you like tomato (/təˈmeɪtoʊ/) and i like tomato (/təˈmɑːtoʊ/)

More in the category of social media manners matter.

Recently, a friend of mine posted their experience at an upscale restaurant in a closed group that is supposed to be about restaurant reviews and more. They weren’t nasty. They loved the food, but there were other parts of the overall restaurant experience outside of the food that bothered them.

Things like driving some distance to a restaurant that said they had valet parking only they did not really. Apparently around the corner, there was a valet guy, but he wasn’t particularly pleasant. A restaurant should not offer valet, if they cannot offer valet and it’s all right to tell people they don’t have enough staff for valet or whatever the case may be. And if someone has called in a reservation and leaves their phone number or they email a restaurant, why can’t a restaurant let the customer know that valet staff might be limited, here are the self-parking options? When people are prepared ahead of time, a problem isn’t necessarily a problem is it? Or if life happens and people don’t show up to work, just take a little more time with your customers when they arrive.

Other things like where your table is located. No one wants to be in restaurants Siberia, which to me is right by the kitchen door, having a go fwack, fwack. Or a table immediately opposite a bathroom. I mean who wants to hear flushing toilets as part of their expensive dining experience? It doesn’t lend to the ambience of a place. Which is why a lot of restaurants will have partitions going to the bathrooms so you don’t hear them or down a little hallway so you don’t hear them, see them, smell them. Some restaurants are small and should consider maybe a couple of less tables.

Also on the topic of tables would be specific requests. If a customer calls and says to the hostess or whomever when they are making the reservation that they would really love a table in a certain spot and can they be accommodated, don’t say yes, you can accommodate them if you actually cannot. It’s OK to politely say no I wish we could do that but we’re all booked or whatever. No one wants to lose a customer in this economy, but a quicker way to lose a customer is to say you will do some thing and then when they arrive, it’s not that at all.

Little bits of conversation with a potential customer, especially if they might have a special need goes miles in keeping customers. For example, a friend of mine said to me just recently that now because of health concerns, they have a very specific diet and they were super impressed with the new restaurant out near us, who took the time to steer them on the menu before they came in, to make sure that health related dietary restrictions could be kept. that is very cool customer service. I have food allergies and sometimes I ask questions ahead of time and I’ve had people be annoyed with me for asking questions. Personally, I think if one of my allergies caused a medical emergency in the middle of their dining room floor, that would be a lot worse but what do I know?

And that’s just the real world of it all. The not so real world of it all occurs when people leave an honest review of a restaurant within a closed group that is about restaurant reviews. No one wants to see a restaurant unnecessarily slammed, but if someone is thoughtful in their reply, and they show balance of what they loved, and what they liked and what they didn’t really care for how is that a bad thing? But we’re not talking about a review on the restaurant’s website or a Google review or a Yelp, we’re talking about a conversation you should be able to have within a closed group that is about the topic of local dining or travel, or whatever. Or even just a local group where you live that’s more generalist in nature, but contains things like this.

I am someone who knows a few restaurant owners, and a few chefs. One literally said to me yesterday when we were talking about this very topic that even if they do not want to hear it, they really want to hear it. Because sometimes they don’t know because they are so close to the topic. This person said to me they like to hear about a total experience, not just the food because it is something that could be a simple fix or improvement. To this friend, it’s simple: if they don’t know they can’t address and/or potentially improve the situation.

The flipside of this is, I have seen plenty of people who were just nasty to be nasty about a place. And I have seen restaurant owners and chefs be so incredibly gracious to these people to try to address their concerns.

I am someone who was totally slammed by a restaurant owner because I gave a mixed review one time. I wasn’t even negative. I praised to the heavens everything I liked, and was honest, but not mean about what I didn’t like. As a result of the way I was treated I will never be a return customer. Maybe that doesn’t matter to some people, but the restaurant owners and chefs I know really want to do the best by their customers whenever possible. And when this happened to me, it wasn’t in person, it wasn’t in a phone call, it was on social media. So when I see this happening to someone else for whatever reason, it gives me pause, especially when it’s from another member of the community.

