will it be eminent domain and pipelines, sunoco?

20140331-190842.jpgSimple Shots Photos photo

A group in West Goshen is fighting mad and battling Sunoco Logistics and its plan for the Mariner East 2 pipeline project.

W. Goshen residents upset with gas pump station proposal By Jeremy Gerrard, Daily Local News POSTED: 03/30/14, 7:47 PM EDT |

WEST GOSHEN — Township residents are organizing against the construction of a proposed natural gas pump station, voicing outrage over possible health and safety issues from the facility.

“This doesn’t just affect West Goshen, but every community from here to Marcus Hook,” resident Tom Casey said.

Sunoco is requesting a variance from West Goshen at an April 3, 2014 zoning meeting to build a pipeline pump station with 34 foot ‘flare stack’ in a neighborhood at Boot Road and Route 202. Sunoco has similar requests in 31 municipalities across Pa as it transitions a cross-state petroleum pipeline to ethane, butane, propane liquid gas use.

Apparently one of the big fat sticking points per my sources is the flare stack proposal. I learned about the Just The Facts Please group from my friend Tim at Panewz:

Panewz.com: Gas pipeline wants fast track on expansion, pump station, flare stack approval in Pa

….Many pipelines across Pa were established with easements to carry petroleum when much of the Pa landscape was farmland. Today these pipelines pass through suburbanized communities.

Additionally, many residents are concerned about the conversion of the former petroleum pipelines to highly pressurized liquid gas and its combustibility. In some cases, residents aren’t aware that a pipeline, installed many years ago, runs through their neighborhood….One concern for residents is the pump or compressor stations that must be built along the gas pipelines to push the gas through. Some of these stations can be quite large, depending upon terrain and distance from the next station… Sunoco Pipeline is also applying for status as a Public Utility in Pennsylvania. See the application and a list of all Pa Townships involved in the Mariner East 2 pipeline expansion by clicking here.

If approved, the pump and valve control station buildings, above, that Sunoco says it would install on the sites, would be ‘exempt from any local zoning, subdivision and land development regulations’.

The company is also requesting that the applications be expedited because ‘full potential of Pennsylvania shale gas remains hampered by limited pipeline infrastructure’. The company has requested approval of this legal designation prior to the Public Utility Commission’s meeting of June 19, 2014.

The company’s application says the buildings and expedited service are needed for the ‘convenience and welfare of the public’. It also does not want one township’s denial of construction to hold up the entire pipeline.

A judge has already ruled in York County on Sunoco’s Motion for Survey Rights and efforts to condemn property in Eminent Domain. Read about it by clicking here.

Pa eminent domain blogger and Harrisburg attorney Michael Faherty has written ten reasons why, he believes, Sunoco will not succeed with the PUC in gaining Public Utility status and the power of eminent domain.

Alrighty then. The other meat of it? Sunoco apparently has a request before the PUC to be classified as a ‘Public Utility’ so the company can bypass all local zoning regulations and use eminent domain to take additional lands along the existing pipeline route? Apparently they are not a public utility when it comes to gas or something? So does that mean then they want carte blanche eminent domain powers? Sounds like it right?

The Facebook Page, Just The Facts Please, is trying to get more people to the meeting.

I think that eminent domain for private gain shrouded in a cloak of eminent domain for public purpose is what will occur if eminent domain for properties is attempted. I was told but have no proof that some are already are having to deal with whispers of eminent domain and to them I say FIGHT. I am somewhat astounded to hear how reluctant property owners are being bullied and isn’t that awful?

Look, our homes are our castles and our personal American dreams and personally I wouldn’t want big oil or the government to have a piece of my dream. (And I hope homeowners facing eminent domain know about groups like the Institute for Justice
in Washington, DC. They are a tremendous resource and much more.)

I used to be somewhat ambivalent towards this whole pipeline issue. But now, because of what I have heard happening in West Goshen and my former community of East Goshen I’m not so sure. And if big oil came knocking on my door I don’t think I could say yes. I am not going to judge anyone who has said yes, and I know some who have in the past, but I don’t think this is for me either.

Do we as Chester County residents get benefits of allowing drilling as we live in a state whose governor doesn’t have a tax (or much of a tax?) on the big oil companies having to do with what they drill? Ironically most of us don’t even have access to natural gas for heating because there aren’t a heck of a lot of those kinds of gas lines, yet they have been running an insane amount of pipelines. We are also on wells out here, so what happens to our drinking supply if they screw up?

