Facebook is always reminding you of “memories” to share. Most of the time I ignore the prompts. This morning for some reason I decided to look.
And guess what? #TBT and all that jazz made me realize that my blog is 5 years old this month!
Yes! Chester County Ramblings is 5!
Above is the banner my blog first had. I chose it because of not only my love of Chester County but because that is still my favorite and what I feel is among the most iconic Chester County barns.
Well eventually I started to change the banners on the blog because I had at the time been contacted by one of the adult children of the folks who live there. Ironically after I had my photography show at Christopher’s in Malvern in 2015 I heard from one of the homeowners because one of my images mounted in that show was of that barn. She hadn’t liked that I had cut off the question mark in the photo I chose, and to contact her if I wanted to hear the story of the barn and how it got the writing on the side of the barn. Well I did, and never heard back. And I still love that barn.
Over the years my blog has stuck to my tag line meandering through, writing about whatever strikes my fancy.
This blog covers a lot of ground and a lot of Chester County. Sometimes I ramble off to other areas. It is my blog, after all. A lot of posts involve my photography, my cooking, crafting gardening, and passion for junking, barn picking and hunting antiques.
One of my blog’s early and still iconic photos taken by me (and not Chester County):
I cover topics that make people uncomfortable at times. And the comments I get can at times be termed as hate mail. It doesn’t matter that no one ever said they had to read this blog, or that just like when you do not like a particular TV station you can change the channel. People just want to comment. Most comments I publish. Some I do not but maintain for the Internet trail.
One of the hottest topics was my covering what can only be described as mommy DUIs. My blog posts were written based on published media reports and public records. The posts were carefully written and were compassionate.
It troubled me that there seemed to be a string of cases of well-educated, well-bred young women ending up with a DUI sometimes with kids in the car.
The pressure to be the perfect woman is a very real thing. And the sooner we, as women can learn to stop beating ourselves up for not being paragons of perfection, the better. And yes that is a lesson I also have to learn and accept. (Some days are just better than others and self-perception is a tricky and cheeky devil.)
I wish life and fixing life issues was as simple as Cher’s infamous line in “Moonstruck” – you know – “Snap out of it!” – but it’s not. It takes work. Relationships take work, families take work. Yes there is love and all the good stuff, but you get the good stuff by working together, don’t you?
And for these opinions, well the comments were not always…pleasant. Such is life.
I experienced that even more when I wrote about teenage suicide. For all we will discuss and even crowd source on community Facebook pages, people don’t want to talk about difficult topics. I get that.
But I think we should talk about these things. That we have to. For our kids we have to. For us as a society we have to.
Just like I think we need to really get moving on the drug epidemic attached to heroin. The media puts a spotlight on it, but the drug deaths keep happening. And these are not people from low income areas, but rather upscale more privileged backgrounds.
Politics. Now politics always pushes buttons. I get messages telling me to stick to gardening and cooking posts. I had a whole posse in West Vincent spreading garbage about me and supporting cyber bullying because they did not like what I wrote.
Cyber bullying is a hot button topic for me. It’s real. It has happened to me.
I first addressed it in June 2014. I asked then how do you keep your joy? How do you keep your joy in the face of unpleasantness?
It is very true that you cannot control the actions of others, you can only control your own actions and behavior.
Cyber bullying and cyber stalking. It’s real, it happens every day. It happens to kids and adults alike. It is an unpleasant side of the Internet. And while there is plenty to help kids and young adults out there, there is in fact very little to help adults.
As a writer and a blogger I have been a target of unpleasantness. It is nothing new, but that never makes it right. When you write, you are putting yourself out there. You will have fans of your writing as well as the detractors. Sometimes the people are those you know, but a lot of the time they are just strangers.
When people love something I write, or a photo, or a recipe it is such a nice feeling. That is what makes blogging so fun. It’s a very neat connection at times.
I am blessed with meeting some very cool people throughout the years I have been writing. I have also had some unpleasant experiences. The two topics that seem to cause unpleasant experiences always seem to get whittled down to two topics: politics and animal rescue.
I also use this blog to talk about historic and land preservation. Loch Aerie, Linden Hall, and Ebenezer AME are easily my three most covered in this category. Historic preservation needs to mean something in Pennsylvania in general. And more people need to get called out and fined by demolition by neglect ordinances. The whole thing of just letting it rot is BS.
The need for preservation in Chester County is very, very real. And it is up to us wherever we live. Once places like Crebilly are gone, they are gone and never coming back.
Chester County has a rich agricultural and equine heritage in addition to just the history of what has transpired here, and I feel like it is all getting whittled away one bad development at a time. Toll Brothers is one developer in particular which I think simply needs to be slowed down. Pick a township. Pick a county for that matter.
Toll Brothers is hardly the only developer in Chester County but they certainly seem to be the most prolific. Like ants at a picnic.
Yes, I write a lot about development. I can’t help it. There is just too damn much of it
Here are some of my favorite development posts:
when articles appear that tell but half a story
why don’t we have more control over our communities? we live here.
this is progress?
spring oak farm
the bell “tolls” for thee, chester county
a love note to the chester county planning commission
the fairy tales of development
Along with everything else, I have shared more personal posts with you. I have even mocked Ladies’ Hat Day at Devon. I know I know I have “some nerve” and yes I do. The ridiculous creatures I saw photographed at a recent theme ladies lunch (whether some were ladies of course is in question) should be glad I do not create a mockumentary over photos I saw. Suffice it to say there should be an age limit on tutus and strapless…as well as more clearly defined parameters of who should wear Lily.
And one post that sort of stands alone had to do with the controversial topic of the followers of Rudolf Steiner or Anthroposophy. Sorry not sorry just not into communes and their belief system. I was reminded of it by this tweet at me this morning:
Here are some of my favorite “other posts” from the past five years:
is having an opinion social crucifixion?
this and that
surviving in the land of women
the curiousness of women as we age
women to women: a puzzle for the ages
who are we now?
anthony trollope, what would you think of us today?
childhood christmas memories
unexpected memories of childhood past
small and other gardens
I still love writing about gardening and cooking probably the most. I actually have the mish mosh makings of a cookbook based on recipes on this blog I have yet to pin myself to my desk to write and self publish…but I will.
So thank you readers for being a part of my journey the past five years! Cheers to the next five years!
Thanks for stopping by.