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

20140707-105511-39311651.jpg
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?
20140707-114613-42373361.jpg

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 …..in 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.

keep your joy

20140616-190320-68600116.jpg

How do you keep your joy? How do you keep your joy in the face of unpleasantness?

It is very true that you cannot control the actions of others, you can only control your own actions and behavior.

As a writer and a blogger I have been a target of unpleasantness. It is nothing new, but that never makes it right. When you write, you are putting yourself out there. You will have fans of your writing as well as the detractors. Sometimes the people are those you know, but a lot of the time they are just strangers.

When people love something I write, or a photo, or a recipe it is such a nice feeling. That is what makes blogging so fun. It’s a very neat connection at times.

I am blessed with meeting some very cool people throughout the years I have been writing. I have also had some unpleasant experiences. The two topics that seem to cause unpleasant experiences always seem to get whittled down to two topics: politics and animal rescue. That is why I don’t write about these two topics very much any more.

One of the newer topics I have touched on a couple of times now, and will continue to cover is cyber bullying and cyber stalking. It’s real, it happens every day. It happens to kids and adults alike. It is an unpleasant side of the Internet.

I have been a victim of this welcome to bizarre-O world behavior for a while now. It began a couple weeks before my 50th birthday. The people doing this to me used to be in my life. They left my life of their own accord years ago. Only they didn’t really leave. They have tracked me via the Internet.

It is sad and disturbing at the same time that these people have nothing better to do. They pore over blog posts looking for ways to twist topics I have written about. They skew and oddly sexualize things. From a psychological perspective it’s obvious they need help, and a lot of it.

For the most part, I ignore the whole thing. You see it is pretty simple why they persist: they are miserably unhappy people who want to steal the joy of others and pervert it. It’s sad and stuck all at the same time. But I can’t control their actions, I can only control my own. And I choose to be the better person in the equation.

But what this experience has done in addition is spurn an interest within me. Cyber bullying and cyber stalking is a very timely topic in this country. Today I read about U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn) and his efforts to do something about cyber stalking.

In a Canadian publication I found the story of a mom crusading for most simply put, respect. You see, her teenage daughter committed suicide after being cyber bullied by a thirty-five year old man.

In The Providence Journal in late May there was a very thoughtful editorial on cyber bullying. The writer points out the high profile cyber bullying cases we hear about are the ones that lead to suicide and so on . Basically, if the case is dramatic and flashy, it gets attention.

The thing is this: I am an adult. I can consider the source and tune it out. My rational mind knows that it is the handiwork of truly messed up people. But not everyone can process cyber bullying pragmatically for lack of a better description, especially in a lot of the cases, the young.

There is a fascinating editorial in the New York Times today. Here is an excerpt:

The Opinion Pages / OP TALK New York Times : Rise of the Internet Hate Machine
By JAKE FLANAGIN JUNE 16, 2014 11:37 AM

Welcome to the age of Internet hate, when “it’s never been easier to send an anonymous death threat,” writes Jack Shafer for Reuters…..The Internet and social media have drastically altered the conventions of traditional bullying, threatening and harassment. Phenomena once thought native to playgrounds and high school locker rooms are now a bug of human interaction through technology — for children, teenagers and adults alike.

Has the Internet made us more hateful? Or has the Internet simply made it easier for us to exercise our in-born spite?…..”I was so puzzled by people who were telling us that anonymity was the reason there was so much vile meanness and attacks online,” said the Canadian journalist Paula Todd in a video interview with the National Post. ….Ms. Todd is the author of “Extreme Mean,” which examines “motives and machinations behind cyber-abuse — tormenting, trolling, harassment, cyber-bullying, stalking, and sexual extortion — and the toll it is taking on children, youth, and adults around the world.”

….In a cover story for the January 2014 issue of Pacific Standard, Amanda Hess relayed her own personal encounter with cyberabuse: a Twitter account set up for the express purpose of issuing threats — like stalking, rape and decapitation — to the popular Slate staff writer. “I felt disoriented and terrified,” she recalls. “Then embarrassed for being scared, and, finally, pissed.” She continued, “headlessfemalepig was clearly a deranged individual with a bizarre fixation on me. I picked up my phone and dialed 911.”….But online misogyny need not always be wielded by men. There are countless examples of women utilizing the Internet and social media to spread hate. …..Women victims of Internet hate also aren’t limited to progressive ideologies. Ms. Hess is a celebrated feminist writer with a largely liberal readership, but conservative women are no less exempt…..

Take the time to read the entire op-ed, it is fascinating. My bringing up cyber bullying on my blog will without a doubt cause a renewed flurry of bullying attempts towards me. I expect it, and I don’t care. Their behavior is theirs to deal with. But this topic of cyber bullying is garnering more attention every day and that is a positive thing.

Even the United States Supreme Court is getting interested in this with regard to Facebook in particular:

Huffington Post Politics: Supreme Court Will Hear Appeal Over Online Threats
| By By SAM HANANEL
Posted: 06/16/2014 10:05 am EDT Updated: 2 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will consider the free speech rights of people who use violent or threatening language on Facebook and other electronic media where the speaker’s intent is not always clear.