I know you can’t take on everything but this is something at the very minimum worth going to a meeting to learn. After all a good portion of municipal meetings in Chester County are not televised.

I guess where I am on this is I hate government bullying. I hate eminent domain. I hate businesses attempting what Sunoco is attempting. I think I might even buy gasoline for my car elsewhere now. Wawa has better prices anyway. And most of all I hate that residents can’t just say “no thank you” if they don’t want a pipeline in their yard.

So if you have concerns, please don’t wait, go to this meeting this week. April 3, 7 pm, West Goshen Township Building. 1025 Paoli Pike, West Chester.

Judge Rules that Sunoco Pipeline Does Not Have Eminent Domain Power by Michael Faherty on February 28, 2014 in Pipeline Construction

The Top Ten Reasons Sunoco Pipeline Does Not Have the Power of Eminent Domain by Michael Faherty on January 22, 2014 in Pipeline Construction


passages (life and time march forward)


With Lily my first dog. 1960s – maybe 1966

My apologies to author Gail Sheedy for my post title.  But it (passages) just sort of popped into my head and there it sits.  That is how writing happens for me – often with just a word that dangles there until I pick it up.

I know I am recovering from my surgery and although exhausted and still experiencing pain, I am feeling better because I woke up with the beginnings of something to write navigating my brain from subconscious to conscious.

I woke up thinking about my childhood friend Suzette. I don’t know why I thought of her in particular but I had this random thought of her parents’ house in Gladwyne. And watching M*A*S*H on television with her. I think we were around 12.

Her neighborhood was one of my favorites back then. It was when Gladwyne still had lots of woods, open space, and fewer McMansions and the pretense of the people who go with them.  People still rode horses on the roads.

Ok so all my childhood friends are the average age of 50 to 52.  Some are in the 48 to 50 range.  ‘When did we get to this age?” I ask myself sometimes.

At historic Harriton House circa 1976 - 1977

At historic Harriton House circa 1976 – 1977

It’s a crazy concept how fast time goes.  I knew my sweet man in high school and I can still see him in my mind’s eye wearing a brown turtleneck leaning against a door jamb and looking really amused at something.  He spent a lot of time looking amused at us girls during high school.

I remember sneaking out of the Shipley Boarding Department with my friend Abbi to take the train and go to a UPenn party given by or partially hosted by another girl’s older brother.  Of course then, I also remember barely making the last train home and getting back into the dorm without the dorm mother knowing. I can’t remember her name but she just made you want to get stuff by her.  She was like a prison warden.

Now all of a sudden I am not quite but almost 50 but looking at it closely.  How in the heck did that happen?

I remember talking to another life long friend Liza a couple of weeks ago. I said to her I remember our parents being our age…and now we are their age from back then.  Boy did we laugh.  Our parents back in the day…together…was so much fun.

Same with my friends Lizzy and Nicky.  I have so many memories with them.  Their father is the first person who took me to the Library of Congress. I also remember the Italian car – Alpha maybe – that their father had that had this horrible smell when they bought it.  It was new, directly from Italy, and eventually we learned the odor – a salami sandwich left inside by one of the factory workers behind a door panel.  Their father, like mine is gone, but their mother is still with us.  And what a cool smart woman she is. Who can cook better than Julia child. She is amazing.

Some of my friends are grandparents already. And then there is me, the late bloomer, just getting used to helping to raise a teenager.  And I look at him and remember being that age. It is such a weird concept. And when I was his age, my life wasn’t about video games and texting my friends. We used the phone (too much) and we wore…wait for it…Love’s Baby Soft. (Talk about an OMG you just dated yourself moment…)

My sister and I with Riccardo Muti and Eugene Ormandy. Sometime in the late 1970s or maybe 1980

My sister and I with Riccardo Muti and Eugene Ormandy. Sometime in the late 1970s or maybe 1980

So I have pretty much completed the first 50.  Was it all I had hoped?  I am not really sure.  I know it has taken me a little longer to get where I wanted to be, but that is partially fate and partially me.  I think if I had listened to my inner voice more often I would have made fewer mistakes. But aren’t mistakes part of how you gain that elusive thing called life experience? And who is perfect, anyway? I certainly am not (my mother will tell you she is, but that is a mother thing that just makes you smile.)

