Kids’ Almanac (Aug. 24-31)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

“I’m not liking this game
very much. I keep losing.
But, I keep winning at life
so that’s OK.”
~ Nora, age 6, Saugerties

Erica’s cancer journey: Liver Mets

Liver mets.

I am not shocked by this new development; it’s what Stage IV breast cancer does: It eventually spreads to lungs, liver and/or brain. Ever since my diagnosis last July, I have been in an arc of dying, but treatments try to slow that down. Tomorrow, I begin a new hormone therapy of Ibrance and Faslodex. I also know that tumor marker numbers and scans are only part of this body’s story. How I feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually are essential to my medical considerations. And right now, I feel terrific! I hike with Quinn to Peterskill stream; I cheer at Declan’s baseball games; I laugh with Mike during Amy Schumer’s performance in Albany.

Vivre. To live. Live. Liver.

Eliza…just one of the characters our family adores from Hamilton: An American Musical. Despite never having seen this production, it has been our family soundtrack over these past months. Hamilton’s engaging storyline and smart, rhythmic lyrics offer neutral ground for us to explore pathways into our own emotions, ranging from devastating grief to delirious joy.


Really, really, really appreciating your ongoing love and support for me and my family through your messages, cards, gifts, letters, thoughts and help. Thank you.

Mike [rolls over as he wakes up, sees me on my phone]: (groggily) What are you reading?

Me: People’s loving responses to my post from last night!

I share with him how it took me hours to craft the post. That just getting in needed a lot of time, and I finally landed on a LIVER acrostic to shape the text. How the message seemed to ask to be written, because whenever I got hopelessly stuck on another letter, I resignedly started off to bed, and suddenly, the next idea would arrive.


Mike: L – Letrozole, the drug I don’t take anymore.

IV – the thing they stick in me.

ER – the place I go a lot.

Me: (stunned, then riotous laughter) How’d you do that?

Mike [after reading my post]: You can’t use LIVER! No one uses the word in the actual acrostic; that’s a total copout. Mine’s better. [rolls over, back to sleep]


August 25

Wildflowers and citizen science at Minnewaska

Did you do some traveling this summer? Be honest – did a part of you wonder why you don’t live there instead of here? Well, here’s a terrific reminder, thanks to Minnewaska State Park Preserve. This Friday, August 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., head for the hills: the Shawangunk Ridge, that is. The entire purpose is to spend time with wildflowers. As you come upon some flowers, you are invited to photograph, color, sketch, or journal about them (color pastels and sketch paper are provided). Since you will be doing so much observing, bring sun protection, water, and a comfortable surface to sit upon. Hungry for more? Then, come back the next day! On Sunday, August 26 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., kids ages 8 and up and their adults are invited to participate in a Citizen Science Phenology Hike along the Beacon Loop Hike, monitoring changes in these plants throughout the season. These programs are free and open to the public of all ages, but registration is required, and the entry fee to the park each day is $10 per vehicle. Minnewaska State Park Preserve is located at 5281 Route 44-55 in Kerhonkson.

To register or for more information, call (845) 255-0752 or visit

Get the lowdown on dirt

Has your family had a chance to experience Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, with its oversized puppets and engaging stories with environmental themes? This weekend, you have two opportunities to see this amazing troupe to see Dirt: The Secret Life of Soil. On Friday, August 25 at 7 p.m., you can catch them at Mettabee Farm & Arts, 551 Harlemville Road in Hillsdale, (518) 567-5123, Admission costs $12 for adults, $5 for children. Or, on Sunday, you can see Arm-of-the-Sea and a whole lot more, including musicians Rhett Miller, Mike & Ruthy, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason of course, and many others. August 27 at 11:15 a.m. at Ashokan Center’s Summer Hoot, 477 Beaverkill Road in Olivebridge, (845) 657-8333, Admission for the day is pay-what-you-want from $25 to $45, as space is available and free for children under 12. Or come to the Hoot all weekend! For more information, to register as a volunteer (free admission!) or to become a sponsor, call (914) 466-8334 or visit To learn more about Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, visit, and you can see a performance clip here:


