emancipation proclamation

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This is an emancipation proclamation of sorts.

I have referred to over the past few months having a cyber bully.

Now I have to ask the question of why someone I considered family-like to me once upon a time feels the need to try to hurt me when they voluntarily left my life? Unfortunately I can’t answer that, nor did I commit any unkindness towards them.

Is it strange to have someone doing this to me who ironically supported me when my ex abandoned me and their old dog years ago and then subsequently was part of my support system through breast cancer? Of course it is and how could anyone justify this behavior against me as normal or rational? It’s like they are punishing me for their own malcontent, isn’t it?

This person doesn’t live anywhere remotely near Chester County or even within the boundaries of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and those individuals who are sucked in by their bullying and participating with this unhealthy behavior need to take a long hard look in the mirror don’t they? People who support or join in with the activities of those hell-bent on only trying to hurt and bully other people are not people you want to be friends with or know either, are they?

Cyber bullies like regular bullies are individuals who thrive on attention. This of course will cause mine to undoubtedly produce an orgasmic flurry of new bullying attempts. Truthfully, I don’t care. Is it disturbing that their laser-focused obsession exists? Of course it is as there is nothing normal or justifiable about the behavior. The other truth is they don’t matter and is that also part of the problem? That they don’t really matter to anyone?

I believe there are some people in this world who just have to have somebody to hate or obsess over. I don’t understand and pity people like this as it’s a waste of energy and the precious gift of life.

I feel very sorry for these people that feel the need to do this to me or anyone else, don’t you? But I can’t help them out of their misery, only they can do that and by their self-reinforcement of negative behavior on their part it will never happen will it?

Bullying happens to people of all ages in all stages of life. It’s wrong whenever it happens.

Take a stand against bullying and leave the bullies in the sad shadows of life where they belong. I really have to thank this person obsessed with remaining on the fringes of my life as they only reinforce how thankful and grateful I am for my life now. After all I could have become as miserable as they obviously are, right?

Thanks for stopping by.

what is beauty?

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What is beauty? When it comes to nature as in flora and fauna, it’s easy to point out a beautiful bird or a flower. But when it comes to humans, can it be said it is not only more subjective, but societally subjective?

Yes this may indeed be a post that some consider a flowing stream of female consciousness and that’s ok. No one is after all, holding a gun to their heads and say read this, right? And yes, it is all the chatter about actress Renée Zellweger which made me think about this.

I will start with this article I read this morning:

Are we hypocrites over Renee Zellweger? By LZ Granderson, CNN Contributor
updated 9:40 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014

(CNN) — Renee Zellweger looks different than she did 10 years ago.
Big deal—who doesn’t?
Maybe she had plastic surgery. Maybe a little lipo, too. Or maybe her new look, at 45, is truly courtesy of her living a healthier, happier life away from the constant media glare, as she reportedly told People Magazine.

Considering how mean-spirited some of the response has been since Zellweger showed up at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards much slimmer than we remembered, who could question the effect time away from the vitriol can have on a person?

….The face and body we associated with her for all these years was, in her words, a byproduct of having “a schedule that is not realistically sustainable and didn’t allow for taking care of myself.” Makes sense to me. I can’t tell you how many former NFL players I have come across who look nothing like the men I saw on the field—significant weight loss, clean-shaven, hell, just being clean for a change. And dare I say healthier.

I then read something on someone’s Facebook page (also this morning):

Can we leave Renee Zellweger alone, please? As a woman, I’m offended by the criticism she has received for doing something personal and private. Do the talking heads have nothing better to discuss? And seriously, if we should fault anyone, shouldn’t it be the entertainment and fashion industries for harping on their own standards of beauty? Sorry, I don’t usually take public stands, but this issue hits home.

So this is true…..but I am tired of what the media and Hollywood puts out there as far as women and aging, aren’t you? Renée Zellweger is a victim of that cycle I believe, but unfortunately she is also in the public eye. Why are people talking about Renée Zellweger? Because she did the all-American mid-life woman thing and apparently got some nipping and tucking and filling.

