military charter school being proposed in rtsd back for another hearing (and will be before tesd eventually) and a charter school is coming for a bite at the education apple in wcasd

Wake up media, you have stories unfolding requiring immediate attention. The same can be said for residents in two Chester County school districts and on Delaware County school district.

I actually have mixed emotions at this juncture about charter schools. When our son was in school, it was a God send due to bullying issues that were not being dealt with in public school as well as the fact we had serious issues when he was in an elementary school that was supposed to be one of the best and in some cases, there were NO books for subjects like history. We sent him to Renaissance Academy Charter School in Phoenixville. There were ups and downs as is the case with any school, but it was a good experience, and they placed a high percentage of kids in great schools. IT still is an academic alternative that I think is serving 20 or 21 school districts at this point.

But now I am starting to look at charter schools with different eyes. Because of the new kids coming to the table in 2023. Specifically in WCASD (West Chester Area School District) and RTSD (Radnor Township School District). And the one for RTSD will also involve TESD (Tredyffrin Easttown School District.)

I will start with WCASD because that is where a charter school that is kind of coming on a stealth basis. Valley Forge Classical Academy Charter School. They say they have non-profit status, only it’s a little hard to find anything, not even a website announcing who they are, their board of directors, etc. They do have a Facebook page and please note how they get their jollies, making it quite clear what they are about:

First up? A fundraiser has been established on Give Send GO:

Would you like to be part of a success story? Valley Forge Classical Academy Charter School in Exton, PA will be just that!  We will provide a traditional classical liberal education for each and every child.

The liberal arts in particular and liberal education in general are the surest, most time-tested way to direct students toward a life that is truly free. Our rigorous K-12 curriculum is content-rich, balanced, and strong, with an emphasis upon the four core disciplines of math, science, literature, and history, and attention to music, art, physical education, and foreign languages. In addition, we believe that by training students in the moral, intellectual, and civic virtues we are equipping them to live well-ordered lives as human beings and as citizens.


Your donation will provide funds to ensure a successful application and start-up of our LICENSED HILLSDALE COLLEGE K12 school in the Exton, PA area.  ALL DONATIONS GO DIRECTLY TOWARDS THE START UP COSTS OF THE SCHOOL. Attorney’s fees, administrative and marketing costs, website design, office rental, postage and other miscellaneous fees will be covered.  All board members are VOLUNTEERS. We will open a K-8 program in the Fall of 2024 and add a grade level each year until we have our first graduating class, the Class of 2028.

For more information on the Hillsdale College K12 program, click on this link:

https://k12.hillsdale.edu/?_gl=1*jvupm3*_ga*NjIxODc5NzkwLjE2Njk1NzMyNTg.*_ga_FBJP6CFLDM*MTY2OTk4OTQ3My42LjEuMTY2OTk4OTUxNy4xNi4wLjA.

Valley Forge Classical Academy Charter School is an approved 501-c3 non-profit organization.

For more information, please contact us at this email:  vfcacs@gmail.com.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DONATING!

Gosh, they had me at indoctrination. You know right there, what this is about, don’t you?

The woman who established the fundraiser is referred to in this WHYY article from 2022:

And now there is an open house on Saturday, January 28th, 2023 at 21 Hagerty Blvd in West Chester where all the Stepford Wives for Totalitarianism gather for meetings sometimes:

Jan 28

OPEN HOUSE – VALLEY FORGE CLASSICAL ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOL

ANNOUNCING OUR FIRST OPEN HOUSE FOR PROSPECTIVE FAMILIES IN THE CHESTER COUNTY AREA!

By VALLEY FORGE CLASSICAL ACADEMY SCHOOL BOARD

Come and meet members of the board and learn about a classical education. Valley Forge Classical Academy Charter School is slated to open in the Fall of 2024 for K-8 students. Each year we will add one year of our high school program and graduate our first class in 2030!


Seems lot o’ stuff happens at 21 Hagerty Blvd in West Chester in as far as certain political based gatherings? So this would be a charter school in WCASD BUT will it meet the requirements of public schools? This school tried before didn’t they? Or is this another proposed school with some of the same players?


Does West Whiteland know about this since they seem as if they are looking at property in West Whiteland? Get out the #popcorn because the Stepford Mommies for Totalitarianism will want this school and like their behavior in school districts will want the taxpayers paying for this too. I will say honestly, that the lady running the fundraiser? Has a lot of charter school experience, so she is sharp.

Now back to Radnor Township School District. And people in Tredyffrin Easttown School District need to pay attention because this is a charter school being proposed at Valley Forge Military Academy and College’s campus, which straddles a couple of municipalities and counties, doesn’t it? And who exactly recruited this school to Valley Forge’s campus? Was it in fact Valley Forge Military School and College which as we know got rejected on their own application prior to this one?

I first bought you the odd tale of Radnor and Pennsylvania Military Charter School at Valley Forge on December 15th, 2022:

Then the Philadelphia had a whopper of an article on Christmas Eve. My late father always said big news sneaks in on weekends and holidays and not enough people pay attention.

Philadelphia Inquirer: For a second time, a charter school is being proposed at Valley Forge Military Academy
Unlike the last proposal, which was put forward by the military academy, the latest application is being advanced by backers with no formal ties to the Main Line private school.

by Maddie Hanna
Updated Dec 24, 2022

Supporters are trying again to open a military-themed charter school on the grounds of Valley Forge Military Academy and College, despite a denial from the Radnor school board last year.

Unlike the previous proposal — which was put forward by the military academy and which Radnor rejected as an apparent effort “to subsidize VFMA and make VFMA available to students through the use of public funds” — the latest application is being advanced by backers with no formal ties to the Main Line private school, including a recently retired Republican state senator and a former head of a charter school advocacy group. The chairman of the proposed charter’s board said it would be a “marriage made in heaven.”

In the latest proposal, Pennsylvania Military Charter School would still rent facilities from VFMA — paying $3 million a year, according to its application to Radnor, compared with $500,000 in the proposal rejected in May 2021…..The new charter application is supported by a charter school management company that started in Arizona and now runs schools in states including Florida, Nevada, and North Carolina.

