this could happen to anyone, but it happened to beth

This is a community member. This could be anyone, and it’s legitimate. This is NOT someone who is faking anything and with all she has faced so bravely I don’t know how she does it.

She’s a real woman and a mom and she can’t catch a break.

Brain tumors, other potential cancer-like growths, and Mitochondrial Disease. (Mitochondrial Disease examples are MS, Parkinsons, and Lou Gehrigs Disease (ALS).)

But for the Grace of God Go any of us. If you can help, every little bit helps. Even just sharing this helps.

Please help me pay this forward. This is a generous community and Beth needs our help.

Thank you

From her Go Fund Me months ago:

*updated*  Beth has always worked two jobs – however – in early December 2018 one of the attorneys at the lawfirm she worked at told her “if you’re having seizures I can’t have you here”… two weeks later she was let go – the Friday before Christmas.  She was not told why.  She was told only that she had 5 minutes to gather her things and leave and and never come back.   She rarely ever took a sick day even with the diagnosis of a brain tumor and lesion, which causes her to have severe vertigo and balance issues, seizures, headaches and fatigue…. 

In 2012 she even donated one of her kidneys to someone who needed it!  To hear her say it, “it was the right thing to do.  And, I had an extra one anyway.”   She’s always one to make people laugh…..She has been battling migraines since age six and was diagnosed with epilepsy a few years ago.  Now she is facing a recent diagnosis of a CORTICAL DYSPLASIA LESION and a LOW GRADE GLIOMA (brain tumor).  Which was actually discovered in 2014 on an MRI taken when she had a stroke.  However it was not disclosed to her until  June 2018 when she began having serious issues.  Someone dropped the ball big time!

Help Beth McNulty Battle Mitochondrial Disease

From her Go Fund Me this August:

AUGUST UPDATE – Beth’s is now being treated by a Neurologist at Einstein for Mitochondrial Disease. Mitochondrial Disease examples are MS, Parkinsons, and Lou Gehrigs Disease (ALS). She has an illness you cannot see and if she had been treated correctly years ago may have been able to avoid this stage. THERE IS NO CURE. THERE IS NO MAGIC MEDICATION. Mito is controlled through diet and nutrition and overall management. The hardest part for her and for us is the effects of the cognitive decline. She can’t do many of the things she used to even just around the house and its devastating to see and devastating to her.

At this point she has been using a cane to walk since November. She has dementia like symptoms more often but she still has more of a “good day” than not so that is what we hang onto. The right side of her body is weak and her hand tremors which is also starting to happen in her right leg. She cannot hold a cup, and her right hand remains closed and is painful to open so we bought a small toy football for her to hold to keep it open.

She is incredibly effected by sound – too many “noise sources” are very confusing for her and can be overwhelming and even physically painful – she says it makes her ears burn – which also triggers seizures (before a seizure she usually touches her ears and face and that’s how I know she’s about to have an issue). She also gets very confused at these tmes and often has trouble finding her words or remember the conversation she is in. I think this may be part of why she stays in alot.

Her body cannot produce the energy it needs as fast as it is being used. Some days she cannot even move to reach for something because her body just wont cooperate and she is exhausted but when she CAN do something even if it is for a short time she does.

She cannot eat many solid foods at this point because she cannot digest them well (Gastroparesis) and chewing physically makes her Jaw tired.

We focus on key nutrients like Magnesium, Vitamin D, Iodine and B to keep her energy levels up. Her medications are on a schedule – Thyroid, Seizure, Migraine, and the foods we make sure she has every day are Avocado, Mango, Banana, Chicken and FlaxSeed.

In June she had and EEG and ENG, in July she had another w/wo contrast so her Nuero can compare with all the other scans dating back to 2014 when they discovered the tumor and lesion (but forgot to tell her about) but ALSO discover her Gastroparesis, and Thyroid Disease – 3 effected Organ systems = Mitochondrial Disease) – but 5 years later here we are…

The ENG was a very painful test of electrical conduction done in two parts – the first was topical electrode shocking her muscles and the second was long needles that shocked her muscles once they were inserted – I had to leave the room – it was like watching her be tortured for two hours.

This disease is robbing her and us. It’s painful for her to have and painful for us to watch her go through knowing nothing can be done. Alot of people seem to be google doctors which is very frustrating – we know what we are dealing with because WE are dealing with it although we do appreciate the well intended suggestions of trying this or that or maybe its “just…” we finally have a have a very educated team of medical professionals that are experts in their field.