Why do women have such a hard time aging? Or admitting they are getting older?

Maybe we all play a part in this?

As women, we need to stand up for what the definition of beauty actually is. I don’t know a single female from 15 to 70 plus who doesn’t fight with self body image at times. And how many women just want people to notice sometimes when they look nice and not that they have a few more wrinkles than last year?

As a 50-year-old breast cancer survivor who did not have breast reconstruction when I look in the mirror I often only see a lopsided me. I have to remind myself how blessed I am to be alive. But how hyper-focused are we often as a society and the concept of the perfect female form and does that perfection even exist naturally?

In that vein, after seven weeks of radiation coursing through my body there were a lot of things about chemicals that I decided to shed from my life. That included hair coloring. I decided I was going to let my hair color change naturally to what it was meant to be, versus trying to cover it up every few weeks.

Truthfully I am very slow to gray up and in three years there is little difference. Yet if you look around all you see is advertising aimed at women which subliminally tells us day after day that aging naturally is BAD. We are bombarded with hair color and cosmetics ads, ads for injectibles like Botox and Juvaderm, ads for plastic surgeons, commentary on what unnaturally thin actress with unnaturally large and upstanding boobs are wearing.

And of course there are our more local influences. Our mothers, siblings, friends, spouses, and so on. For example, I adore my mother but you can ask anyone and they will tell you she is obsessed with appearance. The flip side is that is probably why she looks so good for her age, but you can’t wear sweat pants and a t-shirt around her! However, in her defense, as opposed to many of her contemporaries and my own contemporaries she is not someone who has been nipped, tucked, or injected. Which I am glad about because there have been some older ladies I have seen in society photos recently who look downright scary they have had so much work done. They don’t look attractive, they look freakish.

Most of the time I am good with me at 50, but there are days where I look in the mirror and wonder where I’ve gone. And then I have to remind myself that I’m not 24 anymore I’m 50 and that’s ok.

But societally in this country it seems to be the exception rather than the rule as far as aging naturally versus not aging naturally. The funny thing is when I was about 22 I wasn’t sure if I was going to like myself as a 50 year old. But that was a 22 year old looking at what was then, older than dirt.

Now that I am 50, it doesn’t seem so bad or so old. Yet because of what I see put out there some days I struggle. But when I lay it all out I would truly rather be a more authentic me and I don’t need anyone’s permission or approval to be that woman….and that is what women forget.

Women forget that we do have the right to be whomever it is we want to be. Societally we are often judged if we don’t wear makeup, don’t color out hair, haven’t been augmented and injected, and wear more age appropriate clothes rather than looking like the teenage daughter’s closet was raided.

Can it be said the obsession with appearance versus the inability to deal with aging is pervasive and damaging? And have you ever noticed the men who will sit and judge a woman like she is someone’s prize cow? My ex was one of those kinds of men and I think individuals like this need to take a long, hard look in the mirror before they judge another human being. Yet, it is often through eyes like those that women judge themselves. And yes, we are our own harshest critics

Getting older is a challenge. Of course it is. But it is part of the cycle of life, right? So what if societally we were a little more accepting?

Thanks for stopping by today.

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from blue dress infamous to social activist

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From blue dresses and White House scandals before there was the television show Scandal, to a line of failed (?) purses (see article in New York Magazine from a few years back), to social activist, Monica Lewinsky has spent years being an unfortunate household name stemming from poor choices made literally as a kid while a White House intern.

She opened up about the blue dress years and the aftermath of being a fallen star in the Clinton universe in the June 2014 edition of Vanity Fair. It was her article and it was fairly well written and interesting, I must admit.

Like millions of others at the time I remember thinking “What was she thinking and why can’t this politician keep his pants zipped?” (Face it, Clinton might look like the grand papa bear of Democrat politics today, but the man has had his issues with the ladies à la Pennsylvania’s own Ed Rendell, right?)