The company, Charter One, initiated the latest application, said Joshua Johnson, the chair of the board for the proposed charter, which is now pending before the Radnor and Tredyffrin/Easttown school boards.

A retired U.S. Army Green Beret who now works for a leadership development firm, Johnson, who lives in Carlisle, said he was contacted by Charter One to serve on the board.

“We think there’s still a need … to have an alternative to a traditional school that’s based on military school principles, but doesn’t fall into that boarding school category,” Johnson said in an interview, adding that some parents “can’t necessarily afford the tuition Valley Forge charges.”

Unlike VFMA — which costs $39,000 for boarding students, and $24,000 for day students — the charter would be free to attend. Charter schools are publicly funded; in Pennsylvania, school districts pay charters based on the number of enrolled students and what the district spends per child.

Pennsylvania Military Charter says it would enroll 975 students from kindergarten through 12th grade — about four times as many students as are currently on the campus. The boys-only academy enrolls about 140 students in grades 7 through 12, while 80 more are enrolled at the military college, according to school officials….The charter’s $17 million budget includes $1 million for an educational service provider fee; that money would go to Charter One for professional services and operational supports, Johnson said.

According to the charter’s application, the fee would also cover an “aggressive” marketing plan to potential students, including paid social media advertisements and direct mail.

Among those who have also agreed to serve on the charter’s board are recently retired State Sen. Bob Mensch, a Republican who didn’t seek reelection, and Lenny McAllister, a senior fellow with the conservative Commonwealth Foundation who previously was CEO of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.

Following Johnson’s presentation to the Radnor board, the lone public comment came from a woman who questioned why the charter hadn’t included gender identity or sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy; whether gay or lesbian students would be welcome; and what plans the school had to avoid hazing and abuse. (In rejecting the previous charter proposal, the Radnor board had said VFMA failed to adequately address community concerns about abuse allegations at its school.)

“Respect for persons is absolutely one of the things we’re going to drive,” Johnson said. “But when it comes to gender identification, it will be our policy that the gender and name on the birth certificate is how they’re going to be addressed at our school.”

SO….has Tredyffrin Easttown School District (TESD) scheduled their hearing yet? Here is the entirety of the January 17th Radnor School Board Meeting:

Here are 3 smaller videos which pulls out some crucial public comment:

This all gives me pause. Essentially, I have to ask if these people wanting to start charter schools which all supposedly have Pennsylvania non profits but will really be run by entities in other states should even be allowed to open charter schools in Pennsylvania?

And of course, then you have to wonder how they will deal with what public schools are required to have and do have as far as the many complicated issues facing public schools? And will they be fair and equal and non discriminatory in all areas including sexual and gender identity? And why should people have to watch their tax dollars get siphoned off for schools started by people who have so many issues with public schools that haven’t been upheld by the courts over the past few years? Gender/sexual identity, books they don’t like, masking, vaccines, etc.? Why are taxpayers supposed to pay for their peculiarities?

Truly if you have time, watch and listen to the recent Radnor meeting. And remember that is not just a concern to residents in the Radnor Township School District service area in Radnor Township Delaware County but also in Tredyffrin Easttown School District in Tredyffrin and Easttown Townships in Chester County. Interesting things include a website possibly intimating approval – https://www.military.academy/valley-forge when they are far, far from it. They do not seem to have a business plan but they have plans for a course of study called ethical hacking. And as this hearing goes on , the charter presenters seem to become well, combative and uneasy.

With both of these proposed charter schools there seem to be many troubling questions, sadly. Here’s hoping the media steps up and really digs in.

Again, in conclusion, I am not against charter schools in the least. But these two give me pause. Also is there really a need for their brand of charter?

Stay tuned.

and now an (official) word from east whiteland about data centers…and the media coverage (thus far)

Photos used with permission from Ginny Kerslake

Sorry folks, it has been a busy day. Received official word from East Whiteland regarding the data center of it all. After that I will share the article that prompted this:

In response to recent articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily Local News, where the Township was asked to provide comments and a status update regarding recent data center proposals, below is a statement from East Whiteland Township:

To date, no land development application has been received by the Township and there have been no revisions to the previously approved Zoning Hearing Board application to permit the data center usage at the properties located along the south side of Swedesford Road near the border with West Whiteland Township. 

Also, it is important to note to our residents and businesses that the Board of Supervisors of East Whiteland Township has no interest in entertaining a proposal for a hydrogen power plant within our Township. We are aware of the zoning activities in our neighboring Township and will continue to monitor the situation.

Scott Lambert, Chair of East Whiteland Township Supervisors

~EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP 1/19/2023

Philadelphia Inquirer: COMMERCIAL A cleaned-up Superfund site in Chester County could become home to a massive data center
Local residents and environmentalists are concerned about a developer’s plans for a two-million-square-foot data center in East Whiteland Township, Chester County.

by Kevin Riordan
Updated Jan 19, 2023

A Chester County developer is planning to build a data center approaching the size of the retail space at King of Prussia Mall that could consume more power in one location than any other Peco customer.

Charles Lyddane said he hopes to begin construction this year on the two million-square-foot facility on 65 acres of a remediated Superfund sitehe owns in East Whiteland Township.

“This will be a major economic engine for Chester County and for Pennsylvania,” said Lyddane, whose company Green Fig Land LLC is partnering with Fifteen Forty Seven Critical Systems Realty of Matawan, N.J., to develop the East Whiteland site…..East Whiteland approved zoning variances that Lyddane requested for the project in 2021, and he plans to submit a land development plan to the township this spring. If the plan is approved, construction would begin within six to 12 months and be finished by the end of 2024.

Lyddane said strong demand for new data center capacity is expected to continue despite current economic uncertainties.

Nevertheless, he has “put on hold” a proposal to build a 100,000-square-foot data center along with a power-generating facility on 25 acres he owns in West Whiteland Township that are contiguous with his East Whiteland property.

