with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Random

It’s all about ME: Jealously guarding your time to yourself, no matter what

by SweetMidlife


Getting to the root of the matter

This is Leslie, and this is a picture of me getting my highlights done. It is not the cutest photo in the world, nor would it ever see the light on my eHarmony or Match.com profiles, if I had not run fleeing from those sites because they have produced not a daggone thing for your girl. But there is something very vital, even beautiful happening here. See that smile under all those ridiculous and lovely foils? It’s the look of a mom who’s getting to sit in a chair for a few hours dedicated only to making her a more gorgeous, happy version of herself.

There was also day wine. But that smile was mostly because of the Me Time.

Me Time is important. I don’t think I really understood that when all of my time was Me Time, when I was single, and even after I got married, before my son. In a weird way, even my job is sometimes Me Time, at least the times when I’m writing first-person columns about my life or opinions. But it’s not really Me Time, because I’m on the clock, with parameters set by someone else on just how much Me I share, and when. Even still, before my little Brooks was in the picture, the time when I wasn’t at the office was mine, focused on what I needed and wanted. I could get up at 5:30 a.m. and go to Boot Camp, and as long as I was done in time for my next interview it was cool. I didn’t have to feed and dress another human being, look for something semi-nutritious to throw in his lunch bag, wipe the syrup off of the tablet I thought I told him not to use while eating waffles but am too tired to walk across the kitchen and take. Picking my battles. Deciding whether to count the calorie or two in the syrup I just licked off the finger I wiped the syrup off the tablet with.

I know I am not telling any of you who are parents, or other sorts of caretakers, anything about the lack of You Time, of really focusing on yourself. And I don’t mean painting your nails while you make lunch, or scarfing down an extra bag of Cheez-its while you wait for your conference call. I’m talking about taking at least an hour to get your own nails done – no returning work emails! – or taking yourself to a lunch and keeping your laptop in the bag. I’m talking about having a conversation that you’re not watching the clock during, or watching an episode of whatever you want without interruption from someone demanding “Paw Patrol.”

And not feeling guilty about it. And not making excuses, or cutting it short for anything less than an emergency. And knowing you deserve it.

You do, you know. I do. Even when I think I don’t. So there’s the story behind that smile, goofy under the foils. It’s the look of someone who was, before this photo, fighting the urge to check my email or do something about my grocery list. And guess what? Work went on without me. Nobody starved. But me? I got to breathe. I got new hair. I got to have a fun talk about pop culture and random conspiracies with my stylist who is also my friend. I spent hundreds of bucks on myself and I didn’t mostly feel bad about it. (I did for a few seconds and then was like ‘Thank you, New Hair!)

I can’t do it all the time, because then no one would eat, or have anywhere to live, and I’d get fired and don’t nobody want that. But in this moment, with all the shiny foils, I was all about Leslie. Because she deserves that.

Things a mom thinks about at 2:25 a.m., five hours before she’s supposed to work out

by SweetMidlife

Scene of the 2:30-something mind crime.


This is Leslie. It is 2:25 a.m. As the great Wanda Sykes once said, women’s brains are so full of tasks and thoughts and things we have to do that we can’t get to sleep because even the minute stuff like not being able to remember the name of a teacher we haven’t seen in 30 years just won’t leave us alone. This is happening to me right now. Here is the dumb, deep and sleep-depriving stuff in my head right now. I wish it was not in my brain, because I would like to go to bed now.

You certainly don’t want them in your head, too. But here you are – I have too much on the brain to be charitable at this point,. You understand, of course. You’re awake, too. Shouldn’t you be sleeping?


– “Why am I awake?

– “It has taken me four hours to get through this two-hour finale of ‘Secrets and Lies.’ I wonder if anyone watches this but me, Michael Ealy is fine. I’ve almost grown attached to Juliette Lewis’ character, and she’s kind of awful. i hope they don’t cancel this. They always cancel the shows I get attached to. Dang. Now I’m worried about ‘Blackish.’ Please don’t cancel ‘Blackish,’ Jesus.”

“Jesus doesn’t cancel TV shows, right? He’s busy, right?”

“I finally finished that assignment for work I should have done before I feel asleep. Win for me? Does procrastination count as a win? Whatever. Taking it. TAKING THIS WIN.”

“I am super hungry. I didn’t eat enough last night,. Didn’t I leave some veggie chili in the bowl? I wonder if it;’s in the fridge. Did I put it in the fridge? I wonder if it’s still good if I didn’t put it in the fridge? Or did I leave it on the counter? It’s got light sour cream on it. Is that real dairy? I wouldn’t get that sick, right?”

“Maybe I shouldn’t eat counter chili.”

“I love ‘The Affair’ even if I don’t like any of these horrible people. They’re awful. But they have great apartments. Great kitchens. I like my kitchen. It has chili on the counter.”

