I was messaging with a friend today. We were talking about many things including friends we had lost in 2020. And she made the comment that metaphysics taught her about life being similar to a giant cobweb. She said there is no such thing as coincidence in her opinion; everything and everyone are connected.
My friend is Italian or at least half Italian like me. I really am not sure which it is. But she laughed and said that Italians always look to find a thread. I agree with her — we do look to find the thread, it’s sort of inherent in our DNA. A thread is a connection. A connection brings us together as humans.
There are all of these threads the tie us together. How we meet people and become friends. Who we meet them through. Look at our communities. There are threads everywhere which tie us together. Schools, church, neighborhoods, volunteer work. Life in general.
In the Chinese culture, a red thread is believed to connect us all together. Think of it as a beautiful red ribbon. It weaves in and out, throughout our lives, throughout our communities.
If you look at Kabbalistic traditions, read is a symbol of courage, bravery, and protection against what people referred to as the “evil eye.” The whole “evil eye“ of it all is actually a symbol of someone you feel who looks at you with negative energy and jealousy. And that’s not what I’m talking about here.
If you are speaking specifically about wearing a red thread, it can be that these red threads or cords are supposed to bring luck and offer protection but also serve as a reminder of the vows if Buddhist vows were taken.
However the ancient Chinese legend to which my friend alluded, the red thread of fate, is this invisible thread that ties us all together, as in all of us whose lives will intertwine at some point. The Chinese god of marriage, Yue Lao, looks over this.
In Christianity I am told the red thread symbolizes redemption. I think in essence, the tradition of a red thread crosses over many cultures. And today things get blended tradition-wise.
I don’t wear a red thread, but I know people who do and who have. When I’m talking about this thread today I am visualizing the threads that softly twirl around us joining us together at different parts of our life or throughout our lives. More simply put, I’m speaking about the threads that tie us together and even draw us together.
There is that other old adage of people enter your life for a reason, a season, or for life. Personally I have found it difficult at times mourning the loss of people who are only around for a reason or a season and I thought they would be around for the entirety of our lives. However, even when people aren’t in your life anymore sometimes there are still these ties, these connections. Sometimes not. It really just depends how life happens.
I don’t ever pretend to have all the answers. And I certainly don’t exist on a mystical plane. I just think about these things because I think you have to sometimes. As human beings we are tied together. Our paths cross. We impact each others lives. That’s why I think the people in this country need to get back to the business of living and put aside the business of ugly politics and in essence, worshiping false political prophets.
A friend commented today that whomever thought all this new construction was a good idea has hopefully made buckets of money ruining the area.
Among other things I blame the Chester County Planning Commission as well as the various municipalities.
Now these aren’t thoughts I wouldn’t expect from this person but are they wrong? So much construction and so many unfortunate, truthfully ugly apartment buildings. It’s just too much.
Start in Easttown and move west. From fakakta apartments they want to build essentially in the shadow of traditional and lovely Devon Horse Show neighborhoods via rezoning, to the supersizing of Berwyn Village.
Move onto East Whiteland. Apartments everywhere in various stages of development. Ugly, architecturally unfortunate buildings utterly devoid of charm.
And West Whiteland. Oh we can’t forget West Whiteland. A sea of apartments and wait until they develop at Ship Road and Lancaster Avenue which will create the urban canyon corridor from hell.
Here we are at King of Prussia west. And it literally sucks.
The tale of two cities errr ….Chester County.
Here we are in one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania. But due to greed and urban sprawl, how soon before Chester County is referred to as formerly one of the most beautiful counties in Pennsylvania?
We are getting towards the end of 2020 and even in this brutal year of the global pandemic known at COVID19 the development has continued it’s relentless march across Chester County.
I have to ask when will it stop? Single family, multi family, fake carriage homes, apartments, town houses whatever it is ALL TOO MUCH.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A very beloved national holiday. And yes it is the year 2020, or the year of COVID19 and ugly politics.
However, it’s also the year that as a country we have started to come together and say enough to the specter of racism which has haunted our country for a very long time.
It’s definitely a year where more seems broken than fixable. Yet here we are. And we’re still standing. So we should indeed come together and give thanks.
Our first Thanksgiving in this country was basically people coming together to give thanks that they survived. I think that should resonate with all of us after the way 2020 has treated us.
In Pennsylvania, people are fixated on the fact that a lot of people won’t be able to go out to bars tonight. That they’re shutting down the sales of alcohol after a certain time. I was somewhat disgusted last night to see on the news a bar that was opening at 6 AM so they could make sure they serve all their drinks. In my humble opinion that’s playing Russian Roulette with their lives and the lives of others and is morally questionable.
Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends in the service/hospitality industry. Businesses are suffering terribly. But we’re talking about a global pandemic which is already spiking again way past our wildest imaginings. I know people whose restaurants have closed and will never reopen which makes me really sad. But I think wanting to keep people from gathering in large numbers right now isn’t a bad thing. It’s more like common sense. I have said it before to let history be your guide. Look at the last time a global pandemic gripped this country in 1918. In the Philadelphia area alone, it’s spread like wild fire because the parade wasn’t canceled.
If you want to support your local restaurants and businesses, and want to be safe, contact them and find out what kind of gift cards or gift certificates they offer. That will keep money coming into them and keep everyone safe until people feel more comfortable. Maybe it won’t be the monetary bonanza that everyone seeks this time of year, but if enough of us do that a lot of these places might be able to squeak by until 2021 when hopefully life will return if not to the old normal, a new normal.
Like it or not, and again let history be your guide, life will be a new normal. It won’t be the same old same old. And maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe this life reset we have experienced in 2020 has a larger meaning. Maybe it’s wanting us as Americans to get back to basics and appreciate what we already have and not be spoiled about what we don’t have right now.
Someone said to me yesterday that they weren’t going to really decorate for the holidays and even set a pretty table for Thanksgiving. I disagree wholeheartedly. I think if ever there was a year where we should deck the halls and use our good dishes, it’s this year. What are we waiting for? Maybe our pods will be smaller and our holiday tables won’t be bursting at the seams, but we’re alive. And we have survived 2020 thus far.
Instead of the glass half empty, maybe it’s the glass half full. It’s not what we thought the year would be when we rang it in on January 1, but it’s the hand fate has dealt us.
Give thanks tomorrow for what you still have and the people you still have in your life. Give thanks to the memories and the good times of the people who are no longer with us. Remember them fondly and with laughter. Just try to put aside the negative energy that has had us in the grip of stress all year long. And I really wish that the news would stop interviewing fools not wearing masks at places like major train stations complaining that their personal liberties are being impinged upon as they’re getting ready to board a train to go visit family. How about all of those complaining stop being selfish for five minutes? Maybe it’s not all about these lovers of purportedly missed freedoms, maybe it’s respecting and loving your family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers enough that everyone does things differently this year. It’s one year. And maybe you don’t believe that there is a virus, but given all of the millions of people who have died worldwide? Their families might beg to differ. We’re all a long time dead, right?
So tomorrow parades, football, and our Thanksgiving tables themselves will look much different. But we should still celebrate and give thanks for still standing at this point in this crazy ass year.
Gather wisely. Give thanks hugely.
Wishing all of my readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
It’s almost Thanksgiving. Our little turkey is resting in the refrigerator and the cranberry sauce has been made. I am trying to figure out which dishes I’m going to use and what the table will look like. I don’t think I’m going to get out all of my little ceramic turkeys this year, but I still want my table to look pretty.
Someone remarked to me that they are just navigating this COVID-19 world the best they can, and trusting God has it all in hand.
I replied that part of it was people had to be willing to listen that it was time the world was a little different, time for us to take things a little less for granted.
Thoughts like this was also partial impetus for me to write my “broken people” post on this blog the other day.
There are so many people that want to blame everyone for what is going on with them. And they don’t realize that you do have to take ownership of yourself, and with ownership comes grace. Or hopefully that’s how it works.
And as you know I do not really ever get religious in my writing. And as an adult although still Catholic as I was born Catholic, I am more spiritual than religious.
And these are just some of the things I’ve been thinking about. I mean if you think about it and try to be positive in a year that has been so filled with negative, maybe part of the lesson here is teaching us all grace, or how to find grace.
Because of COVID-19 things will undoubtedly get worse before they get better.
So maybe, instead of worrying about the big things that for now seem to be out of our control, we look for the blessings we have.
It’s all about that magic of ordinary days.
Open your eyes, shut up about the politics, and realize that we are here and should try to be present with our loved ones and not get sucked down the rabbit hole of unpleasant minutia.
Try to love and appreciate people for who they are, not who you want them to be. As human beings we are all flawed. And if someone can’t be present for you at this time, let them go on their journey, everyone needs to find their own path no matter how old or young they are.
2020 has been a brutal year and so many regards. But when we look back, what will be the lessons we take away from it? And with a year like this we have to have learned something right?
I am grateful for my little family unit and love it very much. In the distant recesses of my mind, are the memories of Thanksgivings past, most of which contained a lot more people than this year will.
