Chester County Ramblings

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meandering through, writing about whatever strikes my fancy
Updated: 38 min 50 sec ago

happy summer solstice!

Wed, 2017-06-21 14:44

Photo Credit Buzz Feed News 2016

Today is the summer solstice, or the first day of summer.  This is an important celebration and I am told (and have read) this is a time when many rituals issue forth to send positive energies into the months which lie ahead. It is a celebration of the gentle days of summer and hope and blessings for crops, fertility, and the fortune for remaining months of the year.  If you are a wee bit fey, you will celebrate wherever you are.


Summer solstice is also known as Midsummer. As per Wikipedia:

Photo credit the Scientific American Facebook Page

The summer solstice (or estival solstice), also known as midsummer, occurs when a planet’s rotational axis, or geographic pole on either its northern or its southern hemisphere, is most inclined toward the star that it orbits. On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°. (Likewise, the Sun’s declination from the celestial equator is +23.44° in the Northern Sky and −23.44° in the Southern Sky.) This happens twice each year (once in each hemisphere), when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the north or south pole.

The summer solstice occurs during the hemisphere’s summer.[2] This is the northern solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the summer solstice occurs some time between June 20 and June 22 in the Northern Hemisphere[3][4] and between December 20 and December 23 each year in the Southern Hemisphere.[5] The same dates in the opposite hemisphere are referred to as the winter solstice.

As seen from a geographic pole, the Sun reaches its highest altitude of the year on the summer solstice. It can be solar noon only along that longitude, which at that moment lies in the direction of the Sun from the pole. For other longitudes, it is not noon. Noon has either passed or has yet to come. Hence the notion of a solstice day is useful. The term is colloquially used like “midsummer” to refer to the day on which solstice occurs. The summer solstice day has the longest period of daylight, except in the polar regions, where daytime remains continuous for 24 hours every day during a period ranging from a few days to six months around the summer solstice….

Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied among cultures, but most recognize the event in some way with holidays, festivals, and rituals around that time with themes of religion or fertility.[9] In some regions, the summer solstice is seen as the beginning of summer and the end of spring. In other cultural conventions, the solstice is closer to the middle of summer.[10]

Solstice is derived from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

Photo courtesy English Heritage Facebook Page

Read more about it here:

BBC Summer solstice 2017: Stonehenge crowds as sun rises

Mirror UK: What is the Summer Solstice 2017? Times, rituals and traditions as Google doodle marks the longest day of the year/Happy Summer Solstice 2017! Get ready – it’s officially the start of summer

Vox: The summer solstice is upon us: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year

The New Yorker: On This Summer Solstice, Be Glad You Live on Earth By Alan Burdick 10:46 A.M.

Learn about Stonehenge on English Heritage.

“This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and becomes the future;
the place of caught breath…”

― Margaret Atwood, Eating Fire: Selected Poetry 1965-1995


Categories: Pennsylvania

bucks county barn

Sun, 2017-06-18 19:10


Categories: Pennsylvania

restaurant rave: mino in malvern

Fri, 2017-06-16 21:23


Mino in Malvern on Lancaster Avenue is marvelous!  We had never eaten there and decided to try it this evening.

Hands down, the best sushi around.  I have enjoyed other sushi places, but this is the best. Friends of mine have been telling me for years it’s the best, and now I must say I concur wholeheartedly.

The fish is super fresh, and other things like the dumplings are divine. They also have a house blend matcha green tea that has this nutty note to it because I believe it is also brewed with roasted  brown rice if I understood the waitress correctly.

And also the staff – they have an amazing waitstaff at Mino. So nice and so knowledgeable about their own menu.

If you have never been, you should definitely check it out. Extraordinary menu, reasonably priced. It also has a super nice atmosphere with their new interior makeover.

Mino – 321 Lancaster Avenue, Malvern, PA 19355. 610-651-8756.


Categories: Pennsylvania

bogus breast cancer charity shut down.

Fri, 2017-06-16 13:18

This is a really big deal.  There are far too many scam charities out there in this world.  This video and a link to the official press release came with a note from an Assistant New York Attorney General:

I thought you’d be interested in this…..And thank you for assisting us in the investigation.

 

I was one of the people who had been contacted by this non-profit (and one of thousands who complained about phone calls from bogus breast cancer charities) and was one of the every day people who cooperated with the efforts of the New York State Attorney General’s Bureau of Charities investigation.

Why I am posting this here?  Because every day someone gets a call from a cold caller. This is yet another reason to not take their calls.  Legitimate charities are not going to pay oodles of money each year to cold calling companies to press innocent people on making donations to an organization they have never heard of.  I started getting calls about this fake breast cancer charity within days of my partial mastectomy six years ago.  When they called, they already knew I was a “survivor”.  To this day, I do not know how they got my name or information.

Anyway, I think this is pretty cool.  Even in today’s world sometimes the white hats actually prevail.

 


Categories: Pennsylvania

as seen on boot road…..

Sat, 2017-06-10 09:32

Are we o.k. with this Chester County? This is SuNOco, correct? Is it just me or is this like the rape of the land?


Categories: Pennsylvania

as seen on whitford road…

Thu, 2017-06-08 11:08


Categories: Pennsylvania

when is whole foods opening in exton?

Tue, 2017-06-06 19:38


So….Whole Foods? Exton? When?

(Note a friend drove by this morning at around 11:00 a.m. and there weren’t any cars…or trucks…or anyone..or anything.)

Local speculation is this project is in trouble? So if no Whole Foods, Trader Joes or Mom’s Organic Market anyone???

Anyone have updates? It seems kind of deserted…beautiful new building and….no signs of life.


Categories: Pennsylvania

whose america are we living in?

