this is wildflower farm

I broke the story yesterday about Wildflower Farm and I’m going to keep talking about it.

I was there today visiting (I was a guest in their home, nosy neighbors) and for 25 min a guy in a dark SUV drove back-and-forth in front of their farm to see who was sitting on their patio. I finally waved at him and called hello (loudly) and he went away. I guess a middle-aged white woman sitting on someone’s patio as a guest drinking a sparkling water is a threat?

Can I tell you how BEAUTIFUL and serene and peaceful Wildflower Farm is in spite of their neighbors? I walked through their magical woods and walked every outside row and every hoop house row of flowers. I am a gardener, I was in heaven. And their trees are awesome. Including things like native redbuds and Japanese maples that they have planted. I can also envision their fields alive with peonies and hydrangeas, too.

We talked gardening. I shared my gardening resources for bulbs and native plants. I also shared with them Chester County farms also that are small producing farms. Why? Because those farms and farmers are embraced by their neighbors, not absurdly reviled.


The majority of the neighbors on this street where they live have that extra special development mentality that I abhor. They sure are the types who should be living in a Stepford Wife Toll Brothers or similar development where everything is samey-samey cookie cutter and they can’t plant flowers, but the petty tyrants of homeowner associations reign supreme.

Wildflower Farm is zoned to be a farm. They aren’t throwing raucous parties 24 /7 they are a young family with two beautiful children who have a dream to have a farm and grow flowers.

They are an organic farm.

And what I saw today with the person in the SUV driving back-and-forth and back-and-forth and back-and-forth with my own eyes, they are experiencing harassment and must feel as if they are constantly under siege.

If someone chooses to live differently or simply, these pig-ignorant types of people find fault with it. It’s literally heart breaking that they cannot see the beauty here through the trees. But it’s like a blood sport to play whisper down the lane and to gossip inaccurately and cruelly about this young family? That’s Christian, God-fearing behavior?

The people who live in this neighborhood on Castlebar Lane where poor small farm is located are not all bad. But the majority of them seem so off the hook unpleasant in my opinion, it takes your breath away. I don’t understand how these people can do any of this with a clear conscience? They trespass on their property, they fly drones overhead to try to say they’re doing something wrong and they’re not, and for what? What do they gain?

A friend of mine (who lives on a farm) said to me that they don’t get these people who want everything big box and cookie cutter.

Take the neighbor on one side? Building this giant berm so they don’t have to look at them which is something that is so ludicrous to me because if I lived next-door I would want a clear view so I could see what flowers they were growing! They have totally cleaned up this property it’s beautiful, and it has the most gorgeous woods. You look at it and it makes you think like this is what Chester County is supposed to be.


What is happening to these people is literally insane. And the fact that one of the people giving them a hard time and filing zoning things and other stuff is on the planning commission in Willistown Township just blows my mind and then there’s the other people who have lots (as in empty lots of land) on the road but don’t actually live there who have been big for years with the Willistown Conservation Trust? And if you go through publications of the Willistown Conservation Trust you see other names also in this bizarre NIMBY situation? I don’t understand these people apparently farms are OK just not in their neighborhood but it’s zoned agricultural, it’s not just a residential area so I really don’t understand the pretzel logic? (And FYI the candidate for Willistown Supervisor who seems to be doing a lot of promising including helping their horrid neighbors? Remember THAT at the polls. Those who over-promise to everyone, never deliver but that is a separate conversation.)


Wildflower Farm deserves ALL of our support. They are up in front of zoning next week and Willistown and I have posted about it it is a public meeting and if you’re not a resident you don’t have standing so you won’t be speaking but you can go and support in solidarity. Especially if you are a FARMER.

The Willistown Township Zoning Hearing Board will meet on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. Sugartown Elementary School – Gymnasium 611 Sugartown Road, Malvern, PA 19355

The Heenans are the people we want as neighbors in Chester County, and in a time where every square inch is developed they are farming and growing wildflowers and are into native plants.

Willistown also has a regular supervisors meeting on October 11 at 7 PM which is also a public meeting. Charles E. Coxe Memorial Campus. 688 Sugartown Road, Malvern, PA 19355


Please lend these nice people your support. Supporting farmers benefits all of us. Their dreams should not die because they have the biggest bunch of jerky Stepford village neighbors ever created. NIMBY anti-farm hell. Petty tyrants. And that opinion is allowed.


Also they have a petition. Sign the petition please, but also please consider attending the zoning meeting, especially.