The court on Monday agreed to take up the case of an eastern Pennsylvania man sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison for posting online rants about killing his estranged wife, shooting up a school and slitting the throat of an FBI agent…..For more than 40 years, the Supreme Court has said that “true threats” to harm another person are not protected speech under the First Amendment. But the court has cautioned that laws prohibiting threats must not infringe on constitutionally protected speech. That includes “political hyperbole” or “unpleasantly sharp attacks” that fall shy of true threats.

The federal statute targeting threats of violence is likely to be used more often in the coming years “as our speech increasingly migrates from in-person and traditional handwritten communication to digital devices and the Internet,” said Clay Calvert, a law professor at the University of Florida.

Calvert, one of several free speech advocates who submitted a legal brief urging the court to use a subjective standard, said people mistakenly seem to feel that they can get away with more incendiary speech on the Internet, in tweets and in texts.

According to the Justice Department, 63 people were indicted on federal charges of making illegal threats in the 2013 fiscal year. That was up from 53 cases the previous year.

At the end of the day, it’s simple: don’t let people steal your joy. You know who you are and so do the people who love and care about you. There are a lot of sad and disturbed individuals on this planet, don’t make their issues yours. Also remember that God don’t like ugly and neither do most individuals with a conscience.

Thanks for stopping by!

maybe it is time to tell sunoco to get the frack out of chester county?

20140418-122014.jpg

I am all for capitalism, don’t misunderstand me. However, what I don’t like is capitalism at the expense of where and how we live. And that pretty much sums up Sunoco and their quest for pipeline domination.

Take this timely news about Sunoco Logistics. And a gigantic oil spill attributed to their pipeline in Ohio…..that has affected among other things a nature preserve.

Huffington Post: Ohio Oil Spill: Mid-Valley Pipeline Leak Released More Than 20,000 Gallons Into Oak Glen Preserve

CINCINNATI (AP) — Federal environmental officials now estimate more than 20,000 gallons of crude oil — double the initial estimates — leaked from a pipeline into a nature preserve in southwest Ohio.

Meanwhile, Sunoco Logistics said Monday that the pipeline has been repaired and re-opened. Sunoco shut off the stretch of Mid-Valley Pipeline from Hebron, Ky., to Lima, Ohio, early March 18 after a leak was confirmed.

Sunoco spokesman Jeff Shields said under a federally approved plan, a specially engineered clamp was placed on the 20-inch diameter pipeline, which had a 5-inch crack that leaked oil. The clamp was tested before oil flow resumed Sunday evening.

Shields declined to say how much of the oil supply was disrupted in the last week in a system that runs about 1,000 miles from Texas to Michigan. He said the information is considered internal company business…..The oil leaked into an intermittent stream and acre-sized marshy area in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve just west of Cincinnati. Teams from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio EPA and other federal, state and local agencies responded after Sunoco Logistics reported the leak at about 1 a.m. EDT March 18….. some small wildlife has been affected by contamination.

Define “some”? I have friends with existing pipelines going through their property where Sunoco is drooling to put more. These are more rural friends with land that looks like a nature preserve because it is so beautiful and full of wildlife and scenic natural water sources.

In some positive news on this topic, East Goshen this week voted to intervene along with West Goshen. I think it is SO important for these municipalities to go to the mat for their residents. Slowly some State Senators also seem to be getting involved, but my wish is they do more than write a few letters. Political resistance needs to be fierce. The time for polite is pretty much over.

I never thought I would think about this pipeline issue. But I am and someone left a very valid comment that made me think. It is on the Just The Facts Please Facebook page:

How did this argument become “Not In My Back Yard”? I appreciate the passion and concern but to say move it a mile down the road only shifts the burden onto another community.

That was never the reasons for fighting this to begin with.

The real issue is that a for profit corporation is walking over cities, towns, and communities on its way to higher profits for their investors. If we use NIMBY in this fight WE WILL LOSE.

For me it has always been about stopping the process and not allow Sunoco to steal from our state to ship 90% away. There were people in the Northeast region this winter that were freezing due to a lack of propane, while Sunoco stockpiled it. This should be unacceptable for everyone

I have to say I feel this person is correct about the NIMBY thing and makes several good points. Chester County communities should band together whether they are immediately affected or not. This is a “big picture” issue as well as being intensely personal to those affected right now.

NIMBY is Not In My Back Yard. I thank the good lord above I don’t have Sunoco in my back yard right now. But I could. Most of us in Chester County are all close enough to Sunoco and other existing pipelines. So I wholeheartedly support my neighbors’ efforts in neighboring municipalities — I don’t want this in my back yard either!

Sunoco Logistics as has been said repeatedly in the media is applying to the Public Utility Commission to become a utility for natural gas purposes. The cliff notes version is if they get this they more easily get the power of eminent domain basically to seize property when they want under the guise of eminent domain for public purpose. It’s not so public purpose, this is to positively impact their corporate bottom line so in my humble opinion doesn’t that make it eminent domain for private gain? How despicable, right? Do we work hard so we can live in beautiful Chester County so they can take our land and destroy what we have worked hard for??

Another interesting thing to ponder off of the Just The Facts Please Facebook page:

If you think that Sunoco’s desire to be honest should not be questioned, then here is something to think about.

