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.

sorry carolyn, already voted for don

Today I received yet another glossy mailer from Carolyn Comitta whom I really like as a person. But I have been uncomfortable if I am honest about her running for both state senate and the state house. I think politicians should stick to running one race at a time, and not hedging their bets.

Carolyn, to address you directly, I find your mailers confusing because it sounds like you are saying Tom Wolf endorses you personally? And that’s the biggest issue with this – Carolyn you say Tom Wolf trusts you but this is pipeline land in Chester County and most of us don’t trust Tom Wolf . So there you have it.

Carolyn, the best candidate for Andy Dinniman’s senate seat is Don Vymazal. Don’t mean you any disrespect but I already mailed in my ballot. I chose Don. And you can tell your bosom buddy Kristine Howard I also chose Ginny Kerslake.

I am not telling anyone how to vote, only whom I chose and whom I believe should NOT be in a particular office.

meandering through the covid19 world

Yesterday I went out. I never left the car mind you, but I went out into the world. To pick up my plants from the Philadelphia Unit of the Herb Society of America. I went up to Brooks Coventry Plants.

It was lovely to be out. A beautiful day, a beautiful county. A great day to be alive.

Observations: shopping centers sitting empty is eerie to see. Developments being built that are stopped? Makes me wish they would just disappear and farm and field would return.

Life at a veritable standstill continues to feel unnatural. Or maybe it’s that it’s a pace we don’t understand in our modern world. But not all of the time. Sometimes it’s actually nice. Except that it would be nice to be able to enjoy our slower life pace with our friends and family.

My husband is an awesome guy. He is so calm, and that keeps the rest of us calm. Most of the time.

However, I find myself waking up at odd times of the night. Worrying. I am not consciously worrying but my subconscious works overtime some nights when I am sleeping. Sigh.

How long have we been doing this now? Since March? How do we all get back into the world, wherever in the world it is we live?

I am teaching myself to bake bread. I have been repairing my vintage quilts. I have been gardening. But I will admit my inner domestic diva would love a manicure about now.

Do you find your thoughts jump around sometimes with all this time to ourselves? It’s like ADD by COVID19.

I can tell you I am anxious about upcoming medical appointments that are all turned around and a little sideways because of COVID19. And it’s almost my 9th anniversary post breast cancer…which is why it’s time for all of the testing and meeting with my oncologist. It’s kind of stressful under normal circumstances. Add a sprinkling of COVID19 precautions and new procedures and well…stressful and a little scary.

Well I am still not sure of the rhyme or the reason for this post. It kind of just “is”. We are muddling through but some days it just feels muddling.

Stay well.

Thanks for stopping by.

#covid-idiots in chester county

Reader submitted photo dated today 5/14/2020

I will preface what I am about to say with I do NOT disagree with the fact that we need to take steps to get things open again. Only I don’t really know what that looks like because there are some businesses that are going to be harder than others to re-open because of the proximity employees have to customers like with restaurants, bars, hair salons and barbershops.

But the photo you see above taken today in West Chester downtown at the old courthouse is not how to do it.

I think these people are freaking idiots, truthfully.

They aren’t wearing masks they aren’t even social distancing. They are just waving “open” flags. These are the kind of people who are going to keep us closed longer because these are the kind of people who are going to catch COVID-19 or coronavirus by their behavior and spread it.

Do these people think they are actually going to sway elected officials with this protest today? They aren’t. But if any of them pop up with the virus we’re going to be closed longer.

It’s an actual global pandemic. It’s not some political tool to control us. I think this is ridiculous.

Sign me irritated by stupidity.

ready for life again

The great masks my friend Ginny Kerslake made for me and my family.

We have been at this since March. I admit it, it’s getting old. Our birthday is in a couple of days and never in a million years did I think my husband and I would be celebrating a stay at home birthday. It’s not like we are party animals, but we always do something like have dinner at Fiorello’s Cafe in West Chester. I miss going to Fiorello’s.

We don’t go out tons and I am a homebody, but I am starting to miss the world around me. I talk to and FaceTime my friends but I miss seeing them. It’s spring and I miss treasure hunting with one friend. I miss having “Fran Days” with another. And I miss the Brunch Bunch. It feels like forever since we were all together.

I miss my parents . I haven’t seen them since before Christmas because everyone was sick and my knee surgery was the day after Christmas, so we all weren’t together. Which was weird.

So here we are in COVID19 land now until June 4th. I think we are extended in part because of all of the people not doing their part. There are so many people bitching. It’s enough to make you want to scream.

Do these people think we all collectively love what is going on? Hell no. But we’re a long time dead.

I will admit I am anxious. About money, security, paying my goddamn overpriced health insurance. I have had nightmares a couple of times a week for two months almost at this point. It happens every damn time I watch the news. The news is overwhelming over-saturation and it’s rather repetitive and gloomy. I stopped looking at Chester County’s statistics website. I no longer want to know how many are sick and how many have died.

