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!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Nov End

It’s the end of November and it seems every where you look the holiday season has "snuck" up on us and it’s full steam ahead. Before it gets too crazy (weather mostly), I’m thankful to have gotten in a trip to visit with my Mom, along family and friends on a whirlwind few days here in Cleveland.

My photos give a glimpse into one outstanding day (I’ll even discount the snow and ice...)



Breakfast with former coworkers at the State of Ohio with Pam Kaufman and Patti Lane. 

A snowy hike with Rosalie Franek and Sunny the "cat dog". He meowed loudly when his paws got too cold (not kidding) while hiking with us! Last vestiges from the garden for our lunchtime salads (from greenhouse).25th Wedding Anniversary dinner with my sister Kimberly and bro-in-law, Jerry Kocan, at The District in downtown Cleveland before the big show of Harry Connick, Jr. Harry at the piano with a band of 11 members belting out the jazz!And when I heard the screaming of "Terri Nolan" at the State Theater, I turned around and there was Jason Fox and Cindy Anzalone Fox (Cindy and I were track teammates at Rhodes HS, and I’ve known Jason since he was 14 and we ran on the same summer track team...and I introduced the two of them). Married with 2kids today. Fun night!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

A "Good Friend"

When your Mom calls you a "good friend", you take it. Especially if that mom is dealing with dementia and is not sure about a lot of things. At least I’m now a "good friend", even though I’m her eldest daughter. 



Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Playing on the Phone vs. Reading?

You’ve got to love booking a trip using points. Usually, I tend to build them up but never use them, until now. About two months ago, Southwest was running a great "special" on many flights. For giggles and grins, I decided to book a "special" to Cleveland, Ohio, to visit my mom and family and friends in the area. But instead of paying with a credit card, I threw caution to the wind, and pushed the "points" button. Thankfully, I had plenty of points on the books to make it happen. The only "thing" I had to pay was $11 in tax to Uncle Sam. 

So, while at the airport, I’m wrestling with playing on the phone (it’s winning as I write this blogpost) or read. I must finish the book to pass it along, so we will see if I crack it open while flying the friendly skies...fingers crossed that I do!



Monday, November 26, 2018

300,000,000 to the Red Planet

Big news today in space. The Insight journey to Mars has landed and now the fun shall begin with the gathering of data once the instruments are deployed from the unmanned spacecraft. How cool is this? I think super fantastic, really, and it truly boggles the mind for anything to travel 300 million miles and reach its final destination, practically unscathed! That in itself is quite a miracle I'd say.

So a HUGE congratulations is in order and must be "screamed from the rooftops" to all (thousands) of NASA's employees and contractors who made today possible with this unbelievable Red Planet destination. Somehow, I think our lives will forever be changed now that "we've gone beyond our wildest dreams" in getting to Mars, and thankfully, the approximately seven minutes of nail biting to land the Insight is now in the rear view mirror. I heard on the radio that in those almost seven minutes, the spacecraft had to go from traveling at 12, 000 MPH to ZERO to land. That is some marvelous technology and a whole lot of brain power to actually make this whole scenario happen, and with great and happy results for the whole Earth to see and be a witness to a slice of "world" history. 

BSoleille! The bright side of a true "twilight zone" on Mars!


Photo from NASA and the first photo (with lens cap on due to dust upon landing!)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Another Heart Found Me!

Or am I finding hearts? I definitely don't seek them out, but they surely seem to "pop" up when I least expect them to. I suspect this "tab" was on a large plastic bag of some sort; but I am just guessing. It was in my son's room, and when I started to vacuum the carpet, simply lying there in plain sight ready to be sucked up. Wow! (It probably should have been thrown out a long time ago!).



Saturday, November 24, 2018

*Bonus* Blind Hanger-Upper in the House 

I am/we are so thankful for my brother in law, Jerry Kocan, in helping us with some home updating with the installation of five sets of blinds this holiday weekend. He likes to be busy, and we had boxes of blinds that "needed" to be installed. Let’s face it, a match made in Crofton. 

My photo is of Jerry with a double set install he "tackled" on two back windows. The 2" cordless blinds look great (Levelor). 

BSoleille! Thank you, Jerry, for a job well done!


Friday, November 23, 2018

Birthday Girl Turns 87!

Despite health challenges and advancing dementia, my Polish "warrior" mother celebrated another lap around the sun today! Happy Birthday at 87! Woohooo!!!



