comments, or the theory of whisper down the lane.

Well as my readers know, the other day I wrote a post called hooey. I wasn’t exactly breaking new ground. I was talking in part about groups I find kind of nutty because they speak to me of cult mentality.

These groups popping up everywhere and sometimes you just simply get tired of hearing their rhetoric like it’s the only thing that matters, and theirs is the sole voice you should follow. That’s why I wrote the post. I was expressing how I felt as a writer and a human being with a brain.

You have all these people running around claiming to be “true” conservatives and “true” Christians. The problem is when you know actual true conservatives and true Christians you realize the differences immediately.

True conservatives have a belief system. And they are happy to discuss it with you. They don’t beat you over the head with it, they don’t tell you that your thought process is wrong, they tell you how their thought process is different. The true conservatives that I know may some days be a little right of Attila the Hun for me, but they don’t try to beat people with opposing points of view into a verbal pulp or physical pulp.

True conservatives don’t need bumper stickers on their cars and flags on their lawns. They discuss things like intelligent human beings. A couple of friends in particular come to mind, and I have always found them delightful because they also have terrific senses of humor. Some of my true conservatives do still believe in Trump. A couple will send me things to read once in a while but it’s not unpleasant, it’s not combative, it just is. I do have a couple who no longer speak to me. We didn’t argue or fight, we just believe different things and it doesn’t mean I dislike them, or them me. Again, it just is.

Even when I was a registered Republican I have had friends who were true conservatives. they didn’t label themselves as tea partiers or anything which has evolved since, they merely had and have their point of view. And while I never completely agree, although sometimes on some points sometimes I agree to an extent, I have never left any conversation feeling like I wanted to barf. Or like they tried to make me feel less than. They knew what being a patriot actually is. And even more importantly, we leave the conversations as friends who had a discussion. Not a blood battle. That is an important nuance that these newfangled ones don’t seem to grasp, sadly.

What I find interesting is you never hear from these true conservatives anymore. A lot of them quite honestly quietly joined the ranks of the Never Trumpers. Oh and they didn’t think January 6, 2021 was OK either. And they understand that someone asking them to get a COVID shot is not depriving them of their personal freedom. They are just being asked to do their part as an American to end the global pandemic on our shores.

Now let’s also go to Christians. True Christians also have a solid belief system. They are happy to talk to you about it. They are calm and firm and happy in their belief in God. But they aren’t mean or horrible to anyone. They don’t say they are God-fearing and then bully someone online.

True Christians are exemplary and the ones I know, are extraordinarily good people. They go out of their way to help others. And they have a quiet dignity about their faith. They walk in God’s shoes so to speak.

So when I wrote this post it took a little bit but the comments are starting to roll in. Truthfully I don’t know why what I say as one person matters so much to all of these people. Like them I have my opinions on things, but unlike them I am not allowed to have opinions according to them.

I had comments come in on this blog. I had comments come in via private message on my blog’s Facebook page after I wrote hooey. Among other things they have labeled me a communist or call me a commie. That’s so Joseph McCarthy/J. Edgar Hoover of them. Do they even understand the definition of the words they are using? Do they even know who McCarthy and Hoover were? And they wonder why I think they are bobble headed Stepford Wives or escaped from the 1950s?

I ask that question simply because I have friends who are now American citizens and have been for decades, who escaped communist countries or countries under communist rule when they were children. They can tell you what communism is actually about because they lived it.

Someone having a different thought process on things from them or their comfort level is not a communist. They are just different from them and their comfort level, which to me seems rather limited. And narrow-minded…something else I was called just yesterday in a comment on hooey.

And I haven’t been called a Nazi yet, but I have seen others who don’t share their particular thought processes called Nazis. and that usually has to do with having to get a Covid19 shot or carry a Covid19 shot card and show it in certain circumstances.

Here you have to ask them if they know their history? And if you’ve ever known anyone who either escaped Nazi oppression during World War II Germany, or had family members who did or were murdered by Nazis they wouldn’t throw that word around so lightly and incorrectly either.

I have known people who were both Jewish and non-Jewish who escaped Nazi oppression. Or watched their family members rounded up and made to disappear. I will start with Norwegians. You don’t hear a lot about what happened in Norway during World War II. We all learned about it again in 2021 if you watched a PBS series called Atlantic Crossing.

And then there were the Germans who were not Jewish but who didn’t agree with the Nazis. These families much like their Jewish neighbors in a lot of cases, had their businesses removed from them, property stolen by the Nazis, and they had to flee and hide during World War II. And some of these cases I actually knew people growing up whose fathers were sent to the Russian front to their eventual death basically because of the weather and starvation and poor conditions all because they didn’t buy in to what the Nazi party in Germany during World War II was selling.

This why it is actually offensive as well as ludicrous when some of these keyboard warriors call people “Communists” and “Nazis”.

And these are the people who also don’t want to wear masks, they don’t want their kids to wear masks even if their kids don’t care, and they don’t want COVID shots.

Yet as they are getting infected with the virus even within their own families it astounds me of the things that you see them talking about. Including crazy therapies that could actually kill people.

Now can we talk about the harm the unvaccinated are doing vis a vis the current spikes of COVID? And by the unvaccinated I am not referring to people who literally can’t get the shot because of medical conditions, or those who are so tiny and young they can’t get the shot for that reason. I am talking about those who chose deliberately not to get the shot. Maybe it is their right to not get a shot, but what about the rest of us having the right not to get sick because others are spreading COVID?

And then they give you their pretzel logic argument of if the shots worked then people wouldn’t get COVID. No that’s actually not true. Because of the shots in a lot of cases, people aren’t getting as sick, but because there are so many people who haven’t gotten shots the virus continues to spread and mutate. But hey, they will continue to do them. Meanwhile I know people with immunocompromised little children too young to get shots who are terrified. What about their rights?

But it’s OK for these others to espouse this nonsense and speak their piece. But no one else can. The moment you are the teensiest bit different from what they are spouting and/or their comfort levels you are bad. You are branded “evil” or a “mean girl” even as these types bully others every single day on social media.

