are you thankful?


thankfulWhat is the thought process behind being thankful?

Are you thankful?  Why are you thankful?

I saw this quote the other day about happiness and being thankful. It is above, super-imposed over one of my photos.  It got me to thinking. (Yes, advanced warning this post is a flowing stream of consciousness.)  How is it we are thankful (and happy) and why?

Being thankful for what you have can be paid forward quite simply.  Human kindness, for example.

At fifty, have I lived a perfect life? No, but seriously, who here is without flaws on this planet? Life is a giant learning curve and we learn from our experiences good and bad, right?

I am thankful for my life, especially because it could have ended up so differently than it is now.  I got through the ending of an unfortunate relationship (and that is putting it kindly), survived breast cancer, and found the love and life I deserve.

If God and fate hadn’t done a literal lift-out for me a few years ago, I would have been quite literally stuck in a life that would have become rather unpleasant and devoid of love and affection. So I am honestly and truly thankful.

I have discovered that truly unhappy people are quite often very angry people.  They have a limited sense of personal accountability and are hyper-critical of everything and everyone around them.  The ex-factor and one of his sisters are prime examples.  I am truly sorry they aren’t happy, but their continued fascination with my life is well, psychologically interesting while also being creepy and pointless. It’s like they live on their own planet.

Obsessing over me is not only bizarre, but how can they waste so much negative energy? It’s just not healthy and well, life is short and they need to be responsible for their own happiness.   It has been almost five years, so why bother? Who cares? I sure don’t.

Will I reference things that occurred during a relationship that spanned nigh on a decade? Sure, it is part of my life experience. I write about all sorts of life experience and other relationships.  But why am I responsible for their happiness and/or misery of other people not part of my world? The answer is I am not, but  I have accepted they will probably never move on. However, that is their stuck, not mine.

People who are oddly warped like this make me really think about what it is to actually be thankful and happy.  I see what my life could have been and what it is now.  I have someone who loves me and shares their life with me and are committed to our family.  That is a far cry from being with someone who expected commitment but not only couldn’t really share their live, in the end even commit to a cell phone plan.

I am not the only person male or female my age (or younger or older) who has going through good and bad relationships. It’s life.  But for some reason, the simple act of being thankful and happy just drives some people cuckoo. Probably because they aren’t either thankful or happy.

The thing about being truly thankful is acknowledging what it took to reach the path of happy.  As human beings we are a work in progress, but to be able to roll with life’s punches and blessings is an acquired talent.  For me, for that light bulb to go off truly, it took having breast cancer. Having to face your own personal sense of mortality shows you what your true mettle is. It also made me dig deep and look at what I wanted out of the rest of my life and the type of people I wanted to surround myself with.

A dear friend from high school asked us her friends, something interesting today:

 “If you were on of 10 people still alive on the planet, how would you live differently?

Would you still wear make up, get dressed up in fancy clothes, put nice things in your home?

In other words, do you do the things you do now to make yourself happy or others happy?


It might seem overly esoteric and philosophical to some, but you know, I get it.  So what would you do? I would continue to  do everything possible to make myself and my loved ones happy.  I would be thrilled to give up make-up for the most part.

Another quote I read made me think:

 “Life isn’t all about the happy times we have.  It’s about living through all the challenges life has given us, and all we have ever been through.”

And then there was this cool thing I found on the Tiny Buddha website:

Why the Grass is Never Greener and How to Be Happy Today

“If you worry about what might be, and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is.” ~Unknown

Lifestyle. Opportunities. Wealth. Just think how far we’ve come in the past 100 years—especially when you look at what we have today compared with our great grandmothers’ generation.

My great grandmother married very young, lived in the same place her whole life, and had 11 children. She never had a “career” and never got a chance to go on a vacation. Her life was hard, poor, and lacking in any real opportunity.

I wonder if she ever dreamed about moving to another city, or transforming her life, or about seeing the world with just a backpack. I bet she did, but back then there weren’t as many opportunities as we have today…..But when there is a wealth of opportunities, choices, and places where we could choose to live, you’d think we’d all be happy, right? Wrong.

