Chapter 12: Desserts Spelled Backwards Is Stressed. And Vice Versa.

Red has always admired Black because she can go for a run or exercise with weights as a mental break from her day, not to mention the physical benefits derived from her workout routine. She's always envied people that exercise on a regular basis as she thought they obviously have more spare time than she did. Then, when she was in the midst of her "crisis", Black helped her realize that it might be that other people just prioritized exercise higher than she did.

P.S. – For Red, making exercise a priority still presented a challenge even though she knows all of its benefits. (How could she forget with Black's dedication to exercise serving as a constant reminder?) Ironically, the pandemic made Red look to exercise as a possible way to help reduce her stress. And it worked! So now her daily walks are a top priority. (Maybe we should make "positive changes due to the pandemic" a future post?!)


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

Quick question. I was wondering if, and I repeat the word IF, I wanted to start exercising, how would I go about it?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Hello. Hello. Who is this? You must have the wrong number.

Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io

I didn't say I was going to do it, I said I was wondering.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


And what brought this on?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Primarily the obvious — health and fitness and weight control. But watching you use it as a way to temporarily get away from life and reduce stress is also a motive. Although I have no desire to run five miles.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


What happened to your Sunday movie? Are you trying to tell me you are not going tomorrow?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I'm not answering that question until you answer my question. If I wanted to start an exercise program, where would I start?


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


The first step is to make it a short-term priority.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Short-term? No, I want it to become something I do on an ongoing basis, not just a quick fix.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I understand, but if you make it a long-term goal, you may procrastinate starting. If you make it a short-term project, once you start experiencing the benefits, you will become addicted. I bet it will go from being a scheduled task to a way of life within six months. It is similar to when you started Weight Watchers. Initially it was to lose weight, but then it became a logical way of eating.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


We'll see. For the moment, keep in mind I don't intend to become fanatical like you; I just want a normal exercise program.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


First, you need to find something that you enjoy. It can be as simple as throwing on sneakers and going for a walk. Or you can rent a yoga tape or go to a Pilates class at the local gym. Or come over here and work out in our gym.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


This sounds like it may take more time than I have available at the moment. I think I'll wait until I'm settled in the new house.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


No! What did I just say about procrastinating? Exercise does not require hours of time. And it does not have to be in a gym. You can start with 10-minute sessions at home and gradually increase them. The key is to start. And I would suggest doing it first thing in the morning.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


But that would mean getting up even earlier than I already do and you know I'm not a morning person.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Not necessarily. Get up at the usual time and do the exercise first. Before you get side-tracked by other activities like wasting 15 minutes IMing me. Plus you will not be awake enough to change your mind.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


That all sounds very logical, but I have a feeling that something is going to fall by the wayside, and I'm guessing it's the exercise.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


That's why for the first few weeks, or maybe even months, you need to schedule your exercise time as appointments. Ones that are etched in stone. Once you start, it will not take long for you to feel the results — physically you will have more energy, and mentally you will feel more confident and in control. And trust me, over time it will become addictive.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Somehow I don't picture me ever becoming a gym bunny, hopping my way to happiness. But I'd certainly be happy to be in better shape — mentally and physically.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I can remember what you looked like in that Winnie-the-Pooh Halloween costume, and I am picturing you in a bunny outfit hopping down the treadmill. It is a great visual. Hilarious, in fact!

Chapter 10: So You Think Staying At Home Isn’t A Full-Time Job?

Even before Red’s husband was fired, she had a lot on her plate. But, in reality, probably no more than any other mom, daughter, and wife, who are often (or should that be “usually”) at the center of everything, with their lives being a combination of chauffeur, referee, nurse, cook, friend, and an assortment of other “hats”. And while it can be very rewarding and gratifying knowing that so many people count on you, it can also be overwhelming, not to mention just plain stressful.

P.S. – Even today, Black’s perspective on being a full-time mom (as a stepmom, she considered herself a part-time mom, although she knew that was an important role) still makes Red smile. And while years ago she might have wished she was just a little less needed, now that her girls are older, it makes her a little sad and very nostalgic.



Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Another early morning?


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

Yes! Now that I did the Sunday night review, I can see how you wake up on Monday mornings ready to tackle the week. Except today is Presidents’ Day and so Natasha’s home from school.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Anything special planned?


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

Why do I have to have something special planned? In fact, why do I have to be the one who does all the planning?


Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Sorry I asked …
Keep Reading ... Show less

Chapter 9: I'm Too Busy To Make A List Of All The Things On My "To Do" List

Red constantly feels like time’s just flying by, and in terms of her “to do” lists, she’s getting nowhere. (Sound familiar?!) But when she turns to Black hoping to get just a little sympathy or empathy (she should’ve known she’d get neither), instead she gets a sarcastic comment,

I guess I need to tell you my “secret”. Again …

"Once upon a time" is how fairy tales begin, but once upon a time in Red's life, she had lots of things to do but was able to fit everything into any given day. And her worst-case scenario? Something might slide but would still get done in a timely fashion. But when her husband got fired, her fairy tale life ended and she had to take on more day-to-day responsibilities, which meant Red soon began to run out of hours in the day, the week, the month. Luckily, Black's advice about how to manage her time, although not an obvious "approach" until it was explained to her, made a big difference.

P.S. – If Red thought she was busy when her husband got fired, she had no idea what busy was until years later when she had to juggle being a single mom with being the warm and fuzzy half of Red & Black. In fact, this new level of crazy busy (Black likes to clarify that it's "good crazy") has now become the "new norm", which means that Red still struggles with way too much to do and way too little time to do it in. It's then, when she's really stressing out, that Black often has to remind her of the original advice she gave Red, and usually tells her she needs to re-read this excerpt …


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


I do have one question. What exactly did you mean by time management? I understand there's a limited amount of time in the day, but unless I give up sleeping altogether, I'm not sure how to find the time to do everything on my lists. I'm already getting up at 5:00 a.m. (and this morning even earlier!) so that I have some quiet time before I start the "mom" thing. Any suggestions? And just this once, skip the smart-ass comments!


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


If I could tell you how to create more time in your day, I could make a fortune. There are countless books on time management, but I doubt you will find the time to read one, so I will tell you what works best for me.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io


Type faster. What's the secret?
Keep Reading ... Show less

Chapter 9: I’m Too Busy To Make A List Of All The Things On My “To Do” List

Red has always had a tendency (Black would say it’s her default setting) of becoming overwhelmed quickly, especially when presented with a project that she isn’t able to do in “one sitting”. And this was even before her crisis, when she had more time. Before she had to juggle being a mom to two young girls along with handling many new responsibilities, when something as simple as scrapbooking became a major task. And although scrapbooking’s as “warm and fuzzy” as it gets, Black gave her some pragmatic advice that not only calmed her down by making the project manageable, but included the girls.

P.S. – Red knows scrapbooking’s never done, but now, years later, the boxes of “new” items to be included are in the attic, and she’s not sure if working on them will give her a feeling of accomplishment or be bittersweet as her “little girls” have now grown into young women. Regardless, Red decided that when she has some pockets of time (whether over holidays or weekends or maybe whenever she needs a “break”), she’ll continue to eat that elephant that Black had given her the “recipe” to many years prior.



red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

OK. One of the things that has been on my list forever is working on the girls’ scrapbooks.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Scrapbooking? It is a big business and nothing to laugh at. But since I am not a scrapbooker (not sure that is even a real word), could you give me a little more detail?
Keep Reading ... Show less