Thu, 2017-06-01 20:10

When you see photos like this they just make you happy. Obviously in love, on their wedding day, their whole lives ahead of them. Until ICE (immigration) shows up like modern day Nazis at the Septa train station in Haverford and arrests the husband.

I used to live in Haverford.  I used to work near Haverford Train Station.  I grew up in Haverford.  I just can’t imagine the terror this man felt.  I learned about his plight when a friend posted on Facebook:

 

I thought this possibly couldn’t be true, then I remember conversations I have had with people even locally in Chester County about ICE going into schools, ICE raiding restaurants and other businesses country and city, ICE rounding people up off the streets and throwing them into vans, asking for papers at SEPTA stops in Philadelphia (a supposed “sanctuary city”), tales of immigrants with “go” bags packed by their front doors in case they have to run, and does this seem crazy that we are living in a country that allows this?

We are a nation formed of immigrants.  Give us your tired, your hungry, your poor.  I have friends who emigrated to this country.  I thank God that all of them are legal citizens.

Jonatan Palacios is his name.  His lovely wife Lillie Williams has a You Caring Page up. I don’t know them personally, but what is being done to them is a crazy horror show at the hands of the US Government.

I am going to let HER words tell THEIR story.  Lillie pardon me for copying and pasting your message, but your words have power:

The Story

My name is Lillie Williams and early yesterday morning, on May 11th, immigration ripped me away from my husband. 

We are working with a lawyer to get him out and get him back home to me as soon as possible, but we need help covering all of the expenses, fees, and loss of income as we work to do everything I can to get Jonatan out and back to his home and family.

Why did we get caught in this mess? Because we were going through proper legal motions. We submitted an I-130 spousal petition for him in October. We were working with the system to correct his legal status from his case when he entered as an unaccompanied minor at the age of 16. 

Jonatan is my best friend and soulmate. I appreciate any help and support that you can provide to help us through this difficult time. 

Background:

Jonatan and I had went on our first date the summer before my Junior year at Bryn Mawr College, on May 24th, 2010.

My roommate at the time had been dating Jonatan’s older brother for about a year before we started dating. Always thinking herself the matchmaker, she had made several attempts at getting Jonatan and I together before it finally happened. The final straw that brought the two of us together was a mishap one night, where my roommate had accidentally locked me out of the apartment in my pajamas when she was late to a date with Jonatan’s brother. I called my forgetful Italian friend to please turn around and let me back in, but instead she sent Jonatan to my rescue. He then had my number and asked if he could keep it.We started dating only a few months later and it was as if there was a magnetic force that brought us together. We were inseparable. Then, several hard events in my life happened which brought us even closer together. We both became each other’s home.

We were legally married at one one of our favorite restaurants in Philadelphia, Amada on October 11th, 2014 and a year later we had our religious wedding ceremony with friends and family at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens on October 15th, 2015. 

The pastor from Jonatan’s church officiated with the service in Spanish and translated into English so that everyone there would understand. It was one of the happiest evenings of our lives.

When we were getting ready to get married, I learned about Jonatan’s case. I thought that it was something that we would be able to resolve with marriage– since I am a born United States Citizen and my ancestry goes back in the United States to colonial days I thought it would be a simple case of petitioning for him once we were married. I found out after that the case was a lot more complicated than either of us had thought.

It turns out that people don’t become citizens simply through marriage to a US Citizen Spouse. It is a long and difficult process and sometimes, if you are unlucky, things can go wrong with your case. 

More About the Issue:

If you would like to know more about the overall issue, there is a whole organization of families like mine that have gone through or are going through similar issues, American Families United. You can learn more by going to http://www.americanfamiliesunited.org/.

 

This is so unreal.  Their crime was being naïve and thinking they could trust the United States of America. They filed what they thought was the correct paperwork and instead of help, he gets arrested at the Septa station in Haverford with assistance by Lower Merion Police Department.  Ok, so let’s be fair, I am guessing Lower Merion Police Department did not have much choice in the matter when the Federal Government comes calling, but can you imagine the abject terror he must have felt along with anyone else who was around there on May 11th?

Ok so those of you who are die hard conservatives are getting ready to sharpen your keyboards and read me the riot act for this post, but please.

Don’t.

Stop and think about this for a moment.  This young couple were trying to right a wrong. They were not trying to be deceitful.  Now this guy is sitting in some jail facility in York, PA and do we even know if he has been able to see his wife? Or other family?  They were not hiding and they were punished anyway.

For every one of these stories I hear, the mental image of World War II come to mind.  The stories of Holocaust survivors and immigrants of another century telling the stories of Nazis demanding papers during World War II era Europe.  Tell me, how is this different? Because it is happening under the banner of the United States of America?

What is it that is carved on Lady Liberty? What is the exact figure of immigrants who came through Ellis Island and passed the Statue of Liberty between 1820 and 1920? 34 Million? This is the poem Lady Liberty wears:

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“”Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

There is a vigil planned for Jonatan Palacios on June 8th.  There is a Facebook event set up

If you care to contribute to the young couple’s legal expenses (immigration lawyers are not cheap), please visit You Caring Help Jonatan Palacios be reunited with his wife and family!

I am the descendant of immigrants.  I am descended from three nationalities which were once discriminated against and disparaged against – Irish, German, Italian.  I grew up with many tales including “Irish need not apply” and WOP jokes and disparaging German comments . I fear for my legal US citizen friends who emigrated here because some still have the lingering traces of the countries they were born in.  What could be done to them in error because they don’t have your typical American accent?

Whether you know this couple or not, if you can peacefully or peaceably help, help.  Attend the vigil, write elected officials (including all 14 commissioners in Lower Merion Township to ask WTF??,  essentially.)

Whose America is this? Whose America are we living in?  I am not sure  and I am so sad at this latest turn of events.