…..We can’t settle on what we already have or be satisfied with what we’ve got because we’ll always be wondering about the next big thing.

It’s called “the grass is always greener” syndrome. We think someone else is having a better time elsewhere. We make ourselves miserable by constantly thinking about the unknown in an endless quest to find happiness.

We lie awake at night torturing ourselves over what we should do next, wondering if we’re missing out on something big. We feel we’re wasting our lives if we’re not doing something more important.

There’s also this sense of time pressure, particularly with my generation who had the saying “The World is your Oyster” drilled into us from a young age.

This means there can be a sense of urgency, because we feel like we’re running out of time and should be doing something greater or somehow we’ll fail.

We also think we’re special and that our lives are destined to be adventurous, thrilling, and hugely successful. And when they’re not turning out that way? We become depressed. We want more. We get “grass is greener” syndrome.

….Focusing on things we don’t have is a recipe for disaster. It only leads to a miserable existence and causes us to forget what’s most important—and that’s what’s happening right now.

As John Lennon once said: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” And that’s certainly true……Mindfulness helps you to appreciate life as it happens. It stops us from agonizing over what might’ve been or what could be. It just brings us back to the present.….But whenever you feel yourself losing focus and wondering about where you’ll be happy next, bring yourself back to the present, look at what you already have, look around you and enjoy the moments that are happening right now.….Happiness is a state of mind.

Out of the mouths of others, but oh so true.

Life is an evolution. Part of that evolution is how we grow, how we love, how we appreciate life, and a sense of spirituality.

Thanks for joining me on my random flowing stream of consciousness.

Enjoy your weekend and be happy!

so sunoco isn’t sleazy and sunoco isn’t sunoco?

We just celebrated the 4th of July which celebrates our freedoms in this country and apparently Sunoco officials don’t care for free speech and freedom of opinion? And maybe they don’t like that eminent domain word but what did they expect when they went to the Public Utility Commission to try to get around local zoning? Seriously?

There is this new article in the Inquirer about SuNOco, and apparently SuNOco isn’t SuNOco and isn’t sleazy? So is this pipeline is a mirage then? Are we imagining all the road disruptions and closures and all the public meetings are really the meeting of the quilting society or something?

I am very confused.

A rose by any other name and all that?

Apparently SuNOco’s public image is taking a beating? Does that mean their retail business is feeling a pipeline pinch?

It is up to personal choice if Chester County and other Pennsylvania residents choose to patronize other gas stations, right? We don’t live in a communist or otherwise single state run country where we have no choice as to where we buy gas, do we? Did they ever consider in addition to image issues that a good percentage of the time their gas is also just more expensive than other gas retailers?

So now will SuNOco that isn’t really SuNOco be buzzing around changing the corporate branding on their pipeline property sites like the sign seen every day at a crossroads in Upper Uwchlan? And what of the Sunoco Logistics website with the teeny tiny Sunoco logo we all know so well?

And while they are answering questions, what is it precisely they do with endangered wildlife when they find it (or more appropriately it is pointed out to them) ? Someone told me they were told the wildlife (like bog turtles and such) is moved someplace and then brought back to the habitat in which they were discovered? Is this true and how do they know which wildlife goes where down to the individual creature?

This Philadelphia Inquirer article today gives many the vision of a corporate shell game doesn’t it? And is the talking head of the split personality oil company the same guy who used to be an amazing reporter for the paper now making him the news?

So who is SuNOco? And if they want a better corporate image maybe they shouldn’t be trying to force feed Pennsylvania residents a pipeline? Could it be a lot of this petroleum posturing is that this just isn’t residents saying no? Could it be SuNOco is a little nervous that politicians from all over on both sides of the political aisle are starting to speak out too? Could they be nervous that the residents objecting are growing daily in numbers and esteemed environmentalists are taking their side?

