chester county instacart anyone?

Ahh yes…free delivery on the first order – that gets me to try something at least once every time!

It’s stinking hot out, and as much as I love Wegmans, every location has insane parking lots.  We have house guests coming, so I thought I would splurge.

Their app and online website for Instacart are easy to use.  I went through my order, and when I got to the payment section I learned about something I did NOT know entering into this – they tack on a service fee for someone to do the shopping (which to my knowledge Giant PeaPod and Fresh Direct do not have this separate fee – just tax and delivery.)  That service fee for me was about $18.00. (Yes, ouch)

BUT then it gets confusing.  Although they have this little disclaimer talking about this pays for the people who take care of your order, it does NOT filter down to a tip for your delivery person.

Also, there is a slight price mark-up on every item.  My friend would call this “Missy Mark-Up”. See:

I will admit that this makes me categorize Instacart whether you use it for ACME or Wegmans as being more in the class of Fresh Direct.  I am still thinking the best dollar value in home delivered groceries is Giant Peapod.

Now I will admit it is super nice to know when I want some extra special items for my kitchen, that Instacart is a viable alternative to Fresh Direct.  Fresh Direct used to be awesome, now sometimes it is a bit hit or miss, and for the money you spend it should NOT be.  I hope when and if we get a Whole Foods in Exton that perhaps Instacart will add on a Whole Foods too in more areas.

Instacart is zip code driven.  Depending on where you are depends on where you can order from.  Some areas apparently can get Weavers Way Food Co-op  deliveries.

Pro-tip: you can fine Instacart coupons on sites like Retailmenot and Groupon and so on to bring your costs down a little more – I found a $10 coupon on Retailmenot today.

The food was for the most part bagged in item appropriate grocery bags.  I will note that I ordered a couple of Brie family soft rind cheeses to serve my guests when they are here and the cheeses were not packed so well.  Basically, the cheese was cut and wrapped in simple plastic wrap.  I could smell the cheese as soon as I bought the bags inside from the delivery person – and as soon as I smelled my stinky cheese I felt bad for the delivery woman because I bet her car stank to high heaven from the cheese.

With Instacart you can get a better range of deliveries when compared to Fresh Direct and Giant PeaPod.  With Instacart you can get a delivery within a couple of hours if the time slot is available.  However, as opposed to Giant PeaPod and Fresh Direct which uses refrigerated trucks or at least insulated trucks, Instacart does not.  Your delivery person uses their own vehicle.

Instacart however stays in touch with you as your order is being shopped.  So if something is not available and you indicated a substitution was O.K. they will actually text you your options.  Giant PeaPod and Fresh Direct DO NOT do that – with these two services you do not know you are NOT getting something until the order arrives.

Bottom line: Instacart was a great experience, albeit expensive like Fresh Direct.  Will I use them again? Yes. But how often depends on their pricing structure.  Right now they are in the category of occasional splurge.

 

DISCLAIMER: I was not paid or compensated in any way by Instacart, Giant PeaPod, or Fresh Direct. These are my own opinions as a customer/consumer.

 

a world gone mad on the eve of the 241st july 4th

In honor of July 4th approaching, I am choosing this photo. It belongs to my friend Barry who is a true patriot in the purest sense of the word. I rode in this balloon over Chester County on the 10th anniversary of 9/11

We live in a world gone mad. We are on the eve of July 4th, the 241st edition since 1776.  On July 4th, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was approved.  Originally supposed to have been approved on July 2nd, and John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail at the time:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

 

These men (and women) they fought, and bled, and died for our right to be free.  They fought, and bled, and died for US, as is all of us in the USA.  And where are we exactly 241 years later? Riding the crazy train of hatred and vile political rhetoric and vitriol.

The most patriotic man, ladies and gentlemen, is sometimes the man who goes in the direction that he thinks right even when he sees half the world against him. It is the dictate of patriotism to sacrifice yourself if you think that that is the path of honor and of duty. Do not blame others if they do not agree with you. Do not die with bitterness in your heart because you did not convince the rest of the world, but die happy because you believe that you tried to serve your country by not selling your soul. Those were grim days, the days of 1776. Those gentlemen did not attach their names to the Declaration of Independence on this table expecting a holiday on the next day, and that 4th of July was not itself a holiday. They attached their signatures to that significant document knowing that if they failed it was certain that every one of them would hang for the failure. They were committing treason in the interest of the liberty of 3,000,000 people in America. All the rest of the world was against them and smiled with cynical incredulity at the audacious undertaking. Do you think that if they could see this great Nation now they would regret anything that they then did to draw the gaze of a hostile world upon them? Every idea must be started by somebody, and it is a lonely thing to start anything. Yet if it is in you, you must start it if you have a man’s blood in you and if you love the country that you profess to be working for. ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th

We used to be a country that reveled in our freedoms.  We used to be a country that celebrated the individual – and today if we are not the same Stepford carbon copy of what it is decreed somehow, we are reviled?

