with Lynne and Leslie
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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?

 

 

 

 

 


The twins and Dolly wish you a “Hard Candy Christmas”

by SweetMidlife

Merry Christmas! This is Leslie, and behalf on Lynne, our family, humanity, the 1984 Duran Duran fanckub, people who love cheese and Grumpy Cat, we would like to wish you a happy holiday. And we’d like to do it with the help of Miss Dolly, and some sad hookers.

You see, Miss Mona and the former employees of the Chicken Ranch in 1982’s “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” are parting ways, because…well, it’s a long story. And even though they are not a traditional or even legal family (or involved in legal, family things) they are very unhappy to have to leave each other. But Miss Mona, who is Dolly, tells them that sometimes they have to get through things even if it’s hardscrabble, like a Christmas so thread-bare that you only get hard candy for Christmas. You’ll be fine and dandy.

So whether today finds you flush or flushed, hardy or hapless, go hug someone you love. Or call them. You won’t let sorrow bring you way down. Tell ’em Dolly.


Black Jewish Chrismukkah Part Two: The tree-ing!

by SweetMidlife

jewish tree

Leslie here!

Here’s a quick one, because we’re in the last lap of our Holidaypalooza – this year kind of snuck up on me, which is ridiculous since no one in the world other than mail carriers and pre-school teachers who do crafts should be more attuned to the holiday schedule than a Features reporter for a newspaper. It’s been non-stop holiday stories and blogs and Tweets and whatnot since Thanksgiving, but when my husband suggested we both take the day off Friday to finish our shopping since it was the last weekend, I was like “No it’s not!….Wait…what?”

So on our trips around the greater South Florida area on the the holiday tip, we ran across the cutest thing – I think it was on “Shark Tank,” a show I am trying to create a fabulous invention just to get onto. Anyway it’s a Hanukkah tree topper, a Star of David instead of a traditional tree star. And it was a no-brainer. We also have the menorah (read of the road to finding it here) so this just adds to it! What do you think? The kid we live with likes it. And if our cat were still alive, she’d vow on her nine lives to get to it and destroy it because it makes us happy. Because annoying the humans is like cat Christmas.


The weird, friendly adventures of a black Christian lady looking for a Hanukkah menorah

by SweetMidlife
And behold, a menorah grows at Marshall's.

And behold, a menorah grows at Marshall’s.

“Happy Hanukkah!”

Over my shoulder as I (being Leslie) rush out of a fancy chain home decor store here in West Palm Beach, I hear the very sweet and apologetic clerk, who has just explained that her establishment is the latest on my crossed-off list of places that do not carry menorahs. This is my fifth Hanukkah season with my husband, who is Jewish, and the beautiful candle holder that his late mom got us for our wedding seems to have vanished in our last move, or in the ether, or with a tiny Jewish group of Borrowers who also seem to have stolen the mate to every one of his socks.

Because we already had one – or used to – I have never had to go shopping for a menorah before, and foolishly believed that in an area whose populace that no less an expert than Jason Alexander described as “a preponderance of Jews” would be a hotbed of menorah-hood. That it would be the Menorahhood.

Oh, foolish silly Goy.

I am not Jewish, but I am a wife, so in the last five years or so I have become our household’s procurer of most holiday and special-occasion paraphernalia and accoutrements, including wandering into Judaica stores looking for seder plates, making Passover reservations, ordering matzo ball soup en masse, hunting for High Holiday tickets and, as today, driving around the greater West Palm Beach area looking for a menorah. When I first began these errands years ago, I braced for the weird looks – and boy, did I get them! – at the red Afro’d black woman wandering, confused, through the Kosher cookbooks, looking like the loser in a very specific scavenger hunt.

But you know what always wound up happening, on those trips and today, on my menorah hunt? Everybody, pretty much to a number, was awesome. Welcoming. The guy in the Judaica store could not have been more helpful. The ladies in the various delis looked bemused but walked me through the rugelach and smoked fish dips with patience and kindness, because it was clear I was out of my depth.

And today, two separate clerks, the aforementioned lady at Restoration Hardware and the one at chi chi stationary store at Paper Goods, said “Happy Hanukkah” to me. And it made my heart grow a gazillion sizes. Understand that I am a Christian, and my celebration of Hanukkah is because of my husband, who in turn goes to Easter services with me. It’s also a nod to the Jewish roots of my own beliefs.

The ladies at those stores do not know this. I assume that I look different than the other people who have come in looking for menorahs and candles and stuff. But they listened to what I wanted and greeted me accordingly, and it was sublime.

Many of my Facebook friends of several religions have recently pondered the downright nasty response they have gotten from some strangers who have received their sincere “Happy Holidays” and spit it right back at the giver, to strike a blow for the War on Christmas. I can see standing up for your beliefs, but don’t be nasty about it. (Those people, no matter how fervent their Christian beliefs, are being bad citizens and, if you think about it, not exemplary Christians, because we all know the best way to interest people in your beliefs is to take their heads off when they say something nice to you and can’t tell if you’re Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, atheist, Druid or otherwise. But go on being outraged. That’s such a good look on you. Said no one ever.)

So I loved that these women wished me the happiest version of the holiday that corresponds with the thing I was looking for, because that makes sense, regardless of my appearance, or of fear of insulting me – it wouldn’t make sense for me to be insulted, but you’ve met humans, so you know they sometimes take operatic-level offense to the stupidest thing.

