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, June 30, 2018

Odyssey on the Potomac

A winning bid in April at the Special Love Gala; dinner for two on the OdysseyDC lent itself tonight to a beautiful river and sunset cruise. We couldn’t have asked for a better summer day to take in the sights and sounds of Washington DC, with views we typically see from the other side. Husband Bill and I were thankful for the delicious three course meal in such a relaxing atmosphere and smooth waters of the Potomac. 



Friday, June 29, 2018

Workshop Success for All

Even though the Lisa Ellis workshop was yesterday, I felt like I could wait a day to post about the class and honor the Capital Gazette people who died yesterday in the terrible shooting in Annapolis. 

I am thankful for the inspiring "tree" class with Lisa Ellis and eleven of my quilting comrades. New tidbits and skills are always welcome in any hobby, and with such a great teacher in Lisa, we all had fun learning a new technique. I don’t think anyone "finished" their project, but we had fun and have great start to finish it soon (or I hope we all do!). 

A shout of thanks to Michelle Trachtman who booked Lisa to teach our eager-to-learn group!



L-R: Janet Freitag, me, Evelyn Kirby, Misty Cole, Barbara Dahlberg, Margy Hill and Trish R; seated: Lisa Houser (not instructor), Michelle Trachtman and Peggy Alexander 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Will The Shootings Stop?

I was taking a quilt class today when my son shared the devastating news of the Annapolis shootings at the Capital Gazette late this afternoon. My heart is breaking for all the great people and their loving families who succumbed to their senseless deaths by "one" maniac. This one is very close to home with friends of friends who know the victims. Sad, sad, sad. 

No more words except when is this going to stop?


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Local Quilt Artist Lisa Ellis

I’m thankful for my Guild’s Program Chair, Michelle Trachtman, in bringing quilt artist, Lisa Ellis to our guild’s speaker program. Tonight was her trunk show of her beautiful quilts, with an attached workshop tomorrow using some of her techniques! A former engineer, she gave up her DOD job to raise her family and set her "designs" on becoming a prolific quilter! She accomplished both to a resounding success according to her stories, and of course, her incredible quilts. She is also the former president of Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and very involved with the biennial Sacred Threads Exhibition which will be showcased to those "lucky" to get in July 11-28, 2019. www.SacredThreadsQuilts.org
The quilts below showcase her work, in which a few of them traveled throughout the country in various juried shows (think Houston’s International Show!). Her well thought out quilts definitely get the nod in my "book" for all her quilts, especially the cathedral window beauties!
BSoleille! The bright side of Lisa Ellis and her quilts. www.ellisquilts.com

Monday, June 25, 2018

MLB with the Texas Rangers

Our trip to Dallas is now "complete" on our last full day in this big state of Texas by going to a Ranger baseball game. I am/we are thankful to get a to a new stadium this summer. The Rangers beat up on the San Diego Padres 7-4, when we left, but the game was quite "boring" until the 4th inning (we left in the 8th). 

In addition to taking the family out to the ball game, we also went to the Presidential Library of George W. Bush on the edge of SMU’s campus. Not that we are connisoirs of these type of libraries, but it was well thought out and quite appealing for an American president, no matter party affiliation. The respect for the office is very sobering considering all the decisions these men, and hopefully soon, a woman, have and has to make each day. The special First Lady exhibit was fantastic and after reading all the First Ladies "bios", Lou Hoover captured my utmost attention!

Lou Hoover was First Lady from 1929-1933. She relished new technology; loved public speaking and did many broadcasts along with home movies she recorded of every day life in the White House. Her travels around the globe introduced her to diversity and she abhorred racial bias. She also lobbied for more women in government jobs! Wooohooo!



Ryan sitting in a replica Oval Office desk!I was fascinated with Bush’s Oval Office phone. 

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Dallas-Ft. Worth

Once Bill arrived very late Friday night, our family time kicked in visiting Dallas and Ft. Worth with Olivia and Brian. Walks to coffee, the Dallas Farmer’s, The Peticolas Brewing Company to watch the World Cup Game - Germany vs. Sweden (Deutschland won in the 95th minute, or as I like to day, a "Disney goal", plus meeting Brian’s parents rounded out the weekend. 

There is a lot to do and see in Texas for sure, as long as you don’t mind the 100 degree days. Thankfully, they have "good air conditioning" everywhere to make up for the sizzling summer weather. 



Friday, June 22, 2018

#CelebrateOthers - Bob McCarthy - Attorney/Deacon

#CelebrateOthers - Bob McCarthy

I interviewed Bob McCarthy while we were in NYC Mother’s Day weekend. Bob is the husband of a childhood friend of mine, Maryjean. A Wall Street attorney by day, and a Deacon in his “free time,” Bob is the most humble and sincere guy around.  He “lets” his strong faith be his beacon in dealing with a tough finance transaction with a multi-billion dollar company, to his four children (Ellen, 28; Bridget, 27; Katherine, 25; and Robert, 22), to officiating a weddings, baptisms or funerals. I wanted to celebrate Bob because he inspires me (and I believe many others) to have meaningful moments in our lives on a daily basis.

