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Fear and things

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s Lynne.

I spent a lot of time yesterday making a final decision on the next show that the theater I run (we do shows with professional actors for kids) is going to do, and after a bunch of time going back and forth, I decided on a show about a town of people who are afraid to go outside and live life until someone shows them how to get through that fear, and they get to live full lives. It’s a wonderful message, and I was feeling really great about it. Then I read about the shooting at the airport in Ft. Lauderdale. And on the way to pick up my son from preschool, and while I was there, and then while I was at Trader Joe’s, I realize that I was uneasy, because I began to eye the people around me suspiciously. And I mean everybody. And it was a horrible feeling.

And I wanted to go back to my house and barricade us inside.

Bad things happen. It’s on the news, and it’s in our lives. I have very dear friends who are hurting unimaginably  because of something horrific that happened to a dear friend of theirs.

And life still happens, even in the face of hate, and things that don’t make sense.

I believe in being cautious, and smart, but even that doesn’t prevent bad things from happening.

Fear can come from big and little things.

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Today, it snowed here, and my son has been itching to go outside and play, even though there wasn’t a bunch of snow, and even though it was still snowing. So we put on our stuff, and we went out, and we played with digger trucks in the snow, and we saw 2 of our teen aged neighbors riding their bikes. The little one and I walked up the street to see them doing wheelies, and ride really fast, and on the way back to our house, my son asked if we could ask the boys to come play with us. And I  tried to avoid it. I said we were going in soon, which we were, and I said that the boys were already playing on their bikes and wouldn’t want to stop doing this to come play in our yard. And as my kid looked at me and begged me to PLEASE go talk to them, I realized that I didn’t want to ask them because I was scared. I was scared of rejection, and that they would say no, and that my kid’s feelings would get hurt, or that they would feel obligated because a little kid was asking, and they really wouldn’t want to, and I imagined all of these things, and he still pleaded me to go ask, and so we did. And the boys were beyond sweet, and asked him about bikes, and we talked about my son’s new bike, and the boys rode really fast so he could see them make tracks, and one of them even got off of his bike and raced my son up the street on foot and let him win. And it was lovely and my son now knows about the kindness of big kids.

It’s good.

None of this changes that bad things happen, and that even if you cross all of your t’s and dot every i (and do that), bad things might still happen.

But live, okay? Say hi to new people. Go play in the snow. Travel. Grow things. Be a growing thing. Live.


Marvin Gaye Was Right

by SweetMidlife

IMG_20140114_105806 (2)Hi. It’s Lynne. (And I say in the way of disclaimer that because of Leslie’s job as a journalist, there are things she can’t comment on here, so what follows is from me.)

So, the last time I blogged it was the day after the Presidential election in November, and some people were elated, while others, including me, were not. And I wanted to think about the fact that on a human level, we all hurt, and those hurts and wanting not to have them anymore, often plays into how you vote, and to how you feel when your person wins. Or doesn’t. I was raw.

In the month that has passed, there has been a lot of ugliness, and hate crimes, and generalizations, and just trying to make sense of everything, and how people are feeling, and why they feel that, and whether or not you even care how they feel, because, well, you have to live your life.

Which is how the heck we got here.

So I ask you to take a step back and really look at your fellow humans and ask WHY they feel the way they feel. We have acknowledged THAT we hurt. But do something to figure out why. People aren’t just whining because their candidate lost, and if you stick with calling people Buttercup and deciding that they are just sore losers, or calling them Deplorable and decided that they are all just wretched, you miss why they are sore and bleeding. And it isn’t about losing a daggone election. There are so many things happening that affect real lives on a basic level. Here’s just one of mine: I can say for me, that an administration that wants to deny the existence of institutional racism, and who thinks that profiling people and whether they will commit crimes based on how they look directly challenges the physical, moral and dignity of existence of me and my husband and my son. This is not okay. No. Not. This is what’s going on for me, and I am sure that you have your own things that give you pause, that challenge your existence, that influenced your vote for or against the President-elect, or for or against his Democrat opponent.

