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.
My Epic Love Story Aug 04, 2010
He wraps his arms around my neck, his cheek pressed against mine. I hear his soft breathing get longer, deeper, slower. I look at him, he is already asleep. Peaceful. Happy. Warm.
When I try to pull away, he wraps his arms tighter. He pulls me closer. “I just wuff you,” he whispers as I finally leave his tiny bed.
He is both child and baby, already independent and willful. He leaves my side to play and discover and checks in, on his own, periodically. He helps me cook dinner, he is by my side when I do the laundry, always wanting to push the machine so I don’t have to.
He is not perfect but he is perfectly three. And he is perfectly mine.
Lately, as if he senses something is off, he comforts me in the way a sensitive small man can. “I love you the best, Mommy.” “Will you pway wiff me?” “You wanna do trains? Can we snuggle? You’re my favorite.”
It is not that I need to be his favorite, or that I need him to fill all my love-cup. It is simply that this one tiny person has single handedly reminded me why I wanted all this in the first place. Why we worked hard for ten years to get to this very place. Why I went to graduate school before I had babies and why I work at a company that believes in families and encourages you to not work too much and reminds you that family is paramount.
It’s not that we don’t have the the three year old fits and tantrums, but in spite of all those struggles, financial worry, and mid-life crisis, he is my Epic Love Story. His tiny arms, his soft “wuff”, his gentle spirit.
I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
Even a flat in London.
Community, Love, and Internetz Aug 03, 2010
After I blogged about my inability to make it to BlogHer this year, an amazing thing happened. You people, you, all rose up and tried to get me on a flight. And you did! You nearly succeeded! You with your amazing heart and community and passion for gathering your type around to lock arms and hug and speak bloggy with.
And ohmygod I love you for that.
My girl, Jennui offered to send me 100 dollars of her own cash. (I’m not sure that was canadian or american dollars. I suspect had it been canadian, which means it might actually be worth more at this point.) She offered not once, but three times.
After passing out of sheer joy, I started planning the trip specifics. EXACTLY when / how / where will I need to be / do / travel.
That’s when the details got in the way of my planning to go.
Mr. Flinger and I had to really talk it through. It was one of those conversations, you know the ones, where a sentence is followed by a long pause of silence and the other person sort of holds their breath waiting for your reply? The type of conversation where someone (usually me) ends up crying a little bit and kicking at the dirt. I was so completely, ridiculously, stupidly emo. “WOAH POOR ME, I am SO LOVED I HAVE A SPONSOR TO GO TO A CONFERENCE WITH PEOPLE I LOVE AND WAH WAH WAH I WANNA GOOOOooOOO.”
He was right to be a little frustrated with me.
We discussed what the family needs, not what *I* wanted. What would be best for the children, for him, for me. It was that thing they tell you about when you get married: The thing after the honeymoon and flowers and presents and wine.. the word.. Compromise. It was a sort of compromise that had to take place.
During the long pauses, breathless anticipation, we decided that I should not take two trips two months in a row. If I have the opportunity to go to Holland again for work, I should take that trip. I should go to Leiden, stop in Munich, and fulfill that life-desire to see the place I’ve admired for 30 years.
It felt right suddenly. Yes, I will miss BlogHer, but this month especially, is so full. My daughter is starting first grade, I will be gone next month, and shouldn’t I just sort of breathe for a few minutes after helping to launch two major projects?
So here I am. Breathing.
I’m appreciating all that you are and all that you do for little ol’ me.
And now? The CheeseburgHer girls have graciously offered to let us host a party here with Vdog.
That’s right: CHEESEBURGHER HITS SEATTLE!
You can have an official e-vite but please note: Space is limited. Please fill out the form if you’d like to attend. You will be contacted with an official evite.*
We’ll be available via Skype Video, recording the entire event, to post here later. If you do happen to be one of the lucky ones who goes to New York, please don’t forget to drink for me. And take pictures. SO MANY PICTURES. So we can live through you.
The internet is an awesome space sometimes. Mainly because you’re in it.< / cheesy mushy love love >
*This is to protect the privacy of the home the party is being held at. Thank you for your understanding.
When technology is king, you judge the impending apocalypse by twitter Aug 02, 2010
Yesterday all across Western Washington people were coming out of their homes, looking up at the sky and saying things like, “Well, hu. Look-it that strange coloring the sun’s got.” And, “Weird sky today, aint it?” And, “Sure hope an atom bomb didn’t go off somewhere.”
Because that’s the sort of smart-talking fast-thinking people we are.
