with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Enjoyable

Lynne and Leslie Ask Each Other Random Christmas Questions. You Are Welcome.

by SweetMidlife

Merry Christmas from The Sweet Midlife! This has been a year of many ups, and many downs, and we have had a bunch of both in our families. And here we are, at Christmas, determined to have a good holiday not in spite of the losses we have gone through this year, but to savor this holiday BECAUSE we know how precious it is to still have what we do have. We also hold onto the part of the holiday that celebrates the coming of Jesus, and that gives us hope, but even if you don’t celebrate that part, our wish for you is that you find that hope somewhere this season, and find some joy.

Since we can’t be together this Christmas, we, Lynne and Leslie, thought that we would have an online conversation of sorts by asking each other Holiday-themed questions. Let’s see what happens. Leslie answers first.

Leslie being Christmasy.

Leslie being Christmasy.

Lynne asks: “What are you doing tomorrow? Also, Willis, what are you saying?”

Leslie: I am going to a friend’s for dinner and bringing wine. Is it bad when people only want you to bring wine? What are you trying to say, Friend? You’re saying I can’t cook? Boom. I’m making a banana pudding just because and I like it so if you don’t want it I’ll take it. Why am I arguing with myself?

Also…Willis is over your tired question. Since, like, 1979.

Lynne asks: “What is the best Hallmark-y type movie you have watched this year? And was Hayley Duff in it? She is in all the movies. 

Leslie: The only Hayley movie I saw was “His Secret Family,” and it was NOT a Christmas movie. It was a “Girl, background checks! Hello?” movie. Also, when your insane husband who had a secret family says he only needs one family now, he’s coming to kill you. Why are you still in your house? My favorite was “A Baby For Christmas” on Up, because Neil and Drucilla were back together! (Amirite, “Young and the Restless” fans?)

Lynne asks: “Holiday baking question: Why should we believe it’s not butter? Shouldn’t it always be butter?”

Leslie: Butter is the reason I will likely never be vegan. Sorry, cows. I appreciate your service.

Lynne asks: “What was your favorite Christmas memory from our childhood? I can’t wait to hear this.”

Leslie: That time that we didn’t get our tree until Christmas Eve, again, and a family friend said she knew a guy who delivered them door-to-door and I was like “If this tree is fugly we can’t take it back and you’re gonna feel obligated to pay for it and then we have a fugly tree,” but we were all lazy and Daddy was like “I’m not paying for an ugly tree” and sure enough the dude came at like 8 p.m. and it was the Charlie Brown tree’s sicklier cousin. I mean, he was coughing like Satine in “Moulin Rouge!” But we had no more options and we paid for it, because the guy was there and no one wanted to turn it down and seem rude. #getyourtree

Lynne asks: “Snow Miser: Misunderstood Genius over-shadowed by his flashier brother?”

Leslie: Snow Miser is the Jan Brady of Christmas, meaning that he has to discover his own groove. #I’mtoomuch

OK, this is Leslie. Lynne’s turn to answer. Let’s do this.

 

I always feel like a snowman's watching me... actually, I don't. That would be weird.

I always feel like a snowman’s watching me… actually, I don’t. That would be weird.

Leslie asks: “Do you suppose Rudolph ever snapped because of childhood memories of being bullied and then totally used for his nose-glowing, or just waited till he had tenure and started his own rival delivery service? Cause I would have.”

Lynne: I don’t think he snapped. I think that he held onto that and became famous after writing his memoirs, titled “Turn On Your Noselight: How I Overcame Oppression and Now Run This Reindeer Thing.” The alternate title was “How You Like Me Now, Blitzen?”

Leslie asks: “If last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away, how did I get it back to be able to give it to someone special? And how bad of a friend was Andrew Ridgely for poaching George’s girl in that video?”

Lynne: I think the guy she gave it to pawned it so he could buy more short-shorts, because that’s what people wore in Wham! videos. George heard it was at the shop, and got it back. And I can’t hate on Andrew. He wanted something to do afterawhile.

Leslie asks: “Is making “My Favorite Things’ into a holiday song just a naked ode to materialism? And would Maria approve?”

Lynne: It might be. Maria was all about recycling, hence curtain-based playclothes. And you didn’t ask, but I feel like I should shout out to The Baronness. Whattup, Barronness. Oh, what if Maria remade Salt N Pepa’s “I’ll Take Your Man” and sang it to the Baronness and had Gretel as her own Spinderella? Huh? I would buy that record.

