Mrs. Flinger: A work in progress

UPDATE TO Mrs. Flinger October 16, 2015

Because the Universe has a wicked sense of humor, after this delcaration, my blog threw up all over my last upgrade.

So I'm starting over using Craft. Turning 40 and kid entering Jr High next year, sometimes it's just time for a change. These archives will still exist in the way the last child goes off to college and their room is the same for 20 years, but it's just time to move forward.

So.. the fire department just left.. Nov 30, 2010


Look, before I say anything, let me just tell you that I’m a pretty safe person. Aside from sky diving and climbing mountains here or there or biking down ski paths, I’m pretty safe, really. I always get tied in when I rock climb.

So it’s no surprise that when I walk in after grabbing my daughter from the bus and the living room is suddenly filled with smoke when for the last four hours it was not, I freaked my shit out and called 911.

And hey! Firemen!

They took my info: I was home all day (working). I tried to start a fire at 9AM but I suck at it so I put it out. At 3PM I took a shower (let’s discuss how I didn’t have a chance to shower until now. No? Now’s not the time?) and walked out of the house to get my daughter. After SIX HOURS of not having smoke in the house, or a fire, the room filled with smoke caused me some… alarm.

Five young men suited up for fire came in to my house, looked around assessed the outside. There was discussion. “You know HOW to use the fireplace, right?” YES. JESUS. .. SORTA. The Flue was open, right? YES JESUS.. I THINK. “You know how to correctly put out a fire, right?” YES.. JESUS.. WITH SAND.

That last one is just for Smokey the Bear.

At any rate, after some discussion about the chimney, which possibly was on fire, no, maybe not, well, it could be a chimney fire… oh wait WHAT IS THIS?

Why, it’s a PRESTO log that suddenly began smoldering again.

As if it is risen from the dead, the presto log came alive, during those five minutes I walked to the bus stop, and filled my house with smoke.

I think the youngest fireman laughed when they carried the log out to the back and “put out the fire”.

No, I’m sure he did.

Either way, I’ll be going to purchase some new smoke alarms since not ONE of them went off. I’ll also be getting a chimney sweep and an escape later for upstairs.

Because Internet? Repeat it with me: BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY.

Right? Right.

God I feel like a dipshit right now.

**I don’t know what’s up with my comments. Apparently today is broken. But thank you for letting me know I’m not a “DIPSHIP” and that I’m just a very safe, very careful, very responsible person with a plan.

And I still feel pretty stupid. But at least I confessed it to the Internet.

Class Selector by Class Selector Nov 29, 2010

#tech words

I’m nearing the end of a freelance project. It’s been an exciting process as my skills develop and I build better and more robust, well planned code. Each site is a little better than the last. But each project comes with a theme song and I hear this one building in my mind as I near the climatic finish.

Bird by Bird, I remind myself. Just take it Bird by Bird.

I recite the title from one of my all time favorite writing books, “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lammot. The story starts with her brother sitting at the table facing a deadline on a paper about birds. Her dad looks at his overwhelmed son and advices, “Just take it bird by bird, buddy. Bird by bird.”

I sit and look at the few bits that are left. Why each project extends beyond my expected finish, how each detail can create a pixel off here or a query fail there is something I should learn to anticipate. And yet, still, I sit here looking at nearly great code sighing heavily as I realize there is that ONE MORE LIST to style, ONE MORE SPAN to fix, ONE LAST SELECTOR to place.

Bird by Bird, I tell myself. Just take it Bird by Bird.

Micro-Coding. Near the end, it’s all I can focus on. It’s in the details that our clients rejoice.

Bird by Bird.


Snow and Stitches: A Flinger Holiday Story Nov 29, 2010

#Life#The Flinger Family

Get ready for a boatload of snow pics. This one? My backyard.

Wow, y’all. Was that a week or what?

boy in snow

The week started out as usual. Monday morning came with the furry of gathering children to breakfast, rushing them to dress and hurrying out the door. The snow started just hours later and by noon, [all of Seattle] I was in a mass panic to get to Sea-Tac in a [blizzard] light snow storm.


