4th of july 2021

4th of July. Our country’s annual birthday party. It’s not just about fireworks.

On July 4, 1776, the United States gained independence from Great Britain by the Continental Congress when 12 of the 13 “colonies” voted for the separation from Great Britain.

However, a lot of people don’t have a warm and fuzzy feelings about the 4th of July. Some people are ambivalent. Some people like myself don’t like the overt commercialism that tends to follow American holidays around.

I like and appreciate the history. I think we need to remember and appreciate our history. Is it perfect? Were things like slavery and indentured servitude acceptable during part of our history and world history for that matter? Were most women treated like chattel? Yes and yes and yes. Those things are part of our history and were (again) also part of world history at that time. We need to acknowledge that past as a different time, yet part of what formed this country.

BUT it doesn’t diminish what our founding fathers accomplished because times were different.

Yesterday I celebrated part of my 4th of July weekend at Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr. I have loved this magical and historical place since I was introduced to it when I was 12 by a neighbor.

Harriton House was originally known as “Bryn Mawr”, and was once the residence of Charles Thomson, the secretary of the Continental Congress. This was originally built in 1704 by Rowland Ellis, a Welsh Quaker, and was called “Bryn Mawr”, meaning “high hill.”

The town of Bryn Mawr in Lower Merion Township is named after the house, and the National Register of Historic Places has it listed under the original name.

Historic Harriton House yesterday

The history of Harriton is undeniable, as well as the connection to the founding of our country. So it was an absolutely perfect place to celebrate part of the 4th of July weekend! People were invited to picnic (and we made ice cream with an old fashioned and fully functional ice cream machine!) and there was a lovely program and music.

Harriton House around 1919

The program was introduced by a wonderful man I am lucky to know because we have mutual friends. Chef Walter Staib. He was proprietor of The City Tavern for decades, and most of you know him as the host of A Taste of History which you can find streaming or on PBS. A Taste of History is one of my favorite shows. I love cooking, I love history, including the history of cooking. (They are filming a new season now.)

Chef Walter Staib addressing the guests yesterday.

Born in Germany, Chef Staib emigrated to America many years ago. He became a citizen, started his family here. He became a US Citizen a couple of years before the Bicentennial. And as well as loving to cook, he is a perpetual student of history. His love for the United States was the perfect was to kick off yesterday’s program which also featured this truly amazing brass ensemble called Festive Brass. I have included two snippets filmed with a phone. Sorry, not the best but I wanted to share their sound with my readers. Beautiful and festive music.

Yesterday at Historic Harriton House the program was free of charge and they asked for a free-will offering. These beloved historic sites need and deserve our support. Look no further than to the historic sites owned by the National Park Service that are either closed to tours or just closed and moldering.

Closed and moldering would be a lot of the houses in Valley Forge Park like the Kennedy Supplee Mansion which I have written about twice.

Closed to tours would include the houses of my childhood in Society Hill like the Bishop White House and the Todd House, places I actually gave tours of leading up to the Bicentennial as a child. I love those houses and I helped plant the kitchen garden in the Todd House way back when. It was there I learned a deterrent for cabbage worms in the garden were marijuana plants. Seriously. Fun little fact of historical gardening.

Also closed is a place I remember being saved and restored as a child. Thaddeus Kosciuszko’s house on 3rd Street in Society Hill. Most of you probably have no clue this place exists or the historical significance. And I swear that place has been closed more years than it has been open. Also owned by the National Park Service.

The City Tavern for that matter, also owned by the National Park Service. Also shuttered now that Chef Staib is not there. That in particular, is truly prime real estate, so one would think they would be polishing up the tavern and marketing her for a new chef and restaurant in residence, right? But are they? Or will The City Tavern go the way of the Kennedy-Supplee Mansion?

