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.

The B.S. Meter Oct 25, 2010

#Life#The Flinger Family

Our kids motley crew

It’s in their genes. The minute a baby cry is heard and a man becomes a Dad, the gene “give your child a ton of shit” is activated. It’s fact, Dads all over the world will suddenly say lines like, “If you eat toothpaste, your butt will fall off.” And, “That makes hair grow on your chest.” And, “Stop it goddammit! You’ll fall through the floor!”

You might think shit my dad says is a hilarious exaggeration, but I can assure you, it’s shit every dad says.

Well, my dad, my father-in-law and my husband at least.

I don’t know about your Dad. Maybe he wasn’t an asshole. Or maybe he just didn’t train your B.S. Meter appropriately.

Once, after our daughter asked why the grass was the only area with fog in the morning, my husband looked her in the eye and said, “The grass inhales all day and only exhales at night. So in the morning you see the grass morning breath.” She looked at me, these big trusting blue eyes, wanting some reassurance. “What do you think?” I asked her. It is in this moment I flashed immediately back to my own childhood hearing my dad hand me some line of crap answer and my very own mother reply “What do you think?” I would look back at my dad who would be shaking in silent laughter gleeful at the gullibility of his young daughter.

My husband calls it the BS Meter. “Look,” he whispered one night over the dinner table after telling our children their food turns in to worms at night so if they don’t eat it, the worms will crawl up to their rooms later and poop on their bed, “They have to learn to distinguish between fact and fiction. I’m simply giving them a meter with which to gauge life’s bullshit on.”

You have to admit, it’s a good argument.

So while my trusting adorable children may think the Tooth Fairy totally dropped the ball on hitting our house because, “It was windy and her wings are made of paper mâché, and honey, paper mâché just doesn’t stand up to that kind of gust,” at least in a few years she’ll be able to look some person in the eye and aptly call bullshit on them.

That’s our hope, anyway.

Six. My daughter turned six on Sunday Oct 18, 2010

#Life#The Flinger Family

Baby L

My daughter was born after 24 hours of labor, both of us struggling to bring her in to this world. I posted photos via moblog in 2004 to update a small and friendly community waiting her birth. They read the day I went back to the hospital sick with infection and read my struggles of post partum depression.

A million years ago, it seems. Or, exactly, six.

FIve Days

She’s grown up like this site, in conjunction, both of us changing, growing, learning.

Today she is six

She’s the fun one at school. The welcoming one. The one without a clue anyone would think badly about her.

She’s moody and sometimes aloof. She’s independent and sole-full. She is kind to her brother, taking care of him in ways he flourishes under. She competes with us telling us she loves us more than. More than the biggest tree, more than the shiniest start, more than the longest song.

She is like her mother. She is so very much like her mother that sometimes her mother forgets why she won’t listen.


She draws in abundance: Rainbows and Hearts and Family and Love and Puppies. She is pure and shiny and loving. Knowing her brings back to mind a swirl of quotes from a pre-child life. “The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born. ....Your life, as you know it… is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk… and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.” -Lost in Translation.

To my daughter, one of the most delightful people I have ever met in my life. I love you. Bigger than the Milky Way, Bigger than the Galaxy, Bigger than you know.

It’s a coupon, don’t kill me, but I do like coffee Oct 15, 2010

I don’t normally post coupons and things like that but this deal was a good one. I’m probably going to do this myself.

Here is what came to me:

Try 2 half pound Boxes of Gevalia Kaffe and get a stainless steel coffeemaker, stainless steel Coffee Carafe and stainless steel tumbler FREE. $168 value, Delivered to your home for $22.95! All Yours to Keep with no further obligation, just for beginning a Gevalia Membership.

And y’all? I have to tell you, I’m ALMOST OUT OF COFFEE. And yes, it’s an affiliate link and while I do appreciate that, I’m not only a pusher of caffeinated beverages, I’m also a consumer*.

*Just hair club for men? Anyone?