Some people get really bent when they hit that half century mark.  I don’t know what I am.  I don’t feel 50, generally speaking.  I am still figuring out when I stopped being a teenager.  It just seems that in a blink of an eye, here I am.  I guess that is why when you are growing up, those older than you like grandparents will tell you not to waste your life.

If I measure my life by the dogs I have owned it has been a pretty awesome journey.  I won’t however, measure my age in dog years.

As I look out my window I see my world as it exists today.  Sometimes I have to pinch myself.  It is what I always wished for in my heart of hearts. My own house, my own garden, my own family. It’s nice, really nice to have all this and I value and appreciate it.

I love my life, but still I ask: when did I get to the point that I am looking at 50? I guess that is a great mystery of life I will continue to unravel. But I have to say being almost there, it’s not so bad.  Nor is it as old as I thought it would be when I was a teenager.

Life and time march on.  Your life doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be perfect. But as we age and gain that thing called life experience I think we at least learn to value the important things, the right things. And I am not talking money and social stature.  I am talking hearth and home.  I am talking good relationships and real friendships.  Because face it, after the superficial is gone, that is what is important.  That and a little faith in God.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.  Thanks for joining me on this slightly philosophical ramble.


mixed emotions


I heard from Pat Biswanger. She has been elected the new President of the Board of the Chester County SPCA. I am very proud of my friend. Hope she doesn’t live to regret this, but I think she will do a good job.

However, and this is the mixed emotions of it all, Howard Nelson has been elected Board Vice President. I honestly feel and my opinion is this is a huge mistake. I don’t see him as a victory for homeless animals. I said before that Howard should have turned this down if he really wants people to believe the Howard from the PASPCA is not the Howard at the CCSPCA. I still feel that way and Howard, it is never too late to put ego aside and do the right thing.

This is Chester County’s shelter. I believe that the board leadership should have been split between Chester County and Delaware County as long as there is the contract, after that who knows?

And because it is Chester County’s shelter and they take donations from Chester County residents and the shelter is physically located in Chester County, I believe that Chester County should always be represented in board leadership. Now it is not, and I am sorry but I do NOT think that is right.

I have no problem with a general board composition that includes people who don’t necessarily live in Chester County who are animal advocates or professionals helpful to the shelter, but I do think because it is Chester County’s shelter that Chester County should always be part of board leadership.

Pat will do a good job. I simply have little faith in what’s his name given his past with the PASPCA.

But the horse is out of the barn.

I found this op-ed today and I would like to share it as it reminded me what was important (the animals, not the personalities):

Chester County needs to focus on animals by Joe Mason The Intellegencer

There is a huge issue going on at the Chester County SPCA.

From what I’ve read and from what I’ve been told, it’s the staff against the volunteers.

I don’t know who is going to win, but I can tell you now who is going to lose.

The animals.

The shelter staff has undergone a lot of changes over the past few months….Today, the SPCA is electing its new board president, and according to a letter I received that was mailed to the board, this vote goes a long way in deciding how many rescues will work with the shelter……I don’t care if the people who work at the SPCA hate the volunteers and rescues, and vice versa. That’s not important.

The entire reason for everyone being there is to make sure the animals get in, stay comfortable while they’re there, and get into a home or foster home as soon as possible.

It’s why the shelter is there.

It’s why the board is there.

It’s why the employees are there.

It’s why the volunteers are there.

And it’s why rescues are there.

So forget egos, forget agendas, forget rivalries and do whatever it takes to get everyone working together to place dogs and cats in situations where they can be loved and spoiled.

The last thing we need is animals not getting every chance at being saved because of a little bickering.

Good luck Pat. You are going to need it and a big bottle of ibuprofen for headaches as I am thinking chairing this board will be like herding cats. And speaking of cats, I might be a dogs rule kind of gal, but I think cats need more representation at CCSPCA.



New SPCA board president says shelter can rebound


on dog fights

ccspca pizapI wasn’t going to post again about the Chester County SPCA, but I am. Many feel the shelter is imploding and the board has board elections I think this evening.

Let me state at the beginning that although Delaware County is part of this board, this is Chester County’s shelter.  Leadership there should come from it’s home county ideally but a compromise point is top leadership split – one Delaware County board member, on Chester County board member. As in President/Vice President.

