2020 is the year of comfort food overload and more humor and faith needed

It’s funny how cooking and gardening have helped make the crazy of 2020 fade for finite amounts of time. Maybe it is because I enjoy both.

This is not a recipe post. This is about how I feel headed into the last quarter of 2020.

I woke up this morning utterly sick of people and the way they are behaving. Between COVID-19 and the election, the constant barrage of smack talking crap is just too much some days. So this morning I started a loaf of sourdough bread and made some fresh tomato sauce with sausages so I could make a pasta sausage bake this evening.

Comfort food.

Like gardening, cooking is calming for me. It centers me. Maybe because it is such a basic purpose of life.

The whole feeding and cooking for people thing makes me think of a chef I know. I was taking photos for him once and he said to get a photo of diners breaking bread (each table had a small loaf of bread.) He remarked that people remember that simple act of breaking bread. It was a nice thing to remember this morning in the midst of crazy.

COVID-19 is still here. Infection numbers are rising because people are becoming complacent, or they are listening to #PresidentCOVID tweet his madness 24 hours a day which includes there is no problem with COVID-19 even if he did just get out of the hospital. (And when all else fails, there is the parallel universe of FOX News, even if it seems media mogul owner Rupert Murdoch is predicting #PresidentCOVID will lose.)

It seems the worse the news gets on T-rump, the more fanatical the devoted become. I think people who remember WWII era and post-WWII era dictators are probably the only ones who would have ever seen such behavior before. It’s also like a fanatical religious tent revival from the Great Depression. It’s like watching the proverbial train wreck/car wreck/plane wreck. You know you should look away, only you don’t, and then you get a headache…and the behavior is just depressing…and so sad.

Photo courtesy of Main Line Coyote on Twitter. Somewhere in Chester County.

I understand there are those out there who are solid conservatives who feel duty bound to vote the straight party ticket no matter what. Dinosaurs, some beloved to me, but dinosaurs nonetheless. I don’t begrudge them their voting choices, why do they begrudge me mine?

As Americans, we have to vote the way our own heart and own mind tell us to. Or in theory that is the way it is supposed to work, only it’s not, is it? In years past, I was equally appalled and fascinated by people outside polls in Ardmore, PA telling people to “vote the way we told you to.” And it still goes on, every election cycle. If you can even get people to the polls because a lot of people talk a good game and never actually vote, which blows my mind as I find it to be one of our greatest rights as Americans.

Somewhere else in Chester County. Thanks to Lost NYer on Twitter

I have had a long journey from Republican to Democrat with Independent in between. I still wonder if I am more of a situational Democrat, because it’s the state of this country , the various and continual mind boggling situations that brought me here. I do marvel because I was so resolute in my Republicanism, until 2016. Then it was like I lost and old friend, mourned them, and had to move on. I do not know what my political future holds and that does actually bother me but I know what calls itself the Republican party is not the Republican party I once knew, believed in, or volunteered for during the RNC 2000.

What else do I mourn? Civility in conversation even with supposed long-term friends. Especially lacking on social media. It’s all anger and vitriol, both sides of the political aisle. And when you sit still somewhat Malcolm in the Middle, it just takes your breath away. And more often than not, the worst offenders are women. Ladies we are not Stepford Wives, we all are not supposed to think, drink, chirp, and dress in unison. The behavior is so limiting…for them.

2020 has made me revisit the music of all stages of my life. Supertramp, first listened to in Strasbourg, France in the late 1970’s on a little portable record player. Take The Long Way Home. Old Fleetwood Mac. Old Genesis like Follow You Follow Me and Crosby Stills Nash and Young Our House which I remember where I was the first time I listened to it: the basement of my sorority the fall of 1981. I was homesick and used to do my homework in the downstairs of the sorority and listen to the records there.

Also revisiting Carly Simon, Rosanne Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Dire Straits, Johnny Hates Jazz, English Beat, Basia, Steely Dan, Steve Winwood, Little River Band, Joe Jackson, Alan Parsons Project. Also have been listening to more classical music (but NEVER opera!) which would make my late father happy.

Rosanne Cash actually dropped a new single today. Her take on the year (see bottom video.) Other artists I have been listening to? Taylor Swift. Yes seriously. Me. Her Folklore album was such a surprise. It’s a gem. Every song tells a story and many of them you can identify with. So many of the lyrics made me smile. I have always listened to the occasional song Taylor Swift has written. But when this album dropped on Spotify, I sat and I listened. I must play it at least once a week. It is transformative and it shows how she is maturing as an artist. It’s beautiful actually. In this crazy stressful year, this music is welcome.

Books. I am reading again. And watching lots of BritBox and ACORN streaming because their shows are just well, better. I am working on my vintage quilts which always need a patch or seven. Cooking with my late mother-in-law’s mixing bowls today. remembering my father when I plant daffodil bulbs.