June 1st is my 9 year anniversary of my breast cancer surgery and I am terrified of getting my mammogram. Not because of the mammogram, I am afraid to be around sick people. I am afraid to get sick. It’s ridiculous. I am feeling ridiculous.

I keep thinking about two of my neighbors’ kids. Seniors in high school. They should be going to prom and celebrating all their hard work. Instead they are just soldiering on being really great kids.

Dreams. Is anyone else having really screwy dreams since this whole Coronavirus started? I have had dreams about the places I have lived since I was a really little kid. It’s bizarre, strange, and comforting. It is also fascinating what your subconscious remembers after decades that you think you’ve long forgotten.

Assholeism. There seems to be a lot of that going around. There are a lot of people out there that should be ashamed of the way they are behaving. I’m not saying my behavior has been perfect. But this global pandemic has in a sense brought out the worst in a lot of people. And it’s like because we’re in the situation they have the perfect excuse to be their worst possible selves. I’m not buying it.

Also to be commented on is the political B.S. I am watching friends who take public service seriously getting the business put to them way too much.

It’s the political status quo. The do nothings are miserable and threatened and we can’t tolerate that crap as voters any longer. They all look so fab posing for photos on Facebook but they are still duplicitous jerks who are utterly self focused.

School districts. Like everyone else they are freaking out. But are we really going to have to watch them like hawks to make sure they don’t raise the hell out of our taxes? We are living in uncharted and unprecedented times in this global pandemic known as COVID-19 or Coronavirus.

People are out of work, they have reduced hours, reduced salaries. Now is not the time to raise taxes on the residents. Now is the time for school districts to tighten their proverbial belts and cut expenses. And don’t tell me it’s not possible, in every business and school district it is possible if you have to do it. They cannot ask all of the residents, many of whom are on very fixed and limited incomes, to pay more right now. Some are already choosing between things like food vs. medicine.

And oh my gosh if you dare say any of this out loud you are a very bad person who is anti-schools and anti-teachers which is crap. I reject that. It’s not fair.

People are stretched so thin. We all feel some days like a boomeranging rubber band with our literal nerves. How can we not? This is kind of crazy like a made for T.V. suspense movie masquerading as real life.

Today is one of those days I feel the weight of the crazy world we live in. My realistic mind knows the end is in sight, but I worry about what comes next. And we can’t predict the future and shouldn’t borrow trouble, but today is one of those days. The glass is not half empty per se, but I feel cranky and intolerant today.

This is when I need to count my blessings and take a deep breath. This too shall pass. And some day in the future, we will look back and talk about surviving a global pandemic.

We can do this. We can. But in the meantime I will keep on gardening and learning how to bake bread. I also might finish repairing two vintage quilts.

The thing about life is situations always teach us more about who we are as human beings. The good, and the bad. The imperfections which seem ridiculously magnified given what we are all living through right now. But love and caring? That grounds us, that anchors us. And the last part is faith. Faith in a higher power, God, each other that we will get through this.

Tomorrow is another day, Miss Scarlett. Tomorrow is another day.

Be well and stay well.

Thanks for stopping by.

facebook and censorship…. as in is facebook practicing censorship?

Yes (and unbelievably), Facebook is removing my gardening blog posts.

As my readers know I also write a gardening blog called the nightgown gardener. I started that blog because my readers asked me to have a blog just about gardening. I don’t make money off of it, I don’t get special favors because of it, it’s just writing about gardening. Like this blog I pay for it to be ad free.

As my readers know gardening is a passion of mine. So I share my knowledge and my tips and my sources and my resources and photos of my actual garden on this blog.

The times we live in gardening is a happy thing. It brings you closer to the earth, it brings you peace of mind , it lets you express yourself artistically and even grow your own food. and I have been sharing my garden rating since I started doing it both on this blog and my gardening specific blog.

Writing about gardening is not controversial it’s nice. And we need more nice in this world. So why on earth is Facebook censoring me? I don’t have the answer to that question but they are censoring me. For some unknown reason, starting yesterday, they started REMOVING and BANNING anything I had written about GARDENING.

Meanwhile Facebook allows cybercrimes to occur daily like cyber stalking and cyber harassment and fake news and heck even porn to pollute it. They allow racist propaganda and all sorts of other nasty things that you can think of yet they ban happy things like writing about gardening?

It makes NO sense. I am not a monetized blogger I don’t even promote my blog post with Facebook ads. I just share what I’m doing in my garden on my garden blog . And somehow that is a bad thing?

Facebook and their algorithms are all sorts of screwed up. And there is no one you can contact or talk to about this. Well I’m not taking this line down.

Their algorithms are actually in fact practicing censorship, then they need a serious makeover.

Mark Zuckerberg I know you won’t be reading my blog because you don’t care about anything other than all the money you are making, but you should you say you wanna make the world a better place and gardening is one of those things that accomplishes that.