Do you sense a theme? Sorry for the segue, but literally every time I go to Valley Forge I think of all the wasted potential of the historic structures. Not all have to be open for tours, but the National Park Service should be more open to restoration and adaptive reuse. I also feel the last administration in Washington harnessed the red, white, and blue of American patriotism for their own selfish ends (including abject ugliness and tyranny) and did nothing for preservation or true patriotism of any kind. And the current administration should get on the ball with preserving more of our history.

History is not something to be neglected and erased. It should be embraced, even the less savory and inconvenient parts because it is all part of how we got to be quite literally.

History, metaphorically speaking, is a living breathing thing we need to embrace and preserve. Even the parts we don’t like because when people try to erase history like it never happened, we are doomed to repeat past mistakes. Look no further that two world wars for proof of that.

Today on the 4th of July, I hope you all pause and think about our history. Think about our founding fathers who bled and fought and died for us. What they accomplished was no small feat.

Me and some friends, mid 1970s doing a costumed re-enactment in the kitchen at Harriton House.

And remember your favorite historic sites with even a small donation. Like Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr. Remember your local historical societies that help preserve our history and keep it alive.

🪶🇺🇸In Congress, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.🪶🇺🇸

a christmas like no other

Nutcracker display. 1990s. My parents’ home.

Ahh the ghosts and spirits of Christmas past. Never more poignant or important or even pronounced than Christmas 2020 in the age of COVID-19. I have been thinking about these people a lot recently.

Today my brother in law is gone 10 years. Taken by a cruel, swift moving cancer at 49. December 22, 2010 he died from peritoneal mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the abdominal lining. He was a great brother in law. He was also just one of the nicest and kindest people. Seriously. Not just saying that because he is gone. He was a good guy. The last thing he ever said to me was in a brief e-mail a few days before he died. “Save me some Christmas cookies.” The day he died I was home from work and I was baking. Only time I ever burned Christmas cookies.

My father. Gone 15 years in November. You feel him at Christmas. Like my late brother-in law, he loved Christmas. But he was more controlling than me about putting up Christmas decorations. Yes, I know where I get that trait from. So many memories of him at Christmas.

Daddy and one of his Christmas trees. 1990s.

A friend of the family named Dee. She’s been gone a year. She loved Christmas too. She was always so enthusiastic about Christmas and her house in Rosemont was a Christmas wonderland during the holidays. Beautiful decorations and the best Christmas parties. She was the first of my parents’ friends to really treat me like an adult on my own and I would get my own invitation to things, not just one through my parents. Dee had a great laugh too, and her eyes would twinkle when she was laughing.

My mother’s friend Dee, center with my parents’ at their house for a Christmas part of long ago.

Christmases long ago. I remember wandering around Bryn Mawr with one of my best friends Christmas shopping when it still felt like a village, and not a hospital town. Back when both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue by the hospital was lined with street trees and wonderful old houses, most with gracious front porches. Today it’s oversized and unattractive townhouses, and hospital buildings and a parking garage.

When we would walk around Bryn Mawr as kids we would check out Katy Did. And there was an awesome bookstore next door, and Mr. Fish the jeweler was in the basement storefront. And don’t forget Parvin’s Pharmacy. Along Lancaster Avenue there was an amazing toy store, antique stores, and even an Eskil’s Clog Shop for a few years. And Walter’s Swiss Pastry where my mother always bought a Bûche De Noël.

Matching pajamas at Christmas.

Christmases longer ago were in the city. Memories of going as a very little girl with my father in his red VW Bug (that was their car) down to the snow covered rail yards to get a Christmas tree. He would lash it to the roof and we would wind our way back home. We had 12 foot ceilings so we had a TALL tree. This is why in part that my grown up Christmas tree has mercury glass VW Bug ornaments with little trees on top.

Christmas at Babette’s in Harleysville

Christmas when I was little also mean trips to 9th Street – i.e. the Italian Market. Cappuccio’s Meats to get the Christmas roast. Harry the butcher always had a smile on his face. Then over to places like DiBruno Brothers for special Christmas Cheeses and pickled things. Christmas on 9th Street is an awesome Christmas memory.