Let me also mention that ill fated land deal involving outgoing board president, Conrad Muhly. It is the opinion of many that it is wrong, right? Has this topic been swept under the rug? Or is the Embreeville issue resolved?

And can we say that the Chester County SPCA should learn from the mistakes of Devon Horse Show?

Devon Horse Show chairman resigns amid development debate

By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
Posted: March 03, 2014

EASTTOWN The chairman of the Devon Horse Show has resigned, four months after board members at the prestigious Main Line institution challenged what some said was his undisclosed role in a proposal to build a high-end retail center and hotel beside the fairgrounds.

Wade McDevitt, whose grandfather was one of the show’s founders and who in many ways grew up on its grounds, said he stepped down to spend more time with his family. The plan he had backed to build what could be Devon’s first taste of a town center – a project in which his family stood to profit – has stalled…McDevitt’s resignation as chairman amounts to a shake-up at the venerable organization, whose county fair and internationally renowned equestrian events are run by hundreds of well-to-do volunteers and draw a refined crowd. A new chairman has not been selected…..

Last week, the horse show’s newly hired lawyer, William Lamb, declined to comment on whether McDevitt’s decision to step down was connected to allegations made in November that his dealings amounted to a conflict of interest. McDevitt remains a member of the show’s board. Lamb said there were still unresolved issues related to McDevitt’s involvement in the development, but declined to elaborate, adding that he hoped to have an “amicable resolution” soon.

McDevitt’s roots at Urban Outfitters, as at the horse show, run deep.

His wife, Wendy McDevitt, is an executive of Urban Outfitters – president of Terrain, one of the brands that hoped to open a store at the Devon site – and also a horse show board member. Her brother, Scott Belair, is on Urban Outfitters’ board of directors and was one of its founders.

Are there parallels here that can be drawn regarding the above?

I am not here to do anything other than point out the obvious: if Conrad Muhly truly loves the Chester County SPCA, it is time for him quite simply to put ego aside and leave the party?  He might be going off the board leadership role, but shouldn’t he just leave the party for now?

But then there is the rest of it, including but not limited to the question of the suitability of Howard Nelson isn’t there? Maybe he has the chops of running large shelters, but he has a certain irrefutable past when it comes to animal rescues, doesn’t he? Including way back to his days at the Washington DC Humane Society? (he has his own website with his bio and his own fan page on Facebook)

Did he come to the party courtesy of now fellow board member Marsha Perelman?  She has publicly been his champion for years in the media hasn’t she?

I mean no disrespect to Ms. Marsha because she loves animals so very much, but WHY does she animal-related non-profit hop SO much? First she was Main Line Animal Rescue’s fairy godmother and then she just wasn’t any longer…..and then she was with the ASPCA in NYC until one day she was a line item in a May 29, 2013 Page Six of the New York Post (gossip column) where they said she was no longer part of the ASPCA…..then September 2013 I saw a press release stating she was on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the USA……one busy lady, eh?

As a lay person doesn’t this whole Chester County SPCA thing as much as anything else seems to be a lot of personality conflicts? Sort of like when the PASPCA went totally cuckoo for cocoa puffs?

PSPCA votes to accept director’s resignation

Posted: February 20, 2009

The short and controversial reign of Howard Nelson, chief executive of the Pennsylvania SPCA, officially came to an end yesterday.

In a unanimous vote, the 14-person PSPCA board accepted Nelson’s resignation, effective immediately. Nelson, 45, formerly head of the Washington Humane Society, joined PSPCA in March 2007……Nelson, who was paid $189,000 a year, will receive a severance package. The terms were not disclosed….Nelson would not comment, and his attorney could not be reached.

…..With employees, Nelson was known to have a confrontational management style and a volatile temper.

Former humane officer Terry Bohn critized Nelson last night, saying that he had refused to carry out a raid at a farm because no media were present.

Marsha Perelman, a member of the Governor’s Dog Law Advisory Board, defended Nelson, saying he “may have embarrassed authorities who hadn’t been doing their jobs for so many years and had looked other way.”


So let us talk about other things. The new executive director has resigned, correct? She was brought forward in part by Howard Nelson, correct? She was part of the development staff under him at PASPCA, right? She resigned shortly after the police were called to play bouncer the first time, didn’t she? Now didn’t someone else resign after the latest and most recent incident involving the police being called to play bouncer at the Chester County SPCA?  But she is still there, right? So will they bring this woman back to the executive director role or maybe she will “un-resign” depending on how the board leadership elections go?

