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.

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


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I can’t believe it’s already May, which means hot and humid weather is just around the corner. All I can say is … ugh.


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Not a scientific term, but descriptive nonetheless. And, I hate to break the news to you, but the science of climate change and global warming means summers will keep getting hotter.


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I can remember growing up in New York and summers being hot, but not like now. Of course, it didn’t help that Mommy didn’t run the air conditioning until it got into the 90s.
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Photo by Epiximages on iStock


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I appreciate that bullet points may not be the typical approach to Mother’s Day, but it seems appropriate to me …
  • Be sensitive to those people whose mothers may no longer be with us, especially given how many have been lost to COVID
  • If you have lost a mother, remember they are always with you – in your heart and in your memories
  • Remember Mother’s Day also includes all those “unofficial moms” and “mother figures” who are like second (or replacement) moms
  • And, last but not least, If you’re a mom, try to enjoy the day by doing something for yourself, as today may be the one day you can get away with it


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This year I write about Mother’s Day with a heavy heart and still much raw emotion, as our mom passed in December. My pragmatic side (yes, that’s usually Black’s area although she did sound somewhat warm and fuzzy above) knows that she had been 94 and led a full life, but that really doesn’t make it any less sad or fill the emptiness. But I find myself, when I least expect it and triggered by the most unexpected things, finding comfort in wonderful memories. And although Black’s first bullet point hits too close to home for me, I’ll try my best to focus on the other bullets.

Wishing all moms a very Happy Mother’s Day!

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

At speaking engagements, Black will often ask, “Who likes math?” followed by, “Who likes money?” As you can imagine, a lot more hands go up in the air for the second question than the first. But imagine if she asked if money made them laugh. It’s probably safe to say no one would say, “Yes.” Although they’d be wrong because people laugh (and learn) at basic, but potentially life-changing, stories about Red and how, when it came to money, she was clueless and intimidated.

It could be the story of Red putting her theater degree to good use as she freaked out about vocabulary. Especially since she was a straight-A student and avid reader who prided herself on her vocabulary. (If words set her off, Black could only imagine the “scene” that would have occurred if she had asked Red this handful of questions.) But Red’s financial crisis did prompt the ever-pragmatic Black to envision the power of a sitcom with entertaining money episodes because … Money IS A Laughing Matter!

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