vintage beauty gets gussied up

My new old chair

A few years ago I picked this chair out of a barn. For $45. Which is astounding because vintage furniture of this quality is highly desirable even used. And if you’re looking at the gorgeous mahogany of this chair this is also why you don’t need to chalk paint or faux paint every piece of vintage furniture. Sometimes it just needs to be recovered.

“Brown wood” is cool, pass it on.

It’s a Southwood Sheraton side chair. It was made in Hickory, North Carolina. It’s just slightly past mid century, this chair dates to 1973 when Southwood was founded.

Southwood was started in 1973 with the vision to become America’s premier maker of authentic, museum-quality antique reproductions, as well as offering traditional upholstered seating. They went out of business around 2013, sadly.

Anyway, The chair when it originally came to me was in a powder blue silk velvet. But the velvet had been drying out and getting very brittle over time and I knew I needed to start looking for fabric to recover this chair in. Enter a friend of mine whose late mother had amazing taste. She gifted me a remnant of vintage Scalamandre upholstery fabric.

So I called up my upholsterer Ken and said I have the fabric for the chair. He had coincidentally just start looking for fabric for me for the chair because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

Chair before makeover.

This evening my chair came home. It looks amazing! And I did save some money by supplying my own fabric. But that was just a fluke that the fabric was gifted to me. It’s just like the planets aligned.

Once again I am sharing with you the information on my upholsterer, Ken’s Upholstery. They pick up, they deliver, and their attention to detail is unparalleled. It has been a long time since I saw an upholsterer who is this good at his craft.

And Ken does nice little things for his customers like send you photos of whatever he’s working on for you from start to finish. And something Ken did for me was to put the original Southwood tag back on the bottom of my chair. I had not asked him to do that, I had asked him to just hang onto the original manufacturer’s tag!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the way the chair turned out. My husband knows he will never be able to drink red wine in it but that’s OK. I love it! And once again I am a regular customer of Ken’s Upholstery , I am not getting anything as far as compensation in any way shape or form to write this post. I am just a very, very happy customer!

Thanks for stopping by.

My chair reupholstered.

a valentine would have been nicer…

This morning I woke up with the phrase good fences make good neighbors running loose in my brain. Why? Because of something that happened yesterday.

Yesterday by around 8 AM our neighborhood looked like a used car parking lot. A bunch of cars from outside the neighborhood kind of parked all around the giant mountains of snow left by the snow plows through no fault of their own. It has been cold so not much has melted, there has been a lot of snow, and no more places to put it. One of the vehicles, a white truck, was even blocking the edge of my driveway.

All this snow has shrunken our on street parking making everything more difficult. Even mail delivery.

The cars came from outside our neighborhood and across a major road. The cars came from a property that new people moved onto at some point in 2020 and literally built a giant garage on that seems bigger than the house when you drive by.

The house has a bigger and longer driveway with more space behind the house for parking than anyone in our neighborhood. And again, across a major road, so if I lived there I would not park in the neighborhood across the road because it’s like playing chicken to cross the big road, a state road, safely anyway.

These folks have a LOT of cars and seemingly just a lot parked on their property. But it’s their property, so just an observation. Of course it’s an observation I wouldn’t even think to make if they didn’t park multiple vehicles in a small neighborhood on a small road that was not really where they lived.

Since these people moved into the area they literally park a couple to a few vehicles on our street a great deal of the time. A little head scratching considering their driveway size, parking pad, and big old garage, but hey, they bought a property that has needed a boatload of work so ok, I get it, work trucks and equipment need room. And you want to be neighborly, right?

Their parking habits weren’t a problem until yesterday. Yesterday when they butted one vehicle literally on a neighbor’s bumper South Philly style and blocked the edge of our driveway. That and the mountains of snow made it an issue. Our houses are all the way at the end of the road so it was a little odd. Usually they take all the on street parking further up the road. And no one gave any of us the heads up they would be taking most of our on street parking at one end of the street. Which in winter weather is just nice to do right?

I actually didn’t say anything to the people. It was 8 AM or maybe earlier, I was in my nightgown and needed coffee. I figured I would have coffee and get dressed and then see what was up.

However, I didn’t do anything in the end because my one neighbor got in her car and drove to their house. She asked them nicely if they could move their cars. They were expecting someone that needed room to park and then there is USPS.

If you are parking too close to or blocking a mailbox around here they literally will not deliver the mail. I know because we had one of our vehicles out of the driveway a few days ago because the heating repair guy was coming to adjust something and needed room to get into driveway, etc. As they were leaving, the mail was coming and I was told although we were not blocking the mailbox it was close enough that if it happened again we wouldn’t get the mail delivered because they couldn’t easily pull up and pull out, they would have to back up.

The neighbor who went to talk to these people is literally the nicest person you will ever meet. She would give you the shirt off her back. Never mean, never rude, just lovely. The people in the car house were not exactly receptive to her. So she kind of said “ok” and left.

In the meantime I had dressed and was looking out the window again at the truck blocking the edge of my driveway. Agonizing over what to do. You see, no one wants to have to call the police on someone. Especially for something like this.

But I didn’t have to do anything in the end because next thing you know I see out the windows these guys walking down the road rather animatedly. I could not hear their conversation, but body language said “annoyed”.

These guys moved the cars. I was off the hook and didn’t have to deal with the fact that someone had parked blocking the edge of the driveway in weather that narrows everything.

But it still begged the question in today’s world of what to do. Do you try to be the nice neighbor and talk to them next time, or just call the police? I put it out there to my friends and some said just let police handle it, and some said bake them cookies and go talk to them.

