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.
||I loved your e-mail. Obviously, I can't "drown" my problems, but I sure need some other ways to reduce stress. Any ideas?|
|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.
||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.|
|Change your perspective and how you look at things.|
|Still not sure what you mean. Give me an example.|
|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!|
|Funny, but not a real answer.|
|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.|
|Thank you for that scientific study, but besides male-bashing jokes, do you have any advice which is a bit more practical?|
||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.|
|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.|
|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.|
||I don't picture myself in your running shoes, either! And vacuuming was not exactly the suggestion I was hoping for. Any other suggestions?|
|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.|
|You make it sound so easy.|
||It is. Do not complicate it.|
Chapter 2: Why Can't Money Grow On Trees?
Red was scared, for herself, and for her family. Having to deal with personal finances for the first time is scary. Especially if you believe you need a finance degree to figure it out. Yes, it's human nature to have a fear of the unknown, but feeling you have to face it alone makes it even worse. Red knew that her sister, Black, was there for her, but it wasn't in the "warm and fuzzy" and sympathetic way that Red wanted.
P.S. – If you were expecting banter between Red and Black, then this Book Bite might surprise you.
Chapter 7: My Husband Gets In Hot Water – I Want To Make Soup!
Are you a talker? Or do you prefer the written word? Are you the outspoken type or do you prefer quiet and will do almost anything to avoid conflict? Well, in the best of times, communication between spouses can be challenging. Throw in different communication preferences and it can seem almost impossible. In this excerpt, Red's in the midst of her crisis so communicating with her husband becomes even more critical than usual. And what does she do? She further complicates the situation by wanting to communicate differently than she usually does. Talk about a recipe for disaster!
P. S. – This excerpt's relevant whether or not you're going through a crisis. In fact, communicating with others in a method they prefer is not only extremely effective, but may be one of the "secrets" to good communication. Especially as you can use it in all aspects of your life – family, friends, and even in the workplace.
Sometimes I wish I could be more like Black in that she seems to get away with being blunt, almost to the point of being rude, and yet she can pull it off because it is totally "in character" for her. There's a consistency and sense of predictability in how she handles things. And maybe that was part of Nick's and my problem right now. We were acting out of character.
We really struggled with what excerpts from our bestselling book, What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!, to initially put here, as everyone seems to have a favorite, and the topics in our book are so varied. (We hope to get the Table of Contents posted within the next few weeks so you can see what we mean.)
Plus, this site was quickly pulled together in response to recent requests from our readers, fans, and especially educators, so we've had to prioritize what initially got posted. Good news is that we'll continue to post excerpts and hope they not only give you some insight into the very differing personalities of Red and Black (if you find Red unbelievably naïve and Black extremely sarcastic, don't worry, most people do), but also provide you with some amusement and/or useful information.
Included in the forthcoming excerpts will be stories from the book that people seem to enjoy when we talk about them in speaking engagements. Especially since Black finds it really annoying when authors reference an excerpt or a story and then say … to find out the details, buy the book.
In fact, we're not even selling our book on this site – yet. In our rush to get this site up, we decided to let the shopping cart wait for the next phase (don't tell our attorneys or accountants, and definitely not our mom, who's always asking Red how many books we've sold). Make sure to sign up on the "sticky bar" at the bottom of this page to get Red & Black Banter in your inbox, as well as to be the first to know when the book's available.
P.S. - We know that you can find used copies on Amazon, but if you can't wait and want a new (or autographed) copy it's as easy as just contacting Red (the nice one) here.