Then there are the people that don’t like the terminology you use. If you use waiter or waitress instead of server. if you say janitor instead of custodian. Or my favorite is, you could never refer to a secretary as an administrative assistant. Some secretaries prefer to be referred to as a secretary. These words aren’t pejorative terms, they are alternate terms for a similar job description. But people get so hung up on being the online political correctness police that they go on and on and on about this completely missing the point of what somebody was trying to say, and being rather rude while they were at it.

Do I take offense if somebody just calmly kind of says to me, have you considered using a different term? I’m actually kind of OK with that even if I don’t agree with them, but the whole heavy-handed approach of the keyboard warriors leaves a lot to be desired. Keyboard warriors or typing tigers have room only for what their perspective is, not anyone else’s. And when you’re in a group setting or a guest on someone’s page, how is that even appropriate or helpful?

I belong to social media groups like ones that tell you about restaurants and different places to go and visit because I’m genuinely interested. But I also appreciate people who will say what their experience was honestly without being mean because I think you should be able to discuss things. And I think that is the biggest problem with so many people on social media today is that you cannot discuss anything.

There are some groups, even some which I belong to, that you’re never allowed to really be completely honest if anything is negative that you have to say. You cannot write it even if you are balancing with several positives. You’re just not allowed to say it. I understand wanting to keep a balance and keeping a group membership happy, but when did we lose the ability to be honest with one another, without tearing each other to bits?

When it comes to dining out or traveling, I appreciate the feedback of others, who aren’t just publicists or members of some marketing team for a restaurant or a resort, but people who have actually done what you’re thinking of doing or visited where you’re thinking of visiting or dined where you want to dine. That’s why I’m not a compensated blogger. I chose that because when I voice my opinion, or give a review, it’s because I am just like everybody else, a customer.

And while on the topic, I appreciate actual writers who write a review who are not being compensated by the business to do so, it’s their job to review things. And I also appreciate the reviews of people in a comparable industry, who tell you what it was like for them to go somewhere. I don’t necessarily have to agree with any of these things that others are writing, but I appreciate the time they took to be honest.

Anyway, sorry to have another post on a similar topic, but these things keep cropping up and honestly? My opinion is people can be better and do better. I don’t pretend to be perfect, by any stretch of the imagination but I do not get why people join groups to share experiences, only they’re not allowed to open their mouths if their experience is less than glowing. After all, not all unicorns fart rainbows, some are just regular unicorns.

Have a great afternoon.

sometimes people should just stop picking at other people. this is one of those times.

I swear there is a meme for everything and this one is pretty much perfect. Why am I posting this? Because some people just floor me on social media. Facebook especially.

Backstory: a few years ago when I had my first knee surgery, I was literally just home from the hospital and practically still drooling from the anesthesia. Sitting in a daze in bed, I was mindlessly looking through social media on my tablet. I noticed this one woman posting comments on my Facebook timeline that I just didn’t want to deal with. So I didn’t say anything, I just deleted the comments. After all, your personal Facebook page is like your virtual house, right?

So the woman whose comment I had removed posted another comment in the same vein. There I was practically drooling like you can do after surgery and anesthesia and I wondered what alternate reality I was living in that this woman wouldn’t just get I probably didn’t want to deal with this? I made a decision. I deleted the new comment and quietly unfriended the woman and went to sleep.

Unfriending this person was not something I wanted to do. But when I was still sitting in bed the next day scrolling through Facebook still somewhat dazed post surgery, I knew it was the right decision. Why? Because she took the argument of the deleted comments and moved them essentially to another woman’s Facebook page (whom I also knew – ironically I introduced them to one and other) and sat there talking about me like I couldn’t see it. Kind of like they were talking on the phone only it was all playing out on Facebook. It was crazy and I decided, sanity and maturity should prevail, and I just blocked both of them so I wouldn’t have to see their online brand of crazy in the future.