#PayItForward

#SaveSmallFarms

#MeanPeopleSuck

#ShopSmall

#SupportSmallBusinesses

I would also say in the short term to think twice about donating to Willistown Conservation Trust. If these neighbors are the kind of people supporting them I don’t know about you but you really want to be around them? But I would encourage you to support Natural Lands, of course.

I love flowers. I love farms. I love nice people. So you know I am Team Wildflower Farm, are you?

#HateHasNoHomeHere #TeamWildflowerFarm

township manager dearest, and west goshen meeting follies…oh my

West Goshen Township operates on it’s better days as a little bit Pennsyltucky on this planet. Every once in a while I think they can’t get any kookier….and then, they surprise us all.

The thing about West Goshen is every time something happens, you have to wonder why do they seem to target resident in a petty tit for tat reprisal fashion? And I also have to wonder will they come after me for asking questions as well?

Before we proceed, a history lesson on the laws which gover the USA:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

~ 4th Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

~1st Amendment Constitution of United States of America 1789

So now to the meat of the matter. A Facebook post made me stop and take notice. See this screenshot:

Wait? WHOA!!!! Whuuuuut? The Chair of West Goshen Supervisors Shaun Walsh was THAT rude? So I went to the meeting tape (which I have to ask if it will mysteriously disappear at some point I wonder?) and well go to around the 3 hour 7 minute mark and you tell me:

Now, full disclosure: the woman targeted at this meeting is a friend of mine. Her name is Margie Swart. She is a lovely human being. But she has a moral compass and strong sense of ethics, and asks questions, so <<<sigh>>> that can be a problem some places. I respect Margie immensely. We have gotten to know each other over the course of time, and have mutual friends.

I have to ask if Margie Swart is a target of West Goshen Township? As in a resident speaks up and there are cute reprisals? Yes West Goshen, I can indeed ask these questions.

So let’s back up a couple of years to something interesting I learned about just today. So…people can and do record public meetings, they aren’t just some municipality purview, correct? People do that to accurately preserve a record, especially on important topics. People also will record conversations with elected and public officials in public spaces. People like the media, for example. They aren’t doing anything nefarious, they want an accurate record and elected and appointed officials should be glad when citizens are conscientious, right? Maybe not?

So here is this now infamous recording from 2019 and why is it infamous? Oh I will get to that.

So there is that whole conversation of essentially, one cannot have a reasonable expectation of privacy for things put into a public space, right? Now if this conversation had been recorded in a bathroom in a public building for example, that would be different, wouldn’t it? But out there in the open in a public building? Next comes the reprisal, because since it is not illegal to record in a public space to try to file charges against a private citizen like that can be considered well, a reprisal, correct?

Yes, you aren’t seeing things, West Goshen Township tried to charge Margie Swart with WIRETAPPING and isn’t that welcome to West Goshen Watergate NUTS???

Next comes this curiosity in the West Goshen required reading, yes?

How can West Goshen Township Manager Casey LaLonde claim his phone conversation was recorded? Was he present? Do you hear his voice? I mean talk about d-r-a-maaaa right? I mean his grandma was actress Joan Crawford as in “Mommy Dearest” fame but REALLY? Township Manager Dearest much?

I have another question about this process and shameful debacle. Why should a resident and taxpayer have had to file a RTK or Right To Know Request on something a township publishes in a newspaper and which is also dually published in https://www.publicnoticepa.com/ ? I mean I could see them telling her to look for West Goshen Township notices on that website on X date and Y year, but a Right To Know Request? Wait??? Do we have a new show coming to a cable channel near you? It’s Always Cloudy in West Goshen Township? Lots of municipalities seem to struggle with sunshine laws and being sunshine friendly, but why is it a problem when residents ask questions in this township?

Margie is not the first Local Government Fiscal Watchdog and Transparency Advocate I have known. I have known many and I actually participated in a lack of sunshine protest years ago in Lower Merion Township – April 21, 2010 to be exact. It was a rather large protest and township officials were out taking photos of everyone too. Here’s a photo I took:

So how did the wiretapping thing end? Well there is a middle to it also isn’t there? How would you like to be a resident named as an “involved party in a wiretapping investigation”? And this thing occurred literally TWO years ago in September, 2019 and you find out about it TODAY in September, 2021?

Shall we talk about the final disposition of this? Is that an “Oh yes please?”

The Chester County District Attorney’s said NOPE, correct? So what was West Goshen playing at exactly?

