a meander

Different things matter to different people. I can be a little introspective at times. But I also often think things happen for a reason.

Last week was another week of my past and present being together. It was a weekend of family and friends. Still small and careful gatherings in our COVID19 world. And masks where asked without complaint.

I am really lucky to have amazing friends in my life, including from grade school and high school. I saw some more at a brunch yesterday. And my family, I just love.

One of my friends did something yesterday which was so touching. He told me how much it meant to him that my husband and I were the way we were in high school, and that he was grateful that we were always just his friend.

You see, back in the late 70s and early 80s, Main Line private schools were integrating yes, but it doesn’t mean that there weren’t huge invisible dividing lines inside the schools. There were. Maybe not all of the time, but they existed. My friend spoke of being a black boy from West Philadelphia at a Main Line private school – in this case, my alma mater, Shipley. I never really thought of it until yesterday, but him coming to school with us at first must’ve been literally like putting him on a different planet.

Maybe I was just that naïve back then, or maybe it was just a different time but I didn’t think of a lot of this then. He was just another one of my high school friends. And he was a nice guy who grew up to be a nice man. I did recognize that the truly not so invisible dividing lines often existed, but I often didn’t necessarily pay attention to them like I didn’t pay attention to cliques back then. My friends were simply my friends.

There’s that phrase hindsight is 20/20, except when I’m looking back now I’m looking back with the eyes of an adult. Back then I was just a kid. But no matter what our race, creed, color I think we all have to live through the past to reach today, right?

I guess this is why today, I often have issues with what I see going on around me. And part of what I see going on around me is a general dumbing down of life, even after all that we have gone through in this country over the past few years.

A lot of that dumbing down occurs on social media. I actually had a conversation with someone yesterday afternoon where they were talking about how are you bridge that gap between what’s actually going on in your life and what people want to see on social media? I guess the short answer is you have to live your own truth. Nobody’s lives are perfect.

Things I’ve seen lately on social media that drives me crazy include the responses people have to those discussing some of the particularly bad school board candidates who have cropped up. I’ve written about them.

A lot of these candidates are just absurd. And they’re not absurd in a good way that they are just good theater and amusing to see go by, they are absurd because they are such bad candidates that they could cause real damage to local public education systems.

But here in the fluffy white clouds of social media you can’t call a spade a shovel or a shovel a spade or even a trowel. You can’t actually have your opinion the way you wish to articulate it. And I’m not saying cursing up a storm, just telling people how you feel and why about a candidate in a school board race. Apparently a lot of us, myself included, did not get the memo with the requirement of pink fluffy bunnies and bubbles. And they have new champions like the couple of blogs which have cropped up for the election season.

I’m being called ageist and mean because I simply don’t understand how a candidate who has been invisible the entire campaign season for the school board races in Great Valley School District who is a teenager and college student will have time between classes and keggers to be on a school board? That is not ageist, that’s accurate. It’s common sense. If she was Alex P. Keaton with boobs, we would have seen a lot of her around, not just her Cher/Madonna campaign signs all of a sudden a couple of weeks before the election.

I think it’s that whole theory of everybody gets a gold star today, instead of actually earning the gold star.

But the thing about this weekend, is it was yet another weekend after such a long time, where I actually spent time with people who matter to me, including family, and reveled in the ability to have normal conversations with people. There wasn’t that built in censorship of overly paranoid political correctness, there was just good conversation. And even if we didn’t agree 100% with the other person’s opinion, there were no Facebook-like meltdowns. We talked, we laughed, we shared.

This matters to me. It matters to me to be able to have realistic and real conversations with people. They don’t necessarily have to be super deep all the time, they can be light social setting chit chat.

Being real matters. And part of being real is not sitting your entire life on Facebook telling people an alternate view of reality. Maybe your life on your planet is grand, I don’t ask people to move there and elect you supervisor of a real place, or to a school board.

And then there are the people who hide in the shadows and send all the nasty messages about what you write and say.

While we are speaking Facebook, let’s talk about the people whom you don’t know who just want to message you whenever the spirit moves them. Sometimes that spirit is moving them in the middle of the night, or other times it’s just when you’re not available. And when you tell them you’re not available, they don’t respect those boundaries they don’t take those social cues, they just keep going. These are the people that demand respect, but they don’t give respect. If you were to contact any of them, their response would be “why are you contacting me?“ yet conversely, you are supposed to just drop everything when they private message you?

It’s like society is becoming a caricature of itself. It’s kind of fascinating to watch, but it’s also equal parts scary and pathetic. In the 18th and 19th century there were scores of political and social commentators who wrote these fabulous plays and drew these damn funny cartoons and lampoons of life in that time.

Take Richard Brinsley Sheridan who wrote the play “School for Scandal” in 1777. It was a comedy of manners. It’s still a hysterical play. Most of you have no idea who he was or this play, which of course is an entirely another conversation on what I think is lacking in today’s world and in education . But think if we had a time machine and we took Sheridan from the 18th century London to 21st Century today and put him on Facebook. What would he have to say?

I can tell you at the end of the day my friends and family are what matter to me. Having a home we love, husband and child I love, pets I love. What matters to me also is being able to do things like garden because it brings me joy. Or to decorate for Christmas.

What doesn’t matter at the end of the day is the minutia. And there are people who definitely count within that minutia because that’s where they should be, in the category of minutia.

Liberals of convenience running for supervisor don’t impress me, and don’t tell people to vote for them because they are your political party, anymore than anyone who has a brain should vote for a good percentage of these newly minted politicians running for school board. Remove the political parties, and look at the people as individuals and listen to what they are saying and not saying.

This seems to be the season of a lot of social media candidates. You don’t see them around, but you see them on social media. A couple you don’t even see on social media, and you don’t see them around. These are not anyone’s candidates. These are jokes.

