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, June 29, 2017

The Gang is Almost Here

The Boulder "destination" wedding (Misencik/Wheating) we traveled out here for is finally taking shape, with guests of the bride and groom arriving daily (many today), and by the hour too. TBD is in the air as I type this post, but should arrive at the Denver airport in the next three hours. I am thankful for the arrival of all safe flights, the motorcycle riders (bride's Dad and Uncle from Ohio) and automobile drivers (several) commencing this weekend for the festivities that kick off tomorrow afternoon.

To keep the MOB "calm" before the storm, an early morning hike (6:30 am start) was "needed" and lovely as we "scratched and climbed" up to the third flatiron to take in the view of Boulder. As the morning wore on, and as both our families began arriving, (staying at different locations throughout the city), we went our separate ways until the wedding festivities begin. Once my husband and son arrived, we quickly made the trip over to Golden, Colorado, home of Coors Brewing Company, to take in the tour and beer tastings (yummy).

Lastly, we met up with the Strongsville, Ohio, Tomoff's and went to dinner in downtown Boulder. It was an epic day for sure, and I am thankful for the good times thus far.


Crofton Friend Meetup and an Evening Hike

So M.O.B. (mother of the bride), Linda, had to fulfill her role with the B.T.B (bride to be), Caitlin, today (after our 6:15am run, that is), and I got to window shop on Pearl Street in downtown Boulder. Plans were set yesterday to meet up TBD's (The Best Daughter) former Crofton youth soccer coach, Mark Pfundstein, who moved to Boulder over a year ago, and we had a lovely lunch catching up with each other's lives over a scrumptious taco salad at Centro's. I am thankful for the great day, along with the two hikes this evening when the MOB returned to the cottage.

BSoleille! The bright side of "inching" ever so closer to Cait/Julian's wedding.


Photos of Mark Pf and me; and a flatiron and moon on the late evening hike

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Colorado Chatauqua

In the late 1890's, the Texas Board of Regents determined to establish a summer school for the Texas teachers in a cool climate. Over 4,000 people gathered on July 4, 1898 for opening day in the Colorado Chautauqua in Boulder, Colorado (though slept in tents that inaugural season). The next few decades nearly 100 cottages were built to house those Texas teachers looking for some respite in mountain air; and today, about 58 of them are rented to visitors with the remaining privately owned (some dating back in their families to 1920!). All this at the foothills of the Flatirons with some great hiking trails for sure!

Interestingly, the Chautauqua movement swept the country at the turn of the 20th century. Named after Chautauqua Lake in New York, chautauquas were idyllic retreats where "average" folks could spend a summer listening to scholars, attend lectures, concerts and plays, and take courses on the great books of that era. A huge learning environment that anyone could partake in.

So it is a "privilege" and great luck that we were able to rent a summer cottage in Chautauqua when our Airbnb fell through less than 24 hours from our arrival! Further, it's fate that there were two cottages available for two Tomoff families traveling to Boulder for the Misencik/Wheating wedding this weekend. I could not be more thankful to stay in this beautiful setting with the mountains/Flatirons and all the great trailheads....right there!

BSoleille! The bright side of history, outdoor adventure, performances and community.


Photo of Linda Misencik and I on the porch taking in the view and then on a late evening hike.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Denver Dogs

A change of pace today going from Boulder to Denver to visit Linda Misencik's son, Kyle, and his pup, Mhysa (pronounced Meesa). We also had Linda's dog, Gunner, with us, and after a home cooked meal for the three of us, headed across the street to a jazz concert (with dogs in tow) at the Denver City Park. We were not the only folks with dogs, it looked like the only way to get into the park was with a furry four-legged friend or two. There were hundreds of people and dogs sharing a beautiful summer evening in capital city of Denver, Colorado, and I am thankful for such a great and sunny day!


Photos: Mhysa on the grass (some dogs just can't read!); Kyle and Linda, the jazz concert and sunset over Denver

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Back in Boulder

An easy day driving back to Boulder, CO, still surrounded by mountains in every direction, Linda Misencik and I reflected on the beauty of the Western Colorado wilderness. And though the state of Colorado has lots of mountains, rivers and streams, so many of the ranges differ in their topography, the color and types of trees and the thousands of people (lots of them in RV's) flocking to this state to delight in all it's natural beauty.

A treat to our hosts, Caitlin Misencik and Julian Wheating,  was dinner on us to help usher in their "wedding week"!


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Beckwith Pass

About 20 miles north of Crested Butte, Colorado, lies some of the most beautiful wilderness in the United States, especially the "white barked" aspens which we hiked through this morning along panoramic vistas at every turn on the pristine Beckwith Trail.

