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.
I am. Jul 25, 2009
I picture Jesus sitting at his laptop alone in his hotel room in Jerusalem. He’s kicked off his sandals (marketed simply as “Jesus Sandals”) and stretches as he launches notepad. He has an inspired word and he begins to type. He starts: “I am Jesus. I want to share with you some ideas I have. Simple, easy ideas that will bring us all together. I want to give us community and peace and harmony. This world is a fucked up one, but I believe we are each able to contribute to the happiness of others. Cut the bullshit. Let’s love.”
He eyes his writing wondering if it’s too harsh. He hits the backspace key 413 times Click Click Click Click Click… He stops short and leaves the “I am.”
He ponders there for a while unaware of the consequences of this action, the impact it will have on his life and those for two thousand years and beyond. He wavers for a moment and stands to grab a drink, his favorite, wine.
Pausing long enough to fill another glass, he hits publish with those two words. “I am.”
It’s powerful and people comment.
There is hate-mail.
There is blasphemy.
There is confusion.
He steps up to defend his writing wanting to express the rest of the sentence unable to complete his thought. His community is angry, he has failed as his attempt to connect, he is hurt and saddened by the response.
It was supposed to be different.
This is how I picture each entry before I hit publish. I waver at times, wondering if anything truly meaningful will be well received. At times I hover above caring and calling the bullshit. Sometimes I’m not sure what the bullshit is. I hit delete 413 times unable to find the words to bond and not divide.
I stop short and hit publish all too often.
We are Jesus.
You are Jesus.
I am Jesus.
Five Reasons You Will Not Be A Dork At BlogHer (so stop worrying about it) Jul 15, 2009
Last year I popped my BlogHer cherry. I went with my my close friends and we were there for each other to share shoes and do makeup and hair and in general ease the fears of our own insecurities. Or rather, they eased mine. (They don’t know a lot of bloggers so it was, “Hu, who’s that again? Who’s Isabell?” and I whisper “She’s kinda a big deal”)
Because I am… well… me, I do things in a Flinger sort of a way. Let’s recap the top five Flingerisms from BlogHer 08 and why you can rest assured you will do better, shall we?
1. I randomly hug pregnant women when pregnant. Two different occasions I found myself hugging (randomly) Kristin Chase and Amalah. Twice. I threw myself at them and their lovely pregnant bellies and they were so kind and so sweet they STILL TALKED TO ME later. Those ladies? Got class.
2. I met Maggie Mason and I had no idea. This is pretty much how that rolled out:
me: Hi! I’m Mrs. Flinger! Nice to meet you. :: pauses for recognition because EVERYONE KNOWS MISSUS FLINGER. (cough)
her: Hi! Welcome to the party. I’m Maggie Mason.
me: :: chokes on wine :: MAGGIE MASON!? AS IN THE MAGGIE. MASON. (realizes am using outside voice and gets awkward.)
her: Yes, that’s me. :: shakes hand :: Make yourself at home. (Thinks to herself, “freak”.)
3. Kelley noticed, and called me out, on my dirty feet. I don’t like shoes, ok? So sitting there in the keynote I hear, “Missus FLINGER! Look at YOUR FEET WOMAN!” and I see the lovely Kelley pointing at my retched feed. It was funny. In a “guess you had to be there” kind of a way. As in….. later….
4. I licked Isabell Kalman and it looked like bad porn.
(Really, SHE ASKED ME TO. I swear, this was not a rape-licking)
5. I spilled Teh Wine at Guy’s house. On my swag. And washed my feet in his pool.
1. Meeting Aimmeeeee (I give her shit about her spelling) and having her blog the following conversation:
Greeblemonkey: Oh look! There’s paella!
Flinger: I don’t think I read her!
2. Having some freak show hit on Jenny and me and getting him kicked out of the hotel.
3. Making Cat Schwartz say she knows who we are on video:
And, really, there are too many more to admit here. Just, look, you’ll be fine. I promise. Hang out with me and you’ll look like a freakin’ STAR.
The Ugly Jul 13, 2009
Sometimes I have The Ugly. The Ugly tends to show up when I’m emotional, irrational, bloated, tired or overwhelmed. The Ugly can start from anything: a facebook update, a tweet, a post, a real life jab.
The Ugly? It sucks.
It sucks out my happiness, my joy, my security, my stamina, my confidence. It reduces a good, healthy, happy 33 year old woman in to a 15 year old girl with zits and generic jeans.
The Ugly, it is bad.