“Our only plan at this time is to build two data center buildings … in East Whiteland Township,” Lyddane said Tuesday….But Loudoun County, Va., home of what’s widely regarded as the greatest concentration of data centers on the planet, last year approved guidelines to limit their growth. Andthe East and West Whiteland proposals have sparked concerns among environmentalists and some residents in northeastern Chester County, where rolling hills, winding roads, and quaint stone buildings belie the sometimes toxic legacy of mining, steelmaking, and other heavy industries that once dotted the landscape……Sometimes called server farms or carrier hotels, data centers are nothing new. But what’s proposed for East Whiteland would be significantly bigger than most….The proposed East Whiteland data center location once was home to a limestone mining and later, lithium ore-processing business called the Foote Mineral Co., which closed in 1991. A Superfund cleanup project there was substantially completed in 2010, although monitoring of several locations on the property is continuing…..In West Whiteland, nearly 250 people have joined a “Protect Exton Park from Power Plant/Data Center Hub” page on Facebook since it was established earlier in this month. The popular recreation area is close to where Lyddane has explored building a second data center and a power plant.

A 700-acre expanse of woodlands, ponds, and open space, Exton Park was established 30 years ago after local residents fought fiercely to prevent construction of a large housing development, said Ginny Marcille-Kerslake, the administrator of the Facebook page.

“The zoning amendment Charlie requested is very open-ended and would open the door to [development of] hyper-scaled data centers in West Whiteland,” said Marcille-Kerslake….As for the future of the West Whitelandproperty, which includes a storm-water management area that would serve the East Whiteland data center, the developer said: “We don’t have a plan yet. We’re not sure if we’re going to do anything there.”

EAST WHITELAND — A 2-million-square-foot data center, at a cost of approximately $6 billion, is planned for the 100-acre former Foote Mineral site. Seventy-five acres sit in East Whiteland and 25 acres are located in West Whiteland Township.

Fifteenfortyseven Critical Systems Realty partnered with Green Fig Land to obtain East Whiteland zoning variance changes that would allow for two separate million-square-foot, two-story structures and microwave towers, near the intersection of Valley Creek Boulevard and Swedesford Road.

Charlie Lyddane, who works with partner Greg Walters, of Green Fig Land, said on Monday that he wants eventually to also build on the adjacent 25-acre property in West Whiteland Township.

The site abuts the heavily used Chester Valley Trail and Exton Park for what Lyddane said would be an “ancillary” use.

Data centers house equipment such as servers, and air conditioning and cooling equipment for storage of large amounts of data. Data centers run the systems that cell phones are connected to and it’s part of the internet. A data center is the building that houses all of that equipment.

Residents rallied to fight some of the uses after West Whiteland had set a January 25 date for a hearing on zoning changes in the existing office/lab district. Those changes would allow for the data center and a power generating facility to help run the data center. PECO has already agreed to supply a large amount of power. Lyddane said it was enough to fully run the East Whiteland facility as planned.

Lyddane pulled the request for a township hearing which was to appear on the agenda of the Jan. 25 meeting.

“There is no plan for a power plant,” Lyddane said, although a zoning ordinance change for such was requested. “There are a number of options for things to do there.

“We want to see what happens with the data centers. Nothing is definite. We don’t have a plan. We are looking at options.

“The only plan at this time is to build two data centers and that’s it. We are nearly through the approval process in East Whiteland.”

Lyddane also said that more than half of the 25-acre West Whiteland tract is being left as open space because it includes existing wetlands.

Any zoning changes would allow for additional data center construction on more than 100 nearby acres in the township that Lyddane said he doesn’t own and is not for sale. Lyddane said it would be possible to operate a green power plant at that location.

West Whiteland resident Ginny Kerslake is strongly opposed to the project that might include a power plant, as was requested and written with the new zoning variance language.

“Power plants, whether gas or hydrogen from methane, emit the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, and methane,” she said.” In addition to this, there are methane emissions all along the route from fracking to the power plants, and impacts to public health and safety, water resources and the environment. No matter how you try to greenwash it, gray or blue hydrogen is not sustainable energy. It’s a false climate solution being pushed by the fossil fuel industry.”

Data centers in New York, Oregon, Hawaii, Wyoming, Wisconsin and two in Illinois are operated by 1547 Critical Systems….. A $50 million cleanup of the Foote Mineral site is completed, according to Lyddane, who said he spent $2 million on sewer improvements and $500,000 for the cleanup of the township sewer treatment plant.

The proposed West Whiteland zoning changes also call for a 60-foot height limit rather than the current limit of 35 feet.

“We are looking for flexibility,” Lyddane said.

The developer said that each of the two floors might measure 20 feet high, with equipment on the roof. He said that the facility would create 50 permanent “very good paying jobs” onsite and about 3,000 jobs during the construction period.

West Whiteland Supervisor Brian Dunn talked about the zoning changes that might lead to a data center and power plant in the township.

“I’m always skeptical about amending zoning ordinances,” Dunn said. “I’ve found through my experience that whenever a zoning ordinance is amended it’s not always what was proposed.

“A lot of times it opens up a can of worms for something worse.”

West Whiteland Supervisor Rajesh Kumbhardare said he wants to see the facts while noting that the site sits far from residences.

“I don’t see any issue with the zoning changes,” he said. “There is no power plant on the books.

.Kerslake argued that the zoning changes suggested for the canceled Jan. 25 meeting clearly stated such.

“Let’s consult the experts,” Kumbhardare said. “Let’s not put the cart before the horse.”

West Whiteland Supervisor Theresa Santalucia preferred to not comment when reached by phone.

Libby Madarasz is running for the seat occupied by Santalucia on the West Whiteland board of supervisors.

“I’ve spent hours this past long weekend speaking with residents in their neighborhoods and out enjoying Exton Park and the Chester Valley Trail,” she said. “There was a resounding objection to these (proposed) changes in the zoning ordinances which would have such an impact to these treasured spaces.

“The prospect of a fracked gas/hydrogen power plant was especially offensive. I truly hope our township supervisors listen to the people and honor their duty to put the desires of the residents first.”

Kerslake: “The developer’s withdrawal of his zoning ordinance amendment is a victory for all those speaking up against this bad plan and a testament to the power of community. The requested change, oddly submitted without plans and impact assessments, was a trojan horse that would have opened the door for a fracked gas power plant in close proximity to neighborhoods and our treasured Exton Park and Chester Valley Trail.