Well by last evening I learned these people weren’t the people you baked cookies for or invited over for a cook out. These people called the police on my nice neighbor. Yes, the nicest woman on the planet and she was told not to talk to them, not to go to their house, and so on.

The police were super nice to my neighbor, and they had a responsibility to do their jobs, so that isn’t an issue. The issue is the not quite neighbors odd over-reaction to a simple, polite, and pleasant request from my neighbor. Not a next door neighbor obviously because they don’t actually live in our neighborhood, but an area neighbor from a neighborhood they use like a parking lot. My other issue? They did this to her in a fit of righteous indignation or whatever and they literally had blocked part of my driveway. That’s actually not ok.

So sadly now we know what kind of neighbors they are going to be. And I say sadly because literally everyone around here is so nice. From road to road, just nice people. Honestly coming from the Main Line which had changed so much by the time I moved to Chester County, it took me a while to get that neighbors are still nice.

And my neighbors especially? These are the people that in normal times we gather with and have cookouts with or just hang out. These are the people that taught me the lovely traditions of leaving each neighbor a small Christmas gift. These are the neighbors who will come running with jumper cables if your battery is dead. These are the people who gathered together to help when another neighbor had a house fire. These are the neighbors that will help you move tree debris in a storm. And all during COVID19 we have socially distanced outside but check on each other and say hello. These are the people you dream of having as neighbors. Good, solid, decent, caring, nice people.

So it’s really sad that these other people can’t see what nice people are about. Now we know. A Valentine would have been nicer. But there are some who don’t understand the golden rule of do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. Try to be kind to one and other.

two wrongs don’t make a right

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” That is what my grandmother used to say when I was little. And she’s still correct.

Chester County resident and area attorney Michael van der Veen was one of Trump’s second impeachment lawyers. Technically he’s Bruce Castor’s new boss, another member of the last minute defense team, so umm was this really surprising?

I mean come on have you ever known any trial lawyers? They can have huge egos and often questionable choice in clients. Did I find it amusing that he joined the big orange defense team? Yes because not only did he defend the Haverford College student who tried to hack Trump’s tax returns, he filed litigation against USPS and Trump in 2020. But then I remembered what an old boss said to me one time with regard to his ex-wife’s divorce lawyer and it was simply put “if I have to do this again I’m hiring them.”

However, if I was a lawyer would I defend Trump? Oh hell to the no. But exactly how many lawyers does Trump or his family have on their payroll? OK scratch that does it really matter? No it doesn’t. Lawyers have clients and not all people like their clients.

The news has reported that people have vandalized van der Veen’s property here in Chester County. That’s wrong. No matter what you think of his choice of clients or potentially his politics, to do that to someone’s property is wrong.

See: https://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2021/02/13/michael-van-der-veen-traitor-home-vandalized-donald-trump-impeachment/

See: https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia/michael-van-der-veen-trump-phillydelphia-vandalism-20210213.html

See: https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/graffiti-painted-outside-trump-attorney-van-der-veens-chester-county-home/2704391/

Someone a little while ago basically told me I was a bad American because I think vandalizing someone else’s property is wrong. But it’s not staying on some “moral hill“, his wife and children and neighbors didn’t sign up for this. Can you imagine how they feel? We all should feel safe in our homes, and not be scared where we live.

This crap in this country needs to stop. No matter what you think of this man or Bruce Castor, their families shouldn’t be subject to this and neither should their neighbors.

You can’t just trash other peoples’ properties because you don’t like their perceived politics. It’s like when election officials in Pennsylvania and elsewhere were getting threatened over the election. That wasn’t right either, it was wrong.

And this is actually the gift, the enduring gift that the Trump years have left us. A stain on the American people where we cannot have conversations even with our next-door neighbors about politics. We can’t agree to disagree. It’s either you take a particular side or you’re wrong. And if you’re wrong, you can’t just be wrong, someone wants to destroy you, your life, your property.

People can’t you see this is wrong?

Whatever happened to the worthy opposition?

Apparently Mitch McConnell’s home was vandalized and something equally unpleasant vandalism happened to Nancy Pelosi. I despise McConnell and am not a member of the Nancy Pelosi fan club, but do I think it is right to deface someone else’s property? No I simply don’t.

I am tired of this political eye for an eye in this country. I’m tired of the angry rhetoric on both sides. We can’t allow ourselves to be ruled by angry rhetoric anymore.

People, we literally need to stop the violence and the crazy behavior. If we don’t, the Trump legacy will linger far longer than it will already.

I am not trying to sound like a trite 1960s Hallmark card by saying give peace a chance but damn people we really need to do that.

Can we please just stop the goddamn madness in this country? Can we go back to being neighbors and friends and colleagues? Maybe our politics will be similar, maybe they will be different, but do you remember when it used to be OK to have a different political opinions from the guy across the street?

And let’s not be naïve and think that this second impeachment was going to prevail. Once again it never had the votes. That’s not to say I don’t think it was wrong because I completely feel Trump is culpable for January 6 and all the angry crap and vitriol from the election and over the past few years. But if we as Americans don’t draw a line in the sand to begin again, Trump ultimately wins and is that what people want?

Anger, violence, vitriol, and destruction and vandalism of property is NOT going to change the BS in this country. Only we can do that, and the only way we are going to be able to do that no matter what you think you know about politics is it cooler heads start to prevail.

I haven’t fallen and hit my head. I’m sure some of you were just wondering so I’ll make it simple: ten years ago next month I started to deal with my then reality of a lump in my left breast. Within weeks of that, I received an official diagnosis of breast cancer and began to plan surgery and treatment. When you face your own mortality dead on, maybe it changes your perspective.

