december 1st musings

Well dear readers, it is December 1st. 2021 is in the home stretch.

And what a year it has been. More crazy politics and the COVID-19 of it all still lurks, now with a new variant just in time for Christmas: “Omnicron”. (Who names these things? The hurricane namers?)

In some regards it has been a good year, in some regards rather difficult.

For me it has been a year of personal loss. A friend I had since 7th grade left this earth literally right after we did the memorial service for another friend I had since the 10th grade and lost during 2020. They were tough losses for me. Then almost too close together two friends from adulthood, and I wouldn’t have ever met one, had I not known the other. Then a favorite cousin, and two of the ladies who were part and parcel of happy memories of childhood and Society Hill…and whom I had seen throughout adulthood. The older we get, every now and again the fabric of our lives snags and pulls at our heart and memories.

I will admit parts of this year just got to me. Sometimes for different reasons. Yet here we are, entering into the Christmas season, one of my favorite times of the year. It makes up for me missing all the months of mad gardening, which still make me look out of the window to wonder what everything will look like when it comes up next year.

2021 was a year I definitely marveled at people…like the woman who posted the photo of me on Facebook in a hospital gown during October (AKA “Breast Cancer Awareness Month”). The photo was from either right before my 2011 surgery or just after but before I started treatment. More recently, is this rather obsessive and wound guy who is running around social media calling me a “shill for CVS” because I had posted information I had learned because I had the initiative to go to CVS corporate and tell them how bad things were here and ask what they were going to do about it. Once again I have to say, I am not paid to do these things and am not a compensated blogger.

2021 was us getting back to trying to feel normal and see friends and family. But I have to ask, who else almost has a panicky feeling if they are somewhere where a lot of people are? Or even if it is not a lot of people it feels like a lot of people? Of course now we are getting into corporate Christmas party season. I do not miss those days and wouldn’t be going if I was still a teeny cog in a large corporate wheel.

2021 is a year where the hangover of 2020 politics haunted us all year long. I expect these politics will haunt us for a very long time. I miss some whom I consider friends, but who don’t seem to have time for me now that they consider me ” super liberal” which I am still truly not. But I can’t and won’t conform to Stepford Wife style politics or herd mentality and follow the sheeple. Simply not my jam, and those who truly know me have no problem with that no matter what their politics are. I wonder will we ever be able to have civil political conversations again some day?

2021 was feeling like I was under siege as a blogger at times. I have been blogging long before it was commonplace and I will never understand why I am so, shall we say, “fascinating” to some? I am not so unusual, I actually quite ordinary. Is having a point of view that doesn’t have to be crowdsourced first on Facebook so unusual?

2021 was a year I cherished my family and friends even more than ever. But there for the Grace of God, go I. When you look at what others are going through, you do quite literally count your blessings. Life is not a Hallmark Christmas movie with a hero at the end and a happy ending, but it’s not so bad, and I am blessed. A phrase I don’t use often like tossing bits of popcorn into the air. But this year marks my 10th year surviving breast cancer among other things.

For all of us, it has felt like an eternity since our world went upside down in March of 2020 due to COVID-19. And honestly, I don’t feel we are out of the woods yet. And please, save your conspiracy theories like the one I heard last weekend when someone said to me that the people spreading COVID-19 were all the people who got their shots. And that, friends is one of the more irritating as hell aspects of 2021: it has been the year of the anti-masker/anti-vaxxer. By all means, keep protesting in front of malls and such, just stay out of my way. And don’t tell me I am wrong if I wear a mask somewhere. I hate wearing masks, but sometimes you just have to.

Now I am going to turn my attention towards getting my decorations up for Christmas. I am excited to be able to share this holiday season with some of my family. Nothing huge, but it will be Christmas.

I am, however, amused by somewhat extended family whom I have not heard from since way before COVID -19 hit inquiring as to Christmas plans. I would be offended, but that would require more head space than it deserves. Yes, it’s Christmas but umm where have you been? Some people sadly have no sense of their own optics based on behavior. You can’t always ask, sometimes you have to give.

