Design by Sawyer Pennington


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You could do what I do with Black, pick and choose your arguments, especially since in my case I know that I'll rarely "win" – and by that, I mean get her to change her mind and see it my way (ha-ha). So, it's not really an argument as much it's a conversation, which is a very different thing.

Plus, because I'm the queen of the disclaimer, I also always state up front that things are just my thoughts or opinion, not right or wrong (although, like most people, I feel like I'm right). I'm not sure the disclaimer makes a difference to her, but it makes me feel better.

Finally, I've learned the hard way that sometimes she'll debate an issue just for the sport of it, or to get me to really think through my position by asking me to explain WHY I'm thinking (or believe) what I do. Which means, sometimes I have no idea what she's actually thinking without point-blank asking her.

Did any of this make any sense? Or help?


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I am not sure I am the right person to answer this question, as I will disagree with someone just for the fun of trying to get them to see it my way. Even if I am taking the position opposite of what I believe. Although, I will admit that it does help me better understand other perspectives. (Maybe arguments should be turned into games where everyone has to switch sides.)

My advice to you? Recognize that everyone forms their opinions based on the circumstances of their life. So, decide if you want to spend your time with them trying to change them or what they believe – or just trying to understand the WHY behind their views … about politics and life. And, remember, understanding is very different from agreeing.

If you do find yourself in a serious argument – it should not be a dual to the bitter end. At some point, you may need to agree to disagree. Or, just change the subject.

FULL QUESTION: New Year … New Resolutions? What’s the best New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made? The worst?

The year was only a few minutes old when Red’s youngest daughter asked what her New Year resolution was going to be. But before Red had a chance to respond, Sawyer said one of hers was to build on last year’s goals at the gym since her “before” (January 2021) and “after” (December 2021) photos had given her the motivation to keep working at it.

Red then realized that sometimes the best resolution might not be something new, but a continued commitment to something you’re already doing. Although, in her case, her best and worst New Year resolutions hadn’t changed from when she answered the question last year (nor had Black’s attitude toward resolutions) …


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I'm glad you didn't ask how many New Year's resolutions I've kept! I'm going to address the worse resolution first. It's the one where I promised myself that I was going to keep on top of emails because at any given time I can have tens of thousands (yes, that's the number) of emails in my inbox! They've all been read; I just haven't figured out what to do with them. I guess figuring that out should have been the resolution. On the other hand, the best resolution was to listen to my kids more. I have a bad habit of finishing their sentences or interrupting their thoughts with thoughts of my own. Granted, I'm far from perfect at it, but I'm getting better. And making a conscious effort to let them complete their thoughts before I talk has really improved our conversations, for both them and me.


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Easy question … because I do not make New Year's resolutions. I see goals and resolutions as ongoing efforts that start when you identify an objective – not because it is January 1 st. Some may be small and achieved fairly quickly, while others may take a lifetime. The key is finding a way to remember them and realizing you may hit roadblocks, detours, and/or delays … but there are many roads that will take you to the same destination.

FULL QUESTION: I get so confused by all the different Nobel Prizes, so what exactly is Nobel Prize Day?


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As a former straight-A student and lover of history, I’m almost afraid to admit this, but I only recently learned that the award ceremony for Nobel Prizes occurs every year on December 10, even though the winners for the six different categories are announced in October (list of this year’s winners). And except for the Nobel Peace Prize, which to me is the “biggie”, I couldn’t have named any of the other categories (Chemistry, Physics, Literature, Physiology or Medicine, and Economics). Or the fact those five are presented in Sweden while, for some reason, the Peace Prize is awarded in Norway.


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I find it funny that Red did not try to use the fact she loves Tudor history, and Alfred Nobel, who established the Nobel Prize, was Swedish as her “excuse” for not knowing more about the prize. Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, left a controversial last will and testament that used the bulk of his wealth to establish the Nobel Prizes. (It is ironic that money earned by developing and manufacturing explosives and munitions would fund a “peace” prize.) Talk about a way to get remembered. But, so is being honored with a Nobel Prize.


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Oh, so many parents, myself included, can relate! Now that I’m an “empty nester” there’s a part of me that misses being needed for something as straightforward as being their personal chauffeur. Right now, it may seem like it’s never going to end, but it goes by so quickly. Trust me. At the time, it would often drive (pun intended) me crazy, and I’d think about all the “lost hours” driving my daughter to volleyball practices and tournaments. But now I miss that quiet time with her.

At the risk of sounding like I’m comparing myself to Svante Thunberg, father of world-known climate activist Greta Thunberg, I could relate on so many levels when he recently said now that Greta was a legal adult and he no longer has to chaperone her everywhere, he’s looking forward to getting back to his life and his job. But I guarantee he’ll miss spending that quality time with her.


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Not having children, I can only give you an “outsider’s” perspective. And, I know there are Uber-type transportation services for children, although without doing extensive research on them, I cannot say whether I would have felt comfortable with my nieces using them when they were younger. And, once Red’s youngest was old enough to drive, as were some of her friends, she often replaced time chauffeuring with time worrying.

Enjoy having that one-on-one car time with your children and look at it as an opportunity to talk with each other, although you may have to make the car a “no cell-phone” zone – but explain that is what you charge for chauffeuring service.