Categories: Pennsylvania

respecting small businesses and nonprofits

Thu, 2017-06-01 14:56

Small businesses should be cherished and respected in any community. They give us our small towns or “small town feel” if we live in a larger metropolitan area.

Small businesses are the ones who actually remember their customers. You come in and they often greet you by name.  Small businesses are run by your friends and neighbors a lot of the time.

It is so hard for a small business to stay in business. If they are lucky enough to own the building, it helps but it doesn’t guarantee success. There is overhead no matter what – regardless if they are dealing with a mortgage payment or a landlord.

Small businesses are not like big box stores that have giant advertising budgets.
Small businesses depend on their customers and word-of-mouth as well as now in the modern era we live in, online reviews.  

What bothers me about online reviews with websites like Yelp or even Google, is sometimes a “customer” will just create an entire falsehood to punish a small business owner. I had it happen to a friend of mine and the reason that happened is someone came in to their establishment who basically had an out-of-control child. It’s a store full of breakables and after a while my friend who is a mother several times over nicely asked the person to basically mind her child. And as a result this person went home and wrote an online review that was completely false, for spite. How dare that store owner not love junior picking up and dropping everything in the store!

Then there are the people that like to take advantage of small businesses in other ways. And often they do similar things to nonprofits. You are just supposed to love the fact that they come into your establishment or attend your event. They actually expect carte blanche. Not only do they expect to attend eat and drink at your event for free, but if you own a small business they expect goods and services for free or the small business worries about them saying something not so nice publicly, and is it just me or is it wrong?

 How can you be a human being and do that to someone else? Yet it happens all the time. I heard another tale of it today which prompted this post.  Now often you will find cases of where a small business might do a partial barter on goods and services but it’s the exception rather than the rule. 

Then there are the folks who present themselves as publicists and social media experts. They want to charge you for their expertise and placement. Only are they truly experts? If someone places your business or your nonprofit only on their website is that media placement? I don’t think so.

If you then are paying someone for your social media and that someone just puts you on their Instagram feed or their Facebook feed are they doing your social media or their social media?  As a small business or nonprofit how exactly is that building your brand in particular?

I do not have a monetized website and blog.   So if I am writing about a small business, or a product, or a restaurant, or a nonprofit event it’s because I have patronized the business, bought meals in the restaurant, purchased the goods, and bought a ticket to the event.  

Sometimes as a blogger I am invited to cover an event as a member of the media even though I do not consider myself “media”. But if I am to wander around and take pictures and write up an event, I also buy tickets to cover at a minimum my better half who is escorting me and maybe other guests.  

But that doesn’t happen very often.  Usually I am covering something I would normally wish to attend. And when I occasionally cover a nonprofit event, the nonprofit has access to any photo I take at any time, and I don’t charge them for the photos. It is like an added donation with no time limits.

The flipside of that equation is as a blogger there are a lot of people that want things from you for free. They want you to cover something or they want you to write about something only they don’t like it if you say no. But a lot of times I do say no. It’s not what they have isn’t worth discussing it’s just not of interest to me.

When I cover a nonprofit event it’s because I support the nonprofit, have a membership to said nonprofit, and normally attend events of these nonprofits and when I cover them I am paying it forward so other people can discover the nonprofits I think are wonderful.  And I get permission from the event planners ahead of time to take photos. I don’t just show up with my camera and presume they are going to want me to take pictures. 

Small business owners are your neighbors, your friends. Treat them with respect and support them. Don’t take advantage of them. Treat nonprofits with the same level of respect.  You have no idea how little nonprofits actually receive compared to what they put out in effort.

Thanks for stopping by.


Categories: Pennsylvania

hark I hear there is a bonnet contest somewhere today?

Wed, 2017-05-31 13:25

Reader submitted photo

I don’t know if they were going for Jane Austen or Jane Eyre….. or perhaps Surrey With The Fringe On Top LOL?

Reader submitted photo

You can tell they spent noodles (and OODLES LOL) of money on their costumes….. but I’m sorry this isn’t supposed to be a masquerade party is it? Or is it?

Reader submitted photo


Categories: Pennsylvania

paying it forward: the meandering path of life

Tue, 2017-05-30 19:12

Life is a crazy, meandering thing.

This is Cathy Costello. I never knew she existed until yesterday.  She showed up on one of those crazy Oklahoma Senior Follies/ Ms. Senior Oklahoma pageant emails I have been trying to get off the mailing list of for over a decade (It started out as pageant emails for Ms. Senior Oklahoma pageants and then morphed into Senior Follies in Oklahoma emails)

Over the weekend I started getting Oklahoma Senior Follies emails again, and I shot off an email to the entire un-BCC’d mailing list. And yes I was QUITE testy…I have been trying to get off these email lists I never signed up for for over a decade. I have found it maddening (right or wrong) that I can’t get off these e-mail lists.

I do not even have any friends or family in Oklahoma, I just ended up on these e-mail list and chains. And for over a decade it has been this thing that (again right or wrong) just irritated the snot out of me – it didn’t matter if I was polite or miserable, I could not get off these e-mail lists. Even by blocking many of the senders e-mail addresses I could not stop the flow of misdirected e-mails.

Anyway, this lady Cathy Costello replied to me by accident in response to my cranky gram (a get-me-the-hell-off-this-email-list-it-has-been-over-a-decade message), and after I climbed off the ceiling from being Ms. Cranky Pants  we swapped a couple of e-mails and she told me her story. Her husband Mark, who had been the Labor Commissioner of the State of Oklahoma was stabbed (and subsequently died) by a young man suffering from schizophrenia on a psychotic break.  The young man was one of their children. Her son. Reading her words was almost surreal and put life right back into perspective in as much as what is truly important. (As in shut my mouth and quit complaining is what I said to myself)

It never ceases to amaze me how people who are total strangers to one and other can relate to each other for even a moment in time, or in a misdirected email.  Crazy as it sounds, this Cathy is the kind of person anyone would like to have as a friend.

