with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Twins

This Is 45. At Least For Lynne.

by SweetMidlife

Hi y’all! It’s Lynne. It’s been like a month since we wrote on this here blog, because I started a theater that does shows about kindness for kids and we were doing our first performances, and Leslie has been busy at work writing about the lifestyle stuff in West Palm Beach for the paper she writes for, and we both have been trying to make sure that the little boys that we live with at our separate houses are fed and not throwing themselves off of things in a way that can hurt them. But I have missed you bunches, and missed talking to you and gabbing and maybe you have missed us, too? Well, we’re back, and YAY!  The last post we did was Leslie talking about the milestone of us reaching the age of 45 at the end of April, which we did on the same day, being twins and all. And I have been meaning to write something on my own musings of being this age so far, and I haven’t, so now I am.

I will say going in that this is not a definitive look at what it means for everyone to be 45. This is just my personal experience, but maybe you will find something in it that looks like you!.

So. 45.

Hi!

Hi!

It sounds really old, doesn’t it? Like 40 sounded empowered and stuff (which our awesome blogging friend Fadra just said in a comment on Leslie’s post), but something about 45 sounds firmly planted in middle age. Because it is. And sometimes when I tell people that I am 45 they say “What? You? No, you are lying! You can’t be that old.”, while some people go “Okay.” And those reactions might make me feel some kind of way about them or me, but that is because 45 just sounds kinda old. Like it’s still young, and my Grandma is almost 90 and that lady lives life, and I am exactly 1/2 her age, so I know that I got a lot of living to do, which is also a song from “Bye Bye Birdie”, which is a movie that Leslie and I watched 70 million times in middle and high school (Whattup, Betamax? I miss you), and is also a play that I did both in 7th grade and in dinner theater when I was 26 and I was way skinny even though I ate full-fat everything because that show is all dancing and jumping and fainting 8 shows a week. It feels more substantial.

But I digress. But actually, maybe that’s what 45 is. It’s remembering all of the things that have happened up to this point, that have added up to me being where I am now, and figuring out how that makes me who I am. Like my parents, and my sister, and us living overseas then coming back to the states and not being accepted by everyone, but still finding a niche, and me not finding a job in social work, and going into acting because I could do that and do shows that reached kids, and me loving it and choosing that life and getting training, and now me starting my own business and using all that I have learned. And there is also me getting married at 39 (and not having sex until then) and having a baby at 41 and having the loves of my life later than some might have and loving every minute. Well, most minutes. Because tantrums are not fun. And I miss people, like my dad, and my brother-in-law. That comes with being alive, the grieving, which I actually said to a good friend today who is missing someone she loves, too.

And it brings me here, to where I am writing this in a shirt with pictures of big cats on it and pajama bottoms that I worked out in earlier, and I need to take a shower, and my kid is watching TV from the kitchen as he looks into the family room because he can’t eat in there, so he is standing in the doorway drinking apple cider so he is still technically in the kitchen but he did just put his empty cup in the sink, so that’s good. I have a schedule for today, and I have already missed some of it, but I have moved things around, and I will get done what I need to get done. And I have okay grown-up things to do like get my oil changed, but also fun grown-up stuff to do like make cupcakes for my kid’s class tomorrow and also really awesome fun stuff to do this weekend like celebrate my son’s birthday and eat more cupcakes, this time made by my sister-in-law because she is really good at that. And I am still trying to be more organized with time, and with cleaning things up, and not going out with stuff in my hair, and I was NOT the last person to pick up their kid at school yesterday, and even if I was, at least I picked him up. He is here right now eating blocks of cheese and sticking pens into the salt shaker. Hold on.

I’m back.

And I am working on being more present for my friends, and doing what I said I would, and trying to make them know how much I love them, although I don’t do that right all of the time. And I am calling my mom more, and my sister more, but less when she has to work.

And I am working on owning up to my mistakes and feeling the shame that makes me want to do better, but not living in it and staying there. Don’t have time for that.

And I am loving my husband and seeing where I have changes to make and where we both do, and taking care of my crap, and diving into his love and also knowing that I don’t have to work to earn his love, but that his love makes me want to put in the work that it takes for us to do right by each other. Funny how that works, no?

And I am working on being a woman whose life in real time matches up to who she says she is when she says she is a Christian and wants to love people like Jesus showed us we should.

And I am working on loving me, and giving myself breaks, and realizing that I am kinda cool. I am making time for myself and honoring me. That is a work in progress. But I really like me. That felt weird to write. It will hopefully get less weird.

This is 45 to me. I have grown, and I am growing, and maybe you are younger and have figured this out before I did, and maybe you are older and you still have not, but that it okay. We are moving at our own pace, hopefully, altogether, forward.

I am liking this so far.


Oh, we’re 45, we’re beautiful, and we’re fine: Claiming your middle-aged awesome

by SweetMidlife
Leslie with the Afro, Lynne with the locs. Hi!!

Leslie with the Afro, Lynne with the locs. Hi!!