~Daily LOCAL/BILL RETTEW

So to West Whiteland Supervisor Raj Kumbhardare, is a bit of a puzzle here. Supervisor Raj should have more to say more than his evasiveness in The Daily Local News about carts and horse, right? Supervisor Raj as a day job is in database administration so is there anything in this for him? Not being mean but does he care about all of his constituency equally? After all this issue is bigger than computer and database type professionals being excited that the data center is coming, right? And then there is the wondering if he really understands the zoning and how zoning doesn’t exist in a little bubble or vacuum and these changes could potentially have far-reaching changes for the township he is supposed to serve equally to his best efforts so??? I am not saying he’s not a good guy I am asking reasonable questions. I am also wondering how is feeling about carts and horse right now?

And my favorite angry lame duck supervisor is mums the word on this? Why? Rather odd considering….she’s always so pithy, yes?

Anyway, East Whiteland is not being shy about how they seem to be feeling, do they?

Also do not forget this hopeful piece from September, 2022:

Data Center Frontier: With New Incentives, Pennsylvania Makes Pitch for Hyperscale Business
Sept. 15, 2022
With the passage of new tax incentives for data centers in Pennsylvania, developers have announced plans for a hyperscale campus outside Philadelphia that could create 2 million square feet of data center space.
Rich Miller

With the passage of new tax incentives for data centers in Pennsylvania, developers have announced plans for a hyperscale campus outside Philadelphia that could create 2 million square feet of data center space.

The project is a big bet that Pennsylvania can become a destination for cloud campuses for huge Internet companies. The incentives are also being welcomed by existing data center providers, primarily enterprise colocation and interconnection specialists.

Last year, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed a package of data center incentives that includes a sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of computer equipment….

Last month data center operator fifteenfortyseven Critical Systems Realty (1547) said it will partner with real estate developer Green Fig Land Company (GFLC), to acquire 100 acres of land in Chester County, Pa.  to build a data center campus with 150 megawatts of capacity. The site plans call for a pair of two-story data centers, each sized at 1 million square feet of space.

“We at Green Fig have spent three years working with the legislature to enact a bill to eliminate the sales tax on data center equipment in Pennsylvania,” said Charles Lyddane, Managing Partner of GFLC. “With access to Tier 1 carriers like Arelion, Lumen, and Windstream, Pennsylvania is the ideal location for an additional data center cluster sitting between markets like NJ/NY and Ashburn.”…If the project succeeds, the Chester County site could be expanded with to support an additional 149 megawatts of power, and up to 5 million SF of space. Green Fig said it is also working on a dedicated, sustainable power generating facility on site.

Tonight class we re-learned a valuable lesson or two:

(1) Sometimes the peasants revolt.

(2) Carts and horses are funny things.

(3) Sometimes municipalities want the public to have actual clarity.

(4) This is an issue that grew legs this week.

(5) Get involved where you live.

gratitude jar 2023

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

Lao Tzu

In 2014 I started keeping a gratitude jar. I had read about it and it’s a simple concept: It’s a mason jar full of things you’re grateful for. There’s no hard or fast rule as to how often you put a little piece of paper in your jar, it’s just when you think about it.

It’s mindfulness I suppose.

What are you grateful for?

Thankful for?

Maybe changing your life for the better can indeed be as simple as starting with a deliberate change in outlook? Glass half empty? Are you sure? It might be half full on the way to overflowing. The gratitude jar is a private reminder to you.

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul.
~Henry Ward Beecher

The gratitude jar isn’t or shouldn’t be a prop so people can visit your home and say “Oh what a good person they are!”, it’s something for you. If you let it , what you write will teach you about yourself, others, your world. And it will help you to open up to the goodness that is possible. Learn how to cherish what is right there.

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

~Benjamin Franklin

Sometimes when a bunch of negative things happen all in a row, it’s hard to stay positive. I find it hard to stay positive because I do not think by my very nature I am naturally positive. I have to work at it. It may sound silly, but I think my gratitude jar has helped.

I really feel positive for me has been learned behavior, and it’s something I have to relearn and reaffirm again and again. Hopefully, someday it will be second nature to me.

I am sure that some are reading this post and wondering if I am the same person who ripped a politician a new one in another post today. Yes I am. Speaking my truth takes many forms.

Having a gratitude jar is a simple reminder that life is not all bad or all difficult. Having a gratitude jar helps you focus on the things that are wonderful in your life. Even every day little things are wonderful.

Having a gratitude jar helps us reaffirm the many positives in our life. Life can be hard. I am not trying to be Pollyanna and say everything is always wonderful with fuzzy caterpillars that turn into magical butterflies. I am more of a realist than that.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” 

~ Thornton Wilder

Sometimes I look through what I put in my gratitude jar. My gratitude is pretty consistent.

Feeling grateful as a powerful emotion. Ours is a time where as hard as it is we also have to be grateful. Grateful that we are alive. Coronavirus and COVID-19 separated so many people from their friends and families the past few years. So have social issues and politics.

Life has been hard for so many the past few years. Often unnecessarily so. Sometimes human beings by their very nature make things more difficult than they have to be.

So now starts year 9 for my gratitude jar. I have all of my slips of paper. I am not re-reading everything and I am not emptying my jar like some people do.

Will 2023 be the year people try on a little more gratitude and mindfulness? Time will tell.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.
~ Joseph Brackett 1848

in case you missed it…like me…

One of my favorite magazines is Country Living. When I have time, I read it as soon as it hits my mailbox, cover to cover.

But it has been a busy few months, and the magazines ended up in a neat pile next to my reading chair in my bedroom on the footstool. Until today when I decided to dig into my overdue periodical reading pile.

Well guess what business and who are right there inside the September, 2022 issue of Country Living magazine? One of my favorite Chester County businesses and owner. Yup, Malvern’s own Life’s Patina and the creative dynamo behind everything , Meg Veno.

You know how much I love Life’s Patina because pretty much every time she has an event, you can find me there shopping and taking photos! And my husband gets me Life’s Patina gift certificates for Christmas.

