A Tribute To The Treehouse Coffee Shop

18 Mar

Our favorite hangout in Audubon is closed, and everyone is feeling a deep loss because this little coffee house was a home and sanctuary for many people. Everyone was welcomed and treated with love. The credit of course goes to the owners of the Treehouse Coffee Shop.

Randy and Tina

It takes a special person to not only run a successful business, but to make their customers feel like family. Tina and Randy Van Osten not only made their customers feel like family for eighteen years, they did this while serving up healthy, tasty, organic food. Tina is an environmental & biology science teacher. Randy is a Baptist minister at the First Baptist Church in Pitman.  What makes these two people truly wonderful is that they live the bible. They included everyone into their fold no matter their race, religious beliefs, sexual preference, or nationality.

I began to visit the Treehouse right after I retired from the Academy of Natural Science in Philly. I began babysitting my neighbor’s daughter. Every Tuesday, Isabella and I went to the Treehouse to dance to Sara O’Brien’s Expresso Yourself music hour. It was a safe place for a very shy child to open up and join in the sing-alongs with the other children.

Later, after publishing the first book of my sci-fi Roof Oasis Series, I held my very first book launch at the Treehouse, as did other members of the writers’ club that I belonged to: South Jersey’s Writers’ Group.  Five books later, I was still holding my book releases at the Treehouse. Tina always made sure that everything was perfect for the book launch.

Later, when I began to grow in my spirituality and decided to use my psychic/medium gifts to bring people closer to GOD, Randy and Tina allowed me to use the little cubbyhole in the back of their coffee shop to speak with my clients. I do hope that being in the Treehouse, which I felt was a blessed place, did bring my clients closer to the Lord.

I will also miss the Treehouse Staff. They were an extension of Randy’s and Tina’s love for humanity. In all the years that I was at the Treehouse, not once did I ever see a staff member lose their temper or be rude. If anything, everyone who worked at the Treehouse were amazing people. I will miss you guys.

Conclusion

I don’t think we can ever replace the effect that the Treehouse had on our community, but maybe we can remember the good works of its owners Randy and Tina by continuing to treat every single person that we meet in our lives as the Face of GOD.

As I said before, Randy is the minister of the First Baptist Church in Pitman and he has set up a thrift shop at the church which will be having a grand opening this Saturday. Randy is hoping to make the church a community hub for all. God Bless you, Randy and Tina. You helped to make me a better person.

Fig Leaf Thrift will hold its grand opening complete with a ribbon cutting ceremony, live music by local artist Richie Green, free merch giveaway, and free drinks/snacks on Saturday, March 20 at 10:00 a.m.

“We see the needs of families who have experienced job loss due to COVID pandemic to be fulfilled and thought that a thrift store would be a good job,” Van Osten said.

The Fig Leaf will sell clothes, housewares, books, etc. at a low cost. However, he and his team had a greater vision than just a thrift store.

Gilbert Speaks on Fig Leaf Thrift

16 Mar

Good friends of mine asked me to share this. I am hoping that everyone in the area will stop by for the grand opening

Rev. Randy Van Osten                          FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 3/15/2021

Fig Leaf Thrift

The Lighthouse Community Center

856-580-4926

revrandy25@gmail.com

Fig Leaf Thrift Sprouts in Pitman

The Lighthouse Community Center Announces Grand Opening of Its Inaugural Endeavor Fig Leaf Thrift

Pitman, NJ- March 15, 2021- As the pandemic wore on and affected many people in various ways, the First Baptist Church of Pitman created The Lighthouse Community Center.  The mission of the center: Like a lighthouse: we serve as a navigational aid helping people navigate life through education, mentoring, job skills training, and life skills training; we help keep people from danger by providing for their physical, emotional, and relational needs. We are a beacon of hope and a harbor of refuge and safety for all those seeking.  With this creation came the rebirth of Fig Leaf Thrift which had been a “program of concern” in Pitman from 1967-77 “designed to recycle clothing donated by area residents for those who need help”. 

