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!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

It is a Wrap

It is always a pleasure to "thrill" a customer with their custom made T-shirt quilt that has been carefully crafted for the intended recipient. For Linda B., as pictured in today's photo, she requested a certain size for her daughter's T-shirt quilt encompassing memories from her daughter's youth through her high school years. Mission accomplished! This quilt could certainly be draped across the bed, or, in this case, be wrapped up in it like a robe! #NeedleOnFull


Monday, May 29, 2017

Limping Along

Limping along today, and not from the five games of soccer...no, rather, it's my iPhone6. Two months ago, I replaced a cracked screen which I lived with for over two years. Today, with my alarm set for 6:00am for a match start time of 8:00am, and 35 miles away, I was "lucky" to get up with the sun and not from a piercing set alarm from my phone because the phone died overnight! Ugh! And even though I was phone less and feeling "naked" the whole day without it, surprisingly, it did not invoke panic. However, I will admit it did feel kind of strange, and I can't believe how dependent I've become on having it with me at all times (and in good working order). There were so many things I wanted to check (like the games I was working when there was a discrepancy with the other refs I was assigned to work with today and the weather forecast) but couldn't. I was literally "reverting" to the "days of old", or BP (before phones - and the information age of having everything known to man at your fingertips).

When you stop and think about this, isn't any smartphone truly the most amazing piece of technology known to the whole world now? And this "world" fits nicely in your hand, and in your pocket!

Once home it was off to the Apple store to see what they could do for me and my "overworked" phone and its battery (because, quite frankly, I did not want to wait another day if I could help it without a phone)! Thankfully, all the phone "needed" was to have the three year old battery replaced (plus 79 bucks) and that was it... Whew! I hope I get a long life out of this one for sure and I will plan to limp along through a few generation of iPhones coming down the pike (unless the 10th Anniversary one is too compelling...)

BSoleille! The bright side of a working iPhone once again.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day Tournaments

Youth sports played all year round typically have tournaments most holiday weekends, including Memorial Day weekend. For soccer, the VA/DC/MD region has over 1000 games being played in four days. So far I have refereed eight games (U15 Boys), with four more assigned tomorrow to finish up the Columbia Memorial Day Tournament. The soccer is great with explosive play from the first whistle due to the 30 minute halves. Four hours of soccer "flies" by for sure, and I am thankful for the fast pace on most of the games thus far, with all teams still standing after all that tough play on the pitch.


Photo of the ref crew I worked with today: Mark and Peter

Friday, May 26, 2017

Guest Blogger Ryan Tomoff

The following is from Ryan's Instagram post today. I could not have said this any better, so I am going with it plus bursting with pride for this awesome young man and the journey he has been on for quite a long time!

Wow! What a difference a year makes. As many of you know I had surgery one year ago, one of the longest surgeries I've endured. A year later I feel completely different. Before surgery I weighed in at about 85 pounds. I was practically skin and bones. Today I stand at 110 but still room for more. I've always said I'll come back physically and mentally tougher. Mentally I couldn't be more proud of myself for what I've accomplished in the last year, not only the surgery in May but the recovery with that  but also the second occurrence of tongue cancer and the two surgeries that came with it. All of this wouldn't have been possible without Dr.Ord and his medical team at the University of Maryland Hospital and my family and Friends. They are the ones who pushed me to become stronger and to never let anything stop you. I've posted some photos of what everything looked like after surgery. People have asked what was the hardest thing about surgery? Was it the recovery? No. The hardest thing for me was 1. Filling out my will of death in case something were to happen during surgery and #2. Was waking up after all the Anesthesia wore of and not being able to speak.

I like to end my posts with quotes. Today's quote is by Paul Bryant.

"If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride- and never quit, you'll be a winner. The drive of victory is high but so are the rewards."

Photos of then and now...

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Turnpike Travel

Traveling close to 1000 miles in the last week (998.5), you see things out there on the roadways. Big summer travel has arrived and folks need to brush up on their highway driving skills for everyone to arrive at their final destination (and then home again) safely. Mix in a lot of rain and fog for good measure (as it's been today and most of the past week), and you've got to pay super close attention. A couple of things I thought about out there on the turnpike and beyond:

1) If you drive a little slower than the rest of the gang driving along, just move over to the right lane...

2) If you want to talk on the phone, go ahead and do so, but again, move over as you tend to slow down when you talk....

