lovely life’s patina

One of the things that COVID-19 has done is it has disrupted our every day lives and our routines.

My friend Amy and I have our “Fran days” named after her mom where we put everything aside and do something together and have lunch. A lot of times we schedule those days to support Meg Veno at her lovely Life’s Patina events. Until today, this was one of the things that COVID-19 had interrupted for us around here.

Amy and I have been friends since high school and we even grew up in the same neighborhood, so I feel really blessed to have her in my life all these years later. So when we heard that Life’s Patina was going to open by appointment for their Fall Barn Sale we decided to make our appointment and go. Our slot was today and it was just wonderful!

Sensory overload, so much to look at! Something for everyone! And how lucky were we to also have such a beautiful day to be there…and guests today also received an awesome goody bag!

It was so nice to see friends and acquaintances and to see what Meg and her team had done. I love the Life’s Patina Barn on Willowbrook Farm and actually the very first time I was in it was during it’s renovation that led to Life’s Patina.

Being at Life’s Patina today made this surreal life we have all been living seem a little more normal. I actually liked the feel of a smaller, more intimate shopping experience with less people. Everyone was socially distancing and everyone was wearing masks and there were hand sanitizer stations all over the place. They did a great job!

Enjoy my photos of the day and if you go you need an appointment it’s not just open as normal this year. A lot of the time slots are sold out, so check the calendar and stay tuned for other opportunities to visit Life’s Patina this fall. And you can also shop online!

9/11 the somber hey 19

9/11/2001 New York City as seen from Brooklyn

It’s September 11, 2020. It is the 19th unbelievable anniversary of 9/11. One of the things that 9/11 taught us, as journalist Harry Smith on NBC’s Today Show just pointed out on the morning news is in this great country if we look, there is more that unites us versus divides us, and we learned that from 9/11. He also remarked that it’s hard for us to see it now and it is. We are a country divided. We can’t remain a country divided and this somber anniversary is the best example why.

United we stand, divided we fall. Last year when I wrote about 9/11, I remarked about the offensive plans that didn’t happen of the current president to meet with the Taliban at Camp David just before 9/11. I was thinking about that this morning and reflecting on 2020 to date. We don’t have a leader, we have a circus ringmaster. That’s not a leader. And on this 19th anniversary of 9/11, I pray for a country united and for real leadership. Every American regardless of race, creed, political persuasion, or color deserves this.

Now this 9/11 I am also going to pause and remember two men I went to college with. I’m not going to be some kind of weird death hypocrite and say I really knew them or they were my close friends because they weren’t. They were both people I met a couple of times, but people I never really knew who were close to people important to me to this very day. They lost their lives in 9/11.

Doug Cherry worked for AON. I remember when I found out that he had died in the trade center because I worked for then Wachovia Securities, and AON had a large office literally across the hall. Someone I knew from that office had oddly remembered I went to Ohio Weslyan for a while. So they told me when they learned the names of those who had died in their company. But that wasn’t on 9/11 that was in the days that followed. I remember afterwards the days that followed when you started to see the roll call of names of people lost. I remember when I heard about Doug I kind of felt old and felt my own mortality for the first time. He was my class, and although he wasn’t a close friend or somebody I even really knew back then, we went to a small school so you remembered the faces even if you didn’t remember the people. That was the case with Ted Luckett. He was the class ahead, and again somebody I didn’t know but remembered. But I remembered back then is he liked to sail — there were a lot of guys who went to Ohio Weslyan who were amazing sailors. Even on America’s Cup crews.

February 26, 1993 The garage bomb terrorist attack
on the World Trade Center
.

As I write this it is 8:46 AM. This is when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. It was at this moment I was pulling into my garage back then where I worked for then Wachovia Securities in Conshohocken. I was listening to the radio. I remember the tears just starting to roll down my face because I knew, I knew they (terrorists) came back because I had walked out of the World Trade Center shopping concourse in 1993 when they blew up the garage. And when I say when, as the bomb detonated I was standing on the sidewalk outside looking at Century 21. If life has been different I might still have been working in New York City on September 11, 2001.

I also remember as I walked into my office and all the brokers were riveted to television screens in their offices and their computers, at that point in time most people didn’t believe those were terrorist attacks. They just thought like a small plane had gone into the trade center. It was a crazy surreal morning as the news started to unfold. It’s crazy how clearly I can still remember it. I think this is like it was for our parents the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. You remember where you were and what you were doing.

