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!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloweenie 2021!

Boo! The kids are back and trick or treating and having fun (or so it seems like to me with a plethora of kids traversing the neighborhood donning fantastic costumes). 

I took the below photo of a crew with the most clever idea I've seen in awhile - A door on wheels that said "Knock." Behind it three kids stood and handed out candy to one and all. 

Happy Halloween!

A trio of treaters

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Ewing Wedding Weekend!

A crazy week with running two 5K's and two weddings back to back. Today's events began in the afternoon in Dewey Beach, Delaware, with the marriage of Katie Ewing to Matthew Hudak. The rain from yesterday broke with sunshine today! Plus, nothing can beat the salty air of the ocean with 100+ people to help celebrate the nuptials of a great couple. 

We were delighted to share the beautiful beachside ceremony with Karen and Dale Ewing and the Installnet Family we've gotten to know through the years. We couldn't be happier for the bride and groom and their families! 

Love is definitely in the October air! 



Photos below from the Ewing-Hudak wedding:

Katie and Matt

Dale (FOB) and Katie

Will (bride's brother) and Karen (MOB)

Ryan and Katie (good friends!)

Friday, October 29, 2021

Kozlowski Wedding

A Friday afternoon church wedding followed by a great reception in Baltimore was everything for the blushing bride, Alyssa Kozlowski, and her handsome groom, Matthew Miller. The beautiful day (even a "little" rain could not hurt) was made possible by the couple along with Alyssa's parents, John and Angie, and Matt's Dad. I love a good wedding, and this one did not disappoint!

Live wedding bands are back! The energy in rocking the ballroom was electric and it seemed everyone was having a great time.  Congratulations to the happy couple!!! I couldn't be happier for the Kozlowski-Miller families.



The happy couple: Alyssa and Matt

Alex (brother of the bride) & Angie (mom of bride

Precious moment with John and his daughter Alyssa moments before walking her down the aisle. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Two 5K's for the Win...I Mean Week!

I guess it could be considered a win; running and some walking in two different 5K's for worthy foundations for this week. This past Sunday was an in-person race at the Baltimore Zoo for the kids at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore. Today virtual run benefitted Special Love, Inc cancer based camps for siblings, cancer kids and families. Juggling work schedules with "The Best Daughter" and hubby Bill, we were finally able to start our 3.1 mile jaunt a little before 5pm. Since it's getting darker and a bit cooler when the sun finally sets, we wanted to get out to enjoy those last vestiges of a sunny evening (big rains expected tomorrow). We were not disappointed. It was a perfect evening for shorts and our race T-shirt. 

We had a blast running/walking/talking together even though the Crofton Parkway has been our run/bike/race course for over 25 years running...pun intended! 



Wednesday, October 27, 2021

For the Lady in the Soccer Suit - It's a Wrap!

Last evening I wrapped up my last game of high school soccer season in the state of Maryland. Can you see I’m doing the Happy Dance? Wearing shorts and short sleeve jerseys since late August, I had to don a pair of sweats over my shorts and a long sleeved jersey over my coat. It was supposedly 60 degrees…but with 25 MPH winds and gusts faster than that, it was COLD! Autumn has definitely arrived in the Mid-Atlantic. I even wore a pair of mittens and never took them off the entire match.

The game was fine, senior night for the home team. They were all excited for their after game festivities that I think the actual game was an afterthought. Thankfully they won the game  over their opponent 2-nil. However, towards the end of the game, I became aware of one of the home team’s player with a band-aid covering an earring high on her earlobe. This is a cautionable offense (yellow card) with the first card going to the coach for any jewelry on a player. The second, third and so on cards go the players. What pained me was that this coach is the nicest guy in the world, and one of the best coaches in Maryland. I’m aghast that he had to end his regular season with a card. 

A reader of a The Lady in the Soccer Suit story may think, “why didn’t she (referee) ask about jewelry in the first place?” Ahh, that’s a good question. That is the top topic addressed with each coach (and the team) before the start of a match. They (the coaches…and the players) are supposed to “know the rules” in high school which includes NO jewelry of any kind. By the way, the “rules" are call “laws” in USSF/Club/Travel ball. Thanks for asking about this clarification.

To celebrate this momentous occasion on the last HS match for me in 2021, I went to my local pharmacy, with a late evening appointment on board, for my Covid-19 booster. No line, no worry. I hope I am covered for the cooties for at least another six month. 

I feel the time is right to focus in on my writing, as well as getting back to the Kindlings in WIC3. When I am not writing, I have a plethora of quilting jobs to finish and ship out. 


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

10 Hours of Sleep!

Let me ask...when was the last time you slept 10 hours straight and were not sick? Well, when the lights went out last night around 8:30 pm, while sewing, mind you, I decided to turn in. In darkness until I found my phone and its flashlight, I unplugged the iron and sewing machine. My next move -  I headed straight to bed. Oh, I stopped by to use the bathroom and brush my teeth, but I couldn't wait to slide under a couple of quilts to slumber. When I made up my mind to go to bed, I never wasted a second to wait and see when the lights come back on. 

