will private school bashing solve educational issues caused by covid19?

Class of 1981. Source? My yearbook.

I don’t necessarily agree with the way Shipley is choosing to go all in person in the COVID19 world in which we live, but I do respect that they are trying. It means they plan for things, which is something a lot of schools can’t necessarily do. Why? Schools public, private, parochial, charter struggle because of the politics that always get in the way. You know, kind of like how politics is getting in everyone’s way in life in general with regard to COVID19?

Right or wrong that is how I feel.

However, in spite of my occasional issues with my alma mater, I am somewhat uncomfortable with the sharp edges of portrayal in this opinion piece.

The very sarcastic “God bless Shipley” comment and the mis-portrayal of the school as utterly and ONLY as in solely elitist. That is not fair.

Not all of us who went there way back when, nor every student today is born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Not all of us are trust fund babies. And those who came from family money aren’t bad people because their families have money.

I get tired of the us versus them mentality. There are always going to be people with more money than you. Shocking as it may sound, a lot of us (myself included) worked summer jobs and part time jobs during the school year whether it was in a store, a fast food joint, or in my case, babysitting. Not all of us drove around in BMWs sporting expensive accessories. We weren’t cast members from the O.C. or Clueless.

But the tone of this opinion piece sets my teeth on edge and it starts with the title. Does the writer think it was easy for the school to spend this reserve money or to develop a plan? It wasn’t. And as I said, I don’t necessarily agree with it, but they are trying. And also don’t assume all of the students are Richy Rich, because they aren’t. And if I had to hazard a guess that is part of the reason why they are trying to get kids back in school.

I also have yet to see a re-opening plan anywhere that I actually think will work and that is because of the behaviors out in the real world we see. The people who won’t do their part and even wear a damn mask to the grocery store. Or those who thought and still think “Covid parties” are a great idea. Or those who think a global pandemic is a political conspiracy.

Maybe just maybe if more people were just trying a little harder to do their part to slow the pace of this virus by making better decisions we wouldn’t have to have all these damn conflicting and heated conversations about schools reopening or not reopening or going partially or short term virtual?

And then of course there is the conversation that no one wants to have in public which is how many people out there depend on so many others to raise their children in the first place. Oh I am quite sure the knives will come out for that but is it completely untrue? This global pandemic has stripped us back to basics quite a bit. And it will continue to do so until they find a medical treatment to combat it. And maybe the life lessons we take away from COVID19 are something the universe needs us to learn or re-learn?

Read the article. My alma mater is far from perfect, but why private school bashing? What does it achieve? What issues does it resolve? No one knows what the hell they are doing right now.

Inquirer OPINION
At the elite Shipley school in Bryn Mawr, money is no object in deluxe coronavirus-reopening plans | Maria Panaritis
Posted: August 9, 2020 – 5:00 AM
by Maria Panaritis
Maria Panaritis | @panaritism | mpanaritis@inquirer.com

📌”For the price of $24,000 to $40,000 per child in tuition, here is how one of the most prestigious private schools in suburban Philadelphia is planning to get around the problem of a coronavirus pandemic that is forcing the shutdown of in-class instruction at many public schools this fall.

Spoiler alert: The kids get to go to class. Every single day of the week…..The Shipley School is aiming for this lofty outcome through a flabbergasting array of if-then statements and contingency plans shared with me a few days ago by head of school Michael Turner. By the end of our one-hour-long talk, it felt as though I had just interviewed the logistics chief of a major corporation rather than an education guy….In just the past couple of weeks, a number of districts as prominent as Lower Merion have told parents their children will start the school year at home. So what if you and your husband work? So what if the kids are 9 and 10 years old or in kindergarten? Details are scant and have been all summer.
Shipley, meanwhile, is sparing no expense to do the opposite…God bless Shipley. Money, as we know, fixes a lot of problems in this country, and Shipley’s got it. Its board even put together a fund to help students whose parents may have fallen on hard times with the pandemic recession.
”📌

the seemingly unending covid19 mess of it all

I don’t know about all of you , but this is so unnerving what we are dealing with. I am referring to COVID19. And 2020 in general.

