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Category Archives: Leslie Gray Streeter

NBC’s “Strong”: Why my trainer and I wouldn’t win the show but are winning, anyway

by SweetMidlife

 

Not on a TV near you. But still rocking.

Not on a TV near you. But still rocking.

I am Leslie, and I watch too much TV, which is OK because sometimes it’s for work and the other times it’s so I catch up on my “Murder She Wrote” game and I refuse to be judged by you or anyone about that, OK? I WILL NOT BE JUDGED.

So one of the things that happens with all this TV, particularly if I’m too lazy to find the remote and bleep-bloop the commercials, is that I have to actually watch the commercials, which is why during “The Voice” a while back I caught word of “Strong,” which is what “The Biggest Loser” might be if every contestant had their own trainer, no one was really fat, the trainers had to compete physically right with their clients, and they all had to do a modified version of “American Ninja Gladiator Habitrail Thunderdome.” And somehow Sylvester Stallone was involved.

This looks intriguing, not only because I am over “The Biggest Loser” and its head games on people who probably need therapy more than they need to be shamed about “only” losing 5 pounds a week, and because the dynamics of the male trainers and female clients reminds me some of that between myself and my trainer, Victor Ayala. We’re not on the show, and I can’t see us jumping off scaffolding tethered to each other on a giant bungee cord, because Leslie does not do that. Also, I have no interest in being tired and sweaty on camera. I don’t even like being tired and sweaty at Walgreen’s on the way home.

But Victor and I do, at least, have that same connection that the pairs on “Strong” seem to have, with all the emotional connection and breakthroughs and whatnot, even if we’re not being paid big NBC dollars for our efforts. We’ve worked together off and on for about a decade, most intensely in the last several months, since the death of my husband Scott, who also worked with Victor.  We don’t have a network contract or the pull of the camera, but we do have that bond established by friendship and that time he looked me up and down and said “I swear to God, you’re doing this right this time, because I’m telling people I train you and if you don’t get in shape it’s on me.”

And that made sense to me, so I’m 13 pounds, a dress size and a half, and some inches down. I’m not sure why NBC went with the male/female dynamic – there doesn’t seem to be a romantic element to the pairings, but I can tell you n that at least in my experience, I work better with a guy trainer in general, and Victor specifically. I had a female trainer once, years ago, and as much as I liked her I couldn’t help comparing myself to her, even though we were a decade apart and completely different body types and fitness levels. I looked at her and thought “Why can’t I be a cute little blonde with no body fat?” I mean, I did not really want to be a cute little blonde, because I’m very happy being a black woman with blond highlights. But that’s the female fit body I saw every week, and it kinda messed with my head, even though I (temporarily) lost the weight.

I am not competitive with Victor, because I cannot compete with a man who ran a marathon in the South Florida heat in a sweatshirt, long fatigues and a weighted pack on his back. I can only hope to learn from him, when he’s yelling at me to not punk out on my stair runs, or sneaking up on my on the stair climber and saying “Why are you only on Level 6?” Or when he’s out of town and texting my workouts to me in sadistic bursts – “Do 1000 crunches. And then run two more miles. And I wanna see pictures when you’re done so I can tell if you’re actually sweating.”

He crazy. But our bond is about history, a shared loss, professional respect and a deep friendship where you need the other one to do well. For Victor, that’s pushing me to be the best, healthiest Leslie I can be, and for me, that’s not wasting his time and reputation. I don’t know if that’s something Sly Stallone would put on TV. But if there’s no bungees involved, we’d consider it.

 

 

 


Looking People In The Eye Like You Know What The Heck You Are Talking About

by SweetMidlife

Happy Monday! Lynne here.