Thankfully, I fell fast to sleep which is unusual for me. My alarm woke me at precisely 7:00 am. I felt refreshed and renewed when I opened my eyes. I have no idea when I slept that many hours before last night, but I know it's been a long time for sure. 

Perhaps as the weather cools, some fall rains come in and daylight savings time ends, I'll be able to sneak in another long night in slumber. Not sure about 10 hours, but at least 8!



Old-fashioned quilt I quilted/put the blocks together with gifted feed sack blocks

Monday, October 25, 2021

What’s a Little Rain

We’ve had a dry fall so far. Three days of rain and a bit tonight. However, the other rainy nights did not knock out the power like this evening. So this is my blog, from my phone which is losing battery life quickly. 

No photo to attach because this format won’t let me. Yep, limping along right now. Thank goodness for old fashioned candles that can light up the home better than the phone flashlight that doesn’t drain the battery!

Good night!



Sunday, October 24, 2021

We are Winners! Race for the Kids!

Or at least that is what the announcer said at the Race for Our Kids with the late Robert Damie (family sponsor) at the Maryland Zoo this morning. Since there was a snafu with the electronic racing equipment, no one ran either the 10K, 5K or 1 mile fun walk. We actually all ran and walked more; therefore awards couldn't be held. It was determined we were all winners—for participating in the great event to raise funds for the children at Lifebridge Health/Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, MD. 

Bill and I were signed up for the 5K (3.1 miles) and ended up with about 3.8. We were grateful for the extra steps. We were in the middle of the pack so no awards ever entered the picture for us! We were thrilled to be a part of a great cause. 

As part of the race fee, there was a yummy breakfast by The Classic Catering People and entrance to the zoo. Since we had obligations at home on the calendar, we only snuck in seeing the African Penguins, a snow owl and a big fat porcupine. 



Saturday, October 23, 2021

Late October Roses!

I can't believe my front yard garden(s) of flowers are still blooming! It's late October and our mild weather here in the Mid-Atlantic has lent itself to continued mowing since the grass is still growing, along with  some leaves turning color and falling. One night it dipped into the 40's and the very next morning we had a carpet of pine needles shed from the huge pine in our backyard. Almost instantly it went from dark green pine needles to burnt orange (and kind of sticky too.) They almost need to be broomed away.

While out this afternoon and as I pulled into the driveway, I noticed pink blossoms out of the corner of my eye. I didn't see them earlier in the day. My light pink rosebush that doesn't bloom all that often had several flowering heads and a few buds ready to spring into action. My knockout rose bushes continue their color here into autumn too. They only "sleep" with super cold weather. 

The photo below shows the white flowers and pink roses. The white flowers have been blooming since August which usually last about two weeks. It's been two month of them this year. 

What is going on?




Friday, October 22, 2021

The Tomoff Nest

I've been inspired by my Shoebox Swap with 11 other sewists/quilters. We've been at it since February swapping blocks of all shapes and sizes from Maryland to Florida to Arizona. Sometimes we reveal what we finished in our group texts. Sometimes not. 

One swapper, Deb Carter, wants House Blocks. That cover a lot of ground including a house that people live in, or a doghouse, birdhouse or even a bee-hive. They are all shelters for creatures of every shape and size.

The thought of a making a birdhouse resonated with me. I had so much fun making Deb's block, I decided to make one for me and my family (I am assuming Deb will be making a quilt with all her blocks). I made mine just a little bigger for a wall hanging that I'm naming: The Tomoff Nest. 

My creative juices were flowing this afternoon in making and finishing this miniature quilt/wall-hanging. Those juices spilled over for me to the other quilts (T-shirt quilts) I'm still working on as well. The divergence of making something cute put me in a great and festive mood. Oh, and the size is 12.5"X14.5"



Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Day Off - Microwave on the Blink

Oh, we all like a day off, even in the blogging world. While the countdown is on for reaching 3,000 points by years end, I still have to ask "Siri" how many days are left in the year so I can gauge these "days off."  

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I'm happy I still have a few to play with but the writing will continue for sure! 

Plus, our fairly new microwave, our second in seven years after updating our kitchen, is on the blink. They seem to be disposable nowadays which is such a shame. I think the cost for a repair will definitely be more than buying another new one. Ours is the kind that goes over the stove. I really do not think it makes a difference, but these two Whirlpools we've purchased have not made the grade. I had to go with another brand in principle alone.



Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Moon Haiku

Full moon rising up

Light and bright called Hunter's Moon

October moonshine

Plus a very Happy Birthday to my younger sister, Kimberly. I gave you the moon tonight!

Monday, October 18, 2021

Footnote to Yesterday's Post:

I couldn’t see 25 years down the road (who can?). What I found with that diagnosis and what was swirling around us (bad news compounding), I sometimes could not see past the day, let alone a week.

