honey, it’s called survival

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SLATE: In the Name of Love
Elites embrace the “do what you love” mantra. But it devalues work and hurts workers.
By MIYA TOKUMITSU

“Do what you love. Love what you do.”

The command is framed and perched in a living room that can only be described as “well-curated.” A picture of this room appeared first on a popular design blog and has been pinned, tumbl’d, and liked thousands of times. Though it introduces exhortations to labor into a space of leisure, the “do what you love” living room is the place all those pinners and likers long to be.

There’s little doubt that “do what you love” (DWYL) is now the unofficial work mantra for our time. The problem with DWYL, however, is that it leads not to salvation but to the devaluation of actual work—and more importantly, the dehumanization of the vast majority of laborers.

Superficially, DWYL is an uplifting piece of advice, urging us to ponder what it is we most enjoy doing and then turn that activity into a wage-generating enterprise. But why should our pleasure be for profit? And who is the audience for this dictum?

Yes, this is an old article.  But it struck a chord with me. The author turned it into a book or vice versa. (Not really sure.)

A friend posted this on their Facebook page and it is an intriguing read. Even if I do not necessarily agree with a lot of commentary. I spent years doing what I did NOT love at that point any longer mainly because I was afraid to take a gamble on myself, and I had bills to pay.  Breast cancer freed me from that because I had to leave my old industry literally to reduce my stress or fear recurrence. (It was one of those times where your medical care team does an intervention, and like it or not, you have to or should listen.)

When the author of the article says things like the quote below it’s like she is mocking those of us who left the corporate hamster wheel.

“DWYL is a secret handshake of the privileged and a worldview that disguises its elitism as noble self-betterment. According to this way of thinking, labor is not something one does for compensation but is an act of love. If profit doesn’t happen to follow, presumably it is because the worker’s passion and determination were insufficient.”

Doing my own thing is not elitist, well, it’s survival. I am 55. Corporate America does NOT like to hire women over 50. Or even in their mid-40s.  We are too expensive when it comes to things like healthcare and we are old enough to mostly know our own minds.  Knowing your own mine is a threat.  It’s far easier for them to hire women half of our age who can still sport short skirts without looking too old to sport short skirts.  And if they have a choice between hiring a woman my age who doesn’t color her hair and who hasn’t had “work done” and one who has? Botox and hair coloring win every time.

Ageism is a real thing.  It was a very strange sensation realizing I was no longer one of the younger ones in the room.  And since I stopped coloring my hair, I look in the mirror and I see relatives who came before me.  I loved every one of them, but I am still not sure how I feel about it some days.

Some days I wonder should I have had “work done” even a little filler like a lot of women I know? And every time I have this conversation with myself, it ends the same way: I am who I am, I can’t pretend to be someone else.

On some days I am fine with my age and who I am.  Other days it’s like where did my 25 year old ass and legs go?

Yet, the reality is me at 55 is a heck of a lot happier than me in my 20s.

Being in your 20s is exhausting.  The games with dating and learning to be yourself.  The games with who were actually your friends, and the hurt of the ones who betray you and you should have let go of long before that.  Or being in your 20s and to have a boyfriend cheat on you and they don’t understand why you couldn’t just move past it and not walk? And neither do some of your friends?

The twenties and even your thirties was the whole additional journey of trying to find yourself as a woman and trying to learn how to be an adult.  Some days were better than others, remember? Remember the days you wanted to scream into an empty room?

Working in your 20s, or what I remember in the financial services industry (and friends who were in different industries had similar tales) meant learning to keep your back to the wall when some older male colleagues around and I even remember one temp job I had where my first day two women warned me not to get caught in the room where the copy machines were with one guy in particular.

Damn we all could have had our workplace #MeToo moments and a lot of us did to varying degrees. But we didn’t talk or tweet about it, we just survived.  Because we had to.

I had a lot of friends get married in their 20s.  In a lot of cases I should say the first time.  As I attended wedding after wedding sometimes I just didn’t get how you could go from being dependent upon your parents to being dependent upon a spouse without any chance to grow in between and learn who you were.

A lot of my friends were just on autopilot to marry and produce children.  We were partially all raised to be that way.  Maybe that sounds elitist, I don’t know. It is just the way it was.