I was part of a classroom demo in a Social Psychology class in college (St. Mary’s College of Maryland class of 1993! Go Seahawks!) once where the professor had me and a male classmate get up in front of the class and just talk to each other for like a minute. After making forced small talk for a little bit, she let us sit down, and she explained to the class that she wanted to test a theory about power in conversation, and the theory is this: when 2 people are talking, the person who feels the most powerful out of the 2 will look directly at the other person when they themselves are talking because they are so sure of what they are saying and want the other person to hear every word. But when the other person is talking, though, the more powerful person will look away, as if they don’t really need to hear what’s being said. Rude, hey? And what I remember is that my professor told us that it when there are a man and a woman in the conversation, the man is the sure-of-himself and not-so-interested-in-what-the-other-is-saying, and the woman is the person who feels less powerful and will look at their associate as the other person talks, as if that person’s words are gold, but look away when they themselves are talking, as if they doubt the validity of their words. And I also remember that in the staged conversation for class, that I was the one deemed the most powerful. Hee.

So, things have changed a bit over the years.

Now, I think that it would be wonderful if both people in a conversation would listen to each other, each feeling equally powerful to the other and feeling like there is give and take and such. But I have realized, though, that as much as I talk, which is a whole heck of a bunch, I was sometimes not so sure of what I am saying, and it’s usually when people are asking me about my plans, or my new business. You know, things that I know about. I find myself looking up in the air and avoiding the other person’s eyes, like I was searching for the words off of the ceiling or something. And it made me remember that experiment in college, but the difference is that nobody else is doubting my power, or my words, or thinking that what I am saying isn’t important. Nope. I was the one doing that to myself, and that’s sad, especially when it’s something about me, a subject that I should know a lot about, and I am realizing why. It’s that when I couldn’t look people right in the face and tell them about what I have going on, it’s that I was doubting the validity of my own dreams, of my own plans, and of me having the right to do the thing that I am doing. And I am deciding that I am not going to do that anymore, because if I don’t believe  what I am saying, how the heck am I supposed to make other people believe me? Because I am quite good at what I do in business, darn it. I am prepared for this, and my dreams and plans have meaning.  I am gonna work the heck out of them, and I am going to stop diluting my own power by believing what I say, looking people straight in the face, and going from there. I have been doing that, and darn it, it feels great.

Believe your own dream, my friends. And tell people about it. And see what happens.

I know what I am talking about.

I know what I am talking about.


Another Dose of Twin Randomness, Late-March Edition

by SweetMidlife

Howdy. Lynne and Leslie here. Welcome to the latest edition of that thing we do where we answer each other’s random questions. We have been trying to do it weekly, but I am afraid that if it call it that in writing, then something will come up and we won’t get to it for another month and then we look flighty. So aspiration-ally, this will be a weekly thing, but we will just call it a regular feature. And I said the phrase “that thing we do”, and now I have “That Thing You Do” in my head and I will be singing that sing for the rest of the day. But anyhoo, this week, instead of us each asking and answering different questions, we will be answering the same ones. We though that would be fun. We amuse each other and we seem to amuse you so we will just go with that.

Fox just broadcast The Passion, which was the Biblical Easter story, with the characters singing popular songs to illustrate the story. Let’s pretend that we were hired to musical direct a version, but all of the songs had to be by 90s boy bands. What would your entry be?

Lynne: Okay, this would be Jesus (I was inspired by NSYNC):
“Every little thing I do
Never seems enough for you
You don’t wanna get hurt again
But I’m not like them
My people, when you finally
Get loved by somebody
Guess what,
It’s gonna be me..”

Leslie: Fun! Here’s mine! Also Jesus, from the Backstreet Boys

“Well, My life is all I have to give

And with me, eternally, you’ll live

This world and the next I give to you

My life is all I have to give to you.”

Funniest thing your kid has done lately?

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Lynne: We bought the kid this guitar shaped like a dog that he gets to play when he poops on the potty, and yesterday was one of those good days, and we have no idea where he picked this up, but he does this full-on rock star yelp and knee slide. It is hilarious and spot-on C.C. DeVille. Does anyone get that reference? I do.

 Leslie: I saw that video. That scream was, as I told you, like the one The Who let out whenever David Caruso took off his shades leaning over a dead body and said something obnoxious. Over here, The Kid has noticed that the smoke alarm is right over  the stove and goes off all the time, which freaks him out. So if he sees so much as steam coming out of a pan, he says, slightly alarmed, “Open door! Open door! Open other one, too.” And then he points to the stove and says “Clean up, Mommy!” Adorable. (Snerk)

We are both working out more because yes. What’s your favorite song to sweat to?