I would like to hear it. Like really hear it. Because we aren’t going to get anywhere if we aren’t listening to what’s going on in other people’s lives.

Last month I was at the funeral for my husband’s beautiful sister in Texas, and after the service, everyone went back to my niece’s house for fellowship and the most ridiculously awesome mashed potatoes that had butter swimming on the top. Yes. That is the good stuff. And as we ate, I was talking to a couple from my family’s church, and it turned out that they and my husband had lived on the same military base in Japan, and as they talked and remembered what it was like to drive in blinding white snow, and compared notes on people they knew, and the sights, I didn’t have anything to add to the conversation at the level that they did because I never lived there. But instead of just listening at first, I realized that I was trying to catch pieces of the conversation to turn things back to stuff that I could comment on, not so much because I wanted to be a part of the conversation, but because I wanted something to say in a talk I knew nothing about. And when I realized what I was trying to do, I kinda kicked myself, and just sat there and really immersed myself in the conversation around me, until I could see what they saw because they described it so well. And I learned.

And this is what I challenge us all to do. Really find out what’s going on in other people’s lives who are different from you. I guarantee you that if we did that, we would have less division, because I couldn’t reduce you to talking points, and you couldn’t do that to me. Because people aren’t just licking their wounds. People feel like their lives are being threatened. I am not being dramatic, even though I am an actress and do drama well. Just keep your eyes and hearts open. I promise to do the same. I am not content to saying, “Oh well, we got 4 more years. We can win in 4 more years.” Because seriously, if people were less concerned on either side with winning than they were about making people’s lives better, well, maybe people’s lives will be better. And maybe we would have less “sides”.

Okay, I am starting to repeat myself. But just really try to see what’s going on, okay? What’s going on with you?


Michael Stipe Was Right.

by SweetMidlife

Hi everybody. It’s Lynne here. Leslie can’t make specific comments about the election because of her job as a member of the press. If you want to hear the thoughts she can express, see this. I don’t know if this is going to be an uplifting post or not. It’s going to be real from my heart, as much as I can articulate it. I hope there’s hope in it, because there is hope in my heart, but I can’t gloss over stuff. Because if you put buttercream frosting on a cake made with garbage, you have garbage with a tasty outer layer. But it’s still garbage cake.

People are hurting right now.

Some of us are hurting because a man was voted in last Tuesday who promised to do some things that would hurt people, like take away their healthcare, or deport them or their family members, or invalidate their marriages, or round them up and track them because of their faiths, or arrest and harass them because of their race.

Some of us were hurting because they voted for that man out of their own hurts, because maybe they lost THEIR healthcare because premiums went up and they can’t afford groceries and rent and medication they need to live, or maybe because they lost their livelihoods because factories closed in their towns and there are no jobs.

Some of us are hurting because they voted their consciences because of what the President-elect promised he would do to protect babies in-utero, or because they believed him when he said he would keep them safe. And they are happy with the results, but not with people thinking that they are racists, or don’t care, and they don’t know what to do.

And some of us ARE racists, who voted for this man because they believed he would oppress people. And these people are making their voices known by ripping off hijabs, and wearing black face, and drawing swastikas, and entering black college freshmen into calendars scheduling their lynchings. I am not talking to those people, because you are hateful and I am praying for you that your heart changes. Well, wait, if you guys want to read the rest of this, go ahead. But I know you are real and I know that you exist, and I want people to know that you do because we can’t fight you if we don’t know you are real.

Okay, everyone else. Hi.

Here’s the thing. People voted the way they did or they didn’t because they have hurts, and voted for the president-elect because they believed that he would do what he said he would do to lessen their hurts, and those of us who didn’t voted against him because they believed that he would do what he said he would do to magnify those hurts and bring new ones. Whether or not he actually does those things, we all believed him. And now we are on the immediate other side of this. And we have people who voted for him wishing that the people who are hurt by his election would just move on, while those hurt by his promises who can’t, because they are terrified. And I have to ask myself, being in the group of those who actively did NOT vote for him, what I would say to those friends of mine whose real, tangible hurts influenced them TO vote for him. Would I be telling them to “get over it”? Maybe. I am not proud of that.