It’s a three step process: Step 1: Fix. Step 2: It. Step 3: FIXIT. Oct 14, 2010

#Life#Working Mom

I remember when email was new. I remember writing to a friend the summer before my senior year of college, using PINE. When we met again on campus, I blurted out, “OMG! You’re not just ASCII!” (I’ve been a geek for a very long time.)

Over the years of blogging and communicating via “social media” and other online forums, it becomes apparent we sometimes forget we’re not just talking to computers. I know early on, I personally made that mistake with a snarky comment not stopping to remember there’s an actual human on the other side of the screen. Teaching online classes at a university taught me how open students will be, for better or worse, when you’re not sitting across from them face to face. We see this over and over again, and some people even shut off their truth to protect themselves from the onslot of criticism.

My job includes an online community filled with wonderful people. People who care enough to provide feedback in a respectful way. And I appreciate that. We all do. But there are times people forget we’re talking about humans sitting at a computer reading this feedback, taking the feedback to heart, and trying to come up with an action plan to fix it.

(My favorite SNL skit EVER is “FIXIT” and I hear myself saying this at work right now. “You take a problem, you take another problem, and then you FIXIT. Repeat until it’s ALL FIXED.”)

It’s about this time a friend reaches out and asks how I am. We talk and end up sharing stories of our children. “What *IS* it with night time? They NEVER GO TO SLEEP.” “I know? What IS that?” “The multiple trips to the toilet for no reason only to piss me off really gets me. And when I call them on it, they poop just to prove me wrong. I swear it’s at will.” “MINE DO THAT TOO.”

So while I take my job very seriously, and I hurt for the frustrations the community feels and I plan to FIXIT, I am also reminded I’m a human, a wife, a mother, a friend. All it takes is a little parenting camaraderie to remember the world outside of my computer, and the two little reasons I do this at all.


Because this is a blog and I’m hungry Oct 12, 2010

#Fitness#Weght Loss and Body Image

I’ve started a Liver Cleanse using this PaleoCleanse powder. Instructed by my Natural Path (I’m as hip as someone in California with a shrink and a personal yoga teacher ten years ago) I’m only eating veggies and having two of these here smoothies a day.

Smoothie is a stretch, actually. Thick, pasty goo with a hint of grainy sand is more like it.

MmMMMM Sand.

I sat there, in my doctor’s office, after a week of drinking and carousing with men who can hold their liquor sixteen times better than I can, nodding in agreement when she suggested this liver cleanse. “Your cholesterol is a concern” she reminded me. I nodded again. “It will be intense but it’s really good for your body.” I nodded again. “If you get stuck you can email me, I have another patient on it right now and she just emailed me, on her Day #2, saying she was DYING.” We both laugh. HAHAHA.


The joke is TOTALLY ON ME.

It’s Day #2 and Internet: I AM DYING.

My liver, my body, it is rebelling. MUST. HAVE. COFFEE. My brain is fuzzy. My synapsis forgot how to work. If it wasn’t so pathetic, I’d email my doctor telling her I’m hungry. I AM HUNGRY.

Hangon, I’ll go grab another tantalizing dish of greens, tomatoes and cucumber.


Out of love and respect and a little bit pressure and threats, Mr. Flinger is also doing this cleanse with me. It is somewhat comforting to look in his eyes and see his pupils dilating in to a turkey. Sort of like the cartoons when Elmer Fudd looks at the “Wabbit” and sees his dinner cooked and ready? Like that. Complete with the chasing of food in my dreams.

We walked around last night, together, in a state of haze. We went to bed with the children. We gobbled up our morning protein shake and laughed at our own ridiculousness. “It’s Day #2” we chortle.

Day #2 and I have to say, this headache is a bitch. I really think my liver will be just fine without all this effort. Someone pass me a cappuccino.

No, don’t, I’m stronger than that.

No I’m not, get me some coffee.

I know some of you have done this whole Paleo Diet thing. HOW THE HELL, PEOPLE. All of you who are strong, athletic, lean people that I look at and say, “I’d do ANYTHING to look like her.” Well, I’m lying.