I was a late bloomer so I did not marry until much later and I think the timing was right for me. I spent a lot of time feeling like I did not quite fit and didn’t quite know myself.  But it took years to even admit to myself that I liked spending time by myself.  I was at the end of an engagement where I had the epiphany that if I did end up just with myself I would be o.k.  That realization was very freeing and I think it was a key to opening me up to the woman I am today. Or who I might become.  Some days I still wonder am I there yet?

Career-wise I had a path that wasn’t necessarily the path I would have chosen initially but I liked it and it paid the bills.  Was it fulfilling? Nope. But it sure was eye-opening as to human nature.

Then came breast cancer.  I could no longer handle the stress, the hours, the mental gymnastics of cut throat and duplicitous people.  Being a woman in my old industry was exhausting on a good day, but after breast cancer surgery and treatment? I just couldn’t do it any longer.  And it had ceased being rewarding long ago.  And it’s an industry that still treats women like crap and always will.  And I would never be hard enough.

So breast cancer gave me the courage to look at things differently.  It was hard. It still can be hard.  People ask me why some days I do so much? The answer is I was in my old industry for so long, I forgot how to relax.  You were geared to getting so much done in one day. You had to.  You were subject to everyone else’s deadlines.

Doing more of what I love and being able to love what I do? It became about survival and starting to experience ageism.  And when ageism smacks you in the face, it’s a real bitch. So when people say do what you love (DWYL) is somehow elitist, well sometimes it is the path that opened for you. I wasn’t ready to be a greeter at Target or WalMart, sorry.

So I took a risk. I took a chance on complete change. It’s just as hard some days as putting up with crap as a tiny cog in the wheel of Corporate America, trust me.  Nothing is perfect, and those who pretend it is are doing themselves a disservice.

Let’s talk about other things in realm of ageism as a woman in the workforce.  I learned this in my 40s when I became a statistic in the layoffs done at Wachovia Securities before Wells Fargo came in.  Corporate jets were not expendable, but worker bees like me were.  Do you know how surreal it was having an HR folder full of accolades and customer testimonials as to how GOOD a job I did, and being fêted nationally by the company as a “volunteer of the year” for my volunteerism in my community to being a corporate pre-merger layoff statistic?  Seriously, the day I got my package they gave me a chart showing where everyone was getting cut in my region and whether they were male or female.

After being forced as part of a giant corporate separation package to take a time out (in case they decide to UN-lay me off and bring me back), I came back out into the workforce late 2007 to early 2008.  A completely crap economy and here I was a woman in my 40s. Why hire me when they could hire someone so much younger? And then there was the interview where the interviewer literally asked why I did not remember him.  Apparently I had turned him down for a job like 15 plus years prior and he never got over it? (Yeah THAT wasn’t too weird, was it?) And then there were the job interviews that were like marathons. Literally hours in one day like a perverse corporate endurance test.

And in this brave new world of interviewing a lot of the interviews were not even face to face any longer. And even if you sent a thank you note for an interview like you are supposed to, sometimes they just didn’t bother to ever reply. Most of the time they never bothered to acknowledge you even submitted a resume.

When I finally did land a job which on paper sounded amazing, among other things I was working for someone who did not offer even access to healthcare benefits, proper vacation time, or a retirement plan.  But I needed to work, I had to support myself.  So I took it.

This is the job I should have left three months in, but instead I stayed about four years. I left post breast cancer.  I was exhausted.  Because I worked for a company that offered no benefits, sick days, vacation days and never had a policy on sick or vacation days per say, I pretty much had my breast cancer surgery and came right back to work.  I had to work through my post surgical treatment.  I felt like I was in a white collar sweat shop and damn didn’t my ancestors work themselves to the bone a immigrants to the US so future generations like myself didn’t have to?

But I did not have the courage or faith in myself to leave.  Until my husband looked at me one day after the doctors had done their intervention and told me I had to get out of the current job that the stress would kill me, and said “quit.”

I looked at him like I misheard him. So he repeated himself and said “Quit. It’s not worth the stress and something else will come along.”

So I did what I never had done, I quit. And a weight lifted off of my shoulders. But this was the job that left me with Corporate America PTSD.  Not only didn’t I want to get back on that hamster wheel, I couldn’t.