That’s why it is a HUGE blessing that we’ve experienced, yes, experienced the good, bad and the ugly for 25 years!

I’ll take it. Too many did not have a chance to rack up days, or weeks, let alone years.

Thank you for the beautiful comments. Today is another day to enjoy!



Ryan loving his flat top grill while smokin' something else! Everything coming off his fleet of grills is DELICIOUS! Ry'sGuysBBQ rocks!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Milestone! Ryan's 25th Cancerversary

It's was 25 years ago—October 17, 1996 (almost exactly in time on the clock too) as I write this as Bill, Ryan and I began winding our way through the streets of Georgetown in Washington, DC, to the same named hospital. This is the same day he was diagnosed with leukemia at 1:00 pm in the afternoon at our local pediatrician's office. The doctor knew Ryan needed to be in a cancer center and called all the major hospitals in the area that accepted our insurance and would call her back while we waited in a small exam room. Of course, I did not have a clue what was up at that time. Boy, have I gotten an education in the last 25 years though...

Of course, our lives forever changed that day. I wrote about a lot of that day, and many others, in my recently published book, The Focused Fight. I will never forget it. My family will never forget that day. But I am so glad I wrote the book so I do not have to remember all that detail any longer; it's written down now for Ryan and Olivia and others looking for hope and inspiration with a loved one.

To see Ryan battle his cancer over and over again, our community rally, family and friends doing all they could to help us, all this good will and kindness will never leave my heart and soul. If I can say a million times: Thank you, that would never be enough. I think my family feels the same way.

As a milestone poster, I could never not highlight the silver anniversary of Ryan's original diagnosis. That strong-willed boy at 2 years old fought off his cancer like a highly trained soldier. Many know his story. I'm still shaking my head after 25 years of all the CRAP he went through. 

Ryan is an awesome young man of 27 years now. His sister, Olivia, I affectionately call, "The Best Daughter" is also doing very well. Our family knows the significance of a cancerversary; especially one like today, 25 years in the making to get to this fantastic day in our lives.

There are so many people to thank, and we will try to do that the rest of our days. We couldn't have survived and still be standing if not for the village that surrounded us year after year. 

Giving back is our life's mission.



Saturday, October 16, 2021

The Why of The Lady in the Soccer Suit Referees Soccer

Tiger Woods has been the number one golfer in the world for years (before compounding injuries/personal disasters). Do you know why? Because he has a strong mental state; nothing can bother him on the course. Ever. He never lets the previous hole/swing/chip/putt affect the next hole/swing/chip/putt. He has a heart and head of steel while on the golf course. This has been since his youth. 

While my son was battling through his cancers we met a young doctor who shared with us that he was a good golfer and played against Tiger Woods a lot, especially in their youth and college. This doc never beat Tiger, but was close a few times. Do you know why? He was always thinking of what he should have done on the previous hole/swing/chip/putt. When this doc attempted to make the cut on the pro tour, he came up short. Thankfully, he was a smart guy and pursued medicine instead. He’s a successful physician now.

So, why do I bring up Tiger, this doc, and the reason I referee soccer? Because what I have found through the years and lots of games, it’s all a mental thing. For me, when I hear parents and coaches screaming either at me, or the kids, I did deep into my soul and think of all the kids that wish they could be playing soccer and can’t due to severe medical challenges. Right then and there my thoughts change my attitude and I no longer hear the screams of disappointment or ugliness of the game at hand. There are times (quick and fleeting thoughts) when I think of my son Ryan on the gurney right at the edge of the huge OR doors facing surgery to have half his tongue removed at age 21 due to cancer. Having that quick thought reminds me that what’s in front of me is just a game. 

If and when I need to stop a game to walk over to a coach to quell his absurd measures of dissent, I quietly, even whisper, talk about kids who would love to be on the pitch and can’t be due to those medical challenges already mentioned. This seems to arrest most of the coaches behavior. Those few words snap them out of their crazy banter and the attitude of “win at all costs” by screaming and yelling at anything to get their way. 

To continually work on a strong mental state, like Tiger’s on the golf course, is my superpower on the pitch. It’s why I go back to the game assigned to me each time. 


"The Best Daughter" Olivia on the Pitch!

Friday, October 15, 2021

The Lady in the Soccer Suit has Fans!

It is a misnomer to think that in any sport there are only two opposing teams for the competition. In fact, there are three teams on the field; Team A, Team B and the referee team. Referees typically do not have fans accept when you call a foul on the opposing team. Heckles from the fans and coaches are inevitable. They are a part of the game as a long pass or a time out or half time. There is very little, if any, win-wins. That’s the crust of the competition for one team to come out on top at the final buzzer or whistle. Only the best teams and coaches can take a loss with their heads held high. Somethings in life are just bigger than the game. I do see that scenario play out but not enough unfortunately. 