I don’t have the moral code that is able to justify cheating, or justify why a very bright young woman couldn’t stay away from a married man who happened to be the President of the United States, except I am guessing that was exactly why she couldn’t stay away.  However, after the first few weeks of hearing about her and that, I felt as if it was enough already.  There were after all, far bigger issues going on in the Clinton administration, weren’t there?

So now Monica is what? About 40 years old give or take? And she made a whopper of a mistake and has spent almost 20 years paying for it.

Yesterday she spoke in Philadelphia  on the subject of cyber bullying.

I have to give her props for stepping out onto the stage at the Forbes Under 30 Summit.  That took guts, all things considered. I am sure she was amply compensated for her time but her topic was of personal interest to me. Her topic was cyber bullying and that is also apparently now her personal cause.

I listened to the replays of her speech and could totally understand when she said “It feels like a punch in the gut.”  After all, cyber bullying = abuse.

That isn’t the first time I have heard a similar description applied to being cyber bullied. Of course those who perform the cyber bullying always blame their victims. Much like abusers who tell their victims it’s their own fault they had to beat them.

I make no bones about the fact that I have perverse admirers, otherwise known as cyber bullies. In part, when you become a writer or a blogger it sort of comes with the territory.  It shouldn’t, but it does. Only my main bully doesn’t bully me because I am some random blogger she doesn’t like, for her it’s personal. She used to know me, and used to be in my life.

It is odd to think about this late middle aged woman from several states away being so angry and so hateful because well she was someone very supportive of  me when a few years ago now, my ex abandoned me and his old dying dog quite literally and then a year or so after that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and isn’t that strange? How can someone go from being caring to being pathologically angry and hateful when there was no fighting or anything like that?  This person chose to leave my life so what was I supposed to do? It was her choice and I tried to respect it. It’s like she had this weird unrequited crush on me and I am being punished for ignoring that, and her. It’s truly bizarre.

It came as a shock when I realized I not only had cyber bullies, but they had been essentially stalking my life.  I am not a public figure. I am just an ordinary woman living my life.  Yes, I write, and I am not just a blogger given my published bylines here and there (albeit local and regional), but I am just a regular person. I write more about my recipes and gardening these days than anything else. I share my photography, as well. Apparently and ironically, it is very upsetting to people when you are happy. And apparently it’s all my fault they have to bully me because I am happy in my life and they are miserable and stuck. Bullies like other forms of abusers have a limited sense of personal accountability, have you noticed?

Since this cyber bullying and cyber stalking began shortly before my 50th birthday I have been fascinated by the people who have supported the efforts.  People I have never known or spoken to. And why do they cheer on negative and spurious activity that there are laws against? I guess because at some point in time I wrote something they didn’t agree with and isn’t that so bizarre coming from “adults”?

But as far as adults go, I have seen a lot of strange behavior. Especially recently.  Take for example parents of teenagers who not only support their teen’s scorched earth bullying behavior, but in essence bully other parents themselves and how crazy is that? People who are parents and who you know love their children but who can’t see right from wrong on their own?

People spend so much time hating and why put all that negativity out there? Its not so much a Zen or spiritual thought as it is  that I just don’t get people of any age who wake up with the intent to be mean or malicious. Life is a precious gift and having survived breast cancer I know full well we are all on borrowed time on this earth so why not try to be better human beings, not worse?

Cyber bullying is as pervasive and invasive as physical bullying.  And there is a certain disconnect from reality with it on the part of the bullies.   These bullies seem to think in their minds their behaviors are justified, and that they are invincible, which of course couldn’t be farther from the truth.   They also only have power if you allow them to have power because the truth of it is, bullies are cowards. They only accept their version of reality as the ultimate reality and get totally tweaked if you mess with their perception of how it should all be. With mine I marvel at how literally crazy and unbalanced they are and pity them at the same time.  This hatred is all they have to do all day, and that is truly and incredibly sad.