In Sunoco’s filing with FERC (OR13-9-000) they state that they have already committed 90% of the product to ship (par. 5). That leaves 10% for domestic use. They also cite that FERC has not established a minimum percentage of capacity that must be set aside (par. 14). Sunoco claims there is no major market in the Northeast for the product (par. 4). Apparently the 55,317,240 (2010 census.gov) that live in the Northeast region are nothing compared to the Norwegian population of 5,109,059 (wikepedia.com) Our question would be if PECO claimed the same thing and wanted to ship excess electricity to another country would this then be alright with FERC. The answer would most likely be no. PECO is required to allow any and all customers to tap their lines. A Sunoco representative, Joseph McGinn—Senior manager, Public Affairs, has already stated when asked about tapping into the line “you cannot connect into it, but if PECO wanted to get it to you then that would be a possibility.” Sunoco Pipeline LP/Sunoco Logistics LP wants us to believe it is OK for them to ship our resource to another country, not pay taxes to the townships along the way, devalue our homes & regions, and destroy the place we call home only to put money into their investor’s & politician’s pockets.

Sunoco Logistics comes in and pays once for use of your land. You don’t get an annual rental fee, if you buy a property with a pipeline from them already there you get nothing, correct? Except if you have pipeline running through your property you get all the risk of having a pipeline in your backyard, don’t you? Which includes not merely environmental concerns but economic concerns as well, right? If you don’t think property values of residential real estate won’t be affected by a pipeline running through it, I would have to say my opinion is you are ever so sadly mistaken. It doesn’t take much to adversely affect a property value does it?

In Chester County a great deal of us don’t have access to natural gas to heat with. Why? Because the only gas lines are pipelines and are Sunoco’s and some other companies for their profit. They aren’t for residential usage and supply. We can have propane tanks, oil tanks, or heat with wood or wood pellets. But that gas is for other people.

Not only does Sunoco want to suck our natural resources out and ship them elsewhere and not give residents access, they don’t even pay their fair share of taxes for using the land and sucking it dry . Which is exactly why as a Republican I am saying people all across Pennsylvania should have yet another reason to send Governor Tom Corbett packing. Start with sending him a message in the upcoming gubernatorial primary. Write in Daffy Duck if you have to.

I have also personally decided to avoid filling up the car at Sunoco gas stations whenever possible. We have plenty of other brands and stations to use out here, and well Sunoco gas stations are the most expensive most of the time anyway, so it’s also being more economical. Yes, I am talking a personal boycott…personal choice and all that if you care to embrace the concept, right?

Another thing you can do is sign and send the letter available via the Chester County Community Coalition website to the Public Utility Commission. Power is in numbers, so the more people who take the time to do this simple thing, the better.

A website called ChescoPaGreen has a lot of information. I am a visual person so the maps they have really hit home. Chester County is literally all carved up by these pipelines.

It is time to stand up to Sunoco and the rest of big and small oil criss-crossing Chester County. The ratio of risk vs. reward is skewed in the favor of big and small oil and any politician or related company or person in their pocket. We as a collective of residents are bearing the burdens and the risks. Safety, property values, environmental concerns (how many of you out there depend on wells for your water?), and so on. We don’t see much in the way of benefits and these companies aren’t even paying their share of taxes let alone actually compensating people properly who have had these pipelines carve up their properties.

If you can’t go to meetings, please contact the Public Utility Commission and ask them to DENY Sunoco. Contact television stations and ask them to join our regional news websites (like PaNewz.com), regional and local newspapers like The Daily Local, Philadelphia Inquirer, and Main Line Media News and give residents more of a voice. Also contact elected officials. On every level for local to Harrisburg to Washington DC, but remember a lot of politicians take donations from big business and individuals involved. You probably can’t expect much from lame duck elected officials, but contact them anyway. Like Congressman Jim Gerlach, for example. He has plenty of pipeline near where he calls home in Chester County.

Again, I didn’t think this would be an issue I really cared about and I was somewhat ambivalent for a long time. But then I moved to Chester County. We live in a beautiful county and we have sacrificed enough already between developers gobbling up ever scenic acre they can get and existing pipe lines.

I am just thinking enough is the word of the day. As in Chester County has given enough.

Time to hit the pause button.

I don’t have a pipeline running through my property. But I could. That makes it more than enough for me as a Chester County resident to say “NO”. Please say “NO” as well.

Thanks for stopping by.

20140418-121957.jpg

where have all the roses gone?

rose4Happy first day of summer!

Where have all the roses gone?

Are local gardeners so lazy that nurseries don’t carry them any longer?

Or is the beautiful rose, once an iconic American and British garden staple merely out of fashion?

Have roses gone the way of any plant not easy for a developer to “shrub” a plastic coated development with?

I think the answer is yes to all questions above, and I think it is sad.

I love roses.  I love roses enough that once upon a time I wrote something for the American Rose Society which still exists over 15 years later on their website (Read it here on this website too! Roses-Thrive-on-Routine ).

more roses

I have a small collection of rose books in my personal library, including one of my favorites called In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher – here is a snippet of an old interview:

Thomas Christopher author of In Search of Lost Roses

Read an excerpt from the book.

Question: What are “lost roses,” and how did they get that way?