Back to the recent meeting and I have to ask is it wrong to ask for government to be accountable as to their finances for example? And what’s with odd employee or manager practices? Are the taxpayer who pay these salaries not allowed to politely inquire? And Margie WAS polite. Listen to the recording. She is ALWAYS polite. I can tell you that at public meetings, I have not always been polite, but Margie? ALWAYS polite.

I don’t pretend to understand everything that happens in this municipality. I can’t pretend. But as a woman, I fear for my friend Margie Swart and can you blame me? Is she safe living there?

West Goshen Township, you need to find a better way of doing things and as an aside, so y’all are also hired who was the Borough Manager of Malvern as your Assistant Township Manager? Was all that vetted publicly or just announced?

West Goshen Township, you are entirely capable of avoiding thug mentality when dealing with residents. And yes I am entitled to the opinion that y’all behave badly. Residents who demand better aren’t bad people. And this is NOT a woman screaming and cursing and disrupting meetings with violent and angry behavior like we have seen this year at school board meetings. This is a woman who wants the best for her community and the person this seems to threaten the most is the Township Manager and why is that? It’s not his personal fiefdom is it? Or is it?

I am signing off with a note that everything I posted is public record. And I am allowed the opinions I have of West Goshen Township and sure am glad I don’t live there. I also can ask questions. I don’t understand a place where the elected officials kowtow to an appointed, salaried official because he works for them not the other way around, correct? Or have they all lost their moral and ethical compasses?

My final comment? It’s often hard to participate where you live, but we have to. It’s imperative. Elect people you can believe in, and when you can’t believe in them? Replace them.

oh you are going to want to make reservations…

The Ship Inn in Exton on Lancaster Avenue or Lincoln Highway is beloved to so many. Recently they got a television show makeover courtesy of Chef Robert Irvine and Restaurant Impossible.

I have to say well done! It’s wonderful!

Yes they are essentially getting a rave from me. I loved every minute! But I also have some other observations before I get to that.

The owner is working the floor. He is wound way too tight and he was is charge of the hostess desk when we got there…only we were marooned there for more than five minutes with no one greeting us. He also corrects his staff close to the point of berating them right there on the floor. He wasn’t yelling but the intent was obvious and it’s not something patrons wish to see. Hopefully he finds a competent front of house.

There is new life breathed into main room and the awful little booths are gone. Those booths were super uncomfortable and for a big room it was dark, it wasn’t airy.

Dark room no more. Clean and light and a design that so appeals to me because of the simplicity and execution of the design.

You are greeted crisp white walls with touches of maritime inspired brass rails, white bead board, and “sails” and a singular and fabulous ship cut out. It is this simple ship that is carried through on the tops of the menus and on the wait staff shirts.

At one end is the exposed stone wall with what looks like a semi-gloss clear seal. I love that look anyway and I think it looks fabulous.

The chairs are mid century inspired and SUPER comfortable with great back support while not looking clunky. The tables are very different but I think they will be a lot easier to maintain and they have a very clean look to them. Everything is very well spaced in the dining room it is not cramped.

They have some new cocktails. I chose the cranberry mimosa, which had just the right balance of everything. I enjoyed it. And I don’t drink very much so that’s saying something.

Ordering off the special prix fix menu is slightly rigid but I think post makeover they are getting their sea legs.

I ordered the surf and turf and wanted to substitute shrimp cocktail to start and waitress told me it was too expensive to do that. However I never said I would NOT pay for the up charge substitute, I would expect it. So I ordered shrimp cocktail separately and split it with my family. I love a good shrimp cocktail and it didn’t disappoint. And the cocktail sauce itself was fresh and had just the right bite.

With my entrée, I had the beet salad. Great vinaigrette, lovely greens, and I love beets anyway. The beets were chopped and I would’ve preferred a very thin slice to a little square, but that’s not really a criticism that’s just a personal preference on my part because I love beets. And they were red and yellow beets which are so pretty on a plate.

One thing I found surprising about the show makeover was the ladies room. The ladies room was surprisingly not refreshed. I think it would lend to the cohesiveness of the room makeover. It’s not that the ladies room is bad because it never has been, but I would suggest for the future that they take the design of the redone room and translate it simply into the ladies room. White bead board and white paint with a couple brass accents in that ladies room will really make a difference.

Now let’s talk about the lighting fixtures in the makeover room. Totally TERRIFIC lighting fixtures!! So many places fall short when it comes to lighting fixtures and the lighting fixtures are clean with a classic design that works so well with the room. And the lighting fixtures make you feel like you are on an old-fashioned teak yacht don’t know how else to explain it and I know that might sound weird but they’re great fixtures. The devil is in the details and they are spot on.