Leslie asks: “Where is this Barnes and Noble that Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett hang out, and can you think of any other duo it would be fun to run into while holiday shopping?”

Lynne: I WISH I could run into them, but if they showed up at our B&N, we probably would have missed them because we had to go home because we wouldn’t let the 3 year-old eat all the Starbucks cake pops.

Leslie asks: So what’s your favorite Christmas memory at Casa Streeter?

So many. Ooh, you started it with the Christmas Eve tree procrastination-turned-tradition tales. There was the year we waited so late on Christmas Eve to get our tree from the lot at the parking lot of Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, where the Orioles and Colts used to play, and by the time we got there, the dude who worked there had gone home and left all of the trees there for people to take for free.. And this was before everyone had cell phones, but I remember people on their carphones (Daddy had one!) calling their friends going “Pookie! You better come get you a tree, Yo. It’s free!”

SO, thus concludes Streeter Twin Christmas Convo time. What’s your favorite Christmas memory?

 

 

 

 

 


Mostly Sunny

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here!

 

My husband, son and I just got home from a few days with my sister’s family in West Palm Beach, Florida. We went down for Sunfest, an annual music festival right on the water. I used to go almost every year, but hadn’t been since my son was born a few years ago. I was so excited to introduce my people to an event that I had many wonderful memories of. Memories of good music, and good food, and well, sun.

Well.

We were supposed to go on Saturday and Sunday, the last 2 days of the festival, and had been hearing that the weather might not be cooperating. I downloaded The Weather Channel app on my phone, and it became my new best friend. And on Saturday, by the time we got ready to make our way down to the grounds, it started raining. And it lightened up, but by that time we had to get our kid read for bed, so we just went to Cracker Barrel. Now, things looked better for Sunday, according to my friend TWC app (we were best friends now, so I could use its nickname). TWC said that it would be clear, and partly cloudy. It even had a picture of a little sin with clouds peeking out from behind. Partly cloudy is better than mostly rainy, so I thought, you know, that’s doable. But the Look Out of the Window app (which is where you open the curtains and look out of the window) told a different story. Because it was a glorious, gorgeous sunny day. The clouds weren’t nasty ones, but the cottony ones that just add to the beautiful blue. I don’t think that I would have even noticed them if the TWC app had’t told me that they were there. I rechecked my phone. Now TWC app was saying that the day was “Fair”. Like “not spectacular”. Benign. But it was anything but. It was beautiful.

And I thought about how often we let those things in the background literally cloud our view on what is really an amazing thing. When people ask us how we are doing, we start with the not-so-wonderful instead of leading with the sunshine and THEN mentioning the clouds, if that is even necessary. We sometimes even let other people dictate the state of our situation for us. But guess what? Some clouds only become visible when you think about them. Otherwise, you can just ignore them, or swirl them into the background to make the prettiest shade of blue imaginable. Go with the good stuff. Lead with the sun. Much more enjoyable.


Enjoyable: Cookie Breaks

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

photo by http://www.simplyrecipes.com/wp-content/uploads/2005/12/peanut-butter-cookie-web.jpg

So , every so often, we run pieces of a series that we like to call “Enjoyable”, a little ode to the simple yet wonderful things that make life, well, enjoyable. Today, I salute cookies, like the ones above that I found here. Ain’t they pretty? I have been cutting back on the amount of processed food that I eat, and cutting back on sugar and such, but I made some peanut butter cookies last night with maple syrup and no sugar and who cares what’s in them because they are yummy. And they are cookies. Cookies are good. And I am drinking them with a big glass of milk and watching TV on Hulu while the laundry spins and the child “sleeps”. Because he’s not sleeping. He is actually crying to get up from his nap that really only lasted about 20 minutes. But he will be fine chillin’ for a few more minutes while I eat peanut butter cookies and milk, before I return. And now he’s jumping so I should probably go but seriously these cookies took me away for a minute and sometimes that is all you need. Cookies. Milk. A chair. A floor even. Just a break. Enjoy.


Five Minute Fridays: “See”ing through rain, princely husbands and the kindness of karaoke-singing strangers

by SweetMidlife

 

Leslie here!

