with Lynne and Leslie

I Get To Set My Own Priorities: A Guest Post by Joy Chiles

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here. Today we have a guest post from our kinda cousin, Joy Chiles. Her parents and our parents went to college together, and our families are, well, family. In this post, Joy tells us about making decisions that work the best for you and yours, even if other people aren’t down with it. 

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by Joy Chiles

I often get asked, “How do you do it?”…

I teach full-time, but I also take care of family things even when I am at work.  After the births of both of my children (we have a 2 ½ year old son and a 1 year-old daughter), my husband stayed home, and I went back to work and financially took care of my family. Yes, I was the “bread winner”, and it was not bad at all. My husband and I didn’t have to work to pay for day care! Yay for us! The challenge was on and I was game.

But people we knew looked for the challenges in our new life instead of the advantages. Who said it isn’t acceptable for a woman to work and a man stay home and take care of the children? Try explaining that to a baby boomer family member or acquaintance!  I carried the children, and while my husband works at night after I get home, I must make sure that financially my family is taken care of, plus wash clothes, cook dinner, remember doctor appointments, bath times, diaper time, toddler time, baby/mommy time and let us not forget… the sweet sound of “What do you want to eat for dinner?” Even in today’s time, people would say that my household arrangement is not only nontraditional, but odd.

As an independent thinking couple, I am not one to prove to another what works for me; especially if your mind is “fixed”.  With all those responsibilities listed, some being left out or to your imagination, one would wonder, how do you take care of all of this? You must certainly be lacking in some other areas of your life. Well, my constant resolution each day is… How can I take care of my family better than yesterday? Taking care of my family needs is not an option, nor should it be yours.  Now please do not let me forget to add that I have an awesome husband that is a great father to his family, yet at times, I still felt the pressure of making sure that everyone is okay.

Prioritizing is what I did and continue to practice today. I believe it to be my saving tip; I sucked it up and embrace it. I embraced the titles and the expectations, thoughts of failure, talking to myself (am I crazy?), everything. I embrace it all as a woman, wife and mother. Notice, I said woman first. Women can withstand the challenges and take care of business. You must think about what is important and what matters the most to you and your family. In other words, do what works best for your household, always reflect, correct the challenges and direct yourself on the path for obtaining and maintaining your healthy family.

Joy is an advocate for substance abuse education and building strong families. She enjoys teaching life skills and values family time. 


The cringey awesomeness and cautionary tale of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

by SweetMidlife

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About a week ago, I discovered this show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a thing that everyone else already knew about and that has won a lot of awards, on the CW. I posted about it on Facebook and immediately a few friends, including Sister Lynne, responded that they’d enjoyed it but couldn’t commit to it because it, as one said, “hit too close to home.”

Oh, girl you got that right. And that’s why it’s so brilliant.

It’s about Rebecca, a successful but unhappy and apparently selfish and delusional lawyer who, after a chance run-in with the guy who dumped her after one perfect summer camp romance years ago, uproots her life and moves across the country to West Covina, Ca. where he lives, because it’s a big gesture and the kind of things that pays off in movies. Yes, it’s one of those plots that’s all over 80s and 90s teen comedies involving big fat lies that are told that compound to an uncomfortable but comedic degree until veering into some unlikely redemption of the liar where everyone forgets what a great big fat liar they are and forgives them because that’s what the script says. Except for with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” a swirly musical created by star Rachel Bloom, the characters are actual grown adults in their 30s so their lying isn’t cute, and since it’s a television series, there’s no cute cutaway. It’s straight up cringe-worthy and hard to watch, because even with the peppy songs and all the bright colors and sunshine, we’re watching an unhappy and deeply self-centered person immediately shoot herself in the foot because she can’t get over herself long to really see what she’s doing.

You know. Like you’ve done. Well not you. Me. I have. But not you.

(It’s OK. We know you have.)

Last night’s episode saw Rebecca spin herself into a typical sitcom-y situation where she accidentally sends Josh, the clueless object of her affections who really isn’t good enough for her, a text meant for a friend confirming that she did move across the country to pursue him and had concocted a whole lie about it. So she leaves the deposition she’s in (with the support of the judge) and runs to break into Josh’s house to delete the message off his phone. But when he shows up, she piles on the lies that someone tried to break into her house, convincing her friend to throw a rock through her window so that Josh doesn’t find out she’s lying. Still, he realizes that the rock was from a set of decorative rocks from her OWN HOUSE, so of course she’s lying and he doesn’t even want to hear the next lie she will tell to get out of that previous lie and jets. And when Josh’s friend who likes her but is now dating her neighbor stops by and offers to help, he realizes that he’s just being pressed into service to literally clean up another mess that’s about Josh.

