This photo I am opening my post with. My friend Ashley took it. I just edited it and posted it.
This is one of those photos that just speaks to a person. Ashley says this man is always on a particular ramp of I-95 with his dog. The dog is loyal and faithful to this man. No leash, no collar. Wonder what their story is?
And this scene? Powerful. Poignant. Sad. Amazing. Speaks volumes without saying a word.
This past year of COVID19 has taught us all a lot if we take the time to listen, right? A friend of mine admitted to me today that she hasn’t completely minded the last year, even playing teacher to her kids. She made the point that we live in a constantly moving world, it was kind of nice to hit the pause button and have the gift of time with her family. I can’t disagree. This past year took a lot out of all of us, but it also gave us gifts.
This week I was reminded that life is precious and for all of the sad, crappy people we might meet, there are also good people out there. There are always those who would tear us down just because the pain of others makes them feel better. But those small minded angry, often mentally ill and toxic people will always exist. We can’t control their crazy, we can only live our own lives.
Ten years ago this month, I received my breast cancer diagnosis. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. Breast cancer was probably the worst thing to ever happen to me and in a weird way, one of the best things.
Simple. That diagnosis forced me to look at a lot of things. And breast cancer freed me to learn to become a better me. When you are staring at a potentially deadly thing, the minutia falls to the side and you value the gift life actually is. It’s pretty simple: do you want to live and how do you want life to be? Do you want to be happy and can you give yourself the permission to be happy? And don’t we all deserve to be happy even if sometimes happy seems like a lot of work?
Maybe we should look at the last year and realize how valuable the gift of life actually is? Look at all the people who have lost their lives to a global pandemic. And here we are.
Maybe now in our current world we need to value life more? Try a little harder to deal with the many things that tear our society apart?
Among the things I am pondering is has the last year happened to remind us all what is really important which is NOT the minutia and BS we need to filter out of our lives?
So should we all just pause and take a minute? Take a breath? Are we capable of doing that without crowdsourcing it on social media? I don’t know. There are good days and bad days in everyone’s life, but it’s what you do with them, right?
And I know this is a ramble without a real beginning, middle, or end. Sorry. It just flowed out that way.
Soooooo…do the folks in the upscale Malvern Hunt development know about this proposed Uber Cram Plan next door in West Whiteland?
Because if this development happens combined with the crammerific townhouse development next to East Whiteland‘s Bacton Hill Park, “Malvern Crossing”, it sure is going to impact their lives right? And everyone else around here? Wow, just imagine the traffic alone, right?
Would West Whiteland Township care to let us in on what’s specifically up with historic Pickwick, also known as the John Kent Kane Jr. House? Will that historic house be preserved?
But back to the meeting in September that went by with nary a sound and why? For real 344 houses? Adult in description, so essentially another Hershey’s Mill type project? Really “by right”?
That’s a lot of additional development for Swedesford considering the development already in either direction…..
And let’s think about all of the other development happening all over, okay? Lancaster Avenue in East Whiteland, West Whiteland, points west, points east.
For West Whiteland all the development coming to either side of SS Philip and James, either side of Ship Road and development just keeps marching west?
In Chester County east, west, north, or south- development. Think about it, are there any municipalities without development of some kind? I mean I am sure there are, only I can’t think of any.
But back to whatever this is that will replace the rotting ghost houses on Swedesford Road. That’s a LOT. A LOT more stress on infrastructure, first responders, hospitals, schools and so on and so forth.
Just putting it out there. It’s public record. Just pick a municipality. When does it end? When do residents in Chester County stand up and band together and say enough already to development? When do we even just hit a freaking pause ⏸ button?
So recently there was this major kerfuffle at a Radnor Township Board of Commissioners. This board has been devolving for a few years but the recent commissioners meeting was painful. ( See around 3 hour 48 minute mark)
These are grown ass adults who are elected to serve Radnor Township residents, right? Only some of them are turning their meetings into a sitcom meets a three ring circus.
Anyway, Commissioner Sean Farhy has a beef with Commissioner Jake Abel. Farhy is a Democrat and Abel is a Republican. So because it’s Radnor, it’s super political too when Commissioners beef. It’s painfulto watch.
📌At a board meeting this week, Radnor Commissioner Sean Farhy, a Democrat, proposed the board censure a fellow commissioner, Republican Jake Abel, for blocking him on Twitter….“The blocking of both public officials and/or private citizens is a violation of the First Amendment which he swore to uphold when he took his oath of office. The Board of Commissioners should formally distance themselves from this type of unethical and immoral behavior which has now been deemed by a U.S. Federal Court as unconstitutional and illegal,” according to a portion of the resolution that would have censured Abel….According to Farhy, since Abel disseminates township information over his Twitter account, blocking someone is a violation of the First Amendment.
“All I’m asking is you unblock anyone that you’ve blocked on your Twitter account, which you use to disseminate government information,” Farhy said.
Although Abel admitted to blocking Farhy, he said he did not know of anyone else being blocked.