And isn’t it ironic as well as crazy that these are the people that are bullying others every day because you don’t share their belief system, yet if you don’t share their belief system you are the one that’s the actual bully?

My post hooey is a threat to these people why and how ? Just because I right? Or is it because my opinion is different than theirs? Or is it just simply because I am not the same as they are? And they wonder why I call them Stepford wives? And wonder about cult mentality? Don’t they get I don’t care if their marvelous selves are not in my world?

I have to ask: are we all supposed to be zombies on this bus of life?

Then these god fearing nouveau conservative women tell me how conservative women are all so much happier than the rest of us. OK that’s what they believe, but if they are so happy why are they complaining about me? If they were so happy they wouldn’t feverishly read my posts, they were just go on about their lives. If they were so happy they wouldn’t scream and jump up and down at school board meetings or carry dumb signs outside shopping malls, would they?

And I hate to break it to them but having an actual pulse and discussing things and expressing your own opinion doesn’t make you unhappy. It makes you a human being with a brain that isn’t brainwashed. But I guess we’re not supposed to be independent in their eyes are we? We are supposed to accept what they say?

WHY?????

And I’m going to go back to their accusing me of being mean and bullying. These people literally attack anyone with a different point of view. And there are a lot of comments I choose not to share or publish I just file away as threats. Just like the past couple of days. And it’s all coming from these people who are supposedly so much better than I am and so much better off than I am because they drank the proverbial Kool Aid? Do they not even remember Jonestown in the Jonestown massacre in 1978 and the Reverend Jim Jones? Or do they not remember Moonies? That and they hate being called Stepford Wives, but how is it they don’t actually see themselves for who they are (and aren’t)?

And when these people are removed from my blog’s Facebook page because that is my right, they then start emailing comments to the blog itself. Then I block them there. Sometimes I get hate mail. Essentially I am a bad, mean, horrible person because I don’t agree with their point of view. They don’t understand that one of these American freedoms they espouse so frequently means I am also entitled to my opinion and I don’t have to buy into theirs.

But I have to ask do they do this special treatment with everyone who disagrees with them? I kind of think they do. But with me they seem to take it to a new level. Harassment, cyber bullying, cyber stalking. And then they all wonder where the kids learn these behaviors and whose behavior they are emulating in the schools and then they complain about that.

So here we are in 2022. I am not going to say “why can’t we all get along“ because I am a realist and that’s not possible. But their rights do not supersede my rights, or the rights of others. And if they are banding together in these groups, wherever they are they are literally no better than the bullies they complain about in their children’s schools.

Again, among the rights our founding fathers thought and bled and died for was the ability for all of us as Americans to be independent minded. We are allowed to think differently than the guy down the street or across town. It’s not a crime.

And along with that free will comes the ability to choose your own path. My path doesn’t have to be your path, and you don’t have to agree or even disagree with me. Being an American means we are both allowed to coexist.

Some of these people leaving comments call me a terrible liberal. Or maybe it’s a horrible liberal or a super liberal or a miserable liberal. And it doesn’t really matter because it makes me laugh since everyone who actually knows me, knows I am actually a moderate. Maybe I’m a little too liberal for some people these days, but that doesn’t make me a super liberal and that doesn’t make a super liberal wrong if they are super liberal. It just doesn’t make sense we are all NOT allowed to have our own beliefs in their eyes.

Get over yourselves. You aren’t all that and a bag of chips anymore than the next person.

Thanks for stopping by.

1950s Smiling Brunette Woman Housewife Photograph by Vintage Images

meta jail, same as facebook jail and explain how those algorithms work? where is the actual customer service?

Facebook jail. It is one of the great mysteries of life. They will allow political commentary including before the January 6 insurrection that should be removed, they will allow cyber bullies and cyberstalkers, but then there’s Facebook jail.

My friend Lisa is a brilliant writer, and also as funny as hell. I think she has Facebook jail frequent flyer miles by now. Every time you turn around they’re putting her in Facebook jail and I don’t really understand why. I don’t think anybody really understands why, it’s like they do it on purpose.

My gardening blog (as in the outside website) ended up in Facebook jail for months during the pandemic. It was because of the title which is “the nightgown gardener”. Apparently it was the nightgown of it all, which is pretty funny if you know me, because racy will never be a descriptive adjective applied to me.

It was very frustrating because they allowed me to have a Facebook page that corresponds with the blog which was fine in the category of home and gardening page that goes with a gardening website. Yet it took months before they reversed their decision. And you can’t speak to anyone from Facebook, not even one of those messenger chats that a lot of websites allow for customer service. You can’t contact a live person if you are being harassed or stalked, either. You just can’t ever reach anyone period.

They have these weird, truthfully fakakta, algorithms. A friend of mine ran into it yesterday when she was trying to list, wait for it, Christmas ornaments. Of course that worked out for me because they are the kind of ornaments I collect for my tree so I bought them when she posted that she couldn’t post about them. But how does this even make sense? They are mercury glass you can’t say mercury. And if you say blown glass I guess they think they’re a little itty bitty bongs or something?

And then there was that moment during the election season where I called a super Trumper anti-vaxxer or anti-masker pig ignorant. I wasn’t put in Facebook jail per se, but I was warned. And have they seen the things that people say on Facebook and that’s what they catch and make an issue out of? I mean I don’t really care I just found it more amusing than anything else. when you think of the sheer volume of fake news that we saw Facebook allowed to be posted during this election season alone, it kind of just is mine blowing isn’t it?

So then there is my friend Beth who spends as much or more time in Facebook jail than my friend Lisa. She has breast cancer, brain tumors, and something that is like MS. Also funny as hell. But hey, she’s a threat to humanity somehow.

Now I have to ask since I am talking about Facebook jail will I be punished or thrown in Facebook jail? Am I living dangerous posting Facebook jail memes?

We all try to occasionally figure out the great mystery of life known as Facebook. How their algorithms work, why people who don’t deserve Facebook jail get Facebook jail, and why people who are completely off of their rockers rock on wandering around Facebook.