When someone wins, someone loses. They are our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers. People are hurting.  I know I am using that phrase a lot. That is kind of the theme.

So here is what I think. I have had a million thoughts this election, and post-Tuesday, and I am not even writing all of them down right now. This is not a definitive because grief takes time to work through and live with, and while we sort through this election and the far-away and real-close implications it has on our real lives, we are also still dealing with colds, and flat tires, and disobedient kids, and sick relatives, and funerals and cancer. All of these things weave in and out of our worlds and make real impacts on our lives.

Everybody hurts. We just hurt about different things. And if we truly care about each other, and maybe we don’t, or you don’t feel like you have the luxury to, and I get that, and I am going to talk to everyone left, because we need to be listening to each other’s hurts. Even when it’s unpleasant. Even when you would rather talk about Shark Tank and what you ate for dinner. I am currently brining pork for my family, which I have never done because i don’t eat pork, and this is really trippy. I am gonna post a picture below. But these other fears are real too, and if you don’t want to acknowledge them, it means that you don’t want to see me. And if I don’t listen to you and why you voted for the President-elect because of your real fears for our nation, then I don’t want to see you. And maybe once we see each other, we will decide we don’t like each other at the end. Sad, but I get it. But we will not survive this if we don’t listen.

I am hurting. You are hurting. Brined pork. Shark Tank.

All of these things are happening. You wanna tell me where you are? I wanna hear.

Write me below, or at sweetmidlifelynneleslie@gmail.com.

Have a good week.

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Pork. Brine.

 


Taking Care of Yourself With Massage Envy

by SweetMidlife

Hi everybody. Lynne here. It’s been a turbulent 2016, and the last couple of weeks have been, well, very much so. Leslie and I are going to write more about our thoughts on all that, but in the meantime, I accepted the opportunity to try out the Massage Envy chain of spas. I hadn’t written my review yet, and I thought about delaying it while we get our thoughts together about the world, but then I realized that these things are actually related. Life is hard, and turmoil in the world, added to the duties of our daily lives, leaves us, well, stressed-out. It’s a lot. A very lot. And this is why I thought it timely to write this post. We all need to care for ourselves and this is one way to do it.

So, I have gotten very few massages in my life. I think it’s like less than 6 actually, which is why it’s funny that I have gotten 2 in the last month. First, I won a free massage at a spa in Georgetown, and I redeemed that in June. Then a few weeks later, we got the chance to write about Massage Envy, and I said “Yes, please.”  Now, I didn’t know a lot about Massage Envy before this, except that there is one very close to me, and that Leslie had a membership and talked frequently about how wonderful it was. I did know that it was a chain, and I have to admit to you that my inner snob took over a bit because I assumed that it was going to be kind of fast-food massage. I have no idea what that even means, since, like I said, I am no expert on massages, but I had that in my head as I arrived at the Severna Park, Maryland location. Boy, was I mistaken.  I was greeted by the staff member who made my appointment, and she brought me a cup of water and told me what to expect, and who would be doing my massage. I was given a questionnaire to fill out that asked about my everyday life, and stresses, and places in my body that might carry extra stress, and asked about medical history and if there were parts of my body that needed extra attention, and if there were parts that the therapist should leave alone. This made me feel great, and I was beginning to realize that this was not a one-size-fits-all kind of a place. They wanted to really fit this massage to MY needs.   She then walked me back to the relaxation area where clients waited for their massage therapist to take them back to their massage rooms, and more of my preconceived notions went bye bye.  I think that I thought that, being a chain, it was going to be very clinical, with florescent lights, and not be very relaxing. Well, I was very, very wrong. The room had beautiful low lighting that added a tone of calm. Some people checked their phones, others drank water, and others just, well, relaxed in the comfortable chairs. It was a great vibe, and I was also very impressed with how quickly the therapists came in to get their people AND how relaxed that even was. It was like they floated in, and their clients floated out, but all still keeping the relaxed mood. When Joe, the therapist I was assigned, came in, I was really excited. But excited and chill.

