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Things I am doing today besides worrying about the outcome of Presidential election

by SweetMidlife
My mother and I smiling after our civic duty. Then we got coffee and bought the kid a muffin.

My mother and I smiling after our civic duty. Then we got coffee and bought the kid a muffin.

So this is Leslie, and Lynne and I, like anyone paying attention, know that today is a historic day in our nation. Not only is Election Day sacred, to us, as the chance to exercise the rights that our mothers and fathers fought and suffered for, but this one comes at the end of the ugliest contest anyone alive seems to remember. Whatever happens, there are going to be some desperately sad and angry people, and we’re all going to have to figure out how to move on, together.

My mom and I, with my little one, voted this morning, after I’d already walked/run three miles, and then after we voted we walked some more and then got some coffee, and the day moved on. I am concerned about what happens tonight, but I can’t sit by my TV and dwell right now, either. Here is what I am doing instead:

– Watched the end of the first season of “Good Girls Revolt” and wished that my Afro was as glorious as Joy Bryant’s.

– Exchanged emails with John Schneider’s publicist, because I love my job.

– Talked to “Gilmore Girls” fans.

– Pondered what kind of tequila to bring to the taco party I’m going to later.

– Started watching Netflix’s “The Crown” and renewed my crush on Jared Harris, because smart gingers are sexy as hell.

– Consigned a dress that my mother bought by last year, that is now too big and that I never wore, because she bought two sizes and challenged me to get into the smaller one. She is a genius.

– Decided not to put olives in with the rest of the veggies at the taco party as one of the attendees is anti-olive. I shall segregate the olives. More fish for Kunta!


– Tried to figure out how to leave work early to go cook the non-olive beans.

– Trying to figure out where I put my coupons because I’m running out of leftovers and my kid has to eat something more substantial than mac and cheese for every meal.

In other words – I am living my life because other than try to figure out how to possess every American voter and make them do what I want, which is impossible, illegal and bad for the soul, I can’t change things other than what I have already done today, which is to vote myself, and then pray for our country. We are better than this crap we’ve done to each other. We’re America. That’s like in the manual, right?

No-fly zone: Five road trips I want to take this year. Where are you motoring?

by SweetMidlife

custard shop naples

Leslie here…and please pause while I sing a bit of “Sister Christian,” because very few people my age have, since 1984, said the word “motoring” and then not sung “What’s your price for flight? In finding Mr. Right! It’ll be all right…to-niiiight.” Old. Rocking. Not sorry.

OK, now that that’s over, I’m all filled with wanderlust after a ridiculously relaxing trip to Maryland with my husband and the kid who lives with us. It’s the first time we’d been to our home state in more than a year, and the wee one’s second set of round-trip flights. (A blog discussing the indignities and pleasantries of plane travel with a toddler is coming soon, but it’s been a heavy day, so I wanna be on the positive tip today, as we olds would say.) It was great to see everyone, we were super chill and the boy had a good time. But after the running through the airport, fighting to sit together and trying to explain to a 20 month-old why he couldn’t climb over me and run up and down the aisle past the beverage cart like a crazy boy, I turned to my husband and said, “Didn’t you want to do a bunch of road trips this year?”

We live in Florida, a very big state with some places we’ve made favorites, some I haven’t visited in ages and a few I’ve never made the acquaintance of but really need to. I’ll bet there are some cool places within decent driving distance of you, so your list is probably different. What’s your top five place to be motoring…and not take a flight? (I am sorry. You’re singing that now.)

1) Naples: We love the Gulf Coast, because it’s quieter and the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico have a different vibe than those out here on the Atlantic. Naples is a particular favorite, because it’s got several of my favorite things – really nice hotels with room service, an excellent downtown with great shops (see above) and eats up and down Fifth Avenue, and beautiful beaches. It’s a historic, elegant place with some quirks.