“This is the first I’ve heard of any resident being blocked, and if somebody is being blocked, they can reach out to me. I’ll have my team look at it, but I’m not aware of specific people being blocked,” Abel said in response.📌
Umm Jake Abel, I discovered this evening that you block ME. I found that damn amusing because I do not recall ever interacting with you. Did I? Have we met?
So Jake Abel who is your “team” (sounds super pretentious) and how MAGA paranoid are you? So Jake Abel was I following you on Twitter? I did not recall doing so although I follow plenty of local and national politicians. I guess blocking me is a preemptive strike because I am a blogger? That’s totally lame, but truthfully, I don’t care. You don’t matter in my world. However Jake Abel, baby politician, I totally do not buy you don’t know whom you have blocked.
Now I do think Abel actually can block another politician like Farhy because he isn’t a constituent. But it’s not good politics and turns the boardroom at Radnor township into Romper Room.
Anyway get out the wammmmbulance…then they were hurling accusations at each other (read article, watch YouTube.) Accusing each other of photographing each other…rock ‘em sock ‘em robots who wouldn’t know Roberts Rules of Order if it bit them on their asses.
We are winter whiskey imbibers. When I was little winter colds were pretty much treated with a very weak hot toddy. And I bake with whiskey. And yes I know it is sacrilege to use small batch whiskey in baking, but I do it anyway.
There are a couple small batch distilleries we like one is McLaughlin out of Sewickley, PA. Another is Manatawny Still Works out of Pottstown.
I am not a big hard alcohol person. Small batch whiskeys are a relatively new thing for me and I don’t drink much of them but they’re nice on a cold day and great in a cup of tea when everything aches. I just tried a small sip of the Dewey’s No. 69 Small Batch Bourbon and like I said I am not a whiskey connoisseur but I like it —it’s smooth, yet rich, a little smoky and smells good. (I’m weird I go by smell which is why I’ve never tasted scotch because I don’t like the smell. )
Friends suggested we try their products and apparently they do other spirits rather well in addition. Once the weather is a little nicer and the tasting room is open I am going to go over for a socially distanced little look around because I’ve always wanted to see what a distilling operation looks like.
The other thing I liked is the gentleman that dropped off my order took the time (in his mask and all socially distanced on my front porch), to tell me about their business. And I like the story. And if you like the story of a small business then you want to support them.
Because I don’t drink very much and because I am sensitive to people with alcohol issues, I don’t talk about alcohol I occasionally buy very often. But this is a local business and if you can drink responsibly, try it. However, if you have a delivered you have to prove your age. And they will ship within Pennsylvania if it’s two bottles or more. And I think they can ship to some other states but I forget how that’s worked it’s through some kind of consortium I think.
Oh and when they can they try to go organic and local with the ingredients of what they are distilling.
So I blame my whiskey explorations on too much Acorn TV and BritBox and BBC. consider this a different kind of #ShopLocal
As always I feel the need to tell all of my readers that I am not getting anything for doing this either in payment, goods, or services. I am a regular customer.
Please drink responsibly and thanks for stopping by.
I am about to talk about an issue I am not experiencing personally, but as I have started to see the issues crop up more and more in Chester County community groups, I figured it can’t hurt to put the problem out there. And the problem is simple: AmeriGas isn’t delivering the way they should be.
It’s winter, it’s cold. And no one wants to run out of fuel to heat their homes. A lot of people in Chester County use propane to heat their homes. A lot of people are signed up with AmeriGas and in several social media community forums I have seen posts, including today, about people coming close to running out or having run out of fuel and AmeriGas keeps telling them they’re going to deliver only they haven’t.
I am paying it forward and putting this issue out there. It’s cold this winter and we’ve had a lot of bad weather, so people expect delays with delivery of home related services like fuel. But when folks are told they were getting a delivery and then there is no delivery and then people keep being told they are on a special list but no matter who they talk to can’t actually get the fuel delivered, it’s just not fair.
Further complicating matters when you are running out of fuel and waiting on AmeriGas, is the legality of who owns the tanks. Most people rent their tanks. And if you rent your tanks other companies don’t want to deliver propane because it’s somebody else’s tank.
I did a little research and this is a problem with this company from coast to coast. AmeriGas has issues. A reporter from North Carolina recently did a story on the issues people are having with AmeriGas. (CLICK HERE ) after he did his story he got emails from as far away is Pennsylvania.
And a very unscientific and just general matter, I noodled around on Facebook and I put in the search term AmeriGas delivery problems and I came up with posts from people in groups all over the country.
So AmeriGas what gives? I am not hearing these complaints about any of the other local companies that deliver propane.
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.” 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.
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.
One of the things I think that has suffered in the pandemic is pizza. I just kept finding that the pizza we were ordering no matter where it was from, was uneven in consistency of product delivered to the customers. Sometimes when we would order, the pizza was fabulous. Other times when we would order not so much or rushed or they forgot things on the order (like a couple of times completely forgetting the toppings we ordered for the pizza) and with everyone suffering from pandemic economics, you don’t want to call and say “oh your pizza sucked.” So we stopped ordering pizza. And I started making pizza.