Lessons I learned while traversing the world {Part 1: Holland} Oct 10, 2010

#Life#Best Of

Look, I get it. I was gone an entire 7 days. I’ve done Europe a total of three weeks in my life and I’ve only been in places where the water is drinkable and people mainly know English, even if they refuse to let on to that fact.

So when I say “World” here, I mean my very tiny portion of exploration. “World” is relative.

Traditionally I’ve enjoyed often moving locations, lands, homes. The year I spent back in Houston as an adult, taught me the value of community. My lesson that year showed me however much I hated living in the flat, humid land, I still met enough people to miss. I felt nearly grateful for this fact: A place is made up primarily of the people who occupy it.

It is in this vein I travel and recount my stories accordingly.

It’s been said a thousand times, but finding your tribe, your people, is critical. I believe there is a tribe for each of your personas. The people at EECI are my tribe. They are my geeky, hilarious, nerdly, drunk tribe. And I can not tell you how much I adore them all.

Like brothers.

Brothers who buy you beer.


*Leevi Graham helps code while Low looks on.

EECI 2010

These people are giving, smart, and kind. They are funny, sarcastic, and punchy. These are my kind of people. We can talk families, code, business. We can laugh loudly and sing even more so. And the next day we can sit down and problem solve as a team.

If only we saw each other daily, what a productive team we would be. Or a very very drunk one, I’m not sure.

When asked “What do you want to be when you grow up, little lady?” I never would have said, “I’d like to market a small company and an amazing software product that enables people to publish on the web!”

I think I said I wanted to be a ballerina.

My what a long way I’ve come.



The magic, it is there. After hours, well in to the night, we find a space to share bits of ourselves the sunlight doesn’t see. We share stories of children and dreams and business and goals.

Maybe we even cry for a minute, just a minute, because we’re safe.

It’s not unlike other conferences people with similar interests attend. It’s just that this is our space, the unique space of code and logic and sarcastic joy. It’s un-commercialized, it’s raw, it’s pure. It’s real, still.

I love its realness.


Fans and Figures share notes of success. There is no clique one better than another. We help each other push forward in our careers.

I wish the mom community could do the same, asking nothing in return except the joy of knowing you were part of something bigger than yourself.


*Amazing people in the same room: Veerle and Geert, Greg Wood of Erskine, and Kenny Meyers.

So, then, what did I learn while traveling? What did I come to think of about Holland?

It’s more than the realization that the world truly is smaller than we think. It is more than knowing the food is better, the culture is open, the bikes are abundant. No, it is much more than celebrating the 3 October with a motley crew of nerds.


It is a sense of home. That… that is what I learned this year in Leiden, a town I’ve spent a total of five days in. Because these nerds are my home, however cheesy that makes me.

**Totally related: I’m doing a liver cleanse as mandated by my Doc starting tomorrow. Care to witness the thrashing of teeth and gnawing of cuss words? Veggies and a protein shake only for ten days. The price I pay for good beer. Totally. Worth. It.

Eating Europe Oct 08, 2010


In the past few months, I’ve painstakingly removed most processed food from our home and slowly moved my food purchases to the Farmer’s Markets and local butchers. Costco is no longer our grocery store, as I refuse to purchase anything with a shelf life longer than a week.

This is incovienent, true. But as we’ve discussed, good clean whole food is not only dirty, it is work.

Our ancestors lived this truth. Why should we ignore it?

Each time I travel to Europe, I lose weight while eating an abundance of wonderful food.  I’ve recently spent a week eating like a princess. The food, the markets, the coffee, the beer. BY GOD Europe is a lush place for a woman who is a food hippie. The chicken is all range free. The milk is all hormone free. The eggs, the bread, the chocolate. Everything is without excessive sugar or salt or processed this-and-that.

I came home yesterday in a furry to completely change how my family views meals. I’ve prepared home-cooked muffins, eggs, soup, salad. My children are not allowed processed peanut butter already, but I have new resolve to prevent anything but freshly crushed peanuts on their traditional “PB&J” sandwiches. I’m even making my own Jam now.