Facebook is wrong here. They had this issue in March.

Yes, in Facebook’s fakakta wisdom, sharing about gardening is bad. Maybe they should fix their algorithms and “weed” out the bugs.

#EpicFail #FacebookHatesGardening #FacebookHatesGardeners

Below are posts Facebook removed. Please give them a read and I’m curious if you all think they go against “community standards“?

this and that

facebook hates gardeners now?

frost report

wandering the garden

welcome to my homeless plant encampment

Of course part of me wonders if Facebook has a problem with WordPress all of a sudden? At the end of the day I don’t really care why it’s happening I only know it shouldn’t be happening. Gardening and cooking are happy things in a world that is filled with COVID-19 nastiness right now.

Here’s hoping Facebook gets their act together.

sourdough day 3: looks like we made it!!!

This is what the dojo looked like when I took it out of the refrigerator where it had “rested“ overnight

So after I had done my morning running around the house I took the sourdough loaf of dough that was resting in the refrigerator out and let it sit. (for those just picking this up now see sourdough day one and sourdough day two)

As the dough warmed up it doubled in size!

So the dough, as my friend Tracey promised, doubled in size as it warmed up on the kitchen counter. As further to her instructions I preheated the oven to 500°.

When the oven was heated properly I quickly did slashes in the top of my loaf with a sharp knife like Tracey had instructed and threw it into the oven quickly and reduced the heat to 450° and baked for 30 minutes.

Just a close-up of the finished loaf I think it is so pretty and I’m so proud of myself for doing this!

Well oh my goodness, I made sourdough bread! And it’s delicious! I couldn’t resist tasting and we will be having it with spaghetti and meatballs for dinner! I know I am not the first person in the world to make homemade bread but it took me a long time to get to this point and I am thrilled that I can do this!

Taa Daa! Sourdough bread!

sourdough day 2

So this morning I got my sourdough starter out of the refrigerator and mixed up my first batch of dough ever. I wrote about day 1 yesterday. So welcome to day 2.

I will remind everyone that this is not my recipe, the recipe and instructions come courtesy of Tracey Deschaine who owns Dixie Picnic a marvelous scratch kitchen in Malvern/Frazer. If you live locally I hope you will patronize her business and she has been one of the bright lights in this whole stay at home of it all during COVID-19 by gifting starter and selling flour to those who wish to try.

I will be honest and say it took me almost a month to get fresh flour. Everyone has been sold out of it and even King Arthur is on a backlog for catalog ordering. But because of the generosity of Tracey some of us have been able to buy it when needed.

I actually have made bread before. Even focaccia. I took a baking class with Patricia Polin the pastry chef at The Master’s Baker. But I didn’t venture into bread making solo until now. Bread is like a fun science experiment!

So I used the food scale just like Patricia and Tracey taught me and measured out:

10 oz. of sourdough starter

8 oz. warm water

1 lb. bread flour

1.5 oz. of canola oil. (Tracey calls for Crisco but never use it so I don’t have it)

1.5 ounces of oil ends up being 9 teaspoons.

So I followed Tracey‘s instructions and first I mixed the water and starter and then I added the rest. I mixed the dough until it came together and was smooth and pliable in the bowl. I then let it rest covered with a linen towel at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

Then Tracey‘s recipe asks for 0.5 oz (0.8 TBSP) of salt. That’s roughly 2.4 teaspoons. I mixed the salt into the dough and kneaded until the salt was all incorporated and the dough was once again smooth. You can feel the little granules of salt and when you stop feeling them it’s mixed.

I then took my dough and put it in a clean lightly oiled second mixing bowl and covered it with saran wrap. It will sit there and rise at room temperature for about eight hours until I take the next step.

I also decided to grow my starter again today so I could just bake next week again. The last picture in this post will show you that my bread is already starting to grow in size.

What I will do later is shape the dough and de-gas it, i.e. punch it down to remove large air bubbles. Then it will rest on a cookie sheet covered with the saran wrap I use to cover the ball this morning until tomorrow in the refrigerator. Then I bring it out to start the final process before baking.

So stay tuned and fingers crossed that I can do this right and make Tracey proud!

happy 75th frank 😊❤️

This is the thing about true community that no developer in the world or urban planner can bottle and replicate. It just has to exist. Today is my neighbor Frank’s 75th birthday. His friends got a parade together!

I am deeply honored that I was included as I am a new kid on the block, relatively speaking. I have really great neighbors. These people are good honest folk. Frank keeps chickens and through a lot of this stay at home he has been keeping a lot of us in fresh eggs. Fun fact I learned today was that he used to work for Saint Peter’s School at 4th and Pine in Philadelphia for Miss Seamens who was our head mistress or principal. So I actually could have met him when I was little.

Happy 75th Frank! We love ya!