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!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Deep Ellum

Last stop on the "pony express" tour was a cold beer at the Braindead pub in Deep Ellum! According to "The Best Daughter" and Briphi, a cold one was in order after assembling her new standing desk! It was a beautiful night graced with the end of the month full moon and a good walk around this downtown Dallas outskirt location. Or should I say, "outpost", y’all?

BSoleille! The bright side of a cold one (I ordered a Polish ale!)


Sunday, April 29, 2018

When in Texas...

Besides "The Best Daughter" getting her apartment up to "snuff", a lot of play took place today as well, Texas style, I'd say. A three mile run through downtown, the Dallas Farm Market, a little bit of shopping for the apartment, and a terrific tex-mex dinner and a rodeo in Ft. Worth rounded out the evening. The best thing...85 degrees and low humidity to take this all in! I am grateful to see how much fun it will be for TBD to explore her new home city...


Friday, April 27, 2018

Dallas Texas - 1363 Miles as the Crow Flies from Maryland!

Day 2 of the drive was met with sunny skies and open roads leading to a safe delivery of my precious cargo to Dallas, Texas. A new chapter begins today for 'The Best Daughter" and I couldn't be happier for her trying her hand in a brand new city (Oak Lawn area downtown). So far, we've unpacked her "stuffed" car, and took a long walk around the neighborhood to check it all out (lots of cute coffee shops and tex-mex restaurants; all within walking distance of her apartment).

And although the drive was great and, thankfully, uneventful, I think I/we will be looking for Southwest Airline 'deals' in our future visits!


Olivia and Briphi

Thursday, April 26, 2018

"The Best Daughter" Heading to Texas!

It’s real folks... our baby is moving on as I sit in Nashville, Tennessee, writing this post. It’s time for this young lady to "soar" and spread her strong wings in a new place, and she decided Dallas was where she would do just that (helps that her boyfriend Brian lives in Dallas!). So she "recruited" me to ride shotgun (but also share driving duties) as we motored down the highways with half of the trip in glorious sunshine and the last half in pouring rain with all her "stuff" stuffed into a Honda Civic too. We are both very thankful for a safe drive that took a mere 11.5 hours! 

Next and last stop tomorrow - the Lonestar State! And what about all this Nashville traffic?

BSoleille! The bright side of a new adventure in  TBD’s life!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Dilemma: Cell Phone or Wallet?

When you forget your wallet, you can't buy anything...or could you? If you have Apple Pay set up on your phone, pay away. But...if you forget your phone someplace (and it's not lost....that's an entirely new topic), panic can set it just as much. Today I was quilting at Karen's house and she had to leave (for a class), and so did I (dentist appointment); but I planned on going back to finish the project I was working on. I left her house with my purse and keys and my phone resting safely on her staircase. That phone had the garage code she had sent to me to get back in her house; however I never even realized that I did not have my phone until I got to my appointment. Deep breath, and another one for "good measure."

As I sat in the dental chair, I wondered how I was going to solve this dilemma. By the time my appointment was over, I had my answer. I decided to go to another bee-mates home (Susie), (and hoped she was there) because she would have the information I needed (Karen's phone number). Sure enough, she was home and we "dialed" Karen who knew exactly why we were calling her. She laughed as she answered her cell phone and mentioned that I drove away before she realized where I left the phone, and, of course, she did not know where in Bowie, Maryland, I was going to, so she could not help me in the least.

What the realization is, we've really become super dependent on our phones, maybe to a fault at times. But I wouldn't give it up (we drive instead of riding horses nowadays too!)...ever! The cell phones of today are way too convenient to give up and basically an extension of our hands! Although that phone laying on Karen's staircase for an hour certainly could not "walk out and find me", it is still compelling enough to own and use!

Another last thought, I believe we must "memorize" several cell phone numbers of our family and a few friends so we can reach folks in emergencies and non emergencies if and when the time comes we are without ours...

BSoleille! The bright side of having cell phones and the technology that goes along with it.


Monday, April 23, 2018

Bags, Bags, Bags

I love bags of any kind, though not the plastic ones from a store. I've been carrying my own bags to all kinds of stores, and they have done a superb job of holding all my "needed and purchased things" for the past 30 years or more. So it really tickled me this past weekend when my "table-mate", Deb Hoppe, lined up her table with all her bags that she packed with all her things. Some bags were bought, but a lot of her bags were made by her (including the great Chubby Charmers!), and they are simply terrific (and hold lots of stuff)!