All of our main courses were amazing. We had crabcakes, Dan Dan noodles, surf and turf, and the ribeye. Compliments to the chef and our waitress for getting the meat temperature literally perfect.

We had various things for dessert. I had the sticky toffee pudding which I couldn’t finish, so half of it is in my refrigerator. But it was amazing. And sticky toffee pudding as one of those things that if it’s done right it’s just the best.

I went out of my way to take photos when people really weren’t around because I wanted you to see the room versus the people. They had a good crowd inside and out.

The wait staff as always is really nice, and I loved our waitress. She is one of those waitresses that is just perfect giving you the right amount of attention and not being intrusive or overly solicitous. And she’s genuinely nice. And that’s the thing— I always found the wait staff there pleasant and you can’t say that about a lot of places. The staff all seem to be working really well together and things were well-timed coming out of the kitchen and in the beginning our drinks were gotten to us quickly and our water, etc.

It was a fabulous experience as a guest, and we weren’t left hanging —- I don’t know how else to describe it. But you know what I mean sometimes when you go into a restaurant, and you feel like you are almost abandoned. Not tonight at The Ship Inn. They went out of their way to make guests feel special and I appreciate that.

I am so happy to see the new life in the old girl known as The Ship Inn and I wish them continued success from the bottom of my heart and I can’t wait to go back!

Make a reservation and check it out! Thanks for stopping by!

A postscript: The Ship Inn is only open for lunch Friday and Saturday which I do find inconvenient.

restaurant impossible coming to ship inn, exton!!!

I love watching Restaurant Impossible. And they are coming to Exton PA to right the ship…as in The Ship Inn!!!

So can we all hope this means a beloved local landmark will be getting a second chance courtesy of Chef Robert Irvine? Can we breath a sigh of relief since we all saw that it was for sale? I remember when I saw the Keller Williams Commercial listing. I was sad. The Ship Inn long before I lived in Chester County was a familiar landmark when I was coming out here to see friends. Always a friendly looking and welcoming place on the outside…and inside.

So on April 20 they are welcoming diners for filming. We signed up. Do not know if they will pick us, but sure hope so. For me personally, it will be a signal of life returning to normal post COVID year from hell. And ironically, it was one of the last places we ate out at before COVID-19 hit.

Now a confession: I am one of the people who sent Restaurant Impossible an email about this restaurant. It was before COVID hit. I have no idea whose email got them to nibble, but I am sure I wasn’t the only one. I just always thought someone like Chef Robert Irvine would be good for them. I know it sounds crazy, but every time I have been there, I imagined how the place could look with freshening up and space reconfiguration. Especially with regard to the booths in the “grill room”. I just always found them uncomfortable. But I like the other tables and chairs, so I hope they keep them but maybe refresh the seat coverings.

The Ship Inn is an amazing historic resource along with being a lovely spot to eat. And the kitchen was never bad, but fresh eyes I am sure will help them too. So I am so hopeful that Restaurant Impossible is the shot in the arm that they need!

I signed up and will let you know if we are going! If chosen people have to get a COVID test before going. If fully vaccinated I am unsure how that works.

Fingers crossed!!!!

time passages

Time Passages by Al Stewart.

It was late in December, the sky turned to snow
All round the day was going down slow
Night like a river beginning to flow
I felt the beat of my mind go
Drifting into time passages
Years go falling in the fading light
Time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight
Well I’m not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are the things that don’t last
Well it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these
Time passages
There’s something back here that you left behind
Oh time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight
Hear the echoes and feel yourself starting to turn
Don’t know why you should feel
That there’s something to learn
It’s just a game that you play
Well the picture is changing
Now you’re part of a crowd
They’re laughing at something
And the music’s loud
A girl comes towards you
You once used to know
You reach out your hand
But you’re all alone, in these
Time passages
I know you’re in there, you’re just out of sight
Time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

Al Stewart. My husband and I both love his music. He is one of my earliest music memories. As in I liked to listen to him. My tastes were somewhat eclectic. I didn’t like the Doobie Brothers (and a friend’s cousin was a roadie in the 70s), and as sacrilegious as it sounds, I never got The Grateful Dead. I think the first time I heard Al Stewart was down at a friends house in Bethesda, Maryland. These two sisters who are still my pals had two older brothers, one of whom used to take us to Kemp Mill Records in Georgetown (Washington, DC). I loved that music store more than any other I was ever in. They always were playing the most fabulous music, and no disco biscuits need apply. Now to those in my peer group who were devotees of Plastic Fantastic and Mads Records, this will come as a surprise, but there was nothing better than Kemp Mill Records in my opinion.