Sorry SuNOco, sorry SuNOco PR team, people are unified about not wanting you in Chester County no matter what you call yourselves aren’t they? Welcome to a public relations hell of your own creation and seriously what did you think was going to happen? That everyone was just going to be o.k. with your taking people’s land and adding flare stacks in densely populated areas? Did you think a county that has a large percentage of residents on wells wouldn’t be concerned about pipelines and so on? Maybe you have a friend in Governor Corbett but not everyone else is feeling so chummy?

Great article Philadelphia Inquirer!

Philadelphia Inquirer: Sunoco fights connection to pipeline firm
By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
POSTED: July 06, 2014

Sunoco’s good corporate name is taking a beating these days, as community activists and bloggers post snarky statements under headlines like “Sleazy Sunoco,” linking the company to fracking and eminent domain … the hands of careless journalists and picket-sign painters, the companies all just become “Sunoco.”

According to brand consultants and public-image experts, Sunoco the fuel retailer faces a big challenge disassociating itself from the actions of its corporate doppelgänger…..Sunoco Pipeline, a Sunoco Logistics subsidiary, has asked the PUC to declare it a public utility to bypass local zoning restrictions. ….”Sunoco, Sunoco Logistics, Sunoco Pipeline?” said Tom Casey, a leader of the community opposition. “There’s a lot of confusion about who’s doing this. Who are these people?”

Casey had heard company officials explain that Sunoco Inc. and Sunoco Logistics are two separate companies, with different missions. Then a public-affairs officer handed him a business card that identified him as a Sunoco Logistics employee. The other side of the card identified him with Sunoco Inc.

“He has the same job with both companies at two different addresses,” Casey said. “That’s confusing.”……..If this bothers Sunoco, its spokesman, Jeff Shields, is not letting on too much.

Nor is the spokesman for Sunoco Logistics, the selfsame Jeff Shields, who said in an e-mail that the pipeline company “is proud of its roots with a company and a name that has represented good corporate citizenship and American prosperity for more than a century.”…Sunoco Logistics, which was spun off as a separate company, is still contractually obligated to support Sunoco’s retail operations. But its new ventures, such as the Mariner East project, are unrelated to its former parent company.

Both are now units of Energy Transfer Partners L.P., a Dallas company that bought Sunoco Inc. in 2012 and acquired the controlling interest in Sunoco Logistics……Sunoco Logistics could rename itself something else – say, SXL – to provide some cover for Sunoco. But image experts say crusader activists would see right through such a strategy.

“That would backfire on the company double time, because now the public’s suspicion of evil would be confirmed by the company’s efforts at deception,” said Rob Frankel, a Los Angeles branding expert…..Sunoco Inc. already has a long history of oil extraction, and so an association with a pipeline transporting hydraulically fractured Marcellus Shale gas liquids is not an image-altering event, said Oscar Yuan, a partner at New York brand consultant Millward Brown Vermeer.

20140707-110547-39947204.jpgSelect photos in this collage are courtesy of public photos of Just The Facts Please on Facebook of which this blog is not a spokesperson or representative, just a fan.

ghosts of gardens past


July came into town humid so I was up early to garden. Gardening in the early morning can be almost magical, even when it you can feel the heaviness of later day humidity in the air.

The early morning is quiet, save for the birds. And the morning song of song birds is different than evening song. In addition to the birds there is the early morning squirrel chatter and the chipmunks darting around. We seem to have a lot of chipmunks this year and I had forgotten what little clowns they can be.

This morning as I was gardening I thought about the lady who once lived in my home. We never met her as she had passed away long before we moved in. But I have heard about her from neighbors at the election polls and her children have been kind enough to share some memories. I am told we shared a couple of things we liked in common: needlework and gardening.


Much like me and how I feel about this house, this was her house to love once , too. She raised her family here and inside the house I have purposely kept a reminder of her. In the basement in our laundry room are shelves and hanging bars. At the front of the shelf are names written long ago in pencil. The names of everyone in the family before us, written in I imagine her handwriting. It makes me smile every time I see it.

