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.
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.
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.
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.
Tomorrow is Election Day.
Election Day is your chance as an American to be heard.￼
Tomorrow is one of those off-year elections where there is not a presidential election attached. It doesn’t mean it’s not important.￼ It’s important.
To those of us who live in Chester County it’s important local races, county-wide races, and judicial races￼￼.
Yes I do express at times who I feel is a good candidate and who I feel is a poor candidate and I’ve done that this election season. And no one has to like my opinion, it’s my opinion because it’s what I’m thinking about.
I’m just asking you all to think period.
There are issues with both major political parties. Hello? That’s why I became a registered Independent.
Tomorrow is the general election. I would be happy to vote in the primaries but that’s what I gave up for the ability to be an Independent. Other states have open primaries, Pennsylvania is not so progressive￼￼￼.
I believe in splitting my ticket because I think we are best served by balance not one party rule. One party rule is like the monarchy our founding fathers escaped from to found this country in the first place!
Get out and vote. Make your own decisions and be educated about it. Read the campaign finance reports.
Keep an eye on the birds of a feather of it all. And my other favorite, our wolves in sheep’s clothing, the politically expedient who become members of political parties they weren’t originally not because their belief system necessarily changed and they had an epiphany, but because it’s politically expedient to become something else to get what they want. That’s patently dishonest.
And remember the pipelines. Make them an election issue.
Soon it will be election day. It’s an off-year nationally one might think, so why bother?
Easy. Your vote is YOUR voice in YOUR community. This year is a more local focus….supervisors, commissioners, borough council members, mayors, city councils — just depends on where you live as to what and who you are voting for.
Local candidates are now more seriously making the rounds. They will pop up spiffed and shined to check out community events, civic associations, and so on and so forth. Yes, be warned, literal baby-kissing may ensue.
They may even come door-knocking. Where I live (in my opinion) they are inconsistent at best on the door-knocking, or if they do show and you do vote for them, often you do not hear from them ever again, after that.
Be informed. And don’t just vote for someone because they may share the political party you are told you should vote for. Why? Because on a local level, that is NOT what matters. What matters is who they are, and what they stand for, and if you find them passably believable. On the local level, you should vote the PERSON, not the PARTY. Because trust me, in spite of what they say, it has been my long standing belief that on a local level, political parties will often make deals with each other, and well, how do you feel about that?
I believe in balance. Saying that, I do not think you have balance necessarily if one group of the same people (which is NOT the same as the same party) is in control for too long.
I believe in term limits. We need to get some of those. It’s time to curb political monopolies.
Don’t be afraid of checking out the new kids on the block, but make sure you understand what they are truly about. Also check out WHO endorses them, WHO backs them, WHO gives them campaign donations, and WHO they hang out with politically. The more independent, the better in my humble opinion.
And in as far as incumbents you think may have been around long enough? Simple motto: when in doubt, vote ’em out.
The sanctity of the voting booth is for you alone, so vote your heart and conscience always.
And above all else, vote. Your individual power of the vote is a powerful voice. Be the change you seek. Take back the power in your communities. Vote.
One of the greatest rights we have as Americans, male or female, is the right to vote. It is ultimately our best way to be heard. And you don’t have to vote a straight party ticket, you can split it up any old way you want –it’s your business.
I will tell you that I also made a call to Chester County Voter Services today. And it’s not because I saw voting shenanigans. It’s because there’s a flaw in the system of getting people to the polls.
While there are many volunteers to drive the elderly and infirmed to vote, a lot of polling places in Chester County have paths that are long enough that it is hard for some of these people to get from the parking lot to the actual voting booth.
I saw this at my own polling place today. There are plenty of handicap parking spaces, but the paths although perfectly level are long enough that I watched some elderly people struggle.
Now you don’t want to presume, and a lot of them would rather walk on their own steam even if it takes a long time, but I think it would be helpful at some of these places if there were golf carts or portable wheelchairs if needed. It would also be helpful if there were some folding chairs at the beginning of the paths and the end of the paths in case these people want it to sit a minute before going into vote.
Anyway, it’s a beautiful day there are no excuses – GO VOTE! And if you can help someone elderly or infirmed even more the better.