BSoleille! The bright side of carrying your own bags...


Photo of Deb's bags

Saturday, April 21, 2018

It’s Not Just the Sewing...

Of course, these quilt retreats are not all about the sewing, the comraderie with other sewists takes top priority. However, because the grounds of the West River Retreat Center are beautiful, and in a wonderful location on the water south of Annapolis, Maryland, it’s perfect to check out the nature and enjoy some outdoor activities (photography). 

When I walked by the stack of canoes today, I heard a whisper of "grumbling" that they are not on the water yet, so I hope that changes very soon for everyone’s sake (and the canoes!)



Karen Todd using her Hasselblad for pretty photos!120 churn dash blocks are finished! On to the 6" (not as many!) Ha!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Churn Dash Day

Due to quilt retreat this weekend, I’ll resume my Friday #celebratingothers next week. In the meantime, this is the last retreat until next fall and all I’ve done so this far is the construction of 120 three-inch churn dash blocks. It’s a bee swap, and I "need" to catch up with my blocks and the swapping with my bee-mates. 

I’m thankful to get back to my machine after a several day hiatus, plus all the fun with my bee and guild mates for a long this long weekend. 



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bat Dog

No words to accompany this photo taken by Ryan Tomoff, except this "Batgirl Dog" doesn’t like to have her picture taken. We "sneak" to take photos of her from time to time. Can you tell? Or, if looks could kill...



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

One More Sleep Until Retreat 

Do you count "sleeps", instead of days, before a trip or big event? Seems like a good way to tick off the days leading up to the departure or event, like tonight’s "one more sleep" before my bee meets up at West River for our annual spring quilt retreat starting tomorrow! Since I haven’t sewn for a week, I’m primed to sew 12 hours a day for the next four days, which will also include lots of laughter, food, advice and more laughter. I’m thankful for the time I will spend with my bee-mates, and they inspire me beyond measure!



Photo of some of my sewing stuff (can’t forget the machine!). 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Quiet Moments

An unplanned trip to Cleveland yesterday yielded some quiet moments with my Mom, and I am thankful to have make the trip. Her communication skills are very limited now, but she seems stronger than we think she is, and ultimately, seems happy "enough" to muscle through her days. Of course, many emotions flow through my veins, which I believe, is perfectly "normal" in witnessing the slow deterioration of my mom and the other nursing home residents as well. 

I am truly amazed at the workers who take care of the elderly, anywhere on the planet, because some of them are worth their weight in gold...hands down!



Monday, April 16, 2018

Planks in the Park-Central Park

Our wild weekend continued with a trip to the Wine Library in Springfield NJ, then lunch at our favorite Italian restaurant, Enzzos Trattoria (near Wine Library), and onward ho to The Big Apple for the rest of the warm and beautiful day! A leisurely walk through a slice of Central Park gave way to some planking on the lawn... with Mark Misencik going over the five minute mark and could have gone longer. Thankful to travel with six great folks and kin!

BSoleille! The bright side of a warm spring day walking around Manhattan!


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Special Love Gala 2018

A whirlwind weekend with the Stongsville Tomoff's and the Amherst Misencik's began Friday with the  super fun evening of eating, bidding, dancing and raising funds for Special Love programs as Camp Fantastic, BRass Camp and year-round weekend programs for childhood cancer thrivers and their families! A tribute to Randy Schools and, posthumously, Tom Baker (co-founder of Special Love) rounded out the very "special" evening. We all enjoyed ourselves and the people who make these camps special to hundreds of kids held every summer since 1983. So let me finish with a huge: HOW-HOW to everyone who contributed to this worthwhile event in every capacity!


Mark, Linda, Bill, Terri, Don and Beth
Olivia and Liz Verrecchia

Olivia and Ryan

Bill and Shari Fisher

Tom/Marilyn Eichner and Bill/Terri

Special Love Gang!