So it’s been 19 years, what have we learned? I found this blog post of someone’s memories of 9/11. Please read it. Someone else I went to school with and don’t remember. They were fraternity brothers with Doug Cherry. It’s heartbreaking to read.

This year we are still in the grips of COVID19, so the ceremonies for 9/11 are very different. They are smaller and they are not reading the rollcall of lives lost. So today we all have to remember those we knew or knew of who were lost.

One of the other things I remember on this day 19 years ago, two sisters I grew up with who were close childhood family friends and still are. One, at the time, worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The other I think worked for Marsh and McLennan at the time but can’t remember for sure, but she did work somewhere in the World Trade Center. I remember being in a panic for days until I found out they were OK. They were both out of state visiting their parents.

So it is true, we never forget this day and never will. But what have we learned? I think we need to pay it forward as a country in memory of all of those first responders and others who lost their lives. We need to be better versions of ourselves. We need to come together as a country. We need peace and less racial divide. Is that possible? I don’t know. But we can try.

I don’t really have that much else to say about 9/11 today. I am going to list all the other columns I have written over the years since I started this blog.

Wishing you peace on a somber day.

9/11 written September 11, 2012

9/11 2012: from the air

9/11: 13 years. what have we learned? September 11, 2014

remembering 9/11 September 11, 2015

9/11 : 17 years. never forget. September 11, 2018

on the eve of 9/11 September 9, 2019

#NeverForget

9/11 Memorial in New Jersey

life in the land of women: social media power trips

Recently I wrote a post about women and social media. I will refer back to that post and some things that a woman I have made the acquaintance of said to me a while ago which was “women will never learn to simply lift each other up.”

Once again I should add, especially on social media. And it continues to be sad and true, no longer merely sad but true.

There was a woman I know whom I will also call a friend who started a local gifting group. She started a local Buy Nothing Project Facebook group.

The Buy Nothing Project operates on wonderful principles. They offer a simple platform of giving people the opportunity to give and receive in their community. They have inspired people to the extent that there is this whole network of these groups all over this country and I believe in other countries. It’s kind of about being neighborly and other often ignored old fashioned principles. It’s a “hyper-local gift community”.

It’s a way to recycle useful items without the whole barter, buy, sell of it all. You give because you want to give. You give to someone who needs it more than you, and they in turn (hopefully) will pay it forward someday to other people who might need something more than they do.

In a jaded world this is kind of nice.

I belonged to this local Buy Nothing group, but I didn’t spend a lot of time in the group. I would pop in when I had some thing to gift. Earlier this week the group seemed different. I didn’t pay it any mind. Truthfully I had no clue. But the group seemed different – for example, I was suddenly on post approval and I think I had posted in the group maybe five times. I had not been on post approval before in this group.

However, life is busy, and I didn’t pay it any mind as I had only popped in because there was something I was going to gift but when I realized I was on post approval (which seemed weird), I just gave the thing to a friend instead. But then as is the whisper down the lane of social media people started to ask me if I knew what was going on. Truthfully I had no clue.

Then I found out what was going on.

Basically a small group of other women whom I wouldn’t know if I fell over them in the grocery store, did a power-play that is something that is reminiscent of fighting over the popular girls lunch table in middle school. That kind of young female coup: nastiness and pettiness and meanness and then not owning your behavior. So you see it really is suitable for the age group of middle schoolers.

This group of three women removed the woman I know who founded this particular local group, and then were systematically removing any and every person who was either close to the founder, friendly with the founder, just knew the founder, or wondered where the founder had gotten to because they didn’t see her on the page.

When I heard about this I was essentially gobsmacked. Not only is this woman who originally founded the group one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, she is very genuine, and she is one of those rare birds who is never about the drama. Even if she’s not pleased with you, she’s kind. So as opposed to a woman like me who can be extraordinarily opinionated and sometimes a bitch about it, I’m listening to the story and I am incredulous.

And I am incredulous for the simple fact that we’re supposed to be grown ass women. I think one of my best friend’s 11-year-old is more mature than these women.

So these women did this for what reason? I don’t quite get it as a Buy Nothing Group is at its core based upon being nice to one and other.

I put a post in for post approval in this local Buy Nothing Group, and basically said I felt what they did was wrong and I didn’t want to be a part of this group anymore and I was leaving. And I left the group. I knew they would never publish my post, but they wouldn’t get the joy of deleting me personally I left because what they did was abhorrent and somewhat morally bankrupt.

Now the Buy Nothing Project says on their website and social media channels that they don’t get involved in issues with in local chapters. What’s a shame is then once this local chapter exists you can’t have another Buy Nothing namesake group. Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own hybrid group inspired by with the founders of Buy Nothing originally intended. Those founders would be Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller.