“I really ought to get off the stick and get a hotel for Disney this weekend. I canceled the one I had because I am convinced there is a cheaper one out there. Hotwire is an addiction and I need to get help. But…the…deals! There are deals out there and I shall find them. They are the Precious and I am Black Smeagol.”

“I am still so hungry. If I eat right now I can’t weigh myself this morning because it won’t be the real weight. Then again I had hash browns and bourbon for lunch so I probably tanked that thing already. I should eat.”

“I have to sleep, man. I have to work out at 7:15, and if I don’t leave on time the kid will wake up and I’ll have to take him, too, and that running stroller and him together weigh like 70 pounds and he’s a weight wearing an Afro, At least he holds the phone up so I can hear the Andy Grammar song he’s playing. He’s a little DJ.”

“I need to figure out how to make more money. Like, now. I should read that book my friend Kim had me buy about platforms, that I never read, thus I am sitting here at…what…2:47 a.m. now wondering how to get a platform to make money. She’s always right. And she’s got a platform. I bet she’s not asleep either.”

“Maybe I’ll write on that blog I never write on. That’s a platform.”

‘I wonder if that chili’s still down there.”

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.

Being a jerk to a ticket agent means ALWAYS having to say “You’re sorry.”

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here.

I bet that lady wished I'd have used the Web site.

I bet that lady wished I’d have used the Web site.

There are many reasons that I, Leslie, mistakenly accused Southwest Airlines, and therefore by extension the nice lady that had the bad luck to answer the phone when I called, of double charging me for the extra points I purchased when that was totally not what happened. They are, in particular order:

– I suck at math.

– It was 5 a.m.

– I suck at math even more at 5 a.m.

– I am not good at complicated transactions, and the two I obviously made were so close together I mistook them for the same one.

– I suck at math, mornings, complicated transactions and being a human being.

The most important reason NOT on this list is anything to do with the nice lady on the phone, or Southwest, or any of the nice flight attendants who make jokes on flights or give you free wine on holidays (or at least did that one time). IT WAS NOT SOUTHWEST’S FAULT. IT WAS MINE. ALL ALL MIIINE.

And so I apologized. Also, I noted that the nice lady I apologized to seemed to be surprised, not because she didn’t deserve an apology (Oh, she so did) but because maybe she doesn’t get them so much even when she does.

Here’s what happened. I bought tickets for one half of a future trip for the toddler and I last week, when I bought and paid for on one specific card. About a week later, also very early in the morning (I have to stop doing that, obviously) I bought a return ticket with points, and then realized ten minutes later that I’d bought it for the wrong date. (Youch). So when I went back in the tickets for the date I really needed cost more, so I purchased more points. There was temporarily something wonky the first time I tried, so I used a different card and it was fine.

This was over the previous holiday weekend, so all of the transactions I’d made over the last week posted at the same time. For some reason – and this is the reasoning of a sleepy mommy checking her balances at 5 a.m. after a long weekend of travel and whining (some mine, some the toddler’s) – I’d either thought that the first purchase had already posted before, or forgotten about it altogether. All I knew is that there were charges, about a dollar apart, of each of the two cards. OH NO. I had been charged twice! For the same transaction, including the one that didn’t go through the first time.

AND THAT WAS NOT GOING TO STAND. THAT AGGRESSION WOULD NOT STAND, MAN. (Yes, I’m quoting The Dude from “The Big Lebowski.” What of it?)

So there I was, mad and feeling hoodwinked, and also still sleepy, on the phone with this nice lady. I admit I was snippy from the get-go, because she corrected me when I told her I was calling about a credit card charge on points travel, that usually doesn’t require it, I snapped “Listen to me. I needed to buy new points. You should listen to me.”

(I was so awful.)

She said that she was, and then I explained what I’d thought happened. She was obviously taken aback, but put me on hold, noting that it was odd that the dollar amounts didn’t match. I was too self-umbraged and full of myself to hear that. While she took a break to do some research, and perhaps to tell everyone sitting around her what a jerk she was talking to, I took the time to go back over my email confirmations of each purchase, which go to an email I son’t usually check everyday anymore. And what do you know? The first transaction, which I took to be the first attempt at buying points that I’d been told didn’t go through but actually did, was really…wait for it…the completely separate purchase of Toddler’s and my tickets completed several days earlier. The second one was the points purchase. Two different purchases. Not the same purchase.

I WAS WRONG. Which I figured out about three seconds before I heard the lady from Southwest coming back on the phone. At this point. I knew that I was mistaken, and that there was no reason to bother this poor woman anymore. Some people would have just hung up hurriedly before she said “Hello,” out of embarrassment and not wanting to face this person I’d been so douchey to.