Still part of me felt bad. I had known the one woman for many years. But knowing her was sometimes exhausting. The other woman was always just kind of sad always striving to belong. Also exhausting. I sent both women a note explaining why I had decided to distance. I figured I’d make one last attempt at salvaging the relationships. I explained to them I just had surgery and I didn’t want to deal with any of this right now. But if they wanted to talk about it, explain what they didn’t understand, and I would try to listen. Need list to say, that didn’t happen never heard from either, and I went on about my life. I wish I could say I missed either woman, but I don’t.

I especially don’t miss people who act like this while experiencing a global pandemic. Life is kind of stressful enough right now. What I didn’t expect was that they would do this again to someone else. I sadly thought this behavior was because of me. But it’s just them.

A very nice woman who is a very close friend has literally just had a similar experience with these two over the past couple of days. My friend had posted on HER Facebook timeline that it really bothered her that people including the President keep referring to COVID19 as the “Chinese Virus.” She said she found it offensive. In my opinion she’s not wrong.

No matter what your opinion is, my friend said it on her timeline. It’s kind of like when a lot of us don’t judge the women in menopause posting the Nametest things all of the time that says they wish they were pregnant again or what movie star they think they look like. Their thing, not ours.

To be clear, viruses do not know borders and even the CDC Director Robert Redfield agrees with this point. To keep saying that over and over puts Chinese Americans and other Asians in Jeopardy much like what happened with the Italians and Japanese during World War II and the internment camps in this country. Or the Irish need not apply campaigns and signs you would see in shop windows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s kind of like referring to the influenza pandemic of the early 20th century as the “Spanish flu”. The virus didn’t actually originate in Spain that might’ve been one of the first places that documented it in newspapers. The COVID19 virus exploded in China, but there is no absolute that it is the true country of origin for the virus.

Well the woman I removed from my timeline a few years ago, of course had to argue with my friend. My friend politely asked her to kind of stop, and sadly that didn’t happen. So my friend just quietly unfriended her and blocked her and removed the comments. Below is the comment that finally made my friend have enough.

Now you would think that would have been the end of it. But sadly no, the other woman I had removed from my circle of friends a few years ago for chiming in where it wasn’t her concern did so again. Seriously:

So my friend unfriended and blocked the other one too. I truly am stunned at how pig ignorant people can be. It’s like these women have this whole tag team of nastiness, which is truly sad.  I wonder if either one of them gets it yet that more and more people distance themselves from these two all of the time. They are having social distancing practiced on them as a matter of keeping one’s sanity.

My friend wasn’t “slamming” the President. She was specifically referring to a term in this whole coronavirus world we live in that she found offensive.

Given the times we currently live in and everything that everyone is going through, wouldn’t you think that these two women would have better things to do than to argue and spread vitriol? What do they gain with these little Facebook games?

I am really sorry that this happened to my friend too. I remember how upsetting I found it briefly at the time. It’s like this whole sense of betrayal when people are so nasty. Then you realize no one is worth that crap.

Look, OK, we probably all have a more than small dose of cabin fever at this point. We are living our lives in a way we’ve never had to live them before. But when I look at what those who live through World War II have to say it just sort of gives you a whole new perspective.

 I can’t make people be kinder to one another. And I’m sure some will have comments about what I have written today. It’s just one of the many things I am thinking about because face it, we all have so much time to think right now. And perhaps that is part of the problem. I don’t think some people are comfortable with their thoughts.

But I don’t understand with all that we have to deal with why these two women persist in doing this? All they are doing is isolating themselves further from people within their community and showing the world how unhappy they are. And that’s the thing that we are also discovering through all of this staying at home and self isolation: we are not islands unto ourselves after all. Humans need human contact and community, and it takes a global pandemic to realize it. So try being nicer, right?

I have always maintained that social media is both a blessing and a curse. It would be nice if right now with our every day lives up-ended indefinitely if we could try to make it more of a blessing than a curse.

If something annoys you or you don’t agree with it, you don’t have to leave a comment every time. Sometimes you can just scroll past it. That way people don’t fight and friendships remain intact during a very difficult time.

Try to be kind today.

people. life. life’s journey.


Yesterday I met two new people. One is a woman newly diagnosed with breast cancer who had sent me a lovely note about something on my breast cancer blog. I also met another equally remarkable woman through more ordinary means.