And if I’m being honest, all those Thanksgivings past were not like Hallmark movies with perfect tablescapes and happy endings. Some of them were quite stressful and not so much fun and that’s OK.
So this year, as you gather round your tables in your smaller pods of Thanksgiving people, give thanks for what you do have. And drag out the good dishes. Don’t let COVID-19 diminish your Thanksgiving. Just because we’re sort of doing it differently doesn’t mean it won’t be a great holiday!
I have been wrestling with something recently and especially in the last day. I knew I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t know how to write about it until this morning.
This morning I was going through some Christmas ornaments in the attic. I accidentally dropped one of my little ceramic elves. The elf split neatly in half and I was able to glue her back together quite easily.
It’s a shame broken people can’t be fixed as easily as a couple of dabs of super glue. But they can’t be. They have to want to fix themselves to some extent.
I’m not saying I have led a perfect life. I have not. I have made mistakes. But if we’re honest with ourselves mistakes can teach us things. If we want to listen, that is.
I lost a growing up friend the other day. I was asked by his family to let the people we went to high school with know. Unfortunately, social media being what it is, you also get the people you weren’t actually notifying. One of those people left a comment.
And I deleted it. And the reason I deleted it is because they tried to make this tragedy about them with their comment. The comment more or less was maybe my newly deceased friend would say “hello” to her mother. Now that in and of itself, would’ve been a sweet sentiment if my friend had actually been friends with this person, let alone actually knew the mother.
This person who left that particular comment is somebody who is very troubled. But this is also someone who has hurt so many other people I know, that I actually have a hard time finding kindness in my heart for them.
When this other person’s mother died, they left comments all over all sorts of social media pages as if their mother had been a local celebrity or was famous. I get that this person probably misses their mom on some level, but there’s more to the backstory which includes a couple of years they literally weren’t really around for their mother. And they don’t own that. The comments were bizarre.
This person is full of issues (and addictive behaviors) they have never acknowledged or owned. When this person does anything like this, it’s strategic in a twisted sort of way to get attention. For years many have tried to help her, but the hard work, the heavy lifting, had to come from her and she hasn’t ever seemed to want to do it. So people have walked away.
When she left that self-serving comment on the post announcing the death of my friend, it bought a lot of how I felt about this person back. When you run across someone like this, you’re always torn. Do you tell them off or do you try to help one more time? The problem is they are manipulative, so attempts to help becomes enabling. That is why I decided to do nothing, and I simply deleted the comment quietly.
There is a second person who I am also struggling with right now. And this is someone I actually care about. But again, it’s a woman who won’t own her issues, and people have tried to help to no avail.
I mean this most sincerely when I say that I truly hope this other person can find something within themselves to stop the slippery slope. Because she is on the precipice of the point of no return. This is someone who has a lot of positive things to offer the world.
And I swear it’s during the holidays that you see broken people. And because 2020 has been so hard for so many people, I think we’re seeing more broken people than ever. But other than trying to be kind, this is the year we have to tend to our own families and our own people first. And I’m not saying that to be selfish. I’m saying it because it’s the truth. Or I think it’s the truth.
There are professionals equipped to deal with assisting broken people. But these people who need help have to take some of the steps themselves. We can’t literally walk the walk for them. It’s impossible.
However, I am sending up a prayer that these broken people out there find the help they need and can get through the holiday season. And take steps to heal. But as hard as it is to accept, it’s not as easy as gluing a ceramic figurine back together.
Well those are my thoughts. We can’t fix all who need fixing, sadly. Thanks for stopping by.
One of his brothers contacted me, who is another kind of forever friend at this point. I owe my two friends whom I was with at the an apology, because I completely lost my composure (in a face mask no less) when I got the news. I knew the end was coming, but I don’t think you’re ever completely prepared for it nevertheless.
Tiger was also a friend to my husband growing up. They were in the same class in high school at Shipley. I was the year ahead of them. Tiger and I had been friends since I think I was about 14. I actually was friends with him a couple of years before my husband got to be friends with him.
2020 is just one of those years where I am ready for the next year. It has been a very difficult year for so many reasons for millions of people. This is just another glaring example of dear Lord, what a year.
And I don’t know about any of the rest of you but this is the year where I’ve been having weird dreams. Dreams of people who are no longer with us like my father, or people I am no longer connected to for no more of a reason then life took everyone in different directions.
I don’t know what all this means, and the dreams haven’t been bad it’s just been kind of pleasant. And I’m wondering if dreams can be a little more pleasant when the reality of the world we are living in is that it’s a little harsh right now.
And I know people are going to think I sound like a bit of a nutter, but my friend Tiger who died early this morning was in one of my dreams last night in the wee hours of the morning.