Anything to escape this year where every time you turn around something bad or sad is happening. People I know are sick, friends are taking care of other sick family members. And illness is isolating enough in more normal times, but now? Now it’s just cruel.

And yes, I have had my sad moments in 2020. Who hasn’t if they are honest? Our new normal is anything but and I thought I was done with new normals when I survived breast cancer.

A friend of mine today told me to remember when people give me a hard time about how I run a community Facebook group to remember that today it helped distraught owners reunite with a wandering dog very quickly. She brought me to tears just now when she texted me that.

My friend also reminded me that human nature is backwards and more people complain than express appreciation and also reminded me that people are so unhappy because of the sheer helplessness we have felt since March. A global pandemic, a leader that doesn’t lead but rants on Twitter, confronting racism in this country, protests and rioting and looting and businesses failing…and politics. Politics that to an extent leave almost everyone behind at times. Depression and suicide rates are at all time high. People often are NOT seeking help, so they mistake pain and loneliness for anger. (These are a lot of her words paraphrased, she sums it up so beautifully.)

This is 2020. I don’t think any of us will ever forget it. But God willing and if the creek don’t rise, we will all survive. I met a Mennonite woman the other day. She was delivering something to me. She bid me good day and we talked for a while. She was probably the most Godly person I have met all year, and the simplicity of her belief and faith were inspiring. Her name was Esther and she said to me that she wondered what God was trying to teach us this year, and I replied I wondered if we could really all stop and listen to what he was wanting us to think about. I think a lot of it is taking us all back to basics and not taking life and love for granted.

And that is the thing about this crazy year: in the midst of the crazy and anger and vitriol and UNcivil discourse, there are occasional moments of joyful simplicity and beauty. Beauty in the things around us like our gardens, our friends, our neighbors, our families. If we learn nothing else in 2020, we learn not to take life for granted.

Life can be hard, but it can surprise us. We have to look for the positives in 2020 and it’s hard some days, trust me, I get it. Our next hurdles will be the holidays. How can we do big family gatherings? The short answer is if we love our families, we simply cannot. This bums me out because as much as holidays drive me crazy, I love the sounds of conversation and laughter around my table and Christmas Tree.

I am going to thank you now for meandering on this ramble with me and close with a Langston Hughes quote I have quite literally loved since the 4th or 5th grade:

Hold fast to dreams
for if dreams die
life is a broken-winged bird
that can not fly.

Hold fast to dreams
for when dreams go
life is a barren field
frozen with snow.”

Wishing you all the best in these crazy times. VOTE.

just another nasty woman…….

Today I posted about Trump being diagnosed with COVID-19 along with his current wife, and an assistant. I put it on this blog’s Facebook page. Lord in the heavens above, the reactions of some people!

Let’s start with it’s a FACT and he actually tweeted about it. (Of course he did, why sleep when you can tweet?)

But no…I was accused of posting private information. Ok seriously? Was I in the Oval Office or his bedroom? Come on! HE DISCLOSED IT PERSONALLY.

I am a bad person for posting, an uncaring person for posting and my favorite? I am a nasty woman.

Bless your hearts, why THANK YOU.

The irony is those who know me, know that I am not super liberal. I am a moderate who has become what I like to call a situational Democrat. I was a life-long Republican until 2016. Then Oh Donny Boy as the then nominee made me realize I didn’t know the Republican Party any longer, so I left. I became and Independent. I then became a Democrat so I could vote for my friend Ginny. Honestly, I am not sure it’s an exact fit, hence the situational Democrat description: situations made me change. But thus far, those situations are keeping me there for the time being.

But the politically and perhaps even emotionally limited Stepford Wives of Chester County who apparently can’t stand anyone who is not a carbon copy of whatever the hell it is they actually are came after me claws out today for daring to post about Trump without their express permission. Apparently I am supposed to have their express permission. Who knew??

The comments are priceless.

“This is private information and should not be spread around”

“I’m ashamed of how nasty you are!!”

“You are nasty!!”

“You are sick. unfollowing & have some respect!”

“Why is this chester county news? I’m removing myself from this page. It’s clear the left wants people to get the virus while Republicans don’t. The left wants chaos.”

“I am done with this crappy page.”

“this post is unkind and ill informed. the media said he said these things and that doesn’t make them true.”

The comments go on and on and on. Sometimes one might wonder aloud do they kiss their mommies and spouses with that mouth but why drag the whole family into their stupidity? My husband asked me why I bother with them and I said I wasn’t sure at times, but at times I just couldn’t take the idiocy any longer.

And the fake moral outrage because I should be posting only about what they are comfortable with me posting. Not what I’m reading and thinking about. Agree or disagree like or dislike Trump, COVID-19 affects everyone including the residents of Chester County.


