I LOVE to read, but I admit I have some quirks (although they seem normal to me). My favorite topics are biographies and history, but I'll make an exception for fiction that's historical or biographically "inspired". Nothing unusual there. And it has to be a good, old-fashioned, hardcover book. Unless it's just not available and then I'll "settle" for a paperback. (The thought of reading an e-book has never seriously crossed my mind.) Now, let's move on to the reading process … each page must be turned while keeping it absolutely pristine, so much so that when I finish a book, the spine's still perfect and you'd think that no one even opened the book, let alone read it. (I even did this with textbooks in college!) Why am I like this? No clue, but I am what I am.

Anyway, before I had children (when my "job" was being a corporate wife to an executive who lived around the world), I read a LOT of books, as in hundreds over the years. But once I had children, that number dropped dramatically to the point where I was lucky if I could find the time to read half a dozen books – not counting children's books. And after my sister and I began Red & Black, I've probably averaged a book a year. (Although I read and re-read the manuscript for our book countless times before going to press.)

So here I sit at my computer, writing this. I look up at my workroom bookshelves and see plenty of books that I've collected over the last years as a reminder that one day I'll get back to my beloved books. For now, I always have plenty of newspapers (they tend to accumulate over the week), magazines, and online articles to keep me busy as "brain breaks" during the workday or for the few minutes I can still keep my eyes open when I go to bed at night.

And I can't help but think about how different my sister, Black, is from me in so many ways – Including reading. For me, it's something that I love to do as it provides enjoyment and an escape, whereas she does it, in true Black fashion, to research and learn more about any given topic. (I can only imagine the business and non-fiction books on her bookshelves, although her contemporary décor has them hidden behind doors.)

So, what inspired me to even think about this in the first place? Last Friday morning she sent me an "empty email" – there was nothing but an attachment. And when I opened it, I laughed. Because, well, it just said it all. While also reminding me of my love of reading. And this takes us back full circle, not only to the image of this post but to the beginning of this post.

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


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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.
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Photo by Epiximages on iStock


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I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it


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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

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

At speaking engagements, Black will often ask, “Who likes math?” followed by, “Who likes money?” As you can imagine, a lot more hands go up in the air for the second question than the first. But imagine if she asked if money made them laugh. It’s probably safe to say no one would say, “Yes.” Although they’d be wrong because people laugh (and learn) at basic, but potentially life-changing, stories about Red and how, when it came to money, she was clueless and intimidated.

It could be the story of Red putting her theater degree to good use as she freaked out about vocabulary. Especially since she was a straight-A student and avid reader who prided herself on her vocabulary. (If words set her off, Black could only imagine the “scene” that would have occurred if she had asked Red this handful of questions.) But Red’s financial crisis did prompt the ever-pragmatic Black to envision the power of a sitcom with entertaining money episodes because … Money IS A Laughing Matter!

Want to read other columns? Here’s a list.