rabbit, rabbit it’s april fools’ day…and?

According to a New York Times newsletter this morning:

As many as 240,000 Americans could die during the coronavirus pandemic, top health officials said on Tuesday, despite the measures that have closed schools, limited travel and forced people to stay home.

That’s pretty god damn depressing, but is it surprising? It’s shocking but a lot of people aren’t taking this seriously. Even when we can get into the overtaxed grocery stores, it’s amazing that so many people still aren’t practicing social distancing.

And then there are all of the photos popping up on social media of people dropping plastic gloves all over the place. If you are done with them, can’t you keep a small trash bag in your car if you don’t see them and bring them home and dispose of them?

And the whole grocery store nightmare of why can’t we really find chicken, paper towels, and toilet paper yet? Are people going out every day and just hoarding it all?

There is this dichotomy out there of selfish vs. selfless. Psychologically and sociologically it’s equal parts sad and fascinating. Human nature on steroids. Heart warming or horrifying there seems to be little middle ground. More extremes than ever.

I am also amazed at how those who are generally speaking toxic on social media who are seemingly reveling in their toxicity. Or just giving people a generally speaking, a hard time. And why? Are they that unhappy? Or just oblivious?

I have actually had to remove people from this blog’s Facebook page and I don’t actually have to do that very often. People are spending SO much time online and I like many page admins can’t just sit and babysit 24/7. You give people fair warning and after a point you just have to give them a time out because they won’t do it for themselves.

And the stay at home of it all is bringing out strange behavior in many more people than normal. Humans are social creatures and some have never learned it is actually ok to be by ourselves for a while. It is. Is it ideal? No , but look at the alternatives and be grateful if you have a safe comfortable place to be.

Chester County’s Coronavirus cases are climbing. It’s kind of scary the way this stuff spreads so fast. But if people were actually staying home most of the time it wouldn’t. I had a friend of mine elsewhere ( NOT Chester County) tell me about a neighbor of hers who just keeps going in and out and in and out. She said nobody could buy that much food she doesn’t know where the woman is going and she doesn’t seem to take it very seriously what’s going on. My friend’s neighbor doesn’t work, her husband does, so she’s just one of those people that’s wandering around instead of staying home.

I don’t actually mind being home it’s just weird not seeing my family and friends. Today I FaceTimed my mother and stepfather and gave them a virtual tour of my garden.

Last night I roasted a chicken which was very exciting because we had randomly found one at the supermarket because whole chickens are hard to come by. It was just an old-school old-fashioned simple dinner of a salad, potatoes, and a roast chicken and it was like a five star Michelin meal tasted so good to us. And I made my friend Raffi’s late mother’s no bake cheesecake for dessert.

I gardened a lot today and that felt so good to just be outside. Of course now I feel slightly crippled. I have been trying to stick to specific parameters and time gardening each time I garden because of my latest knee surgery at the end of December. But today I got carried away and I just felt good to be outside and may have overdone it a little.

Well that is all I have got for you guys today. But for the Grace of God go all of us. I know our new normal is anything but normal, but please have faith and stay the course of staying home and social distancing. Take good care.

living the covid19 life: sleepless nights

Vintage pillowcase purchased at a store now part of a mandated non-essential closure , Magnolia Cottage Shop in Malvern/Frazer.

Sleepless nights in coronavirus land. I think we all are having them. Last night into this morning was mine. A wise friend once said to me nothing good happens if you worry late into the night. So I laid there and listened to the patter of rain on the roof, and eventually drifted off.

3 AM was just when this got to me. But now here we are, it’s Friday and everyone I know and their families survived the week in the COVID19 world, so I think that is good. Think of COVID19 as the ultimate 12 step program. No, I am not and never have been in recovery. Someone I know who is suggested this parallel because this current world we live in can only be handled one day at a time.

Overnight we learned that California had issued a state wide shelter in place. Translation? #staythefuckhome. So why can’t people just do that without being told? Why are people so bent out of shape that WaWa for example stopped self-serve coffee? I mean come on, are people really that obtuse or selfish? Someone I know who had to be out briefly yesterday had remarked when they were out they noticed how people in some places seemed to act like it was business as usual. They wondered how a car detailing place they passed by was an essential business.