And while I would love it if people adored my opinions 24/7, in truth it would actually be a little creepy. Life is made up of variety, not Stepford Wives named Karen. Stupid doesn’t live here.

The lack of behavior modification, the ability to take social cues, and respect boundaries is something that bothers me regarding social media. Sadly it has spilled over into the real world. Hopefully it will eventually correct itself.

Thanks for stopping by.

(A brief post script on the photos- I took them but they don’t have any real connection to this post. I just like the variety of architecture that you find in places. And the graffiti was in a place I had never noticed it before.)

unacceptable

I am starting this post with humor. Why? Because by the END of this post, you will appreciate a little humor.

Saturday Night Live had a skit recently on what school board meetings have become from coast to coast.

Why?

Because from coast to coast, people have just plain lost their damn minds.

I have written about the school board meetings here. I have written about the anti-masker, anti-vaxxer protests. I have written about the QAnon school board candidates…and the anti-masker, anti-vaxxer candidates.

Now it occurred to me with posting the cartoons and Saturday Night Live skit and cartoons that this is what I find unacceptable. Ummm, no, and nice try. I find the election season bull sheit unacceptable.

Let’s start with Caroline O’Halloran’s startling revelation in the recent Savvy. I will be quoting liberally:

For the last month, we’ve been trying to decipher the new forces in play in local school board races.

It hasn’t been easy.

We sought answers from four new groups: Reimagine Radnor PAC, Back to School PA PAC, Pioneer PAC and Neighbors United PA. In an age when campaigns clamor for “transparency,” our questions were straightforward: Who are you? Do you have ties to statewide or national groups? How are you funded? What is your purpose?

At the same time, we reached out repeatedly to Conservative Women of the Main Line (CWML), a one-year-old PAC with T/E roots that hosts monthly speakers for paid members.

CWML’s September speaker was high-profile Stop the Steal activist Scott Presler, who’s been traveling the country helping the GOP “take back the school boards.” A lightning rod for progressives, Presler has been blasted for his work supporting the anti-Muslim group, Act! for America, and for calling the January 6 insurrection “the largest civil rights protest in American history.”.For weeks, we didn’t know if we’d even run a story. We were simply gathering information to see if there was a story worth reporting.

And then a few days ago, we received this from an encrypted – and therefore, untraceable – IP address. A pre-emptive strike to scare us off the story? You decide. Here it is, copy-pasted, unedited and word-for-word:

~ Savvy October 21, 2021

Now before I get to THAT, let’s talk about the other part of this article:

About that photo with far right activist Scott Presler: 

Tredyffrin Republicans Chair Raffi Terzian and CWML President/Tredyffrin Republicans Vice Chair Rosanna Hagg ignored our repeated questions. We tried three times.

We did, however, hear back from T/E’s best-funded school board candidate, Deana Wang, who was also pictured with Presler. Wang said she was “not aware of any of those events associated with Scott Presler” and attended the CWML event “to meet more voters.”

When we asked in a follow-up email if she regretted posing with Presler, Wang suggested that Presler may have been mistreated by the press. “We should stop basing all our opinions about a person … based on what the media publishes,” she said.

We also took the opportunity to ask about her funding. Wang had already amassed $16,000 in the spring and who-knows-how-much since then – huge dollars for a school board candidate. Hence, her omnipresent yard signs and polished mailers.

~ Savvy October 21, 2021

Deana, Deana, Deana…if you expect us to believe that you knew NOTHING about this long haired conservative Jesus, is the Tooth Fairy your running mate? If you actually for reals know nothing, you are a dangerous candidate for your ignorance alone, but my take? You all in that dumb photo thought you would enjoy 15 minutes of Internet fame, so honey how is that working out for you?

These people are exhausting. PACs popping up faster that dandelions in June.

Now back to the nasty-gram sent to the ever so nice Savvy Caroline:

So now this journalist is getting nasty comments threatening her publication?


This is unacceptable. I will note that I have had comments come in from protonmail as well. The latest one was from someone who didn’t like me mocking the anti-masker anti-vaxxer protest I saw on 100 in Exton in front of the mall.


These people told the writer to stick to writing about Kentucky Derby Hats and her writing was poor and she was political, etc. etc.


Really Trolls? She’s a great and seasoned writer, is polite and respectful to those she writes about and interviews, and then you threaten her site and advertisers?

And her writing isn’t remotely political – she is covering local stories and hey now y’all do your crap for attention, right? And then you complain when you get attention and threaten? Nice. Pretzel logic. Awesomesauce.


These are total troll moves, what many of you attempt with me a blogger quite often. It’s not acceptable with me either, which is why some comments over the past few months have actually been reviewed by police in more than one jurisdiction, and PS they came to me after they read them. I actually didn’t go to them.


The first amendment entitles me to my opinions and Savvy to their local reporting of whatever THEY choose to cover. It’s not Pravda on this bus, Comrades.


This is why no matter where you are in Southeastern Pennsylvania whether it’s on the Main Line or in Chester County you need to send these school board candidates that these threateners, meeting disrupters, and harassers are backing… packing.

I will also note that although Caroline O’Halloran has always written about fashion and style (she had an awesome section once upon a time when Main Line Media News/Main Line Times was still a real newspaper, as opposed to the hedge-fund eviscerated shell), that is not all she has ever done. And for what it is worth, she has never written about Kentucky Derby Hats BUT she has been a guest judge at Devon Horse Show’s Ladies Hat Day. THAT makes me laugh because I am sure many of those broads in Conservative Women of the Main Line have paraded in front of her and other judges like tarted-up Thanksgiving turkeys and well the humor in the hypocrisy of it all much?