So today I Googled her story.  I was blown away by the devastating reality of it.  I found her Facebook page Cathy Costello for Hope and gave her video a listen so my pen pal by accident had an actual human voice.

Six degrees of separation – it’s crazy the way life and fate connect you to people for even a few moments or a few hours.

I think Cathy’s voice is a good one to hear, so I hope you take the time for her video, and more importantly her message. She is true grace in the face of unbelievable loss and tragedy so I am paying it forward.

Mental illness touches so many.  I have had friends affected by it over the years, and I have friends who have had family members affected by it for years.  One of my closest and best friends is a mental health social worker in another state – she has been the help and advocate for so many over the years.  And I can’t help but also think about the teenagers lost to depression and suicide in this area over the past few years, as well.

So I am paying it forward.

Her website is Cathy Costello for Hope.

Thanks for stopping by.


Categories: Pennsylvania

public parks and private money: good partnerships?

Mon, 2017-05-29 22:17

The Willows Radnor Township

The Willows in Radnor has been the subject of controversy in recent years. The buildings needs massive renovations to bring it up to code. And the past few years residents and Radnor Township have struggled on how to best use the site.  They put out an RFP a few years ago and people thought a caterer would take over the house and make it a wedding venue. That fell through. Then a nursery school wanted to move in, and another proposal involved a private citizen buying the house (people incorrectly refer to it as a mansion, it is in fact just a house that sits on a spectacular property!)

Now the Willows is being studied yet again. It has been in the local papers.  It is an example of how communities struggle with publicly owned properties being run by private concerns. Hypothetically these are great adaptive reuses and can be great to keep the life in old and historic structures, but it’s a balance.  The problem as I see it with the Willows has always been the disconnect between the politicians and the people.  

Kennedy Supplee Mansion

For over 20 years the Kennedy Supplee Mansion at the edge of Valley Forge Park was a successful high end restaurant. But then around 2006 that came to an end when the business that owned the restaurant went under.  Since then, the place has slowly deteriorated. Last year I had seen on the National Park Service website an open RFP to I guess get a new tenant. I do not know whatever happened with that RFP.

This is not a new concept at Valley Forge National Historic Park, but over the past couple of years the topic has been getting more attention.

Daily Local: Valley Forge is renting out historic buildings to businesses
By Gary Puleo, gpuleo@21st-centurymedia.com
POSTED: 01/26/15, 4:58 PM EST | UPDATED: ON 01/27/2015


UPPER MERION >> How would you feel about heading over to Valley Forge National Historical Park for a double shot cappuccino and a blueberry scone — in a quaint café setting where memories faintly resonate off the walls?

It could happen before too long.

The National Park Service has put a few historic buildings up for commercial use, including the venerable Maurice Stephens House, which one entrepreneur is eyeing to transform into a charming cafe.

“We’ve had a couple of groups through the building and one is interested in turning it into a café of sorts so that people at the park will have a place to go to get a cup of coffee and a bite to eat,” explained the park’s business manager Patrick Madden, standing outside the 1816 stone farmhouse nestled off of Route 23.

Valley Forge Park needs help. No doubt. I am not sure how the money was spent over the past few decades, and I think it was a huge mistake when they lost the now new and opened and fabulous American Revolutionary War Museum to Philadelphia.

Now Valley Forge just had some great news I learned courtesy of my pal Caroline at Savvy:

Thanks to its newly invigorated citizen militia, the nonprofit Valley Forge Park Alliance, it’s marching forward with dazzling plans that will affect ALL of us – anyone who “recreates” in the park (90 percent of visitors), brings guests there, or even drives through. Ten Hut!

Here’s what’s afoot:

1. A TV show. Star fixer-upper Jeff Devlin, host of “Stone House Revival” on HGTV/DIY Network wants to film six episodes in the park and forge an ongoing partnership….

…..2. A new café with character – and a scenic deck for walkers and cyclists. A local real estate guy (not allowed to tell you who yet) is in serious talks with the National Park Service to lease the Maurice Stephens House….For the record: Of the 113 buildings scattered around the park, 74 are historic and 12 of those are colonial era. Bare bones budgets have left many in rough shape, or worse. The Stephens House was built in 1816.

Already a hit: Weddings in the park. Spiffed up and leased by Robert Ryan Catering, the old Philander Chase Knox Estate and adjoining tent hosted 30+ shindigs its first year and will host at least 44 more in 2017.

Ok I make absolutely NO secret of it that I am an old house geek. I am a HUGE fan of Jeff Devlin. He is the real deal and his work is gorgeous. So I think his potential investment in Valley Forge is awesome.

I do not think creating a respite for tourists, cyclists, etc in the form of a café  at the Stephens House is a bad idea per se, although a “scenic deck” gives me pause because I think the historic structure should remain intact so how will a “scenic deck” be constructed? What money will stay with this old house to help it in the future? I have that concern given the condition of Kennedy Supplee and the fact that mansion had a long term tenant …..until they didn’t.

Reader submitted photo pre-wedding venue days at Knox House

So another park structure the Philander Chase Knox House is now a wedding venue. And it is NOT cheap to marry there according to weddingspot.com which said:

The average wedding cost at Philander Chase is estimated at between $15,705 and $23,044 for a ceremony & reception for 100 guests.

Knox House has gotten freshened up. It is a rented space, but it sits in the midst of a PARK as in Federally owned, taxpayer funded land. They have put up signs asking people to walk a longer way around during events and that seems to be mighty inconvenient if you want to get to Mt. Misery from the main park side. (I have not seen with my own eyes and given the way my knee is still wonky post-surgery.)

