In her bullet journal she is chronicling her extended leave from school, friends, and the world in general due to the coronavirus pandemic. At this point, it has been only a couple months of quarantine at home, though I wonder what her journal will contain six months from now. So far, she has been doing her online schoolwork in a dutiful fashion and, knowing her, will continue to do so until the regular school term is over. But I wonder what will happen if regular school doesn’t start up in the fall which will be her senior year in high school? What will she write about then? How will she cope with quarantine then or the changes that coronavirus has made in the world? Gen Z of which she is a part already has an entirely different take on society and its mores than her current ancestors – parents and grandparents. While we are quarantined together as a family without much tangible loss other than socialization with others, we are not seventeen. She is. We will never know the full effects that such a mass social quarantine will have on one’s psyche and perspective in the long run.

image credit: Mario Azzi on

Weeds or Wishes

Our oversized lawn, actually more of a mowed pasture, is bedecked with an abundance of dandelions.  A sight to behold.  And as with all sights, beauty or not is in the eye of the beholder.  Sitting on the front porch with my seventeen-year-old granddaughter, we were gazing at the scads of dandelions in all growth phases from green-wrapped buds to glowing yellow flowers to white puffballs.  I commented perhaps needlessly, “There are a lot of dandelions out there”.

My lovely, intelligent, compassionate granddaughter replied, “Yes, there are a lot of wishes out there.”

I was taken aback. Probably because I was thinking that there were just a lot of weeds out there. Weeds or wishes? Was it our age difference? Was it a personality thing – optimism v pessimism? Was it life experience? How could our oh-so-different perception of the ubiquitous yellow flowers be so different?

I will never look at dandelions the same way again. I have learned a new way to see them. How do you view a dandelion?

image credit: Madison White

Family Feud

Photo credit: history

Devil Anse Hatfield & Randolph McCoy – photo:

Let’s talk. You lost at the “family game” over Thanksgiving and are not particularly looking forward to round 2 at Christmas or Hanukah or whatever is your next big family gathering. Actually, the next round will be like round 6 or 14 or even 27 because your family game has been going on for years and you are on a losing streak. It is time to change.

You cannot easily change teams. You are stuck with the family you have and quitting your family entirely is not the best solution. Also, you are outnumbered, unless you have a family of two. If you lost this year to the one and only other person in your family, then while you may not be literally outnumbered you still have a problem.

You cannot change the game entirely, especially if other team members have home field advantage. If you travel to someone else’s home – even your mother’s – to play the game, then there are rules that you can’t make and rules you probably shouldn’t break. Unless you are willing to host the family gathering and set your own ground rules (that may or may not be followed), you will have to be content to play on the visiting team.

Your family game probably includes some activities that you enjoy, like playing charades or touch football. Continue to enjoy those. Also, do your part in the kitchen whether washing dishes or chopping onions or taking out the trash. The elders will think you are adulting even if they do tell you how to do every little thing. If you do some grunt work, you may score a point. Focus on the activities that make you feel engaged and content. However, rather than participate in the ongoing heated political debate in the living room or the gossip on the back porch, find a small child and a coloring book for you both to enjoy in another room. That child will have a good memory of the holiday (and you!) and you have a legitimate reason to avoid the parts of the game that you don’t like.

Stop keeping score. You cannot outwit the cousin who has a triple major in English, philosophy, and ecology, plus a law degree. Just listen to him and nod. He will tire of baiting you and move on to his next victim which is a small victory for you. Don’t engage in the minor conflicts as to who got the best deal on shoes or a sofa. Again, just listen and nod and perhaps learn about a new shopping site. Another small win. When asked about your weight or lack thereof, or a possible marriage, or a potential pregnancy, simply say “I am happy now”. Whether it is 100% true or not, if you stop at that statement you will win that match. If pressed to comment, more – turn the tables – ask with a smile “Are you happy?”

Share your family feuds! Comment below.