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!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Kindness Story

A shining "full circle" moment occurred yesterday while in an appointment with my son Ryan's endocrinologist, Dr. Kaur, of Sinai Hospital. During this scheduled appointment, Dr. Kaur examined Ryan, addressed all his supporting medications, and discussed his chronic endocrine issues that needs attention. Her "doctoring skills" are excellent and very thorough, but it is her bedside manner of kindness and compassion that sets her a part from her peers. And it is in those statements my husband and I wrote a letter of recognition on her behalf to the Sinai Administration after I came home from our summer appointment and reported on what a wonderful doctor we were assigned to for Ryan's Endo issues. This was part of the transition time from Pediatrics to Adult Services.

We thought "nothing" of it, thinking it goes into the big sky (or on someone's desk that never sees the light of day), but, ahh, that was not the case.

You see, Dr. Kaur was indeed recognized for her great care (precipitated my our letter we presume) by the Administration and was awarded a pin for her valiant efforts. But it goes deeper than that.

At the end of our appointment, Dr. Kaur leaned in to me and quietly stated her mother had recently died. I immediately offered my condolences and asked how she passed. She said her mother had cancer and that she had died in India, but had been visiting her in the USA weeks before her death. Dr. Kaur stated that it was our letter and the pin she received that her mother was most proud of her daughter being a doctor. At that moment, I burst into tears because I realized the magnitude of sheer gratitude between Dr. Kaur and her mother, and how we played a small role in this family's well deserved joy!

BSoleille! The bright side of sending a simple letter of thanks....


Monday, November 28, 2016

The Battle Continues

No adequate words to describe the "worry" or "angst" on my son's newest diagnoses of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) on the left side of his tongue. Is a fifth time the charm to be finally done with all this nonsense?? Believe it or not, after a routine post op visit on November 16th (with a PET CT scan in hand from two weeks prior), Dr. Ord, surgeon, of the University of Maryland, did not like what he saw on Ryan's tongue. He immediately ordered a biopsy and it was done within the hour. He ordered the results "stat", of course, but that took an agonizing week to hear back from the lab. On the day before Thanksgiving, November 23rd, the results indicated the SCC was back and another surgery scheduled for this Thursday, December 1st. There has got to be a silver lining here, don't you think?  Well, this one was caught relatively early, and the surgery is way less "invasive" than the one he had in May. Hopefully, the tumor will be removed with ultimate care and all margins will be clean with this surgery. Deep breath...

Faith, Hope and Love...

And although our hearts our heavy right now, we are so very thankful for loving hearts of our docs, a strong nuclear family unit, and family and friends near and far to lean on for support when we need it the most during the coming days.

Our ask: If you are inclined to prayer or positive thoughts, we would appreciate those on December 1st, including of course, Ryan, but the surgeons too, and all those wonderful folks that will be apart of his case.

Lastly, how does one cope with all this craziness? For us, it's by giving back, even in "small" gestures, like donating lots of quilts to the Peds Hem/Onc Department at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, compliments of my wonderful quilt guild, Southern Comforters of Bowie, Maryland.  Today, and for the next few months, many kids will be given a beautifully hand-made quilt with loving thoughts stitched into each and every quilt. A terrific coping mechanism for sure!


Photos of Ryan and Dr. Aziza Shad, Donated quilts given to Sinai with Ryan, Danielle (Art Therapist); and Kelley (Child Life) and the family.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Puppy Love

A girl and her dog is an everyday blessing no matter how old (the dog or human!). Unconditional love for both parties and a sweetness and trust that develops throughout the years of "ownership". Because, let's face it, do we own them, or do they own us? That is the question. For now, it does not matter a bit, just a loving heart that gives great joy!


A few photos from the weekend of "a girl with her dog", including myself and Loo-C, and "The Best Daughter" and Loo

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Small Thankfuls

I am still on the kick of being Thankful for the "small things" in life. I good cup of hot tea, a bright sunrise filtering through my lacy curtains "just right", and a small vase of pretty flowers that have lasted a long time in its' vase. All this beauty on a quiet weekend morning after the guests have gone  home and the kitchen put back together. Truly, a time to be reflective on all the goodness that surrounds us each and every day.

And on another note, the newly glazed bathtub was put through its paces of at least 20 showers over the last five days, and held up beautifully! A great thing to be Thankful for as this week draws to a close...


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

My hope is that everyone had a wonderful holiday filled with good food, family and friendships.  I'm grateful for the traditional family dinner and fun throughout the day (cards games and Heads' Up!), with sights on the cousins hanging out for one more day. Now that is something to be thankful for!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's the Little Things

To be thankful for this week/weekend and a house full of family, especially the laughter of all the cousins (my five nephews and son and "The Best Daughter") while they play cards and games, and everything said is a big funny, or at least to them. So to laugh or to hear laughter is a soothing salve and makes us all feel better no matter what! So laugh with the best of them if you can...it's a wonderful "little thing!"

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy 85th Birthday to my Mom, Sophie Nolan!!

Photos of the Wing Man, Ryan, and the cousins...