Today I marked December 1st by having a photo taken with Santa. Nope sorry, that is my photo for my Christmas memories, but he was a rather marvelous Santa as you can see in the photo.

Seeing a Santa today really made me believe in the magic of Christmas. Here’s hoping we all have a magical season sprinkled with happiness. (And if you use Spotify listen to their just released list of what we listened to in 2021 – I like my list so far!)

Ho ho ho and thanks for stopping by.

festive and fun: creekside antiques downingtown by the brandywine

Today was a lot of fun a friend and I had the chance to go back to Creekside Antiques Downingtown by The Brandywine. We hadn’t been in a long time, and it was nice to see them open and busy after all they experienced with Hurricane Ida.

Creekside is as wonderful as ever! I highly recommend going in and checking out all the fun. I scored an amazing vintage Santa tree topper, a skiing nordic gnome, a felted reindeer, and a couple of other things.

I am not being asked to promote them, I am merely a happy customer and paying it forward.

Creekside is located at 35 W. Lancaster Avenue, Downingtown, PA 19335 (610)-269-5589.

#ShopSmall #ShopLocal

happy thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving readers! Preparations are underway in my house and the pie is not as perfect as I had hoped, but will taste good. This year‘s pie is pumpkin with maple sugar candied pecans and diced candied ginger.

My husband brined the bird (a beautiful fresh turkey from Loags in Elverson, PA). Now the lady of the day is resting in refrigerated splendor waiting to be stuffed and roasted. The stuffing has been prepared and is also being refrigerated in a mixing bowl. This year I am doing a sage and sausage stuffing with mushrooms and diced apricots.

This year I chunked and par boiled the sweet potatoes slightly . I will roast them in the oven when the turkey comes out to rest. I think they will be roasted savory and sweet with just a hint of spice. I will also be serving a green salad with a maple mustard vinaigrette and it will be topped with some candied walnuts and cranberries. And yes there is homemade cranberry sauce. This year I made cranberry sauce with tangerines.

I don’t actually consult lots of cookbooks for Thanksgiving. It’s kind of based on things I’ve seen, other things I’ve been reading about and flavor profiles that I just think will go together. If you can read my chicken scratch and homemade shorthand you can see some of what I wrote down because I do write it down sort of…

I’m lucky this year I have lots of fresh herbs in the garden and although I’m only making one pie and one turkey as opposed to Martha Stewart posting on Instagram the ridiculous amount of turkeys and pies she was baking. I guess she’s feeding an entire town or something.

I think one of the things I love best about Thanksgiving or the smells that fill the house. It’s familiar, comfortable, holiday.

I also watched the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in decades. It was really good! I think I liked it better than the New York parade! It was more holiday happy!

Anyway Happy Thanksgiving all!

thanksgiving 2021

I don’t know that I have anything particularly profound to say this Thanksgiving. It has been quite a slog these past two years between hideous politics and COVID-19. This will be the year that a lot of us finally have a true holiday with family. Hopefully it will be a day to just pause and be together.

Some will travel, others will open their doors to friends and family. For some I know, it will be a perhaps bittersweet and poignant start to the holiday season – it has been a year of loss for so many.

I lost a few friends this year who passed away. Two were friends I made in adulthood, two were among the great ladies of my childhood, and one more recently was a neighbor for many years and a friend for so many more years preceding that.

How do we honor these wonderful people who were in our lives? I guess by trying to be the best people we can be. It made me think of this Dutch Hymm we used to sing this time of year when we were at St. Peter’s titled “We Gather Together”.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday filled with history and tradition. Hopefully we can all gather and have wonderful days wherever we are. Awesome that will mean watching endless football, and the first year I do that will be I don’t know when because I don’t really watch football. And I bet some of my armchair critics are saying “Aha that’s what’s wrong with her!” (Should I ‘fess up that I don’t like beer now too?)

