I don't know about you, but there are days when I just need to vent. And, much to the chagrin of my sister, Black, she's the one who gets to hear it. A few years ago, given my tendency to blah-blah-blah, she asked me to let her know right up front whether I'm looking for advice or merely letting off steam. When I questioned (with some annoyance) what difference did it make, she pragmatically explained it impacts whether she has to listen carefully, or even comment (although she'll throw in questions like, "Really?" or, "And then what?" to make me feel like she's paying attention). Bottom line: she knows that once I've had my vent, I'm good. It's out of my system and I'm (usually) ready to move on.

But occasionally there are times when I still need to talk to her, and although I'm looking for advice it's similar to a vent in that I don't really need her to listen. But, unlike a vent, ironically enough, this is when I need to listen to myself.

Confused? Well, at first, so was I. It started when I found myself not knowing what to do about something (the particulars aren't important), so I called her looking for advice. But as I started talking, I heard myself answering her questions before she even asked them. I was explaining my thought process, going through the pros and cons of the situation, and even running through the various scenarios that might happen based on what I decided. Of course, Black would occasionally throw in a "Why?" (her favorite question), but by the time I finally stopped talking, I had my answer.

Over time, I found this situation repeating itself – sometimes related to our mother or my daughters, a high dollar purchase, or sometimes just a small decision I was struggling with (they often seem the hardest to make) – with me often prefacing the conversation by admitting,

I've found that saying things out loud usually helps me figure things out. So, although it sounds counterintuitive, this is one of those times when I need someone to talk to, but the good news is I'm not expecting you to do anything more than that.

Well, not only does Black appreciate the heads-up, but the first time I said it, it provided the perfect opportunity for one of her smart-ass comments,

In other words, you do not want me to interrupt you while you are talking to yourself.

Exactly! Because sometimes you don't need advice as much as you just need a sounding board.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.


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You know how I like to blah-blah-blah, barely letting anyone get a word in edgewise?


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Is this a rhetorical question? Or, a trick question?


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Neither, I leave those to you. And, you know how things happen to us that seem accidental but probably aren’t coincidences?


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Is there a point to these questions? If so, can you please get to it?


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As you often tell me, “Patience, grasshopper.” Although I know that’s not your strong suit. Especially not in conversations. Anyway, the other day you sent me a video about stutterers. Well, that same day, I happened to speak to someone who stuttered, and it was just what I needed.


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The video? Or, the conversation?
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