Lynne: What keeps coming to my head is “Fergilicious”, because the phrase “I be up in the gym just working on my fitness” is the best line ever. And I use it often. Even when I am in my living room walking in place.

Leslie: I am going old school – still either “Born To Run” or “St. Elmo’s Fire,” because of the over-the-top anthem, and if you can raise your tired fist over your head and scream “Tramps like us!” that means you can breathe.

What TV show are you either hooked on or rewatching on the Internets?

Lynne: Actually, a bunch of things that come on Thursday nights. I watch the first part of “American Idol”, because singing, then I go to bed and wake up Friday morning and watch the highlights from the YouTube clips on the “Idol” Facebook page. Then I watch “Grey’s Anatomy” on Hulu, because it has roped me in again, and then I watch “Project Runway Allstars” on Mylifetime.com. I almost gave up on that show because I am over people talking about each other when I want them to just sew pretty clothes,but the talent this year is fantastic and the creativity is off the charts. It excites me to see what talented people can do. Love it.

Leslie: The “West Wing.” I wish I could vote for Jed Bartlet, even though he could get sanctimonious, because he didn’t apologize for being smart, and because I felt that he and his fictional staff really did want to make the world a better place. Also 90s Brad Whitford and his pleated pants were swoony.

How do you feel about two-piece bathing suits if you have back or belly fat?

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Lynne: You know what? I think there was a time when I was not cool with it, because I didn’t like my belly or back fat. But I am over that. If you are confident, do it. I will be wearing a one-piece this year, so my belly is covered, but you know what, my back will do what it do. Love it.

Leslie: I just ordered a full coverage swim top from Victoria’s Secret. because I have very covery bottoms. It could be a disaster and I am nowhere near svelte. But I have a nice cover-up, and if big fat dudes can sun like seals at the chair across from me shirtless, people’s eyes will survive seeing some back fat in the time it takes me to take my cover-up off and jump in the pool. Y’all will be fine. And even without the cover-up, you all will survive flashes of middle-aged fat. I’m not flaunting but I want to feel good about myself.

Best thing you’ve cooked lately?

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Lynne: I made cupcakes and buttercream frosting out of this Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that was outstanding. Yes. I said it. Those things were epic. I made them for our weekly small group from church, and people ate several. My poor son saw me making them before he went to bed, and he got up asking for them, but dang it. They were gone. Sorry, Little Boy.

Leslie: That vegan pesto I made the other day was delicious. With cashews. Cashews are my Windex. They fix everything.

So, guys, what you watching on TV? What you cooking? Can we have some? And what is your bathing suit situation this year?

 

 


Spring Cleaning Can Include Taking Down Your Christmas Tree.

by SweetMidlife

Hi! Lynne here!

This past weekend, my family and I went to church on Saturday night as a family, so on Sunday morning, we ate breakfast together at home, welcomed the coming of Spring while also bemoaning the lost hour of sleep that comes with Daylight Savings Time, since toddlers don’t care and that dude got up anyway because his body clock said so. And we took down our artificial Christmas tree and put away the rest of the Yuletide decorations.

Tis the season! But not that season anymore.

Sunshine and tinsel and Spring and Baby Jesus. But he isn't in this picture. So here is my baby.

Sunshine and tinsel and Spring and Baby Jesus. But he isn’t in this picture. So here is my baby.

Yeah, so what had happened was that, as I have told you, I had major surgery in January, a week after New Years. Since we like to leave our tree up at least until then, because taking it down so early is too abrupt for me and I need to ease out of the holidays and back to normal non-sparkly times, we thought that we would pace ourselves and take it down when things got normal. But even after the initial period of my mom and sister and Bestie Maria coming to stay at different times, and friends and family giving us rides when I couldn’t drive, and friends sending and bringing food, and my husband literally doing all of the heavy lifting, it took us awhile to get back to normal. Which we mostly are, but I know that this whole thing takes awhile, and in all of that we had never set a deadline for the tree coming down.

