Kids’ Almanac: Sept. 28 – Oct. 5


“There are 3 things I am working on: skateboarding, studying sea animals and life! How will I master all of these?”
– Willa, age 9, New Paltz


Erica’s cancer journey 

A friend sent me this question: “What would the You of today tell the ‘pre-Head On, Heart Strong’ You?

Here goes.

1. Not everyone experiences cancer like you will. Knowing one person with cancer only means you know one person with cancer. Make no assumptions about the person in front of you and what their health or life is like. Be mindful.


2. Cancer holds many parallels to your pregnancies: endless reading and research; random, passionate-yet-useless advice from people who know nothing about you; cravings for mint chocolate chip milkshakes; loving cards and gifts; and a constantly changing physical form, including wearing a slamming bikini at the waterpark.

3. Those dreams of walking a labyrinth in your own yard? A moms’ getaway in DR? Meeting the very heroes who inspire you like you’ve never needed before, just to get out of bed after impossibly painful treatments and procedures? It’s all going to happen. You haven’t yet heard of Hamilton: An American Musical, but trust me, you are in for a ride.

4. You will need so much help, especially when you are restricted from driving. The best ways for you to get the assistance you need is to ask: Create a calendar listing the tasks; request that people give some random dates and times they are available during a given week to help with errands; and let yourself succumb to a good cry after doing so much begging – I mean asking (and eat your feelings, perhaps in the form of a mint chocolate chip milkshake). Repeat after me: Receiving the help is also a gift to the giver.

5. Picking up a tennis racquet again will feel so good. However, that stupid stubborn backhand will be right there where you left off after 16 years.

6. No matter what the world tells you, you did nothing to cause your cancer. It just is. And you will die of it.

7. Despite a few palate changes, you will still despise raisins and celery.

8. Surprisingly, purchasing your burial plot will be one of the most empowering things you ever do. The more end-of-life preparations you make, the freer you will feel as the transition approaches.

9. Your entire family will continue to be loving and supportive. Your friends will still be smarter and funnier than you. Casey will somehow find a way to bark even more than before because of all of the people coming over to help you. Your beloved husband, son and daughter will continue to illuminate, nourish, challenge and fill your life at entirely new levels, in every way. You will also cry every time you think about having to leave them.

10. You will trust yourself to find your way back home.

Head On and Heart Strong!



Steampunk Day at Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome

Leave it to the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome to make a great experience even better! Be a trailblazer and join the first Flights of Fancy Vintage Aviation Steampunk Day taking place this Saturday, September 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The whole family is encouraged to dress up for the costume contest, enjoy a Victorian picnic with food purchased on-site or bring your own, take in an old-fashioned air show, delight in traveling minstrels and cheer or jeer during tea dueling.

Tea dueling? I’d never heard of it either! It’s basically a sassy competition between two competitors who briefly dunk a biscuit into hot black tea and trash-talk each other until they choose to eat it before it breaks, the winner being the last one to ingest, or “nom,” the intact cookie.

In addition to the plane museums, I highly recommend my favorite part of the Aerodrome, the biplane ride! It is a real thrill: 15 minutes in a vintage plane over gorgeous terrain, complete with cap and goggles – a precious memory forever at $100 per person. Sign up early to get a spot on the list.

Flights of Fancy is open to the public of all ages! Admission costs $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and military and $12 for kids; registration is requested (but you pay at the gate). The Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome is located at 9 Norton Road in Red Hook. For more information, to register and to see some tea dueling in action, visit To learn more about the Aerodrome, visit

“Nighttime in the 18th Century” at New Windsor Cantonment

Do you love history, or at least the era of Alexander Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler and George Washington? Are you looking for new ideas to celebrate the spooky specters of the season? Make plans to attend “Dogs, Candles & Brass Doorknobs: Nighttime in the 18th Century” taking place at the New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site this Saturday, September 30 from 7 to 8 p.m. This free event is open to all ages and offers insight into the nightlife of the 1700s, and how ghosts, apparitions and criminals affected people’s lives and beliefs, all by candlelight.

Registration is required. The New Windsor Cantonment is located at 374 Temple Hill Road in New Windsor. For more information or to register, call (845) 561-1765, extension 22, or visit


Check out “Tales from Hudson’s Crypts: The Tour”

Have you seen the poem “The Dash” by Linda Ellis? She reminds us of the life lived on a person’s headstone between the dates of birth and death. “Tales from Hudson’s Crypts: The Tour” with Kelley Drahushuk is one way to explore the lives – the “dashes” – of locals buried in Cedar Park Cemetery, including war heroes, famous artists, disaster survivors and many more. “Tales from Hudson’s Crypts” takes place on Sunday, October 1 at 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public, but registration is required and limited to 30 participants. Remember to wear comfortable walking shoes, and stay for cider and donuts at the end.

