4/11/2017

Retro Planets Parenting

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Apparently if you're feeling a bit stuck and frustrated, that's to be expected this month. 

There are five planets going "retrograde" this month. To clarify, this is not the same as "Old Skool Grade" which One might think if you have no idea about astrology or even what science calls a planet appearing to go the opposite direction as the rest of the stars, but apparently this is a Big Deal.

As in, to quote a very reliable source, "Wow, I don’t know who pissed off whom, but this April is shaping up to be a real fuck-show."

So, let me right now recursively nerdly tell you I'm sorry to the entire world on everything I say between now and May 3rd because Mercury. 

chmod -R 777 /theWholeWorld/sorryForWhatISayUtilMay3

And while we're here: Other Retro Things

I figured since things are going retro, I'd participate in hopes to not piss off any more Juju / Karma / Gods Of The Sky / etc. Maybe if we keep the Universe entertained enough, shit won't hit the figurative fan. 

4/5/2017

My daughter is my hero ADHD Parenting

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I’ve been getting a lot of calls lately. I answer and hear a sniffing, shaky voice on the other side. It’s barely audible. It’s my daughter, reaching out from her adolescence, searching for some guidance. 

She is my hero.

Her world is beyond her now. Her confident and spontaneous childhood is being replaced by the expectations and uncertainty of puberty, of the public school system, of unspoken rituals. When she feels like she doesn’t know what to do, she calls me from school. Sometimes I don’t know what to do, either, so we breathe together. Sometimes we cry together. She is brave for calling, for being so vulnerable from the science room’s telephone. She is standing alone in the empty classroom, the tile cold and hard below her feet, the room dim from missing lights and the emptiness of first lunch, and she stands there holding the phone with two hands, alone, but not alone.

She is my hero.

When she is at home she is still our Lolo, the one who stormed in to our lives like a tornado, making everything fresh and new and uncertain. She’s the same girl who creates worlds and characters and imagery. She still leans in to her dad when we watch Dr. Who, still dances with me in the front of the car while I ferry us around, doing our best arm motions and head bobbing to the music.  She still plays with her brother, a small if decreasing portion of the day, where they coordinate minecraft tools and build houses across the street from each other. 

4/2/2017

Becoming Unstuck Stories

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There’s a great quote about getting unstuck by Pema Chodron. “We don’t hear hear much about how painful it is to go from being completely stuck to becoming unstuck. The process of becoming unstuck requires tremendous bravery, because basically we are completely changing our way of perceiving reality, like changing your DNA."

Or, as Tracy Jordan once said on 30Rock, "Stop eating people's old French fries, pigeon. Have some self respect! Don't you know you can fly?”

I think we frequently forget we can fly. HANG ON, I don’t mean literally fly, step back from the ledge there, mister. I mean we forget we’re heroes and souls and beautiful memories and inspired ideas and we’re not just this lump of collagen layered over calcium deposits holding in a bunch of water and other stuff. (I got a degree in the human body and paid a lot of money to know that level of detail so I don’t expect you to retain all of this.)

In These Great United States Of The Americas, we focus so much attention on the outsides. Flabby arms? We have a video of entertainingly fit people you can watch and hate yourself for that will surely fix that flabby arms if you could only just Do These Imposible Exercises Every Day! Baggy under eyeball puffiness? (How are these two things able to coexist, I’m not sure, but I tend to have both at the same time.) There’s a surgery for puffy, baggy eye skin! Want to lose that belly? Take this pill that makes you pee out your butthole and maybe stop wearing white and select dark pants for the duration of the program. Success Guaranteed!

We sell ourselves misery shaped items to fill all the misery shaped holes in our lives. They come in a lot of shapes and sizes but the misery shaped hole expands and grows and the misery-plugs stop working so we look for more Stuff.

3/22/2017

Teethless in Seattle Stories

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(See what I did there? I mean, technically I *am* ‘teethless’ since I’m missing 1,2 and now 9, but this post is only about one tooth, number 9 specifically. The pun only fits with the plural, though, so I had to improvise. God what I’ll do for a pun.)

A few months ago I fell and bonked my front left tooth and it hurt. That’s the most boring blog post (or tweet for that matter) I could possibly think of. It was such a non-thing that I didn’t even think to care about it when it happened. I cared, in that I couldn’t eat with that tooth for a  while because it hurt a bit, but other than that, one gets pretty used to things and moves forward with life in general. 

That tooth was never the same again. It always sat in the wrong space and because it moved (without sending me a new address), I’d bump in to it from time to time. “Oh! Shoot! I forgot you’re here now!” I’d apologize every time. It was almost always a glass that I mis-calculated as I went to drink and would bonk the new-position of that tooth. It would send me a zinger of a reminder that it’s moved and for godsake, get a plastic water bottle, not these fancy glass ones.

This correspondence went on for some time until one day the tooth got pissed. I’d hit it one too many times and it grew a little white nodule on the gum as a warning sign. And then, because warning signs aren’t really my forte, it cracked completely in half, just above the gum, when I bit in to a sandwich.

Now I was listening.

2/13/2017

I hit shuffle on the mom lecture playlist and got schooled as a result Parenting

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This weekend was not unique, except it was. I think this is how most of life's daily reflections should start. "Today was normal, except it was exceptional." At least that is my goal for life; an exceptionally normal, wonderful life. 

So this weekend was a completely normal, usual, nothing of a weekend. The boy child had a soccer game. I had some work to do. The girl child had some homework to catch up on. And the dog was an annoying asshole. You know, the usual. So after arriving early for the soccer game, I told the Girl that we were going to walk to the coffee shop around the corner. "I found this place on google. It says there are snacks and caffeine. We should walk there." 

"Why don't we just drive?" replied the 12 year old skinny girl who under-appreciates a good outdoor experience until she's forced in to it.

"Because I was just in Spain for two weeks and homegirls don't drive in Spain; they walk." I call this parenting, y'all. I should probably attend some classes.

We walked along the dangerous, non pedestrian friendly roads to the "coffee shop", which turned out to be a drive through coffee stand at a gas station. I am not in Spain, I am reminded loudly by the cars and the cars and the bigger, more loud cars. We use the toilets, labeled "Restrooms" just to confuse the matter, and purchase a few "fresh" snacks that sit along shelves of car oil and greeting cards. 