We have quite literally had months of the White House saying this was a fake virus and now a man in his 70s who is our President has tested positive. Along with his wife, some assistant, and who knows how many other people he came in contact with before he tested positive.


I don’t wish COVID-19 on anyone. However I do see the great political irony here. If you can’t see the great political irony here I’m sorry.

But I’m getting a little tired of people who want to school me on how I should think personally and how and what I should be posting. If you all hated this page so much you wouldn’t visit it quite so often.


I don’t care if you don’t agree with me but it’s all how you react. There are plenty of people who don’t agree with me and who can act like an adult and have a conversation. But the rest? Bless their hearts I’ve given them something to think about today apparently….kisses and have a great weekend!

thoughts on the passing of the notorious rbg and a poem by maya angelou.

One of my dear friends posted this this morning. It’s a poem by Maya Angelou. It resonated with me because of the passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justice Ginsburg was a Titan in petite form. Always inspirational and you never doubted her moral compass or breadth and depth of knowledge. She will live on through all of her accomplishments and the memories of friends, family, colleagues, and strangers.

When I heard the news that she had died I wasn’t surprised but I found myself so sad. I was sad as a woman and as an American.

2020 is just a year where the negative hits keep on coming. It started with COVID19, then racism and ugliness. All overshadowed by the US Presidential campaign and the abject horror and ugliness of American politics today.

That ugliness of politics has already polluted Justice Ginsburg’s death thanks to that old ass Mitch McConnell whom I have never liked, even when I was a Republican. His comments so shortly after everyone learned Justice Ginsburg had died are deplorable and I also think they were utterly disrespectful to her memory, her friends, her family. His comments make me embarrassed I was ever a Republican in the first place, but I have to step back and remind myself that a lot of those who call themselves Republican today don’t represent the values originally set by this political party in the least.

I also think there should be some law in this country that would put a freeze on a rush to judicial appointment on Federal benches and the US Supreme Court after a certain point in a presidential campaign cycle. The reason is we need balance in justice. Justice is not supposed to be political, yet it is a political weapon.

This is why yet again we see how crucial it is that we change the tone and conversation in this great nation by changing the face of who governs us in the White House. It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat, you should not find this circus acceptable. And you can’t just be a camp follower and vote blindly.

Get out and vote in November to preserve your rights. Do it for the memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I also highly suggest that you contact every federally elected official you know or have heard of and tell them it is grossly inappropriate to rush in another US Supreme Court Justice just so something else can be polluted by the Trump “brand”. And remember nothing Trump does is for us as Americans, he is a malignant narcissist. And Mitch McConnell is an old fool. And since they haven’t repealed the First Amendment yet I am allowed this opinion.

When Great Trees Fall
by Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
examines,
gnaws on kind words
unsaid,
promised walks
never taken.
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
nurture,
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
radiance,
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
caves.
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

yes, america is under siege

I created this photoshop in 2015. Last night it came true.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the RNC 2000. I was a media relations volunteer there. It still is one of the best volunteer experiences I ever had. Every room had an electric feeling. It was positive.It wasn’t a made for TV reality show in search of ratings and renewal. You know like this year’s RNC?

When I did my photoshop above in 2015, I was half kidding. It was a joke. I never thought in my wildest dreams that America would be dumb enough to elect that circus carney to the White House and he would have turned the White House into an even more circus like atmosphere than my sarcastic mind’s eye even saw in 2015.

Facebook photo of last night of the RNC.

Last night was truly disturbing. All of those people crammed in because a malignant narcissist wanted his adoring crowd. No masks, no COVID-19 precaustions. All about the selfishness of a megalomaniac.

The New York Times in one of their email newsletters this morning reported Trump as speechifying the same regurgitated bull twaddle from 4 years ago that America is under siege….yes America IS under siege…FROM HIM.

I realize my thoughts aren’t going to sit well with my many conservative friends, some whom are very close friends, but I can’t not express how I feel. And the way things are going, how long will it be that we are actually able to express how we feel?

A sitting United States President has not accepted his party’s nomination from the White House since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. And this current occupant of the White House is no Roosevelt, that’s for damn sure.

I have watched very little of this convention because I found it so welcome to Stepford meets a dictatorship / oligarchy. Cringe worthy and terrifying is what it was a lot of the time. Sad and upset at just how far the Republican party has fallen from grace.

I was a Republican. Most of my life. Until Trump became the nominee the first time. Then I became an Independent for the past few years. I switched to become a Democrat for this past spring’s primary to be able to vote for a dear friend. But given the shenanigans this past week concerning the Chester County Democratic Party which continues to fester, I am now asking myself if I should remain a Democrat or go back to being an Independent? You see, like many Americans, I feel at present almost like I have no voting home. I am not truly represented.

