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I know you're not talking about the incredibly popular Friday the 13th horror movies, which, for the record, I'm not a fan of. Not because they scare me or I dislike all the blood and gore, I'm just "old school" and prefer the classic horror movies like Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Boris Karloff as Frankenstein. Although Mel Brook's "Young Frankenstein" is a hilarious "classic" and one of my all-time favorite movies.

But I digress. I'm not superstitious, so I don't believe Friday the 13th is an unlucky day. Interestingly, our grandmother thought that the number 13 was very lucky, so Friday the 13th was a particularly good day for her. What I will say is that I've always been interested in parapsychology (keep in mind that I'm "older", so this was before all the TV shows about ghost sightings that now pose as "reality TV"), although I feel that I should draw a distinction between the scientific study of paranormal activity and a belief in superstitions.


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Actually, there is science and logic related to superstitions, and I can see how superstitions can give people a feeling of being in control, which in turn helps them cope with anxiety and uncertainty. Obviously, it is a function of whether you believe something good will happen or something bad, and ultimately it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Friday the 13th is a good example, as whether you think it is unlucky or lucky, you will look for "supporting evidence." (I find it neither, but was intrigued by how many times it happens each year and other interesting facts.)

That does not mean I do not believe in other superstitions, but I do not try to defend them. Sometimes it is a nice break from being pragmatic, and I figure there is little to lose and maybe something to gain. And I am not alone when it comes to superstitions – there are superstitious athletes, like Michael Jordan, who wore his North Carolina practice shorts under his NBA uniform for good luck, and even superstitious scientists.

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.