Reader submitted photo

I am guessing preservation here comes at a cost because yesterday a friend of mine who is an avid outdoorsman and who loves Valley Forge Park sent me a note about Knox House as a wedding venue:

….People go to hear bird chirping, and enjoy peace and as much quiet as possible without piped in music from loudspeakers. Yesterday got to listen to Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder while enjoying Mt. Misery and Mt. Joy. Unreal!

Since Knox went wedding venue I know people who were used to cutting through to a public parking lot by using the house driveway have been stopped by I presume catering or valet staff. Now if an event is in progress maye that would be understandable, but I keep coming back to this house sits in a publicly funded park, so how does all of this work? How should all of this work as a public private partnership?

Should the tenant have to put up some sort of aestheticslly appealing fencing that would delineate the space in its entirety?

So when structures are rented out on publicly owned land to private parties is it a good thing or is it a form of prostitution? Some critics actually DO consider these partnerships sacrelige and not respectful of the history.  Advocates see these partnerships as a necessary evil: adaptive reuse helps old and historic structures survive in a modern world. 

But….are the rules defined enough with these public- private partnerships? And what money out of revenues earned are put aside for historic structures these businesses are renting? Should there almost be managed trust accounts for these buildings?

Thoughts? Comments? Concerns?


Categories: Pennsylvania

pony up for hat wars

Fri, 2017-05-26 11:19

It’s here! The sport of kings everyone heralds Memorial Day and the first minutes of summer in with: hat wars at Devon Horse Show.  “Ladies” Day is May 31, and I am certain it won’t disappoint.


“Buy your reservation now”? Seriously are they paying someone to write this stuff? What happened to “make your reservations now, purchase tickets today?”

But please note The Devon Horse Show category of “Best Jewels of Devon” – I shudder to think about that bedazzling that will be done…can’t you just see bedazzled Lilly LOL?

Sigh….remember the genteel days gone by that once was Ladies’ Day? It used to be so civilized and nice. Today’s Ladies’ Day is just not for me.

I have lovely friends who are still stalwarts of this event.  But even they do not care for the element of Nouveau Devon it attracts.  It’s that whole faux society of it all.   Some of these women think that because they can throw a few fake flowers on the wrong color straw hat and layer on fake pearls that are so cheap they look like pop beads, and buy new Lilly dresses that they are instant society. And the irony is how many of them have ever ridden a horse, how many of them are in fact afraid of horses?  How many of them actually know what is going on at equestrian events?  (I do not pretend to be an expert, but I rode a little as a child and I have a general idea of what’s going on because I have a lot of friends who are horse people for lack of a better description.)

I have always loved horses. And I used to love going to the Devon Horse Show.  But what Devon has evolved into in recent years makes me wish and hope it returns one day to what it was. 

In my mind’s eye I see the Devon I personally remember best. The Devon of the mid 1970s through the 1990s. That was the Devon where you still saw the real Lilly Pulitzer and Vested Gentress dresses and spring/summer ladies pants outfits, and gentlemen had their khacki pants (lots of “Nantucket Reds”) and boaters.

What always sets the vintage Lilly apart from the modern Lilly are not the patterns, but the fabrics.  Today’s fabrics are cheap looking and feeling for the most part.  The fabrics of vintage Lilly and vintage Vested Gentress had weight to them and body. The cotton material was of such a high-quality and weave that it would hold up to heat and humidity.  Modern Lilly has fine patterns but the actual quality of the fabric cheapens the whole deal.

What will be interesting to watch this season at Devon is the society coverage. My money is on Caroline O’Halloran and her Savvy Main Line society glam squad and what will be their coverage.  

Caroline has added a real society column to her super popular website. Caroline’s columns feature a team of ladies who actually used to work for the society pages, and real coverage of events. And with their photos and Caroline’s columns you don’t just have people lined up for well-dressed society mugshots, you have well styled photos, an actual description of the event, what it’s benefiting, and so on and so forth.   It’s old-school and delightful in a modern website format and for those who chose to advetise it is a superior platform and I am not compensated to say that, it’s my opinion.  I find Savvy a much more polished and comprehensive a product when compared to what Susan Scovill puts out, unfortunately for Susan. While Susan pioneered the idea of a local website with event photos when she and the Main Line papers got their divorce a few years ago, her website in my opinion needs to evolve.  

Here is hoping people are better behaved at Devon this year, right? Last year and the police stuff wasn’t very Devon was it? And here is hoping that the people who attend Devon Horse  Show behave better than the people who attended Radnor Hunt, right?  People who are members of Radnor Hunt have been chattering about those who were guests at this season’s event which is at a private club who behaved liked early Animal House Frat House and if this is true, how could they show such casual disregard for Radnor Hunt?

It’s a lovely day for Devon today, however, so go buy a hat, see the horses and have a lemon stick!


Categories: Pennsylvania

modern family

Wed, 2017-05-24 10:31


The concept of family is a sacred thing. When you are little they are that group of people bought together by blood that all look like you.

As you grow up you realize as you form your own family units the concept of family can be redefined. I have a lot of friends who don’t have much family by related blood per se, so the friends fill the family shoes.

When my sister and I were little there were a lot more of us. Not in our immediate family, we were just four people- but through aunts and uncles and cousins and great aunts and great uncles and grandparents and great grandparents there were more of us.  As we grew up, the numbers thinned. But we still had both of our parents.

In 2005 our father died. He had fought prostate cancer valiantly and on his own terms.

For me, the death of my father is still somewhat of a surreal event. My memories from that time are a lot like flashes of  Kaleidoscope images.  Lots of bits separated by flashes of color.

I remember my mother and my sister being so instantly devastated and falling apart around me that I was almost afraid to grieve for a very long time.  I remember looking out across the church which was standing room only giving one of  my father’s eulogies .  In order to get through that and not embarrass myself by dissolving into tears I found two of my friends Stevie and Barb, and focused on them.