Although I swear I have never told that many lies at one time, I have bent myself into embarrassing situations that there is no real explanation for, largely for men who never wanted me in the first place, because I needed the validation of losers to feel good about myself, even though I’m a successful professional with lots of friends who should not need that crap. (I don’t anymore because I married an amazing dude who loved me and got really mad when I said bad things about myself because he was awesome like that.) So I look at Rebecca, who we know now has an overbearing and manipulative mother, and also a best friend who loves her but encourages her romantic delusions because she’s unfulfilled in her own life and wants to believe that true loves exists.

And I don’t want to be her. If you ever see me being her, tell me. Because the only thing worst than not knowing that you are acting crazy is thinking that your girls see you acting crazy and won’t tell you. Friends don’t let friends act crazy and not tell them.


Lynne and the Unexpected, Tired, No School, Very Okay Day

by SweetMidlife

Hi. It’s Lynne.

This post doesn’t really have a point. It’s just about my morning, and this morning didn’t turn out the way I expected, and that turned out to be okay.

This is one of the days that my son goes to preschool, and we were both working forward to it.  I am 4 weeks into a 6-week recovery period after a hysterectomy, and it’s one of those things where I try to rest, but then I feel better, and I call what I do “Doing What I Can”, and my body calls it “Sit Yo Butt Down”. And even though I have been taking it a lot easier than usual, it is hard to completely do that when you have a pre-schooler, and I haven’t gotten the hang of it yet. Add to that me using this downtime to start a business, which is going very well, thank you, and me also wishing that I could do more to help my husband do all of the stuff that I usually do, which is nice but I shouldn’t be trying to prove anything, and you have a me that is not up to my usual multitasking powers.

I had decided that because I have been pushing it, that last night and this morning were going to be work-free, and that my hustle would be either reading this book I got from the library, or watching “American Idol”. I accomplished the latter for a bit last night, and once I got up this morning, I decided to take a leisurely morning and watch the rest of the episode until I had to get the little boy ready for school. The kid made out well in this arrangement, too, because he got to veg out on his tablet and eat Raisin Nut Bran. Yes, he loves that. So at some point, I realized that I wasn’t dressed, and I looked at the clock and realized we were cutting it close, and I still didn’t know who the last 2 people to make it onto this season’s live rounds of “Idol” were, and I wrote this Facebook status that said:

“I am seriously considering just throwing a coat over this pajamas and taking this boy to school. I don’t have to get out of the car because I pull up and they get him out. Pajamas. Don’t tell my grandmother.”,

because my grandmother gets dressed up in ironed clothes to go the emergency room. And I got all kinds of encouragement from other moms and dads who do that all the time, and I was feeling all like “And I am not gonna wear a bra either!” and then I realized it was even later, and I was like “Let’s go, boy!”. Then I remembered that I had taken the change of clothes that we have to put in his backpack out and put it in the bag we took to the library the other day, so I had to go upstairs and get it, and I was winded by the time I got upstairs, and that took longer, then we got in the car, and we got there as fast as the speed limit would take us. And I forgot to add that I was wearing Teva sandals over green and grey striped socks.

I took the sandals off at this point. I don't think y'all were ready for that particular jelly.

I took the sandals off at this point. I don’t think y’all were ready for that particular jelly. Actually, you probably were. But I am not going back downstairs to get them.

So we get to the school and we are a few minutes late, and no other cars are there, which means that the drop-off lane was done, and I would have to take Alex inside. Yes. All of my resolve about not caring if anyone saw me was gonna have to carry me inside, because I parked the car and walked him in, hoping that I could just wave at the ladies in the office then duck back into my car quicker than a bunny. The nurse at my middle school used to say that when she told us nothing was wrong with us and we better go back to class. But anyhoo, the school director met us and said, “Wait, did you guys sign up for aftercare?”, and I was like “Say what now?”, and she said, “There’s no class today! We are doing parent conferences today, and the only kids here are the ones who signed up for before and aftercare to just stay all day. It was on a pink piece of paper we sent home!”, and I am like “I’m supposed to read all the paper? Wait, of course I am supposed to read all the paper.”, and I usually DO read all of the paper, but like I said, I am not up to my usual juggling standards. Dropped balls and pink pieces of paper, all over the floor. So they were really nice about it, but we had to go home. And my son’s conference was yesterday and I wondered where all of the kids were but I figured that it was late and most had gone home. And my kid was like “But I wanted to go to school today!” and I was like “I wanted you to go to school today, too!”, then I went home and saw the pink schedule for school snack this month, and sure enough, it just showed conferences today. All I had checked was to see what day we were bringing snack, and I didn’t really look at the rest. Then we just sat down and I let my son watch firetruck videos on You Tube, and I watched “Mysteries of Laura” from this week, and we both had a leisurely morning. Not the morning either of us expected. But it was nice to be together. And it was our morning.