Dr. Shad, me, Azmat (Dr. Shad's sister)

Ryan and friend Brian Lowe

Friday, April 13, 2018

#CelebrateOthers - Julia Tavano 99 Years and 364 Days Old

On the eve of Julia Tavano's 100th Birthday, I wanted to give a shout out to Julia and her family on this terrific milestone occasion. The family will be celebrating her birthday with a big family reunion, tomorrow, in Hartford, CT. Wooohoooo 100 Years Young!!!

I met Julia and her daughter Judy, plus Judy's husband Ross Gardner, at my guild's annual quilt show in Bowie, Maryland, last month. The trio has been coming to our show for the last five years, and I noticed how carefully and lovingly Judy and Ross wheeled Julia around the show, giving her the chance to really look at each quilt and everything else at the show with, what seemed like, nary a rush on anyone's part. I finally had to ask this trio how they liked the show and what was their connection. Judy mentioned that her mother comes to live in Maryland for two months each year (with them), and our quilt show is smack dab in the middle of her stay. They saw an advertisement a few years back, and this began a new tradition for the three of them to visit our show.

When Judy leaned over to me and whispered that her Mom was a quilter, and did stunningly beautiful quilts, I knew I'd wanted to delve more into this "renaissance woman's" life. They obliged. 

Julia was born in Hartford, CT, but lived in East Hartford most of her life. She was married for 52 years and had three children (Judy, Louis, and Maryann). She began quilting after her retirement from the State of Connecticut as a payroll accountant in her early 60's, and her very first quilt was featured at the Woodlawn Plantation in Alexandria, VA in the late 1980's. Her daughter described this quilt as her "masterpiece", which is a breathtakingly hand-stenciled-hand-quilted Baltimore Album style quilt. Interestingly, Julia has "only" made about 25 quilts because each quilt is simply, outstanding; and quality over quantity is how Julia liked to do things.

During her quilting years,  she sewed on a Singer, then Bernina sewing machine, and belonged to the Piecemaker's Quilt Guild of Glastonbury, CT. She was also a very prolific artist, dabbling, then mastering, other crafts as rug hooking (which her daughter Judy loves to do); rug braiding; basket-weaving; cake decoration; stenciling; knitting; crocheting and needlepoint. I say this is truly inspirational and awesome; and her secret? Well....there is no secret according to Julia. Can you believe that? However, she did say to "get up every day and do what you have to do." Spoken like a true 100 year old, I'd say!

So, you maybe thinking, what inspired Julia through the years? Her thoughtful and delightful answer: her mother, who was also a "renaissance woman" in her own right and "never used a pattern on anything she made" (and think about that, her mother was born in the late 1800's!).

Believe it or not, this color blue loving lady still lives in the family home where she married and raised her family, albeit with a live-in caregiver nowadays. She goes out twice a week to soak in a therapy pool, still reads and loves to check out recipes in her extensive cookbook collection! A full and happy life indeed! Happy 100th Birthday, Julia!


Thursday, April 12, 2018


After six seasons of "binge watching" Longmire, I simply could not get enough! I really loved the character development, the writing, and most importantly, the metaphors of life capitulated in each episode. If you’ve watched this series on Netflix, you know what I mean. I really enjoyed this "old timey" Western with modern technology used to solve crimes...in Wyoming. Cowboys and Indians to the fullest extent of the "law" plus crime, drama, scene stealers (Lou Diamond Phillips comes to mind on several occasions), and good cop/bad cop at each turn. I thought about this show all day today after finishing the series last night. 

If you’re looking for another show to watch, give this one a try!



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Top of the MLB Season 2018

A sunny break through day baseball game at Nationals Park is a great way to start off the season, especially with a sports nut son who loves this game fanatically! Cheap seats ($13/each) in the upper bowl seems like this will be perfect afternoon to spend at this ball park and cheer on the home team (playing Atlanta). Go Nats!! We are both thankful to make this happen and know there will be more games in our future this summer. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a 1:05pm game start!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

What is she Thinking?

Do you ever wonder what your dog is thinking? Maybe Loo-C is finally thinking warmer days are just ahead for her to hang out in the backyard in one of her favorite sunning spots, like she did today. Or maybe she is thinking about her dinner, or the fact she will be 12 years old this summer, or whether or not I’ll drag her around the block for a much needed walk (she has certainly slowed down the last couple months). 

But whatever she is thinking, I’m thinking she’s been a great dog and also a bit sad she has slowed down and prefers to lay around more and more. Hopefully, the predicted warmer days ahead will add some pep to her step!



