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Family Time, by Diane Chase

Not showing up for every argument

I’m learning a lot about myself through a pandemic, job losses, deaths and school closings. I’m not only experiencing various emotional rollercoasters, but sometimes it feels like I’m jumping aboard all the carnival rides. The one consistent issue I’m working on is not showing up for ...

A little bit selfish

I have spent the last million years of quarantine, the various Defcon stages, and the reopenings-closings making sure that everyone is OK. I’ve formed study groups, given up my office, and helped neighbors and friends. I’m not patting myself on the back, because I am not alone in this ...

Use the good dishes

I’ve participated in a few family relocations: my own and my parents’. With each move, there have always been a few boxes never fully unpacked. The contents may have made a brief outing from their tissue paper beds but were quickly stored in the original wrappings for the ever-elusive ...

What happens after the election

The country is voting for president. Through a virus, pandemic, deaths, quarantine, riots and chaos, there have been hard lines drawn in the sand. These lines have always been here. In the past, those lines were just ignored or stepped over while we smothered our thoughts with gravy at the ...

Trash panda

I recently learned that a nickname for a raccoon is a trash panda. Yes. I want to string those two words together all the time. I’m thinking of stickers and flags to replace window decals and political signs. We could start a club where we make plaques for our children’s rooms (Ok, just my ...

Socializing in the new world

A few weeks or months ago, since I no longer can keep track of time, I had connected briefly with the parent of one of my children’s friends. It was brief and conversational, a reconnecting of acquaintances. As parents, we had never socialized, but our children had been friendly. We hadn’t ...

One person’s trash

I am a huge fan of upcycling and repurposing, whether it’s clothes or furnishings. I am probably an even bigger fan of looking through antique and thrift stores, tag sales and odd markets for the perfect piece to fit in my strange collection of goods. I can look around our house and tell a ...

Food insecurity

I may be insecure about a lot of things, but one thing is certain: Food is not one of them. I have an incredible relationship with food. It comforts me. It allows me to show gratitude. I can grow it. I create family traditions through the use of it. I can share it. I grew up with stories of ...

Please don’t geotag your photos

A million years ago it seems, before quarantine, my husband was asked about guiding a hiking group to a specific spot in the Adirondack Park. The people had noticed a particular view from an Instagram account and only wanted to go to that location to replicate that photo. After numerous ...

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 ...