Part of the reason I love Life’s Patina is it’s simply put, beautiful. Every time I visit. But it is also because of Meg and her team. They are seriously the nicest. And Meg is just positive and kind. In the chaos of today’s world, this makes a huge difference. Also? They make everything look so effortless and magical. You can’t help but get a good feeling every time she opens her barn!

Also worth mentioning is how lucky is Historic Yellow Springs Village and West Pikeland Township that Meg Veno and Life’s Patina are sprinkling their magic on the Jenny Lind house? They have stripped her back to the beginning and done an incredibly painstaking renovation that is almost there. I feel that her renovation,when finally completed, will bring new life and renewed energy to Historic Yellow Springs Village which it needs.

I mean seriously, how lucky is West Pikeland Township to have both Jeff Devlin and Meg Veno taking an interest and putting businesses that celebrate Chester County and her history right there in this small Chester County municipality? So lucky! Adaptive reuse of the best kind totally loaded with heart and talent and effort!

And the funny thing is I was one of the first people who suggested Jenny Lind to Meg when she was saying she wanted a new challenge.

I have however almost regretted suggesting Jenny Lind and Yellow Springs to her at times because of the duration of the renovation, the obstacles and challenges of truly restoring the Jenny Lind. However, the renovation has survived COVID and all that this time in the world and supply chain issues that every renovation everywhere has suffered. When the Merchantile & Cafe opens it will be truly amazing!

So to say I was thrilled when I saw one of my favorite magazines featuring one of my favorite businesses and business owners was an understatement…even if I am a few months late.

So Meg & Company, I am so terribly sorry I didn’t open my magazine sooner! So well done and deserved. Lots of places are inspired by what Meg creates at Life’s Patina. Make sure you check out one of their sales when you can!

listening

Listening is a skill that a lot of people lack. It kind of goes into that same category of people not having empathy, or basic reading comprehension.

Two people hurt me on Christmas Day. They are people in my world that you would think knew better. Yet somehow, they, never, ever do. My husband sighed and said to me essentially it would hurt less if I accepted they would never change. One also made me angry by going to my husband instead of me like I am in fact a 1950’s housewife bobblehead.

To my husband I say, I know you are right. And yes I am admitting that out loud so write down the date and time. But my rational mind, knowing and accepting that they won’t change, is sort of caught between a rock and a hard place because my emotional self took a punch to the emotional guy on Christmas Day. That kind of damages the magic quality we all hope for on Christmas.

That being said, I committed social media taboo yesterday by posting how I really felt. Now we all know we are never, ever supposed to do that. We are supposed to live our best, fake Facebook and Instagram lives at all times.

Newsflash:

Just because I vent and am honest about how I am feeling doesn’t mean I am loosing my marbles. I just had something to say and said it. Out loud. So it stopped running unchecked in my head.


Maybe that makes me odd or unusual because I am not living my best fake life on Facebook and Instagram, but I am actually O.K.


Venting is actually quite healthy. You all should stop worrying about how it looks and just do it once in a while.

When I wrote about it initially I said all I was doing was venting. I was NOT looking for opinions, advice, or free social media psychological analysis. Four dear friends from different stages of my life village got this completely.

One friend knew I needed to talk it out, so she gave up a good part of her morning for me and we had an awesome catch up in addition. She has recently moved into a new how out of state, so I appreciate the time truly.

Another friend, from a similar background including that of our fathers growing up, totally got where I was coming from. She has always been very intuitive that way.

A third friend, actually a classmate of my sister’s originally, also gets it. And she has been through a lot in her life, so I deeply respect her for surviving all of that and getting me.

The fourth? Just gets me, flaws and all 100% of the time and always has. She pulls no punches and will flat out go 100% Jersey on me if she thinks I am wrong.

Then there were people who messaged me was I O.K..? Yes, I am O.K., but I can’t just turn the other cheek on everything nor pretend bad behavior especially at Christmas is even remotely O.K..

And that is the biggest thing of all with this: it is Christmas. I work so hard to make Christmas magical for my world. Is it too much to ask for some not in my world every day to at least pretend for one day? I get I am not particularly important to them, that I make them uncomfortable for not being more like them. I get all that. Truthfully, I have to be me, whether they like that or not. But damn if I don’t keep hoping, thinking, wishing, wanting that they would be different.

Back to yesterday. Some took the social media path of essentially NOT listening to what I was saying. People, listen. Not just to me, but everyone in your world. And sometimes, like it is all about all of you, it is actually about someone else, and their feelings. Yesterday was bout MY feelings, not how you thought I should be feeling.

We all have to be selfish for ourselves at times, but the trick is recognizing that happening and that is is a temporary thing. Nothing fatal, not particularly permanent, but people occasionally just have to work through shit, even if it makes YOU uncomfortable.

I am working through a few things, and on Christmas Day, I realized sadly that how I feel when interacting with certain people, only hurts me, not them. To them I am not even really a blip on the radar. To realize on Christmas that fact of my life once again that the best course of action is to remove myself from the way some are and to just live my life is the best thing for me, is super hard. To realize you are not accepted or understood after expressing how you feel is so hard at any time. And I guess that is why I have sympathy in society for those whom the rest of or part of society feels the need to shame and bully and change and put down.

But what is that old adage? We can only control our feelings and behavior, not the feelings and behavior of others? O.K. note to self: go back to listening to yourself. Take your power back.

And I am not talking about taking back power on anything bad, just looking in the mirror and realizing you are not a bad person just because some people will never get the core or essence of you.

And if I want to vent, people, I will. It is far healthier to get things out then to chew on in, internalize it, let it fester. Have an emotional coming out party. We can’t always do everything at the expense of self to make others more comfortable as they steam roll over our feelings.

Emotional independence is a hard jam. Why? Because we all have that inner child wanting someone to make the boo boo better. Sadly, things only get better if we take those steps for ourselves.

And next time before your tiny keyboard runneth over on someone else’s social media page because they are shock and horrors living a real and more authentic life even on social media the land of narcissists, poseurs and fake it until you make types, hit the pause button. Maybe you should just let them vent. A very old fashioned notion that pre-dates social media, but often not a bad idea.

There, it’s out of my system. If you were able to listen, thanks for listening.

are people actually thankful on thanksgiving?