Photo taken on Halloween in Cleveland, Ohio

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Content, grateful, and thankful on this Thanksgiving Thursday. Happy to spend the weekend with sister, Kimberly, and her family (the Kocan clan) of Cleveland, Ohio. 

A 5K run around the Crofton Parkway (our own "race"), good eats and a fierce game of Monopoly rounded out the day (still playing family board games). So, can you partner up with another player in this crazy game? That’s why the nephews seized the board and bank!

Hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving Day celebrating with family and friends. 

Thanksgiving Lunch with Just Sew Bee

Mexican food was the bill of fare for a quick repast with my Bee. We typically sew, but not the day before Thanksgiving...too much to do! But a quick meal? Yes! It was a perfect setting to begin the Holiday Weekend of giving thanks with my sewing sisters for sure!



Photo of Carrie Casto, Karen Todd, me, Deb Hoppe and Susie Stevenson. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Tidying Up

When hosting anything in the home like a sewing bee, or Thanksgiving, it's a great time to tidy up the place. It's not only for the guests, but we also get some satisfaction out of a clean living and working space (and bathrooms!). So, along with millions of people hosting a Day of Thanks on Thursday, and cleaning their brains out, oh, okay, maybe not that much, let's be happy to have the privilege to do the hosting nonetheless. And for those traveling near and far, let's hope for safe roads, good weather conditions, and respectful drivers on the highways and byways over our great land!



While doing some "cleaning out/clearing out", I came upon about 100 game cards from the last two years of refereeing...all signed sealed and delivered (scores), and therefore, all eligible to be thrown away...

Monday, November 19, 2018

Tis the Seasoning!

Thanksgiving is a great week to, obviously, give thanks and break bread with those we care deeply about; family and friends. But wouldn't it be nice to continue to be grateful and thankful every day? Even something small like a bag of frozen peas (thanks, Susie Stevenson!). It really doesn't take much to be kind; say please and thank you, and respect people in general. As we go deeper into the week, I'm thankful to wait in the check out lines, because that means I/we have the means to shop and have a cart full of groceries waiting to be made and eaten by our tribes. 

And with those same groceries, and menu figuring, a little seasoning goes a long way to make most anything taste scrumptious! A few months ago "The Best Daughter" turned me on to this Everything Bagel Seasoning, and we have already went through our first bottle of it quite swiftly (initially purchased at Trader Joe's). Today, while "battling" the shopping madness out there (all good...but maybe not the traffic so much), I found something very similar at Costco. I'll be trying this new one out very soon.



Saturday, November 17, 2018

Parent Warriors

The Special Love Parent Getaway Weekend is comprised totally of parent warriors. Some are bereaved, some have children on active treatment, and some have "graduated" out of treatment protocols and they, and their children, are doing well today. Our day was eventful with a speaker (Julia Jones), an activity with Julia as well, meals, pampering, yoga, messages and dancing (disco night). Oh,  yes, and talking to the parents no matter where their children are on their journeys. 

We consider ourselves "family" and are bound by this "club" that no one would want to gain entry into it by far. And yet, we are all fiercely dedicated to each child and their individual battles and pray and hope only for the best for each family as they journey down a path very few can ever relate to. That’s why the camps, and this parent weekend, are so powerful to carry on when we leave the cocoon of the Special Love Family. 

I’m thankful to be on the planning committee with the families I met over 20 years ago. We are all advocates for our children, and all children battling the good fight of childhood cancer. I am/we are forever grateful for this unbelievable organization!

BSoleille! The bright side of sharing and caring...


Photos: bags made by Sharon Johnsen; Sharon and Lee; Bill and me; the dining hall and Shari Fisher and Julia Jones. 

Friday, November 16, 2018

#Celebrating Others with Joe Tsioumas - Auto Mechanic Whiz

It would be great news if our vehicles never needed maintenance...just gasoline. But, as we know, that’s never the case. So finding a trustworthy and fair-priced auto mechanic is as essential as having the right doctor and dentist, perhaps even more. 

So let me introduce you to "the best automotive mechanic" on the East Coast...Joe Tsioumas, who is the Service Manager Technician at The Sunoco Station in Crofton, Maryland, and keeps our vehicles humming along beautifully. 

Joe, 42, revealed to me that he has always loved cars; including racing, track and drag racing and NASCAR, of course. He bought his first brand new car at age 16 (the ink was not even dried on his shiny new drivers license yet) as he drove the 1992 Dodge Stealth off the sales lot. As a matter of fact, he still has it. 