We learned from our waiter, Sam, at the Bonez restaurant last night in CB, that the Kebler Pass, located in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado, is home to one of the largest aspen groves in the United States. This aspen grove has been tested and found to be a clonal colony and grows from a single root system and is a single living organism! It is a spectacular sight for sure. The hike was very isolated (saw only a few people) and forded several creeks and rivers (mountain run off) as we continued to be in total awe throughout the entire morning of the sights and sounds in this mountain range with clear blue skies and striking beauty surrounding us. (Photos simply do not do justice with the depth and breadth of the ranges).

Once back to our primitive Lost Lake camp, we were met with an anonymous delivery of hand picked wildflowers set on the windshield of our car, and we felt it was a fitting send off for our time totally off the grid for almost three days!

BSoleille! The bright side of mountain hiking.


Photos from the glorious day

Lost Lake

Linda in the Aspens

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wildflowers Galore

Although we are "off the grid" for most of the day, in town we can get on our data/wifi; hence my posts. Thankfully, the phone cameras work (along with the others cameras brought) without service and turn into "data junkies" when service is available.

The Lupine Trail we did today yielded an abundance of photo ops of wildflowers posted today. There is certainly an adventure around every corner as well, mostly culminating in all the majestic panoramic views from any coordinate. This country is blessed with so much beauty and I am/we are grateful to witness a small sliver of western Colorado in all its summer glory!

BSoleille! The bright side of summer wildflowers...


wildflower in red

Linda in the Lupine

Laying in the Lupine

wildflower in orange

view from our campsite tonight - Lost Lake (20 miles and a 45 min. drive from town)

Summer Solstice Off the Grid

Deep into the "wild and free" areas of Crested Butte, Colorado, there is "no service" whatsoever and there is a sense of being truly unplugged to the "outside" world. But beauty abounds in every direction; from the snow-capped mountain tops, to the blooming lupine and wildflowers, to the waterfalls and lastly, the babbling Slate River running through Crested Butte at every turn.

Travel companion, Linda Misencik, and I are pinching ourselves on how very thankful we are to embark on this adventure and the celebration of the summer solstice at 10,000 ft. and higher!

BSoleille! The bright side of sweet smelling pine mountain air!

Photos of some of the sights in CB

Judd Falls Trail Head

wildflower of Colorado

view from trail

beautiful green wild"flower"

lupine in all directions

home sweet home!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

1742 Miles

Final destination to Boulder, Colorado safely reached! I am thankful for the last three days of sunny skies and open roads across this great land through Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado! My observations over the last 26 hours of travel include: the most polite drivers (includes use of blinkers, no tailgaters and easy mergers for oncoming vehicles), hands down "winner"- the great state of Iowa; the most "popular" pickup truck colors - Silver Silverados and red or black Ford 150's; and since it's vacation season and lots of RV's on the road, I only saw two cool Airstreams. A good night sleep is welcome to be rested for the next adventure here in Colorado.


Photo upon my arrival to Boulder

Monday, June 19, 2017

Trio Travel

"Trio travel" (by automobile), as in; me, myself and I, is not too shabby. I am currently on a solo trip bound for Boulder, Colorado (to meet up with friends...and a wedding at the end of the month), and have traveled close to 1200 miles in the last two days. So far I have listened to two books, as well as a few music CD's and have been "lost" in thought for many miles. I can say that traveling across the great ole USA on I80 the last two days: the wheat is definitely waving, there are acres and acres of amber waves of grain, and the corn is knee high to a grasshopper. I am thankful for this adventure, as "in a straight line going West" instead of "around a corner", and love spotting interesting things along the way. Check out my photo for today...as SUV carrying their kids bicycles..

BSoleille! The bright side of on the road again...


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers Day 2017

Happy Father's Day today and everyday you make a difference to your own kids, your nieces and nephews, the neighbor's kids, and the world around you! We are lucky to have you all in our lives, making us better as people, holding us accountable and being a friend when we need it the most.

My own dad (ojciec in Polish and pronounced: oy-chetz) is gone now, but he gave me lasting "words of wisdom" that I try to implement in my own life on a daily basis (the best one...if you can't say anything nice...don't say anything). And the Father to our children are also lucky to call Bill Tomoff...Dad!

I hope there are "grand" gestures of gratitude for the guys that get ties, hold the bags and put up with a lot of "you-know-what" most of the year. You are loved and cherished!

BSoleille! The bright side of a Happy Father's Day!

