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

Although Red has tackled most of the critical issues brought on by her new "life", she now hears herself saying the most outrageous things (at least for her) and recognizes her behavior's out of character. Nothing serious, but enough for her to realize she was becoming overwhelmed by stress caused by her new responsibilities. Black sends her an email with a sarcastic stress management technique, but Red needs more than humor.

P. S.This excerpt's as relevant today as it was when Red was going through her crisis. Maybe even more so. Because for Red, she realizes it's not always about learning something new, sometimes it's about remembering something learned in the past.


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




I loved your e-mail. Obviously, I can't "drown" my problems, but I sure need some other ways to reduce stress. Any ideas?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




Here are your options:
A: Identify and eliminate things that are causing you stress.
B: Adjust your attitude and/or outlook.
C: Find a way to temporarily escape.
D: All of the above.


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




I vote for C. Listing what's causing me stress won't eliminate any of them. And I'm not sure what you mean by adjusting my attitude or outlook.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




Change your perspective and how you look at things.


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




Still not sure what you mean. Give me an example.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




OK. If I get annoyed or frustrated with Larry, I realize the best way to a man's heart is through his chest with a sharp knife!


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




Funny, but not a real answer.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




Realer than you realize. One of the health columns in The Wall Street Journal referenced research that shows a connection between laughter and health, and how laughter reduces a stress hormone.


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




Thank you for that scientific study, but besides male-bashing jokes, do you have any advice which is a bit more practical?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




That was practical. You need to try and lighten up. First of all, worrying about what has already happened is a total waste of time. Worrying about what might happen is also a waste of time. I know that things happen for a reason and things will work out, one way or another, and so I look ahead and do not dwell on the past. I may not be able to control the situation, but I know I can control how I deal with it — and that eliminates much of the stress in my life. And if I can laugh about any aspect of it — that makes things even better.


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




I guess we look at things differently. I don't think I can put myself in your shoes (beside the fact I can't afford them) and look at things that pragmatically. But I know there are times you are under stress because you get pissy with me.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




True. And when I sense a "pissy" mood, as you call it, I go for a long run and think things out. Because running is a rhythmic activity (as is vacuuming, or so I am told), it allows my body to get into its own rhythm and then my mind is free to work out problems, find solutions or merely daydream. I usually come back with a plan or at least a clearer perspective on things, which makes me feel much better.


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




I don't picture myself in your running shoes, either! And vacuuming was not exactly the suggestion I was hoping for. Any other suggestions?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




I will save the "Escape through Exercise" lecture for another time. Right now, you need to acknowledge that stress is going to be part of your life. Although you cannot avoid it, you can learn to deal with it. Find an activity — it could be as simple as a walk in the neighborhood or reading a magazine at Starbucks — that functions as a temporary escape. Let Nick and the girls know that you need some time away. And then last, but not least, schedule it. Put it on your calendar like an appointment. And make it a priority.


Red's HeadRed assets.rebelmouse.io




You make it sound so easy.


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io




It is. Do not complicate it.

Chapter 18: Whine Or Lemonade? Your Choice

In the midst of Red’s financial crisis, when her focus seemed to be on every little penny, Black helped her look at money realistically and honestly (it only took Red 40+ years to do that). Black also made her see the need to be honest with yourself about what truly makes you happy. But the last thing Red ever expected was to learn that Black had paid for half a Ferrari engine without telling her (millionaire!) husband. Although she didn’t want to think about how much it cost, Red couldn’t help but wonder how important it must’ve been to her sister if she secretly paid for it herself. Especially given how “public” she was about her extensive (and expensive) handbag and shoe collections.

P.S. – Years later, Red still rolls her eyes when she thinks about the conversation. And even though she’s gotten over the shock, she still finds it sad that Black couldn’t talk about money with her husband. Especially because Black was the one that helped Red realize that whether you’re worth millions or living paycheck to paycheck, being able to have open, honest conversations about money is critical if you want a successful and happy partnership.



Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

What are you doing online?


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Checking e-mails before dinner. And you?


Black's HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Same same.


red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

Can I ask you a question?


Keep Reading ...Show less

Chapter 15: I Need A Warning System

Typically, when Red asked Black questions, she received questions in return. Or flippant comments. When Red asked her about charity, and specifically Make-A-Wish, she got straight answers, and that alone got Red’s attention. Before this conversation, Red thought her sister’s involvement with Make-A-Wish was very generous, both of her time and her money, but attributed much of it to the fact she had surpluses of both in her life. But once Black made her realize that her involvement went back to her corporate life, years when she might have had spare money but was working ridiculous hours, Red gained a new respect for Black’s commitment. But when Black said how it had become her “reality check” on life, Red began to understand that we all need something to help us remember what’s genuinely important.

P.S. – Charity and helping others remain an important part of our lives (and, much to the chagrin of our accountants and attorneys, drive much of our work in the education and criminal justice worlds). Black’s long-time commitment to Make-A-Wish set an example for Red’s daughters when they were growing up, and made them aware of how important it is to not only appreciate what you have but to think of others. And whether it’s an ongoing commitment to a single organization, helping various charities throughout the year, celebrating targeted donation days (such as #GivingTuesday or World Wish Day), or when specific natural disasters or humanitarian needs require immediate aid, charitable giving (whether money or time) – can make all the difference. Not only to the recipient, but as Black pointed out to Red all those years ago, for yourself.



red headred head assets.rebelmouse.io

I’m curious about something, though. As children, we were never exposed to charity, so what got you involved with Make-A-Wish? Even Natasha has asked me about Make-A-Wish, because she has seen the kids’ artwork at your house and recognizes the logo from seeing it on your race car.
Keep Reading ...Show less

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 HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Another early morning?


red headred 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 HeadBlack assets.rebelmouse.io

Anything special planned?


red headred 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