2/2/2017

Childhood is Global Travel

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The bus trip to Alicante is brief but the visual treats are plentiful. There is the first circle of restaurants and cafes just around the corner of our stop. There is the square with the giant palm tree and workout equipment with the elder gentleman in jeans, sweater, and a cap, doing a slow peddle on the stationary bike. There are the children running along the sidewalk teasing each other and the parents pushing toddlers glowing as they grip a new toy from the market. An older brother holds his sister by the shoulder and gives her a casual kick in the butt from behind and she lunges at his arm before they settle back in their walking rhythm next to each other with ease and familiarity. 

It’s just over a mile between stops but we pass dozens of tiny communities. The older generation wanders arm in arm with their partner or adult children, holding a cane in one hand and gripping the support of their loved one in the other. The lady with the bulky coat and shopping trolly shuffles to get off the bus and the gentleman standing near the exit moves out of the way and helps her quietly, without her seeing, positioning the trolly so she can pull it off the ramp. 

We exit the bus and walk the few minutes to our destination. There is a man washing the windows two stories up who hears loud chatting of a family and looks to nod at them. The adults of the family speak in fast staccato while two young children run ahead and hide behind the statues of mushrooms and Alice In Wonderland themed street decorations. The older sibling watches out for the younger one, wrapping her arm around the toddler and guiding her to the slide. The toddler can almost make the latter’s steps but the mother calls out a warning and she climbs down the two rungs and takes off to the next mushroom behind her sister. They are laughing and calling out to each other in their own language; not Spanish, not English, but Childhood.

I recall when my young son asked if there were kids in Germany on a trip I was taking there years ago. These young children, not yet jaded to the politics of the world or the reality of some who abuse power, enjoy a world the adults can’t see. Time is not linear to them, it slows and quickens depending on context. Fun is simple and friendships are plentiful. The world is new and large and small, everything existing at once and not at all. 

There are many new and different things here in Spain for me, but the most prevailing thought I have is how familiar everything is. This is my first trip to Alicante, but there is already a comfort to the predictability of life. The ladies at the market who check out my purchases are the same as the people at my local grocery store. The old man on the corner reading the paper could be the same regular I see at Starbucks in my neighborhood, always sitting outside, regardless of the weather, reading the day’s news in print. The styles of clothing are slightly different, but not really. The food is a higher quality but still resembles something I’d make at home: eggs, bacon, sliced cucumbers and avocado. The music vacillates between Spanish top hits and American top hits, and I hum a song my children introduced me to just a few weeks ago. 

1/23/2017

Feeling Lucky Craft Pagination Front-end-developer

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I've implemented a google-like "Feeling lucky!" on this blog's pagination. At current date, there are 21 total pages of entries. It's a toss of the dice whether or not any of them are actually worth reading, so I thought to make the gamble easier, I'd provide a random number to automatically populate the url for you. Here's the code:

{% set randomPage = random(pageInfo.totalPages) %}
<a href="pageInfo.getPageUrl( randomPage )">Feeling Lucky! Take me to a Random Page</a>
11/1/2015

Traveling Mercy: a letter from time, if time travels by airplane Travel

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I opened an old favorite book this evening. I ruffled through the pages with the well worn, and thus loved, tags and underlined passages. I flipped to the end and saw a note I’d written on my solo flight back from my first over-seas trip September, 2001.

I smile as I read the scribbled letters. I remember this flight very well. It was four days after the terror attacks of Nine Eleven. I flew from Heathrow to Seattle alone in the very back of the plane, scared, deathly afraid of everyone, just wanting to be home with my new fiancé.

How many miles have I flown since? How many trips have I taken to those same countries?

I read the page like an older soul, like I’m reading a letter from a previous version of myself.

I’m tired and worn. Sick of people leaning into my space. I’m on the back row of the plane and the line for the bathroom allows for bottoms, boobs, coats, and purses to bump me, hit me, pinch me. I’m too tired and weary to retaliate but I wish I could.
We are starting to land. I’m starting to pray again.
I admit to total paranoia. I suspect anyone. But as I look out the small, 10 inch window onto the gray/brown rolling mountains and the clouds that lay like glaciers, I know we’ll make it. At least I have to trust we will.  We are above the clouds. Aside from sparse tree-topped mountains, there is nothing to see but an ocean of clouds. This is my favorite part of flying:
  Being done.


I wonder what I will say and think when I read this page in fifteen years. With any luck, I will smile knowing how little I knew back then and forgive my previous self for her shortcomings and dramatic mannerisms and whisper a small prayer in the space of breath that transcends time to say everything will be ok.

12/7/2014

The Universe is One Persistent Mofo Balance

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Over a year ago, I started talking to someone about ADHD. I joined a group of other women and we talked about what it was like living with distraction, children, jobs, husbands, and the constant 32 TV monitors playing different channels in our heads.

One of the themes that started cropping up was the idea of mindfulness. Mindfulness, or the awareness of your thoughts and living in the present tense, has been shown to decrease ADHD symptoms. Meditation, it’s practical companion, has been shown to help cancer and diabetes, fix marriages, and save the planet from impending astroids.*

The last one is a theory but I’m sure someone is researching that right now. Maybe.

It’s been a year and a half now that the theme mindfulness has been cropping up. At first it was my women’s group, then it appeared in books I was reading. (Granted, with titles like Mindfulness and the Brain and You Are Not Your Brain, I knew what I was getting in to) but lately it’s picked up the pace of obviousness and is a bit more “in your face” if the Universe is like that, which it is.

Sometimes when you don’t stop to listen, The Universe will start yelling.

10/9/2014

In which I write loud letters from the bathroom Parenting

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I can’t tell you how many times I hear the Lost in Translation quote in my head. It doesn’t sound like the movie, it sounds like a dear friend of mine from my First Real Job at Portland Public Schools; “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.”

Jenna told me this when her own baby was only a few years old. I remember so vividly because I hadn’t had children yet, but the idea stuck with a tar-like dignity that warms in the sun on certain occasions.

Tonight was such an occasion.

The nine year old girl had asked for some time to take a bath; a legitimate luxury given the schedule most days. Tonight was a fine night to do so, so we answered with a “Of course!” like any parent who can finally grant their child’s ridiculously small wishes.

About thirty minutes later I sing-sang up to her that it is time to get out and hello, was it me she was looking for?

9/12/2014

A goodbye card to my Aunt Marcella Parenting

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Why do people die in December? Why does everyone decide to leave earth in December? Because the Christians are singing about a birth? Because families are together and can support each other? Because it’s cold?

