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 “DOG SPIRIT” Oct 25, 2012
I wrote this super cheesy post back in 2003 about how I thought I had the “Dog Spirit.” You know the one where a pregnant 28 year old fanes poetic about her free spirit that is about to be leashed to years of diapers and saying, “Do Not Take Off Your Clothes In Public.” (I assume this includes the teenage and college years.)
It’s not a new theme in my life: Traveling. It’s not something that just sort of showed up one day in my head where I said, “HEY! Let’s go somewhere!” No, the more I analyze (and by god I analyze) my desire, nay, need to get off the continent as frequently as possible, I realize it started early in my childhood, right down to how poorly I do travel and how often I crave it.
I remember my first solo plane ride. I was seven? Eight? (Mom, help me out here.) I went to Dallas (from Houston Hobby) to visit some family friends. I was going to see a girl of my dad’s best friend, someone that I got along well with. I remember being freaked out, not that I was traveling on a plane alone or hundreds of miles from my family, but who I might be seated next to. I still have this same anxiety today.
Anyway, my mom sent me some mail that arrived during my stay. I remember starting to miss her and I remember getting the letter. Judy handed me something and said, “This is from your mom. Arrived in the mail today.” I have no idea what the note said, something of insignificance, but at the end my Mom signed it, “Love ya, Mom.”
I remember that sign off. THAT is the thing I remember from that letter. The casual “Love Ya” after a note that smelled like home. I remember crying at that note and I remember Judy (and her daughter Heather, my friend) wondering why I kept reading it if I was just going to cry. But clearly they didn’t really know me yet.
This is what I think of now when I travel. There are two truths to my travels: 1. I am the mother now and send the “love ya’s” to my children to their email boxes which utterly blows my seven year old mind and 2. I’ve been traveling for a very very very long time.
Thus, and so, in conclusion, and such, I can picture myself at seven, or twenty-seven, going somewhere, anywhere, with my head out the window and my spirit soaring. My dog spirit, as I wrote, is still very much alive; two children and eleven ten years later.
Live in the pause. Or, hello, I’m in London. Or, crying over eggs is cool. Sep 27, 2012
Hello! Salutations! How are you, anyhow?
It’s been a while and I’ve missed you all.
I’m in England this week. It’s funny, in a “I guess you had to be there” sort of way, but I spoke up to the Taxi Driver this morning in a British accent without realizing it. In fact, I accidentally spelled REALISING it just now until spell check let me know I’m a bloody american.
Acclimation is my middle name.
(Look, I’m already using words with more than two syllables! And correctly pronouncing my adverbs! And spelling favourite with a flamboyant ‘u’! And over-using exclamations! Right, I said Acclimation, not Exclamation.)
I’m sitting in an office with people whos’ faces I recognize from business meetings. I’m getting IMs from my colleagues in Germany. I’m down right full of myself with near-accomplished-pride until I cry at breakfast because MYGODIAMSOBLOODYTIRED.
In truth, I do not travel well, although I love it more than a fabulous cup’o'tea or a chocolate eclair. Or even french wine.
There are at least 501 places I want to visit before I am too old to sleep on cruddy hotel pillows or navigate the tube or sit on long flights without getting an embolism. Five-hundred-and-one, y’all. I’m not even kidding: I’ve counted.
The truth is, while I write love notes about countries or experiences or amazing-technologically-advanced-doors, there is not at least one time I do not break down in tears over something as ridiculous as rubbery eggs, because my heavens a girl can only travel so much in three days on no sleep without some sort of nervous breakdown….. Over eggs.
At least the palace was especially lovely yesterday. As was that English beer. And the bridge. And that lovely meal.. and the people .. and …….
See? I’m doing it already.
(I’ll post some photos later as I am on a tight deadline and I’ve already taken an entire FOUR AND A HALF MINUTES to write this post and I’m fairly sure it will take another thirty seconds or so to hit publish.)
(Once I stop typing.)
(I heard the quote, “Live in the pause” on a podcast just now and decided I should take five and a half minutes to write down something about my day. And I picked the rubbery eggs story? I swear I’ll do better tomorrow.)