With my parents secured, already bragging of 80 degree weather the day before in Houston, we managed to safely (SOMEHOW) get back north. Let me tell you, it was life-threatening snow flurries! Or very small flakes! Either way, I managed to navigate the treacherous freeways. (No, seriously, just watch the news if you don’t believe me. What? The news exaggerates more than a sixth grader talking about the size of his penis? Hu.)

ER trip #2 for LB

My daughter managed to trump the snow in her pursuit to be more like her mother. While dancing in the living room, as she does, her socked feet slipped out from under her and she crashed, chin first, on the hardwood floor. Blood, tears, and screaming soon followed. Oma, having gone through this three times with her own young daughter, a very young me, quickly assessed that stitches would be necessary. Mr. Flinger and I took our sobbing six year old to the ER where we thanked netflix mobile for hosting Astro Boy, which kept her calm and quiet before the doctor could make it around. “Seven stitches!” he declared. And so began the fixing, cleaning, stitching up of my young daughter. She bravely sat, big blue eyes wide, and held our hands. I remembered being in her position, at six, looking up at the bright light above me, the doctor working, and the kind nurse telling me I could squeeze her hand as hard as I wanted to. We will have matching scars now, my daughter and I. (And apparently most of facebook, according to your chin-scar-stories. Thanks for taking that uniqueness away from me. I thought I was the only one with stitches on my chin. But what’s that? You only did it once? Oh, I did it THREE TIMES. That’s right. I win teh ugly chin! Take that, facebook.)


Aside from that, the family arrived, the food was prepared, the snow was thrown, the wii was used, the booze was drank. The turkey may have been dry and the green beans a bit stringy, but the cranberries were delicious and the yams were mashed by my cousin and aunt. The women gathered in the kitchen while the men talked history. The children played and spilled things and another year of memories began in our new house.

And now, let the holiday season begin.

All the things I would do differently Nov 18, 2010

#Travel#Life#Working Mom

Nobody wants to hear you wax morose about the things in your life you’d change. It’s not a very good blog post. It’s a much better bartender story. Bartenders are trained in that sort of thing: Indecision, Regret, Wondering.

The Internet as a whole, not so much.

But, oh hell, you’re getting it anyway.

I’m so busy being a “jack of all trades” that I haven’t narrowed down my one passion. I’m so.. passionate… that I haven’t figured out where to concentrate that passion on.

I’m actually, literally, A-D-D with my passion.

This is ultimately what’s wrong with telling our children they can have the world. THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER! Which, side-note, gross, right? Why not my globe or my fortress or my bitch? I digress.

We tell our children they can be anything! ANYTHING! OMG YOU CAN GO TO THE MOON.

But look, most children won’t make it to the moon so that’s a little bit of false advertising, no? YOU CAN BE PRESIDENT. Well, comon, maybe? But most likely you’ll end up a slightly over-weight middle manager at a firm who could use several more employees and a little more vacation time and a mortgage that swallows you whole.

The pessimism, it is dripping off of me.

I blame the weather.

In most respects I am an optimistic person, always thinking I can do it all! I can be great at all things! I WIN! THE ENTIRE WORLD! IT IS MINE! [evil laugh as I claim my empire] And in other respects I realize there’s no way to live up to my own expectations. It’s learning how to balance my own wants and needs with reality and that is crushing. How do we tell our children life is not a fairy tale without squishing their dream of greatness?

And how do we prevent them wondering what the hell happened in their mid thirties?

Insight? I need it.

I’m rubber, you’re glue Nov 16, 2010

#Life#Getting to know me

I never had headgear. I never had braces. I never had extreme acne. No, my Jr. High experience was flanked with sports and friends and the usual self consciousness. High school was a stable place with a boyfriend and good grades and more sports.

Gymnastics 1986
*Me in 1986. I got medals for showing up. BOOYAH.

God, I knew this would come back to bite me. I just didn’t know I’d be thirty-five.

Call me brace face, four eyes, Darth Vader. (I linked to that just in case you didn’t know who Darth Vader was. Then I realized fuck you, you know? If you don’t know who Darth Vader is, google it. Also, seriously? Where were you in 1979? Oh, not born yet? LIKELY EXCUSE.)

And you will because now? Now I get to sleep with fighter-pilot like gear on.

Oh sweet sweet Maverick-esque gear.

