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, December 31, 2020

Oh What A Year!

I am not a negative person, but even though this past year was a tough one, there were glimmers of hope (people still got married) and fun (at home with games and puzzles and reading) and learning new skills (zoom anyone?) In my home we called everything we needed to do that was "new" the CPP or the Covid Pandemic Pivot. I think we were all pivoting on many fronts (remember no paper towels or TP in the grocery stores, shut down cities and mask making?) But I also think we learned a lot about ourselves, and more likely, our housemates! We had to take the good, bad and ugly and that's just making dinner or breakfast jockeying for space around the kitchen.

However, I'm not going to sugarcoat the losses either, and the many who lost loved ones this year, from Covid-19 or not. My mom succumbed in July, from Covid, but had dementia for many years—Covid through her over the threshold I'm afraid and was the case for many.

I certainly hope we all have a better 2021 from a lot of perspectives. No one ever said life was easy, that's for certain! 

Please enjoy a safe holiday tonight, and I'll catch you all next year! 

PS I wasn't sure about posting my "Seasons of Love" end of year lyrics, but I couldn't resist:

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?
In daylights,
In sunsets,
In midnights,
In cups of coffee,
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in a life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love?
Measure in love...
Seasons of love...
Seasons of love...
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a life of a woman or a man?
In truths that she learned
Or in times that she cried
In bridges he burned
Or the way that she died
Its time now to sing out though
The story never ends
Let's celebrate remember a year in a life
Of friends
Remember the love...
(Oh you gotta remember the love)
Remember the love...
(Oh yeah, its a gift from up above)
Remember the love...
(Sing out, give out, measure your life
In looooooove...!)
Seasons of love...

Happy New Year!

I'm a sucker for a sunset: Photo - South Africa February 2015

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Girl-Bee Garageband

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousands words. My photo today looks like a "Girl Garageband" and an album cover—all compliments of my bee-mates; not bandmates! Bee-mate, Carrie Casto, in the orange shirt came in yesterday from Arizona (drove!) to visit family and friends. We were lucky that the "garage" owner, Debbi Carter, in the "Dear Winter" top hosted us for an hour to visit with each other IRL. We have zoomed with each other since COVID started every week, but today was special and lovely. We all know the drill of masks and social distancing, and Debbi made it all a go with a light lunch (homemade quiche) to everyone's delight, with all precautions in place. We even had a bit of show-n-tell, and Colby the dog was our entertainment, sitting or standing by everyone of us to see if we would give him a treat (we didn't, and Debbi says he's an eternal optimist that someone would). We are missing Deb Hoppe and Mary Nielsen (Florida) to round out the band. 

Can you guess our instruments? Sewing machines and knitting needles!



PS: Karen Todd in the blue puffer coat; Susie Stevenson in the Snow Hill Maryland Sweatshirt and I'm in the red jacket. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

William the Cat Whisperer

My friends Jodie and Scot Smith have two adorable grandchildren, Isabelle, 6, and William, 1. Their birthdays are in late fall, and I wanted to buy them both presents this year. Although I haven't met William yet, Jodie shares photos of them with me and other friends when she visits them, so like everyone else, we get to enjoy the kids and their milestones via photos or social media. It's all so exciting.

When I asked Jodie what they could use she suggested a few things for me to get. Isabelle was easy because she's school age and inquisitive about life...and loves Barbies etc. But I haven't bought a one year old a gift in quite some time and needed help. Jodie asked her daughter and they came up with the idea of winter clothes...and a cat toy. I was all over some 2T winter clothes, but I was confused about a "cat toy." 

When I queried further about the cat toy, I was thinking a cat stuffed animal or something comparable. Initially I racked my brain for a few minutes thinking of cat games or other cat things in the toy isle. But that was not the case according to Jodie. She suggested that I look in the cat isle for a bona fide cat toy for a cat. You see, William loves his cat, and apparently it's visa versa, and according to "legend," he is a sort of "cat whisperer," even at the tender age of one years old. Amazing, right?

However, "his" cat likes to play hide and go seek for days, to a tune of going "missing" for three days in a row! When my gifts arrived at their house, the kids were thrilled to open a few more gifts for their birthdays as you can imagine. Of course, William could care less about clothes, but when he opened up the cat toy, it was magical. He started swinging it around while sitting on the floor, and lo and behold, guess who should come out of hiding and begin playing with William? "His" cat, George, of course. 

When Jodie relayed this story to me, I immediately called him: William the Cat Whisperer. I really do believe some people have a way with animals, and this story illustrates it does not matter what age a person it to connect with an animal and share a love language no one else could understand—especially a special cat named George and his one year old friend, William. May they share many happy days together playing with their cat toy (and getting George out of his hiding spots!)



Monday, December 28, 2020

Homework for Life!