Keep exposing the nasty comments, Caroline. Bullies breed in the darkness. Bring them into the light. You keep doing you, it’s why we think you are wonderful, no matter what our political persuasion. With the distinct lack of local news reporting, you keep us in the know, accurately and fairly. You share all sorts of things with us of all topics, and we thank you.

The Daily Cartoon and Live Briefing: Tuesday, August 31, 2021 - FlaglerLive

These school board races.

They are hideous.

Can we talk West Chester Area School District for a Nanosecond? We’ll start with Anonymous Ada Nestor. After all, she claims she ain’t no QAnon Hussy BUT…

And of course lil’ Ada isn’t Q’Anon according to her mouthpiece Stacey Whomsley, until you see this:

For more on the crazy that is West Chester Area School District candidates please visit HERE. And HERE.

There are all sorts of pages and blogs cropping up which seem to be targeting West Chester and Downingtown. Can’t keep up with them, don’t want to it’s like the fake news express with a few thees and thous thrown in and potential “a-ha” moments that are more accurately “D’oh we already knew that so what?”

In the Great Valley School District the “Republican” candidates are as scary as their counterparts in Downingtown School District and West Chester Area School District. Here is their latest propaganda (their mistakes included):

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No photo description available.

I like fiction, don’t you? So is Lauren Dicranian able to legally drink yet? You have to laugh at the home printed literature that is being distributed by the 2 Region 1 candidates- ZERO attempt to look professional by having a real flyer. A bunch of nonsense put together on lunch break or something, with typos…By the way…The survey mentioned has been around for years and it is not mandatory, it’s an easy opt out; students also have the option to skip questions they don’t want answered.

5 cartoons about America's school board battles

Now onto the other “unacceptable” because the Great Valley School District loving hands at home literature isn’t unacceptable, merely pathetic. West Chester Area School District’s triplets of crazy (Whomsley, Nestor, Edgarian) are also ridiculously predictable in their onbviousness. Everyone knows they are generally unacceptable, but we go next to Downingtown.

Yes that sign is popping up all over the Downingtown Area School District.

This is the crappiest campaign stunt yet from the lunatics in Downingtown. These women referred to (Rebecca Britton and LeeAnn Wisdom) also happen to be friends of mine. They are among the nicest, most genuine, thoughtful women I know.

I stand with them, and condemn the bull sheit being hurled and spewed at them. No one is claiming production of these signs and a lot of them are appearing where not invited, so I am guessing a lot are disappearing, as well they should. One little child of one of these candidates keeps asking their mommy why these people say these things? How do you explain to an innocent child that there are just people as mean as snakes? Oh wait, I just did.

But these signs? Unacceptable.

Folks this is all I have got on this topic. At least for now. Send the nutters packing on election day. Our democracy and public school system depend upon it.

Peace, love, and candy corn (it is almost Halloween, after all.)

The Daily Cartoon and Live Briefing: Thursday, August 19, 2021 | FlaglerLive

a spin on chicken sauce piquant

A friend from Baton Rouge, Louisiana phoned the other day and some how we got on the topic of Cajun/ Cajun inspired food. He gave me his Chicken Sauce Piquant recipe. I have modified it to suit what I was doing so here it is (my version):

1 cut up whole chicken
2 onions – one red. One white
4 red hatch chiles sliced
2 Italian green sweet long peppers sliced
3 stalks of celery diced (like 2/3 cup)
Salt & Pepper
Garlic
Cajun seasoning
2 Tuscanini Italian Tomato Sauce, Premium Italian Passata, 17 oz (amazing and I hate prepared sauce)
1 small package of andouille sausage sliced into thin rounds (about 8 oz is the package I used)
Wine to deglaze pan after removing chicken to start vegetables

Rice on the side.

Now here are my friend’s recipe notes that I based this off of:

Ingredients

1 chicken cut in pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
tomato sauce
2 tablespoons corn starch
Salt
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper
Garlic powder
4 tablespoons cooking oil

Directions:

Heavily season chicken with salt, peppers, and garlic powder.

Brown chicken using oil in Dutch oven pot on medium high heat, then remove chicken from pot.

Sauté onions until clear on medium to medium low heat, then add tomato sauce.

On medium low heat, stir onion-tomato sauce gravy for 5 minutes or until sauce turns darker.

Add chicken back to pot stirring gravy and chicken to blend and cover the chicken.
With heat on medium low, cover pot and cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally.

Mix corn starch with 2 tablespoons of water, then pour into chicken sauce stirring well. Let sauce simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve over rice

I dredged my chicken in flour with Cajun spices and garlic powder before browning, so I omitted corn starch and deglazed the pan before sautéing vegetables. I omitted the Cayenne pepper because I used my own home grown peppers. I will note I caused the smoke detector to go off when I deglazed the pan.

Everything simmered on the stove a good couple of hours (I didn’t time it, sorry). Really good. Spicy but not burn the inside of your mouth out spicy…just good spicy. And the tomato sauce/gravy was a wonderful not too thick but thick enough consistency.

Mmmmmm

women….a mystery even to other women

Essentially this has nothing to do with anything
and is just a painting I saw a while back
that I found interesting- and it’s women
and that’s the topic of this post.

Before I dive into writing my post, let’s talk about Gwyneth Paltrow for a second. Personally I think she’s bizarre. And narcissistic.

Gwyneth has announced she is going Sex Ed, including a new show that will be launching on Netflix this week. I saw an outtake of the show this morning on the Today Show, and they were talking Wolverine Claws. Yep sharp pointy claw things that can literally draw blood. Sex Ed with a side of kink, anyone? And like two in Bravo’s Real Housewives franchises , she will be selling vibrators on her Goop website and some female libido pill. But it’s a Goop product so they will be more wholesome, right?

