we have to be the change we want

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(WHY I won’t be voting Republican in the PA6 Congressional race this fall.)

Until the last Presidential Election, I was a life-long Republican.  I had always been an inveterate ticket splitter, but I remained a Republican…until this last presidential race.

But I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t pretend this was the political party that once made me believe.  When I was a Media Relations Volunteer at the RNC2000, I never, ever would have thought they would boil down to this hot party mess they have devolved to.

But they have.

I know I am not a true Democrat, anymore than I am a current-style Republican.  So I went Independent. Yes, I lost my primary voting rights because it’s Pennsylvania, but I felt I had taken something back for myself by freeing myself from political rhetoric I could not get behind.

I have never voted Democrat in the PA 6th Congressional District. And I have been in this district seemingly forever.  First in Lower Merion Township, and now even after a couple rounds of redistricting, here in Chester County.  I voted gladly for Jim Gerlach every time he ran, and I also voted for Ryan Costello.

I did not really know who I would vote for until September 1st.  There seemed to be mass confusion for a while, namely with regard to Costello bailing out and the redistricting and the redistricting court battles. Like many, I wasn’t actually sure for a while who would be running.

If we had somehow magically gotten redistricted to the PA 7th Congressional District which now has kind of sort of become the new PA 5th Congressional District, I would have chosen Pearl Kim.  (I do not even know who is running in the now PA 7th at this point.)

To an extent, I am so turned off by American politics and the nouveau Republican party, I kind of just literally closed my ears for months and months.  No easy feat for a political junkie.

I had heard about Greg McCauley and would have actually considered him because of his Philadelphia area familial and legal profession lineage. Until that September 1st tweet. I realize it was probably some campaign minion, but it doesn’t matter.  As a candidate he let it go forward, right?

Chester County needs Republicans they can count on, not #TrumpLite . This is why Chester County continues to veer away from it’s Republican roots and history and will soon be another county in PA with a Democratic majority.

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I found this position VERY interesting. 

Chrissy Houlahan has served her country proudly in the US Armed Forces and deserves what the Brits call worthy opposition. A Republican man demeaning his female opposition is not someone voters today will find worthy.  

This kind of behavior in PA 6 is nothing new, but it IS old and used.

Today as a candidate (in my humble opinion), you  need to run a campaign based on what YOU would bring to the table not tired sexist rhetoric that the “party” wants. We don’t want in PA.  Jim Gerlach was always his own man. McCauley needed to be THAT guy for his own sake as well as voters.

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My Democratic door knocker said to tell all of you he was tall and dashingly handsome. He made me laugh and was super pleasant to deal with.

Today, a little while ago, a very nice man came knocking on my door.  Wanting to speak to my husband.  Poor man he got me.

He was a door knocker for the Democrats.  ( I will admit I handed him back his Tom Wolf palm card and told him why : PIPELINES AND BROKEN PROMISES FROM THE LAST CAMPAIGN. But I digress….)

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Chrissy and her campaign like to tell you what she believes in. She doesn’t waste the voters’ time just slamming and denigrating her opponent, does she?

These days Republicans seem to take a lot of us voters in Chester County for granted.  I have not seen anyone from the Republicans door knock in a couple of years, and even then it was merely committee people, not actual candidates.

So this afternoon this Democratic door knocker told me a little bit more about Chrissy Houlahan, and I in turn told him about what made me look at her again the other day. And decide.

Yes, all it took was one sexist, rude, misogynistic tweet.

He also told me about Kristine Howard who is running against Duane Milne in the PA 167th legislative district. Kristine Howard (according to her Facebook political page biography ):

“is known in suburban Philadelphia as a political activist who spent most of the last decade working for progressive Democratic candidates and serving diligently as a member of the Chester County Democratic Committee from Malvern while balancing the responsibilities of work and single-mother parenting…. After law school she planned to pursue a career in public interest law but her career plans took a detour after getting married and having two babies while in law school. After law school, she spent five years in New Mexico, where she ran a small legal and social services organization while her family grew. When she came back to Pennsylvania, she devoted the next many years focused on raising her three boys and four girls. It was not easy to combine a “real” career with raising a large family but she always found something to do to stay engaged in her civic interests and social activism. She worked for Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and was a child advocate for children in foster care in Philadelphia. Her keen interest in children and child welfare opened the door to her current position, working for the County investigating child abuse cases. As a caseworker, she has come to see a darker side of the wealthy and beautiful Chester County communities where she has raised her family. Her experiences as a social worker, mother and political activist have come together in her decision…”

Honestly, I never heard of her. But that is a lot of the problem about Chester County politics. You do not hear about some candidates at all. Especially, I am learning, if you are an Independent.