I also recently have made the acquaintance of a mother and a daughter who used to live in Chester County. They are now spread far and wide, and I have met them because I had written about what was their family farm. And they so graciously have shared their memories with me so I could share them with you, my blog readers.

A couple of months ago I also met another person that I think I was destined to meet. It ended up once we got to talking that they actually lived on the periphery of a former life of mine. That is to say, we knew people in common, but never met at that point in time in either of our lives.

My friend Sherry is always saying things about opening yourself up to the universe and being positive, and the cool people you meet as a result. It took me a while to get the concept, but I actually think it’s true.

I think it is the Irish in my genealogy that makes me almost a little fey and makes me believe that people enter and leave your life for a reason. And I mean that in the most positive sense, not negative. The people I have met recently, I believe I was somehow supposed to meet. I don’t know why, it’s just a feeling.

I am also blessed in my life that I have this amazing core group of people I can call friends who have been in my life since I was a small child and a teenager. These people are all age ranges.

Truthfully I like having friends of all age ranges, it makes for a more rich life experience.

I noticed in myself a couple of years ago that I am a little more guarded than I used to be. I think life and circumstance make us all this way to an extent. It’s sad that we, as human beings get that way, but it happens. I guess we can file it away to that old adage about being older and wiser.

One of the last people I was more open and accepting of, ironically is now one of my cyber bullies. This person went from being the person who said I was like “the sister they could choose for themselves” to today, where they cyber bully me in a warped fatal attraction stalker-like style. I don’t regret getting to know this person, but I do feel sorry that they are so super deeply damaged and living such an empty life that existing to be mean and attempting to inflict pain keeps them going. They just can’t let go and can’t be anything other than negative.

The people you meet in life teach you things, good and bad. As I’ve gotten older I try to take the good and leave the bad on the curb. There are people whom you let go of, and people who let go of you. Sometimes these partings are very difficult, but in the bigger picture, you just weren’t destined to be in each others lives permanently. Some people are just gypsies in our lives, traveling through our lives for a while before they move on.

I have had three life events in the last decade which have taught me the true goodness of people. The first is when the ex factor left and people circled and supported me, the second was watching how people circled and supported my sister when she suddenly became a 43-year-old widow, and the third was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ironically, these life events all happened within the span of a couple of years. I guess you never know how strong you can be, until that is one of your only options. But what resonates the most with these life events is the goodness of people and the love of friends and family.

People play different roles in your life. Some have a more permanent role, others are more transient. Guest stars and supporting roles, as it were. I think sometimes the reason people leave your life is that there’s almost this balancing act in the universe that causes your life to open up for new people.

I am often amused by the people who don’t know a person, yet feel free to judge. As a writer and a blogger I experience that every now and again. These people and their perception of dislike is not based on ever having had a conversation or in most cases having even met me, but instead their whole dislike is based on the fact that they just don’t like something I wrote. They can’t just put me in a category that they understand and are comfortable with. I’m not any particular type at all, and I freely admit I am a very independent thinker at times. What is the most amusing thing about people like this you encounter? For me it is they are so puffed up by their own self-importance that they don’t realize in the big picture they don’t matter. They also don’t fully comprehend that what they put out in the universe eventually comes back to them.

I have always been a bit of a people-watcher. Human beings are fascinating. And isn’t life like a bit of a puzzle? Different pieces fit different ways?

As I leave you for today, I want you to think about how it is you perceive new people? Are you instantly inherently suspicious, or do you try to meet them with an open mind?

I think life is much better as a flowing stream, versus a stagnant pond.

Thanks for stopping by!

ghosts of gardens past


July came into town humid so I was up early to garden. Gardening in the early morning can be almost magical, even when it you can feel the heaviness of later day humidity in the air.

The early morning is quiet, save for the birds. And the morning song of song birds is different than evening song. In addition to the birds there is the early morning squirrel chatter and the chipmunks darting around. We seem to have a lot of chipmunks this year and I had forgotten what little clowns they can be.

This morning as I was gardening I thought about the lady who once lived in my home. We never met her as she had passed away long before we moved in. But I have heard about her from neighbors at the election polls and her children have been kind enough to share some memories. I am told we shared a couple of things we liked in common: needlework and gardening.