When we went back to the room, which was just as beautiful as the room we had just left,  Joe said that he had read over my form, and went back over some of the things that I wrote. He told me that he specialized in deep tissue massages, but would go easier from the start, and that if I felt uncomfortable at any time during the massage, I should tell him and he would adjust. This made me feel at ease. You ever been in a situation where you are a newbie, and you aren’t quite sure how things work, and you feel uncomfortable, and you feel weird speaking up because maybe what you feel is normal, even though you should ALWAYS speak up, but you second guess yourself? Joe took all of that out of the equation, and it meant a whole lot. That meant I could let my mind go and just enjoy my hour-long massage, and that is just what I did. It was relaxing, so much so that I dosed off at one point. I may have drooled. Sorry, Joe. And when it was over, he said, “Miss Lynne, we’re done.”, and he said he would meet me in the hallway to discuss suggestions on future massages, and then left the room so I could get dressed. Oh, I didn’t talk about that part. If you are uncomfortable with being in your birthday suit in front of people you don’t know, they tell you to get undressed to your own personal comfort level, which is really cool. And then you get under a sheet, so that helps too.

So, I got dressed, and got my stuff and myself together. I was feeling really chill at this point.  Joe was waiting for me outside the room, and he told me some of the places where he had found extra tension in my muscles, and that he has given his recommendations to the front desk, and that he hope to see me again. I went back to the front, where I was greeted by the same person who checked me in, and she gave me the information Joe gave her, and said that he suggested that I get a massage every month. This is where I thought things might get uncomfortable, because I wasn’t planning on singing up for a Massage Envy membership right then, but, as I was getting used to being on this visit, I was wrong. There was no hard sell. I asked for a price list, and they told me how the whole thing worked, and this is what I found out. You can do a la carte massages at an introductory price of $59 for a 60 minute session, or you can do a membership for $69 monthly. This gets you a monthly massage, but also perks, like being able to add your family onto your membership at a special price, being able to rollover your monthly massage if you miss it, the ability to gift an unused massage to a friend (which Leslie had offered to do for me before) at only $10, and the ability to earn free massages and upgrades. You can read more about all of that here. You will also see that they also offer facials., so you can be relaxed AND have glowing skin. That’s good stuff.

So there you have it. I think that Massage Envy is a wonderful investment in your well-being. There is a lot of stress in the air, and making the comment to give yourself set-aside, committed time to relax and be cared for is crucial. It really is. I highly recommend treating yourself to some good at a Massage Envy near you.

Disclosure: We were given a free massage in exchange for this post, but all of the opinions here are valid and absolutely real. 


Something About Prince

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s Lynne. We haven’t written in a bit because Leslie has been busy at work, and I have been working on getting my theater company off of the ground, and we haven’t been able to talk to you guys as much. But we have had lots to talk to you about, so hi! And the first thing I had to talk about was Prince.

 

Still doesn't make sense to me.

Still doesn’t make sense to me.

This is not an exhaustive report on everything that the music of Mr. Nelson has meant to me over the past 30-some years, because I haven’t figured out the extent of that yet. Because ever since his death last week, I have had his songs and his lyrics running through my head and my heart, and I wish that I had time to take all of them and write a really definitive thing about it, but it’s fluid, what I am feeling. On Thursday, when my Facebook timeline was covered in purple, A friend asked if I was okay, since she knew that I loved Prince. And I did. And what was funny, though, is that I wasn’t a Superfan the way some of my friends are: I had never seen him live (although I wanted to), and I didn’t have the Black Album, and I didn’t know all of the B-Sides. And I have at least 4 friends who I checked in on because of their massive love of the man because I knew that they were crushed. And I myself wanted to cancel all of my plans Thursday night and just sit and listen to his music and read what people who loved him were saying, but I could not. And in the past few days, I have had remembrance upon memory of the little and big places that his music has filled up in my life. Actually, the day before Prince passed away, my husband corrected me on something, and I said “I stand corrected.”, and I promptly launched into “U Got the Look”, and I promised myself that I would look that song up as soon as I got a chance. But the memories go further back. These aren’t all of them.