As our communities struggle with how and what school districts are doing, many in our communities are making excellent points. Someone said to me if all school districts start virtually how are they possibly going to switch to in person? What is the magic combination? What is going to be different in October that they are suddenly going to feel it is safer? She said she felt that whoever goes virtual should be that way until January if not the end of the year, unless some schools actually go hybrid and it goes smoothly at those schools. She also pointed out a lot of schools which were contemplating hybrid are dropping off one by one.

Let’s start with the school districts who I think are trying but aren’t receiving consistent direction from any THEY answer to. First there is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to deal with and then there are Federal politics of the United States Secretary of Education Betsy De Vos because face it, she is allowing herself to be used because of the election. Old Betsy wasn’t appointed for anything other than political reasons so how can you trust that woman to decide what’s best for America’s children?

I think literally everything the school districts are dealing with is conflicting information. Then of course, they are also dealing with the sub-level politics within each school district.

Common sense and being more realistic would keep everyone virtual longer but we are dealing with politics over people on every level. And then there are the people who either can’t or just don’t want to homeschool their kids virtually. Economics, jobs, personal choice. It’s a hot mess.

And the problem overall? I don’t think the districts ever had disaster plans to cover any of this. Who knows if they should or shouldn’t have, NONE of expected this, and face it, ever since COVID19 has landed none of us have gotten consistent messages or direction from leadership in Washington DC.

Top down from the White House, they have tried all along to suppress information because of politics. People are dying and they are playing politics. The White House has been playing their agenda at the expense of everyone else and to the extent of trying to discredit their very highly educated experts because the experts are telling them they have to pay attention and do better that this COVID19 global pandemic is far from over.

People I know have lost family members to this virus. Other people I know are separated from family members because those family members are in states that are like big giant hotspots of COVID19.

Someone I know told me yesterday that one of their doctors lost a colleague to COVID19. A surgeon in their 30s or 40s. Not old or sick. This doctor also got COVID19 themselves early on from a patient who did not know they were carrying the virus. As this one doctor recovered they needed physical therapy because the virus caused some kind of movement imbalance.

But I guess the point to this long rant is nobody knows what’s going on and we’re all playing catch-up. And we’re dealing with misinformation and withheld information.

And this virus is affecting the economy. Except I think what is actually happening is it’s pointing out that the economy wasn’t so hot in the first place. Now everyone can hop all over me about that but I spent my life in the financial services industry. I’ve been around as the wheels have come off before.

And the day before yesterday I had to go to the bank only my bank branch is closed for renovations so I had to go to a bank branch for my bank in a supermarket. I haven’t been in a supermarket since March before COVID19 hit officially. I almost had a panic attack as I counted the people who weren’t socially distancing and weren’t wearing masks and didn’t have masks on their children. And were also crowding me. I went home and changed all my clothes, got a shower, and washed my hands multiple times.

I wish I had the magical answers to this problem, but as someone who like many of us out there lives an immunocompromised life, this stuff terrifies me.

Other countries who have been serious about containing this are doing much better now. But the overwhelming problem in this country when it comes to COVID19 from education to just going to the grocery store safely is the politics in this country. The toxic freaking politics.

I just wish we could learn more about what is going on honestly with the politics of it stripped away.

So many people are struggling. Salary cuts, job loss, losing their homes to crazy acts of mother nature. You name, it 2020 is mind boggling.

How do we come together and survive this? How do we usher the children safely back to school? What is safely back to school?

I can tell you I have almost gotten to the point where I don’t want to listen to the news or read newspapers anymore. Like many other people, I have moments where I struggle with all that is happening emotionally. You have to wonder why it is we are all being tested? Is it to make us stronger, teach us a lesson, what? You have to wonder if part of the answer is philosophical or theological.

I don’t have any answers I just have thoughts on the whole thing. And I don’t know if my thoughts are helpful to anyone. But I felt the need to write this out.

