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!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Three Ellie's (Under the Big Tops) are Done!

As we all know, elephants are highly intelligent with complex emotions, feelings, compassion and have self-awareness. They can even recognize themselves in the mirror (see below)! And the best thing about them, elephants can LAUGH!

Working on the three small quilts was really quite fun, and all three are different because all elephants are different, right? I still need to quilt them, and perhaps add a couple of small borders, but the "hard" part is done! 



Those are doors to our room at Tau in northern South Africa - not mirrors, but the way the sunshines on them, it certainly looks like a mirror. Notice how the elephants gather around to look at themselves!
That is me on left; and Laura Murphy on right. I was taking a photo into the "mirror," she was taking a photo head on.

Still on left with Helen Gruneisen and a few more elephants joining in the fun!

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Things that Go Bump/Thump into the Night!

While sitting and writing on my computer recently, there was more of an unusual thump on the double patio doors that would not quit for bit (as opposed to moths, flies, wasps). I was deep in thought, so I did not want to get up to check it out at first. Once I had a break, I decided to check out what kept bumping into the window. At first glance I thought it was a bat, but could a bat "stick" to a window? It was a dark night, and I could not see "it" with either the lights on or off, but thankfully, decided to use my phone flashlight and there it was in all its glory, dangling on the window and "trying" to either get my attention or get in the house; a toad! 

Neither one was working for the little critter, so he ended up hanging on the window for over 15 minutes, and as you can see, he got my attention. Hello there, Mr. Toad!



Saturday, June 27, 2020

First Day at the Pool - 2020

It's not because the weather is hot or cold, it's because of COVID and social distancing and signing up for the days we want to swim, that today was the first day we've gone since opening Memorial Day Weekend. I am thankful that I did get to swim laps, and people were good about keeping their distances, but it's not the same, of course.  We must bring our own chairs and the snack bar is closed, and there is no volleyball or basketball playing, but the pool is inviting and definitely refreshing!

I can already tell that I won't be able to get in a lot of days this summer, but each day I do get to go will be a good one, and I'm counting on sunny skies and hot temperatures to jump right into the cement pond!



Friday, June 26, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with James Ford Rhodes Ramette Alumnae Sue (Baciak) Peterson - Class of 1980

I think it's amazing that through 40 years of life, some folks have kept the same cool-as-a-cucumber demeanor,  and Sue (Baciak) Peterson definitely fits the bill (more later on this) in her calm ways, and how she has approached her adventuresome life since graduating from James Ford Rhodes HS in 1980. 

In the last 20 years, when we could get to Cleveland, Ohio, on July 4th, and run in the Bay Days 5-miler, I/we would often run into each other and catch up with our lives after the race. (They have kids the same exact ages as mine). But what struck me is that Sue has always been upbeat and positive and truly loves life and all its adventure(s)!

Sue, and her twin brother, Mark, were born in 1962 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Norman (deceased) and Anthonette Baciak. Her dad was a pharmacist and had his own business until he sold it and then worked at Deaconess Hospital until he retired. Two more siblings added to the Baciak family with the birth of Norma and Jeff, and their parents enjoyed over 50 years of wedded bliss! Today Mark is married and lives in a Columbus, Ohio, suburb; Norma is married to another Rhodes graduate, Scott Artbauer, and they have one child; and Jeff is married and has three children  - all living in Northeast, Ohio. Incidentally, Sue exclaimed that three out of four siblings all got married in the same year, 1989, and within nine months of each other! That was definitely a busy year for the Baciak family!

Since Sue and her siblings lived a little ways outside of Old Brooklyn, they attended different elementary and junior high schools. But since they were all super smart, and Rhodes had the honors program that their slated high school did not have at that time, they all went and graduated from Rhodes...with honors I might add. Also at that time, high schools went from 10th - 12th so one goes in as a sophomore. To make "fast friends" that turned into lifelong friends, Sue tried out and made the pom-pom squad, endearingly called the Rhodes Ramettes. They practiced with the marching bands and did their routines at football and basketball games much to the crowds delight.

Sue loved being a Ramette all three years of high school and was one of the captains her senior year. By her junior year, she met the love of her life, Glenn Peterson (Rhodes Class of 1979) and who ran cross-country and track), and they dated all through Rhodes, in college, and married on June 10, 1989.

After graduation, with Glenn already at Kent State University, Sue also went to Kent, graduating with a double degree in Special Education and Elementary Education in December of 1984. Glenn graduated at the same time because he got called up for a slot for the Ohio State Highway Patrol academy and took the class (he went back afterwards to finish his degree in Criminal Justice). 

By the following January/February Sue began teaching in the Berea, Ohio, School District, staying about 5 years. When she and Glenn married, they moved to Huron, Ohio, since that is the station Glenn was assigned to, and I believe, his entire career with the State Highway Patrol.