Who are we as Americans? Our core is being shaken. By the politics of extremism, racism, an unstable economy,a global pandemic like COVID-19.

The whole week at the Republican National Convention every snippet I saw seemed like a bunch of people living in an alternate reality, hell an alternate universe. Like the chick in the red dress who was screeching to an empty room. Or Melania Trump speaking from the rose garden now destroyed. It now looks like a formula garden in a chain hotel. That wasn’t their garden to destroy. They don’t own the White House, they are just tenants. That was America’s rose garden. Now? We’re not welcome there. That has nothing to do with America, it has to do with camera optics and it’s all about them.

I cry for what America has devolved to. I wonder what our founding fathers and some of those truly great American presidents we have had would say if they were alive?

At least when I listened to bits of the Democratic National Convention I felt included. I did not feel like the street urchin with the tin cup begging at the gates of the estate. When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris spoke, they spoke to all of us. They didn’t pander to the deep pockets funding them and the zealots they control like an army of Stepford Wives.

And the fact checking. This past week, and last night especially the fact checkers worked overtime because so much WAS just lies and propaganda. See New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post.

The RNC was just another orchestrated and calculated Trump Pageant without the bikini stroll. It was the fantasy the man behind the Wizard of Oz curtain wants us to see. It left out the nasty new robocalls to make people afraid of voting by mail. It left out the Penn professors wondering how Trump got into Penn in the first place. It left out COVID-19. It left out most of the reality we live with from day to day. It also left out the old guard Republicans and the Republicans we associate with what it used to mean to be a Republican. Haven’t you noticed? Those people are not at Trump’s side, they have quietly left the stage. Even THEY do not wish to be associated with him.

So yes, America is indeed under siege and at risk. We can’t handle four more years of this. We just can’t.

Pray for America. If we as everyday Americans don’t stand up and have our votes counted for change, four more years of the current circus will tear us even more apart. Why should we vote for Biden? Because we need to get out of extremism and back to moderation. We need to get back to the country we can be proud of, not embarrassed by. We need to have real answers about COVID-19 and we need healthcare and social security and medicare. Hell, we need the old rose garden back.

This isn’t Trump’s country, it’s ours. We need a return to democracy and true American values. But what do I know? I am just a suburban housewife, right?

America the Beautiful Stretched Canvas Wall Art | Sincerely, Sticks

the seemingly unending covid19 mess of it all

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by.

covid-19 is not under control in the u.s.

The above was in my New York Times morning email briefing.

Also this:

A Resurgence of the Virus, and Lockdowns, Threatens Economic Recovery
Hopes for a rebound are endangered by prolonged closures of schools, renewed state restrictions on business and fears of a difficult autumn and winter.

By Jim Tankersley and Ben Casselman New York Times July 15, 2020

WASHINGTON — The United States economy is headed for a tumultuous autumn, with the threat of closed schools, renewed government lockdowns, empty stadiums and an uncertain amount of federal support for businesses and unemployed workers all clouding hopes for a rapid rebound from recession.

For months, the prevailing wisdom among investors, Trump administration officials and many economic forecasters was that after plunging into recession this spring, the country’s recovery would accelerate in late summer and take off in the fall as the virus receded, restrictions on commerce loosened, and consumers reverted to more normal spending patterns. Job gains in May and June fueled those rosy predictions.

But failure to suppress a resurgence of confirmed infections is threatening to choke the recovery and push the country back into a recessionary spiral — one that could inflict long-term damage on workers and businesses large and small, unless Congress reconsiders the scale of federal aid that may be required in the months to come.

This is no joke. I know people who are losing their jobs. I know people who have lost their jobs. I know people struggling under major salary cuts. This is not a joke.

Explain to me again how Trump is making America great again? And don’t tell me he didn’t cause the pandemic because after a fashion didn’t he? Didn’t he open the door to catastrophe when he cut funding to the CDS and other programs starting in 2018? He cut the very team that looked and kept an eye on things didn’t he? A global health security team?

This is not some “liberal conspiracy” folks, this is death in real time, in real life. Compounded with riots and protesting because of the racism that is so insidious in this country, and based upon what comes out of that man’s mouth on a daily basis, how much worse is everything going to get before it gets better?

And look at all the time that was wasted on impeachment proceedings? Nothing was ever going to happen because there were never the votes to make anything happen. The votes we need come from us in November. And if we allow four more years of they are not Republicans, they are Trumpublicans, will our country actually really and truly hit the skids? Instead of dancing on the precipice? If this is a precipice and not a slow slide?

My personal opinion is we can’t wait to find out. With Coronavirus alone, we need change. As in different people. That is the power of the vote, people.