Fig Leaf Thrift is a resale shop that will sell clothes, housewares, books, etc. at a low cost to raise money for The Lighthouse Community Center.  We will also give to those in need.  We want to be able to serve our community in both ways.  At the same time, in the event of an emergency or disaster, we plan to serve those affected through opening access to the resources in Fig Leaf Thrift and services supported by the Lighthouse Community Center. 

The Lighthouse Community Center will be home to an afterschool program starting in the fall 2021 in partnership with Renaissance Village.  Kids will have an opportunity to learn, grow, mentor, and have fun.  Since the number of people with food insecurity continues to grow, we will start providing hot meals to go once a week in the next month or so.  Job and life skills training are going to be another important part of the Lighthouse.  As we continue to see needs arise, we will do what we can to help people through the dangerous seas of life.  You can become a part of The Lighthouse Community Center.  Volunteers are always needed

. The Lighthouse Community Center will celebrate the grand opening of its Fig Leaf Thrift with a ribbon cutting ceremony, live music by local artist Richie Green, free merch giveaway, and free drinks/snacks on Saturday, March 20 at 10:00AM.

Gilbert Speaks on The Walking Dead S10 E18

8 Mar

On this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, Carol and Daryl go on a road trip to the past that gives us a peek into Dog’s origin and Daryl’s quest to find Rick.

Find Me

 For TWD fans as myself, who was hoping to see Carol and Daryl together as a couple in a version of a “Happy Everly After” apocalyptic fairy tale…this was not the episode. I was almost tricked into believing this was the moment when Carol hitched a ride on Daryl’s bike to go find food for Alexandria.

Alexandria, if you remember from last week, was attacked by the Whisperers, who not only knocked down a few barrier walls, but also destroyed the town’s veggie patch. While on this trip, we learn through flashbacks about a woman Daryl encountered while searching for his friend/brother, Rick.

Leah

Carol and Daryl talk about their survival prospects and, while Carol feels that the odds are against them, Daryl is more positive. I felt this was a time for Carol and Daryl to bond over past hurts and especially their widely different methods of handling danger, but it was not meant to be. Old memories come back to haunt Daryl.

While hunting, Dog leads Carol and Daryl to this old cabin. And this is where we get the first flashback. While living along the riverbank in a makeshift shanty that was definitely not waterproof…Daryl is startled to see a puppy run up to him. This puppy is Dog. Through Dog, Daryl meets the inhabitant of the cabin. Leah (Lynn Collins) is a survivor just like Daryl, and she is tough. She makes Daryl a prisoner even though he helped put down a house walker.

Daryl is such a loner, that his clumsiness to friend another human is pure comic relief. For example, Daryl’s dating technique is to throw a dead fish at Leah’s cabin door as a hello. Leah who is just as stubborn, walks over to Daryl’s came and throws the fish back. After several attempts at friendship, Leah invites Daryl to stay with her.

Leah has lost people in her squad, and she has also lost her son, Matthew. Although she did not give birth to this boy, she took him as her own when her friend died in childbirth. When the squad was attacked, the boy had been bitten. He looked to be around five years old. The very day that the boy had died, Dog was born. We don’t know what happened to Dog’s mom. Over the following months, Daryl and Leah became very close, but Daryl still needed to find Rick.

Conclusion

Daryl is afraid to make commitments when it comes to the heart. Leah told Daryl that he had to choose between Rick, Alexandria, and her. Why didn’t she go with Daryl back to Alexandria? We will never know, but Daryl returned to his search for Rick. Another thing that has bugged me since watching the show last night was this. If Carol had not decided to go live with Ezekiel and Henry, would Daryl have gone back to his friends? I keep feeling that Carol and Daryl are never on the same page at the same time.

When Daryl realized that he had walked out on a good thing, Leah was not at the cabin. Where did she go? Did someone take her? We only know that Dog was there to greet Daryl. Hoping that Leah would one day return, Daryl leaves a note for her, “Find Me.”

Now, Daryl has a chance to forgive Carol, but all he can do is to blame her for Connie’s death. When Daryl tells Carol that he should have never stopped her from running away, and that she doesn’t know when to stop…my heart broke. All these years it has always been these two solitary soldiers that TWD fans cheered on. They are the apocalyptic version of Captain America and Wonder Woman.