As they began settling into their home in Huron, Sue started working for the Erie County Education Service Center which morphed into a huge program that is now called Northpoint Education Service Center (takes care of 27 different school districts in the State of Ohio). It was here that Sue honed her good nature skills in dealing with behaviorally challenged students, and students with a whole host of other disabilities that most schools could not accommodate. Sue admitted that this was a terrific career path for her, it suited her personality to a tee! She also stated that while enjoying her job, she decided to go back to get her Masters in Administration and Principalship (at Cleveland State University) which eventually led her to become a Principal and supervisor of the ever growing behavior and special needs programs throughout the Northern part of the state. 

By the time Sue retired in January of 2015, she was driving all over Northeast and Northwest Ohio to a tune of over 500 miles a week, but still loved every minute of her job! That is some dedication, right? Sue says she was very fortunate that her education degrees allowed her to work 30 years in one profession, a blessing for sure! 

Sue, who claims she doesn't have a favorite color, continued working while she and Glenn started their family. Their daughter, Katelyn (now an Athletic Trainer in Cincinnati) was born in July of 1992; and their son, Mitchell (working in Sports Administration), was born in August of 1994. Sue mentioned she was extremely lucky to have found a wonderful woman and friend who had in-home daycare right across the street (they had moved to Vermillion, Ohio, by then).

When I asked Sue what makes her tick, without missing a beat, she said, "travel." You see, Sue and Glenn have been adventure seeking even from their earliest days of dating, beginning with camping. They have traveled all over the USA, most recently (in 2019 for their 30th Anniversary) with a Teardrop camper and visiting as many National Park they could get in in two months. Her favorite:  Big Bend National Park in the Texas tip. She felt like she was sitting on the end of the earth there. Her favorite place internationally is Chicaterra, Italy (been twice). 

And for "giggles and grins" and with another adventure seeking couple they met on their travels, they did an awesome one month "budget" backpack trip from Paris, France to Italy to Greece, and back to Paris. Both Sue and Glenn love to immerse themselves in the local food, drink and cultures of wherever they go in the world which is really the spirit of their adventures. I'll drink to that!

In addition to their fun travels, they are also HUGE Cleveland Sport Team Fans as well as Kent State University Athletic Supporters. Sue added that she and Glenn are on the KSU Greater Cleveland Alumni Board that plan various events throughout the year for alumni. How cool is that? They travel the midwest taking in football, basketball and baseball games whenever they can support their beloved Golden Flashes.

In wrapping up I asked Sue what her favorite gift ever received was, and not missing a beat here either, said her sewing machine (Sears Kenmore) she received from her parents for high school graduation. I about fell off my chair, because I found another "sewist."  Sue expressed her love to peruse Pinterest and then figure out the pattern and make something for her house or camper, and also likes to make things to give away, whether a sewed item or something cooked or baked (she also loves to cook). 

It was so fun catching up with Sue who is thoroughly enjoying her retirement and hanging with her family and friends when time permits. She and Glenn have more travel plans because they love their Teardrop camper and hitting the road to big blue skies and smooth highways and byways seeking fun and adventure along the way! 

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Sue Peterson!


Photos below from Sue:

Sue looking over the Badlands, SD

Mitchell; Sue, Katelyn and Glenn


Thursday, June 25, 2020

A Day in the Life of a Daylily

The summer of 2020 is in full swing with abundance of rain...ahem, and beautiful flowers showing off in all their petal glory. But one flower, the daylily, only blooms for one day; opening in the morning and by the end of the day, its life is over. Thankfully, the flowering stalk continues producing new blooms for up to a few weeks, because, let's face it, that is a sad story for a attractive flower.

So, let's get this straight, the daylily must live its life as best as it could for less than 24 hours - from sunup to sundown. There is not much else to do except look pretty in the yard or field it is growing in, though maybe a kooky woman may take your photo for posterity, right?



The below daylily was taken while out on a scoot, with the sunlight was just right and petals opened to take in the day...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Gorilla Glue and Car Repair

Raise your hand if you ever used Gorilla Glue? Now keep it raised if you ever used it to repair your vehicle. And by the way, I am NOT receiving any compensation for this post, but when something is good, and works, I will gladly spread the news...

I must admit that I've seen Gorilla Tape at some point, had never used it before, but actually purchased a roll (like duct tape) when we desperately needed some for our 2019 Quilt Show and did not have time to get to a big box store. I ended up buying it at our local Auto Zone store on the way to show set up. When I walked in I asked for the aisle of duct tape, and the counter salesman smirked and said they only had one roll of Gorilla Tape and that was it. I bought it and never looked back. The stuff is "magic" and worked for our needs at the show and beyond.

When "The Best Daughter" kept having trouble keeping her front bumpers in place (they kept popping out over the last couple of years) the lightbulb went off for me and I mentioned we should try the Gorilla Glue! Due to the home improvements I've done lately, I ended up purchasing not only liquid nails, twice, but Gorilla Glue for fixing an ear for one of my wooden giraffes from Africa. More importantly though, I actually used it for the wooden transition piece after the flooring was installed because nothing else seemed to work (too shallow for a nail) to keep the piece of wood down. 

After carefully reading the directions on how to use the stuff (very easy), we gave it the old college try, and violá, it worked!  Two weeks ago, when "TBD" was visiting, I mentioned that we should try the Gorilla Glue on her bumpers. What does she have to lose? The stuff dries clear, so even that wasn't an issue. So we applied as directed and waited...for it to dry, then for her to drive home with bumpers intact, and they held up! Then a week went by, and they are still intact. I don't know how long it will hold up, but I/we think it's pretty good that the glue has held up for this long already. 