2) The Keys: There is no place called Kokomo in the Florida Keys, no matter what the Beach Boys say, but there are some incredible islands, shameless sunsets, cool hotels of every type from dive to divine, breathtaking bridges and lots of places to get lost. Key West was a favorite as a single girl, in bed and breakfasts and in a swanky Sheraton Suites on the beach, and now as a married chick (our honeymoon cruise stopped there, and we turned the end of the Ragnar Relay, which I ran three years ago, into a mini-vacation, staying in a little guest house with a clothing-optional pool. I told my husband that the fit runners would not be in the pool, only like old German tourists. And I was right.) We haven’t been back since the kid has been with us, but we’re in talks for my husband’s big milestone birthday this fall (I would also love to check out Key Largo, where I only stopped for an afternoon when my grandparents were staying there. I’d love to do the glass bottom boat.

leslie pool roof3) South Beach: Again, this is a place we’ve done much differently as married people and parents than when I was single (Remind me to never tell you about that.) The above photo is from the rooftop pool at the Riviera, a cool spot in a slightly quieter portion of SoBe, just west of Collins Avenue. We also did The James, which is a little more central, not far from the shops and stuff on Lincoln Road, and the Metropolitan by Como, a relaxing and purposely chill spot where they’re proud not to be a party spot. I do most of my partying dancing around my living room with a toddler singing Four Seasons songs, so I’m fine with that. These days, we stay in nice places and eat. And there’s plenty of that.

4) Seaside: It’s in the Panhandle, where my husband used to live, but where I’ve yet to go. It’s a bit of a schlep. But I would love to take a few days, where we can stop somewhere in between if the kiddie gets restless, because it’s supposed to be gorgeous, with little postcard houses that attracted Peter Weir when he made “The Truman Show.” It’s also between Destin and Panama City Beach, two places I’m excited to visit, although not at Spring Break.

5) St. Augustine: About ten years ago I did a road trip with my friend Rachel for part of a story where I was running in different places around the state. We stayed at the cutest Victorian B&B, did some cool walking tours, including that of the historic fort there, and met a guy dressed as an authentic Spanish soldier named Jeff, or as we called him, El Jeff-e. I’d love to walk the kiddo around the cobblestones and buy him a little soldier hat. I also wonder how old Jeff’s doing.

Where do you want to go?

This Week’s Post Inspired By Something I Saw on Facebook

by SweetMidlife

Hi! It’s Lynne!

Facebook can be a time-suck, a place where people go to stalk other people, a place where people get depressed because they think their lives aren’t as cool as their friends’ lives because their friends have better pictures and status updates, and where people say ugly bullying things that serve to pump themselves up but bring other people way down. But it can also be a place of good connection, of sharing, and of encouragement. Like when people post little sayings that make other people go “I needed that!”, or”Hey, that makes me feel good!”, and then want to re-post it. I ran across one such thing yesterday, and it made me do all of the above. And it was this…


I have a great kid. He is funny, and sweet, and although he throws great tantrums, he brings me more joy than I can even begin to describe. Yet I often worry that I am doing this all wrong. That I am going to turn my head just in time to miss him fall on one of the drum sticks he always has in his hand as of late (my son is the toddler Sheila E.). That the very piece of candy I just gave him is going to negate every vegetable he has and will ever eat, and thus will be plunged into a life of Candyterianism. That the discipline I choose this time is going to set him up on the road to being a hooligan. You might think these things too.


I once took all of my worries about parenting to my former Pastor, who is really the closest thing I have to a mother-in-law, and she said this: that if I was a person who worried that I was doing it right, then that desire meant that I was in a good place.

Deep breath.

So, I know that good parents are naturally concerned for their kids. And that we will sometimes question if we are making huge mistakes. And sometimes we will. But for the most part, that Facebook thing was right. Look at your kids. They are good people. You helped do that. Continue to encourage the things you see in them that you like. Pray about and regroup if you can do something about the things that you don’t. But take a deep breath. They are doing well.

And so are you.