But…when the referee has some fans in the stands there is a pep in the step knowing someone is on their side no matter what the call happens to be, or the turnout of the game. I was lucky to have my husband and daughter at a recent game. They are both astute students of the game now that Olivia is no longer playing. They both have been referees as well. They know the split second decisions that need to be made, the dynamic play from both teams, safety of players, plus know the Laws of the Game inside and out that's needed when out on the pitch—especially in the center referee position. 

Both Bill and Olivia have not seen me referee in several years. They knew I’ve been honing my skills and being the best I could be out there. The game was a Girls High School Varsity with lots of pride on the line for both teams (isn’t it always, though?). Teams are vying to get into the public school playoffs, so each kick, pass and run is critical. 

As the sun was setting and a half moon was rising with a perfect game time temperature, I have to admit, the girls brought an exciting match.  No goals were scored during regulation. In our state, if there is a tie at the end of regulation, the rules state that the game will go into (2) 10 minute overtime periods; golden goal. Golden goal means if a player scores that’s it, they win. Game over. 

After the first 10 minutes of OT; scoreless. Both teams had a couple of chances but nothing came of it. It took six minutes into the second OT when a player from the home team shot a  rocket into the goal for the win! The keeper was out of position and this player took advantage and took a chance. Goalllllllll!!!! The stadium erupted and the girls were excited to win in front of the home team crowd. 

With a big smile on my face, I walked over to the stands to greet my “fans" and take a few photos. It was great to have their silent support, but they sure had a great match to take in on a beautiful weeknight. I am grateful beyond measure!




Thursday, October 14, 2021

Cars, Cars, Cars

I continue to "throw paint at the wall" in my writing nowadays. I've been sharing some soccer stories here as in The Lady in the Soccer Suit as well as some car stories about the jalopies/fleet of vehicles I've/we've owned/borrowed/rented through the years. It's been big fun reflecting back on what wheels I've been behind riding down the highways and byways of our great land.

In the Writing in Community that I've been a part of for over a year and a half is the safe space where I flesh out my stories. Currently, I am having a ball on with writing about car stories. I am also interested in other people's car stories too. Maybe you can help me?

If you are interested in writing/talking/sending me a favorite car story, I would be greatly honored. It may show up in a future book, with your permission of course. Please let me know if interested. 

Think about it while you are rolling down the highway...

You can find me at www.territomoff.com or on Facebook in this thread. 

BSoleille! The bright side of THANK YOU! 


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Back to BEE!

Through the last year and a half, I never lost contact with my quilting bee: Just Sew. We zoomed every week like most of the world did. In the last few months we have returned to in-person bees. It's grand. We all missed each other like crazy. It's a good thing for women to have creative outlets...and share that energy and enthusiasm with like minded people. My sewing sisters are the elixir for me more than they know (and we do talk about everything under the sun.)

I love to host too. The house gets a quick tidy and it feels good to have folks in our house once again. I hosted a month or so ago, and will have another one coming up in November. I even made a lunch for my bee-mates which was appreciated (we usually pack our lunches no matter what house we are sewing in). 

Today we were at Susie Stevenson's for bee. I worked on flannel scraps and started to put together a small quilt. It was fun to play with the flannel fabrics and create something on the spot. Sometimes I am referred to as the "Queen of Wing." The moniker fits for days like today...winging it with whatever scraps I have on hand (or in my plastic zip-lock bag).



Photos from hosting on Sept. 15, 2021

Deb Hoppe; Susie; Debbi Carter, Carrie Casto and Karen Todd


Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Lady in the Soccer Suit - "NO Jewelry"

It’s in the Law 4 of the Game of soccer (FIFA/High School/Club) that NO body jewelry of any kind is allowed on the soccer pitch. Simple. Plain as day. This includes necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, hair beads, leather bands, rubber bands, etc., which, again, are strictly forbidden and must be removed to play. The guiding principle is player safety and the integrity of the game. 

Year after year, I see players disregarding this law. Oh, they try to get away with it almost every game, but good referees catch the infraction, hopefully, before a tragic accident could occur. Say for instance that a goalkeeper has an earring way up high on her ear. She is getting pounded in the goal with the ball. What if an errant ball kicked with such force hits that keeper in the side of her head where the earring is located and that earring goes right into, or through, her head. Or a forward that has a nose ring (covered with a band-aid, mind you) and gets hit by a defender that blows out the not only ring, but half her nose too. Would she, or the parent, after the fact blame the center referee for “allowing” that earring/nose ring to be worn in the first place? 

Why would anyone one, referee, player, parent or coach want to let a player wear anything that is dangerous to him or herself or another player? That is my burning question every single time I see a player trying to get away with this Law. 

Someone once said to me that it’s almost like the referee needs an attorney on the sideline to help enforce the Laws of the Game and protect all the referees on the pitch. I couldn’t agree more.

