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.

christmas magic…at life’s patina

We walked into the beautiful big old barn and it was truly magical at Life’s Patina today. Beautiful and Christmas festive in every nook and cranny. There are only a certain amount of people allowed in the barn at any one time and everyone must be wearing masks, and there is hand sanitizer everywhere you turn around. It’s a magical and safe experience in a COVID-19 world.

Meg and her merry band of elves outdid themselves! From little balsam wood houses that light up, to Christmas mice in velvet dresses and tree skirts for feather trees it was amazing! Sparkling ornaments everywhere and among my favorites? Very lovely mercury glass pinecones and marvelous modern reproductions of old German Kugel ornaments.

Mixed in with Christmas magic were all sorts of vintage and antique items. One of the things I liked best was downstairs in the barn on the big long farmhouse table was a vintage Grenadine bottle.

We loved every minute we were there, and preview guests were also given amazing gift bags to take home.

I love Christmas, everyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas and I loved today’s experience. You really should go if you can. Simply magical!

By appointment only. Life’s Patina at Willowbrook Farm, 1750 North Valley Road, Malvern, PA.

finding christmas spirit

Soon little ceramic elves will be peeking from book shelves. Gnomes and Santas too. Maybe some nutcrackers. The tree will come to life with vintage and other ornaments. And Christmas baking season will begin.

But what will Christmas in the year of COVID19? Will we celebrate in tiny family pods? Will we celebrate. And what about that grinch holed up in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC? What about all the people who continue to be affected by COVID19 including now our former Chester County Sheriff?

So yes, finding my Christmas spirit has been a little challenging this year. There has been a little bah humbug in the air. Usually about now we are planning a Christmas party. But not this year. We won’t even see our entire family this Christmas. Too many people from too many places. That bums me out.

All of our Christmas celebrations will be quieter this year undoubtedly. But we do need to find our Christmas spirit!!!

Yes, even though I had recently discovered a couple of cool little Santas for a table, my Christmas spirit has been struggling.

Until yesterday. Yesterday my friend Kristin had her business’s open house. It was very different than previous years. We were timed, it was super small, we had to wear masks, and there was hand sanitizer. But there was still Christmas magic every which way I looked. She said sometimes we just have to believe and she’s so right!

Yesterday at the Smithfield Barn we were treated to a vintage Christmas. Totally magical so keep an eye out for more small, socially distanced pop-ups. Also check out what my other favorite elf Lisa has planned at Brandywine View Antiques in Chadds Ford! And you can’t forget Life’s Patina starts spreading holiday cheer next week and Meg is another favorite elf who always seems to know what I am looking for!

Also things that you won’t see this Christmas would be the open house I usually have for my friends to promote another friend’s business. But as luck would have it my friend Alice has two fabulous websites to showcase her products:

A Single Strand and ABW Designs.

Also to be considered is Past*Present*Future in Ardmore. Owned by my friend Sherry, you can shop safely with a mask in the store or buy things online! An artist by training, she has an amazing I and hers is a store that you go in and marvel at everything she has collected for her customers. It’s a beautiful place! And if you’re more comfortable shopping remotely right now you can do that too.

Another place would be Magnolia Cottage Shop in Malvern/Frazer and the lovely folks at Frazer Antiques. And also Old Soul Decor in West Chester which is re-opening in a brand new space Thanksgiving!

The last three places I am mentioning today are also special to me an run by friends as well. Clover Market has pivoted to online due to COVID19 and Janet has curated an amazing collection of things and they offer free shipping! Shopping Clover 🍀 has never been easier.

Second to last would be King’s Haven in Paoli which is not just an amazing interior design destination, but has a remarkably beautiful collection of art and gifts. All due to my talented friend Lauren.

Finally, there is Framers Market Gallery in Malvern, Newtown Square, and Haverford. Yes Jayne and Dave are friends, but I am a devoted customer and not just for the framing business. They rep some amazing local artists! And to me one of the best gifts you can give anyone for Christmas or the holidays is the gift of art!

Yesterday I realized part of finding our Christmas magic means #ShopLocal and #ShopSmall as well. So I hope you find lovely presents at some of these places and they are all places I am just a regular customer of. They won’t even know I have mentioned their business until I hit publish on this post. As a customer I like to pay it forward.

So I know this is going to be a holiday season like no other. But we do have to believe in the magic of the season.

Shop local, support small businesses wherever you live!

letter to my father

Dear Daddy,

I sometimes hate the way the Internet and certain things send you automatic reminders. But that is the electronic world we live in. Today, I received an e-mail reminder that as of Friday you are gone 15 years.

Fifteen years.

November 13, 2005 seems so very far away and long ago. Especially as 2020 has kind of been the year from hell at times.

I wonder what you would have made of a global pandemic? Or this presidential election? Would you have voted for Trump? I think you would have in 2016 because I know you never liked Hillary Clinton, but if you were alive today who would you have voted for?

I think you would be upset to see what a mess the City of Philadelphia has become. You always loved being a Philadelphian.

Can I say again, I can’t believe it’s almost 15 years? But I remember sitting with you on your bed on your last anniversary with mother, just two days before you died watching the original Sabrina in all it’s black and white movie glory and I knew then you were ready to leave us. I remember you lying there in bed and just the way you smiled that our time together was ending.

