empty nest…college, the first stage

empty nest

This morning before dawn broke, we became first stage empty nesters as my husband left to drive our son to school. The car was so packed, there wasn’t room for anyone to change their mind, let alone room for me.

It seems like yesterday he was 10 and we were meeting for the first time at a First Friday Main Line long, long ago. I bought him a hot chocolate at MilkBoy Coffee when it was in Ardmore, and I was smitten.

We are a blended family, and I was never able to have children of my own, so my stepson is it for me. I like to say in some ways, we have grown up together, and now I get to begin that parental process of learning to let go and watching him spread his wings and learn to fly as the transition from teenager to adult really begins.

Damn this is hard. This morning as I stood in the rain in the doorway watching the rear lights of the car get smaller and smaller, I was a kaleidoscope of memories and emotions.  All of the years so far twirled and swirled before me in my mind’s eye.

Yes I cried when I hugged him good-bye.  I swore for days before that I wouldn’t. But I did.  And I had a good cry when they were gone when I walked past his open bedroom door.  The room was still and quiet.  And he had made his bed for me.  Yup. Puddle. Tears. This adulting stuff, oy vey.

We are so proud of him.  He did extraordinarily well in high school and has a very bright future ahead of him.  This is part of the natural progression of life, but damn don’t try it without Kleenex.

Another thing that gave me pause today is that I was experiencing something today like a regular parent, not just as a step-parent.  This new journey beginning today is something he, his father, and I share together like the family we have become.

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As today is the check-in and freshman orientation for college, I call it the first stage of becoming an empty nester.  He will be home for break and vacations and occasional weekends, but he will never truly be here full time 100% of the time ever again.

He’s growing up (and yes he has been doing the growing up thing for a while – don’t mind me I am just enjoying parental denial.)  And some day, he will be having a day like this with his own children.

I am not old enough I said to myself this morning. I remember when I left for college.  I was excited and terrified all at the same time.  Now it’s his turn.

So what did I do this morning after I had my parental meltdown because the kid left for college? Well I cleaned and rearranged my spice rack. I oiled the cabinets and some pieces of furniture. It’s like I have an unnatural need to stay busy today.

Now I am sitting here writing this and listening to really early Madonna.  I never listen to Madonna.  Or I should say, I haven’t since I was about 21.  Holiday. Borderline. Material Girl. Lucky Star.

An hour or so ago I got a photo of the dorm room. That takes me back.  I remember that. Unpacking. Arranging my room.  But time flies.  37 years ago I was a just 17 year old freshman.  Seems inconceivable. I had a bright green bedspread.  My mother insisted.  I did not do that to him.

Now it’s his turn. He seems to like his roommate and survived his first freshman orientation gathering.  I remember I liked some of the freshman orientation activities, and felt like an alien at some of the others.

I have a feeling I will be cooking and gardening like crazy for just a little while.

I just got a text.  A photo of his first student i.d. He looks older already….sigh…

Have a great Sunday everyone.  Thanks for stopping by.

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help uncork the cure to cancer by attending the 27th annual wine festival to crush cancer at the dilworthtown inn!

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Even grey fall skies couldn’t keep people away October, 2017!!

You know summer is reaching her end when you get the notification that it’s time to buy your tickets for the Dilworthtown Wine Festival!! We love this fall event. It’s fun, it’s outside, it’s just a fabulous day.

21583398254_bcbf40990e_zOn Sunday, October 14, 2018  more than 1,500 oenophiles will help uncork the cure to cancer as they celebrate the 27th Annual Wine Festival at the fabulous Dilworthtown Inn.

As Chester County’s favorite wine event, the festival features more than 100 wines, craft beers, sumptuous fare prepared by Dilworthtown Inn chefs and local food trucks, a silent auction, shopping opportunities in the Gallery of Artisan Vendors, live music, a Performance Car Show, and much more. Proceeds from the wine festival benefit patients of The Abramson Cancer Center at Chester County Hospital and Neighborhood Health.