We are fans... Are you a fan? What have you used it for?



Tuesday, June 23, 2020


Sew...I wanted to have a little fun with something different in my sewing and quilting "habits", and cut out  three "Ellie" quilts, a pattern by https://bjdesignsandpatterns.com/. The most fun has been selecting the "scrap fabrics" that I used for Ellie #1. It's more than likely that Ellie #2 and #3 will look different (who can make them all the same? Not me).

I still have to select some fun borders (three of them) to go around Ellie, and once again will browse over my stash and hopefully select something equally fun...perhaps an African fabric or two. 

BSoleille! The bright side of enhancing creative juices to make something super fun!


The 3 backgrounds for the Ellies were made 8 or 9 months ago...

Following the pattern

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Happy Father's Day 2020

To all the dads out there, here's wishing you a very Happy Father's Day. Fatherhood has come a long way since, say, the 1950's and 1960's (how many would change a dirty diaper?), and I believe it's only gotten better (I'm an optimist). 

Although my father passed away in 2001 at age 77, his spirit lives on with his three daughters and grandchildren. And even though he was not much of a talker, he did have a sense of adventure and loved to travel with his Ptak's Bowling Alley pals to bowling tournaments throughout the midwest. His all time favorite was the Peterson Classic in Chicago, Illinois. That tournament has been going strong since 1921, and this year (most likely canceled) would have been it's 110th year of the "prestigious" tournament.

I never checked it out the Peterson Classic before writing this post, but here is the link: http://www.petersenclassic.com/

The photo below, taken on February 3, 1963, is my dad and his bowling buddies in all their glory (he is smack dab in the middle with the brown speckled tie). I don't know if he won any money for the Individual Championship, but he rolled a respectable (I think it is) 1557 for the tournament. 



Bill and Olivia earlier today on our daily scoot!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

6/20/20 Summer Solstice

Summer, is by far, my all time favorite season of the year, and today we celebrate the summer solstice! The long day started out with "liquid sunshine" instead of pure sunshine we all know and love, but it's all good, really, as it helps the flowers and gardens to boot. The warm temperatures and sun also helps us all with generous doses of vitamin D, and that's good for all of us! 

No great sunrise or sunset today, but we ushered in the one of the best seasons of the year! Definitely a reason to celebrate!

BSoleille! The bright side of Summer Solstice...I love how that rolls off the tongue so sweetly.


My photo is of the outstanding flowering geraniums soaking up some water they desperately need to continue their budding show day in and day out!

Friday, June 19, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with Linda (Prahst) Yanega! Rhodes Class of 1980!

I am thrilled that this journey has been so incredible to weave the stories of the  members of the Class of 1980, from James Ford Rhodes, a Cleveland Public School, and beyond. We've seen a lot in our 40 years since graduation, and the years keep rolling by (Harry Chapin) whether we like it or not! We need to continue to fasten the seat belts!

Today, I'm shining the spotlight on Linda Yanega. Linda was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Larry and Carolyn Prahst, who still live in the same house Linda, and her brother, Michael (who now lives in Texas), grew up in on Broadale Avenue! They enjoyed a close knit family, and Linda, and her husband Bob, and their daughters (when much younger) even traveled together with Linda's parents throughout the United States for many years (Florida/Niagara on the Lake/historic sites/Lake Erie Islands - Put-in-Bay a family favorite).

Linda and I met while in junior high (9th grade), though Linda did start her education as a kindergartener at Benjamin Franklin ES, but then went on to St. Mark's Lutheran School until the 8th grade. Linda and I discovered we had some of the same classes together in that 9th grade year (and again at Rhodes), and have currently maintained a social media friendship along with a small group of Rhodes Rams meetups whenever I'm in town, and the others can meetup as well. 

As a matter of fact, Linda's graduation in 1980, as a Rhodes Scholar graduate, was the last in a line of a dynasty that included her dad, three uncles and one of her aunts. How's that for Rhodes Ram Spirit?

As our conversation took hold, I learned Linda maintains a kind and generous spirit, and it flows out of her from each and every pore. She upholds that "Faith is First," and her sovereignty to God has helped her work through her life's issues. Linda expressed that her faith grew exponentially when she attended the 1972 Billy Graham Crusade in Cleveland, Ohio, and as a 10 year old girl, gave her heart and surrendered her life to Christ. Pretty heady stuff for a 10 year old girl, but she has continued her faith every day since that Crusade and never looked back. What an inspiration she is!

After high school (and with a lot of AP credits to her name), Linda graduated in December of 1983 with a Criminal Justice - Corrections degree from Kent State University. (We had the exact same major in college!) While still a student, Linda worked an internship in Washington, DC., for the Washington Program of National Issue or WPNI. This internship was through the Kent State Political Science Department and provided Linda with valuable learning experiences she used for many years. She also worked at juvenile residential homes/shelters/half-way houses and the like for two summers and one break while still in college.

