ryan and Jacob Vrana; 5) Ryan with players; 6) Terri and her fav player and best skater (her opinion!) Nick Backstrom; 7) Terri, Oshie, and Ryan; 8) Team and kids! 9) Terri and Ryan with the "Great 8"!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cat to Cookies

My neighbor Sarah Koziol hosted the neighborhood cookie exchange today, and it was lovely. Her house was decorated beautifully and the mood was very festive! But what intrigued me the most, was her Siberian cat, Monacacy, that was the "life" of the party. Although friendly enough, or, shall I say curious enough, (Sarah claimed he is dedicated to only one person, her, much to her husband's and children's chagrin), that he methodically investigated all our plates, drinks, and pretty wrapped packages on the cocktail table. He was definitely not shy about licking said plates/drink cups, and did not sit in anyone's lap, but made his presence known by hanging out with us and listening in to the conversations pinging around the family room.

Apparently, they shed about twice a year, and are really from Russia. They were introduced in the states in 1990, so they have not been around that long here domestically. They also happen to be "hypoallergenic", and that is a large reason cat people who are allergic, have been trending to obtain a pure Siberian cat so they could live with a cat without the allergies so many people have with them today. A kitten can cost up to $1000 (or more), so they are truly an investment in furry-four-legged family expansion.


Photo of Monacacy - almost doglike in his playfulness and antics (loved tossing around the tomatoes on our plates), and his coloring, especially his face, looked liked it was painted on, and the Ladies of Harcourt/Harrow/Harwell!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Straddling Seasons

According to Siri, "Old Man Winter" officially begins December 21st, this Wednesday. It ends, March 19th, 2017....Fasten the seat belt if living in a region that gets a "wintry mix", which, according to my friend, Hp, is a euphemism for "really sucky weather"! And so begins the dance of inches...snow, and it's companion....ice. I am really not a fan, and do not ski, so those numbers mean nothing to me except terrible driving conditions around the Washington/Baltimore Beltways. Many regions across the country have been digging out of lots of snowy conditions, and accidents (some fatal, sadly) abounds. But for a moment today, I stopped to take a few photos of the icy branches bestowed on by "Old Man Winter", just a little early in the calendar, though trying to hang onto fall as long as possible. I think we all have to wave the proverbial white flag, and let it snow, let it snow, let it snow; as the holiday song goes, whether we like it or not.


Friday, December 16, 2016

75 Years Already?

A piece of fruit goes bad after a few days sitting on the counter, and we either eat it (if deemed healthy enough to eat) or toss it, right? No question about that. So for the past 30 years we have lived with non-working casters on our dining room serving cart, something that should have been tossed years ago, but didn't. However, today I finally deemed them too inept to keep and tossed them in the trash. Those 75 year old ones were bent and scratched the floors something fierce, but we continued to live with them, because let's face it, it never entered the mind to replace them no matter how many times we got to the big box hardware store in the last three decades. I had to make it a point on my "list of things to do" to hit the radar, and I am so thankful I did. The funny thing is, I can't believe it took that long, and the new ones are a "dream" to navigate the cart without any damage to the hardwood floors. You could "dance" with this cart now, and the casters even come with brakes... all for 12 bucks!


Thursday, December 15, 2016


Hygge is a Danish word (pronounced "hue-gah") that is a feeling or mood that comes by taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary or everyday moments more meaningful, beautiful or special. It could be as simple as a good cup of hot coffee on a super cold morning (like this week exactly), or tea for us teetotalers, including the ritual of making the hot drink, then lingering over the cup, maybe even with a book or sitting quietly in a comfy chair.  Lighting a candle at every meal is hygge. And when you realize and are aware of the good moments in your life, and making it last, now that is hygge! Apparently, there is no English translation for hygge, but think simpleness, kinship, cosiness, charm and comfort. I try to incorporate a little hygge in each day, though never "knew" the word for it, and viola', we have it now!

So as we "rush" through this holiday season, my hope is for you to find the hygge in your life; some simple pleasure every day that you own and is meaninful in your world.

My photo today is hygge; a gifted tin of Christmas cookies by a good friend, and a hot mug of tea. So simple, so beautiful.