Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.


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You cannot compare New York and Texas summers. But, I remember when we first got central air conditioning. It was because Daddy worked in the industry. And, before it was even standard equipment for new homes. Mom saved it for “special occasions” or heatwaves; it did not run all the time.

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Which explains why at night, when it cooled off, Mommy and Daddy would sit on folding chairs on the front driveway along with our neighbors.

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I wonder what they discussed every night. Obviously, that was well before climate change was a topic, let alone a hot topic, so to speak.

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Cute, but we didn’t know then what we know now. And if we don’t start making serious changes, the crisis will only get worse. Which means we need to do more than just talk about it.

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And, play the blame game.

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So, who do you think is to blame?

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Many blame the “older” generation, saying we allowed this to happen because, for decades, we did not do anything to prevent it. Increased use of cars and electricity. Burning an ever-increasing amount of fossil fuels. Not “going green”. Not even thinking about it. All of which led to where we are today.

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You’ve always said, “Doing nothing is a decision. A decision to maintain the status quo.” But when you say blaming the “older” generation, surely you can’t mean us?!

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“Older” is a relative term. For younger people, that might be us Baby Boomers or even Generation X.

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But what did we do wrong?

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When you were a baby, there was no such thing as disposable diapers. I can still remember the stinky diaper pail in your nursery. Not one of my fondest memories of you.


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Thanks for sharing that. But you’re right. When I had the girls, it was a given that I’d use disposable diapers. I can only imagine how many thousands of diapers I’ve contributed to landfills! But we didn’t know about climate change back then.


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If it makes you feel better, there is some debate whether cloth diapers are better for the environment. But, the point is convenience became the deciding factor and I doubt the environmental impact was even considered.


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Good point, as I certainly never thought about it. But in my defense, once I learned that plastic was bad for the environment, I started recycling. And not just plastic, but also paper and glass. I’ve been doing it for years.


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That is better than not, but there are 3-Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, and recycling is not necessarily the best option. Funny thing is we “reused” long before it even was “a thing.” Do you remember reusing brown paper grocery bags by repurposing them into textbook covers?


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Yes! Daddy and I would do it together. Of course, him being an engineer, they were perfect. And then I’d decorate them. But now that you bring up “reusing” things, I remember going to the drive-through at Dairy Barn with Daddy. We’d always have empty glass milk bottles to return when we’d buy more milk.


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Back then, there were deposits not only on glass milk bottles but also on soda and beer bottles. They would be washed and sterilized, refilled, and reused over and over again. And, drinking water came from the tap – not plastic bottles.


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OK, but there was still plenty of plastic. Do I need to remind you of Mom’s kitchen? Full of expired food and plastic grocery store containers and bags. I bet some of the plastic was over 50 years old.


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Plastic survives for centuries. Regardless, it was plastic that she saved and reused, and did not trash. Granted, it might have been a financial decision since she was a Depression-era child and did not waste anything.


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So, where did we go wrong? Maybe society’s too convenience-oriented and wasteful.


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That is part of it, but if you do not know you are causing a serious environmental problem, why would you change what you are doing? The more important question is who did know, and why were we not told?


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Sorry, that sounds more like one of the X-Files episodes I watched years ago. Except, I’m not sure I want to know. The important thing is that we know now. And need to do something now!


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Exactly. So, regardless of who is to blame, we all can be part of the solution.

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It seems the pandemic has resulted in people “recycling” relationships from their past, and I have already admitted to doing that and then being “ghosted” (the relationship was doomed the first go-round and trying to resurrect it reminded me of why). Although on the surface it may seem rude, there are a few “legitimate” reasons for ghosting, some less obvious than others.

Looking back to decades of dating, a handful of engagements, and two failed marriages, I realized none of them started as friendships. I will also admit that very few started with sparks of passion (I know those fizzle out), but all were analyzed in terms of compatibility. Too bad I was not aware of research indicating the majority of romantic relationships begin as long-term friendships.

This story began as an impromptu business meeting when I asked to speak to the manager of a food franchise I frequented, thinking there might be an opportunity to create a joint marketing opportunity with Red & Black. There was no way to know the attractive man sitting toward the back of the store, who I noticed when I first walked in, would be the district manager.

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I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it


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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

At speaking engagements, Black will often ask, “Who likes math?” followed by, “Who likes money?” As you can imagine, a lot more hands go up in the air for the second question than the first. But imagine if she asked if money made them laugh. It’s probably safe to say no one would say, “Yes.” Although they’d be wrong because people laugh (and learn) at basic, but potentially life-changing, stories about Red and how, when it came to money, she was clueless and intimidated.

It could be the story of Red putting her theater degree to good use as she freaked out about vocabulary. Especially since she was a straight-A student and avid reader who prided herself on her vocabulary. (If words set her off, Black could only imagine the “scene” that would have occurred if she had asked Red this handful of questions.) But Red’s financial crisis did prompt the ever-pragmatic Black to envision the power of a sitcom with entertaining money episodes because … Money IS A Laughing Matter!

Want to read other columns? Here’s a list.