thoughts and a message of hope…from england

I have been watching less and less of the news. It’s a repeating loop of Coronavirus on steroids. Often we are not learning anything new, it is just a constant repeating of the horror the world is going through. But I think the biggest problem I have with this whole global pandemic and how it affects us here in the U.S. is what comes out of the White House.

That man we call President is not Presidential. I was even reminded of that last night when I watched a PBS special on the Roosevelts.

A couple of weeks ago I called my mother and she shooed me off the phone almost immediately. “The President is speaking . I can’t talk now.” But honestly, what is he saying? He spent weeks not really taking this whole #COVID-19 thing seriously. Then all of a sudden he says it’s a pandemic and he thought so all along. Then he works something in about campaigns and his administration. Then everything will be open by Easter, then everyone wear masks but he won’t. Then he talks about how many people are going to die from this virus. Then he talks over the medical experts at his press conferences annoyed that people are asking the actual medical professionals questions. “Didn’t I just answer that question?” (paraphrased) he angrily shot at a reporter who had recently directed a question to Dr. Anthony Fauci at a press conference.

We need a national leader about now. Trump isn’t leading. He’s an angry man child embodiment of chronic contradictions and a stunning lack of compassion and that brings no comfort. It makes me anxious. At first I was trying to watch the news conferences from Washington to look for information and leadership in a time of crisis. Coronavirus-time IS like war-time and we need a leader who gets it, who gets us as Americans. Not a quasi-dictatorial narcissistic man child who still blows up Twitter daily with his petty bulltwaddle and spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. Dude all of your Tweeting is bad for America.

Good thing there are people in this country like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. He leads, he is authentic, and he is living this right along with everyone. That is actually comforting to me because my sister and her family as well as my stepbrother live in New York City. I have to tell you closer to home, I find the Philadelphia and surrounding counties news conferences and New Jersey’s news conferences make more sense.

And then there are people with their Marie Antoinette attitudes of let them eat cake. Like the guy in North Jersey who defied stay at home and social distancing orders and threw a giant Coronavirus booze fest party. He’s apparently now being charged for doing so. Good. And don’t forget the kids in the Pittsburgh area who had to have a giant blowout and where are their parents?

It’s like all of those whom suddenly define themselves as “constitutionalists” and why is government telling us what to do? That is simple: if we would all just stay the hell home they wouldn’t be telling us what to do. It’s like those who are all up in arms because churches are closed. Large gatherings spread viruses. Hello? The actual history of the 1918 influenza pandemic as an example? God does not expect us to die for him from coronavirus. Many churches are live-streaming and isn’t God or whomever you may believe in all around us? Ok maybe a theological conversation is too much for most on a Monday so we will leave this right there.

But it is because of all of this swirling crap that I have taken to tuning out the news and staying put and working in the garden more. Whether we want to or not, the fates have decided we are slowing down. (Apparently I am not the only one gardening article about victory gardens in The Philadelphia Inquirer today.)

But there is one leader who may God bless and keep her who is truly leading. Queen Elizabeth II of England. She gave her subjects comfort and hope in a time of crisis. She also gave the rest of the world comfort and hope. No angry tweeting about fake news and newspapers that have done her wrong. Talking to the people and offering support and comfort.

BBC News: Coronavirus: The Queen’s message seen by 24 million

About 24 million TV viewers watched the Queen’s broadcast to the nation on Sunday, according to overnight figures.
In a rare speech, the monarch thanked people for following government rules to stay at home and praised those “coming together to help others”.
The message was seen by 23.97 million viewers, making it the second most-watched broadcast this year….It was only the fifth time the Queen has given such a speech in her 68-year reign.
Her most recent Christmas Day message drew a combined overnight audience of 7.85 million.
In her speech on Sunday, the Queen said the UK “will succeed” in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
She thanked people for following government rules to stay inside and paid tribute to key workers for their efforts.
Speaking from Windsor Castle, the Queen said the pandemic was a “different” challenge compared to what the nation had faced before.
The message ended with the words “we will meet again” – an apparent reference to Dame Vera Lynn’s bolstering war anthem We’ll Meet Again.
The Queen’s four other special addresses were given in 1991, 1997, 2002 and 2012.

It was truly a beautiful thing to listen to her speak in this time. Say what you want about her and sometimes people criticize Queen Elizabeth but she knows how to lead in times of crisis. And it was just so good to hear a message that was realistic yet not full of gloom and doom. It was also good to hear a message that wasn’t all about them.

We will get through this. And it will take its toll. I hope we all get through unscathed but really it’s beyond our control at this point. We can only do our part and stay home. And if you have extra supplies to donate to first responders contact your local firehouse or hospital.