The algorithms are a mystery. Now given my former corporate life which included e-mail review, they obviously have software which seeks out and reacts to certain words. Corporate e-mail software set up for compliance purposes will trigger on everyday words like “bra” and I guess Facebook does this too? The only thing is in companies who do e-mail review, if an e-mail gets snagged for review there is an actual human being you can plead your case with. You can’t do that with Facebook. Can’t call them, you can’t email or message an actual person, all you can do is fill out their form thingy and hope someone reads it within the next few months.

I’m not trying to start a Facebook revolt, I’m not leaving Facebook, but I think they can do better. Unless of course this whole thing with algorithms in Facebook jail is just like a virtual reality of Zuckerberg’s beautiful mind so to speak? It just doesn’t make sense and really they can do better. I also feel like they do target certain people, and again I think it’s based upon an algorithm. But unless Zuckerberg is going for the whole Stepford Wives effect, I think he needs to find a better way.

In the interim, #FreeLisa , pass it on.

unacceptable

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

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

Why?

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

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

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

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

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

It hasn’t been easy.

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

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

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

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

~ Savvy October 21, 2021

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

About that photo with far right activist Scott Presler: 

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

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

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

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

~ Savvy October 21, 2021

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

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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

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

These school board races.

They are hideous.

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

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

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

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

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

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No photo description available.

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

5 cartoons about America's school board battles

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

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

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

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

But these signs? Unacceptable.

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

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

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

bless their hearts, more nastiness

The man above wishes to be famous, so I am obliging.

I received this comment overnight to this blog. I perceive it to be threatening in nature.

One funny thing is I had to look up what NPC was (Non Player Character), and it still means nothing to me because I do not live by video game jargon.

I know people on school boards and elected officials and even reporters are no stranger to nasty comments and emails like this these days, but it seems like since 2020 and prior to that because of the election, people have no boundaries and feel behavior like this is acceptable.

It is not. I am not a public figure or elected official, I am essentially a housewife who blogs sometimes.

This person is obviously male and very angry. If by his IP address you know who he is, someone should have a chat with him. This behavior is not acceptable towards anyone.

Obviously his email is fake.

He says he lives in Willistown so his comment in situ went to the Great Valley School District superintendent and school board, Willistown and East Whiteland supervisors and police departments.

This was a comment sent in response to a post I wrote called the dysfunctional states of america.

What he said for those who will complain about having to read a screenshot is as follows:

I am a Willistown homeowner and father of current students. Several distinct but loosely related points that constitute fair warning to the renegade officials we unwisely trusted with our institutions:

* The “mask dictatorship” is reprehensible, driven by propaganda of fear and “othering” that is shockingly effective. I know this because I am a student of propaganda otherwise known as marketing.”The school board is typically dictatorial, fragile, and evidently low IQ “electing” to punt their responsibilities to some mid-level nurse in West Chester that runs the health department. Pussy is an understatement for people so frightened of the literal bogeyman as to extra-legally and casually inflict this on their neighbors.

(don’t even get me going on the Willistown sewer smash-and-grab scheme.)

* And this latter point is the most enraging: “covid” is a weaponization to deprive citizens of information from and directions to their supposedly elected representatives, notably LOCAL officials re GVSB. The GVSD is behaving like the small-minded dictators one might expect in a Latin American banana republic from the 19th C. than elected officials in the United States.

* The irresponsible government situation is intolerable. After a year of pompous official indifference to the nationwide burning, looting, mayhem and murder of BLM/Antifa, the FUD fueled “covid” sanctimony is enraging on a visceral level. When the sleepy, gentlemanly yeomen of Willistown rise in righteous anger, you should understand the boiling point has been reached.

* LEsson Learned: as a political experiment, “democracy” has proven a complete and total failure thanks to corruption and easy public manipulability if not outright idiocy. You liberal-leftist dreamers are about to see your life-long aspiration achieved but you are not going to like how it turns out with a mafia version of old school feudalism that will replace this joke of government. That is to say, the law of the jungle is kill or be killed or sometime put as Only the strong survive. A motley coalition of rabbit people stands no chance.

IDGAF if you agree with my points, if you hate them, or if they inspire you to roll your eyes while spewing some stupid canned insult so typical of NPCs.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. NO MORE.

He’s right. Enough is enough. No one should put up with this brand of verbal abuse. And it is happening everywhere.

life and b.s.

Right at the beginning of June, I invited some friends who had been around at a very difficult time in my life to go on a special tour of David Culp’s gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downingtown. It was a thank you and a celebration of an important personal milestone: being 10 years breast cancer free. June 1, 2011 to June 1, 2021.

If you know women who have had breast cancer, each year we get extra is a blessing. Milestones like this are extremely important to mark, and I wanted to say thank you to some of these ladies, most of whom I have known since high school.

It was also another celebration and milestone. This also marked all of us finally being able to get together because of COVID-19 and we all finally had our shots. The ladies who came with me like to garden.

Pete Bannan photo 2011

One of the friends was Caroline O’Halloran who is the creator and chief writer at Savvy Main Line. She was with me and some other friends on Tuesday, July 13th, 2011 when I rang the bell at Lankenau Hospital where I had that morning finished up a few weeks of fairly grueling radiation treatment with Dr. Marisa Weiss.

When it was all over and I rang the special bell signifying the end of treatment, my friends cheered. A hospital administrator chided us for being too loud. (It was pretty funny.)

At the end of the day, I am very much alive with a terrific prognosis for a long and happy life. I am one of the lucky ones. I have lost friends to cancer including breast over the past decade, so I learned to stop and breathe and celebrate the milestones.

For a decade now I have been part of the sisterhood – women of different races, ethnicities, ages, sizes and shapes –forever bound together by this disease. It’s like the club no one asks to join. And you damn well celebrate the little victories.

I chose a garden tour.

I also invited someone whom I am pleased to call a friend for the past few years, who wasn’t with me that day. She just happens to be a woman I like and appreciate. You all know her as a Chester County Commissioner – Michelle Kichline. We have a lot of friends in common and have for years and years, and we share common interests like the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust and a love for gardening.