So this morning I had an earworm when I woke up and it was Al Stewart’s Time Passages. Hence the post title. And how does it tie to this post that is most definitely a ramble? It just does.

We all have music that evokes memories. Al Stewart reminds me of first Kemp Mill Records along with The Little River Band. Later on, Al Stewart would remind me of The Point in Bryn Mawr. The Point was where the original Main Point was, and Al played there when I was too young to be allowed to go there. But I made up for lost time when The Point opened up in the same spot as the original Main Point.

The Point ran in Bryn Mawr circa 1998 to 2005. Al Stewart was there often and other musicians I loved like Shawn Mullins and Sophie B Hawkins. The original Main Point began circa 1964, and closed in 1981 the year I graduated high school.

So I have been thinking about time passages. This year is my 40th high school reunion from Shipley, and thanks to COVID-19 no reunion. I remember 1981. Back then, almost 57 just seemed so very far away, yet here we are.

Mini Term, Spring of 1980

I have a nice life. I am blessed and am where I am supposed to be, with the person whom I am supposed to be with. Added bonus? He knew and remembers my younger self. I think that makes me really lucky. And I know I am loved. I can’t say that about everyone I know.

The past year with COVID-19 has taken many of us on mental road trips. My stepfather, who is British by birth, remarked that over the past year he had many memories of his childhood in England, including World War II float to the surface. He said that he found it interesting that these memories are still intact and that we needed the quiet of life imposed upon us by a global pandemic to allow them to float back into our consciousness. It’s kind of true.

Life and time march on no matter how we try to stop it. I see women who look fabulous, but haven’t figured out those really short skirts and impossibly high heels they are still wearing in defiance of the aging process would be better suited to their nieces and daughters. They remind me of this woman I remember from the Main Line when I was in my 20s. She liked frog statues in her garden and had a killer figure….but she would wear pantyhose and hot pants and summer heels and sandals for summer shopping. Especially memorable? Her patriotic July 4th hot pants. It always made me feel a little sad that she wasn’t taking aging well. Now I guess she might have been approaching some point in her 40s back then. But every time I see one of my own contemporaries or slightly younger struggling with the aging process, I think of this woman.

A friend of mine turned 60 the other day. I can’t believe it. I remember when her son used to ride a scooter through our old neighborhood when he was a little guy. Now he’s a grown up, out of college, with his own life.

One of my closest friends oldest child just took his SATs. He totally rocked them. He smiles at me when I tell him I remember when he was hatched. But I do. I remember him so clearly as an infant. And another one of my close friends has her daughter graduating from college. Another kid I love and remember as a little girl. Now she is this beautiful young woman. Even my niece of whom I have these memories of her and her little fashion shows changing her outfits multiple times a day is now a college freshman.

Sometimes I just sit here and think about where time has gone and what it took for us all to get here. And I marvel. Another friend and I were facetiming recently and we were talking about remembering when our parents were the age we are now. And all of the stores we used to love to visit in Bryn Mawr when we were kids like Katy Did and that marvelous book store next to it. And all of the antiques stores and Eskil’s Clog Shop. And of course, wanting to be old enough to go to the Main Point without our parents freaking out.

Volunteering (in costume) at Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr 1970s.

The memories of a more innocent time. And a lot of them have resurfaced in the time of COVID-19. And just like my stepfather noted, the memories are still here, we just need quiet to visit them again.

Lots of memories of my late father. He’s been gone since 2005. But I have had all sorts of memories resurface. Like him helping a neighbor plant either azaleas or rhododendrons in a seersucker suit one time when he came home from work. Or running around the day of my sister’s wedding (which was held in my parents’ house) touching up paint because caterers and florists and whomever had marked a couple of walls. Or the little girl memories of going with him on a snowy December night to the rail yards in his red VW bug to get a Christmas tree. Or going shopping on 9th street (Italian Market) with him and visiting all the merchants he had been going to since he was a kid in some cases.

Other things I am remembering of late? Fabulous garden parties in amazing gardens in Philadelphia. I do not remember which non profits benefitted (Philadelphia Parks Alliance, PHS, or a garden club ?) from all of them but I remember how lovely they were. No artifice and beautiful gardens. I think one was at Ernesta Ballard’s house in Chestnut Hill. I remember Thatcher Longstreth’s wife Nancy was there. She was in wheelchair.