The Cedar Park Cemetery is located at 20 Columbia Turnpike in Hudson. For more information or to register, call (518) 828-1792, extension 101, or visit

Activist (Story) Hour at New Paltz’s Elting Memorial Library

During this season of change, what is your family feeling drawn to right now? How about an infusion of activism? This Sunday, October 1 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Elting Memorial Library, Activist (Story) Hour presents “drag kings” Ron Doubt and Jonathan Itchman! Held on the first Sunday of the month, these story hours are dedicated to supporting the raising of “compassionate, socially conscious, politically active children who value justice for all races, genders and identities.” Activist (Story) Hour features a different guest each month and is free and open to the public of all ages, especially our youngest community members. The Elting Memorial Library is located at 93 Main Street in New Paltz. For more information, visit

And, in related news, introducing Dragonfly PACT: Parents, Action, Children Together. This new group was created to identify a goal and promote change. Empowering children to do the same activates the Dragonfly Effect: Wing 1, Focus – identify a single, concrete, measurable goal; Wing 2, Grab Attention – make someone look; Wing 3, Engage – foster personal connection; and Wing 4, Take Action – enable and empower others. Join and contribute your family’s ideas to


New Gustafer Yellowgold CD debuts at Colony Woodstock

How do such obtuse characters pull off fun, singalong-able songs? That’s the magic of Morgan Taylor, the artist and musician behind the delightful Gustafer Yellowgold series. Gustafer is a cartoon creature from the Sun who settles in Minnesota and befriends an eel named Slim, among others, and they sing stories. Performances include music and illustrations that are irresistible to me and to kids of all ages – and this weekend, you can catch a live show!

This Sunday, October 1 from noon to 1 p.m. at Colony Woodstock, hear Morgan’s newest Gustafer release, Brighter Side! My favorite track so far is “Hot Nights”: “Let me tell ya these hot nights, I’m not talkin’ bout night life, Like Earth in the ’70s…” The doors open at 11 a.m., the show begins at noon, and tickets cost $8. Morgan performs around the world, and we get to see him right here!

Colony Woodstock is located at 22 Rock City Road in Woodstock. For tickets, more information and samples of this wonderful experience, visit

LGBTQ Center hosts Rainbow Kids group

“Your daughter already knows who she is. Now you have to decide: Do you want a happy little girl or a dead little boy?” This was the question posed by a therapist to the parent of a four-year-old who insisted that he was in fact a she. That child is now 13, and has lived most of her years identifying as a girl – all with the support of her family. How can we support our youngest children to match their outsides with their insides, or even just explore those instincts?

Come to Rainbow Kids this Sunday, October 1 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Apuzzo Hall and the Hayes-Waite Library at the LGBTQ Center. Geared for transgender and non-binary children and siblings from ages 5 to 12, this play and craft group helps kids develop confidence in who they are and to meet others who understand these questions they are living on a daily basis. Parents and caregivers meet in a separate room for discussion. The cost is a $20 donation per family for materials.

The LGBTQ Center is located at 300 Wall Street in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 331-5300, e-mail or visit


Teen Pride group meets in New Paltz

Connection: Many teens seem to crave it as they navigate new body changes, big thoughts and exploring who they are. Have you heard Matt Fishel’s “Radio-Friendly Pop Song” on YouTube? This upbeat tune is just one way to connect with your LGBTQ teen through music, and coming from you, it could show your commitment to your child. Teen Pride is another safe place – beyond a secret text or whispered fears of judgment – for LGBTQ high school teens. Facilitated by a psychotherapist and avid teen LGBTQ activist and advocate, this support group meets Tuesday evenings from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. at Wellness Embodied: A Center for Psychotherapy and Healing.

Teen Pride begins on Tuesday, October 3 and for six weeks, discusses topics including empowerment through creative expression and increasing coping skills. The series costs $150. Wellness Embodied is located at 126 Main Street in New Paltz. For more information or to register, visit

Erica Chase-Salerno is gorging on fresh Wallkill View Farm strawberries…in autumn! She can be reached at


Stanfordville mom formulates cedar-oil concoction to repel ticks 

What do you do when your kid loves to play in the great outdoors, but you live in tick-infested upstate New York? John and Jin Kidd faced this dilemma when they moved to Triple J Farm in Stanfordville.

John contracted Lyme disease there, and he was determined to safeguard his son. “Ticks are little freakin’ terrorists that destroy your life,” he says. “So we came up with the solution that nobody else has.” He’s talking about a spray-on product that his wife, a 25-year senior consultant in the beauty industry, formulated to protect their son.

Good-Buy Bugs contains no DEET, fragrance, dyes, phthalates, parabens, pesticides, alcohol, formaldehyde preservatives or petrochemicals. “The federal government recognizes three products that kill ticks; one is DEET,” John says. “One is permethrin, and one is cedar tree oil. The first two can cause neurological side effects in humans, and cedar tree oil does not. We’ve sprayed our son 4,000 times over the past two years with this, and he has baby-perfect skin. He’s had no ticks in two years. It’s effective.”

“We wanted to save our child from getting Lyme disease,” he says. “My wife worked on the formula by herself. After a lot of trial-and-error, we realized that what she’d come up with was working. Our kid doesn’t get ticks! Additionally, we spray our property with cedar tree oil. Lyme disease is just terrible, but there are many different [tickborne illnesses] – from babesiosis to ehrlichiosis, tularemia. Ticks are just bad news. Often people don’t even know when they get bit by a tick,” he says, “they just start feeling bad. It’s a real problem, an epidemic.”

Happy to have a child that has remained tick-free for more than two years, the couple gave bottles of Good-Bye Bugs out to his whole class. “Two months ago my wife said, ‘Why don’t we put it in the local farmers’ market?’ where it sold out. Now we’re in 60 stores that are selling out. This product is taking off. We had no intention of doing this, but it’s taken on a life of its own and we’re going with it. We’re never gonna be profitable. We’re trying to save children.”

Going from making a few bottles to use at home and share with neighbors to producing enough to sell has been a challenge. “My wife stays up until one in the morning filling 300 bottles a night. We’ve set up a laboratory, and we’re starting to hire people. We’re not doing this for money; we don’t think that way. What we care about is getting the word out that there’s a solution to this terrible problem.”

– Ann Hutton

 For more information on Jin Kidd’s tick repellent, visit