Other things I remember from the day of my father’s funeral were two people who weren’t there. One was my father’s brother, his only brother. Even as a child I never thought much of him and I pretty much wrote him off after that. He was like a selfish caricature version of my father. Truthfully, and without guilt and reservation, I can say with a clean conscience I don’t care if I ever see him again.

The other person who wasn’t there that day was my godfather.  That was a more bitter pill to swallow, especially since he lived down the street from the church. He was literally two or three blocks away.

My late godfather was a great disappointment to me on that day.  He had known my father (and mother) since high school and he gave the toast at their wedding.  So I let my godfather go. I was sad for a moment when I heard he had died, but I did not attend his funeral which was at the church a block away from where my father’s funeral had been held. I saw no need to open that door one last time.

We all moved on. It took a while, but we found our way and it was OK but it was different.

Then in 2010, we also lost my brother-in-law quite suddenly.   Our little family unit was devastated all over again. It nearly broke me to watch my sister and her children grieve because there was nothing anyone could do other than to be there for them. It was also so incredibly hard to watch my mother grieve this new loss as well.

Eventually the clouds lifted and we all moved on. One day our mother finally ‘fessed up and told us she was seeing someone. (We had suspected this, incidentally.) Mother seemed almost scared to tell us like we would be upset.  But we weren’t upset, we were very and truly happy for her. We also felt that our father would not have wanted her to be alone because he loved her that much. Our mother was truly happy and alive again, and we loved it.

So for the past few years we have watched a rather remarkable love story develop and unfold. At a time in life where a lot of people tend to wind down and accept a more solitary existence, my mother once again found love.

And my sister and I grew to love her gentlemen as a surrogate father. We felt so lucky and so blessed to have him.

I am especially personally grateful for him as he really gets me as an individual . He has this uncanny intuition with people and capacity to listen to, understand, and love that is just lovely. I don’t know how else to describe it.  And on Monday, 22 May, 2017 he officially became our stepfather.

It was a quiet and intimate occasion, just the children and the couple whose dinner party inadvertently introduced them. Yes, this was something that happened quite literally by fate.

My mother and new stepfather were married by a judge they knew. After the ceremony was complete, the judge asked the children if they had anything to say. My sister spoke, but I didn’t have my words at that time. So I did not speak.

It has taken a couple of days for my wandering thoughts to come together. And among those thoughts I marvel at the modern family we all have become.

My own little family unit is a blended family, and now my larger family unit is a blended family. My sister and I have five stepsiblings! We gained four brothers and one sister…and that does not include spouses and children!

The thing about my newly blended family is how marvelous they are. Seriously, they are awesome.

We (the children) have all gotten to know each other over these past few years as our parents came together from being widowed.  So this is actually a really happy time for all of us. We all have had our bittersweet moments as we remember the parents who are no longer with us, but we are so fortunate that our parents have found such a wonderful love together and bought all of us together.

The power of love and happiness is a powerful thing indeed.  We are all stronger and better together. A true case of  Yours, Mine, and Ours — which incidentally is one of my favorite movies.  (The 1968 version starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.)

Believe in love. It takes you on the most unexpected journeys in life.

Thanks for stopping by.


Categories: Pennsylvania

when gardening, know your mail order grower

Sun, 2017-05-21 19:16


The photo above (and the next photo below this paragraph) were both  taken on a garden tour last spring. I love hostas! I really generally speaking have a hosta disease! I am always looking for interesting cultivars and growers who might have hostas I want to try but never have been able to find locally.


But I learned a valuable lesson recently about knowing your grower. And knowing your grower especially when it comes to mail order plants.

I have been ordering plants from reputable growers up and down the eastern seaboard and as far away as Washington state for years.

I was searching out particular hosta cultivars and decided to check eBay.  Believe it or not I have had wonderful luck with some small plant growers on eBay in the past. For example, I received wonderful woodland ferns from a small nursery outfit in Tennessee.

So there is this grower who is a dually listed on eBay and Amazon. I figured since they were on two sites that generally try to police their sellers I was OK ordering plants. I didn’t stop to pay attention to the reviews. I should have. If I had paid attention to the reviews I would’ve saved myself a lot of trouble.

I ordered the plants and then I waited. And waited. When I received no tracking number to track my package from the seller after over a week I messaged the grower to ask if the plants had shipped and if I could have a tracking number.

I also at that time asked if I was getting bare root or if they were coming in pots. The seller said they always ship bare root.

I am not a novice gardener and I am fine with bare root plants. I figured all would be fine.

Boy was I mistaken.

The plants arrived Saturday. Poorly packaged in a small square box, they arrived mostly dead. I literally had thrown my money away.

For all of the plants I have ordered over the years mail order, never had I received any in such poor condition. And what was described as a “starter” plant (for example) looked like a piece of wilted micro lettuce.

The plants were shipped in dry newspaper in little sandwich baggies with the hosta cultivars scribbled illegibly on the outside of the baggies. There was no ventilation in the little square box and the plants were dried out, wilted, and mostly dead. And so small. I am used to mail order plants but these were puny, so not as described in my humble opinion.

I took a deep breath and contacted the “grower” to see what they would do. I gave them the opportunity to do the right thing. I wanted healthy plants, not a refund. And I was not seeking free plants. I would have been satisfied with an “I am so sorry.” Or even an intelligent conversation in the hopes of achieving an amicable resolution. After all, who likes wasting money?

The response from the “grower” was swift and nasty to be honest.  They accused me of “blackmail” and demanded (not requested) I mail back “their” plants (even though I had paid $70+ for “their” plants.