Linda stated she enjoyed working with juveniles so much, and learned a great deal of life lessons, that she decided to focus and work with the juvenile population after college graduation because she saw more hope for diversion and for her charges (truants, runaways and behavioral issues in girls) to take life in a more positive direction with the help and resources provided to them. She worked in the field from 1984-1986, plus a few other jobs to make ends meet at that time. 

During Linda's sophomore year at Kent State, she met Bob Yanega, a philosophy major - but worked in construction most of his working career. She first dated his friend, but that didn't work out; but it did with Bob...by him purchasing a Fencing book from Linda. Now, is that romance or what? A whirlwind courtship, of course, ensued and they were engaged in the summer of 1983 and married on October 6, 1984 in Cleveland, Ohio.

By 1986, their first daughter, Elisa, was born and Linda was ecstatic! She loves kids so much that she was the quintessential mother and loved being a mom from Day 1. Their second daughter, Hannah, was born in 1990, and life was getting very busy at the Yanega household. Today, Linda and Bob are grandparents of five youngsters: Zoe, 6; Jack 4; and Aurora 1 yr. (Elisa's and live in Springfield, Ohio) and Lily, 6; and Everett, 4 (Hannah's and live in Cleveland, Ohio). 

Linda added that she was a "stay-at-home" mom for close to 25 years until her daughter Hannah left for college. And besides work work; she has volunteered in some capacity for most of her life. She has volunteered for the WVIZ auction; her daughter's school library (if she could do-over, would have perhaps become a librarian); her daughter's schools, classrooms and computer labs, and currently, volunteers a the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes (near her home) in their development department (clerical/data entry/special events.) And lastly, she has volunteered in many aspects as opportunities arose within her former church as well as her current church. 

But, as we know, life likes to throw curve balls to all of us, and it has been no different for Linda. She revealed that she and Bob separated for almost two years. They had serious issues to deal with, but Linda declares that by God's grace and her strong faith, they reconciled and are, thankfully, back together. Linda recited this to me: "The Lord will restore the years that the locusts have eaten."

This purple loving gal, with strong and faithful convictions, also loves to cook and can spend hours in her newly renovated kitchen. When I inquired on her favorite gift ever received, she revealed that her husband gave her a fairly large, nice telescope one year because Linda has always loved stargazing in the night sky. In effect, he gave her the gift of the stars. And, let's also add that this is a gift that keeps on giving. You see, Linda claimed she had enjoyed gazing up at the stars so much, but wanted to share her passion with her children as well. Recently, they've passed it along to her daughter Elisa and her husband for them to introduce those same stars to their children. 

As I reflected on our conversation, it was revealed to me that Linda is a caretaker through and through; and loves to serve others and the Lord too. I then asked her if she would share a favorite quote or two with me, and she rattled off the following, and very eloquently, I must admit:

"Happiness isn't happiness without a violin playing goat." From the movie, Notting Hill

And lastly, the verse that is her "life verse" John 16:33 (NIV):

"I have told you these things, so that in me you many have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

By the way, Linda also loves to sing and was in a very large choir for many years at her former church. 
She sings on a praise team at her church occasionally now, and was also part of a community chorus for a while as music has always been a very important part of her life! Sing on, Linda!

BSoleille! The bright side of Linda Yanega's shining light, er the stars, of our beautiful galaxy! 


Photos below provided by Linda: First photo is Linda's family at Hannah's wedding

Bob and Linda

Linda with her daughters: Hannah and Elisa

Linda and Granddaughter Aurora (a favorite of Linda's)

Linda and Rhodes 80 Alum: Kim Siska Doerfler at an Indian's Game


Thursday, June 18, 2020

One of Life's Greatest Gifts!

Can you beat a red streaking sunset? Isn't it one of life's best gifts and simplest pleasures? I was sitting at my computer near sunset (and not paying attention), but looked up to an amazing pink light against the siding. I had to get up and look outside, both back yard (couldn't see much) and then to the front yard where there it was in all its glory!

BSoleille! The bright side of some of our longest days of the year and a blazing sunset to go with it!


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Art 101; Or at 10 Years Old...

The treasure trove of "stuff" or "junk" or "things that should have been tossed out years ago" certainly bring back "repressed" memories, this time of a childhood in the 1960's and early 1970's. Truthfully, I cannot believe I still have "ownership" of these things, but happy to share since I can. 

For those that know me well, probably can figure out right quick that my favorite color of all time, fuschia, or dark pink, has always been my favorite color. My first photo is a coloring of a map, and at the top the teacher inscribed this: "Coloring uneven and to (sic) dark!"  A-

I loved that dark pink and wouldn't change a thing 50 years later...

The second two photos are of houses I drew (aged 10...maybe due to the handwriting on back, and folks called me "Tessy" for a short spell?) that I used either a black crayon, or charcoal...maybe a real piece of it since my mom did not supply us authentic art supplies. It has to be a black crayon or pencil, honestly. I thought they were pretty good to share, and have no idea where these homes were except for the backs that say: "The Holda Home" and "The Spouden Home (back not shown)." They are most likely from my neighborhood, but can't remember these names for anything.



