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, October 31, 2019


Maybe each Halloween night, depending on where you live, many costumed kids race up the driveway for a treat at your doorstep. If the weather is iffy, it may hinder kids from walking all over creation to get those said treats. In our neighborhood, we could have 10 kids some years, and 50+ other years. I think we may have had about 30 this year, though I know several neighborhoods that have an upwards of 100 (or more) trick or treaters. That's a lot of candy for sure.

No matter if you had ghosts and goblins, or princesses and angels, I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable time this evening.

My photo is from about 15 years ago, but it's one of my favorite's.



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Fall Quilting

Besides some travel, working on Tshirt quilts for NeedleOnFull, I have tried to whittle down my stash of autumnal and Halloween print fabrics by making a few fun things in the last two months. I must admit that I did make a "small" dent into my stash, but still have substantial way to go to to finish it all off (that may take awhile.) But I have been able to give three away; one for a bridal shower gift and two for birthday presents (October birthdays).  It's fun working with the fall fabrics as the colors are so vibrant and easy to work into fun patterns (especially the panels).



Happy Halloweenie!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sharing Ryan's/Family's Cancer Journey with #The Promise - a 7 Part Docuseries

About two weeks ago, a film crew arrived at our home to interview Ryan, Bill and me regarding our family's childhood cancer journey and the resilience needed to survive the last 23 years 'intact.' We are honored to a part of #The Promise, a 7-part documentary on childhood cancer; and would like to take this moment to thank the Kristi Gatto and her production crew: Risk It Productions for this wonderful opportunity to not only share our story, but to offer HOPE to others in all phases of their cancer journey and beyond (both children and adults).

We found the film crew very kind and compassionate which allowed us to open up on camera (Ryan did fantastic, by the way!!), and only hope the stories depicted by #The Promise and Risk It Production, LLC, will touch folks in a genuine way once aired.

What we've learned throughout this crazy journey is that we must all realize that through hope, we gain the unwavering belief that our lives are workable; cancer or no cancer. Together we fight the good fight and keep our hearts resilient each and every day.

Please stay tuned... and I promise to post once I/we know when it will be aired.



Photos from the shoot:

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Met and the MoMA

It's a treasure to live near the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, DC., and we like to go when we can, but not often enough, I'm afraid. However, I was thankful beyond belief to spend most of Friday in The Met and The MoMa. After waiting for the morning rush to get in right at 10:00am; I walked down to the Guggenheim to check out their gift shop before returning to the Met about 25 minutes later and got right in without a wait.

The Met is iconic and one of the best and the largest art museums in the United States. Of course, no one can see the whole thing - even the five hours I trekked through it. It was a "divide and conquer" mentality in what art I wanted to see, and the Impressionists never disappoint. The Met houses so many of the masters works from foreign lands, that those folks have to come see their countrymen's art in the US. The Monets/Manets/Van Gogh's/Degas/Renoirs never cease to amaze me, along with the thousands of others who come to ooh and ahh over these priceless works of art too.

In the late afternoon, I emerged down the "famous" steps and had lunch from one of the plethora of food trucks amassed on 5th Avenue. It was good to sit for a spell before I "hiked" down and window shopped on Madison Avenue to the MoMa on 53rd Street to meet up with my friend Patti. It was a FREE Friday at the MoMA, compliments of UNIQLO, a Japanese casual wear designer, retailer and manufacturer that "hosts" these events. The line went around the block to get in (and it's a big block!), but everyone patiently waited since it was the grand opening since the MoMA has been closed the last four or five months for a $400 Million dollar makeover.

I'm not kidding when I say it was a super huge crowd and it seemed to us that they reached maximum capacity in how many art aficionados they allowed in! We did not stay too long because of so many people squeezed into the galleries, but the renovation was very cool and the art just as cool! I need to return without the crowds, that's for sure.



René Magritte at MoMA

Rooftop Exhibit by Alicja Kwade: Parapivot at The Met

Egyptian Wing - The Met
Terri and Patti at the MoMA

van Gogh at The Met

van Gogh at The Met

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Breakfast on the Brooklyn Bridge

Patti and I got a lot of looks this glorious morning on the Brooklyn Bridge while drinking our coffee/tea, and eating our delicious bagels with eggs and a meat. Folks probably wondered where we bought the stuff (it was early). Easy enough when you trek over the bridge from Manhattan, all the while checking out the beautiful lady in the harbor (Statue of Liberty) and checking out the view of the Manhattan skyline every 50 yards or so (looking back over our shoulders). Once over (about 1.4 miles); we headed over to a great bagel joint in DUMBO, bought our breakfast, and headed back in reverse direction.

Since this morning gave way to bright sunshine and crystal blue skies, we found an open bench and had our breakfast picnic; simply enjoying our last morning together because I headed back to DC this afternoon.

New York is an awesome place for sure, and I am thankful to have spend a few days touring the city with my buddy, Patti Lane. The essence of the city, we felt, is definitely in the people from all over the world, either living and working there, or the thousands of visitors the city accommodates each day. Since we mostly heard foreign tongues, we usually did a double-take when we heard someone speaking English...and I'm not kidding.