For awhile it was fine, because we knew what we were capable of, and it wasn’t a priority, and friends who came over knew where we were with that, and that was like late-January/early February. It was actually kinda nice to have the tree there, all shiny, and we knew we would get to it. We took down most of the other decorations and, because we knew it would help us with finishing it up, put them on the floor in front of the tree. And then it got later, and then it snowed, so the tree fit in, but then it melted, and that tree started to look strange, and friends would come over then in late February/early March, and we would say “The tree is still up. Don’t judge.”, and they would say “Shoot, we don’t care.”

And then I realized I was judging me. Because it was time.

So on Sunday morning, we went downstairs and got the box that holds the Christmas stuff, and we turned on a warm weather playlist (“Here Comes the Sun”, “Walking On Sunshine”, “Everyday Sunshine” and the like) while wrapping up the Baby Jesus in our Nativity and disassembling the tree. It was a nice family time to spend with each other, looking at the gifts people gave us and remembering how nice it is to have people who give you things, and remembering the meaning of the ornaments and when we got them and why, like the Blue Crab one we got in memory of my Dad, who loved him some crabs, and also remembering who gave us certain ones, like my late former neighbor who did the alterations on my wedding dress and gave us a beautiful “First Christmas” ornament, and Bestie Johnette’s mom, who adopted her friends and gives us beautiful angel ornaments every year. And it was cathartic to complete something, and bring some order and get rid of clutter, and to literally move into a  new season.

It was good. It’s okay to do things on your own time. And then it’s good to know when it’s REALLY time.

This is the favorite warm weather song of both Streeter Twins. What is yours?


Seeing less of cheese: My backwards glancing sliding sorta into some sort of vegan thing

by SweetMidlife
This is what happens when you have a little less cheese and work out a lot.

This is what happens when you have a little less cheese and work out a lot.

I am Leslie and cheese is my boyfriend. Even when my husband and sweet schmoopy love of my life was alive, he knew that cheese was my illicit habit, my thing that I could not get enough of (besides my husband, of course.) He actually gave me gifts of cheese, sometimes a good brie, other times a gorgeous feta from a Greek importer. I was raised mostly vegetarian, and as I stopped completely eating chicken and other poultry, I claimed cheese as my primary protein besides the fish I maybe ate once a week. Cheese? Ate at least once a day. Sometimes once a meal. My mother once told a friend that her kids’ favorite food groups were potatoes and cheese.

Mommy was not lying.

So it was with much resistance that I took in a suggestion from my trainer, Victor Ayala, who had tortured worked me into a weight loss of 12 pounds and at least one dress size: “You’d lose more,” he said, in that way that forces you to not rest on your laurels too much, “if you cut our meat..”

“I don’t really eat meat,” I said.

“My dear,” Victor said, eyebrow skyward, “cheese is meat.”

Well, heck.

Vegan cheese makes a good casserole. Next time needs more onions and cheese. No! Not cheese! Stupid, stupid!

Vegan cheese makes a good casserole. Next time needs more onions and cheese. No! Not cheese! Stupid, stupid!

Although my beloved fromage is not technically the flesh of a living thing, it is an animal product and can cause inflammation (It’s also a thing to avoid if you’re about to sing, as I am wont to do.) When I was clean eating two years ago, I limited myself once a week or so to only the best quality cheese, but when our little one came to live with us, all that went out the window. Cheese became my crutch again. But between Victor and my beloved almost-sister Rissa, a longtime vegan who has sent me several vegan cookbooks and recipes a month since last summer, I feel I’m a crossroads.

Which is not to say that I am about to become vegan, because I am not and I really don’t want to. I am not going to just say I will never sample an exquisite brie or sprinkle aged Parmesan Reggiano on a perfect tomato soup, because I AM GONNA. But I want to explore playing with it, cutting back and seeing what new cooking adventures await me. This will upset real vegans who have ethical reasons for their lifestyle, like I’m dabbling and being disrespectful. But it’s where I’m at.