Caroline wrote about the visit to David’s amazing gardens on her website a few weeks after the visit. It just happened because he and his gardens inspired her and struck a chord. Of course that doesn’t surprise me because David’s book The Layered Garden has been a huge influence on me personally. When I read his book it was like I had this epiphany that someone who really is a plantsman and horticulturalist gets how I like to garden. I don’t even know what printing the book is on, but it is really special.

Michelle posted the article on her page a couple of weeks ago. She also included how she loved the gardens and what a fun and just nice day it was. It’s true, it was just nice. I thought that was super sweet of her, and I was happy to have her with us.

But as is the case with social media, up rolls a jerk:

I have been called many things in my life, but “rich white people” has never been one of them. But apparently, we are all a bunch of “rich white people” who have an “eye” for horticulture according to this….well….a random white guy.

Are we to surmise that random white guy must have a political axe to grind with Michelle for whatever reason, and is also a garden critic? Ok he doesn’t have to like the garden, but his vitriol was unnecessary and unwarranted.

We all like to garden. David opened his private home garden to us on a very special anniversary for me. This day was a big deal to me. Michelle is allowed to NOT be a politician once in a while and just enjoy girl time.

I think we need to hit the pause button. We have come through 2020 into 2021 and a lot of us still have friends on both sides of the political aisle and that is ok. And that is what that snotful comment on Michelle’s page was about: politics. I don’t know what, and I don’t know why, and don’t care. WHY? Because all she was doing was sharing something nice.

I am a gardener. I love to garden. And random white guy? I do my own gardening and I earn my own money to pay for my gardening. I am hardly some heiress with a fainting couch. I even cook and clean and take out the trash.

Truthfully this is why I don’t share cool experiences on this blog sometimes like seeing David Culp’s garden. So instead a friend shares what another friend wrote about just a lovely day and we are suddenly bad people? That’s just wrong. And I say that as someone who can and does take politicians to task. But there is a time and a place for everything, and being a dick about someone talking about a nice visit to a special garden is not one of them.

But hey what do I know right? I am just a mere mortal and a female, and these are obviously just the rantings of a suburban housewife.

Cheers!

fire and brimstone

Well it turns out I have another post in me for 2020. And it’s about a 12 foot high sign for a church that contains LED. The church keeps saying the entire sign is not LED, so I will add that slight clarification although to me a 12 foot high sign with LED is a 12 foot high LED sign and the rest is a game of captain semantic.

A while back, Covenant Presbyterian Church on Lancaster Avenue or Route 30 in Frazer decided they wanted a new sign. They filed an application with East Whiteland Township:

I knew about this application because I had seen it somewhere on the East Whiteland Township website. I don’t recall exactly what it was but I think it was a meeting agenda or something. Digital billboards and electronic signs are a hot button topic in East Whiteland, and the township is currently in some settlement agreement with a shall remain nameless billboard company that will involve a true Sophie’s Choice of where do the ugly signs go to make this issue go away. Whatever happens it won’t truly be a win for the residents.Maybe the township solicitor will think it’s a win because it’s easier to push settlement conferences than to fight? Yes that is an actual question in my mind because I think the solicitor is just tired.

Regarding that find entire saga on the East Whiteland website HERE and see:

But back to Covenant Presbyterian. They want this sign. But it requires a zoning variance. So a hearing notice went out to a small amount of folks within the legal zoning notice defined area, and one local businesswoman posted about it in community Facebook groups. Word spread like wildfire. Some, like myself, had told the township prior to the hearing (which occurred last evening) how we felt about the proposed sign Covenant Presbyterian wants, and did so again, both by email and public comment before the zoning meeting was continued to January 25th at 7:15 PM (another zoom meeting.)

In the spirit of full disclosure I let the church elders/pastors know how I felt along with the township and community members.

What I said was:

Covenant Presbyterian Church does not NEED a 12’ high LED sign, they WANT one. Why is it a church of all things wishes to have a sign more appropriate for something on the Las Vegas strip or NYC’s Times Square?


Not to be irreverent, but God already knows they are there, as do all residents of East Whiteland. We can read their existing signage just fine and it is size and style appropriate for a church.


Let’s not forget the small LED sign of ridiculous brightness at Lincoln Court that no one controls and the numerous complaints to the township. Or the Gerhard’s sign that is also garish and too bright.


Also to be considered are the electronic billboard issues that the township is already embroiled in, which no one wants. If you approve this monstrosity of a sign at a church how does it affect other sign issues?


Other factors to be considered are light pollution and that is a very real worry. That is a proven environmental concern, just like it is indeed a distraction to drivers. And some drivers are blinded by these signs and I know people with medically documented neurological and health issues who can’t drive into the front of Lincoln Court because that sign which is lit 24/7/365.


Also shouldn’t we remember East Whiteland’s overpriced Route 30 corridor plan? Do you all really think people are going to want to live adjacent, next to, across, or down the road from this sign or any other electronic billboard? How is a sign like that in keeping with revitalization plans?


Does anyone care how this will affect existing residents who live close by?


This church wants to what amounts to an electronic billboard. It is out of character for a sweet looking church. It is an ugly and unnecessary concept.


The community deserves better.

Needless to say, my thoughts on the sign were not well received by the congregants. It became a full fledged digital online Salem Witch Hunt meets the Scarlet Letter. God help you quite literally if you dared said you were opposed to the sign. Most of the knitting needle-like prods were done by church ladies, and wow, right? Nothing like that cozy feeling of community fellowship, right?

All day these folks went at it in various community groups. Anyone who opposed the sign was anti-church and anti-christian. And then there were the ones who specifically did not like me because of what I said. I needed to be “reined” in. They said I did not understand what I was saying when I said “bless your heart.” That just made me laugh out loud when I read that. I actually do understand and I had actual southern ladies explain proper usage to me, bless their hearts. Yes I was deliberately sarcastic with some of them because their ridiculousness and fake piety deserved it. It was a day of God wants us to love our neighbors unless they are against a 12′ LED sign in front of the church.

We are all bad people if we don’t want this sign because their church wants this sign. Want being the operative term here. They don’t understand the difference between want and need, which is a somewhat important concept when it comes to zoning matters and proving hardship if denied or to avoid denial.

