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, September 30, 2017

Rah Rah Ree

Hit ‘em in the knee. Rah Rah rass...hit ‘em in the other knee! Quite apropos for a cheerleader’s chant as well as a custom tshirt quilt by needleonfull.com for junior, Caitlyn Baicar, and a football cheerleader at the University of Maryland (Go Terps!). She was very excited to pick up her quilt today, along with her mom, Cindy, who not only gave me one big hug...but two big squeeze hugs because she loved the finished product with all Caitlyn’s treasured youth keepsake tshirts. This made my day, and I’m thankful they loved the design, balance of colors and shirt placement from the many tshirts they gave me to use. 

BSoleille! The bright side of making my customers happy!


Thursday, September 28, 2017

Run For The Money 

The very first road race (running) I ran was the Playboy’s Run For The Money at the old coliseum in Richfield, Ohio. I was 15 years old.  It was a five mile race and an “older” woman in the neighborhood (she was probably 40 at the time) invited me and a couple of friends, who also ran, to go with her to the race. We were all friends with her son (who did not run, ironically), as she did not want to go by herself. At the time she was just getting into the running craze in the 1970’s. 

On our drive out there (about 40 minutes), we discussed “strategy” of the race as we were all first time road racers (and very nervous. We ran cross country, but most races were half the distance at the time. I really had no clue what to do until she asked me my best mile time. When I mentioned around 5:30 or so, she blurted out to run 6:00 per mile...and that’s exactly what I did. I ran the race in 30 minutes flat, which is by far, the best time I ever ran at that distance. 

A really good runner in the area who was a year older than me at the time placed first overall for women, and I was second or third. But...I won my age group and have kept my Playboy award all these years later...along with the tshirt that has its own “story” I will write at another time. 

BSoleille! RIP Hugh Hefner


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Candles in the Wind

Okay, maybe not in the wind, but I love the way a burning candle makes the home feel cozy, along with a great scent. For fall, our favorites are “Pumpkin Pie”, “Autumn Wreath” and “Carmel Salt”! We typically burn a candle most days of the year, so recently my son and I purchased a few more to keep our tradition in burning candles going. It’s hard to pick one or two (or, three or four) since there are so many good ones to choose from, but we like to try. 



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sentimental Utensils 

Several years ago when we cleaned out our childhood home and moved my Mom into assisted living, my sisters and I took a few keepsakes and mementos for posterity. Since I love dishes, I took several of them and a glass candy dish that I still love today.
But, what’s kind of interesting, is that I only took one place setting of the cutlery that we used for decades and was “worn out” even back then. It’s funny, though, when I use the fork especially, the taste of it in my mouth brings me right back to being a kid. Honestly, it’s exactly the same!
I’m wondering if anyone else had a similar story too?!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trio did the Du

Due to high waves and rip currents, the swim leg of the Bethany Beach triathlon was cancelled for everyone except the pros. And from what I heard, the pros had some difficulty is reaching the yellow buoys (start/finish/turns) on the course. Most folk did not mind, since safety is paramount in these events, but naturally, some were very disappointed. 

I am very thankful that our trio went with the flow, and had a great time running and biking on a hot sunny day at the beach (not a cloud in the sky). Okay, I must admit it was really hot, but we all gutted through it “just fine”. 

I’m excited to announce that “The Best Daughter” and Linda Misencik both place first in their respective age groups. Whoohoo!! Yours truly placed second in my age group and am thrilled with the entire event. Truly, we all were and that’s the true beauty of our trio and the Du Du Du!



Saturday, September 23, 2017

Tri and Du Ready

I’m a “big chicken” and backed out of the swim at packet pick up for the Bethany Beach Triathlon tomorrow morning. As I witnessed “The Best Daughter” and Linda Misencik battle the waves at “swim practice” this morning, I decided to opt out, and I think, for good reasons. One and two being 4 ft. waves and 8-10ft. swells. The race director is keeping a close eye on the water and rip tides and will make a decision in the morning on swim direction or possibly no swim event. 