Photos of Bill with Olivia and Ryan and my own Dad

Friday, June 16, 2017

Pesky Buggers

One would think since it's been so nice outside that bugs and spiders would love being out of doors and windows, and never even "think" of trying to get inside...a house or car. Haven't they waited as long as we have for nice warm weather to play and have fun in the sun? So today I decided to have some fun taking photos of a bug (not sure of name) that kept hanging around the sliding glass door, and seemingly, wanting to get in. That was not going to happen if I could help it, and it seemed "patient" enough for me to take a few pics of him/her. After a long while, I'm thankful it went somewhere else outside to play, and not hang around the door for it to open and then fly inside.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Throwback Thursday Photo

Early 1980's; Reagan is President, breakdancing is in the streets, and we all went to the movies to see Ghostbusters. The happenings also included: "Tear down that Wall" (East and West Germany became one once again), Madonna and Michael Jackson were the queen and king of pop and a new generation of "preppies" were created to "have it all".

So I found this family photo while cleaning up some things and wanted to share. I'd say it was early 80's (Annette, Mom, Kimberly, Dad and me).


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sands & Hearn

Childhood grade school friend, Kelly Quinn Sands, and her new husband, Richard Hearn, composed an eleven song "labor of love" country/folk/bluegrass album entitled: "Time is a Line" which I received via "snail mail" this week. I've been listening to the CD (I also purchased the downloadable version) since the moment I retrieved it from the mailbox. It's that good!

A Kickstarter campaign in May/early June afforded them to release their album; with all lyrics and music written by Kelly and Richard! Wunderbar!!

BSoleille! The bright side of bravo to their time and talent in producing such a great body of work!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Still Blushing 30 years Later

Milestone wedding anniversaries are really something, yes? Today marks 30 "blissful" years for us! Sometimes it does not seem possible that 30 years flew by so quickly, and as Harry Chapin says in a song: "All my life's a circle; but I can't tell you why; the season's spinning round again, and the years keep rollin' by!" What a ride this has been with my guy taking on the world together with love, faith and laughter. Is there any other way?

To Bill Tomoff: I love you to the moon and back and then around the world for good measure!

BSoleille! The bright side of celebrating 30 years of marriage! "Our life is like a circle, so let's go around one more time."


Sunday, June 11, 2017

What a Crowd at Kelleys Island

A strong finish to the Kelleys Island race weekend was the big crowd of rookies (Kocan family and Brian Phillips) and "oldies" (Tomoff/Misencik/Koehler/Smith/Murphy-Neal) completing either the 5K or 10K runs! One member of the "BG" tribe, Casey Neal, won the 5K race by a good margin! Fourteen others from our "tribe" finished the 5K with three tribe members running the 10K.  In addition to the big 5K win by Casey, hardware was also won by several of us: Jodie Smith, Laura Murphy, Bill Tomoff and Shana Koehler! And in the 10K, Olivia Tomoff, Brian Phillips and Mark Misencik! A beautiful day with brilliant sunshine and a slight breeze made running this morning so worthwhile! I am always grateful for this special weekend; however, am especially thankful for our hosts, Scot and Jodie Smith, who graciously open their home for 15 of us to share in rest and relaxation all weekend long. It simply can't be beat...

BSoleille! The bright side of being on 'island' time and sharing with family and friends, and still missing a few (Franeks!).


Photos of the tribe; cheering section, Olivia Tomoff, Brian Phillips, Jodie Smith, The Koehlers, Scot and Chris and the Cousins...

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A Thousand Word Photo

Beautiful day with this glorious sunset on Kelleys Island!

Lake Erie Islands

Many people travel to "the islands", and that typically means the Caribbean (St. Croix, St. Maarten, Virgin Islands etc.), but for folks in the midwest, the Ohio Islands like Kelleys, Put-in-Bay and Middle Bass (along with Peeley on the Canadian side), are wonderful places to visit, especially on a warm sunny day.  I am grateful to have made a quick trip to Put-in-Bay with my nephew Brandon and son Ryan today by taking the Jet Express from Kelleys and tooling around this fun island that took about 20 minutes to get to (33 mph is how fast that boat travels). It's a "destination" island for the party crowds, but today it was fairly quiet (during the daytime hours).

One of the most interesting site on Put-in-Bay is the Perry Victory and International Peace Monument that commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie that took place near South Bass Island in which Commodore Oliver Perry led a fleet to victory in one of the most significant naval battles to occur in the War of 1812. The memorial also celebrates the lasting peace between the USA, Canada and Britain following that war. It still holds true today, and that is really something to be thankful for!

And the crowds heading to Kelleys...the friends and family making the trek for the weekend!

Photos from the day!