I totally get her whole women having body issues. I especially get it after having breast cancer because quite frankly I have an uneven chest but I don’t want fake plastic boobs. Oh I guess this is going to be too much for some of my male readers, so I apologize in advance. But I have always said this blog is about whatever strikes my fancy and today the topic is women. This was just a quasi related segue.

Someone asked me the other day about a woman who used to be a very close friend. when we were in our 20s even up to my 30s. We did tons of stuff together. It wasn’t a weekend if I didn’t hang out with her at some point. She was a lot of fun and is still one of the most naturally beautiful women I have ever met. Men literally fell at her feet. Mostly they ignored the rest of us with her, although they would often buy us cocktails just so they could be in her presence. She was often a lot nicer to some of them than they deserved.

Our friendship started to change and wane a little when she got involved with this weird cult-like group. The group sold seminars under the whole guise of personal wellness and well-being but I remember going to a couple of things with her and it was like freaky Friday at least for me. I felt like the people that ran it were a bunch of charlatans and they were very happy to take people’s money, but I couldn’t get if the “help“ they offered had any value. But she was a friend so I didn’t say anything and I accepted this was something she needed in her life.

Then one day she asked me to help her rewrite her résumé. So I did it for her and she got a fabulous job in New York. And dropped me like a hot potato. There was no argument or disagreement, she was literally just done with me. Reinvented herself and was finished with those who knew her when. It really hurt. At this point in my life, this was the first time I had ever experienced anything like this. I have seen her fly by here and there over the years on the social media of others and she looks happy, and she got married. I hope she has everything she wants in life. But I hope she’s learned to treat people better.

Now this was a woman whose company I enjoyed very much, so she is someone I actually miss from time to time. But I think I just can’t let people in again all the time after great hurt. It’s not about not being able to forgive someone, it’s more about being practical because if they’ve done it once they will inevitably do it again and do you want to put yourself through that?

Next came a woman who was a very close friend, I was even one of her bridesmaids. Our parents kind of knew each other through other people, there was a lot of commonality. But I always kind of knew in the back of my head if I was honest she wouldn’t last.

When I realized this about this woman, ironically it was at her wedding. There were a lot of people she invited that none of us in her current circle had ever known existed in her world. She was one of those people that has one set of friends and then moves to the next set of friends and so on and so forth. She is also someone who would periodically disappear for long durations of time (years) from her friends’ lives and then just pop up like nothing had ever happened. She did that to me actually. And it was really weird, and hurt. But I forgave it the first time because it was nice to have her back in my life.

The second time I walked away from her entirely. The second time it occurred when I moved to Chester County. When I moved to Chester County I was the out of sight, out of mind person. And coming out here when I did in my 40s was a big change for me. I had lived my life and practically its entirety in only one other place except for early childhood. Chester County was completely unknown although I wanted very much to be here. So it wasn’t the simplest of transitions because it was so emotionally loaded. Here I am standing on the precipice of the rest of my life where I very much want to be, yet at the same time nervous because I was literally leaving everything else I knew someplace else.

This woman literally just stopped returning my calls after I was out here a little over a year. I was no longer geographically convenient for her as a friend, I suppose. But because I had given our friendship a second chance when she disappeared the first time, I was just quietly done. I am not going to chase after someone whom I had fulfilled my end of the friendship so to speak. And I had told myself after the first time, if it happened again, the life door was just not going to reopen.

The other thing I discovered with this other woman is she has become dependent on extreme forms of Christianity. That is her comfort level. It keeps her insulated from I think the reality she is trying to escape. That’s her jam, and I respect it because I think she actually deeply believes it. I have also seen her a couple of times here and there, and it made me realize that while I was over the hurt she caused me, I just I’m not going to let her back in this time. I will always be happy to run into her, but I just can’t again.

I have had some missteps with new women in my life moving to Chester County. There was one woman I actually really enjoyed. But she used confidences we shared with each other to curry favor with others. That’s a disloyalty that I can never get my head wrapped around. At the time when that happened, I was so new to Chester County and feeling the loss of my aforementioned friend, so this was briefly hurtful. But I just walked away. I closed the door. I realized after a bit they had their own issues, and this was for the best. And I hadn’t invested that much in knowing them at that point so it stung, but it wasn’t a permanent hurt.

Trust is a big value with me. And once you feel like it’s broken in a relationship for me that’s really hard to go back and deal with. Maybe that’s a character flaw on my part, I don’t know.

Then there were a couple of women that were kind of out of my childhood, and I was delighted to find them out here. Well one I already knew was out here, the other came out here after I moved here.

These couple of women are women I used to have a lot of fun with. And then one really wanted to just be the controlling person in the relationship like I was a child, and the other was kind of a copycat on things I liked. And of course then there were the extreme political views that emerged just like with a lot of people. I kind of said goodbye to both of these women at once. With one of them it wasn’t so hard a decision. The other one it was a harder decision, because I knew her longer and better. But having either of them in my life, meant chaos and unreal drama, so I chose myself and peace.

But as we grow and evolve as human beings, sometimes our friendships don’t grow in the same way. However, when you experience the loss of longer-term friendships it kind of makes it hard to trust sometimes the new people you meet. You want to let them in because they just seem so nice, but it takes a minute, know what I mean?

So there’s this one woman I met within the past couple of years whom I really enjoyed. I really thought she’d be a new friend. And maybe someday again she will be, but she did something I found completely disloyal. And when I kind of called her on it privately, she turned it around that it was my fault.

What my fault was is that she wanted to have a political discussion on a day where my head was just too full. You know those days, you just know that you can’t do one more thing. And I was working on something for a client. When I am working, I am working, and with the onset of Covid-19 a lot of people blur those lines. But I can’t be all things to all people 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. So I said I couldn’t talk. Because I literally couldn’t – I was working and I was just tired, physically and emotionally.