(But seriously, y’all. Rubber bloody scrambled eggs. Seriously! I should write a letter.)
Firsts and lasts Sep 04, 2012
I always heard moms talk about their school aged kids. School aged! My god they seemed so old.
Until today when I watched my 6 month old and his 3 year old sister get on a bus for school.
No, I swear. Isn’t he still 6 months old? Isn’t she still the feisty three year old that coined the term, “You think two was terrible, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
The thing is: You all think the same thing, don’t you. I know I do when I see your children climbing on to busses. “Wasn’t he just a preemie? Wasn’t her mom just pregnant with her? OHMYGOD where has the time gone?’
This is an occupational hazard of blogging for 7, no, NINE years? What the hell, people. Did we even have blogs in 2003? Oh, yes we did mothercrackers. We did.
Anyway, my needless reminiscing aside, you’ve been here through the pregnancy of my first, the postpartum depression, the miscarriages, the early birth of the second, the NICU, and the pleasantly dull but life-altering years after. And now? Now they are, what did you call it? School aged. Yes. That.
*She thought he was just another one of her dolls *
*I think just after this picture she pinched his nose to make sure he was still breathing. Or some other reason that I can’t remember that probably had to do with nothing about noses at all. *
*Of course I did.*
*The Bigger One starting pre-school. Just the first in a long line of “holycrap my baby is going to [fill in year here]” *
*Another shot of the two of them shortly before one of them began screaming for something or other. I forget. *
*This is what I saw looking out of the bus window at me. THIS KID. Gah. *
*Gravity is so last year. Incidentally, we do this a lot to our children. Apparently. *
*LB goes to Kindergarten. Gah. Gah. *
*LB goes to first and O goes to preschool. Tripple Gah.*
*Watching his sister get on the bus he asks, “do they have seatbelts?” He’s quite concerned about this.*
*portrait of a second-grader *
*WHO THE HELL ARE THESE CHILDREN?! See also: holycrap. See also: GAH GAH GAHHHH. See also: Kindergarten and Third. THIRD PEOPLE.*
I didn’t cry once, not a single tear, until the bus driver turned to me after my baby got on the bus and turns to be through the window with a thumbs up, “We got him.”
And then I bawled. Choking-type cries. The type that comes from the toes of your heart. The kind that you’d mock if it was anyone else but you.
So they went to school together. In the careful care of his older sister, my children took their first real step away from home today in a most literal and figurative sense. I saw my baby get on the bus with his sister, and the memories of photos and time and snapshots of life flashed before me. Didn’t we just bring them home a few days ago? I’m so cliche it hurts.
*Go forth, little dude. Go forth **
*Thanks to Greg for the analogy*
50 Shades of Seattle Aug 29, 2012
“Oh, you’re from Seattle? You’re so lucky!”
This is coming from the Delta ticketing agent in Detroit. It’s been raining for weeks and it’s the end of June.
“Yes, I suppose, why?”
“Have you ever read fifty shades of Gray? Christian is from Seattle!”
I roll my eyes and try to be patient when I explain, in very slow words, “He. Is. Not. Real.”
Someone asked me once if I’d ever been to Forks. You know, where the Vampires live?
I usually reply with something not-at-all snarky like, “no, generally I hang with werewolves.”
Endings and Beginnings Aug 27, 2012
Friday was our last day at the pre-school we’ve been attending for five years. No, our child hasn’t failed pre-school four years running. This school provide pre-K from 3-5 and Kindergarten for 6 yr olds. Both of our children have been at this school.
There are other families in the same boat and I see them at the little concerts and plays. They watch their children with a camera and compare the same production to the previous four. There are four of us families, no, five, and our children have grown up together. And Friday was the very last day we will go to this school.
I picked this school one day, which I remember vividly, when my daughter was two. We were looking at options because I was going to drive her to Canada and drop her off to live with a flock of geese and she was going to write terrible poetry about me to her therapist in a few years if we didn’t find a solution to our “situation.”
That “situation” was that I thought I could do the whole “stay at home” good mom thing and turns out, at six months pregnant with my second, I was deep in to “no way in hellfire.” It turns out I probably could have stuck it out and managed somewhat (as this video proved) but I had already reached out to this preschool on that dreadful day of desperation.