We have turned into a country where a good young man was arrested as he was in the middle of  taking steps to correct his citizenship status that was messed up years ago when he came to the US for refuge from persecution.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (November 2, 1883)

We have turned into a country where young mothers from Chester County like Anna Maciejewska disappear into thin air.  She is still missing.  She came to the United States for a better life.  What has happened to her? Does anyone really believe she would leave her precious child? I don’t think she would, and I don’t know her at all.

We have turned into a country where a young girl on the verge of the rest of her life and a very bright future was shot dead on a Chester County road like she was an old beer bottle for target practice. Bianca Nikol Roberson was 18 years old.

I found out yesterday Bianca Nikol Roberson’s parents are friends of a very dear friend of mine, which once again proves the narrow threads that connect us all to one and other.  Bianca will never have her bright future she worked so hard in high school to attain.  She will never fall in love or get married or have her own family.  (Police released a sketch of her assailant.)

We live in a world where people are trying to politicize the Hate Has No Home Here signs into something ugly.

What I have heard: in Lower Merion Township some conservatives there have taken the position that the signs are hate signs against Republicans. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? I know Republicans, Democrats, and Independents ALL over (including on the Main Line) who have CHOSEN to have a sign, or a bumper sticker or whatever.

Hate Has No Home is NOT about hate. That is nonsensical. And offensive. It is a personal choice to display one’s wish for a better U.S.A.  If people can display Love Lives Here signs, why not Hate Has No Home Signs?

I find the premise of a sign promoting peace to be about hate utterly ABSURD. It is just part and parcel of the bobble headed rhetoric tearing the U.S. apart on a daily basis. (I have heard as a result of this that Better Angels will possibly be touching down on the Main Line soon as a result to mediate a dialogue we should be grown up enough to have, but apparently aren’t.)

Hate has no home ANYWHERE. The movement was started by young school children. Are we a country that now will squash independent thinking, free speech, creativity?

We are a nation born of immigrants.  We are a nation born of those escaping religious, political, and social persecution.  Yet today, the values that formed us as a country, here in the very cradle of liberty we live in, are under siege.

That has to stop.  We are destroying what makes us unique as Americans.  Extremism has all but destroyed our political system, and now it threatens even the very sociological structure of our country.

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

We need to stop being a country of sheeple.  We need to embrace once again what makes us unique as Americans.  We need to celebrate our diversity, our multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi- religious selves.  We were not designed as humans to be identical.

In order to preserve, to truly preserve and rebuild what being an American really is about, we need to get back to basics.  We need to remember our country’s very history and learn to tolerate the differences in people again.  It is unrealistic that we will ever actually love every one we come in contact with, but surely we can relearn the all-American values of tolerance and respect?

We are a people in search of balance in every sense of the word. Become part of the change, not part of the problem.  Leave the hate out with the trash on the curb. As a collective people we need to free ourselves from the chains of hatred, and remember the great gifts our Founding Fathers bestowed upon us.

Where liberty dwells, there is my country. ~Benjamin Franklin

happy summer solstice!

Photo Credit Buzz Feed News 2016

Today is the summer solstice, or the first day of summer.  This is an important celebration and I am told (and have read) this is a time when many rituals issue forth to send positive energies into the months which lie ahead. It is a celebration of the gentle days of summer and hope and blessings for crops, fertility, and the fortune for remaining months of the year.  If you are a wee bit fey, you will celebrate wherever you are.


Summer solstice is also known as Midsummer. As per Wikipedia:

Photo credit the Scientific American Facebook Page

The summer solstice (or estival solstice), also known as midsummer, occurs when a planet’s rotational axis, or geographic pole on either its northern or its southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star that it orbits. On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. (Likewise, the Sun’s declination from the celestial equator is +23.44° in the Northern Sky and −23.44° in the Southern Sky.) This happens twice each year (once in each hemisphere), when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or south pole.