The Spouden Home
The Spouden Home

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Thank You 33X Over for the Anniversary Wishes!

As the "lockdown" continues a wee bit still, I have continued to not only sew and quilt, but have taken the liberties in cleaning and organizing even more stuff! Some, very emotional (Ryan's Cancer journey...ahem); and photographs found in the most innocuous places (even in broken frames!! What???) 

My photo today happens to have been in a broken ceramic frame that went right into the trash - the frame, not photo (I glued it together back in the day...and wondering what was I thinking?)

But more than that, I think Bill and I were overwhelmed with the beautiful wishes and happy anniversaries sent to us through the miles and continents of folks near and far, and cannot thank you enough! We are blessed beyond measure, and grateful for each of you. 

BSoleille! Cheers to another 33! And that Lincoln Town Car that we rented for the day, was the only request my Dad made for our wedding day; he loved that kind of car! We obliged.


Monday, June 15, 2020

Can we Find Time for Another Sign of the Times?

The pandemic is not over, but as states open up and highways, byways and local streets are more crowded now than in the last few months, we probably need to remain on alert and keep ourselves as safe as possible. So, another sign of the times in the neighborhood (inside the Crofton Parkway), never disappoints when we glide on by. Now...to watch Frozen 1 and 2!



Saturday, June 13, 2020

How About Celebrating 33 Years of Wedded Bliss? We Are!

Sew...a very very Happy Anniversary goes out to the love of my life, Bill Tomoff, on 33 years of a happy marriage. Our greatest gift to each other has been one of utmost respect, even on our most troubled days (we've had a few, like all married couples.) But we meet each day with a sense of gratitude and kindness that has developed over the days and years since that wonderful and sunny day in Cleveland, Ohio: June 13, 1987. 

Cheers to us, and 33 years! Love you, BT!



Friday, June 12, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with the Most Enthusiastic Cleveland, Ohio Sports Fan: Kathy (Zupancic) Gregory and Rhodes High School Class of 1980!

It was just like being back in the neighborhood when Kathy and I chatted about what she's been up to...and more "specifically" the last 40 years. You see, Kathy lived a street over and about 10 houses down from me. We played all summer long, rode our bikes and swam in her above ground pool, all the while singing ELO and Queen anthems at the top of our lungs. Ah, the good old days, right?

Kathy was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, to Norman and Carol (both deceased) with an older brother John (lives in Georgia with three children) and younger brothers (twins) Dennis and Danny, who are both married and live in the Cleveland suburbs. We all hung out together in our neighborhood, with the same childhood friends, where everyone looked out for everyone else. It was just that kind of place.

Kathy attended the same Cleveland Public Schools as me, and we also went to the same college; Bowling Green State University. We also lived in the same dormitory (on different floors). When we spoke, she mentioned a few of her roommates that I still remember to this day (and Kathy still keeps in touch with too.) It was good sharing our memories about those by-gone days and all the fun living the "dorm life."

But Kathy, who loves the beach and ocean, and her favorite color is blue (like the ocean), decided that after two years at BG, she wanted to try something else. She tried Dental Assistant School, worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield in claims, but ultimately married one of our classmates, Todd Gregory, on November 28, 1987. Due to Todd's military commitment (US Navy, enlisted), that meant once married, they lived on either the East or West Coast during his career (Todd retired after 20 years in 2006 but continues to work as a civilian in basically the same job as in the Navy). Incidentally, Kathy mentioned that she and Todd were in the same Kindergarten class at Benjamin Franklin E.S., but began dating several years after we graduated from high school; but can't we think it was "fate," or romantic, for them to be together since they were five years old?

Military wives learn quickly to make friends no matter where they live, and it was no different for Kathy. They lived once before on the West Coast when first married, then in Connecticut, and since 1997, have made their permanent home on the West Coast, working and residing in Bremerton, Washington. 

Their only child, Brianne, was born in August of 1989 much to the delight of her parents. When I asked Kathy the greatest gift she ever received, she said the birth of her daughter, as she was only able to have one child. Their relationship was built on trust and abundant love and today Kathy revealed that Brianne is her best friend. 

Through the years, Kathy realized that she's been a teacher all along (she loves working with kids), certainly with Brianne and her friends, but more importantly, Kathy has worked for 20 years with the Bremerton School District as a paraeducator, and is so nimble in the elementary school (K-5) where she teaches, that she shares her knowledge and know how to wherever the principal needs her most. Working in the schools certainly helped her with raising Brianne, as they had the same schedules for the most part (and when Dad -Todd was at sea.)

Kathy, a great athlete, continued the tradition by introducing all sports to Brianne as a youngster; with Volleyball the obvious "winner" for Bri. Brianne excelled at this sport, and Kathy was her biggest fan from the sidelines, along with many other devoted VB moms and their girls. She said she loved traveling with Bri's teams and bonding with the other girls and their moms who Kathy said are still very close to this day. 

In 2015, Brianne (a certified school counselor) married a wonderful young man name Joe, and they "gave" Kathy another greatest gift with a granddaughter, named Lia, born in August of 2019. Lia is the light of Kathy's life, and was giddy to announce that she is taking a leave of absence this coming school year to take care of her granddaughter. She said she is wildly blessed by this and hopes it will become a strong bonding experience with her cute Lia! I think we all know it will!

