Queen Elizabeth II had just died and hadn’t even made it to London for the official laying in state (the funeral was 10 days away, although everything had been planned years, no make that decades, ago). That didn’t stop Red, a Tudor history fan (Black would say “fanatic”) and long-time follower of the Royal Family (dating back to before she married a Brit and lived in England), from sharing with Black how she thought King Charles III could be the right man at the right time to be king.


RED’S THOUGHTS ABOUT KING CHARLES:
  • King Charles could be the perfect bridge between Queen Elizabeth II and the next in line, Prince William
  • Trained since birth, he knows the importance of the role and its history
  • He may have “rocked the boat” in his younger days, but now he’s older and wiser
  • His generation may not have acknowledged the changing of England’s population and the need to accept racial diversity or the existence of mental health issues, but he understands the importance of embracing today’s issues vs. living in the past
  • His long-time positions on climate change, the environment, and conservationism used to be considered crazy and are now not only mainstream, but recognized as critical issues
  • People’s opinions of him have changed and may have been due to a concerted effort on his part, but maybe he’s not quite as daft as people once thought
  • Prince Charles’s personal life was once viewed through the lens of his “fairy tale gone bad” relationship with Princess Diana, but Queen Consort Camilla, who was his “first love”, seems to be a true partner and may be a better fairy tale
  • Regardless of why, he’s more “human” and approachable than prior British sovereigns, as displayed by “the kiss” he received on his first day as king from one of his subjects

Of course, Red fully expected Black to reply with a business analysis of “The Firm” (which is how the Royal Family refers to itself and the institution) which is estimated to contribute over $2 billion a year to the U. K. economy or the business impact of a change in the ruling monarch (for example, changing the image on currency). Or, at least, some sarcastic comment about how King Charles certainly had long enough to prepare for the role. But the last thing she expected was bullet points of the important lessons to be learned from the new monarch.

BLACK’S LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM KING CHARLES III:

  • Be patient
  • Prepare for the job you want – not the one you have
  • If others undervalued you, realize that may be their shortcoming
  • You can pick your friends, but not your family
  • You will be judged by the company you keep (and the people you marry)
  • If you do not like how people see you, show another side of yourself
  • Manners and decorum never go out of style
  • You may be in the public eye, but some things are best kept private
  • It is always essential to have a succession plan
  • Find humor in the everyday things

Regardless of your opinion of the monarch and the Royal Family, the crown rests on the head of a soft-spoken, wise man who has spent his entire life preparing for this role. And although Queen Elizabeth II was more than a queen, she was a symbol of royal perfection, we live in a very different world … yet that doesn’t change the fact the King is still his mother’s son.

Thanksgiving dinner may be behind us, but we continue to face increased food prices this holiday season. Some of us can still manage, although it may take some adjustments in eating and shopping habits. But for many, it means “food insecurity” (which is more than just being hungry, it’s a consistent lack of food), with more and more people turning to food banks.

So, if you can, and in the spirit of holiday gift-giving, consider donating to your local food bank. It may end up being the best gift of all because helping others is good for you.(Red knows it makes her feel good and puts her in the holiday spirit, while Black “ignores” the emotional aspects and touts the science behind it.)

Food prices. What goes up must come down. Or not.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, like most of us, has been impacted by rising food prices and shortages, while Black knows that understanding “why” that’s happening doesn’t help you put food on the table.

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Red assets.rebelmouse.io


If you had asked me this when my girls were young, since we celebrated both Chanukah and Christmas, I would’ve said, “Shop for lots of gifts.” Which, I found out the hard way, resulted in lots of credit card debt. The funny thing is, except for my immediate family, I give homemade baked goods to almost everyone else on my list. Black made me realize how important it was to plan and budget for the holidays, and I started buying things throughout the year and/or putting aside money. But, maybe more importantly, it also made me think about the “best” gifts to give my girls.

And I quickly realized it was the gift of time. I couldn’t help but think of the times I’d be busy and only give half my attention to the girls, promising to spend more time with them “later”. And “later” would never happen. So, I created “Day with Mom” gift certificates that were redeemable for a day to do what they wanted (within reason, of course). Surprisingly, actually shockingly, each chose simple things to do, and this special day of spending time together became one of their favorite gifts (and mine, too).


Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I have a very short list. In terms of family, I always give my nieces gifts throughout the year versus feeling forced to find something during the holiday season, although I do give small “token” gifts and send Red rugelach from Zabar’s. (It is efficient as I am already on the website on Cyber Monday buying business gifts.) Of course, for some people I want to “thank” during the holiday season, cash is the best gift.

I recognize I am very fortunate, and charities (like Make-A-Wish) help me keep my life in perspective. I have an annual budget, and as situations arise throughout the year (unfortunately, given the increase in natural disasters, they occur all too frequently), I make charitable donations. But, I also realize that during the holiday season, many people are hungry and turn to food banks, so part of my holiday tradition is donating to the Houston Food Bank (part of Feeding America).

Events in our lives (both personally and in the world around us) may change from year to year, but amidst the joy and festiveness of the holidays, there’s always a certain amount of stress and challenges to get everything done. This year’s no different, and I’m sure Black would suggest (sarcastically, of course) I might want to reread my tried-and-true holiday survival list …

It's official! The holiday "silly season" (as I call it) is now underway and before I know it, it will be New Year's Day and I'll be looking back and asking, "Where did December go?!" This year's holiday goals …

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