This was a very emotional episode. I don’t know when we will see Leah again, but I am really hoping that Carol wasn’t right when she told Daryl, “Our luck’s run out, you and me.” We can’t end this series without a Daryl/Carol team.

Gilbert Speaks on The Walking Dead S10E17

3 Mar

I am sorry that I’m late with the post, but I am fighting a bad case of pneumonia. I am so happy that my favorite show about death, zombies, heroes and the apocalypse if back. I truly believe The Walking Dead mirrors real life and especially 2020 and 2021. Maggie is back in town and there is a new threat.

Home Sweet Home

Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and her small tribe, including her and Glenn’s son Hershel, have returned to find that Hilltop is a smoldering disaster…all thanks to the Whisperers. Judith is in her glory to have Auntie Maggie back, and oh by the way, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is now one of us. The Stink Eye that Maggie gives Negan was worth watching this episode. The look of surprise or disbelief is palpable when Carol (Melissa McBride) reveals that she allowed Negan to escape. He was their best chance at destroying the Whisperers. Seven years have passed since Maggie left with Georgie and the twins, and now that she is back, Team Rick is barely a skeleton of its former self. Maggie has had her own battles to fight with a group called the Reapers. This nasty group has killed most of the new people Maggie has befriended on her travels.

Maggie has two new bodyguards: Cole (James Devoti) and Hoodie Ninja. If you are any kind of a horror show aficionado, then you will immediately equate masks with Michael Myers from Halloween. But with the help of Kelly, we find out that Hoodie Ninja aka Elijah (Okea Eme-Akwari) is really a nice guy who has been traumatized by the loss of his sister.

Reapers with a spoiler

We don’t know much about the Reapers, but it seems that they have followed Maggie and her team. The other half of Maggie’s team, which includes her son, have been attacked. All that’s left are two charred bodies. Where is Hershel? Did the Reapers take him? Daryl (Norman Reedus), who has a special bond with Kelly, tells Kelly to go with Cole and Elijah while he and Maggie track the survivors of this latest attack.

All I am going to say is if this lone Reaper dressed in a ghillie suit is an indication of what S11 will bring us…then we are in for a treat. The Reapers must be military because lone Reaper is an excellent sniper and kills off more of Maggie’s group. He eventually overcomes Daryl and Maggie…and when he is injured and captured…gives Maggie a message from Pope. Who the hell is Pope? We never find out because lone Reaper is not in any mood to chat….KABOOM!

Conclusion

Luckily, we get to meet little Hershel (Kien Michael Spiller). My granny spider senses are telling me this little tyke is a miniature Glenn. He even wears a baseball cap like his dad. He was smart enough to hide from the Reaper, and I am pretty sure that Maggie has taught Hershel everything from her bag of Mommy tricks for surviving the freaking apocalypse.

I like how Kelly is growing in her role and how she and Maggie get to bond over the loss of family. Maggie encourages Kelly (Angel Theory) to keep looking for her sister. Once they safely return to Alexandria, Maggie ignores Negan as her team walk past him. I don’t think Maggie will ever forgive Negan, but Negan has a way with kids, and maybe he will make things right for Hershel.

I don’t know what to expect in The Walking Dead world, because in our world we are fighting our own zombie apocalypse (Covid) and we have our own monsters…Nazi sympathizers within our own ranks who tried to overthrow our government. It would be interesting to see who survives this year. Any bets?

Gilbert Speaks on The Nain Rouge Murders

7 Nov

I love watching independent films, and I love everything that Jeremiah Kipp has directed so far. His latest work is a short horror documentary. What is scarier than the Slender Man or Mothman? Find out with my review, and interview with Jeremiah Kipp.

Review

The Nain Rouge Murders is a Beautiful Lady production short film written by Joe Fiorillo and produced by Jeremiah Kipp and Ari Rossen. It stars Ari Rossen, Suzette Gunn, Larry Mihlon, Sydney Morgan, Ashley Noel Jones, and Silvia Dionicio. The Nain Rouge Murders is part of the “Self-Taped at Home During Coronavirus 2020 series.”