I guess we just have to try to continue to soldier along as best we can and try to make good decisions and stay healthy.

Thanks for stopping by.

okay 2020, can we cry uncle now?

Classic Diner Photo

It has been a day. I thought I was having a bad day with all my biggest pots blown over and things blown to bits in the garden until I started seeing the pictures my friends were taking.

But for the grace of God go any of us. Tropical Storm Isaias reminded us when it comes to Mother Nature, just who is the boss.

Earlier PulsePoint had a notification that I knew wasn’t good but oh these poor people!

Source: Facebook. Sproul Rd East Whiteland.

All over the region and into other states, the weather was horrible. What they think were tornadoes that even took down billboards in Delaware near Odessa, DE. See these photos posted by New Castle County Paramedics:

And then there’s the stuff that’s hitting the news. Like the Darby Creek flooding like crazy. Or this video sent to me by a friend who lives adjacent to the Schuylkill River:

Schuylkill River and flooded neighborhoods in Roxborough

One photo I saw today came from Long Branch, New Jersey. It was a new house being built and it looks like a bunch of match sticks. Really gives you pause about new construction doesn’t it?

New house being built in Long Branch, NJ reduced to rubble by today’s storm.

And then of course there are all the photos of all the trees down around here.

I think one of the things that floors me the most are the photos that were taken by the people at the Classic Diner in Malvern. Much like my friend’s photo from Long Branch, NJ it provokes the need for a serious conversation on development and stormwater management. Of course it also provokes the conversation of why do people drive through flood water like that?

Hershey’s Mill Road East Goshen where the dam used to be. Facebook photo.

But the more our area gets developed the more flooding we will experience because the water has nowhere to go. And also there’s the whole thing of global warming and changing weather patterns. It seems like we get more and more of these “hundred year storms”.

Please stay safe out there, we have more flood water on the way after this storm. Thank you to all the people who kindly lent their photos to me, Facebook and other social media sites.

And as a general life commentary, I don’t know about you but I am definitely over 2020. It’s the year where the hits keep on coming.

Classic Diner photo. Source: Facebook

socially distancing sale saturday in chadds ford

It’s a beautiful weekend and my friend Lisa is having a sale! Social distancing must be observed and masks, please.

Brandywine View Antiques 1244 Baltimore Pike Chadds Ford PA. #shoplocal

perspective: it takes too long for dangerous bridges to be fixed

A friend of mine took this photo today Pennswood Rd Bridge, Bryn Mawr, PA

This is not a post about Chester County it’s about orphaned and other bridges in need of repair in our area, state, country.

Pennswood Rd Bridge 2007

The bridge in the photo opening this post and throughout this post is the orphaned railroad bridge on Pennswood Road in Bryn Mawr, PA. It’s in Lower Merion Township. This bridge has been falling apart for decades quite honestly. I started photographing it in 2007.

Pennswood Rd Bridge. 2007.

It takes far too long for unsafe and run down bridges to be repaired in this country. I photographed the deterioration of this Pennswood Road bridge between 2007 and 2012. I think I had some other photos once upon a time but I can’t find them.

Pennswood Rd Bridge 2012

This bridge had holes that you could see through to the railroad tracks and rattled like all get out. Underneath this bridge runs Amtrak and SEPTA trains. The bridge is on the orphaned list like many others that were built by railroads and then orphaned – original railroad companies go out of business successor railroads disavow responsibility. I don’t quite understand how it all works but that seems to be how it works.

Pennswood Road Bridge at some point between 2007-2012

What happens is the federal government will pay for most of this repair, the state will pay for some of the repair, and the final bit will be the responsibility of the local municipality. In this case, Lower Merion Township. After the bridge is rebuilt it becomes the responsibility of the municipality.

Pennswood Bridge 2012

I have to give credit here to the local commissioner in Lower Merion (Scott Zelov) who has been at this since he became a commissioner in 2006. It’s absolutely ridiculous that it took so long to get to this point. And the bridge was failing long before he took office. It’s been failing since I was in high school.