I recently watched a Ted Talk on the power of gratitude and “The Homework for Life” Assignment. It’s like everyone else encouraging the population to write (3) things each day that you are grateful for, but Matthew Dicks “throws down the gauntlet” to try his idea, for real. Easy peasy, right? Not so much, as we learn from his Ted Talk that people will try to write their (3) things in a journal every day, but by a week or so (or maybe a month), it’s all over. No writing. Hopefully, these same people who had great intentions and are still filled with gratitude will come along and write. them. down. 

I thought about buying a nice journal, but I started a google doc/spreadsheet instead - hey, it's only (3) things. 

I started mine on 12/26/2020. If interested, tune in for about 16 minutes with the link provided below. Join me in the homework, if you will, and let’s see how we will be on 12/26/2021.


BSoleille! The bright side of new "traditions," and how or what we will become a year from now!

Photo below from this evening's striking full moon with a pink sky as the backdrop and #nofilter. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

Purity of Light

No one can extinguish my hope, and that is my hope for you this Christmas Day. Think of if as a kind of re-set of the gift of redemption in exchange for belief — or a promise of new life as the days slowly start to lengthen once again. 

May the spirit of Christmas and the Purity of Light shine on you and your family this holiday season!


If you notice in the photo below, there is a brightly lit half moon in the left quadrant of the photo

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas 2020

I'll be home for Christmas is about right, especially for our family. That song probably rings true for lots of families across the world hunkered down and taking it easy. Not a bad thing, less hustle and bustle, and a time to reflect with a few loved ones instead of lots of loved ones...

May tonight and the following couple days bring peace and joy during these cold and dark nights of Christmas!

BSoleille! The bright side of a bottle of Quilt Red Wine, compliments of "The Best Daughter."


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Little Ophthalmology Today

Doesn't it always seem like the caregiver of any family is the last to get their own appointments in? Or maybe it's just me. This December I've been trying to get in my once a year check ups, so each doc can "kick my tires" to make sure I'll make it another 100,000 miles! Ha! 

This morning I got in my "baseline" glaucoma exam with the family's ophthalmologist (my contact optometrist has been bugging me to get this one in for several years now.) The exam comes complete with the obligatory pupil dilation that, frankly, lasted for close to nine hours (and we had a sunny day in Maryland to boot!) I couldn't see anything up close for five of those nine hours, so I did what I thought would be best, lay on the sofa wearing an "older" pair of glasses and watch Hallmark Christmas movies - and check on my pupils, in dilating back to normal, anytime I got up. It worked, they are back to "normal" just in time to hit the sack in a couple of hours. 



Sunday, December 20, 2020

Merry Little Decorating for 2020

I must admit, this year I did not pull out "all the stops" for decorating this year. No "big" tree with one ornament...and white lights, nor any other decorations. I dialed it back a tad, with two trees instead of one, albeit little bitty ones that came with their own white lights and decorations! Easy peasy! My purchase helped my local boy scout troop, and the trees are adorable. If lucky enough to have a couple of hearty ones, they can be planted outside (dwarf spruces) that could possibly grow to 6 or 8ft. tall.  

I also have my trusty wreath on the front door that I keep lit up day and night, oh, and I bought two red poinsettias that look beautiful and are just enough for this year of 2020.

Cheers to easy!



Photo below shows all our the decorations (I'm not kidding!)

Thursday, December 17, 2020

A December Rainbow Sunset

If you have read my blogpost for a few years, you know how I gush over the January skies and sunsets. But I have to tell you, the ones we've had in Maryland in December have been quite stellar. This one about knocked my socks off (wool ones in case you are wondering), as my living room was filled with a cascading light and filled every nook and cranny with the vestiges of fading sunbeams. Talk about a "rainbow sunset." This one fills the bill! #nofilter



Monday, December 14, 2020

Babybytes by Libby Jeffrey!

Becoming a brand new mom is difficult in the best of times, but what about having a baby this past year?  Let's face it, no matter where one lives in the world, we are living in daunting and challenging times, right?

One of my "classmates" in the Akimbo's Writing in Community, Libby Jeffrey, "pushed the button" to share with the world her brand spanking new book, Babybytes! Below is the summary on Amazon:

"Babybytes prose and poetry is a hopeful collection of the first nine months of motherhood. Whether it is giving birth during lockdown or forgetting to pack the sunhat, Libby Jeffrey embraces humour and honesty to explore the dramatic identity change of becoming a mom.Jeffrey’s reflective, rhythmic writing is a reminder of how much growth happens for new parents and their newborn. After grounding the book in the birth of her own son, themes of maternal lineage and creativity as an act of hope provides an inspired reminder that new moms have more in common than differences. Babybytes promises to create a feeling of belonging through shared experiences of motherhood, vulnerably told."