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For friends and family members battling cancer, the cancer specialties at Chester County Hospital bring the world-class care of the Abramson Cancer Center close to home. As part of Penn Medicine, it offers the latest treatment protocols and cutting-edge technology.

22216477811_ade819d6b5_kThe outstanding medical staff, clinical team, nurse navigators and hospital volunteers are known for providing the highest level of care and attention to the needs of our patients. And, the hospital works to give every patient every edge in their battle with cancer, including assistance for patients who are uninsured and under-insured. Outside of the hospital, patients continue to have access to the highest level of care through the services of Neighborhood Health (home health, hospice, private duty, and Senior HealthLink services).

22019294339_c00b786512_oThe Wine Festival is organized by the Brandywine and Greystone Women’s Auxiliaries to the hospital. To attend, volunteer, sponsor or donate, visit www.2crushcancer.com     or call 610.431.5054.

 22018069570_647f54d94c_zAs a 7 year breast cancer survivor as of June 1st, I attend this event because I know what good  Chester County Hospital and Penn Medicine do.  I would not be alive if it wasn’t for Penn Medicine.  So I make it a point to attend this event and support it, for that very reason.  Hokey as it may sound, it is the truth.

I have friends who work so hard on this event from the volunteers to the wine brokers.  It is an absolutely glorious way to spend an afternoon, so I hope you will consider buying tickets and attending.

VISIT EVENTBRITE TO EASILY PURCHASE TICKETS TODAY!

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Event Details:

When: Sunday, October 14, 2018 – 12 noon to 4 pm (rain or shine)

Where: Dilworthtown Inn, 1390 Old Wilmingtown Pike, West Chester, PA 19382

Questions: Contact Kate Pergolini at 610.431.5054 or Kate.Pergolini@uphs.upenn.edu

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General Admission Tickets: $45 until October 6, 2018/ $50 starting October 7, 2018

Enjoy the Grand Tasting of more than 100 wines & Craft Beer, Performance Car Show, Live Entertainment, Silent Auction and Shopping Gallery. Food is available for purchase from local food trucks.

 

VIP Tickets: $110 until October 6, 2018/$115 starting October 7, 2018

Your VIP Ticket includes all of the above, plus it is also your pass to the VIP tent, where you can enjoy reserved seating, fruit and cheese, special wines, gourmet food and more.

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Designated Driver Packages: $225

We want you to enjoy the day responsibly. The designated driver package includes 5 General Admission Tickets and One Free Designated Driver Ticket. The Designated Driver Ticket allows you to enjoy the Performance Car Show, Shopping Gallery, Live Entertainment, Silent Auction and also includes lunch and a non-alcoholic beverage.

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going goshen

I went to the Goshen Country Fair for the first time ever earlier this evening.

So much fun! I had never been and always wanted to go.

A friend of mine is part of the donut team at the fair and texted us this afternoon and said we had to go.https://extension.psu.edu

I am so glad we did. The fair is pure summer old-fashioned fun! They even had a pie eating contest for kids!

Smaller than the Kimberton Fair, I enjoyed it so much. They had livestock, rides, games, a wonderful chicken dinner, bingo, and of course the once a year treats, warm homemade donuts! And Penn State Extension was there too!

One of the extra fun things for me was the opportunity for the behind the scenes tour of the donut making! I put it on Facebook live on the blog’s Facebook page too!

I also checked out some of foods people entered for judging. Pickled things, honey, jams, and more.

In this crazy world we live in, the simplicity of this terrific fundraiser for Goshen Fire Company was a delight.

As per their history, the Goshen Fire Company was started in 1950 in a small garage in the “Milltown” section of East Goshen with one fire truck and has grown to what it is today, two stations housing 15 pieces of fire apparatus including 3 engines, 2 ladders, 1 rescue, 4 EMS units, 1 traffic unit, 1 brush truck, 1 support unit and 2 chief response vehicles.

Station 54 is located at 1320 Park Ave West Chester PA 19380. Station 56 is located at 1299 Boot Road, West Chester PA 19380.

This was I believe the 69th edition of the fair. Tonight it wraps up the fair for this year.

bermuda botanical gardens

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Beauty awaits all who enter the Bermuda Botanical Gardens

Buckle up readers, I went “rambling” off shore recently.  Bermuda to be precise.  What a beautiful place!

Needless to say I have a lot of photos still to go through, but I wanted to share with you my photos of the Bermuda Botanical Gardens.

Before we left  I researched some things I wanted to tour specifically.  As I am a rabid gardener, I have heard for a long time how spectacular the Bermuda Botanical Gardens were. And rather historic as far as botanical gardens go.

We took a bus from where the ferry docked in Hamilton to the botanical gardens in Paget Parish.  The bus we rode is the number 7 and is considered the most scenic bus route, incidentally.

Where we got off was a bus stop sort of in between the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the botanical gardens.

When I had researched the gardens they looked  different from what I found.  There was also supposed to be a visitors center where you could buy bottled water and gifts.

HAMILTON & CENTRAL BERMUDA
Bermuda Botanical Gardens

Indulge your senses with a trip to the Bermuda Botanical Gardens, and experience the sweet smells and vibrant colours of roses, frangipani and flowering hibiscus. Established in 1898, these 36 acres have been a popular spot to walk and relax among the lush foliage for more than a century. Along with flowers, you’ll find a palm garden with native palmetto trees, a subtropical fruit garden and a sensory garden for the blind, with Braille signs fronting fragrant blooms and herbs. Greenhouses hold collections of orchids and succulents, and the grounds are also home to Camden House, the official residence of Bermuda’s Premier, and the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

Special Features: Good for Groups, Kid-Friendly, Wedding/Event Venue on Site

Bermuda Attractions: Bermuda Botanical Gardens

The Bermuda Botanical Garden was inaugurated in 1898. The 35-acre landscaped park located in Paget parish, numerous flowers, shrubs, trees & plantations including a vast collection of subtropical fruit trees, hibiscus, an aviary and Banyan trees. The Garden has large glass houses with cacti and orchids along with formal gardens and lawns. There is also an aromatic garden designed for blind visitors.

There is a Visitor Center in the garden area which is open from 9:30am to 3:30pm (Monday to Friday)….The Camden House is located at the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. It is designated as the official residence of Bermuda’s Premiere and is an impressive colonial building with painted shutters and fretwork. Built in the early 1700s, Camden House is a great example of typical Bermudian architecture. It has a fine collection of art and antiques.

You can combine a visit to the Botanical Gardens with a free tour inside the Camden House. If you are carrying your lunch basket, there are picnic tables around this area for you to relax in the shades and enjoy your lunch. Alternatively for breakfast or lunch visit Homer’s Cafe. It’s located inside the Masterworks Art Museum within the garden area. There is also a cafe at the Visitors Center of the garden serving fresh fruits, salads, sandwiches, wraps, beverages etc.

Behind Camden House, there is a beautiful rose garden, and a kitchen garden showcasing many types of herbs and cut flowers. There is also an aviary here with peacocks, ducks and many other birds. Lawns stretch from here all the way towards South Road having many matured trees like cedars and acacias. Some of the lawns are bordered with beds of seasonal flowers like lilies, freesias and dahlias.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International

About the The Bermuda Botanical Gardens
169 South Road in Paget Parish DV 04. Or P. O. Box HM 834, Paget HM CX. Phone (441) 236-4201. Fax (441) 236- 7582. Since April 2002 part of the Department of Conservation Services of the Bermuda Government’s Ministry of the Environment. On Main Island. The largest local public garden by far. One mile from the City of Hamilton, they are open daily from sunrise to sunset, via Berry Hill Road, Point Finger Road and South Road. Bus routes 1, 2 and 7 go to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital nearby. Open 365 days a year. Free for 362 days (except during the Agricultural Exhibition every April). A mix of park, woodland, greenhouses, agricultural buildings and horticultural collections. A Bermuda National Park under the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986. Chiefly of interest for its trees, orchard, collection of orchids and Camden. Visitors should expect a fair amount of walking. The Bermuda Botanical Society – a Bermuda Registered Charity # 249 – provides them from its Visitor Centre (9:30 am to 3:30 pm) in the Gardens, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays 10:30 am year-round, weather permitting.
Main Address: The Bermuda Botanical Gardens
P.O. Box HM 20
HAMILTON
HM AX Bermuda
Telephone: 1441 236 4201
Fax: 1441 236 7582
URL: http://www.bermuda4u.com/Attractions/bermuda_attractions_bermuda_botanical_gardens.html

Staff Details
Director’s Name: P.J.Truran
Curator’s Name: Lisa Outerbridge

I loved the gardens. They are spectacular even in the sad state of disrepair they are in.

Locals I asked on Bermuda tell me government budget cuts are to blame. However, as in all things political, Camden House (think Bermuda’s White House) home of Bermuda’s Premier located at one end of the botanical garden grounds apparently has no expense spared on it. Ahh government, right?

But meanwhile there is NO Visitors Center, the is NO aviary (no clue where all the birds went – there were Macaws, Peacocks, Parrots, Chickens and who knows how many other birds.) And the rose garden? Didn’t see it. I know it’s there, but I did not see it which was a bummer.

Needless to say, contrary to what was advertised on one tourist website, there were no happy volunteers to show you around.  We wandered around ourselves.

It was brutally humid and threatening thunder storms the day we toured and the gardens were eerily empty for summer.  I do not pretend to understand the government of this island paradise but those gardens were established in 1898 and is home to many amazing plant specimens.

As FODOR’S says in a 2009 travel guide:

Established in 1898, the Botanical Gardens are filled with exotic subtropical plants, flowers, and trees. The 36-acre property features a miniature forest, an aviary, a hibiscus garden with more than 150 species, and collections of orchids, cacti, fruits, and ferns. In addition to these must-see sights is an intriguing must-smell one: the Garden for the Sightless. Designed primarily for the blind, it has fragrant plants (like geranium, lemon, lavender, and spices), plus Braille signage. Weather permitting, free 60- to 90-minute guided tours of the Botanical Gardens begin from the Visitor’s Information Centre at 10:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The sensory garden still exists, but needs love. The same with every garden space within the 36 amazing acres.

Frommers had this to say to potential travelers:

This 14-hectare (35-acre) landscaped park, maintained by the Department of Natural Resources, is one of Bermuda’s major attractions. Hundreds of clearly identified flowers, shrubs, and trees line the pathways. Attractions include collections of hibiscus and subtropical fruit, an aviary, banyan trees, and even a garden for the blind. A 90-minute tour leaves at 10:30am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, taking you through lushly planted acres. Guests meet at the Berry Hills entrance near the Botanical Gardens Visitor’s Center. On the Tuesday and Friday tour, participants stop in at Camden, the official residence of Bermuda’s premier, for a look around. The cafe sells sandwiches and salads (soup and chili in winter). Early in 2008, the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art opened within a much-restored, much rebuilt building in these gardens. And in the spring of 2008, the Botanical Gardens launched an ambitious 5-year plan to introduce four separate gardens of themed plants, including a Japanese Zen Garden, a 17th-century-style English Parterre Garden, a 12th-century-style Persian Garden, and a Tudor-style Children’s Maze Garden.

The Japanese Zen Garden while lovely is struggling. The Parterre Garden, Persian Garden, and Children’s Maze Garden sit empty. And throughout the gardens not one fountain is running. Except in fairness, it is summer on an island so they also have to conserve water.

And yet, even as a victim of Bermudian government budget cuts so obvious it makes you wince if you are a garden lover, these gardens still shine and should be gone through.  For me to see things like Bird of Paradise flowers just growing naturally, or amaryllis, and many other things including spice trees and big bushes of rosemary and lavender it was heavenly.