Hanging out with my older cool cousin when we were like 10 as she freaked out to “Controversy”.

At 13, seeing the video to “When Doves Cry” with him sitting in that bathtub, and me feeling all kinds of ways, like sexy things, when I don’t think I had ever really used that word before, except for singing along with Rod Stewart when I didn’t know what they meant. Prince made me feel what that meant, even if I didn’t have words for it.

Jamming in Cousin Paige’s room to “Let’s Go Crazy”and doing guitar solos while jumping off of her bed.

My late grandmother Streeter seeing the “Raspberry Beret” video and asking us if that was a boy or a girl. “He’s a boy, Grandma”, we said. “Well, he looks like a girl.”, she said. “Well, he’s like SUCH a man.”, is what I would have said but I also valued my life and you didn’t say things like that to my grandmother.

Seeing the video to “The Most Beautiful Girl in The World”, and feeling really SEEN. I was living in Miami working in theater, and I looked nothing like the tall, thin model types on South Beach, and oh my gosh I just remembered that we waited in front of Prince’s club on South Beach once and didn’t get in right away, and the bodyguard asked us to wait and that he would let us in later, but we left. But anyway, in the video I was talking about, there were all different kinds of women in different parts of life, as moms, and as career women, and they sat down to see pieces of their lives, and how all of it made them beautiful. I was struck that Marva Collins, an amazing educator and voice for children from Chicago was in it, because The Artist was saying that minds and voices were beautiful too. And I needed to hear that about myself.

Having a friend in the 90s, who is truly the biggest Prince fan that I know, almost like teach a master class on him in every conversation, and explain the religious things behind the music (how had I not seen it all?), and who also, respectfully, differentiated the music that Mr. Nelson made under the name “Prince”, and that which was made under that symbol, as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, because there was a difference in expression.

And this leads me to probably the thing that stands out to me the most about Prince. As I said, this was in the period where he wasn’t using the name “Prince”, because he was standing against his record label, and the fact that they owned the masters to his recordings and the trademarks to his name. So he stopped using that name, and kept on making music. And it became somewhat of a joke to some people, where they shook their heads like “Oh, he’s crazy”, or more politely “He’s eccentric”, but there was definitely out there this idea, depending on who you talked to, that he was being spoiled, and weird, and that none of it was a big deal. And I have to admit that I didn’t really understand it all either, until I saw him being interviewed by Larry King in December of 1999, and I can tell you exactly where I was. I was on tour in a play for kids and we were in Mississauga, Ontario, and it was a Friday night (I guess that makes it alright), and I sat in my hotel room and watched. I think either my friend Jeff watched it with me, or we called each other during it. But here is what I remember: The Artist spoke clearly on why he was doing what he was doing, and he said, and I am quoting this wrong, but that basically he didn’t own “Purple Rain”, or any of it, and that his label did, and that they were able to use it to do whatever they liked with it, and he was fighting to get that power back over his own artistic output. And a light went off in my heart, and I have referenced that interview over the years. And yes it is significant that it was the last few days of 1999, and that of course, The Artist had talked about that, but that it was a time for new beginnings. But going back to the interview, the things that I took away the most were this:

1. We should all have the right to our own work, and to be able to represent ourselves the way that we want to. Your voice, your words, your art, your dance, your thoughts all belong to you, and you should share it, but you should be able to say how that happens.

