Ask Red & Black

If you had to name your greatest achievement, what would it be?

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Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io





Surviving, then thriving, in the oil and gas industry during the downturn of the 1980s, although some might say it was retiring from the corporate world before I was 40.



    Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io





    At the risk of sounding warm and fuzzy, I can't imagine any greater achievement in life than raising children to be caring individuals and responsible citizens. More specifically, since I have two daughters, I want to make sure they're better prepared for life than I was.


    Red assets.rebelmouse.io


    Thanks for making me stop and think about this. I realized that on the days that when I’m out and I’m not feeling totally stressed or in a rush to do a million and one things, I find myself engaging in a little more conversation with people or, at the very least, taking that extra moment to connect. It might be someone that needs assistance, or merely the opening of a door. Or, I might make eye contact with someone in the grocery store, and make a passing, but kind, comment. Sometimes they “return” the kindness, but even if it’s just a smile that gets returned – it makes a difference to both of us.

    So, having said all that, the reality is regardless how busy we may be, it only takes a moment to show a little kindness. And I’m going to try harder, even when I’m super busy or in a cranky mood (most days fall into one of those categories) to share simple acts of kindness. If nothing else, it just might put me in a better mood. And, ideally, it might get passed on.


    Black assets.rebelmouse.io


    I always say, “Red is the nice one.” And, by that I mean she always tries to behave in a pleasant or agreeable way, wanting people to like her (although there are days when she has exhausted her quota of “nice”). But, kindness is different. Kindness is doing something that is helpful to others. It can be contagious, and the benefits and ripple effects can be significant. However, instead of quoting research and statistics, I will share this simple, but powerful, video, “ Change The World With Kindness.”

    P.S. Need some kindness ideas, click here. Or for some inspiring quotes, click here.


    Red assets.rebelmouse.io


    I can relate. When my husband got fired, Black made me total up all our credit card debt, and I broke down in tears. The funny thing is that before she’d help me deal with it, she insisted on giving me a history lesson on credit cards. And although I love history, initially, I fought her. But I’m so glad she ignored me! To this day, understanding that the origin of credit cards wasn’t a line of credit but instead a convenience (to be paid in full every month) has made a huge difference.

    But that doesn’t answer your question. I think we all know how easy it is to rack up credit card debt, especially during the holidays. A holiday budget would’ve helped, but now you need a monthly budget to see where you can cut back and apply those “savings” to pay down your credit card bills. Without making this a math class (not my favorite subject), I just memorized that after paying the minimums, I should apply any “extra” money to the credit cards with the highest interest rates (APRs). There’s nothing I can do about the past, but I can start making better decisions today.


    Black assets.rebelmouse.io


    I appreciate that “misery loves company,” and recognizing that we all are susceptible to overspending (Nicholas Cage took it to the extreme) helps explain why in the last year, credit card debt has exploded.

    I recently read that HBO star Issa Rae admitted that when she was a college student, she ran up lots of credit card debt, to the point it was “crippling” (her word, not mine). It reminded me of how shortly after getting my M.B.A. (in International Finance, so I had no excuse), I got in debt over my head. To the point where although I was making a great salary in a corporate job, I had to take a second job waitressing on weekends to pay down the debt.

    Am I suggesting you get a second job? No. I am suggesting you look at the numbers and then decide how best to “attack” them (maybe even consider debt consolidation to lower the overall interest rate you are paying). Some people suggest paying off the lowest balances first, but that is a psychological approach. As Red will tell you, I am pragmatic and prefer to crunch the numbers, and come up with a realistic plan and set myself up for success.

    FULL QUESTION: Have your thoughts or opinions changed about January 6 (riot at the Capitol)?


    Red assets.rebelmouse.io


    As a lover of history, I understand how the shock and impact of events fade over time. It’s just human nature. Which is why it’s important to have anniversaries to commemorate certain events that are so profound, so game-changing, so incomprehensible, that we must never forget them. In my lifetime, there were 9/11 and January 6, but I’ll admit to something that I know shocked Black.

    When the question about January 6 came up, I didn’t immediately connect it to the attack on the Capitol. It wasn’t that I forgot the event or even the hearings. But I did forget the date. However, I’ll never forget the Capitol being overrun by rioters. I’ll never forget the extraordinary and horrific visuals. I’ll never forget being at my computer, working on Red & Black, when the first images began to appear, and it just kept getting worse and worse, seeming like something out of a movie or a third-world country. Not an actual event taking place in the United States. And even once civility was restored, it continued to get worse because, only months later, we saw never-before-released video in the 13-minute film prepared by the House impeachment managers. And new information continues to be released that shows the true horror and disturbing reality of what had happened.


    Black assets.rebelmouse.io


    Today is the second anniversary of the January 6 violent storming of America’s Capitol, a dark and tragic moment in our country’s history. A day when America was stopped in its tracks as the unthinkable happened, and so disturbing and incomprehensible that the following day I wondered, “Did anyone else think of 9/11 yesterday?” And while “Hope In This Horrible Time” focused on the horror of 9/11, I believed that January 6 would be another example of how we, as a country, would come together.

    Now, two years later, that clarity and feeling of hope are harder to embrace as it seems Americans, even with countless hours of videos, testimonies, interviews, and documentation, cannot even agree on what happened, who was responsible, and how do we prevent it from happening again. I can only hope we can find a way to come together … for the sake of our country. For the sake of democracy.