Bride at 39, Mother to Be at 40….

by SweetMidlife

Hi peoples. This is Lynne, and for the past few months I have been avoiding sushi, drinking non-alcoholic beer, eating more veggies, writing love letters to elastic waistbands, and spending a lot of time on websites called things like BabyGaga.  This is because my husband and I are expecting our first baby this Spring.


Not our baby. But a cute baby nonetheless.

We actually found out the day we closed on our new house, so we were a bit in shock as we signed all of those papers you have to sign.  And when we came by the house afterwards, we thought, “Hey, I guess God didn’t want us to get to attached to that guestroom idea, since somebody will be living in it now.”

It’s been such a ride so far, with growing bellies and appetites and sometimes no appetite and lots of fatigue but most of all sheer excitement and awe that there is a person in there.  We are so grateful and blessed, and it’s something I have to remember in the face of the fact that I really don’t know what’s going on in there, and that can cause a bit of anxiety. Ooh, I also find out every day that I have been doing or eating something that I am not supposed to be, and that can cause me to get all squirelly. But whenever I fear, or stare longingly at the carryout sushi menu, I think of something I heard recently.  It’s from a piece that Erma Bombeck wrote called “If I Had to Live my Life Over”.  It’s a listing of the things that she would have taken the time to appreciate in life instead of getting caught up in the doing of it all.  My friend Tracey, a DJ on a Christian station, read this list on the air last week, and while all of it was really inspiring, this line is what struck me….

Miss Bombeck wrote: Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

There is such a temptation to complain, or to worry, or to wish that the weeks were speeding by so we can just hold that crazy little person already.  But there is a reason this takes nine months, and whatever they are filled with, they are worth it if there is a baby on the other end. So I am going to enjoy every minute, and thank God for this opportunity, and save the zippers and sushi and Guiness for another time, and embrace stretchy pants and decaf tea and this little life in there.  And be thankful all the way and put this all in God’s hands. Remind me of this if you see me griping, okay? Thanks!

People With Kids and People Without Kids

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

So, Good Friend Elicia sent me this article a little while ago, because she thought it would make for a good Bride at 35 post. It’s called “10 Things Not to Say to Your Childfree Friends”, and it’s a really good guide into how to sensitively maintain friendships between those with kiddos, and those without.  I am not going to comment on the whole article, because I want you to read it, and have your own thoughts, and I want to hear what you think.

What I will say is this.  It makes sense that parents would feel that they can look with greater insight into things than maybe their childfree friends can, because at one point, they didn’t have kids either. Makes sense that you can see both sides, and it makes sense that a person without kids can’t completely understand that bond you now have with your child, whether you had them biologically, or whether you adopted them.   I have had to admit this to myself, because I often want to give parents insight on their child-rearing when I have no personal experience yet on what it’s like to have one of those critters living in the room across the hall, where they are yours for the forseeable future.

But even though current parents have experienced not being a parent, while childfree people have maybe (as far as you know) only experienced the not-part, you thinking that you understand their lives perfectly is wrong. Because while you were maybe childless at 28, you weren’t at 40. It’s a different thing. You don’t know what it’s like to be THEM, with THEIR job, or THEIR life.  You also don’t know why they don’t have kids. Maybe they desperately want them, but have suffered miscarriages or infertility. Maybe they can’t afford a little one right now. Maybe their partner is happy with things the way they are. Or maybe they have decided that their lives are full enough with what they do have, but not in the way that people say that to make themselves feel better because secretly they MUST want kids. Really, maybe they are fine.

I guess where I land on this (I realize I say that a lot on this blog) is this.  If you have kids, and you are loving it, you want everyone to have that experience to love and be loved like you are now.  If you don’t have kids, you might look at your friends who do and envy them or pity them, and you might make assumptions about their lives and their priorities based on what you see.  I just think that you should allow people to be happy where they are (if it’s hurting nobody), and that even though other people’s lives might be full of different things than ours, we should respect their lives as full. And of value.

What do you think?

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