So then there was the meeting. 30 square feet overall to 49.8 square feet overall is what they want as per the Zoning Hearing Board that we heard on the meeting. That is not an insignificant difference is it?

And a want at the end of the day is not a hardship. The man presenting the church plan also essentially said they want a bigger sign because others have big signs. Not churches, businesses. And then there was that question they raised of a different zoning classification and to that a resident asked the simple question if they wish to reclassify, will they also pay taxes since non-profits generally escape them on real estate? (That was met like the proverbial fart in church as a comment.)

Throughout, East Whiteland’s Zoning Hearing Board lawyer gave both helpful and unhelpful commentary. This attorney’s law firm also does some work for Easttown I am told? Like East Whiteland’s solicitor is also the solicitor of Upper Merion? So many municipalities are related by these relationships and don’t even realize it, do they? (But I digress.)

My comment shortly after they determined party status and before they continued the meeting until January 25th at 7:15 PM (and I keep reminding you because East Whiteland’s Zoning Hearing Board attorney kept reminding people there would be no other notice and heck they didn’t even post last night’s meeting notice until this morning) was simple:

I am struggling after listening to the church’s presentation and what amounts to me as a sort of straw man argument on the part of the church. And I mean the church no disrespect saying that, because the good work and good deeds of the church have never been in question, and truly and sadly can’t really be justification for a sign change like this. No hardship has been proven, and again need vs. want are two very different conversations.

I also remarked as a breast cancer survivor of several years still on cancer meds, one of the side effects is the fact the meds affect my vision. I am growing cataracts. Not huge ones at this point, not at a medical point to be removed, but it means that super bright lights have a very negative effect and some of those LED signs (like the one at Lincoln Court) almost have a temporary blinding effect or I see lots and lots of spots. I also remarked how people with know neurological defects that are medically documented go out of their way to avoid these signs, including in our own community.

Why is it that these signs seem to be more important than how the residents feel about them and how they affect residents?

Here is a summation from someone who was on the call. Their words, not mine:

Last evening’s meeting was instructive and illustrates, yet again, how Zoning Hearing Board’s are not staying true to their mandate.


The Covenant Presbyterian Church applied for a variance in regards to a new sign they wish to erect on Church Road and Route 30 where the currently have a 30 square foot, old fashioned sign. The regulation in East Whiteland states that signs should be no more than 20 square feet in that zoning district and 8 feet tall. I presume the applicant was grandfathered in under older rules.

Fine.


The applicant wishes to erect a 50 square sign that is 12 feet high. They provided no real hardship but one of the individuals did recite all the good work they do in the community. I am certain that is true and people I know, who are against the placement of the sign, tell me that is case. That has ZERO bearing on this matter. The fact is that the applicant needs to illustrate a true hardship.


This is a “dimensional” variance which carries less of a standard than a “use” variance. Still, this is the benchmark the applicant must meet – “the standard approval for a dimensional variance is “practical difficulty”, which courts have defined to mean that strict compliance is “unnecessarily burdensome” and granting the variance would “do substantial justice to the owner”.


The applicant came nowhere near this in their presentation. Frankly, I was embarrassed for them. The reason they want to do this is because they want the sign. Even one of the Board members (I believe it was the Chair) said, “I am having a hard time finding a hardship here”.

Precisely.


This should have been a clear denial. Many residents spoke on this matter, the majority in opposition. This includes at least 2 members of this group. They were spot on with their remarks. Additionally, a business owner across the street who opposed the sign stated, “if you make this exception, I will be back for mine next”.

Exactly.

The slippery slope. Did I mention that half of the sign will be a bright, LED with changing messages? Yes, the same type of nonsense we see at the Giant with the light that is blinding.


A denial did NOT happen. Instead, the Zoning Hearing Board decided to enter into public negotiations with the applicant. It was like an episode of “Pawn Stars”. How about 40 feet? Well, we need it a bit lower. Oh gosh, maybe a little bit but we are not sure how much lower we can go. Yes, that is a paraphrase but it is what happened.


The role of the Zoning Hearing Board is to adjudicate on the matter at hand. They were to rule on whether or not there was sufficient hardship for the applicant to receive relief on a 50 square foot, 12 foot tall sign. That is it. Yes or no. It is NOT their role to negotiate. That should happen with Planning Commission. Then, the PC can provide a positive or negative recommendation to the ZHB who should still apply the same hardship standard for a dimensional variance as detailed above. What occurred last night was a complete joke. The applicant needs to meet that standard as long as they are proposing to erect a statue that is not within the zoning regulations. I could see relief for a 30 square foot sign since that is what they have currently. If there is no hardship at 50 feet, there is still no hardship at 40 or 35 feet. Essentially the ZHB is shifting the burden off of the applicant which goes against the Municipal Planning Code of PA. But hey, does that really matter anymore?


Contrary to the opinion of some, the burden is NOT on the public to first prove harm in this case. The first hurdle is for the applicant to show a true hardship. Incredibly one of the applicants stated that a smaller sign would not be a hardship and a member of the board basically agreed.


Yet, the matter was continued until January 25th so the applicant could make another proposal. This relief should have been denied. Then, the applicant could reapply with a smaller sign if they chose to go that route. The way Zoning Hearing Boards are acting now (and we have seen this in Easttown and Tredyffrin) is NOT in the interest of the community at large.


Regrettably, it is extremely difficult to remove members of a Zoning Hearing Board before their terms are up even if there is justification. I won’t go as far as to say that is necessary here but I know in another township a board member should have been removed already but is still serving due to the reluctance of the township to do what is necessary.


It is up to US to be a check on the Zoning Hearing Boards. We need to hold elected politicians (and those running) accountable for their appointments. Automatic renewals (like those that occur in Easttown for example) for members of Planning Commissions and Zoning Hearing Board must end!

This Zoning Hearing Board meeting last night made me remember the first one I ever attended as a then brand new resident. I went because of a proposed land subdivision that would directly affect our next door neighbors and us via potential stormwater management and I wanted to make sure I knew where the septic was going (which incidentally didn’t end up exactly where it was supposed to for whatever reason.)