Kathy, and Todd, are also dog lovers and currently have just one (they usually have a few); Cocoa, a mutt. But could it be Kathy's love of "dawgs" that has encapsulated her to be one of the Greatest Cleveland Browns Fan; greatest Cleveland Indians Fan, and Greatest Cleveland Cavalier Fan? Kathy rocks the colors of every Cleveland sports team and fiercely cheers for them from 3000 miles away in the State of Washington. I've been to Browns games with Kathy, and I'm not kidding! She loves cheering for the hometown team no matter where she lives, which includes her listening to Cleveland Sports Talk and Coverage; ESPN, and during each season, meets up with other Browns/Indians/Cavs Backers at various sports bars near her home. She is no fair weather fan I can tell you that!  She is so emphatic, in fact, that she has turned lifelong Washington folks into Browns fans (except when they play the Seahawks..ahem).

So, if Kathy is not cheering on her favorite Cleveland team, or spending time with family, you can find her at the beach, or in her garden (she loves plants, flowers and grasses.) Mt. Rainier is a four hour drive away, and Kathy said it's like practically being in her "backyard." She plans to visit the area this summer (Mt. Rainier, if you can recall, erupted during our senior year of high school in 1980). 

It was so fun catching up with Kathy (and Todd), and I wish them both competitive "cheering" seasons with their favorite sports teams...anything that has a  Cleveland, Ohio, sports team in it for sure.

And lastly, when I asked Kathy for her favorite quote; she quickly stated: "It is what it is."

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Kathy Gregory, Cleveland, Ohio's biggest sports fan!


Photos shared by Kathy; below in one of her happy places! Beach...

Joe, Bri and Kathy

Lia and Kathy in Honolulu

Bri, Joe, Lia, Kathy and Todd - all Browns Fans!

Kathy with her brothers Dan and John and their Dad Norm

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Hello! The Phone's for You!

Can we all agree that the digital age is really something else, and that digital photography is just about equal now to film photography? (I know there are a few holdouts...and that's okay) However, the below photo was taken in 1992, probably considered a part of the "dark ages" of film photography, but still cute enough. Once the ubiquitousness of digital cameras were on the market, plus the double whammy of cameras as part of our phone, er handheld computer, the game of photography catapulted to a whole new level. 

Young people today have most likely never loaded a roll of film in an SLR camera, and that is okay too. But, as we know, everything is instant now; there is no waiting for film to be developed. Can we ever go back? Vinyl records are trying to come back but not sure how that one is taking off.

This throwback of "The Best Daughter" and Wally dog is one for the ages taken on a Canon AE1 Program purchased in 1984 (still have it). As you can see from the photo, kids of all ages are drawn to a phone, and today, we almost can't live without one. Hello, is that you? 



Wednesday, June 10, 2020


"Frankenbatting" is a made-up quilting term for sewing together leftover pieces of batting into another big piece of batting (think: 75"x 90" give or take a few inches). Sometimes it takes a lot of weird pieces (but cut straight once again) to make an even bigger piece, but, this way, nothing is wasted. Quilters typically do not like to waste anything, and that includes bits and pieces of batting that we know can still be used.

Today, I worked on odd pieces of batting to make two large pieces I will eventually use for (2) larger size quilts coming up in my queue.

BSoleille! The bright side of "frankenbatting" at its finest hour!


Tuesday, June 9, 2020

National Parks Anyone?

Remember all my photos and other paraphernalia I/we moved out of the back office to prep, paint and install new flooring? Well, thankfully, we've been able to cull down quite a bit of the "stuff" to recycle and trash, with closet space available in that room to move what's left back in (still quite a few tubs, but way less than when we started). But it took me all day to get to that point, because, let's face it, we get stuck looking at photos and other stuff, and I'm guilty of just that. 

I'm glad I opened up a few things though that I never recalled seeing before (some photos and keepsakes from my parent's house), and of course, our own photos. Two photos of our Grand Canyon adventure in 1989 slipped out of one of the photo books. When I picked them up off the floor, I was immediately transported back to that dusty Kaibab Trail and to the bottom of the canyon and the Colorado River (isn't that the beauty of the memory?) That hike was a transcending "moment" for me with doing the entire hike in one day (about 8 hours with 1/2 hour lunch at the bottom); Kaibab down, and Bright Angel back up. It was 60 degrees when we started off at 6am; and 100 degrees at the bottom three or four hours later. Those last couple of miles on the Bright Angel with all the switchbacks rocked my world...ahem (total of about 17 miles I recall.)

To tell you the truth, it was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but oh so worth it. It's not recommended to do the hike in one day, but, hey, we were young, and were with one of Bill's college buddies, Bob Mirth, and his Dad, Dr. Dick Mirth. At the time Dr. Mirth was a Professor at University of Arizona - Flagstaff, and told us it would be no problem for us "runners." He also claimed he was an expert trail guide as he took his students there quite often and was in excellent shape for an "older guy" at that time. What was my problem then? I was so beat once back at the top, I even abstained going into the gift shop, and Bill (not a gift shop goer) selected a very nice Grand Canyon T-shirt for me. Yay!