The documentary is based on the legendary creature that haunts Detroit Michigan. It is said that horrific deaths occur whenever the creature is spotted. Nain Rouge is French for Red Dwarf. History has it that the Nain Rouge has been seeking revenge on the unfortunate citizens of Detroit because of Detroit’s founding father, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac’s refusal to appease the creature. Using interviews with City Councilman, Harry Walker (Jim True Frost), the police department, and friends of one of the victims, a reporter tries to get to the bottom of the savage murder of three teenagers that happened during the March of the Nain Rouge festival.

Interview with Jeremiah Kipp

Gilbert: Jeremiah, how did you hear about the Nain Rouge, and what convinced you to do this in documentary form?

Jeremiah Kipp: Our producer Ari Rossen is from Michigan, and the legend of the Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf) is part of his cultural history.  As a metaphor for the painful history of Detroit, one of our great and dissipated American cities, this was a powerful monster. Since I’ve always been interested in true crime documentaries, that format felt like a way to ground our story in some of our harsher realities.

Gilbert: How many films have you produced since Covid, and is it hard getting everyone on point while working from a distance? What difficulties have you run into?

Jeremiah Kipp: We’ve made at least six or seven, and have three more in post.  Having everyone self-tape at home made actors have to be responsible for photography and sound; although nowadays a lot of them self tape for auditions so they’re getting used to it!

Now that production seems to be resuming on set, I don’t currently have any plans for more of them. But in movies as in life, one never knows what will happen until it happens.

Gilbert: Will you consider making a longer version of The Nain Rouge Murders once we overcome Covid?

Jeremiah Kipp: We’re already developing a script with our writer Joe Fiorillo.  Audiences seem to enjoy this one; it feels like they’d love to hear more about the Red Dwarf.  

Gilbert: What are you working on now?

Jeremiah Kipp: We’re just wrapping up post on the feature length version of our monster movie SLAPFACE, and just wrapped my first project back on set: a ghost story called DRAW UP AND STARE starring wonderful actors Michael O’Keefe, Linda Powell and Academy Award winner Melissa Leo. We look forward to sharing this work in 2021.

Gilbert Speaks on The Walking Dead S10 Finale

7 Oct

All good things come to those who wait in a pandemic isolation mode. Yes, like most of my fellow TWD fans that are trapped inside a time loop with no escape until the election…we were left to wonder what had happened to our favorite Team. The wait was well worth it, and we were awarded a few surprises.

A Certain Doom

There was a lot to worry about all season especially with the writers messing with our Ninja Queen, Carol. Don’t mess with Carol! She is a strong woman and we don’t break easily.

Team Hillside, Team Alexandria, and Team Oceanside have their plans, but so does Beta. The children must be protected. I love how Daryl has taken the role of father over Little Kick-ass Judith and her little brother. You fight harder when you have children to protect.  Team Daryl, having taken a gore and guts bath, slowly make their way through the horde…but the Whisperers are in that horde. Beatrice has the backpack with the Radio Shack electrical equipment that is needed to lure the horde away.

Lydia and Negan

We have been given glimpses of what Negan was like before the apocalypse, but the memory of his bat cutting down Glenn and Abraham still stings. Even if I don’t usually believe that people can change their ways, I think Negan has turn away from the Dark Force because of two young girls.

Negan has always had a soft spot for Judith because she is smart and sassy, and she stands up to him. Judith is viewed as a pintsized fellow warrior. Lydia is different. She is vulnerable, abused, and not welcomed by the others because of Alpha. Negan is protective of Lydia. Negan is the father figure who gives Lydia Alpha’s face mask. Lydia and Carol are a different matter. Carol is unwilling to open her heart to the girl because of what Alpha did to her family…but Lydia’s need for forgiveness, and maybe a mother figure, is putting chinks in Carol’s titanium armor. Carol tells Lydia that the girl must “Find her own way.”

Rock On

Lydia is a big help to the Team archers as she points out the hidden Whisperers among the horde. As each Whisperer is shot down, the horde does the good old fashion gore and guts buffet…which we haven’t seen in a long time. If you have walkers…you need the gore. Beta is also a good leader and pulls his people in a closer circle which causes poor Beatrice from Oceanside to get killed. Carol, at first, keeps moving but then returns for the backpack. Lydia, wearing Alpha’s mask comes to the rescue.