On the plus side, I’m having what the sleep study shows as “Rem Rebound.” Apparently my body is so excited to get to sleep that my dreams are vivid and constant. My body is plunging itself in to REM like it’s the missing opiate.

When I dream that Miranda Bailey is working at a coffee shop handing out pot while a dude in a thong rides roller blades, it’s proof that I’m really, truly, seriously on something. And it’s called Oxygen. Seriously.

So laugh all you want. Name call if you will. But dayam, people, I feel awake for the first time since 1991. Some of you weren’t even born then. But don’t tell me that.


Because I swear to you, this is a disease, man Nov 15, 2010

#Life#Getting to know me

I’ve had a package, two actually, sitting in my living room for SIX MONTHS that I need to mail. It contains time sensitive materials. They are full of clothes for my sister’s daughter, I think you call that my niece, and my good friend’s daughter.

It’s literally been six months and I doubt they will fit their children anymore.

I’ve had a check sitting in my purse for three weeks. It’s not that we don’t need the money, ohgoodlord trust me, it’s that I can’t seem to actually DEPOSIT the check. And I’ve walked by the ATM. Twice.

I really don’t know what this is about but I actually fail to be a grown up sometimes, but I’ve somehow managed to clean the dishes every night and catch up on Grey’s anatomy. I must be doing something right.

I’m so fucking tired of letting people down Nov 11, 2010

#Life#Working Mom

My son had a field trip the other day to a cabin in the woods. It’s a cabin from 1865, a simpler time, were the butter was only made because you made it yourself. The cabin was cold. (As you’d expect old cabins to be.) We pondered life in the old days and how different things are now.

A break of fresh air

Maybe it’s a sign of the times, that a single person can let down entire groups of people multiple times a day. That with twitter and facebook and social media, you can have that many more connections, that many more commitments, that many more ways to upset people. There’s not just the farm, your family, and a neighbor or two; there are thousands of people watching you tweet, hundreds asking for a “one little favor” and a dozen people wanting just ONE thing, just if you don’t mind, can you… I know you’re busy but…

I recently pared way back on any contracting opportunities. Realizing I need two things: 1) sanity and 2) to keep my promises, I’ve only taken on extra work from one location. I still work, in my off time, as a freelance developer for the tramps and god, what a great feeling when Amanda asks if I was able to get to something and I WAS! And she appreciates it! And we fist bump and grab our crotch and spit because fucking hell! Awesome.

But still, I have that ... need. The need to help people. I still want to answer questions, because they are being asked. Or to do some work for someone because I like them. But writing for other sites or helping a friend just seems to fall to the side. It’s hard to let commitments slide, to feel like you lose friends because you can’t keep up with their blogs, to not make the conferences, to begin fading in to the background simply out of survival.

“Hey, how come you haven’t…” “Why don’t you just….” “Where is my .....” “I thought you were going to…..”

I know. I KNOW. I want to. I did. I started. It’s here. It’s almost ready. It’s ....

I’m telling myself that saying NO might very well be the best thing for everyone. It’s OK to say no. Because saying ‘No’ now might prevent me saying, “I just didn’t get to it” later.

It’s not that I don’t want to. I still love you. I still want to help. I still want to be able to be here for you. To help you. To read you. To comment and be part of your network. It just saddens me that I’ve lost touch with some of my favorite of all people and I’m longing a bit for the more simple times. When blogs were where we reached out and we still had a small enough community to truly connect.  Before the children needed things, before the bills got so big, before the market crashed and you lost your largest investment and the security that went with it.

Life, it isn’t slowing down. It’s up to me to find that space, the harmony, with letting down as few people as possible. Most notably: Me.

*P.S. Thank you, Amanda, for being awesome and letting me work with you even when I sort of go a little crazy and you talk me off a tree limb yelling css selectors and psudo-code while scratching fleas off the backs of my ears. I love you for it.

** P.P.S. I’m currently on a tree limb scratching at imaginary fleas yelling code. {monkey_sound}++

On Love: AKA It’s our anniversary today Nov 10, 2010

#Life#Getting to know me#The Flinger Family

My young son sat on the log outside waiting for snack. The older kids poured out from the Kindergarten room and I see his eyes follow a little blonde girl. He stands up, runs to her and says, “I’m here, Piper!” The little girl, Piper, doesn’t hear him. She has another friend of ours talking to her and my young son is standing behind her. “Here, Piper, I’m here!” I hear Piper ask where he is and finally she hears him, the third time, and turns around. “Oh! There you are! I missed you!” She sits down and pats the seat next to her. My son sits beside her and wraps his arm around her waist and gives her a snuggle I know well.