I have read a few articles about the Buy Nothing Project including this one from Huffington Post this past February:

Buy Nothing’ Groups: Stop Spending Money And Just Ask For What You Need/ These Facebook groups prohibit exchanging money and bartering, but they reduce waste and build communities.
By Casey Bond 02/28/2020 10:40am EST | Updated February 28, 2020

📌Americans tend to be a wasteful bunch. The United States, home to only 4% of the world population, is responsible for 30% of the planet’s total waste.

You’d probably like to contribute to that problem less. Not only would you help the environment, but you’d probably save a ton of money, too. But the county’s waste problem can seem like such a big issue that it’s tough to know where to start.


That’s where your local “Buy Nothing” group on Facebook can help.
The very first Buy Nothing group was founded in 2013 on Bainbridge Island, a 35-minute ferry ride from the heart of Seattle, by Liesl Clark and Rebecca Rockefeller….Clark and Rockefeller wanted to find a way to contribute less waste ― not just as individuals, but as a community. They decided the answer was to share what they already had. And the key, Rockefeller said, was to do it in a way that would build relationships among neighbors who might otherwise never connect.

….As the name implies, you can’t buy or sell anything in these groups. Trading or bartering is also prohibited…Members are also encouraged to participate as individuals and not as representatives of a business. “There’s no marketing,” Rockefeller added….As of now, Buy Nothing groups only exist on Facebook. The goal of the groups is to remain hyperlocal so that members connect with their immediate community. If a group becomes too large ― usually more than 1,000 members ― it gets split into smaller factions in a process called “sprouting.” Members are only allowed to belong to one group that serves their precise geographic location…..Though the project was founded out of purely benevolent intent, it’s not clear whether everyone who participates holds the same values….📌

So this is a great idea. But human nature is human nature. I have seen the seedy side of people with situations like this before who always just seem to have their hand out, they’re not offering a hand up.

And then of course there are the people who want free stuff so they can turn around and sell it for a profit. That bothers me as well because you think of the fact that this is supposed to go to someone because they need it not because they want to make money off of something. I think it should go to people that actually have a use for it or really need it.

These Buy Nothing Groups are also in my observation, more women than men by percentage of membership. When you get too many women together there are some who want to be in charge because they’re nurturing and they’re trying to do a good thing, and then there are the women who want to be in charge because it’s a whole lot of power tripping, condescension, and nonsense. And I think what happened in this local group was a whole lot of power tripping and nonsense.

The amusing thing is, anyone who asks what happened to the founder of this local chapter get removed. If you private message them because this group is on Facebook I have read conversation threads of these new women in charge so to speak leaving the conversations versus telling people what happened. I’m sure finger-pointing will be next. And I am told that it is not the only problem with these Buy Nothing Groups. I was told just today about a group about an hour away that also has been having issues. I think sometimes it boils down to people forget why they’re in this group or a group like this in the first place.

But it also goes back to my whole premise of women not lifting each other up which is kind of sad. Especially on social media. It is in the nature of women to be competitive. And for every woman who wants to do something because it’s the right thing there’s a woman who wants to do some thing for whatever attention they might get out of it.

And that whole doing something just to get something out of it personally but for the wrong reasons is something I really just don’t care for. This is the reason why I always tell my readers that I am not a monetized blogger. I just want readers to know that if I like a store or a restaurant or a nonprofit it’s based on my own personal experience enjoying whatever it is not because I’ve been compensated to say nice things.

I heard another example of it this week where woman who seems to spend her life running Facebook groups basically wanted to poach a post from a group she was part of and post in one of her groups. This woman does nothing unless she is indeed going to literally profit from it. And she is not someone who is share and share alike. Anything they do is to raise their personal profile, and I see that as sad and kind of lonely.

I don’t pretend to be perfect or lead a perfect life. At 56 I have made plenty of mistakes. Who hasn’t ? It’s part of life. but for me it’s the same from when I was a teenager: I don’t get how women treat each other at times. The way supposedly adult women treat each other and use each other on social media is astounding to watch.

I would say why can’t we all just get along, except I know that’s super trite and goes against human nature. I think I would settle some days for women just not being so bitchy to each other. I think that’s why I like the concept of Buy Nothing so much – it’s a simple way for us to lift each other up and pay it forward in our communities and try to be nicer in a world that is not so pleasant right now.

Thanks for stopping by.

meanwhile this morning at shoen road in west whiteland and leftover thoughts about emails to democratic committee people.