Christopher: Traditionally, gardeners grew a tremendous diversity of roses—some 6,000 different kinds were introduced by nurserymen in the nineteenth century alone. Not all of these roses were available at any given time, but still, a century ago gardeners took for granted that they would have access to roses of all sorts of sizes and colors, from tiny five-petalled roses very little different from the wild species, to huge, petal-packed puffs as much as six inches in diameter.

This situation changed at the beginning of the twentieth century. The nursery industry consolidated, so that the growing of roses was handled by a few giant firms. To maximize profits, these businesses trimmed the product lines, eliminating the less than best-selling roses. Eventually, the rose growers focused on the production of the widely-popular new hybrid tea roses to the exclusion of almost everything else.

The other roses, the heritage of 2,500 years of breeding and gardening, disappeared from nursery catalogs and eventually from gardens, too. They were lost and presumed dead until a handful of imaginative rosarians made it their business in the 1970s and 1980s to search out specimens surviving in abandoned gardens, cemeteries, and other inadvertent sanctuaries. My book is the story of these collectors and their crusade.

It was this book that got me hooked on old roses.  By the time I read it I already was in love with David Austin’s English Roses and the royalty of American Hybrid Tea roses like “Princesse de Monaco“, “John F. Kennedy” , “Climbing Joseph’s Coat“, and “Peace”.

But where are these and old garden roses today?  Thomas Christopher might want to consider a follow-up book as roses are quickly disappearing from the American garden landscape.

roses

A flower as American as Apple Pie shouldn’t disappear from gardens.  They are regal and amazing flowers and much like your pets and children will thrive on simple and consistent routines.  Has our world evolved so much that because a rose bush is not instant gratification that we can no longer grow it?

I went searching for roses this spring.  Chester County has a slew of nurseries and while I could find every other shrub, roses were on the endangered species list.  The only roses to be found were sorry specimens from prior seasons that should have been marked down for a rose lover to adopt, but weren’t and those “Knock Out Roses” – Knock Out Roses are apparently the evolution of the American Garden Rose and purportedly require little care.  They are o.k. but they don’t give me that true garden rose feeling.roses3

I finally had to order my roses bare root.  I hated to not give local nurseries the business, but they didn’t have the stock. I don’t mind planting bare root rose, it is fairly easy – just follow the directions of the grower.

Yes, I know deer like roses, but that is why you have fences and dogs.

So yesterday when I stopped at Woodlawn Landscaping and Nursery in Malvern (the old Potters site on Paoli Pike for those of you who haven’t been there), I got to talking roses with one of my favorite nurserywomen there as I picked out some perennials.  She told me how the rose industry had faltered and about  Jackson & Perkins bankruptcy a couple of years,  and financial issues other rose growers had experienced in this crazy economy of the past few years.

So roses are a victim of the economy too? Thanks, President Obama.  My healthcare keeps going up and now I can’t find a simple pleasure like rose bushes? I wonder if the White House Rose Garden has suffered as a result? (Sorry, didn’t mean to get political but roses are an American tradition are they not? Shouldn’t someone be indignant?)

Here is an article I found that I thought was interesting:

LA Times Bloom comes off the rose industry

In recent years, time-strapped homeowners have traded their big tea roses for the easier-growing compact shrub variety. Many hybrid varieties may disappear from the marketplace.

March 08, 2012|By Debbie Arrington

Future generations may never know the beauty of Diana, Princess of Wales; sniff Catalina in the sunshine; or fall for Beloved.For a century, devoted gardeners have appreciated the marvels of delicate and finicky hybrid roses and referred to them by name, like pets or family. The product of generations of breeding, the queen of flowers could act like a spoiled princess because its delicate blooms offered a special reward.

In recent years, though, time-strapped homeowners have traded their big teas for compact shrub roses — utilitarian soldiers in the landscape that could cover ground without fuss.

Our desire for the carefree — no-iron shirts, no-wax floors, and now low-maintenance yards — has brought the rose industry to a crossroads.

“At some point, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Charlie Anderson, president of Weeks Roses, the only major company still creating new varieties of full-size roses. “[Landscape] roses will be all you have; the beautiful, unique hybrid teas will be gone.”

The flagging economy has compounded the rose industry’s troubles.

Two years ago, rose giant Jackson & Perkins, which had annually shipped 10 million bushes nationwide, filed for bankruptcy protection. Many of the hybrid roses the company created — such as Diana, Catalina and Beloved — may soon disappear from the mass market as the supply of those bushes dries up.

“Roses are viewed as an extravagance, and they’re still trying to shed that stigma,” said Seth Taylor of Capital Nursery…..The annual wholesale value of California’s rose crop dropped 55% to $27.20 million in 2010 from a high of $61.05 million in 2003, according to nursery industry expert Hoy Carman, a retired UC Davis professor.

“The whole nursery industry is down,” Carman said. “In 2008, sales just plummeted.”

Said Adams of the Rose Society: “Roses are not the first thing homeowners think of when they want to plant a garden. Competition with other choice plants is fierce…. Most major rose growers have gone bankrupt or consolidated with other wholesale nurseries…..Jackson & Perkins, acquired by J&P Park Acquisitions Inc. of South Carolina, no longer develops and grows new roses. Before bankruptcy, the company farmed 5,000 acres in Wasco with 20,000 bushes per acre. Without buyers, many of those bushes were burned.

