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


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I can't believe it's been a year since they canceled last year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which means that it's been a year since COVID-19 has seemingly taken over our lives. It's almost hard to remember what life used to be like.


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I am not even sure we know how the "new norm" will look. And, believe it or not, I can still remember the dilemma you faced in terms of Sawyer and the Houston Rodeo. But, the fact you used me as your sounding board, for what I remember as countless hours, may explain it.


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The mom in me just wanted to lock her in the house until we knew more about COVID-19. But I also knew the carnival and concerts at the Houston Rodeo are far and away one of the highlights not only of Spring Break, but her entire year.


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Well, the fact they canceled it after the first week made your life – and mine – much easier. So, looking back, do you think you would have stopped her from going?


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Hello? You still there?


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Yes. I'm thinking about how to answer that. Part of me wants to believe that I'd have exercised my parental right to use "tough love" … but honestly, I really don't know. But what I do know is that looking back, I'd do things differently.


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Really? I know you were borderline fanatical about cleaning your groceries for a long time, but many people were. And although Mom, who says she understands, will probably never forgive you for only seeing her "through a window" for almost a year now, even though it is for her own safety.


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No, I meant further back in time. This past year has had me thinking about all the things I didn't do over the years. And how I always took for granted that I'd be able to do them. Then, overnight, I couldn't.


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It is funny you mention that, as various business publications are predicting a boom in travel once things start to open safely. In fact, some Christmas 2021 cruises are already sold out.


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Cruises aren't on my list, but travel is. Over the years, my reasons for not traveling were cost-related, but I also struggled to find the time given the girls' schedules and us always being so busy with Red & Black. Bottom line, there were always reasons not to do it. And now I regret it. Not for the missed trips themselves, but for the opportunity to create memories, as some of my fondest memories are from trips. And I don't mean the things I saw; I mean the time spent with those I was traveling with or traveling to see.


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First, no one ever said on their deathbed, "I wish I had worked more." Smarter maybe, but not more. Second, then make "memory making" a priority and start immediately. Call or Zoom friends, do a COVID-safe staycation, take a day-long road trip. Be creative.


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I'm already doing some of that, but the point I was trying to make is that I always thought I could do these things another time. Until life just seemed to stop. And then, a year later, you realize you might not always have the time you assumed you would.


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For years, I have said that the future is not a guarantee, merely an incentive. Unfortunately, I think the pandemic has made that painfully obvious for many people.


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Somehow, I don't think you're talking about trips. I know that life's full of regrets, but I imagine one of the worst ones is not being able to say goodbye to a loved one and realizing you never said or did the things you wish you had. It makes you think about the many things we don't do because we're busy and feel we can do it another time – simple things like stopping and spending a bit more time with your child, your partner, your parent – until you later look back and regret it.


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I think that is natural and, unfortunately, a part of life.


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I know. But this past year, more than ever before, has me thinking about things that I regret. Full stop. Some things go back many years, like losing touch with old friends, while others are more recent and make me wish for a "do-over".


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Well, it seems to me that you have two options. You can sit there and have your regrets. Or, you can learn from your regrets and do things differently.


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Hello. Are you thinking, again?


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Yes. You're right; I've been so focused on the things I regret, and have felt that I can never have another chance at, that I never even thought about how I can turn some of those regrets around. Or at least make sure I don't have similar regrets in the future. So, at the risk of regretting asking this question … do you have any regrets?


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Just as I do not take walks down memory lane, I do not "do" regrets


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So, you're trying to tell me there's nothing you'd do differently if you could live your life over?


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I did not say that. I said that I do not "do" regrets. However, making mistakes is very different from having regrets.


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Somehow, I knew I'd regret asking …

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

Photo by ideeone on iStock


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I'm still shaking my head, in amazement and amusement, at you telling me how there are people claiming that birds aren't real – they're surveillance drones.


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At first, I thought it was a joke. But then, I found a Newsweek article on the "Birds Aren't Real" movement that claims the government killed all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones.


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Well, if you hadn't forwarded it, I'd have thought you were messing with me! Anyway, my absolute favorite part is the "logic" that when the birds or drones or whatever you want to call them sit on powerlines, they're recharging. That's hilarious.
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Photo by Joseph Sohm for Shutterstock


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When I read the "Breaking News" email about the passing of Colin Powell from complications from COVID-19, I realized that many of us didn't even know he was being treated for illnesses that weakened his immune system. To me, he always seemed to be one of those incredibly strong and resilient men that could overcome anything, as I knew he served as the country's first Black national security adviser (during the Reagan administration), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under President George H. W. Bush) and secretary of state (under President George W. Bush).

I first became aware of Powell during Operation Desert Storm and was living in Hong Kong at the time (shortly after I married a Brit, Shell assigned him to the Far East). I can remember being halfway around the world from home while watching seemingly non-stop news briefings featuring "Storming Norman" Schwarzkopf, with his "larger than life" details about the extraordinary precision of the airstrikes. At the time, it almost seemed more like a computer game than an actual war.

However, Powell had a far greater impact on me as he exuded calm mixed with steely determination, projecting an air of confidence that you sensed came from experience and deep personal commitment. And at this time of war and conflict, he provided a comforting feeling of power and control.


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I will not pretend to be a history buff, nor will I reflect on Mr. Powell's greatness as a military figure, statesman, and trailblazer. I will leave that to others. But, several things stand out about Powell as a man. First, he put America ahead of political party, stating, "I'm just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat, throughout my entire career, and right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties."

Thanks to Punchbowl News, I learned that as a young man, he worked in a toy store, and the owner, a Russian immigrant Jew, admired the young Powell so much that he impressed upon him the importance of getting an education. Powell was so touched by this that he stayed in contact with him for the next 50 years. (I loved the sprinkling of Yiddish phrases as Powell tells the story.)

Of course, I could not help but smile rewatching this video of Powell along with two other motorheads, Jay Leno and (at the time) Vice President Biden "racing" Corvettes. And, may explain why one of my many favorite Powell quotes is, "Always focus on the front windshield and not the review mirror." But in his passing, you cannot help but look back over all he did for our country.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.

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


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I can't believe that Halloween's almost here, and the house isn't already decorated. Can I use the fact this is the first year I'm an empty nester as an excuse?


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Does that mean that you are not going to decorate?


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No! But without Sawyer home asking about it or prodding me by pulling the decorations out of the garage, it's still just sitting on my "to do" list. But fall is my favorite time of year, and I love seeing the house with all the Halloween decorations, so it will happen.


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I would think you could just put out the inflatables and be done with it.
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