What’s worse? My reply: “Oh, no, I’m sure it’s not the apocalypse. I went on twitter today. Certainly someone would’ve tweeted about it.”
Then I went on facebook and posted pictures of a vegetable platter.
The world is truly coming to an end. Even if it’s not via atom bomb, our brains are certainly melting.
**Good thing we were so concerned. Apparently the smoke was from some forest fires in BC.
***I actually did learn this from twitter.
***I am not proud of this fact.
Parenting Tip 101: Consistency and Realism Aug 01, 2010
Mr. Flinger: “If you don’t stop yelling in there, we’re going to send you outside to play all day and not let you in. We’ll put food in a dog dish and you can eat out there.”
Me: “Let’s make realistic threats to the children. We don’t own a dog dish.”
Mr. Flinger: “You’re right. Sorry. A BOWL.”
Just Add Spandex Jul 28, 2010
The children are going to a Vacation Bible School this week to learn about Egypt, Some Old Dude and Eat Lots Of Candy and Eat Lots More Candy and sing some songs and Eat More Candy. At least, this is as reported by my oldest.
No, we are not religious, or rather, not in the traditional “there is a God” sort of way. But rather, I am deeply religious in the “there is cheap child care” sort of a way. And that, friends, is Heaven.
According to my daughter, it’s not a terribly religious experience anyway. Some old dude walked through a sea a long time ago and LOOK I GOT SKITTLES, MOMMY.
It is during this time that I’ve had the joy of riding bikes again. It’s been, roughly, an estimated average of 5.2129 years since this has been a regular occurrence. Precisely, give or take .127 years and 13 days, which is to say that holycrap that bike seat is tiny.
Even here in Seattle, one of the most bike-friendly towns, it’s near murder trying to bike along a road. For one, I’m completely unstable and tend to swerve maniacally back and forth in my bike lane like a texting teenager learning to drive. For some reason, when I turn my head left or right my body tends to follow my giant mellon, like a beacon of light trailing along in the night. Not only does this royally freak out cars who are paying attention, it freaks the shit out of me when they’re not.
So, there’s that.
In general, car-people get a bad rap here for being, well, car-people. Asshats who use the road to their own gain AND WIN because, you know, they are in a ten ton vehicle and bikers are flapping in the wind all sorts of proverbial naked and exposed. Given the aforementioned erratic nature of my biking, I tend to stick to bike lanes or trails: mainly the Burke Gilman.
Which, holyshitballs, biker dudes are not any better than car-people.
I’m clearly not an avid biker. I’m not wearing the biking uniform and I’m not clipped in to my straps and I’m not wearing water on my back in the form of a futuristic backpack. I’m the equivalent of the old dude with the handicap sign hanging from his rear view mirror pumping his breaks down a 45 mph hill to slow to 25. I’m THAT guy. On a bike. Swerving.
The real bikers are decked out in water-wicking spandex. They have shoes clipped in to their pedals that cost more than my left arm. (Apparently my left arm is of much greater value than the right.) They are aerodynamic like a bullet. They are almost as fast, having shaved their legs, eyebrows and heads. Slick like seaweed in water. They’re always yelling, “ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT” as they pass people on the trail and mutter under their breaths if they tap their breaks even once.
And then there is the fat lady.
She has all the right gear, the spandex and the camel back water hydration pack and the super-fiberglass-lightweight-helmet-of-great-speed. She has the proper shoes. She has the proper bike. But she is not yelling, “ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT ON YOUR RIGHT” as she is not passing a single person.
I almost admire her for this. What great balls she must have to get in to THE OUTFIT and ride with the big guns. Balls or Delusions. Either way, I’m not half the woman she is (uh) and could never imagine having the tenacity to go forth and conquer her fears like that. Maybe they are only my fears, I don’t know. Fear of failure, of not using the right bell or hand gesture or looking like I just don’t fit it.
It was still a lovely ride, even with those biker dudes all up in my business passing every few minutes yelling, essentially, for me to stop swerving and move-the-fuck-over. It was lovely in a way that biking never changes, no matter how old a person gets. It’s a sort of conductor to childhood memories; Wind flying through your hair, legs pumping, a ridiculous grin spread across your face in glee. I can see why people get in to biking in the first place.
I’ll continue to be the old guy on my bike, straggling, swerving, slowing on hills. And I’ll love every minute of it. In full.
I’m like twenty percent Jesus Jul 26, 2010
“You’re going to do what?”
“I’m going to eat less than 15 grams of sugar for ten days,” I reply exasperated. It’s the second conversation like this in as many minutes.
