with Lynne and Leslie
Tag Archives: Lisa-Jo Baker

Five Minute Friday: And then a “hero” comes along….

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here!


Years ago, in the midst of a fit of silliness, my sister and a friend half-composed a fake song called “The Smile In The Eyes Of A Child,” which was a likely Coldstone Creamery and caffeine-fueled parody of Mariah Carey’s “Hero” and its cliched middle-school graduation/weepy puppy montage string-together of overwrought emotion and randomly rhyming or almost rhyming cliches – “When a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on/and you cast your fears aside/and you know you can survive…” ….sorry, Mariah, I fell asleep. What was that, again?

Anyway, sometimes I bring that up to people and they either laugh hysterically out of recognition of the forced importance, or they say, very quietly, “I really like that song. That was my graduation song/song I danced to my father with at my wedding/what my child was born to” and then I feel like a complete jerk and go “Umm..but it is pretty!” because there’s no way to get out of the giant foot in my mouth.

In moments like that I have to remember that there is no universal opinion about ANYTHING, and that in my cynicism, which in this case really was based in years of listening to bad writing that passes as sincerity and wanting to barf. you can miss the cues that are telling you that the people you’re talking to are entitled to like what they like, even when you don’t understand. And are appalled. I’ve had conversations about things that I really like, like “Parenthood” or Bryan Adams ballads from movies, that more serious people roll their eyes at or deem my “guilty” pleasures. Boo on that – I don’t believe in guilty pleasures because if I like something I’m gonna tell you. I don’t feel the need to qualify it through the filter of your snobbery. Life’s too short.

So go ahead and love that overwrought power ballad. If it moves you, then it’s done its job. And in a weird way, I’m glad it does even if it makes me roll my eyes, because that’s what art is: subjective. Your masterpiece is my cringe moment.

Love ya, Mariah!


Five Minute Friday: Visiting home, and having home visit

by SweetMidlife

I no longer feel like a visitor in my own home.

Leslie here! Our word for the day is “Visit.” Here goes!


I am a transplant in South Florida, a place that is often said to have no natives, which is dumb and arrogant on the part of the transplants, because somebody’s getting born in those hospitals. Anyway, I’m often asked “Where are you from?” with the assumption that I am originally from somewhere else. And I am a native Baltimorean by way of Pennsylvania. For years that was my identity, to the point where even though my mail was delivered here, I still referred to Baltimore as “home,” though I hadn’t lived there since 1992. I felt lighter there, more comfortable. I felt like I was at home on my visits, and visiting in Florida, which was technically my home.

But a funny thing happened about five years ago – I fell in love with a man who was from home, from my high school, who also felt like a visitor in the state where he’d lived off and on for a decade. But we found more than a person to kiss and share a mortgage with. We found our home. And suddenly, this place where we were living felt like home. Our friends and family were secretly hoping that, having fallen in love, we would move back to Maryland and finally be home. The weird thing was – we each fell in love with a Baltimorean and finally felt like Floridians. We were no longer visiting in this space. We belonged.

I still don’t get how Floridians drive. But I guess I am one now, no longer a visitor in my home. So it’s sort of OK.


Five Minute Fridays: Ordinary. Or not. Apologies in advancce

by SweetMidlife

I should look like this all the time.

Leslie here!


I know that the word is “ordinary” but I saw the prompt and suddenly Liz Phair’s “Extraordinary” jumped into my head and then I knew I would be writing about that, and not about being “ordinary.” As my creative muse Shawn Colvin once wisely sang, I’ll say I’m sorry now.

Actually, I’m not sorry, because “extraordinary” is just a version of “ordinary.” It’s from the Latin, meaning, “more” or “turbo,” or “really, really pumped up.” It’s a wonderful word, because it’s so simple – the extraordinary version of you is you, plus more. It’s not somebody else, with someone else’s weight or hair or profession. It’s the extra-pumped version of you, building on the base of your own fabulousness, your own awesome, your already existing cool.

All you need to do to be extraordinary is to gird yourself in your reality, take a big breath, and reach. High. Strong. Away. Be grounded in the you, in the reality, but multiply that. Say “What more can I be and still be me? What rungs of awesome have I not climbed?”

I went to a public event last night, like I do for my job, still wearing really beautiful makeup I had had professionally done at the NARS counter at Lord and Taylor in Boca Raton, and I got so many smiles and hugs, but no one said “You look especially pretty tonight” like they did at work where they know I’m a schlub sometimes.

These people who have seen my face in the paper where I am a columnist just assumed that I look like this all the time, that the ordinary me is the extraordinary me. And why shouldn’t she be?

I am extraordinary, like Liz said.


5 Minute Fridays: Here

by SweetMidlife

Lynne here.

So a few weeks ago I found out about this really cool thing called “Five Minute Friday”. It is a great resource for writers who need a little oomph or variety in their blogging. Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker, who runs the site, posts a word that prompts 5 minutes of unedited writing. You just write down whatever the word prompt brings to your mind. It is a really, really cool exercise for a writer, but it is also a cool way to support other bloggers and read their stuff, because you upload your piece to the website and read the one in front of you, and so on and so on! This week, I am finally trying it. The word this week was “here”, and below is what I got. You should try it. 

I have focus issues. My mind goes a million miles a minute. Sometimes it is important things that I am thinking about, like what I have to do next, and what I have to get from the grocery store , or how I am going to phrase the uncomfortable conversation that I have to have with somebody. Thought is good! But sometimes, it’s bad, especially when you are standing in front of someone else and they are talking to you and are expecting you to, you know, pay attention to them. You realize that they have been talking about something for like 5 minutes, and all that you have caught is the beginning and the end. And you know that there is something in there that you should be commenting on. And all you can muster is a “Umm, YEAH. I agree with you.” And this sucks, Because guess what? You aren’t as good as you think at covering up the fact that you were somewhere else. That you weren’t listening. That the person in front of you wasn’t as important as the other thing that you were thinking about. And people are important. Face to face time is precious. It is a very small thing to fix your brain on what is in front of you, but something that has very good returns, Because the people in your life will feel valued. And happy.

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