My perspective is the USA is like a giant Humpty Dumpty and we need to put her back together. We need to make changes, we need to learn from our collective mistakes.

Please. 2020 was a horrible year. Let’s not allow 2021 to be the same. We as human beings can choose between right and wrong, and work for peace in this country.

Thanks for listening.

tales of bacton hill: elwood michael

Elwood’s greenhouse and tool shed. (1970s?)
Claude Bernardin photo

Today I received an e-mail from former East Whiteland/Bacton Hill resident, Mark Lanser. Today he has generously shared his recollections of Elwood Michael who was one of the local and beloved characters once upon a time.

These oral histories of everyday, ordinary folks are just as important to the fabric of the history of an area as our Revolutionary war heroes and the famous who passed through. The photos are from artist and former resident Claude Bernardin.

Enjoy!

🔏📍As I have a few moments I’ll share with you a bit about Elwood Michael. You have a picture that Claude supplied of his cabin on one of your past blogs.

Elwood told me he came to Bacton with his brother from Phoenixville along with his brother in a covered wagon in 1910.

All I know of Elwood was that he was basically a tenant farmer.

When I first met him as a little kid he was employed by Mary Cain to take care of the farm at the corner of Spring Valley & Bacton Hill Rd. I think he may have lived on the farm for a while. He also was farming a piece of ground at the top of Bacton Hill where Valley Hill Rd. intersects. That was on the left side as you went up the hill.

Elwood had a old Fordson tractor one of the gray & red ones. He had a sister who gave him a few cars over the years. A black 1941 Ford 2 door sedan (my dad bought it from him) a black Plymouth 4 door (1950 I think) and a light blue 1955 Ford 2 door sedan. Elwood would end up ruining them by driving them through the fields he plowed.

His cabin had two rooms. One had a large cook stove which was a wood burner. Besides cooking it was his only source of heat.

The other room was his bedroom/living room. It had one light bulb in the ceiling. No other lights in the place. He had 3 dressers stacked on top of each other. You needed a ladder to get to the top one.

He had a rooster named Pete who was an ornery cuss. You always had to be on the look out as he would come after you on your blind side.

He had two dogs. One was an Airedale named Jackie. Another smaller one was a black & white dog. I don’t remember it’s name. Elwood would tell us he kept a rattlesnake there but it got out of its cage so we better keep a look out.

Elwood had half his teeth missing, a few days of beard and smelled like smoke. At times he would show up at our house and others conveniently at dinner time. We knew he needed a meal and always asked him to stay. Often he would end up falling asleep. We would go to bed and he would be gone in the morning.

The next evening we would find a gallon of apple cider on the porch as a thank you. Sometimes when he needed a ride he would get on our school bus and he would get dropped off along out bus route. Can you imagine doing that now?

To help our neighbors he once drug old logs out of the woods from alongside the field he plowed at Valley Hill road. He drug them down Bacton Hill with his tractor and lined the one side of Kirby’s driveway as it had a steep bank on the one side.

Another time he took an old wood stove from the now abandoned green house on the Mary Cain farm and took it over to the Mannigsmith’s who lived just below Bacton Hill Rd. On Rt.401. He installed it in their spring house complete with a stove pipe chimney which of course he cut a hole in the roof to install it. Mr Manningsmith while appreciative of his thoughtfulness would have rather been asked first.

My brothers and I had gotten rides with Elwood over to a Baptist church in Charlestown Twp. He would stop along Rt. 29 at Mrs. Markley’s (KD Markley Elementary School) to get his water from her spring along side the road.

Sunday morning Elwood would put on his top hat and blow his bugle to get everyone up on the hill to go to church. He continued to farm and died on his old Fordson tractor while plowing the field along Valley Hill Road. He had a heart attack. I think he was 76 years old. I don’t know the exact date. My brother at some point is going to check into that. It was around 1966.

He was quite a character and helped make our childhood growing up on Bacton Hill unique and memorable. Hope you enjoy some of my memories.

~Mark Lanser🔏📍

Elwood’s two room shack. Claude Bernardin submitted photo. All of these old photos in this post are from his personal collection.

four years of where’s anna maciejewska?

A woman I never met. Yet like many others in Chester County, Anna Maciejewska is someone we think of often. It has essentially been four years minus a few weeks.

Her parents are old, and have been in poor health.

Her beloved son is growing up with limited memories of his mother, probably only photographs and doesn’t that break your heart?

The case started with a different Chester County District Attorney than who is in office now, Tom Hogan. Now the Chester County District Attorney is Deb Ryan. I really wish she would light a fire under the Pennsylvania State Police.

And how about our state elected officials? State Senator Carolyn Comitta and State Rep Kristine Howard and State Rep Dianne Herrin and State Rep Melissa Shusterman you are ALL mothers and ALL someone else’s daughters so how about having some interest in justice here?

#FindingAnna needs to take place.

Anna, we haven’t forgotten you. Hopefully some day there will be #JusticeForAnna.

america the beautiful…and dysfunctional

Silly me, I thought it would all start to calm down after the inauguration. Nope. Social media remains the great abyss self righteous political indignation and vitriol….and crazy misinformation.

Cast your memories back four years to when Trump was sworn in. Were we all this crazy? No. But we were already mocking his coloring outside the lines with the “biggest, best inauguration” of it all. But as a nation, we hadn’t gotten so ugly yet.

We will start today with thoughts on the NUTBAG Congresswoman from Georgia who has the most fascinatingly red beak of a nose, Stepford Wife Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has already been suspended from Twitter once for crazy harassment of a Georgia election official according to Forbes. She is also one of the Trump girls CNN loves to fact check.