Letting the Toddler Make Crafts Even When I Have No Idea What’s Happening

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

I like crafts. I am not very good at them all of the time but when I see cute things that I think I can maybe kind make or not mess up too badly, I can’t resist. And as you see, it has made for some results that maybe didn’t turn out like the original picture, but they turned out in a way that was endearing, functional, and sometimes since it was chocolate, it still tasted good so it didn’t matter. The joy was in the making of the thing, because it kicked my creative juices into gear and made me happy in the process because I got to express myself and stuff.

This past Christmas, my son’s preschool class had a party where I volunteered to read stories, and where other parents led games and crafts. I got to sit with some of the crafting kids while the parents telling us how to do it gave instructions, and the craft that did was SO. CUTE. They took clear glass ornaments, and they poured different colors of liquid paints in them, then they swirled them around. This is the one that my son made at school, and I wish I could tell you that I took that picture in December, but I took it 30 seconds ago when I got up and walked to the living room because our tree is still up. Yes.

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So anyhow, I decided that this was going to be an amazing, amazing way to make beautiful ornaments as gifts for our friends and family! We can pour! We can swirl! I can do stuff! And this actually happened, because I bought some clear glass ornaments for my family who we see every year on New Years Day, and those turned out really beautifully, much like the one above.

But those weren’t the first ones. Because I made an earlier batch that we gave out to my aunts and uncles and my son’s Godmommies on or right after Christmas, and those didn’t turn out exactly the way that I planned. First of all, I could not find clear glass ornaments, only frosted white ones. I realized that the swirling paint was not gonna show up under those, so I went to my best friend Google, and I looked for beautiful ornaments that you could do on painted glass. I found some really cute examples, and I settled on ones where your child dips his fingers in paint, and puts said finger on the ornament, and when it dries, I would paint in eyes and an orange nose and voila, fingerprint snowmen!! How wonderful would that be? And the boy was all excited that I was actually letting him touch paint with his hands, and he happily did two snowmen’s prints on one ornament. I painted one in, and it looked adorable. I would have said adorbs, but I am not something enough to use that term. I did the second one, or maybe he helped me, but the eyes on that one sort of made the snowman look like he wanted to eat people. “Whatever”, I thought, “It’s cute enough.” But then the boy asked if he could paint on it, and I said yes, and oh no it was the black paint he used and he did some dabbing, and it looked like the nice snowman and the evil snowman were headed into a tornado. Wait, what was happening to my craftsterpiece? Well, for the next one, he decided that he wanted to do red fingerprints. This fit well with the ornaments I had seen on Printerest that looked like Santa! I could do that! But then he decided to just keep going, and I thought that we would maybe just have a sweet fingerprint polka dots. But out came the black paint, and it looked like the polka dots were being attacked by a shadow.

Also taken 2 minutes ago because I have not put the tree away in that amount of time since the last picture.

Also taken 2 minutes ago because I have not put the tree away in that amount of time since the last picture.

And as my dreams of being able to give out flawless toddler-made gifts were drifting away like the storm plaguing throe snowmen, I remembered. IT WAS THE TODDLER WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MAKING THIS. So if he wanted to go crazy with paint in hues I didn’t imagine, then so be it, because this was about him. And everyone was gonna love it. This is why we then went on a crazy ornament-making streak, where he made about 10 ornaments that he decorated by either freely going wild with the paintbrush, or but squirting paint on a plate and just swirling (see, we got to swirl!) the ornaments in the colors. And they were messy. And they were beautiful, and he gave each one of them names, including “Eye”, “Present Ornament”, and “I Don’t Know”, and I typed up a notice declaring them part of his 2015 exclusive ornament collection, and gave them out, and everyone loved them. Because we could tell the people that love him that he loved making them, just like he enjoyed making the second set that was closer to what I had planned. And people loved those, too. Because I took my hands off of it as much as I could, and I let him go.