Once a breeder goes bankrupt, its roses usually disappear with it. Rose patents — good for 18 to 20 years — may be sold, but budwood and mother plants are lost. Many Jackson & Perkins roses are now on the endangered list.

“Some will be preserved,” Anderson said. “But a lot of varieties were lost; there was no budwood to collect [to create new hybrid bushes]. Most will just disappear into the ether.”

rose2

When is the last time any of you planted a rose bush?  I don’t think there is an app for that, so when is the last time you really dug in the dirt? As in planted things yourselves?  Gardening is a primal thing to be sure, a connection between you and the land and it doesn’t have to be all perfect and chemically induced lawns, either.

I know I am a little dotty when it comes to gardening because I love to do it.  Not for other people, just myself.  It gives me peace and satisfaction.  The easiest way to inner peace is a simple walk or cooking or gardening I think.

Roses are a part of every garden I have ever had large or small.  Granted I will never have the amount of roses in my garden that I grew in my parents’ old garden (read this June 1997 Philadelphia Inquirer article where I was interviewed about rose growing – Rosy Outlook ).  Pardon me while I ramble like a proverbial rambling rose, but  wow I still remember shortly after my parents sold that house the new owner ripping out and tossing over 51 different rose bushes so he could have a look that was more developer “shrubbed” and predictable (and someone else would take care of it.)

I am making a plea to all you gardeners who are left: if you have some sun, plant some roses.  Don’t let real roses disappear. You don’t have to plant dozens, just try one or two.   After all the rose is iconic enough to Americans that it has a parade, and it is still the state flower of New York, and last I checked the White House still had a rose garden, so aren’t they worth saving and trying again?  Not those landscaper roses that have taken over, but a real rose, with that real rose smell and regal appearance? And did you know that roses are a working flower too?  Don’t believe me? Check any wine producer and let them tell you about how they plant roses in the vineyards.  They have this canary in the coal mine role – grape vines and roses are susceptible to the same diseases.

My final word on the topic is yet another article, fairly recent, that I found about roses and life:

Sherry Young: Life is like growing roses, if you don’t tend to responsibilities it may fade on you

By , Deseret News Published: Thursday, May 23 2013

In frustration with all the roses in my yard I once wrote an article titled “Roses have thorns — and thorns have roses.” It sprang from a quote by writer and novelist Alphonse Kerr, who observed, “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.”

As a beleaguered gardener, I wrote, “My yard is filled with roses. Now, during the third summer learning curve for tending to them, I bear scars on my arms and legs from trying to figure out their perfidious nature.”

Today I stood looking around my yard, now sadly devoid of many of those beautiful plants. One by one they expired…

Whatever the cause, only a few remain to waft the air with their perfume this June. It is a great life lesson to deal with the thorns because at least there are roses.

As I stood looking, I had mixed feelings about the plight of those roses. It was actually a relief I didn’t need to prune them and feed them and chase away the aphids, but on the other hand I was sad to miss their beauty.

Life is like growing roses. If you don’t plant you won’t reap, if you don’t tend to responsibilities they may fade on you. Some varieties are hardier than others, and even among the same varieties there will be differences. Part of their success and beauty will be where they are planted.

Well, I do go on — parallels everywhere…“A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever,” advised British actor Richard Briers

 

Enjoy the first day of summer.  And remember, life is all about stopping to smell the roses.  But we have to plant some first.

the hat thing

Hats2A friend asked me this morning if I was going to Ladies’ Hat Day at Devon this year.  Last year I had returned to the event after years of not being able to go due to work conflicts.  But oh my word, remember the dust-up when I commented on how I did not care for ready to wear taxidermy and salad bowls? Yikes!

Unfortunately, that left a bad taste in my mouth and while I appreciate all the work the lovely women of the Ladies’ Hat Day Committee put into a truly beautiful event I find a lot of who goes these days not so beautiful. So I will skip it this year.

Today once again, Ladies’ Hat Day will be on a day that is a scorcher.  I hope they have a lovely event.  But the traditionalist in me misses the hat days when salad bowls and taxidermy were left in cupboards and on walls, respectively.hats

Back in the day my friends and I did a lot of steeplechase and what not (Point to Point, Willowdale, Virginia Gold Cup, FoxFields just to name a few) so we have always done hats.  Hats are an art form. To me art should be beautiful and sorry I did not get some of those hats last year.

As a personal choice I also am one who appreciates more traditional hats as I think there is nothing so lovely (think about the fabulous hats worn by women like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly).  I just don’t get the ones that I would reserve for Halloween…to each their own, quite simply not my cup of tea.

Stay cool today at Devon and I hope everyone enjoys the Ladies’ Hat Day!

 

argus & fiona’s laws? can we do that?

