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Who doesn't love presents? Well, one of us does (Barbara) and one tends to pooh-pooh the entire gift-giving notion (Margaret). But since it's that time of the year, we are making our lists. We're also cutting back now that inflation is still looming, and gas recently ramped up again close to the $4 mark in Barbara's village, though lately it dropped down a bit. Margaret no longer owns a car. Try not to be upset if you don't receive a lovely gift from us; we send all our family members, friends and readers a wish for happiness, health and good...

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When Margaret was little, she had an uncle who always held court at holiday time, receiving endless praise from relatives gathered around the table. He was a major philanthropist to many political, cultural and social causes. Having an audience was one way he marked his many accomplishments.  When most of us succeed at something—a book or an article is published, we lose weight and are healthier and look and feel better, we get into a special program, find a new job, go into remission from cancer, train and finish a marathon, killed it in an audition and got a part,...

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This was never top of mind for us. Growing up, Margaret's mother preached: "Pretty is as pretty does." Why spend countless hours preening and piles of money to do so? But this was the pre-internet and social media era.  Social media first popped onto our screens as a digital informal exchange in 1997 with something called Six Degrees. Facebook made its debut in 2004 with others to follow. When social media morphed into a social and cultural platform in 2005, it became a virtual gathering place. It was egalitarian. Anyone, famous or not, had a soapbox to be noticed and...

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At times we all need a shoulder to lean on and a close confidante to listen to us complain and even cry. In turn, we pride ourselves on being good listeners when our friends and family need us. As journalists, listening comes with the job, and we've honed it through the decades.  However, at the same time, we're concerned about getting sick, watching the stock market go up and now down, dealing with inflation and the high prices of gas and groceries, the threat of a nuclear confrontation when we grew up in the Cuban missile crisis and a major...

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  The expression “even-steven” is widely used to indicate a mutually beneficial trade or even match. The concept reaches into so many parts of our lives.    You want the cake divided into equal slices with the same amount of frosting and roses. (Unless you’re dieting or watching those carbs.) You want the money for the job split equally since you’ve all shared the work and were there for the same number of hours. (Did you really count?) And if you’re in a debate, you want the same number of minutes allotted to make your points.  Many couples try to...

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