This morning, we were watching this show on Amazon Prime called ‘Creative Galaxy”, where this cute little alien boy solves his problems with art, and on this episode, they were making pop-up books. Alex was watching intently, and I said, “Hey, do you wanna do that?”, and he said yes, and I found construction paper in what used to be my office and is now where things go to be dealt with later, and I got markers, scissors and glue from the junk drawer in the kitchen, and we sat down to create! And I looked up a How-To online, and I sat down and scripted a story that my son very carefully dictated to me, about he, my husband and myself going on a ride on a spaceship. and yes I have terrible handwriting. Here was the outline.

Good plot.

Good plot.

And as I was ready to ask him to draw a table to be the pop-up for the first page, I saw him furiously drawing something that wasn’t a table. I asked him what it was, and he said that it was a bad guy who wanted to steal something. Because just like that the plot had changed, and now the story was about a bad guy who wanted to steal a rocket. And that sounds like an awesome story. Because it’s the story he wants to tell. Here is the first page.

Background drawing and writing done by mommy, as dictated by the boy, who also drew the pop-up picture. Which is the best thing here.

Background drawing and writing done by Mommy, as dictated by the boy, who also drew the pop-up picture. Which is the best thing here.

And there is another pop-up page done, plus some other pages with a bunch of other drawings and cuts in them that might not even be for pop-up pictures, and also strips of light-green painters tape. And I have no idea why.

And I don’t need to. Because he is having fun, and being himself, and I could not Pinterest anything better than that.


Buying a dog bag by accident: Or owning the thing you have, no matter what

by SweetMidlife
Yes, it's a dog bag. But it's super cute. and I can work it.

Yes, it’s a dog bag. But it’s super cute. and I can work it.

About a month ago, rummaging through the local Goodwill for winter-type clothing for myself and my kid the day before heading north, out of Florida and into places where they have winter, I ran into the cutest bag. It was pink tweed, very Nancy Reagan at a press conference meets hipster bowling bag. It had a weird long zipper at the top, and some mesh zippered flaps on the side. I couldn’t quite figure out what those were for, but it was big enough to stick my laptop in for the flight, super attractive and easy to carry, and the weird side zippers made it a cinch to stick bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper in, which is totally a problem that needed solving. Totally.

Also, it was like $8. So welcome to the family, New Bag.

I wasn’t the only person to dig my bag – my sister and mother immediately told me how sharp they thought it was, and a few other friends specifically stopped to tell me how much they liked it. It was a very long trip, hanging out with Lynne to help out after her surgery, seeing friends and family when I could, and writing a random story for work when necessary (RIP, Ziggy Stardust), and I found myself shoving a lot of things into the new bag and its weird zippered portions, finding it spacious and easy to fill – there was always another corner to shove things into, and I have never met a bag I couldn’t fill till it looked like a hobo pack.

By the time I got home, I was rather in love with it – not the least of which was because it’s big and huge and easy to find in the crazy thrift store storeroom that is my living room.So a few days later, I grabbed it on the way out the door to go visit a friend for an after-work glass or two of wine. I plopped the bag down on her counter next to the wine and plunked into a chair, noticing her notice it as she walked by to get the corkscrew.

“That your new purse?” she asked.

“Yep!” I said, anticipating the compliments not only on the stylishness of my choice but an opening to brag about the deal I’d gotten.

“You know that’s a dog bag, right?”

No. No I did not know that.

Suddenly, everything made sense – the odd roominess of the purse, that was not actually a purse. The weird, helpful zippers on the side, that I could shove a soda in but that was actually made so that little Fifi and Fluffy could stick their precious head out of. The fact that it was $8, because not everyone needs a dog bag. Or realizes that they bought one, sans dog.

So I wondered – was everyone looking at me weird? Was it like when I walk my kid to daycare and then walk the empty stroller back home with people peering in looking for a baby but seeing a bag of spinach and spaghetti squash and thinking I’m crazy? Did I look dumb? Should I head back to the Goodwill for another non-canine bag?

I don’t know how I looked to others, but I can answer the last one – No, no I am not replacing that bag. Because I like it. Because it’s big and roomy and cute. Because it’s possible to repurpose a thing as another thing because it’s not hurting anyone. And because even if I look a little crazy to other people, I have decided to work my dogless dog bag and let it rock.

Because I can.


Resting In the Knowledge That Rest Is A Thing That You Need

by SweetMidlife

This is Lynne, by the way. And I am going to use some words that might gross some of you out. So proceed if you want.

So, about 2 weeks ago, I had an hysterectomy to relieve bladder and uterine prolapse, which means that those things were, umm, hanging where they should not have been. And it was very uncomfortable, and had been for a very, very long time, and I decided that to improve my quality of life,. This was a good thing to do. I will probably write a post later about all of the emotional things that come along with this surgery, because I think that this is important, but I am early on in that part of the journey, so as I walk that path, I will tell you more, okay?