3) If you text (DON'T), move over, or better yet, wait until you are at a rest stop.

Today a lady was texting at 75mph and weaving, plus driving over the lines. Her eyes were casted down toward her lap where her phone was and not paying attention at all. Scary for sure!

Pipe dream ideas for highway travel: one lane for all big 18-wheeler trucks; one lane for all the talker and texters (with a 4ft. rubber barrier that they could safely bounce off when they go over the lines) and one lane for the "Mario Andretti's"  out there with hands 10 and 2 and driving fast, but safe. Think autobahn!

BSoleille! The bright side of safe travels on the highways and byways across the USA for the upcoming summer treks.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

College Friends and a Grandkid

Hanging around a little person (2.5 years old) is such a treat! Jodie and Scot Smith are lucky enough to have their granddaughter for the weekend, and she is such a treasure for sure! Grandparents world-wide know the feeling I'm sure. Spoil them rotten, then give them back...Haha

Maybe one day....

BSoleille! The bright side of the friendships made at Bowling Green State University all those years ago...


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Work Station

An outdoor work station is actually pretty sweet, especially when the weather is favorable. Today was one of those days to work on my computer and listen to the plethora of birds and the sounds of the shallowest of the Great Lakes, Lake Erie. I am thankful to have shared some time on Kelley's Island with the Smith Family and all that the island has to offer its residents. Those living in Ohio may take a day trip to the island, but can stay longer by lodging in a rented house or the State Park Camping sites, and I highly recommend the camping!


Photo of Jodie giving "Brandi" (her friend Nancy's dog) a bath; and flowers from the garden.

Monday, May 22, 2017

First Look at Kelleys Island

I am so thankful to get up to Kelley's Island, Ohio, before the big summer season begins this weekend. Right now the island is so quiet and peaceful, and to run around the island plus work on a writing project has been a slice of heaven. My gracious hostess, Jodie (and Scot) Smith, has been making delicious meals for us, and the weather has gone from cold, windy and rainy to calm and sunny (all within the last 48 hours). We finally a fabulous sunset over Lake Erie this evening and it was still light out at 9:20pm! Now that much daylight is truly something to be thankful for!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Blushing Bride to Be

Another wedding shower this past weekend, this time, a family one on the Tomoff side. Blushing bride to be Debbie, who will take the Tomoff surname in July (marrying nephew Brett) was gracious and beautiful as she opened many cooking related gifts. She and Brett will be able to cook up a storm for years to come with all the shiny and new pots and pans, serving platters, cutlery, and knives they received, plus storage containers for all the leftovers they will have! But one gift she (they) got, was a one-of-kind-especially-made-for-them quilt made by yours truly and she loved it!

Many of us married folk sat back and salivated over the newness and modernness of all the kitchen gadgets Debbie received . We have learned that after 20, 25, 30 years of marriage, we decided that many of us "need" new stuff because so much of the stuff we received all those years ago could certainly be replaced. Who has a full set of flatware after 20+ years of daily use?

BSoleille! The bright side of a bridal shower to start off a new household of shiny and new...



Friday, May 19, 2017

On the Road Again

My solo ride to Cleveland, Ohio, was, thankfully, smooth sailing through 375 miles. And with less orange barrels on the turnpike, traffic backup was at a minimum, and that is a good thing. First stop was to see my Mom in the nursing home, and shared a "concert" experience with a talented acoustic guitar playing one-man band. Dinner with fellow Rhodes Rams rounded out the evening and it was great catching up with seven wonderful women.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Fresh Floor

I am thankful today that the hardwood floors were installed in the Master Bedroom. So now the paint, floors and trim are done. Phase 1 is in the books! Jorge and Alessandro did a great job on the install and were quick, efficient and thorough for four hours of setting the "planks" in a pleasing order. The floors are shiny and they look like we could play basketball on it. It's getting close to that tranquil oasis to unwind and relax...and they are gleaming!

Before and After photos (lighting is not the greatest in this room).


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Bowl of Fresh Strawberries

A bowl of fresh strawberries is like eating candy; sweet and delicious and the only thing you have to do to 'em is give them a good wash before eating. But if you want to live "dangerously", then don't wash 'em, and they will still taste awesome, albeit with a little "crunchy" from the "dirt" or "grit". It's truly nature's candy and the best of them are in ripened (and eaten) in May and June. We tend to buy them almost year round, but nothing is better than now for their exquisite and mouthwatering freshness!