The dream was not anything weird or anything bad or sad, he was just wherever I was outside in someone’s garden and came up to say hello. I woke up shortly before 7 AM remembering that part of my dream because it was nice, and also because Tiger was probably even more of a rabid gardener than I am.
After I heard the news he passed away, which wasn’t until about lunchtime today, I’m still wondering if there was a reason I had that dream last night? This is where my Irish DNA kicks in and I feel a little fey, but I’ve had these experiences before over the course of my life.
When I found out the news I was with friends and for that I am really grateful. When it’s somebody who’s your own age who had meaning in your life it’s just so damn hard and it doesn’t matter how young or how old you are, it’s just hard.
This is just yet another reminder, a very somber reminder, of the value of life itself. Sometimes we take things for granted. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t take life for granted.
I know Thanksgiving is going to look very different for people this year. But don’t be sad if it’s just a smaller group of family, be grateful that you can spend any of it together or even together virtually over a zoom call.
Life will go on, but I wanted to pause and take a moment to write about this. Tiger was a United States Marine for many years of his life, so that is why I chose that title for the post. It was very important to him.
Thanks for stopping by. Live your lives gratefully and always appreciate the magic in ordinary days.
We walked into the beautiful big old barn and it was truly magical at Life’s Patina today. Beautiful and Christmas festive in every nook and cranny. There are only a certain amount of people allowed in the barn at any one time and everyone must be wearing masks, and there is hand sanitizer everywhere you turn around. It’s a magical and safe experience in a COVID-19 world.
Meg and her merry band of elves outdid themselves! From little balsam wood houses that light up, to Christmas mice in velvet dresses and tree skirts for feather trees it was amazing! Sparkling ornaments everywhere and among my favorites? Very lovely mercury glass pinecones and marvelous modern reproductions of old German Kugel ornaments.
Mixed in with Christmas magic were all sorts of vintage and antique items. One of the things I liked best was downstairs in the barn on the big long farmhouse table was a vintage Grenadine bottle.
We loved every minute we were there, and preview guests were also given amazing gift bags to take home.
I love Christmas, everyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas and I loved today’s experience. You really should go if you can. Simply magical!
By appointment only. Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm, 1750 North Valley Road, Malvern, PA.
Thanksgiving is only a matter of days away. What will it look like? What will people act like? We are now well into November, 2020 in he year of COVID19. Never in any of our wildest imaginations would we think that as an area, a region, and even a nation, we would be facing additional shut down times and continued surges of a deadly virus.
Yet here we are. Here we are.
Someone in Pennsylvania the other day how COVID19 is surging in Pennsylvania compared to other states. Why is that? Did all those election rallies and events across the state in the days preceding the election have anything to do with the recent surge? No I’m not a public health expert and I don’t pretend to be, but common sense would dictate perhaps these events had a hand in this surge?
Look for history to be your guide. Look no further than the last global pandemic, the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was one of the hardest hit cities. Why? Because the virus surged after the Liberty Loan/Liberty Bond parade that was not canceled although it should have been. So it’s not being politically negative to wonder how many people attending events that were political not social distancing and in many cases not wearing masks helped spread this new global pandemic of our time COVID-19? National Geographic has a fascinating article about the 1918 global pandemic.
While we were talking about politics, I will mention how I was treated recently because I correctly reported that a local and well known political figure who held a political office long term until this year had contracted and been hospitalized with COVID19.
I did not “virus shame” this person, I did not wish this person ill. I did comment accurately that this is why people should pay close attention to this virus because even those who don’t necessarily believe in the strength of this virus could contract it. I did not personally speculate on whether or not they may have contracted the virus at a specific time at a specific activity. And I wished this person well and meant it and still mean it because I wouldn’t wish COVID19 on anyone. And I say that even as people occasionally literally wish me dead because I am a blogger.
But because this person is a supporter of the man baby currently living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who has an almost cult-like following, some came out of the woodwork to purportedly defend the honor of the public figure and former elected office holder who was hospitalized due to COVID19, calling me despicable among other things. I did not impugn their honor. I did not virus shame. Hell, I was virus shamed personally when the virus first broke out and I didn’t have COVID19 nor did any of my family.
We were asked to voluntarily quarantine just as the virus was breaking out because I personally happened to be at an event where one of the first victims of COVID19 in Chester County (a stranger I did not actually meet) was also in attendance. The event was held before anyone even knew the virus was breaking out in Pennsylvania. So it was the final time of no masks and no social distancing.