Please don’t shoot the messenger here. For years and years and years I was a moderate Republican. And happily so. I of course split my ticket because I resent being told how I am supposed to vote to be considered “good”. I still split my ticket.

But this fall, America needs to vote for herself and we as Americans need to vote as if our very lives depend upon it. Because our lives depend upon it. We can’t take four more years of living a very bad reality TV show.

True story. A niece of mine went to visit her boyfriend’s parents at their summer home. She and boyfriend were invited to a party of a friend of his. My niece and her boyfriend decided they were not comfortable going to a party with people they potentially would not know because of COVID-19. They were also unsure how many people would be there, would everyone social distance and wear a mask. A couple of weeks later, every person who went to the party they did not go to tested positive for Coronavirus.

Yes every person. That is how easy it is.

It’s like when you run across a person on social media whom you know to have had Coronavirus. And there they are taking selfies out in the world. You don’t want to be paranoid but when family members say they are still sick, what are they doing out?

I will be honest. I have had to go out to keep medical appointments. But nothing much more than that. I am just not comfortable. It’s very weird being out. And we are supposed to be wearing masks and social distancing and people just aren’t. And some of the grocery stores have even removed some of the Plexiglas barricades between cashiers and customers. I wouldn’t know personally because I have not been in a grocery store since the first week of March. But that is what I have been told.

I am afraid we are going to face new stay at home orders because people are kind of throwing caution to the wind. Being in a green status might mean “open” but it doesn’t mean we are out of danger.

Please pay attention. Our lives depend upon it.

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

life in a modern pandemic

We have been here in pandemic land before. Spanish Flu 1918. I remember being told as a child how it killed a lot of my maternal grandfather’s family.

It’s oddly prophetic that this past fall an exhibit at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia opened about the last Philadelphia area pandemic called “Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia”

We are all being introduced to coronavirus. Our pandemic for modern times. A reminder that while we have come so far in many aspects in society, we as humans are still vulnerable to disease and pestilence. Hunker down, it’s a global pandemic. Literally.

Now we know why things like the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Philadelphia is cancelled. In Philadelphia pretty much all big events are being cancelled. All colleges and universities seem to be going to virtual/online learning modes and emptying schools. Some school districts are closing schools. This is also why annual traditions to us in Chester County like the Chester County Antiques Show which was to open tomorrow with a special preview party.

I received notice of other things being cancelled that I was attending. My friend Andy King had a show scheduled at The Living Room in Ardmore. He’s been postponed until June, and the venue is closed until May 1st . A pop-up dinner by Peachtree Catering we were going to at the end of this month is also postponed indefinitely.

Last night it was announced flights from Europe weren’t coming to the U.S. for 30 days – a 30 day ban starting Friday I think it is. Ban thus far doesn’t extend to the U.K. as of now. Unless passengers were U.S. Citizens or U.S. Permanent Residents. Residents returning to the U.S. will be expected to self-quarantine upon return for about two weeks. It’s all very confusing, even to CNN.

Our financial markets are having big time issues. The U.S. markets have always been driven in part on emotion, and it’s 2020 but starting to feel like 2008. And people can weather that, what we don’t want is 1918.

I was doing a little gardening event and that is being postponed too. I can’t help it. I am still a cancer patient, which means I am in that lovely class of the immunocompromised. We are all supposed to practice social distancing – AKA minimizing close contact with people. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Those precautions involve “social distancing,” meaning minimizing close contact (defined as within 6 feet) with other people. While big gatherings increase the risk that lots of people could be exposed to infection — especially events where cheering could mean saliva flying — there may be no safety in small numbers.

“There’s no threshold. This is a time when if you’re invited to a dinner party with five people, you should say, ‘No thanks,’ ” said Carolyn C. Cannuscio, a social epidemiologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine….Cannuscio at Penn was dismayed by city officials’ implication that gatherings of fewer than 5,000 are low risk.

“They need to walk back that number,” she said. “That number will be talked about in public health classes for decades to come. Everybody is vulnerable to making mistakes in communications, but I want our leaders to recognize that we need to reduce social contacts. I know I might sound hysterical, but I recognize the public doesn’t understand the importance of social distancing.”

People, for the time being, it’s time to practice our nesting instincts and just stay home and enjoy each other’s company. Even Broadway, yes as in New York City, is going dark for a couple of weeks:

People are bitching left and right because things like NCAA March Madness is CANCELLED to live audiences. The tournament will go on, but the teams will be playing for the ghosts in the stadiums only. The NBA has suspended it’s season altogether. The NHL has suspended it’s season and MLB is delaying opening day.

This is actually no joke, yet on social media I see otherwise intelligent people saying that coronavirus is a “liberal conspiracy”. Seriously.

I am not in the mode of panic, but honestly? I am concerned. It’s taking people down in Europe and elsewhere and there seems to be no solution. It seems like pandemics before it, it must run it’s course?