The other things people don’t realize is because I’m a blogger, some days I literally get private messages and reach outs from people around the clock. Can I look at this, can I comment on this, why haven’t I done that or the other thing? Some days I just get tired.

So this person blamed me for her essentially kind of being crappy to me. And I’m just done for now. This is not somebody I really want to walk away from because I think they’re really interesting, but this is a question of mutual respect and friend loyalty. Which means I’m letting go of them for now. I am not angry, although it has made me pissy. But it’s something I’m hitting the pause button on. At least for now. And it wasn’t an easy decision, either.

But as I said to someone who once taught me, and as an adult is a dear friend, these situations are one of those things that you think as you get older maybe the people will get better? But still it almost goes back to the same stuff you were dealing with in high school, just on a different playing field. Sociologically it’s interesting. Personally it can be hurtful, and you also get to a point in your life where you feel like you just need to hit pause.

And this is a very female on female or female response, because I also have encountered women who will just throw men and women under the bus just because they are threatened by change. Or they just crave attention good bad or indifferent.

My male friends aren’t this way. If one of my male friends has a problem, they don’t post it on social media they contact me and they pretty much say “so what’s up?”

I don’t pretend to be perfect, or to have led a perfect life. But I find women to be cruel and hurtful to one and other over the dumbest sheit.

I guess this just makes me a little sad because as I have settled into life over the years in Chester County, I have met some amazing women. But as we age as women, trust and loyalty go a long way.

If as a woman if you really have a problem with a woman you know, talk to them. And if they tell you one of the days you want to talk to them they just can’t do it, accept that at face value and try again another day. Maybe it will be a while, but sometimes it isn’t about what you want, it’s about what they need and whatever they have asked you to hit the pause button on.

Well ladies, that’s all I’ve got for today. Thanks for stopping by.

r.i.p colin powell

I have always been a fan of former United States Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. Today he died due to complications of COVID19.

He WAS fully vaccinated. He was however, immunocompromised due to battling cancer. He suffered from a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and before fake news takes over, this isn’t an issue of the lack of efficacy of the vaccine, this is about the breakthrough COVID-19 variants health officials have been warning us about. I am sure the rabid anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers won’t pay attention to this, or will twist it up, but this is how and why he died. This virus is a killer and doesn’t care who you are, or where you’re from it will take your life anyway.

If you are immunocompromised in any way , this is what you fear. Here we had a literal lion, an amazing human being, and COVID-19 has taken him from his family, and this country.

So for all of you who want to send me articles about how COVID-19 still isn’t real, etc. just stop. It is.

I actually met this amazing human being once upon a time way back when Philadelphia hosted the RNC 2000, or when you still recognized Republicans NOT as a party corrupted and ruined by Donald Trump.

I was a media relations volunteer at the RNC 2000. I was stationed primarily at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. I met all sorts of fascinating people during this time. I met Powell the same day I met Larry King and an ABC network news guy.

Larry King was with his super tall blonde wife (# 7) and was so short and his face was pulled so tight he resembled a praying mantis. The ABC network news guy was just too important to talk to anyone and quite rude. I don’t remember his name. But I believe he’s retired.

But Colin Powell? He was just amazing. He was gracious and pleasant and spoke to us volunteers. Meeting him was a complete fluke, he was at the train station to pick his wife up from the train.

That was a crazy volunteer experience that was very memorable. I got to meet people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and his then wife Maria Shriver. I also helped a then slightly harried young Congressman from Mississippi named Chip Pickering. He had taken a train up from Washington without his wallet. I let him cab fare to get to the convention center or I believe he was a platform speaker of some sort. I remember somebody saying to me “You just lent a stranger money. You’ll never see that again!” Well not only did he pay me back, but his secretary sent me tickets to some of the best parties that week!

But meeting Colin Powell? That was the best.

What I have always liked about Colin Powell is he is the definition of a true patriot, and lived his life that way. In recent years, people have kind of tossed that word around like a verbal potato chip. But Colin Powell lived it. He served his country, not just some political party.

Colin Powell said on January 11, 2011 after the insurrection in Washington, D.C. that he could no longer call himself a Republican. He was quoted in The New York Time as follows:

📌In an interview on CNN, the host, Fareed Zakaria, asked Mr. Powell if Republican Party members “realize that in a sense they caused, that they encouraged at least this wildness to grow and grow,” referring to Mr. Trump’s chaotic governance, which culminated in the violence last week.

Mr. Powell, 83 and a longtime Republican Party member, replied, “They did, and that’s why I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican.”

This country lost someone special today. R.I.P. Colin Powell and God speed.

NPR: PHOTOS: Colin Powell’s life in public service

Updated October 18, 20215:02 PM ET

CNN: Colin Powell, first Black US secretary of state, dies of Covid-19 complications amid cancer battle
By Devan Cole, CNN
Updated 1:33 PM EDT, Mon October 18, 2021

Washington Post: Obituaries
Colin L. Powell, former secretary of state and military leader, dies at 84

By Bradley Graham

why some just aren’t suited for public office

People in the end will vote for whomever they choose. I like to educate people on the candidates and what they do, and my opinion on how they will be if elected.

When someone decides to run for public office, they are in the public view. What candidates say and do becomes fair game as they are candidates for elected political office. So I am not breaking new ground or doing anything wrong. Also my opinion is covered by the first amendment.

Now that being said, if I lived in Willistown, I would NOT vote for Susan Rosso. I don’t expect candidates for public office to know everything, but one does expect them to have a grasp of the basics. Politician in training, Susan Rosso does not.

She says she’s King of the World but is she?

She deals in vague, foggy, dot.dot.dot statements. She heard, she thinks, she’s not sure. But tell her what ails you and she says if elected will make all your problems disappear with a magic wand and promises of a glorious future. I am always suspicious of candidates who promised everyone something different because they generally don’t deliver on anything do they?