My Aunt Marcella decided it was time to leave this earth today. You know my Aunt Marci. I wrote about her.

My mom texted me this morning with the news as I was entering a long, difficult, detailed meeting. I didn’t have time to think or process this news. I called my husband as soon as I got out and we met at Starbucks to talk through it. His eyes teared up as I bawled in front of strangers in the coffee shop. I recounted stories about her and my Uncle Charles. “She was like my Grandma, such a classy lady,” I hear myself saying through sobs, “and I am honored to have had her influence in my life.” I told him stories he has heard before, stories of childhood and of recent trips to see her as she aged.

She was old when I knew her as a six year old. I have memories of my Uncle Charles and Aunt Marcella’s house before my sister was born. I have memories of my sister and I doing handstands in the grass in their backyard. I remember Uncle Charle’s cane, a motorcycle accident had taken his ability to walk well, and his teasing. I remember our parents laughing openly with them at the table. I remember my Grandma and Grandpa animatedly chatting. I remember the way my dad would light up in their presence and I remember being very little, and then very much an adult, all in the presence of these same people.

Aunt Marci and Grandpa

9/6/2014

Conference Talk: Leiden 2014 Travel Women in Technology

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Today I am giving a talk about women in technology. This is something I’ve been preparing for since I first learnt Basic at age 13 on a Commodore 64. I’ve had several amazing men encourage me in this field and even in the age of feminism and women’s rights, there is still a lot of speculation and discussion around women equality in technical and scientific fields.

As one of only two women in my Graduate program at Western Oregon where I studied computer science, the idea that more women weren’t in the undergrad or graduate program boggled me. At the same time, however, I struggled with things like Java and building Server Sockets until I would vision jamming a knife under my large toenail as more enjoyable.

My Professor at one point noted, “You can get 100% of the logic on the quiz but you don’t know your ass from a whole in the ground when it comes to the syntax.”

I preferred to study PHP, which seemed to make more sense to me than Java. I pursued Python and Ruby and HTML/CSS instead of the huge, monolithic class structure of Java. Networking, routers, the IP stack; these are all things I found intuitive and interesting whereas the standard course for most computer science majors was the single hardest program for me to learn.

I figured I was not alone in this. I submitted a dissertation proposal in the winter of 2004, which was accepted at Oregon State University, and excitedly planned the research for my doctoral degree on women retention rates of undergraduates in the computer science departments and the correlation of programming languages taught.

8/6/2014

There’s Gold in Them Hills Parenting

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Two of my best girlfriends and I take an annual Moms/Kids camping trip. We started this at a “close-ish” park in 2009 with a toddler and a few pre-schoolers. We stuck close in case shit hit the fan and we had to call home for emergency needs like running another set of matches out because these ones don’t work. You know, big things.

Of all the years we’ve been doing this now, there are a few stories that stand out more than all the others. Sure, there is the annual whip-cream shot after waffles in the morning. And yes, there’s usually a craft and some roasting of things. There’s some bike riding (and bike smashing that one year I backed up over my daughter’s bike) and scootering. Kids learned how to bike while another learned to walk.  But of all these stories the few we pass down each year go something like this:

——2009——

“The Year of Raccoons”

The year we all slept in tents was an epic achievement. It was the first trip and I was daring this adventure with a newly turned two year old toddler. As would become the “norm”, Michelle and Laura arrived first and had their shit together. I, probably after a wrong turn, arrived late and sweating.

6/1/2014

Love you forever, like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be Parenting

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You giggle as I kiss your cheeks. I hold your hands as you turn your face left to right, giving me full access to the large, luscious cheeks, round and red. You laugh as you spit and shove off my kisses. I pretend to look sad and then hold your arms and start the process over. You are giggling as you pretend to stop me. I win at the kisses, landing on your cheeks as you laugh. You tell me I’ll never give you another kiss again. I chuckle. “Do you remember the Love You Forever book?” I ask. You shake your head no. “The mom comes for all of her son’s life to give him love until she can’t anymore and one day, he sings the song, ‘I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, My Mommy you’ll be.’” Your eyes are wide and you ask, “Why would you tell me that before bed? Now I’ll have bad dreams!” “No, Love, you won’t,” I reply grabbing your hands again from any defense of my kissing, “Because we have so many years before you have to worry about that. The point is, you can’t stop a mom from kissing her children.” I lunge for the final kiss assault and you squeal with laughter and turn your face. I plant five kisses on your cheek, nose, and forehead. You are still laughing when I promise to stop. “It’s bed time,” I say sternly. “Time for sleeping.” You look up at me with your brown eyes glowing in the light and whisper, barely audible, “I love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, My mommy you’ll be.”

I leave your room smiling with tears in my eyes as I go to see your sister, sitting in her bed reading Harry Potter, and plan my kissing attack. My life is an amazing wonderland. I shall never forget this.

5/10/2014

On handling things poorly: A how to guide for losing your eferloving mind Parenting

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You know that part of your gut that tells you wise decisions in which you promptly ignore? It’s also the same part of your gut that knows you’re holding on to some trauma that your brain hasn’t processed.

You should probably start listening to that part of your gut unless you want to lose-your-shit at a Laser Tag Team Building Exercise.

I’m not a gun person. I’m so not a gun person that the one time I shot a real gun at a range with my parents, I promptly set the thing down, walked in to the bathroom, and hyperventilated until the automatic lights turned off with me sitting in the stall.

Rule #1 to losing your shit: Deny your emotional response to tragedy.

I don’t think I’ve always had this phobia of guns. Up until a few years ago I might have been somewhat ambivalent about them. But now, well, things have changed in the world, my world, our world, and I am no longer uncertain about my thoughts on guns.

5/6/2014

Reflections on A Talk, A conference, A week Travel Women in Technology

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It wasn’t what they were expecting. I called it the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie talk. I baked in a discussion about gender equality within the title “Creative Development.” I think someone in the second row rolled their eyes.

It was probably the 8th or 9th time I’ve been on stage. It’s always so hard to begin the speech you’ve been feverishly obsessing over. The last nine months, since Low asked if I’d speak, were filled of notebooks and research and outlines and more outlines. I was a proper freak stopping a TED talk or an audiobook to jot down a point I wanted to expand on or integrate in my talk. I spent more than a few meetings scribbling notes to myself in Evernote, only partially related to the meeting topic but relevant to a future conversation I would have with myself first, and an audience second.