My photo still taken from a live video feed.

Last night I wrote about this guy who does whatever for State Rep. Kristine Howard and all these nice residents whom he calls “radicals”?

These are just people. These are just people who live in Chester County. These are just people whose well water has been fouled and property values decreased. These are the people that get sinkholes on their property now because of pipeline work. These are the people who travel busy public roads that get sinkholes from pipeline work. These are just people with reasonable expectations of quiet enjoyment. A reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment is actually legal term isn’t it?

And when they look outside, they see sites like I captured in the still images from a live video feed a few minutes ago. And it’s just not the savaged landscapes it’s the sounds. Everywhere you go you hear the sounds of the pipeline equipment. And there was this thump thump thump that will echo in your brain for days if you even just drive through an area with work going on. That is noise pollution. Sometimes where I live I can hear the rhythmic thump, thump, thump from neighboring townships dealing with Sunoco/Energy Transfer/Sunoco Logistics.

This was on Facebook in May with this : 📌2am Exton train station work AGAIN?
This is ridiculous. Yes we live close to the Exton train station and realized that when we purchased our house in Valley View, but why must this work be done starting at 1am every night? There clearly is not as many trains running during the day right now. Any idea who to call or find out how long this will go on for? It’s constantly backup beeping alarms, jackhammers and loud banging NON STOP. Arghhh 😡📌

And don’t forget the light pollution from the night work, right? Even if the temperatures cool down, how can affected residents open their windows for a beautiful night sky and maybe even a breeze? The night work lights make that impossible right? So take away that aspect of a reasonable expectation of quiet enjoyment for that too, yes?

Facebook photo similar to what I took off of live video feed

As I was listening to this live video feed this morning I was very sad to hear this gentleman say they’ve been (meaning the pipeline company) here over two years, they were supposed to be here three months. I don’t know if I got what he said word for word but I think that’s pretty darn close.

Photo still I captured from live video feed of Shoen Road area this morning

So State Rep. Kristine Howard, your pool boy (or whatever he is other than from Pittsburgh) is calling these poor people RADICALS? They are just people. They are just residents. They are also your constituents in some cases. Your pool boy is calling people quislings??? Do you even get the historical reference and how offensive and wrong this is? Especially to those of Jewish heritage?

Quisling as a word word originates from the surname of the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II. Quisling was put on trial for war crimes in Norway after World War II. “He was found guilty of charges including embezzlement, murder and high treason against the Norwegian state, and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad at Akershus Fortress, Oslo, on 24 October 1945.”

People I love are of Norwegian heritage, and so are other friends and relatives.This use of this word is beyond offensive to us and to my friends who are Jewish. How does something like that even come out of this guy’s mouth or keyboard? And WHY? Even if he doesn’t like them he can’t use other word choices?

And it doesn’t stop there. Then there is this:

So what is the lesson here? Other than if you think pipelines are bad, or think pipeline permits should be pulled and pipeline work stopped completely until a real and actual and thorough inspection is done according to pool boys from Pittsburgh and leadership in the Chester County Democrat Committee we are all bad and radical people?

And the other lesson is what? If you are a Democrat you can’t talk to Republicans? If you are a Democrat you will be drummed out of the part for speaking to anyone who is not a Democrat or someone they approve of? HOW IS THAT EVEN LEGAL TO PROPOSE OR EVEN MORAL? I did not sign up for this crap when I moved to Chester County as a (then) lifelong Republican. I did not sign up for this crap when I changed from being an Independent to a registered Democrat for the fakakta primary. You know, I would switch back to Independent right now except I am going to enjoy being a ticket splitter and casting my vote for Wendy Graham Leland. As Chester County Democratic Committee leadership seems easily swayed and confused, please not I am not telling anyone how to vote. I am telling you how I will be choosing to vote. BIG DIFFERENCE.

The Chester County Democratic Committee claims on their website that “.. the Chester County Democratic Committee in standing for Freedom, Fairness, and Opportunity — regardless of who people are, what they believe, and where they come from. Together, we can make Chester County and Pennsylvania better places for all!”

So how does the above jive with:

And do we realize what the transgression was? Ginny Kerslake and Wendy Graham Leland (AKA State Rep. Kristine Howard’s opponent) commenting on a public thread about pipeline issues on Facebook. Not some Democratic party controlled message board, and even then, what is the big freaking deal? We aren’t supposed to speak to anyone who isn’t our political persuasion ever? So the takeaway is we are only supposed to live and breed in Stepford and be bobbleheads? Talk about taking a page out of Trump’s book of Suburban Housewife Rules, right?

