So look, yea, I know, it’s sort of a sickness. I’m going to need a 12 step program for NOT CHANGING MY BLOG.
But not today.
I thought I’d play with a few ideas I had and literally took 4 hours to redo the whole shibang here. I utilized a template pack from EE Templates to integrate my existing configurations and added in a dash of my own flavor. The result is a major overhaul in roughly the time it takes to watch three Northern Exposures (the theme of the font in title and nav)
You’ll also see the main part of the site is updated with a rotating “What’s coming up this week” feature.
I’ve started blogging most of my posts on the weekends which is the only way I can manage to write, work, feed children and shower/workout/talk to my husband/have friends, etc. Which means that most Mondays, I already know what’s coming. And now? So do you. Just a little summin’ summin’ for you to look forward to. Like, WHY YOU DO NOT TAKE CHILDREN CAMPING IN THE WOODS ALONE. And WHAT MENSTRATION AND THIS PHOTO HAVE IN COMMON.
And ohmylands, the yelling. Sorry. Got a little carried away what with the excitement of a launch and all that nonsense.
So click around. Test it out. This is a “mid-point” or a “launching off of” or a “god this sucks” theme. I don’t know the future of the graphics here, but I do know things are changing again.
But aren’t they always?
I’ve been working diligently on standardizing code, upping standards, and being “The Best I Can Be” (without joining the US Army). So today when I downloaded the new Safari 4, I literally fell head over heals right away.
Do you believe in love at first site? (Get it? SITE? ... sorry, baby got nerd.. cough) I do.
At least, I do now.
This badboy is SEXAY.
Safari and it’s on-board web console for developers is like the icing to my cake.
He’s like the Travolta of the 70’s sleeked up and made in to one badass browser singing to sweep me off my feet.
Like Kitt and Night Rider.
Like Bret and Jamaine.
He walks me through my code, showing me exactly what loads and how long it takes. He works with me to find bugs, errors, and ways to improve.
He knows how to woo me, giving me things I like. He listens to my needs and attentively displays those sites I work on the most recently.
He’s also quick. Which, I know, right? Kind of cliche, but sometimes a girl needs a fast man. Get the site up and let’s get on with our lives. Places to go, people to see, and sites to develop.
He is the fastest browser in the west beating out IE8.
But most importantly, he’s safe, secure, and protects my online information. He’s like a big, strong bear hug for my fragile ego.
And I’m leaving Firefox for him.
Sorry, Firefox. I know we have a long history together. But really, how could it last? We both knew one day we’d move on to other things. We just.. grew too much apart, you with your whoring out plugins and whatnot. You went too far too fast and now you’re slow and old. Safari? Has a list of features you can’t even touch, babe.
Feel free to call one day, FF. I hope we can still be friends. But maybe see a shrink first. I just can’t help you anymore.
The actualized self, the best version of yourself, is there urging yourself to grow. There are methods and practices, some more intuitive than others, that bring you closer to your potential. It sounds so new-agy, all sorts of “two-thousand-oh-nine” but I believe it is closer to truth than the thirty previous years of my religious experience.
I’ve been discussing. I discuss atheism with my husband, Christianity with one group of friends and eastern religion with others. I watch the intuitive nature of my children, how they are both full of love and utterly selfish, clashing in to tempers and fits. Their struggle is visible, palpable. I watch their emotions unfold outwardly. My job, according to our culture, is to teach them to suppress, handle, resolve, and come to an appropriate action. They are to work it out internally, sometimes suppressing their own desires for the sake of the other. It’s a process that takes years to figure out, nuances of society as complex as the laws of English where sometimes it’s ‘e before i’ and sometime ‘y is a vowel.’ So much of what I teach them is subjective, coming from my own 33 years of experience. Sometimes I have no reason other than “I told you so” which runs as acceptable in our culture as Mary was a Virgin at the time of Jesus’ Birth.
It doesn’t always make logical sense.
I am here at this precipice. I often come to edges as I walk along life’s path wandering through trails with people or alone. I’ve taken beaten paths with congregations of christians, trails with buddhist, large fields with atheists. I’ve walked with them asking questions, learning and wondering. The paths are symbolic but just as real as any pilgrimage. And now I am here, glancing over the edge not knowing what is below but understanding I do not want to go back to where I came from.
The mind is magnificent, forming segments for complex issues. Taking large truths and chewing them in to smaller more manageable bites. Was Jesus saying he was the son of God or that he is the son of man, a human with an amazing message, to love, to let go of the past, to make your heaven on earth? Is the war for religion necessary? Is one group going to a hell while the other rises up? Do we really not know which is which?
Or are we so used to rolling with our historic cultural preferences that we fail to seek the reason and truth behind a larger picture?
