Photo by Matt Brown on iStock

DISCLAIMER AND WARNING: I'm a proud volleyball mom. Black knows this. And, I suspect, she tolerates it most of the time, although that's not to say she isn't proud of her youngest niece. But for those proud moms and dads out there, and those around you, you know we can sometimes over exaggerate our kid's accomplishments. (Wait, really? We do that?) Guess what. There may be something we're overlooking. Something many parents are overlooking …


So, Black and I are in the midst of updating this site with our 2020 monthly newspaper columns from earlier in the year and she sends me our March column, RED & BLACK … Leaders All Around Us, to proof. I hadn't read the column since it was initially published, and it's all about leadership and the skills that leaders possess which makes me think about my daughter, Sawyer. Yes, I think she has great technical skills as a setter. (Remember, I warned you about being a proud volleyball mom.) But re-reading the column made me realize that her skills as a leader is what distinguishes her and greatly contributes to her success, not just on the court but in life.

I'd be happy to bore you with examples, but Black would no doubt take out her electronic red pencil and delete it from this post. And right about now, I know she's thinking, "Is there a point to this post?" Well, it's this … leadership skills are all around us, including in our children. We love our kids so much that it's easy to get wrapped up in their tangible accomplishments. Or, sometimes we neglect to see that not all accomplishments are obvious. As one parent to another, I'm hoping that if you don't already see your kids as the leaders they may already be, that you think of them as the leaders they may have the ability to become.

Photo by ideeone on iStock


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

I'm still shaking my head, in amazement and amusement, at you telling me how there are people claiming that birds aren't real – they're surveillance drones.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

At first, I thought it was a joke. But then, I found a Newsweek article on the "Birds Aren't Real" movement that claims the government killed all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, if you hadn't forwarded it, I'd have thought you were messing with me! Anyway, my absolute favorite part is the "logic" that when the birds or drones or whatever you want to call them sit on powerlines, they're recharging. That's hilarious.
Keep Reading ... Show less
Photo by Joseph Sohm for Shutterstock


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

When I read the "Breaking News" email about the passing of Colin Powell from complications from COVID-19, I realized that many of us didn't even know he was being treated for illnesses that weakened his immune system. To me, he always seemed to be one of those incredibly strong and resilient men that could overcome anything, as I knew he served as the country's first Black national security adviser (during the Reagan administration), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under President George H. W. Bush) and secretary of state (under President George W. Bush).

I first became aware of Powell during Operation Desert Storm and was living in Hong Kong at the time (shortly after I married a Brit, Shell assigned him to the Far East). I can remember being halfway around the world from home while watching seemingly non-stop news briefings featuring "Storming Norman" Schwarzkopf, with his "larger than life" details about the extraordinary precision of the airstrikes. At the time, it almost seemed more like a computer game than an actual war.

However, Powell had a far greater impact on me as he exuded calm mixed with steely determination, projecting an air of confidence that you sensed came from experience and deep personal commitment. And at this time of war and conflict, he provided a comforting feeling of power and control.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I will not pretend to be a history buff, nor will I reflect on Mr. Powell's greatness as a military figure, statesman, and trailblazer. I will leave that to others. But, several things stand out about Powell as a man. First, he put America ahead of political party, stating, "I'm just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat, throughout my entire career, and right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties."

Thanks to Punchbowl News, I learned that as a young man, he worked in a toy store, and the owner, a Russian immigrant Jew, admired the young Powell so much that he impressed upon him the importance of getting an education. Powell was so touched by this that he stayed in contact with him for the next 50 years. (I loved the sprinkling of Yiddish phrases as Powell tells the story.)

Of course, I could not help but smile rewatching this video of Powell along with two other motorheads, Jay Leno and (at the time) Vice President Biden "racing" Corvettes. And, may explain why one of my many favorite Powell quotes is, "Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror." But in his passing, you cannot help but look back over all he did for our country.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.

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


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

I can't believe that Halloween's almost here, and the house isn't already decorated. Can I use the fact this is the first year I'm an empty nester as an excuse?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Does that mean that you are not going to decorate?


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

No! But without Sawyer home asking about it or prodding me by pulling the decorations out of the garage, it's still just sitting on my "to do" list. But fall is my favorite time of year, and I love seeing the house with all the Halloween decorations, so it will happen.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

I would think you could just put out the inflatables and be done with it.
Keep Reading ... Show less