Are we quite literally all Pravda on this bus? Am I a bad person because I have friends from different political parties like Ginny Kerslake and Wendy Graham Leland? Is the chair of the Chester County Democratic Committee Dick Bingham going to act on the attacks on Chester County residents who are Democrats? Or is his position personally pipelines over people?

Newsflash to pool boys from Pittsburgh, invisible state representatives seeking re-election, and the apparently malleable and spineless “leadership” of the Chester County Democratic Committee: Pipelines are a non-partisan issue. They affect everyone. To say we are radicals or traitors or whatever the verbiage is because we don’t like pipelines is deeply troubling as well as wrong. To tell registered Democrats or even registered Republicans we may not talk to our friends and neighbors because they are of a different political party is just a big bag of political pathetic tossed into a big box of wrong. It goes against every tenet of just being an American. It’s downright anti-American. Dick Bingham, MayAnn Piccioni, and Charlotte Valyo should be removed from their leadership roles. Somehow I do not think Joe Biden who has many, many friends across the political aisle would approve of these current events in Chester County, do you?

Oh and the lovely US Constitution allows my opinion.

We cannot allow outsiders to control our political parties. It’s anti-democracy.

Today boys and girls we learned once again on so many levels, how bad pipelines are for our communities. Vote your conscience in November and no matter what, do not think for one single moment that your friends, neighbors, relatives and more are bad radical people because they think the pipelines need to go. Energy Transfer/Sunoco Logistics/Sunoco are not nice people and they don’t operate for anyone other than themselves. They are pure profits over people, and well it’s time for #peopleoverpipelines. #DefendWhatYouLove #MamaBearBrigadeRocks

Facebook photo

covid fatigue

Bleak Ruin

COVID19 fatigue. I am thinking it’s a real thing. No, not talking about people being fatigued after recovering from COVID19, I am talking about being on mental and emotional overload without really realizing it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m just tired of it all. I’m tired of wearing masks but I know I have to wear one.

I’m tired of having a hard time finding masks that actually fit because a lot of them aren’t adjustable.

I’m tired of trying to do things like find disinfectant wipes or even a blessed can of Lysol spray because they are either out of stock or someone is price gouging.

I am tired of not feeling comfortable enough to go do my own shopping in the grocery store because I live an immunocompromised life and the few times I have been out there are so many people that will stand within close proximity to other people not wearing a mask it sort of freaks you out.

I am tired of not seeing my friends and I don’t even go out that much. But it’s summer and it’s the time when you enjoy your friends company and you do cookouts and you go on vacation together. Whatever your routine, it no longer exists.

I am tired of watching all my friends with school-age kids and kids in general worry. It’s summertime kids are supposed to be able to play outside with abandon, go to summer camp, have sleepovers, and a lot of that isn’t occurring.

I was talking to a friend yesterday who said her children don’t even want to do online anything at this point because they are so tired of virtual everything they want real life again. I totally get it. Last week I did a historic “walking tour“ of West Chester, only it was virtual. It wasn’t that it wasn’t interesting, but I realized how much I would’ve loved it being in the town with a group of people on a tour and my camera instead of on a zoom virtual event.

With a few of my friends in particular I’ve seen very little of and it’s just because of what’s going on. Normally this time of year we will have our little summer day trips together where we go and look at antique stores, or walk around say Kennett Square and have lunch, go to a Life’s Patina opening, or to the herb sale or art show at Historic Yellow Springs but we haven’t really seen each other. It’s not because we’re mad at each other or anything like that it’s all because of COVID-19. I haven’t even gone to see the goats this year at Yellow Springs Farm because of COVID19.

We live in a world where we are all holed up in our own little universes. And how can we feel safe out in the world when COVID19 cases keep spiking and people are partying like it’s 1999 with complete abandon and disregard (cue the dumb ass college students at Villanova University.) And oh for God’s sake yes I remember that age and outside summer parties where where it was at, but we didn’t have a global pandemic to contend with.

I am watching via social media my friends dropping off their children at college. And I know they’re trying to put up a good front, but at the same time I know they are concerned because going out into the world with #COVIDidiots can be a problem.

I know people who are keeping their kids home this semester, I know people whose kids want to stay home this semester because they’re afraid of how their schools are approaching COVID19. I know people who are choosing to essentially homeschool their children for the year because they’re not comfortable with whatever it is their school districts are doing wherever they live.