The summer solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s summer.[2] This is the northern solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere[3][4] and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the Southern Hemisphere.[5] The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice.

As seen from a geographic pole, the Sun reaches its highest altitude of the year on the summer solstice. It can be solar noon only along that longitude, which at that moment lies in the direction of the Sun from the pole. For other longitudes, it is not noon. Noon has either passed or has yet to come. Hence the notion of a solstice day is useful. The term is colloquially used like “midsummer” to refer to the day on which solstice occurs. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight, except in the polar regions, where daytime remains continuous for 24 hours every day during a period ranging from a few days to six months around the summer solstice….

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility.[9] In some regions, the summer solstice is seen as the beginning of summer and the end of spring. In other cultural conventions, the solstice is closer to the middle of summer.[10]

Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

Image may contain: 16 people, people smiling, child and outdoor

Photo courtesy English Heritage Facebook Page

Read more about it here:

BBC Summer solstice 2017: Stonehenge crowds as sun rises

Mirror UK: What is the Summer Solstice 2017? Times, rituals and traditions as Google doodle marks the longest day of the year/Happy Summer Solstice 2017! Get ready – it’s officially the start of summer

Vox: The summer solstice is upon us: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year

The New Yorker: On This Summer Solstice, Be Glad You Live on Earth By Alan Burdick 10:46 A.M.

Learn about Stonehenge on English Heritage.

“This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath…”

― Margaret Atwood, Eating Fire: Selected Poetry 1965-1995

bogus breast cancer charity shut down.

This is a really big deal.  There are far too many scam charities out there in this world.  This video and a link to the official press release came with a note from an Assistant New York Attorney General:

I thought you’d be interested in this…..And thank you for assisting us in the investigation.

 

I was one of the people who had been contacted by this non-profit (and one of thousands who complained about phone calls from bogus breast cancer charities) and was one of the every day people who cooperated with the efforts of the New York State Attorney General’s Bureau of Charities investigation.

Why I am posting this here?  Because every day someone gets a call from a cold caller. This is yet another reason to not take their calls.  Legitimate charities are not going to pay oodles of money each year to cold calling companies to press innocent people on making donations to an organization they have never heard of.  I started getting calls about this fake breast cancer charity within days of my partial mastectomy six years ago.  When they called, they already knew I was a “survivor”.  To this day, I do not know how they got my name or information.

Anyway, I think this is pretty cool.  Even in today’s world sometimes the white hats actually prevail.

 

when is whole foods opening in exton?


So….Whole Foods? Exton? When?

(Note a friend drove by this morning at around 11:00 a.m. and there weren’t any cars…or trucks…or anyone..or anything.)

Local speculation is this project is in trouble? So if no Whole Foods, Trader Joes or Mom’s Organic Market anyone???

Anyone have updates? It seems kind of deserted…beautiful new building and….no signs of life.

whose america are we living in?

When you see photos like this they just make you happy. Obviously in love, on their wedding day, their whole lives ahead of them. Until ICE (immigration) shows up like modern day Nazis at the Septa train station in Haverford and arrests the husband.

I used to live in Haverford.  I used to work near Haverford Train Station.  I grew up in Haverford.  I just can’t imagine the terror this man felt.  I learned about his plight when a friend posted on Facebook:

 

I thought this possibly couldn’t be true, then I remember conversations I have had with people even locally in Chester County about ICE going into schools, ICE raiding restaurants and other businesses country and city, ICE rounding people up off the streets and throwing them into vans, asking for papers at SEPTA stops in Philadelphia (a supposed “sanctuary city”), tales of immigrants with “go” bags packed by their front doors in case they have to run, and does this seem crazy that we are living in a country that allows this?

We are a nation formed of immigrants.  Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor.  I have friends who emigrated to this country.  I thank God that all of them are legal citizens.

Jonatan Palacios is his name.  His lovely wife Lillie Williams has a You Caring Page up. I don’t know them personally, but what is being done to them is a crazy horror show at the hands of the US Government.

I am going to let HER words tell THEIR story.  Lillie pardon me for copying and pasting your message, but your words have power:

The Story

My name is Lillie Williams and early yesterday morning, on May 11th, immigration ripped me away from my husband. 