But this post is not about THAT race.  This post is about the 6th Congressional District Race.

And something has got to give.

So I am thinking this indeed might be the election that flips the 6th.  John Micek from PennLive.com has been saying so for months.

It’s a relatively simple concept that has more to do with us as Pennsylvanians than anything else.  We need someone with a spine. A backbone. A strong moral compass.  This race, it seems more and more that Chrissie Houlahan is the woman for the job.

Check out this September 2nd piece in the New York Times.

Please note these are only my opinions and I was not asked to write this nor compensated in any way to write this.  I am writing this post because it’s time to say something.  We have to be the change we want. 

I want change. Not more tired rhetoric. It’s time for more women in Congress and I would like to start with my very own district. If that makes me a potential “enemy of the state” by some of my Republican friends, I am sorry you feel that way. I think Chrissy is the best choice for me at this time in my life. If Chrissy Houlahan came knocking on my door personally, I would be very please to chat with her. As a woman, I like what I hear.  Now more than ever, that matters to me.

r.i.p. keith hartman

Keith Hartman  Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Photo Credit:  STEVEN M. FALK / Staff Photographer

Keith Paul Hartman slipped from this world at 1:04 A.M. on Saturday, March 24, 2018. he was in the ICU at Paoli Hospital where he had been taken around March 9th, 2018. Keith was born on December 28, 1955 to the late Lester B. and Louise Capp Hartman. He was 62 years old.

Keith lived in General Warren Village, and he worked for many years at Bishop Tube with David Worst.  He and David grew up together in the village. Keith was a proud graduate of Great Valley High School.

He was an active member of the Malvern Pocahontas Lodge #201 IOOF. Keith worked at Bishop Tube, Herzak’s Automotive and later operated Hartman Automotive.  Keith found a great enjoyment fishing and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.

I only knew Keith a little over a year, and I thought he was one of the nicest people I had ever met.  He was a kind man with a larger than life voice and a laugh that was joyful from deep inside. He had a very funny sense of humor.

As a relatively new person to Chester County, he and many of the General Warren Villagers I have met have been among the most warm and welcoming. I met Keith through his lifelong friend, David Worst.

Keith also had the courage of his convictions, and stood up for what he believed in.

I am actually pretty sad as I write this.  I told some of his friends I would write a tribute to Keith, and as I am given more details, I will update this post.  I felt I had to write something now.  He was too nice a guy not to ask for prayers for in his memory. I honestly thought he would come home.

Joyce Anne Hartman,  Keith’s beloved wife predeceased him  in 2011 and I also know he leaves behind his stepdaughter; Anna K. Schaeffer (Garett) and his four step-grandchildren.  He is also survived by cousins including Kevin L. Hartman. He is also survived by his stepmother, Jane Hartman.

Light a candle for Keith and say a prayer.

Life is so precious, and we are faced with that thought every time we lose someone who touched our lives. Keith touched my life only briefly, but I am glad I knew him for any amount of time.

My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

A service has been planned as per his cousin Kevin Hartman:

Just wanted to post Keith Hartman’s service arrangements.
Saturday 3/31/18 from 10 – 11 AM are the visitation hours at Malvern Baptist Church,
11- 12 AM will be the service at Malvern Baptist Church
Keith was a great friend (and cousin) to those of us who knew him .

Here is the LINK to the obituary from Mauger Givnish.

Rest in peace Keith and fly with the angels.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm on your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

out with the old, back in with the creepy familiar

It is almost the end of 2017, and quite the year it has been! I have enjoyed this year with friends and family, and like life it has had it’s ups and downs. It has also now marked the return of someone extraordinarily unstable in my life.

On this blog, in the past, I spoke about cyberbullying and cyberstalking. As in an adult who was doing this to me. They did it via Facebook, and Facebook has shut them down two times that I know of.

This person was someone who was only ever in my life long distance. I never met them in person. They are related to someone I used to know. I thought they were nice, we even used to exchange Christmas presents. But as my old life waned and I recovered from breast cancer and life moved me to wonderful Chester County, as I fell in love again and then had my own family, they waned from my life. It’s like they were jealous and unable to be happy for me.

Eventually this person decided they could not fit into my life and stopped communicating. At the time this saddened me, but relationships end.

