Words & Banter

More Than A Queen. A Symbol Of Royal Perfection.

Courtesy of Royal Collection Trust


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I knew, like most people, that Queen Elizabeth II was in her last days. But when the news came, as expected as it was, it still made me sad. Not because I had lived in England for many years. Nor because I love English history, especially the Tudors, which, I might add, included Queen Elizabeth I. But because she unflaggingly, for 70 years (!), seemed never to make a wrong step, but always had the vision of how to “be Queen” perfectly in her sights, which meant putting country above self.

And while she wasn’t perfect, as none of us are, I defy anyone to walk the balancing act she did over the decades. Encountering changes and challenges not only personally, but as the symbolic head of state for her country … and doing it with grace, dignity, and respect.


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I leave the history to Red, but I cannot stop thinking about how most of Great Britain has only known one head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. For that matter, that is true of Canada and the many other countries where the British Monarch is head of state.

She was a link to an almost vanished generation yet was a rock that helped stabilize decades of significant social change (and, family challenges) with dignity and humility. She was both an institution and an icon, and her loss will be enormous … for the family, the country, and the world. Queen Elizabeth II was a ruler for the ages, over the ages …

Empowering girls – one cookie at a time. Ok, maybe one box of cookies at a time.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It’s that time of year when many people’s New Year’s resolution of eating better is challenged by the arrival of Girl Scout cookies; something that poses a problem for Red, while for Black, it's an opportunity.

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Photo courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Some things should never be forgotten. That’s why tomorrow’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day was created by the United Nations to mark the unspeakable horror of the Nazi’s genocide of over six million Jews. An event beyond comprehension, which makes us wonder why many U.S. states don’t require students learn about the horrors of the Holocaust. How can we prevent atrocities from happening again if we don’t understand how they happened before? And as we see heartbreaking images from Ukraine, it reminds us of Holocaust images, and that evil will always be evil …

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Shoes. Seemingly endless shoes. That’s all I can think about.


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I know you cannot be talking about my closet.


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Far from it! It’s an image that’s forever burned in my memory. A pile of shoes, each one representing a life lost. Each one a story onto itself. Each one proof of something we should never forget.


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Normally, I would ask you to tell me what you are talking about or accuse you of being overly dramatic. But, not this time.
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Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK, started Dry January, where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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