This is a story about seeing, or not being able to. It’s a story about frightening pop-up storms, flash flooding and the very real fear that you might not be able to get home through them. It is also a story about friendly ports in a storm, the kindness of karaoke-singing strangers, the comfort that is Steve Perry and the lengths a husband will go to to make sure his wife gets home safe.

It’s about last night, when a girl’s night out with a friend was interrupted by a call from the Husband, saying that the scary unseasonable rains that had drenched the Florida afternoon were returning. So I hopped in the car and headed home for what should have been a 20 minute drive. Ha ha. Should’ve been. The skies opened up, not just with rain, but with wind, the kind that blows buckets of wetness vertical, across your windshield faster than your wipers can brush them away. And then the rain settled into a roiling funnel on flooded streets. At night. I couldn’t see past my windshield wipers, and I was briefly very nervous about making it home soon – or, for one hideous moment – at all.

“Encourage my soul, and let us journey on, though the night is dark and I am far from home,” I sang, trying to be louder than my pounding heart, pulling over first in a sketchy gas station parking lot, then at a 24-hour Walgreens lot for about 45 minutes, texting my husband as I went. Then, a block later, as traffic lights ahead blinked mournfully, I gave up and pulled over into what I hoped was a real space at a local haunt we like – BECAUSE I COULDN’T SEE THE GROUND.

So I sat there for ten minutes, waiting for a let-up in the rain that never came. Oh, God…what to do? And then through the deluge I could just make out…a karaoke singer! Wait, it’s Thursday! Karaoke night! I hopped out, running slo-mo through ankle-deep waters that soaked my long skirt, and just kinda stood there happy to be dry. And 30 seconds later I heard my name, because Alex the karaoke guy could tell I was stranded and really needed to sing some Journey.

And as I waited for another two hours for a way home, for the crazy squall to stop, for maybe a lift from a kindly patron, I saw not only an increasingly relentless storm outside but a community of equally stranded, in some cases a little drinkard skunkard, folks inside trying to pass the time out of the wetness, to share a song and a smile. A few even offered to drive me home, as soon as they could, you know, drive. And then, my husband called to say that he was coming to get me, even though he was home asleep safe and dry, because “You’re my wife! What was I do? Leave you there?” And it took him 35 minutes to drive a couple of miles, and he lost visibility a few times. But he came to get me, because he’s awesome that way.

And for the first time that night I saw through the storm. And it was beautiful.


Random yummy thing: Bananas

by SweetMidlife

 

“Bananen Frucht”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons –


Leslie here!

My friend Stephanie was here this weekend, and as longtime girlfriends who have taken many vacations together, as well as people who used to be in and out of each others kitchens, it made sense that we’re really casual about food. We cook together, eat together and shop for food together. We wound up splitting the tab at Publix (that’s our grocery store) and it was cool to look at both baskets and know that whatever was left over from hers when she left would be something I’d like.

Which brings me to bananas.

There are very few foods that I straight up dislike, but as a kid, bananas were at the top of the list. Something about the consistency. I didn’t like the tendency of mushiness, or the brown spots. They seemed to easy to damage and get icky, so I didn’t want any parts of them. I also have weird flashbacks to banana milk, something we used to have in Saudi Arabia as kids, and which for some reason makes me think about coughing it out of my nose. I imagine this happened at some point, because why else would I have that thought? Am I weird or something?

I outgrew my banana hate eventually as a young adult – maybe I was broke and  at somebody’s house, and was offered one, which I likely took because, you know, broke people don’t turn down food. And it was glorious. I am not being fancy here. It was a complex experience – the firm bite that dissolved into softness, the fresh, distinctive smell, the sweet/savory mouth feel…

It was awesome. And I have loved them ever since, au natural for breakfast or a snack, in pancakes, on toast with peanut butter…however. And Steph left a few when she went home, so I’ve had the pleasure of cutting a whole ‘nanner into my cereal with almond milk and chowing down. I had a second one for lunch! It’s awesome! It’s healthy! It’s bananas! (Call Gwen Stefani!)


Five Minute Fridays: Ordinary. Or not. Apologies in advancce

by SweetMidlife

I should look like this all the time.

Leslie here!

Go.