And what about the whole using West Goshen police force like bouncers? I don’t think the job of taxpayer funded local police forces should include playing bouncers to a local non-profit, do you? Have any residents in West Goshen gone to that township to ask what is up? I can’t believe that happened once, let alone twice, can you? Has this happened in the past too? It is genuinely a little cray-cray don’t you think?

(Winston the late , great ESS who came from the Chester County SPCA many moons ago)

(Winston the late , great ESS who came from the Chester County SPCA many moons ago)

Look, I know people in rescue but I am not involved in rescue but I have rescued animals. So maybe people are going to be critical of this still sort of newbie to Chester County for having opinions about the Chester County SPCA, but if I did not care, I would not ask questions.  And I will state again that one of my best rescue dogs, the late great Winston came from Chester County SPCA.

The Chester County SPCA began it’s missteps in many ways over the past few years and they can’t unring any of those bells, they can only move forward.  But should moving forward involve the former irrefutably controversial head of the PASPCA?

The (Scary) Truth About Cats and Dogs

It’s been four months since the PSPCA took over the city’s animal shelter system. It’s failing.

By Tara Murtha Philadelphia Weekly

It wasn’t long ago that the Hunting Park shelter was the scene of some very crude animal crimes. Back in 2002, PSPCA, then in charge of animal control, walked away from the contract over money and the pit bull policy (Philly refused to outlaw the breed, and PSPCA’s policy was to euthanize them). The Philadelphia Department of Public Health was then forced to create and staff a new animal control organization, Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA), as a subdivision of itself; by all accounts, it was staffed with many bad-apple nepotism hires. Under this initial administration of PACCA, the shelter was a grisly murder mill. It remained a self-contained catastrophe until 2004, when the Daily NewsStu Bykofsky wrote a five-part exposé.

Bykofsky’s gut-wrenching series described dogs and cats swung into cages by their legs or necks as administrators chomped on cigars; one animal after another being killed within minutes of arrival; and starving dogs hosed down in their cages….

Meanwhile, in 2007, PSPCA named Howard Nelson (off a stint as executive director of the Washington Humane Society but formerly best known as a high-level Fannie Mae exec) as its new CEO. Nelson spent the next year waging a take-no-prisoners war for the animal control contract—a mere $2.9 million feather in PSPCA’s $33 million cap. (PSPCA is a statewide nonprofit organization, unconnected to other SPCAs and not overseen by another organization.)

During Nelson’s pursuit of the contract, PSPCA began to signal breakdown. Two longtime board members resigned within a few months of one another, each citing Nelson as a contributing factor (attorney Richard Elliott cited Nelson’s “inability to concede human fallibility”). Allegations of inhumane euthanasia methods sparked investigative reports. Nelson was caught lying about the number of humane officers in the state. Lawsuits popped up concerning the legality of some of PSPCA’s cruelty raids.

By late 2008, the epic battle between PACCA and PSPCA for the Philly contract climaxed: Secret alliances were forged, backstabbing ensued and kited statistics were floated. It was the stuff of scandal junkie dreams.

The battle ended on Dec. 1, when PSPCA was awarded the contract for a six-month term by the Health Department. PACCA disbanded and employees scattered, but many volunteers and rescue partners stayed in animal control, more concerned with saving animals than with political turmoil…..Then, less than two months into the six-month contract, Nelson vanished. Soon after posting PSPCA’s first month’s “save rate” stats and amid controversy elsewhere in the state—there was community outrage over a shelter shut down in Monroe County, the Pocono Record published reports alleging abuse of authority and the board was reportedly pressuring Nelson to answer “certain questions”—he suddenly resigned via email on Feb. 11, citing health concerns and “an environment no longer conducive to my success or the success of the organization.”


You have to admire Howard Nelson for his tenacity.  He is much like a cat with proverbial nine lives the way he survives although he does it Doggy Style, right? However, if this leopard has indeed changed his spots, wouldn’t you think the leopard wouldn’t seek a leadership role on the board of the Chester County SPCA and instead go about proving himself to be worthy of such leadership?  It’s just a thought.

But in the midst of all this, the Chester County SPCA has gotten some terrific new board members like Patricia Biswanger who are now being swept up in the verbal poop wars.