This weird time is giving us time to meaningfully connect with each other if we can stop and see the good in that. I also know it’s frustrating and scary. It makes you nervous. Trust me, I have felt all of those things. Especially because of the bombardment of so much news and the contradictory behavior coming out of Washington D.C.

One day at a time I think is the only way to handle the hot mess of Coronavirus. Yes much like a 12 step program, one day at a time. I will close with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big.

#StayHome

from roast chicken to chicken soup

The other night we had a roast chicken. I hung onto the carcass and threw it into the instant pot yesterday and made bone broth from it.

This morning I got out the broth, removed the fat, and added the rest of the chicken that was left over to it and set that container to the side while I prepped the vegetables.

I chopped up one of the remaining onions that I have and threw it into the soup pot with a little bit of olive oil. To that I added a bunch of diced celery, and a small bunch of sliced up carrots, and some fresh new potatoes. I added a little salt and started to cook the vegetables down.

As the vegetables started to cook down I added a chopped bunch of mixed kale and baby bok choy and some other greens that had come in a farm box. To that I added a can of white cannellini beans.

Then I added the broth and the bits of chicken and a bouquet garni of fresh herbs from the garden. The chicken soup simmered away for a few hours and now it’s cooling to be eaten later in the week.

rabbit, rabbit it’s april fools’ day…and?

According to a New York Times newsletter this morning:

As many as 240,000 Americans could die during the coronavirus pandemic, top health officials said on Tuesday, despite the measures that have closed schools, limited travel and forced people to stay home.

That’s pretty god damn depressing, but is it surprising? It’s shocking but a lot of people aren’t taking this seriously. Even when we can get into the overtaxed grocery stores, it’s amazing that so many people still aren’t practicing social distancing.

And then there are all of the photos popping up on social media of people dropping plastic gloves all over the place. If you are done with them, can’t you keep a small trash bag in your car if you don’t see them and bring them home and dispose of them?

And the whole grocery store nightmare of why can’t we really find chicken, paper towels, and toilet paper yet? Are people going out every day and just hoarding it all?

There is this dichotomy out there of selfish vs. selfless. Psychologically and sociologically it’s equal parts sad and fascinating. Human nature on steroids. Heart warming or horrifying there seems to be little middle ground. More extremes than ever.

I am also amazed at how those who are generally speaking toxic on social media who are seemingly reveling in their toxicity. Or just giving people a generally speaking, a hard time. And why? Are they that unhappy? Or just oblivious?

I have actually had to remove people from this blog’s Facebook page and I don’t actually have to do that very often. People are spending SO much time online and I like many page admins can’t just sit and babysit 24/7. You give people fair warning and after a point you just have to give them a time out because they won’t do it for themselves.

And the stay at home of it all is bringing out strange behavior in many more people than normal. Humans are social creatures and some have never learned it is actually ok to be by ourselves for a while. It is. Is it ideal? No , but look at the alternatives and be grateful if you have a safe comfortable place to be.

Chester County’s Coronavirus cases are climbing. It’s kind of scary the way this stuff spreads so fast. But if people were actually staying home most of the time it wouldn’t. I had a friend of mine elsewhere ( NOT Chester County) tell me about a neighbor of hers who just keeps going in and out and in and out. She said nobody could buy that much food she doesn’t know where the woman is going and she doesn’t seem to take it very seriously what’s going on. My friend’s neighbor doesn’t work, her husband does, so she’s just one of those people that’s wandering around instead of staying home.

I don’t actually mind being home it’s just weird not seeing my family and friends. Today I FaceTimed my mother and stepfather and gave them a virtual tour of my garden.

Last night I roasted a chicken which was very exciting because we had randomly found one at the supermarket because whole chickens are hard to come by. It was just an old-school old-fashioned simple dinner of a salad, potatoes, and a roast chicken and it was like a five star Michelin meal tasted so good to us. And I made my friend Raffi’s late mother’s no bake cheesecake for dessert.

I gardened a lot today and that felt so good to just be outside. Of course now I feel slightly crippled. I have been trying to stick to specific parameters and time gardening each time I garden because of my latest knee surgery at the end of December. But today I got carried away and I just felt good to be outside and may have overdone it a little.

Well that is all I have got for you guys today. But for the Grace of God go all of us. I know our new normal is anything but normal, but please have faith and stay the course of staying home and social distancing. Take good care.

soothing photos

I’m asking those who love the sea to join the challenge of posting a picture of a beach. Just a picture, no description. The goal is to flood Facebook especially with some positive photos instead of negativity. Please copy the text to your Facebook (or Instagram) timeline, put a picture up and look at some beautiful pictures.