Cheeseless pesto. It is a thing.

Cheeseless pesto. It is a thing.

So far, I’ve adapted some recipes, some of which were already vegan and some which just included stuff I didn’t have. I did a vegan tomato bisque, a vegan cauliflower casserole and, most deliciously, vegan pesto with cashews, which creamily take the role of both traditional pine nuts and the cheese. A year ago I would have told you the point of pesto was cheese. I still think it might be.

The point is, I am learning. I am growing. I am not breaking up with cheese. But we are agreeing to see a little less of each other.


Living A Life That Makes People Want To Say Nice Things At Your 80th Birthday Party

by SweetMidlife

Happy Monday! Lynne here.

I had the honor last night of attending our Aunt Dorothy’s 80th birthday party, and it’s been in my head all night. It was a lovely shindig, with delicious eats from a place that does Caribbean food, people who you know are over 70 but look 50, and a cake table that looked like something out of a magazine. Cake pops, y’all! There was also amazing music, that went from smooth jazz to Motown to line dancing music, which was awesome because the aforementioned spry older people flooded the dance floor. They can do a wonderful Cha Cha Slide, with the correct amount of hip swaying, but without testing gravity when they guy in the song says “How low can you go?”, because they are smart. I, on the other hand, so happy to be moving again after recovering from surgery, squatted all the way down and for a split second, wondered who was coming to lift me back up. I did it myself. But there was a moment.

There was a cake pop in this bag but it got eaten. Good party.

There was a cake pop in this bag but it got eaten. Good party.

But the best part about it was the love laid on my aunt. You could see the life she lived in pictures on the slideshow that her family prepared, including pictures of people who aren’t here anymore, like my aunt’s husband, my grandparents, and my dad and his brother. So many smiles, and so many good times. And at the party, in person, there were people from all facets of her life, including family (like her gorgeous brand new great-granddaughter, who slept through large portions of the evening because she is an infant and they have it like that), friends that she has known for 60 years, folks from her church, and former colleagues from her days in the Federal government. They all had beautiful things to say about her, about how good a cook she was (Sister can throw down), but even more about how faithful she is (taking care of both of my grandparents and her husband towards the ends of their lives), and her generosity and hospitality, and how she takes people under her wing when they need help. And unlike the things that are said about some people at these occasions, when people feel obligated to say nice things because, hey, you ARE giving them free chicken, people meant every word of it. And I thought about what a testament it is to you that friends from almost your entire life, and people from the job you retired from 25 years ago, will gladly come and tell people, but most importantly, YOU, about what you meant to them. My aunt beamed the whole night, and we all beamed with her.

It made me proud to be her niece, which I already was proud of, and it also made me want to live a life that people will say nice things about in 35 years when I turn 80. Not because it will be nice to hear, which it will be, but because it means that I was good to people more than I was not good to them, and that the little moments of my life would add up to a life well-lived. I know that I don’t always get it right, and I am not saying that so you say “No, Lynne, you’re great!” I am serious. I mess up. But last night gave me something to aspire to, and I want to continue in that direction. See you in 35 years at my 80th. Come. There will be chicken. And the Cha Cha Slide. And we can help each other up if we go too low.


I Wish There Was A Show Called “American Do What You Love And Get Paid For It”

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here!

Leslie and I watch a lot of “American Idol”, and this is the last season, so they are talking a lot about their legacy and how awesome the show is, and want to talk about Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, its’ biggest stars, like all of the time. And I get that. Those ladies are the biggest stars that the show has produced, and the show also heavily touts hit-making alumni Phillip Phillips, Chris Daughtry, and Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson. And that makes sense, because the show is called “American IDOL”, which means that they want to produce people who we literally want to be. But we have short attention spans, so the people who we were all nuts about last month kinda fall away to make space for the next new thing.  I was really happy when a few weeks ago, as part of their “You used to really love this show” extravaganza, the show brought back former contestants to sing duets with current ones. Some were ones who had several radio hits after the show, like Daughtry and Jordin Sparks and Fantasia, and some were ones who have had careers in other venues, like Tony-nominee Constantine Maroulis or Haley Reinhart, who has been featured in a bunch of videos by Postmodern Jukebox where they put pop songs to jazz beats. Watch her, She’s amazing. So I got all excited when the show said that these folks were coming back, because I wanted them to highlight that success doesn’t always look hit records. But no. While the show brought on a big display commemorating all of Daughtry’s platinum-selling accomplishments, what it basically did was have the others talk about what they learned from the show, for the show’s sake. And I get that. Talking about all the amazing things you birthed is awesome. But I think that the show missed a great opportunity to send a heartfelt message that could add to the well-being of the young people of America, which I know isn’t their top priority, as well as really secure their legacy as the springboard for greatness, which is their concern.