What I wanted to tell you about right now is actually the first part of the emotional and physical thing that this surgery takes you on, and that is the fact that I am tired. So very tired. And actually, I think, that many of us can relate to this whether or not you just had a hysterectomy, or are recovering from the flu. or you have been working a bunch to support your family and you realize that you are about to pass out. You’re just freaking exhausted. And you have been told that you need to give yourself some time to rest and to heal. And that sounds amazing. Because who wouldn’t welcome the chance to, on doctor’s orders. to, in the words of my surgeon, “embrace your inner Cleopatra” and let people serve you and do things for you as you let your body heal?

Umm. me, it turns out.

It has been an amazing, amazing thing, a blessing, actually, to have family fly in or drive in to stay with me and my husband and occupy my son and take him to school because I could not. and to have my pastor’s wife organize a list so that people can supply my family with meals while I recover, and to have my friends, some who I literally haven’t seen in 20 years, fill that list up in about a day. Whoo, I am still swimming in the love that we have felt that people come running with casserole dishes and soup and car keys so that we could get what we needed.

The yummy fruit that my cousin Pat sent me.

The yummy fruit that my cousin Pat sent me.

But for some reason, it has been really hard to actually just sit, and just rest. I should be welcoming this opportunity to have “chill” as my occupation for 6 weeks, and to not feel bad about Netflix-binging, and wondering if I should be somewhere else. Because I shouldn’t be anywhere else. But there I was, about 22 hours after my surgery, asking my surgeon when she came into my room to check on me, if I was going to be able to be on the treadmill in 2 weeks. And she said “No!”, and looked at my husband and said, “She’s going to be one of those, isn’t she?” And he nodded, but wanted to say, “She sure the heck is.”

And in this day and age where we value work and moving and doing over everything, that seems like something funny, or admirable, that I am ready to go and looking forward to the next thing. And there is nothing wrong with that in theory. Goals are good, but not if you are ignoring the process, and the value of it, and part of this process is to actually rest. Rest is an action, y’all. Letting your body and soul and spirit heal is a good thing. We have such an issue, we do, in recognizing the value of the season that we are in, to the point that we spend the whole time complaining about not being in the next one, then we get to the next one, and complain about not being in the one we just left (Think of parents who can’t wait for their kids to go back to school in August, but then are bemoaning their absence in October and longing for December break.).

It’s not cute, and it’s not good. And every time I get up to show somebody where the ketchup is instead of just pointing them to the fridge where they will figure it out, I am putting extra stress on my body. And when I forget to get my beloved grabber thing to pick up things off of the floor, since I am not supposed to be bending, and I decide to try to bend as far as I can, I wind up hurting myself. And I think I do these things in some part out of guilt because I feel bad that I need help, and I doubt my worth in actually getting help. And I also actually think that I do them sometimes out of ego, because we get some sort of pride out of thinking that things can’t go on with out us, and that nobody can find ketchup as good as us. And I think it’s also, again, about the fact that we value doing more than resting, and daggone, even God rested after He made the flipping world. so surely we can, right? Whatever the reasons are, they don’t trump the fact that I need to let God heal ME and trust the process.

One of my former pastors, Pastor Mich, shared this amazing story on his Facebook page last week. He had been sick, gotten a little better, gone back full-steam to work, then relapsed again. He never gave himself time to really heal. And he said this:

“(Maybe) you want something to be back the way it used to be, or when you just want something to be over with, but God says, “not yet”. Been there?

I have a few ‘not yet’s’ in my life right now. How about you?

You can’t rush healing.
You can’t rush answered prayer.
You can’t rush maturity.”

Right? Boom. There it is right there. You can’t rush the process. And we really shouldn’t want to. Rest is a gift if you can do it. Healing is a gift. I am going to stop taking that gift back, and I am going to revel in it. I have been using this downtime to work on my new business as I sit, but I was also reminded by the nurse practitioner at my 2-week post-op appointment last week, that this is a time to quiet my mind, too. So I am going to end this post and go back to Netflix, now, but thanks for reading, and I hope that if you have some time to rest, you do it, too. It’s a thing. Do it.

Me chilling int he fluffy robe my grandmother got me and brought over the day I came home from the hospital. But she didn't stay long because she knew I needed rest. Trust your grandma.

Me chilling int he fluffy robe my grandmother got me and brought over the day I came home from the hospital. Because she values rest and being comfy while you do it. Listen to your grandma.