So I changed everything. I had to. Has it been easy doing only for myself? No not every day because some days I feel like I have adult onset A.D.D. and for love or money, I can’t concentrate. But it’s nice to feel like me again, or to maybe even finally know who I actually am.

Growing up the choices were career girl or get married.  Even after the day of bra burnings, female empowerment, and women’s lib that was still pretty much it.  Today, in a lot of ways, it still is. And I am so sure a lot of women will read this and be enraged. Stuff it ladies, I am not breaking new ground here.

One thing I agree with the magazine article writer on is if you kind of want to “have it all,”  you might need to have lots and lots of lovely money to begin with. If you are just a regular person, that mantra is a little harder to achieve.  But I do believe that you should try to love what you do, or at least like it.  Otherwise it’s not worth it and weighs you down.

Women wear many hats in life.  We walk many tightropes. But somehow, we get there, don’t we? It’s called survival.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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rambling down memory lane….

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Some weeks I write a lot, other weeks not so much.  As I sat at this traffic light this afternoon headed towards home I realized again how much I do NOT miss the Main Line.  And I smiled again at the presumptuousness of those who refer to Malvern and places like Chester Springs as the “Main Line”. They don’t get it, it’s not the Main Line, and thank goodness.

When I was growing up the Main Line was a far more civilized place until the changes started to seem to appear in the late 1970s .  It was then that I remember my mother remarking about people who had bought a neighbor’s house on Brentford Road in Haverford always lined up their expensive cars right out front like a car lot or showroom, instead of parking them down  behind the stone wall near the garages.

But it was true, it was the little changes. At first you didn’t notice much.  But as the old families moved out, and new people moved in and old homes started to get torn down or bumped up to what we would come to call McMansions, change was coming.  Long time businesses closed, new businesses came in, some good some bad.

Movie theaters started to close. First I remember was the Suburban in Suburban Square.  That was a grand old theater once upon a time. I can’t even find photos of it anymore.  The next movie theater I remember closing was the Wynnewood theater. Then in more revent times the Ardmore Theater on Lancaster Avenue which has yet another horrible fate planned for it.

Then the department stores. I am not sure of the order but Bonwit Teller, B. Altman, Wanamaker’s, then ultimately Strawbridge & Clothier. For me Bonwit Teller and B. Altman were particular favorites. Followed by Wanamaker’s.  Strawbridge’s in Ardmore was always hit or miss I thought.

Then old time restaurants and diners.  Now I am not saying a lot of these places were culinary masterpieces, but they were the everyday “joints”.  The Viking Inn and Smorgasbord in Ardmore, for example. It opened in 1930s and was the only Scandinavian restaurant around.  I forget when it closed exactly, but it died a slow and horrible death.  And all of the diners that used to be around. I remember some were even those silver metal diner buildings.  Like the one which was in Rosemont once upon a time.  Now there is a McDonald’s where it once was.viking

I remember as even a teenager, out here, where I live now in Chester County, seemed so very far away. Today, I can’t imagine being anyplace else.

I had medical appointments today and had to venture to the Main Line to go to Penn Medicine in Radnor. It’s amazing that we live in and around affluent areas because the roads are in such terrible shape.  And the drivers.  Cutting people off, angry honking, lights and stop signs are all apparently optional.

Every time I go to the Main Line now I feel like I can’t breathe.  There is so much more density and traffic and I feel about a million years old when I pass by what was someone’s house I once knew.  You drive by and you remember who used to live there and the house wasn’t a McMansion or a townhouse or apartment building.  It was just a nice house.

When I was growing up after we moved to the Main Line I remember summers coming back from the beach.  My parents’ early cars had no air-conditioning so I remember the searing end of summer city heat as we came over either the Ben Franklin or Walt Whitman. When we reached the Gladwyne exit of the Schuylkill the temperature just dropped.   All that verdant green. Not so much anymore because well development, development, development.

