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 I’m going to England in a few days… Aug 16, 2011
This is pretty much how I start every conversation to any person anywhere right now. If you’re my grocer, you know I’m going to England in a few days. If you’re my pharmacist, my hair dresser, the lady who answers the phone for my hair dresser, my doctor, my kids’ doctor, my neighbor, my other neighbor, my neighbor’s dog: They all know I’m going to England in a few days.
I’ve nearly run up and down the streets naked screaming it.
“Nearly” being “thought about it once.”
I’m wild like that.
As I’ve travelled more in recent years, I am much more relaxed about plane travel. Mostly. I still grab a random stranger’s arm if the plane hits turbulence and still pray to physics that we don’t come crashing down because Daniel Bernoulli was really smoking weed when he came up with this principal and we’re all suckers for a good theory. At one point, during a horrifically bouncy ride from NY to Seattle, the young airplane mechanic in the seat next to me went in to great detail how safe flying is. He rattled off statistics and spouted off sayings such as “turbulence is just a bumpy road to an airplane,” and “the air is actually pushing the plane up, not down” and “hey, you don’t have to be in the crash position, lady.” I still think of him when the plane starts to race down the runway and I’m looking out the window thinking, “FASTER. WE ARE NOT GOING FAST ENOUGH. THERE IS NO WAY THIS THING WIL….” and I squeeze my eyes shut as the engine screams and we tilt up up until that pocket of time where your stomach dips in to your legs. (Seriously, every.time.) I’m usually the only person that looks up with glee like an unexpected surprise, “WE DIDN’T DIE!” while other people pretend to be really interested in the Sky Mall catalog.
So it is that I’m leaving for Manchester in six days. Six days until I head to EEUK. Six days until I remember I have a speech to finish. Six days until I try to have an international flight which does not end with me losing my voice or getting lost on trains. Six days until I get to see this group of nerds. Six days until my trip re-routes me to Holland again on my return flight where a lot of people speak dutch and I don’t.
Six days until I am back in the space of my existence that is beginning to feel as normal as breathing: going, doing, sharing, seeking, flying. Even if I still hardly believe it’s real.
**If you happen to be in the area, be sure to register for EEUK. You’ll want to be there. Seriously. Be sure to find me, I’ll be the one in the corner rocking back and forth prior to my speech muttering things about picturing the audience naked.
BlogHer 2011: a usual recap Aug 14, 2011
The Perfection of Imperfect.
It can be overwhelming here. BlogHer can cripple those with a great self esteem. There are so many women, so many pitches, so many places to feel left out and alone in a sea of thousands. There are women with the right outfit, the tight ass, the amazing cleavage. There are people who print the highest quality business cards, carry their elevator pitch ready at a moment, who say all the right things.
Then there’s us.
To me Lotus is my BlogHer 11. We wear comfortable clothing and flip flops. We walk around with armpit sweat and unwashed hair. We don’t wear a pedicure. We don’t have the fancy business cards or elevator pitches and it we don’t even possibly pretend. We come as we are: raw, creative, expressive.
I’m blessed in the way I believe a rare few people can experience, but those who understand are gathered together a handful of times a year. I am blessed in the way of extended family, spanning continents and timezones; cultures and languages; politics and religion. I am blessed in glitter and laughs, in comfortable silence, in shared creative expression.
The whirlwind of hugs and greetings and recognition awakens a hibernating joy. There’s a piece of happiness that bubbles from something hidden, something quietly waiting those who know the secret to unlock.
I see myself suddenly as they see me; as I see them. We encourage one another to achieve that absolute most that is possible within ourselves. They know the words, eloquent at time, sarcastically hilarious at others, that push me to heights. They understand a part of me that is vulnerable but confident. They connect with me more deeply because they understand. They get the striving, the seeking, the drive because they strive, seek, and jump. We share this together and I know together we are even more amazing than we are alone. Together we achieve the impossible, we jump even further, we fly even higher. I see myself being all they see, all they are, all they help me become.
The night ends late and the morning comes too early. The plane arrives to carry me home, a false mechanical high. I am flying on my own possibility, of all the potential these people inspire in me, and I know a love different than hollywood romance but equal in passion: I love this community, of what they bring out in me, of who they make me be, and where we can go together. For that I am forever grateful. This month marks 8 years of blogging. It’s no longer a hobby, it’s my family. And I am in love with them.
Shuffle: No longer with EllisLab, now freelancing again Aug 02, 2011
He shuffles in from the rain. He is going as quickly as he knows how, realizing there is no reason to go any faster. He carries a vase of fresh flowers. He is walking in to Starbucks.
I watch people while I work. I am working as quickly as I can knowing there is no reason to hurry. I’m as vibrant as a vase of fresh flowers.
The man joins a table of elderly people. He has a community and they welcome him. He places the vase in the middle of the small, round, wood table and leans back to smile.