This is a definite problem across the country. I have seen programs on news shows that run nationally like network news on orphaned and dangerous bridges. In 2019 Pennsylvania was still on the short list of states with the worst bridges. Our state was number 2 in the country according to the CBS news affiliate in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Post Gazette also covers the topic.

In 2013, Penn Live published an article about bad PA bridges. In 2017 the York Daily Record said PA was number 3 in the country for bad bridges. The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about the topic in 2018 and many other times. (Click here for some sort of state database.)

Anyway glad this Lower Merion Township bridge is finally getting replaced. I just wish it didn’t have to take so long. Do you have a failing and/or orphaned bridge where you live? What’s being done (if anything)?

Here are two articles about the Pennswood Road Bridge:

Main Line Media News: Bryn Mawr bridge on Pennswood Road to be replaced
Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter Dec 13, 2019

Main Line Media News: Work could begin later this year on last orphaned bridge in Lower Merion
By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter May 23, 2018 Comments

Pennswood Road Bridge 2012.

slightly disgusted with mankind and we need to come together and find peace

This is just one of my photos. It has absolutely nothing to do with the post.

I am beginning to understand why people move to cabins at the tops of mountains and don’t talk to people. We are living in very strange and angry times and I really wish people would just hit the pause button or take a freaking breath sometimes.

I saw pictures (media coverage) this weekend of people who went to Washington DC. They went to party with Trump on the White House lawn for 4th of July. Now no one can dispute going to Washington DC on the Fourth of July is a very American patriotic thing, the thing that disturbed me is all the coverage I saw of this event no one really was wearing masks. No one was social distancing. And it looked more like a political rally than a celebration of the nation’s birthday. That in and of itself was very distasteful to me. Right or wrong, to me it was very much a Marie Antoinette let them eat cake pre-French revolution kind of a thing.

But now I can’t help but wonder who in those crowds will get COVID-19 or bring it home and give it to somebody else? Because I don’t think they’re going to self quarantine do you?

I had another friend tell me again yet today about how uncomfortable their neighbors make them because all they’ve done essentially is party since coronavirus broke out. And I’m not trying to be a wet blanket, everyone likes to get together with their friends and family. But we don’t live in normal times and there are things we have to pay attention to. The proof is in the pudding as it were because there are spikes occurring all over the country of this pandemic virus.

I mean how embarrassing is it that European countries do not want to let an American in across their borders right now because of the virus and because of how our country is treating the Coronavirus?

Then there is the incredible tension because of well, racism in this country. We’ve had protests, incredibly violent protests at times from coast to coast. We are long overdue in truly addressing this heinous issue.

No one can have a conversation about anything and every conversation is combative and too many of them take place online and not face-to-face. Again, because of the times we live in having newly emerged from stay at home orders. We are truly living in the era of nasty keyboard idiots.

And another new thing that keeps happening. For every community where you say “Hate Has No Home Here“, “ Black Lives Matter“, or other similar signs there are also signs once again supporting local police departments. The impetus of course is to remind people that not everyone in law-enforcement is a bad person. And that’s true. I think, however, all of these different kinds of signs are stirring up people positively and negatively and I have to wonder can we take our protest signs down for a while across-the-board in general? And learn to co-exist peacefully?

And then there is the economy. There are a lot of people out of work. There are a lot of small businesses who are suffering greatly and will never open their doors again in some cases. There are people who also have gotten their salaries cut. I think with everything that has been going on since 2020 started is just creating so much tension that no one knows how to process it.

We need a do-over on 2020.

Global pandemic, unstable economy, and racism. They say bad things come in threes let’s hope this country is done now for a while, right?

Here’s a novel idea: maybe we should all just stop fighting one and other for five minutes and try to shut our mouths and open our ears and listen to what other people are saying. Maybe we should be open to hearing the points of view of others. Maybe we should all try to be better people. Maybe we should pay it forward with something positive however we can.