134 Cheswold Ln, Haverford, PA 19041Even the august Merion Cricket Club is not safe from development and supersizing. Truly lovely when growing up, today, it’s a shell of what it was.  Changes to the original dining rooms, elimination of the casual and teenager friendly Cricket Room and a series of chefs who aren’t remarkable except for how the food has declined in spite of the tarting up of dining rooms. Plans exist to turn Merion into a suburban country club.  These plans would include some of my favorite houses around the club. I especially loved the pink stucco house at 134 Cheswold Lane.  That was the house my parents house sat in the summer of 1973.  The summer the Haverford Hotel was torn down .

I have written about this house and the Haverford hotel before. It was at this pink house on Cheswold Lane that my younger sister learned how to swim in the pool behind the house in the secret garden you could not see from the street.  The garden had the first blueberry bushes I had ever seen.

I also remember spending Saturdays in Bryn Mawr with my friends. Going to Katydid and the bookstore next to it. The Greek diner down from the movie theater. Maybe buy candy at Parvins Pharmacy.

Katydid was originally in Bryn Mawr before moving to Wayne .  They had these little mice in little dresses that were real fur. We used to collect them.  I think some of them are still in my dollhouse from growing up that my sister has in storage somewhere.

It was nice being a kid then. Summer nights were for kick the can and other games we actually were able to play in the road without anyone hitting us.  Certainly can’t do that on Main Line streets now.

When my friends and I were growing up, we always thought we’d grow up and live where our parents lived. HA! It was a nice thought, but between the home prices and ridiculous real estate taxes most of us either can’t or choose not to.

There are so many businesses that are gone. Restaurants. Bakeries. Book stores and who remembers The Owl at Bryn Mawr College? I loved, loved, loved that store. Second hand and antique and out of print books. The Owl bookstore was I think founded to support the college’s scholarship fund. And the older ladies who ran The Owl were amazing.  That place was floor to ceiling books, and several floors of books. It was dusty and sometimes dim in the lighting department but you could get lost for hours looking at books. It was heavenly! (Especially on a rainy day.)

Driving around today I wondered if half of these people in their giant SUVs on their phones ever paused to breathe?  Did they enjoy where they lived? Or was it all back and forth and maybe push someone out of line at the Starbucks drive thru?

Thanks for the memories old Main Line, but nouveau Main Line? I just don’t miss you.  You don’t get yourself anymore. History and tradition and genteel living, all memories.

Thank you Chester County for the new memories.  And being able to find spindle back rocking chairs from Maine in old barns.

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after the fire

514 Pottstown Pike was the scene of a horrible fire August 7th, 2019. I wrote about it.

We went by the location a few times this weekend and I captured these (poor) photos as a passenger in a car.

The photo that gets me is the first one posted. There is a child’s cart on that “deck”.

What happened to the displaced people?

What will be happening to these structures?

Who inspects these rental properties in Chester County and how often? Is it done at a local level or a county level?

who does pennsylvania governor tom wolf listen to when it comes to pipelines?


I am starting with P.K. Ditty’s video of today. It captures everything.  And everything includes the fact that in my opinion today was just a photo op for Governor Tom Wolf and some of his lady supporters in Harrisburg who ummm, shall we say aren’t so beloved by their Chester County and Delaware County constituents at present over pipelines? Come on now ladies, you know who you are and I even like two of you personally  (the third I do not respect at all) but I think all three of you (Democrats incidentally) are doing a crap job of representing residents on pipelines, alrighty?  Don’t be like Tom Wolf’s Political Andrews Sisters  (sorry not sorry, feeling politically sarcastic today.)

This was total BS what this event became. We all know it did not start that way correct?

Here is what went out August 22 from two local state reps which did NOT announce today, but I think sets a stage of political puffery:

BS

Translation? GIANT PUBLICITY STUNT.  I am hearing they are great at dodge ball with residents?  Because this is really about what? Perhaps it is really about Governor Tom Wolf getting them re-elected so they can support the fakakta thing called Restore PA, AKA another hall pass for pipelines at the expense of residents?

Fakakta means something silly or ridiculous and a a word used to describe something that is not working well or is really crap.  (It’s also a great description to apply to pipelines.)

State Senators Andy Dinniman and Daylin Leach listen to the residents on pipelines and they care. State Representatives Carolyn Committa and Kristine Howard showed up and I don’t quite no what else to say except I am massively disappointed in both of them over this. People are asking if Katie Muth actually showed up? And some other State Senator was there apparently.  His name is Tim Kearney. Daylin Leach was there so one would have thought State Senator Katie Muth would have at least shown up to say how awful he is or something? (She’s good at that, right?)