Then one day they were back. This was cyberbullying and cyberstalking attempt number one. They took whatever I wrote here and on the blog’s Facebook page and whatever else they could scrounge up by lurking on Twitter and they perverted it, distorted it, even oddly sexualized it. It went on for months. They even virtually befriended people who were politically opposite from me on local issues. Eventually Facebook shut it down because among other things they were doing all of this from way across state lines in another state not close to here. Though not enforced often enough, the Feds do have laws about cyberbullying and cyberstalking.

Then this person went away, until it happened again. I found out last night they they are back yet again, because apparently they have been at it again for a few months and weren’t getting enough attention.

Last night I found out they had actually reached out to a friend of mine via their social media page. This friend, who is no stranger to harassment for her beliefs, contacted me.

We realized that this person has once again been out there for months. My friend commented that she put a lot of effort into harassing me.

This time, rather ironically, she (yes it is a woman) has this site up about cyberbullying and elder abuse, so they can….well….harass me again. This time they refer to themselves constantly in the third person and although they aren’t, they are calling themselves essentially an at risk elderly person or senior citizen. They are maybe late 50s or tops 60.

They are posting my private information like an old email address of mine which mostly collects spam. They have completely fabricated scenarios that are patently false and actually actionable.

This is still a very sad, twisted, and angry person. They probably want me to take action because they want the attention. They are essentially obsessed with me. I am sure there were other people they have been fixated on, and I am certain I won’t be the last. I also doubt their family in Pennsylvania are going to be happy they are back at it and once again fixated on me.

People are already reporting them to Facebook. Now Facebook is quite slow in dealing with cyberbullying and cyberstalking, but eventually they shut people down. I don’t know how many of these harassing pages this person will continue to create about me until they are finally stopped, but it will happen eventually.

Sadly, I am once again learning that messed up people like this are very real on this planet. Their goal is to create misery, harass, and steal joy.

I am as always, grateful for my friends and family and all of you my dear readers.

Thanks for stopping by.

christmas 🎄 serendipity


Tonight we went to Malvern’s Victorian Christmas. I have sponsored a lamp post Christmas tree the past couple of years and we couldn’t go last year. Sadly I did not find my tree but serendipity was the word of the evening. We did a little shopping, had dinner….and strolled.

While we were strolling I noticed the sign photographed above. I had seen it fly by on Facebook- it is the new gallery next to Gallery 222 on King Street (which was also so much fun this evening as a matter of fact!)

Painted Fine Art & Gallery Coming Soon the sign said. The gallery exterior was warm and festive. So I had to check it out, and I am so glad I did, as this is definitely Malvern’s next treasure! (you heard it here first😊)

Inside the studio greeting people was the gallery owner and artist, Sharon Henderson McHugh.

I have an affinity for artists to be sure, but Sharon is someone you would just like if you met her somewhere else. Warm and welcoming, and her art is amazing I think. She has a tremendous sense of color, texture, and light. Her subjects also come to life on the canvases – each has a vibrancy.

Her middle room were portraits and portraits of nudes. Nudes can be extraordinary if they are painted by the right artist. Sharon is in the photo above, and I photographed her next to the nude that is my favorite. I also love the garden scene which is the last photo in this post.

I am sorry I did not take more photos of her art. She also has some pencil drawings which are exquisite.

I look forward to the gallery’s opening and you will definitely want to check it out.

#ShopLocal and go to Malvern’s Victorian Christmas tomorrow! So much fun!

whose america are we living in?

When you see photos like this they just make you happy. Obviously in love, on their wedding day, their whole lives ahead of them. Until ICE (immigration) shows up like modern day Nazis at the Septa train station in Haverford and arrests the husband.

I used to live in Haverford.  I used to work near Haverford Train Station.  I grew up in Haverford.  I just can’t imagine the terror this man felt.  I learned about his plight when a friend posted on Facebook:

 

I thought this possibly couldn’t be true, then I remember conversations I have had with people even locally in Chester County about ICE going into schools, ICE raiding restaurants and other businesses country and city, ICE rounding people up off the streets and throwing them into vans, asking for papers at SEPTA stops in Philadelphia (a supposed “sanctuary city”), tales of immigrants with “go” bags packed by their front doors in case they have to run, and does this seem crazy that we are living in a country that allows this?

We are a nation formed of immigrants.  Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor.  I have friends who emigrated to this country.  I thank God that all of them are legal citizens.