At this very first Zoning Hearing Board meeting now years ago, I literally knew no one except the neighbors and them barely. Ironically I knew who the then Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor was because they were politically active with the Radnor Township Republicans way back when or something along those lines. A lot of the Zoning Hearing Board Members back then were elderly and I swear one gentleman in particular kept nodding off. He looked like central casting for the cute grandfather and in fairness, zoning meetings are not always exciting.

At this meeting I met some General Warren Villagers for the first time. They were there because of the then Cube Smart proposal (which is now built.) I remember feeling like they weren’t treated very well as residents which to me was surprising because Lower Merion Township Zoning Hearing Board was always decent to residents even if they had to reprimand them during a meeting.

The way meetings were run where I was from versus moving out to Chester County were and are vastly different. We had a literal timer on public comment (3 minutes individuals, 5 minutes groups), but at Lower Merion Commissioners meetings, public comment wasn’t always the last thing. And the zoning and planning were vastly different and so were the lawyers representing the municipalities. Zoning decisions were never instantaneous and the lawyers on the zoning hearing board in Lower Merion ran a tight ship and treated it like court proceedings. Everyone understood the boundaries and the procedure. Out here I am still trying to figure it out at times, and we’ll leave it at that.

I personally feel that the LED sign issue with Covenant Presbyterian should not have proceeded last night. I kind of think it should have been pulled from their agenda. I do not believe I will change my mind between now and the Zoning Hearing Board continuation meeting on January 25th at 7:15 PM.

However at the end of the day what I find the most troubling about the issue is the way residents who are supporting the church and are even members of the church or are possibly even related to people in the church are behaving and how can you blame anyone for having concerns? And this doesn’t just happen with these particular people over this issue. It’s the behavior patterns that some groups or even communities of people are seemingly oblivious to.

Yesterday in addition to the flame wars on community Facebook groups, there were the private messages people received. Some annoying, some borderline threatening, all inappropriate. They are just as bad as what happens if you dare criticize a school board or school district out here. And the messages and comments on the sign issue resumed after the meeting had concluded.

If you are against the sign, you are an enemy of the church community as far as these people are concerned. One guy also complained about those of us who protested the sign and participated in the meeting because there were very few people who showed up to the meeting in support of the sign and spoke. I mean HUH??? That is such a head scratcher because how are we responsible for the church supporters not showing up and publicly stating they support what their church is doing? Then there were the people who said all people online do is whine to the people who actually tuned into the virtual meeting if not participated with public or written comment. Again …..HUH?????

I actually had a very nice email from Rev. Dr. Moyer of Covenant Presbyterian today. He is a nice and thoughtful man by my estimation, but sadly that is not enough to mean they will get oe should get their variance on a sign they want but don’t really need. It’s great they want to get their message out, but the world is their oyster and an LED sign 12′ tall is not the only avenue of communication in this big wide world in which we live. I did write back to him my thoughts. I am happy to share them here:

Dear Rev. Dr. Moyer,

I truly thank you most kindly for taking the time to respond to me. It speaks volumes as to your personal character.

I will be honest that I still am against a sign that is LED and whether it is all LED or partially LED is somewhat of a conversation of semantics. I would like to think you can get your word out most effectively without having to do it with LED at all. And that is really what the community wants.

However, a bigger (and hopefully short term problem) there are many of us in the community, now myself included, who don’t know that they will ever truly feel comfortable or welcome for at least a while in the presence of anyone from your church community given the way people who are against the sign were treated by church members on social media.

Perhaps you and your fellow pastors do not feel responsible for how your flock behaves on social media and outside the four walls of the church itself, but it certainly bears reminding to all that they are the larger face of your church. After all, that is often what draws us as human beings to houses of worship: the people we know or have met who are already there.

I was not happy to have to deal with these people from Covenant yesterday and I was disturbed at the woman who suggested local businesses who were concerned about the sign should be boycotted. I don’t find that to be particularly Christian.

And the suggestion to not patronize any local businesses in a year where so many have gone wanting made it just wrong. Maybe I see this a little more personally than others because I have friends in other areas who are out of work, have lost family members to COVID-19, and or have had to make the sad decision to close a small business because COVID-19 made it impossible for them to stay open.

I realize because some of the people defending the church sign are literally family, and also because a lot of your membership feels like family they feel more strongly even than us on the outside over this issue. But to verbally barrage fellow community members like that gives me pause. Not wanting the sign is most certainly NOT an attack on your church or being Christian, it’s simply NOT wanting the sign for whatever reason.

In the past, I am one of those people that used my position in the community as well as my social media abilities to get the word out when your church needed donations for things like the food bank. There are times when God didn’t necessarily give me the bank account to write hefty checks, but he gave me a voice for a reason. And I always try to use it for good.

After yesterday, I’m going to have to hit the pause button before I’m supportive again, and that actually is a crisis of conscience for me because you’re a church. But community people who belong to your church need to act like it. And I say that as someone who was raised Catholic and knew wonderful priests and nuns growing up, and have also had friends for years who are among the truest Christians that I have ever met, as well as those who are Protestant ministers and pastors elsewhere.

But to throw verbal stones at people because they are not mirror images of who you are and what you believe is something that always troubles me – and I’m not just saying this is a fault of the members of your church because it’s most certainly not. It’s a negative aspect of human nature that I sometimes ponder. It’s also sort of like a community-wide disease around here sometimes. And as a man of God, I think you can understand that. Except because you have been a pastor for so many years, you can look past this more easily than a lot of us regular folk.

Again, I am happy that you took the time to respond to me. You seem like such a nice person and I wish we could be on the same side of this sign issue. But sadly this is an issue greater than your church and one which weighs heavily on the community at large.

I am sure I will see you virtually at the next meeting, and maybe sometime when COVID-19 is behind us we could have coffee or tea and meet in person.

Thank you also kindly for the blessings, after 2020 we all can use them no doubt.

Next is how this post got the title it did. It is because of these people who want the sign and belong to or support the church being so unpleasant that I titled this post fire and brimstone. It’s the way it made me feel. That whole Salem Witch Trial Scarlet Letter effect.