I won’t tell you the details of the tens of schools we visited, but I will tell you that this one school we went, set in a small farm house, was “the one.” They always say you’ll just know and we both knew. The teacher was my savior that day. The school was a perfect fit. The acre of outdoor play would possibly fulfill my daughter’s energy requirements after living in our tiny condo.
It fit us all. And it fit other families a lot like us. So we’ve made friends at this school, invited other friends to join the school, visited at every mother-living-hour-long concert/production (with video!). My children have best friends from this school and I do as well. In a small, but significant way, this school really did save us. It gave me hope on that one hopeless day in the trenches of a two year old with a pregnant belly. It continued to nurture our family as the children grew in to actual people. And then, Friday, we said good-bye.
I think I’m more choked up about this then the fact my youngest is about to start Kindergarten at public school next week.
No, wait. That kills me, too.
Though the Truth May Vary Aug 20, 2012
We are watching our parents age. Haven’t they always been the same age? So why are they deteriorating before our eyes now? Why do phone calls include doctor results and stories from forever ago? Of regret? Of routine?
When did I become the mom and for the love of god please tell the children their real mother is coming home soon.
Who owns this house? The big one with the barn and the garden overgrown with weeds and the busted old chicken coupe? Not us, not me, no way.
I’ve been listening to stories through music. They’re called lyrics. Maybe you pay attention to them or maybe, like most people I talk to, you just hum along and think, “what a lovely tune.”
While I will not claim to be magically artistic, there’s a huge chunk of my left brain that gets a little melancholy for the arts; music, poetry, a really good travel book. So when a tune catches my ear, the first thing I do is look up the lyrics. (In the old days we used to look on the tape covers. ON PAPER. Or in the really old days, when yours truly was coming of age, we looked on the back of the VINYL covers. Dear god but we did.)
This nice little diddy is as depressing as an Indy Documentary. I love the tune but oh, did it spark some reflection from somewhere deep within.
I’m reminded of seasons; of change, of constant shifting. I was 12 the first time I asked my mother about letting my childhood best friend go. “Friends are always flowing in and out of your life, hon.” I didn’t like it. Not one bit. And without sounding too Dr. Seusian, I did sit down and write a poem in my journal.
I’ve been melancholy for a very long time.
I’m reminded that I am not the person I was when I was 12, although there are pieces of her inside. She is more like the foundation buried under all these other years of wear and wisdom. But I am also reminded that we can get lost to ourselves. I remember an old boss, years ago, talking about his divorce. “We just lived our lives on this road and one day we turned around and said, ‘Who are you?’” I was 25 and a young professional at the time I heard this. Eleven years can be a long trek and suddenly I woke up and looked in the mirror one day and asked, “Who are you?”
My person will morph over time like those friends my Mom said would float in and out of life. I will be a version of myself, a friend, and then another and another. Over time I will be a variety of people; the business woman, the mother, the self-assured granny, the meek and uncertain college girl, the housewife, the feminist.
We all lose ourselves to time. “Time is but a stream I go a-fishing in.” - Thoreau.
In some ways I am both parts, she who is scared and lost and he who is standing by her side. I am both reaching out for a hand and offering one to myself. Former versions of me are there and future versions are waiting patiently. I am the only one who can find my way.
“Though the truth may vary, this ship will carry our bodies safely to shore.” - Of Monsters and Men.
Postcards Aug 15, 2012
Some kids collect stamps. I don’t know who these kids are but I think they’re all about 102 nowadays. When I was a kid, way back in the early eighties, I collected cabbage patch kids.
Somewhere around puberty I switched from wrinkly-butt dolls to postcards. I think this is where the first parts of who I am today began to show. This was the very beginning of a small fire that would grow steadily over the years.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” ― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It
My Uncle travelled a lot for work. He went to exotic places like: Turkey! and Istanbul! and Egypt! I asked him to send me a postcard from every place he visited. I hold these postcards sacredly in a book marked, “Places I Will Go.”
I have made it to, possibly, two fistfuls of those places.
