Banter Bites

Ink & Think

When you look at someone with a tattoo, what's your first thought?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although tattoos have been around for thousands of years, how they're perceived has changed dramatically over the last few decades; just ask Red, who when she was growing up would've made a face and responded, "Yuck," while Black would've said she found them cool and (just to annoy our mom) that she could see getting one.


Red will admit that until four years ago, she may not have felt as strongly about tattoos as she did growing up when she just assumed that only "bad people" had them. But she still wasn't a fan of them and couldn't understand how anyone would want to permanently "decorate" their bodies.

As a mom, it was bad enough when her daughters would take Sharpies and proudly display their artwork on their arms and legs. And while her oldest daughter, Natasha, was the non-conformist (wonder where she inherited that trait) and would talk about getting tattoos one day, Red reacted like most moms; she heard the words but didn't think she'd actually do it.

I honestly thought that Natasha, having an extremely low tolerance for pain (as in non-existent), would never go ahead and endure the pain of getting a tattoo. But her love of bats (ever since she was a young girl and first saw thousands of them come out from under Congress Street Bridge in Austin) was stronger than her hatred of needles. Which is why she decided that her first tattoo was going to be a bat. And from the drawing she showed me, the perfect bat, as it was a simple outline that was not too big and not too small, and would be positioned on her shoulder blade, so not prominent yet not hidden.

So, what made Red not only give her blessing to the tattoo but make it her high school graduation gift?! (Talk about a change of heart.) As with many things, Black gave her a different perspective. She helped Red realize that tattoos had gone mainstream, probably because so many celebrities and athletes proudly display them. And being a history buff, Red was surprised to learn that famous people in history had them.

More importantly, though, Black made her sister realize that the stigmas of the past didn't apply anymore. Not to mention some of the falsehoods, such as you couldn't be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you had a tattoo. But in many ways, what Red found even more shocking than her newfound knowledge about tattoos, was Black's decision to get a matching bat tattoo. (Which recently led to her getting two more tattoos to match Red's younger daughter, Sawyer, when she got her perfect tattoos.)

Growing up, I told Mom I wanted one for the pure shock value of the statement. However, I have always been fascinated by tats and the fact they can be addictive. When Natasha decided to get her bat tat, it seemed the perfect opportunity to do something meaningful with her that we would both have to remind ourselves of the bond between us. And, I was thrilled to be able to do the same with Sawyer. So, when are we going to get matching tats?

Well, anyone who knows Red knows the answer to that question!

P.S. – Celebrate National Tattoo Day by checking out lots of fun facts and interesting things about tattoos!

Two years ago, on MLK Day, Red learned the power and inspiration of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the power of dreams. And as long as there's social unrest and social injustice in the United States (stop and think about the first word … as we’re supposed to be united), the more we can learn from him … as not only did he fight for equality for all, but his approach is proof of the power of peaceful protests.

For most of us, writing and delivering one powerful and/or inspiring thing would be a very difficult task. To be remembered for hundreds is truly amazing.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: There's so much one can say about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968, and whose leadership was fundamental to the ending of legal segregation in many parts of the United States. But regardless of your position on segregation, it's almost impossible not to acknowledge, yet alone appreciate, how incredibly powerful and inspiring his words were and the impact they continue to have on the civil rights movement. But don't believe us. This goodreads post provides more than just a good read, it's a seemingly endless list of inspirational quotes while a great "refresher" course on Dr. King is available at History.com.

We grew up in New York, where bagels are almost sacred, but even though they may have started as a Jewish food in Europe, they’re now enjoyed by everyone everywhere (including Red and Black, but in very different ways) – why else would there be a National Bagel Day?

National holidays aren’t the time to count calories.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We both agree that happiness has a hole in it, although one of us may only eat one bagel a year while the other tries to keep it to only one bagel when she does indulge.

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Another year and another National Clean Your Desk Day (yes, that’s actually a thing). So, is Red’s desk any better than the “disaster” it was last year? Well, believe it or not, it may not be perfect, but it’s significantly better. Is it because she finally listened to Black’s advice (see below) or somehow found a “secret” of her own? As it turns out, it was a combination of the two as Red discovered, even if the rest of her life isn’t “nice and neat” (that’ll never happen), she loves walking into her workroom in the morning and starting the day in a (somewhat) organized space, which provides the best motivation for keeping it that way. (Luckily, Black never brought up the science of messy desks.)

A day to clean up your desk?! It will take way more than a day …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: No one is immune from piles of paper, not even Black, the master of organization, but there’s a huge difference between a desk with a few small piles and some scattered papers (although her laptop’s keyboard needs serious cleaning) and Red’s “workroom” that usually looks like a tornado hit it.

Which is why Red rolled her eyes when Black mentioned today’s National Clean Your Desk Day, as it’d take her significantly more than a day to “clean up this mess,” but then she remembered Black’s advice on how to keep her piles (and piles) of paper under control and felt inspired. Red admits often feeling like she’s drowning in paper, but that’s because she lets the piles get out of control before reminding herself of Black’s very easy, straightforward approach to turning her mountains of paper into small manageable hills. And, significantly reducing stress along the way, because as Black points out,

Sometimes, it is more important to know what you are ignoring than it is to deal with everything in the piles.