Things I think about include what happens to residential and retail/commercial renters? Are their landlords being kind? What are they doing for tenants? I get that a lot of these property owners have mortgages and bills to pay, but not all do and some probably have mortgages that are low enough that they could maybe offer some rent abatements? Are they?

I have a lot of friends and acquaintances with small businesses. I say a prayer for them every day. Some we can support remotely, some we can’t. It’s a horrible Sophie’s Choice situation, isn’t it?

I can’t think of anyone not affected by this global pandemic. I have friends that live overseas and a stepbrother too. This is no joke. Yet you have to wonder what some people and organizations are thinking.

My alma mater The Shipley School has canceled the entire reunion weekend in May. I think it’s the right thing to do. Yet on one thread talking about it someone said “Damn this panic over nothing!” With those people you can only shake your head and walk away.

Other events are being or have been canceled. A Philadelphia tradition, the Dad Vail Regatta has been cancelled. The Penn Relays have been canceled for the first time in 126 years. I met the famous Olympian Jesse Owens there when I was a child.

Other cancellations include Radnor Hunt events like the balance of the fox hunting season. That’s good and here’s hoping some of their membership stops gathering at the club for events and cocktails now. I saw a photo recently of a bunch of folks at an event there and the event selfies were reminiscent of “let them eat cake” a la Marie Antoinette. Not trying to be mean. But people in clubs aren’t immortal.

Organizations Philadelphians have not heard from include the Orpheus Club. We belong and did not attend the March event because of coronavirus, and they have a spring concert at the Kimmel Center which I am somewhat surprised has not been postponed or canceled. Their events are quite popular and well, how do you practice social distancing at a large, crowded event? The short answer is you can’t. Orpheus we will still love you if you have to postpone the spring concert.

Now another organization which has NOT canceled which people are talking about is the Devon Horse Show. So many other equine spring events like Winterthur’s Point to Point has been canceled. Even the Grand National in England has been cancelled. But Devon Horse Show remains silent. Devon is a HUGE event, which makes it exactly a big kind of risk, doesn’t it? What are the show organizers thinking?

Governor Tom Wolf has ordered all non life-sustaining businesses to shut down. So it’s going to get more quiet. And yes this virus is going to cause and is causing an economic hit. I have thought a lot of the supposed bubbling economy was smoke and mirrors for a couple of years, so hopefully we will come out of this battered and not broken.

But the thing is this: we are exactly and precisely in a situation beyond our control. As in we can only control ourselves. So we need to step up. We can be selfish or we can be smart and compassionate. Now is the time to pay it forward. Even little things like just calling a friend to say hi. Checking in on neighbors.

To get through this we need to keep the home fires burning and just stay the hell home. And we need to keep our kids home and the older ones need to learn about social distancing. I think the idiots who had to go on spring break need to be quarantined somewhere and sent home if healthy.

Now it’s not all horrible. Some beautiful things have happened. Music floating over rooftops in Italy and other European countries, musicians playing from home via social media platforms, and more. And we have to give a shout out to our grocery stores who are really stepping up their games. Now if people would just buy what they need and resist the urge to hoard.

Locally there are random acts of kindness abounding which makes my heart happy and gives us all hope. From people who keep chickens sharing eggs and more. Neighbors helping neighbors.

We live in a time where the biggest positive to come out of this is people are starting to remember what is important in this life. That’s a good thing. Look I’m not Pollyanna, I can be really negative and I had a sleepless night. Just like when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 I am choosing to do my best to remain positive. We have to choose hope. We have to not let the boogie men who appear in the middle of the night when we are sleepless not get the better of us.

Look, it won’t kill us if we stay home for a while. It might kill us if we don’t. Choose life. #staythefuckhome

Happy Friday. Be well.

not like every other monday

Wow. #CoronaMonday indeed. It’s so quiet.

You don’t realize how quiet until the sounds of every day weeks start to go quiet. We heard the trash truck this morning, but not the school buses. The neighborhood and extended neighborhood in which I live is just still. It’s not like everyone is so noisy, but it sure gets quiet when the everyday sounds are less.

Life in general is just quieter, isn’t it? Except for the pandemonium of the grocery stores. And of course the liquor stores now. The whole liquor stores thing I don’t get, probably because I just don’t drink very much- it’s not so important to me.