Today, I went out to the National Parks Website and noticed that the parks are opening up for use. Check out where you'd like to go next: https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2020/06/reopening-national-park-system-whats-open

BSoleille! The bright side of our beautiful National Parks and all they offer for millions of visitors each year. Stay safe...


Monday, June 8, 2020

How Is Your Garden Growing?

I figured that a lot of folks are in the gardening/planting mode (or in the last month or so), of prettying their yards, and perhaps starting and taking care of a vegetable garden during these tumultuous times. It feels good to dig in the dirt with our hands and let Mother Nature take care of the rest. Our yard in Maryland is quite sandy for a vegetable garden (I've tried multiple times and maybe need to get a few raised beds), but the flowers and shrubs are showing off their stuff right now.

Back in elementary school at Benjamin Franklin, a Cleveland Public School, they had a summer garden program for all their students, if they wished, and depending on your grade, determined the size plot you had. I believe we had to show up two times a week, and needed to find "substitute" should your family go on a vacation. The garden program continues to this day, though maybe not with students from the school, but rather a community endeavor no matter where you live. I have a couple of friends who decided to join in the fun as an adult this summer. Check out their program here: http://benfranklincommunitygarden.org/

It's the largest community garden in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and it's thriving much to my delight (and, I bet, a bunch of other folks too). My photo below is when I was 10 years old and near my garden plot. A reporter from the Cleveland Plain Dealer came out to showcase and highlight the gardens during the summer of 1972 and took my photo for his article. 

I am thankful I held a garden there for about 10 years, and learned so much from the horticulturalist about plants, flowers and taking care of something from a tiny seed. And if the "powers that be" thought our vegetables were good enough, and even our flowers, we were allowed to enter them in the Cuyahoga County Fair in late summer. 

BSoleille! The bright side of any garden; flowers or vegetables, it's all good for the soul.


Saturday, June 6, 2020

How Can we Achieve World Peace?

According to Mother Teresa, "go home and love your family." Depending on the day, my mother told me I was either named after St. Teresa of Avila, or Mother Teresa. I like the latter and identify more with her and her teachings (and lived in the same century with her too.)

BSoleille! The bright side of simple and sage advice from a great human being who exemplified selflessness and love at all costs...


Below is my quilt guild's 2020 Vision challenge quilt that never got hung or displayed due to COVID, (our annual show was canceled). But my heart and mind have always envisioned world peace since I was much younger and began to read about all the world's atrocities and wars. I used to ask my parents, don't the leaders of the countries who make these incredible and world-changing decisions go home to a family?

Friday, June 5, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with Lifelong Cheerleader and James Ford Rhodes 1980 Grad - Charmaine (DeVaul) Adamczyk

Charmaine Adamczyk continues to sport her sunny disposition to all who meet her, and she was no different to me when we connected earlier this week. Warmth and graciousness oozed out of her which intensified our conversation to a new level. Just like previous posts, it's amazing how the 30 or 40 years melt away when talking to an "old" friend. 

Born in 1962 and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, to parents Rose and Bill (both deceased), and older brother Jeff, she learned the value of faith and family from a young age. The traditions she holds dear continues on in everything she touches. Her brother, who lives close to Charmaine, is currently an ICU nurse at the Cleveland Clinic, and they enjoyed a happy and normal and close knit childhood.

Since Charmaine lived a few miles away from me, she went to a different elementary school, but we met up at Charles A. Mooney Junior High School, and then on to Rhodes HS. Although we never cheered together on a squad (I was a cheerleader for one year only - in 8th grade), Charmaine tried out in 9th grade and made the cheerleading squad at that time. She then continued her cheerleading career at Rhodes HS, and beyond. As we get to reacquaint with Charmaine, her passion for life and her loved ones shines through, and we realize that she has been "cheerleading" her entire life: for her husband and sons, her life with breast cancer, her faith and surrounding communities and all of humanity.

For those who remember Lowe's Pool, the tennis courts near there, and summer volleyball at Bryant ES, it's where Charmaine met the love of her life, Chuck, when she was 16 and he, 17 (queue the song from the Sound of Music. Chuck went to St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio, (and graduated from Cleveland State), but they had an instant attraction in the Summer of 1978 and dated all through high school until they married on September 8, 1984.

Once we graduated from Rhodes in 1980, Charmaine went to Tri-C (Cuyahoga Community College) and earned an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. She worked a few years in the field until she and Chuck began their family. She is the proud mom of Jason, born in October of 1985; and Jacob, born in December of 1988. They both went to the same high school as their dad, St. Ignatius, and are both college graduates. They enjoyed their boys immensely, and their collective love of baseball was all the rage in the Adamczyk household for many years (and as a family traveled to various MLB Stadiums on vacation too).