I wonder seriously if Greene is mentally stable enough to hold office? She is supposed to represent the entire 14th district of Georgia, and well is she actually doing that by announcing she filed articles of impeachment against President Biden? Even her own party thinks she’s a NUTBAG according to this Yahoo report.

A little closer to home, I sadly unfriended someone else locally I know because of the tone of her political posts on Facebook. And that’s what people don’t get – it’s the tone and attitude that gets me. I don’t necessarily mind the opposing opinion but even from those who share similar opinions to mine, it’s the tone and attitude. Remember when we used to be able to have actual reasonable conversations?

With this person there was this crazy bit of literally fake news they posted about the inauguration that made me say “enough already.” And also I couldn’t deal with the crazy comments from many including the person I unfriended and one other I know.

All this crap about the supposed symbolism of how Vice President Harris didn’t completely rest her hand on the Bible (hello COVID19 makes us not want to touch anything right?) and how Biden’s Bible (a 19th century family bible he has used for swearings in since his early US Senate days) had an upside down cross. I mean hello? Fact check much? In a couple of photos I have seen people holding this massive bible and cradling it essentially wrong end up, which doesn’t make it a satanic book. Oh and saying he did not have his hand firmly enough on the Bible and did you notice in photos their eyes were all black? Yes, seriously, this was the conversation. I mean hello are you people living in an episode of Charmed or The Magicians? I was very happy to not comment and merely leave that party.

I have always found it fascinating to watch the cult like devotion to the now ex President. People standing for hours to see a man who didn’t actually help them or anyone else in their socioeconomic class. People who emigrated here as immigrants and watched the horror show of immigration under his administration, yet think he’s God-like. No y’all he’s a world class narcissistic political grifter and he rooked all of you. Every single one of you. Like that whole thing of the man behind the curtain, the great and powerful Oz. Smoke and mirrors is not reality.

But then again, on the other hand I also find it almost comical the people who are the epitome of white privilege, yet who post about it on social media like they are reformers. I guess living on mommy and daddy’s money and trust funds makes them feel guilty or something?

And then there are the people posting photos of Melania posing in front of the First Lady’s desk. So she was a model, right? She knows how, to pose but what did she actually do while First Lady? She was never even comfortable in the role and spent four years looking like a miserable Stepford Wife Barbie doll. Oh wait, she ruined the rose garden, so she did do something.

Why can’t these people give a new administration a chance like we were asked to give the last new administration a chance? Why can’t we all literally give peace a chance? Is it possible the entire country needs therapy?

I don’t know who is going to agree and disagree with my musings this morning. It’s just what I woke up thinking about and decided to write about. People are fascinating to observe even in sheer dysfunction. It’s kind of like watching who follows my blog here and on Facebook. People who used to describe my writing as self aggrandizing who haven’t been in my life thankfully for over a decade. Yet they still follow me? Why?

Please enjoy the sun this morning. Try to find something positive in your life to celebrate. Celebrate the every day. Celebrate surviving a year of COVID19. Celebrate jettisoning ugliness out of your life to make it a more positive experience. And pray for those who can’t find peace. It must be terrible to love in their heads, yes? And why are they joining Telegraph?

Thanks for stopping by.

blips on the radar of life

Our COVID19 existence in 2020 and now 2021 has been odd, strange, and different on so many levels. Interpersonal relationships especially.

We as human beings for the most part are social creatures , unless we were already self-avowed loners and hermits, or had taken a vow of silence. COVID19 has limited and removed and changed our ability to socialize. And redefined it strangely and some people have very odd boundary definitions too.

I am more of a homebody than not. So the staying home most of the time has only gotten to me intermittently. Or has it? I keep finding house projects. This week for example, I decided I had to oil and wax polish all the old wooden chairs. I like old wood chairs, so that was a bunch…before 8:30 AM one morning.

But one thing I have noticed is I have retreated in the communication of it all. I do miss seeing people and I get tired of talking on the phone. Video chatting helps, because it provides that visual connection humans need I think in interaction. We all texted a lot before COVID19, aren’t you tired of it now some days?

Another thing I have noticed is something I first noticed after 9/11: people looking up people they hadn’t been connected to for years and in some cases, never really were connected to – they were just blips on the radar of life. I had that happen to me a couple of times just after 9/11 happened, and I even looked a couple of people up I hadn’t talked to since way before I was no longer working in NYC. I figure there must be some human psychological response to either tragedy or widespread hardship or something- that literal need to check in.

That same thing seems to be happening now during the COVID19 of it all.

I was talking to one of my essentially life long besties last night. She called to tell me about someone who had reached out to her. Literally a name I had not heard since we were 19 years old. The older guy that tested a friendship decades ago, decided to message my friend.

A long rambling message about his life, family, what his wife did for a living. And he literally lives thousands of miles away. And no one has been in touch with him since he called her in college to say he was moving and leaving that day. At the time it was kind of like “Ok bye” and no one thought of him again.

I had to laugh. As a teenager, he was one of the first older guys that I met. Again, we were 19, and he wasn’t just older he was like almost out of his 20s. So in retrospect his attention was creepy, only I don’t think this guy made the radar of our mothers because he was such a short term blip.

I met him, thought he was cute. Like any other teenage girl time in memoriam, I wanted a good friend to check him out.

I introduced them at an outside summer event. It was a club lacrosse game. There used to be lots of those back then. College age and older. Kind of like league ice hockey which still went on, at least until COVID19 hit.

I could tell this guy thought my friend was cute. I didn’t think much of it. He used to call once in a while and we would hang out, but it wasn’t so much a “summer romance”. But while he was cultivating me as a mostly occasional hang out buddy, he was also cultivating my friend. I don’t think either of us knew at first because there was no social media and well, he wasn’t that important. He was more like a cute curiosity.