DSC_0105I woke up thinking of the laws that need to change, and in my mind a bunch of things need to happen:

  1. Punishment AND fines for animal cruelty need to be tougher all the way around.  It needs to mean more than an inconvenience
  2. Pennsylvania as in the Commonwealth needs to recognize companion animals like dogs as more than property- people discussed that a few years ago when trying for stiffer puppy mill laws but I do not recall anything than some stuff getting watered down. I bet Tom Hickey from the state is watching this blog, and I would like him to connect with me.
  3. Also farm statutes must be updated so there is less “fuzzy” area. My thought is two-fold: protect the dog owners better, but still give farmers recourse. I have not fleshed that thought out anymore than that but in PA we need to remember the importance of farms as they do drive enough of state economy still.
  4. I believe that municipalities like West Vincent that used to be extremely rural need to be made to look at their zoning more closely.  After all, when you get down to it development doesn’t happen without them does it? So it is incumbent upon them to work harder for better relationships between old and new.  Also what defines a farmer versus a hobbyist with tax breaks?
  5. Gun and gaming laws. I do not want this tragedy to be overshadowed and used by a national political debate. My frame of reference is simple: school people on existing laws because one of the things so irresponsible about what happened is the fact a shotgun was discharged like that in what I am told is R2 residential as opposed to land area zoned agricultural and am I wrong in that?

argus and fionaState Senator Andy Dinniman who represents a lot of us and is a huge animal advocate is working on some law having to do with dog owners being able to sue for damages.  He says and I quote ” I am drafting a law that would allow pet owners to civilly sue those who harm or kill their pets.”  I do not know the specifics other than that but would ask that if some of his staff is watching this blog if they could  post specifics as they occur.

I urge you to contact your lawmakers on a state and federal level and ask for change that will protect our dogs better. They are a part of our families not like an ear of corn.

In Chester County to connect with Andy Dinniman:

One North Church Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: 610.692.2112
Fax: 610.436.1721
Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m

Andy@pasenate.com

In Chester County to bump it up to a Federal level to Congress:

Chester County
Jim Gerlach
 111 East Uwchlan Avenue
 Exton, PA 19341
610.594.1415 tel
610.594.1419 fax

Pat Meehan
 940 West Sproul Road
Springfield, PA 19064
Phone: (610) 690-7323
Fax: (610) 690-7329

Together if we focus together and ask for Justice for Argus & Fiona, maybe we can propel that forward to someday mean Argus & Fiona’s Laws.

I will also comment briefly that in spite of media spin the Facebook page Justice for Argus & Fiona , it was set up with a peaceable goal of true justice.  As in through the legal system, including changing laws to better protect dogs.

After all, one of the people who helped set up the Facebook page was Mary Bock, who is a truly lovely and gentle woman who has shown such grace and peace in the face of unbelievable family tragedy.   Make no misunderstanding with regard to that page as it is not for deviant purposes and  implication is resented. People are banned and comments are removed. Posting and commenting is a privilege, not a right.

However, the unfortunate reality is that in this world two of the most heated topics in the world are issues having to do with children and pets, and this issue involves BOTH.

Below are some media snippets from yesterday afternoon as the region learned the dogs would start to have justice, and did not die in vain.  I will comment that I am struggling with the statement Mr. Pilotti is purported to have released about remorse and prayers for the family.  Part of me hopes it is true, yet part of me wonders why he simply did not do that before the media and public got news of what happened?  Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t he have almost a week in between the actual date of tragedy and media whirlwind to pray and show remorse?

In any event, those of us supporting the Bock family do not support violence.  Nor do we support nut jobs that stand outside anyone’s home screaming anything. No matter WHAT has transpired, we as a society cannot swirl downwards into utter lawlessness.  More bad acts will not solve any issue.

So I ask all of you to use your energy to speak out for dogs.  Get laws changed.  And oh yes, no matter what West Vincent says if you live there you have a right to be heard at the Supervisors meeting.  They may decline comment, but you have the right to public privilege of the floor or public comment.  They do not have to respond, but as elected and appointed officials part of their job is to listen. Just be polite.

I am told that this coming Monday is a normal Supervisors meeting. Monday at 7:30 PM at their Township building 729 St. Matthews Road, Chester Springs, PA 19425

Media has reported that West Vincent has not really been chatting with anyone.  I guess “unavailable” and “declining comment” would describe it best? In any event, they provide their township contact information on their website as:

729 St. Matthews Road Chester Springs, PA 19425

Phone: (610) 458-1601 Fax: (610) 458-1603

E-Mail  office@westvincenttwp.org




As always, thanks for stopping by. And to that eternally curious woman who keeps asking a mutual friend about this blog to the point of obsession? Lady, if you have to ask you don’t need to know. Grow up and quit looking for chickenman conspiracies behind every bush and hillock in West Vincent.  (No I do not know who chickenman is, nor do I care.  Even chickens have First Amendment Rights…)

Face it, you live in warped Mayberry and the sooner you own that the more at ease your  mind will be. I know it is hard for some to fathom that I post recipes and discuss politics and local issues, but so be it.  Far more interesting than standing in someone’s kitchen telling birthing stories and discussing which mustard goes best with a honey baked ham, yes?

TTFN

sandy storm photos – send them in for posting!

Hi there gentle readers.  I hope everyone has battened down the hatches for however Hurricane Sandy turns out?

I have a proposition for all of my readers: send me storm photos for posting.  I learned a long time ago that if you want to enact change, photos help. The photos you are CURRENTLY looking at are photos I took where I used to live in Lower Merion Township and one from Conshohocken. The snapped tree was courtesy of Irene last year.