Of course what also bothers me is we are still ill prepared for these disasters. Today Governor Tom Wolf basically started the wheels turning for PA shutdown. Montgomery County in particular on lockdown.

But what really gets me other than the mass confusion is how will this affect small businesses and hourly workers? Our economy is not as dandy as everyone would like to play make believe about. A friend of mine with a small business recently posted the following:

Governor Tom Wolf…now that you have taken our kids out of school, how are you going to help all the parents who work full time and have to work full time but have kids in school?
How are you going to help small businesses who have moms or dads as employees and now they can’t come to work?
What are you doing for the 1,000,000 small businesses in PA that are losing work but still have to pay mortgages, bills, employees?

What’s your game plan? You wanted to be our leader and I respect your position…I just need answers on what your are proactively doing for us.

For a lot of us if we don’t work, we don’t get paid. Those in the millionaire category will grumble about their various inconveniences… and survive.

And what about the testing? How do we do it, how do we get them? That seems to be about as clear as mud. HOW do you get a test? Who decides if you should get one? What kind of games will insurance companies play with this? (See Inquirer’s Coronavirus testing in Pa.: state lab is not following CDC guidelines to get more people tested by Marie McCullough, Updated: March 12, 2020- 1:26 PM)

Another thing that bothers me is the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Cardiologist who is last media report in really bad shape in the hospital with Coronavirus. I really hope he recovers as he has a family and friends and colleagues who love and care about him. BUT….what the HELL was he thinking? He knew about Coronavirus and he saw patients? Children under the care of a cardiologist? So he’s sick, someone else in his house is sick, and so many schools and school districts had to close because of virus fears and why? Because he saw patients when he came back. He’s a DOCTOR. Shouldn’t he have known better?

Sorry not sorry, it really bothers me.

And oh this:

Philadelphia Inquirer: A Philly teacher had known exposure to a coronavirus patient. The district isn’t notifying parents.
by Kristen A. Graham and Wendy Ruderman, Updated: March 12, 2020- 2:03 PM

A Philadelphia School District teacher gave the grim news this week: A relative had tested positive for the coronavirus, and he had been in close contact with the family member recently.

The Randolph High School teacher informed his students on Wednesday, then the principal sent the teacher home to isolate for two weeks.

What followed was panic: Staff had questions, students had questions, but it seemed no one could provide answers. Students panicked, some donning rubber gloves, many asking if school should be closed. Eventually, most of the student body walked out. But parents were never notified about the close contact the Randolph teacher had with the coronavirus patient.

I am so at sixes and sevens about this. I don’t know what to think. As far as society progresses, we can’t escape the natural correction caused by disease is what keeps floating through my brain. I know, I am being repetitive.

Cancel Everything
Social distancing is the only way to stop the coronavirus. We must start immediately.

MARCH 10, 2020
Yascha Mounk
Contributing writer at The Atlantic

We don’t yet know the full ramifications of the novel coronavirus. But three crucial facts have become clear in the first months of this extraordinary global event. And what they add up to is not an invocation to stay calm, as so many politicians around the globe are incessantly suggesting; it is, on the contrary, the case for changing our behavior in radical ways—right now.

The first fact is that, at least in the initial stages, documented cases of COVID-19 seem to increase in exponential fashion. On the 23rd of January, China’s Hubei province, which contains the city of Wuhan, had 444 confirmed COVID-19 cases. A week later, by the 30th of January, it had 4,903 cases. Another week later, by the 6th of February, it had 22,112.

The same story is now playing out in other countries around the world. Italy had 62 identified cases of COVID-19 on the 22nd of February. It had 888 cases by the 29th of February, and 4,636 by the 6th of March.

Because the United States has been extremely sluggish in testing patients for the coronavirus, the official tally of 604 likely represents a fraction of the real caseload. But even if we take this number at face value, it suggests that we should prepare to have up to 10 times as many cases a week from today, and up to 100 times as many cases two weeks from today…..

The coronavirus could spread with frightening rapidity, overburdening our health-care system and claiming lives, until we adopt serious forms of social distancing.

This suggests that anyone in a position of power or authority, instead of downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus, should ask people to stay away from public places, cancel big gatherings, and restrict most forms of nonessential travel.

Well it’s a good thing I like being home I suppose. But then there is the other thing: you can’t even get food/pantry basics in some places because people are just wiping out stores. Some hoarding and I am sure the people who will re-sell at astronomical levels will surface more and more (Just look at trying to get supplies on Amazon.)

My mother just called me. She lives in Philadelphia. My stepfather had just gone to Trader Joe’s for some basics. Their shelves are literally bare, and not just for toilet paper.

One of my friends has a husband who is very immunocompromised – she’s been buying cases of rubbing alcohol.