After a few hiccups and akward moments, it began to flow. Stats, Stories, Ideas. Youtube excerpts. Comics. Scientists. I knew all the content, I just wanted to nail the delivery.

Perhaps I didn’t “nail” it, exactly.  It felt more like a piece of art hung on the wall with a sticky hook, but it was well received. I was so wrapped up in my own nerves that it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth man that approached me for advice when I realized something shifted: They were asking about their girlfriends, wives, daughters, employees. They wanted to support their female companions, they just didn’t know how.

 

5/6/2014

My 7yr old knows more about pregnancy than I did at 29 Parenting

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Dear Buddy,

Tonight you blew our minds with your ability to spell an entire birthday card for your teacher and read your Dinosaur book without needing much help. You practically outdid most of my previous freshman college students with your math test and ability to speak adverbs properly. So yea, we’re sort of expecting great things from you.

We chose a book called “The Human Body” to read tonight. To be honest, you couldn’t decide between that, the airplane book and another dinosaur book but Mama can’t take another book about the big ass lizards, and was way too tired to feign interest over airplanes, so Human Body it was!

We flipped through some of the pages and landed on the pregnancy page. You started asking questions about the babies in the pictures. While I read you absorbed everything and formed ideas.

“At five weeks a fetus is the size of a bean, and heart, lungs, and organs are developing. The baby gets its nutrients from the mother through the umbilical chord.”

5/1/2014

She’s Geeky Women in Technology

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In an inadequate attempt to capture the spirit of a few hundred geeky women sharing advice, knowledge, code snippets, work ideas, and life discussions, I can summarize as best as I can.

In a word: Support.

In two words: Comforting Validation.

In Three Words: We Laughed Together.

In Four Words: I made new Friends.

2/11/2014

On birthdays Parenting

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My mom always made a big deal over our birthdays.  She would make a homemade cake and in very-detailed, time-consuming, 80’s perfectionist manner, decorate our cakes in secret under a banner of birthday wishes and streamer-lined dining room lights.

It was difficult for me to understand her when she told us all she wanted for her birthday was a cake. “A fancy cake?” we used to ask. “No, just a cake. That’s all I need.”

It wasn’t until last year that I believed her. Last year I sat at my brand new job, day two, in a corner struggling through onboarding. I didn’t realize how lonely it was to have nobody know it was your birthday. I realized, I don’t need a cake, or a party, or presents, or a big todo, but the value and warmth of someone saying, “Happy Birthday,” is highly under appreciated. I know people leave kind things on Facebook, but call me old fashioned, Facebook doesn’t seem as sincere as a person using their actual mouth to say, “Happy Birthday” with their eyes and a warm smile.

I’m clearly getting old. Authenticity is a hallmark for all that I value now. Well, authenticity and a clean laundry room. Before this I had a different take on aging.

On Coaching: Can Corporate America work like a Team Sport? Women in Technology

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I’m used to being yelled at. “Point! Point your toes!”
“Drop now!”
“You’re overextended, bring it back, good, good, POP! MORE! Nice!”

These are words I heard coming from the side of four apparatuses growing up. I can still, to this day, call muscle memory from years and hours in the gym. I can answer, almost turrets like, questions about gymnastics.

“What is the olympic order of events from 1- 4?”

“VAULT! BARS! BEAM! FLOOR!”

“Who was the silver medal winner in 1985”

12/12/2013

I like to run and jump over things Parenting

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If a 7 year old could have a steady, I’m speaking with her now. She’s been his “girl” for two years now, this little pixy of amazing energy and a bundle of wonderful for my son and myself. Her mom is a wondrous human, her friends have amazing parents and equally wondrous qualities and there’s absolutely nothing I could say that would not come across as me manipulating him to end up with a girl like this as a wife.

Remember, he is seven.

I’m so getting way WAY ahead of myself.

I’m not sure if you can foster children to marry a kind of girl like this or if he’s going to rebel against this very notion but when I met them on the playground today and I asked what they liked to do at recess, she beamed, “I like to run and jump over things!”

I glanced at my son and he shrugged. “Ok,” I offered, “Let’s run and jump over things!”

12/10/2013

Do the Hail Marys. Even if you aren’t Catholic. Parenting

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When I was 7year old, we sat in the bathroom during Hurricane Alicia. I was living in Houston with my parents and very tiny sister, who was only 2 at the time, sleeping quietly in the safest area of the house: under the bathroom sink.

My parents listened to the weather on a battery powered radio while the walls shook and tornadoes clamored around the neighborhood. We walked in to the eye of the storm where we found our fence down the street at our neighbor’s house, ten doors down.

At the time I didn’t realize my parents pissed off someone holy. I didn’t know God was a revenge sort of guy and that my mom probably chewed the wafer at Communion that week so we were doomed to lose a fence and all our backyard toys.

Now, though, I understand the weight of being a mother. We bear the responsibility for the natural, and the unnatural, disasters.

Including Lice.

12/6/2013

In soft whispered voices Parenting

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Sitting on the edge of the bed of my seven year old he whispers to me, “I’m writing a book about a Koala and a bear. You know that bear that made us have a lockdown at school? Well, that baby bear and the koala have a story and I’m writing it. You would identify with the Koala, Mommy. It’s a traveling Koala.”

“Oh, I’d like that story, Bud.”

“Yea, maybe you stay for a minute and rub my back?”

“Ok, I can stay another minute and rub your back.”

“Wait, you can’t leave yet. I’m not asleep. Maybe you go downstairs and do five minutes of work and then you come back and check on me? Then you can do the laundry. But five minutes of work, ok?”

12/1/2013

On the doing of Parenting Balance Parenting

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I wonder if my children will remember me as constant motion. Not a specific task, like cleaning their rooms while we talk about their day, or how I make dinner when we discuss their homework, or the laundry that I’m constantly walking up and down with from room to laundry and back. No, more like a blur of my historic self, a gusian filter placed over the presence of me in their memories.

Like my own mother is to me in my childhood; Always moving: a presence, a tickle monster, a card player, a disciplinarian. She is a blur of the eighties, a wisp of the nineties.

I wonder if my children will remember how they helped me make dinner, or bake treats for our Christmas with friends. I wonder if they’ll remember the countless card games and board games and wrestle games. I wonder if they’ll focus on how we worked so many hours or how we made time for them in spite of deadlines.