Beth thought she had unemployment funds until December and in May was tricked into signing a release not to sue her former employer for an ADA claim in exchange for them not to contest it. and her last payment was in June. She has applied for disability but in the meantime we could really use some healp.

Help spread the word!

have you met mike noone?

Have you met Mike Noone? I did this afternoon at my friend’s cookout, and to be honest, I was impressed.

No, I am not telling you how to vote. Mike is the first candidate I have met this season, and the first I have met in a long time that you can just connect with and have an actual conversation. There is no political puffery, and I appreciate that.

Mike Noone is the Republican candidate for District Attorney in Chester County. He is at present, District Attorney Tom Hogan’s First District Attorney.

I will note I am always open within reason to meeting candidates. If I think they are a waste of time, I won’t and I am not shy in saying so.

But I liked meeting Mike. He is definitely worth having a conversation with if you have the opportunity! He also has an impressive track record.

civilian bravery followed by questions in the wake of yesterday’s fire on pottstown pike.

Ginny Kerslake photo.

This morning the Daily Local has an article about a vicious fire that could have been deadly yesterday along Pottstown Pike/ Route 100.

Daily Local: Firefighters battle apartment fire in Uwchlan

By Pete Bannan 7 hrs ago Comments

UWCHLAN — Fire erupted at an apartment house in the 500 block of N. Pottstown Pike Wednesday.  

Lionville Fire Company was dispatched just before 3 p.m. for the report of a possible subject trapped in the former two-floor motel annex.

Firefighters reported heavy fire on the second floor of the building….The cause of the fire is under investigation

I think at least FIVE fire companies responded. And given HOW busy 100 is, many, many kudos to the first responders because that is difficult location no matter how you slice it. I am also told access to this property is somewhat dicey? I wonder if they could even get fire trucks across the little driveway bridge off Route 100 that I am told crosses a creek there? People say it’s not great?

The reporter/photographer for The Daily Local is someone I have known for years. He covers a lot of fires and one time he covered a house fire next door to where I lived many years ago. I will never forget that fire because the firefighters had to work so hard to keep the flames engulfing an old Victorian house owned by an absentee landlord from jumping to the roofs next door, including my own.

What the reporter/photographer doesn’t mention is a selfless local Chester County resident who stopped to help BEFORE first responders arrived on scene.

And I am NOT saying this as a chide, I am not sure anyone knew. But I know so I am going to tell you.

The person who stopped and risked her own safety was my friend, Ginny Kerslake. Yes, the same Ginny Kerslake who ran for Chester County Commissioner in the recent Democratic primary this past spring that the Chester County Democrats chose NOT to endorse. (And yes THAT is most decidedly a dig at the flawed endorsement process of a major political party.)

This is what my friend Ginny shared with us yesterday shortly after the fire erupted:

Avoid route 100 just north of Township Line Rd.

As I was driving past I saw black smoke and then the flames. Called 911 and banged on the apartment doors right next to the house to alert residents. A woman used my phone to call the woman who lives in the house – luckily she was out somewhere but her husband who smokes may be inside where the fire is. I really hope he’s not. First responders on scene. It’s frightening to see.

I left once there was nothing for me to do but get out of the way. I’m home now hearing lots of sirens and hoping for the best for everyone there.

Ginny acted in a selfless and heroic manner in my opinion. She put herself in danger to try to help others before first responders arrived.

Ginny is a modest woman and doesn’t seek accolades or personal glory for the amazing things she does. However, yesterday what she did was brave and heroic and she deserves our praise and thanks. In a world where so much is ugly, I am honored to have a friend who truly will put her own needs and life aside for the greater good. Ginny exhibited a selfless act of bravery in the true spirit of community.

I don’t think Uwchlan Township even realized what she did.

That above was the Uwchlan Township Police Department press release post incident. They obviously did not realize that Ginny Kerslake was in part responsible for getting people out of the structure(s).

I remember yesterday when PulsePoint reported the incident. They said “commercial structure” so I was not sure where they meant.

You undoubtedly have driven past this now fire location before if you are traveling Route 100.

The above photo with the arrows is one I shared in the fall of 2017 when a billboard was being proposed for the derelict and boarded up farm market or whatever it is next door. I used the arrows to remind people of not only the location on Pottstwon Pike/100 but also the proximity to the location which had the fire yesterday.