Of course psychologically speaking it’s when we are told we have to be quiet and calm and stay in our homes that no one wants to. But we really have to. It’s the only way to beat this thing.

Late yesterday, Chester County offered a mapping tool for tracking the spread of the virus. They also have an entire page up about Covid19/coronavirus. But it is what it is, and we need to calm down and live our lives essentially in self-quarantine.

Look I know first hand it is all a bit overwhelming and perhaps scary. How do you think I feel after finding out I attended an event where a confirmed Covid19 victim was? My whole house is in self-quarantine now, but you know what ? It’s not forever and NO ONE is sick. THAT is what is important.

Yesterday I shared the Facebook Live feed from the service Rev. Abigail gave at St. Peter’s in The Great Valley on a community page. I am more spiritual than religious, but yesterday that service and sermon spoke to me. And it was calming. Sadly, this one person had this to say about that:

“God won’t help you avoid the virus….I assume faith is a form of mental illness.”

I found that sad and not the point. And I am not super-religious. It’s about faith more than religion. Faith that we can put aside our differences even for just a little while and handle this thing which poses a threat to us all.

I saw this posted this morning:

It’s a little airy fairy, but is it completely wrong? I don’t think so.

And then the practical in me discovered this blog post, actually a website :

#StayTheFuckHome

A Movement to Stop the COVID-19 Pandemic

Our governments are only slowly implementing measures to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Slow reactions, public appeasement policies, and their urge to stabilize the economy have kept them from taking the measures needed to protect millions from this disease. However, it is not only the government’s burden to bear. It is time for us, as citizens of this earth, to take action now and do our part in fighting COVID-19.

Let’s put it bluntly: Stay The Fuck Home!

The Self-Quarantine Manifesto

With no well-studied treatment and no viable vaccine available for at least another year, the only effective way to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay is to give the virus fewer chances of spreading. The following list of actions, ordered from easiest to implement to most effective in the fight against the pandemic, should serve as a set of loose guidelines for people who wish to join the movement and take action that can actually make a difference.

  1. Don’t panic, but be alert.

  2. Wash your hands often and practice good cough and sneeze etiquette.

  3. Try to touch your face as little as possible, including your mouth, nose, and eyes.

  4. Practice social distancing, no hugs and kisses, no handshakes, no high fives. If you must, use safer alternatives.

  5. Do not attend concerts, stage plays, sporting events, or any other mass entertainment events.

  6. Refrain from visiting museums, exhibitions, movie theaters, night clubs, and other entertainment venues.

  7. Stay away from social gatherings and events, like club meetings, religious services, and private parties.

  8. Reduce travel to a minimum. Don’t travel long distances if not absolutely necessary.

  9. Do not use public transportation if not absolutely necessary.

  10. If you can work from home, work from home. Urge your employer to allow remote work if needed.

  11. Replace as many social interactions as possible with remote alternatives like phone calls or video chat.

  12. Do not leave your home unless absolutely necessary.

Please keep in mind there is no right or wrong amount of actions to take. Only take the actions that you feel comfortable with and that do not endanger your livelihood. Do not quit your job over this! However, keep in mind that every action helps.

Why it’s so Important

SARS-CoV-2 is a highly infectious and potentially deadly virus that causes a respiratory disease called COVID-19. You might know it under one of its many other names, including 2019-nCoV, novel coronavirus, Wuhan coronavirus, China or Wuhan flu, or just simply coronavirus. All of these refer to the same virus that this movement is trying to stop.

I suggest you go visit their website for more. It’s not alarmist, it’s common sense.

And take the time to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. The world will not end if we have to slow down for a couple of weeks and mind our health.

Enjoy the life pause. And be grateful to be alive.

people need to take covid19/coronavirus seriously

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

I saw a photo go by of a large group of people out to dinner. Like life right now was business as usual. All scrunched together for a group restaurant photo. Not exactly social distancing.

This is no joke. Schools are closed. Colleges and universities too. Government officials are begging us to practice social distancing. Why? Because COVID-19/Coronavirus is real. Chester County has a map now. A live interactive map of virus victims.