Today in my opinion was yet another GIANT PUBLICITY STUNT. (And I am not pointing fingers at the State Senators who were there, to be clear.)  Affected residents wanted to sit down and talk to our Governor.  OUR GOVERNOR. AS IN IS SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT PENNSYLVANIANS EQUALLY. BUT DOES HE? HA! THAT WILL BE THE DAY….

Residents didn’t ask to stand in the heat and basically do the whole Oliver Twist  “Please sir, I want some more” and beg for freaking gruel, did they?

 

With regard to the timing and planning of today’s political gymnastics or mini-circus, I found out this morning Wolf would be at the Giant parking lot on Boot Road in West Chester at 2 pm today.  I heard certain media were informed by the Governor personally at some other appearance in Horsham this morning. But other media weren’t told? How does that work exactly? Word of mouth? No real press release? Top secret public location? Spy vs. Spy? I had a LOT of friends there. Friends who are directly affected by Energy Transfer/SuNOco/Mariner East Pipelines every. damn. day.

 

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I don’t need to do a complete recitation of the problems with this pipeline, they are well known and well documented at this point, aren’t they?  As human beings, we are at RISK. Our families are at RISK. Our wells are at RISK. Our properties are at RISK.  Our elected officials and public officials and agencies know this and yet….MOST DO NOTHING, correct?

 

 

Today was a scripted appearance.  Is it true that even media were restricted on questions or they weren’t supposed to ask questions? Were babies kissed? Did Lot’s wife turn into a pillar of salt? Oy vey so many questions I have and my political sarcasm cup runneth over today….but I digress.

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My friend Ginny Kerslake, a pipeline affected resident speaking with Governor Wolf

I spoke with my friend Ginny after and this is what she said:

“Several residents had the chance to tell their stories of how Mariner East construction has impacted them and their neighbors and share their concerns for the safety of their families and communities, asking Governor Wolf to halt Mariner East.”

I also touched base with my friend Tom Casey who had this to say about this afternoon:

“I expected nothing less than what happened today. The Governor listened to impacted residents, but didn’t hear them. I have also never met a politician where you literally have to negotiate the terms of a handshake.”

I wonder what that certain East Goshen Supervisor was doing there? He is certainly not halting the march of Adelphia Gateway is he? BUT he sure do love his sound bytes right? Dude, if you wish to be a man of the people then you have to actually be a man of the people, ok?

And speaking of East Goshen what is with the two mass mailing a couple of days apart of  Dear Occupant letters coming from SuNOco but says it is from East Goshen? It has to do with the 24 hour continual drilling and they will apparently pay for people to leave their homes while they do it? Sounds like quite the offer so what happens when no residents are around to bear witness?

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I find today’s event to be a study in confusion and contradiction. So was it just supposed to be a lovey dovey photo op that went bad?

The first media article I am sharing is by Bill Rettew from The Daily Local with Pete Bannan photos. (And yes, I do pay for online subscriptions to the Daily Local, Philadelphia Inquirer, and The New York Times.)

Daily Local:  Wolf visits pipeline construction site
BILL RETTEW 1 hr ago

The governor was a changed man.

Gov. Tom Wolf smiled often during a recent walking tour of West Chester Borough. On that tour he told pipeline foes that he would soon tour the pipeline construction site.

Wolf kept to his word, Thursday, and met about 100 residents and fellow elected officials within feet of the Sunoco/Energy Transfer Mariner East pipeline route.

The governor received some applause when he stopped to listen and talk. He was surrounded five deep and sometimes talked in little more than a whisper.

That trademark smile was gone. The governor did not give those impacted by pipelines much to smile about either when he definitively said several times that he would not halt construction.

The press and media were not notified about the event.

Ginny Kerslake, of West Whiteland Township, nailed the governor down about the visit. She had personally asked him three times to come and see for himself….

Wolf asked Kerslake how he could change. She said living near a pipeline was like playing Russian roulette.

Kerslake said after the visit that Wolf “finally” showed up.

