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Family Time, by Diane Chase

Choosing my favorite plants

It is that time of year when I have to choose which plants live or die. It’s a yearly decision that I don’t take lightly. I have mostly potted or hanging plants because my dog, voles, mice, chipmunks, a woodchuck and rabbit decided years ago that I shouldn’t grow annuals directly into ...

The fine line between sadness and tragedy

This may be a vastly unpopular stance, but here I go again. Please stop telling my high school senior how sorry you are for her. She completely understands how her senior and junior years are different from the ones her older brother experienced. Believe me, she gets it. I know it may be ...

Help people learn from mistakes

Recently a couple of young hikers were lost in the woods near Ray Brook. They were admittedly unprepared for hiking at night with only a dead phone for a light source. They did have the means to start a fire. Thankfully they got out safely with the help of a ranger who had originally directed ...

One infested summer

I’m not sure what is happening in everyone else’s backyard, but I’m tripping over a daily carpet of chipmunks. They have the audacity to take one bite out of a piece of fruit and then throw the rest at my feet like petulant children. Yes, I understand those sweet little striped-tailed ...

Back to school

It is that time of year when my social media is filled with Back to School photos. Friends are sending their children off to college for the first time or preparing for their child’s return to campus. They are shopping for their elementary, junior high, or high school students’ supply list, ...

Traffic violations: Be careful out there

Every person in my family has gotten some sort of traffic violation. I don’t think that makes us bad drivers in case you feel the need to clear a path when you see one of us coming. Just because we’ve been in accidents doesn’t mean we were always at fault. (I was once in San Francisco ...

Lessons I hope my children learn

I’ve always joked about how well prepared I hope my children will be when I kick them out of the nest. (Currently, the nest eviction time feels like it will be never. Well played, COVID-19.) I want them to make fixable mistakes and be able to learn from them while still in our house. I want. ...

Leave no trace

In my opinion, as I live through my first pandemic, two vastly different life philosophies are being demonstrated. It is not a matter of the “Haves” and “Have Nots.” It is a matter of the “Every person for themselves” versus “How can I help?” I hope I fall into the realm of ...

Xenophobic or cautious — where do we draw the line?

I recently had a conversation with an official after I requested hand sanitizer while volunteering at an event. The official’s response was everyone is xenophobic. I disagreed. Here is the backstory. I was masked as requested and taking precautions, but at all the previous events giant ...

Living up to our potential?

I heard a lot about my children’s potential by well-meaning people. I need you to understand when someone is trying to help my struggling child, I am willing to listen to anything. At one point, in my child’s younger days, I would have even tried an exorcism. It was never recommended. The ...

Learning the meaning of words

It seems I may have to start each column with addressing questions from my last one. Last week I said I had called people names in the past, specifically my children. Perfect parents don’t have to go down this rabbit hole. To set the record straight, I’m not a fan of calling people “swear ...

Continue to question your behavior

I find I can dig in deep when I'm trying to prove a point to my children. I can hold on to what I believe to be true (from stupid things like a coaster prevents water rings on a table to more serious infractions like name-calling is never a good option.) I've been guilty of both and other ...

COVID scare

There are quite a few phone calls I don't want to ever get. One is regarding my children and car accidents. The other ones are regarding any type of health issue. Recently my child had been sent home from work because someone had tested positive for COVID. Now you can skip right to the bottom ...

Please be nice when you’re eating out

I know I’m speaking to the choir and you are all polite to the person who has sat you at your table, mixed your drink, brought you a beverage, taken your order, filled your water glass, cleaned up your table, and prepared your meal. It doesn’t even cover the people behind the scene you ...

Supporting the local food process

Listen, I like my avocado toast just like the next overprivileged person. I could eat an avocado a day. If there was a reason for me to move to a warmer climate, it would be to have avocado trees and perhaps mangos, but mostly avocados. Though I do buy local food and grow a few ...

Please read beyond the headlines

In the world of “gotcha” moments, I find it difficult to believe that people are still just passing along information based on a social media headline. We really need to dig deep. Please don’t use this as an opportunity to accuse the person to your left or right of that behavior. We’ve ...

Being color blind

With riots and protests against the deaths/kill-ings of numerous black Americans, I feel compelled to join the voices of common people from around the world. My family may not be multiracial, but I am a mother. I don’t need to be exactly like someone to be able to find common ground with ...

Not us versus them, it needs to be WE

I was driving to an appointment with my family, and we had to make a few scheduled stops. I saw many people not wearing masks. (Now keep in mind, people do not need to wear masks while practicing social distancing. I know you all know, but I digress.) The gas station even had a sign on its ...

Any word can be a swear word

Some people just swear. They don’t think much about it. If I were to stereotype I’d say that is every British person I’ve ever worked with. The difference is in the delivery. I don’t care if people curse, I just don’t like the name-calling that can be attached to it. Cue in my ...

The stages of grief

I feel like there is a lot of judgment about people’s right to disappointment. Perhaps I’m incorrect. It’s been known to happen, just ask my children. I don’t have to understand everyone’s emotions, especially the ones swirling around my own house. I can sympathize, even empathize ...