In less than an hour, it will be Thanksgiving. 2022. What am I wondering this year? Something some may find odd: I am wondering if people are actually thankful on Thanksgiving anymore ?

Thankful. Grateful. Blessed. These words are exceedingly overused in our everyday vernacular. They are almost too casually tossed out here and there, like verbal popcorn. I question if people really are any of those things sometimes.

We live in a beautiful, yet often cruel and hateful world. Just look at social media. It is a modern way to keep us connected, yet it’s a bully pulpit for so many to be so hateful. I know my critics will scoff at that idea, since everything they project on me, they actually do.

Ironic, isn’t it? The pious perfectionists of social media are the ones who do the most damage. They have narrow comfort levels and in some cases, narrow knowledge bases, which of course leads to their narrow opinions, narrow world view.

These people have made a difficult couple of years for all of us, more difficult. Which brings me to why I am thankful. I am thankful I am not those people. I am thankful those people are not my people in all of their judgmental glory.

Life is not some perfectly staged silent tableaux. Life is messy and real and in technicolor. We need to give ourselves permission to live our lives out loud. Every day will not ever be perfect, nor should it be. It’s time for all of us to stop the apology tour for the skewed perspectives of others. Be thankful for who we are as human beings. Be thankful for those who see us.

That is not to say that we all couldn’t stand to be a little more kind at times. Sure we all could, but that doesn’t mean we are supposed to roll over and have doormat stamped on our foreheads.

I am thankful and grateful. For my life. For my friends and family.

Thanksgiving marks the start of a season where so many feel so alone. Even if they aren’t. In the season of giving, sometimes just a simple checking in can help some people.

2022 has been a crazy year I think. And very hard and full of loss for some, change for others, and maybe a bit of both for a lot of us. Sadness and gladness, bittersweet, hard, eventful, exhausting.

I think all of us can also say we are happy to have survived La Vida COVID. So many did not. And COVID has definitely taught us not to take a lot of the everyday for granted.

I will never pretend to have all of the answers in life, or even some answers because I always have questions.

Anyway, as it is after midnight, it is officially Thanksgiving.

Gobble, gobble.

Happy Thanksgiving.

other things

Today is just one of those days that makes you think. I had to be home today, so I used Instacart. I will be honest I like this as a service. And for the most part I also really like the people that work for them. Today my person was a woman new to the area. Why and how she’s new to the area gave me pause.

This woman is here because of Hurricane Ian. Her husband has a job that requires a lot of travel. He spends a lot of time in this part of the Northeast. But they were living in Florida. Until hurricane Ian took everything. So she and her husband have relocated for at least the near term. His job is based out of the suburban Philadelphia area at this point, and well they just lost everything in a hurricane.

So as we’re sitting in our houses, apartments, townhouses, condos, wherever we need to pause a moment. Forget about all the hate and vitriol, think about people that go through things like this. And they go through it with a smile on their face and a positive attitude.

Also today I got to spend a little time with a friend of mine I don’t get to see very often. Life kind of intervenes and there are people that you just don’t see it as often as you would like. But again this is a person who has had quite the year, and is still positive and smiling and happy.

Today I also got to meet a Brazilian artist. She also has relocated to this area. And another person who just radiates niceness and positivity. The artist is Fer Caggiano, and I was introduced to her through a mutual friend. For this post I borrowed a photo of one of her paintings because it’s kind of how I’m feeling today, right or wrong. The link to Fer‘s website is embedded in the caption of her painting above.

The painting you see above made me check out a video of one of her shows, a show called “Like a Girl.”

Fer Caggiano is now calling Chester County home. It is kind of amazing that she is here. Her work is interesting, thought provoking, imaginative. I am not an art critic, I am just someone who likes things which strike me in some way The portraits in her Dare to Dream are cool. They aren’t traditional, they aren’t abstract, they are an interpretation of life and the essence of her subjects. Fer is also part of the NFT artwork movement.

What is an NFT artwork? NFT art is a digitalized piece of artwork that a person has tokenized onto a blockchain. Admittedly, that is not my jam as I like to look at art more traditionally. But Fer is multi talented, so she is an artist you can buy actual physical pieces from.

Fer is based out of Malvern now and Hands In on King St. They are located at 346 E. King St, Malvern. Now this business is owned by my friend Susie De Rafelo. Susie and I became friends because of a common love of gardening. Susie is amazing, (truly) and so multi talented and artistic. We are very lucky that this Chester County born woman returned to her roots and brought her business and imagination with her.

Hands In is a fair trade business. I am a fan of fair trade, as my long time friend Sherry Tillman has always practiced this through her business, Past*Present*Future , which is in Ardmore, PA.

Today started out like more of an average day. I also had hate mail in time for election day from some woman (a Stepford Wife for Totalitarianism) who should be ashamed of herself and her lack of intellectual ability, but she won’t be. She is a bless your heart and move on. You can read what she sent to me in my post this morning.

As humans, we are not designed to be mirror images of one and other. But in today’s hate and vitriol filled world, if you aren’t exactly like someone, you are bad. Ok, so to people like this morning’s fan, I am bad. If I don’t agree with someone on social media, I am bad. But I am tired of these people, and increasingly intolerant. I wasn’t born to live in a beige, beige world. I like color. I accept life can be messy, yet glorious. If you can’t, I am sorry, but that’s on you. These people are far too plentiful these days. And that is sad. But today, ugliness was once more balanced out with good. I appreciate that divine intervention, so to speak.

Thank you to the unintentionally inspirational women with whom I interacted today. You guys make life and the world a better place.

Now, if you haven’t already, please go vote.

Ciao.

what kind of guy….not our guy

Guy Ciarrocchi is running for Congress in the 6th District. I know it gets confusing, because earlier in 2022 he also ran for governor. I’m going to include screenshots.

He’s not my kind of Guy, that is for sure. That being said, please think before you vote tomorrow.

He seems like the kind of Guy who drags out his heritage when it’s politically expedient. I also have plenty of relatives in South Philadelphia. I also have Irish and Italian lineage. (Of course my lineage gets more interesting because there’s also a dash of Pennsylvania German.) They are part of what make me who I am. I’m proud of those roots. They were hard-working, nice people. They taught me to stand up for myself among other things.