Frankly, I’ve resorted myself as the jewelry police on the pitch. I hear in practically every match that the previous referee “allowed” play to continue with the wearing of jewelry. My response to that is, "I’m not that ref." I then go on to say, "you do not have to remove any jewelry, but you cannot step onto the field of play and enter the match.” I typically get snide remarks, eye rolls and sighs of exasperation. I take it all in stride because I know I am protecting them and all players on the pitch no matter how much they pitch a fit.

"The Best Daughter" who played soccer from age 5 through college lost more jewelry by taking it off before each practice and match because she would forget where she stored it. By the time she was in her late teens, she didn’t wear a lick of jewelry because it wasn’t worth trying to remember the “safe space” she hid it. It’s only in the last couple of years that she has started to wear jewelry once again, at 29 years old. Some habits die hard.  

Be safe out on the pitch! Tell you kids and grandkids, neighbor kids and nieces and nephews. You will save a lot of potential injuries.



Monday, October 11, 2021

A Plate of Salt Caramel Brownies

The taste of deliciousness is definitely a plate of salt caramel brownies. Most know I love a CCC (chocolate chip cookie), or three or four to make sure that first one is a good one. But a plate of brownies has got to ride shotgun to the CCC. I wouldn't call it second best. No, it's up there; a bit different than a cookie that's all. That carmel was oozing out of the brownies once out of the oven that screamed, "EAT ME." We had to put tinfoil on the plate so there would be no taste testers going on until we arrived at our destination to share them (and leave all the extras!). 

I had to do something with the beautiful glass plate I received as a gift this summer. I felt the brownies would do the plate justice. It certainly did.

When I say, "never underestimate the power of a CCC," right behind that one is, "never underestimate the power of a plate of brownies," too. 

They are always appreciated!



Sunday, October 10, 2021

10/10/21 or Ten for Ten

On this 10th Day of the 10th month, I decided to list the 10 for 10 things I'm thankful for today:

My family, immediate and extended (always hoping for good health!)

My friends doing all kinds of cool stuff (I see you on social media!)

My bee-mates and guild mates making and creating beautiful quilts and other quilty things (mostly to give to others!)

My cohort of world-wide writing friends that I've had the pleasure to meet through Zoom rooms and a few IRL this past summer.

My legs, heart and stamina that I can referee seven games of soccer in two days.

My full fridge of good food for tasty meals in the next week.

My beautiful flowers that my family surprised me with a couple of weeks ago that are still kicking and bring me joy.

My memories of funny stories that I continue to write about every single day (here in the blog and in The Writing in Community - now in its third session)

My iPhone. It's a hand-held rocket of information that is one of the best inventions in the 21st century. It's a camera too. What doesn't it do?

My blog readers! You have been the wind beneath my wings for the last almost 10 years. I am closing in on my 3,000th post very soon. I can't thank you enough!



Saturday, October 9, 2021

Sometimes this Happens...

A Lady in the Soccer Suit Story:

The game of soccer is rough and tumble. With little or no protection on players except shin guards, or maybe a mouth guard, players are exposed to all kinds of injuries. It is what it is. Fùtbol is hugely popular with players in practically every nation; boys and girls/men and women loving the sport with abandon. Fandom is off the charts with at least 2 Billion followers of the game. 

However, no one wants to see a severe injury. I certainly do not, especially when I am the center referee. But, there are times that things like these happen on the field and it is no one's fault. The players are playing the ball, and collisions happen (we call these types of plays - 50/50). 

I hope the player that was sent off in an ambulance is on the mend to a full recovery no matter how big or small the injury!



Friday, October 8, 2021

Two Ways of Adopting a Puppy Dog...

There are a few ways to adopt a puppy dog. Below I highlight two ways: through the foster program, or fire by storm on-the-spot—wham bam thank you ma'am. 

A friend of mine has recently "adopted" a cute puppy dog. She was able to tell the story on how hard it is to adopt a furry pet, perhaps almost as hard as adopting a human being, or at least that was her experience. The foster mom actually drove out to her house, a two hour drive, mind you, each way, to do an extensive home visit...twice. Not only did my friend and her family need to make the cut, but so did her other cute dog. Not only is her cute dog well trained and behaved, he has the dubious distinction of being a CGG, a Canine Good Citizen. Apparently, the first time the foster mom visited, everything checked out except their CGC dog. The foster mom left no further information regarding if they were "in the running" or not when leaving their home. Hmmm...

A few weeks later, the foster mom reached out to my friend once again. Maybe she'd gone through everyone on the previous list of who wanted this pup, and they were not quite the right fit either. I'm betting no one had a CGC dog like my friend, who they thought they were still in the running. So the foster mom drove back out to my friends' for another and last visit. This time, however, they were a fit. The puppy dog is theirs now for a trial basis. 

This story got me thinking of how we adopted our last pet; a dog name Lucy (AKA - spelling only; Loo-C-Loo). Once our beloved Wally dog passed away, it left such a huge whole in my heart, I couldn't take it anymore. I wanted another dog pronto like Wally. The winter holidays were upon us and it wasn't the right time to try and tackle finding a suitable pet. I waited it out, still pining for a new dog every day even though we had our Lucky dog, a poodle-mix.