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday for us and dates back to 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is now acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the “colonies.”

For the centuries that followed here in the US, “days of thanksgiving” were celebrated by individual colonies and then states. It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

This year a lot of Thanksgiving Day Parades will return. Our new normal thanks to COVID19 will be meeting our old normal, Thanksgiving Day Parades and activities.

But for some the holiday season is hard, and it kicks off tomorrow. I hope they get through it o.k.

Take tomorrow to enjoy your time with your people whomever they may be: your family, your friends, your neighbors. And take a moment to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving.

allow me to address my armchair critics

I have to be honest, I feel like I should be playing Taylor Swift while I write this.

Not sure if I should go with “You Need to Calm Down Lyrics”:

“And we see you over there on the internet
Comparing all the girls who are killing it
But we figured you out
We all know now, we all got crowns
You need to calm down”

Or maybe from “Shake it Off”:

“And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”

Yes, shocking as it might seem, I actually like Taylor Swift and as a lyricist she is a genius at times. It’s like she sings what people are thinking.

So why the lyrics? Well I am taking a minute because it has been a day or two.

I am a blogger (d’oh, I know you love when I restate the obvious) and that makes people uncomfortable. Men and woman.

Woman think I am going against some adult woman code by actually speaking my mind. I can’t do that, they say. They want me to be like them, in all their Stepford glory and limited comfort level.

Nope, life doesn’t work that way and I never liked cliques. Ask my high school friends and sorority sisters. If that’s your speed, that’s quite all right, it’s just not my jam.

Now the men, they can be a little more tricky. My opinions make some really uncomfortable. I have never understood that.

How does my opinion threaten their world and masculinity? Why do they feel the need to “school” me? Don’t they have enough to do at home? Or did they just peak in high school and haven’t gotten over their varsity blues?

So this week a couple of things. I went back to CVS to get some answers about our local stores. I don’t get paid for this, don’t have to do it, but as a CVS customer I wanted answers and shared with my community.

One would think they could just say thanks for the information or better yet, say nothing at all. I ended up closing down posts a couple of places I posted because for some strange reason it became the mission of some of these man children (and “ladies”) to just berate me:

How I was entitled to my opinion, but not entitled to spin things and and deceive people on reality. (Whatcha talking about Willis? Not opinion, but information provided to me by CVS.) Oh and because I shut down comments on my post because I didn’t feel like endless bits of this dude’s bullsheit I didn’t have the facts (as he saw them.)

Of course this guy then took to private messaging me so he could just keep spewing. According to him he had the right to do so and it wasn’t invading my privacy by sending unsolicited messages, I was invading everyone else’s privacy by posting on social media in general. (Yes you have to love pretzel logic combined with mansplaining.) Before I figured out how to just block him he was crowing with his pyrrhic victory “I am surprised by how many people are on to you!!! You are so busted! You really lost this one!! Ha” (I am confused. What did I lose? All I did was relay information told to me so how do you figure?)

Then there were the women. They just wanted to complain some more and correct me. Ladies, it’s not a competition, never was. And of course there was the one who had to know what was going on but couldn’t see because I blocked her. She was positively gleeful to hear people being miserable to me. (The funny thing is I don’t know her, and hadn’t remembered that I blocked her. I just don’t feel like dealing with some of these people so I just block them. It makes it out of sight, out of mind. A social media dusting so to speak. Clean and toss the rag, the dirt is gone like magic.)

Then there was some other thing. This guy who crops up here and there. He likes to trash talk me, usually behind my back. This time it was to my face. He went to high school with a guy who also doesn’t like me for whatever reason. That one doesn’t say anything to me, last time I saw him somewhere I said hello and was polite (because that is how I was raised) and he basically just grunted and scowled, which is fine because they don’t matter. So if they don’t matter to me, why am I so fascinating to them? And do I really know them? Nope, never have. It’s like they just decided to hate me on principle, but based upon what in reality, who knows?