Have a great day!
The neat thing about having my own blog is I can have my own opinions. And I am doing something I should have done a few weeks ago: blog endorse Mike Schneider for West Vincent Supervisor.
As a general rule of thumb, this blog doesn’t endorse. But given the election shenanigans, dirty tricks, property vandalism and general mayhem of desperation in West Vincent Township Chester County, it is the right thing to do.
I have met and I have spoken with Mike Schneider on more than one occasion. Several occasions over more than a year as a matter of fact. West Vincent, he doesn’t want to be your “road master” and have taxpayers fund his health benefits and an additional source of income off the backs of hardworking individuals. (And is it true taxpayers fund a pension plan for Ken Miller as well?) Mike Schneider just wants to represent the residents and do better for West Vincent Township.
I might not live in your township but I have been going to it since I was a teenager. You have a beautiful township that is precipitously close to being completely overdeveloped. Your roads are a disgrace. Favoritism and political cronyism rule the day, every day. And you, the residents can stop ALL of this on election day with one vote per person for Mike Schneider.
The people who love Ken Miller would have you believe he is like the second coming of Christ. He’s not. He’s just a guy who was a farmer and got into politics and now doesn’t seem to do either job particularly effectively, does he? So actually you would be doing Ken Miller a kindness he doesn’t deserve by retiring him to his farm – he really needs to concentrate on his family farm full time because eventually can we say those tractors left topsy turvy in a field all add up?
Ken Miller got shown the door by his own political party in the spring primary. He is only on the ballot as a Democrat from write ins because he and his supporters are that desperate for him to keep his job. You see, if he loses power, so do all the mean people.
Yes, mean people.
These people do things like vandalize private property, leave nasty letters in mailboxes and slanderous broadsides on community bulletin boards. Why? Because they are scared of any truth seeking individuals like one with the Internet handle of Chickenman. It is completely maddening to them that they can’t unmask him. They like to tell you how he lies, even though he backs his writings up with public documents. Documents sourced from court records and West Vincent Township.
Recently those who practice the Religion of Miller have put their propaganda in an anti-Frank Perdue web page. They did this because well, they got outed with their cutsie-folksie-country life West Vincent Voices page basically got outed not so long ago as existing solely to prop up Ken Miller’s sagging campaign. You see, people were very upset when Dave Monteith’s property was vandalized and then people started talking about development. That was apparently too much honesty and sunshine. I am told the page was scrubbed of certain postings and residents who didn’t tow the line removed. And as they are cajoling you with syrupy sappy fakeness, they are out stealing lawn signs, aren’t they? And when residents post rewards for information on those who are stealing lawn signs, why those posts are removed, aren’t they?
Anything that challenges their desperate status quo is removed. But hey they like making phone calls, stopping at your homes, and sending nasty e-mails, right? And well, when all else fails you can always blame Barry DiLibero, right? Did you know when it rains or snows, it is actually Barry’s fault? Yup, just ask the Religion of Miller. Barry is a dear friend and well very talented, but he hasn’t mastered making it snow and rain…yet.
Now the tea and scones set act all nicey-nice but the truth is they do things like support cyber bullying and cyber -stalking efforts. They did that to me. They are just not nice people. They are past masters of smiling to their neighbors’ faces while they stab them in their backs. People live in fear where they pay taxes because of these people and their middle class thuggish mob mentailty behavior. And they seem to do all the talking for Miller, don’t they? It needs to stop, doesn’t it?
I don’t like liars and cheats and bullies. I think you all have a wonderful little township and it is time for all of it to return to the people. Show Ken Miller the door on election day and take back his keys to your township. Tammany Hall is so 19th century so take a stand and just do it. And when David Brown comes up for re-election just stop, rinse, repeat. Birds of a feather and all that.
Bring civility back to West Vincent. Bring a real sense of community that is not selective but is all- inclusive back to West Vincent. Embrace public servants who work for all of you and not just a select population but mostly for themselves.
Election day can be your Emancipation Day West Vincent. You just have to step away from the Miller Mob. It’s not so hard, it’s just a vote.