This is a very happy house for us, and I love the neighborhood. Of course, one of the things I love best is my garden.

The garden is mine, but it is also inherited. I have been told that the lady who lived her before us loved to garden. And I could see that as soon as I started to get to work on it. The bones of the garden were laid out by her and nature. As I cleaned up and trimmed back overgrown plants I discovered flower beds and plants.


I wondered as I trimmed an old fashioned wigelia back this morning if she would approve of the changes. The garden I inherited didn’t have some plants I liked, but were true to the 1960s when she started the garden. I kept most of the plants, but things like yew bushes I got rid of immediately. Soon to follow is a giant pyracantha or firethorn. I have never liked them and the thorns are ridiculous.

But other things I have discovered over time I love. Old fashioned viburnum, garden phlox, and yellow and purple flag irises. The previous gardener also left me a footprint of where bulbs and ferns grow well. And when I garden, I wonder sometimes if she would approve how her garden has evolved to become now, my garden.

Gardening is an evolution. Year after year, season after season. My goal is to make my garden a four season garden with something to look at an love all year round. I am lucky I inherited a garden with interesting bones. It is part of what makes it so special!

Happy gardening!

horse and buggy watching….

DSC_0072When we were passing through Gap, PA, we were behind, in front, and along side several Amish buggies. The photos I am about to show you were cropped in, as we give buggies and their drivers the space and distance they deserve.

These photos in a series as it occurred show amazing horsemanship – you see this horse was a mite skittish and had the Amish gentleman not been so proficient this might have turned out differently…and he never raised his voice.











dining al fresco in west chester

I love dining al fresco before the summer gets too muggy, and tonight was a perfect night for it. So off we went to West Chester to Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House on Gay Street.

It’s a super cute place with the right look and truly terrific waitstaff.


At the top of the list of “buts” we will start with the table of slightly inebriated or more women behind us. Super loud and unattractively so, they should probably practice taking selfies before they go out as a group again along with modulating their voices after a few cocktails. I am all for having a good time, but those ladies were slightly sloppy. One was drinking wine on ice cubes out of a straw, but I digress.

That table wasn’t the fault of the restaurant, although it would’ve been nice had to take the initiative to do something about them because they were disturbing all sorts of diners around them. When they left it was such a relief because you could actually speak to the people you were dining with as the volume had so decreased.

The fish was quite fresh that I had, but the meal other than the seafood was somewhat tasteless. No herbs, not really any spices, no pizzazz. Also for the prices they charge per plate on both their entrées and their appetizers, there could’ve been better greens, and a little more fish. For my dinner I had an entrée salad, and the greens were less than impressive. I could’ve found better at ACME.

They have this summer sangria with mango that I ordered. I had two glasses of it, about 5 1/2 ounces each glass. Both times the sangria was not chilled and I had to ask for ice. The second time the bartender sent my drink out missing a key ingredient because they were out of it. Did not care for that presumption on the part of the bartender.

What the bartender should have done is send my waitress out to say they were missing ingredients would I mind having it without a key ingredient or would I like something else. I did not send either drink back, because it wasn’t the waitress’s fault. But the bar staff should have known better.

Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House is a veritable institution in downtown West Chester and I would like to give it another try sometime as I have heard great things. But tonight I was underwhelmed at best. Except for the waitstaff. Again, I want to say how nice the waiters and waitresses were.

Tonight’s meal was a far cry from the excellent meal we had at Philadelphia’s farm to table called Russet last week. It was however, a beautiful night to eat outside. The town of West Chester does sidewalk dining very right.

Thanks for stopping by

thankful thursday

DSC_4209I am thinking #ThrowBackThursday is a hashtag getting a bit overdone.

So how about switching it up a bit?

What about #ThankfulThursday?  Isn’t #ThankfulThursday a hash tag with heart? I like the sound of #ThankfulThursday, don’t you?