A moment flashes and I see a time I’m not my son’s only woman. It is only a moment, as he turns to me, smiles, and says, “I wuv you, Mommy.”


Later that same day my phone rings. I answer the unfamiliar, but local, number. A little girl asks who I am. I hear her dad in the background say, “no no, sweetie, you need to say who YOU are. Ask for LB.” I smile, “Are you looking for LB?” “Yes, is LB there?” I hand my daughter the phone and listen to her squeal to her school friend in delight. They talk about school and petshops. There’s a lot of giggling and a lot of repetition but I smile realizing this is the first of many many phone calls my daughter will be receiving from fellow schoolmates. For now, it is a girl. I see a day, though, when her first boy call comes and smile, shake my head, and remember.


My young husband, 15 at the time, was outside mowing the lawn when the phone rang. His mother answers the phone not knowing who is on the line. It’s a time before caller ID, before call waiting, before google IM and chat. She doesn’t know there’s a girl on the phone, the first phone call from a girl at school she’s never heard of. She doesn’t know I’ve called two other numbers with the same last name to find this one in the phone book and that I just hung up with his Grandma a few minutes before who gave me the correct number.

“Bobby!” I hear her yell, “Bobby! It’s a girl on the phone.”

I hear a long pause and finally he answers breathlessly. It is the first of a million phone calls we’ll share over the next twenty-one years.


Today we celebrate our ninth anniversary. As I sit here watching a very young family, I see them share the children. Dad taking the older one, mom rocking the very tiny newborn. They switch when one gets restless and the other seamlessly takes over in that place rocking or entertaining. They are tired. They are young. They clearly have an unspoken ritual, they’ve done this a thousand times at home, in public, wordlessly working at a team.

I think of all the years, married and unmarried, my husband and I have worked to build that same unspoken communication. We call it our “harmony.” We’ve had times where our harmony was off but we fix it. Built on twenty-one years of phone calls, of late nights, of teary discussions and hours of laughter, we reach another small, but significant milestone in our marriage. Nine years.

It’s a drop in the bucket, we laugh. We’re not even near dead yet. I tell him I’ll run away to England or Holland and he tells me that’s fine, he’ll be on the next plane with the kids. And we laugh about it because it’s so absurd one minute and so real the next, that life flies by and lasts so long in the same moment. We shake our heads at our children growing and ponder their smallness. We do it together: as we have. For nine years. And counting.


What you’re good at and what you enjoy might be two different things Nov 08, 2010


I recently had a conversation with my president about my future in the company, career aspirations, and plans. It was a two hour conversation, a good one, but ultimately one thing he said keeps repeating over in my mind, “What you’re good at and what you enjoy might be two different things.”

The guy is deep, y’all. Deep, intelligent, and wise. And full of these little gems.

As an 18 year old fresh in college, I had a plan. It was not one my parents thought would provide enough income or direction or job opportunities. In fact, they begged me to go in to Computer Science. “THAT, Leslie, THAT is the future!” My dad has a PhD in Educational Technology, the man can program, has years of troubleshooting experience and taught me BASIC when I was 12. When his oldest daughter declared she wanted to get an Undergraduate Degree in Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in chemistry, and a graduate degree in Nutrition, he rolled his eyes. “But you? You can CODE, Leslie. That’s the future. Not ... PE and food.”

After college I searched for jobs but there was a very big shortage of anything relatively career worthy. In fact, it looked like my parents were right. I couldn’t use my degree. It was useless. I nearly cried, “I learned how to lift weights! FOR TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.”

senior pic les

Of course that’s not true, I learned a variety of chemical reactions in the body, I understand physiology, I knew every name and location of every bone. I learned every metabolic process your cells go through and I learned how muscles react under stress and rest. But while this was wonderful information, without a graduate degree, it was useless.

So I started learning web design.