It is this place I stand with my children and my husband, watching the world and the future. I see a trail back down to one way, a softer path to another. I want to stretch each of us, to find truth and peace and harmony. To teach my children that love is innate, it is inside us, but it is bigger than us.
I do not think I need religion to do so.
So we will sing to our own tune until someone sings along with us. You’re welcome to join and harmonize. We wouldn’t turn you away.
We will sing our own song but we’re not alone. We’re joined by an inner, greater Love.
I’ve noticed a lot of “Best Tweeple!” going around lately. And I see that there’s a very large oversight in the names that are being tossed about.
Like, for example, while Jennifer James had some great suggestions, she forgot one very important person.
I’ll give you three guesses.
And no, it’s not Alyssa Milano even if her rack puts my rack in the rack of shame.
There are also some sort of “Twitter Awards” or something. Which, you know how well I do at awards. Clearly I sweep ‘em with my 1.9% of the vote and no, I don’t hold on to that for nearly a year, what? Why do you ask?
So while you may not want to follow my always-the-brides-maid-never-the-bride blog and you may not find me nominated for.. well.. anything tweet worthy, I thought I’d give you the top [ten] five, because I don’t have ten, reasons why you really should be following my on twitter.
1. You can learn new words from following Mrs. Flinger: (I impart wisdom)
2. You can find great beers (or wine, or vodka, or rum) to try: (I impart drunkeness)
3. You can find new hashtags for which to filter your tweets with.
4. You can voice your frustrations (GRRR! SMASH!) at various PHP based CMS. And then drink beer. (Again with the beer)
5. You can become a PHP programmer yourself. All, for the love of, beer. (Seriously, me and beer are like *THIS*)
Frack the voting and the awards. Let’s have a beer. :: CHEERS ::
Next up? I finally summarize my blogHer experience in another numbered list. It also contains beer.
There once was a girl named Michelle
She was leading a mom group quite well
We met at a date
I was, as usual, late
From hiking in frozen hell
It’s been nearly three years since we met
We’ve done a lot of stuff I can’t forget
Over the years we did hang
We talked of politics and wang
And watched our hair go from blonde to brunette
There was the time we went for that run
Carrying a pineapple the size of the sun?
Or that time in San Fran
where I was hit on by that man
And the cops came ask him questions.
We dressed up like early 80’s hos
We’ve done gymnastics though we’re old
We both peeter out
when our friends are just about
To hit the slots in Casinos for gold
Happy birthday to you my friend Michelle
We all think you are very swell
I hope that your day
goes exactly your way
And not same the usual hell.
*For Nick. Who is also a Cracker.
OOP Based Roughly on the OPP rap by Naughty By Nature.
Nerded up by me.
OOP how can I explain it
I’ll take you frame by frame it
To have y’all jumpin’ shall we singin’ it
O is for Object O is for Oriented
The last P…well…that’s not that simple
It’s code and jive and variables like strings
It’s catching exceptions and return theresult.toString()
There are functions and methods, classes too
You instantiate an object, yea you know what to do
You down with OOP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who’s down with OOP (Every last geek)
You down with OOP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who’s down with OOP (All the geeks)
This girl ah tried to learn OOP
I was this girl and mater-of-fact got a degree in that
Had a thesis, some classes, projects and whatnot
Instead of Java it was PHP she sought
It was hard until the little rhyme, it clicked
‘Cos after that she kept on coming back not ticked
She was creatin’ the objects to extend other objects
She said, “Oh no, I love you Tech” as she reflects
It was parse errors that got her down, the made her frown
But she kicked them to the curb with a curly brace rub-down
This was a thing, a little thing, you shouldn’t have put your heart
‘Cos you know it was OOP, hell from the very start
Come on, come on, now let me tell you what it’s all about
You down with OOP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who’s down with OOP (Every last geek)
You down with OOP (Yeah you know me) 3X
Who’s down with OOP (All the geeks)
I’m handing out pink slips.
Tiny pink slips to parts of the list, the giant list of “things I do.”
Tiny pink slips to excuses.
Tiny pink slips to not setting expectations.
Tiny pink slips to missing out on field trips.
Tiny pink slips to quick dinners and faster bed times.
Tiny pink slips to the constant glow of the computer screen.
At the end of the day I often hear, “but you’re your own boss,” and I puzzle. I am?
I have people, clients, friends, websites. I have a husband who enjoys seeing me and children who need me.
I am my own boss but I share the load.
And these people don’t let me lose focus.
At least not for long.
Through the year and a half I was in Texas, a dynamic shift occurred in both my physical self, my group of friends, and my relationship with God. I began the year teaching preschool at a non-denominational church with every intention to get a master’s degree in Elementary Education. The experiences I had that year led to my rebellion. “Rebellion” that is.