I am capable of making the dough but one of my really good friends told me about Wegmans pizza dough. You can buy regular or organic. I will keep a couple in the freezer now and the dough freezes nicely for the short term.
The day before you are going to make your pizza, put your dough in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. The day you are baking, get your dough out of the refrigerator and put into an oiled mixing bowl, and lightly oil top of dough ball itself, cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in your kitchen to rise for a couple of hours. Make sure it is in a warm part of your kitchen, or it won’t rise right.
I am not someone who can throw pizza dough, so next when I am ready to bake I get out my silicone sheet that I roll out pie crusts and cookie dough on, lightly flour and roll the dough out. It does take a few minutes to roll the dough out properly because you need to get it thin enough that it fits a sheet pan. I do not have a pizza stone so I use a half sheet pan, which is a little over 17 inches long and 12 inches wide.
I should mention that before I get my dough rolled out, I preheat the oven to 450°F BUT I bake it at 400°F. I have just learned from baking bread that everything works better when I preheat my oven slightly higher than I’m doing the actual baking. I do not do this with cookies or biscuits, however.
When I put the dough down on the sheet pan I do not use a silicone baking sheet on the pan I use that Reynolds wrap nonstick foil. The first time I made pizza like this, I used one of my silicone baking sheets and when we sliced the pizza we turned the baking sheet to ribbons.
I layer sauce, then toppings and it goes into the oven and baked at 400°F for 20-23 minutes. Everybody’s oven is calibrated slightly differently and I have discovered generally speaking the 23 minutes is my optimum cook time for my pizza. And that’s it. It’s very easy and it’s really good.
Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect from Wegmans Pizza dough. I had tried the premade dough years ago from Giant Food Markets and they changed how they made it because it went from being really good to being kind of gross. But the pizza dough from Wegmans is completely consistent. I have also been told that the pizza dough from Trader Joe’s is awesome.
And if you have small kids, making pizza is a really fun activity and it gets them familiar with the kitchen other than the microwave.
As for sauce and toppings that’s entirely up to you. You can make a little bit of your own sauce up but I recommend making it thick because it’s going on a pizza and baking in the oven. I have done it all sorts of ways I have made my own sauce with leftover sauce that I had from another meal, I have used Wegmans store brand premade pizza sauce, and Mezetta Spicy Marinara Calabrian Chile. The Wegmans sauce is well-made but for my taste I need to spice it up by adding herbs and garlic.
So yes my homemade pizza can also be considered semi-homade but try it! It’s fun!
Thanks for stopping by and stay warm today it’s cold outside.
When you look up “community” or a “sense of community” you find:
“A sense of community is the feeling that members have of belonging, the feeling that the members matter to one another and to the group, and a shared faith that their needs will be met through their commitment to be together.”
So when you join social media groups in your community, you go there hopeful there is an actual sense of community. A lot of times you find that, but other times you find groups that make you shake your head.
Some local groups that have made me shake my head in the past about what they allow to be posted. So given what we have seen unfold in this country lately, especially the assault on the United States Capitol, do admins of said groups have a greater responsibility to say keep the peace? And will platforms like Facebook take greater steps to address preexisting issues like stalking, bullying, and harassment?
Recent events have opened up conversations about First Amendment Rights in groups on social media platforms run by private companies. It’s not so difficult to comprehend the nuances unless you are being deliberately argumentative or obtuse.
Yes we have First Amendment rights, but we are on platforms hosted by others. If these others have rules, it’s their platform, not ours. We do not have inalienable rights to disregard their parameters. It’s their site, they just allow us to be on it.
Same thing for say closed groups on Facebook. They almost all have rules and they are governed by the rules Facebook tells folks setting up closed groups.
To me the whole argument of “well I can say whatever I want in Joe Schmoe’s group” is as ludicrous as the billboard company owner who used to say they had a First Amendment right to erect giant billboards which always begged the mental visual of them up there with a giant sharpie scribbling away, didn’t it?
I think social media groups have to be cognizant of what gets posted and keep an eye on it. And not just violence, undue profanity, and crazy political. Let’s not forget fake medical advice posts. One of my favorites came from a mom group advocating for bleach baths for kids with skin issues and doesn’t that actually constitute child abuse?
Being an admin to social media groups is like adult babysitting and you learn quickly that there are keyboard tigers who will argue about anything and everything. And then there is the online mob mentality which in my opinion since the onset of COVID19 has also spilled over more and more into the real world. Because social media and living online is not and will never be the real world.
The longer people spend solely on social media and online in general, the less their grip on acceptable social boundaries. You see that with professional and personal relationships.
Fostering a sense of community is a wonderful thing, but we need to keep it real. And we have an obligation to not tolerate sheer ugliness. We have an obligation to shut down online bullying as well, and that has not gotten better, it has gotten worse.
We can do a lot of genuine good. We can pay it forward for positive change in communities. We all just have to try.