I often recognize The Ugly as just what it is: Ugly. I see it from my place of confidence and can see through its irrationality. But when The Ugly strikes, its loud voice takes over my own and pushes all the confidence down in to one big pile of jealousy.
The Ugly can wear anything but it usually shows up in sweats and makes itself at home.
The Ugly can be a bitch and take up all the sanity in a room.
The Ugly can bring a pack of beer and drink it all.
The Ugly often has no patience.
The Ugly piles on. On the todo list, on the “things you fuck up” list, on the “people you’ve let down” list.
I am not the sum of The Ugly, but rather someone who falls in to its trap. Most days I can shake off The Ugly.
Today, I’m arm wrestling with it. And I’m hoping I win.
P.S. I wrote this last week and today saw Amanda wrote about competitive people and it hit me: That? Is. The. Ugly. It’s the competition where there is none. It’s the jealousy of losing when there is no race. So.. just.. wow. And thank you.
Facebook, you’re forgiven Jul 10, 2009
Whatever issues I’ve had with facebook, and I have, are gone today. Suddenly today I saw the most amazing use of facebook and I’m thankful over and over for it.
I’ve mentioned my friend Amy who’s breast cancer took us from her family and friends entirely too early. It hit home too close and too hard for me. It was hard.
I was unable to make it to her memorial here in town. I was sad for that fact but I forgave myself because I knew I would’ve lost my shit if I’d gone. I mean The Big Ugly Crying.
But the community that Amy created around herself and those who knew her is a wonderful one and I did miss out on celebrating Amy’s life with them. Until today.
Today I went to her Facebook page just because I was thinking of her. Today I realized a lot of people are going to Amy’s facebook page because they are thinking of her. They are talking to her, leaving her notes, telling her about her children and about daily life and sharing stories of love and comfort and remembering.
Today I hugged my daughter and son a bit tighter because of facebook.
Today I remembered a great friend because of facebook.
Today I realized how we touch people in the world beyond what we even comprehend because of facebook.
I hope it’s ok that I share this story, it’s the one that touched me the most from her page. A friend shares, “Your baby girls misses you today Amy. She was tearfully talking about you today. But don’t worry, R came up to her and said “Don’t be sad, your mama will always be in your heart.” and then gave Maddy a big hug and kiss. After R was done Maddy told her she needed another hug and she laid her head on R’s shoulder and cried a little bit more. R patted her and stroked her cheek and then they sat together holding hands for a while. Your daughter is such a wonderful little girl. And I love to see our girls supporting eachother when they need it. And don’t worry, I cuddled both of them until the smiles returned.”
Today I forgave facebook. Because I needed to read this. As do so many more.
*I changed the little girl’s name because I don’t know how they would feel about publishing it. I know Amy has written openly here on my blog about Maddy so I feel ok with leaving her name as is. I hope this is ok with those involved. Much love to everyone who is.
Good Luck With That Jul 09, 2009
I walked by a glowing extremely pregnant woman. Her friend handed her a bag with some baby booty in it. I chuckled. I couldn’t help myself. I CHUCKLED. They looked up at me and I recovered, smiled, and continued on my way.
In my head I was picturing what the card would say. I chuckled again. It could be any of the following:
Outside: Congrats New Momma! You’re going to spend the next five years trying to get your pre-baby body back!
Inside: Good luck with that.
Outside: Congrats On Your New Bundle! They don’t sleep through the night until they’re teenagers.
Inside: Good luck with that.
Outside: Dear New Daddy! You thought you had Blue Balls in High School?
Inside: HAHAHAHAHA. Good luck with that.
Outside: To the happy new parent: Write down the last day you had sex.
Inside: So you remember it in three years when your brain is sleep deprived. Good luck with that!
Oh, comeon. Add your own! It’s fun!
And only mildly depressing….
I love you, even if you are two Jul 08, 2009
It’s 2:45AM. I’ve been asleep for two hours. I hear the familiar call from a tiny man, “Mommy! Mommy!’ I’m in his room before I open my eyes.
I get him milk, his Thomas Trains and put him back to bed.
It’s 6:00 AM and I hear the familiar call from a tiny man, “Mommy! Mommy!” I’m in his room before I open my eyes.
I pick him up hoping to give his sister a few more minutes of sleep. He asks for milk. I turn to get him some.
He starts screaming.
It’s 7:00 AM and he’s still screaming.
Finally, having had enough of this, I coax him in to eating a banana and watching LIttle Einstines so I can get the family ready to go.
It’s 7:45 AM and the family is ready to leave. I get the tiny man’s shoes and he yells, “TRY! TRY!” which is short for “I’ll do it you mother fucker!”