And then there is this whole thing where she says she supports the residents fighting pipelines. She says she protested in Harrisburg. Then how is it she does not know that most of the residents fighting against the pipelines in Chester County have no love for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and feel completely betrayed by him? How does she not know that a few years ago he came to Chester County and essentially had a photo op with affected residents, and they never heard from him again? That he does nothing to help residents over this issue and in fact, blocks people on social media who question him about this?

So then she POSES with him for HER own photo op recently? And then posts it because visually it looks like a visual endorsement whether or not it actually IS an endorsement?

And then there are the hyper local issues. She likes to promise things without actually knowing how things work. And criticize the meeting minutes in Willistown which are the same kind of minutes taken by all townships. They are not verbatim, they are summary. And then there’s the whole thing of why Willistown doesn’t record their meetings. Well I asked the same question truthfully, and I believe their answer that equipment is on back order because like most everything else in the land of Covid it’s on back order. So I told them how I noted East Goshen was doing their meetings, and that municipalities like Phoenixville and East Whiteland use the Municipal Meeting service. But I kind of think these townships have to have some of their own basic equipment first?

Oh and most importantly you are allowed as a resident to record a public meeting. You just have to tell them at the beginning of the meeting that you are going to do so.

And then there is her response to people wondering why she took her grandchild to the opening of a beer garden. Why people asked is because of how vulnerable small children can be to COVID and you just don’t know do you? It wasn’t a bad thing to support a local business opening in another local municipality, just why bring a baby to essentially a bar combined with COVID? Now while that photo remains on her campaign page, the John Fetterman photo seems to have been suppressed ?

Oh and she seems to have been speaking to me personally when she asked me if I don’t patronize establishments that sell alcohol, and that couldn’t be further from the truth, although I do not drink beer – I just don’t like it. The truth of the matter is I live an immunocompromised life and have older relatives . I am not comfortable in particularly crowded situations, and I only attend things selectively if I am fairly comfortable that the majority of the people are vaccinated and also being careful. We are still living the COVID life, after all.

And then there is Wildflower Farm. Wildflower Farm and how they are being treated is a legit worrisome issue in Willistown and Chester County. It is no joke that small farms are at risk everywhere, and while she has been asked to state her position on said aforementioned issue as a politician, a candidate for public office, she seems to have played dodge ball with the issue? Now on one hand you can’t really blame her because it’s a political hot potato, but this is the job she is asking Willistown residents to consider her for, correct? So when she says she isn’t taking sides is that true?

Here:

Okay? So she’s NOT taking sides, but she’s taking sides? Huh? I guess it’s full on political pretzel logic season? And how can she opine on what she obviously knows so little about? And she’s offering an opinion yet it seems like she hasn’t even been on the street because she doesn’t actually know where on the street the farm is located? She seems to be parroting what the neighbors who filed a zoning action against the farm want out there, but again, she’s not taking sides? Does that make sense to you is that who you want in a local elected official? Someone who doesn’t actually understand the issues, no the processes, and keeps thinking if she says it’s because she “heard it” somewhere she won’t be held accountable as a politician?

I mean Wildflower Farm is this crazy issue now. And it’s been living in the shadows for months. I had somebody send me a screenshot of some thing they found on Google. The message basically said that I was wrong that this was an event venue. OK they sent me a screenshot of a farm that is a wedding venue in Ontario Canada called Wildflowers (plural) Farm!

Wildflower Farm is but one issue in Willistown. Like other municipalities, it seems to be rife with issues these days.

But whomever you choose, chose them for the right reasons. Maybe Susan Rosso will surprise everyone some day and get her act together and become a viable candidate, but right now in 2021? She’s not a smart choice. Why? So many reasons, but another example is some days she is like the ultimate poster of fake news. Haven’t Americans in general had enough of that?

Again, I don’t expect candidates, especially those who have never sought any type of elected office to know everything, but they do need to have a grasp of the basics. Susan Rosso is not that candidate. She doesn’t even know who lives in her township or area. That is electoral rolls 101. And she seems obsessed with stormwater on Jacqueline Drive? Why is that?

Someone said to me recently but when it comes to politics I’m not afraid to call a spade a shovel. It’s in the category if I don’t suffer fools lightly. And my final word on this topic is I really cannot stand when political parties tell you the only reason you should vote for someone is because they are of your political party. That is the dumbing down of politics, and the last reason. So don’t be dumb, check out your candidates beyond the cute little political hat they wear.

And I am all for a balance of power, but when meeting detractors run for public office and they want your vote because they want to level the playing field by their very temperament they’re going to create more issues than solutions. Every politician has an agenda. Maybe not at first, maybe not the whole time, but they have to be able to work with their other fellow politicians up there on the dais for the benefit of the people and this is not a candidate who will ever be able to do that.

Thanks for stopping by.

talk is cheap

This is going to be a good old fashioned vent your spleen, so if you aren’t down with that, turn away now.

Scarier than 🎃 Halloween, it’s election 🗳 season. These are considered off year elections, and this year I think it’s because of all of the “off” people running.

These brand spanking new politicians and candidates are throwing their words around: “Blah, blah, blah….US. Blah, blah, blahWE. Blah,blah, blah…OUR.”

Wait there is a very important object pronoun missing, the word ME. Because that is what the over-promisers, the over-worders REALLY care about: themselves. This is not about you the fellow local residents , this is about them.

Here in Chester County you are seeing this with wild abandon. In Supervisors races, Borough Council races, and God help us all, the school board races.

And I sit and I watch them get residents all lathered up all over social media every day. They are like the sham tent revival preachers of the Great Depression. It’s smoke and mirrors, people. And if you are dumb enough to elect them you will be screwed.