And just like a collector of almost anything, Joe "collects" cars, as one can imagine, and currently owns 10! He said he loves everything about them; the body designs, the power, the handling and the distinctive sounds emitting from each one on the lot. His favorite color for a car: red, but for everything else...silver. There are two cars he would love to own someday, a GTO and a Chevelle. 

Born and raised in Maryland, this unmarried father of two (ages 26 and 24) hails from fairly large Greek and Jordanian families. He has two sisters and one brother, and knows every swear word in Greek and Arabic! Joe claims his family is "exactly" like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", so I take that as loud, fun and boisterous. 

Joe has been at the Sunoco Service Station for over 18 years (also working with mechanic Michael Helms). He said his Dad has been his inspiration due to how much of a hard worker his Dad was when he owned a restaurant, and Joe has parlayed that into operating on cars, trucks and vans!

And lastly, in addition to being a magnificent mechanic, who we trust to give our cars the necessary and best care, Joe’s automobile knowledge and consultation has helped us with the purchase of new and pre-owned cars through the years. As a matter of fact, six years ago he talked us out of trading in one of our cars, "promising" he can keep it running and get it to 300,000 miles...we still have it and it’s running great (no where near 300K...yet, but maybe someday?). 

BSoleille! The bright side of #celebrating others with Joe the Mechanic!


Photo of Joe in his happy place and thank you treats for his service on our vehicles (beer and chocolate chip cookies, it’s what every mechanic needs!). 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Stump Grinder Video Game?

Whoa, you've got to be kidding me on what my eyes saw yesterday! I heard some loud "chain saw" sounds coming from my neighbor's front yard, and when I looked out to see, I saw an "unmanned" stump grinder grinding up a stump. Fair enough, right? I then walked out to the front yard to see this "unmanned" machine up close and personal. Well, not too close, and not too personal since I saw a young man with a remote control in his hand wearing a face mask and goggles and standing a good distance away since wood chips were flying all over the place. And by the looks of it, that young man was working that stump like nobody's business, and perhaps, having a grand time doing it with that remote control in his hands like it was a game. Maybe so?

Seems to me those little remote cars have nothing on the big honkin' stump grinder with today's technology!



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Who is Up for a Challenge...a Quilt Challenge, That is?

Wendy Allen of the Southern Comforters Quilt Guild "knocked" it out of the park with her idea of this years' quilt challenge using unconventional materials (not quilting fabric!). Our guild's big reveal was tonight, and all I've got to say is that there are some unbelievably talented ladies and gentleman (Frank), who rose to the unconventional challenge!

This challenge is now open to any Maryland quilter, and the collected entries will be displayed and voted on at our annual show in March of 2019. If interested, please check out all the information on our website: http://southerncomforters.org/event/maryland-quilters-challenge/ or our Facebook page at Maryland Quilters Challenge! Think outside the box!

Challenge winners tonight were: Trish Rader (1st); Charlotte Abell (2nd) and Florence Marion (3rd). Congratulations to the winner and all participants!



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Heart from Nature...

If we look closely enough at certain things, by golly, there's a lot to take in, and some of it is pretty cool. Take for instance my serendipity hearts I seem to find in various places: an errant thread and a vacuum cleaner cord most recently.

So while on our hike a couple of weeks ago, I could not help but notice a "heart" cut out quite nicely in a fall leaf. The three other folks I was hiking with stepped right over it, nary a glance at the remarkable and fragile "heart moment" that was there for the taking. I could not believe it, so, of course, took at photo of this "serendipity" moment and thankful I found it first!

BSoleille! The bright side of a heart in a leaf!


Monday, November 12, 2018

Running Down the 58th Lap Around the Sun

Everyone deserves to be a Queen or King for a day....especially on one's Birthday! Today was that day for me to be a Queen for a day, and it was spent well, my friends. I left 56 in the dust, turned 57, and will chase the 58th lap around the sun happily.

I can't believe that I've been wildly blessed beyond measure this past year, and I cannot thank my family, friends, and blogpost readers near and far for making it one heck of a great year. I am super grateful to have quenched my thirst for travel and adventure with hope it continues in the next year as well.

"I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me." Walt Whitman

The Facebook Nation Love coming straight at me today was overwhelming and beautiful at the same time and, once again, thank you for taking a few moments out of your day for posting very special birthday greetings! I am over the moon!

I started the day still on the quilt retreat with my sewing sisters, and ended it at home with my guys who took me out to a fancy joint called Mod Pizza! I loved it!


I finally got to wear the crown today! And just so you know, I did complete several projects...so it's not because it was my birthday! Ha

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Veteran's Day 2018

From sea to shining sea, a shout of THANK YOU to all who served, are serving and plan on serving our wonderful country's military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard!