“Why ten days?”
“It’s all I can promise I might commit to.”
“You are honestly going to last ten days? .... “
“Hey, look, if Jesus can go in to the desert for 40 days without food or water, I can do ten days without sugar.”
“So, what you’re saying is, you’re like twenty percent Jesus.”
“If you want to call me that. I mean, hey, if the toga fits…”
“You wannan grab some ice cream later? .... ... Oh.. Wait…”
It’s going to be a long ten days but dammit, if Jesus can do it SO CAN I.
Now I just need to work on my water to wine skills.
It’ll be about twenty percent tasty.
So, yea, I’m not going to BlogHer this year Jul 25, 2010
It is a purely financial decision, I keep telling myself. One that does not mean I am not loved by dozens of tons of ten people. It is not that I am not wanted, just that I can not, in no way at all, afford New York City right now. Like OMG NEW YORK CITY! Oh, but god, I want to be there.
So very fucking much.
This year it is not in the cards. They layoff, the house(s), the bills, the move. There is no single way I can justify NEW YORK when I’m hoping to hit Leiden and Germany in another month. No way. Just. None.
Even if my mid-life crisis yells at me to JUSTFUCKINGGO.
Which is what it does. Daily.
I was supposed to speak on a panel. I was supposed to BE THERE. I have plans. I have friends. I have… No moniez.
I will have no pictures like these. (TRAGEDY)
Will I be here that weekend? I am not sure yet. Will we throw a FlingHer that weekend? I am not sure yet. Will I ever, literallyfuckingever, know anything before the day it happens? I can not say. But this I know: I will miss you all: My Internet Family. As sad and horribly stalkish at is sounds, I mean it. I love you all, every one of you. YOU who have lived in my computer and hugged me in person: You. I love you dearly and I will miss you.
Especially this year.
Ex Oh Ex Oh, Mrs.Flinger. Always.
**My gal, Jennui suggested, or rather her HUSBAND suggested, this lovely drinking game in which I command, and shall be honored of.
Please, oh please, take photos of you drinking in my honor. Please oh please have a ton of fun and every so often say, “That Mrs. Flinger, boy, sure wish SHE was here. She’d totally snort right now.” And please oh please don’t forget me when you come home. I’ll be right here. Right.Fucking.Here.
Turn around and take a step forward Jul 24, 2010
As the closing song fills the screen of “180 Degrees South,” several quotes come to mind. I grab my old book, “Buddhism Plain and Simple.” As most of my other inspiring books, it too, has passages underlined with notes in the margins. I find the few I am looking for.
From the film, Yvon says, “The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life, it’s so easy to make it complex. But what’s important is leading an examined life…” I smile slightly. I know this quote. It’s the quote of so many wise people. Of Thoreau. Of Emmerson. Of Buddah.
“If we’re not careful, we make our lives busy, complicated, and unnecessary…. Our minds become complicated by petty details and wants, and we become ever more confused.” - Buddhism Plain and Simple.
Every traveling spirit I’ve ever met has said this out loud. Or lived it out loud. I’ve written promises to myself of this very nature, filling dozens of journals from my twenties. “To live simply.” It has always been a common theme. A theme I’m reminded of.
It is not selfishness that prompts seeking, although it is self actuating.
“People say you can’t go back but what happens if you get to the cliff and you take one step forward. Or you turn 180 degrees and take one step forward…. Which is progress?” - Doug.
We’ve traveled this road as a family, as individuals, to this place. This end of the road, in a way. This place, the end goal, the space we’ve never talked past. This. In a way, it is the edge of our cliff. Our proverbial cliff.
It is time to step forward by stepping back. It is time to simplify. Change.
“We are a cross between our parents and hippies in a tent.” -Spring Wind.
“I can still turn back. But I will not. I will go over the edge and step into whatever is beyond.” -Beyond the Sky and the Earth
I think about the things I worry of. Ridiculously silly, actually. Bills tend to get paid, however late. People will be disappointed from a forgetful, unorganized me. People forgive. It is this cycle that I live by daily.
I find love in spite of myself.
“If I don’t get on that boat, I know exactly what I’m going home to. If I do, my future is unwritten.” - Jeff.
A good friend recently told me I had an obvious traveler’s soul. “But I haven’t traveled enoughhhh,” I groaned. “But you will. Or you have, maybe in another life. You have the spirit. You say yes. You say yes to adventure every.fucking.time.”
It is both the most loved, and most hated, quality I possess, depending on who is asking the questions.
“The best journeys answer questions, that in the beginning, you didn’t even think to ask.” -Jeff.