I will be honest, I was taken aback by the sheer nastiness of their attitude, and I said calmly that I was not going to put myself out MORE money to mail back sub par mostly dead plants.  

I have learned a valuable lesson. And if I had read the reviews posted online I probably would not have purchased a thing from them. If they need my hard earned money so badly, hey they can keep it.

Know your grower. And if you do not, check them out. (And yes, another case made for buying local.)


On a certain level I am disappointed, because people who are true nursery men and women are generally speaking some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

Do not be afraid of ordering plants via mail order, just check out the grower ahead of time. Again, lesson learned for me. I broke my rule of checking them out.

Good customer service matters.  


Categories: Pennsylvania

progress?

Thu, 2017-05-18 19:45

Welcome to “Chapel Hill” on Devon Road  in Willistown….otherwise known as what Daylesford Abbey sold off a few years ago.


Categories: Pennsylvania

make a trip to dan dan in devon

Thu, 2017-05-18 19:11


Dan Dan in Devon is open in the old Ella’s Bistro spot behind where Braxton’s is. What a welcome change to the same old same old.

Taiwanese and Sichuan cuisine. And the food is delicious. Clean flavor combinations and very fresh, I will be coming back again!

Service was a little frazzled by the time we left because they just got slammed with diners.

They have a full bar, and the flora and fauna didn’t disappoint. I am thinking White Dog Cafe is missing some of their cougars. But then again if the cougars of the Main Line are migrating already, then you know Dan Dan is a hit!

Everything was delicious. Don’t pass up the signature Dan Dan noodles and the dumplings with Chili oil!

Dan Dan is located at 214 Sugartown Road Wayne, but it’s really Devon. Reservations are a good idea especially Thursday dinner service through the weekend. 484-580-8558


Categories: Pennsylvania

they found anna maciejewska’s car, but where is anna?

Tue, 2017-05-16 19:05

I woke up thinking about a woman I have never ever met and a little boy whom I have also never met but I imagine is so missing his mommy right now.  I woke up thinking about Anna Maciejewska, again.  I thought about her on Mother’s Day too.

I wrote about Anna on May 7th. A few days later (May 10th or 11th) I started hearing what a lot of folks had heard: that they had found her car in a neighboring development – Charlestown Meadows.  (People had reported some sort of police helicopter etc one day last week.)

Yesterday The Daily Local published an article that the police had indeed found her car:
Update: Pennsylvania State Police continue search for missing woman after discovering her car

By Ginger Dunbar, Daily Local News

POSTED: 05/15/17, 7:11 PM EDT

CHARLESTOWN >> Pennsylvania State Police are continuing to search for a missing woman after finding her car.

State police, Embreeville barracks announced on Monday that they located a dark blue 2011 Audi A4 with the license plate HTF2919 belonging to Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska, 43, of Charlestown. She was last seen leaving her Charlestown Township home on Hedgerow Lane for work around 9:45 a.m. on Monday, April 10. Maciejewska did not show up for work at Voya Financial that Monday or Tuesday, according to state police.

State police found her vehicle at Charlestown Meadows overflow parking lot on May 8. Following the recovery of her car, Embreeville Station requested search dogs and the help of the state police Cadets in Hershey who were bused in to perform a grid search of the woods and neighborhoods surrounding Charlestown Meadows.

“To date we still have not located Anna Maciejewska and continue to investigate the case as a missing person,” state police said in a news release.

(I looked for the press release on the Pennsylvania State Police website but could not find it.)

So if they found her car but not her, that seems truly nefarious does it not? Does anyone think she would take off and leave her precious child behind? I don’t know her, but I don’t believe she would.

I was talking to a friend today who said she hoped this didn’t turn into another Susan Reinert case. Susan was the Upper Merion teacher who lived in Ardmore PA who disappeared in the 1970s.  Her body was found in 1979, but her children, to this day have never been found.  Another friend said they hoped it did not end up like the Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone case, who 12 years later still seemed as if they vanished into thin air.

This saddens me.  For each day that goes by, people seem to wonder if poor Anna Maciejewska is still alive? It has been over a month, so who knows? I hope so, I truly do. Her son deserves his mama.

I have a few female friends who emigrated to the US from Poland. They have been generous in sharing their customs and traditions with me over the years.  They introduced me to Kruschiki (a kind of cookie which I have been given at Christmas and Easter), and one friend every year sends me the oplatek at Christmas (a small unleavened wafer similar to communion if you are Catholic) which is broken at Christmas on Christmas Eve before dinner “Wigilia” – family members break a little piece off and pass it around with good wishes)

I have spoken to one of my Polish friends more than once about this since we all learned of the disappearance of Anna.  She tells me that the Polish community is tight.  Philadelphia, Bucks County, and even Allentown are active communities.  I do not know if she (Anna) was active in any of those communities or not.  My friend says that the Polish community has been buzzing about this, but I don’t really know if Anna was part of it.  It’s a wonderful community with Polish schools for the little ones to learn the culture of their parents, festivals, and so on. I also know that all of my Polish friends are close to family still in Poland.  Two of my friends travel with their children every summer for visits with family.

A Polish newspaper (Polish Daily News)  printed a story on Mother’s day about Anna.

Opublikowano: Niedziela 14 maja 2017

Rodzina i przyjaciele proszą o pomoc w znalezieniu Ani (“Family and friends are asking for help to find Anna”)

Autor: AS Rodzina i przyjaciele poszukują 43-letniej Ani Maciejewskiej z powiatu Chester w Pensylwanii. Ania 10 kwietnia o 9:45 rano wyszła z domu do pracy i od tej pory nie wiadomo co się z nią stało. Na Facebooku powstała podstrona “Finding Anna Maciejewska”, gdzie rodzina i przyjaciele opisują szczegóły dotyczące zaginięcia Polki. Jak czytamy, ostatnią osobą, która ją widziała. Mówi, że wychodziła do pracy “w panice”, śpiesząc się na zebranie do pracy. Współpracownicy, z kolei mówią, że żadnego ważnego spotkania nie było tylko codzienny 15-minutowe spotkanie, który Ania mogła opuścić.