Other memories? Shipley Mini Term the spring of 1980. I did an internship in the City Representative’s Office in Philadelphia. My godfather was the late Dick Doran, and at that time he was the City Representative under Mayor Bill Green. Bill Green and Dick Doran knew my father from St. Joe’s Prep. When I was growing up they were around a lot. Dick Doran gave a wedding toast at my parents’ wedding. And I remember when Dick was Chief of Staff to Milton Schapp. I remember that in particular because my father was not a fan of Harrisburg, and I was really little and didn’t know where Harrisburg was.

Perhaps it was that internship while I was a junior in high school that made me interested in observing politics…but never having a desire to run for office. But I remember it was a fascinating time. Ed Rendell was the District Attorney. I remember Thatcher Longstreth taking me to meeting with him in CIty Hall, although he was not a City Councilman again until after I had graduated from high school. He was the nicest man.

That was kind of a golden time in Philadelphia City Hall. Much like the era of Richardson Dilworth, who was not only a beloved Mayor of Philadelphia, but grandfather to one of my oldest childhood friends. However even with the golden time, there was political infighting and even a messenger in City Hall who believed in aliens, and yes had a few tinfoil hats.

Other memories that have floated up to the surface was of all things a plant sale my mother used to work on when I was little. The plant sale at The Hill Physick Keith House. They would stage the plants in the side walled garden that had a gate out to Cypress Street.

The Hill Physick Keith House holds a lot of memories. I remember playing quietly as a very little girl in the curtains in the room with the big desk and beautiful inkwell when my mother was a volunteer there. I actually have a pair of antique drapes that once hung in the house. I do not remember why they were removed, only that when I was little they were going to be thrown out, so my mother adopted them. For a while they hung in our house in Society Hill which had windows of a similar scale to those in the Hill Physick Keith House. Now they live in a blanket chest. I have no reason to keep them, but so many why as to not let them go.

Yes the drapes from the Physick House.

So here we are, It’s 2021. My hair is turning gray and white but is still mostly brown. I gave up the idea of color when I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 10 years ago. There is a link between hair dyes and breast cancer. So when I heard that I was done with the semi-permanent color I used to use back then. Now when I look in the mirror sometimes I see my father’s mother which kind of freaks me out that I can so clearly see her face in my face at times.

Soon I will be getting my second COVID-19 shot. But I still am keeping it close to home with the COVID-19 of it all. But it also means I can keep on gardening.

I will close with was this where my teenage, childhood, or young adult self though I would be? I am not really sure because after all, within this life we live, we actually live several lives as we go throughout our life. So yes, I definitely can’t answer that. I only know I am home and grateful for my life, and each stage of it.

Thanks for stopping by.

a valentine would have been nicer…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

two wrongs don’t make a right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People can’t you see this is wrong?

Whatever happened to the worthy opposition?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for listening.

four years of where’s anna maciejewska?

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

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

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

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

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

#FindingAnna needs to take place.

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

broken people

I have been wrestling with something recently and especially in the last day. I knew I wanted to write about it, but I didn’t know how to write about it until this morning.

This morning I was going through some Christmas ornaments in the attic. I accidentally dropped one of my little ceramic elves. The elf split neatly in half and I was able to glue her back together quite easily.

It’s a shame broken people can’t be fixed as easily as a couple of dabs of super glue. But they can’t be. They have to want to fix themselves to some extent.

I’m not saying I have led a perfect life. I have not. I have made mistakes. But if we’re honest with ourselves mistakes can teach us things. If we want to listen, that is.

I lost a growing up friend the other day. I was asked by his family to let the people we went to high school with know. Unfortunately, social media being what it is, you also get the people you weren’t actually notifying. One of those people left a comment.

And I deleted it. And the reason I deleted it is because they tried to make this tragedy about them with their comment. The comment more or less was maybe my newly deceased friend would say “hello” to her mother. Now that in and of itself, would’ve been a sweet sentiment if my friend had actually been friends with this person, let alone actually knew the mother.

This person who left that particular comment is somebody who is very troubled. But this is also someone who has hurt so many other people I know, that I actually have a hard time finding kindness in my heart for them.

When this other person’s mother died, they left comments all over all sorts of social media pages as if their mother had been a local celebrity or was famous. I get that this person probably misses their mom on some level, but there’s more to the backstory which includes a couple of years they literally weren’t really around for their mother. And they don’t own that. The comments were bizarre.

