Banter Bites

Hug At Your Own Risk

Did you ever notice that if you rearrange the letters in “hug” you get … “ugh”?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We started to ask how can something as simple yet meaningful as a hug not get universal acceptance, but then realized that was a ridiculous question because Red thinks about hugs very differently than Black.

Besides the fact both of us describe Red as a warm and fuzzy mom, emphasis on the words “warm and fuzzy”, Red strongly believes that hugs are an integral part of who she is. To the point that Black, as well as Red’s kids, think Red should wear a warning label that a big ole’ mom hug could be coming your way.

And Red’s proud of it, and although hugging comes to her naturally, she believes you can learn to be a hugger. Her challenge was the opposite because when COVID struck, she had to learn how to not be a hugger. But she did laugh (and roll her eyes) at Black’s dilemma,

Before the pandemic, I tried to avoid hugging (you already know I find it selfish – in that it is usually the person who needs a hug who insists on hugging), so COVID was the perfect excuse not to hug people. Now when I avoid hugs, people think I am either a germophobe or overly cautious, neither of which is true. Good thing I do not care what people think.

Red decided not to point out to her sister that she knows Black will hug someone if she feels they need it, or at least let them hug her; however, the body language can be amusing. But it wasn’t until Red had children that she learned Black wasn’t an anomaly and that not everyone needs or wants a hug. Still, she questions how she could have given birth to two daughters, with neither having “inherited” the hugging gene.

The funny thing is Black’s willing to acknowledge that, for most people, hugs represent affection, concern, love, appreciation, or even just the joy of seeing someone. Of course, she had to add the science behind the importance of hugs, including how they can relieve stress, amongst other health benefits. And even mentioned a specific study she found fascinating.

So, given that science supports hugging, Red couldn’t understand why Black still resisted hugging, and when she worked up the nerve to ask, Black explained,

We all know what we should do but often ignore what is best for us. When it comes to hugging, I will sometimes compromise and do it for the other person, so I guess you could say my approach to hugs is … it is better to give than to receive.

Which made Red wonder if Black is the one who should come with a warning label.

RED+BLACK - Safety Is Boring

When was the last time you thought about safety (whether being prepared in case of a fire in your house or merely trying to avoid preventable injuries at work or home)? Yes, it’s boring … but the time to think about it isn’t AFTER the fact.

Curious about the "Back Story" to our animation teasers? Red's daughter, Sawyer, told us we needed to do some very short animated "teasers" … so Black said, "Great. You want to work in video production. Take the final working versions of our animation and start creating them!" So, she did!

P.S. – For those of you who've met us or seen us at speaking engagements, we'd love to know if you think the animators have accurately captured us! (You can email us at


I know what “black sheep” means, as Black was the black sheep of the family, but I’ve never heard the term “black swan.” But I’ll bet Black knows, as she’s always reading and researching unusual things.

Although it makes me wonder if it has anything to do with the movie "Black Swan," a psychological thriller about the intense and highly competitive world of ballet. It starred Natalie Portman (she won the Oscar for her performance) as a ballet dancer named Nina, who becomes obsessed with perfection after winning the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s "Swan Lake." But the more she strives for excellence, the greater the psychological and emotional challenges. And although it’s not one of my favorite movies, the performances and cinematography were outstanding.


Interestingly, in describing the movie, Red was very close to explaining the concept of “black swan,” as the movie showed how Nina’s obsession blurred the line between reality and fantasy, and how unpredictable (or improbable) events can change everything.

Recently, the phrase “world of black swans” was used in reference to the current banking situation and in the context of a world where unexpected events happen that have major implications/consequences, often disrupting the status quo and challenging our assumptions about the future. That makes you realize using traditional methods of predicting the future may no longer work. Or, at least, may require a greater emphasis on being prepared for the unexpected.

Chapter 9: I’m Too Busy To Make A List Of All The Things On My “To Do” List

Whether it’s because it’s the end of the school year, the beginning of the lazy days of summer, or you’re just determined to finally tackle those boxes full of memories, now is the perfect time to start. But first, you might want to read this “secret” to success – whether scrapbooking or any major project …

Red has always had a tendency (Black would say it’s her default setting) of becoming overwhelmed quickly, especially when presented with a project that she isn’t able to do in “one sitting”. And this was even before her crisis, when she had more time. Before she had to juggle being a mom to two young girls along with handling many new responsibilities, when something as simple as scrapbooking became a major task. And although scrapbooking’s as “warm and fuzzy” as it gets, Black gave her some pragmatic advice that not only calmed her down by making the project manageable, but included the girls.

P.S. – Red knows scrapbooking’s never done, but now, years later, the boxes of “new” items to be included are in the attic, and she’s not sure if working on them will give her a feeling of accomplishment or be bittersweet as her “little girls” have now grown into young women. Regardless, Red decided that when she has some pockets of time (whether over holidays or weekends or maybe whenever she needs a “break”), she’ll continue to eat that elephant that Black had given her the “recipe” to many years prior.

red headred head

OK. One of the things that has been on my list forever is working on the girls’ scrapbooks.

Black's HeadBlack

Scrapbooking? It is a big business and nothing to laugh at. But since I am not a scrapbooker (not sure that is even a real word), could you give me a little more detail?
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