Again…..If politicians are judged by the company they keep, check out the company he’s been keeping especially recently in Berks County…..He’s very careful not to appear in a photo with Mastriano, which I find interesting, but do note with whom you find him. And where. #whereisGUY ? Hmmmm.

Now in 2008 or thereabouts there was an entire website devoted to him. That’s how strong people felt when he was running for State Representative against Paul Drucker. See:

https://whatkindofguy.wordpress.com/

Things that bug me include:

If you can still access that link above that is his old gubernatorial website from early 2022. That is kind of sloppy, truthfully.

it is basically the same bio verbatim as found on this website where they refer to him as a “young gun“: https://nrcc.org/candidates/guy-ciarrocchi/

Then there is this:

December 2021: Ciarrocchi Said Roe v. Wade Was “Bad Law” Based On “Very, Very Outdated Science.” “GOP gubernatorial candidate Guy Ciarrocchi, who is on hiatus from his job as the president of the Chester County Chamber of Commerce said, ‘I am pro-life. But, whether or not one agrees with Roe v Wade, we should all be saddened to know that millions of babies have died—30,000 each year in our state. The decision focused on a baby’s viability in 1973. At a minimum, we should all agree that viability is now much, much earlier due to scientific advances. So, Roe is now not only bad law, it’s based on very, very outdated science. It is time for Roe to be replaced.’” [Delaware Valley Journal, 12/1/21]

November 2003: Ciarrocchi Said A Court Decision Overturning Massachusetts’s State Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Was “Bad Moral Decision” Because It Would Make The Term Marriage “Meaningless.”  “For Haddonfield resident Diane Marini, yesterday’s Massachusetts high-court decision overturning the state ban on same-sex civil marriage could carry her closer to her dream: to legally marry her partner of 12 years, Marilyn Maneely. ‘We’ve raised five kids together, but we as a couple have no rights,’ said Marini, who with Maneely is among seven gay couples suing for similar legal recognition in New Jersey. […] Guy Ciarrocchi, director of the Philadelphia Archdiocese Office for Public Affairs, saw it as ‘a bad legal decision and a bad moral decision.’ ‘It’s bad legally,’ he said, ‘because it continues down a dangerous path of allowing courts to decide important legal issues rather than legislatures. And it’s bad as a moral decision because if every relationship the participants believe is special is deemed marriage, at some point the term marriage becomes meaningless.’” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/19/03]

~ The Case Against Guy Ciarrocchi



So let’s circle back to he never seems to appear in a photo with Mastriano. As a matter fact he seems to show up at events were Mastriano is but not in Chester County which is very interesting. To me that says that even this guy thinks Mastriano isn’t good for Pennsylvania. I’m allowed to have that opinion. I’m sure my opinion will upset his cheerleading collective from Moms for Liberty and Pennsylvania Conservative Women (formerly Conservative Women of the Main Line or whatever.) These “ladies“ I collectively refer to as the Stepford Wives for Totalitarianism. But the event in Berks county was interesting because it was hanging with a bunch of people from an extremist group. Again.

And then he goes door-knocking in HIS neck of the woods . So he doesn’t tell people he’s a Republican, he tells them he’s an Independent? Dude, can’t be a little bit preggers here since you’re against abortion which must include political abortion too, right? Haven’t you said you were an independent when running for things before? So if you actually are not a Republican why run as one?


The extremism stance is a familiar M.O. if you refer back to the what kind of Guy website. I offered to you some screenshots from that website. And I’m really glad that website stayed up because it is very informative. And that is the biggest problem with today is people do not do their own research. Too many do something or say something or repeat something just because someone told you to. That’s why these groups like the Stepford Wives for Totalitarianism have so many members. Here are the screenshots:


We do not need any more divisiveness in Washington, D.C. and this isn’t because he’s a Republican, it’s because the Republican Party only shows the American voter crappy candidates. It’s kind of a problem across the country but it’s like pervasive dangerous mold in Pennsylvania it’s so bad. This country is a democracy based on a two party system, but when you have one party that is no longer the party of Lincoln and that is the most polite way I can think of putting it, fielding sub par candidates and pandering to extremism, welll dayyuummmm….we live in crazy times. Usually I am a ticket splitter. There is not one Republican I could actually vote for with a clear conscience in 2022. Not one. Well except for Chris Quinn. I could vote for him for State Rep if he was a choice. He’s a good dude.

So it’s up to you tomorrow who you vote for. But this “Guy” is a man who has run for lots of offices and just is quite simply put, out for himself. It’s not about us, it’s about him. And if you are a woman in Pennsylvania especially, he’s not your Guy and it is EXACTLY that simple.

Get out and vote tomorrow. Don’t make excuses, find the time. It’s too important.

Thanks for stopping by.

stop telling this woman, i.e. me, how to think. (oh and by the way, danielle friel otten is a terrific human being.)

I am more than tired of the personal and ad hominem attacks I am receiving because sometimes I share what Danielle Friel Otten shares. The latest is I lack INTEGRITY because I do.

Well here’s the 411: there are people in her district whom I feel lack INTEGRITY because they believe some hack spin doctor cooking up attack ads and nasty mailers in a soulless office located who knows where over a woman who has proven time and again she is there for her constituents and has been one of you fighting against things that are wrong.

I feel that attacking ME instead of having polite and reasoned conversations with her directly LACKS INTEGRITY. There. I said it.

Further and to the point, I can’t control the content of attack ads and attack mailers deliberately designed to divide communities, I can only be responsible for myself and how I feel. To that end, it’s not up to you all to decide who my friends are or why I know they are good people.

Every election season since Danielle Friel Otten has been a candidate and run for office there have been attack ads in some form or another. Her opponents assail her character. And WHY do they do that? Because of the fact that she is actually in Harrisburg for the RIGHT reasons to DO HER JOB FOR HER CONSTITUENTS, even the ones being pig ignorant.

If you want to speak with her, try being polite and not acting like you woke up and left your mind and manners behind. How about saying thank you to Danielle for all of the time she takes for all of you at her personal expense of missing everyday moments with her own family, her own children?