This person is full of issues (and addictive behaviors) they have never acknowledged or owned. When this person does anything like this, it’s strategic in a twisted sort of way to get attention. For years many have tried to help her, but the hard work, the heavy lifting, had to come from her and she hasn’t ever seemed to want to do it. So people have walked away.

When she left that self-serving comment on the post announcing the death of my friend, it bought a lot of how I felt about this person back. When you run across someone like this, you’re always torn. Do you tell them off or do you try to help one more time? The problem is they are manipulative, so attempts to help becomes enabling. That is why I decided to do nothing, and I simply deleted the comment quietly.

There is a second person who I am also struggling with right now. And this is someone I actually care about. But again, it’s a woman who won’t own her issues, and people have tried to help to no avail.

I mean this most sincerely when I say that I truly hope this other person can find something within themselves to stop the slippery slope. Because she is on the precipice of the point of no return. This is someone who has a lot of positive things to offer the world.

And I swear it’s during the holidays that you see broken people. And because 2020 has been so hard for so many people, I think we’re seeing more broken people than ever. But other than trying to be kind, this is the year we have to tend to our own families and our own people first. And I’m not saying that to be selfish. I’m saying it because it’s the truth. Or I think it’s the truth.

There are professionals equipped to deal with assisting broken people. But these people who need help have to take some of the steps themselves. We can’t literally walk the walk for them. It’s impossible.

However, I am sending up a prayer that these broken people out there find the help they need and can get through the holiday season. And take steps to heal. But as hard as it is to accept, it’s not as easy as gluing a ceramic figurine back together.

Well those are my thoughts. We can’t fix all who need fixing, sadly. Thanks for stopping by.

a wish and a prayer

What a grey, miserable, damp, dark day. In a year where many of us have too much time alone with our own thoughts, today’s atmosphere makes it a day to hibernate and ponder, doesn’t it?

Spotify has this time capsule playlist. Listening to it has made me reflective and a little pensive. Right now Simply Red “Holding back The Years” is playing.

Lyrics
 Holding back the years
 Thinking of the fear I've had so long
 When somebody hears
 Listen to the fear that's gone
 Strangled by the wishes of pater
 Hoping for the arms of mater
 Get to me the sooner or later
 Holding back the tears
 Chance for me to escape from all I know
 Holding back the tears
 'Cause nothing here has grown
 I've wasted all my tears
 Wasted all those years
 Nothing had the chance to be good
 Nothing ever could, yeah
 I'll keep holding on
 I'll keep holding on
 I'll keep holding on
 I'll keep holding on, so tight
 Well I've wasted all my tears
 Wasted all of those years
 And nothing had the chance to be good
 'Cause nothing ever could
 I'll keep holding on
 I'll keep holding on
 I'll keep holding on
 I'll keep holding on
 Holding
 Holding
 Holding
 Holding
 I said
 It's all I have today
 It's all I have to say

Those lyrics are still profound, maybe moreso. It makes me think of the friends I have lost. Bright lights, but they burned too fast. One overdosing thanks to addictions they would not admit to, another to I think that their body just giving out after years of substance abuse even though they cleaned up their act for decades. One although still technically alive, had her life end when she wrapped herself around a tree one night…very intoxicated. There was even one who “fell” off their apartment balcony in NYC. There are sadly more, but these are the ones who come to mind.

Now the one in the massive drunk driving incident? She is still alive as far as I know but the traumatic brain injuries at the time essentially made her a child once again, with a child’s memories. So essentially, after the accident she didn’t know who I was, it was like she was a kid again and her memories just didn’t exist after a point. And her parents quite frankly did not make it easy for you to visit and she was also a paraplegic in a wheelchair, so I was young and eventually just stopped going. I still think of her often. She was such a good person and so bright. But one night, someone gave her the keys to her car back after they had been taken away. She would have been an awesome mom, I think, and we will also never know what trajectories her career would have skyrocketed to.

Damned if I know why I still think of all of these people, but I do. I think because I don’t think they would have had a easy time living through 2020. I mean, look at the rest of us, right? None of us are perfect, and even with the blessings our lives have, it’s one damn hard, stressful, sad year.

I have written about this before during 2020, but it all seems to be coming to a head again: COVID19, racism, truly ugly politics, and more. If these friends had survived, where would they be?

