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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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!

mulching

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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.

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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?

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what a long, strange week it has been

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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…..

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