And that’s this.

As wonderful as it must be to be a mega-superstar, there is something to be said for being able to make a living doing what you love, even if it’s on a more modest level, and this is what “American Idol” has done for many of its former contestants, like Taylor Hicks and Kris Allen, who aren’t burning up the charts currently (although both each have had hits), but have used their time on the show to have, well, careers in music. As in people pay them to sing. As in they don’t have to have second jobs. Because enough people want to hear them that they can live pretty nice lifestyles doing exactly what they love to do. I am not hating on Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, because those ladies have earned the careers that they have. I admire them. But obviously, everybody can’t be at that level and sustain it, and it is bothersome that we chew people up and get over them so quickly, that in the public’s perception, if you aren’t selling out stadiums, you must be living in your mama’s basement cooking grilled cheese on a hot plate. There is a lot of space in between there, and “Idol” alums occupy every rung of that, with many of those folks occupying the higher rungs of that ladder, which means that they earn a living singing, and they appreciate the platform that they were afforded. Most working musicians, especially the ones who were gigging before their “Idol” days, recognize that a place in this show can make you in a big way, but that it can also be a springboard into playing bigger venues and having your own bus instead of taking the Greyhound. Leslie interviewed Phillip Phillips the year that he won the show, and he told her something that has stuck with me. He said that at first, he didn’t have his eye on the title of American Idol, which he went on to win. No, his initial goal was to make the Top 10, because those performers get to go on tour, and he knew that he would have a job for the summer. Don’t miss that. One of the biggest stars to come out of the show’s later years knew that having a well-paid job touring around was a huge blessing, because it offered you the visibility to work that into something more.

Most "Idol" alumsdon't have to play music in their mom's basement anymore, unlike my kid. He is only 3, though.

Most “Idol” alumsdon’t have to play music in their mom’s basement anymore, unlike my kid. He is only 3, though.

And many “Idol” contestants have done that, including the ones I mentioned above, as well as Allison Iraheta, who made it to the #4 spot the year that Adam Lambert and Kris Allen were on. She has her own band called Halo Circus, and also sings backup vocals on “Idol”. And I know that some people look at that and say, “You sing back-up? That must be a letdown. Too bad you aren’t famous.” But she has a job. Singing. And although she likes singing her own music, I am sure, her time on the show has given her a highly visible regular gig, one which many singers would love to have. That is an accomplishment. I am an actor, and the periods of my life where I was only acting were brilliant. I was never famous, but I was able to eat doing what I adored. And shoot, that is everything. That’s a good lesson for everybody, because if only famous people are successful, that means that there is no room for anyone else, which means that everyone else is unworthy, which I refuse to accept. Excelling is awesome, and making lots of money is, I am sure, a wonderful thing, but also living the dream of being JUST a performer is up there. And I honestly think that if “Idol” bragged on the careers that their less-famous alumni went on to, it would make the show look better in the long run, because they would be able to define what success looks like. But since they, and we, are so hung up on “Idol”-dom, they missed a chance to say that they produce people in the big leagues, meaning that they produced people with careers. In music. And to me, that is brag-worthy.

 


Seasonal Randomness: Lynne and Leslie Ask Each Other Questions About Spring

by SweetMidlife

This is the latest in what is actually becoming a regular feature on our blog, where the Sisters Streeter ask each other whatever comes to their brains. Today, it’s about Spring. At least it will start out that way.