Some lite rock for your snowy day…for those who have a snowy day (Sorry About the Snow)

by SweetMidlife
Air Supply is the official cure for snowy day blues. It's scientific.

Air Supply is the official cure for snowy day blues. It’s scientific.

One of the twins who runs this blog, Lynne, is currently snowed in up in Maryland. The other, Leslie, is enjoying an unusually cold winter day at her home in….Florida, where it is currently a chilly 63 degrees. This is Leslie. We even turned the heat on last night! And I might need a jacket!

Please don’t kill me. Oh, that’s right, you can’t. You’re snowbound and can’t go anywhere.

#YEAHIKNOWISUCK.

For reals, people, I know what it’s like to be snowed in, as a Maryland native and someone who spent the better part of her early adulthood in Pennsylvania, where I routinely worked up a sweat shoveling and de-icing and rock-salting and warming up and hoping little old ladies didn’t slip up on my part of the sidewalk and break a hip and try to sue me. I remember not wanting to move out of that one warm, slept-in spot in the bed but knowing you have to get up and start that whole snow dance all over, unless you’re super-snowed in. And that is what pizza and boxed wine were invited for.

So I am not without compassion, and have five quick suggestions for passing the time as you’re waiting for the snow to stop. I wish I were there with you (no I don’t. But if I were we’d have such fun.)

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1) Sing-along to the cheesiest stuff you got: Snow-ins are no time for pride. And if you’re like me, who never had much shame about loving Air Supply and Bonnie Tyler and some deep, deep Jeffrey Osbourne, you know that singing at the tip of your lungs with abandon is an excellent way to pass the time.

2) Do your own cooking show: I have a bunch of cookbooks, some of which I’ve bought and used…sometimes…and others that people have sent me as gifts or in hopes that I will become vegan (And those vegan cookbooks are boss. Thanks, Rissa and Nathaniel! ) When I’m stuck or lazy, I like playing “Chopped” in my own kitchen using whatever’s left in the fridge and cabinets, sometimes using those books as inspiration. It’s good use of your resources and yummy.

3) Board games are your friends: The last time we had a tropical storm scare, the husband and I played Scrabble. He swore he won. He did not win. I promise you this. Start your own good-natured family word fight, or “Monopoly” grudge.

4) Binge-watching stuff you’d never binge watch: Assuming you have power. Well, if you didn’t have any you might not be reading this, so, yeah, do that. I hear “Sherlock” is good.

5) Have a good, long, silly talk: One of the things about screens and apps and online everything is that we sometimes ignore the people right in the room or at the table. As soon as you read this, put the phone down and talk to your spouse, or your partner, or your kid, or  your mom, or whoever is sitting across from you. Delight in the natural, beautiful, fluffy-white excuse you have to just breathe, and be.

 


Spammers Gonna Spam, The Ignorant Will Be Ignorant, and Other Reasons Why You Can’t Let Some Stuff Get To You

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s Lynne! We’re about to get a big old heap of snow around here, so go get your bread, milk and toilet paper.

Thank you.

So anyhoo, our blog’s comments section, like many sites with comment sections, gets a lot of spam comments from people trying to get us to press on their links and go to whatever they are selling and put us on their lists of the spammed or whatever. Now, some spam comments try to fool you into thinking they maybe really read your post, by saying things like “This is a really good post!”, but then sometimes you get messages that are just bits of articles about the NFL that the spammers cut and pasted and then added a link for Cialis in the middle. I have written about the amount of spam we get several times. (here, here, and here, in fact), and although I have made jokes about it, the fact remains that the whole thing gets to me. It drives me a little nuts that people have made a career out of trying to trick people into clicking on their stuff by clogging up other people’s comment sections and making those comment sections look bad and unprofessional unless they have good filters (we do). And even with those filters and the fact that these comments were actually not reaching our actual page, the fact that people were trying it on MY site made me feel some kind of way.

Then for awhile, we seemed to have a little lull in the spammage, and were maybe only getting a few spam comments every few days.

Enter Emaresparmefs. This is the name of the spamming spambot who literally sends us about 30 spam comments a day, many of them in Russian. Like seriously, I hadn’t checked in a few days, and we had 110 spam comments, 85 of which were from this particular spam outfit. I got a new case of the indignants (I have decided that this is a real condition. You don’t need to look it up.) for a little bit. But then I remembered:

There are people in the world who make money off of annoying or tricking other people.
This is such a lucrative business that people don’t even do the spamming personally: They just use computers.