I know plenty of people who are economically stressed right now because of all the additional expenses involved with COVID19. And then there are those who have taken pay cuts and been laid off. And then there is the whole category of my many friends who own small businesses who are just trying to stay afloat.

Meanwhile, a chain restaurant along the Main Line which closed a few years ago got COVID19 money. Bucca di Beppo. And it closed around 2013!

We can’t even go visit our natural resources without worry. And we have Energy Transfer / Sunoco /Sunoco Logistics for that. They polluted Marsh Creek Lake. And oh yes it’s a water source.

People are snapping out at friends and family. It’s COVID19 stress. Then add the stress of this country’s current political nightmare. We have a president who is essentially trying to dismantle the United States Postal Service. Because he doesn’t want to be honest about COVID19 but he doesn’t want to lose the election either so he wants to screw up our ability to vote by mail. Yes I believe the political stress caused by a toxic president who acts like a malignant narcissist adds to all of this COVID19 fatigue as well.

Add to this all of the weird weather. We keep having storms which feel like biblical proportions that do all sorts of damage in a time where we’re really searching for a little good news. Even if you deliberately try to avoid the news these days, you can’t avoid the news these days. like among today’s headlines is the fact that the United States has surpassed 170,000 deaths from COVID19.

Personally, I’m kind of over 2020. This adulting stuff is hard this year. It’s ridiculous. Try to keep the faith, people. It’s like our only option.

UC Davis Health Newsroom
NEWS | July 7, 2020
“COVID fatigue” is hitting hard
. Fighting it is hard, too, says UC Davis Health psychologist
It’s time to develop coping skills, which include exercise and talking about our fears and stress.

Washington Post: Health
With no end to the pandemic in sight, coronavirus fatigue grips America
. By Brady Dennis, Jeremy Duda and Joel Achenbach
August 11, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. EDT

Press Democrat: Running on empty: How the pandemic has left many of us feeling cranky MEG MCCONAHEY THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
August 14, 2020, 3:31PM

ready for life again

The great masks my friend Ginny Kerslake made for me and my family.

We have been at this since March. I admit it, it’s getting old. Our birthday is in a couple of days and never in a million years did I think my husband and I would be celebrating a stay at home birthday. It’s not like we are party animals, but we always do something like have dinner at Fiorello’s Cafe in West Chester. I miss going to Fiorello’s.

We don’t go out tons and I am a homebody, but I am starting to miss the world around me. I talk to and FaceTime my friends but I miss seeing them. It’s spring and I miss treasure hunting with one friend. I miss having “Fran Days” with another. And I miss the Brunch Bunch. It feels like forever since we were all together.

I miss my parents . I haven’t seen them since before Christmas because everyone was sick and my knee surgery was the day after Christmas, so we all weren’t together. Which was weird.

So here we are in COVID19 land now until June 4th. I think we are extended in part because of all of the people not doing their part. There are so many people bitching. It’s enough to make you want to scream.

Do these people think we all collectively love what is going on? Hell no. But we’re a long time dead.

I will admit I am anxious. About money, security, paying my goddamn overpriced health insurance. I have had nightmares a couple of times a week for two months almost at this point. It happens every damn time I watch the news. The news is overwhelming over-saturation and it’s rather repetitive and gloomy. I stopped looking at Chester County’s statistics website. I no longer want to know how many are sick and how many have died.

June 1st is my 9 year anniversary of my breast cancer surgery and I am terrified of getting my mammogram. Not because of the mammogram, I am afraid to be around sick people. I am afraid to get sick. It’s ridiculous. I am feeling ridiculous.

I keep thinking about two of my neighbors’ kids. Seniors in high school. They should be going to prom and celebrating all their hard work. Instead they are just soldiering on being really great kids.

Dreams. Is anyone else having really screwy dreams since this whole Coronavirus started? I have had dreams about the places I have lived since I was a really little kid. It’s bizarre, strange, and comforting. It is also fascinating what your subconscious remembers after decades that you think you’ve long forgotten.

Assholeism. There seems to be a lot of that going around. There are a lot of people out there that should be ashamed of the way they are behaving. I’m not saying my behavior has been perfect. But this global pandemic has in a sense brought out the worst in a lot of people. And it’s like because we’re in the situation they have the perfect excuse to be their worst possible selves. I’m not buying it.

Also to be commented on is the political B.S. I am watching friends who take public service seriously getting the business put to them way too much.

It’s the political status quo. The do nothings are miserable and threatened and we can’t tolerate that crap as voters any longer. They all look so fab posing for photos on Facebook but they are still duplicitous jerks who are utterly self focused.