Chester County’s COVID-19 map at 7:30 PM 3/15/2020

In the last 48 hours, my life changed. It started with this post I saw at dinner time on Friday:

It hit me like a thud. I was at this event. At Downingtown Friends Meeting. The Galanthus Gala. I went at the very, very end to visit a plant nursery I buy plants from and to buy the new book by local horticulture author, David Culp. I bought a book and a specimen Japanese Maple. I was maybe 25 minutes.

When I got there the event was fairly empty. I would say the majority of attendees were in the lecture in the building next door to where I was. I was not particularly close to anyone, went in by myself. Ironically, the majority of the time I was practicing “social distancing”. Not intentional, it was just the way it was.

This was more than a week ago now. Ironically I was pretty much self-quarantined last week because all of the COVID-19 news really gave me pause. One of my stepbrothers and his wife are medical professionals in the U.K. They have been concerned about this since the news about this virus began to pop. My stepbrother actually has been saying we should all self-quarantine and practice social distancing long before it was advised to do so.

So now just because quite literally due to fate, I am in self-quarantine until probably next Saturday, along with my family. I am not symptomatic, and neither is my family. And yes, I have been in contact with medical professionals in charge of my care. And I voluntarily contacted Chester County to report I had been at the event where the 2nd Chester County COVID-19 victim was also in attendance. I do not know who the person is, don’t even believe I saw anyone who appeared ill.

But after careful deliberation I felt I needed to say I was there and to be in self-quarantine. I also have decided to be open about this. There are people all over like me whom have had potential exposure and we need to pay it forward and do the right thing. Thus far the communication from the county has been self-quarantine all around. I am good with that, it beats the alternative.

As a breast cancer patient I am in an immunocompromised class already, how can I not be straight here? God is good and I am blessed to have survived breast cancer and to be non-symptomatic on self-quarantine with this. My only regret is that I am inconveniencing my family.

The ultimate point of this post is not to alarm, but to inform. We all need to be careful and vigilant. Look no further than my experience. All I did was attend a horticultural event in a historic Quaker Meeting House. It’s not like this poor person knew he was infected, he just was. But this is exactly why event are being canceled and schools and businesses are closing for the time being.

I suggest gardening and UK television to help pass the time. And books. Remember those? In this busy world it is unusual to slow down like this, but maybe we needed a real reminder of what is important. Also try to support local businesses throughout this ordeal. It has been suggested that buying gift certificates will help their bottom line. And a lot of the local restaurants you love will be offering delivery and store to curb service. And let’s talk grocery stores. Keep on posting when you see availability but leave some for the next shopper.

Please take this seriously. Calm heads will enable us to get through this. It’s no fun to feel isolated for sure, and this will be very hard on our kids, especially if they are social. But it’s not forever, it’s just for a while. Surely we can do this?

a note of thanks in uncertain times

Rev. Abigail from St. Peter’s in The Great Valley

One of our region’s oldest churches did something today that was really nice. They broadcast their service on Facebook Live.

Thank you Rev. Abigail and St. Peter’s in The Great Valley. I have to say it was a lovely service.

I am not Episcopalian by birth. I am Roman Catholic. I have never joined a Catholic Church since I came to Chester County because I have lost faith in the religion of my birth, sadly.

That is not to say I don’t have my faith and belief in a higher power because I do. I often think about maybe an Episcopalian church because among other things, my stepfather belongs to my first St. Peter’s, in Society Hill. (The Society Hill St. Peter’s will live streaming via Facebook live at 11 AM. ) I went to grade school at St. Peter’s at 3rd and Pine. It was founded in 1758.

St. Peter’s in the Great Valley pre-dates St. Peter’s in Society Hill by quite a few years. It was founded in 1704. It was originally I believe a missionary parish of the Church of England. It’s one of my favorite churches in Chester County, truthfully. Every time I have visited I have found it so peaceful.

Today St. Peter’s in The Great Valley had a lovely virtual service. Part of the reason I am writing this post is to say thank you to Rev. Abigail Crozier Nestlehutt. It was a nice, calming thing devoid of fire and brimstone. But it contained messages of community and hope. And an expression of faith that COVID-19 or coronavirus will not destroy us. I looked at her biography on the church’s website and she is a native New Englander. I think even I needed a nice calm dose of New England practicality this morning.

So Rev. Abigail, thank you. Also thank you because this was the first religious service that resonated with me in many years.

