FULL QUESTION: New Year … New Resolutions? What’s the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made? The worst?

The year was only a few minutes old when Red’s youngest daughter asked what her New Year resolution was going to be. But before Red had a chance to respond, Sawyer said one of hers was to build on last year’s goals at the gym since her “before” (January 2021) and “after” (December 2021) photos had given her the motivation to keep working at it.

Red then realized that sometimes the best resolution might not be something new, but a continued commitment to something you’re already doing. Although, in her case, her best and worst New Year resolutions hadn’t changed from when she answered the question last year (nor had Black’s attitude toward resolutions) …


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I'm glad you didn't ask how many New Year's resolutions I've kept! I'm going to address the worse resolution first. It's the one where I promised myself that I was going to keep on top of emails because at any given time I can have tens of thousands (yes, that's the number) of emails in my inbox! They've all been read; I just haven't figured out what to do with them. I guess figuring that out should have been the resolution. On the other hand, the best resolution was to listen to my kids more. I have a bad habit of finishing their sentences or interrupting their thoughts with thoughts of my own. Granted, I'm far from perfect at it, but I'm getting better. And making a conscious effort to let them complete their thoughts before I talk has really improved our conversations, for both them and me.


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Easy question … because I do not make New Year's resolutions. I see goals and resolutions as ongoing efforts that start when you identify an objective – not because it is January 1 st. Some may be small and achieved fairly quickly, while others may take a lifetime. The key is finding a way to remember them and realizing you may hit roadblocks, detours, and/or delays … but there are many roads that will take you to the same destination.

FULL QUESTION: What do you think about hugging? And how do you handle hugging in the age of COVID?


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Being a warm and fuzzy person, I’ve always been a hugger, but even before the pandemic, I was aware that some people liked hugs more than others, so would “regulate” my hugs accordingly. For example, neither of my children have inherited my hugging “gene”, although sometimes they don’t get a vote, instead getting a big ole’ mom hug. But I digress (as usual).

My biggest adjustment in terms of “COVID” hugging, especially now that things have become a little “easier” (I’ve been vaccinated and had a booster), is that I simply ask people what their preference is. For some, a hug is welcome (and the human touch wanted), while others are good with a fist or elbow bump, while others prefer to keep their distance entirely. Which, to be honest, is usually people that wouldn’t have wanted a hug even before COVID, so not a big deal.


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Anyone who knows me knows I am a non-hugger. Always have been. I am also that person who is always curious, so found there is science behind why people are or are not huggers. And, although I fully appreciate that hugs provide a wealth of health benefits (I was fascinated by this study), that still does not change that I find hugging can be selfish (the hugger often is the one needing a hug).

COVID, and especially the fact the omicron variant is so contagious, provides a legitimate excuse for me not to hug. However, I will make exceptions for close friends that I know need the hug – as long as I also know that they, like me, are fully vaccinated and still mask-up outside the home.

FULL QUESTION: I get so confused by all the different Nobel Prizes, so what exactly is Nobel Prize Day?


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As a former straight-A student and lover of history, I’m almost afraid to admit this, but I only recently learned that the award ceremony for Nobel Prizes occurs every year on December 10, even though the winners for the six different categories are announced in October (list of this year’s winners). And except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which to me is the “biggie”, I couldn’t have named any of the other categories (Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Physiology or Medicine, and Economics). Or the fact those five are presented in Sweden while, for some reason, the Peace Prize is awarded in Norway.


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I find it funny that Red did not try to use the fact she loves Tudor history, and Alfred Nobel, who established the Nobel Prize, was Swedish as her “excuse” for not knowing more about the prize. Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, left a controversial last will and testament that used the bulk of his wealth to establish the Nobel Prizes. (It is ironic that money earned by developing and manufacturing explosives and munitions would fund a “peace” prize.) Talk about a way to get remembered. But, so is being honored with a Nobel Prize.


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Oh, so many parents, myself included, can relate! Now that I’m an “empty nester” there’s a part of me that misses being needed for something as straightforward as being their personal chauffeur. Right now, it may seem like it’s never going to end, but it goes by so quickly. Trust me. At the time, it would often drive (pun intended) me crazy, and I’d think about all the “lost hours” driving my daughter to volleyball practices and tournaments. But now I miss that quiet time with her.

At the risk of sounding like I’m comparing myself to Svante Thunberg, father of world-known climate activist Greta Thunberg, I could relate on so many levels when he recently said now that Greta was a legal adult and he no longer has to chaperone her everywhere, he’s looking forward to getting back to his life and his job. But I guarantee he’ll miss spending that quality time with her.


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Not having children, I can only give you an “outsider’s” perspective. And, I know there are Uber-type transportation services for children, although without doing extensive research on them, I cannot say whether I would have felt comfortable with my nieces using them when they were younger. And, once Red’s youngest was old enough to drive, as were some of her friends, she often replaced time chauffeuring with time worrying.

Enjoy having that one-on-one car time with your children and look at it as an opportunity to talk with each other, although you may have to make the car a “no cell-phone” zone – but explain that is what you charge for chauffeuring service.