I think of my days in this rocking motion, always moving, even when still, shifting, doing, thinking. Laundry for down times, dishes for noisy times. Lunches made during dinner prep and beds re-made and stuffed animals put away during bedtime routine.

If I’m not doing two things, I am not being effective.

6/5/2013

Traveling Mom Travel Parenting

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I’m sitting in a cafe in Manchester, UK. It’s familiar, this cafe. The music, the people, the coffee. I think this is the key to traveling… everything at one point becomes familiar, even if only because we’re sitting on the same globe under the same sky.

My family rings me daily, the video turning morning in to silly faces and kisses from across the pond. I marvel at the technology compared to my first trip to the UK in 2001 when I punched in a 400 digit number to reach a calling card and the country code and finally the home phone in hopes to reach my husband. Now I wake the children up on video phone, ala Jeston’s like, rousing sleeping heads just before my dinner time.

fam

I’ve been asked “how do you do it? How can you travel and leave your children?” It is only because of this technology and the patience of Mr. Flinger that I have this opportunity. As often as I miss and yearn for them, I also try to encourage them to ask the questions “what is it like there?” It’s a small and simple task to encourage the children’s curiosity. I show them the weather, the money, the photos. I introduce them to my friends and their young daughter, who greets them with a very adorably Northern English, “hallo!” My young son blushes at the little girl in glasses smiling at him over the screen. “They have children in England, Mommy?” “Yes, Buddy, they do. See?”

This curiosity grows like a seedling. As we listen to Ingrid Michaelson’s “You and I,” I hear a small voice in the back seat of the car, “Let’s go to France and Germany, Mommy!”

5/8/2013

A letter to my son in therapy Parenting

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Tonight I checked on your sister but not you. It’s not that I didn’t want to; It’s that I didn’t realize how much the door jams would swell in the heat and rub against the door when I tried to open one. So as I squeezed in to your sister’s room with a loud “thhhhhhuuuummmmmpppppppppbbbbbb” and heard her squirm in her bunk, I knew my chances of waking you up were even greater. Also, your dad checked on you both just moments earlier because he is not as afraid to wake you both. I, however, remember countless nights of your flopping about in my belly with a knowing “oh no you didn!” squealing in my head.

So, please tell your therapist twenty years from now I did not love you, or your sister, more. I was simply more knowledgeable of the child laying in the bed after the hot squeak of the door jam. And that I still love you both very much. Even if I take it for granted, or your daddy’s word, that you’re asleep.

Love,
Mommy

4/12/2013

The Path to Grandma’s House Parenting

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I remember the roads to my Grandmother’s house. We called her “Bamma” to distinguish her from my maternal Grandmother, who would later be know simply as G’ma, and hold an even more important role in my life. As a young child, growing up in the suburbs of Houston, we would make the six hour trek to my Bamma’s house, just north of Austin. I remember the terrain changing to a hilly roll.. I remember the van’s AC unit working with an easier hum as we drew closer to my Bamma’s house. I remember my dad going over some of the rolls of the road and yelling with triumph, “WOAH! That will get you in your belly!” when the car hit zero gravity for a split second, gliding over each crest of ... to our minds.. mountains.

In reflection, after living in Washington state and visiting Germany and the Swiss Alps, those Texas mountains of my youth are Ant Hills to my present. But my childhood mind blows them up to disproportionate heights. Like every aspect of childhood, those trips take on a cartoon-like shape. I visit those memories like someone on a video game would now: Reaching back to that last saved game and running it through from start to finish. Each consecutive trip a level to discover.

I wonder if my children will think of their lives this way or if they will have better therapy to help organize their memories from Atari to Frontal Matter.

Either way, I stare now at the map of Texas, a flat representation of my youth. I smile at the familiar roads: 45, 518, NASA1. I lived there as a child, giving my most formative years to the southern-suburbs of Houston. And again, as a young career woman, giving my future to the college of Galveston, where I first taught computers and subsequently changed my career path forever. This map of Texas is not only familiar, it’s engrained in the very being that peers at it, from so far away, nearly 2,345 miles away, to be more exact.

I marvel at the flexibility of the human brain. That I have not one, or two, but three homes. That I find comfort in two countries and two very different states. That I can walk through the Nürnberg Market on a Saturday and feel as much my childhood as I can in Kroger in Houston on a Sunday. The fact that I live in a Wine Country in the north-east of Seattle seems to not matter; familiarity is bred deep within my brain and the roots dig to experiences I share with few. Inhaling the wet, humid, salty air of Houston is as much a welcome as the crisp, dry air of the Mountain here. And in the manner, so are the signs of German in a variety of villages and menus and friends as I wander the countryside of a country I was born in to by proxy.

4/6/2013

Living The Punchline 1: You have to look the way you’re born Parenting

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Day 1 of my new plan: “Living For The Story,” which, in reality, is more like “Living the Punchline” because y’all - Seriously. 

You know the phenomenon where woman want curly hair who have wavy/straight and curly hair women are always trying to straighten theirs? I’m no exception. My sister and her daughter have the envious curls while my daughter and I are stuck with straight, stringy, flat, lifeless hair. It’s the kind of hair nobody talks about. “Hey, can I look like her? The lady with the non-noticable hair? It’s so ... nothing.”

As an experiment, my daughter and I decided to go old school with rollers.

LB Curlers

Since it’s been roughly 181 years since I’ve done this, I forgot how long it takes hair to dry when it’s twisted up tighter than Sarah Palin’s knickers. So, when after several hours I needed to run to the grocery store, I put a scarf around them and went anyway.

4/4/2013

Adult ADHD, or How My Brain Works ADHD

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I was counting the railroad tiles out the window when my facilitator read, “Is often prone to daydreaming…” Yes, I thought, my daughter does that! I take a note to remember that frequent daydreaming is a sign of ADHD.

I fidget and look at the clock. How LONG is this meeting? It’s been 45 minutes already. My foot bounces at the end of my leg, a habit that irritates nearly every office mate I’ve ever had. I swirl my foot in circles and take more notes. “Fidgeting, constant moving, even in adults…” Impulsivity, forgetfulness, distractibility. If I hadn’t been diagnosed a year and a half ago, this might come as a shock. Today, though, I sit, fidgeting, for nearly TWO HOURS (mygod two hours!) in my first Adult ADHD Women’s Support Group with many others who are only learning this isn’t “normal.”