Spring 2008, on our 37th birthday. We like this picture.

Spring 2008, on our 37th birthday., Lynne in black, Leslie in brown flowers. We like this picture.

First, Lynne asks, Leslie answers.

Lynne asks: I am over the cold, but it is getting warmer here in Maryland. Cold to you in South Florida is like 65 degrees. But are there differences in Spring? How do you ring in Spring there?
Leslie answers: Personally, I got to polo, Spring Training and turn the heat off from the 5 days it was on all winter. Ha ha. #warm.

Lynne asks: What is your favorite Easter ensemble to wear? Are we too young for big church hats? I feel like we should be wearing big church hats.
Leslie answers: I love color, pastels that are swingy. And I might, at 45, be ready for big church hats, because I’m kicky.

Lynne asks:  When you dig down to the bottom of an Easter basket, are you looking for jelly beans or malted eggs?Leslie answers: Both. Especially the licorice jelly beans everyone throws into my basket because I am the only person who likes them. Bring them to me, bring your black jelly beans, bring them on home to me. Yeah.

Lynne asks: Favorite Easter memory? I have one, but I wanna see if it’s the same as yours before I answer because I want to see how in sync we are. And speaking of N Sync, JC Chasez should have had a bigger solo career.
Leslie answers: Ooh, I don’t know! That’s not fair! I can’t think of the thing it is you are trying to get me to remember…was it in Saudi? My most recent favorite Easter was going to Palm Beach Polo when a bunch of NFL stars were there, and this girl straight out of Real Housewives of Atlanta was literally sprinting across the parking lot putting her good heels on trying to get to the door faster and my husband turned to me, poker face intact, and said “Wow. She has NO IDEA there are rich professional athletes here.” Ha ha #iaintsayingshesagolddigger. What’s yours? And you know I believe JC was the real talent. Sorry JT.
Lynne responds: Yep, it was Riyadh in 1983, and we went to a sunrise service, and I remember how the sun looked coming up on all that brown, and I remember thinking how cool it was to be in the Middle East on Easter, close to where Jesus physically lived. Yep.

Lynne asks: What is your favorite spring song? I mean a song that makes you wanna roll your windows down and breathe in the air. And again, I know you live in Florida and could have been doing this anyway, but humor me?
Leslie answers: “Here Comes The Sun” by the Beatles. No question. It’s been a long cold lonely winter. It feels like years since it’s been clear. Yes yes.

OK, Leslie’s turn:

Leslie asks: Do you ever forget which way you’re supposed to turn your clocks in the spring?
Lynne answers: All the time. I even know that “Spring Back, Fall Forward” reminder, but I have to take a minute and remember  what that even means. I still sometimes have to do the “Put your right hand over your heart” thing to remember that my heart is on the left. I am not kidding.

Leslie asks: Feelings about certain fabrics and colors seasonally? Is white before Easter OK? Are dark wool things OK for spring? Asking for a friend.
Lynne answers: I think white is fine before Easter and after Labor Day, and I say this on no authority but hearing some fashion person saying that somewhere once, and also because I want to sometimes. And I think if you aren’t sweating, wear the dark wool. It makes you mysterious or something.

Leslie asks: Is it ever OK to pick flowers or fruit off someone else’s tree or bush without their permission?
Lynne answers: No, because that makes you a stief. A stealing thief. Just say no to stiefing.

Leslie asks: Favorite park, anywhere in the world, where you’ve had a gorgeous spring experience just enjoying not being in the winter and cold and wrapped like a mummy?
Lynne answers: It was actually in Knoxville, Tennessee, I think, and I was in a touring play and we were heading to Atlanta as soon as we left. There were these gorgeous flowers, and the cast all laid in the grass. And I remember that we needed that tranquility, because we then got stuck in Atlanta traffic, which is the opposite of tranquil.

Leslie asks: Going back to the Easter basket question for a moment, are hollow bunnies worth it?
Lynne answers: Young Lynne would have said no, because I thought hollow bunnies are a trap, because you sink your teeth in and they fall apart, and solid bunnies are so rich. But then Older Lynne is like “I can hurt my teeth on a solid bunny.” But then Young Lynne tells Older Lynne to take a look at her life, because more chocolate is always winning. So to answer your question, no.

