Words & Banter

RED & BLACK … A Monthly Valentine

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


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

It is February, so I suppose we should do something with a Valentine’s Day theme. Which is too warm and fuzzy for me, so you are on your own.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

You’re not getting off the hook that easily! Although, as the most pragmatic and non-emotional person I know, I doubt that you’ll have anything of “romantic” value to say.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, I could talk about the business aspects of sending flowers, heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, and remembering to tell people you love that you love them – which, by the way, should NOT require a holiday.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io


You’re right. Maybe I do need to write this on my own. Especially since there’s nothing wrong with using Valentine’s Day as a reminder to tell people you’re thinking of them.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


I thought that was one of your New Year’s resolutions – to reach out to people you have not spoken to in a while – whether friends or distant family. Or, even new acquaintances.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io


It was. And I loved your idea to pick one person each month to reach out to – whether by phone, Zoom, email, or even a handwritten note, so that by year-end, I’ll have touched the lives of 12 people.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


Let me guess. You had it to do on your January “to-do” list, and it never happened.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io


Exactly. So, instead of feeling motivated, I feel defeated.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


I am confident you wished lots of people “Happy New Year,” so that counts for January, and you still have time to send Valentine’s Day wishes, so you are good until March. You are on a roll, so keep up the good work.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io


You definitely look at things differently than I do. But I have February covered, as when I was at HEB buying Valentine’s Day cards for the girls, I bought one for Lisa, my best friend since grade school. She was just made a partner at her law firm, and instead of a congratulations card, I found the perfect Valentine’s Day card that talked about friendship. And I took the time to add a heartfelt, pun intended, message of congratulations.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


Maybe you should stock up on Valentine’s Day cards and then use them all year long for an assortment of purposes.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io


Well, that sounds good, but I’m afraid it will fall by the wayside, along with so many other good ideas I’ve had over the years.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io


That sounds like a defeatist attitude. Explain how you manage to go to the gym at the same time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but cannot reach out to one “special” person during the month.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

That’s because I finally listened to you and put it on my calendar and treat it like a doctor’s appointment.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

And, what about your calls with Nina, your friend in Australia? I appreciate the time difference is a challenge, but you have spoken with her twice in the last month versus only a handful of times in the last year.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

This is getting annoying. Same answer. By scheduling it. Before, we’d end each FaceTime with a general “talk soon,” and then months would go by. Now we pull out our calendars and schedule the next one for two weeks later, knowing that if something comes up, we may push it out a week.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

So, take a similar approach to reaching out once a month to the people on your list. Maybe even pick a person for the next month, choose a specific day, and put it on your calendar versus having it on a monthly “to-do” list.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I’m feeling a bit foolish because that’s an incredibly simple idea, but a good one. I have so many things on my “to-do” list, but rarely put any of them on my calendar. That alone will make it a high priority.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Remember, we live in a world of email and text messages, so anything handwritten is special. But, it does not have to be two pages long, although that might become a keepsake.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Funny you mention that, as I recently received an email from Levenger about the lost art of the love letter. And although their intention may have been romantic, I couldn’t help but think a handwritten note, whoever the recipient, shows you care enough about them to put pen to paper.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

I received the same email, but saw it as marketing their selection of pens and other potential Valentine’s Day gifts. But, it did remind me I needed to order more Circa products.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I guess that’s one way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, if it makes you feel better, in January, I sent a few dear friends some heart-shaped gingersnap cookies.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

If it were anyone else, I’d say how thoughtful. But with you … what’s the real story?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

In December, a business associate sent me a box of beautifully packaged gingersnap cookies. It included a note stating all proceeds support The Center for Pursuit, which promotes the pursuit of choice, growth, and independence for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism, or similar conditions. When I went to order some as gifts, they were all sold out. When I checked again in January, I saw they were back in stock and even had limited edition heart-shaped ones.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io


Now that makes sense. Did you even try the cookies?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Yes, and they were delicious, so I immediately gave them to the guys downstairs to avoid overindulging.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Of course you did. So now that you did something sweet (well, technically, gingersnap cookies aren’t sweet) in December and January, what are your plans for February?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

You forget, reaching out to people every month is your resolution. Not mine.

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

Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock

Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
Keep Reading ...Show less

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

It’s January, and everyone’s probably tired of reading about New Year’s resolutions.

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Not me. Since I never make them, I never feel the need to read about them.

red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Of course, you don’t. So, what should we write about?

Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

How about that we celebrate some of our favorite things in January?

So many “National Days” in January are fun (we’ve written about them over the years) and remind us of some of our favorite things. (Can you pick which are Red’s favorite holidays and which are Black’s?) And whether or not you make resolutions, it’s always important to have a sense of humor and enjoy the simpler things in life …

Answer: Red’s favorites are Bagels, Popcorn, and Hugging. Black’s are Clean Desk, Bagels, and Backward.

Wishing you Happy 2024 – with new beginnings and much more!