Then one day I went over to the house he was renting with a bunch of guys. To hang out. It was literally the afternoon, and I had been invited. When I got there, my girlfriend was there too. And the body language was unmistakable. I remember that I pretty much had nothing to say. I literally just left the house.

That feeling from that day I never forgot, although eventually we did forget about him. It was awful, like a punch in the stomach. The adult me knows he was a random sleazy older guy who shouldn’t have been hanging out with teenage girls. The adult me knows he was just playing us both, he probably thought he was something to be doing this at the time. My friend and I got past it because well, he wasn’t important and our friendship was. But it was not a pleasant teenage experience at the time.

So we had forgotten about him until he essentially went Facebook trolling to seek out my friend. I will admit that although I am certainly no beauty queen we checked him out, laughed, and said “ewww” and put him back in the tales of teenage years past where he belongs.

But these things are happening all over. People connecting or trying to connect with people from other lifetimes, who weren’t important back then, so other than way too idle curiosity, why?

I will also note that the time of COVID19 has in general made me reflect some on who I actually want on my Facebook and Instagram. I have quietly jettisoned some people. Mostly people who I realized were drowning in the deep end of the angry crazy posting of drivel and fake news. It’s not that their opinions were different than mine, it was truthfully the anger and vitriol of what they were posting had reached the point that it was stressful and uncomfortable. So it was buh byes time.

Perhaps when we look back on these years many years hence we will laugh at these people who were blips on the radar of life. At the end of the day it’s the whole reason, season, and lifetime as far as who is in our lives. Sometimes it makes for great stories, however.

Thanks for stopping by.

yesterday, was not o.k.

Yesterday was not O.K. Yesterday was a study in horror. Yesterday we could have lost democracy and what makes America well….America. Every American regardless of creed, color, political affiliation, and so on should NOT be O.K. with January 6, 2021.

Watch the ITV video. I can’t post it here because of the raw violence it shows. [CLICK HERE ITV VIDEO] Also check out this photo array from Vanity Fair. Here is an excerpt of the article that goes with it:

VANITY FAIR: POLITICS
THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF STORMING THE CAPITOL
If the Trump-incited rioters had been people of color, troops would have been out in force. And yet, there are positive lessons in the events of 1/6/21.

BY JIMMIE BRIGGS

JANUARY 7, 2021

Watching the mob scene on Capitol Hill over the last several hours, I was numbed by the whiteness that blanketed the screen.

As I get older, and possibly wiser, I find myself increasingly thinking about whiteness and of the mind-boggling degree to which my life as a Black American man has been impacted by it lately. Some 400 years since my ancestors were forcibly brought to these shores, and more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed them and their immediate descendants from enslavement, whiteness has dominated their (and now my) imagination, dreams of their/my future, and alas, even their/my joy.

To be clear, when I refer to whiteness, I mean the privileges, expectations, and elevated humanity afforded those in American society whose skin happens to be white; who exist daily in varying degrees of proximity to white people; who actively seek the affirmation of and their raison d’être from white people—and/or those whose aspirations for themselves, their families, and their communities are modeled on some kind of reflection of whiteness.

Today, this theme struck me with massive force. Televised scenes showed thousands of Donald Trump–supporting rioters and criminals, largely white and typically mask-less, descending on the nation’s largely Black capital.

I know according to Trump I am just a lowly suburban housewife, but my thoughts?

This is not America. And the last time the Capitol was stormed by invaders? 1814. Yes, sit with that a while. The last time was 1814 during the War of 1812 when British forces set fire to the Capitol. (You know when Dolly Madison was trying to save things in the White House?) These folks muscled by law enforcement and I am fascinated by what I saw on TV including when officers moved barricades to let the marauders in. I don’t know if that was tactical because they were being overwhelmed but it begs the question of why there wasn’t more of a law enforcement presence from jump?

One of those at risk yesterday was my friends’ daughter. She is young, and a Senate Page. I can’t imagine what her parents were feeling as this unfolded. I know I kept wondering how my own Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan was. And friends who just live in Washington D.C.


A special note to the one on Facebook a lot of my friends and I know who thinks we didn’t see her post “1.6.21” as a standalone post on her timeline. We saw. And she can delete what she posted and try to back peddle with people, but it will not change the ugliness she has deliberately been projecting with her posting for quite a long time. I still wonder if her little plastic housing development will secede from the union? And this woman was full of fake indignation and moral outrage at anyone suggesting those who stormed the Capitol were Trump supporters. Yes, seriously. I think she even had her virtual smelling salts out.


And for another woman who posted it must have been Antifa dressed as Trump supporters? Then honey, I must be the tooth fairy, and that must have been a Trump impersonator with Rudy Giuliani.


I will also note I know people that I believe are true patriots and they don’t behave like what you saw yesterday. And it wasn’t just some small percentage who were at fault because they got into the Capitol building. As we saw it unfold live before our eyes on television screens, computers, and smart phones from coast to coast, and around the world, that was the intent of the entire crowd. And was that the actual intent of Trump who really isn’t fit to be president even if he only has what? Two weeks left?


Yesterday was a crap show and that was 100% orchestrated by Trump and he is responsible and knew exactly what he was doing, so I hope you all who have gone unmasked for him at all those events are proud, because that all played a part in events leading up to this. You all have a degree of culpability. I watched everything yesterday unfold I couldn’t believe I was once proud for decades to be a Republican.

Yesterday was not democracy in action. This is not the constitutional right to express yourself and protest. This was ugliness, suborning anarchy, and basically acting like domestic terrorists.