Within a year, I was teaching computer applications and learning how to support computers. I went in to the tech support field. I learned more web design. I learned PHP. And, finally, I made it official by getting a masters degree, at last, in Information Technology.

This? This made my parents proud.

I always tell people I switched from Nutrition because I wanted a field that wasn’t always changing so rapidly. (HA! I laugh. I kill me.)

This path you know about, have shared with me, have watched me grow. The Interweb has been a huge part of this life, this experience. I am faced now with this single fact: I am not as good at code as I am at other pieces of business. I am not as strong at PHP as I am marketing. As my grad prof once told me, “You’re smart, you understand the logic, you can code in processes, but the syntax bogs you down and drowns your ability to produce.” That’s another one of those advice quotes that just kind of stuck.

I like code, I enjoy coding,  but I’m not as good as it as I should be.

This brings up a realm of other issues. What am I good at? Why do I like coding? And, ultimately, is there something I might be great at that I’ve completely moved away from simply because I thought I couldn’t succeed? And does this, at all, have anything to do with my.. obsession… with nutrition, alternate medicine, and sustainable food?

And if so, what does it all mean?

I’ve been watching more and more documentaries, reading more books, talking to more farmers, Natural-paths, nutritionist. I talk to them and feel a sort of connection. I recently watched Food Matters and kept muttering, “Why the fuck did I give up nutrition?” I tell this to my friend Sara, who admits she wanted to be an artist and ended up in Advertising. “We sold out” she says. “We got jobs because we needed them, we went the easy route. But if we change now, our families would suffer. We’re a little… stuck.”

But are we? Are those pieces of our passions, art, humans, interacting, sustanable living, is that independant of our technologically driven careers? And if we went in pursuit of those passions, would we end up wondering, feeling less fulfilled because we miss the fast-paced life, the producing, the online aspect of this life?

I have no idea.

This weekend I got back in to coding. Front-end coding, but coding non-the-less. I beamed at my husband when I produced the most clean HTML5/CSS3 I’ve yet produced. “See,” he smiles, “You love coding. I don’t know what you’re worried about.”

I remind him, “What you enjoy and what you’re good at may be two different things.”

He nods, I nod. We both know, without saying, that finding that thing you’re truly good at might be the hardest part of our careers yet.

Can A Family Of Four Eat Whole Organic Food Without Going To The Grocery Store? Nov 08, 2010


That’s our goal.

For the past three months we’ve primarily gone to Farmer’s Markets for our vegetables and fruits. This past weekend, I signed us up for fresh organic milk and dairy delivery. I’m also getting us ready for the CSA Box from Full Cirlcle Farms. With Bill the Butcher’s Organic Meat down the street, I’m nearly ready to say good-bye to traditional American grocery stores.

This is a process that has been in the works for six months now. And we’re almost ready.

I originally wanted to blog about our transition away from all packaged foods, processed cheeses/meats/snacks. But I noticed it was such a gradual change, it was difficult to document. One week I’d make our own granola bars to see if it was possible to get healthy snacks for the children from home. I’d experiment with drying fruits to see if I can get away from fruit leather at the store. I’d bake bread, fail, and bake another loaf.

We’re set up to have most of our food delivered straight from the farms, literally within 20 miles of our home, and meat sold down the street from local farmers. It’s been a process. But there is one more step in the process we’re still preparing for.

Our own fresh garden.

Throughout the winter we’re learning when to plant, till and harvest. We’re studying how to best prepare our garden beds. The goal is, by next summer, to suppliment our CSA box and farmer’s market trips with our own vegetables. Eventually, we’ll supply our own.

My goal now is to blog my own experiment: Can we, a family of four, eat fresh organic, whole foods without a grocery store and can we do it for under 800 dollars a month?

Follow along.

When you’re ready to begin the process, I’d like to offer a few documentaries and books to start with. Some of these are available on Netflix for streaming. Some are books you can check out of the library. You don’t have to break the bank to make wise choices, but I urge you to begin somewhere. Even if it’s whole oats instead of instant for breakfast. Trust me, every step counts.

Two of the latest inspiring and informational resources:

*Available at Netflix Streaming

FoodMatters Recipe

*Next up: An experiment. The subject? Me. Inspired by Enlighten Up! Documentary. (Also available at Netflix streaming)