In my world, I am normal. In my world, I’ve always been this way. I’ve always had to work out daily or I can’t sit still. I don’t like going to the movies because they’re too long. I thrive as being a “big idea person” and the one who “drives projects”, the one who “loves change”, the person who will show up in Amsterdam having not thought about what I was supposed to do once the plane landed. In my world there was NOW and NOT NOW. I write notes to remind myself of important events and forget where I put the note. I make plans and forget I already made plans. People who love me cherish this about me and those who don’t? They don’t stick around for long.

Nearly two years ago my world crashed down on me for those “cherished” attributes. After 35 years of coping mechanisms, the tiny rock-chip of balance broke in to a full crack, splitting my life in two. Projects, Marriage, Children, Friends, Family… everything fell to the ground from their balance on the high wire, the very high wire I carefully walked my entire life.

tightrope

3/6/2013

No Regrets. Or. Why we need version control for life.

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They always say not to have any regrets in life. Thing is? It’s hard to avoid.

There’s that time you thought the tattoo of Winnie the poo was going to be a good idea wen you were 16. There’s the night you got so drunk you told off the barmaid who happened to be your boyfriend’s sister’s ex-lover and a former heavy weight boxer. (Consolation: your black eye looked a bit like an Eeyore so you claimed a “pooh” theme.)

There’s the time you majored in Exercise and Sports Science when you MEANT to major in Computer Science. (This one I actually have done. I’ll tell you about it some day.)

And then there are the three days you spent watching Felicity in sequence that you’d gladly take back.

I have the perfect solution for this: Git: Version Control For Life.

2/6/2013

How to not be a tourist: AKA: ten things I learned in London today Travel

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Wandering around London, alone, amidst crowds of families, strangers, losers, businessmen and lepers, I learnt a bit about how to fit in. The irony of that last sentence is that I’ve never quite learnt how to fit in at home. But here, lost in the crowds bumping shoulders with thousands of strangers, I find a way to quietly assimilate to the expectations of local society. Let me ‘splain.

1. Don’t carry around a paper map. Instead, hunt and peck on the map on your phone. You’ll look just like the local texting his or her mate to meet up for drinks later. Only tourists use a paper map.

2. Purchase your souvenirs at the end of the day, not at the start. Nothing shouts tourist like carrying around a bag full of “I LOVE LONDON bracelets” and “My mom went to London and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” (P.S. Family and friends, you’ll be receiving these shortly.)

3. If you find yourself unsure which way to go next, stop and ponder a menu outside a restaurant. This gives the illusion you’re considering a place to eat whilst giving you the opportunity to check the location of the sun and triangulate your next move.

4. Dress like you were going to your local coffee shop. I know you think you’re going to be walking a bunch and want to wear your white sneakers, but leave the stark white shoes at the hotel. You’re not actually walking a marathon. Be comfortable but sensible. Take breaks as needed. See #3.

1/6/2013

Re-imagining history Balance Stories

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“You walk very fast.” I hear the words at the same time a wet nose bumps my calves. I turn to find an older woman walking on the trail next to me. I had slowed down to text a friend briefly when she unexpectedly popped in to my path during my walk. She smiles, “I wasn’t able to catch you until now. It’s why I said something. Usually I’m way ahead of everyone but you walk as quickly as I do.”

We enjoy a nice chat as I pace along side her. I explain that I used to run but now walk because of my bad knees. She confesses she used to run marathons and was unsure about this walking business but really enjoys it. We both agree we can’t run to save our lives now and not ironically, that’s when she asks if I’ve seen the coyotes. We both agree perhaps we should carry pepper spray.

It’s about ten minutes, my time with her, this older woman in her late fifties? Early sixties? She has amazing legs and a warm, kind, lovely face. I think she never wore makeup and I identify with this. I ponder myself at her age, if I would still be walking on this trail. Would I let myself be natural and light and would I still talk lightly to another woman, a stranger?

She graciously explains she has dinner guests coming soon so she must turn here but he will keep a look out for me in the future. She tells me her name and I tell her mine. We wave as we part.

Something about her strikes me. Lately I’ve been so flustered at work. I feel so tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed. There are both wonderful, and challenging, parts of life right now and desperation consumes the harder times and a flood of light fill the good ones.

1/6/2013

Shoot, dribble, or pass Travel

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Many many years ago, in a small, reasonably priced apartment in Bellingham, my before-husband told me a story from his childhood about decision making. He played basketball at the church league up the street from his house during his Elementary and Jr. High years. Being a somewhat shy kid, he never had the confidence on the court that could allow him to succeed among other sweaty 10 year olds. The pressure of the ball being tossed at him was sometimes too much and he’d freeze, or just take off running like Forest Gump, forgetting all main facets of the game; namely that you have to bounce the ball whilst running and throw it at a high hoop thingy. I don’t know the details of the rules, really. I wasn’t there.

His dad used to coach the team and would watch incredulously as his eldest son choked every time the ball was passed to him. “Look, son,” he said with a coach tone and fatherly wisdom, “don’t think too much. You just gotta shoot, dribble, or pass.”

This story was relayed to me a month before I moved back to Texas in 1998 which alternated the course of my life forever. The decision had been a laborious one and on that night I repeated, “You gotta shoot, dribble or pass” to myself a hundred times until I stopped thinking and decided to move.

Green Park

Fifteen years later, while strolling along the Queen’s walk in London this afternoon, I’m listening to Bossypants by Tina Fey (henceforth known as my new BFF “TF” because we’re tight like that) and she relays a similar lesson from her past.

9/8/2012

50 Shades of Seattle Travel

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“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.”

9/3/2012

The stars at night are big and bright Travel

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I’m a native Texan. That is to say, my mother went through 48 hellish hours of labor (thanks, Mom!) so that I could be born in to this world, and the place she endured said pain is Texas City, Texas. She told me, when I was little, she choose that particular place for me to be born because it was easy to remember. Also because she had flown from a town very difficult to say correctly (Bayrouth, Germany) and it made a lot more sense, what with my dad loving Texas and all.  I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in between those tall tales and the one where my Grandmother happened to live near a hospital in Texas City, Texas, at the time and my mother and father needed a place to stay after returning to the states from many years over seas. I come from a long line of story tellers

I am sitting now under the starry night looking directly at Orion’s belt. I am drinking German beer, not because I found it at the local World Market, but because it came from the (supermarket) two blocks from where I sit. There is a church tower around the corner that dates from 1591. I am in Nuremberg. Or Nürnberg, if you’re a local. I hear the Germans on the street below and I am surrounded by the fresh smell of my laundry, the only hint of home that wafts in the dark in the breeze.

water

I am oddly home.