And this location is what was once known as the Dogwood Motel. Now it appears to be apartments of some sort. And this location once again represents the very limited supply of “affordable housing” in this part of Chester County. Like the mobile home parks we see scattered about including in townships in close proximity like East Whiteland and further away near or in other municipalities like Wallace Township, Honeybrook, Phoenixville, and the Downingtown areas, the old Dogwood Motel represents a very limited supply of affordable housing.

And as Chester County continues to get bombarded with new developments, the affordable housing supply continues to dwindle. And we are not simply referring to section 8 housing, we are referring to low income housing for those of modest means in all categories including our elderly who live on fixed incomes in a lot of cases. With all of this new development, taxes and rents increase often pricing life-long residents quite literally out of their homes.

No, I am not being a drama queen, it’s true. And people of low incomes and modest means are the invisible people society doesn’t wish to see.

This location at 514 N. Pottstown Pike is run down and has been for years. A search through Chester County records indicates the property is owned by people who seem as if they lived locally at one time, but now reside in Florida. I am not positive but if I am reading old deeds correctly they bought it possibly in a Sheriff’s sale decades ago? Here is are screen shots from Chesco Views:

The Daily Local indicates there is some sort of investigation post-fire. That is normal. Of course other questions would now include if the property owners are the equivalent of absentee landlords who is responsible for day to day maintenance on this property? And who at a township level and county level is responsible for seeing that this structure and other low income rental properties are safe and up to code?

It is thanks to first responders and ordinary people like Ginny Kerslake who is not a first responder that no lives were lost.

But what happens now to all of the residents who call this location home? I can’t answer that question but myself and many others are wondering.

If anyone does any LEGITIMATE fundraisers for the residents here, please post a comment on this blog’s Facebook page.

But for the grace of God go any of us in a situation like this.

Ginny Kerslake photo.

when good conquers evil eminent domain you get lavender fields

Long ago is what feels to be now another lifetime, I was part of the original Save Ardmore Coalition. We were ordinary people who banded together to save friends’ and neighbors’ businesses from eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore PA.

Along our journey the wonderful people at the Institute for Justice helped us and taught us and encouraged us. Through IJ we also met some amazing and inspirational people.  (and if your community is facing eminent domain check out the Castle Coalition part of the IJ website.)

Here straight from IJ (Institute for Justice’s website success stories):

Through the grassroots and political processes, a citizens group called the Save Ardmore Coalition (SAC) successfully defeated Lower Merion Township’s attempt to seize and bulldoze 10 thriving businesses in Ardmore’s charming historic district. When it comes to grassroots activism, the SAC did it all — rallies, protests, publicity campaigns and coordinated efforts to unseat local officials who supported eminent domain abuse. Its members testified before state and local bodies urging the reform of eminent domain laws, attended the Castle Coalition’s national and regional conferences, and worked with the media to bring attention to their battle. In March 2006, the Township took its condemnation threats off the table — no doubt in response to the public outcry generated by the SAC.

Valley Township
It cost Nancy and Dick Saha $300,000 of their retirement savings and six hard years, but they prevailed in their bout with the City of Coatesville. The couple bought their Pennsylvania farmhouse in 1971, making lifelong dreams of owning a small horse farm a reality. With their five children, the Sahas moved to Chester County and restored their charming 250-year-old residence. Truly a family farm, two of their daughters married and built their family homes on the land, giving Nancy and Dick the chance to see their five grandchildren grow up next door.

When Coatesville threatened to take their property by eminent domain to build a golf course—plans for which didn’t even include their farm in the first place—the Sahas remained fully committed to a grassroots battle. They submitted three petitions, protested at local meetings and took their fight to court. Ultimately, the city council backed off when the Sahas pushed to elect new representatives, agreeing to purchase five acres that the Sahas had offered to give the government for free at the beginning of the dispute.

It was a crazy time. What we all went through was hard. It was a brutal battle.  We went to Washington alongside the Sahas, Susett Kelo (think Little Pink House), people from Long Branch NJ, and many many more.  It was the time of the US Supreme Court case Kelo vs. New London.

Dick and Nancy Saha were inspirational.  They created a hand off my farm movement. (You can read about it here on the Institute for Justice website in more detail.) They had a great deal of local, regional, and national news attention.  We all did. It was kind of crazy.