I let him try.
He screams out of frustration, “HELP! HELP” which is short for “why are you just standing there watching me you mother fucker!”
I coax him down the stairs. I attempt to take his hand. “TRY! TRY!” which is short for “fuck off.”
I walk a few stairs down and he yells, “UP! UP!” which is short for “why are you leaving me here, hold me now mother fucker!”
It’s 8:20 and I’m dropping him off at day care. I have a full schedule of deadlines, meetings, phone calls and deadlines. I turn to leave. He lunges at my legs. I pick him up, kiss him, whisper in his ear, “I love you even if you are two.”
I walk away missing him. Even if he’s two.
The Road to Mid-life Jul 07, 2009
I was thinking about rebelling. Not in a present tense, but rather in a pattern-of-maturity. A “hindsight” if you will. “Enlightened Rebellion” even.
I realized my husband and I were together in High School when most people go through their rebellion. Our friends may have skipped class or chugged beer or started smoking but we were both first-borns too busy pleasing teachers and parents and each other. We were fairly straight laced aside from a few back-seat make-out sessions. We were home on time, we never did drugs and we never got pregnant. We stayed out of trouble and stayed in school.
We were model teenagers in a sense.
We broke up, went though our own “self discovery” a phase that got us to different colleges, new friends, new places. We tried on new people and jobs and lives, all while staying out of trouble and living as we were expected: Strong contributing citizens of society.
Then I turned 25.
I went in to what I can only call as “my six-month rebellion” where I stayed out for entire weekends at airplane hangers where friends would sky-dive and smoke pot at night, drink too much, and go to McDonalds for fries. It was stupid at best, dangerous at its worst. I did my first tandem skydive as a giant middle finger to my old life. I was fresh and new and starting over as a new person.
I’m so incredibly glad I did.
My husband, however, continued to work and be amazing. He continued to pursue a career, a path, a plan. He never did rebel. He never washed his hair free of expectation. He never jumped out of his proverbial airplane.
I contemplated this fact earlier today. I thought of all our friends who did rebel, who went through their time maturing to flip The Man the giant middle finger and face their new spirit and their new selves only to find peace and comfort in settling down later.
I wondered if there was in inverse relationship between rebellion and mid-life crisis.
I don’t see him heading off with another family or even a sports car. I don’t see him jumping out of an airplane or smoking pot when I’m at BlogHer. But I wonder: I wonder what life’s turns require rebellion and which require steadfast boring ticky-tacky houses with manicured yards or the lack-there-of. I wonder if nearing forty (In seven years, but still! It’s coming!) will be harder on those who never rebelled at fourteen. And I wonder how to cultivate this in our family, for our children as they mature in to their own people and in us as we hit our mid-lives.
How do we maintain our sanity in a suburb of Seattle in a townhouse we paid too much for and work too hard to pay off?
Did you rebel? Did you come back? Did you settle down? And when are you buying your motorcycle to flip off The Man?
The Fine Print Jul 02, 2009
I tend to say yes a lot. This is great for my husband, kids and my clients and horrid for my knees and my canker sores. I say yes before reading the small print. I say yes before asking a ton of questions. I just, you know, like to say yes.
“You want to move to Seattle?” “YES!”
“You think we should by a townhouse that will depreciate in value for the first time in a market since 1984?” “YES!”
“You wanna walk a half marathon with me?” “YES!”
This last one, oy, it’s the biggie.
So without really training, without so much as printing out a map, I joined my friend for a 13.1 mile walk through Seattle. I joined 24,999 other people who were just as crazy (or more so, some of them were doing the full marathon) and we forged together like cattle to the butchers. At least, that’s how I felt.
The thing about doing something so insane is that somewhere in the process, you gain your sanity. During miles 1-3, I pretty much woke up slowly, walking in a haze and meandering between bodies. During miles 4-9 I poured my heart out to Paige telling her everything, in detail, that had been going on for the last, oh, two years? And then around mile 10 we both got it. IT. We realized several things:
1. This is fucking hard.
2. We are going to finish.
3. Leslie’s knees are older than her heart.
4. Much. Older.
5. Mile ten is the longest motherfucking mile in any race ever.
6. There is no mile 11. It’s a cosmic joke.
7. We like wine.
8. We will never do this again.
9. We’re proud of ourselves.
10. We can do it.
Then we hit mile 11 and the gig seemed to be up. My knees gave out and my heart monitor yelled at me for going to slow. Years of running and being active have finally brought me, literally, to my knees. I can no long run, jump, or apparently, walk over 9 miles.