I thought Joe Biden was marvelous when he spoke yesterday. My Congresswoman, Rep. Chrissy Houlahan said in a release to her constituents:

“The attack on our Capitol yesterday was unconscionable, but it was not inevitable,” said Houlahan. “It was a direct product of four years of division and dissent that has emanated from the very highest office in this country and a horrifying culmination of months-long baseless and unsubstantiated attacks on the very heart of our democracy. Those who carried out this attack and those who inspired it, implicitly and explicitly, must be held accountable.

My colleagues and I owe a debt of gratitude to those who worked to secure the Capitol, allowing the business of the people to continue. I was unequivocal last night and remain steadfast today that the work of this body, the work of the American people, cannot nor will not be halted, no matter the attacks levied against it.

We gathered yesterday in the tradition of the joint session of Congress to count the results of the Electoral College and to certify the victory of President elect Joe Biden and Vice President elect Kamala Harris. And despite the efforts of insurrectionists, we carried out our oath-bound duty.

I’ve heard many references recently to the War of 1812 and the attack on the U.S. Capitol but, as a Pennsylvanian, I am reminded of a particular different piece of our community’s history.

Many Americans have visited Philadelphia and the historic sites that are the cradle of our nation. Fewer people make it out to my community, which is home to Valley Forge. Here, General George Washington led the Continental Army to winter quarters. The Revolutionary War had not been going well for our young soldiers, and the winter of 1777-1778 was harder still. It was bitterly cold, there were food shortages and a smallpox outbreak. Many brave patriots died.

We remember what happened there because it was a test of endurance, a demonstration of devotion to mission and to country over self. Coming out of that awful winter and experience, our troops emerged better trained, united and ultimately victorious. In harsh, dark times, they found their common ground and their fortitude. The success was not by chance, General Washington led by putting service above self.

Just like then, it is in these trying moments where we learn who our leaders are. They are the ones who don’t just ‘represent’ or give orders, or ready us for a fight. They are the ones who also educate. Who speak the truth. They inspire confidence and unity rather than sowing division and strife.

There is a striking parallel between what our nascent country endured then in Valley Forge and what we are enduring now. A hard winter of division, with illness running rampant. And an uncertain future after yesterday’s attack.

Our country’s resolve is being tested. I believe we will pass this test together and we will be made stronger.

We owe it to the people of this country to move forward from this election with a focus on healing the divisions that have been created and on ensuring our communities build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. We must be a government that works for all people, a body politic that stands on the side of truth and justice.

We must move forward with a servant heart and a common resolve to preserve this great experiment that is the United States of America.”

These people yesterday are the ones who have listened to Trump since the election. Since he lost the election. They listened to his his repeated lies of election fraud. (Guess they all missed the part where he disemboweled the United States Postal Service so no one could vote successfully by mail?) Trump has undermined this country’s confidence in itself, and ourselves as Americans. It has been unconscionable and yesterday it turned violent. And yesterday they vandalized our Capitol. OUR Capitol. As a lover of history, I just do not get it.

And what else don’t I get is the double standard of treatment. If yesterday had been a women’s march, or a Black Lives Matter march, or anything else than what it was, how would the response have been? Hell they arrested Jane Fonda now a senior citizen again in December, 2020 at a climate change demonstration. The response disparity of yesterday is truly quite remarkable.

I have said it before, and will say it again, protesting is an American right by our very United States Constitution. I have done it. But not like that display of yesterday. But yesterday? That was destruction. That was an attempt to overthrow the government. Elections are won and lost, we don’t need to die over it. If these patriots would kindly remember this is why our forefathers fought so hard for us to have our lives today, it would be helpful.

It’s time for Trump to go away. Is their a straightjacket somewhere in his size? He does not get to destroy this country any longer like he has destroyed his businesses over the years. The true “art of the deal” is knowing when to fold ’em and leave…and please take your lovely family along with you, Donnie.

We have had four years of a nightmare reality TV show come to life. Trump, you’re fired. Now run along.

Thank you Twitter and Facebook for giving him a mute.

America the Beautiful? Let’s get back to that shall we? Thanks for stopping by and oh my oh my how many COVID19 cases will result in yesterday?.

life in the fast lane

🎼Life in the fast lane
Surely make you lose your mind
Life in the fast lane
🎼 ~ The Eagles

Woke up with that song in my head. And it made me laugh because it seemed like the perfect theme music to the absurdity of dealing with women in local social media groups.

2020 left the calendar wall dealing with the bless your heart church ladies. You were only ok if you thought their church’s proposed 12’ LED sign was a great idea. If you are against this plan, you are a bad person, discriminating against Christians everywhere and going to burn in hell apparently.

Here comes 2021 and we are here but a minute and already, and it’s a case of but wait there’s more….life in the land of women….

First come the fake news posting devoted social media handmaidens of Trump. Eternally hypocrites especially if you remember them way back when. They have been in a fever pitch of posting things daily, almost hourly some days. They post all the garbage that amounts to suborning anarchy and domestic terrorism, except it’s so ludicrous. So I wonder, after today will their plastic southern housing development secede from the Union? (It makes you wonder 😂)

Flash forward to yesterday when Nurse Ratched had to post in a gifting group her unasked for opinion on something and most people are still trying to figure out why she bothered and what was her point? A real ankle biter, she didn’t like it when a group admin (not me) shut her nastiness down in a place that is supposed to be nice. She spent the balance of the day spewing angry bull twaddle including telling us we were practicing “censorship.” It’s a closed, private group but she thinks she can just be out of control nasty? Alrighty then. So what does this mature enlightened being do? Copied and co-opted what is literally my intellectual property. Mazel tov my darling. Often imitated, never replicated and you are literally one flew over the cuckoo’s nest . And she’s “coming for me”? Over what? We (as in not just me) told her no? Oy vey.