Cyber bullying is something, however, that not enough people take seriously even if it is illegal. So if Monica Lewinsky wishes to use her unfortunate celebrity to shine a light  down the dark rabbit hole of bullying, I am all for it. After all, bullying happens most often to the less obvious in this world: ordinary people both adult and kids.

Monica Lewinsky being a social activist will take some getting used to. Of course she was immediately trolled after doing this. In addition to the article excerpts below, follow this LINK and check out an interesting perspective in the Washington Post and another CNN article.

Thanks for stopping by today.

Lewinsky makes emotional plea to end cyberbullying

By Dan Merica, CNN
updated 6:46 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014

(CNN) — Monica Lewinsky told an audience in Philadelphia on Monday that her new mission in life was to end cyberbullying. Her speech — and her goal — come as the former White House intern steps into the public eye after years of trying to live privately.

“Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too,” she told the audience at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 summit. “I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”

Lewinsky, who as an intern in 1995 had an affair with President Bill Clinton, said she was “patient zero” of online harassment.

“There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then,” she said. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly ‘social media’.”

Forbes:  Monica Lewinsky Speaks: ‘It’s My Mission To End Cyberbullying’

Clare O’Connor Forbes Staff

Monica Lewinsky has broken a decade-long silence to announce her campaign to end cyberbullying and today’s toxic culture of internet shaming.

In her first ever public address, the former mistress of President Bill Clinton revealed her plan to launch a “cultural revolution” against the sort of online harassment she experienced firsthand in the late 1990s…..Lewinsky described her life since the 1998 sex scandal that resulted in Clinton’s impeachment by the House of Representative and subsequent acquittal by the Senate as one marred by a deep sense of shame and even suicidal thoughts….She intends to share her story with victims of cyberbullying and online harassment. There are many of them: almost 54% of young Facebook users describe being bullied or harassed online.

Forbes:Full Transcript: Monica Lewinsky Speaks Out On Ending Online Abuse

(Click on hyperlink above to go to the Forbes website and read the full transcript.)

if walls could talk…

If walls could talk, the tales they would tell, right? So I was down in my basement today putting some summer garden things away for the year and in the little wood shop room on one wall I noticed this. I had not seen it before. In this house on the basement and attic walls there are little things written here and there. All from the original owner.

I have no idea……all I know is I don’t have mice….could be a reason….maybe this was evidence of rodent wars once upon a time…..not sure if the mice were winning at the time….or losing….

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observing “grown-ups”

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Human nature is a funny thing. People can be funny. But sometimes it’s not so much funny as simply astounding.

Having a high schooler means a whole new world. Kids are growing up, and we should be letting them solve some of their own issues. But instead, what I am seeing can only be described as well…extreme helicopter parenting.

Helicopter parents are the extra super involved parents who are too involved, and that is putting it mildly and kindly. Basically their kids don’t make a move without their involvement and that includes running interference. On everything.

Parenting Magazine has an interesting article online about this phenomenon:

What Is Helicopter Parenting? Confused about how to be an involved parent without smothering your kids? Here’s how to tell if you’re a helicopter parent, along with expert advice to curb the hovering. By Kate Bayless


The term “helicopter parent” was first used in Dr. Haim Ginott’s 1969 book Parents & Teenagers by teens who said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter; the term became popular enough to become a dictionary entry in 2011. Similar terms include “lawnmower parenting,” “cosseting parent,” or “bulldoze parenting.” Helicopter parenting refers to “a style of parents who are over focused on their children,” says Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D…..Ann Dunnewold, Ph. D., a licensed psychologist and author of Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box, calls it “overparenting.” “It means being involved in a child’s life in a way that is overcontrolling, overprotecting, and overperfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting,” Dr. Dunnewold explains.