2. You should stand up for that right, even if other people call you crazy, either because they don’t understand, or because they benefit from other people thinking that you are crazy, so they get to misrepresent you and reap your rewards. Dance and make music and awesomeness in the face of people thinking that you are crazy. Because when you persist, who looks crazy now?

And The Artist won his fight, and reclaimed his name, and he never lost a step in still producing things that were true to who he was. And he had a big heart, and was a philanthropist, and helped countless people that he never told people about, and he was a man of faith who loved and serves the way he thought his God wanted him to, and he wore a doo-rag on his head as he sang in the rain in the Super Bowl because he was not trying to get his hair messed up, and he slayed everybody at the Super Bowl party I was at, and even the non-fans had their jaws drop, and they had to recognize. Re. Cog. Nize.

Because greatness and humility and humor and intelligence and sexy and kindness and faith don’t often come in the same package. But they did in Prince Rogers Nelson. And I need to stop writing because now I am thinking of more things to say and I need to end this. So I will stop typing, and turn on his music, and dance. Because we still have that.

 


Yay For Us: Some Tuesday Affirmations

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s Lynne!

This post is to encourage you and me on our journeys to be the best you that you want to be, especially when you aren’t there yet. And it’s appropriate for me as I strive to be organized and meet deadlines, since I planned to do this yesterday. But I am writing it today, which is better than not writing it at all. Yay, me!

I have written before about my struggle to be organized in every aspect of my life, including time management and being aware of what I eat. This is not a linear thing for me. I take many steps forward, and a bunch of steps back, and as I excited as I get about making changes, I get overwhelmed with the effort at times, and I slowly drift back downhill to where I was.  But I knew that I needed some help in getting a handle on my life, but I kept making small changes that didn’t click. Until the day last month when I left the gas on the stove on all night after not realizing that I didn’t turn it off after cooking the night before. Nobody was hurt. But they could have been. That hurts to think about. And that scared me. And it scared my husband. And I know that mistakes happen, but I know that this is a result of me rushing and not being mindful of my life on many levels. That hurts. And it makes me ashamed that my rushing led to that.

So I went straight to the bookshelf in our living room, and I picked up this book called “It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys” by Marilyn Paul, a book about organizing with practical tips but more on a spiritual level. I started reading it 6 years ago but never finished it because I got caught up in other things, and there is something poetic about sometimes misplacing and not  making time for a book about organizing. But that has to end. And this book is long and in depth, and it takes you on a direct but kind journey into finding the things in your life that are keeping you from being organized by looking at what you want out of life on a deep level, and how having a handle on things will help you get there. There are exercises in it, and I find that I can’t really do more than one a day for it to really sink in, so me and this book are in for the long haul. So far, I have had 2 big takeaways from this book.

1. To really move forward, you have to come to terms with what not being organized and mindful is costing me and the people around me.

2. Once you figure that out and you start making changes, you should be nice to yourself as you move forward. Because if you don’t, you are gonna end up on the couch ignoring your schedule and eating nachos and cruising Hulu for 2 straight hours.

So, as I move forward on this path and such, I’mma be realistic and also kind. Therefore,

If I rush to get somewhere on time, and I actually make it, I will not beat myself up for the fact that I had on one shoe when I left the house and put the other one on when in the car. Because I made it to the car. Yay, me!

If I make a detailed schedule and don’t get to everything on it today, that’s okay as long as I get the other things done tomorrow. As long as I get them done, if they really need to be done, I am good. Yay, me!

If dinner takes longer than I thought it would because I actually wiped things up and put things away as I was done with them and made sure I cut things off and got rid of sharp knives, then that’s better than the gas and the cutting. Yay, me!

If I only do 8,000 of the 10,000 steps I planned to do, that’s alright, because before I bought this step tracker watch, I had no idea how many steps I wasn’t doing. And now I do. I will get there. Yay, me!