Charmaine mentioned that when her sons were young, she worked in bookkeeping for the Paige family, better known as the Honey Hut Ice Cream Store/"franchise", since she grew up near the first store on State Road and knew the family well. After 16 years, she went back to teaching...briefly, until an Office Manager Position opened for her (a job share) at St. Anthony's of Padua, a Catholic School from K-8. She loves her part-time job and has been working there the last 17 years. She said she is going back on June 22, 2020 (off due to COVID). In addition, Charmaine also was a Longaberger Consultant and sold baskets and pottery for many years which she loved. She said it was the close friendships she made with some of the other consultants and customers along her journey that made all the difference apart from selling.

Chamaine, who loves to cook and entertain, and very organized, uses her time wisely when off. Most notably as a doting grandmother of six! Her son Jason, with his wife Christa, have five children: Cole, 5; Nathan, 3.5; Grace, 2; and twins Grant and Barrett (Rhett), 3 months old. Her son, Jacob, with his wife Jennifer, have one daughter, Savannah, 5 months old. Charmaine loves kids and all these wonderful grandchildren truly makes her heart sing with joy each day. She said there is nothing like being a grandparent!

As we all know, we don't get out of this life unscathed, and it's no different with Charmaine and her uphill battle with breast cancer - diagnosed on March 17, 2011. Sadly, seventeen months prior to Charmaine's diagnosis, her mother died of breast cancer (hormone driven breast cancer as opposed to Charmaine's protein driven breast cancer). Charmaine's strong belief in faith put her on a path of well-being and cancer free, beginning with her routine mammogram six months prior to her diagnosis (clear). 

A short time before the devastating diagnosis, Charmaine had some minor foot surgery, and the doctor recommended a chest X-ray that Charmaine reluctantly scheduled. Lo and behold, the doctor called Charmaine and told her she has some "lesions" on her breasts and needed further testing. As fate has it, Charmaine was put on another path with angels that helped her navigate the very complicated task of getting appointments and seeing the right doctors for her type of cancer (HER2) - a very fast growing and aggressive cancer that only 20% of breast cancers fall into. All treatment was at the Cleveland Clinic, and Charmaine leaned on her positivity to get through the trying times she had while fighting this cancer. The lifesaver was the fact Charmaine was in the early stages of this type of cancer and was able to take Herceptin through an IV port, which in effect, saved her life. She is thankful beyond anyone's wildest dreams and that is a testament to her prayerful life and super strong faith!

Her horrific and heart wrenching timeline was "quick" after initial diagnosis, with surgery on her Left breast on 4/5/11; chemo began on 5/11/11; surgery on her Right breast on 11/1/11; chemo completed in 9/11 and reconstruction surgery in January of 2012. It looks so condensed here with the timeline, but the angst, prayers offered, pain, suffering and worry by Charmaine, her family and friends are way larger than this crazy timeline. 

I have to add, Charmaine, who loves all bright colors, said she continued to laugh and enjoy life as best as she could during those tiresome days. She says she is here, nine years later and THANKS THE LORD for all of it. She feels great today (exercises and does yoga regularly), and truly sees life differently. She does not take anything or anyone for granted; and I love this, she sees her life through a sensitive lens. 

As we continued to catch up I noticed that Charmaine is leading the life she was always meant to have; one with gratefulness and compassion and living a happy fulfilled life with her husband, sons and daughters-in law, and a gaggle of grandchildren she simply adores. She said she cherishes her Italian heritage where she lives for family...or shall we all agree... that "she cheers for her family" every single day! Best gift ever received: LOVE; Best gift she's given away: LOVE.

Before I wrap up this post, I wanted to share one more story Charmaine shared with me regarding her breast cancer and the people, er, angels, that paved her pathway to her restored health and a strong and willful mind. A friend of Charmaine's, with breast cancer as well, had given Charmaine a small book called: God Never Blinks - 50 Lessons in Life by Clevelander Regina Brett. Charmaine carried this book everywhere, and maintains today it's dog-eared and post-it noted up, but was a very inspiring book that  she needed when in the chemo-suite and her life during those difficult days. It ultimately sustained her. After a couple of years, the author was at a local Cleveland Library, and Charmaine and her friend went to hear her speak, and hopefully, sign their books. They waited a long time to get to Ms. Brett, with a long line still following, but once Ms. Brett saw Charmaine's beat up tome of her book, she was awe struck with Charmaine and their eyes locked for a brief moment...and she knew instantly why Charmaine needed her book (and thankful she probably wrote it). She then inscribed her book: "To Charmaine, May we grow old old old together."

And lastly, in addition to Charmaine's busy family life, her oncologist asked Charmaine if she'd like to consider being a 4th Angel Mentor - which started at the Cleveland Clinic and Olympian Skater, Scott Hamilton, and she said, "yes." It's now a national nonprofit organization that provides free one-on-one confidential outreach support for cancer patients and caregivers alike (Charmaine fits the bill with both services). https://4thangel.ccf.org/Home/OurStory

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Charmaine Adamczyk, a survivor and thriver and lives by "Through Christ all Things are Possible" Philippians 4:13


Photos from Charmaine including her immediate family. 

Wedding Day, September 8, 1984

Charmaine's entire family with six grandkids! March 2020

Charmaine and Chuck

Charmaine and Chuck with Jason and Jacob

Jason and Jennifer's Wedding