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.

5-ish reasons you should follow Mrs. Flinger on twitter Aug 21, 2009

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.

An Ode to My Friend MIchelle: On Her Birthday Aug 20, 2009

#Side Notes

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.



Because sometims all programming needs is a rap Aug 20, 2009

#She's Gone Geek Again

*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
Bust it

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)

Layoffs Aug 18, 2009

#Family Life

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.


Stage 2: Inspiration Aug 16, 2009

#The Liberal Years

The continued story of how I decided to live barefoot:
Prefix: The Acorn and Me
Stage 1: Stage 1: Realization

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)

Thirty Days is a really really really long time Aug 15, 2009

#Side Notes

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!)

The Brand of Me Aug 13, 2009

#Family Life

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.

Or ovaries.

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.

Hidden (or not so much) messages of Motherhood Aug 10, 2009

#Family Life

Hidden (Or not so much) Messages from Mrs. Flinger on Vimeo.

(Sometimes I just can’t help myself)

Ellis Aug 09, 2009

#The College Angsty Years

I have a sound clip from 1997 that features my college roommates and I interviewing each other on “what we wanted to be doing in five years.” I’ve stumbled across that clip a few times since graduation, always giggling to myself and wondering if any of the other girls thought about those goals.


“I’ll probably be teaching” G stated, matter of fact.
(She was.)

“I’ll be hiking or something,” Nicole mused. (She was.)

“I’ll be servicing humans,” (insert fits of laughter here for our Human Service Major friend wasn’t kidding) Paige giggled.

“I’ll be… um…” I offered. And this is how my young adult life started.

macarana 97


We’ve since gone on to graduate school, re-educated ourselves in new areas, got professional jobs (and became a river guide), had children, and grown up. We are as different as we were back then but also just the same.


Time is a funny thing. We’re no longer the wistful young twenty-somethings fresh out of undergraduate school hoping to find love, a career, a life. We’re older, wiser, more mature (in some areas) and we no longer wistfully dream as we did twelve years ago.


Oh, but we do.

We may not pass notes to each other with poetic quotes from Thoreau or Emmerson, and we may not write in our journals at the coffee house for hours each night, and we may not even see each other but once every few months at best, but we are not so different when we are together. We are still the same stories, the same memories, a shared path. We remember things about one another that few people may even know about. We can discuss with a light heart a time in our lives that is precious and delicate. And we can watch as our children play and dance together in a new life, twelve years later, in the yard of the house I never dreamed of owning.

We are in new lives but we are still the Ellis girls. Each of us with a personality so different. I would hope this for my children, the chance to connect at such a young age with friends that remain for life; however much time may wash away and erode our minds and fill our days.


“I have learned this at least by my experiment: if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” -Thoreau

In the quest of the perfect eyebrow Aug 08, 2009

#Side Notes

I only started plucking my eyebrows in my late twenties. As in VERY late twenties. As in, I was already a mom and labeled thus, “mother plucker” my Mr. Flinger.

When it comes to beauty, I’m at a loss. Makeup? Learning how to apply that still. Hair? Well. I can blow dry! But as my friend Michelle stated in exasperation, “You don’t even have the RIGHT kind of flat iron.” I didn’t realize they went out of style. And apparently, I have an old style, the big one? With the FLAT IRON?

:: shrugs ::

Since 2004 when I started the quest for the perfect eyebrow I have done a lot of research. I’ve polled readers. I’ve goggled “how to pluck your eyebrows you stupid later bloomer.” I’ve even started a PhD in Plucking hairs (for) Dumbasses. But still, my eyebrows, they lament over their current state.


It’s becoming an illness. It’s the Eye Brow of Holy Grails. It’s the Punch to my Pickle. The Prize to my Package. The Treasure to my Chest.


So I’m asking you, please, PLEASE, help me: Do you wax? Shape? Pluck? Stick your face in to a frying pan and char? I’m so utterly unsure of shape and texture. Of pencils and brushes. Of over plucking and under arching. It’s anxiety inducing.

Almost as much as a bikini wax.