Photo taken on the West River, Maryland

Saturday, November 10, 2018

I’m "Frilled"

I do realize that I’m on a "no-frills" retreat, but the great conversations that ping around the room, the advice (wanted or not) and the endless hum of the sewing machines is "frilling" to me! 

Besides lots of Needleonfull work, I’ve snuck in a few extra projects (tote bags and churn dash blocks for a bee swap) and cheering on the other retreaters with their projects (completed or not). I have not worn the crown of completion...yet...but there is still time (hee hee). 



Above quilt made by Pat Scully (on right): "Wanderlust", a Bonnie Hunter pattern from her book: " Addicted to Scraps." Susie Stevenson on left. 

Friday, November 9, 2018

No Frills Retreat 

I’m thankful to be in Maryland and on the West River with my quilting buddies for the long weekend "No Frills" quilt retreat. No frills means no extras, just sewing and working on our individual projects. No swaps, no mystery, but plenty of ideas and a round robin of swapping stories. 

Friday night is our usual potluck dinner and it was super delicious with everyone contributing something. Our sweet, salty and healthy table is also in good form for the next few days. Time to strap myself in my chair, head down and sew sew sew!



Thursday, November 8, 2018

Receipt a "Mile" Long for ONE Item!

My husband, Bill, beautifully posted on Facebook our son Ryan's latest milestone in celebrating 14 years post Bone Marrow Transplant (and now an extra 5 days) on November 3rd. Truthfully, not a day goes by without me silently thanking everyone who got us to this point today. However, as many would suspect, or know, Ryan, and a whole host of many cancer survivors, continue to be supported by many medications to keep on ticking!

As you can see by this photo, Ryan just got back from the local CVS to obtain only ONE med he recently refilled; and by the looks of the receipt, had to fill a slew of them. I thought due to all the on-line info and "streamlining" the processes, a mile long receipt for ONE item is a bit much and definitely not needed. What do you think?

BSoleille! The bright side of 14 years Post BMT!

Ryan and his long receipt...and celebrating that day with the Misencik's at the Guinness Brewery in Maryland

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Getting in the Votes

It looks like a lot of folks got out to vote today, and that is a good thing no matter what. It is great to exercise our alienable right (especially women and doubly for women candidates throughout the country).

I'll try my hand at another haiku:

Senate, district, vote
Headquarters, polls, elections
Candidates winning


My photos were taken from the break in a rainy Tuesday as the skies were alive with color for a short spell...

Monday, November 5, 2018

Music Movie Mania

If you’ve been paying attention to the movies lately, music movies are "in" with the likes of A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. I am thankful to have seen both of them recently and highly recommend seeing them on the big screen if and when you get the chance. 

I thought the remake of A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper was excellent, and I give the slight nod to Mr. Cooper on his acting chops over Lady G, but check it out and see who you thought did "best".  

Bohemian Rhapsody was absolutely terrific in every way. At some points in the movie you felt like you were a part of the stadium crowd and could sing along with the band and audience. The actor who played Freddie Mercury was excellent, and the award season may have some difficulty in selecting a winner since there is a lot of great acting lately. 

So, I can’t decide which movie I liked best out of the two, but will say, I "need" to/ or could see, Bohemian Rhapsody at least one more time on the "big" screen. It was just that kind of movie to do so, especially if you are a fan of Queen! 

BSoleille! The bright side of Queen music ruminating in my head all day!


Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Walk in the Woods in Shenandoah National Park 

When your good friends come for a planned visit, and love to hike, we had to make it work this weekend, and today was a glorious day on the White Oaks Canyon Trail near Syria, Virginia. 

The brilliant sunshine, cool temperatures for climbing about 2500 ft. in elevation was the perfect backdrop to march through the 9.5 mile hike. The best features of this particular hike were the thunderous and fast moving waterfalls throughout the canyon and beyond. Most of the hike included these unforgettable sounds of rushing water (and crossing over on a few occasions) which never got old; rather,  quite soothing to be honest. 

A picnic stop near a halfway point was also a highlight (we all sat on a large fallen tree and ate our packed lunches). We thought the "hard part" of the hike was over and it would be all downhill from there, but as things go, that was not the case (there was still some climbing before the "real" descent). 

So a big shout of thanks to Linda and Mark Misencik (and Gunner their German Shorthair Pointer) in making the trek to the East Coast and creating memories to last a lifetime. 

BSoleille! The bright side of nature and beauty in abundance!