Although the term is most often applied to parents of high school or college-aged students who do tasks the child is capable of doing alone (for instance, calling a professor about poor grades, arranging a class schedule, manage exercising habits), helicopter parenting can apply at any age. “In toddlerhood, a helicopter parent might constantly shadow the child, always playing with and directing his behavior, allowing him zero alone time,” Dr. Dunnewold says. In elementary school, helicopter parenting can be revealed through a parent ensuring a child has a certain teacher or coach, selecting the child’s friends and activities, or providing disproportionate assistance for homework and school projects.

Even The Washington Post had an interesting article on this topic recently:

Washington Post: On Parenting How helicopter parents are ruining college students By Amy Joyce September 2


Attention, parents of college students.

Say your kid has a problem with a roommate. Maybe one “borrowed” his favorite t-shirt. Maybe your daughter’s roommate leaves old, stinky Chinese take out in the mini-fridge. Perhaps your child is so upset about this he texts you five times a day to complain.

Here’s the thing: Don’t call the college president to ask him to handle the situation. (Yes, that happens.)

So you figure all the normal helicopter parenting is having to do with academics and sports, right? Well, what about meddling essentially in the interpersonal relationships of teenagers?

Ok I get wanting to know who your kid is hanging out with. Especially when kids start dating and then driving. But where do you draw the line? I ask because I am seeing crazy stuff. As in parents getting involved when teenage romances go south.

Sounds crazy, but is totally true.

Those first couple years of high school teenagers are in love every other day. Hook ups and break ups are part of being a teenager, like a right of passage. With the break ups comes guaranteed drama, especially from girls. And every mood is mercurial and changes with the weather and somehow we all survived, right?

But are we supposed to let what amounts to teen angst rule the purported grown ups today? I ask because I have been observing these parents of this teen girl run roughshod over parents where their kid is friends with their kids over a break up. I know tough to follow but it’s like this: girl and boy break up. Girl is not happy so everyone needs to see it her way and the parents are involved in this too. And these are young kids, as in they are like 8th or 9th graders! (And don’t get me started on I do not understand dating at this age which to me is so young anyway, and wow, really?)

Seriously, these parents are telling other parents not to let their kids be friends with another kid no longer dating their kid. And if the parents don’t comply, they are thrown off these other parents’ fantasy island. Yes, If Alice is looking through the looking glass on this one, she really might go down the rabbit hole to get away from this scene. I have coined this “mama drama” and well, I am embarrassed for them because what does bullying other parents do? Other than teach their children that bullying behavior like this is acceptable?

And while the parents are helicoptering in teen romance, the kids aren’t behaving any better. The drama feeds the drama feeds the drama. I would say I am astounded by this behavior from adults, except, well I have as a blogger, cyber bullies to deal with. If I can’t explain why a middle-aged woman pushing 60 living in a rural southern town sits on her smart phone in her double wide cyber bullying and cyber stalking me on basically a daily basis, how can I explain what these parents are doing? The answer is I can’t .

All I do know is we are supposed to support our kids and lead by good, not negative example. And how can we ask the kids to do better and be better if the parents can’t even do that ?

In the midst of all this I am seeing another form of helicopter parent that puzzles me even more. These are the helicopter parents that also want to hang out with their kids like they are peers and not parents. How is that supposed to work? When the kids go to college will these parents be working the tap at the frat house kegger?

Again, a lot of what I do is sit back and observe. Sometimes I think it is me just not getting something because I haven’t been a parent for all that long. But then I talk to parents I know and they tell me their stories and I shake my head even more. I guess I just don’t understand. We want to control things to an extent to protect our kids, but shouldn’t we have a line in the sand somewhere? After all, how does anyone start to grow up if the parents are hovering quite literally over everything?

Thanks for stopping by.

an essay worth reading

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Someone had the essay below from Vogue posted on their Facebook timeline. In addition to the fact that it is a beautifully written piece that literally makes you feel you are with the writer in his journey from city dweller to his now Woodstock, NY home, I get the whole move-to-the-country thing and how it fits me personally. Mind you I am not as deep in the country as the author, but I can’t help but feel a sort of parallel after a fashion. Similarly age, and life changes including where I live now versus where I used to.