I was thinking this morning as I tended my garden, how thankful I am for my life as it exists now. It is not perfect every moment of every day, no life is, but it’s terrific.  To love and be loved and to be alive is an amazing thing. To be happy is a gift in and of itself.

A few short years ago my life might have been very, very different.

Which makes me even more thankful.

What are you #thankful for?  Start a new trend, celebrate #ThankfulThursday !




door to door etiquette


This evening at slightly beyond twilight and at almost 9 PM, the door bell rang. It was after dinner and half the house lights were out as we were winding down.

No porch lights were even on and all we saw were the outline of two people as it was for all intents and purposes, dark outside.

So I flipped on the porch light and there were the double mint twins. Not literally, but similar height, hair color, short shorts and matching Penn Environment T-shirts.

They were standing there all earnest with their clip boards and I said to them that we were winding down after a long day, and I was sorry but I wasn’t going to open the door and they could leave whatever literature in the mailbox……Then one of the little gals smiles and asks to speak to someone else in the house.


I will admit that floored me. No thank you means… thank you. I do not particularly like door to door sales of any kind. Even non-profit door to door solicitations from cute teenage girls at just shy of 9 PM.

From a parental standpoint I was floored they had literally kids out door knocking in the dark. From a supporter of non-profits like this non-profit, they have sealed the deal on not ever getting a donation.

I was polite to these girls as they were someone else’s children working a summer job. But at that point I said to them no thank you and then had to say that I already said no thank you it was way past time for them to go. That whole thing was just unnecessarily annoying.

This is an environmental action group that does good work. But Penn Environment needs to better teach their feet on the street. And especially because a lot of them are so young, it would be more prudent and a better use of time to have them sent out when it was still daylight outside.

Sorry Penn Environment , you just utterly flunked Door to Door 101. When someone says to leave the information in the mailbox and that they aren’t opening the door, tell your young and zealous summer job folks to accept it and move on.


real and really sad

Lambs ears

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.” 
~ Theodore Roosevelt 

Cyber bullying is a real thing.  A mom blogger in Texas is experiencing it first hand. A friend who is a blogger told a group I belong to about it. It has even made the news.

Cyberbullying escalates to stalking, death threat  Posted on May 12, 2014 at 10:42 PM

 LEANDER — Like most pre-teens, 11-year-old Julia Young’s tan and purple room is usually covered with posters.

Now it’s empty because Julia, along with her best friend Melody Coffey, is staying somewhere private out of state while their families deal with a case of cyberbullying that has escalated into stalking and even death threats.

“All I want to do as a mother is protect my children, keep them from feeling that fear and feeling that invasion of privacy that they feel now that they will never feel safe again,” said Christine Young, Julia’s mother.

Young tells KVUE the cyberbullying began three months ago with a girl she says was once her daughter’s friend at Stiles Middle School in Leander ISD…..After that things began to escalate online and in school.

“Calling her names, saying I’m going to spread rumors that you’ve slept with all these guys and you’re a whore and a slut. Nobody will want to touch you,” Christine says, regarding the girl’s rumors started about her daughter.

The threats quickly escalated on Instagram and public messages that were going out to any of the kids at school following this account, said Young.


It is scary to think this can happen to our kids, isn’t it?

It doesn’t just happen to kids, it happens to adults.  I know, because cyber bullying via social media is happening to me.

I had mentioned a parody of this blog had cropped up.  It has unfortunately evolved into more of a case of adult cyber-bullying than parody.  The suspected architects are those I believe used to be in my life.  They haven’t been for years. Yes, years.   And neither lives in Chester County. I have zero contact with them or desire for contact with them, and will continue to have no contact with them.  Ironically and quite a shame to say, but they left my life (their choice).  Apparently and unknown to me until now they keep tabs on me, which is truly so very sad that this is all they have to do all day. I never would have thought they were such empty and hollow people. I just figured when I went on with my life, so did they.