BSoleille! The bright side of people can be who they want to be with no judgment; isn't that the true beauty of the Big Apple?


Thursday, October 24, 2019

9/11 Memorial Museum Tour

Our day in the Big Apple began with a "private" tour of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, or the very sacred burial ground of close to 3000 innocent lives. If you have not been yet (opened in 2011), I believe it is a "must do" even though it's quite emotional and brings everyone back to that very day when our entire world changed forever.

My friend Patti met Joe, a survivor from Tower 2, in her travels to New York City, and that is who led our tour today. I was/we were honored for him to come into the city on his day off (he's retired but works part-time at the museum), to quietly take us around and share tidbits and stories of other survivors, several folks he knew that lost their lives that day, and the thousands of firemen, police and first responders who tried valiantly to save lives.

It was a moving account of that day and those 102 minutes of sheer terror when four planes crashed and rocked our world. I must admit, it was a lot to take in, and Joe truthfully mentioned that a lot of New Yorkers refuse to go into the museum since it's still to raw for them...even though it's been 18 years since that fateful day. Actually, it's all that powerful and poignant at the same time.

Interestingly, we noticed that there are people that come from all over the world to see this memorial; and hardly heard English being spoken throughout the entire museum. And no matter which corner of the earth the museum's guests hailed from, I am thankful to report that everyone seemed humbled and respectful with seeing all the exhibits and knowing how truly sacred Ground Zero really is.


Photos from our morning with Joe

Me and Patti

Joe C and Patti Lane

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fun in the Big Apple!

A chance to travel to the Big Apple and hang out with a former co-worker, Patti Lane, has afforded us the opportunity to see two plays; (one on Broadway, and one off Broadway), shopping at our favorite store; Century 21, and enjoying the New York City fall weather while trekking up and down the streets of Manhattan. We've enjoyed a good pace so far, because there is so much to see and do no matter how many visits here.

We were thankful of a bright sunny day today after yesterday's rain, but there is always fun and adventure around every corner (plus nook and cranny) for sure!

The trip up for me cost a whopping $30 (that's way cheaper than driving and paying for gas and tolls), and so easy to sit back and relax or read (they also have free wifi while on board). I think it's definitely worth it to take the bus from Washington DC even for a one day trip (it's a 3.5 hour trip one-way).

I am/we are looking forward to our tour of the 9/11 Memorial Site tomorrow, and other exciting meanderings we will find criss-crossing the city!



Monday, October 21, 2019

Unexpected Surprise on the Soccer Pitch

While filling in on the fall high school/middle school this soccer season, I was assigned to a local girls middle school near my home. I have not refereed a girls middle school game in a few years, so the girls were unknown to me until my eyes glanced at the Coach - Anna Doyle and her assistant Coach Teresa Doyle Watkins. They are a blast from the Pheen past (Freestate Phoenix) and we haven't seen each other in several years! Anna's 13 year old granddaughter is on the school's team, and I have not seen her since she was three! I am thankful we had a great "reunion" catching up before the game and it was great seeing Tee's (Teresa's) 9 month old baby boy.

Anna's coaching was "spot on" since her team won 13-0 over the visiting team! Kudos to Anna and her players, and it was a fun match to referee!



Sunday, October 20, 2019

I Did Not Scream B-I-N-G-O, But 25+ Got To!

My quilt guild's annual Bingo held yesterday was a resounding success (or at least I thought so). The 25 games of Bingo to win one of the 25 quilts offered were stunning, and I was definitely happy for all the winners who took home a lovely "lovey" to wrap themselves in as the weather cools off. Six people sat at my table and we did have one lucky tablemate win a quilt; it was that feeling: mi casa su casa, but that quilt went home with her for sure!

A huge Thank You to all the Southern Comforters who volunteered for the day; made a quilt individually, or with a bee, or quilted a top that was donated because everything was so greatly appreciated to make this event one of the favorite's held throughout the year.

BSoleille! The bright side of yelling BINGO and winning a stunning quilt!

Photos of Quilt Bingo 2019 held in Bowie, Maryland.

Friday, October 18, 2019

What's the Opposite of Spring Cleaning?

Well, how about Fall Clear Out? It seems like purging stuff is a never-ending task, and fall is really no different than spring when it comes to clearing out the junk. How does this stuff accumulate anyhow?

For those who remember my Aunt Mary, who sold me her huge sofa when we got married, I finally took the plunge and got rid of it. We've owned it over 32 years (it was over 75 years old), and it simply "needed" a new home. It was 110" long and extremely heavy to move. Thankfully, I called "Hunks Hauling Junk" and that huge sofa was "nothing" for them to move out so quickly. The only "trouble" was fitting into their truck (they had stuff to move over and around to make room for it). I guess they never thought they'd be moving such a big piece of furniture.

But even moving out such a big piece really did not make a dent into the whole picture of a household of stuff. However, it did give the other furniture some "breathing space," so it's back to the drawing board on what else I can get rid of this fall.