You want to know what kind of person Pat is? Read this:

Lawyer aims to strengthen families Patricia Sons Biswanger brings survival instincts to a Children and Youth Services advisory panel. MILESTONES

Posted: December 15, 2002

Patricia Sons Biswanger remembers when her family was so poor all she had for shoes was a pair of 29-cent rubber flip-flops.

Despite that, her mother never doubted that she and her brother and two sisters would go to college.

Biswanger, 46, a Philadelphia lawyer who lives in Haverford Township, is bringing her legal skills and commitment to family to the Children and Youth Services of Delaware County Advisory Committee.

“I think family is the most critical element to any one person’s survival, so anything I can do to strengthen or reinforce that element, I want to do,” she said….

Born in Havertown, Bis-wanger grew up in Yardley. She was 12 and the oldest of four children when her father died at age 38 of Hodgkins’ disease.

Biswanger said times were tough for her mother, since deceased, who had never worked during her marriage and now had to support the family. They had little money – so little that Biswanger had to put off the first day of school in eighth grade until her mother, Mary Bernadette Sons, cashed her paycheck to buy her daughter a pair of shoes.

Eventually, the family made its way back to Havertown, and Biswanger was able to put herself through the University of Pennsylvania by working three jobs and taking out student loans.

After marriage and a brief stint in the travel business, Biswanger, whose children were 2 and 6 at the time, started at Penn Law School when she was 34.


Pat Biswanger is a friend, and yes I will defend her here. I am trying to be objective and because she is a friend it is hard.  I will tell you we have been unable to speak as often since she went on the board of the Chester County SPCA.   I don’t want her put in a questionable spot by being my friend since my critics think I have some nerve writing about the Chester County SPCA.

But I am proud to be her friend.  Do we agree with every little move each one of us makes? No. We are individuals and human beings not Stepford Wives. This is a woman who also gave up her time in her life to drive me to radiation for seven weeks with other friends when I was going through breast cancer treatment.

If you want to object to her because she is from Delaware County and not Chester, fine. But don’t throw her under the bus with only part of a very large and involved story that has nothing to do with her devotion to homeless animals or her many other capabilities. Truthfully, animal lovers are lucky, yes lucky that someone like her is on the board.

She hasn’t been a catalyst in the land deal at Embreeville has she? She won’t stand to have personal gain from the Embreeville land deal will she? And she didn’t have anything to do with the nonsense at the PASPCA either, did she? Don’t exhibit irresponsible activism.

Choose wisely and for the best advocacy of the animals all you people at the Chester County SPCA.  Be part of solutions, not further problems.

I do believe board leadership in part has to be from Chester County.  My pick would be someone like Bill Bock.  He gets it, he is smart, he is above reproach. I also think Bud Haly would be a good choice in leadership.  Or even that Steve Bazil guy or Guy Donatelli, except I do not believe given political ties Donatelli would allow his name to move forward.  I also know and respect Tom Hickey, but I have no idea if he would be interested in leadership given his state-wide involvement on behalf of dogs. The point is, there is choice.

However, whatever happens the  Chester County SPCA needs not to not only survive, but thrive.  Leadership should be equally split and I do believe that if you are not in Chester County or Delaware County you should sit down and not even go near leadership. It’s not right. My thought process is it is Chester County’s shelter but there is this Delaware County contract right now so I think they have to be adequately represented on both the board and board leadership.

And I am sorry but I   think that given the controversial animal welfare society/rescue past of Howard Nelson while he has experience, he might not have been the best choice for the board of the Chester County SPCA at this time. But I will say it again, if Nelson really is a different guy than the guy covered quite a bit by the media during his tumultuous tenure at the PASPCA, he will remove himself from consideration for board leadership at this time if he is even running for one of those spots.  My theory is simple: if he wants to really do it for the dogs (and cats and bunnies and guinea pigs and so on) he will prove his net worth a little longer by just being a team player, not the captain of the ship. And if he is true, he can’t blame people for their concerns.

Look I don’t have answers or an inside track. I am one week out of a major surgery and truthfully should not be bothering with any of this, so after this post I am done for a while.  But I could not sit idly by while Pat Biswanger was unfairly tainted. I can’t, and I am sorry if that upsets some people. That woman was with me at a time when I truly had to look the thought of my own mortality in the face. And unless you have faced something like breast cancer you will never get that.