Every day they put an inordinate amount of time into scouring through anything I have written in the hopes that they can skew it or make it ugly and dirty.  They pepper their  writings with digs at others in my life and negativity about anything and everything. Unfortunately for them, every day it makes them look more sad, more stuck,  and more twisted.  They act as if I am a public figure, when in fact I am just a regular every day person.

Yes, cyber bullying is against the law, but some people feel that this is their God-given right, so it is not my job to dissuade them of that notion. The fact that adults older than I am can spend their days being eaten alive by envy, jealousy and anger is such a shame.  Think of all the good they could do if they used their energy for good or anything positive, right?

Am I upset by all of this? No not really.  I don’t need them for any self-validation and bullies of any age or stage of life are to be pitied.  What they do is a cry for help in their own stagnant and stale lives.  They should be pitied and prayed for. As should anyone dumb enough to buy into what they are desperately trying to peddle.

You see the biggest problem they have is that I am happy.  And no amount of negativity can rob me of that. I choose to share my thoughts and photos and whatnot on this blog, and I will continue to do so.  What is happening also makes me realize how very lucky I am and blessed.

So while I appreciate your concern my dear readers, I am fine.  But you should pray for people who are so unhappy that they do these things. What is that quote about people who love themselves don’t feel the need to hurt others? Sad, but true.

Thanks for stopping by.  Enjoy the beautiful day.





How old that seemed when I was a kid, and now it is just a beginning.

I am a bundle of emotion today I find. It has been quite a journey getting here.

Well, that is what life is, right? It ebbs and flows, changes and evolves.

I am really fortunate and really blessed to have the friends and family I have. I find myself remembering other birthdays I have had. From when I was very little to a few years ago. A veritable potpourri of memories. Kind of cool.

I love where I am now.

In life, we grow and change, and we come full circle. I believe I have come full circle. My late grandmother had a saying – you always come back to what you are from.

How true.

I am where I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be with. I am lucky enough share my life and birthday with the most amazing of men. I love and I am loved.

Life has many twists and turns and bends in the road. What you thought would be at fifteen or sixteen is completely different by the time you hit your twenties. Then there are the thirties and the forties. Every decade is different, but if you are lucky you have awesome people in your life who see you through every decade.

I have been lucky that way. I have amazing people in my life, and a lot have been there since I was the littlest of girls.

As we go through life people enter and leave our lives. You don’t get to be fifty without that happening. It’s ok and it is part of the cycle of life.

Being fifty is like standing on the edge of something new. You have everything that came before, and now you find yourself looking forward to what lies ahead.

Three years ago and a few weeks before my then birthday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It made that birthday a little bittersweet and even a little scary. But dealing with that made me really value my life and those in it.

With age comes acceptance. Not that I consider myself old, because I don’t . You learn you can’t be responsible for the actions of others, only your own. You learn (sometimes with difficulty) that things are beyond your control and that you have to believe in God or whatever higher power you choose that it will come out all right in the end.

Today I dedicate my post to my friends and family. You are the ones who lift me up and I want you to know how much you all mean to me. Thank you for being on this journey with me. Cheers to the next phase of life and thank you so much for making my life special.

may days

These are the glory days of spring as she heads towards summer. The azaleas and viburnum are starting to bloom and the air is filled with the perfume of viburnums and lilac.

It’s just so pretty outside.

My garden is shaking off the last of the winter doldrums and perennials are popping up everywhere. We have new critters : three hares that seem to scamper everywhere. Hopefully they will stick around, but you never know as we have foxes.

I would say the foxes have been pretty active because I never hear my neighbor down the road’s chickens and I have the past couple of days.

The farmers are big time in their fields, turning over soil and beginning to plant. During the day you now hear the hum of their tractors. Except if you’re in Lancaster County like I was again today, and there I have seen teams of mules and plow horses.

It’s evenings and days like these that I feel sorry for people who can’t appreciate life around them. They miss out in so much.

As I sit on the porch writing this, it is a lovely evening. The birds are twittering and trilling away as sunset fades to dusk and dark. Enjoy your evenings !