I also remember Christmas shopping in the city when we were little. Cute little stores near Head House Square (the “Shambles”). Christmas displays at Lit Brothers, Gimbels, and Strawbridge & Clothier. The light display and organ at John Wanamaker’s and special Christmas Lunch in the Crystal Tea Room that made even little girls feel grown up and quite special. Seeing the displays of all the ladies holiday finery at Bonwit Teller and the Blum Store.

And the Christmas concert at St. Peter’s School. We had these white robes and would wind our way into the church next door to the school. And there was a Christmas Book Fair that was so wonderful. It was there as a little girl I would get to see my favorite children’s author, Marguerite De Angeli. Thee Hannah and Henner’s Lydia plus many other books. I still have them. She was a friend of the mother of the headmistress and/or her companion’s mother. I still remember these events distinctly. They were magical and full of holiday spirit and political correctness didn’t get in the way.

Just like when I was older and we were at Shipley. There were the Shipley Christmas Shops. During our era my mother and her friends and other parents made it amazing. The event wasn’t relegated to the gym where the parents of today don’t deign to speak to most of the alumni and just clump together like girls at a middle school dance. The Shipley Christmas Shops back then were often held in old houses and mansions. I am not sure that all of those places even still exist. The little shops and displays back then were festive and holiday wonderful. Treats, decorations for your home, beautiful woolens and all sorts of Christmas gifts to buy. Again, before the era of political correctness. This year there was shopping online. I will admit I bought nothing. I wanted to support my alma mater but there was nothing I wanted. It was like the magic was gone.

And we can’t talk about Christmas without talking about Christmas parties hosted by my mother’s friends Susi and Babette. They are German by birth and they both put on Christmas parties that will never be matched. Probably because in part they cooked as well or better than Julia Child. Yes, seriously. And I still wonder if Martha Stewart got decorating ideas for Christmas from them somehow? (No not seriously, they are just that amazing.)

It seems Christmas 2020 more than any other time in my memory that I hear these echoes of Christmases past.

No family is perfect and no Christmas is ever perfect, but I miss knowing we will all be together. And as we have all aged, it is not like we have had every Christmas together, but this year because of COVID-19 it feels more pronounced.

And this is where I struggle. 2020 has also been a year of loss and not just to the dreaded virus. Cancers, old age, other things. We’ve lost friends, old neighbors, friends of parents, people we knew in our communities.

People have lost jobs, taken salary cuts, shuttered small businesses open for decades. Other friends are trying desperately to keep their small businesses afloat – stores, restaurants, bakeries. And it has gotten to a point where I can’t say I know of any family that hasn’t been touched by COVID-19 in some way. And by touched I don’t necessarily mean getting the virus. COVID-19 in 2020 is like a giant Pac Man gobbling up little Pac Men. It oozes into every corner of our lives.

I know we have to keep looking forward for that light that is at the end of the tunnel. But it’s hard some days. No getting around it.

Orpheus Christmas Concert a decade or so ago.

Other things missing from Christmas this year? Things like the Orpheus Christmas Concert. They had a virtual concert last evening . Here is the video I found for 2020 that they are nice enough to share with the world:

2020 is the Christmas that families get together on Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas Movies. The same for Christmas concerts. And who will go to midnight mass this year? It’s like 2020 is even testing our general and not just family-specific Christmas traditions, isn’t it?

Yes, even I am a little sad about all of this.

But then we all have to close our eyes and take a deep breath. Being together apart I thin is just harder for Christmas, but we have to hold the course and remember next year will be better.

Celebrate the Christmases past and pay them homage. But remember we will have more holidays ahead of us if we just stay home and take care.

I think this may be my last post before Christmas, and possibly for 2020. It just depends if the spirit moves me. And how.

Be safe out there. Wishing you all Christmas blessings even while we are all together….apart.

A Christmas dinner long ago.

darkness before the dawn continues? please remember it’s the christmas season.