Much like me and how I feel about this house, this was her house to love once , too. She raised her family here and inside the house I have purposely kept a reminder of her. In the basement in our laundry room are shelves and hanging bars. At the front of the shelf are names written long ago in pencil. The names of everyone in the family before us, written in I imagine her handwriting. It makes me smile every time I see it.

This is a very happy house for us, and I love the neighborhood. Of course, one of the things I love best is my garden.

The garden is mine, but it is also inherited. I have been told that the lady who lived her before us loved to garden. And I could see that as soon as I started to get to work on it. The bones of the garden were laid out by her and nature. As I cleaned up and trimmed back overgrown plants I discovered flower beds and plants.


I wondered as I trimmed an old fashioned wigelia back this morning if she would approve of the changes. The garden I inherited didn’t have some plants I liked, but were true to the 1960s when she started the garden. I kept most of the plants, but things like yew bushes I got rid of immediately. Soon to follow is a giant pyracantha or firethorn. I have never liked them and the thorns are ridiculous.

But other things I have discovered over time I love. Old fashioned viburnum, garden phlox, and yellow and purple flag irises. The previous gardener also left me a footprint of where bulbs and ferns grow well. And when I garden, I wonder sometimes if she would approve how her garden has evolved to become now, my garden.

Gardening is an evolution. Year after year, season after season. My goal is to make my garden a four season garden with something to look at an love all year round. I am lucky I inherited a garden with interesting bones. It is part of what makes it so special!

Happy gardening!



Today I got out into the garden for a few hours to spread wood chips. I have a giant mulch mountain and the remnants of a smaller mulch mountain courtesy of the February 5th ice storm and subsequent tree work. I find it easier to start this while the plants are all dormant because it’s easier to spread things out.

Not everything is dormant, though. I see the little green beginnings of water probably bulbs starting to emerge here and there. And the birds are starting to sing other than winter songs.

I moved a lot more woodchips than I intended. Maybe it was the stubborn gardener in me who doesn’t like being called a city girl once in a while. Or maybe it was just because people have looked at the piles of wood chips and said that I needed a bobcat to move them.

(Uhhh no I don’t.)

I did not accomplish all that I wanted to, but I made a very respectable start at it. As the snow melts in my backyard and in my words I spread my chips. In other words, as the snow creeps back, my wood chips creep forward.

The sheer physicality of doing gardening again after so long was great. I know I will pay for it later in my lower back, but right now I’m feeling very Wonder Woman-esque!

It also felt good to begin to right what mother nature turned upside down but a short month ago.

I need to get some of this done now, and will do more as the weather warms towards spring.

When I garden is when I do a lot of my thinking. I don’t know if it is the connection to earth, or just the time to myself doing whatever it is I’m doing and letting my mind wander.

I was thinking about people and what drives them and what moves them today.

This morning I had someone wig out on me slightly for tidying up a bit of years old publicity that was for all intents and purposes my intellectual-property because I created it. It is also something that is over and done with. The person I did it for originally, contacted me and was not happy. I had decided to take down a webpage that had NOT been in active for a few years and had received very little traffic in the first place.

The truth of it is, my actions had nothing to do with them. It was me, tidying up. I am going to assume they were having a bad day and/or a hard week. This is someone I’m going to hold a grudge with. File under: stuff happens. I am just letting it go.

Then I heard from a friend of mine. Someone had forwarded her an email where she was discussed by another person. No doubt about it, it was hurtful.

My friend has a tender heart and a good spirit, but this really upset her I could tell. I told her to let it go. Yet she struggles with it and I totally get why.

But the thing is this: if we can’t let some things go we will drive ourselves crazy. Not everyone is going to like us or be happy with us every hour and every minute of every day. To an extent, that is on them. It is their issue, and I think we should leave those things as their issues.

I have had to practice what I preach in my own life. And it’s not easy. Sometimes it is very hard to bite your tongue. Especially when you would like to roll up in front of those people who irk you at times and yell “Oh shut up, flannel lips!”