But we are ready to go and it’s all for the “fun” of it...



Photos from the practice swim and my kit all set

Friday, September 22, 2017

Three Chicas in Bethany Beach 

So we missed getting to the beach this “summer” by one hour, but that didn’t stop “The Best Daughter”, Linda Misencik and I from “falling” into autumn with the BB First Responder Triathlon this weekend! First stop...da beach...and it can’t be beat. We are all looking toward Sunday with calm waters and sunshine for the rest of the bike and run course. With the swirling hurricane season on the East Coast (waves pretty high; 5-7 ft. today), it was great seeing people out and about enjoying the oceans “warm” temperature at 73 degrees, and still bunches of warm sunshine to go with it. 



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quilt Bingo Quilt

This quilt was a block of the month from 1998! The blocks were won by Lori Costello, and Susie Stevenson finished the top. I quilted it on the Longarm and it’s ready to be “won” again at our Southern Comforters Quilt Bingo on Saturday, October 21st, Knights of Columbus Hall on Route 3, Bowie, Maryland. Doors open at noon. The perfect quilt to kick off the fall equinox I’d say. 



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tiny Nine Table Topper

My tiny-nine quilt top is done (shown in a previous blogpost this past spring), but not yet quilted. However, there happened to be some extra blocks left over, and I just could not not do something with them. So, my photo today is the table topper I "finished" today (minus the binding...which I plan to add a pop of color very soon). I can now say that I am "done" with those teeny tiny blocks for a long time, maybe never!?


Photo: Tiny Nines Table Topper

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Just TRYAN It in Alexandria VA

One hundred and thirty one kids (ages 6-14) participated in the Just TRYAN It triathlon at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia this morning. Whoohooo!!! It was a beautiful day for all racers to swim, bike and run...fast to raise funds for kids and families battling childhood cancer. My entire family volunteered at this special event, from the transition area (Ryan); the bike course ("The Best Daughter and Brian Phillips); the run course (me); and the announcer for the event (Bill). Believe it or not, JTI had over 140 volunteers to help all the youngsters finish their event and cheer loudly for each racer. We all could not be more tickled to help this wonderful organization.

In a previous blogpost (9/14), I happened to mention Ryan Darby, and his family's foundation, which is Just TRYAN It. And since 2010, they have raised $1.5 million dollars to help defray outstanding costs to families in treatment for pediatric cancer which is really fantastic! Many families need help during very trying times with their sick children. And because this race was held during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month makes is all the more special.

A big shout of Congratulations to The Just Tryan It leadership, volunteers and participants and the beautiful Episcopal High School campus where everyone felt welcome and parents were able to see their kids participation in each event throughout the magnificent campus.

BSoleille! The bright side of kid triathletes...even some racers with training wheels! Sooooo cute!


Photos from an amazing today

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Gold Medal Winner

While refereeing a couple of games of high school soccer at Broadneck High School in Annapolis, MD today, I couldn't help but notice the large stadium sign honoring Olympic Gold Medalist, Matt Centrowicz. He truly is a legend, and it's noteworthy to mention that at the Rio Games, on August 20th, 2016, he beat out Algeria's top runner, Taoufik Makhloufi, to win gold, a first for an American runner since 1908! That is a huge accomplishment, and am thankful to have watched it live last summer. It's terrific that his alma mater recognized the magnitude of this feat and put the sign up for all to to see!



Friday, September 15, 2017

Sweater Ready

Although it is way too early to think about "sweater weather", and I am going to hold onto summer as long as I can, we all know what's coming. Once we all can "resign" to cooler temperatures and have the "fall fashion" clothing, it's all okay, right? Fall is actually my second favorite season, with the harvest moon, good sleeping with the chilly nights and a hot cup of tea (or hot chocolate) makes it all quite bearable. So over the past few days, I've decided to "get ready" for those cooler days by using the "ultra hand wash" cycle on my washing machine, coupled with the best detergent - Woolite- to wash those loveable sweaters. Can you believe it's been around for 65 years! You won't be disappointed in the outcome, because everything comes out smelling fresh and clean. Really, it does.