Ours was not a perfect relationship, what parent child relationship is if we are totally honest? But I loved you then, and love you now.

Did you know we borrowed your wedding date as our own? So yes, it lives on. It made me feel like you were there in spirit to be able to use it. It was the date that felt right.

You would love my husband. He is part of Mumma’s philosophy of going back from whence we came, which is that phrase also attributed to both John F. Kennedy and James Baldwin. To me it has meant my present and future came from my past. I ended up being a very lucky and loved woman. I think you would like that. We got married in a beautiful historic Chester County house called Oakbourne.

I think you would like my garden. I have some of your old favorites planted including one sad sack of a John F. Kennedy rose. Every year it looks like it’s going to give up the ghost, every spring it comes back. I have pussy willows planted. You remember how I loved it when you bought us the big bunches of pussy willows and peonies in the spring from Mr. Cullinan who drove a VW Bus from wherever his greenhouse was to the streets of Philadelphia with his plants and flowers? I also remember the truck farmers who would come from wherever their farms were to sell their produce door to door. None of that still exists today but I do have a milkman!

I still remember your funeral which was at Old St. Joseph’s where my sister and I were baptized. The church was packed. I remember that I had to focus on my friends in the very back. Otherwise I would have blubbered through my eulogy.

Some days I think of you with tears, like today. Other days with laughter and a smile. Sometimes when I am in the garden and I see one of the many bright red cardinals I even talk to you. Sometimes I swear I can still hear your voice and every Christmas I have a moment putting up the decorations when I run across a now vintage box of ornaments with your handwriting on it.

Life takes us on such journeys, and I wanted you to know you are loved and missed. I wanted you to know we are all happy and safe.

Love,

Me

life as we know it

I have awesome neighbors and friends. Just had a great conversation with one. We laughed, we shared, we even dished politics and we play for different teams. That is what life is supposed to be about.

Life as we know it has changed so very much in 2020. As human beings in the fine category of stupid human tricks we often make everything harder than it has to be.

So now we are in the first footsteps after a brutal and overly extended political season. We can all exhale and not feel guilty about it.

A lovely lady I know said something very wise this evening. She said “Don’t lose friendships today over two men who don’t even know your names. It’s okay to have different political views and still be okay with each other.”

She’s right. And it’s what my friend and I were talking about earlier. My friend had remarked why couldn’t people talk to each other anymore? She and I are on opposite sides of the political fence and even during this election we were able to talk.

We all need to get back to talking. Over coffee and cocoa and tea. Yes like Hallmark Movies but it’s just a nice way to be.

2020 has been brutal. And COVID19 is sticking around. Soon it will be Thanksgiving and Christmas. What will our holiday season look like? Only time will tell.

Exhale America. One day at a time.

new eden microgreens: coming to a dinner table near you!

A lot of people will ask what the difference between microgreens and sprouts are. Microgreens are grown in soil; sprouts germinate in water. I love microgreens, sprouts not so much.

Microgreens and sprouts are both baby plants after a fashion. But microgreens are cut off at soil level and are full of flavor and awesome amounts of nutrients. Sprouts grown in water always sort of have a bland dirt taste to me for lack of a better description.

I love microgreens. So when this nice guy Daniel Drew popped up in a couple of local Facebook groups offering trials of microgreens from his farm I volunteered. His business is New Eden Greens. They are a small farming enterprise in neighboring Delaware County.

Now I occasionally get microgreens in my farm vegetable boxes from Lancaster, but Daniel Drew’s product is the most flavorful I have had.

New Eden Greens has two varieties that I tried.

Variety one “Broccoli Blend” contained the following greens: baby broccoli greens, kale, kohlrabi greens, red cabbage, arugula, and mustard greens. This is the more zesty variety. Arugula and mustard greens are in particular delightfully peppery.

Variety two contained purple radish all by itself.

Thus far I have mixed both varieties together because I like all the flavors and use them in my salads with larger greens. I have other friends who used them as accompaniments to fish like salmon.

Others have used them independently by themselves in a purely microgreens salad. I did that as well. I made a salad with a simple vinaigrette out of them with some minced scallions, as well as the salad I photographed below at the bottom of the post.

If you’re looking for the nutritional aspect micro greens are more nutritional than traditional greens. According to the website One Green Planet:

🖌📌 “According to microgreen research conducted at the University of Maryland, the 1-3 inch delicacies were found to pack anywhere from 3 to 39.4 times the nutritional content of the plant’s mature counterparts. Scientists considered the vitamin and antioxidant levels of 25 varieties of microgreens and compared the results to the full-grown versions. Cilantro showed 3 times more beta-carotene, while red cabbage showed almost 40 times greater vitamin E and 6 times more vitamin C.” 📌🖌

To me, when I am cooking, flavor is everything. And these microgreens are incredibly fresh and flavorful. This business has just been launched and if you are a restaurant professional or a home cook interested in trying samplers while they are available, message them via their Facebook page or email newedengreens<at>gmail<dot>com.

As they are a small business, they have a somewhat limited delivery area at present but I don’t know the boundaries of their area so you have to contact them.

Thank you Daniel for allowing me to be one of the home cooks to sample the produce from New Eden Greens! I look forward to being a regular customer! Support your local farmers!

Happy Friday all!