I just read an article in New York Magazine I found very disturbing. It’s about Trump not leaving White House on January 20th, 2021. Then there are the articles about January 6th, 2021, including a fascinating history lesson via the National Constitution Center.

Electors from all 50 states just met on December 14 to place their states’ official votes. On January 6, that vote count is finalized and election results are certified in Congress. First day of the new Congress is January 3, 2021. Congress then reads the election results out loud at like 1 PM on January 6, 2021.

Then the President of the Senate, still Vice President Mike Pence, will announce the results. But what everyone is wondering at this point is will Trump-supporting Congress members try to disrupt this process one more time? Is Trump going to attempt a coup one last time as The New Yorker is pondering?

And I see people posting on places like Facebook what they think are little things no one reads about 1/6/2021 and well are they supporting anarchy, martial law, tyranny, and domestic terrorism then?

The people I see posting this are among the biggest hypocrites I have ever met. I guess it’s OK to use things like abortion as birth control as a teenager (among other things), and then become a fake born-again southerner super conservative pro-life refined lady? Bless your heart honey, I have got your number and the way your brain works now. I am saving the stamp and not sending a Christmas card. I just can’t.

I guess at the end of the day what I don’t understand is that for time immemorial in this country, one candidate has won, while another candidate has lost. And it hasn’t evolved into nonsensical conversations about certain southern states once again seceding from the union and everything else that has gone on in 2020.

I said a while back this year that it was almost like this country was on the verge of another Civil War and what is that going to gain any of us? Are people so afraid of other people that don’t look like them and act like them and vote like them that them can’t even live in the same communities with them anymore? Will Parler go from app to living zones?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. We’ve known each other since we were young because our parents were friends. We now sit on the opposite side from each other at the political table, yet we still share so many similarities in philosophy, even politically. We had this total conversation and it wasn’t angry, it wasn’t nasty…. we talked. It was awesome. We spoke about how we were so in the middle on so many things, yet all you see in this country is extremism in politics from both sides of the aisle ruining this country.

It’s the week before Christmas. We have all had a trying year including but not limited to a global pandemic. For the love of all that is holy can you people stop pretending a crazy man who tweets from the toilet had the election stolen from him? He didn’t. And y’all won’t turn to pillars of salt with Joe Biden as President. And while we’re on this conversation can people of a similar band also stop talking about how Joe Biden is not healthy and Kamala Harris is awful?

Just stop. Give peace a chance, quite literally.

Please. There is one week before Christmas. Can we act like it’s Christmas? Do something nice in your community. Pay it forward.

Or at least just think about it. Thanks for stopping by.

christmas traditions

What are your Christmas traditions? Are you keeping them in the year of COVID-19?

We’re trying . Santas came out today and outside lights went up. When my husband went out to buy an additional strand he discovered another 2020 shortage: Christmas lights. A friend of mine said today she thinks people are trying light up the darkness of 2020. Kind of a beautiful thought if you think about it.

People are baking up a storm. I have not started baking yet. In a few days I will. I haven’t decided what I am baking yet.

Christmas cards have started to arrive. I have ours…. but I have to actually address and mail them. That procrastination has nothing to do with 2020, I do this every year. I just have to sit down and carve out the time. That and will the cards reach everyone since the post office seems more than a little problematic right now.

I have been talking with people and getting ready for Christmas is happening in fits and spurts. We start and then we pause. 2020 is a year like no other thanks to politics and COVID-19.

For me personally? As much as I love Christmas it has been hard some days because you put up some decorations and then you realize no one is really coming over. But it’s Christmas, so you still do it because it is a simple good and pretty thing to celebrate in a year when there often has not been much that was good or pretty.

Another tradition at this time of year I am keeping? Neighbor gifts.

When we first bought the house, we didn’t actually live here the first Christmas. We were updating appliances and putting in new heating and air conditioning and things like that. So we kept “visiting” and around this time that year, and little presents started to appear. We didn’t know what to make of it, until a new neighbor explained the tradition of leaving every neighbor a little Christmas treat.