School districts. Like everyone else they are freaking out. But are we really going to have to watch them like hawks to make sure they don’t raise the hell out of our taxes? We are living in uncharted and unprecedented times in this global pandemic known as COVID-19 or Coronavirus.

People are out of work, they have reduced hours, reduced salaries. Now is not the time to raise taxes on the residents. Now is the time for school districts to tighten their proverbial belts and cut expenses. And don’t tell me it’s not possible, in every business and school district it is possible if you have to do it. They cannot ask all of the residents, many of whom are on very fixed and limited incomes, to pay more right now. Some are already choosing between things like food vs. medicine.

And oh my gosh if you dare say any of this out loud you are a very bad person who is anti-schools and anti-teachers which is crap. I reject that. It’s not fair.

People are stretched so thin. We all feel some days like a boomeranging rubber band with our literal nerves. How can we not? This is kind of crazy like a made for T.V. suspense movie masquerading as real life.

Today is one of those days I feel the weight of the crazy world we live in. My realistic mind knows the end is in sight, but I worry about what comes next. And we can’t predict the future and shouldn’t borrow trouble, but today is one of those days. The glass is not half empty per se, but I feel cranky and intolerant today.

This is when I need to count my blessings and take a deep breath. This too shall pass. And some day in the future, we will look back and talk about surviving a global pandemic.

We can do this. We can. But in the meantime I will keep on gardening and learning how to bake bread. I also might finish repairing two vintage quilts.

The thing about life is situations always teach us more about who we are as human beings. The good, and the bad. The imperfections which seem ridiculously magnified given what we are all living through right now. But love and caring? That grounds us, that anchors us. And the last part is faith. Faith in a higher power, God, each other that we will get through this.

Tomorrow is another day, Miss Scarlett. Tomorrow is another day.

Be well and stay well.

Thanks for stopping by.

sourdough day 2

So this morning I got my sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and mixed up my first batch of dough ever. I wrote about day 1 yesterday. So welcome to day 2.

I will remind everyone that this is not my recipe, the recipe and instructions come courtesy of Tracey Deschaine who owns Dixie Picnic a marvelous scratch kitchen in Malvern/Frazer. If you live locally I hope you will patronize her business and she has been one of the bright lights in this whole stay at home of it all during COVID-19 by gifting starter and selling flour to those who wish to try.

I will be honest and say it took me almost a month to get fresh flour. Everyone has been sold out of it and even King Arthur is on a backlog for catalog ordering. But because of the generosity of Tracey some of us have been able to buy it when needed.

I actually have made bread before. Even focaccia. I took a baking class with Patricia Polin the pastry chef at The Master’s Baker. But I didn’t venture into bread making solo until now. Bread is like a fun science experiment!

So I used the food scale just like Patricia and Tracey taught me and measured out:

10 oz. of sourdough starter

8 oz. warm water

1 lb. bread flour

1.5 oz. of canola oil. (Tracey calls for Crisco but never use it so I don’t have it)

1.5 ounces of oil ends up being 9 teaspoons.

So I followed Tracey‘s instructions and first I mixed the water and starter and then I added the rest. I mixed the dough until it came together and was smooth and pliable in the bowl. I then let it rest covered with a linen towel at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Then Tracey‘s recipe asks for 0.5 oz (0.8 TBSP) of salt. That’s roughly 2.4 teaspoons. I mixed the salt into the dough and kneaded until the salt was all incorporated and the dough was once again smooth. You can feel the little granules of salt and when you stop feeling them it’s mixed.

I then took my dough and put it in a clean lightly oiled second mixing bowl and covered it with saran wrap. It will sit there and rise at room temperature for about eight hours until I take the next step.

I also decided to grow my starter again today so I could just bake next week again. The last picture in this post will show you that my bread is already starting to grow in size.

What I will do later is shape the dough and de-gas it, i.e. punch it down to remove large air bubbles. Then it will rest on a cookie sheet covered with the saran wrap I use to cover the ball this morning until tomorrow in the refrigerator. Then I bring it out to start the final process before baking.

So stay tuned and fingers crossed that I can do this right and make Tracey proud!

happy 75th frank 😊❤️

This is the thing about true community that no developer in the world or urban planner can bottle and replicate. It just has to exist. Today is my neighbor Frank’s 75th birthday. His friends got a parade together!

I am deeply honored that I was included as I am a new kid on the block, relatively speaking. I have really great neighbors. These people are good honest folk. Frank keeps chickens and through a lot of this stay at home he has been keeping a lot of us in fresh eggs. Fun fact I learned today was that he used to work for Saint Peter’s School at 4th and Pine in Philadelphia for Miss Seamens who was our head mistress or principal. So I actually could have met him when I was little.