“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” ― Mary Anne Radmacher
In college I sat on the floor in the house of girls I lived with reading the Atlas. Some college kids read the paper, others read their text-books. Back before the Internet was in every house, we used to read things on paper. PAPER, y’all. Remember paper? Anyway, we would be gathered in the living room, the four of us, each doing something different. Nearly always I would be the one spread on the floor with some sort of map, planning a lifetime’s worth of travels.
My roommate was also a traveling soul. She braved Europe just after college in the traditional “Backpack Across Europe” tour that every 22 year old should go on. I did not join her, though I ached to do so. I made a vow to myself that I would travel all of Europe when I had the money. The money was always the next corner away. “When I get this job.. when I pay off this debt.. when I own my car.. when the baby is older…” In essence, Life got in the way of Living.
The summer I did not take the Europe trip, I made a necklace of hemp (GO GO HIPPIE!) and placed a single charm on it: A globe. I wore this necklace until it frayed. Six years it stayed around my neck cultivating a nervous habit of spinning the globe subconsciously. I remember someone asking me once at my third summer beyond “that one that was not Europe” what my globe meant. “It’s a reminder,” I said twisting it in a circle, “that I will travel the world.”
We’ve talked about this “giving up of yourself for the good of now.” It’s been the topic of conversation for many years. I know Laura Ingram would say this. I know Billy Graham would. I know someone might write a song about it. Maybe they did.
I’ve said before that once you become a mother, your own personal aspirations need to be set aside. And I’ve done this. I’m proud to have done so. But a new way of thinking is bubbling and I’m wondering if maybe, maybe maybe, children can grow and flourish in my own happiness. That maybe, maybe maybe, the children can be just as excited about going to Germany as I am, or to England or Holland or Bhutan. And maybe, maybe maybe, if I’m in a place of happiness and not feeling like I’ve placed my own self on a shelf, maybe (maybe? maybe?) the children will grow in to that happiness. Perhaps, even, if I dare to say so, the children will cultivate an appreciation for how hard it is to find that happiness and when you find it, and I hope they find it, how necessary it is to grasp it with both hands and never let it go. My hope for them, if I can dare to dream, is to never have the need to spin the globe of wishes.
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
The forgotten ones Aug 07, 2012
“Don’t let them see me!” “Does the door lock?” “Don’t let anyone in.”
My son has yelled this in anxiety during many many wardrobe changes. He wears a rash guard in the pool so nobody can see his “boobies.” He hides his tummy from close friends because, “They will laugh at me.”
I do not know where he gets this stuff.
We’re not overly sensitive about nudity at our house. The children have grown up talking to me while I get dressed, asking questions about my body and me willingly answering. I started the “private parts are yours” discussion so early on, it would just be part of their knowledge and never an actual subject to discuss. The children shower together, brother and sister, and we figure they’ll let us know when it’s too weird to do so. I realize this could be any day now. And I’m ready for it. I’m ok with it.
But why my son is so worried about people laughing at his body, I don’t know. We don’t laugh at him. I ask him who does and he says, “nobody but they might.”
Granted, as a middle-class-woman of white-skinny-bitches age, I have plenty of my own body issues. Sure, I obsess and count calories (sometimes) and workout (used to) and try to eat well (most days.) And sure I beat myself up about this as often as a 17 year old thinks about sex. But why on earth would my five year old son ask me if his legs are fat? I don’t say a single thing to him about my body. I try, purposefully, to shield the children from any negative body image talk. I’m hyper sensitive to this fact.
So why the troubled five year old boy wondering if people will think he’s legs are fat or his belly is big or laugh at him with his shirt off?
He. Is. FIVE.
And this has been going on for at least a year or more.
We focus so often on our daughters. We worry about their body image. We try to tell them to be healthy and not worry about their body. “You can be so many sizes and still be ok,” I’ve always said to my young daughter. She’s tall, lanky, skinny, and ridiculously pretty. (And I’m not just being biased here.) She’s blessed with the features of “where the hell did you come from” and “you resemble Jennifer Anniston but your hair isn’t colored.” In the summer she is a golden brown, healthy, happy, thin, strong, blonde hair blue eyed girl.
I envy her some days. Ok, most days. Also, though, I am proud of my body for producing something so lovely because I know I’ve spent ages wondering what it was doing to me.