Oh and what was the other thing that sent so many into a swivvet? Oh yeah my opinion on OTB (Off Track Betting) and casinos in communities. I think they are like dancing with the devil because they bring a lot of negative with them. Actually, you don’t have to believe me. If you know anyone in law enforcement who deals with the by-products of these establishments in communities, they will tell you. Plenty share my opinion on these establishments, and some don’t. And those who disagree but maintain respect for the opinion of someone other than themselves is completely fine, but then there are the others. They can’t have a conversation, they have to verbally pummel others. It’s crazy.

I don’t understand why these people feel the need to behave like this towards me or anyone else on social media. Male or female they need to get over themselves. Or they need to stop the world as it revolves around them personally…you know so the rest of us can get off?

It’s almost Thanksgiving, do we think they can tamp down the hypocrisy and harping and just try being normal? Or is that asking too much? Will they be posting at a fever pitch on Thanksgiving Day as well?

Whatever, just thought I would take a moment to address the armchair critics. Bottom line? They can keep doing them, that’s all they know, bless their hearts. (And they hate when I say THAT too which makes me say it more.)

Thanks for stopping by.

let’s talk about cvs (follow-up)

I wrote about CVS on November 5th, 2021. I also contacted corporate…all of the way up the food chain to the big kahunas like Karen Lynch and Shawn Guertin. As a matter of fact, here are the email addresses so anyone can write to them:

Karen.Lynch@cvshealth.com

Neela.Montgomery@CVSHealth.com

Michelle.Peluso@cvshealth.com

ExecutiveOffice@cvshealth.com

Jared.Tancrelle@cvshealth.com

Teresa.Carter@cvshealth.com

Matthew.Blanchette@cvshealth.com

Shawn.Guertin@CVSHealth.com

At first the email set off a flurry of corporate responses including from Michelle Peluso who apparently just got a giant promotion as per CVS spin doctors:

Prem Shah has been named to the newly created role of Chief Pharmacy Officer and will oversee the omnichannel pharmacy strategy, effective immediately. On January 1, 2022, Shah and Michelle Peluso will become Co-Presidents of CVS Health’s retail business, with Peluso overseeing front-store strategy and operations. Shah joined CVS Health in 2013 and is currently Executive Vice President, Specialty Pharmacy and Product Innovation. Peluso joined CVS Health in 2021 as Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer.

~ CVS 11/18/21

Michelle Peluso is one of the ones who responded to my initial email. Assured me everything would be ok. Here is what she said:

Hi – I’m Michelle Peluso, our Chief Customer Officer, and clearly, your experiences are not at all in line with the service we aim to provide. You have my sincerest apologies. Our senior care team will reach out to make sure we quickly resolve your and your husband’s medications, and equally, our head of Store Operations, Jared, also copied, will look into what is going on in those stores and how we fast improve. I will stay close to this until we get this resolved.

~ email reply November 5, 2021

Ok so I am trying to be patient, we are all trying to be patient. They have a new District Manager who is working her tail off. Customers are being terrible to her, CVS employees locally are not being much better. Our store in Frazer, PA is closed because they have to fix a broken system and bring in new pharmacists. It’s a shit show. I don’t like cursing on my blog but it is time to call a spade a shovel here.

Adding to this problem is although it should be easy peasy to move a prescription unless narcotics or a very specific list of meds, but it’s not. My husband (for example) tried doing it via the CVS website, and gave up in frustration after an hour. He needs refills within a couple of days. His prescriptions was what started me down this rabbit hole in the first place. That and my inability to get my prescriptions filled and they are supposed to be on automatic refill.

Well today, I did a pill count for my prescriptions and looked at the calendar. I have received only text messages from CVS as of November 10th that my store was closed. So I called to refill my prescriptions. First I get the message my prescriptions will be refilled automatically on November 21. That was at 5:45 PM today…,November 21st. I don’t even know where my prescriptions are, and shouldn’t I be able to choose where my prescriptions go? It’s super freaking frustrating.