I’m ready for the journey. I’m always ready for the journey.
“I know its been hard to take and I know you wanna run. We hope you will stay in one place, and dance before it’s done.” - Coconut Flakes.
Now, it is just finding the proper journey to take. Which way is progress: forward.
**Photo props and suggestion of the movie goes to Ashley. Frankly, most of this whole post does, including the quote about my traveling soul.
**Photo is of me at our climbing wall. Next up: Surfing. Kayaking. And a real.honest.to.goodness.wall. This summer will not be boring. Booyah.
Living Ashram, Living Here Jul 22, 2010
God he is slow. Why is he going so slow? He is old. He can not drive well, as indicated by the dangling Handicap sign from his rear view mirror. This should be a clue to me to back off. He is trying. He is my elder. But he is making me late to Yoga.
And ohmygod I can not miss Yoga. Not today. Not today.
It becomes nearly comical as he pumps his breaks slowing to 25mph down the 35mph hill. COOOMMEEOONNN I groan. “Just put it in third gear, buddy. You can do it”. I’m coaxing him from my own vehicle not far enough back from his. I just want him to go. JUST GO.
If I wasn’t so irritated, I would chuckle when he stops for right on red. He does not go. He will not chance it. Even if it is his right-of-way.
Suddenly I’m remembering leaving church as a child. How everyone would sing their praises, nod in agreement, “let us go forth in peace” they would say together. Within minutes people are bullying one another for the chance to leave first. To cut off another parishioner. To get as far away from there as possible. It’s a classic joke, the church people and their parking lot. Always living in hypocrisy.
It’s a wonder I make it just as my Yoga instructor is about to lock the door and start class. As I almost always do, I breeze through the door a little too quickly. “Hi!” I kick off my shoes breathlessly. “You are just in time,” my strong grandmother Yoga instructor smiles. I tell her of the old man and of how I am not living my practice when I am late to class. “It’s all the more reason to come,” she says in the same tone she uses to instruct each of us in to positions. Her tone is so peaceful, strong, empowering. “Yes” I agree. “Yes.”
I often agree with her through our brief time each week together. She laughs easily. She shares stories of her family and her practice. She is living proof that my goals can be reality. She does not take herself too seriously but is serious in her teaching. She corrects us gently, each of us listening to her cadence. “Downward Dog. Warrior Two. Half Triangle. Reverse your Warrior. And. Chaturanga.” We move collectively in the heat. Dripping. Breathing. Listening. Doing. I forget about the old man and his inability to go the speed limit. I forget about the deadline. I forget about the heaviness of life.
Often in those times, I pretend I am somewhere else. The heat. The music. The low, soft breathing of my fellow Yogis. We are here, together, but none of us are truly in this room. We are present in our bodies but we are centered in a bigger place. We fill space with our breath. Our muscles quake. We are tired. We are thirsty.
We are happy.
It is for this reason I speed to class some days. It is not the old man’s fault I am still learning to find this peace outside of that studio. If I could explain to him, I would. “I am young enough to know I want more and old enough to know I have to grab it.” I would explain this to him on his front porch sucking cherries off their pits. We would rock side-by-side and he would nod, years of wisdom behind his eyes. “It is not that I am not happy,” I might continue in this imaginary discussion, “It is that I’m afraid it will not stay.” He will pass on years of understanding and I will lick the cherry juice from my finger.
It is not his fault we did not have this conversation. But next time, perhaps, I’ll remember to leave a few minutes earlier and truly live my practice both before, during, and after my class. It is my goal.
It is good to have goals.
A tale of a mid-life crisis at thirty-four part 2 Jul 20, 2010
“Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”—The Princess Bride
I am an obvious romantic. Spontaneous to a flaw at times. These are not new traits, but rather old traits finally given the freedom to come bubbling back to the surface.
This morning it hits me: I am nearly three months from turning thirty-five. Three months and nine days, actually. I believe it is this deadline, this unspoken milestone, that I can either harness or buckle under. I’m choosing to harness it.
A very dear friend of mine, also undergoing a mid-life crisis, spoke to someone about it. “Ahhhh,” the therapist said, “A mid-life crisis. Yes. Those are great. They move you forward.”
I am moving forward.
Earlier this year, I remembered my “bucket-list” that I wrote at the tender age of 22. I shuffled through my journals, pages and pages of angst and written pathetic poetry, to find the list of fifty things I thought important enough to accomplish before I die. I’ve since modified this list, only slightly, to include bigger, more worldly ideas and sometimes smaller, more reasonable ones.