Monday, April 9, 2018

15 Months Post Surgery for Ryan

A long sigh of relief followed today's appointment with University of Maryland's Dr. Ord fifteen months (to the exact day) post Ryan's last tongue surgery. These particular days are not easy, as there is always a "wee bit" of trepidation on everyone's mind heading into the exam room. Thankfully, good news prevailed and everything "looked good."  I believe Ryan and I were "jumping for joy" in a cool and smooth way being in a professional environment at the hospital and all. If you have followed along with Ryan's journey, you know we quietly celebrate and cherish these moments fully. Sometimes it's the "small" things that make our lives big! And today is one of those days!


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Christmas in April?

A blooming red amaryllis graces my windowsill a good four months after receiving one huge honkin' bulb for Christmas (thanks, Cathy Kimpel!). These beautiful red flowers make me happy, and according to a recent Rutgers study of nearly 150 women, looking at natural blossoms produces genuine smiles. I can certainly attest to that, and the fact they harness immense power. Power flower, per se, and a mood booster for at least three days. I think a lot of us can go at least a week being happy with one flower!


Friday, April 6, 2018

#CelebrateOthers - Julia Hawkins - 102 Year Old Athlete

According to Faith Hill's song, "The Secret of Life"; it's "a good cup of coffee". For dynamo Julia Hawkins of Baton Rouge, LA, and 102 years young, being active is her "secret of life." I met Julia last month at the National Indoor Track and Field Championships in Landover, Maryland, where she competed and won two gold medals in the 60 meter dash and the discus. She currently holds world records in the 100M dash, the 50M dash and the 60M dash. She is about 4' 10" and maybe a 100 lbs.

What an inspiration she is to a whole new generation of runners, and non-runners alike, with her gumption of defying odds and winning track and field events over the last 2+ years. I was smitten with her upbeat attitude and got to talking to her because she was sitting right behind me while wearing her medals around her neck like two big necklaces when I struck up a conversation. Fascinatingly, she only started running two years ago, when she was 100, because before then, she was a cyclist since her early 80's. She has been competing in Senior Olympics for over 20 years, winning mostly gold medals in her age group, but has one bronze that she is not too pleased about (she should have won the event she lamented).

When I asked Julia about her "training regimen", she replied she does not have one...except for working in her yard, being active all day, and taking care of 25 bonsai trees that has turned into a "full time job". Widowed now, she was married for 70 years to Murray, who served as a Naval Officer in WW11 (and was in Pearl Harbor when it was bombed), and later, a professor of petroleum engineering at LSU. They both attended LSU and met the first day they reported for class. They had four children; two boys and two girls who are now between 64-72 years old. In fact, it's her two sons that encouraged Julia to participate in the Senior Olympic Games and other competitions from cycling to her running events today. Interestingly, she has been highlighted in several magazines, most notably one article in Runner's World and four articles in Sports Illustrated.

Julia was born in 1916, and by the time she went to college and graduated, teaching school is what she chose to do (not many options then) for about five years before raising her family. Prior to marriage and family, she taught school in Honduras and was a counselor at summer camp her parents owned in New Orleans, LA. She has had quite a life, and once again, her children encouraged her to write a memoir about her life: https://www.amazon.com/Its-Been-Wondrous-Memoirs-Hawkins/dp/1540770796

This lavender loving spitfire also loves salads, crabs and popcorn; which I think is just perfect for any 102 year old athlete in 2018!

BSoleille! The bright side of being 102 years young, Julia Hawkins style...


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Penn Staters in the House

So two Penn State senior guys (one is my nephew Alex Tomoff, and his colleague Andy)are in town for interviews in the area tomorrow. Here's wishing them "Good Luck" in all their efforts in attempts to secure post collegiate employment! A dream and wish for all upcoming college graduates.to find a good job!


Photo of Bill, Alex, Andy and Ryan

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Two and Done

It’s a wrap with two new owners classes in Hinkletown, PA, under our "belts". Erma, the teacher, was gracious but kept the information coming at a quick clip in helping us learn "all" the bells and whistles of our Bernina sewing machines. Now, it’s up to me/us to continue using our new skills and what our machines can really do, and very thankful Carrie Casto and I traveled together to get in this recommended second class!