True or False? The clock strikes midnight on December 31. It's a new year. Everything's better.


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Hindsight should always be 20/20, but life does not work that way. Which may explain why I typically do not look back (with the exception of having to come up with ideas for our Memory Lane section) … I focus on looking forward. And, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I am not sure I would have done anything differently in terms of COVID-19, but I probably would have spent less time following political news.


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Remember that, as Black has repeatedly told me over the years, you can eat an elephant, just not all at one time. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed (ok, Black would say that's a huge understatement), in part because I try to put entire projects on my "to do" list, rather than breaking them down into manageable "bites". Then, once the coronavirus came along, I was so focused and emotionally overwhelmed at what I needed to do to keep me and my family safe, as well as be prepared for whatever might happen, that although (in theory) I had more time "at home" I initially let things accumulate. Eventually, I started using that "extra time" to address things on my "to do" list, one step at a time, but I wish I'd have approached things with that mindset from the beginning.
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"Made in America" is more than a slogan. It's about supporting your neighbors, your community, your country.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It was your usual Monday morning for Red – she cringed as all of Black's emails from over the weekend dropped into Outlook. (While Red tries her best to escape from work on weekends, that seems to be when Black works hardest. Or, at least, writes the most emails.) Those were followed by a bunch more from earlier in the morning (emails from Black usually start at around 5:30 A.M.!), including one that got her attention as the subject line was "Buy American" and in the email Black suggested doing a Banter Bite on President Biden's "Made in America" Executive Order.

Black also explained that she had subscribed to a new source of political news, Punchbowl News, that had sent a detailed data sheet on the Executive Order that morning at 5 a.m. (Red rolled her eyes while also being concerned about Black having even more sources of information and "ideas") and offered to forward it.

Once upon a time, Red might not have reacted at all or, to be honest, even cared.But that was before she and Black wrote their book and, after they decided to self-publish (that's a story onto itself), Black insisted they print in the U.S.A., even though it more than doubled the cost of the book.

Red can still remember questioning why they'd willingly spend more money than necessary, which resulted in her getting one of her first business (combined with civics) lessons from Black. We won't bore you with all the details but as Black pointed out to Red, there's a price, often hidden, for maintaining high standards. And although more than few people thought we were crazy; we took a deep breath and followed our hearts. And we've never regretted that decision!

Yes, I know the inauguration was last week, and I'm sure Black wants to tell me, "Get over it!" but I'm still thinking (and reading articles) about Amanda Gorman, the amazing 22-year-old who was not only the youngest inaugural poet ever, but also the nation's first National Youth Poet Laureate. Her poem, "The Hill We Climb", was incredible and her delivery mesmerizing as she brought her words to life. But as impressive as that was, what I found most incredible was what I learned later that night when she was interviewed with CNN's Anderson Cooper.

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