DISCLAIMER photographing the ocean and beaches and sea birds are among my favorite things. So I can’t pick just one photo I am giving you a montage of photos taken either in the Hamptons or Bermuda.

stepping back in time in chester county

A lady posted a bunch of amazing photos in a local Facebook group with the following message: “I still have a couple containers of old photos to go through. Any of these folks or places look familiar to you? This album dates back to the late 30s and 40s”

With her permission I am posting the photos here. They are all of the Malvern and possibly Phoenixville area. If you know any of the people in the photos or where the homes are located, please leave a comment.

A lot of the photos are of soldiers from World War II which I find particularly poignant. It makes you wonder who came home, doesn’t it?

The irony is the era some of these photos were taken was another time when we were doing our part for our country and staying home and growing victory gardens and living through rationing.

Anyway I hope you can help identify some of these people! I thought it would be something fun for people to do in times where it’s not so much fun during the day sometimes.

Be well.

haters gonna hate

Haters gonna hate COVID19 shaming style

Hey Taylor Swift you are so right, haters are gonna hate. And when I agreed to be interviewed by Bill Rettew for The Daily Local this was one of the things that I told him often happened to bloggers. No not mommy bloggers who write about Disney or who are compensated bloggers for pimping out products in exchange for compensation, or bloggers who stick to sharing about gardening, crafts, cooking, i.e. safe topics. I mean bloggers like me who tackle local issues, current events, and even politics.

As long as I color inside the lines, I am good. But the minute I am vocal about things that concern me, or even current events including the COVID-19/coronavirus, I am somehow a bad person, someone who must be targeted, disciplined, called out. According to these people who do these things you aren’t supposed to speak, you definitely aren’t supposed to care about your community or the greater good.

The reporter had wanted to talk to me because before Coronavirus full onset had happened and it was essentially a news topic because it was happening overseas, I went to a horticultural event that ended up having Chester County’s 2nd coronavirus victim also in attendance. Public health reports on this person, a man much younger than I came out a week after the event, just as we were all getting glimpses of what is now our new normal. The reports stated he had mild symptoms and was at home.

I stated all along and it’s true, that when I got to this event which had been going since early in the morning that Saturday it was close to their ending time. I went to see a specific plant vendor and to buy a book. There weren’t many people there in that part of the event. There were a lot of people in the actual meeting house across the way, but I did not have tickets for those talks and wasn’t in that building at all.

I was in and out in a short amount of time and went home. Yes, I was less than happy when I found out I was at an event with someone who tested positive. But I did and my family did exactly as we were told to do by my doctors at Penn Medicine AND the county. We took the most conservative approach. I was NON symptomatic. We all were. It meant NO symptoms. NO fever. NO cough. NON SYMPTOMATIC .

Today I am off self-quarantine. Yesterday after 5 PM my lovely husband went to the CVS drive thru to pick up my cancer and thyroid meds we could not get for days because of self-quarantine. Medicine that is not an option for me and I was running out. If I can’t pick up the meds, he is the only other person as my spouse who can get them.

After he got my meds, he stopped at a local business that was essentially empty to pick up beer. A friend’s business that was closing last night until the governor says businesses which are non-essential can re-open. Social distancing was observed and paying by card he and the clerk at the counter had zero contact.

My husband came home and literally wiped down the whole inside of the car, everything he bought home and washed his hands. We had dinner.

Then the comment appeared as captured above by a screenshot. Oh goody, a stalker. You will note the made up profile name. Before I blocked and reported them, I looked at the profile. Nothing real about it. Just someone looking for an A-Ha moment to get at me. And how creepy was it they were ummm seeming to follow my husband around? It makes you wonder if they drive up and down your street too and go through your trash, doesn’t it?

People sometimes disgust me and this is one of those moments. They would not target a traditional journalist or writer like this, just me as a blogger. The point of transparency and education since I decided to talk about this first on my blog and then to a reporter escapes them. They just wanted to get at me, shame me.

But what did this person do instead when they chose to do this? They actually discouraged other people from coming forward to report they had been around someone who was exposed.

Think about it, I know I did the right thing by reporting that I had been at an event where a COVID19 victim was. The event did the right thing by telling us that poor person was in attendance, but if you hadn’t bought lecture tickets, they had no way of knowing specifically who was there. So how many people do you think who may have stopped at this event actually reported they were there like I did?

People are scared about this virus . I am scared about this virus. My one and only sister and one of my step-siblings live in New York City which was described as a virus epicenter with among the most victims in the US I think.

So shame on whomever this person is for rolling up with personal animus and misinformation. I will note they should be more concerned about the groups of kids and people still out there going around barriers to closed playgrounds and basketball courts because those groups of people in close contact like THAT? They are the ones who are going to spread the virus.

I am doing my part and so is my family. Instead of trying to stalk, harass, call out your friendly neighborhood blogger, why don’t you do your part and take care of your family?

I will note that the comments have since disappeared. I don’t know why or how or who. It’s just discouraging that even at times like this as people are trying to pull together and do the right thing, some people just suck.