Don’t miss that. The spambots don’t have brains. They are doing what they were made to do. So my getting angry at them, as annoying and insidious as they are, is kinda pointless. Because it just takes time and energy away from what we should be doing: spending more time actually writing our blog. We can’t let things that don’t even care get us off of our game and occupy our brains more than they do.

Because sometimes spambots, and sometimes even the people on the news and in your Facebook feed, be they politicians or actors or whoever they are, are gonna do things that annoy you. Some are thoughtless, and some are straight up ign’ant. IG. NANT. Because some things don’t deserve all of the letters. And you can let either let those things waste your time and your energy,  or you can go back to things that are useful, or make you happy, like watching Keith Urban on “American Idol”. That dude makes me calm.

So don’t let things and people and such steal your joy. Delete the spam, stop reading comments on articles that you know will just make you livid, and get on with your life.

I will let you know how that goes. In the meantime, here is a picture of the awesome pound cake with lemon glaze that I made the last time we had a snow storm. I won’t be making one of those this time since I am still recovering from surgery and aren’t supposed to be exerting that much energy. We can all just lick the screen. 20150217_115921

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One Day, You Too Could Be Jessica Fletcher!

by SweetMidlife

Howdy! Lynne here.

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So I had this medical thing that I will tell you more about later, and in the time leading up to it, and now in my recovery, I have been watching a lot of “Murder She Wrote” on Netflix. I ain’t gonna lie. I am binge-watching it. Now, I have written before about my love for Jessica Fletcher, Angela Lansbury’s brilliant crime novel writer who also solves lots of actual murders. To be truthful, since she is always at parties where people get murdered  and then she solves said crime, I would run if I saw her coming. Like, bye. But from the safety of my living room, I enjoy spending time with her, because I am safer that way. In most of the episodes that I remember from the show’s original run, and from the bulk of the reruns I have seen on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Mrs. Fletcher is already a famous novelist with a loyal following, and a million nephews, nieces, and old friends who give her an excuse to be in fabulous locales (she even filled in as a congresswoman once. Yes.) and also return to her beloved town of Cabot Cove, solving all the murders. But I found the very first episode of “Murder, She Wrote” on Netflix, and at the start of it,  Jessica is a widow in a small town who bakes cookies for the community theater, and whose nephew (See? Lots of nephews.) has passed the manuscript that she let him see but didn’t think that anything would come from to a big editor, who loves it, and before you know it, her book is a best seller, and she is whisked off to New York City and taken to the first party she winds up being bad luck at. It was really cool seeing the beginnings of a character that I love, and even more, seeing some things that I think we can all learn.

Listening?

Good. Here ya go.

It’s that even though Jessica Fletcher didn’t start out planning on being a big hit writer, that is exactly what happened, and it happened because her passion for writing and her knack for mystery shone through even a work that she thought no one would see. And even though she initially was reluctant when her nephew told her that he had showed her book to someone, she then stepped into the opportunity and ran with it. And although the stardom part was new, she was ALWAYS kind of nosey, and being a big writer didn’t give her the talent for figuring stuff out. Nope, sister already had that.

Which means that you, too, probably have stuff that you dream of doing. Maybe it’s writing a book, or getting a degree, or starting a business, or whatever, but it’s something that you feel really very strongly about, which is why you are good at it. And you probably already have in you whatever it is you need to bring the dream to life. So when your nosey nephew sends someone your book, go to New York, okay?

Cool.


Lynne and Leslie Ask Each Other Random New Year’s Questions

by SweetMidlife

Happy New Year’s Eve!! This has been a year. both really good and really bad at the same time Yes. Lots of both. Ans since this is the time of year where people do a lot of reflcting about the year past, and also because y’all seemed to like last week’s post where Lynne and Leslie asked each random Christmas-themed questions, and also because it is fun when we riff off of each other, here are random questions (and hopefully answers) about New Year’s, and years both old and new.

Yo, Leslie, you up next.

Leslie smiling with her awesome hair.

Leslie smiling with her awesome hair.

Lynne asks: “What did you think I would say at this moment? I totally watched a Hallmark-type movie with Candace Cameron-Bure and the guy who played the replacement Todd Manning on “One Life To Live”, and they were at a dance with a band who was trying to be Billy Vera and the Beaters. And that has nothing to do with the New Year, but that came to me. What is the best Hallmark movie you watched this year? And also, weren’t Billy Vera and the Beaters good?

Leslie responds: Yes, Billy Vera and them were amazing or at least that song was. That final chorus where he’s all “If I..I-ei-ei-ei-ei-ei-ei…if I could just ho-oh-oh-hold you…a-ga-yaaan” my hands are up like “Preach your truth, man! You PREACH YOUR TRUTH TO THE SKY!”