I love this tradition and today I filled my little bags with treats! I am not sure when I will deliver them but thy sure look cute!!

Keep your traditions! And I wonder if we get snow this week, will we have a white Christmas? It’s feels like forever since we had a snowy Christmas !

Merry, merry. Thanks for stopping by.

bit by bit, christmas comes to life

Bit by bit, Christmas is coming to life. The tree is getting there. It takes a couple of days. The ornaments get layered in. Mostly vintage with some new. My nod to 2020 is the gnome with a little face mask.

Every year is a bit different. But constants like my father’s German mercury glass pine cones mixed in with the ones I have collected which include German and Ukrainian mercury glass pine cones.

The Ukranian ornaments I discovered thanks to my friend Kristin. They are really special. A little more primitive in style compared to their German counterparts and often more brightly hued and the glass is slightly thicker than their vintage German and Austrian relatives.

I use a lot of woodland themed ornaments made of mercury glass. As a homage to our woods acorns, pinecones, nuts, birds, foxes, and even a tiny red squirrel. I delight as each ornament emerges from it’s protective wrapping cocoon. Every December it’s like greeting old friends.

Santas and nutcrackers will join little elves throughout the house. Yes for a little over a month, it’s a lot of work. This year I went back and forth in my head on what I was going to do. In the end, Christmas won.

In a year when COVID19 has kept us in the grips of a grim pandemic reality, getting Christmas out is a sweet reminder there is more out there waiting for us.

This year there will be no Christmas parties, and Christmas Day will just be our small pod, but we will have Christmas…and still (hopefully) love every minute.

18 days until Christmas. #MaskUp and stay safe.

seeking christmas mojo

Today I realized I needed help finding my Christmas mojo. The past couple of days I felt it slipping away. This morning I fell smack dab into a case of the Christmas Crankies.

Yesterday my mother texted me to tell me they weren’t coming for Christmas. The COVID19 of it all. Ok I get that. It was the fact that the queen of proper communication texted me and signed off on her text with her first name, not mother.

Umm yes, even my own relationship with my mother is complicated. Life isn’t a Hallmark Movie and she’s not Donna Reed meets Carol Brady and never will be. Sigh.

Last evening I made a male approved dinner. Scratch macaroni and cheese and chicken cutlets….only the son of it all blew me off for video games and got dinner at 11:30 PM. Right or wrong I am sick as F of video games and it hurt my feelings.

Recently my good growing up friend Tiger died. And another good friend’s husband is gravely ill.

On a cheery dysfunctional social media site known as Facebook, I help run a gifting group. The nail files and pitchforks came out when I had to discuss something from a group administrator perspective.

I really am tired of the pack mentality or mob mentality for lack of a better description. If you aren’t part of their immediate circle or the least bit different in thought process you are a badd, baddd person. Never mind that some of them spent hours messaging one of my moderators who had nothing to do at all with what I said. It made me have several oh bitch please moments today with the mob mommies, which is contrary to my wanting to have Christmas season feelings.

And then there were the people who made up bad fake reviews on the business of friends. That is a special kind of mean. Not nice.

Politics. Done with the election and the giant orange baby throwing temper tantrums in the White House as he tweets from the john. Dude…it’s over…moonie-like followers, it’s over. One guy won, your guy lost. By all means, leave for the Island of Misfit Toys via Mar a Tacky, just shut up already.

Also impeding my Christmas mojo is the apparent inability to use the word Christmas. People, people every year, really? We celebrate and name every other holiday, so why not Christmas? I don’t want to say Happy Holidays and I do say Merry Christmas. The political correctness police need to give it a rest already.

And the COVID19 numbers are rising. High school kids and college kids are half being responsible and half not so much….just like all the so-called adults. Someone came to my house yesterday wearing a mask with his nose hanging out. All I could do was stare at the nose and be grateful they were OUTSIDE.