Another good friend, K, who knew about my predicament and my hurting heart, felt similarly about a year earlier when her lovey dog passed. She got another furry friend quickly to fill that "void." 

While volunteering at the elementary school where our kids attended, K happened to be in a classroom with a teacher who was lamenting that her sister had a six month old husky/lab mix puppy, but paid it no mind. While this teacher's parents were visiting their other daughter in the South over the holidays, they couldn't take how the dog was being treated. They told this daughter (and husband) that they were going to take the pup back home with them up North when they left. The thinking was that they were retired teachers with lot of friends and contacts, and that this pup would be scooped up in a New York minute once home. 

On their way up North, they stopped in Maryland to visit their teacher daughter and her family. Everyone in her household loved the dog, but she was not interested in keeping her. She agreed with her parents to find a new family once they got back home. 

During the first week of January when the kids were back in the classroom after the Christmas break, K began telling the teacher that the Tomoff's were looking for a dog, as they lost one of theirs shortly after Thanksgiving. One thing led to another as those things go, and before I knew it, I was driving up to the school to meet with the teacher's parents to see if this puppy would be compatible with Lucky.

I parked in the school parking lot a few cars/vans down from where the teacher's parents parked. I opened up my van door as they walked up. I wanted Lucky to come out of the van to "meet" this new puppy. Well, Lucky never got out of the van. Lucy jumped in like she belonged. Before I could say or do anything, the teacher's dad threw in Lucy's leash and closed my van door. Case closed. The dog was mine now. I couldn't believe what just happened. I took it as a sign that it will all work out. 

Driving away from the school, I realized I didn't have any "puppy" supplies, nor a crate. Lucky was 5 years old by then and small—18 lbs. I called a friend in the neighborhood that had big dogs to ask if I could borrow a crate in which she obliged. Then I had to call my hubby, Bill. I knew instinctively he would not be happy about "taking" the dog without his consent too. When I called him to report on the situation, he thought we were just having the dogs meet each other. So did I. 

Once home and settled in that first night, I told Bill that I could "return" Lucy to the teacher's parents the next day, as they would have no trouble in finding a home for her. Though I understood that he was upset about the turn of events so quickly (from meet and greet to adoption on the spot), and rightfully so, he acquiesced by finally saying, "that dog is not going anywhere, this will be her home from now on." I was a bit shocked by this announcement though I must admit I did a tiny happy dance in my mind. 

Loo-c-Loo was one of the great ones. Once she got through the puppy stage she was awesome. She barked once a year whether she needed to or not. She got along well with Lucky and other dogs who came to visit, sometimes for long weekends. She was pensive as times, an introvert in a doggie kind of way, with piercing deep blue eyes coupled with a shiny black coat. She topped out at 75 lbs. 

Looking back she was a great asset in our home. She worked out beautifully, and I'll always be grateful for the time we had with her, and our other dogs, of course. They all made our lives complete, especially while raising kids.

Maybe someday we will get another furry friend.



Loo-c-Loo and Lucky on the sofa

Thursday, October 7, 2021

It's That Time of Year Again - Cozy Quilts!

Well, we could be thinking of sweater weather, tailgate parties, Oktoberfest gatherings, and...snuggling under a cozy quilt. However, the weather in the Mid-Atlantic has been quite warm so far with temps in the 70's and 80's for the second week of Roctober!

This will not affect the members of the Southern Comforters of Bowie, MD, who never quit in doing their part to provide comfort quilts to many in our area. Thankfully, the guild was able to meet up in person recently at the Crofton Library (in Maryland) to work on kits, sew bindings, quilt the quilts and organize fabric for the kits to be distributed amongst the members. No task is too big or small for someone to tackle, even a novice sewist/quilter can be involved.

Through the years, my quilt guild has donated thousands of quilts to the pediatric and adult cancer wards; hospices; school-age children with disabilities and veterans of wars. When the need arises, our members step up to the plate and deliver loving hand-made quilts for those in need. 

Today I was able to long-arm quilt two community quilts, plus sew on the bindings of each quilt and the binding of another quilted one (the quilts were prepped and sewn by other members before I got them to Long-Arm). When we all work together, beautiful things happen. When we give as individuals or as guild members, we raise each other up too. 

The photos below are the quilts done today; and members of SoCo working on quilts at the Library. #winwin



Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Easy Frittata for Dinner!

I had a hankering for quiche today but did not have all the ingredients.  So I pivoted into the frittata realm and looked for an easy recipe to use items I already had on board. Easy enough. I found a super easy recipe and had most of the items "required." There is always the idea of mix and match with things suggested and what's really on hand; that's how I like to roll in the kitchen.