It cost the Sahas hundreds of thousands of dollars and pure grit and hard work and they saved their farm.

I used to love seeing Dick and Nancy Saha.  They are the nicest people and they would make the drive from the Wagontown area to even visit us in Ardmore when we were hosting events.

But time and life move on and we all got on with our lives after eminent domain.  I moved to Chester County.  And since I moved to Chester County  I have thought about the Sahas once in a while.  I thought about reaching out, but then I thought well the battle was over so maybe it would seem weird.  But I always wondered what happened to the Saha family after.

So this morning an article from Main Line Today popped up in a social media feed. About two sisters named Joanne Voelcker and wait for it….Amy Saha! Dick and Nancy Saha’s daughters and their lavender farm! (Lavender farm? Wait what?? How awesome!!)

Two Sisters Transformed Their Family’s Chester County Farm Into a 42-Acre Lavender Oasis
Amy Saha and Joanne Voelcker, the owners of Wagontown’s Mt Airy Lavender, have dedicated themselves to growing and harvesting seven different varieties of the plant.

In the heart of Chester County, there’s a little piece of Provençe, France, thanks to sisters Amy Saha and Joanne Voelcker. On their 42-acre Wagontown farm, some 1,200 lavender plants flourish. In the warm months, those fields are abuzz with bees and butterflies. They flit from plant to plant, drunk on the heady scent the flowers release as they sway in the breeze.

Creating and maintaining such an idyll has been no small feat. Saha and Voelcker’s Mt Airy Lavender has required years of dedication and hard work. Their parents bought the farm in 1971, moving their family from Media to the homestead just outside Coatesville. With love and care, its rundown 48 acres began to thrive.

Years later, in 1991, the city of Coatesville tried to build on the property, claiming eminent domain. After a six-year legal battle, the family won, losing just six acres in the process. As their parents aged, preserving the land they fought so hard to protect became more and more important to the sisters. They couldn’t bear to see it sold.

Over the years, Saha and Voelcker built their own homes on the farm to be near their parents. The houses sit on either side of a long, shaded driveway that wends by pastures where horses can be seen cropping the grass. One lavender field is right behind Voelcker’s home. She began planting it in 2012, a year after she and her husband returned from a five-year stay in Brussels. “I worked and lived over there,” says Voelcker, the former head of client insight and marketing technology at Vanguard. “I got a chance to visit the South of France, and I just fell in love with the lavender.”

Please take the time to read the entire article. It’s so wonderful. I am so happy for the Sahas and this new success I am am all choked up with emotion.  It is so awesome to hear about nice things happening to nice people in a world that some days is truly nuts.

I can’t wait to visit the farm on open farm days.  Via their Facebook page for Mt. Airy Lavender I found their website.

They have great products they make that you can order online and they hose all sorts of events .

Events that interest me are the upcoming open farm days and I hope my husband will want to check it out:

Visit us when the lavender is expected to be in bloom – Mt Airy Lavender Open Houses – Sat. June 22, Sun. June 23, Sat. June 29, Sun. June 30
Come visit Mt Airy Lavender these weekends when we expect the lavender to be in bloom. Shop our products, bring your cameras and a picnic lunch. Fresh cut lavender and a variety of lavender products will be available for purchase. We aren’t normally open to the public, so this is a great opportunity to enjoy the farm. Please note – we lost quite a bit of lavender due to all the rain and lack of sun. We are in the process of replanting. The farm is still quite beautiful so we hope to see you at our Open Houses.

We will be open 11 am to 4pm on:

Saturday, June 22 & Sunday, June 23

Saturday, June 29 & Sunday, June 30

Note: Bees love lavender, please be aware that bees will be attending the Open House as well. If you are allergic to them, please take special precautions!

Click here for directions to their slice of heaven.

What else makes me happy? Not just that this is still a farm and was saved, but how farmers in Chester County get creative to exist in today’s world.  See? We don’t need fields of plastic mushroom houses, we can have things like fields of lavender instead!


Another view of the Saha Farm today courtesy of Mt. Airy Lavender 

r.i.p. jack bogle

(PRNewsfoto/Vanguard/Shannon Stapleton Reuters) Have seen this photo used in multiple places on the Internet, especially today.

I just learned a little while ago of the death of Vanguard founder John “Jack” Bogle.

