Words & Banter

Straight Talk & Straight Hair … Set Me Straight!

Photo by Red
The crazier the world seems, the more we rely on other people’s soundbites – sometimes that’s a bad thing, but sometimes it makes sense. (And sometimes, especially when it’s Black, it belongs on a tee shirt.) For example, Black often says that talking isn’t the same as communicating, and hearing isn’t the same as listening. But it really hit home two years ago … when I got my hair straightened …

My daughter, Sawyer, thought her decision was made. However, she had agonized over it for some time. She's gone to the same camp every summer for all but one since she was five-years-old, and was a counselor (for the first time) last summer, but decided to skip this year. Her logic? She knew that going away to college for her freshman year meant she wanted to spend as much time as possible with her high school friends before saying goodbye, not to mention having to get ready and pack for college.

All sounds good, yes? Until one of the camp directors got in touch with her, hoping to change her mind. It seems they have plenty of campers (many Sawyer has watched grow up over the years) but not enough counselors. So, the dilemma began … all over again.


She loves camp and not only because it's fun. For her, it's been a strong emotional experience, a second family, and a community where she has always felt the bonds of love and the power of relationships. But she recognized that this is a summer of transition – moving away from her core group of high school friends that may or may not remain in her life, and moving away from home. In other words, leaving behind one part of her life and beginning the next chapter. Now what?

Well, in our family, when faced with a difficult decision, it usually means talking about it. But this was a delicate situation as she had already talked to me about all the pros and cons, not to mention the tug-of-war between her heart and her head. I knew that she needed a sounding board and support more than anything else. So, I decided … to get my hair done,

As Sawyer wielded her flat iron magic on my hair, we casually talked about her dilemma. I mostly listened, allowing her to talk about whatever she wanted so that she could hear the words out loud, not just in her head. Occasionally, I'd ask a "curiosity" question – not to get an answer, but to generate food-for-thought. At the end, I didn't ask if she had made a decision, but I told her that whatever decision she ultimately made, I knew it was the right one. And that my hair looked great.

I've gone most of my life thinking that everything had a right or wrong answer. And that conversations about serious things require serious conversations. But Sawyer made me realize that conversations about serious things need effective communication, but they don't have to take place in a serious setting.

And what did Black say when I told her about my "awakening"? I won't bore you with all her "analysis" about it being easier to talk with people when it's a casual conversation, and you don't have direct eye-to-eye contact, but she couldn't help but point out,

Well, I guess that explains why so many people share so much with their hairstylists.
Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock

Are you taking the Dry January challenge and not having any alcohol for the month? Or, maybe you plan to drink less (but not nothing), which makes it Damp January. Or, maybe this is the first you’ve heard of it. (If so, there’s still time to start!)

Well, nothing much has changed from our approach to Dry January last year, except the one who had started drinking more last year is continuing the trend …



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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK , started Dry January , where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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It’s January, and everyone’s probably tired of reading about New Year’s resolutions.

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Not me. Since I never make them, I never feel the need to read about them.

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Of course, you don’t. So, what should we write about?

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How about that we celebrate some of our favorite things in January?

So many “National Days” in January are fun (we’ve written about them over the years) and remind us of some of our favorite things. (Can you pick which are Red’s favorite holidays and which are Black’s?) And whether or not you make resolutions, it’s always important to have a sense of humor and enjoy the simpler things in life …

Answer: Red’s favorites are Bagels, Popcorn, and Hugging. Black’s are Clean Desk, Bagels, and Backward.

Wishing you Happy 2024 – with new beginnings and much more!