People it’s a beautiful day outside. Practice your social distancing and soak up some sun! Take good care and thanks for virtually stopping by.

the time between dawn and sunrise.

This morning between dawn and sunrise.

This is a post to probably won’t interest a lot of my readers because it’s personal. It’s about memories to come floating forward in the quiet of morning twilight, that time between dawn and sunrise. Have you ever had those?

I have had a bunch of those memories surface recently. This morning I remembered clearly what it was like looking outside my first bedroom window as a really little girl. My parents’ house was a construction site for much of the time we lived in Society Hill because it was such a wreck when they bought it. I used to look out the window which was in the rear of what today you would call the “master suite”.

My sister was still in her crib, and I was in this little room off the bathroom that would eventually become something like a dressing room. I remember clearly looking out the window at night and even in the morning. I would see the roofs of Bell’s Court and into St. Joseph’s Way and beyond. I also remember looking out that window at night at all the twinkling lights in the house is behind us. I remember wondering what all the people in those houses were like, what they were doing.

I had a memory not too long ago of singing songs from the Beatles’ Songbook on the front steps with a babysitter. It was fun. Only my mother didn’t approve. I remember her telling my babysitter not to do that because she didn’t want to have a kid sitting on the front stoop. She didn’t care if we did something like that out in the backyard but she never wanted us sitting on the front steps for some reason.

Another random memory is getting pushed off a high bar of the jungle gym in the St. Peter’s playground. The girl who did it said it was “an accident“ but it wasn’t. She was sort of a frenemy back then. I remember hitting the ground and the wind got knocked out of me. I never much liked the jungle gym after that.

I also remember what it was that made my parents and a friend’s parents want to leave the city. My friend and I were riding bikes in Bingham Court which was some thing we used to do often. If we weren’t riding bikes we were rollerskating. What made the parents decide on suburbia was the day we got mugged riding bikes. We didn’t really have anything worth stealing so what they did was smash my friend’s glasses into her face.

But that was like a defining moment in the lives of two families. Up until that point we often used to roam around and ride bikes by ourselves. We were like 10 or 11.

Other memories that have come back in these weird in between hours was like the memory of discovering an old quarry with a friend. It was in Gladwyne. I’m sure it’s still there unless someone filled it in, and could they even do that? It was down this sort of a dirt road off of a kind of a gravel driveway that was long and windy.

When you came upon the quarry it was cool and quiet except for the sound of birds. There were woods and scrub trees growing up top on the far side of the quarry and around the other sides of the quarry. We never went swimming or anything in the quarry, we just hung out. It was was a cool place.

Other memories from that year in Gladwyne was the was the clop, clop, clop of horses’ hooves on the road. A lot of people still kept horses in Gladwyne back then. It’s where I learned to ride. That sound is still sort of magical to me. Sometimes I would even wake up to that sound because Mr. Gwinn’s was across the road and other people kept horses down the road. The sound of horse is going by like that is very soothing.

I don’t know what the point of these memories floating free but it’s so different then the way we are today, isn’t it? Kids just wandered. Everyone was ok. Essentially when we could be outside, we were outside. We weren’t inside watching TV or playing video games or doing stuff on our tablets or phones.

When I fully wake up, the former child I once was is gone and the adult is back. I am in our bedroom in our house. I get up and I look out the window into the woods. Yes, I still like looking out the window even at almost 56. I really love the view we are blessed to have. It’s just beautiful. And every day I hear birds.

Appreciate your day. And your life. Thanks for stopping by.

dear senator dinniman

Dear Senator Dinniman,

Today I was not expecting to learn that you’ve decided to retire. Truthfully it makes me sad.

Why?

Because you are a rare public servant who has ALWAYS served the public. You have been so good to us no matter what our political affiliation.

You have been our steadfast and stalwart supporter on issues like the pipelines. You also are a big supporter of animal rescue which I am personally appreciative of. You appreciate historic preservation and land preservation. You are the real deal in a time when so many are not.

I know you would not have made this decision lightly, and family must always come first. But you have been so good to us over the years, that even I know as a resident of Chester County not as many years as some, that you treat your constituents like family.

So I just wanted to say most sincerely, thank you for your service. I also hope your wife gets better soon.

For my readers please FOLLOW THIS LINK to read Andy Dinniman’s statement.