But in the end what will that accomplish? The answer of course is not much. So it’s easier to learn to let it go.

I don’t say that lightly, as I can be a brooder. But if someone wishes to wish me ill, I can’t stop them. And I’m not going to own it like I deserve it, it’s their issue. Not mine.

Sometimes I think just as human beings have the capacity for great love and great kindness, they also have a huge capacity for hurt. And sometimes they don’t do it on purpose. Sometimes they do.

However, how their negativity is released to the universe depends a little on each of us as individuals. We can either soak it up like a sponge and become infected by their negativity, or we can be a little more practical about it and just let it roll off our backs .

And it’s hard to let stuff roll off your back. But sometimes you just have to do it whether you want to or not.

And I have to be honest, when I am trying to work through things, gardening is one of the best things for me. I have time to myself, I have time to be one with the earth, it gives me a creative outlet, and I can work off steam if I need to. I will note however, that most of the time I just garden because I like to do it!

At the end of the day, I think people should garden more. We can only control our own actions, we can’t control the actions of others.

(Hmmm I think my garden Buddha is rubbing off on me.)

TGIF all.



Loss is a big word.

I was thinking about the word “loss” yesterday as my arborist completed day five of our post-2014 ice storm clean up.

Our woods have experienced a loss. Many saplings and trees were damaged beyond salvation during Mother Nature’s winter ice storm whirlwind in February. A lot of trees were salvageable and as our arborist and his crew righted our trees and made them safe, I thought about loss in the context of the cycle of nature.

This loss to our woods, a nature made culling, has opened up the canopy of our trees. Light will reach the woodland floor where it hasn’t in years and years. That means with proper care and love, our woods will now renew itself.

So in a sense, the loss of tree and plantings courtesy of ice storm 2014 will have a positive side. That positive side is new growth and renewal.

But what I am also wondering is, can we as humans, apply that to our own existence as well?

We lose people in our lives for various reasons all wound up in the cycle of life and death. But what if we looked at it as God pruning our life canopy, much like Mother Nature did with the tree canopy of my woods during Ice Storm 2014 but a few weeks ago?

I am not trying to trivialize the losses we experience as human beings, only trying to see it as a life pruning that opens us up for renewal and new growth, or perhaps to say God’s plans for us are not originally what we thought and we need to have faith.

Whether the loss is of a friend or loved one, or the loss is due to death or life circumstance, it hurts. You are hurt and sad, you can be angry for a time, and then comes the life canopy opening to the sky for renewal and new growth. So if you can let go of the negativity and hurt, you get peace and acceptance. And one day, your heart is lighter and you are once again looking forward and are hopeful.

Getting to that forward place and feeling hopeful is work. I know because this is sometimes inner battle I have struggled with. But I figure at the end of the day we need to live and just let stuff go. Release it back. If you have ever had people in your life you could consider stuck for lack of a better description you can see what hanging onto the bitterness and negativity does to them. It is personal choice whether or not you accept that for yourself. Again, not trivializing this as it can be really hard work.

Losing people to death has a finality, obviously. So once you get though he cycle of grief and loss you can hope to put a period on it. Losing people to other life circumstances can be a little more tricky, and the emotions there can be quite complicated. But loss isn’t the end of everything, unless you allow it, right?

This week a dear friend’s little sister unexpectedly became a young widow. I understand the position all to well and a few short years ago I watched my sister struggle through the same thing.

It is so hard, no other way to describe it. Both of these women lost husbands who were extraordinary human beings. I wish my friend’s sister all the peace and love her world can give her because this is grief and pain you wish on NO human being. And when you are the loved one of someone going through this there are just periods of helplessness, because nothing you do feels like you are making it better.

Life is a cycle. Do we glow with it, grow with it , or rail against it? I don’t have those answers. I just saw what some will say is a weird parallel. But if you can think of certain events as life pruning, maybe it makes it easier to release the negative, embrace the positive, and retain the hope we as human beings need to grow?