I can’t help but compare my own table to theirs. To them I am sitting on a computer, alone, in the corner. But you and I both know I am among friends; my own community of peers and friends and well-wishers. While you do not hand me flowers in a vase, you provide me with the same joy and comfort. As I start a new beginning, a jump off a precipice if you will, I am greeting with my own well wishers. And I sit back at my small, round wood table and smile.
The Precipice Jul 11, 2011
Life is a mindset. Life can get in the way of living if you let it. Practicality. Reality. Analysis. Risk.
I do not sit idle well. Beyond what I assume would qualify me for major intervention in a public school system possibly including tranquilizers, I pursue ideals the way children pursue sugar highs. I crave them. At times it can be annoying, I’m sure. “Oh! LOOK! I have the opportunity to [go] [see] [do] this [thing] [place] [job]!” Sometimes I annoy my self with my own enthusiasm. The bubble, it rises quickly and pops easily.
There are risks in life beyond measure. Deciding to return to graduate school, to take that perfect seeming job, to raise children with your spouse; these are beyond resources the mind can grasp. Sleepiness, fear, failure. Real consequences to ideals that each begin as an enthusiastic mind-set.
But the precipise does not come once a lifetime. As you stagger through the rocky terrain of aging, stumbling, climbing, learning, the road twists back upon itself and forces decisions at each turn. Do you jump or do you side step?
I? I jump. And I don’t look back.
Life Impractical Jul 07, 2011
I live with an Engineer. I work with software developers. My life is a sort of a living excel spreadsheet. If things are to be done, they are to be done in order, logically, after much research and testing.
Only thing is? I am an anomaly. I picture myself standing in front of The Man watching myself on TV screens of utter chaos being told I’m the One who has to introduce spontaneity.
Introducing The Life Impractical.
A year ago this month I made promises to myself. This came on the heals of my “HOLYSHIT I TURN THIRTY FIVE” moment. Since that time my life has turned an incredible corner. Doors don’t just open, they fly open.
I’ve achieved much of what I ached to do last year: Visit Germany, Outline The Book, Find someone interested enough to promote and publish The Book, meet amazing people in my field, become grounded in the person who carries around this 35 year old body. All these things I am grateful for. But I am also excited about the prospect of what is to come. It has only wetted the appetite I have to BE, DO, LOVE.
I’m blown away at opportunity, at what is available to achieve and who I can potentially be. I am blown away because it defies all logic. I do not understand the ways of the world and I do not want to second guess them but here, from this precipice, again, I decide one thing: Live a life impractical.
The Red Stapler around the world Jul 06, 2011
There are some people who are genuinely the type of person who helps remind me humanity can be awesome. The first time I met Suebob in person, we were in an elevator at BlogHer Chicago 2009. She walked in with her PJs on, a huge grin, and a welcome hug. “Hi Flinger!” It’s a moment where you realize we’re not just bloggers, we’re people. We laughed about her PJs, we talked about our websites. We had the kind of friendship that you only get in that initial meeting with other bloggers: the kind where they KNOW you. Possibly even more than your family does.
She’s spent years lifting each of us up, being a voice of compassion and comfort. She doesn’t just wear her PJs in an elevator, she takes that comfortable loving spirit with her to every blog she’s been involved with.
Suebob: WE LOVE YOU!! Happy Birthday!!
Other posts from some of the people who love her:
A note to Sp@mmers Jun 29, 2011
Hey, thanks Colon Cleanse Spam, but my colon doesn’t get as many visitors as my house does. If you can send some small gnomes to clean my dishes, I might reply to this email.
Missing: French Maid Uniform Jun 18, 2011
I’m literally on my hands and knees scrubbing our kitchen tiles. It’s my husband’s birthday today: June 18th. I’m listening to him put an IKEA shelf together with the children in the other room. What a way to spend your birthday, I think. Hey honey! Let’s clean the house!
The thing is, this is how we roll. We don’t have a cleaning person so if the kitchen is going to get presentable, I’ll be the one to do it. We don’t have lawn boys to do our yard work for us so if the weeds are going to be pulled, it will be our family pulling them. We have a lot, and I’m not even being dramatic here, a lot of work to do on our old 1963 “well loved” velveteen-rabbit of a house. And if it’s going to be done, we’ll be the ones to do it. Every weekend. For ever.
I have friends with cleaning people, or yard people, or nannies. I have co-workers that run the math for me about money versus time. I’m sure we’re not utilizing our time as efficiently as possible as I theoretically could spend all evenings earning more income with freelance and all weekends farming out our chores while we bond as a family.
I know these facts and yet, this is how we choose to do things. We might have the ugliest fireplace in the history of fireplaces but when we change it out, we’ll be painting it together. We might have the hole in the wall from the previous owner but it’s become a lower priority to all the other chores. The children’s bathroom is still broken and I know we’ll get to it eventually.
My four year old son plays “who can pull the biggest weed” with me. We laugh at just how big that root is, or how tall that weed got or watch a worm crawl in the dirt. We let the children wipe up the tables and teach them to take off their shoes when they walk in the front door because mommy just cleaned the floor and will lose her shit if you muddy it up right away. It’s a timeless middle-class adage that the chores come first before play. We try to do both, simultaneously, and listening to my husband show the kids how to put together a shelf and recycle the box it came in, on his birthday, reminds me why I married him in the first place.