Like everyone else, traditional media included, I hear so much every day about the Chester County SPCA my head swims.  And as it swims and the news and bad news and more bad news swirls I wonder as most do the following: with all the humans fighting one and other from every side, faction, and corner who is looking out for the voiceless? The animals?

Yeah, stops you cold that thought, doesn’t it?

Here is hoping the board can come together and decide positively and in the best interest of the animals.  Here is hoping everyone can stop fighting long enough to save this place.



more stupid human tricks


Yesterday I wrote a post about the Chester County SPCA and overnight I was inundated with comments and even a couple of direct e-mails. Most of which I simply deleted.

One of the comments outed the volunteer I alluded to in my post yesterday. Like I was hiding who it was or like they are some some awful person. I wasn’t and she isn’t .

My thing with this latest CCSPCA stupid human trick is simple:

The Chester County SPCA is a non-profit that supposedly exists for animal welfare. Is it even about animal welfare any longer? It wasn’t so long ago that political leaders came in and declared a new day and sweeping changes. Yet here we are a few months later and the news that keeps leaking out is worse than ever. And I am sorry but I have a BIG problem with a non-profit that uses local municipal police resources as “muscle”. I had a problem with it the last time too.

I think it is wrong.

Maybe because I just went through major surgery or because my mother has been in the hospital I am more contemplative and less tolerant. Trust me, when you feel like a truck ran you over you can get cranky and introspective. Even in a post-anesthesia fog you have plenty of time to think.

Or maybe I am just sick of stupid human tricks.

Did anyone else read the article about the historic barn that got torched the other day? The Daily Local says they are looking at arson and who does things like that? I love the barns of Chester County as you all know. I keep looking at the article photograph of a pile of cinders and rubble and am wondering if it is one I photographed. This is a hurtful, pointless, destructive stupid human trick.

Another stupid human trick are people obsessed with people in the hospital. I had someone track me down in the hospital that I am not close to. I tried not to feel like my space was invaded but the truth is I couldn’t. It felt like they were looking for something to talk about and I know that sounds awful. It was not the same feeling at all as when one of my very dear friends just popped in unexpectedly. I was so glad to see her as we had not caught up in a while.

As a human being I know what is important and what is the minutia that should be tuned out and released back into space to swirl like the unimportant nonsense that it is. Human nature is a tricky experiment and people disappoint. I have begun to release the disappointing people. I can only be responsible for my actions, not theirs. The minutia, their minutia is not my problem to deal with.

Their minutia = their behavior = their problem = their personal accountability or lack thereof.

So I am releasing the minutia. I am going to be selfish and concentrate on my own healing. I don’t need the stress and negative energy. I also did not design this blog to be a negative space. I designed this blog to be about my journey and whatever I wish to express myself about. A creative space.

We are all lucky to get up and breathe and live every day. And we shouldn’t forget that. Life is a gift and so is love.

Have a great day. Find the beauty and magic in the every day and ordinary and embrace it.

enough chester county spca, enough

ccspca pizap

Maybe I am post -surgical cranky, but I want to hear from State Senator Andy Dinniman and others on this.

I just had a WTF moment when a friend of mine texted me to let me know that the Chester County SPCA fired her (again) today. And oh yeah, they used the West Goshen Police Department to do it.

I am about to almost use a bad word: BULLSH*T

Once you get past the whole how-do-you-fire-volunteers of it all, I am stuck with how is it the Chester County SPCA continues to use a local police force like their own private security detail?????? (And yes my friend gave me one of the badge numbers but I am not disclosing this here as it is not the officer’s fault.)

Who is paying for this??? Are taxpayers/residents of West Goshen and Chester County on the hook for this misuse of municipal resources ???

I am completely and utterly disgusted. I hope the media eats the Chester County SPCA for breakfast. I hear some of the media is already working on stories.

I mean how can you get “people and animals together” when you keep using the local police as bouncers to fire volunteers?

And I thought it was bad when they used the police the last time…but two police cars to confront a woman????? REALLY????

room(s) with a view


I have used blogging for many things. Today I am using it as a form of pain management – a self distraction tactic. We’ll see if it works.

I had surgery this past Thursday. Not an elective, but rather a must-have-must- get -out -of -the -way kind of a thing.