Initially I wanted eggs and spinach. Adding the extras was divine—a red onion, garlic, a yellow pepper, a large cut up tomato and salt and pepper. The slow(er) sauteéing helps the veggies, and 10 eggs whisked up and spread over the pan was key. The eggs set with the veggies in the 375 degree oven for 13 minutes and looked great upon exiting. Tasting it after another five minutes was heavenly!

Looking for yummy? This dish, even for dinner, was a great choice. If interested, you can check out the full recipe here: frittata- not only for breakfast!



Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Hey Potential Writers/Book Authors!

Some people may know that I have been Writing in Community (WIC) since June of 2020. Hubby Bill has been too. When I started my memoir, The Focused Fight in July of 2016, I had all intentions of writing and publishing the book, hopefully sooner than later. However, that later took me five years to complete. It wasn't until I got into WIC that everything changed for me and that I found my writing people and my voice to finish that doggone manuscript once and for all. 

Honestly, I didn't know what I didn't know. The generous support and care of the community helped me bring this book home over the next nine months. It was the daily practice of writing that catapulted me and many others, not necessarily for a book (though there were those too), but perhaps written content for a blogpost, newsletter, Facebook post, LinkedIn and other social media outlets, or just plain fun. 

Have you dabbled in poetry?  Ever wanted to write a children's book? Have you ever thought you'd like to write a legacy piece for your children and grandchildren? The WIC is a safe space to explore all those options and more. There is no one red-lining your work. It's up to you on how much you want to share with others or write each day - even for 15 minutes. It's a world-wide cohort of people hailing from every part of the globe. 

It will enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams. 

Here is the link if interested (and permission for yourself to invest in yourself): https://www.akimbo.com/writingincommunity

The next Writing in Community starts October 11, 2021. I hope to see you there!



Bill wrote his autobiography and used lulu.com to publish (2) copies of Living Life...Off the Track
and me with my self-published memoir- The Focused Fight (ebook/paperback on Amazon)

The Lady in the Soccer Suit - (Continued)

One kid from the opposing team took a shot from 40 yards out (keeper still way out of position) and launched it over his head and into the goal. Score 5-1. About five minutes later, another kid took a stab at a long ball and scored from about the 35 yard line; once again, over the keepers head and into the back of the net. There was no fanfare with the opposing team. They set back up quickly for the restart in the middle of the field. Score 5-2. The home team coach was still cool with the score, and did not say much to his team, thinking they could keep the lead. Ten minutes later, another launch from the opposing team and the score now: 5-3.

It was at this juncture that the coach from the home team got up from his chair. He started to shout to his players, especially the keeper to stay on his line. Well, as with any teenagers, I think this kid wasn’t going to listen to the coach and continued staying outside of his box, leaving a huge gap for anyone from the opposing players to score from just about anywhere on the field. Guess what? They punted in another goal: Score: 5-4.

The home team coach now began screaming at his players to step up their play. When I looked at my watch, there was less than 8 minutes left to play. Four minutes later, the opposing team shot a rocket into the goal and tied it up at 5-5. Everyone was on their feet now; parents, coaches and all the players, including both benches. I signaled to my crew that they were doing great with a thumbs up. We needed to be cool as there was only a few minutes left. 

When the time wined down to one minute left, there was a hush over the field.  The opposing coach said the magic Spanish word to his player who launched the winning goal with seconds of time expiring. The crowd went wild! I called it a Disney goalllllll! 

In a 35 minute half with 6 goals scored, the average length of time between them would be about 5-6 minutes. In effect, that’s what the opposing team did. Their coach never yelled or screamed at his players, but instead, had out coached the home team’s coach in a huge win and I’ll-never-forget-it kind of way. 

That day was a great day for soccer. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it; or the two AR’s that worked with me that beautiful Saturday afternoon. 

As a side note: as impartial the referees need to be in any game, I was secretly hoping that the opposing team would make it a good game once they started scoring. I was also happy for them when they came out of that match with a win. They sure earned it fair and square! 



Monday, October 4, 2021

The Lady in the Soccer Suit: #3 (Part 1)

Have you ever watched a Disney movie with the last goal of a game goes in to win it at the last second? Or a fast pitch closes the game to win the pennant? I call those Disney moments. In real life one doesn’t see it often, but they are out there to witness when we are there at the right time.

Several years ago I refereed in the center position of a U14 Boys soccer match. My AR’s (Assistant Referees) were a father and son duo that were fairly new to officiating soccer. They actually were great even as the match got more and more intense by the minute.

For U14’s, the match has 35 minute halves with a 5 minute rest in between. The home team was playing a different county team that the coach only spoke in Spanish. I took it that most of, if not all, his players understood every word he was saying during the game as well as his instruction while on the field. 

Once I blew the first whistle to start, It did not take too long for the home team to start racking up goals. The local coach was happy that his players were following his instructions and sat down on his chair once he took a commanding lead. It looked like his coaching had paid off. The score was 5-0 at halftime.