Wear your damn mask and wear it correctly. That way eventually when there is a vaccine we can all eventually stop feeling walled up by our own four walls, yes? And the vaccine? How will they really control distribution or will it be pay to play?

2020 is a hard slog, OK? Today it got to me. Just got to me. I can’t pretend to be Sister Mary Sunshine all of the time.

I miss seeing my friends and family. We all stay home so we CAN see each other again. But when?

The bah humbugs threatened to rise to the top, so I had to take assertive action. Very assertive action. It was Santa time. And at 56, no I am not going to visit a Santa and give him my Christmas wishes. I had to get out a Santa.

I bought out the big Santa. He always puts a smile on my face. Bought him from a yard sale group a few years ago. I feel MUCH better now and will find my inner decorating elf tomorrow.

Thanks for letting me gretz.

22 days until Christmas! Decorate! Bake! (Whine when necessary.)

Thanks for virtually visiting.

are we worthy of our own opinions expressed in our own space??

I woke up this morning like every morning. Happy to see my little world. I had a great oncology appointment yesterday so waking up was a little more special today. Then I looked outside and Mother Nature had given us a magical little snow frosting over the back woods.

Then, and please cue the screeching record sound in your head, I made the mistake of checking in on Facebook. Yesterday I had posted a Bloomberg News article about Attorney General William Barr saying that the US Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

There was also some commentary about using the criminal justice system to pursue legal battles that are better suited for civil court systems. I found this interesting so I posted it. And I don’t post much about the post election or try not to. Truthfully, I’m tired of reading about it. One guy won and the other guy lost and we need to all get on with our lives.

Overnight post article posting a bit more of my timeline seemingly exploded. It started with someone literally saying an article from Bloomberg News was “fake news”. Alrighty then.

This person went on to list their curriculum vitae and life accomplishments as justification for her opinion. I kind of quietly said to her that I knew she was a Trump supporter and that was her opinion and that was fine, but essentially not to say one of the more reputable news sites in this country is publishing “fake news”.

But the comments didn’t stop. And soon this person was literally quoting their entire curriculum vitae or résumé as justification for their statements. That they were a former journalist and award-winning blogger and writer and had worked on political campaigns and was on the board of non-profits. And what does this have anything to do with what we were discussing?

I have been blessed in my life to know lots of interesting people. And for all those people who do include quite literally award-winning writers and journalists, and renown political strategists and campaign managers and more, not one of them has ever kind of made me start out my day feeling like a lesser human being.

Because I am not an award-winning blogger and haven’t written any books does that mean I have less value than other people? Does that mean if we don’t have those credentials specifically we shouldn’t have opinions?

Is there a New World pecking order that I am somehow unaware of?

Why I also find this upsetting is this is a person who belongs to several groups for women who support other women. Either via mentorship or showing mutual support for female owned businesses and how is this supportive? How are you supporting anyone in this world when you use your résumé as a defense of your opinion yet in the same moment make others feel less worthy?

I know so many amazingly accomplished people. I celebrate their successes and I’m glad to know them. But these people don’t make others feel bad about their lives and possibly their life choices. Am I as accomplished as a lot of my friends? No but we all give to this world differently, which doesn’t make any of us lesser human beings in my opinion.

I feel that in the USA the past few years has changed so many people. And not necessarily for the better. It used to be (because that’s what our forefathers fought for), that we could have different opinions and not feel attacked. But since the election it’s only gotten worse. And here we are at the end of a terribly long and difficult year in the season that is supposed to be magical, and will it be?

We all don’t have to have the same opinion. Nor should I be made to feel on my personal social media page that I am a lesser human being.

And of course if you go to this person’s timeline they say if anyone posts anything negative about a photo of this year’s White House decorations they will delete the comments. It’s that old do as I say not as I do approach, However, in a sense that is OK because it’s their timeline so people want to respect that, so why not equally respect my timeline on Facebook? (And truthfully this year the decorations look better than they have in the past few years. It looks more like Christmas and less like the Jadis the Narnia white witch ice queen lives in a castle there.)