Like many other hormone-driven breast cancer survivors with either pre-existing gynecological issues or who are BRCA gene positive, I had a full hysterectomy. Sorry to gross out my male readers, but it happened and I hurt. I am bruised and my insides have been augmented and re-arranged.

The Cliff Notes version is I am the BRCA negative, pre-existing gynecological issues variety of this surgery. I also had ovarian cysts and fibroids removed. I had no idea how big those suckers were so my surgery took longer than expected. Once again I don’t get how people undergo elective surgeries because BLECK this is NO fun.

I went back to the hospital of my birth and where I had my breast cancer surgery – Pennsylvania Hospital in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia. My surgeon was amazing but wow the pain is intense at times right now. I have been trying to breath through it, so now I am trying to blog through it. Short puffy breaths while typing sitting up in bed is a challenge (and probably looks funny too!)

It was a hard surgery. Not because of what was happening because it was necessary. What made it particularly hard was two days before my surgery, my mother had open heart surgery. So it has been quite a few days. And I had room switches post surgery a couple of times.

I woke up early Friday morning in a room overlooking Mikveh Israel Cemetery. That is the oldest and very historic Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. Some might think it was weird or creepy waking up in a room across the street from a cemetery, but it didn’t bother me. My father, once upon a time was on the board of trustees of that cemetery with a friend of his. So in a weird, fey way, it was actually comforting. And I got to speak with my mother by phone right before and right after my surgery.

My hospital care was amazing and one of my nurses, named Kathleen,was from Coatesville. One thing that happened after my surgery that while some could over-react about , I found darn funny.

I was barely out of recovery and basically post-op gorked out of my mind and just in my first room when a very tall elegant female doctor with the inevitable trailing resident came into see I thought me. She was a neurologist. She introduced herself and asked me if I could tell her about my “episodes” .

HUH? I know my sweet man was calling me zippy longstocking right before they knocked me out for pre-op but recalled nothing else so I asked if something had happened while I was under anesthesia. Then this doctor looked totally confused and picked up my chart.

She was sent to my room, but the wrong bed. She was there to speak to my roommate- who along with the issues that made her wrong for my room post-op also had a very active head cold. They moved her.

What wasn’t amusing and a commentary on healthcare and hospital administration today was the next roommate they gave me: an elderly woman with full blown dementia and a very loud family. When they left, which was sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight, the woman turned on all the room lights on her side and the television. The television was set for the hard of hearing. And then she started to scream and cough. That lasted until the nurses moved me at 2:30 a.m. So waking up in a room with a cemetery view wasn’t such a bad deal, considering.

I came home Friday afternoon. Thanks to the poor design and conditions of PennDOT roads, it was a super long and truly painful ride.

So now I am home with my normal room with a view. It is so peaceful to wake up with my own woods around me in my own bed. Truly, there is no place like home. Now I need to rest, and that is a challenge for me since I am not used to being still.

Me having surgery and my mother improving but still being in the hospital really makes me take stock of my life. I am really lucky. I saw so many others in the hospital who weren’t. My mother came through surgery well but isn’t home yet.

Life has gone on around me while I was taking this surgical time out and I have heard from people who I had to tell I could not really talk to them that I had just had surgery and was a little out of it. I felt bad saying that, but it was the truth.

People being what they are, I have also heard from people who aren’t really my friends regarding my surgery. Some people love hospital tales and medical gore. I don’t get it, but different strokes for different folks.

I sleep a lot right now. But sleep will help me heal. When I sleep it is probably the deepest sleep I have had in years. I dream of my gardens yet to be among other things. I don’t remember most of the rest of it, but I remember the garden stuff for some reason.

I can’t wait to get back into the garden.

My friends and family have been amazing once again through this, I am blessed. I have also felt the love and support of my mother’s closest and oldest friends this time around. You know that book Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood? These are my mother’s Ya Yas. What a truly divine bunch of ladies. It’s like they rallied for me and my mother to buoy us through. Having a post surgical step-parent isn’t fun for kids so special kudos should be given to my step-son. It’s not cool to say a teenage boy is sweet and considerate but he is all that and more.

So guess what? I am sleepy again and the pain I was feeling has abated. So I guess blogging as pain distraction/management works!

What else? Can you believe it is supposed to snow tomorrow? Enough already, right?

And does anyone watch The Good Wife on CBS? If so what about that episode last night? Quite the emotional plot twist, eh?

TTFN faithful readers and thanks for stopping by.