A lot of these candidates have zero clue and give zero f😳cks about how things work. And because so many residents don’t understand even basic municipal process, they get sucked in. Kind of like Alice down the twisted LSD rabbit hole.

Oh yes I am in rare form today. I own it. But I just don’t understand how so many people don’t understand. Especially the candidates.

First example is development. You know how I feel. I feel there is too much of it, it looks cheap, there is zero design ethic, it’s too dense and most of all it has nothing to do about the communities in which they are being shoved. It’s about how much money a developer can make.

The thing is this, is there MORE municipalities could do? Sure, but everyone forgets one big glaring thing: the Municipalities Planning Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is guiding this entire sh🤬t show. And it hasn’t been comprehensively updated since the late 1960s and early 1970s. Things have been added here and there, but not a comprehensive overhaul that redefines suburbs and exurbs, gives meaningful protections to communities, land preservation teeth, ways to have meaningful, lasting historic preservation and MORE.

After Ida there is a lot of uproar about stormwater management. Yes, more could and should be done but look at what’s causing the issues: climate change for one. Over-development for another (water has nowhere to go kind of like all of the deer.) Oh and everyone acting like their municipality is an island? Hello what neighboring municipalities do also affects you. And don’t let someone tell you that it’s better if it’s “cluster housing“ or a big tall penile building – it’s all about cramming them in like lemmings and it has very little to do about protecting the community from stormwater issues. It’s about developer profit margins.

One of my favorite examples is the Gulph Creek in Radnor Township. North Wayne in particular. Things which occurred in a neighboring township, Tredyffrin, essentially move the water into North Wayne. If I recall correctly, residents have said a lot of the problem comes from whatever Church of the Savior in Wayne did, but it’s been a few years since I spoke to anyone about that.

So look at the high development municipalities. Yes, I realize that’s a long list. The pleas of their own residents falls on deaf ears, so do you actually think they care what neighboring residents think?

Also look at the Chester County Planning Commission. The Executive Director is NOT a resident of Chester County. He hails from the land of high density infill development, Lower Merion Township. He sat on their planning commission and after seeing him in action for a number of years, the guy is pro-development, always. Just look at their Landscapes website. They have some municipalities looking like King of Prussia meets Bensalem meets a major city like Philadelphia. And those municipalities aren’t islands, so their overdevelopment affects other municipalities, infrastructure, and school districts.

Cue the State Representatives and State Senators. They go all Pontius Pilate at this point. You can always count on a resounding chorus of “we can’t possibly become involved in local issues” from not all, but a lot of them. The truth is they have the ability to enact change that would be beneficial at a local level. My favorite example is they need to do an act of the state constitution and update the municipalities planning code.

On a local level, they required updates to comprehensive plans from municipality to municipality. These comprehensive plans need to actually reflect what residents in the municipality really want. For the most part it seems to reflect what lobbyists, special interests, and politicians currying favor from wherever want.

I do wish however there was like a night school class residents could sign up and take that explains how municipalities and processes work. They literally used to have such classes in certain townships from time to time years ago, and it’s helpful. that way people know about things like why the meeting minutes are in fact summary, and how it’s not a crisis if there’s a mistake in the minutes that’s why they are reviewed at the next subsequent meeting and voted on and voted in with corrections.

Do I think that municipalities who aren’t regularly recording their meetings and broadcasting them to the public need to step up to the 21st-century? Yes but I also know some municipalities that have a lot of equipment on back order because like everything else post Covid it’s on a slow boat from somewhere else.

However, residents have the legal right to record meetings so maybe there are some residents who could help record the meetings? I have friends that used to do that quite regularly in West Vincent and Caln.

That being said, residents need to participate in their own fate where they live regularly, not just when a crisis point is reached or someone running for office decides to whip up the plurality into a feeding frenzy in order to achieve what THEY want, which might not be what YOU want.

Every day I get messages from all over Chester County about things going on. I can’t shed light on everything and I don’t think I should. The topics I write about are the topics that interest me or means something to me.

If you want good government don’t just complain, become part of the change that needs to happen. Learn about how things work so you can then constructively figure out how you as a community wish to make things better. Do not depend on politicians running for office to be your mouthpiece.

Go to and/or watch your meetings.

Never forget these new candidates/politicians especially should be telling you definitively how they feel and what their position is on specific issues from community to community. Not double talk, what they would do specifically and their opinion and position specifically. This is very important when it comes to the new kids on the block. They want to replace who’s there, but why should you vote for them? And don’t tell me it’s just because they might be your political party, that’s the worst reason ever.

Venting over. Do your homework. Learn how things work. Ask candidates hard questions. And don’t let them to deflect to whatever it is their opponent is saying. You need to know what they are going to do. And if they can actually do it. And rest assured with the overpromisers? They generally don’t deliver.

The sun is shining go out and enjoy your day.

Thanks for stopping by.

renewed faith in humankind

Church Farms School, Exton, PA

Today was a VERY nice day, and long overdue. A beautiful day with nice people, people who do real good in this crazy world in which we live. A day where everyone was friendly, people were fine wearing masks at a school as we are still living the COVID life. A day with no one with an axe to grind, only positivity and community in the best sense of the word.

One of my friends from Shipley is part of the development office team at Church Farms School. She told me a while back one of my friends and classmates from Shipley, syndicated cartoonist Robb Armstrong would be honored and be part of the Farm Fest parents Weekend 2021. Robb’s cartoon strip is called Jump Start.

This weekend has many activities and it was also the dedication of the buildings Church Farms has been working on and renovating and creating adaptive reuses of on campus. This school should get a historic preservation award for adaptive reuse. Greystock Hall and the Buck Family Center for the Arts were dedicated, they announced the Joseph E. Rhile Endowed Scholarship, and presented their inaugural CFS Medal to Stacey Shreiner Kley, Caroline Buck Rogers and Cannie Crysler Shafer.