Monday, May 15, 2017

Out of Africa er Crofton

Apparently is does not take much for a local (neighborhood) kitty cat named Snookie to stealthily hunt down a field mouse and bring it to her mistress, right before my eyes and Loo-C-Loo's too. More unbelievable was the fact when she darted into the fray (huge flower and treed garden in the front yard), and snatched the mouse, the lady and her husband of the house were weeding and talking while Snookie did her predatory kill. And then, after a few moments, she existed the "bush" and proudly carried that poor mouse back across the street and paid no attention to the fact Loo-C-Loo and I were that close to her and her kill before she deposited it on "her" doorstep. From lions to lionesses and even to cute neighborhood  domestic kitty cats, the instinct to hunt down something is part of their predatory behavior, and for Snookie, maybe just a gift for her owner.


Snookie and her mouse...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Mother's Day 2017

Mother's the world over are an amazing "bunch"; because, let's face it, they simply have to be to get through the day, to get through the month, to get through the year. I'm sure most would say they would not have it any other way, even on the most difficult of days, because being a mom is so very precious and beautiful and rewarding beyond measure.

It is with delight I was able to spend the past weekend with amazing mom, Linda Misencik, celebrating those moments we hold so dear and cherishing motherhood in all it's glory. I am thankful, too, that I was able to spend some time with my own Mom a couple of weeks ago in Cleveland, Ohio.

So to all the Moms, Aunties, Sisters and Women who love their families (and pets); Happy Mother's Day to you!


Photos from the Paradise Winery in Clifton, VA; our Mother's day morning run around the Crofton Parkway, and a good breakfast to start the day!

Friday, May 12, 2017

M R Ducks

A tourist in your hometown is quite a blessing, especially seeing the Washington, D.C., monuments and points of interest through the eyes of visitors from all over the world (and little Linda Misencik); all on an amphibious military personnel carrier vehicle (land to water to land). Only 100 of these 'ducks' are in the US now, which were used to transport military personnel and supplies during WW11, and quite a remarkable vehicle for sure. At the Normandy landings, June 6, 1944, 160,000 troops were transported using these viable modes of transportation (an unbelievable feat, really). The cloudy and cool weather did not deter the fun on the duck, riding through the streets of DC and then onto the Potomac River very near Reagan National Airport and the Pentagon and then back to Union Station. The whole tour took about 2 hours (because we were stuck in traffic near the Capitol!).

This tour was compliments of Linda winning a silent auction bid at the Special Love Gala in April with the planning and use of the tickets in the allotted time. Our fearless Captain Bob was a wealth of D.C. trivia and knowledge as he carefully maneuvered the 100% steel boat/vehicle through the nation's' Capital and beyond.

BSoleille! The bright side of celebration Mother's Day on a Duck!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Graduation Season 2017

A big shout of Congratulations to all the high school and college graduates for 2017! So much work, so much studying, but hopefully, lots of fun too! To walk across the stage and switch the tassel from left to right (or is it right to left?) signaling the end is a thrilling moment in time. The bugger is waking up to try and figure out what comes next;  more schooling (college), a job, or post graduate work. The world is your oyster...go out and make a difference!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Anniversary Quilt 2017

Those "once a year" anniversaries are cool celebrations, especially with a potluck dinner and a chance to win a quilt - all with the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild. The quilt was made by Jan Steiner, and the lucky winner was Julia Graves. She will be thrilled to have won this year's colorful anniversary quilt for sure! A big thank you to Jan, and the planning committee for tonight's festivities.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The March of the Ants

It's that time of year again with the "march of the ants", coming into our house at the exact same place(s) year in and year out. I think it's their ritual to come in and be seen, no matter how annoying they are to us! We do not use any type of professional bug exterminator at this point, but I do put those Tarro trays on the kitchen windowsill and watch them go to town on the "sugar", er poison, and hope they eat enough to take it back to their colony to infect the others....but I am not sure how that all works out because the next morning, a new slew of them are eating out of the tray once again. A revolving door, if you will.

So, what good are they, really? Those that invade our homes are truly on some type of mission and do not "know" how annoying they are, at least to me. As kids we watched them work through the sand and dirt around our play areas, but as a homeowner, I am not so keen on them today. The silver lining is that we are bigger then them!