So hey! What are your favorite things about Spring, like music, and food, and things to do? Tell us below!

 


Saturday Morning, With Apologies to Maroon 5

by SweetMidlife

It’s Lynne. And this has been a wonderful Saturday morning so far, and mostly because we did not have any set outside plans, and my family has been grooving on each other’s presence. It inspired this, inspired by “Sunday Morning”, my almost-favorite cut off of Maroon 5’s wonderful album, “Songs About Jane”. 

I like this place.

I like this place.

Saturday morning, light is falling
Bunch the covers ’round my skin
Toddler knocking and then barging in the door
And jumping in the bed that we are in

But things just feel so lazy
Getting up is hard to do
I know I should sit on up
Get up and go, yes it’s true
But Saturday mornings bring me close to you
I’m gonna snuggle up some more with you

This maybe all I need
Besides To-Do lists I don’t want to see
So come on curl back up with me
Moving slow on Saturday morning
And I never want to leave

Here’s the actual song. It’s chill. I hope you get to chill today. 


Moving house: Or why I hope to never have to leave my new house

by SweetMidlife
Our new living room, mid-box.

Our new living room, mid-box.

To review: Last summer, I (being Leslie) unexpectedly started a new chapter of my life when my lovey-dove Scott passed away unexpectedly. Obviously, that was a world-rocker, but that world refused to stop spinning so I had to start rolling with changes, mostly just continuing to live the life I already had but without my Scotty. Which sucks because it took so long for me to find a good guy in a grab bag of losers, and I only got to keep him 6 1/2 years. That was a lot of work. I’m exhausted.

Meanwhile, there was one change he and I had already planned, which was to leave our lovely South Florida rental home, where we moved in 2013, sometime in the first part of this year. The landlords were looking to sell it and we decided, as much as we loved it, not to buy it because we wanted an extra bathroom. So we’d started just doing random searches – I wanted to stay in the little town we lived in and Scott wanted to move across the canal into West Palm Beach, for school district and prettiness purposes. After he died, and my mom the queen of the universe, moved in with me and the little one I live with, she and I started tentatively looking close by, to check out prices and different areas, but weren’t set on a date…

…Until our landlords decided to sell our house, like, immediately, and at the beginning of February we found ourselves on a ticking moving clock with 30 days and a suddenly short supply of available homes anywhere we wanted to be. Of course. We looked out of our target area, even, and then made an offer on a nice house in the right neighborhood that we didn’t love, but that was better than living in a van down by the river. We had hoped to find a miracle, but were willing just not to be homeless.

“Do houses just show up at the last minute?” we asked our realtor, who shook his head about 24 hours before calling us to say that a lovely place around the corner from he and his family had a brand new “For Rent” sign on the front lawn. Miracles, anyone? The moment we walked in that afternoon, we were in love – high wooden ceilings, a Florida room that’s all windows, and an over-sized master suite for me. Although I did offer it to my mother, of course.

“doyoumaybewannatakethebigroomiwillsleepouttherenexttotheboydontyouworryaboutit” I said, hoping she would pick up on “My goodness I want that room.” She did. I am so glad she did because I super wanted that room.

And now I’m in it, surrounded by more boxes and stuff than I knew I had. The move was a monster nightmare and I am never doing it again.

But I am so happy. I feel weird about not being in this house with Scott, and I would be lying if I didn’t feel a little guilty to know that I am in a much nicer house and that my life and the Kid’s are going on without him. But he would want me to. We can’t live in a van, we couldn’t live in the old house, and we, again, would not fit in a van. It is normal to miss him and wonder what he’d have thought of the place, which is in the school district he wanted and is probably the result of some heavenly maneuvering (OK SCOTT YOU WON.) But it is also normal for happy things to make you happy, and this new place is happy. We are happy. We are not quite complete. But we are happy.

And I hope we can one day buy this house and live here forever because I hate moving and am never doing it again.


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