Yes, flowers are definitely nice. Cards are good, too. But nothing says "thank you" like a fresh baked treat.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Actually, don't tell Black, but Red does still make those triangular brownies, but she just knows better than to share them with Black who has a "love/hate" relationship with them. But if truth be told … those brownies are all Black's fault.

Many years ago, when Red's daughters were younger and Red seemed to bake several times a week, Black gave Red a wonderful stick-free pan designed specifically to make scones (or cornbread, if you're from the south). Black, who claims "bake" is one of the 4-letter words she doesn't use, mentioned to Red that when she saw it, she thought it might even be good for brownies, as Black's favorite part was always the edges. Red suspected it was more of an offhanded comment than a request, but thought she'd give it a try.

And the result? Well, let's just say that Red's brownies were – and remain – an instant hit with whoever is lucky enough to receive them. Even her younger daughter's teenage friends have been requesting them lately, so it looks like Black unknowingly started a tradition.

Anyway, "all of the above" is more of an aside than a backstory. The reality is that today's Banter Bite almost didn't happen, and the reason why ended up becoming a "confession" from Black as well as yesterday's post, Chocolate Chip Cookies Made Me Admit I Was Wrong? And it has nothing to do with triangular brownies.

This name comes with a warning ...

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Yes, climate’s a “hot” topic, but summer has only started (marked by the summer solstice), and Red’s already whining about the heat, while Black considersthe logic of naming heat waves. (Really! But it’s not her idea.)

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Ok, let’s be clear (pun intended) … Communication is critical. Whether in your personal life or in business, not to mention communication skills are transferable between the two (Black even suggested Red hold family “business” meetings). And what better time to work on how we communicate, and maybe even have a new attitude toward vocabulary and “50-cent words” (Red loves those, but terminology scares her!?), than during Effective Communications Month.

Talking isn't the same as communicating. And hearing isn't the same as listening. Think about it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Being an effective communicator, whether in our personal lives or at work, is a critical skill but one-size-doesn't-fit-all as we each use very different methods and styles … ranging from lots of words and talking stuffed animals (Red) to bullet points and racing flags (Black).

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Most workaholics can rationalize working all the time. At least to themselves.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: “Gizmos” already blurred the lines between the workweek and the weekend, but the WFH (working from home) “revolution” caused by the pandemic has destroyed the line; except for people like Black, who have always treated every day as a workday.

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