It also makes me think of people whom I am no longer connected to by my choice mainly, but sometimes theirs. One in particular whom I felt was so alone before 2020. The thing 2020 has taught a lot of us is the sad lesson that although we should have compassion for the struggles of others, we need to be mindful of our own families first. So what happens to these people? Do they just fall between the cracks of life?

Lyrics
 Has anyone ever written anything for you
 In all your darkest hours
 Have you ever heard me sing
 Listen to me now
 You know I'd rather be alone
 Than be without you
 Don't you know
 Has anyone ever given anything to you
 In your darkest hours
 Did you ever give it back
 Well, I have
 I have given that to you
 If it's all I ever do
 This is your song
 And the rain comes down
 There's no pain and there's no doubt
 It was easy to say
 I believed in you everyday
 If not for me
 Then do it for the world
 Has anyone ever written anything for you
 In your darkest sorrow
 Did you ever hear me sing
 Listen to me now
 You know I'd rather be alone
 Than be without you
 Don't you know
 So, if not for me, then
 Do it for yourself
 If not for me then
 Do it for the world
 Poet priest of nothing
 Poet priest of nothing
 Source: LyricFind
 Songwriters: Stevie Nicks / Keith Olsen

Yesterday I posted “A lot of people are struggling right now. This has been a crazy tough year. Send up a prayer to mankind so that people know they are loved.

I mean that. But where I am conflicted is some people I know who are struggling have to find the inner steel to climb out of the hole they have dug for themselves, all by themselves…as in we can’t do it for them or enable them in any way. And for so many people right now that seems an impossible feat. Why? Because 2020 is the year the unimaginable is happening…every damn day.

And then there are the people who want to climb out of the self-dug hole but say “It’s hard, I tried.” No sugarpuffs, life can be damn hard. But please, do it for yourself and those who love you. But will they? I don’t know. I hope so, but I don’t know.

2020 is the year of self-conflict (in a sense and I will explain.I think. I hope.) Human beings are not stand alone beings necessarily. We need each other. But COVID19 is isolating a lot of us. Some of us could really use a hug or just human contact. But there is the whole virus thing. Today I gave a friend a hug. I kinda know where she has been and what she was up to. She needed a hug. Maybe I did too. Not sure.

I have days where I just marvel at people. Especially on social media. It’s like normal social media has morphed into this whole virtual mean girls platform on steroids. People are just online assassins some days, and often you have to wonder for what? Because you are different from them?

And then there are the people who in the face of 2020 seem to have to post additionally how marvelously their lives are….and you know their lives are anything but happy, and wonder why can’t people admit when they are having bad days or a series of bad days? Would it be so bad? To me it’s preferable to living the grand illusion.

And the people who are struggling? Sadly now you can start to recognize it. So much of our life has become virtual, that you can see far more easily when the cracks are showing. So what do you do? You try to be there…but this is a year we also have to be there for ourselves and our own families.

There are people you would never think suffered from depression…who are. And people who prior to this kept their issues to themselves, but because of COVID19, life is just extra scary. And then there are yes the people who are milking 2020 to get as much free stuff out of people as possible. That really bothers me. And no, not being jaded, it is happening quite a bit.

There are many people I know who are sick or who have been sick. No not COVID19. Just other horrible stuff, like the ever popular Russian Roulette of step up and pick a cancer.

It feels like every day you hear something crazy. I just heard about the barn fire in West Pikeland Township on Yellow Springs Road. It had all of the sets, tools and supplies for the SALT Performing Arts. They do wonderful things and the arts are so at risk thanks to the economic downturn because of COVID19, and prior changes to tax codes that affect charitable donations. If you can give SALT Performing Arts a donation, please do. No homes were lost and no one was hurt, but wow what a blow. Do they do old fashioned barn-raisings anymore? I hope they do because I think that was probably a historic barn too. And don’t forget your local volunteer fire companies and first responders. They are our heroes in ordinary time.

We all just need a break from 2020, I think. Except I also feel 2020 has made us pause for the self reflection that makes us appreciate what we do have. I feel very grateful for my life and family…yes even when they are driving me crazy. (Like the one playing video games loudly a room over from the home office I am typing this in.)

2020 has just been one exceptionally crazy year for the annals of history. It will be the year we all remember with far more detail then the future will want us to. But what will we learn from all of this? I mean we certainly won’t forget the year from hell known as 2020.

I hope you appreciate I made it through the post without mentioning a certain malignant narcissist occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Like all narcissists he hates when things aren’t about him, so the parting shot? #VOTE like your life and country depends upon it…because it does.

Stay safe out there and check in on people.