As for the Hallmark movie, I’m gonna go with “A Royal Christmas” with Jane Seymour because she’s a royal with a huge snob complex trying to thwart her son’s relationship with an American commoner, and she’s so initially evil that you kinda chuckle. Jane came to play, people.

Lynne asks: “Are you doing resolutions this year? If so, are they long-term or short-term? And how many involve seeing Lionel Richie sing in Vegas?

Leslie responds: All of them. Because everyone you meet is jamming in the street. Tell me they’re not.

Lynne asks: “If you could book any act you wanted to at your dream version of ‘Dick Clark’s Rocking New Year’s Eve’, who would it be?” 

Leslie responds: 1986 Crowded House. Janelle Monae. Darlene Love singing about Christmas even though Christmas is over because she is Darlene Love and what are you gonna say to her?

Lynne asks: “What is your favorite New Year’s themed-movie? Is it ‘New Year’s Day’? I know what mine is but you didn’t ask me this question. And Jon Bon Jovi did look good in that movie. ‘New Year’s Day’. Not the other movie I was talking about because I haven’t told you what it is. 

Leslie responds: I hated that “New Year’s Day” left poor Halle Berry sad and scared for her husband over in the war, just like stupid “Love, Actually,” a thing I hate, lets the middle aged women be alone and cheated on while happiness is for 20-somethings. Screw you, movie. This is not what this question was about so I will answer that it’s “When Harry Met Sally,” the same thing you picked. For that reason.

Lynne asks: “Okay, I realize that I do need to tell you what the other movie I am thinking of was. It was “When Harry Met Sally”, and I decided to tell you because it is about old friends, as Sally says, and that is what you and your beloved Scott were. Sigh. And Scott was Jewish like Billy Crystal and you have big hair like Meg Ryan. So this isn’t a question, but yes, you used to be black Molly Ringwald because of how you dressed in high school, and now you are really black Meg Ryan. Feelings on this?

Leslie responds: I am both. I am also the eye in the sky, looking at you. I can read your mind. And you should be ashamed of yourself.

 OK Lynne…here you go. Cause I’m Les and there ain’t nobody like my body, yes I’m somebody…Oh, we aren’t doing Salt N Pepa lyrics? No? Here you go.

About to go on a date with my husband where I checked my phone maybe twice but really that was too much.

Lynne about to go on a date with her husband where she checked her phone maybe twice but really that was too much. 

Leslie asks: “Here comes the jackpot question in advance…what are you doing New Year’s, New Year’s Eve? Which is tonight?”

Lynne answers: We are making fish subs and then finding a way to watch the early fireworks in our town without being all the way downtown. Because old and crowds and get off of my lawn. But it will be nice.

Leslie asks: “I’m stealing from Billy Crystal, like all good writers, but what the heck is Auld Lang Syne about? Feel free to make stuff up.”

Lynne answers: It means to forget those old people and stop bring them to mind because they were maybe suspect. But wait, maybe I am somebody’s old acquaintance they they are trying to forget. If I am, then sorry. I don’t know what it means. But whatever, sorry, old acquaintances.

Leslie asks: “Have you ever noticed that Father Time, in some pictures, looks like the Grim Reaper? And given the year we had, should we be concerned?”

Lynne answers: We should be concerned. Dang. But you know that time won’t give me time, right? Or a Filet O’ Fish without cheese. Because you have to wait extra for those.

Leslie asks: “What are your resolutions, dude?”

Lynne answers: Hmm. To have big goals, but to remember daily why I have them. And decide sometimes that it is okay to set them daily, but also remember that I have the power to do stuff or not. Sometimes goals change, and they should sometimes because maybe you weren’t thinking right when you set it. But I would love to have the theater I am starting up and running and performing for the children by the spring. And I resolve to have more dates with my kid and husband where I look at my phone not at all.

Leslie asks: “Tell me about a resolution that you broke and aren’t sorry for breaking?”

Well, I said that a few years back I was getting back to my wedding weight, and I got instead to the weight you are at when you eat a lot of wedding cake. No really, I am not where I resolved to be weight-wise, but I have lost some weight, and I am making steady, healthy progress. I was trying to be a weight that I thought I would be happy at because I was trying to get to the feeling I had when I was that weight. I don’t ever need to be that size again, but if I get there, I will by working hard, but not by setting a mindset that I can’t keep up with. I know me. I am getting to where I need to be by paying attention to what I eat and moving more and not killing myself. Healthy, hopefully, in all ways. But I will still eat cheese. That is happening. Because happy.

 

 


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