The governor said he agrees with several pipeline bills, but they would not impact the Mariner East.

“This is not what we were asking for,” Kerslake said. “We want to talk about what’s going to happen to this pipeline.”

The second article is from Jon Hurdle at State Impact PA:

State Impact PA AUGUST 22, 2019 | 6:04 PM
Wolf tells pipeline activists he won’t shut down Mariner East
Governor defers to Public Utility Commission on pipeline safety
by Jon Hurdle

Gov. Tom Wolf told anti-pipeline activists on Thursday that he is not going to stop construction or operation of Sunoco’s Mariner East pipelines.

At a rare face-to-face meeting with opponents at a pipeline construction site in East Goshen Township, Chester County, Wolf was repeatedly urged to shut down the pipeline until public safety can be assured.

But he disappointed activists by stating clearly that he would not do so.

Eve Miari, an organizer of the event, said Wolf’s statement was the first time he had gone on the record saying clearly that he would not shut down the line because of safety concerns…..Six people who live near the cross-state pipeline, plus a supervisor for East Goshen Township, took turns pressing that case to Wolf….“My question to you now, Governor Wolf, is will you halt Mariner East now?” Kerslake said. “We do not have a credible and practical plan to protect us in the event of a leak.”….Rosemary Fuller, a resident of nearby Middletown Township, said her private well has been contaminated with fecal coliform and e-coli as a result of the recent horizontal directional drilling near her house.

Fuller tearfully told Wolf that the contaminated water creates more problems for her husband, who has cancer, and her son, who has a compromised immune system.

Pennsylvania Politics is in full flower again.  At the expense of residents. Bottom line? ANY politician that supports pipelines over people needs to GO and that includes the ones who never answer directly, don’t really return phone calls and play possum, and who act all supportive when it is most self-serving.

Of course Tom Wolf won’t shut down the pipelines. 

Yes I am disgusted.  Today at the end of the day was COMPLETE B.S.

Rant over. (for now)

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yes this is a rant.

Development should be a four letter word. Nothing has architectural style and human scale is non-existent.

Nothing being proposed on the Main Line or into Chester County and further out even complements the surrounding areas developers want to build in.

Everything is about maximizing density for developer profit.

The problem with that is there are a lot of moving parts and why is it residents can see the holes in the planning process and the zoning process and the development process and the political part of the process yet no one else seems to be willing to?

Everyone always thinks I am 100% against development. I’m actually not, but I cannot stand what is being shoved into our communities today.

The municipalities get all hot and bothered over the short term high of ratables but are incredibly short sighted as to the future. They don’t even look to protect the basics like stress on infrastructure, stress on first responders, stress on school districts which are all getting SO big.

It’s always QUANTITY instead of QUALITY.

And don’t forget the conditions of approval that they could ask for and sometimes they don’t even try. If these developers want to be in our communities then they can build the roads that will support their development. They can help pay for the schools that their future residents will put children into. They can finish the parks the townships don’t ever seem to have the money to either start or complete yet they have the land. And occasionally, these municipalities could learn to say “no give us a better plan.”

And in some municipalities you have to wonder for whom the township staff actually works? For whose benefit do the politicians work?

Years ago several members of the Pennsylvania legislature put forth an idea for a law. That law was simple it would’ve provided a short term moratorium on development. Just enough for Pennsylvania municipalities to hit the pause button to try to get better plans – like 90 or 120 days or something. The lobbyists for parties who objected to this being put forward killed this thing at least twice.

Also the Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania? When was the last time that was comprehensively updated? Wasn’t it either the late 1960s or 1970s?

And here in Chester County why is it everyone thinks the Chester County Planning Commission’s Landscapes is so fabulous? All I see is a blueprint for over-development. We live in Chester County and we don’t live here so we can feel like we live in Bensalem or King of Prussia correct?

And while on the topic of our Chester County Planning Commission why is it our county level planning is being driven by an executive director who does not live in our county? To me that is just nuts and the worst kind of politics. That in my humble opinion is a person not truly invested in our communities and how can he be, he doesn’t live here does he?

We need change or we are going to continue to lose what makes where we live special. I don’t know about you but every time I look at a plan it is homogenous, boring, uninteresting and not community minded in the least for where ever it is proposed. It’s mall architecture. Bleck.