We are working with a lawyer to get him out and get him back home to me as soon as possible, but we need help covering all of the expenses, fees, and loss of income as we work to do everything I can to get Jonatan out and back to his home and family.

Why did we get caught in this mess? Because we were going through proper legal motions. We submitted an I-130 spousal petition for him in October. We were working with the system to correct his legal status from his case when he entered as an unaccompanied minor at the age of 16. 

Jonatan is my best friend and soulmate. I appreciate any help and support that you can provide to help us through this difficult time. 

Background:

Jonatan and I had went on our first date the summer before my Junior year at Bryn Mawr College, on May 24th, 2010.

My roommate at the time had been dating Jonatan’s older brother for about a year before we started dating. Always thinking herself the matchmaker, she had made several attempts at getting Jonatan and I together before it finally happened. The final straw that brought the two of us together was a mishap one night, where my roommate had accidentally locked me out of the apartment in my pajamas when she was late to a date with Jonatan’s brother. I called my forgetful Italian friend to please turn around and let me back in, but instead she sent Jonatan to my rescue. He then had my number and asked if he could keep it.We started dating only a few months later and it was as if there was a magnetic force that brought us together. We were inseparable. Then, several hard events in my life happened which brought us even closer together. We both became each other’s home.

We were legally married at one one of our favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, Amada on October 11th, 2014 and a year later we had our religious wedding ceremony with friends and family at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on October 15th, 2015. 

The pastor from Jonatan’s church officiated with the service in Spanish and translated into English so that everyone there would understand. It was one of the happiest evenings of our lives.

When we were getting ready to get married, I learned about Jonatan’s case. I thought that it was something that we would be able to resolve with marriage– since I am a born United States Citizen and my ancestry goes back in the United States to colonial days I thought it would be a simple case of petitioning for him once we were married. I found out after that the case was a lot more complicated than either of us had thought.

It turns out that people don’t become citizens simply through marriage to a US Citizen Spouse. It is a long and difficult process and sometimes, if you are unlucky, things can go wrong with your case. 

More About the Issue:

If you would like to know more about the overall issue, there is a whole organization of families like mine that have gone through or are going through similar issues, American Families United. You can learn more by going to http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/.

 

This is so unreal.  Their crime was being naïve and thinking they could trust the United States of America. They filed what they thought was the correct paperwork and instead of help, he gets arrested at the Septa station in Haverford with assistance by Lower Merion Police Department.  Ok, so let’s be fair, I am guessing Lower Merion Police Department did not have much choice in the matter when the Federal Government comes calling, but can you imagine the abject terror he must have felt along with anyone else who was around there on May 11th?

Ok so those of you who are die hard conservatives are getting ready to sharpen your keyboards and read me the riot act for this post, but please.

Don’t.

Stop and think about this for a moment.  This young couple were trying to right a wrong. They were not trying to be deceitful.  Now this guy is sitting in some jail facility in York, PA and do we even know if he has been able to see his wife? Or other family?  They were not hiding and they were punished anyway.

For every one of these stories I hear, the mental image of World War II come to mind.  The stories of Holocaust survivors and immigrants of another century telling the stories of Nazis demanding papers during World War II era Europe.  Tell me, how is this different? Because it is happening under the banner of the United States of America?

What is it that is carved on Lady Liberty? What is the exact figure of immigrants who came through Ellis Island and passed the Statue of Liberty between 1820 and 1920? 34 Million? This is the poem Lady Liberty wears:

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

There is a vigil planned for Jonatan Palacios on June 8th.  There is a Facebook event set up

If you care to contribute to the young couple’s legal expenses (immigration lawyers are not cheap), please visit You Caring Help Jonatan Palacios be reunited with his wife and family!

I am the descendant of immigrants.  I am descended from three nationalities which were once discriminated against and disparaged against – Irish, German, Italian.  I grew up with many tales including “Irish need not apply” and WOP jokes and disparaging German comments . I fear for my legal US citizen friends who emigrated here because some still have the lingering traces of the countries they were born in.  What could be done to them in error because they don’t have your typical American accent?

Whether you know this couple or not, if you can peacefully or peaceably help, help.  Attend the vigil, write elected officials (including all 14 commissioners in Lower Merion Township to ask WTF??,  essentially.)

Whose America is this? Whose America are we living in?  I am not sure  and I am so sad at this latest turn of events.