Happy 75th Frank! We love ya!

the gratitude jar…2020

A few years ago I started a gratitude jar. It’s about positive affirmations. It’s about being grateful.

It’s nothing complicated. You write down little things in your life you’re grateful for onto little pieces of paper and you put it in the jar. Some people empty out the jar on an annual basis and start fresh, others let the little slips of paper accumulate. I don’t add to it as often as I should, but I have let all my little slips of paper accumulate and once in a while I read them.

Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
Lao Tzu

Feeling grateful as a powerful emotion. An hours a time where as hard as it is we also have to be grateful. Grateful that we are alive. Coronavirus and COVID-19 is separating so many people from their families. Coronavirus and COVID-19 are killing people in our communities every day.

Our new decade has started with a global pandemic and that has a lot of negatives to it. But if we’re doing our part and we’re staying home and we’re with our loved ones, that’s something to be grateful for. Even if we’re all separated and we’re all OK it’s still something to be grateful for.

Small things matter. Giving thanks matters. Do you keep a gratitude jar?

our new normal is anything but normal…and yes it’s stressful

Today’s blog post has images of front pages from coast to coast. The thing about our new not normal is it makes one feel as if we are living in a bubble. We forget everyone is living a version of this bubble.

We get up and we move about our houses. Maybe we take a walk or a bike ride solo or go for a run. A lot of us are working from home. A lot of us have been laid off or furloughed. Others are on the front lines and work in grocery stores or as medical professionals, first responders, police, and fire.

People are dying. People are separated from their families. People who have lost family members can’t have funerals or memorial services.

And people are delaminating because they can’t cope. It’s insane. You see even more flare-ups on social media. You see the normally politically kooky going completely off the rails. People are bickering who never bicker. Domestic violence is being reported to be on the rise. This coronavirus life is stressful. In the good old days you could maybe walk away from stress for a little while. But we are all on stay at home orders so for some, where can they go?

Occasionally I have days as I have mentioned where I just miss normal life. I don’t mind being at home with my family. But I miss seeing my friends face to face. I miss seeing my mother and stepfather and father in law. I miss being able to talk to my neighbors less than six feet apart. It’s about missing normalcy.

We are all missing normalcy. Only not everyone can process that for what it is. Processing is hard some days, but people we have to stick to it and keep on keeping on. Come on we ALL wonder what comes next and what the world will be like. We are living the great unknown.

And then there are all the media reports coming from reporters homes. I am fascinated at the backdrops some choose. Some people strip the personal out of their at home TV “studios”, some do not. I am also impressed how all of these reporters are so professional and human delivering the news in scenarios they didn’t teach them when they were pursuing their journalism degrees.

And the medical professionals. They are just so fabulous. Every time I see people cheering them on the news, I cheer a little too. Like first responders they are on the front lines.

So we need to keep on doing our parts. I know it’s hard. But the alternative is more grim than our current unreal reality. And to be honest, the people who swear their freedoms are in peril freak me out.

Seriously you want to go protest? Can you all please get a grip. Government doesn’t want to be your babysitter but too many people won’t stay home. And they aren’t doing the basics we just have to do, like it or not.

And the pontificating politicians in Washington DC including the Tweeter in Chief? They talk a good game but they don’t walk in our shoes and never will. Chief Tweeter sounds like he’s part of the Twilight Zone in press conferences and then seems to wish to incite riots and anarchy via Twitter? If the politicians can’t keep it together it makes it tougher for the rest of us, doesn’t it?

I saw again today driving home from a necessary outing people not even trying. People not social distancing at all. It was a group of 6 or 8 adults. Older than me, so theoretically old enough to know better. No masks, no gloves, no nothing. Sitting together on benches. If they were just six feet apart. But they weren’t. And it’s because of stuff like this we are still at home. That and the people who seem to need to cause a ruckus and put people at risk in a Main Line grocery store.

For real.

Read it here in Philadelphia Magazine and be appalled. I admit I do wonder every day what people are doing with all the toilet paper, canola oil, garlic powder, chicken, and Lysol products. But I am not going to go to the grocery store and behave like some hideous diva if something I buy is a different brand than normal. I am just grateful when I can get what I need to buy.

Please. We can do this. We have to. We need to remember the blessings. They exist. Good things still exist. Love one and other, love your neighbors. WE.CAN.DO.THIS (if we want to)

Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend.