one of my last true newspaper guys is retiring.

This. It’s a miserable and rainy Monday morning. Here we are in the midst of a global pandemic known as COVID19 or coronavirus, and one of my most favorite, true, and steady voices of local journalism has announced his retirement.

I am just super bummed. Phil Heron thank you for everything and your friendship. I know why this makes me sad. Phil is an old school paper and ink newspaper guy. “Stop the presses.” (Only I don’t know if Phil ever said that!) These are our heroes of local journalism.

As a citizen journalist (well we bloggers are called that even if some of you don’t like that term), true journalists don’t always give you the time of day. Phil Heron is one of those newspaper guys who always has had the time. A true professional in his industry.

I got to know Phil in part not just because of my community activism days back with the original Save Ardmore Coalition over issues including eminent domain, and when the billboards saga started in Bryn Mawr, Haverford Township. I also have to say my friend, the late Tom Murray, another true paper and ink newspaper guy, deserve credit here. Tom liked connecting people.

Phil will still be around, but it’s still sad because our local journalistic voices just become fewer and fewer. How can they not when they are bought by hedge funds and venture capitalists who don’t actually give a damn about local journalism, local issues? Phil for example has also been a leading voice on the pipeline issue. Local editors and local journalists give our issues voices, they help amplify our own personal voices.

The Heron’s Nest: After 38 years, reaching the end of the road
April 13, 2020

If you missed the note I tacked on to the bottom of today’s Letter From the Editor, allow me to make a personal note. It’s the column I always dreaded writing. Because it’s the last one.

After nearly 38 years, this will be my last week at the Daily Times. I started in 1982. June 14, Flag Day, to be exact.

I will write more about it later this week, but since the word was leaking out there already, I figured I would get ahead of the curve and formally announce here in The Heron’s Nest as well. This is my decision, at least in part. It’s probably not the way I envisioned it, but it is time. I’m not quite sure how to wrap up 38 years, but above all else what I will remember is the people – both those I worked with every day, and those loyal readers who picked up the newspaper every day, or who now visit the website.

So Phil Heron, I wish you well in retirement, and God knows you have earned it. But I think the future of local journalism got a little more grey today.

Support local and regional journalism. Please.

more random thoughts on #covid19

Some people are coming to the great realization that ummm….this COVID19 stuff is serious. Oh my …no sheit Sherlock.

Yes, dear readers, it’s time for another flowing stream of consciousness. Partially tongue in cheek, sometimes not so much. You don’t have to read this unless you really want to. The cartoons have been chosen at random they’re all over the Internet right now.

People who are having Corona parties SHOULD be fined out the wazoo. (My favorite is the one all over the news from Rumson NJ – a Pink Floyd cover band porch and lawn party no less and the dude is apparently a lawyer? And he didn’t expect people to show up ? 😂 I could go on about a lawyer with time for a cover band but I won’t…. 🤣)

People who are jackasses on social media in regular times are EXTRA special EXTRA right now. Bless their hearts.

I also love the people who have to criticize the people making homemade masks for not thinking they are sanitized enough. Can’t you just say thank you wash your hands and wash your masks? I mean WTF you are getting it for free if you need it in a lot of cases.

I sit here every day and I wonder if the toilet paper and chicken hoarders are related.

I’m really, really glad I stopped coloring my hair after I got my breast cancer diagnosis a few years ago. Because I am sure there are some who are in a large state of panic right now who are picking really really bad available hair colors off of Amazon. As for manicures? What are they? I read about them once…..like massages they are urban legend right now (but you can support some of the local businesses in these categories by buying gift cards can’t you?)

Let’s talk all the development that goes on. As in housing developments. I’m starting to see more and more people wish to do YOU a favor by letting you rent that overpriced new McBox they won’t be going into that sits adjacent to a quarry and an asphalt place. Might be something to do with it’s hard to practice social distancing when you are squished in like lemmings?

The pipeline companies. Will someone kindly explain to me why Sunoco Logistics/Energy Transfer/Sunoco whatever you want to call them are still out there? They aren’t taking the precautions of social distancing (people photograph every day in Chester county alone), and why are they necessary? They’re taking everything and pumping it through the ground and shipping it overseas to make plastics so why can’t they take a pause? What would happen in this time of a global pandemic if they caused a serious problem? And you can’t say they don’t cause problems because they do all the time, don’t they?

Trump. Don’t tell me how well he’s leading. He is a bigger narcissistic nut job than ever. His staff has to work twice as hard because of the way he acts, he doesn’t practice social distancing. He is the do as I say, not as I do President. We wear masks, he won’t. And so we’re clear? I’m not anti-Republican, I’m anti-Trump. Hope he washes his hands after Tweeting….

While we are on the topic of politics how about the whole thing of political conventions? This is the year not to have them why do we even have to have them virtually? Can you imagine the size of the zoom conference call? Why can’t delegates just vote for whoever they want to choose via secure email or a secure server they log into? Would that make too much sense? I realize it deprives a lot of politicians from spewing from a podium/stage, but well, different times call for different ideas.… I personally would be happy if Governor Andrew Cuomo just came in and took the whole shebang over. Or Queen Elizabeth II.

Those going on about the over-reach of government with regard to church services. D’oh God does not expect all of us to die of a pandemic of biblical proportions so stay the hell home. And for those who insist on going inside church and congregating? People should reserve the right to lock them all in until this is all over.

General hypocrisy. It abounds. It’s plentiful. Sometimes it’s downright amusing. It falls in line with the great bloviators we see on social media every damn day. I know we all want to tell them they are ridiculous but it’s easier to scroll past them. Their inner narcissist dies a little every time someone ignores them.

Kids and teens and those old enough to know better: do you think municipalities all over have the time to go around taking down every basketball hoop? Stay the hell home. Contact sports of ANY kind will indeed spread coronavirus. No one likes telling kids no, heck adults don’t like being told no, but stay the hell home. Parent your children, we can’t, you gave birth to them.

First responders. Do you know any? Say thank you.

Delivery people except for that Amazon driver without a mask who handed my husband a package not wearing gloves or a mask…say thank you.

Plastic disposable gloves are the new litterbug’s delight. Feel free to personally shame anyone you see doing that in any parking lot or sidewalk anywhere. “Excuse me you dropped your disposable gloves!” should suffice.

I will admit I hate cleaning my own house right now. Mostly because no one helps me. No worries, the house will magically clean itself. Why? Because the crazy clean Italian genes won’t allow anything else.

I like to cook so I have a little sympathy for those who do not. It’s good for you to try something new and if you can read you can cook.

Gardening. It might just keep us all sane. So garden away and a lot of places will deliver plants right to you.

Lysol and Clorox are running all these tug at the heartstring ads….only you can’t really find their products anywhere. It’s kind of like the Instacart, Peapod, and Shipt ads. The deliveries happening on TV are such a nice daydream. And going to the grocery store wouldn’t be so scary if people weren’t hoarding and were actually doing social distancing, etc. In some places they do, in other places, it’s business as usual.

Price gouging. The struggle is real. Shop local if you can, those merchants care because they are us.

But we’re all alive to complain about all of this so that is the silver lining. Times are tough for a lot of people. So count your blessings and stay the hell home.

Rant over.

from roast chicken to chicken soup

The other night we had a roast chicken. I hung onto the carcass and threw it into the instant pot yesterday and made bone broth from it.

This morning I got out the broth, removed the fat, and added the rest of the chicken that was left over to it and set that container to the side while I prepped the vegetables.

I chopped up one of the remaining onions that I have and threw it into the soup pot with a little bit of olive oil. To that I added a bunch of diced celery, and a small bunch of sliced up carrots, and some fresh new potatoes. I added a little salt and started to cook the vegetables down.

As the vegetables started to cook down I added a chopped bunch of mixed kale and baby bok choy and some other greens that had come in a farm box. To that I added a can of white cannellini beans.

Then I added the broth and the bits of chicken and a bouquet garni of fresh herbs from the garden. The chicken soup simmered away for a few hours and now it’s cooling to be eaten later in the week.

rabbit, rabbit it’s april fools’ day…and?

According to a New York Times newsletter this morning:

As many as 240,000 Americans could die during the coronavirus pandemic, top health officials said on Tuesday, despite the measures that have closed schools, limited travel and forced people to stay home.

That’s pretty god damn depressing, but is it surprising? It’s shocking but a lot of people aren’t taking this seriously. Even when we can get into the overtaxed grocery stores, it’s amazing that so many people still aren’t practicing social distancing.

And then there are all of the photos popping up on social media of people dropping plastic gloves all over the place. If you are done with them, can’t you keep a small trash bag in your car if you don’t see them and bring them home and dispose of them?

And the whole grocery store nightmare of why can’t we really find chicken, paper towels, and toilet paper yet? Are people going out every day and just hoarding it all?

There is this dichotomy out there of selfish vs. selfless. Psychologically and sociologically it’s equal parts sad and fascinating. Human nature on steroids. Heart warming or horrifying there seems to be little middle ground. More extremes than ever.

I am also amazed at how those who are generally speaking toxic on social media who are seemingly reveling in their toxicity. Or just giving people a generally speaking, a hard time. And why? Are they that unhappy? Or just oblivious?

I have actually had to remove people from this blog’s Facebook page and I don’t actually have to do that very often. People are spending SO much time online and I like many page admins can’t just sit and babysit 24/7. You give people fair warning and after a point you just have to give them a time out because they won’t do it for themselves.

And the stay at home of it all is bringing out strange behavior in many more people than normal. Humans are social creatures and some have never learned it is actually ok to be by ourselves for a while. It is. Is it ideal? No , but look at the alternatives and be grateful if you have a safe comfortable place to be.

Chester County’s Coronavirus cases are climbing. It’s kind of scary the way this stuff spreads so fast. But if people were actually staying home most of the time it wouldn’t. I had a friend of mine elsewhere ( NOT Chester County) tell me about a neighbor of hers who just keeps going in and out and in and out. She said nobody could buy that much food she doesn’t know where the woman is going and she doesn’t seem to take it very seriously what’s going on. My friend’s neighbor doesn’t work, her husband does, so she’s just one of those people that’s wandering around instead of staying home.

I don’t actually mind being home it’s just weird not seeing my family and friends. Today I FaceTimed my mother and stepfather and gave them a virtual tour of my garden.

Last night I roasted a chicken which was very exciting because we had randomly found one at the supermarket because whole chickens are hard to come by. It was just an old-school old-fashioned simple dinner of a salad, potatoes, and a roast chicken and it was like a five star Michelin meal tasted so good to us. And I made my friend Raffi’s late mother’s no bake cheesecake for dessert.

I gardened a lot today and that felt so good to just be outside. Of course now I feel slightly crippled. I have been trying to stick to specific parameters and time gardening each time I garden because of my latest knee surgery at the end of December. But today I got carried away and I just felt good to be outside and may have overdone it a little.

Well that is all I have got for you guys today. But for the Grace of God go all of us. I know our new normal is anything but normal, but please have faith and stay the course of staying home and social distancing. Take good care.

soothing photos

I’m asking those who love the sea to join the challenge of posting a picture of a beach. Just a picture, no description. The goal is to flood Facebook especially with some positive photos instead of negativity. Please copy the text to your Facebook (or Instagram) timeline, put a picture up and look at some beautiful pictures.

DISCLAIMER photographing the ocean and beaches and sea birds are among my favorite things. So I can’t pick just one photo I am giving you a montage of photos taken either in the Hamptons or Bermuda.

sometimes people should just stop picking at other people. this is one of those times.

I swear there is a meme for everything and this one is pretty much perfect. Why am I posting this? Because some people just floor me on social media. Facebook especially.

Backstory: a few years ago when I had my first knee surgery, I was literally just home from the hospital and practically still drooling from the anesthesia. Sitting in a daze in bed, I was mindlessly looking through social media on my tablet. I noticed this one woman posting comments on my Facebook timeline that I just didn’t want to deal with. So I didn’t say anything, I just deleted the comments. After all, your personal Facebook page is like your virtual house, right?

So the woman whose comment I had removed posted another comment in the same vein. There I was practically drooling like you can do after surgery and anesthesia and I wondered what alternate reality I was living in that this woman wouldn’t just get I probably didn’t want to deal with this? I made a decision. I deleted the new comment and quietly unfriended the woman and went to sleep.

Unfriending this person was not something I wanted to do. But when I was still sitting in bed the next day scrolling through Facebook still somewhat dazed post surgery, I knew it was the right decision. Why? Because she took the argument of the deleted comments and moved them essentially to another woman’s Facebook page (whom I also knew – ironically I introduced them to one and other) and sat there talking about me like I couldn’t see it. Kind of like they were talking on the phone only it was all playing out on Facebook. It was crazy and I decided, sanity and maturity should prevail, and I just blocked both of them so I wouldn’t have to see their online brand of crazy in the future.

Still part of me felt bad. I had known the one woman for many years. But knowing her was sometimes exhausting. The other woman was always just kind of sad always striving to belong. Also exhausting. I sent both women a note explaining why I had decided to distance. I figured I’d make one last attempt at salvaging the relationships. I explained to them I just had surgery and I didn’t want to deal with any of this right now. But if they wanted to talk about it, explain what they didn’t understand, and I would try to listen. Need list to say, that didn’t happen never heard from either, and I went on about my life. I wish I could say I missed either woman, but I don’t.

I especially don’t miss people who act like this while experiencing a global pandemic. Life is kind of stressful enough right now. What I didn’t expect was that they would do this again to someone else. I sadly thought this behavior was because of me. But it’s just them.

A very nice woman who is a very close friend has literally just had a similar experience with these two over the past couple of days. My friend had posted on HER Facebook timeline that it really bothered her that people including the President keep referring to COVID19 as the “Chinese Virus.” She said she found it offensive. In my opinion she’s not wrong.

No matter what your opinion is, my friend said it on her timeline. It’s kind of like when a lot of us don’t judge the women in menopause posting the Nametest things all of the time that says they wish they were pregnant again or what movie star they think they look like. Their thing, not ours.

To be clear, viruses do not know borders and even the CDC Director Robert Redfield agrees with this point. To keep saying that over and over puts Chinese Americans and other Asians in Jeopardy much like what happened with the Italians and Japanese during World War II and the internment camps in this country. Or the Irish need not apply campaigns and signs you would see in shop windows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s kind of like referring to the influenza pandemic of the early 20th century as the “Spanish flu”. The virus didn’t actually originate in Spain that might’ve been one of the first places that documented it in newspapers. The COVID19 virus exploded in China, but there is no absolute that it is the true country of origin for the virus.

Well the woman I removed from my timeline a few years ago, of course had to argue with my friend. My friend politely asked her to kind of stop, and sadly that didn’t happen. So my friend just quietly unfriended her and blocked her and removed the comments. Below is the comment that finally made my friend have enough.

Now you would think that would have been the end of it. But sadly no, the other woman I had removed from my circle of friends a few years ago for chiming in where it wasn’t her concern did so again. Seriously:

So my friend unfriended and blocked the other one too. I truly am stunned at how pig ignorant people can be. It’s like these women have this whole tag team of nastiness, which is truly sad.  I wonder if either one of them gets it yet that more and more people distance themselves from these two all of the time. They are having social distancing practiced on them as a matter of keeping one’s sanity.

My friend wasn’t “slamming” the President. She was specifically referring to a term in this whole coronavirus world we live in that she found offensive.

Given the times we currently live in and everything that everyone is going through, wouldn’t you think that these two women would have better things to do than to argue and spread vitriol? What do they gain with these little Facebook games?

I am really sorry that this happened to my friend too. I remember how upsetting I found it briefly at the time. It’s like this whole sense of betrayal when people are so nasty. Then you realize no one is worth that crap.

Look, OK, we probably all have a more than small dose of cabin fever at this point. We are living our lives in a way we’ve never had to live them before. But when I look at what those who live through World War II have to say it just sort of gives you a whole new perspective.

 I can’t make people be kinder to one another. And I’m sure some will have comments about what I have written today. It’s just one of the many things I am thinking about because face it, we all have so much time to think right now. And perhaps that is part of the problem. I don’t think some people are comfortable with their thoughts.

But I don’t understand with all that we have to deal with why these two women persist in doing this? All they are doing is isolating themselves further from people within their community and showing the world how unhappy they are. And that’s the thing that we are also discovering through all of this staying at home and self isolation: we are not islands unto ourselves after all. Humans need human contact and community, and it takes a global pandemic to realize it. So try being nicer, right?

I have always maintained that social media is both a blessing and a curse. It would be nice if right now with our every day lives up-ended indefinitely if we could try to make it more of a blessing than a curse.

If something annoys you or you don’t agree with it, you don’t have to leave a comment every time. Sometimes you can just scroll past it. That way people don’t fight and friendships remain intact during a very difficult time.

Try to be kind today.

stepping back in time in chester county

A lady posted a bunch of amazing photos in a local Facebook group with the following message: “I still have a couple containers of old photos to go through. Any of these folks or places look familiar to you? This album dates back to the late 30s and 40s”

With her permission I am posting the photos here. They are all of the Malvern and possibly Phoenixville area. If you know any of the people in the photos or where the homes are located, please leave a comment.

A lot of the photos are of soldiers from World War II which I find particularly poignant. It makes you wonder who came home, doesn’t it?

The irony is the era some of these photos were taken was another time when we were doing our part for our country and staying home and growing victory gardens and living through rationing.

Anyway I hope you can help identify some of these people! I thought it would be something fun for people to do in times where it’s not so much fun during the day sometimes.

Be well.

projects: another sampler pillow

Since I have time on my hands, I sewed another little sampler pillow today after doing yard work.

I picked up the sampler a while back and had wanted to make it into a pillow but hadn’t. I used some vintage trimmings I had and I think it looks pretty cute!

Just something to pass the time in our new normal of COVID19 land.

Have a good night!

haters gonna hate

Haters gonna hate COVID19 shaming style

Hey Taylor Swift you are so right, haters are gonna hate. And when I agreed to be interviewed by Bill Rettew for The Daily Local this was one of the things that I told him often happened to bloggers. No not mommy bloggers who write about Disney or who are compensated bloggers for pimping out products in exchange for compensation, or bloggers who stick to sharing about gardening, crafts, cooking, i.e. safe topics. I mean bloggers like me who tackle local issues, current events, and even politics.

As long as I color inside the lines, I am good. But the minute I am vocal about things that concern me, or even current events including the COVID-19/coronavirus, I am somehow a bad person, someone who must be targeted, disciplined, called out. According to these people who do these things you aren’t supposed to speak, you definitely aren’t supposed to care about your community or the greater good.

The reporter had wanted to talk to me because before Coronavirus full onset had happened and it was essentially a news topic because it was happening overseas, I went to a horticultural event that ended up having Chester County’s 2nd coronavirus victim also in attendance. Public health reports on this person, a man much younger than I came out a week after the event, just as we were all getting glimpses of what is now our new normal. The reports stated he had mild symptoms and was at home.

I stated all along and it’s true, that when I got to this event which had been going since early in the morning that Saturday it was close to their ending time. I went to see a specific plant vendor and to buy a book. There weren’t many people there in that part of the event. There were a lot of people in the actual meeting house across the way, but I did not have tickets for those talks and wasn’t in that building at all.

I was in and out in a short amount of time and went home. Yes, I was less than happy when I found out I was at an event with someone who tested positive. But I did and my family did exactly as we were told to do by my doctors at Penn Medicine AND the county. We took the most conservative approach. I was NON symptomatic. We all were. It meant NO symptoms. NO fever. NO cough. NON SYMPTOMATIC .

Today I am off self-quarantine. Yesterday after 5 PM my lovely husband went to the CVS drive thru to pick up my cancer and thyroid meds we could not get for days because of self-quarantine. Medicine that is not an option for me and I was running out. If I can’t pick up the meds, he is the only other person as my spouse who can get them.

After he got my meds, he stopped at a local business that was essentially empty to pick up beer. A friend’s business that was closing last night until the governor says businesses which are non-essential can re-open. Social distancing was observed and paying by card he and the clerk at the counter had zero contact.

My husband came home and literally wiped down the whole inside of the car, everything he bought home and washed his hands. We had dinner.

Then the comment appeared as captured above by a screenshot. Oh goody, a stalker. You will note the made up profile name. Before I blocked and reported them, I looked at the profile. Nothing real about it. Just someone looking for an A-Ha moment to get at me. And how creepy was it they were ummm seeming to follow my husband around? It makes you wonder if they drive up and down your street too and go through your trash, doesn’t it?

People sometimes disgust me and this is one of those moments. They would not target a traditional journalist or writer like this, just me as a blogger. The point of transparency and education since I decided to talk about this first on my blog and then to a reporter escapes them. They just wanted to get at me, shame me.

But what did this person do instead when they chose to do this? They actually discouraged other people from coming forward to report they had been around someone who was exposed.

Think about it, I know I did the right thing by reporting that I had been at an event where a COVID19 victim was. The event did the right thing by telling us that poor person was in attendance, but if you hadn’t bought lecture tickets, they had no way of knowing specifically who was there. So how many people do you think who may have stopped at this event actually reported they were there like I did?

People are scared about this virus . I am scared about this virus. My one and only sister and one of my step-siblings live in New York City which was described as a virus epicenter with among the most victims in the US I think.

So shame on whomever this person is for rolling up with personal animus and misinformation. I will note they should be more concerned about the groups of kids and people still out there going around barriers to closed playgrounds and basketball courts because those groups of people in close contact like THAT? They are the ones who are going to spread the virus.

I am doing my part and so is my family. Instead of trying to stalk, harass, call out your friendly neighborhood blogger, why don’t you do your part and take care of your family?

I will note that the comments have since disappeared. I don’t know why or how or who. It’s just discouraging that even at times like this as people are trying to pull together and do the right thing, some people just suck.