Photo taken by Red at Prison Break Tattoos


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I still can't believe that Sawyer actually did it. I thought it'd be something she'd talk about for a while.


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I never had a doubt. Once she mentioned it to me, it was obvious she had thought it through.


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Well, when I got Natasha her first tattoo as her high school graduation gift four years ago, the last thing I ever imagined was that I'd be giving Sawyer the same gift.


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That is because Natasha has "attitude" and an independent streak, so being the first in the family to get a tat was totally in keeping with her personality.


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No kidding! Whereas Sawyer's a hard-working student-athlete that graduated from high school with honors. She's very social, and her friends seem as "clean-cut" as she is. All-in-all, not the type you associate with tattoos.

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You are showing your age. And, stereotyping people. Maybe years ago, only a certain "type" of person got tats – criminals, gang-members, uneducated, rebellious. Now, they have become mainstream, and people who get tats demonstrate many positive traits.


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I know, and I thought I got over my preconceived notions when Natasha got her first tattoo and then started getting more. But it just seems so out-of-character for Sawyer.


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Really? Out of character for someone who is very creative and is working toward a career in the entertainment world? Someone who understands and appreciates the power of storytelling and the meaning of words and imagery? Someone who knows herself well enough to carefully select a tat that has a deep personal meaning?


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Since you put it that way, maybe it's not out-of-character. I guess no more so than you getting a tattoo that matched Natasha's first one and now Sawyer's.


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The one I share with Natasha is meaningful because it was my first tat and we share that. This one is meaningful because Sawyer came up with a very creative way to remedy a "challenge" that we share.


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Remarkably, it was only a few years ago that she told me that she has trouble knowing her left from her right. At first, I thought she was kidding, but then remembered you don't know your right from your left. But when she recently told me she wanted to get two tattoos, an "L" and an "R", to help her remember, I just laughed.


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And, when she told me that the other night, I told her I thought it was brilliant. Although, you clearly were no longer amused.


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That's because I realized she was serious. At one point, she had talked about getting an arrow tattoo as a reminder of her summers at camp, but it was only very recently that she mentioned the "L" and the "R." The idea of a tattoo started as "maybe, one day in the future." But the other night, it became "one day very soon" and yesterday it actually happened!


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It is human nature that you will always think of her as your little girl, but Sawyer is growing up and about to leave for college. This tat is the perfect graduation gift for her as it acknowledges that you trust her decision-making skills.


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I know that intellectually. But since it's something permanent, I just wanted to make sure that she wasn't having second thoughts. And that she understood it could lead to future tattoos since we've seen from Natasha how tattoos can become "addictive".


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Even I have told you that after the first one, I started thinking about getting inked again. However, it never dawned on me I might be "sharing" my second tat with Sawyer. And, at Prison Break, where I got my first one. But, I am thrilled it worked out that way.


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Which makes it even more special for her, too. So, I'm thrilled for both of you. Especially since both of you will finally know your left from your right.

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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

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


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.