This post was originally going to be about Beyonce’s “Lemonade” and whether a middle-aged viewer who is an admirer but not by any means a super fan would find it as enlightening and transformative as so many have, and whether anything in a soulful piece about anger, forgiveness, betrayal and acceptance could spur that admirer toward writing death threats to strangers who may or may not have betrayed another stranger. I doubt that. Anyway I’m not writing that story right now because I’m a really busy single mother and haven’t had the time to watch it – which alone I guess says something about my investment in some “Lemonade” transformation. Do with that what you will,

So that is not the story we will be writing today. The story I am writing is about how my sister Lynne and I turned 45 yesterday, a sort of milestone birthday that doesn’t have the same punch as those ages that end in a “0” but is the sort of age that people toss off as an example, like when a younger acquaintance was talking about a male contemporary and said, increduously, “He likes old women, like 45 year old women!” and I didn’t snatch her teeth out. I am fairly sure I thought 45 was old when I was 25, although only in relation to myself. The coolest people I knew, the most together, were in their 40s, and I was awed by what seemed to be their poise, their experience, their lived-in sexiness. I could not imagine what would have to happen in the 20 years between me, at the time, and my 45th birthday, and even imagining it was weird. I hoped I would be awesome. But unimaginable.

Guess what? It happened! I’m 45! I’m 45! And I am awesome. I am not as rich or thin or internationally famous as I imagined I would be, but I have a bunch of other things that are more important and I’m not even saying that to make up for not being rich and thin. I know that my sister feels the same way, because we talk on the phone and read each other’s minds. No we don’t. We’re not psychic.(OR ARE WE?)

What we are, every year, is more comfortable in our skin, more willing to claim the stuff that we know, and to not do what we and other women do all the time which is to downplay it and be self-deprecating. I still do that, too much, but I am learning to accept it. Not only because it seems phony to those who note their admiration, and maybe a little ungrateful like they’re stupid and wrong to think you impressive, but because a lot of people with a lot less reason to be proud are claiming their stuff, and the stuff of others, without even a thought.

I am not perfect. I am not where I want to be in a lot of ways. But I have built a good career that I am proud of, that I fought for. I am doing better in taking care of myself. I am a good friend, a good mommy, a good daughter. I was a good wife (but not “The Good Wife.”) I am better at most things, besides running and having good knees, at 45 than I was or would have been at 25 or 35. I have had losses and struggles, disappointments and giant, giant self-made mistakes, and some stuff that was just all-out stupid. I have learned from all of those things, that happened to me and that I made happen, and I have become a better, smarter, more humbled and yet more confident person than I would have been without those lessons.

And I am particularly proud to be 45, an age that my sweet goofy husband did not get to be, because I am living it for both of us. What an insult it would be to him and the things he was robbed of to whine and wrap my head in my hands and wail about getting old? Scott would want to be 45, and 50, and 75. He can’t. But I can. And I’m gonna start it off by saying:

I am excited to be 45. I earned this age. I earned these wrinkles and this cellulite, and also this common sense and distaste for drama. I have earned my career, and my friendships, which are mostly years old and healthy, because I have worked for them. I will not be coy about it anymore, pretend that I’m not proud so I seem nicer and more  humble. This is not a time for humility. It’s a big day. And I’m happy for it. Light them candles up, y’all.

I have earned them. We both have. We all have.


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.


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.

 

 


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?

 

 

 

 

 


Together Forever and Never To Part: Lynne and Leslie Figure Out How To Record Skype

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s us!

L-and-L-Halloween-300x217

So, a few weeks ago we promised to try to figure out Skyping together so you can see the funny that goes down we were are together. And we did!! See us riff on tonight’s live production of “The Wiz” on NBC, Lynne’s dream to be Dorothy one day, and why “Blot” is an ugly word. And yes, Lynne still has not figured out where to look in the camera.

 

Are you guys excited about “The Wiz”? Did you see “The Sound of Music” and “Peter Pan” when NBC did them live? Thoughts?


Wonder Twin Powers, Activate!

by SweetMidlife
Us, Some years ago.

Us, Some years ago.

Howdy! Lynne here.

As you know, this blog is written by a pair of twin sisters: Leslie, who lives in Florida, and Lynne, who lives in Maryland. The idea was that we would trade off in writing duties,so you could get to know us both through what we post. We are a lot alike in MANY things, but also have unique styles in writing and also in how we see other things, being different people and all. What has happened in reality, though, is that we haven’t always been consistent in writing all the time, and that you have seen glimpses of who we are as we tell the stories of us, but we don’t know if you really know us as well as you could and stuff. You seem to like us when we actually DO write, and you have reached out to us in good times and in really awful ones, as you did when Leslie lost her husband this summer. Really. You guys have been amazing.

So, we will continue to write from our own experiences: me as a wife and mom who is mostly at home but also starting her own business; Leslie as a now-single woman who has a full-time job, is raising a toddler, and is also now sharing those duties with our Mom. Yes, my mom is either Uncle Jesse or Uncle Joey. And Leslie is Bob Saget.

BUT!!

We also want you to see more of who we are together, because this is why we wrote this blog in the first place, because this is how we live. We are each other’s starting points. So, we will be posting, hopefully once a week, side by side videos of the two of us talking and whatnot. We hope it’s funny. We hope it’s insightful. We hope we can figure it out, because as you see from a video we shot last week when we were both in the same place (my kitchen), we ain’t tech-savvy.

So we hope to see you soon! And for you to see us. We would like that.


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