Backpack rescued, Team Daryl is able to lead the horde away from Team Gabe and towards a cliff with the song Bringing Down the House…but rascally Beta soon puts a stop to that. The decision is made for Carol and Lydia to tag lead the walkers to the cliff, while Daryl and Negan go after Beta and his people.

Conclusion

There were many surprises: Lydia saving Carol before she jumped. I think Carol is going to adopt Lydia. Carol needs to teach Lydia how to be a warrior, and Lydia needs to teach Carol how to open her heart and forgive.

Negan and Daryl worked as a tag team in bringing down Beta. Although Negan was surprised with Beta’s identity, Daryl couldn’t give a damn. Beta actually got what he always wanted. He happily lived among the walkers, and now, he is one.

Gabe is rescued from Whisperers by Maggie, and her very own masked hooded Ninja. Who is this stranger? He has the same moves as our beloved

I saved the best for last. Connie is alive and meets Virgil. Team Eugene accompanied by Princess are still on their search for Eugene’s true love, Stephanie…what they encounter are storm troopers right out of Star Wars. Are they part of the group that Jadis belongs to? Is Rick there? Who is that masked man with Maggie? I can’t wait for the next season.   

Gilbert Speaks on Schitt’s Creek

1 Oct

We are surely living in some surrealist dark times, what with the pandemic, a traitorous president, and a terrorist group known as the Proud Boys threatening voters with a bloody civil war…God only knows how much America needs a good belly laugh. Thanks to our friends in the north, we have just the series that will help us to forget our troubles.

Plot

Schitt’s Creek, the Canadian sitcom created by father and son team Dan and Eugene Levy follows the trials and tribulations of the Rose family. Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy who made his money with video stores and his wife Moira (Catherine O’Hara) a former soap opera actress, along are shocked to learn that they have lost their fortune after being scammed by their business manager. They have only one asset left a small town called Schitt’s Creek.

Broke, they are forced to live in a run-down motel with their two spoiled and entitled adult children, David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy). It’s almost like watching a bizarre version of the Beverly Hills Hillbillies. The Roses are not only forced to adjust to living the poor life, but they must also tolerate the shifty mayor of the town, Roland Schitt (Chris Elliott).

There is a host of characters that you will fall in love with starting with my favorite, Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire), the motel clerk. Moira tries to fit in, but her clothing and wigs are a sight to behold. David and Alexis have never worked a day in their lives and are way past the age of freeloading off their parents, but you find yourself cheering them on because they are so innocent of their outrageous behavior.

During the 2020 Emmys show, Schitt’s Creek became the first comedy series to seep the four acting categories (Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Supporting Actor, Outstanding supporting actress).

Conclusion

I highly recommend this series. Watch the show on Netflix, and maybe if we can get enough people laughing…all our troubles will disappear.

Gilbert Speaks on Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman

11 Aug

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I need to apologize for not posting more often on my blogs. There are several reasons, but the most relevant reason is that I am dealing with the loss of my husband. Not only have I been lax in film and TV series reviews, but I haven’t done any writing on the fifth installment of my Roof Oasis Series. Anyway…when I do watch an unusual film, I make the time to write about it. Last night, I accidently came across Ang Lee’s Eat Drink Man Woman. Will this film make it into my Granny’s Insomnia Theatre Collection? Continue reading

Gilbert Speaks on Romance and Cigarettes

12 Jun

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There are films that I love so much that I immediately include them into my Granny’s Insomnia Theater Collection. John Turturro’s romantic comedy is one of them. At a time when we are ass deep in a pandemic, while people of color are fighting for the right to be seen as fellow humans, I needed something to take my mind away from the insanity. Romance and Cigarettes did the job. Continue reading

Gilbert Speaks on Kim’s Convenience, A Netflix Sitcom

9 May

kims-convenience-season-4-netflix-release-date

Due to the pandemic and my husband’s passing after his brave battle with a rare lymphoma, I have stayed cocooned in my house. I need to heal and adjust to my loss. Thankfully to my good friend, Jean aka a fellow psychic/medium….I learned about an awesome series on Netflix. What is Kim’s Convenience all about? Continue reading