If I realize that having Facebook on in the background is keeping me from finishing this blog post, I will not hang my head and dive back into my feed for 10 minutes in shame. Nope. I will realize that what I am doing is more important, and I will just close the window, like I just did. Yay, me!

If I buy my son a pair of shoes that looks like his old pair, and I realize while we are out that I dressed him not only in one old shoe and one new shoe, but that they were both for his right foot, I just know that I will put him in the correct shoes tomorrow. Plus, he’s wearing shoes. Yay, me!

Different shoes, Same foot. It's a'ight.

Different shoes, Same foot. It’s a’ight.

If I go to a networking event and they have free Ledo’s pizza, and I eat the pizza too fast before I realize how much I ate, I won’t be mad at myself. Because I also had carrots. And even though I did eat a cookie, I waited until I was on the way out to get it because I decided that I really wanted it and wasn’t eating it just because it was there. And I ate it once I got home. Mindfully. Yay, me!

Because there will be days that I don’t get it all right, and don’t get everything done that I planned. But I HAVE a plan, and that’s a start, and I am more likely to get even 50% of my goal done if I know what my goal is. Right? Right. So I am going to keep moving forward, keep making a a plan, and I am going to give myself grace if I work that plan. And I will take care of me, and still watch Netflix but I will schedule me time and not let it take over my day until I don’t care anymore. Moving forward, and sometimes to the left, and maybe a little backwards, but then forward again.

You too, okay? Yay, us!


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?

 

 


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!

 


Lynne and Leslie Ask Each Other Random Questions About Randomness

by SweetMidlife

Howdy! So, a few times before, Lynne and Leslie have done this thing where we ask each other random questions based on a theme, like Christmas, or New Years. Today, we are going wild and just writing about whatever the heck comes to mind. We hope you like it.

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

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

First, Lynne asks Leslie a bunch of stuff.

Lynne asks: “You went to the 30th Anniversary showing of ‘Pretty In Pink’ a few days ago. Was it as good as you remember? As cute as he was, wasn’t Blaine, even though he was played  by Andrew McCarthy, who was my fake boyfriend, a huge drip?”

Leslie answers: I plan to write more about this at length, because at length is what I do, but Blaine was honestly being a teenage boy, even though it was distracting that the same actor had played a 23-year-old college graduate in “St. Elmo’s Whiners Fire” the year before. If he looked younger you’d probably go “Yeah…he’s a jerk. He’s 18.”

Lynne asks: “What is your favorite thing to eat on a cold day? You live in Florida, so when I ask you about cold days, that means 50 degrees. But let’s play anyway.”

Leslie answers: The answer is always cheese grits.

Lynne asks: “What’s the funniest thing the toddler who lives with you has done lately?”

Leslie answers: He has become obsessed with the theme from “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” which reminds me that the Banana Splits were basically the Monkees. They even had dune buggies and a guy with a Southern accent. Sue them, Mike Nesmith. Sue them.

Lynne asks: “Who is your favorite ‘American Idol’ contestant and why? And wasn’t it lovely to see Ruben Studdard come back and sing last week? That dude is the real deal.

Leslie answers: Of all time? It’s between Fantasia and David Cook, because they both prove that talent and preparation are a baseline for success, whether you’re an illiterate single mom who feels the lyrics of a decades-old song because she approaches it as important, not just words, or a young guy who’s been gigging forever and has a vast musical knowledge he can draw on. There was joy in them. And that’s rare. Also, Ruben gets better. How is that possible?

Lynne asks: “Favorite 90’s love song?”

Leslie answers: There are so, so, so many. I have two answers – “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” by Bryan Adams is my favorite love song written in the ’90s, because it’s brilliant. But if you think of “90’s love song” as a genre, and I know that you do, it’s a tie between Backstreet Boys’ “Shape of My Heart,” which was actually recorded in 2000 but is the most 90s thing in the world; 4PM’s version of “Sukiyaki” which makes me weep, and “Now and Forever” by Richard Marx just because.