Sorry not sorry, but I don’t wish to belong to some insecure writers support group. And yes, I actually am a writer. Maybe I won’t ever write a book, and maybe my blog won’t ever win awards, but I’m also not a lesser human being for my efforts.

The world is a big place and we should be able to express our opinions. Or even post an article we find interesting on our own Facebook timeline. I see plenty of things posted by people I like that I completely disagree with, and I don’t feel the need to comment on these things. For the most part I kind of scroll on by. If it’s some thing that I really disagree with I might send them a private message, but that’s it. I don’t pollute their timelines. I try to respect their virtual space.

2020 has been the year from hell for all of us if we’re honest. We have survived a global pandemic, but it has affected every aspect of our lives and our children’s lives and our friends lives and the lives of the people with small businesses we support. so instead of screaming a legitimate news source is fake news why don’t we try to support each other instead?

Thank you for coming along with me on this ramble this morning. I felt I needed to explore all of this because what I saw on my own timeline is happening on the Facebook timelines of people everywhere. We all don’t have to agree, we don’t even have to agree to disagree, but we need to respect people social media pages as their own kind of like a virtual house.

Celebrate the blessings that we have.

Thanks for stopping by.

rabbit, rabbit

Do you say “rabbit, rabbit“ at the beginning of each month? I have since I was a little girl.

“Rabbit rabbit rabbit” is a tradition found in Britain and North America wherein a person says or repeats the words “rabbit”, “rabbit” and/or “rabbit, rabbit white rabbit” aloud upon waking on the first day of a month, to ensure good luck for the rest of it.

Today is December 1, 2020 in the year of COVID-19.

We have all survived thus far, and we need to make it to 2021.

So please, follow the COVID-19 protocols and wear masks and socially distance, and prepare for very small Christmas gatherings. We have to do it this way because you’re already seeing serious upswings in virus numbers because people didn’t pay attention over Thanksgiving although they were basically bagged from coast to coast.

Rabbit, rabbit.

gather wisely. give thanks.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A very beloved national holiday. And yes it is the year 2020, or the year of COVID19 and ugly politics.

However, it’s also the year that as a country we have started to come together and say enough to the specter of racism which has haunted our country for a very long time.

It’s definitely a year where more seems broken than fixable. Yet here we are. And we’re still standing. So we should indeed come together and give thanks.

Our first Thanksgiving in this country was basically people coming together to give thanks that they survived. I think that should resonate with all of us after the way 2020 has treated us.

In Pennsylvania, people are fixated on the fact that a lot of people won’t be able to go out to bars tonight. That they’re shutting down the sales of alcohol after a certain time. I was somewhat disgusted last night to see on the news a bar that was opening at 6 AM so they could make sure they serve all their drinks. In my humble opinion that’s playing Russian Roulette with their lives and the lives of others and is morally questionable.

Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of friends in the service/hospitality industry. Businesses are suffering terribly. But we’re talking about a global pandemic which is already spiking again way past our wildest imaginings. I know people whose restaurants have closed and will never reopen which makes me really sad. But I think wanting to keep people from gathering in large numbers right now isn’t a bad thing. It’s more like common sense. I have said it before to let history be your guide. Look at the last time a global pandemic gripped this country in 1918. In the Philadelphia area alone, it’s spread like wild fire because the parade wasn’t canceled.

If you want to support your local restaurants and businesses, and want to be safe, contact them and find out what kind of gift cards or gift certificates they offer. That will keep money coming into them and keep everyone safe until people feel more comfortable. Maybe it won’t be the monetary bonanza that everyone seeks this time of year, but if enough of us do that a lot of these places might be able to squeak by until 2021 when hopefully life will return if not to the old normal, a new normal.

Like it or not, and again let history be your guide, life will be a new normal. It won’t be the same old same old. And maybe it shouldn’t be. Maybe this life reset we have experienced in 2020 has a larger meaning. Maybe it’s wanting us as Americans to get back to basics and appreciate what we already have and not be spoiled about what we don’t have right now.