I have a sense of nostalgia here. It’s as if I’ve lived this life here, or one very similar, in other times. I am lost, in present day, unable to fully communicate except with broken pieces of German. It’s comical, really, when someone walks up to me and I say, “Hallo!” and they say, “Hallo,” and I exchange light talk, “Gruße Grote!” They begin to ask a question and I shake my head, “um.. uh.. er… uh, do you know English?” They laugh kindly, either nodding yes or no, and we smile awkwardly as I admit I am not really from here however much I sometimes forget that fact.

Celebrating Life this Holiday Season

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“Everything changes in third grade, Bud.” My wise eight year old is schooling her five year old brother. “You don’t get a Big Buddy anymore at school. YOU ARE the Big Buddy.”

These words hit something in my memory. I flash to a month after my Grandmother’s death (something I’ve talked about before) and I remember my mom saying to me, “It’s so weird to not have a mom. Now I *am* the mom.”

Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She passed away this month, too, but I try not to think of that date. Instead, when I think of my grandmother, I do so on this day, her LIFE day.

It wasn’t until my early twenties, after my Grandfather passed that I came to know her better and it wasn’t until after her death I realized how alike we are. My Grandmother was a traveler, a writer, a hard worker. She enjoyed the company of girlfriends and her family. She struggled with depression and a need to please everyone. She wore class and kindness the way some women wear pearls.

That last bit, I’m still working toward.

7/9/2012

Live in the Pause Travel Balance

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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.)

The forgotten ones Parenting

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“Don’t let them see me!” “Does the door lock?” “Don’t let anyone in.”

buddy

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.

No, really.

Endings and Beginnings

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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.

Perception is Reality

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“I’m mad at Miss Teacher. She always makes me come in from the rain last.”

I look at my young son. He turns five in a month. F-I-V-E. He is timeless like my sister, always thousands of years younger than reality. He has ideas now. He has opinions. He is wrong a lot.

“I don’t think that sounds right, Buddy.” I look at him in the rear view mirror. “No! It is! I was upset because my best friend gets to come in and shut the door and I have to stand out in the rain. Miss Teacher said that I have to be last and I have to stand in the rain before I come in.”

Obviously I know this is not right. It can’t be. This same teacher he is speaking of is the one who soothes my young son when I don’t meet his unrealistic expectations of picking him up every day right after lunch. She’s the one who tells him I am at work, I still love him, but I will come as soon as I possibly can. She’s been in our lives for five years now: two children through preschool. She knows us. We know her.

She’d never make my son stand in the rain last.

7/4/2012

Based On A True Story. Or Not. Stories

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I’m sure you’ve read this story. Like a lot of the trends in the world I tend to be one of the last to catch up. So when I saw the picture of the black lab sleeping on a sofa with a heart felt story attached, I read it.

reggie

I’m a sucker like that.

I read the entire post*. I teared up at the end. It was a lovely story, I had to share this. I clicked “Share” when I realized I should check my facts first.

One google search and I found out this wasn’t a true story at all.

The Standoff

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It’s not unusual to hear a “mommy blogger” talk about the inevitable morning from hell. In fact, I’m pretty sure both of you reading this could tell me you’ve experience this exact same morning. The difference? It happened to me. And this is how things shook down:

The 4 year old is in a particular nasty phase. It’s the morph between preschooler and “real boy” that mimics pre-pubecense with pee accidents. It’s a confusing time for everyone involved. This particular morning, the Boy couldn’t get a grip. He woke with a nasty case of being four. He sat, emphatically, at the table and stated: “I will not eat this cereal.” Now, in case there are any four year old’s reading this post let me explain a small known fact among all parents. The minute you state you WILL NOT EAT THIS CEREAL means you absolutely WILL NOT GET ANYTHING ELSE. Eat or don’t eat, we don’t really care. But that cereal? It’s all your gettin’.

When I tried to inform the Boy about this fact, he went in to hysterics. “I WILL NOT EAT THIS! I DO NOT WANT THIS! IIII   HHHAAAATTTEEE PANDAAAAA PUFFFFFFFFS!!!!!” Logic doesn’t work on a four year old. It doesn’t matter he was the one that asked for the Panda Puffs in the first place. It doesn’t matter that he wanted to purchase them for six weeks until I finally caved. No, logic and four year olds, as yoda says, do not.

I calmly tell my son he can throw this fit in his room. When he refuses to move, I offer to do the heavy lifting for him. AKA: I pick him up and put him in the room and close the door. At this point sirens in china erupt from sound pollution coming directly from my four year old’s mouth. The Boy, he went mental. Screaming, begging to come out, yelling that he needs a tissue. The list goes on and the time slowed. Ten minutes later, he continued with his fit.

Around minute 18 my daughter turns to me and says, “Mom? That’s really annoying. I can see why you don’t like it when I do that.”

Merry Merry and Happy All That

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In tradition with all Mommy Bloggers (Capital “M” and “B”) I’d like to present to you a montage of TEH CUTEZ.

I know I know, I hear it. Sorry.

One of my favorite traditions is the annual Girls & Kids Christmas (Same of moms and kids camping gang). We gather the children to play until they sweat, feed them, trade presents (picked by lottery, one kid buys for one other kid) and make an ornament. I’m a fan of tradition. It’s predictable and comfortable. It’s so predictable, in fact, that as the years have progressed we have added children but still, every year, predictably, someone will sprint out of the “HOLD STILL FOR THE BLOODY PHOTO” part of the evening.

Every. Year.

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The Universe Called Collect

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As a little girl sitting in a pew at St Mary’s Catholic Church, I was pretty sure the Priest was talking directly to me about 90% of the time. (The other 10% I figured he was talking about those girls at school who really needed to go to confession for breaking commandment number 5: Honor your father and mother because surely that could never be me.) Even if it was a sermon about giving money back to the church or not overdoing the strong drink, or treating work as a sanctuary, I still took these to heart at 8 years of age. God was telling me something. He had to be. Didn’t I just have too much Tang yesterday?

The thing is this didn’t just happen at church. Even though I don’t attend church any more (for a variety of reasons) I still find the Universe taking massive attempts to tell me something.

Or maybe I’m just really really very self absorbed.