Once again a WTF moment, CVS. And Ms. Peluso are you staying close? Have you been down here to our neck of the woods or are you just there in the Woonsocket, Rhode Island gilded corporate tower counting the additional shekels that you will undoubtedly receive with your promotion? Well, we the consumers are watching and all we see is the news on CVS.

CVS is closing 900 stores, and the big winner is Dollar General
By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business November 19, 2021

INC: CVS Isn’t Closing Its Doors–It’s Becoming The Company It Set Out To Be Nearly 60 Years AgoThe death of the pharmacy’s retail stores as we know them is the birth of a whole new business
BY KELLY MAIN, WRITER/ADVISER
@THEKELLYMAIN

CVS had every advantage, but it lost the pandemic. Here’s what happened
By Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN Business
Updated 2:10 PM ET, Sat November 20, 2021

I spoke to another friend who is out of her meds and she’s super worried about her husband’s meds, because they are diabetes related and well if you screw with those, someone could die right?

A woman in West Chester posted this evening on Facebook a simple question: “Are there ANY CVS stores with a functioning pharmacy?”

I can’t disagree.

Another friend tried registering for a COVID test in advance of Thanksgiving travel, and the CVS’ COVID test scheduler was apparently hacked.

Oh yeah, I have screenshots CVS, including from Twitter where the CVS hate is real. Many people do NOT have a choice as to where they can get prescriptions filled, and many can’t get prescriptions mailed which of course lends itself to the topic of how bad USPS is could you trust the prescriptions to make it to you?

Personally I think part of the problem here is the Aetna and CVS love err corporate connection which makes them joined at the proverbial hip. Aetna sucks. Had Aetna for years for health insurance and went through breast cancer with Aetna not wanting to pay for quite a bit. You have a lot of Aetna fat cats who are still on CVS payroll.

CVS we are TRYING a to be patient here, but I think things are so bad that y’all need to get your corporate asses down from Woonsocket and into these local stores here and everywhere. You need to support your employees, including the district and regional managers. You need to support your customers. We need more than polite platitudes. We need to be able to just get our prescriptions without having to keep raising unholy hell to do so.

CVS I will keep writing until this broken system of yours is fixed.

santa says all good elves should stop at brandywine view antiques…

Yes… today I could wait no longer, I had to go to Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford to see what Lisa has cooked up for holidays 2021!

It’s three floors of festive fun and Fa La La La.

I am writing this post because I am a happy customer and have been for years. I have not been asked to do this…I just want to pay forward the Christmas spirit and say #ShopSmall

Brandywine View Antiques is located at 1244 Baltimore Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 AM to 5 PM.

the twisted tale of grinches

This.

Creekside Antiques Downingtown by The Brandywine is a lovely small business that just reopened not so long ago after being decimated by Hurricane Ida. Today they were violated by the Grinch who literally stole their Grinch from in front of their store!!

Facebook photo submitted to Creekside Antique.

So WHO steals from small businesses? It’s a special kind of turd. Another small business was stolen from today. Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford also had issues today. The owner came outside of her store to check something (and store was open), and there was this woman cutting her hydrangeas off her bushes RIGHT next to the path to the front door of the store! Woman took off in a car.

Now the Downingtown Grinch has a happy ending because the police have located it, but that shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Support small businesses, don’t steal from them.

reimagined wonderful

Today was a fun day that started out at an open house at the Reimagined Style studio. I had the best time.

When you walk into Tracy’s studio it’s a fabulous glimpse into her creative process as an artist. It’s also a wonderfully curated collection of antiques and vintage collectibles including some fabulous vintage and antique textiles. I came away with some fabulous vintage ornaments, and other ideas for gifts.

Reimagined Style will be around during the holidays and be sure to keep an eye out. If anything in my photos catches your eye, message them via Instagram or Facebook.

I am a happy customer. I have not been asked to write this post nor have I been compensated for this post.

#ShopSmall