I wind up finding not one but three different menorahs in the most random of places – the stockroom at a nearby Marshall’s, where a nice clerk was about to discount them and put them on display. She, too, doesn’t blink an eye when I happily swoop in and grab one, because a sold menorah is a sold menorah. When I light the candles tonight, I’ll be grateful for my family, and the joining of two cultures, and for the resilience that the holiday celebrates, as well as for people who understand that what these holidays have in common is Divine love and the love we’re supposed to show to each other.

And that’s something to be happy about.


So this is Christmas: You are the gift that keeps on giving, and stuff

by SweetMidlife

 

 

What’s inside? You! I mean, not in a creepy “We trapped you in a box” way. It’s metaphors, y’all

Leslie here, although I have the rare pleasure of sitting next to Lynne as I write this for we are together as a family in Sweet Midlife Central, located either the Mid-Atlantic region, Narnia or what ever “Scandal” version of D.C. it is where political prisoners have instant access to Brazilian blowouts and thousand dollar coats. Because we want to live there.

The journey of this blog has been a twisty, awesome one – we started as a voice for women getting married in their later 30s and older, older than the traditional bride but still wanting to hear stories, know about products and see confirmation that she existed. The more life handed us after the “I do!” portion of the situation, we knew that we wanted to expand our focus on a full life lived after the marketing demos tell you you’re washed up, whether those gifts we were being handed were kids, men, new jobs, loss, unwanted poundage or even a cupcake when we didn’t expect one. (Unexpected cupcakes are the best because you can tell the calorie counter in your head that you can’t refuse a gift! What are we, Gremlins?)

Anyway, you, dear reader, whoever you are, are a giant wrapped bow of a thing, because it has been so great and validating to know that we weren’t the only old brides, older moms (in Lynne’s case), awkward nail polishers or observers of weird weirdness in the universe. You are our Blind Melon’esque Bee Girl Colony, whoever you are, and we are pleased to twirl in the meadow with you. It’s not that we don’t look ridiculous. It’s that we look ridiculous together.


That is so not cute, Part 2 or Shut up, little girl!

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here! Lynne, my partner in ranty ranticism, a thing I just now made up but that you totally get the gist of, got us started yesterday with her pondering on the advertising value of nasty children. I, too, have found myself screaming “Shut up, little girl!” at various TV commercials featuring the most sour, inappropriately familiar, parent-shaming little brats. In my family, they’d be at the very least sent to their rooms for, like, ever. But apparently someone on Madison Avenue believes that there is money to be made trafficking in demanding little harpy creatures who tell their families exactly what they want in the most disrespectfully matter-of-fact terms.

I’m not sure what the draw is – is the assumption that children are now horrible because our collective permissive parenting sucks, and these Children Of The Corn are supposed to be just like your own little personal Chuckie at home, somehow endearing you to their familiar awfulness? If I saw my kids in these brats, like the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese creatures who dead-seriously accuse their parents of “stealing”  “their” food, when the parents presumably bought said food, and prepared said food in the pots and pans that they bought in the house they paid for, with the electricity they pay for, I’d break into shameful hives, scramble the kids into counseling/exorcism, and apologize to everyone I ever inflicted them on. And then I’d get some sort of counseling myself.

For sucking.

Last holiday season, eBay ran this offensive, awful ad where a young “lady” sings a cute little rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to her family about the gifts she hated in the past and what she will and will not accept. This is hilarious to me because it assumes that A) we all believe that you deserve a gift automatically by existing and that B) telling me not only what you want but what you will and will not accept and that my previous expendutures of cash on your little ungrateful butt have not only not been appreciated but have qualified me for public shaming.

Hold up, little girl. Let’s get this straight. You just outed me as sucking and basically submitted a musical list of demands like I work for you, and you expect me to buy you something? Are you kidding me? Are you kidding yourself? Are you stupid? Because if I don’t throw my drink at you and storm out immediately, I’m the stupid one.

The other thing that galls me about this ad, and the Kraft one where the absolutely humorless kid confronts his mother’s book group about stealing his mac and cheese as if they tied him up in his room and raided his pockets, is the public nature of it. Talking to your parents like that is bad enough. Talking to them in front of extended family and friends is embarrassing, shaming and should make parents cringe. It should not make them spend money to appease those kids.

I am not a parent, but I am a godmother, auntie and family friend. I cannot control the way that the kids that I love are taught to be grateful, but I have impressed upon the little ones on whom I dote the following: I love you. I love spending time with you. I like spending money on you. But I am neither a Website or an ATM. You are owed my protection and love. You are NOT owed money, or some specific thing that you want. You don’t get to demand things from me. You don’t get to tell me what you’re going to order and get mad when I tell you to pick something else. You don’t get to demand a gift before I even get out of the car, because that means me and the gift are getting back in the car and going back to the store. You certainly don’t get to open a gift I gave you and ask how much it cost. All of these things will get you a talking to, or no gift at all.

I owe you my love. My love may be presented sometimes in the form of a gift. But that gift is not my love. And that gift is not an obligation. And if you don’t get that…you don’t get a gift.

And I’m eating the frigging mac and cheese. In your face.


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