Having moved a few short years ago from the Main Line to Chester County,I get it the whole change of venue and lifestyle. When I initially told people I was moving a lot were like “Why? You guys could live on the Main Line.”

They didn’t get that I didn’t want to and much like the feelings of the author watching where he lived in NYC change, I was ready and wanted to live a more country existence . Change is inevitable, but as the area I once called home had changed, truthfully so had I.

What I had grown up in and amongst no longer existed on the Main Line. Everything was going from being a beautiful place to a place that no longer fit me. Glorious gardens and beautiful houses were being replaced one by one with Tvyec monogrammed infill development and the Main Line was evolving from being suburban to becoming what I continue to see happening: a crammed, noisy, traffic filled urban existence with a homogenous feel that is less than special.

And the people were changing in addition to the landscape. A lot of the the people on the Main Line had gone from being the gracious, civilized, and genteel people I grew up with, to being a whole lot of overly ambitious crass and not so pleasant social climbers whose favorite game was constant one upsmanship. And dermatological fillers. I also didn’t care about designer, car, and more general people name dropping. My friends still there are not those people, but if they are honest they are now the exceptions rather than the rule.

Living out here in Chester County completes the adult me. I am happy. And many of my Main Line friends still treat me like I live in Iowa. Some of them have never been out to see where I live although invited. The constant chorus of “It’s so far” …..yet amazingly enough I can always go back there. The funny thing is when I do go back, I now look at where I used to live through the eyes of a stranger…..and can’t wait to get back to my little slice of heaven in Chester County.

I look at where I used to be and where I am now and well, I can just breathe and be myself. There is something very luxurious about that, and living on the Main Line can’t buy that feeling as far as I am concerned. And as I have said before, many of the people I enjoyed in various stages of my younger self now live out here as well.

I am posting the article below. I love, not like living more in the country. Give this essay a read. Thanks for stopping by on a rainy morning!

Vogue Magazine: A Die-Hard New Yorker Leaves Manhattan and Embraces the Country Life OCTOBER 6, 2014 6:00 AM by JONATHAN VAN METER


At the risk of sounding appallingly pretentious, it was Cate Blanchett who made me realize it was time to leave New York City. It was a year ago, last October, and we had just finished a leisurely interview over a late dinner in a London restaurant when we found ourselves standing on a rainy street corner, not quite ready to say good night. She asked what I was doing the next day, and I said I had no plans because I have no friends who live in central London anymore. Like my friends in Manhattan, most of them have moved somewhere less ruinous. Blanchett, who’d left London herself a few years earlier, looked a little wistful and said, “It’s a different place.” Having recently turned 50, I muttered something about being older—maybe that’s what had changed. “No,” she said firmly. “The world’s changed. It’s very difficult to know where to be.”…..That was the moment, right there, the speech delivered toward the end of the story by the passing character in the protagonist’s life that turns on the light and shifts everything. As I said goodbye and walked away, my heart pounding, I was filled with a rush of certainty about something I had been puzzling over for years: Where should I be? I hopped in a cab and called my boyfriend, Andy, back in New York: Quit your job, and let’s move upstate.

fall garden gifts and old friends

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Yes a bowl full of quince.

The quince arrived in a beautiful basket on the arm of a friend from high school. She and her husband recently moved out here to Chester County a few minutes away from us. Her house came with a crazy cool old garden which includes quince trees.

This is a woman who I have enjoyed knowing since I was a teenager. Today it was so nice to see her. She is as an adult as lovely as she was when we were growing up. It’s so nice to see that consistency in people.

The quince will become quince apple butter.

I look forward to seeing more of my friend now that she is in the “neighborhood”.

Life truly has so many amazing yet simple moments.

Thanks for stopping by.