What is the right answer? Everything in the US is a study in confusion. To me it feels like a somewhat rudderless ship. (See CNN)

The Philadelphia Inquirer is providing pretty good coverage. So is the New York Times. The CDC has a whole section about coronavirus. But there is so much condradicting and confusing information out there, isn’t there?

Vox has this interesting chart and notes the following:

The Spanish flu of 1918-’19, the most horrific pandemic in modern times, focused mainly on the young. It had biological similarities to a flu pandemic in the 1830s that gave some older people in the 1910s limited immunity.

Most common symptoms in China, up to February 22, 2020

So PhillyVoice had this amazing article in 2018 about the Spanish Flu in Philadelphia:

SEPTEMBER 27, 2018

(Part 1) 100 years ago, ‘Spanish flu’ shut down Philadelphia – and wiped out thousands
Some 12,000 people died after the city held infamous Liberty Loan parade
BY JOHN KOPP AND BOB MCGOVERN

September 28, 1918 was to go down as a great day in Philadelphia.

Some 10,000 people were expected to watch the latest Liberty Loan parade – a patriotic spectacle designed to boost public financing for World War I.

But amid growing excitement that the war was nearing an end, 200,000 people flooded Center City, loudly cheering as thousands of military personnel, industry workers, relief workers, scouts and veterans marched down Broad Street.

That so many people came out astounded the local press, which did not hold back any praise in its coverage. The Philadelphia Inquirer lauded the parade for its pageantry and the enthusiasm of its onlookers, often in flowery prose.

“The energies of the city – its wealth, its brawn, its intellect, its patience, its skill in the works of brain or of hand – these were seen, as they never had been seen before in such a time and under such stress,” The Inquirer wrote in a front-page story. “Yet in every stride and in every voice there was to be seen and heard the first premonition of – victory.”

The Evening Bulletin, published later that afternoon, was more succinct but no less laudatory in its parade coverage. “This is a great day in Philadelphia,” its front page story began.

But tucked deep inside the newspaper was a story about Thomas Harlacker, a 30-year-old city policeman who was one of influenza’s latest local victims. The account, which noted 118 new cases of the disease in the city in the last day, carried a warning that, 100 years later, reads prescient.

“The epidemic is assuming more serious proportions,” the story cautioned, citing a warning by the city’s health director, Dr. Wilmer Krusen. “If the people are careless thousands of cases may develop and the epidemic may get beyond control.”

(Part 2) SEPTEMBER 28, 2018

In 1918, Philadelphia was in ‘the grippe’ of misery and suffering
The dark days of influenza epidemic: bodies piled up with no way to bury them

BY BOB MCGOVERN AND JOHN KOPP

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” Charles Dickens wrote in 1859.

Nearly 60 years later it was an apt description of life in Philadelphia.

World War I was winding down, victory in sight. The city had proudly and vigorously raised millions of dollars to support the local soldiers on the battlefield. The patriotism and excitement was palpable: the boys would be coming home soon.

But in late summer 1918, the city was in “the grippe” of a second wave of a Spanish influenza epidemic sweeping the United States. The city was quickly plunged into misery. Illness and death and decay was everywhere. Dread and despair tormented the living. Unspeakable indignities visited the dead and alive.

For two weeks in September and October, from the start of the epidemic through some of its darkest days, the city’s newspapers chronicled the misery in the streets of Philadelphia. But they also shared tales of heroism, hope, frustration and evil.

Here’s how the epidemic played out – day by day – for days immediately after the Liberty Loan Parade that many experts say led to the explosion of influenza in Philadelphia. They were some of the darkest days this city and surrounding towns have ever seen.

09282018_police_stricken_headline

We need to learn from the past. But it would help if information wasn’t conflicting or seemed to omit things wouldn’t it?

Government does not want full scale panic.

Hell, no one does. It won’t kill us to practice “social distancing” but we need to live our lives.

And I don’t think individual people should be able to clean stores out of cleaning supplies and more, do you?

No photo description available.
Trader Joes in Tredyffrin. Facebook Photo

I guess there is a reason we didn’t have any snow days with schools this year other than global warming, right? Because snow days are becoming coronavirus days but what of the parents of all these kids being told to stay home? Are we all supposed to stay home?

I was told this afternoon all of the schools and colleges/universities in Ireland had closed down.

Image may contain: one or more people and indoor
ACME market in Paoli. Facebook photo

So our ultimate takeaway? Hunker down I guess.

But I still do not know how I feel about this. Other than don’t hug, don’t spit, and PLEASE wash your hands.

Image result for spanish flu 1918 philadelphia
From PhillyVoice via U.S. NAVAL HISTORY AND HERITAGE COMMAND/VIA LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

on the eve of 9/11

In two days it’s another anniversary of 9/11. It has been 18 years.