Undaunted, the opposing coach with the severe deficit in scoring did not even flinch. The teams came back onto the field for the second half ready to play and have fun. Interestingly, the keeper for the home team was way out of his goal area and close to the half line. Apparently, he thought the opposing team would never cross the middle of the field. While watching the home team keeper, the opposing coach started taking chances and began to instruct his players to kick the ball from anywhere on the field towards the goal. I saw kicks from the 50 yard line, all the way to the 6 yard line or whenever they had a chance to run toward their end of the field/goal area.

This is where the fun began…




Olivia in 2008 - Now that is focus!!

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Another Story from: The Lady in the Soccer Suit

This past week I refereed about 9 or 10 games. They tend to run together in my mind unless an incident pulls me out of the soccer trance.

Earlier in the week I refereed two high school JV games in an afternoon; girls, then the boys. The two teams were from neighboring towns/high schools and they were ready to compete. However the home team did not have the caliber of players as their opponent, and it showed from the first whistle. Once the away team had a significant lead, the coach decided to clear his bench and let every kid play in the match. I love when they do that!

Let me digress for a second regarding a first. A first kiss, a first pet, a first communion, a first loss of someone close. You get the picture. That game there was a first goal in soccer for one young man on the away team. His proudly wore the #12. He had about one chance with the ball and took it seriously enough to launch it over the keeper’s hands and into the back of the net.

Screams of excitement erupted from every member of the goal scorer's team. Even the coach was jumping around and high fiving all his players. I did not understand what all the hullabaloo was about until the coach came up to me and said that #12 just scored his very first goal in soccer—EVER! He then went on to add that this kid has played since he was 5, and never scored until that very moment on the pitch that I also witnessed.

What a treat! What a pleasure. I even high fived/fist pumped him when he was summoned off the field during a substitution. This kid, deservingly so, was on a complete soccer high, surrounded by his teammates that were equally happy for him.

I guess that’s why (at times) it’s called the Beautiful Game



Saturday, October 2, 2021

The Lady in the Soccer Suit Story

One day when I stopped at a friends house in a community I was refereeing a game in, one of her son's came to the door after I rang the doorbell. When he saw me standing there in my soccer gear, he screamed for his mom that "the lady in the soccer suit is here!" Hence the name; The Lady in the Soccer Suit.

Every now and again I have a good soccer referee story to share. This week I have a smaller one, but a good one too.

I had all day to think about a game that I was doing in the evening this past week. A six o’clock start with a girl’s varsity match in Annapolis, MD. I was assigned an AR position, or Assistant Referee (running up and down the sideline with a flag, most notably to catch off-sides by the attacking team) It was a glorious day, and the evening was supposed to be just as stellar, though a bit cooler. It was! The sunshine and shadows were stark now that we are into the autumn season.

I knew the other referees assigned to the game, with the other female assigned as the center ref slot. When I arrived at the field, the boys varsity match was on the pitch and our game would be slightly delayed. No problem.

The other male ref assigned to the girls match was already there talking to the AD. Greetings all around as I walked up and we all watched the boys match until the final whistle. As soon as the match concluded both girls teams were quickly filing into the stadium. It was approximately 5:45pm and the center ref was no where around. That was not like her to not be at the field at least 30 minutes before game time.

I’m still in my cocoon brain in thinking this will be an easy night as an AR. A few minutes later I saw our assignor walking onto the field. He was dressed like he was going to ref too. Once he got to the area between the teams and where we place our bags, he said that the center ref was on her way to the hospital with a bad finger bleed. She would not be able to ref the game. He then said that he could do the center, or one of us AR’s. I looked over to the young AR, and asked him if he wanted it (the pay much better than the AR), and he politely declined saying he’s done too many of them lately.

Well, that left me. I quickly left that cocoon of an easy night and stepped up to the task of taking the center. We had already checked players, coin toss, balls etc., and the assignor did not care if he did that position or not.

It was the best match of high school I have refereed in six weeks of the season so far. The play (especially by the away team) was at the highest level. When running down the field, I finally asked the center midfielder what club team she played for because these were not the run of the mill players I typically see playing high school soccer. When she said she plays club in the ECNL (regional/nationally ranked teams) league, I knew this was going to be a great game.

I called maybe (5) fouls. The coaches pretty much remained silent. No cards. It was one of the best nights of soccer in a very long time for me. Even the parents were cheering in a positive fashion for the entire game.

I came off the field elated by that one game. Nothing compares to it when there are so many challenging matches on the books.



Friday, October 1, 2021


After a month long challenge of posting my one minute videos, I'm gonna take a break from posting a "juicy" something. As I said in an earlier post, it was harder than it looks. Maybe not so much of the videoing, but the takes and then getting everything "right" for posting on various social media platforms took some time...all for a one minute video that I was happy to do.  

Today, it's the first of October...or as we like to say hailing from the Rock-n-Roll Capital of the World, Cleveland, Rocktober!

Enjoy it one and all.



Photo from Spearfish Canyon South Dakota 2021