Bob was born and raised on Long Island, NY (Lynbrook) and attended Chaminade High School, graduating in 1979. He has one sister who also lives in New York, along with both parents! He graduated from UVA, both as an undergraduate and law school graduate, and that is the place where he met his future wife, and my friend, MJ. (She needed to borrow a car from a nice guy, and he had both criteria: nice guy and a car.) After law school and passing the bar in 1986, he moved back to New York to begin his career at Thatcher&Profitt in (The World Trade Center TWC#2). He and MJ married on 7/11/87, and had four children in eight years. In fact, Bob was only one stop away on the subway when the first building was hit on 9/11. Thankfully, no one from his office was injured that day, and all got out without incident. Bob explained to me that that was one super crazy day in his life, and that he was (and still is) very grateful to get home before his kids got home from school on the one day everyone’s world changed. 

Bob loves his work as an attorney, and he especially loves his clients and helping them grow their businesses. Interestingly enough, Bob’s stellar work performance parlayed him becoming a partner in 1998 which came after many long and laborious hours of hustle. After a few years, and with his gentle demeanor and articulate way in handling his clients, he was asked to serve on the executive committee and then chaired the governance committee (due to 9/11 issues). However, Bob also had a front row seat with the 2008 financial meltdown that effected many; including his own firm that could not survive on its own. Bob moved to a larger international firm called Dentons where he is currently a managing partner in their NYC office. 

I must interject here that Bob’s gentle ways and the treatment of his clients with utmost respect, definitely got noticed, though not always “good” according to one partner… Believe me, anyone could see that Bob is the consummate professional day in and day out, which is not easy in his line of business, to say the least. But Bob’s attitude of gratitude catapults him beyond his peers. While Bob was rising through the ranks, one colleague/partner told him in a review that he needed to “salt his language” to “show more strength”. Apparently this man thought that the way to “more” success was to swear and pound the table with oomph. Bob, understated as he is, never followed that advice and has gotten along very well without crusty language…

At this stage of Bob and MJ’s journey, one could say they could “rest on their laurels” with grown and college educated children, but that’s not how this couple operates. For one thing, Bob has always been fascinated with ministry including the Church's teachings and the life of Jesus and its earliest followers. So much so, that he became a Deacon in 2012 after a four year grueling process. 

I believe, that what Bob went through on 9/11 has always stayed with him, even foreshadowing his energies and interest in his faith to continually help others as a Deacon, which I can say with great pride, he finds very fulfilling on a daily basis. (He even flirted with becoming a priest while in high school/college until he met Mary Jean.) An important part of being a Deacon allows Bob to be more involved in the social and political issues of our times, even more so as a lay minister than a priest. 
So what inspires this Attorney/Deacon? On a day to day basis, it’s definitely his family and their daily activities; plus his engagement with people from all walks of life. More broadly, Bob’s inspiration on a faith level is the writings of Thomas Merton, because of his depth and reflection on faith and life and how these two intersect in our world, and in turn, in all of our lives. In addition to Merton, Bob also loves the great minds of Martin Luther King and Gandhi who both really understood that we need to have a strong faith foundation in our own lives to combine with social action for justice. Bob mentioned he tries to live by these words daily, and it’s not always easy, stating that he’s had more ‘failure’ than successes, but that he still tries!

I want to be more like this Mets-fan-teal-green-loving family man who desires to run a soup and salad restaurant someday and has a deep love for humankind. That’s Bob McCarthy! 

BSoleille! The bright side of celebrating others, today with Bob!

For a Mets fan, Bob graciously went along with the gang to a Yankees game!

L-R: Bridget, MJ, Ryan, Ellen, Katherine, me, Bill and Bob!

Awesome Austin 

Our magical day started early with a tour of the 130 year old Texas State Capitol building. Lots of Texas lore and facts about the two chambers and state the congress people who have served and those who serve today. 

It was then a super treat to connect with an old friend and her son, Lorrie and Ivan DeHaas (Sevel). They took us to some cool haunts in and around Austin like the Mayfield Gardens with their cool peacocks (the photo I took of one looks fake, but I captured this fella up close and personal; Covert Park at Mt. Bronell (360 degrees of viewing the whole city of Austin); and a late night swim in the Barton Springs Pool on this summer solstice (a great way to cool off from a hot day). We also ate pizza at their favorite place, had our own private cello concert from Ivan (he’s very good!), and checked out the bats on the Congress Bridge 

Our late afternoon adventures took us to the new Austin Library, a quick "cold one" on Rainy Street and cowboy boot shopping for Ryan on South Congress Street. I’m thankful for the busy and fun day exploring this eclectic and electric city and it’s fine vibe (kind of reminds me of Boulder).  

BSoleille! The bright side of Austin’s awesomeness and still sneaking in World Cup soccer games (great apps for that)!


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Christmas in June?

Sure, why not? A present of an experience is what we gave Ryan for Christmas and he chose a trip to Texas (sister now lives here and he’s never been), so a good choice for all! We "loved" the extra hour and a half plane ride due to "weather" getting into Dallas, and thankfully they didn’t charge us extra!