Jonatan Palacios is his name.  His lovely wife Lillie Williams has a You Caring Page up. I don’t know them personally, but what is being done to them is a crazy horror show at the hands of the US Government.

I am going to let HER words tell THEIR story.  Lillie pardon me for copying and pasting your message, but your words have power:

The Story

My name is Lillie Williams and early yesterday morning, on May 11th, immigration ripped me away from my husband. 

We are working with a lawyer to get him out and get him back home to me as soon as possible, but we need help covering all of the expenses, fees, and loss of income as we work to do everything I can to get Jonatan out and back to his home and family.

Why did we get caught in this mess? Because we were going through proper legal motions. We submitted an I-130 spousal petition for him in October. We were working with the system to correct his legal status from his case when he entered as an unaccompanied minor at the age of 16. 

Jonatan is my best friend and soulmate. I appreciate any help and support that you can provide to help us through this difficult time. 

Background:

Jonatan and I had went on our first date the summer before my Junior year at Bryn Mawr College, on May 24th, 2010.

My roommate at the time had been dating Jonatan’s older brother for about a year before we started dating. Always thinking herself the matchmaker, she had made several attempts at getting Jonatan and I together before it finally happened. The final straw that brought the two of us together was a mishap one night, where my roommate had accidentally locked me out of the apartment in my pajamas when she was late to a date with Jonatan’s brother. I called my forgetful Italian friend to please turn around and let me back in, but instead she sent Jonatan to my rescue. He then had my number and asked if he could keep it.We started dating only a few months later and it was as if there was a magnetic force that brought us together. We were inseparable. Then, several hard events in my life happened which brought us even closer together. We both became each other’s home.

We were legally married at one one of our favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, Amada on October 11th, 2014 and a year later we had our religious wedding ceremony with friends and family at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on October 15th, 2015. 

The pastor from Jonatan’s church officiated with the service in Spanish and translated into English so that everyone there would understand. It was one of the happiest evenings of our lives.

When we were getting ready to get married, I learned about Jonatan’s case. I thought that it was something that we would be able to resolve with marriage– since I am a born United States Citizen and my ancestry goes back in the United States to colonial days I thought it would be a simple case of petitioning for him once we were married. I found out after that the case was a lot more complicated than either of us had thought.

It turns out that people don’t become citizens simply through marriage to a US Citizen Spouse. It is a long and difficult process and sometimes, if you are unlucky, things can go wrong with your case. 

More About the Issue:

If you would like to know more about the overall issue, there is a whole organization of families like mine that have gone through or are going through similar issues, American Families United. You can learn more by going to http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/.

 

This is so unreal.  Their crime was being naïve and thinking they could trust the United States of America. They filed what they thought was the correct paperwork and instead of help, he gets arrested at the Septa station in Haverford with assistance by Lower Merion Police Department.  Ok, so let’s be fair, I am guessing Lower Merion Police Department did not have much choice in the matter when the Federal Government comes calling, but can you imagine the abject terror he must have felt along with anyone else who was around there on May 11th?

Ok so those of you who are die hard conservatives are getting ready to sharpen your keyboards and read me the riot act for this post, but please.

Don’t.

Stop and think about this for a moment.  This young couple were trying to right a wrong. They were not trying to be deceitful.  Now this guy is sitting in some jail facility in York, PA and do we even know if he has been able to see his wife? Or other family?  They were not hiding and they were punished anyway.

For every one of these stories I hear, the mental image of World War II come to mind.  The stories of Holocaust survivors and immigrants of another century telling the stories of Nazis demanding papers during World War II era Europe.  Tell me, how is this different? Because it is happening under the banner of the United States of America?

What is it that is carved on Lady Liberty? What is the exact figure of immigrants who came through Ellis Island and passed the Statue of Liberty between 1820 and 1920? 34 Million? This is the poem Lady Liberty wears:

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

There is a vigil planned for Jonatan Palacios on June 8th.  There is a Facebook event set up

If you care to contribute to the young couple’s legal expenses (immigration lawyers are not cheap), please visit You Caring Help Jonatan Palacios be reunited with his wife and family!

I am the descendant of immigrants.  I am descended from three nationalities which were once discriminated against and disparaged against – Irish, German, Italian.  I grew up with many tales including “Irish need not apply” and WOP jokes and disparaging German comments . I fear for my legal US citizen friends who emigrated here because some still have the lingering traces of the countries they were born in.  What could be done to them in error because they don’t have your typical American accent?