Since it's still quite warm, the sweaters dry fast. Towels with sweaters on them (even chairs) hang all over the house until fully dry. Some take longer than others, but I will wait it out (no dryer even if they scream they want to go in!)

BSoleille! The bright side of if Mother Nature "decides" to  drop the outside temperature to 40 degrees, I'm ready!


Photo of one batch of dried sweaters!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hyundai Hope on Wheels

It was an honor to attend this evening's Hyundai Hope on Wheels gala at the beautiful Marriott Marquis in downtown Washington D.C. during this Childhood Cancer Awareness Month of September. The Hyundai Automotive Corp. USA has been "golden" for 19 years because they had a vision to give back, thankfully, to childhood cancer. With the sale of every new vehicle over the last 19 years, Hyundai has donated over $130 million dollars to pediatric cancer research. Their goal is to help eliminate childhood cancer...and their research dollars have been doing fabulous work "behind the scenes" in labs all over the country. This is truly a remarkable feat, and they plan to continue to give back and stand behind the thousands of kids diagnosed every year through their implemented research and programs throughout many hospitals nationwide.

A big shout out goes to local pediatric cancer survivor Ryan Darby, who, at 14 years old, was one of two Hyundai Ambassadors who inspired and gave hope to kids all over the country during this two year ambassadorship. His family also has a foundation that you can check out here: justtryanit.com

I can speak on behalf of the thousands of families that are deeply grateful for the research dollars provided by Hyundai, in that, they continue raising the bar to give hope to every child being diagnosed with any type of pediatric childhood cancer in our world today!

BSoleille! The bright side of bright futures for many childhood cancer kids...


Photos of Ryan Tomoff and Ryan Darby; Ryan T. with Dr. Aziza Shad;  today's heroes and Bill, Ryan and I

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Alzheimers Crippling the Beautiful Mind

My trips back to Ohio have been mostly met with fun events with family and friends through the years, but in the last several, visiting with my Mom as she battles the demons of Dementia, is obviously, not all fun and games. Due to her "good" physical health, and the fact my Mom is quite ambulatory, it's the deterioration of the brain, and therefore, personality that is so difficult to watch, and really, to fathom. This "crippling" of the beautiful mind is heartbreaking to witness and it's sad beyond measure for her and the 4.5 millions of Americans waging the same battle every day. I am thankful she has been taken care of in a Cleveland nursing home, and that my sisters who live in the area, keep tabs on her often.

So this past weekend, of course, visiting my Mom was top priority. And even though she has difficulty in placing how she knows me/us, we tell her who we are and then spend some quality time with her. What is great is that she's happy to smile and take photos with us for the obligatory "selfies" on each visit, so now I have a "nice" album of her through these punishing years.

BSoleille! The bright side of hoping viable treatment plans and reversal of this disease is on the next medical horizon...


Photo of my sister Kimberly, Sophie (mom) and me

Monday, September 11, 2017

We Cannot Forget

Today our nation still mourns the brave men and women who lost their lives in the terror attacks 16 years ago. Can it really be 16 years? The babies born that year are driving now, gosh darn it. As much as we don't like to admit it, we all had to move on as we needed to do, but many families still suffer as do the first responders to that horrific event. And then the past two weeks we have seen Mother Nature's wrath with unbelievable, perhaps more aptly, unfathomable, hurricanes in Texas and Florida, plus the wildfires in Washington, Oregon and California. The death and destruction is beyond measure and millions are suffering from something they could never stop.