OK, so now Leslie asks Lynne some stuff and drinks her coffee and judges people. Silently through her coffee.

Leslie asks: “The Good Wife” is ending soon and it’s an attempt to clean up, in seven episodes, three seasons of crap done to a good show. What are, in your opinion, the best and worst show finales, in terms of wrapping up loose ends and telling the story that was meant to be told.

Lynne answers: Okay, it’s not the best or the worst, but it is actually an example of good and meh in one episode. I hope that saying this doesn’t get me banned from Gen-X membership, but the last episode of “Friends” was all over the place for me. When the show first started, I was crazy in love with it, because they were in their early-20s. and so were we, and I found so many things in common with them, like losing grandparents, and having the group dynamic of friends with good jobs who could order appetizers and dessert when you went out, and also having the friend (who I was one of) who drank water and made a meal off of the free bread. And as the show went on, the friends grew and went through things we all go through, like marriage and breakups and loss of jobs and being close to your friends and then not so close, and finding your way back and all of that. And by the last episode, I loved where most of them were, like Monica and Chandler adopting twins and moving to a bigger place, and Phoebe getting married, and Joey was headed off to his short-lived spin-off. But Ross and Rachel, the supposed great love story of the show, had, for me, become selfish people who had a daggone child together who you never saw. The show missed the perfect opportunity to show you how your life changes when you have kids, and that you can’t hang out like you used to, and how your friends have to adjust. But no, the show couldn’t break up the “6 people hanging out” aspect and baby Emma became a footnote. And that bugged me. And even though I am glad that Ross and Rachel were happy at the end, I also remember thinking that I really didn’t LIKE them as much because of all of the petty things they did to each other, and so it was a little bittersweet. Sorry, “Friends” fans.

Leslie asks: Onion rings or cheese fries?

Lynne answers: Onion rings covered in cheese

Leslie asks: I’ve been thinking a lot about history lately, and what to tell my kid and others about painful things in the past. What is the thing you are least looking forward to explaining to the toddler? (Deep, yes. But this coffee is good.)

Lynne answers: That’s deeper than I was thinking you were gonna go, twin sister. But there are so so many painful parts of history, and I think that the hardest ones will be where people are mean to each other. That’s so many ones. And I guess I will tell him that there are people in the world who do evil things, and I wish that they didn’t, but that I want him to be a person who doesn’t do those things, even when people tell you that it’s okay or warranted. That’s simple and hard at the same time.

Leslie asks: OK, so who is your favorite “American Idol” and why? Because it’s a good question I stole from you. Been caught stealing, once, when I was 44….

Lynne answers: LOVE THAT SONG. And I have several favorites. Fantasia, definitely, because she was just HER. She was polished but young, and polite and sweet, and had such a story filled with a lot of downs, but she made big ups from it, and even though she has had a bunch of ups and downs since then, she still seems like a real, genuine person who is still trying. And that voice is everything. My other all-time favorite is Kris Allen, and it’s not only because I think that he is just a great musician and a really nice guy, but also because he was SO not the favorite of the judges that year, as he was up against the AMAZING Adam Lambert and also Danny Gokey, who have both gone onto big careers, especially Mr. Lambert. And as you would point out, the judges would give Adam these huge production numbers with fire and stuff, and they would stick Kris out in the audience on a broken milk crate and a busted light bulb hanging overhead. And he would give these wonderful performances and the judges would be like “Are you still here?”, and he would take a a deep breath, because he knew what they were doing, and he would continue to knock out wonderful performances.

Leslie asks: Favorite karaoke song?

Lynne answers: It’s the former Disney-goddess combo of “Genie In A Bottle” by Christina Aguilera, and “Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. You can dance to them.. I went to a karaoke birthday party recently, and someone else selected the Britney for anyone to sing, and I got up and did it like “Wow, this song? Well, if no one else is I GUESS I will.”, and my bestie Johnette was like “You knew every word.” and I was like “Yeah, I may have practiced this before I left the house.” Because I did.


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