Once open space is gone it doesn’t come back. From Lower Merion in Montgomery County through to Caln in Chester County and everywhere in between, something has got to give.

And the history and historic preservation also doesn’t seem to matter. And it should.

I have never believed in “build it and they will come” as a reason to develop. And I’m not saying there aren’t areas that are in need of sprucing up. There are. Only the planning and vision that is realistic doesn’t seem to exist does it?

And the zoning? Why is everything high density? And all these special zoning overlay districts? Who benefits besides developers?

But everything is the same: ugly apartment buildings, cheap townhouse communities, fake carriage house communities. Density, density, and more density.

And in a lot of areas people are asking about low income and affordable housing. And we’re not talking section 8 here we’re talking about where do the single mothers go if they want to live in a safe community and raise their children? Where do our seniors go who can’t afford ritzy retirement communities? Where do regular people go who can’t afford McMansions?

And is there the economy to support this development? I was talking to somebody last week who remarked about not being able to work close to home. So are the jobs really here locally that will support the development? In my opinion, no.

Yes this is a RANT. And developers aren’t going to like this post, but none of you were being singled out. I am disgusted with all of it.

We deserve better. We need to demand better.

Development is an epidemic and we need a solution.

cool summer pop-up you DO NOT want to miss this sunday, august 11 in glenmoore!

Looks inviting doesn’t it? That is because it is!!!

So what are you doing tomorrow Sunday, August 11 between 12 noon and 6 PM?

You should be going to Glenmoore PA. Just put 1941 Creek Road Glenmoore PA into your GPS or maps program and go! Trust me, it’s a beautiful drive into the country and you will be glad you did! I sure am!

Today I had my BEST score in a long time! Cool vintage dairy sign from the Vintage & Vine Preview POP-up at Glenmoore Deli (1941 Creek Rd Glenmoore PA)

This new venture being introduced to us by two of my pals Kristin Smith and Christie Keith is something you don’t want to miss!

Seriously? Go tomorrow! If you’re going to church you can go after church. It’s a nice weekend and here is the menu:

This burger was fresh and AMAZING!

Salad with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic glaze.

Sun Tea with fresh herbs and flowers!

Old-fashioned fair lemon 💗

All of the food is locally sourced when possible (obviously we don’t have any citrus groves in Chester County) and is super fresh! Amazing produce and some was for sale in the store as well.

iThe eclectic mix of vintage, antique and more modern treasures was so much fun! Including to my surprise a fabulous jewelry line out of Washington DC created by a woman born and raise in Chester County! Yes, Diament Jewelry by Libby Diament.

Libby has a store in Washington, DC and started making her jewelry while living and working in NYC. Libby travels around the country hunting for vintage parts and jewelry that can be brought back to life. It’s sort of like finding treasure!

Diament Jewelry has been worn by celebrities including: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Fanning, Cher Lloyd, Rachel Bilson, Giada de Laurentiis, and Meredith Vieira.

Bar earrings from Diament Jewelry

I had been looking for a pair of bar earrings for a couple of years. But I didn’t want ones that look like everyone else’s. So I was super psyched to discover the ladies had Diament Jewelry in their pop-up today. I also bought a pair of small studs that look like glittery slices of quartz or fools gold. As I get older I like wearing study earrings more than I have in a long time and there’s a nice variety for sale along with some adorable dangle earrings like a pair of wishbones! There are also in a locked case some of Diament’s lovely ethereal necklaces.

To check out more on Diament Jewelry visit their website or better yet read the article Forbes Magazine wrote about Libby Diament!

You will also find lovely local raw honey by Hound Dog Honey and soaps and lip balm by Vellum Soap Company and unless they sell out these to die for soft caramel candies by Dave’s Delectable Delites of Glenmoore.

But have I raved enough about the menu? So good. So fresh. Christie Keith is a genius in the kitchen! That is the best part about this menu everything is fresh nothing is frozen. It makes all the difference in the world in taste.

I love to cook as everyone knows, and Christie Keith is one of those people that I will have cook for me any day!

Take a drive in the country tomorrow. Have lunch, find a treasure!

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 Pbannan@21st-Centurymedia.com 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.