I know that the word is “ordinary” but I saw the prompt and suddenly Liz Phair’s “Extraordinary” jumped into my head and then I knew I would be writing about that, and not about being “ordinary.” As my creative muse Shawn Colvin once wisely sang, I’ll say I’m sorry now.

Actually, I’m not sorry, because “extraordinary” is just a version of “ordinary.” It’s from the Latin, meaning, “more” or “turbo,” or “really, really pumped up.” It’s a wonderful word, because it’s so simple – the extraordinary version of you is you, plus more. It’s not somebody else, with someone else’s weight or hair or profession. It’s the extra-pumped version of you, building on the base of your own fabulousness, your own awesome, your already existing cool.

All you need to do to be extraordinary is to gird yourself in your reality, take a big breath, and reach. High. Strong. Away. Be grounded in the you, in the reality, but multiply that. Say “What more can I be and still be me? What rungs of awesome have I not climbed?”

I went to a public event last night, like I do for my job, still wearing really beautiful makeup I had had professionally done at the NARS counter at Lord and Taylor in Boca Raton, and I got so many smiles and hugs, but no one said “You look especially pretty tonight” like they did at work where they know I’m a schlub sometimes.

These people who have seen my face in the paper where I am a columnist just assumed that I look like this all the time, that the ordinary me is the extraordinary me. And why shouldn’t she be?

I am extraordinary, like Liz said.

Stop.


Simple unexpected pleasures: Yummy creamy lemon yogurt

by SweetMidlife

Notice the tell-tale yogurt on the finger.

Leslie here!!

I’m no Jamie Lee Curtis, shilling the curdled dairy products for fun and profit. But I do enjoy a cup of yogurt, particularly whatever brand is on sale at Publix that week and is available in a non-contaminated batch (sorry about that, usually delicious Chobani!)

I’ve never, however, enjoyed lemon yogurt much, because it doesn’t seem so much a flavor as a flavor ingredient that’s supposed to have an “&” between it and something more interesting. But this Yoplait Greek, which has 100 calories or 2 Pts, for those of us who speak Weight Watchers, is incredibly flavorful, with a smoothness that doesn’t erode once you’ve mixed it with your spoon. It’s tart, but, again, smoothly.

It’s just yogurt, but it’s calming, like a cup of really good tea. I don’t know why I’m so jacked about it…Yes, I do. It’s because I pulled the shiny foil off a cup of yogurt I was sure I’d thrown in the hand basket by mistake and had decided to gut through, and finished it by poking under the folds of the lid with my spoon to make sure I hadn’t left anything behind.

It was an unexpected pleasure. I love when that happens.

 


Enjoyable: Pop-Tarts

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

So, last year we started a little series on this here blog called “Enjoyable”, where we occasionally talk about everyday things that make life a little more livable.

Today: Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts   I am trying to eat better and maybe those aren’t good to write about. But I didn’t say I was gonna buy them, just talk about them. Seriously, we hardly ate a lot of sugar in our house until high school, and that is when I really became enamored of the sickeningly sweet goodness that is a Pop-Tart  even though we still rarely had them. I even wrote a sonnet about them in 10th grade that got an A!! And my cool Aunt Debbie gave me like 5 boxes one year in college, so I was popular. I was reminded of all that a few weeks ago when I saw a little girl of about 4 literally skipping through a parking lot with a Pop-Tart in each hand. Maybe it was the anticipated sugar rush, or maybe this was a special treat, or maybe she stole them from someone and was skipping to get away with her heist. I don’t know, although I suspect that it was probably not the last one.  Doesn’t matter. They made her happy. Do my teeth hurt from just looking at them now? Yes. But for what they were to me, and what they are to that little girl, I pronounce them enjoyable. 


Enjoyable: New Socks!

by SweetMidlife

This is the latest in “Enjoyable”, a series of posts that shines the spotlight on life’s ordinary joys.

Lynne here! Happy Ho,Ho, Ho to you.

Every year, my Grandma James gives her kids and grandkids the same themed gifts, and it’s always something that we need. One year, everybody got pajamas.  And yesterday, I opened up my gift (wrapped by my Aunt Timmae), and inside it were 6 pairs of trouser socks.  Lovely trouser socks.  I LOVE new socks.  They feel good, and they are pre-snag, pre-fuzz, pre-run-in-them, and most importantly, there are 2 of them.  Before one escapes through the holes in the dryer and goes off to Single Sock Land. I am sure it exists. Stop laughing. New socks hold the promise that, at least for a little bit, I will do my job to keep them together, and this means that I will be able to find a pair of matching ones as soon as I open the drawer.  No more searching for the other one, and no more holding up socks that almost match and deciding that I can get away with earing them because I am wearing long pants. Not that I have done that. No, I totally have.  Anyhoo, new socks are wonderful, and a bit luxurious, and my Grandma rocks. That is all.