So my friend Robb Armstrong was the youngest nationally syndicated cartoonist and is perhaps also today the most widely syndicated black cartoonist. I will note that I think there are only four syndicated black cartoonists. He created the interior of our Shipley yearbook, and we were all memorialized in his drawings. At Syracuse, where he majored in Fine Arts, he penned a strip in college newspaper called “Hector”. His strips are still drawn by hand, and he is also a motivational speaker.

Robb Armstrong speaking at Church Farms School, October 16, 2021

Robb spoke to the kids, and faculty, and parents, and the rest of the guests (which had a rather fun Shipley School contingent!) I am including most of what he spoke about. I missed the first few moments because of connectivity issues. I am also including the opening remarks from the Head of School, The Reverend Edmund K. “Ned” Sherrill II. I found him to be such an inspiring individual. He is a Head of School that is there for his students. He refers to what they do as “for the boys”.

It was a day that was full of good. For a few hours we left the strife and nastiness of everything locally, regionally, and in the world behind. It was so nice. It was also inspiring and soul rejuvenating. To see actually good people, spend time with them, learn what they had done and what Church Farms is about today, was just so nice. My husband and I had a wonderful time, and we also got to see a couple of our favorite teachers from high school.

If you are interested in Church Farms School or would like to make a gift, please visit their website.

I will note for the record, I was not asked to write anything, am not being compensated for this or photos. I am just paying it forward.

Enjoy the Church Farms Boys Choir, they are one of three videos I am posting.

quick wildflower farm update

Inside the hoop house – zinnias and lisianthus and more!

🎈UPDATE 🎈 the neighbors on Castlebar against Wildflower Farm in Willistown apparently had their zoning appeal tossed by zoning last evening. I am told the phrase used was “lack of jurisdiction” to hear their appeal.

Wildflower Farm will be back in front of zoning in a few weeks.

Snapdragons. They just remind me of childhood, because it was
one of the first flowers I ever grew.


I will also note that not all neighbors on and adjacent to that street are against the farm. I think that is an important distinction not always noted. Also important to note is that not all of the “neighbors“ who have been involved with these zoning challenges of Wildflower Farm actually physically live on Castlebar Lane. That is a matter of public record, isn’t it?

I could look at this view all day!


And I am stating for the record that I am not the spokesperson of the Heenan family or their attorneys which is the latest rumor being spread. I am a friend of the Heenans, have a brain in my head, a legal right to express how I feel about this issue, and am an occasional customer of their farm. I am also a gardener, so I appreciate their efforts to rejuvenate their farm which frankly needed cleaning up, and their interest in flowers and trees and native plants and bee-keeping.

This Wildflower Farm property is zoned agricultural, BUT truthfully they could have IGNORED all that and built a giant McMansion when they purchased it. But instead they opted to restore the house and the barn and bring a viable adaptive reuse to existing farmland.

The restored barn and hoop house


The Heenans should have been welcomed into their neighborhood, yet they have been treated most poorly by some. For the record I happen to live on a cul-de-sac, and if this farm was on my street I would be unbelievably happy.


I think Willistown folk and other related people interested in this topic that it is really great that you are interested in supporting Wildflower Farm through this process and please continue.


🌸🐝Flowers bring happiness. We know, it’s why we garden.🌸🐝


I am using some of my photos of the farm taken last week, and I am also sharing a photo of the Radnor Hunt which does go through their property sometimes. Not all property owners allow the hunt to pass through any longer.

#SupportSmallFarms

May be an image of horse and outdoors
Radnor Hunt passing through. So cool!!!

bucks county seems to have hosted anti-snipping protests?

The above photo was sent today from a friend who had a friend passing through Bucks County. They snapped this photo at York and Street Road. I guess that makes it Warrington?

My friend’s friend was speechless. I am speechless. It’s literally a penis protest. And I thought the anti-masker protests were fakakta. I am sure someone will comment that I am anti-man anti-penis but ummm, what I don’t get is why the anti-foreskin folks are protesting? Is there a must get snipped law we are unaware of?

I will note if you look at the photo at the bottom that will show a school bus. Which means kids were looking at this. it’s like a renegade health class come to life.

According to a couple of newspaper articles within the past couple of days that I unearthed, these people are also standing there with giant red splotches on their crotch to represent blood I guess. Oh to be a fly on the wall when the police have to drive by.

According to the York Daily Record:

📌‼️It was hard to avoid, a group of men, and two women, all dressed in white, with red splotches on the crotches of the pants, holding up signs that proclaimed, among other things, “Genitals Should Not Have Scars,” “Stop Cutting Baby Penises” and “Foreskin Theft!”….Over the past two weeks, the group, members of an organization called The Bloodstained Men, have been traveling the highways and byways of Pennsylvania, staging protests to the practice of circumcision, which the group contends is a human rights issue. They came from all around the country, meeting at the Philadelphia airport, renting a van and hitting the road….The group – which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization – argues that many male newborns in this country are circumcised at birth, a violation of their human rights because a newborn cannot consent to the procedure. 📌‼️

I just don’t know. I have really limited things I can say about this because I’m still somewhat speechless. Isn’t this an issue with their parents for doing it? And if these are all adults are their parents even alive?

From the Bloodstained Men Facebook Page.

Yep. They are an actual nonprofit. They also have a website. Bloodstained Men.

There is another article in The Intellegencer.

I’ll say it again, I didn’t know this was a thing.

Tomorrow they are in King of Prussia. 10 AM to 3 PM. Henderson Road and DeKalb Pike. That ought to make a fine mess out of traffic.

Penis protests. God almighty if they did that in front of Exton Mall at 100 and 30, there would be accidents.

Well thank you to my friend for the photos. Truly, you can learn something new every day.