We "learned" from 9/11 how to rally and strengthen the human bonds to our countrymen, with cash, blood, platelets, food, water and clean up that took years. It is this same human spirit and strength that will catapult the devastated areas to some kind of "normalcy" as soon as feasible to get into the areas to help. I am thankful that I can believe we are on the precipice of seeing extraordinary folks assist millions of Americans amongst the wreckage, because I believe wholeheartedly that there is more kindness and goodness in the world than anything else. Inspiring stories will abound...


Sunday, September 10, 2017


What is Cyclocross? After seeing it today and cheering on my friend Tom Franek, I can tell you that it is basically a cross country race on a bicycle. Invented by the Belgians and other European countries that wanted something to do in the cycling "off season", cyclocross is a combination of several "short" laps of 1.5-2 miles in length, coupled with wooded trails, pavement, steep hills and obstacles, along with sand, like the NEO Cyclocross races that were held today at Edgewater Park in Cleveland, Ohio; right on the shores of Lake Erie. It is truly something to see, and from what I gathered, quite fun to do, though very grueling, and each lap seems to get a wee bit harder from the one before.

And because Tom Franek is a competitor and a phenomenal athlete, he was able to "podium", winning not only his age group, but the younger age group as well. I was thankful to cheer him on along with his wife, Rosalie, and to see him win at a big event. The day was perfect with sunny skies and perfect temperatures for all athletes to grit out the tough course (the sand, I think, being the most difficult part). A big shout of Congratulations to Tom on his big win today!


Photos of Tom, plus Rosalie and I at Edgewater Park in Cleveland, Ohio.

30 Years and 8 Months

If you think this number could be a career ending number, or a good amount of years for a retirement number, you are correct! So without any "fanfare", I would like to Congratulate Patti Gartman Lane on an illustrious career with the State of Ohio - Adult Parole Authority in Cleveland, Ohio, with 30 years and 8 months experience in many aspects that the job required. Patti and I became fast friends when she came on board nine months after my hire date. (So in effect, if I stayed, I would have retired last year with 30 years!) But not only did Patti take on the world of Adult Parole and Probation straight out of college, she continued her education and went to Cleveland Marshall Law School, graduating with honors even with working full time. She is smart as a whip, a wonderful wife and mother, and a great friend to many!

Tonight I was thankful to have been able to celebrate this milestone with her and her many co-workers and former co-workers to help usher her into a new phase of life. I think I can speak on everyone's behalf who came in wishing this wonderful woman a happy and healthy retirement, with new adventures and friends on the horizon!

BSoleille! The bright side of getting to the other side of a three decade career!


Photo of the gang (Patty on my left in striped skirt) and of us!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

JMU Dukes Take On Navy under a Full Moon

I am very thankful that my day was full of renewal of "old" friendships from "The Best Daughter's" college soccer playing days. It was not that long ago she was dressed as a Duke in Purple and White (and sometimes gold) trying her best out on the pitch with 10 other gritty teammates holding out for a possible win.

So when "TBD's" college roommate/teammate's mother (Darcy Miller) texted me yesterday that she will be going to the JMU vs. Navy Women's Soccer game (her daughter, Haley Miller is one of the assistant coaches), I "dropped" everything to make it happen. Lunch with the team, Coach Lombardo and his wife Joanie, was the first order of business. It was great hanging out with the 2017 team for a short while, then left to referee a boys high school game, and lastly, headed back to the Naval Academy for the 7:00pm start (and joined by husband Bill and son Ryan to boot!).

Unfortunately, JMU lost 2-1 to Navy, but the spirit of play, fans from both teams,  and being on the stately Naval Academy grounds, mind you, all under a beautiful full moon, was truly spectacular!

BSoleille! The bright side of cheering for your favorite team as an "alumni' parent from your kid's university!


Photos from the game; Coach Dave Lombard (28 years with the Dukes!); and with Darcy Miller

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Another Day Another Bag

When working on smaller projects, it makes sense to cut out two of everything, especially if you think you will like the finished project...and then there is an "extra" gift for someone special that just tagged along with the first one.  A few weeks ago, I did just that, cut and quilted the fabrics (following the pattern) for two Charming Chubby Bags. I finished one last Wednesday (at bee); and donated it for the upcoming Southern Comforters Quilt Bingo on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Bowie, MD.