I guess you could call me and the rest of the folks who knew him first and other than the founder of Vanguard and founder of index funds as original “Bogleheads“. Bogleheads are in fact really disciples of his investment philosophies and strategies.  They began around 1998 if I recall correctly.  (They have chapters all over and meet in the Philadelphia area annually for a conference.)

Jack Bogle, Mr. Bogle as I always called him was my neighbor my growing up years living  in Haverford.  He was a contemporary of my parents and a Shipley dad.  Mr. Bogle’s wife, Eve, was also a Shipley alumnus, so I would see them mostly at alumni events once we all moved away from the Haverford neighborhood I grew up in.

Mr. Bogle and his wife are two of the kindest people you could ever hope to meet.  When I was growing up they had an English Springer Spaniel and so did we. (Maybe I should be saying “were” instead of “are” but I am still just sort of stunned that Mr. Bogle is gone.)

It’s funny, when you are a kid, you don’t realize someone is a Titan of Commerce and Industry and a pretty big deal.  He was just our super nice neighbor and I think that was the way he liked it.

You can read article after article about Mr. Bogle saying how unpretentious and wonderful he was and think “how is that possible, that someone who had achieved so much was such a regular and caring person?” It is all true.  He was just exactly that way.  Humble, philanthropic, interested in people, loved to walk in our neighborhood. Genuine.

Over the past I would say 25 years literally where I saw Mr. Bogle most was accompanying Mrs. Bogle to events at Shipley.  He was always current even on the most local of politics.  Way back when I was part of the Save Ardmore Coalition and we were fighting Lower Merion Township over eminent domain for private gain in Ardmore, he and Mrs. Bogle did not treat me like I had leprosy when I saw them at a Shipley event at that time, and yes some more stiff upper lip Main Liners and Shipley personnel most assuredly did do that back then.

My first real job was as a registered marketing representative for The Delaware Group of Mutual Funds in Philadelphia when it was still independently owned.  We are talking the 1980’s. I remember back then running into him and Mrs. Bogle somewhere and him asking me why I didn’t apply for a job at Vanguard.  He was very amused when I told him salary and location.

At that time my position which was entry-level was around $13,000 a year at Delaware Group and $11,000 a year for a similar position at Vanguard.  Actually, I would have loved back then to have been at Vanguard, but the money differential and being young and working in a city was just more attractive than suburbia and a suburban business campus.  The irony? The attractiveness of being a city slicker going to happy hour at The Irish Pub eventually wore off.

I apologize, I don’t think I am writing this post very well.  I am just sad.  Mr. Bogle was just so nice. He had eyes that twinkled when he smiled or laughed. He was just of those people I enjoyed speaking to if even for a moment. Always.

When the news flit across my computer screen that he died, I just kind of sat there and said oh wow, oh wow.  It is kind of like another door on growing up closing.  I had a flashback memory of him walking in our neighborhood with his wife Eve (oh, how they adored one and other) – it’s amazing what lives in our subconscious, isn’t it?  I also thought of his children – just as nice as the parents.

Were these people I was super close to? No but they were neighbors and part of the world in which I lived growing up. And wasn’t I lucky, because you truly don’t often meet people as genuine.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a marvelous article about Mr. Bogle today.  This was one of the things that just stood out to me this afternoon:

A man who believed in the value of introspection and who was always questioning his own motives and behavior, Mr. Bogle sought to define what it means to lead a good life. It was not about wealth, power, fame and other conventional notions of success, he concluded.

“It’s about being a good husband, a good father, a good colleague, a good member of the community. Everything else pales by comparison. The accumulation of material goods is a waste — you can’t take them with you, anyway — and the waste is typified by our financial system. The essential message is, stop focusing on self and start thinking about service to others.”

There are so many things popping up everywhere on major media outlets now, and the tributes and accolades will continue to flow. Like I said earlier, growing up for years I had no idea what he did and then how important he was.  He was just Mr. Bogle from down the road.

Mr. Bogle had 8 basic rules for investing (and yes I cheated and pulled them off of his Wikipedia page) and here they are:

  1. Select low-cost funds
  2. Consider carefully the added costs of advice
  3. Do not overrate past fund performance
  4. Use past performance to determine consistency and risk
  5. Beware of stars (as in, star mutual fund managers)
  6. Beware of asset size
  7. Don’t own too many funds
  8. Buy your fund portfolio – and hold it

When people like Mr. Bogle pass away it is also sad because he was a true gentleman too.  When you think Captains or Titans of Industry today you don’t see that very often.  After all just look at who inhabits 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at present.  Now there is a guy who could have learned from Jack Bogle.  But I digress. (I do that.)