Thanks for stopping by on a slightly contemplative Sunday before yet more snow. But the good thing is I have seen a few bits of green emerging as just the tiniest of green tips below some snow that melted. You know, renewal?


what a long, strange week it has been


The power came on about an hour ago. Fingers crossed it lasts this time. It has been a hell of a week and the fun is just beginning as next comes clean up and insurance companies and repairs….and undoubtedly more snow.

This long horrible week has been a week of amusing moments. My favorite is the email someone sent me from West Vincent that said:

“I had a call from Ken Miller at 7:00 this morning asking me to let you know. He said there is not a road in the Township that doesn’t have a tree down on it. The road crew and police are on the job but the ice is treacherous and the roads are blocked….Please pass the word. Thank you and be safe….Chickenman, please forward.”

That is pretty funny all things considered, and Chickenman did indeed forward the message out which shows him to be the fine feathered gent that he is. And amusing that the township would need his help.

Of course it had not all been nice, unusual and truly neighborly moments as there has been a lot said to people who expressed dismay and frustration and just plain exhaustion at the past few days…..myself included. As a matter of fact I just deleted a comment from someone who said I was “whining”. The reality is this week has been hell and never having experienced anything like this I am not going to apologize for expressing how I feel.

I close my eyes and I still hear branches and trees hitting my house and that will take time to fade. And I will never forget the sick crashing noise when the tree hit my house or how my house literally shook from the impact.

If I never experience anything like this again I will be very grateful.

Now the clean up and repair phase begins. The storm inflated pricing on the part of tree guys and contractors has already begun. It is the unfortunate nature of natural disaster and commerce. It’s not right, but it just is .

I hope my power is on to stay and I did want to thank PECO. Especially because their customer service people although they never had much they could tell us were for the most part very pleasant. ( It can’t have been easy to take calls from close to. 800,000 freaked out people) I also want to say thanks to all those line men who have descended on our area from all over the US and Canada.

I think this evening for the first time in days I will actually sleep tonight.

When my internet returns I will have lots of cool photos.

Be safe all and if you don’t have power yet I hope you do soon.

I wonder if I can get Verizon to repair the Fios on in time for Downton Abbey? Probably not but I can dream…..


the power of ick in giant and other tales of grocery shopping

I shop at the Giant on Boot Road in West Chester.  The store is large and for the most part clean.  There are some issues here and there like the d’oh of it all when you find typos in signage throughout the store – usually that means the typos are in ALL Giant stores (like the one in the food court, see thumbnail at right just below.)

Some of the other issues involves attitude having to do with some of the people who work in the store. Most of the people are nice, but every now and again you find the people who need an attitude adjustment.  I find that some of the most frequent offenders are the staff members at Giant who run the cashiers and checkout for lack of a better description.  The supervisory or managerial staff that hover up front. The overseers of the front – and a lot of them act like a mean prison warden would in a made for TV movie.

Yesterday afternoon I was reminded of those people again, because for some reason they feel the need to throw their weight around in front of customers.  I had just finished paying for my order, and wished my cashier a Happy Thanksgiving if I did not see her again before the holiday.  She is one of my favorite cashiers and I think is very sweet and always helpful.

As I was wheeling my cart past the check out aisle next to the one I was leaving, one of the baggers who is developmentally challenged said to me that Thanksgiving wasn’t until next week.  So I smiled and explained to him I was wishing her a happy turkey day early in case I did not see her again.  He smiled, and seemed to like that idea.

Unfortunately my brief conversation with the bagger might have drawn attention to him because next thing I know, one of these supervisor types swooped down and did not ask him nicely or gently or in my mind even professionally to go out to the parking lot and retrieve carts, she barked at him to do this in a very nasty fashion.  Just because someone is emotionally or developmentally challenged it doesn’t mean you have to be harsh and mean while addressing them.  Especially in front of customers. Every customer (including myself) looked away in obvious discomfort.  And this is the second time since November 5th I have seen this behavior out of supervisory staff in this store in the same part of the store.

On November 5th when I was grocery shopping in the same store, this cute girl of high school age came and opened up another checkout aisle and took me from my aisle to wait on me.  This girl was so cute. And friendly and efficient too.  Well apparently in her zeal to provide actual customer service she must not have told the warden of the front of the store that day.