BSoleille! The bright side of purging household stuff. Maybe the trick is to not buy anything except gas and groceries?


Photos from the big comfy couch move-out...

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Time for Reflection on Ryan Tomoff's Original Diagnosis of Cancer 23 Years Ago!~

It's time to reflect, respectfully, on good health in all peoples the world over. Especially children. The cut is very deep within a family when a child is sick, dies, or is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. We are very blessed that when Ryan Tomoff was diagnosed 23 years ago today, that we were in the United States where we had the best options of hospitals, doctors and communities to take care of such a sick child as he was those many years ago. Never a day goes by that we don't silently thank the "higher power" of where we stand today, even though Ryan is a 5 time Cancer Survivor...and Thirver!

October 17th, I believe, will always be etched into my mind; it's the BC (before cancer) that I "divide" my life and the trajectory it took once the sledge hammer came down on our heads that fateful day. But we persevered beyond what any family should take on; and truthfully, we had no other choice. We put our faith in the Georgetown doctors (Aziza Shad and Joe Gootenberg); the medical staff, and the plethora of nurses that circled around the clock to provide the preeminent care we came to depend on 24/7/365!

It truly takes a "village."

Today, we want to THANK EVERYONE that has played a part in this crazy journey, even if it's a positive thought sent our way in the last 23 years. Everything is greatly appreciated beyond what my words can convey here, and promise me/us that you will hug your kids/grandkids/nieces and nephews a little tighter when together.

BSoleille! The bright side of positive reflection!


Below: Ryan with the "famous" Boo-Boo Bunny"

Ryan this past weekend in his happy place: volunteering with Special Love's Octoberfest in Front Royal, Virginia!
(Thanks, Jan Bresch)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Celebrating 10 Years with the JUST TRYAN It!

With so much going on this past weekend, I also wanted to share the 10 Year celebration (Orange Crush Party) of the JUST TRYAN IT foundation this past Saturday night at the Ivy City Smokehouse in Washington, DC. This wonderful organization helps childhood cancer families with financial constraints by paying bills (car notes, gas cards, mortgage payment, groceries); anything to help a fighting family in need so they can focus on their sick child.

Is was a doubly great night sharing this event with our good friends, Scot and Jodie Smith, "The Best Daughter" and her BFF, Liz Verrechia, and the many friends we've met along the way in our cancer journey with "our" Ryan (though he was volunteering for another cancer organization this past weekend).

Most notably, outgoing executive director, Carrie Sloan Norry, was given well deserved kudos on how she took an idea of a kids triathlon in their neighborhood of Bethesda once Ryan Darby was diagnosed with childhood cancer, and catapulted her idea to where it is today helping thousands of families across several states and beyond. She has parlayed "kids helping kids" to the highest level. So many are grateful for her vision and expertise in helping over 3200 families, watching over 5900 kids cross the finish lines at the various triathlons in several states and raising over 3.1 million dollars! Can you even imagine all the good going on out there?

Ceremoniously, the torch was passed from Carry Norry, to the new executive director, Maureen Colburn, and we are confident she will take this organization even higher. JTI also recognized Carrie by giving the first ever Carry Sloan Norry Award to Dr. Aziza Shad, Ryan Darby's Angel extraordinaire, along with so many more kids and families who feel exactly like Ryan Darby (including our Ryan and our family!).

If you have a few extra minutes, please view this short video on the Darby Family and the beginnings of the JUST TRYAN IT kids triathlon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-fZIwQUNoD8

BSoleille! The bright side of the JUST TRYAN IT Kids Triathlon: Doing Good Together!


Photos from the event. Below; Scot, me, Jodie and Bill

Jodie Smith, Liz V. and Olivia

Outgoing Director Carrie Norry with Ryan Darby and Mollie Darby

Dr. Aziza Shad receiving the very first Carrie Sloan Norry Award!

Me, Bill, Olivia and Liz enjoying the firepit  

Monday, October 14, 2019

Washington DC Sports Teams Tonight: NHL vs MLB (Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals)

Who remembers the wonderful Jim McKay of ABC sports who said the "eloquent" words: "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports... the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat...the human drama of athletic competition. This is ABC's Wide World of Sports!? 

Tonight in Washington DC, I was able to attend on one side of town, the NHL's Washington Capitals game with son Ryan where, "the agony of defeat" was the unfortunate mantra of the game as the Capitals took a hard loss to the Colorado Avalanche 6-3.  The great part of the game was the start time: 5:00pm due to the MLB game, on the other side of town, start later in the evening. I joked to Ryan that we should take an UBER over the Nats Stadium to see if we could snag even a SRO ticket, but we decided to drive home and catch the rest of the game on TV.

And, there you go. The Washington Nationals just finished their game for the WIN over St. Louis 8-1; for the "the thrill of victory." While watching the game, I casually mentioned to Ryan that maybe we should have gone to the game across town...

As we all know, it's "Rocktober" and it's all about pitching on the road to the World Series of MLB!

Go CAPS!!! lol