Part of the problem today again is no one can have a conversation any longer. No one can have a civil discussion about anything. You never know when you open your mouth if you’re going to say the right thing or the wrong thing, so I find myself for me being unusually quiet. Until now.

The impetus for this post, is all the stupid stuff I see going on in community Facebook groups. We’re all supposed to be neighbors, yet all I see is people who want to tear other people down or just starting fights. I would like to think that therapy is cheaper and perhaps anger management as well.

We live in an angry, hateful world right now. And we have to do our part to make it better to enact positive change. But change comes with trying to be tolerant of other people, walking away from stupid online arguments. I think life is hard enough right now at times, so hard, we need to just pause.

Once again, as I’ve said before, I think a lot of the fuel to the fire of negativity in this country comes from Washington DC. They only have one goal: benefiting themselves.

Our forefathers fought and bled and died and suffered so that all of us could be free. What would they think of us today? Would they be shaking their heads in disgust?

I don’t have the answers. I wish someone had the answers. But it’s too damn hot and I think people have to start to take a breath so we can come together as a nation.

Peace people. We need peace. We need love.

playing mad scientist with sourdough bread

So since March, you all know I have been learning about bread, specifically sourdough (read this post and this post). It has been quite the process and learning curve.

Bread is literally a science to learn, and it’s also trial and error. as I said to my friend Chad who owns the Master‘s Baker in West Chester yesterday it is a fascinating process to see how things like even the weather affects your bread baking.

I am now working with two strains of sourdough starter. One came from my friend Tracey Deschaine who owns Dixie Picnic in Malvern, and the other strain comes from San Francisco and has a very old strain of starter. As in more than a century old. You can find these strains from places like San Francisco and Europe and I wanted to try one just to see.

So what I’ve discovered in my learning curve here is I like the San Francisco instructions better for feeding the starter, but I use Tracey‘s recipe for making a loaf of bread. The difference between the San Francisco and local instructions for feeding the starter is they suggest you use distilled water. So I’ve been using distilled water. It seems to make a difference. We are on a well here and there are a lot of minerals in the water.

When I make up my dough I use half San Francisco starter and half Dixie Picnic starter. They both live in my refrigerator side-by-side like thing one and thing two when I am not feeding them or using them up to bake with. I’ve also discovered that getting my starter out the night before I wish to prepare dough is more effective.

I don’t know if this is all right or wrong but I am feeling way way through and it’s nice to be conquering my fear of bread making. Because before this I didn’t think I could do it.

But I am discovering I can and it’s kind of fun!

Next up? Learning how to make other kinds of bread. My husband gave me this awesome bread cookbook for a present. It’s called Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast. It’s an awesome book.

Stay cool today and I hope everyone’s enjoying the holiday weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

new penn med at radnor is spectacular!

Inside looking out to the courtyard and newly planted gardens

Today I had my second Mohs surgery for skin cancer. I had another one two years ago. Today my procedure was in the brand new Penn Medicine at Radnor At 145 King of Prussia Road in Radnor.

Reception in the front.

It was a little dicey getting into the new complex because the brand new PennDOT installed left turn arrow light was broken. And there is road work going on. But then you see the new building and a big parking garage. If you have gone to Penn Medicine in Radnor over the years at the old location you know one of the biggest problems has always been parking, so this is welcome.

It’s a giant building. It’s pristine and amazing. I did get lost but I think that is because I was so used to the old building.

Central registration

The two wings of the new building have an amazing courtyard in the middle complete with a garden. The garden in the center of Chester County Hospital is one of my favorite things about the hospital so I’m really glad they did this year as well. it has little tables and benches and once things are more opened up I’m sure people will be able to sit outside.

When you go in you are greeted by reception and they take your temperature. They then direct you to where you were going when I got upstairs to where I was going which was on the third floor, the first thing I saw getting off the elevator was central registration where I checked in.

One thing I did not care for as I was charged a co-pay and I was not supposed to be charged a co-pay today because I was there for a day surgical procedure. But I think those are kinks they will work out in this new registration process. That step did occur at the old building.