Yay middle-aged guys! Slow and steady wins “The Amazing Race”

by SweetMidlife


Leslie here with some yay!

I admit to being a somewhat self-focused rooter-for-er, which is not a word but which you totally understand. When I was little and there was, like, one black girl in every beauty pageant, I pulled for her. Or for Miss Maryland, since that’s where I was from. Or, as time went on, the highest-ranking girl who hailed from Maryland, Ohio, Florida or Pennsylvania, the states where I had lived. Or Arkansas, where my parents were, and which was like a second home.

Apparently these loyalties weren’t all that binding. But I had a pattern. A pattern-ish. Anyway, this scattershot logic has bled into my reality show viewing, where I will usually root for the minorities, be that racial, gender, national origin, sexual orientation or socio-economic, unless they’re jerks. I will not root for a jerk. This became a problem this season on my beloved “The Amazing Race” where one team initially seemed to hit all of my buttons – Natalie and Nadiya, Sri Lankan identical twin sisters who were loud, crazy, scrappy and super-close in that way you can only be with someone you’ve shared a womb with. I totally get that relationship, and since Lynne and I could never get cast on this show and do our own version of brown crazy twins, we felt The Twinnies were gonna be our spiritual doppelgangers. And since they were younger and fitter, they probably wouldn’t fall off anything like we would’ve.

Not so much. The Twinnies turned out to be completely un-self-aware, shifty, blithely homophobic thieves with appallingly bad game plans for people who can’t keep their mouths shut. They picked up money that another team had dropped and split it with someone else, which wasn’t actually illegal, but still shady and dishonest. They were obnoxious. I withdrew my twin love, and my brown people love, and my girl love, and my human being love. Was done.

And towards the end of the race, they had an incredibly dismissive and condescending way of referring to “Fabulous Beekman Boys” Josh and Brent, a couple whose adventures as gentleman goat farmers has garnered them a Cooking Channel show. They called them “The Gays,” which is not only ignorant but less than what I’d expect from people who’ve likely spent their lives being dismissively called “The Twins” or “The Sri Lankans” or “those brown girls.”

They also seemed to believe that – maybe because of their age, or their relative fitness level, or because they hadn’t won any other legs of the race, that the Beekmans were some sort of irritant hangers-on that they just now noticed were along, sucking up air from the more worthy competitors, including the Twinnies, young University of Texas couple Trey and Lexie, or charming Chippendales Jaymes and James. So they had no problem openly suggesting an alliance with the other groups within earshot of the Beekmans, and then telling them basically that they were waiting for them to lose, or get lost, or just disappear so that someone who deserved it got the million dollars, even though still being in the running means they deserved it. It was so much entitled claptrap that I wanted to scream.

So then I picked a side. The middle-aged underdog side. And it’s not about them being gay, or on TV. I came to love the Beekmans because they tried so hard. Because they loved and supported each other, even as they bickered. Because they stayed in an alliance with another, seemingly stronger team who were clearly using them as canon fodder, until it became no longer advantageous for the Beekmans, who had not forgotten that they were in a race and didn’t owe it to anybody to lose. And even though they felt bad about it, as human beings, they did what they had to do. They’re pluggers. They got tired. They got frustrated. But they kept running.

That’s what being this age does to you – you can either give up and assume that all the good stuff is for the younger ones, the hotter ones, the ones who don’t fall asleep on the couch at 7:30, or you can keep getting up, pack a heating pad and some Aleve, and say “Why not?” That’s something I live by. I saw them win and say that they wanted the money so that they could pay the mortgage on their farm so they could spend more time together, and that made sense – I am an old lady in love, and all of my wealth fantasies involve being able to be with my baby more. I completely get it. I get them.

And I’m glad they won. They probably needed a lot of Doan’s pills afterwards. But they were chilling with their money and their Doan’s, so that was probably OK.


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