We reported as we were asked to to the county. We followed the instructions we were given by Penn Medicine and when we came off of the voluntary quarantine, my husband was followed around while he was picking up my breast cancer meds and then as he stopped at other stores running errands. I was not with him. This person then decided to post this on social media. They had to comment how if we had been exposed he shouldn’t have been out. If we were inside the self quarantine time we were asked to keep they would’ve been correct. But the quarantine time we were asked to keep was over. It is my belief they chose to follow my husband around and try to virus shame me because I am a blogger. And vocal on issues at times. This person seemingly disappeared from social media after this.
I have been very honest all along about how I feel about COVID19 and how it has affected me and people I know. Way back when we were on self quarantine it was just before lockdown. So we came out of self quarantine to go into lockdown formally. I have also had Covid testing done. Why? Because I had surgical procedures in 2020 that were not exactly voluntary. They were due to squamous cell skin cancer which is in between basal cell and melanoma. It’s a very anxious process to have any kind of procedure or be in hospital settings in 2020, which is why I haven’t virus shamed anyone.
However, here we are with this damn virus and almost the end of the year. And this virus is intertwined in the political life of this country as well. And the reason that is can be laid directly at the feet of the current president. All along he has downplayed the virus, and he also maligned with his nicknames for the virus. Then he contracted the virus, and it’s still like he didn’t take it seriously.
Then we had the election, which he has lost. But he has yet to concede. And while he doesn’t concede and move on that causes the entire country to be stuck in this cycle. And that is wrong. These are the acts of a very selfish person at a minimum, and other things to consider which are very dark to contemplate indeed. And while all of this is happening it is sadly destroying the party of Abraham Lincoln which I find sad.
Maybe it’s time we leave the politicians and those who play them on television and twitter to their own devices? Maybe it’s time to remember we were once neighbors, friends, and even in some cases family? I mention family because I actually know people whose families are torn apart by both Covid and politics.
Maybe it’s time to remember what Thanksgiving is all about.
The American Thanksgiving – and I say American because there’s a Canadian Thanksgiving as well – was first held in October 1621 after the Pilgrims’ first harvest in their new world. Thanksgiving as we know it finally evolved after Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an act of Congress making the date of Thanksgiving a little more concrete of a thing. And I bet a lot of people don’t realize that the first Thanksgiving had lobsters not turkey on the menu. So were swans. They aren’t actually sure about turkey. My brother-in-law likes to celebrate Thanksgiving with lobsters in keeping with the first Thanksgiving.
Our Thanksgivings are going to look very different this year. Because of COVID19 there won’t really be huge family gatherings, it will be more like little family pods. That’s how my family will be doing it. I imagine that is how Christmas will be.
Yes, it’s going to be different but we should still be giving thanks that we can have holidays with loved ones, even if we will mostly be doing it in our own homes in small pods. There are many people in this country who won’t be sharing Thanksgiving with family this year. A lot of people have lost friends and family to COVID19 and other conditions in 2020. There are so many people in this country who have lost jobs and businesses and more because of this year. And it’s not just because of COVID19- also what comes into play is the wanton destruction and looting of property that had absolutely nothing to do with protesting to address and end the specter of racial injustice and flat out racism in this country.
I just hope when Thanksgiving day actually arrives people can pause and remember what Thanksgiving is about. I hope people can use Thanksgiving as a re-set to focus on home and family and what is really important. And put politics into perspective: yes who governs us is of paramount importance, but the reality is for most of us is they don’t care we exist, they don’t know we exist, it doesn’t matter that we exist. So cult-like devotion is pretty disproportionate in the big picture of life as we know it.
Come together for Thanksgiving, people. Our future as a country depends upon it. And we need to come together to deal with COVID19 as much as anything else.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers. Love me or hate me these are just my thoughts. I will close with wishing everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
The soup is made using green and yellow split peas.
It’s made from part of a ham I had leftover and a ham bone (I always save the ham bones and toss them in the freezer for occasions just like this one), chopped celery, a chopped onion, a chopped bunch of carrots, two bay leaves, fresh herbs which are still growing in the garden.
I didn’t have any bone broth made so I simply used one salt free beef broth and two vegetable broth. Each container is 32 ounces so it gives me enough liquid as per the instructions on the bags of dried split peas. That is your semi-homemade component for this soup.
How you put it together is first you sauté your diced up vegetables in a little bit of extra-virgin olive oil with some salt. Then you add the ham and the hambone. Then you add your fresh herbs – in my case it was sage and thyme and even a little rosemary. Then I added the dried peas, and after that, the broth.
Now it’s just perking along on the stove at a super low temperature. After a while I will turn it off and let it cool down and see where I am.
For those of you who know I like Great Jones pots this is their big stock pot.