I have a passion for food that I can not explain. It’s not just food as a source of nourishment, but as a perceived enemy of America’s women and a death sentence to dieters. As a college undergraduate, I studied nutrition like it was a drug. I’m not only informed by reading books such as Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, Food Rules, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, but I recently began reading The End of Overeating which backs up this thinking with scientific facts.

It only takes three hours to watch Killer at Large: Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat and Food Inc. to change your entire lifestyle. I promise you will never step foot in a traditional American grocery store again.

So why do we allow our food to be processed, modified, faked and packaged?

And how do we rebel against that?

As bloggers we have a special influence. It can be used for good or evil, but we have a voice now. Collectively, we’re able to make changes and see progress in a very new-age and real-world way. If ever you think of not blogging, simply find a cause you have a passion about and rekindle your spirit. It is with that tone that I am posting here now: I will not let America capitalize our food.

I will not participate in such radical food dogma.

I will not eat industrialized food.

I will not participate in practices that threaten my daughter to mature in to puberty at the age of 8.

And I will not be quiet about it.

It’s not only weight gain, the threat of high cholesterol (which I currently have) or type II diabetes (which my father has and I am predisposed for), but the now real concern that my nearly six year old daughter could begin to menstruate in three years. Three years. Neither she nor I are ready for this.

According to TIME magazine’s article on the topic:

“The theory that has the broadest support among scientists holds that early puberty is somehow tied up with a much more familiar phenomenon: weight gain . ... higher levels of insulin appear to stimulate the production of sex hormones from the ovary and the adrenal gland.”
Read more.

The introduction of TV dinners, the microwave, and convenience. We are slowly tracing these “wonderful inventions” to a slew of consequences nobody could predict. Unfortunately, too many Americans are living in denial or ignorance. I will not be one.

Last week I studied my host in Germany as she prepared meals. I went to the markets with her. I asked questions about their methods for growing and providing food. I did the same in Holland and England years before. I’ve started a repertoire of recipes, of habits and expectations. But I still want to travel to Europe and study the culture even further, to learn to cook like the French, to expand my attitudes toward health and wellness. As an exercised and diet crazed country, we have nothing to show for it.

Perhaps it is time to learn from our brothers and sisters living a better lifestyle. Perhaps it’s time to Eat Europe.

Join along with me if you’d like. My goal here? To present a way of living Europe while being in America. Starting now.

**Recommended reading:

omnivours delimma

in defense of food

Food Rules

End of Overeating

teens too soon

PhD In Parenting


Chocolate and Zuchini

Recommended viewing:

Killer at Large

Food Inc

The One Where I AM In Germany Oct 05, 2010


I can’t begin to explain how much fun I’ve had here in Germany. There are no words.

It’s a home away from home that I’ve known intimately, not in any small part to my hosts Betty and Christoph. It it without hesitation that I can confess this has been the best possible experience I could have hoped for. Germany, a home I am familiar with in ways I could not have touched until this very moment in my life.

Today as Betty and I sat at the Hotel Schloss Berg, we practiced my German. I said, over and over and over, “I would like Mint Tea with Rum, Please.” “Ich Hata Gerne Ienen Tee Mit Rum.” I noticed a very handsome man two tables away laughing. “I think he’s laughing at me!” I confide. Indeed, a second later, he says, “Your German is quite good.” I laugh. “Oh?” “Well, the Age makes it difficult.”


He and Betty both laugh heartily. “THE ‘AITCH’ THE ‘H” makes it difficult!” Betty laughs. I blush. OH! I say. “Donka?”

We have a good laugh and are both corrected with our German. He smiled kindly as another group sits between us and an old couple talks a casual German between friends. Betty and I speak English most of the time but turn to analyze the German conversation at random intervals.

I learn German. I fucking learn German. In two days, I am learning German.

I am complete.

The Clock Game

Betty tells me it is the space of my brain programmed from childhood. I know pieces of Germany from in the womb or unconsciously, as a young child. I recognize the Glockenspiel, I climb St. Paul’s Tower, I see the same German ornaments I have hanging on my tree since I was a baby. It’s not unfamiliar, this world. It is a cross between Seattle and a life-time ago, a childhood of German stories and tales.