The Finding Anna Maciejewska page on Facebook posted a photo of Anna’s mom

If anyone knows anything, please, please help this family.  They need to find their beloved Anna. They are half a world away, I can’t even imagine the anguish.

Another Polish newspaper Super Express printed a story – a friend of mine provided the English translation from where it was posted:

“Here’s a translation of article from today’s Polish newspaper with more information:

‘Where are you Anna? Search for missing Polish woman from Pennsylvania continues.
Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska (43) from Malvern in Chester County PA was last seen leaving for work on April 10, 2017. She did not return home since…We will disclose new information on this story. Reporters from “Super Express” interviewed Anna’s mother, Janina, who lives in Warsaw, Poland.We would like to remind everyone, based on Associated Press, investigators determined that Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska left her home on Hedgerow Lane on April 10th at about 9:45am. She was in a hurry, however she never made it to work at Voya Financial. Anna Maciejewska did not return home either. She left her house in a navy blue Audi A4, 2011 model with Pennsylvania license plate HTF2919. The last person to see Anna was her husband Allan. He told investigators that she left for work in a “panic” and was rushing to attend a work related meeting. She did not take her cell phone with her.Anna’s co-workers say that no important meeting was held that morning, only a daily 15-minute meeting, which she was able to miss. We determined that her last day at work was March 26 and she was last seen in public in a restaurant having dinner with her husband and 4 year old son on April 2.-Anna together with her son planned a trip to Poland for her father’s 80th birthday, which were on March 30. Three days earlier on March 27th she called us with this information that she will arrive in Poland in four days. On March 28th she sent a text message which said: “Mommy, something came up at work and we will arrive on Thursday, but we will stay the weekend (returning on Monday). Kisses, Anna” and in the evening she called and stated the same. I suggested that we postpone the birthday celebrations until Easter. She said she will discuss this in the evening with her husband, Allan. On Wednesday March 29th we were not in contact with Anna the whole day and only when we sent a text message with a question if she is coming to Poland, she replied with “I’m sorry I cannot come, kisses Anna” – said Janina, Anna’s mother. She added that on March 30th, on her father’s birthday, Anna didn’t call him with birthday wishes but sent a text message. Her father was very disappointed and offended by the fact that she didn’t call. “It’s really not like her” said Janina. Her parents also add that since then none of Anna’s friends or family have spoken to her.Anna allegedly fell ill and send a text message to her work that she will take the week of April 3rd off. On April 10th she never made it in to work and she didn’t return home that evening. Her family from Poland reported her missing on April 10th to the police in Philadelphia PA.On the day she went missing Anna didn’t have her passport with her, but she probably had her wallet. On April 8th Anna’s mother spoke with her husband Allan, who told her to call back in two days. Anna’s friends describe her as very intelligent and likable. She lives in a beautiful house, which she designed herself. She is a valued and well liked co-worker. Anna’s mother, Janina, believes that Anna would never leave her four year old son, whom she loves above all. Anna Maciejewska is from Warsaw Poland and has been living in the United States for 20 years. Trooper Brian Olszewski is investigating Anna’s missing person case. Anna’s sister hired a private detective. Official searches for Anna can be organized if there are leads in regards to her whereabouts. As of now Anna’s friend plans to hang posters within the next few days.Reporters from “Super Express” tried to contact Anna’s husband Allan and Trooper Olszewski for comments, but have not heard back from either party (as of Thursday night). ‘

 

Finally, here is an excerpt of a story posted by Dateline NBC yesterday afternoon for their Missing in America segment:

MISSING IN AMERICA MISSING IN AMERICA MAY 15 2017, 4:10 PM ET

Suspicious Disappearance of Pennsylvania Mother Anna Maciejewska Alarms Family and Friends

Anna Maciejewska was always in touch.

Anna Maciejewska Finding Anna Maciejewska

Originally from Poland, the 43-year-old kept in close contact with her elderly parents who still live overseas.

A respected actuary, she is consistent and communicative at work, according to co-workers.

And as the mother of a four-year-old son, Anna appeared to be a wonderful mother who adored her little boy, family members said.

But Anna mysteriously vanished more than a month ago. And the hazy details surrounding her disappearance have shaken her family and friends.….According to police, Anna was last seen on the morning of April 10, 2017 leaving her family’s home outside Malvern, Pennsylvania…..Anna’s mother traveled to the U.S. shortly after Anna disappeared to help search for her daughter. She and Anna’s nephew Michel stayed with Anna’s husband and son for a week. But they were unable to uncover any significant leads to Anna’s whereabouts.

Anna’s mother had to head back to Poland without any answers about her daughter…..Michal told Dateline the family is concerned because they learned Anna had recently been suffering from depression. “We didn’t know how bad it was, so of course that is alarming to us,” he said.….”She’s a daughter, a mother, a friend,” Michal told Dateline. “We just need someone to help.”

 

She’s a daughter, a mother, a friend. Truer words have never been spoken.  I don’t know her, but this could be any woman any of us might know.  This is a cruel twist of fate we just can’t predict. But this woman, this Anna whom I do not know, deserves better than this. Anna had been living her American dream with a successful career, family, home of her own.  When and why did her American dream become an American nightmare?

One last thing. The page her friends put up on Facebook Finding Anna Maciejewska has put up an event people can attend this coming Thursday May 18.  The organizer says It’s a meeting to organize a search and information.  Here is a screen shot you can see if you are not on Facebook to view the event: 


Categories: Pennsylvania