As I processed the difference between my home in Bellingham, the mountains and parks, and my new home in Houston, I wrote an entry on April 30, 1999:
“It’s cold enough to cause my arms to have chills. In fact, it’s about the same temperature as Whistler on an August night. I expect to look up from the picnic table to see Bobby boyfully playing with a stick or building the fire by our tent in the woods. The sun is setting but this night it does not fall behind the mountains casting a long shadow on the river. No, this night the sun, much larger than back home although most likely from distortion of mind than of atmosphere, is setting behind oak trees and houses and power lines.”
The church, the people, the path I was on began to choke the desire out of me. I attended bibile studies and spent days volunteering at psych wards and elderly homes. This experience, if done with the right heart, could be invaluable. I stretched my comfort level to help people with needs much different than my own.
But oh, I was so proud of myself for that. I fell in step with the judging, the “doing good works” and pitying others. Feigning imperfection, we’d be self righteous. Claiming to be “for the good of others” we’d thank God for our own authority. I was conflicted, at best, torn between being genuine and fitting in.
I continued to lament about leaving Bellingham.
“I’m sitting on this plain
beneath the only tree
across from a man made lake
There’s nothing to stop the wind
it’s a strong breeze
But the leaves above me don’t shake
The sun is warm enough
to think it’s mid June
In my other home across the way
I can almost smell the salt
wish I hadn’t left so soon
My home beside the bay”
It was a day, and a conversation, nearly a year later, on an airplane heading back to my misty mountains and my Bobby, that I finally cleared the muddled expectations. A lovely man looked right through my story. “We’re best friends,” I explained, “I can’t marry him because the church, and my friends, tell me we have to be equally yoked.” I hadn’t even told him the part where we spoke to each other every day via phone the entire time I was gone when he looked right at me, and said, “Bullshit. You love him.”
Well, yes, but…
“Move back, be with your love. Do not let time or people or space keep you from someone you love. Life is too short to play that game.”
So when we stepped off the plane in Portland, OR, where Bobby flung me up on himself in a huge bear hug, I looked over his shoulder and saw my plane-mate smiling with a knowing grin, a wink, before he walked away.
And he was right.
The six months that followed involved plans to move back. I stopped going to the church having been ostracized for wanting a man who had no faith. I began hanging out with pot smoking sky divers. I tried to convince Bob that he loved me but we were on a rocky path of “best friend vs lovers” not wanting to ruin the friendship we’d built for 13 years together with “emotion” and “love” and “expectations.” So I planned to move back, myself, because it was what I wanted. I was, for the first time, going to do the thing that *I* wanted. Not my parents, not my church, not my friends, not the bible.
I was also realizing my future was in programming and technology. I planned to get a masters degree in Information Technology after teaching at the community college in Galveston and falling in love with the students, the freedom, the academia. And so I pursued a job in Portland doing tech support at a School District.
And I got it.
I was moving home to the North West simply because I wanted to. This made me drunk with Power. It was the first time I’d been in touch with what I wanted enough to pursue it, follow through, and make it happen.
It was the start to the rest of my life, in many many ways.
During a visit to finalize some move details, I pulled in to Barns and Noble and randomly grabbed the book, “Beyond the Sky and the Earth” by Jamie Zeppa. I read the entire book in a weekend. That book, along with “Walden: Life in the Woods” by Thoreau, became my bibles. I studied, made notes, wrote passages. I memorized the messages: freedom, seeking, nature.
“It wasn’t that my life seemed unreal to me, it just seemed very ... small” -page 4 Beyond the Sky and The Earth
“.. I could walk down to safer ground, or I could throw myself over that edge, into what, what is out there, what is it that I am so afraid of beyond this last safe step where I am now standing? It is only my own life, I realize, that I am afraid of, and at each high point I am given the chance to throw myself over and back into it.” - page 276 Beyond the Sky and The Earth
“When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence- that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of reality. Out life is frittered away by detail.” - chapter 2 Walden
These principals became my daily inspiration and I sought to simplify, become who it was I was always seeking on the inside. I rejoiced in going home. Home! I would no longer be sweating in February. I would have my mountains and mist. It was one year and 4 months later from the day I arrived in Houston that I drove all my necessary belonging across the Texas State Border back in a quest for a new life in an old familiar place.
And I was on my way home.
(To be continued)
It’s hard enough to hit a goal of “doing pilates/yoga for thirty days” without other stuff getting in the way. It’s hard enough to tell yourself that on this lunch break you will spend the first 45 minutes of that hour in downward dog watching your arms shake while you hold your tummy in tight and will yourself to be stronger, leaner, meaner. It’s hard enough to choose to twist your body and flex your ab muscles (wait, ARE those ab muscles?) instead of grabbing a coffee and working.
