Created by Sawyer Pennington


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It seems like it was only yesterday that we were thinking about a new website. Now we're working on it non-stop.


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Actually, we have talked about a new website for years, but deciding to create this website became a high priority when COVID-19 changed everything – for everyone.


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No kidding. I was so surprised when educators reached out to us looking for online resources. But what really caught me off guard was when people started telling me my crisis, which happened years ago when my husband got fired, had so many analogies to what they're having to face today.


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We all tend to live our lives day-to-day until something happens that is a catalyst to make us stop and take notice. To have to address the situation. The reality of our lives. First, it was COVID-19. Then the civil unrest and protests prompted by the murder of George Floyd. And now, with everything seeming to divide the country, the upcoming presidential election is only making things worse. It just seems that we are going from crisis-to-crisis.


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I know that so much of what's happening today has left me feeling sad. And angry. And often helpless. But I'll admit, being able to talk with you and get non-emotional feedback has been an enormous help.


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Funny thing is sometimes I just let you talk. Or, maybe it is that I just cannot get a word in edgewise.


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Well, everyone knows that I'm the warm and fuzzy one who like to blah-blah-blah. But I have to tell you, even if I regret it later, that right now, given all the current craziness and stress, I even welcome your sarcasm.

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In the past, my standard reply to that would have been, "You need to get out more." But, given COVID-19, that is probably not very good advice.


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Does that mean you have no words of wisdom for me?! Wow, that's a first.


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Technically, I typically do not tell you what to do. I just ask questions – sometimes lots of questions – to try to make you figure it out yourself.


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I don't want to get in a debate with you, so can we change the subject? I'd LOVE to tell people how excited we are about our new website! Should we explain how we're starting with a few key posts in each of the sections, along with the "Banter Bites" that we launched on Twitter and Facebook earlier this year? And mention how we'll be adding new information every day?


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You just did.
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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Image by Arseniy45 on iStock


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I know Columbus Day is a federal holiday, so banks are closed, but otherwise, it's barely celebrated. Growing up, it seemed like it was an important part of fall, not only because we had off from school, but because I can still remember (yes, those straight-A student school memories) learning about America being discovered by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Especially since he was trying to find a new way to get to the "riches" of Asia (without having to sail around Africa) and found the Americas instead! I still recall hearing that some people thought the earth was flat and his ships would fall off, and although it may not have been many people – it still made a lasting impression. Regardless, he became one of the most famous explorers in history.

I love history, so I loved everything about the holiday and even remember the names of the three ships, Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria, all these decades later. And although I've long forgotten most dates in history (after knowing them for the test, of course), the year 1492 is etched on my memory, as I suspect it is for many people.


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Obviously, Red needs to "update" her history on Christopher Columbus, and I am not talking about "obscure facts" like that might not have been his real name. Information has been discovered (pun intended, although this is a serious situation), leading to significant discussion and controversy about Columbus "the person" versus the romanticized hero originally depicted in history books.

As you would expect from any explorer traveling the world, there would be encounters with indigenous people. However, historians now believe Columbus' interactions were despicable (my word, not theirs) due to his use of violence and slavery, and forcing people to become Christians. In addition, he exposed the New World to diseases and other complications in what is now referred to as the "Columbian Exchange."

So, in keeping with the spirit of today being a holiday to celebrate, a "replacement" holiday, Indigenous People's Day, was created. And, although technically not a federal holiday, it does fall on one and hopefully will help us all refocus. In fact, this past Friday, President Joe Biden issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples' Day, stating,

"For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures. Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples' resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society."
Stock photo on iStock

It all started with a visit to Dunkin' (Donuts), which isn't an unusual event for me as I come from New York, and it has always been a part of my life (and explains why I struggle to call it by its "new" name). Even before I was old enough to drink coffee, I loved their donuts, and one of my favorite childhood memories is my dad coming home with a box of a dozen Dunkin' donuts (his favorite was the chocolate glaze and mine the Boston cream).

Now, fast forward to my recent visit to Dunkin', which didn't go as expected – on several fronts. But it had nothing to do with donuts. Rather, with coffee, which I drink all day long, although I'm very particular about how it's prepared. (I admit, that's an understatement.)

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