I will, in part, take from this list in the next three months to move forward before I hit thirty-five.*
It is in this vein that I plan to accomplish the following. I say this out loud, to you, because so many of you are part of this list. My boot-camp girls, My yoga instructor. My parents. My sister. My spouse. My village. My online-community. You each hold value in my life beyond written words and unspoken thanks. You help me achieve, encourage, and love. Without you, there could be no list.
1. It is always been a goal to be in, arguably, the best shape of my life by thirty-five. I will… WILL… accomplish this. I have Ashley here, my village at bootcamp, my yoga instructor, my friend Theron, my undergraduate degree (it must be worth something, right? exercise and sports science must be a tiny bit applicable here) and my motivation. There is no excuse. None.
2. I will have the book outlined, started, and submitted to several publishers. (If it was up to me, I would write here, “Accepted by a publisher” but instead, I will focus on things that *I* can control.) I’m changing this slightly, as I will eventually get my PhD but for now, I have a variation on a theme to submit a more public, user-friendly book on a topic I am passionate about. Too many of you offered to buy my pathetically dry dissertation. I would never do that to you. You inspired me to write something you might, possibly, maybe, slightly enjoy. Thank you.
3. I will return to Europe before my birthday. Since I was five, I’ve wanted to go to Germany. Growing up hearing about Germany and the years my parents lived there, it is by far the One.Single.Place I must go. In some ways it’s where I was born. Or, rather, in truth, “created.”
4. My focus will be on Yoga, breathing, knowing. Kayaking. Hiking more. Camping. Enjoying. These are things that always bring me peace and are crucial to cultivating the person I want to be.
5. I will accomplish all these things completely, totally, utterly sober. By the time my birthday rolls around again, I will have a lovely birthday party with my closest friends and we will drink and celebrate these accomplishments. I will serve strong drink, we will laugh heartily, and I may pass out after one. But I will be able to say, with absolute certainty, it is the best most lovely tasting drink in three months.
Here’s to three months and nine days. I promise to write too often, too in depth, too much information. After all of your personal letters about your own mid-life crisis, I can only offer this: You are not alone. We are never alone.
*Here is the list in entirety:
- 1. Be a teacher at a college(Started 6/1999)
- 2. Get a Master’s Degree(July 2004)
- 3. Live in a cabin in the woods(10/2002-10/2003)
- 4. Get a dog(3/2003)
- 5. Run or walk a marathon
- 6. Go to Alaska and play in the midnight sun
- 7. Sky Dive(June, 2000)
- 8. See the Northern Lights
- 9. Kayak the San Juan Islands
- 10. Learn how to rock climb(4/1999)
- 11. Climb a mountain(St. Helens, 1998)
- 12. Have no debt
- 13. Get a postcard from every state in the U.S.
- 14. Take a train, or drive, across the country
- 15. Visit Yellowstone
- 16. Visit Yosemite
- 17. Live in a flat in England for a summer
- 18. Visit Ireland(With Gma and Mom, 9/2001)
- 19. Visit Paris(With Travis, October, 2009)
- 20. Plant a tree on my birthday
- 21. Go Snowshoeing(Cascade Nat’ll Park, 1999)
- 22. Backpack one week in the mountains
- 23. Read "Walden", by Thoreau(finished 1999)
- 24. See the Swiss Alps
- 25. Bike across a state
- 26. Kayak in Nova Scotia
- 27. Take the Zip Line in Whistler
- 28. Do 10 pull ups on my own
- 29. Use Xcountry skis to get to work
- 30. Skinny Dip
- 31. Watch the sunrise on Mt. Baker(1/24/1999, with Bob)
- 32. Go back to Whistler(7/4/2000, with Bob)
- 33. Go to a NY Broadway Show
- 34. Do a triathlon (mini) (To Be Done: August 2011)
- 35. Take photography
- 36. Watch "Gone with the Wind"
- 37. Horseback Ride
- 38. Plant a garden
- 39. Visit Germany- the town I was “made” in
- 40. Surf
- 41. Ice Skate Outside
- 42. Ride a motorcycle
- 43. Visit Thailand
- 44. Swing Dance(Took Swing Class 1999)
- 45. See "An affair to remember"(6/1999)
46. Live without cable (or satellite)(8/2000-8/2001)
- 47. Go to the Olympic Nat’l Park(1/18/1999, with Bob)
- 48. Take the train, a boat, or drive, to Alaska (do not fly)
- 49. Move to a new place for at least 1 year(2/1999-6/2000)
- 50. Publish a book.