I could not be more proud of my classmates the world over shipping their work in the form on a book, either the kindle edition or paper version, and today, Libby gets that distinction! If ordered in the USA, it most likely will be delivered before Christmas - and a great gift for any new mother, heck, any mother!

If interested and willing to support her work, please check out her new book, hot off the press in the link provided here:


BSoleille! The bright side of sharing and celebrating with Libby Jeffrey and her "second" baby this year...her new  book!


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Wild Winter Lights!

According to my friend, Mary Pavlyshyn (a former employee of the Cleveland MetroParks Zoo), is that the zoo transformed itself into a winter wonderland in lights...and is totally awesome she says. She took her mom and aunt recently, and shared a few photos of how beautiful all the lights look throughout the entire park. If in Cleveland, I highly recommend going throughout this holiday season. This is all based on Mary's assessment, of course.

Mary then shared a photo of the cotton candy booth my mom worked in all those long ago summers...and worked there for years (my whole family worked at the zoo at one point or another, including my dad, since we lived so close). I can honestly say, she made the best cotton candy in the zoo, if not Cleveland, or the entire State of Ohio. Her cotton candy making techniques were the best around, and it was a lot harder than it looks. That big drum to spin the ingredients had to have the right amount of rotations and heat? before the sugar and coloring were added to make the puffy and silky candy that melted in your mouth by it's first touch on the tongue. She took great pride in the cotton candy she made those precious summers, and was an enthusiast for any child (from 2 to 92) to try it out, especially if it was their first time purchasing the tasty treat.

Funny thing, she always arrived home with the sticky sugar of either pink or blue in her hair and on her clothes, and we all loved the smell of that sugar wafting through the house. 

Cheers to those of you who enjoy a stick of cotton candy - especially at the ClevelandMetroPark Zoo!



Photos below courtesy of Mary Pavlyshyn - first one below was my mom's cotton candy stand

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Not so Chilly Chili

I did a bit of grocery shopping yesterday and bought ground meat (we like a turkey and beef combo) and fresh veggies. This morning, the big crockpot was screaming at me to make something...and preferably chili...on a not so chilly day. Who cares about the temperature outside? Inside of that crockpot the melded flavors of the meat, tomato sauce (using the canned sauce from this summer) vegetables, beans, jalapeno peppers and chili seasonings is simply scrumptious, and even better in a day or two. 

This may be my third time this season for the hearty meal that's best served in a bowl with a bit of cheese on top if you wish. This batch was so big, in fact, I needed to bring in a reserve crockpot for an additional 7-8 cups of deliciousness that would not fit properly in the big one!

BSoleille! What's in your crockpot?


Bill caught me at the stove in browning the meat...

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Scraps of Fun!

There are a lot of activities going on in the house, especially for me - finishing two quilts for the holidays (customers) and finishing my memoir, "The Focused Fight." But when my guild had our holiday zoom meeting last night, I had signed up for the annual block swap that we typically do at our December meeting...in person. Since that was not going to happen, I took out some Christmas themed "scraps" to make a few blocks - with one to swap on zoom. I had a lot of fun creating secondary patterns with a bunch of HST (half-square triangles) from my stash, that the 1/2 hour I "slotted" to make one block, turned into an afternoon affair. 

The top one on the right (green and white/red) is the block that was swapped. I loved that my creative juices were flowing and hope to do more of that spontaneous sewing soon!



Friday, December 4, 2020

Cover Girl! Aziza Shad!

I think I'll call this post a #CelebratingOthers - light! I am so excited to share that Dr. Aziza Shad (Ryan's pediatric oncologist through the years) was on the cover of the November 2020 issue of the Baltimore Magazine. It was a "surreal" moment when I was at the grocery store recently, and glanced at the row of magazines where in the Health section, the beautiful Aziza Shad was right there gracing the cover. This prestigious cover could not have gone to a better medical professional than her, who is the Ellen W.P. Wasserman Chair of Pediatrics at the Herman & Walter Samuelson Children's Hospital at Sinai, and one of the most brilliant doctors and scientists you can ever know. And lucky for us...at our side for years, along with thousands of children throughout the DC and Baltimore Metropolitan areas. 

For all of us she has graciously provided her wonderful brand of care of kindness and compassion to better serve each and every patient she serves, and indirectly, the entire family. We are forever grateful!



Thursday, December 3, 2020

This is What 62 Looks Like!

With eyes of blue, they are 62 (Bill, and identical twin, Don)! My how times fly and both of them are now eligible for social security benefits - but not yet, too much to do and learn (and someone called them "old.") 

Bill reflected this morning that he still feels 25, and I believe that is the correct attitude, and don't let the "number" dictate how you should feel. We will "celebrate" tomorrow when "The Best Daughter" is in the house, and order out - this time Italian - Bill's wishes. I think we can accomodate the ask!

Happy Birthday to the best guy a girl could ask for; funny, happy, and the light of my life!