Before I share the obituary articles on Mr. Bogle I will also say there are two more local articles I like, one from 2017 in Philadelphia Magazine and an article from Main Line Today Magazine in 2012.

Mr. Bogle, may your memory always be a blessing.  Requiescat in pace, sir.

Here is what I have read thus far:

Vanguard Announces The Passing Of Founder John C. Bogle (PR Newswire)

Vanguard Founder Jack Bogle Dead At 89 (Zero Hedge)

Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group and creator of the index fund, dies at age 89 (CNBC)

Financial pioneer: John Bogle, who founded Vanguard and revolutionized retirement savings, dies at 89.
by Art Carey and Erin Arvedlund,Philadelphia Inquirer

Vanguard founder Jack Bogle dies at 89; pioneered the index fund Thomas Heath Wasington Post

Jack Bogle, Legendary Index Fund Inventor, Dies at 89 Leslie P Norton, Barron’s

John C. Bogle, Founder of Vanguard Group, Dies at 89
Bogle’s campaign to cut fees put him squarely into a U.S. tradition of iconoclastic discounters  By Jason Zweig and Sarah Krouse Wall Street Journal

John Bogle, Founder of Vanguard and Creator of Index Fund, Dies at 89
Wall Street legend John Bogle championed individual investors, creating tools to help them access American growth. Tom Bemis The Street

John C. Bogle, Founder of Financial Giant Vanguard, Is Dead at 89 by Edward Wyatt  New York Times

things that are hard

Life throws you curveballs. I don’t talk about personal things, truly personal things too often because people who are reading what I am writing don’t seem to get that I am a private person. They incorrectly perceive me as a public person, and I’m not. Just because I am a writer and I write a blog does not make me some bizarre sort of celebrity or public persona.

In December, I shared a media report from main stream media on my blog’s Facebook page. A news story link from a television station. No commentary.

Because it is social media, the comments started. I drew the line when someone started posting comments that inferred I was a racist because I posted a link to the news story that several news media outlets reported on. I might be many things, but a racist I am not and I both found offense and took offense to that.

Added to that mix was a woman whom I do not know personally, but know of. We don’t exactly travel in the same social circles. Literally, she is someone local-ish I see around social media. She’s one of those people I would not choose as a friend in real life because she is a perennial pot stirrer.

She chose to be a pot stirrer in this situation and tried to add fuel to the fire. I did ask her if she had nothing better to do and then I decided I wasn’t going to engage further with these people. What people don’t understand about social media is that is completely acceptable – I was choosing NOT to engage further pretty much because I found it all distasteful .

When I decided I had had enough I removed the pot stirrer (blocked them too) and I think one other person. And then I just decided to delete the post I had initially posted. I chose to delete the post because although all I did was share a news link, it was a controversial enough topic that I was going to spend my life babysitting the post and I didn’t care to do that. I didn’t announce that I was removing people or removing the post I just did it and moved on. There is enough ugly going on in this world as it is.

A lot of people who are admins and/or social media page owners/creators will make a big deal about every person they remove. They will even create a post to that effect. I know because after a fashion in the past, I have done that.

However, what I have learned is that just opens the door to other not positive behaviors, so I have tried to make a conscious decision to behave differently. You can’t control the actions of others you can only do your best to control your own actions.

I don’t pretend to be a perfect person. I don’t pretend I’ve led a 100% perfect life. I am human I make mistakes. We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn from them that sets us apart from one and other.

But it’s like people truly don’t understand that just like there are parameters and boundaries in the real world, there are parameters and boundaries of good taste, bad taste, and what’s acceptable and what’s just wrong also on social media. And I have seen this same situation repeat over and over and over.

So I don’t give this whole deleting a post a second thought and like everyone else, my family and I got into the Christmas season and I was busy. (There were 16 of us this year for Christmas dinner alone, and that’s a lot to prepare for!)

We had family in from out of town, friends in from out of town, and so on and so forth. So although I was on social media it wasn’t like I was exactly checking everything. Or cared to. I love Christmas and I love to experience it in the moment which means you have to be present with people.