I am not unhappy to be returning home in the morning, but I am not unsure I will return. In fact, I can say with a level of certainty, I will be back. And I will speak in German. A tongue nearly as native as my own.

If I can find it.



The One Where I am In Holland Oct 03, 2010


I’m sitting at a table in the train station I should’ve have been in. Rerouted from Leiden - Munich through Utrech. If this sounds like Greek to you, it sounds like Dutch to me.

I do not know Dutch.

I’m a fevery, sore throat, flu-like mess. Navigating additional stops and go on the train to see Betty. Feeling a bit like a lame American who only speaks English and one word of Dutch. And while it’s a very useful word (“met” means “with”) it’s not helpful to walk around like Beaker going, “MET MET MET MET”

In twenty minutes I’m on a train and then another train and then another and finally a fourth train that will arrive in Munchen at 17:34. I have learned so much this trip so far, have bonded even more with some of the amazing people of ExpressionEngine’s top developers, and learned one very glaring truth: I am not as young as I used to be.


I hear them calling my train. I think. I have no idea. But I swear the guy just said “Chicken.” Hu.

I will never judge someone drinking a single malt at 10 AM at gate S9 ever again Sep 28, 2010

#Travel#Life#Working Mom

I admit, I noticed her coffee mug first. I don’t know why, it was a perfectly normal coffee mug. Perhaps it was the size of it (Good for water, I thought) or the way it slanted in the pouch of her backpack (Must be empty, I considered). These are the types of thoughts my mind created to keep me from tearing up. I didn’t want to think about leaving my crying preschooler again. I didn’t want to think about him sobbing and yelling, “I WANT TO GO WIFF YOU!” with his scratchy, sore throat in a fever fit. I didn’t want the Mommy Guilt to hijack my mind. “You are a shitty mother, a selfish mother, a fucking god-awful mother.” So instead, I looked at her coffee cup.

At some point I realized I was staring at her. The train whizzed through a tunnel and I saw my reflection. I was staring. I caught myself and looked up to see if she noticed. That’s when I saw her crying. She wiped her nose with a tissue and exhaled steadily. Her eyes were puffy. She made no eye-contact. She did not give any indication she knew I was watching her.

The girl across from me, though, did.

I caught her eye and smiled shyly. She nodded a small hello and we swayed with the train’s deceleration. I took a deep breath and walked toward the gate holding the plan to a trip I’ve waiting thirty years to take. Thirty years. Well beyond the moment I could imagine having a son bawling and clawing for me.

I had no idea how much that moment would hurt.

Just an hour or so earlier, I was dropped off by my family at Departures. My son is ill, most likely Strep, and isn’t feeling well. The thing he wants right now, more than anything in the world, is me. ME. The one person who is leaving for a week.

I let him get out of his car seat to give me a proper hug. He clung to me. He cried fat tears of anger and sadness. His nose ran until it landed on my shoulder. “I WANT TO GO WIFF YOU!! I WANT TO GO WIFF YOU!”

I looked up in desperation at my husband, my own tears stinging my eyes. I was helpless. “Maybe he can go to baggage drop off with me while you park? Maybe I can wait on this side if security isn’t horrible? Maybe I can call you in thirty minutes? Maybe..” I grasped at straws. “No,” he sighed, “It’s going to be the same whenever you go.” And like a bandaid, he took him from me, placed him in his car seat and started to pull away.

So it’s not that I was judging the lady with the tears on the train, or the man sipping a whisky at 10AM. In fact, to me, my world right now, I’ve been up since 4AM, it’s effectively late lunch time, my son just broke my heart and, although I’m not, I could really go for a single malt right about now.

Viva Las Amsterdam.  It is time to board.

**update, Mr. Flinger bribed with some ice cream and they went to watch the trains together downtown. I’ve received confirmation that the boy is still alive and happy even though I am not physically there. THANK GOD. Now I’ll take that single malt.