 

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The problem I think with these gardens is the Bermuda Botanical Gardens fall under the purview of Bermuda Government Park System.  We all know in the US that lovely phrase we’re from the government and we’re here to help….and the reality.

I have been searching and searching for a more comprehensive history of these gardens because they so captured my attention.  Haven’t found much, but I did find an ancient New York Times article:

New York Times: Along a Nature and Garden Trail
By PAULA DEITZMARCH 18, 2001

IN 1609, when Sir George Somers and his crew sailed from England to the Virginia Colony on the Sea Venture, they were shipwrecked between two reefs just off the coast of Bermuda, and thus were among the first to lay eyes on the lush primeval forest of cedar and palmetto that covered the subtropical archipelago. As Bermuda was one of the few island clusters in the world without a native population, early botanic observers had the opportunity to record flora untouched by human habitation before the 17th century — with the exception of the occasional shipwrecked crew that either perished or stayed on shore long enough to build a ship out of cedar and sail on.

In time, it was discovered that there are 17 endemic plants on the island (those that grow naturally nowhere else in the world), including the Bermuda cedar (Juniperus bermudiana), the Bermuda palmetto (Sabal bermudana) and the olivewood (Cassine laneana). Landowners’ wealth was judged by the number of cedars on their estates…

Mind you my research while it doesn’t find much on the history and early horticulturalists of the Bermuda Botanical Gardens has turned up that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is also based in/around these gardens.

So how is it they do not seem to want the gardens to shine? How can the Premier of Bermuda ignore what is literally outside his front door?

I noticed there is a citizens group on Facebook called Take Back Our Park They organized because of a threat of development of a maintenance yard there. So yes, imagine a public works department complete with all that a public works facility entails in the middle of your favorite park. (Read this letter in a local Bermuda paper about it.)

Thankfully, on June 28, 2018 the Bermuda residents prevailed and the Botanical Gardens were saved from that plan. (Read this article in the Royal Gazette.)

I hope these people persist and get some attention and funding directed towards these gardens.  I am happy to be able to share my photos with all of you.  It really is a special place.

At one end of the grounds close to where the aviary I think was is a museum and a cafe.  The museum is the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. 

Homer’s Cafe inside the museum is run by a local catering company called The Salty Lime.

The cafe is lovely and the people warm and welcoming.  The museum is quite interesting but the staff at the front desk of the museum aren’t particularly welcoming, or at least the woman I encountered wasn’t.

The permanent collection of the museum includes works by  Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth and Henry Moore.  The museum is dedicated to Bermuda.  Everything in it depicts things inspired by Bermuda. Paintings, sculpture, photography and more.  It covers the range of time from 1700 until today.  I believe the museum was founded in 1987.  It is quite unusual and as a tourist I would not have known it was something to see except for the fact I stumbled upon it.

In the courtyard of the museum and cafe is this sculpture dedicated to former Beatle, John Lennon. As I discovered in an old AdWeek article:

The British musician and artist spent several months in Bermuda during his last trip abroad, and the island served as his muse. Bermuda pays special tribute with “Double Fantasy,” a sculpture dedicated last year in Lennon’s honor.

Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art commissioned local sculptor Graham Foster to create the six-foot Cor-Ten steel structure. The work shows a stylized double-sided profile of Lennon and his “granny” glasses with his Rickenbacker guitar, doves of peace, and the double fantasy freesia flower. At approximately 4,000 pounds, it’s a weighty piece, and sits on a raised flowerbed in a courtyard near the museum’s entrance. The sculpture is located in Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens, on the island’s south shore in Paget parish.

Read more about the Double Fantasy sculpture on THIS WEBSITE.

 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos and if traveling to Bermuda, try to visit the Bermuda Botanical Gardens.  Especially because I feel they may be at risk. As I continue to go through my photos I will add other posts about Bermuda.

Thanks for rambling along to Bermuda this evening.

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8/1/18 update to :maybe they should have a tofu roast?

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August 1, 2018 UPDATE: So last evening the fire company released the above. Very carefully scripted in my humble opinion. They say several factors including low ticket sales and the amount of volunteer work to get it done properly- however it’s not not exclusively those reasons necessarily is it? They didn’t say there wasn’t any protest did they?

While I am super happy to hear they are doing well with other fund raisers, many questions remain since the whole pig roast protest thing was reported by multiple individuals including the lady who first posted about this in Malvern Community Forum.

Maybe I have an overly suspicious mind, I really don’t know, but I still think there is more to the story than the public knows. And to Malvern Fire Company, no, I would never undo a donation I gave, but after hearing what I heard, like many others I sent in a small donation because I felt so badly about what I had heard. Now I do not know what to think and honestly, I also don’t quite know how I feel about THAT.

Original post intact below.

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I received this from a friend at 4:51 PM today. I first heard about this this morning. And I was outraged. What I was told is that the poor fire company got emails and phone calls saying a pig roast was a horrible thing to do to an animal, and HUH???

I’m sorry where do these people think that bacon, hotdogs, ribs and more come from?What the hell is wrong with people? And I’m sorry that this news is worth a “what the hell.” This pig roast is a community event that has been quite successful in Malvern Borough for the Malvern Fire Company. Our communities are served by mostly volunteer fire companies and community fundraisers help a lot!

I do not know what is wrong with people moving out here but do they think that their food is grown on either of the roofs of Wegmans, Kimberton Whole Foods, or Whole Foods?

What do they want? A tofu roast?To say you love the community and then to throw a monkey wrench into a successful community summer fundraiser for a local fire company is shameful. And those people who wrote those emails and made those phone calls should be giving immediate donations to the Malvern Fire Company to make up for what they will lose by canceling this event. I know I made a small donation to the Malvern Fire Company this afternoon after I heard about this.

You can make a donation by going to their website and looking for the yellow donate button or my mailing them a check or dropping it off at the fire house on King. They are at 424 E. King Malvern, PA 19355.

Pig roasts, clam bakes, chicken dinners, fairs, carnivals and barbecues are also a hallmark of summer. Old fashioned fun steeped in traditions older than we are.They foster a sense of community and for local fire companies they raise money and help them out. Plus they are helping all of us out by hosting an all-American community event.

If this craziness is true, it is anti-American in my book to fuss and get it cancelled. Anyone who either called or emailed the fire company to protest a pig roast also has no clue as to the agricultural history of Chester County! I get that people are vegan and vegetarian, but that doesn’t mean the entire community at large is or should be. And truthfully when you go to these events if you are vegan and vegetarian you either bring your own food or you find a way to eat around the meat. You don’t up and get a community event cancelled for that or because you dont like it in general do you?

And before somebody rolls up on me saying I am discriminating against vegans and vegetarians, I have them in my family. And what I know about my own family members is they’re not going to go protest to have a community event canceled because it’s not food they eat. They just eat around it and support the community event. Hey what a novel idea – that’s what grown-ups do.

I’ve gone to plenty of beef and beer fundraisers over the course of my life and I don’t drink beer. I have soda instead.

The screenshot above is one I have in its original format but the poster’s name was crossed out for post purposes to protect their identity.

In communities, I don’t think you mess with traditions. Now maybe this pig roast wasn’t an age-old fire company tradition, but it has been a successful event for the past few years and was becoming a new tradition in the summer. I think it’s really pathetic that people would ruin that for the public at large, their community in which they live, and for a beloved local volunteer fire company.

Please consider giving an immediate donation to the Malvern fire company to help them offset the loss they will experience for not holding this event if this is true.

I still think this event should go on and if ignorant people want to protest it like they protest planned deer hunts in Valley Forge Park, let them. They are the ones who are the smaller, ignorant people for it. I’m getting off my soapbox now. I am just appalled at this news if it’s true.