Then fat Eric passed me.
It’s a humiliating experience to watch your body age. To see your boobs sag. To know your waist used to go IN and not OUT. To know you celebrate with a burger or chocolate more often than there are reasons to celebrate.
Fat Eric was sort of my inner self. He sort of rose up, having started at the same time we did, a large, powerful 350 pound man. He walked the entire way. He had his name in large print on his shirt. “E-R-I-C” and people cheered, “GOOD JOB ERIC! WAY TO GO ERIC! YOU CAN DO IT!”
And he did. He did it. By god, he did it.
It was about this time that I realized several things: I am not who I used to be. Size does not matter. Fitness is a daily process, not a one time race. And.. most importantly, it’s time I push myself in ways my body can work without breaking down.
I think I’ll try swimming.
Somewhere around mile 10 I realized that sometimes it’s ok to take a minute and consider what you’re saying YES to. Maybe it’s OK to read the fine print, to consider your options, to check your calendar. Maybe it’s ok to say NO sometimes.
But not to this. Not to this. I would’ve said yes and been just as proud as I am today. Because we did it.
Paige and I. Together.
(Two of our college friends ran the half so we got our picture of them at the finish, which was really the only time we saw them. Fasties.)
(More photos here.)
(The top picture is our favorite picture of us. It’s from 1997. God we’re young.)
Ambition Jun 30, 2009
Similar to how dogs smell fear, my youngest child smells ambition. I had a plan, an actual true productive plan, for today. There are massive deadlines hanging over my head, there are bills and invoicing to do, and the regular life maintenance and goals I set daily to work out and eat well. I had it all worked out and it even included swimming in my heart-rate zone for 30 minutes and taking the oldest on time to go to her school field trip.
I had a plan.
As happens every single fucking time I have a plan, my son woke up at 3:30AM and literally yelled this half awake sleep scream for 45 minutes. He sat in my bed staring at me.
AHHHHH. WAAAHHHHHHHH. :: hiccup :: WAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111!!!!!!!!
At 4:54 when I finally put him back in to bed I knew it was over. In another hour my alarm would go off and I knew I’d hit snooze. I knew my ambition was snuffed out.
Not unlike a dog, my son smells ambition. And he always wins.
Gifted and Talented Jun 24, 2009
I have, what is commonly referred to as, “children who are too smart for their own good.” AKA: Gin and Tonic. Or, rather, GIfted and Talented. (Anyone else automatically have visions of limey goodness with the accronym GnT?)
My children have both been very successful academically. That is to say, they have ROCKED the preschool scene over and over. Colors? They got’em! Letter? All 26! Numbers? Counting to 12! Conceptually adding and subtracting before age four!
Shitting themselves? STILL!
I’ve only recently realized the potential my two children hold. Both their teachers are amazed and flabbergasted by their intelligence. “Oh, that’s going to be an issue later” they say. And I know they’re right because my daughter is reading at age 4 and a half (remember the “and a half” people, it’s VERY important) and will go to a private kindergarten in the fall to skirt the date cutoff since she’s an October baby. But after this year, there is still a chance she will have to repeat Kindergarten, not based on her intelligence, academics, or readiness socially, but strictly because the schools are full.
There will be children in Kindergarten learning their letters while my daughter is adding and subtracting and counting by twos. Kids will be entering the system because they are “of age” while my daughter is being held back in a system that is failing her miserably.
I’ve frequently heard that “everyone catches up by fourth grade anyway” and it finally hit me: It’s not that all the other children grow and mature and learn, it’s that we hold the ones too far ahead back and the ones too far behind drop further back a grade. Perhaps, yes, it does even out by fourth grade, but I’m starting to believe this isn’t the best path for my children. I’m not ready to comitt to homeschooling as of yet, because I understand my childrens’ own needs for a space we don’t have and other children and teacher’s I am not. But the argument that “we did fine in a public school” isn’t going to slice it for me. We did go through The System. The Same System that is being “reformed” to “leave no child behind and let no child too far ahead.” I know teachers work hard and do an amazing job. I don’t envy them. I just don’t think The System has the support needed for anyone different. Anyone unique. Anyone not plastic.
Maybe I’m wrong. But it looks like I’ll be working with some pretty amazing kids for the rest of their lives. I’m grateful for this, blown away by their eagerness to learn, and humbled by my inability to keep up.
I sometimes fail as a mom, but in this one tiny area, I’m going to see if I can’t be what they need and find the resources to help them succeed. It’s the best I can do. I expect the best out of them.