But that wasn’t right. I can do the right thing. Apparently not as much as I should, but still. So when she came back and started to explain that the one transaction hadn’t gone through yet and, if it was a duplicate, wouldn’t post – still so nice about it! – I cleared my throat and said “Ma’am…I was wrong. I had two different transactions and they posted on the same day because of the holiday, and I had no reason to yell at you. I am so, so sorry.”

“No problem!” she said, sweet but relieved that I was no longer acting like a pre-caffeinated idiot.

I apologized some more and then hung up, and thought about all the times I thought I was right, that I came on the phone with people doing their jobs with a self-righteous and pre-conceived idea of my own rightness. How many times was I mistaken? How many times had I charged in and let someone have it when it wasn’t their fault?

Not many, I hope. But I need to stop being proud of my own Julia Sugarbaker-ing (look it up, kiddies. The olds know what I mean) and always start a conversation with some grace, no matter who’s wrong.

And to say I’m sorry when I’m not right, because I was so, so not.

Things Not to Take Your Toddler’s Word For

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

Ah, toddlers. Every day they learn more, and gain more confidence in their capabilities, so much so, that they will declare to you their fitness to do new things. Sometimes, you need to step back and guardedly let them spread their wings. Other times, no. Below are some of those second kind. Don’t trust your toddler when:

They offer to cut your hair


When they want to drive your car. Even when the insist that they DID learn that at preschool.


When he says that he is in fact Ironman and Ironman doesn’t need naps.

He was Nick Fury once though.

He was Nick Fury once though.

When he says that he can slice his own apple. With a regular knife.


When he offers to call someone for you, since he can’t read and my husband’s at work number is not 445 6+= @@@@@@@@@@


When he says that he can carry a watermelon. He used to be a baby. He is NOT Baby from “Dirty Dancing”.

He wants to get stuff down from you off of a high shelf. I don’t want to even think about what his plan was for that.


If the internet goes out and he says that he can fix it. No.

When he insists that you will change your mind about him having a second lollipop. Go with the thing in your brain that says, “No, I won’t”.

Never gonna get it never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it, never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it never gonna get it Never gonna get it, You'll never get it

Never gonna get it never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it, never gonna get it, NEver gonna get it never gonna get it
Never gonna get it,
You’ll never get it


This is not a comprehensive list. What do you parents/caretakers/aunts/uncles/posse of toddlers have to add to it?


One Word at A Time: Random Things

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

So, we have had a lot happening here and we are gearing back up to blogging regularly. I have actually started several posts the last few days, but I can’t keep up the momentum to write an entire coherent post where things make sense altogether. So I am just gonna write a bunch of random thoughts on here that could make an entire post if expounded on. But I can’t seem to be able to do that. So. Here this is.

Nachos are a perfect food because you can eat them at every meal.

A dirty plate is the evidence of nachos eaten.

A dirty plate is the evidence of nachos eaten.

There are a lot of videos on YouTube of people playing with toys. My kid loves them. He could use that time to play with his own toys.

Tea is a great thing to drink when you want flavor but not extra calories. Of course, if you put milk and sugar in it, you added fat. But it also tastes good. Taste is important.

I am making shrimp and grits for my son and I tonight, but I am making my husband shrimp and rice because he only likes sweet grits.

You remember Flo from “Alice” and she used to say “Kiss My Grits”? I loved her.

A wonderful actor from a 70’s TV show totally tried to throw me shade once, before I even knew that phrase. I was interning at a regional theater, and I was holding the script during a rehearsal of a show that she was doing, in case someone missed a line. We were on break and Leslie was sitting with me, and during the break we were laughing, And this actor stood on the edge of the stage and said “Young ladies, are you here to work or to giggle?” And I, who doesn’t like confrontation, said, “If someone asks for a line, I will give it to them.” And she was nice to me after that. Don’t let people make you look stupid because they are having a bad day. No.

My kitchen window looks right out onto the street and when people walk by I wonder about their lives. I feel nosy sometimes. Like Jimmy Stewart from “Rear Window” and Pearl from “227” who would hang out of her window and talk to people.

Sitting on the chair of the kitchen, writing a blog, Lillian. Points if you get that reference.

Sitting on the chair of the kitchen, writing a blog, Lillian. Points if you get that reference.

I want to have a TV show where Leslie and I just hang out of our windows and talk to people who walk by. Would you watch that?

We are getting rid of cable and doing Netflix and such and I am a little scared. I feel like it’s a break-up. I need to find out how to get my fix of Hallmark movies and TV shows.

I just checked and saw that I can rent “Diagnosis: Murder” on Netflix but not stream it. I miss you already, Dick Van Dyke.

Raisins that come in containers with plastic lids are better than the ones that come in plastic bags inside of boxes. Not scientifically proven. I made that up.

Not as good.

Not as good.

Well. I gotta run. I can get in a few minutes on the elliptical. One more thought: I hope that you have a good day. Write your own random thoughts in the comments.



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