I am a grown up American woman entitled to make my OWN choices, including supporting my friends whom I think do a good job at their jobs. Supporting a friend doesn’t show a lack of integrity, it actually demonstrates integrity. Maybe you don’t like that I support my friends, but that is NOT your decision, it’s mine.

I am not of the religion of the sheeple and never have been. And also as American 🇺🇸 woman I still have freedom of choice and not just over the rights to do what I want with my body.

And speaking of a woman’s right to choose, I don’t want politicians in my medical business telling me or doctors or insurance companies or anyone what I can or cannot do. You see, this is akin to spot zoning, and politicians taking us back to back alley abortions will affect so much a woman has to deal with, not just one thing.

I already voted to protect my choices as a woman. I encourage everyone to vote to protect women’s choices and other choices like the rights to free and fair elections. Do I think democracy is at stake this election? Yes I do.

But above all else stop telling women how to think. Stop telling ME how I am supposed to feel about my friends.

Don’t let Pennsyltucky ignorance take over Pennsylvania.

ladies who lunch en masse, connect via linkedin?

LinkedIn. I don’t know. I’ve never quite gotten it. It’s never really done anything for me, except personally allowed me to connect to some friends and former co-workers I don’t see or speak with very often who aren’t on any other social media platform.

But has LinkedIn ever done anything for me professionally? I don’t know truthfully, but I kind of do use it as a place to share my blog posts. I have also discovered by accident it’s a place where corporate America goes to hide so if you have a problem it’s a great place to tag people to get something accomplished because it makes their marketing departments vibrate to get what they deem unwanted attention.

LinkedIn is also a place where people go to spy on other people. As a blogger, people do that to me all of the time. And I am always amused by who is looking.

I was also fascinated when I saw this article recently :

CNBC: PSYCHOLOGY AND RELATIONSHIPS
Why is everyone crying on LinkedIn? Users share why they’re getting so personal on the networking site

Published Wed, Sep 28 2022 12:02 PM EDT
Updated Wed, Sep 28 2022 4:11 PM EDT
Aditi Shrikant
@ADITI_SHRIKANT

“Dominic hit Kai in the face with a broom,” begins Kwame Christian’s LinkedIn post. Christian is an attorney and CEO at the American Negotiation Institute

“Understandably, Kai wasn’t thrilled about it…..

It continues like this for another eight, double-spaced lines before Dominic and Kai reconcile under Christian’s guidance. 

If you’ve scrolled through LinkedIn lately, you know Christian’s post is not unique.

Stories from and about crying CEOs, overwhelmed parents, and burnt out millennials have ferried us into an entirely new type of LinkedIn — one that looks a lot like Facebook.

The flooding of the professional platform with selfies, family photos, and somewhat chaotic “life lessons” was propelled by the pandemic and bolstered by LinkedIn’s algorithm favoring more personal content.

~ CNBC 9/28/22

Ahhh get personal, it’s good marketing. I see.

LinkedIn is amusing and the beautiful online place for marketing departments then? Honestly this is a fascinating article and I really suggest people read it. It touches on our over-sharing on social media in general, and how it is used now like a marketing tool on LinkedIn.

“We came out of the pandemic struggling with finding a work-life balance and we saw other people being forthcoming with those challenges,” she says. 

When she posted her own story, she felt re-affirmed that it got so much interaction. 

“It reminded me that business is run by people and we all have lives,” she says. “At least for me, seeing people at their desk doing exercise, seeing it come to life, it all seems more achievable.”

~ CNBC 9/28/22

I guess the thing is I don’t see my life as a marketing tool. If I feel like sharing I’m just sharing, I’m not sharing so I get a new customer.

But the other thing about LinkedIn that is starting to grind on my nerves is the amount of unsolicited messages we get. Take this morning for example:

So Mary Elizabeth, what made you choose me to ask? Was that just some list you purchased? Or did you just go through and do a search for women in the area? Why would you think anything I did would be interesting? How is your group “curated“ to help me do what I do? It sounds like a marketing pitch, dear. Marketing pitch as in sales pitch. So again what specifically drew me to you for dining en masse?

This is actually just a marketing solicitation/sales pitch to me, isn’t it? Kind of like have dinner at Red Lobster and meet your perfect financial advisor?

First of all if you actually knew me, you know the last thing I want to do is be in a room full of women who are strangers at lunch talking about themselves. And if you actually knew me, you would know I never, ever will fit this mold.

Also there is nothing on earth more suspicious than the supposed “free lunch“ from strangers is there? And why do I say that? Because it comes with a sales pitch. People, come on now, try to keep up. There is no such thing as a free lunch, remember that saying?

This isn’t because someone has an interest in me as an individual human being at 58, this is just me as a body to get into a room in the hopes you can sell me something.

And these purported all female empowering networking groups are they really that? Or is it just an excuse for some of them to promote themselves to you? because the real hard-working women I know out there never have time for things like this because why? Oh yes… they’re actually working.

And it goes back to why do they really want to have lunch with me? And why do they presume that I want to have lunch with them? Selfishly, I hope they sent an invitation to somebody I went to high school with who is now completely and truly off her rocker because that would be really funny. Just hope there is no open bar, right?

If I have lunch it’s with friends, or family. I’m kind of past the stage of the Melrose Place power suit and lunch. I don’t even like wearing make up unless I pretty much have to. Maybe that is a subconscious thing in me revolting from the years gone by where you had to wear make up, suits, and pantyhose to work. Or maybe it’s just because I find the whole idea of this so utterly boring. Or maybe it’s a combination of both.

When I lunch with the ladies, they’re my ladies. We’ve known each other for years and we’re getting together. Or it’s a quick hour with a colleague. But it’s not something super contrived in a restaurant where I can buy my own lunch.

Things I have observed about super marketing over the years includes often in the marketing departments it’s hype and fluff, but in reality can they deliver? Or is it just about the hype and a golden façade and you are never supposed to see behind the magic curtain?

Dining en masse with strangers so you can be sold something isn’t my idea of fun. Sorry.

And please, can someone tell me why any of us truly should stay on LinkedIn? And does anyone ever really get anything beneficial out of their paid platform?

Life is just a funny place to be some days. And then there is LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by.