Above is a screenshot of a New York Times newsletter email I opened this morning.

I. Can’t. Even.

On the eve of 9/11, no less.

February, 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Let me tell you a true story…

I came out of the trade center during the first trade center bombing. February 26, 1993. I was working on Wall Street for a municipal bond trading firm and I had gone with a friend from work into the shopping concourse of the old trade center because this woman – her name was Deirdre – had wanted to visit the Hallmark Gold Crown store – her grandmother or someone collected their Christmas ornaments and they were on a clearance sale.

So we went there and we grabbed lunch, and as we were standing right outside the trade center staring at Century 21 Department Store and wondering if we had enough time to go in there as well, the ground started to shake. Like you would imagine an earthquake. And then we thought it was snowing because all the stuff was floating down in the sky. We of course later realized that was like soot and ashes and stuff and then one by one it was the strange cacophony of car alarms in the garage going off like weird church bells. Then the sirens of first responders started.

But at first, right after it happened, time stood still. The explosion underground which caused the sidewalks to move underneath our feet, followed by a hold your breath moment of complete silence. Then came the chaos.

We got back to our office which was at 44 Wall Street and people were all freaked out. It was at that point we learned what had actually happened and came to the realization of how lucky we were to get out.

Over the course of the next couple of hours we had “refugees” that we knew from the twin towers who had to go down hundreds of flights of steps in some cases and came to our offices to wash the soot off their faces and just chill.

I remember this girl name Katie who was a trading assistant along with me whose fiancé worked for Dean Witter at the time. He was one of those people that had to walk down lots and lots of stairs and showed up in our office looking like he was completely done in black face but it was soot. And he was shaking, just standing perfectly still in our reception area, shaking. I will never forget it.

So when 9/11 rolled around and the first report came over my car radio, tears started streaming down my face as I sat in my office parking garage. They came back was the only thing that went through my head. Then my cell phone rang and it was my late father who at the time was on a train to New York City to head into his office. He was reaching Metro Park and I told him to get off and turn around and come home and he didn’t listen to me because the Amtrak conductors told him it would be fine.

My late brother in law was working in NYC by this point and thankfully he was able to meet up with my father and they holed up in someone’s apartment for a couple of days until they were able to get out of the city. But it was scary when they were all cut off from us with no phone communication whatsoever. Because it was absolute insanity in New York when the towers came down.

I remember when I went up to my office in between the first plane and the second plane and people were crowded around TVs and some broker’s office and I remember again I said “they came back.”

People looked at me and said you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s just a small plane that crashed into the side of the trade center. A horrible accident. Then the second plane hit. Then you had the news out of the other two planes.

I think all of our lives in some small way changed on 9/11. For years I kept running into people that knew people who died. People I knew from college died in the twin towers. They weren’t people I knew very well but a small school on a small campus they were people you recognized.

And our current President was going to meet with the Taliban at Camp David on the eve of 9/11 except it got cancelled?

WTF. Seriously, WTF????

How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart

New York Times

By Peter Baker, Mujib Mashal and Michael Crowley. Published Sept. 8, 2019
Updated Sept. 9, 2019, 8:35 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON — On the Friday before Labor Day, President Trump gathered top advisers in the Situation Room to consider what could be among the profound decisions of his presidency — a peace plan with the Taliban after 18 years of grinding, bloody war in Afghanistan.

The meeting brought to a head a bristling conflict dividing his foreign policy team for months, pitting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, in a battle for the competing instincts of a president who relishes tough talk but promised to wind down America’s endless wars…..In the days that followed, Mr. Trump came up with an even more remarkable idea — he would not only bring the Taliban to Washington, but to Camp David, the crown jewel of the American presidency. The leaders of a rugged militant organization deemed terrorists by the United States would be hosted in the mountain getaway used for presidents, prime ministers and kings just three days before the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that led to the Afghan war.

Thus began an extraordinary few days of ad hoc diplomatic wrangling that upended the talks in a weekend Twitter storm. On display were all of the characteristic traits of the Trump presidency — the yearning ambition for the grand prize, the endless quest to achieve what no other president has achieved, the willingness to defy convention, the volatile mood swings and the tribal infighting….And even after it fell apart, Mr. Trump took it upon himself to disclose the secret machinations in a string of Saturday night Twitter messages that surprised not only many national security officials across the government but even some of the few who were part of the deliberations.

No words. I just don’t get politics except for the overwhelming feeling on the eve of 9/11 that national politics just must be for dangerously selfish and narcissistic people.

Timing is everything and had this meeting happened it would have created more opportunistic divisiveness in this country.

Enough already. Some dates on the US calendar need to be respected. Stop already the national politics of self aggrandizing narcissistic behavior.

The timing of this just disgusts me.

9/11