The exam rooms are bright and spacious and so are the waiting room areas. What I am missing however, is all the art from the Delaware Valley Art League they hung on the walls of the old building. My exam room had a view of the natural pond being built. It had a couple families of Canadian geese complete with goslings so it was really kind of fun to see.

This is an amazing building that one commissioner in Radnor Township in particular fought and still is. Commissioner Booker, please give it up. It is an amazing and necessary facility and you’re lucky they didn’t leave Radnor Township…because they could have.

Well my face literally hurts so that is all from me today.

Thanks for stopping by.

this is not my philadelphia

Because of the oversaturation of COVID-19, and the crazy politics out of Washington D.C. I have not been watching the news. Last night, I watched streaming services TV and went to sleep.

I knew about that poor man George Floyd being murdered in Minneapolis. Sorry that’s how I see it if it offends you. Racism is killing this country again.

I knew about the peaceful protests going on in major metropolitan cities. I have little problem with peaceful protest, I have participated in them over the course of my life. But last night, peaceful protests went away, and opportunistic rioting and looting began. That’s not right.

We live in a very angry country. I think a lot of this can be laid at the feet of the politicians in the current regime in the White House. And last night this also came too close to home. Philadelphia was on fire. When I turned on my phone this morning it exploded with text messages like this one:

This is not my Philadelphia.

When you hear things like that your head feels like a ping-pong ball. So I started looking to see what I found:

Mandatory Curfew Implemented For Philadelphia, Gov. Wolf Signs Emergency Declaration As George Floyd Protests Turn Violent: CBS3 Staff
May 30, 2020 at 11:31 pm

The Inquirer: ⬤ LIVE
Philly awakes after a night of protest and looting; prosecutors today will begin deciding who will be charged;

MAY 30, 2020 George Floyd protests in Philly erupt in fires, looting; City officials blame outsiders
Mayor Kenney, Commissioner Outlaw say Saturday afternoon’s violence was instigated by people who had nothing to do with the morning’s demonstationsMichael Tanenbaum Headshot BY MICHAEL TANENBAUM
PhillyVoice Staff

What the ever-loving F?

This is not my Philadelphia.

I am horrified and almost feel like crying. We are a country of anger and vitriol and racism and discrimination. But this wanton mass destruction? Where innocent people are hurt? What does that accomplish?

Right now I am watching NBC’s Meet the Press. They have mayors from certain cities, officials from Minneapolis and so on talking about all of this and what is going on across the country.

There was a common thread of these people basically saying the president has to stop dividing and lead. I don’t think he can do that because he has a limited grasp on the reality most of us experience every day. I also don’t think he cares. And as the Mayor of Atlanta pointed out he has an unfortunate history of misspeaking and making matters worse. We can’t afford that as a nation. All of these mayors are also commenting on the fact that a lot of these agitators the turned peaceful protests violent came in from out of the area.

I was a little kid in Philadelphia from when I was born in the mid-60s through when we moved in the mid-70s. There were not protests like happened last night then. There was a lot of looting and rioting and other parts of the country but Philadelphia was somehow in a bubble.

Racism in America is a real issue. But looting and rioting and burning cities to the ground like happened in so many cities across this country yesterday and overnight? That is hate and anger which begets more hate and anger.

The images I am posting I have taken mostly off of Twitter. I’ve taken screenshots because they’re not my photos so you can see who took them. But we have to stop living like this.

I am also afraid that because of all these riots across the country that just as we’re getting ready to reopen after coronavirus as a nation I think we are going to see spikes in the virus because of the rioting.

Election Day is June 2nd. As Americans one of the most powerful things we can do is exercise our right to vote. And I hope what has happened this weekend drives a lot of you to the polls to vote out the bad and vote in better. And come November continue that in the General Election.

We are not a country of anarchy and anger, or we shouldn’t be. We, as Americans, are better than that. Or we should be.

Today we should all mourn for what we are devolving into as a nation. It’s getting to the point where do we really feel safe in our communities no matter where we live? It breaks my heart and terrifies me.