Then when we thought the day couldn’t get any crazier comes Bunny Honey the Stepford development dweller. A local school district posted a COVID19 update. I shared their publicly posted update with no comment, just literally shared their release. Up rolls Bunny Honey full of righteous indignation and demanding my “rationale”. Ummm really? Sharing public information posted without comment, merely for the update it was intended to be by the originator (i.e. school district) requires rationale? Oh honey, stick to one dish casseroles. It’s safer .

And then there is the whopper. Someone contacted my blog. They were concerned what they saw posted in a “mom’s group” which was a woman looking for a venue to hold 100 people inside for a baby shower. Ironically, I was in the group but rarely went into it because of what was posted which swerved between abject drivel and complete lunacy presented as “medical advice”. The person did not know I was in the group. I posted a screenshot that completely masked the group, the poster, and any potential personal identifiers. I posted because I think this qualifies as a COVID idiot and if we as a community, country, and world are going to get past this pandemic, we have to be smarter as a collective than we often are. Pretty simple, right?

Wrong. The comments came fast and furious. How dare I say anything? Easy. How many of us now know someone who has had COVID? How many people have been forced to watch from afar as family members have died of COVID because they aren’t allowed to be with the, for fear of others contracting this highly contagious virus which has infected families all around the world as in entire families? I am sorry not sorry but I think it is nuts to plan a huge event and potentially expose a pregnant woman and her unborn child to COVID. With all the how dare I comments came the over 100 comments from people affected by COVID or who know people affected by COVID, or who lost people to COVID.

One of the people who criticized is one who also criticized my posting the school district update. Her right but gave me pause because sadly I guess I was only an ok human being when I was posting about saving homes from eminent domain and a traffic circle? And then of course came one of the like 20 admins the group has actually identifying the group it came from. So yo’ “boo”? I don’t want to be in a group where bleach baths and is that husband cheating on her and worse is a thing, so keep your righteous indignation because oh hell yes I was indeed judging….but remember I did it without naming the group or letting poster identity get out, that was ummm in part YOU.

Which brings me to the continuing and overwhelming projection of selfish behavior and narcissism that has become the norm on social media. This is now the perfect segue to an article I read. Here is an excerpt:

The Elephant Journal: December 19, 2020
How COVID exposed New Age Narcissism.

📌During this global pandemic that has disrupted life as we know it, many people have attempted to find the silver lining in the chaos.

For some, it has brought people closer to their friends and families. For others, it has slowed them down and got them to reevaluate their lives and careers. Some picked up healthy habits, while others gave in to unhealthy ones.

In the end, it has brought many things inside of us to the surface. It has left many of us exposed to a layer of truth about ourselves and society that we were unaware of before.📌

This is an interesting read.

I will admit quite freely that COVID19 has not worked positively on my patience or occasional bouts of sarcasm. I am more impatient than I was at times with these keyboard tigers who dwell on social media and especially in community Facebook groups. Quite simply, I am increasingly intolerant of these people not only attempting to dumb everything down, but their narcissistic or merely selfish approach to the me first of it all 24/7/365. I will never be among their adoring public but I thank them for their many gifts of assholishness which provides giggles.

How I end up coping with these people is finding the humor in what can only be described as their online idiocy and assholishness and bitchfests. We are all discovering these people. Humor helps make it better. So does dumping wasted energy out our lives. At the end of the day, we don’t have to like them, and they don’t have to like us. After all, who are they in the grand, even cosmic sphere of things? Not important. (But damn amusing to occasionally poke fun at since they are but a spin on Stepford Wives, anyway.)

Happy hump day Wednesday folks! It’s a brand new year of silliness!

ciao 2020. may you be a year not to be repeated.

I can’t take credit for that funny cartoon above as it is circling the Internet. But it is too perfect to ignore and just sums up this strange year we’ve survived.

Yes I thought about a week ago I had written my last post for 2020 and then things happened. I learned those who claim to be Christian and pious aren’t always pleasant on social media. And while I really appreciate the pastoral leadership at Covenant Presbyterian Church sending me an email to acknowledge my concerns, well, some of us discovered that we got word for word as in yes verbatim the same email. That made me a little disappointed in them, but it also made me realize that they just don’t get it (or don’t want to.) I still hope they abandon the fakakta idea for a 12 foot high LED sign in front of a historically charming church on Lancaster Avenue in Frazer. (And isn’t fakata just the most perfect word to describe so many things in 2020?)

And if we’re going to talk about giant electronics signs that look like movie screens and giant TVs come to life, it is worth remarking that West Whiteland has a planning commission meeting next week where yet another one of these giant digital billboards is being proposed. Yes, January 5th. And I predict much like East Whiteland and their “settlement agreement” which will face East Whiteland with a Sophie’s choice of where to put signs residents don’t want. And then there is Upper Merion Township. They have their own giant digital billboards issues. Same billboard company and same solicitor as East Whiteland. There is still a petition circling for them if you agree with all of the residents who don’t want zoning changed in parks to accommodate billboards. And in West Whiteland what is with the other billboard related LLC very close by to the one being discussed January 5th?

Other things on the hit parade of 2020 include another year of unending issues with the pipelines. Energy Transfer, Sunoco Logistics, pick a name they spent another year making a mess, putting residents at risk. One of my late fall favorites? Was seeing photos on social media of workers’ trucks parked in fire lanes at local shopping centers like they were big important people that couldn’t park in a spot, and what’s up with that FU to the community?