Please note I am NOT being compensated for my opinion. I am not a recipient of special favors. Endorsing Mike Schneider is the right thing to do and Mike Schneider is the right guy to be supervisor and if I lived in West Vincent I would be voting for him.
At the end of the day Chester County needs more Mike Schneiders and fewer Ken Millers. And that is why I wrote this post.
Politics and I have a love hate relationship. Lately it has been a supreme turn-off basically because I feel under assault from robo calls and a mind boggling display of obnoxious lawn signs (from both parties).
Seriously GOP, a robo call from Newt Gingrich at 7:15 in the morning is a bit much. This morning Arizona Jan Brewer called me. Because you know she and I are tight BFFs, right? I have also received robo calls from Barbara Hafer, Newt Gingrich, and no foolin’ home schoolin’ Rick Santorum. And Ann Romney – she and I have also made a date to go shopping, apparently.
If the political inundation isn’t enough from THAT side of the aisle, there are all the people who call for Obama that aren’t Obama. And then there are the Democrats’ ads. You know like pick your congressman by their hair. Really Manan Trivedi, that was the best you could come up with?
Here is how I feel about Jim Gerlach: I like the man and have known him for years. I will admit I am a little disgusted the way he seems to have been sucking up to the fringe of the Republican Party and may have drunk too much tea, but I think that is more his campaign than him. I know the good Jim Gerlach is capable of and does do every day. He was my congressman in Lower Merion before my move to Chester County. I am no one special and he has made much time for me and my questions over the years, so for the measure of the man, I still think he is aces.
I have met Manan Trivedi too. He gets bonus points for being a candidate that doesn’t politick at non-profit sponsored events. Which is more than I can say for Lower Merion ex-pat Bret Binder (but I will get to that in a moment.)
Manan Trivedi might be nice, he may have served his country admirably, but that doesn’t mean he is the right choice or equipped for public office. He was plucked up last Obama election cycle by the Democrats to ride Obama’s coattails. I think they figured their other election strategies hadn’t worked against Gerlach (they had pitted the whiny Lois Murphy against him, and others like Bob Roggio who used to politick at every non-profit event possible) so they picked Manan.
I think they picked Manan Trivedi basically because he represented another minority. That type of political pandering is disgusting. He is a nice man, but he doesn’t have the chops, nor am I sure he actually lives in the district. He is sort of like the Democrats’ answer to Rick Santorum on the whole residency thing and we all know how well that worked out at the time, don’t we?
I can’t vote for Manan Trivedi. He is a nice guy who will just be a puppet. There is enough of that in Washington.
But let us talk about the PA senate race for a minute, shall we? As a woman, Tom Smith terrifies me. Period. Bob Casey will never light the world on fire, but I just can’t go the extreme to Tom Smith as a woman. (And I believe interestingly enough that before Tom Smith was a tea partier, he was a Democrat? Is that like confusion in politics?) I also have a parent who collects social security and is on medicare, and I don’t believe his about-face on social security and medicare. He can trot out aged mama in all the television ads he wants but the simple truth is his mother would never be affected by cuts to either as her son is a very wealthy man. And Tom, global warming is not a hoax. Look at Hurricane Sandy.
Onto State Senate. I am new to Chester County, but I like Andy Dinniman. truthfully, I could not even tell you the name of his opponent. Andy truly tries to work in a bi-partisan way for all the residents he serves. I happen to respect and like that in my state senator.
However, I can’t say that I will show that love to Democrat Bret Binder. Bret Binder is running for State Representative. He is an ex patriot of Lower Merion Township, and to be honest, having recently moved out of Lower Merion and having lived how the Democratic majority there has made a mess out of Lower Merion even though they claimed they wouldn’t, I just can’t support someone like Binder.
And I am annoyed when he tells people he is “fully local” and is from Lower Merion in the same breath. Never the twain shall meet.
