FULL QUESTION: Why are some people talking trash about Olympic gymnast Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic events?


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Honestly, I didn't even know they were. At first, I think we were all in shock when Simone withdrew after she didn't complete the vault as planned , but almost immediately, there was an incredible outpouring of support. And not only from former Olympians, like Michael Phelps who has long spoken of his mental health challenges, but from a wide range of people, including mental health experts, newscasters, celebrities, and even politicians.

I'll admit that initially I questioned her decision because she had competed in previous Olympics, so I assumed she was used to the pressure. But then, the more I read, the more I learned, and the more impressed I became. Because she makes it look so easy, it's easy to forget that you can seriously injure yourself if your head isn't in the game. Finally, when I read what she said at the press conference, I came to see how her decision was the right one, not just for herself but as an example to all of us.


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I am aware of some of the despicable things being said, and although people have the right to their opinion, I refuse to give them "airtime" by mentioning them by name. These media "personalities" (I do not consider them journalists or even commentators) seem to say what they do solely to stir things up, and get ratings and coverage. Whether they actually believe these things or not, who knows? Unfortunately, many of them have large (and loyal) followings who are easily (mindlessly?) persuaded.

They are quick to criticize someone who has accomplished so much more with their life than they ever will, but maybe not in the obvious way … Simone Biles may be the GOAT in gymnastics, but her greatest accomplishment may be in shining an extremely bright light, seen worldwide, on the importance of mental health.

FULL QUESTION: What do you think about hugging? And how do you handle hugging in the age of COVID?


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Being a warm and fuzzy person, I’ve always been a hugger, but even before the pandemic, I was aware that some people liked hugs more than others, so would “regulate” my hugs accordingly. For example, neither of my children have inherited my hugging “gene”, although sometimes they don’t get a vote, instead getting a big ole’ mom hug. But I digress (as usual).

My biggest adjustment in terms of “COVID” hugging, especially now that things have become a little “easier” (I’ve been vaccinated and had a booster), is that I simply ask people what their preference is. For some, a hug is welcome (and the human touch wanted), while others are good with a fist or elbow bump, while others prefer to keep their distance entirely. Which, to be honest, is usually people that wouldn’t have wanted a hug even before COVID, so not a big deal.


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Anyone who knows me knows I am a non-hugger. Always have been. I am also that person who is always curious, so found there is science behind why people are or are not huggers. And, although I fully appreciate that hugs provide a wealth of health benefits (I was fascinated by this study), that still does not change that I find hugging can be selfish (the hugger often is the one needing a hug).

COVID, and especially the fact the omicron variant is so contagious, provides a legitimate excuse for me not to hug. However, I will make exceptions for close friends that I know need the hug – as long as I also know that they, like me, are fully vaccinated and still mask-up outside the home.

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.