August 26

Make shadow puppets at WAAM’s Family Day

As your kids grow out of fingerpaints and stickers, how can you continue support their artistic tendencies with fresh, engaging ideas? Easy, just look for offerings from Woodstock Artists Association & Museum! This Saturday, August 26 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., WAAM presents Family Day, and this month’s theme incorporates shadow and paper to create shadow puppets. But wait, there’s more! Come back the next day, Sunday, August 27 between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to experience emerging artist Lyle Bicking creating comics and illustrations. Formerly homeschooled, Lyle now attends Kingston High School, and his art is terrific! You do not need to reserve your spot, you and your crew just come to either or both events, and get inspired! WAAM is located at 28 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For more information, call (845) 679-2940 or visit

Learn about fighting fires at the Muster
in Kingston

When our family visits the FASNY Volunteer Firefighter Museum in Hudson, I am reminded of the long rich history, inventiveness, science, and bravery of firefighting, I’m talking VOLUNTEERS rushing into a blaze to save lives and structures when the rest of us head clear in the other direction. This weekend, we can hearken back to those roots, and we can personally thank the volunteers who have upheld this important work over the decades. On Saturday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in uptown Kingston, the 14th Annual Muster by the Volunteer Firemen’s Museum invites you to celebrate with displays of old, and new, firefighting gear, a silent auction, and hotdogs and refreshments. Admission is free, and donations are gratefully accepted to help keep the museum running. The Volunteer Firemen’s Museum is located at 265 Fair Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 331-0866 or visit or

Great games at FDR site’s annual Organizational Day 

I know I write this often, and I’m going to do it again right now: History Happened Here! The history behind this upcoming event took place right here in Hyde Park! On Saturday, August 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the lawn in front of FDR’s home, rain or shine, come be a part of the 240th Military Police Battalion Organizational Day. The first Organizational Day was 74 years ago, to give the soldiers protecting the president and Hyde Park during World War II a break from their duties. This weekend’s activities reflect some of the fun those guys had back in the day, including tug-of-war, 3-legged races, and a baseball game! So, dress for sport, bring your baseball gloves, and enjoy a free all-ages family day together! The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum are located at 4097 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park. For more information, call (845) 229-9115 or visit


August 28

Help end local hunger
by volunteering

Yes! Have you been looking for an “in” to volunteer somewhere? Want to help out in the community but aren’t sure how to get started? Are you a teen desperate to satisfy school volunteer hours? Or perhaps you are a club advisor interested in involving youth, or even adult colleagues, in charitable causes? Here you go! On Monday, August 28 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Family of Woodstock in Kingston, you and anyone you wish to bring along can attend the free Volunteer Orientation for Local Hunger Relief Programs. Participants will hear presentations by Angel Food East, Caring Hands Soup Kitchen, People’s Place Food Pantry, and the Rondout Valley Growers Association Farm to Food Pantry Program. Our family has volunteered for most of these groups for many years, and we always have a great time working together, learning new skills, and making friends, year-round, not just during holiday time. Family of Woodstock’s Kingston site is located at 39 John Street in Kingston. For more information or to register, call (845) 331-7080 extension 157 or visit


August 29

The Namesake at PS21

“I wanted to tell you something. It’s about your name.” How did you arrive at any of your names? What does your name evoke in you? Did any spellings or pronunciation shift in your family over the generations? This quote above about “your name” comes from The Namesake, this week’s featured film at PS21 on Tuesday, August 29 at 8:30 p.m. PS21 hosts a free Tuesday movie series that shines a light on themes of immigration. I feel like movies can be one way we educate ourselves and our families about other perspectives from other cultures, while challenging our own personal beliefs, understandings, and questions. PS21 is located at 2980 Route 66 in Chatham. For more information or other upcoming films and events, call (518) 392-6121 or visit To learn more about the movie, visit

Erica Chase-Salerno blinks — Wait, where did summer go? She can be reached at