This cashier manager (see blurry photo below at left ) must not have closed out the drawer from the last cashier there or something and took this young girl to task in front of customers, myself included.  She yelled at and berated this young girl. 

Again, customers looked away and moved away because they were uncomfortable.  And the nice young girl being berated looked like she wanted the floor to swallow her up.  Neighboring cashiers shook their heads in disgust.  I spoke up and asked this supervisor or manager if that was her management style.  I further commented that I found it utterly unprofessional and just mean to do that to an employee in front of customers.  Truthfully, the store was not so busy that she couldn’t have simply asked that girl to finish up with me and come see her afterwards. I think this front of store warden was shocked I challenged her.  I did not care.  I did not know that young girl, but she did not deserve that treatment any more than the bagger yesterday.

This is behavior Giant that needs to be corrected.  If these are people who can’t manage other people and are in supervisory roles this needs to be revisited by corporate and proper managerial training applied.  As a customer why do I want to spend my money in a store where being a supervisor or manager is being a public bully?

Now another issue.  The one that actually inspired me to blog about Giant and can be seen in  the photo at top.

Yesterday I was doing some pre-Thanksgiving shopping.  I was in need of a  specific size canning jar for cranberry sauce as I make my own.  What I found next to the canning products skeeved me out.  Poison.  As in poisonous bug spray (Raid) and even worse: mouse and rat bait and traps.  NONE of this should be anywhere near products that have anything to do with food. Ick.

I have seen this before in ACME.  When I saw this in ACME a few years ago, corporate management actually agreed with me at the time and moved aisles around so that this poisonous stuff was next to cleaning products and away from food or anything that has to do with food.

Sorry but I think it is gross.  Sorry to pick on Boot Road Giant, but it is the grocery store I visit the most.

Here’s hoping they take a look at these issues, although I am not hopeful since when I bought the issue of publicly bullying employees in a supervisory position to Giant’s attention on November 5th they did not respond.

I would also like to know when they are going to get in the jugs of maple syrup again too.  It is not cost-effective to buy the smaller glass bottles. I really wish there was a Trader Joe’s out here some days.  Gateway and Ardmore are just far enough away to make it inconvenient.

that crazy little thing called life

I spent the last thirty some odd years of my life in another community before moving to Chester County.  That is a lot.

So here I am learning new roads, meeting new people, experiencing and watching new local political drama unfold.  The irony is, for someone who previously lived and breathed local politics, I find myself viewing it now with a sense of detachment.  For the most part, I could take it or leave it. The two municipalities that need an immediate governmental make over  are Tredyffrin and West Vincent.  They have issues and are flat-out rotten to anyone who tries to enact positive change, or merely question the status quo.

As I adjust to life out here, I have met a lot of new and truly nice people with a couple of exceptions.  I have encountered a couple of PTA Stepford Wives, and yes, ultimately I found them unpleasant albeit also somewhat amusing in the way they are just sort of limited for a lack of a better description.

Moving means all new everything.  I have embraced my change, but  there are parts that are hard.  I miss seeing some of my friends as regularly as I used to, and some of them seem to view my move to Chester County akin to a move to Iowa or something, so I don’t hear from them as often.

However, shaking things up with a relocation has been really good.  I have reconnected with different people in my life old and new, and have learned to let some other people go.  You are never too old to learn that when people are mean and negative, you just do not need that, so let it go.

I have embraced the things I always wanted to try (like a ride in a hot-air balloon!), and just enjoy “being”.  A lot of that I do attribute to a new sense of self post breast cancer, but still, I think enough of it has to do with living in such a beautiful county.

And yes, I am still editing hot-air balloon ride photos.  The aerial view photo you see up top is one of them.  It is a gentle reminder to the people of Chester County that every resident no matter where they live should keep an eye on development. Part of what makes Chester County special is the very land and open space.   If development is not made to heel, that will eventually be lost.  And trust me, once a community or series of communities are over-developed the character of the places change, as do the people.  Just look at the Main Line.

As I look outside at this glorious September afternoon, truly I have to believe I am blessed.