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

This Turkey is for the Birds

Selecting a turkey for Thanksgiving is quite the daunting task nowadays. Fresh, frozen, organic or not, the choices seem endless. It appears that the organic farms are like modern day spas for turkeys, and the prices reflect their time spent getting hot stone messages, drinking clean water and eating haute cuisine! No judgment if that is the choice of the day, but I am OK with a regular bird and all the trimmings, and not spending $97 on the main event. It's a thankful kind of week, no matter the bird!


Monday, November 21, 2016

Quilts and Kindergartners

The Kindergartners at Ferndale Elementary School in Glen Burnie, Maryland, had a surprise treat for their math class today courtesy of my friend, Mary Sinnott. Mary is the reading/math resource teacher at that school and invited me to come into the classroom today to share my love of quilting, and how math, shapes and measuring all play a roll in making a quilt. In fact, a lot of math is used in making any quilt (think algebra!), and quilters/seamstresses  all have learned the lesson of measuring once, twice even three times before making a cut...or else! And guess what? Sure enough I have failed to measure three times on several occasions and made huge mistakes (it pays to measure!).

All the kids were great and they identified the various shapes on many quilts hung around the classroom as it was lit up with the colorful quilts (some of mine and the teachers' too!). So cheers to circles, ovals, rectangles, triangles and squares! And last but not least, the hexagon too!


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Piano Bar

When you think of a piano bar, do you think a guy like Billy Joel, pounding out a tune on an upright dusty piano in the corner, complete with a glass jar on top for tips? Or a gleaming baby grand (black) in the middle of the bar with a good-looking tuxedo-ed guy crooning tunes like Michael Buble'? Would you ever think of a piano as part of the bar, literally? Interestingly, the pub we dined in this past Friday night (Piccadilly's in Winchester, VA) had just that, a piano squeezed in as part of the bar. I did a double take, and took a hard look at the entire set-up because I never saw the "real deal" of a piano and bar or pianobar....


These are my People

The Special Love Parents Getaway Weekend held in Winchester, VA, is a wonderful time to bond with other parents dealing with similar issues of childhood cancer. It's a tight knit community of amazing support for many issues faced by cancer warriors and their siblings, and I am grateful beyond words to this local organization that helps so many families fight this battle.

Our planning committee arrives on Friday evening with a dinner at Piccadilly's (yummy cat fish), then prep the gift bags and go over some details of the weekend activities. Our gracious hosts, The George Washington Inn, goes out of their way to cater to the couples and caregivers who come to this weekend for some respite and pampering. So indeed, a big shout of Thanks to all our volunteers who donated their time and talents (yoga and Pilates instructors, massage therapists, and make up artists),  and especially Danielle Eichner, Art Therapist/Counselor, who conducted our morning program of making collages on the theme our "experience" of dealing with childhood cancer. No two alike, of course.

BSoleille! The bright side of refreshed...renewed...inspired

Thursday, November 17, 2016

New Tub or Glazing?

That was the question I have had ruminating in my head for a long time. I then made the executive decision to go with tub glazing on a recommendation of my buddy, Michael Serafini (who, by the way, did a fantastic job on my kitchen!). He suggested an outfit named: www.miraclemethod.com. I have never heard of them up until a few weeks ago when I called them for a quote, and a few other companies that glaze bathtubs (due diligence on quotes). The technician sent to do the job, Saul, was great! His supplies were carefully organized as he set up his work space down the hallway to the bathroom, and he thankfully covered all the floors with painting cloths. Since I was impressed with the set up, I had to have faith that the final product, a new looking glazed bathtub, was going to be fantastic. I must admit, it is a laborious process, but by 3:00pm, our house had a newly glazed tub that really looks like brand spanking new!

BSoleille! The bright side of a "brand" new and sparkling bathtub!


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

a little thanks

In such a great month of reminding us to be thankful for a lot of "things", isn't it great to be thankful for the little things too? How about a hot shower in the morning? A wool sweater that fits just right and provides warmth on a chilly morning. Or a beautiful sunset, and lately, the "super moon?" I continue to be thankful for the beautiful changing leaves on large stately trees. The more vibrant and deep the colors (especially the reds), the better for all to ooh and ahh at their beauty. Wonderful!


Monday, November 14, 2016

Magical Moon Madness

Super is everything these days. Super KMart, Super Walmart, super-size me, Superman. You know the drill. But the last two days the entire world has been more ethereal with the super moon! It is brighter and closer than any full moon we have seen in awhile, and won't be that way for another 20 years. So go outside and take a peek if you have not done so already the last couple days, and hopefully, there is no cloud cover for your viewing pleasure. By golly, it's so bright you can get a moon tan! So I am calling this one "magical moon madness!"

 Photos of some photos before the MMM

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dog Toy Bonanza!