So if you have flooding photos and you want them out there, send them to me via sandysnaps <at> spamex <dot> com

That is sandysnaps @ spamex . com - Sorry due to spammers, I will not have this as just a hyperlink to click and go.

Alternately you can tweet me at @gossipgirl19380

I am happy to attribute photos, tell me who gets credit, and *MOST* importantly give me precise locations. Or I will post photos anonymously if you live in a municipality that has shall we say, issues?

I am particulalrly interested in photos where development may be occuring or is currently occuring or has just been completed. I am also interested in areas that chronically flood and often wait until the bitter end for help to arrive.

One spot  of particular curiousity which should not be overlooked by anyone is where the Borough of Phoenixville is building their over-priced new municipal hall.  I passed it last night while in Phoenixville and thought I should defininately put that location out there as a site for good storm photos because it always floods, doesn’t it? And correct me if I am wrong, but the plans for that needlessly overpriced new borough hall doesn’t really have proper flood remediation built in, does it?  Wasn’t that the plan where the plan is put the garage underneath so everyone’s cars drown and there is lots of potential litigation from that?  Anyway, I figure a way to preserve the taxpayer investment and future costs here is to have irrefutable proof that they need a real plan or they should stop and move sites.

Phoenixville has a fun downtown at night.  They need better parking and I notice they have the parking authority people out chalking tires on a Saturday night, and truthfully, most municipalities don’t do that.  They leave it as the police can tow people from certain zones and are done with it.  But then again, people tend to question how Phoenixville spends money – they spend way too much on a manager, they spend way too much on a school superintendant – seriously for a borough barely squeaking by in any economy they pay Main Line prices.

But enough picking on Phoenixville which always floods so badly, from Tredyffrin through to West Vincent and Oxford and wherever, if you have storm photos, or storm info, send it in.   Also feel free to leave comments about where the power is out and if roads are blocked.

Hopefully Sandy will be a non-event for Chester County.

My final note is DO NOT PUT YOURSELVES IN HARM’S WAY TO SEND ME PHOTOS. 

But do document flooding and damage.  It is helpful for getting things corrected so situations do not repeat themselves. I will also take Main Line storm photos if it will help any of you out there near where I used to live.

Thanks and stay dry!

 

 

why the petty?

UPDATE:

I just received a note from someone named Megan Ebersole:

Hello- This post was brought to my attention because there is a screen shot of my images being used without my permission which is infringing on my copyright. I kindly ask that you please remove the screen shot of my images as I really don’t want this post or anything like it associated with my business.

So I have edited my screen shot from a public Facebook page to honor her request.   As for her not wanting to be associated with my blog, hey that is fine as we all know I generally take and use my own photos.   I am sorry she got caught in the crossfire so to speak.

One last question: ummm who had permission from Twitter to use their trademarked tweetie bird and symbol on cupcakes? And photograph and advertise with it?  That is what is in the image in question  (cupcakes with Twitter tweetie birds and twitter symbols) and  I looked and saw nothing.  If that photo is for anyone’s financial gain, they might wish to have a care with photos like that – the bakery in Media that produced them for AML (A Sweet Mess Cakes in Media), the photographer that shot the cupcakes and contacted me, and of course AML. I made an unintentional error, because I just wanted to show a screen shot of what I was talking about on a public Facebook page, but that whole twitter of it all? Seems a few of us had a learning curve here, yes?  I wouldn’t wish to run afowl of twitter, so I am almost glad this woman contacted me……

Original Post:

So it is a big brave world out there and every day many of us like different pages on Facebook.   Only sometimes the page owners are odd and even petty.

There is this one page called AroundMainLine.com. (“AML”) The owner is a woman named Sarah Lockard, who I have seen here and there at social events.  She doesn’t remember who I am half of the time, and that is fine – truly that doesn’t bother me.  We’re not friends, just sometimes go to the same things.

But what I do not get is why I like her AroundMainLine page  (“AML”) and a couple of weeks later I will go look at something because I will see her feed on someone’s page and I have to like the page all over again.  I have had my like unliked by her as page administrator twice today.  And oh yes, although I can’t remember ever posting anything on this page, for some reason I am not allowed to post a comment on the page even when I like it. .

Now look, I don’t have time for petty.   I get that some people are fairly ambitious social climbers, love to pretend their roots are more Main Line than they are and just need a touch up,  and at heart insecure, but this is just silly.  I hate to pile on with the haters out there, but I am just too old for this stuff.

The irony is a LOT of people have a LOT to say about her and her “work” that is not too flattering.  I really haven’t.

I discovered I was not allowed to post a couple/few weeks ago when I happened to go to this page while searching for a store on Facebook.  I saw this beautiful photo and thought “wow how pretty”.  I went to leave a comment to that effect and found I could not comment.

So I am putting it out there that this is pretty childish stuff from a purportedly seasoned p.r. chick.

Not everything she does is my cup of tea, but every once in a while I see something cute or whatever.

Grow up, precious.   Or pick up your Barbies and go home.

And incidentally, *IF* this ends up to be a total misunderstanding, I will take this post down.

the facebook controversy currently brewing

Today the blog is going national.  As in I have chosen to write about something causing a serious dust-up nationally: the Facebook password controversy.