But my son, my wonderfully strong, agile, healthy, golden son is asking if his legs are fat? My brain wasn’t ready for that.
Suddenly it’s not just our daughters but also our sons. Suddenly I am telling them both how to have a healthy life: eat well and move your body and you won’t have to worry. Take care of your body because it’s the only one you’ll have. Treat yourself kindly because you have to haul yourself around for the rest of your life.
Sometimes I take my own advice.
I hope they take my advice so much more often.
This is the focus now. My children tell me how many grams of sugar is in their decision and they tell me if they haven’t moved enough today. My son is stupidly talented at ball sports (also: not from my genes) and runs faster than most children in his school. One day we’ll have a hard conversation about not being the most agile. One day we’ll have a hard discussion about not begin the fastest basketball player. One day we’ll talk about the missed pitches, the tackle, the fumble, the missed three point shot.
But for now, I do what I can, and that is this: Move. Eat Well. Love your family and friends. Get enough sleep. Drink enough water. Tell those whom you love that you do so and treat yourself well. And one day, no, every day, you will be thankful you did.
M-EE-Tup Best(ish) practices Jul 25, 2012
So I’m talking tomorrow night at the inaugural meeting for the EE Seattle Meet Up. And, if you follow me on twitter, you’ll realize I’ve been doing nothing but coding-OMG-coding-HEADBANG for weeks now.This is also why you see a distinct lack of conversation about the latest Bachelorette (TEAM JEFF) or why all the freakin’ adorable stories of my children remain largely untold. Not to worry, I promise to bring up a variety of daily babble soon enough.
In the mean time, I have a confession: I’m speaking on the “Best (some # here) Tips for a Friendly Back-End in ExpressionEngine” and I’m not sure I’m qualified to give BEST TIPS. I mean, sure, after 8 years of working with EE I have some good tips. I have some experiences that I can share that I’ve learnt from. But BEST TIPS?
Dang, yo, that’s a lot of pressure.
So I’m doing what I do: Asking the community to offer YOUR best tips. See, I learnt in graduate school that you can never ever ever definitively make a statement unless you have researched the bejewels out of it. So in order for me to make a statement like “BEST TIPS” I need to do some research.
Consider yourself my subject.
What do you consider best practices for helping your back-end administrator or your website built with EE? Do you use any plugins or go all native? Do you have strong opinions about what tools should be available?
I spoke about this (a bit) last week on the EE podcast but I’d like to get a wider perspective than just re-peating my own blahblahblah. So if you have any tips, I’d gladly include them in my talk. Oh, and give me your twitter handle for credit.
And, just for those of you who don’t give a bunny’s ear about code: LOOK! TEH KUTZ!
KITTIES IN CUPS.
A bit o’ house cleanin’ and a new design Jul 16, 2012
This is wildly late in coming but I’ve update this site. In between children and life and work and events and family and maybe squeezing in one or two days of yoga a week ... you know the story, I started this revamp about six months ago and finally, slowly, painfully finished it.
I know we tend not to blog as much these days now that twitter is built in to our OS and Facebook includes our dog, our parents and our dog’s parents, but I hope to keep updating this space with writing, code, tales of travel or discovery. That last bit didn’t make the cut in the header but it’s valuable non-the-less and a process and result of the other three.
I also plan to give full run-on sentences in mass quantities. There’s something else to look forward to.
For about a year now my RSS feed has been broken. A YEEAARRR. So while I don’t update daily (anymore), I do update. And now I even have an RSS feed you can subscribe to (again).
A brief update
I’m happily working on several fabulous projects for the automotive industry using HTML5 / CSS3 / JS. It’s something I both love and am good at. Let me expand: you know how you can be good in that way you know you have much to learn but some days feel like you even teach someone something? Like that.
I recently spoke about this on the ExpressionEngine Podcast.
Feel free to take a listen. It was an absolute joy to speak with Lea and Emily.
I also have a teeny tiny place-holder website for my company. Hopefully I’ll post some portfolio updates soon. Let me expand: soon in that way that isn’t next Christmas.
In the mean time, merry christmas, happy summer and whatever day it is. I’ve lost track.