Just like kids, the best toys are in other kid's homes. This weekend, our furry four-legged friend, Gunner Misencik (A German Short-Haired Pointer), found the dog toy box (basket for us) all right. He played for hours with every.single.toy in the basket, and spread them throughout the house so they would be within easy reach of whichever room or hallway he wandered down. Our pup Loo-C didn't mind one bit (or so it seemed). She was only "protective" of her "blankie", which Gunner never really approached or showed much interest in, thankfully. But for Gunner, he was in dog toy paradise, if there could be such a thing. His "favorite" seemed to be the dozen or so tennis balls, and one "stuffed animal - cow" that mooed! After a few minutes of playing with the cow that mooed, that cow delivered it's last moo, as Gunner bit the "voice box" one last time to make sure it remained quiet...and moo-less!


Photo of Gunner and the toys at "another dog's house", and deciding which one(s) he will play with next!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

55 - Double Nickel Tour Begins with the Richmond Half Marathon

With a grateful heart from lots of good wishes on my birthday today, I am humbled beyond words. The stellar day began with running the Richmond half marathon (13.1) with "The Best Daughter" and great friend, Linda Misencik. We ran that course that traveled though the streets of downtown Richmond and beyond in 1:56 (under 9 min./mile). It was cool, but the sun was shining and the spirits were high for all participants and the crowds cheering us on! Once we got to the mile 11 marker, we had to bear down and get to the finish line with laser focus...quickly, so we could just be done already! The challenge was great, but the best feeling is crossing the finish line, no lie.

Our "Richmond Tribe" consisted of one out-lier in Ryan Collier, who ran the full marathon (26.2) and ran a PR of 3:29! I loved how excited he was in crossing the finish line beating the clock of 3:30 with fists pumping high is the air!

Once we gathered after the race, our fearless hostess, Laura Ritenour, suggested brunch at the Patrick Henry Inn just a mile outside of the downtown area. ("Give me liberty, or give me death"!  is his famous quote as he led the opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765).  However, the building we ate in only dated back to 1850, but it was awesome just the same.

After a good meal had by all and it was time to head back home. Pizza and a game of Quiddler with my guys rounded out this super day! I am thankful and blessed beyond measure!

And lastly, you maybe thinking what is a "double nickel tour"? Well, my friend, Wendy Allen, mentioned it to me a few years ago when she turned 55, and suggested to do something fun each month in your 55th year (or is it 56th year?). This half marathon is definitely the kick-off, and was definitely "fun", so in my eyes it qualifies for the first leg of the "tour."

BSoleille! The bright side of turning one year older...55 is the new 35!

Friday, November 11, 2016

From Goodwill to Good Food!

The way down to Richmond, Virginia for the half marathon tomorrow was met with some thrift store shopping, quilt store shopping, and good food eating. Of course the first order of business in Richmond was the Expo to retrieve our numbers and tshirts. A quick visit to Carytown, and then met up with our entire tribe (hostess, Laura Ritenour, and fellow runners, Ryan Collier, "The Best Daughter", and Linda Misencik, for dinner. A great day for gratefulness!

That gratefulness is also parlayed into thankfullness for all Veterans near and far who have sacrificed their lives and undying service for all Americans. We can't thank you enough for your dedicated ambitions to keep us safe!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Twice in One Week!

Nothing dirty here, just good old fashioned pizza eating...in the same restaurant...twice in one week! And that restaurant is Mod Pizza. I believe it's a chain, but not opened in every city yet. Our two "vivacious visitors" this week, Laura Murphy (earlier in the week), and Linda Misencik (arrived yesterday) have never been and wanted to try. We felt we must oblige to their request. Thankfully, I tweaked my pizza a wee bit from Monday for it to taste just right today.  And the verdict from our guests? They both loved it! We all did because the toppings are all so fresh...


Wednesday, November 9, 2016


So what do you think of when you hear the word "shelter"? As we know, food, shelter and water are the three things every human "needs", but for my quilt guild, the Southern Comforters, "shelter" was the one and only word that became our 2016 guild challenge. As one would think, a house, or even a dog house, or an umbrella are some things that come to mind, but what about a shell, as in a crab shell? Or a cave? These were what our members thought and executed with their quilted items. I thought it was very interesting to see how various members interpreted the word "shelter", and I'd like to share some photos of the items made and the winners of his challenge. A big thank you to Evelyn Kirby who ran with her idea and made us think!

BSoleille! The bright side of...shelter.


Photos of the quilt participants and the winners: 1st place, Margy Hill (umbrella/ants); 2nd place, Trish Rader (fox in a den); 3rd place, Janet McCabe (historic home with a shutter).

My "shelter" was a silhouette of an umbrella and chairs against a setting sun...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Presidential Right To Vote

What a political day! I am ready for this whole election to be OVER, as most of the country does too. Tomorrow morning, a new POTUS! I did my civic duty to cast my vote, with the thoughts of those hundreds of suffragettes "back in the day" poking and prodding the "system" for the right for women to cast their ballot. So I will be forever thankful to those brave women, and our country that celebrates and encourages all woman to vote (and run for office) in any election. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many countries around the world, and that is pretty sad to say the least.

So as the world hinges itself on this night of results, it will be all over very soon. And whoever wins, it will certainly be an interesting ride as the coming days and months unfold.


Photos of Laura Murphy and I hanging out in Annapolis, Maryland, on a beautiful fall day, and wearing my "I voted" sticker proudly on my sweater!