Something however I read that gave me hope was a nice way a local women said her “no” to the LED sign:

Please reconsider. Mary and Joseph didn’t need anything but a star to guide them. The Lord himself knows you don’t need a lit up sign to gain parishioners or to share messages

Next up is the January meeting. In between I am sure lots of community discussion. Or what I hope will be actual discussion versus social media flame wards and gang mentality.

Here is hoping in 2021 people learn to behave a little differently towards different opinions.

Here’s hoping in 2021 people more locally can actually learn to appreciate the differences in other human beings for whatever reason. People talk a good game about inclusion and understanding but it’s time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Peace out.

No photo description available.
Flat Hal the plot plan man is 5′ 8″ tall. Him next to the sign is an idea of human scale.

haters gonna hate

Haters gonna hate COVID19 shaming style

Hey Taylor Swift you are so right, haters are gonna hate. And when I agreed to be interviewed by Bill Rettew for The Daily Local this was one of the things that I told him often happened to bloggers. No not mommy bloggers who write about Disney or who are compensated bloggers for pimping out products in exchange for compensation, or bloggers who stick to sharing about gardening, crafts, cooking, i.e. safe topics. I mean bloggers like me who tackle local issues, current events, and even politics.

As long as I color inside the lines, I am good. But the minute I am vocal about things that concern me, or even current events including the COVID-19/coronavirus, I am somehow a bad person, someone who must be targeted, disciplined, called out. According to these people who do these things you aren’t supposed to speak, you definitely aren’t supposed to care about your community or the greater good.

The reporter had wanted to talk to me because before Coronavirus full onset had happened and it was essentially a news topic because it was happening overseas, I went to a horticultural event that ended up having Chester County’s 2nd coronavirus victim also in attendance. Public health reports on this person, a man much younger than I came out a week after the event, just as we were all getting glimpses of what is now our new normal. The reports stated he had mild symptoms and was at home.

I stated all along and it’s true, that when I got to this event which had been going since early in the morning that Saturday it was close to their ending time. I went to see a specific plant vendor and to buy a book. There weren’t many people there in that part of the event. There were a lot of people in the actual meeting house across the way, but I did not have tickets for those talks and wasn’t in that building at all.

I was in and out in a short amount of time and went home. Yes, I was less than happy when I found out I was at an event with someone who tested positive. But I did and my family did exactly as we were told to do by my doctors at Penn Medicine AND the county. We took the most conservative approach. I was NON symptomatic. We all were. It meant NO symptoms. NO fever. NO cough. NON SYMPTOMATIC .

Today I am off self-quarantine. Yesterday after 5 PM my lovely husband went to the CVS drive thru to pick up my cancer and thyroid meds we could not get for days because of self-quarantine. Medicine that is not an option for me and I was running out. If I can’t pick up the meds, he is the only other person as my spouse who can get them.

After he got my meds, he stopped at a local business that was essentially empty to pick up beer. A friend’s business that was closing last night until the governor says businesses which are non-essential can re-open. Social distancing was observed and paying by card he and the clerk at the counter had zero contact.

My husband came home and literally wiped down the whole inside of the car, everything he bought home and washed his hands. We had dinner.

Then the comment appeared as captured above by a screenshot. Oh goody, a stalker. You will note the made up profile name. Before I blocked and reported them, I looked at the profile. Nothing real about it. Just someone looking for an A-Ha moment to get at me. And how creepy was it they were ummm seeming to follow my husband around? It makes you wonder if they drive up and down your street too and go through your trash, doesn’t it?

People sometimes disgust me and this is one of those moments. They would not target a traditional journalist or writer like this, just me as a blogger. The point of transparency and education since I decided to talk about this first on my blog and then to a reporter escapes them. They just wanted to get at me, shame me.

But what did this person do instead when they chose to do this? They actually discouraged other people from coming forward to report they had been around someone who was exposed.

Think about it, I know I did the right thing by reporting that I had been at an event where a COVID19 victim was. The event did the right thing by telling us that poor person was in attendance, but if you hadn’t bought lecture tickets, they had no way of knowing specifically who was there. So how many people do you think who may have stopped at this event actually reported they were there like I did?

People are scared about this virus . I am scared about this virus. My one and only sister and one of my step-siblings live in New York City which was described as a virus epicenter with among the most victims in the US I think.

So shame on whomever this person is for rolling up with personal animus and misinformation. I will note they should be more concerned about the groups of kids and people still out there going around barriers to closed playgrounds and basketball courts because those groups of people in close contact like THAT? They are the ones who are going to spread the virus.

I am doing my part and so is my family. Instead of trying to stalk, harass, call out your friendly neighborhood blogger, why don’t you do your part and take care of your family?

I will note that the comments have since disappeared. I don’t know why or how or who. It’s just discouraging that even at times like this as people are trying to pull together and do the right thing, some people just suck.

tammany hall style politics?

fraud3

Today class, we are going to learn about what passes for politics. In particular Tammany Hall style politics which should have been buried with old Boss Tweed right? Like what you see above. Two Facebook pages that amount to cyber bullying masquerading as politics. Which of course makes it rather rich when you see current local elected officials say:

threat

I would be pleased as an elected official that she pointed it out, except ummm for this:

cb

Ms. Santalucia is a Supervisor in West Whiteland.  Her sister Rose Hogan Danese is running against Danielle Friel Otten:

kathi

It’s getting like the Hatfields versus the McCoys with the Chester County Democrats isn’t it? Look who else’s name has surfaced?

I don’t quite get how Danielle Friel Otten is a threat to world order, or Ginny Kerslake is either.  Yes I know both women, and so Supervisor Theresa Hogan Santalucia doesn’t get confused, I do not speak for these women or their campaigns.  I am no one’s campaign operative. That is a tired old has been argument that goes back a few years and even that I was a tea partier  LOL.  (And also so this Supervisor doesn’t get her skirts further in a twist, this is known as opinion.  YOU are an elected official and YOU put certain things out there in the public. If you don’t want people commenting, change your privacy settings.)

It’s always all about the money in the end, so who is threatened the most by those who wish to serve because it’s the right thing to do?