Whether you know this couple or not, if you can peacefully or peaceably help, help.  Attend the vigil, write elected officials (including all 14 commissioners in Lower Merion Township to ask WTF??,  essentially.)

Whose America is this? Whose America are we living in?  I am not sure  and I am so sad at this latest turn of events.

modern family


The concept of family is a sacred thing. When you are little they are that group of people bought together by blood that all look like you.

As you grow up you realize as you form your own family units the concept of family can be redefined. I have a lot of friends who don’t have much family by related blood per se, so the friends fill the family shoes.

When my sister and I were little there were a lot more of us. Not in our immediate family, we were just four people- but through aunts and uncles and cousins and great aunts and great uncles and grandparents and great grandparents there were more of us.  As we grew up, the numbers thinned. But we still had both of our parents.

In 2005 our father died. He had fought prostate cancer valiantly and on his own terms.

For me, the death of my father is still somewhat of a surreal event. My memories from that time are a lot like flashes of  Kaleidoscope images.  Lots of bits separated by flashes of color.

I remember my mother and my sister being so instantly devastated and falling apart around me that I was almost afraid to grieve for a very long time.  I remember looking out across the church which was standing room only giving one of  my father’s eulogies .  In order to get through that and not embarrass myself by dissolving into tears I found two of my friends Stevie and Barb, and focused on them.

Other things I remember from the day of my father’s funeral were two people who weren’t there. One was my father’s brother, his only brother. Even as a child I never thought much of him and I pretty much wrote him off after that. He was like a selfish caricature version of my father. Truthfully, and without guilt and reservation, I can say with a clean conscience I don’t care if I ever see him again.

The other person who wasn’t there that day was my godfather.  That was a more bitter pill to swallow, especially since he lived down the street from the church. He was literally two or three blocks away.

My late godfather was a great disappointment to me on that day.  He had known my father (and mother) since high school and he gave the toast at their wedding.  So I let my godfather go. I was sad for a moment when I heard he had died, but I did not attend his funeral which was at the church a block away from where my father’s funeral had been held. I saw no need to open that door one last time.

We all moved on. It took a while, but we found our way and it was OK but it was different.

Then in 2010, we also lost my brother-in-law quite suddenly.   Our little family unit was devastated all over again. It nearly broke me to watch my sister and her children grieve because there was nothing anyone could do other than to be there for them. It was also so incredibly hard to watch my mother grieve this new loss as well.

Eventually the clouds lifted and we all moved on. One day our mother finally ‘fessed up and told us she was seeing someone. (We had suspected this, incidentally.) Mother seemed almost scared to tell us like we would be upset.  But we weren’t upset, we were very and truly happy for her. We also felt that our father would not have wanted her to be alone because he loved her that much. Our mother was truly happy and alive again, and we loved it.

So for the past few years we have watched a rather remarkable love story develop and unfold. At a time in life where a lot of people tend to wind down and accept a more solitary existence, my mother once again found love.

And my sister and I grew to love her gentlemen as a surrogate father. We felt so lucky and so blessed to have him.

I am especially personally grateful for him as he really gets me as an individual . He has this uncanny intuition with people and capacity to listen to, understand, and love that is just lovely. I don’t know how else to describe it.  And on Monday, 22 May, 2017 he officially became our stepfather.

It was a quiet and intimate occasion, just the children and the couple whose dinner party inadvertently introduced them. Yes, this was something that happened quite literally by fate.

My mother and new stepfather were married by a judge they knew. After the ceremony was complete, the judge asked the children if they had anything to say. My sister spoke, but I didn’t have my words at that time. So I did not speak.

It has taken a couple of days for my wandering thoughts to come together. And among those thoughts I marvel at the modern family we all have become.

My own little family unit is a blended family, and now my larger family unit is a blended family. My sister and I have five stepsiblings! We gained four brothers and one sister…and that does not include spouses and children!

The thing about my newly blended family is how marvelous they are. Seriously, they are awesome.

We (the children) have all gotten to know each other over these past few years as our parents came together from being widowed.  So this is actually a really happy time for all of us. We all have had our bittersweet moments as we remember the parents who are no longer with us, but we are so fortunate that our parents have found such a wonderful love together and bought all of us together.

The power of love and happiness is a powerful thing indeed.  We are all stronger and better together. A true case of  Yours, Mine, and Ours — which incidentally is one of my favorite movies.  (The 1968 version starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.)

Believe in love. It takes you on the most unexpected journeys in life.

Thanks for stopping by.