Today, at bee, I finished the tag-a-long second bag that's my featured photo of the day, and I'm thankful (and glad), I did. I think it will come in handy for upcoming travel and adventure!


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Referees from Sea to Shining Sea

I wrote a post this past weekend about the three Maryland lady referees and how great it was to work a couple matches together for high school girls. Sort of a subliminal message that these young ladies can do anything they set their minds to, including refereeing a soccer match someday.

The rest of the weekend I refereed tournament play and worked five out of six games at the field I was assigned to with three other referees from around the country; Virginia Beach, VA; Harrisburg, PA and San Francisco, CA. Those not from Maryland indicated to me that they love going to other states to see the different competition and meeting new people and referees. It really was delightful, and I am thankful to have worked with such a great crew.

BSoleille! The bright side of "there's no better seat in the house" than being on the field of play during a soccer match!


Monday, September 4, 2017

123 Years of Labor Days

It's hard to believe that the United States officially declared the first Monday in September a federal holiday in 1894. Thirty states thought it was a good idea to celebrate the festival of workers which coincided with the "unofficial" end of summer. Kind of a last hurrah before everyone gets "serious" about work and school going back to session. If nothing else, hard-working people in all walks of life and jobs need, and deserve, a long weekend to rest and have fun with family and friends, maybe even some co-workers. So it goes without saying, though I am going to, that I hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend no matter what you spent your time doing. Personally, I am not going to say goodbye to summer yet...maybe never, because I like to manufacture sunshine and summer all year long at least in my head and always in my heart.

I have posted in the past that September is like a the "new year"; the tipping point being the beginning of a new school year and the goings-on that surround all that. I hope it is a good one for the 2017-2018 calendar year!


I love this photo because it truly captures those bygone "day" laborers that this holiday was instituted for 123 years ago. Those men and women built this country with their grit and sweat equity, and I am thankful we still honor the millions of workers around this great land today.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Three Soccer Chicas

It's not everyday, or soccer "game" day(s), that I get to referee with two outstanding women soccer referees, but this afternoon, the stars aligned (though very cloudy coupled with rainy skies to see 'em...ALL DAY LONG...I might add) I did! So, can I say it was super fun for all of us despite the heavy downpours through two high school girls varsity matches, and I was tickled pink?  (Let's also not discount the wrinkly toes and feet from soaking wet socks and shoes since 6:30 am with my early set of games starting at 8am in Columbia, MD with U18 Boys!)

Maybe looking back now while sitting at my computer writing this blogpost with a hot shower and hot meal under my "belt" as soon as I got home makes it all better for sure! As you can see by the photo, the three of us tried to wear whatever long sleeved sweatshirt or anything long sleeved that we had tucked in our bags to keep us warm (because we never thought to pack a parka for a September 2nd set of games!!??). Looking forward to sunnier skies and milder temperatures tomorrow!

BSoleille! The bright side of working with Julie Lamp-Whittington and Melissa Richardson on the pitch!


Friday, September 1, 2017

Spy Thriller

Raise your hand if you ever been totally engrossed in a good book. You know the one - it captures your attention from the first page and doesn't let go. Also when you "daydream" intermittently throughout the day, your mind "races" back to the book, the characters, the plot. I am in the middle of that entire feeling while still reading; The Red Sparrow, by Jason Matthews. The novel was selected by my book club, and I am thankful that I started that first page because it's so good and I don't want it to end. My "strategy" is to read a few chapters a night...savoring the character development and the twists and turns the novel provides. At times I feel like I am transported to the cities and restaurants the author meticulously describes in the book because he doesn't miss any juicy details that relates to the story and wants his readers to stay "involved". That is certainly a craft for sure!