I looked up some facts on ants that placated me a wee bit, but this information does not help me get over their yearly ritual no matter how I try. But I will admit, they are industrious and complex, and, according to all the info I've read lately, will be back next year...and the next, until the end of time.

According to Wikipedia, here are some facts that make them interesting creatures:
"Ants have colonized almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands. Ants thrive in most ecosystems and may form 15–25% of the terrestrial animal biomass. Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organization and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimeticcommensalparasitic, and mutualistic relationships."


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Little Boots

Country flare including a pair of cowboy boots is a staple for many folks no matter where they live. Of course, that love of owning and wearing a pair can spill over to a child, and while in Nashville, and touring the Belle Meade Mansion, we kept running into a family with a cute little four year old girl in cowboy boots. She strutted those boots all around the grounds and mansion and I felt compelled to take a photo of all that cuteness. Once we met up with them face to face, I asked the mom if I could take a photo of her daughter in her dress and boots, and she said, "yes!" So I did. Funny thing though, the mom mentioned they were hand-me-downs from a cousin, but her daughter, Nora, has never minded one bit.

BSoleille! The bright side of a cute four-year in cowboy boots!


Saturday, May 6, 2017

My Favorite Bartender

What a world of a difference a year makes...and we all know that is true. So with great pleasure, husband Bill and I attended the first pool party of the year at the Crofton Swim and Tennis Club's "Cinco de Drinko" party, with Ryan feeling good and bartending for the entire event (and loving the responsibility). He has several bartending gigs under his belt (at the pool), and really connects with the folks that come to "forget about life for awhile". We could not be happier for this kid enjoying his time in the "public" for a community event who has supported him though some of his darkest days fighting cancer!

BSoleille! The bright side of celebrating Cinco de Mayo on the 6th...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Bluest Eye

Toni Morrison is not the only one that has used/or can use the title of: The Bluest Eye. By the looks of my dog, Loo-C-Loo, she definitely has pretty blue eyes that I tried to capture up close and "personal."

Unfortunately, she is not one to "love" the camera, or camera phone in this case, as she typically looks the other way, seems bored, and generally is not that "cooperative" when I or anyone wants to photograph her. She's funny like that, and who would think that a dog would be so "shy" about a photo? My other dogs have been total hams and proud to smile and show their pearly whites, but not this one. I have to be clever and sly to get a "good" one of her. Interestingly, as you can see, the eyeball is not totally focused, but those downward eyelashes that are focused seem quite perfect in protecting this dog, and any dog, from dust and any eye harm. A study of nature for sure!


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wingman Custom Apron

Quilters are a sharing lot; patterns, knowledge and know-how, tools of the trade, and the best of all, sometimes even fabric! So a few months ago, quilting friend, Cappy Phillips, while shopping for fabric, found "wing" fabric and immediately thought of Ryan (who she knows loves wings and orders them wherever we go!). So she bought a few yards and gave it to me to do something "fun" with the fabric. It did not take long to know what I would make...a "wingman" inspired apron Ryan could use while making his own wings on the grill. It gets pretty messy with all those the chicken wings, sauces and rubs, so today I finally made one for him and he likes it! And I am thankful for that!


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Fun with Flowers

Taking the dog for a walk this afternoon afforded me to take a macro view of the world, or a little slice of it anyway, in pretty and colorful flowers, as my photos today can attest. It took a little less than an hour to "hike" .7 miles due to all the stops along the way photographing lots of flowers in full bloom. From azaleas, to roses to buttercups, bells and baby's breath, spring is in the air (and all that yellow pollen that comes with it...sneezing too!).


Monday, May 1, 2017

25 55 85

If you guessed from the post title, it's all about three generations of Borkowski/Nolan/Tomoff women! A mere 30 years separate each of us from our mothers' and all going strong, or as strong as one can be (especially my Mom at 85). I am thankful when we made the whirlwind trip to Cleveland, Ohio, we were able to pop into the nursing home where my mom lives and say "hello." As Bette Davis said, "getting old ain't for sissies!"

Age is a "funny" thing sometimes; some days feeling like I'm 25 again, and my Mom, most likely, thinking she is 55 again. And being 25 is just that, well, 25!

BSoleille! The bright side of a multi-generational photo op.