Just like Republicans are divided, Democrats are an even bigger fractured fairy tale.  In Pennsylvania I think it is a simple thing to see: Wolf Democrats who are descended from Rendell Democrats are threatened by anyone and anything that doesn’t fit into their cheerleading squad.

Tammany Hall politics live on because we as the voters allow it.  Stop allowing it.

 

Image result for tammany hall political cartoons

enough

Yesterday was a day.

It started extremely happily as I was doing something I really love to do. I had a wonderful time… until sadly I didn’t.

I encountered a woman, a total stranger, who upset me enough that I just stopped what I was doing and decided to go home. That doesn’t generally happen.

On the way home I saw something that made me smile. It was something happy that reminded me of what’s important and what’s lovely about life.

It was a group of boys, obviously good buddies, all clumped together on a public street corner hanging out as boys are wont to do. Of course, they are modern boys, so they were all clumped together each one staring at their smartphones. And they were standing next to a very important historic sign marker.

It was a moment. Frozen in time. It made me smile and I took the photo.

There was no malice. I captured a moment on a public street that made me smile. And shared it.

But oh no, because of the world we allow ourselves to live in, my happy moment caught in an image where you couldn’t even see the boys’ faces, was twisted and made ugly.

All of a sudden, a man I don’t know is leaving comments that I am a “sick person” and a “pedophile”. That I was a “twisted voyeur of children” unfit to live in my own community and that (and I quote) “you get banned all around Malvern and now you leer on kids.”

I have, among other things, never been banned from anywhere.

I took the comments as what they were, threats, and sent them in native format to the police in case something happened to me.

That is not something I regularly do, but I took those comments as the threats they were intended to be. I am a woman. And when a man is that viscerally verbally abusive in comments, I am not necessarily going to just say “well that’s ok”.

As a matter of fact I am NOT going to say any of this is ok any longer.

Whenever it is something to do with me, because I am the local blogger, people all over social media, including in community groups I am not part of, pile on. Comment after comment after comment.

It’s enough to make you puke because these groups all have “statements of community” after a fashion and how they are all about love, and family, and community and neighbors…unless it’s me or anyone else who will never be a cookie cutter version of them.

Whether it’s me or anyone else who isn’t in their limited circle of life or school car rider line, it’s just fine to tear everyone apart. We don’t have feelings. We’re not like you. We don’t matter.

And you people wonder why some of your kids are called out in school for being bullies or having behavioral issues? Where do you actually think they learn the behavior?

Last night, the day thankfully changed yet again. I was with friends for a surprise party for another friend.

I belonged there. I felt loved and safe there. I was with people who actually, truly, really know me. They all reminded me again of what is important in this world. And what’s not important are the people who want to turn lovely days ugly and dirty. What’s not important are those of you (some with extraordinarily flawed and messed up lives, I might add) sitting in judgement of me or anyone else you find suspicious for not being exactly like you.

PSA: I am done with the BS. I am over being judged, maligned, defamed, harassed, harangued, bullied….yet when some want something done I am the one they seek out?

Can’t have it both ways.

I am not a bad person and I don’t have to defend my existence to any of the shlubs who wish to sit in judgement of me, my blogging, my opinions, and what I choose to photograph on public streets. Or bars and restaurants I choose to review. Or for writing about what’s important to me.

I have been threatened, harassed, you name it. And for what? Because I am not some freaking Nouveau Stepford Wife or I didn’t grow up in Malvern when dinosaurs roamed the earth?

Get over yourselves.

Those who know me, know me to be loyal to a fault. Those who cross me know I don’t suffer fools lightly.

there is still decency in this world.

It’s been a crazy 24 hours. A local business I wrote about after a less than satisfactory visit as fairly as I could decided to go Kamikaze on me for saying they were less than fabulous.

It doesn’t matter that my review was mild compared to some reviews out there. Apparently I am public enemy number one. My lot in life as a blogger, especially as a female bloggeress, is I am a baaaad person for having any opinions.

Female bloggers especially are supposed to be seen and not heard. We are supposed to stick to safe, pre-approved topics like trips to Disney and diapers, what we are making for dinner, and similar topics. (You know, the theory of bobble-headed, barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen.)

Never, ever are you supposed to write about how you honestly feel about anything. Never are you supposed to utter a contrary opinion about the sad state of affairs of national politics. Or criticize LuLa Roe. Don’t ever criticize LuLa Roe.

Oopsies. I am just bad I guess?

No, not really. And if a local restaurant wants to crucify a now former customer, that’s on them.

The way their owner and staff reacted on their social media pages is unacceptable and it casts a pall on the entire business community that they are part of. And I am entitled to that opinion and many concur with that opinion. And people who wrote comments stating they thought the restaurant’s behavior towards me or any less than satisfied customer had their comments removed. Or snarky comments were left in response assuring people they could just call or stop in so why then did no one return my call? Their victim? Because I have stopped being their mere former customer and am a victim of their poor behavior aren’t I?

This behavior sends and reinforces a clear message that the customer is always wrong. Is that the message you want people to associate with the businesses in that area?

I feel sorry for these people in a way but not enough to allow them to just harass me via the comments of their followers. My opinion won’t make or break this business but sadly, their attitude and the poor way they have responded might. And that is on them. Sadly.

Anyway, where I was going with this today was in the middle of this swirling mass of bull twaddle something so incredibly nice happened.

Someone left me the beautiful bouquet of flowers you see in the photo above.

Why?

Because I had helped them with their garden and they wanted to show me what had grown.

I think this is one of the nicest things that anyone has ever done for me. And it’s so simple. It’s sharing your garden with a friend. And this is a friend I made because of gardening.

This of course reinforces to me the type of people you want to fill your life with. And the ones you should pass on by.

A quote from Gertrude Jekyll comes to mind:

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.”

She also said:

The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives.”

Through gardening I have truly been blessed to meet some amazing people. And now having been in Chester County a few years, I can also say that I am very fortunate to have met some wonderful people just by living here.

Yes life throws you the occasional curve ball and grows a few weeds that require pulling, but the universe has this weird balance to it. Part of that balance is when something unpleasant happens, there is a reminder that for the most part people are good and decent and we should ignore the static.

Thanks for stopping by.