Someone said to me yesterday that they weren’t going to really decorate for the holidays and even set a pretty table for Thanksgiving. I disagree wholeheartedly. I think if ever there was a year where we should deck the halls and use our good dishes, it’s this year. What are we waiting for? Maybe our pods will be smaller and our holiday tables won’t be bursting at the seams, but we’re alive. And we have survived 2020 thus far.

Instead of the glass half empty, maybe it’s the glass half full. It’s not what we thought the year would be when we rang it in on January 1, but it’s the hand fate has dealt us.

Give thanks tomorrow for what you still have and the people you still have in your life. Give thanks to the memories and the good times of the people who are no longer with us. Remember them fondly and with laughter. Just try to put aside the negative energy that has had us in the grip of stress all year long. And I really wish that the news would stop interviewing fools not wearing masks at places like major train stations complaining that their personal liberties are being impinged upon as they’re getting ready to board a train to go visit family. How about all of those complaining stop being selfish for five minutes? Maybe it’s not all about these lovers of purportedly missed freedoms, maybe it’s respecting and loving your family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers enough that everyone does things differently this year. It’s one year. And maybe you don’t believe that there is a virus, but given all of the millions of people who have died worldwide? Their families might beg to differ. We’re all a long time dead, right?

So tomorrow parades, football, and our Thanksgiving tables themselves will look much different. But we should still celebrate and give thanks for still standing at this point in this crazy ass year.

Gather wisely. Give thanks hugely.

Wishing all of my readers a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

thanksgiving grace wanted.

It’s almost Thanksgiving. Our little turkey is resting in the refrigerator and the cranberry sauce has been made. I am trying to figure out which dishes I’m going to use and what the table will look like. I don’t think I’m going to get out all of my little ceramic turkeys this year, but I still want my table to look pretty.

Someone remarked to me that they are just navigating this COVID-19 world the best they can, and trusting God has it all in hand.

I replied that part of it was people had to be willing to listen that it was time the world was a little different, time for us to take things a little less for granted.

Thoughts like this was also partial impetus for me to write my “broken people” post on this blog the other day.

There are so many people that want to blame everyone for what is going on with them. And they don’t realize that you do have to take ownership of yourself, and with ownership comes grace. Or hopefully that’s how it works.

And as you know I do not really ever get religious in my writing. And as an adult although still Catholic as I was born Catholic, I am more spiritual than religious.

And these are just some of the things I’ve been thinking about. I mean if you think about it and try to be positive in a year that has been so filled with negative, maybe part of the lesson here is teaching us all grace, or how to find grace.

Because of COVID-19 things will undoubtedly get worse before they get better.

So maybe, instead of worrying about the big things that for now seem to be out of our control, we look for the blessings we have.

It’s all about that magic of ordinary days.

Open your eyes, shut up about the politics, and realize that we are here and should try to be present with our loved ones and not get sucked down the rabbit hole of unpleasant minutia.

Try to love and appreciate people for who they are, not who you want them to be. As human beings we are all flawed. And if someone can’t be present for you at this time, let them go on their journey, everyone needs to find their own path no matter how old or young they are.

2020 has been a brutal year and so many regards. But when we look back, what will be the lessons we take away from it? And with a year like this we have to have learned something right?

I am grateful for my little family unit and love it very much. In the distant recesses of my mind, are the memories of Thanksgivings past, most of which contained a lot more people than this year will.

And if I’m being honest, all those Thanksgivings past were not like Hallmark movies with perfect tablescapes and happy endings. Some of them were quite stressful and not so much fun and that’s OK.

So this year, as you gather round your tables in your smaller pods of Thanksgiving people, give thanks for what you do have. And drag out the good dishes. Don’t let COVID-19 diminish your Thanksgiving. Just because we’re sort of doing it differently doesn’t mean it won’t be a great holiday!

Thanks for stopping by.