What am I speaking about?  The news reports and ensuing discussion about employers in this country asking potential new hires for their e-mails and passwords to their Facebook accounts.  Are they kidding us?  Apparently not.

Read this:

ABC News: Demanding Facebook Passwords May Break Law, Say Senators

By  (@joannastern)  March 26, 2012

It’s become standard practice for employers and schools to peruse potential applicants’ Facebookprofiles. But in some cases, they are going even further: Some have demanded applicants hand over their passwords so they can view individual’s restricted profiles.

Justin Basset is just one of those individuals. Basset was finishing up a job interview, according to the Associated Press, when he was asked to hand over his Facebook login information after the interviewer couldn’t locate his profile on the site.

Others have reported similar situations, in which employers, potential employers, or colleges have asked for Facebook passwords so they can inspect people’s profiles.

Wow. Would they like to look in our underwear drawers too? (My bras are a little messy, yo.)  This is an insane invasion of privacy, and it happens all the time.  Take for example certain  requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act  that contain  post-employment look-back provisions.  It’s all very Big Brother, but the long and short of it is under this provision (and it’s in the Dodd-Frank Act) , employers and former employees are wed to each other for like five years.  But what really isn’t in there is HOW this look-back is supposed to be accomplished is it?  Seriously, if someone has left a company and doesn’t want to be found, how do you find them if they aren’t out there on the web with a LinkedIn page or whatever without violating their privacy?

So am I surprised by this Facebook thing? Nope.  Would I comply with such a request? Nope.  And neither should you. People try to overstep every day.

I did not do Facebook for years, and when I set up my page a couple of years ago, I decided I liked having privacy settings active.  That, however, has chafed with people who know of me but don’t know me.

There is a group on the Main Line that a lot of my contemporaries refer to collectively as “The Mean Girls of Bala.”  They aren’t all from Bala Cynwyd, but a lot of them are. In essence, if you are different from them in any way it is way too much for them to handle.  I became aware of them through local politics.   I am a Republican.  The majority of them are Democrats.  I am not the most conservative of the conservatives, and find myself for the most part, politically in the middle.  You know, like the majority of people in this country? I am also fairly independent in my thinking. They can’t handle that.

Anyway, this crew can and does bully.   Especially verbally.  They are ironically, a collective of nobodies that you would pass in the grocery store without a pause. But they are mean. Take for example a couple of years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor about snow removal. Truthfully, it was about the lack of snow removal.  They sprang into action in the comments several ad hominem attacks.  And they did it all with pen names.  They don’t like me, don’t like my opinion, yet they can’t roll up like big girls under their own names.  Truthfully, as someone who has been a community activist, you learn to expect this.  It’s all about quieting the voices that might shock and horrors make you think. They went so far this one time that people commented about the newspaper company allowing comments that most considered harassing and  defamatory.  And truthfully, they are a group that have been vile to others I know.   (And adults wonder sometimes where kids learn about bullying?)

As a related aside, this is why, for example, I cheer on the residents of West Vincent fighting for better government – they are subjected to this garbage in their own community.

Whatever.  I chose not to engage with this crew.  A couple of centuries ago, they would have been the ones tying people up to burn at the stake as witches.  So flash forward to a few months ago. I used to be on this community board on Facebook that is one of those “private” boards – as in only those in the group can see the content.  I participate on a few of these boards, but I keep my Facebook privacy settings the same.    What I did not realize is that if you have people blocked, they can’t see your comments.

The moderator of the board contacted me with a message forwarded from one of the Mean Girls:

Hi .

We are both members of [redacted]  Lower Merion Community group on facebook. I realized recently that I can’t see any of your comments or postings. Perhaps because your facebook account is somehow blocking me from seeing. As it is a community group and you are someone who clearly believes in the free exchange of ideas I wonder if you would be good enough to check your facebook settings and allow me to see your posts and comments in this group?
Thanks

Of course what the sender did not realize when she forwarded the message is that she also forwarded other bits of conversation about me including this whole ludicrous thread about me “hiding posts” from them.  So pardon me if as an adult, I can choose whom I interact with, right?

It was nice to know the privacy settings were working properly, however.  I eventually chose to opt out of this group, partially because more of this crew kept complaining to the administrator that my privacy settings kept them away from me and my comments, and I found it slightly bothersome.  Although the page administrator never asked me outright to change my privacy settings to accommodate these people, it was more than implied.  I wasn’t comfortable with that, and found the obsessiveness of these people when it comes to me downright odd.  Being on a page, even semi-private does not mean you should be obligated to change your privacy settings.  The two are not mutually exclusive.  I don’t care for them and they feel likewise, yet I am supposed to just open it all up for their comfort levels and in the end probably just grist for their gossip mills?  I don’t think so.

So now we have this whole Big Brother debate that as a condition of employment you are supposed to give your employer access to all aspects of your life?   That is just so wrong.  It’s so slaves and overseers it is frightening. This guy Shel Israel from Forbes.com online says this is all a non-issue and I do not necessarily agree 100%. I do agree with his sentiment that we shouldn’t lose sleep over this in the long run, but I do believe that this country has some Big Brother issues that can be considered creepy.

After all, no matter, how openly you live your life, that is a matter of personal choice.  If you choose to share things with people, that is one thing.  Being bullied or compelled to do so is entirely another.