A quick lunch in Dallas with "The Best Daughter" gave us just enough nutrition to hit this Texas road trip. First stop...Waco and Magnolia Silos of HGTV fame. We learned there are no long lines or lots of people clamoring to get in the place when your arrival time is 20 minute before closing. We practically had the place to ourselves to check it all out. 

We finally arrived at our "final" destination in this part of the trip...Austin. We will hit this fine and eclectic city first thing in the morning.  Looking forward to browsing and checking out the downtown area and all the city had to offer. 



Texas Road Trip and Waco Magnolia Silos

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Turtle Slow

Sometimes it’s necessary to slow down, and I definitely need to heed this advice! So while on a run recently, I "ran" into this fella...taking his run very slowly, and in turn, took it easy for the rest of the day. Maybe it was a sign... or reminder to smell those roses. 



Sunday, June 17, 2018


JUSTTRYANIT (a non-profit) is a kids triathlon held in four locations throughout the country and based in Washington, D.C. Today's event was held at the Landon School in Bethesda, MD, and I'm grateful to have been a volunteer in the transition area for this great kid (ages 7-15) triathlon,  cheering (and helping with clothing/helmets) on close to 500 young people having fun swimming, biking and running! All funds earned and raised by the kids go to helping children and families fighting pediatric cancers by providing financial assistance in many areas. JUSTTRYANIT.COM

I must admit, this event runs like a well-oiled machine with its great leadership, organization and volunteers committed to making sure all the kids have fun...even the kids with training wheels, bicycles that were too big or too small, and even a few that lost their chains while on the course. They all came back to the transition area with smiles on their faces! I'd say that was a huge success!


Saturday, June 16, 2018

World Cup Soccer

Today’s post: if Lionel Messi can miss a PK, then anyone can miss a PK! If you are a rabid fan, you know of what I speak! From NHL hockey to World Cup Soccer all in the same week that I’m giddy! I’m taking a keen interest in the underdog- Iceland, who tied 1-1(aka won) against powerhouse Messi and Argentina. It will be a great month ahead of the beautiful game...in Russia.  

My photo is from a U12 game this evening. 

BSoleille! The bright side of World Cup Futbol!


Friday, June 15, 2018

#CelebrateOthers - Alex "Stanley" Ovechkin Style

So Ryan and I (plus Bill/Don) stood with a half million people this past Tuesday to congratulate the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Championship on a beautiful Washington day!! Of course, awesome!

But today, Ryan and I were invited to the Pediatric Hem/Onc Clinic at MedStar Georgetown Hospital where Super Star Alex Ovechkin and team owner, Ted Leonsis, felt compelled to "treat" the kids fighting cancer a "good look" at the Lord Stanley Cup! I believe this is a testimony to their commitment to the DC metro area kids fighting their own battles, which may bee a wee bit more difficult than the Caps battles to win the title...just saying. And DOUBLE AWESOME!!Ryan, Alex and Ted!Alex walking in with the cup!Carson Grove, Alex, Ted, Noah Grove, Ryanme and the great 8terri and Ted!

Once again, a huge thank you to Tracy and Tracys’s Kids for the invite; the Washington Capitals, Alexander Ovechkin, and Ted Leonsis in making several kids (and big kids AKA as adults) a dream come true!!!

BSoleille! The bright side of #celebratingothers with Alex Ove and plethora of Georgetown Peds Hem/Onc Clinic fans!


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Cheers to 31 Years...Married!

The "big" milestone anniversary was last year at 30, but 31 ain't too shabby either with my one and only! I'm thankful to such a great guy who makes me better each day, loves our kids to pieces, treats everyone he meets with kindness and respect, and is one of the most humblest people I know. But, really, with 31 years under our belts as a married couple, it boils down to the "little things in life", right? A note when I leave on a quilt retreat wishing me "good sewing/quilting" with like-minded friends; keeping me updated in technology and gadgets to go with said technology; encouraging me with all my endeavors and travel (quilting being the biggie); and "letting" me take the lead in a lot of the stuff we do on a day to day basis.

We have been a great team all these years, and approach our crazy adventure with an attitude of gratitude. We try to take nothing for granted, and are in this thing called love for the long haul...

Cheers to 31 years of wedded bliss...

BSoleille! Quite the banner week I'd say! And, the bright side of "trading" flowers for some tin cup...ahem...


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sea of Red - Caps Parade!

I’m thankful to have attended the Washington Capitals parade on the Mall in DC with Bill, Don and Ryan. It was great to celebrate the day with 500,000 other fans on a beautiful sunny day! Frankly, it’s my first victory parade I’ve ever been to. I didn’t make it to the Cleveland Cavaliers parade in 2016, and when I lived in Cleveland, no big professional team won a championship (Indians were close in 1996 on the run for the pennant/World Series), and the Browns were never Super Bowl contenders...then or now.

Although some teams make it look "easy" winning championships, it is really is a very difficult task, especially to come out on top through a grueling playoff season as the NHL. So kudos to the players who made all the fans feels as special as them today: everyone was #ALLCAPS!!

BSoleille! The bright side of Stanley Cup Champions Parade!