Sometime right before Christmas the pot stirrer I removed posted in a Facebook group I belong to. The post was about me. Who was the Chester County Ramblings Blogger and how I was an awful person. People piled on right behind her with comments. Because I had blocked her, even though we were in the same group I was spared knowing about all of this at first.

But as in all things social media, I learned of what was going on because on the same thread someone else I know became a target. People started sending me screenshots.

Sadly, this should have been dealt with but the person who administers the page was really sick. However, since the page is populated by adults some folks basically started to say what was happening wasn’t right.

Then along came what could only be described as a troll. This person (who seemed to be a woman and who had a profile that said they had been on Facebook since 2010 and currently reside in Phoenixville) started posting nasty and malicious things about me and also about a second woman who had the misfortune of also being discussed. At this point there was more than comments on the original post digging at me, there were a few posts. It was kind of crazy.

I should not have been surprised as it was yet another example of the kind of the pack mentality behavior and mob mentality behavior which seems to take people over on social media at times.

People know what is going on is wrong, yet none of them will be a grown-up and say “stop”. A lot of reasons why is when you say “stop” you then become a target. The other woman who was targeted along with me had been the subject of a social media beat down prior to this incident. And I had actually been someone at that time who said I thought it was wrong and it needed to stop.

So is that how we became connected in this craziness? I honestly don’t know. I think that a lot of times people just consider me an easy target because I am a blogger. It doesn’t matter if I cover a lot of the same territory that traditional media covers, where they wouldn’t ever go after an actual reporter they seem to think they can go after me.

And where going after me is bad enough, the minute you come near my family, I am done. And that’s what was done to myself and this other woman. I will also note and she will back me up we don’t know each other that well. We were starting to get to know each other prior to where she lives now, and it’s just one of those things where we lost touch for a while and then reconnected. Life happens, yes?

So is this woman my bestie? No but I think she’s a good person and I like her. She didn’t deserve this and neither did I.

Now comes the personal stuff for me that I am almost loathe to share because it’s about something I love very much. One of my pets.

While a lot of this stuff was happening, my young dog ruptured a disc in their back. There was no overt reason or fall, everything changed literally in a matter of minutes.

In a matter of minutes the dog was dragging a rear leg. We went immediately to the vet and within two hours they were completely paralyzed in the rear.

So while some freak is posting information about the children and husband of this woman I know, essentially doing the same with regard to me, I was experiencing the most horrible life and death situation. Was I going to lose my dog? Were they going to be able to have surgery?

You know, the stuff in life that matters. Not bullshit (yes, bullshit) adult on adult bullying, doxxing, and cyber stalking.

I am tired of living the modern version of the Salem freaking witch trials. Just because I write and have strong opinions it doesn’t mean I am the evil other. Just because I write and have strong opinions it doesn’t make me public enemy number one. Just because you don’t happen to agree with the thought process and position of anyone it does not give you the right to attack like that.

And I will also say it outright that I do not respect the social media pot stirrers in this world. These are people that are not adding anything valuable to a conversation or striving to better their community, they are just stirring the pot.

I mean come on? Are we in middle school still? It sort of feels that way.

Back to things that matter.

My dog survived a very serious and invasive surgery at Hope Veterinary Hospital, complete with a back full of vicious looking metal staples. But St. Francis was looking out and the dog is alive. It will be a long road to recovery and at this point we hope the dog will walk again, but we don’t know. We will love them either way.

To the keyboard cowboys out there, take a moment. Hit the pause button. Walk away. Doxxing, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, cyber harassing and so on are actually cybercrime. People can and do seek out law enforcement when these things happen.

People, live your best life. Not everyone you meet in this world is going to like you, nor are you going to like everyone you meet. Not everyone you meet in this world is going to share your opinions and perspectives, and that’s OK. What’s NOT OK is punishing and persecuting people because you disagree with them or because you don’t understand them or know them and perhaps they don’t want to get to know you. It happens.

And if you are someone’s friend, be their friend.  Don’t be opportunistic.  Friends are people you care about and are loyal to.  You do not just pop into their life when you need or want something. I have seen too much of that lately, too.  It’s damn disappointing.

Don’t just talk about manners and family values, actually have them. Life is real. Life is not a Real Housewives show on Bravo that we watch for distraction.

Thanks for stopping by.