As we head into 2021 there is a story out of Lower Merion that no one’s talking about. It’s about that property adjacent to Stonleigh that Lower Merion School District “acquired” for playing fields after they bought the property on Montgomery Avenue (what once was the Clothier Estate) for the new school. OK so everybody knew that the County Line Road property was going to become playing fields. That’s not news at this point. But what bears pondering is exactly how many hundreds of trees is the Lower Merion School District going to take down in the end for these fields? This is a sizable property and it has heritage trees doesn’t it? It’s over 10 acres isn’t it? So that is a big chunk of property to deforest isn’t it?

Now I’ve heard neighbors over there in both Lower Merion and Radnor Township are very concerned about the trees of it all because this road straddles both municipalities in spots. Lower Merion School District’s Superintendent should give a rat’s fanny about the environment as involves the future of his students, right? One thing I have always wondered about this set of projects both for the school and the playing field is how is this going to affect skinny hilly windy County Line Road and some of the surrounding small streets near these projects? And aren’t first responders a little far away from both of these new education locations? So what does that mean in the future? Once again I reiterate how glad I am no longer on the Main Line and feel for my many friends who are still there.

Other things I won’t miss in 2020 is the conflicting ways people treat each other online in the same communities. Maybe it was because so many people were home and they spent way too much time on social media, but I think people have spent a lot of 2020 being miserable to each other in as much as others also have tried to lift each other up. I can tell you personally I am closing out 2020 feeling completely less patient with people. It is something I am going to work on for 2021, but I’m telling you right now it might be a struggle at times.

So how about the mask of it all? I am not going to get into the argument that has been almost the totality of the year of what stays open and what closes due to COVID-19 (including schools), but I am going to comment about what crap it is I think the people complain they have to wear a mask. I live an immunocompromised life. Elderly relatives live immunocompromised lives. I know so many people at this point personally and indirectly from all over the place (as in just not this area) who have gotten COVID-19 in 2020. And these were all people who were careful and wore masks.

I also think it’s crap with regard to the people who can’t keep their kids at home who then turn into super-spreaders of coronavirus at all ages and stages of life. No one has liked feeling as confined as we all have during the year 2020. No one has liked how it has affected our economy, our personal psychology, our sense of freedom. It has been a difficult year emotionally for everyone. Some people feel so isolated and alone. Even those of us who live with our families can have different times during the year where they could pinpoint feelings of loneliness and isolation.

We close the year with vaccines….finally. That will start up all the anti-vaxxers I’m sure, but I would remind them gently that this is no ordinary virus. And we have already seen in the past few years what an uptick of measles and other childhood diseases has done across the country. All I’m saying is, people please try to keep it together so we can get out of these various stages of quarantine and get back to life. It won’t be life as we once knew it as we are forever changed by 2020, but hopefully we can get there.

Another thing I will be glad to see in the rearview mirror is the ugliness of politics in the United States of America during the calendar year 2020. We have a new president to look forward to and that serial narcissistic sociopath who’s been living in the White House the past few years? I guess he’s going to be Florida’s problem isn’t he? He has continued throughout the holidays (including today) to try to make his case for anarchy and civil war while he discusses his imaginary voter fraud and “rigged elections”. Dude doesn’t get it that he was FIRED by the American people. FIRED. Here’s hoping that America’s political parties get their crap together so we don’t come this close to a dictator ever again, especially the Republican Party because they ALLOWED this to happen.

2020 was also the time of no longer tolerating racial injustice in this country and great sadness and anger as a result from coast to coast. People came together in the midst of a global pandemic over it. We should all offer up a prayer for a peaceful 2021 and meaningful resolution to some of these weighty issues. We the people as in all the people deserve as much.

2020 was a year of personal sadness for me. I said goodbye to people I really didn’t want to say goodbye to. And they didn’t lose their lives to COVID-19, but because of COVID-19 you couldn’t see anyone to say goodbye to those who were dying.

Other friends of mine faced heath crises that had to have been extra stressful every time they had to go in and out of a hospital setting. I know the two skin cancer procedures I dealt with had me holding my breath in and out and through the COVID tests before each procedure.

Now 2020 wasn’t all bad. I got to garden a lot and work on restoring my old quilts and that makes me happy. Fortunately for me I am more of a homebody than not so I have gotten through not seeing a ton of anyone at all but I do miss my friends and my family. FaceTime and Zoom just isn’t the same, but I will say I am grateful for the technology because being able to see someone when you’re catching up is a wonderful thing.

In 2020 we saw extremes all year long. Exhausting extremes at times. But hey, you know what? We are still standing. And that’s a good thing. We can do this. We can survive and get past this. We can see 2021.

For most this year, it will be a quiet New Year’s Eve. For us, pretty normal as we generally stay in. I keep seeing reality TV stars like Sonja Morgan flitting across Twitter and Instagram asking what we’re wearing for New Year’s at home. Not sequins. But I live in Chester County so I don’t think it would be sequins ever…haven’t really seen any live sequins since I moved here.

In my final reflection of 2020, I will freely admit that if we are honest with ourselves, 2020 taught us all things about ourselves and others. Some good things, some unflattering things. It’s all about human nature.

As we bid adieu to 2020 for sure it won’t be a fond, lingering goodbye. It will be an enough already move along nothing more to see here kind of goodbye.

Pope Francis said something this afternoon which has stayed with me: “We thank Good for the good things that have taken place during the pandemic, for the many people who, without making noise, have tried to make the weight of this trial more bearable.”

And for something else fun, click HERE for a lovely rendition of Auld Lang Syne from my lovely friend, Mindy Rhodes.

Wishing all of you a peaceful and happy New Year’s Eve as my 8th year writing this blog draws to a close. Cheers to 2021 and new and healthier beginnings for this country and around the world.