So when my ovaries grew to the size of a small state and began to ache, I mean, explode, I knew my plans were for not. Of course, I figured it was because I was dying from some strange ovarian virus. Something like, “THE OVARIAN FLU OF DEATH!” So I figured why exercise when I’m about to have my life ended prematurely and damn there’s that deadline I have so I better get that wrapped up before this ovary takes over my brain and I become nothing but a coat rack.
I went to the doctor on Thursday. I told her all about my Giant Ovary Of Doom! and she let me know it’s not that uncommon, although a bit shitty, and I have a cyst that is rupturing and will re-absorb in to my body within a week or two. And, she says, in the mean time, TAKE IT EASY.
I look at her perpexed. “Take it easy? You mean, I can do YOGA but, like, not vacuum and stuff, right?”
“You mean I can do Pilates and walk but get my husband to do the dishes and put the kids to bed, right?”
“This is really going to mess with my blog, you see. I have this Thirty Day Challenge going and I’m going to have a lot (or 3) people upset with me if I don’t complete it.”
“That’s nice.” And that was that.
What she said was take it easy and what I heard was “EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE YOU CAN FOR A WEEK! WEAR SWEATS! CHIPS ARE GOOD!”
(For the record, she also suggested I go on the pill for an indefinate amount of time to keep my ovaries from exploding again. But what I heard was that “Man, your husband is gonna be so glad he never did get that snipped because OHBOY he’d be pissed if he knew you needed to be on the pill. Oh funny, that fate, hahahaha. Then she pointed at me and laughed for ten minutes. In my head.)
Because I’m an over-achiever, I can’t possibly just sit around not doing anything waiting for menstration to even out my hormones and my body to suck up the gunk known as Ovarian Crap.
So I’m starting over. What’s that? Yes, I know. It’s Right Smack Dab at the midpoint and ohhoho I’m all mixin’ up the rules and such. It’s what I do.
So I’m starting thirty days of sobriety. Alcohol. None of it. Zero. Why? Well, why not? It was my next thirty day challenge I wanted to make and this timing seems right. So, here I go.
Thirty days of alcohol free evenings.
Wish me luck. A lot of it, actually. ‘Cause I thought Pilates was hard.< love some wine >kids< /drive me crazy >
(Speaking of, how is it going for you? You still hanging in there? Day 15. Or 1. Either way, check in!)
It’s been coming to this for a long time, this merging of me vs me. I’ve pretended to be different: Professional Me and Personal Me. But honestly? I am only one person, not two threaded halves.
I am a multitude of rolls, but I am just me. I am as transparent and as open as anyone can be, equally giving way to hurt and laughter and insecurities and strength. I’m open to accepting new ideas, I love my family and my work and I give people the benefit of the doubt to an almost gullible level.
I am what I am and that’s all that I am. (Picture me giving you the pop-eye here. Or, in my case a “Pirate Eye.”)
It sounds old and cliche, but it’s taken me six years of Internet Identity to figure out that I’m the same person online and offline. I’ve grown up in this space here, this dynamic known as “The Interwebz” and I’ve come to realize I was the same all along.
At first I tried to keep my job separated from my blog. There was this nonsense of an idea that I had “branded” myself as a “personal blogger - essay writer” and couldn’t taint that with talk of code. My readers roll their eyes and spew things in tongues when I speak code.
But then? Something amazing happened.
You liked it.
You liked me for it.
You liked me in spite of it.
And I loved you all the more for letting that part of me in.
So I share my nerdiness with you and we laugh because “HAHA I HAVE NO CLUE WHHAT YOU ARE SAYING” and I go “HAHA I KNOW” and we all share a beer and talk about eyebrows and chin hair.
And it’s good, this space here. But there is no difference between this space and any other space where I exist, I am simply me. Professional, Personal, One-in-the-same.
Like two mismatched sock that put together make the perfect outfit.
Many people have encouraged this in me. This “merging” of identities. Where Mrs. Flinger and Leslie come together. They know me as both, professional and personal, that I work hard and I laugh often. They have quiet talks with me about business goals and children. They share professional aspirations and personal decisions. And more often then not, clients become friends.
Business? It’s not just business. It’s entirely personal. My business has always been a personal one. It’s my love, my art, my thought process and the people I meet in my job are very much people, not a bottom line. Why I would think differently of myself in that role is something I can’t explain.
So I’d like to say hello to my clients, to my co-workers, to future jobs. To people who are just meeting me, the girl who thinks code is “sexy” in a funny, shy kind of a way. The girl who’s last name is not Flinger. It’s Doherty.
It’s nice to meet you.
Welcome to me. The complete. Me.
17 guests here now.