Hey look, as someone new to Chester County from Lower Merion I am not going to tell anyone I am “fully local”. I am not. I am new to this area. Period. And as someone who literally feels like they can breathe because I have escaped the horrid politics of Lower Merion I am not going to support someone born out of Lower Merion Democrats. And that is not to say all Lower Merion Democrats are bad, but those who are in power do not even represent all the voices of Lower Merion Democrats. Suffice it to say it is very Boss Tweedy in Lower Merion and I don’t want that again where I call home and I do not believe without the financial support of those outside the district he wants to run in, would he have made it this far. Bret Binder’s campaign finance reports tell a tale of support from OUTSIDE Chester County. That is fine, everyone has a right to contribute how they see fit, but the thing is this: he is going to represent us, and who the heck is he? Other than a Democrat from Lower Merion?
And what else? Oh yes, Bret Binder is currently running an ad against Dan Truitt where he laments the public school system. People, he went to Harriton, which is a study of privilege and excess. It’s certainly not your average public school, so I wouldn’t bet the farm on him from that angle, either. Bret Binder also stretches and shapes the truth to fit his needs (as any good lawyer is wont to do) as far as Charter Schools getting money. What is wrong with charter schools seeing some of the educational money available? Does Mr. Binder have or has he had children in the public school system in West Chester? The West Chester Area School District is haphazard and broken in my opinion (and I am allowed even if some will find that opinion irritating).
Mr. Binder should not be judged harshly if he is single and has no children in the district, don’t misunderstand me on that. But I do know a lot of people in the West Chester Area School District who have pulled their kids out of this school district because of the problems in this district. If you can’t afford private or parochial school, charter school is one of the few options out there. And let me tell you this much: because of the West Chester Area School District feeling threatened by charter schools, charter schools in this area probably get about half of what they deserve. And do not tell me that the WCASD can’t be petty about this, just ask anyone who wants their kid on a bus for any school other that West Chester Area School District Public Schools.
Mr. Binder made an appearance at the East Goshen Farmers Market which was recorded for posterity. Now the East Goshen Farmers Market is run kinda by a non-profit, right? The Friends of East Goshen? So why would Lisa O’Neill who is a member of this 501(c)(3) and one of the people who runs the farmers market be in a political ad so to speak? Binder gets a grade of an F of politicking at a non-profit sponsored event that is SUPPOSED to be NON political and using it for campaign purposes like advertising and marketing, but wow really? One would think the farmers market folks would have known better? That is the kind of stuff that can harm a non-profit status is it not?
Now onto the presidential vote of it all. I have to tell you that as of this minute writing this post, I am torn. There is quite frankly so much I do not find appealing in both major candidates.
At the end of the day it may come down to the size of government, however. While we have suffered through an economic period potentially as devastating as the Great Depression there is one sector that has had enormous job security: big government. It keeps getting bigger and more Orwellian big brotherish. I am not comfortable with that.
In this case, maybe change is good? Tomorrow will see. But please, whatever you do, vote your own conscience tomorrow. Do not vote a certain way because you were told to. Hope, change, and forward are just words. Remember that.
I remain, as always, an opinionated inveterate ticket splitter. I have not been compensated for any of my opinions by any candidate, nor do I donate finacially to campaigns. I make my own decisions and am my own woman politically. Sometimes it makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland Party of One, but seriously? I think that is the best way to be. Politically Stepford I am not, and no matter how you vote tomorrow, that is what I encourage people to do: do not be politically Stepford.
Do not just pull one lever for one party if you have doubts about some candidates. Mix it up. It’s between you and your God, no one will know unless you tell them.
In my mind, the solution in American politics is simple: we need a return to balance. Political extremism is ruining this country. So is not being able to hear the actual voice of the candidates over the din of the political party machines.
One size does not fit all in politics, either. And my last word on the subject? I wish municipalities would zone the SUPER sized political signs out of existence. They are obnoxious.
See the social side of the Classic Towns. The events, the festivals, the parades and the pageantry- all the fun things that bring the Class Towns together.
Take a look into each town’s heroes, milestones, and monuments.
Where do people play? See the scenery, the beauty, the places people escape, and the places they come together.
Winter, spring, summer, and fall, in the Classic Towns we love them all. See for yourself.
Stores, shops cafes. See what makes Main Street so special in the Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia.
Old homes, new homes, front doors, and backyards. Take a look into the residential side of life in the Classic Towns.