Happy Birthday, Babe. Let’s clean the toilets next.
If I look 19, you’re a purple horse Jun 14, 2011
northwest experience. I thought I’d help out since it was a last minute party and offered to bring some beer. I mean, comon, you need beer at a party for bloggers. Or anyone, for that matter.
I stopped at the brewery to pick up a growler of local fare.
“Can I see your ID?”
Sure you can. Thank you for asking. Oh, hon, you’re just so lovely.
Let me find it here. Hang on.
Ok, it’s in here somewhere.
No, I don’t know where else it would be. It would be HERE. HERE IN MY PURSE.
It’s gotta be here. One more check.
Ok, look, I’m thirty-five. Can I just have the beer?
“No, Ma’am, I need to scan your ID”
Look, you just called me MA’AM. That should work, right?
“No, I can’t let you have the beer.”
DUDE. I have grey hair! Do you see this body? THIS IS A WOMAN’S BODY, not a girl, not a young, mid, late twenties. Hell, not even early thirties. I’m Mid-Life now. AND I NEED BEER.
“Yea, no, we can’t do that. I’m sorry.”
The people behind me are starting to foam at the mouth. Their beer is within reach and this lady, THIS OLD LADY, is arguing to get her damn beer from a 19 year old who probably isn’t even old enough to be in the bar.
Gah. Fine. But I’ll remember this!
I leave empty handed and head to the party. I relay the story. People think I should be flattered. “It’s flattering! They thought you were young!” It’s a load of crap but it’s nice.
Thankfully there was plenty of beer at the party already so no bunnies got punched in the face.
Just to prove we’re the kind of rad people who send our friends off to California all proper, I even gave Tricia a lap dance.
‘Cause that’s what we do when we’re old. And I did it better than a 19 year old.
———————In other news———————-
I’d like to congraluate my parents on their official marriage. They tied the knot via facebook this morning.
All I have to say is thank you for being such a great example to your grown children. It’s about fucking time.
When mommy bloggers and brands connect in Seattle Jun 08, 2011
Last night I drove in to town for the SMC Seattle event my friend Maya put together. I say “Drove In To Town” because home-girl lives outside the city and in the past year has transformed from a Houston-size-city-girl to someone who can’t navigate anything bigger than Wichita Falls.
I put the address in to my GPS and my iPhone puts up a message, “Go toward the fucking Space Needle. Then ARRIVE IN SE-ATTLE.” No, I swear it said that. I’m pretty sure my phone called me a moron.
Forty minutes of sitting on a floating bridge head-bobbing to people in cars next to me as we do a dance of this-or-that-lane later, I fight, literally, to arrive at a parking spot that costs more than 5 half gallons of ultra organic milk flown in over night from France. Thankfully I wasn’t even late.
Walking in to the room now shaking and feeling the traffic sweat stains lining my shirt, I find exactly four people I know. No! Five! I met one other girl briefly a few years ago. That counts. There is a large crowd of faces. There are all types of people with vaginas and five - tops - people with the other parts. I find a group of three young men standing in a sea of women. “Uh, you know this is about connecting to MOMMY BLOGGERS,” I offer in case they didn’t realize we’d all have baggage and thought this was some sort of freak-awesome party. I sort of look out for people like that. Setting expectations and all.
The panel itself was lovely. All the panelist were genuinely fabulous and Maya couldn’t have found a more diverse group to speak. Sitting next to me was the most lovely, sincere, amazing new-blogger and local TV personality Jenni. She’s pretty much an angel. In our answers she’s talking about how to leverage her traffic to give things to charity or work with brands to benefit the homeless or solving world peace and helping all children get medical attention and I’m all, “OH! You know what? VEEV sent me a bottle of this amazing Acai Berry spirit and I LOVED IT…. IT WAS GOOD, Y’ALL. NO REALLY.” I lost brain cells just opening my mouth. Thankfully the audience laughed with me most of the night. There’s something comforting about hearing laughter. Not in the way that the cheerleaders and jocks did in Jr. High the time you had your skirt tucked in to your pantyhose walking down the hallway, but more in the sense that you feel like THEY GET YOU.
In fact, I felt that a lot last night.
As we talked, sharing our stories, our experiences, it wasn’t a social media discussion anymore: It was people connecting as people. It was all up in the “EYE ARE ELL” as I saw people smile or nod or laugh or start to doze off. These are the faces behind the computers. These are people tweeting shit that comes out of my mouth. Shit that actually turned out pretty decent since they made it so easy to be honest and real.
In a sea of perfect strangers, I connected with so many women and exactly two men. Sarcasm, geekhood, stories. It was a space where I could be myself, even if less than perfect, or self conscious, or regretting my shoe decision. In the end, Scott Berkun was right, a crowd of strangers is really just a group of future friends.
And nobody has to be pictured naked.