Every song, every movie, every quote from the books I read seem to reach in to my subconscious and pull out the feelings I’ve spent a few months (years?) doing my best to shove down. It’s like buying a new car and suddenly everyone on the road is driving your car. Or naming your child and suddenly everyone has an Owen. You know how in your own mind you’ve started a trend when in reality, you’re just opening up to seeing something that’s been there all along because it means more to you know?

Perception is NOT reality

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My young son, mentioned previously, reminded me last night of another story I keep forgetting to tell you.

He reminded me, as I lay him down in his twin bed, tucked him in, sang him a song, and promised to come back after reading to his sister, about this time I did not come back to check on him. In fact, he reminded me, I left him alone in the house for a very long time; a very long time while I was at the bus top. Did I remember that? he asked. Yes, I replied, I did.

My daughter was in first grade, last year, and I had my tiny three year old son at home with me. He fell asleep in my bed during nap time, one of my favorite memories of our times at home in the afternoons. He slept so well I did not want to wake him at 3:15pm when the bus normally comes around the turn to drop off my daughter.

We were new at this routine. I was working at home, my daughter was in a new school (elementary!) and my son was still young enough to need naps and home time and not preschool every day.

We were also new enough to the neighborhood that nobody really knew us yet.

6/3/2012

In a (german) nutshell: a day Travel

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You know those days where you forget to eat for about six hours and by the time you realize it you swear your pants are already a size bigger and you must surely look anorexic or vitally ill or, say, like Angelina Jolie but without all those kids or Brad Pitt? And then when you’re in the REWE supermarket you catch a glance of yourself from the side in the fridge isle and realize you could probably stand to go another ten days plus six more hours without eating but damn those sausages look tasty.

Yea, that.

I’m not too proud to tell you I stood for about ten minutes in the Suppe isle today. Or that I happened to get about ten packets of soup mix because HOLYLOVEOFGOD the Germans have a lot of packages of soup mixes. I think I purchased a lovely mushroom spice for which to make mushroom rosetta with if I get get the ingredient right (I have the rosetta, mix, and vassa so I think I’m covered?) and a few others for making sauces (for the aforementioned sausages). I also found some Muesli (which in German means ‘Health Nut’) with chocolate and seeds. I’m so all over this.

groceries

I can also share with you that today I had to use google translate to see what the message on my German phone was from Telekom. I felt so “Christmas Story” with the Ovaltine Decoder. I couldn’t wait to see what my message was only to find out it was an advertisement for getting more minutes with the SIM.

6/3/2012

Lost control of breath and heart Travel Balance

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I find myself on the matt, rushed from traffic, breathless from worry. The room dims, the instructor’s voice soothes the atoms in the air. We breathe.

The class begins and we stretch, bending over yesterday’s beers and middle-age. We look up, grasping at the sky energy. We stand tall, then lean low, we breathe heavily.

I stoop in to child’s pose, catching my breath and my resting my body. The instructor, calm energy, strong voice, tells the class to rest. “If you’ve lost control of your breathing or your heart, take a minute…”

I’m fading in to my own thoughts at these words. “Lost control of your heart…” The words bounce around the vastness of my mind: a void of sorrow and contemplation. A light, dim at first, starts to shine the very edges of my thoughts. It is not just light, it is the sun. Hope washes over the cobwebs of winter, of poor choices, of indecision. Memories of a being a child, hopeful and independent, of a girl in Germany, of a strong spirit rush back in the void’s space. Suddenly I am strong for the first time in months.

I sit now in a hippie coffee shop. It’s the kind of coffee shop you’d go to after having an epiphany at yoga. I sit across a college girl with her hair in a woolen cap. A grandmother sits near us sipping her latte and writing on twitter. The walls are adorned with swirls of abstract art, most likely a result of a night of cocaine and vodka. I’m high just staring at them.

5/10/2012

The “DOG SPIRIT” Travel

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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.

5/8/2012

Postcards Travel Parenting

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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.

um yea

Yea… that…

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

M-EE-Tup Best(ish) practices

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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 a difference a day makes

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Rule #1: Don’t blog about work.

Rule #2: It’s totally normal to delete a post and replace it with beer and sausages.

Rule #3: LOOK! SAUSAGES!!!

Lunch

Too close to home

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I was in meetings all morning at work. I was fired up about some frustrating blockers about my seemingly important work of moving bits and bytes around on various screens.

Then I saw an email from one of my closest friends that her niece and nephew’s school had a major shooting today.

They have her nieces but her nephew is still missing.

Now, look, I know that it’s all the way in Connecticut and I live all the way here in Seattle. But V’s son and my son are great buds. They go to schools a few miles apart. My son has played with her nephew, the one missing right now. So no, I do not think “there’s nothing to worry about, it’s not here, Leslie. It’s ok,” which is what people keep trying to tell me when they see my watery eyes looking lost at the office.

I believe there is a thousand reasons to run home and grab my children, and her children, and huddle together.

Firsts and lasts

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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.

4/3/2012

On the discipline of being alone Travel

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Today I biked 15km to town and 15km back. It was sunny most of the way, lovely really, if we don’t discuss that bitch of a hill on the north side of town. I had a lot of time while peddling to think about life. I’m sure it’s what most people would do while cycling past farms and horses and old men with bread in their baskets.

There is a discipline to being alone. I understand now how monks taking a vow of silence have a strong will. To not communicate with people around you, to be shut off verbally, to be emotionally isolated even while surrounded by people, is difficult at best. I think this as I peddle to Der Beck near work. It is closed and I’m unable to ask when it opens again. I read the sign but I’m fairly sure it says it’s open Sunday through Saturday. Or Monday through Friday. Or maybe it’s Friday through the third week of the month on odd years. I have no idea. It is, obviously, closed now so however much I am craving a cappuccino I’m basically screwed.

So I continue to peddle.

DSCF0164

I go the same route to Nuremberg that I’ve travelled before. I am thinking of how lucky I am, even as my stomach growls, to know this route. How every experience adds upon itself and stacks up to a new attitude of living. I am thinking this as I fly past a young man running on the trail. I recognize him, laugh softly, and as I pass I wave and yell, “HALLO!” to the intern that sits in my office. He laughs, waves back and says, “oh! HA! you!” I smile, continue to peddle, and think how random the universe is that I’d find a single person I actually know in this entire place of words I don’t.

Ode to the Office

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Office

Ode to the cubical wall
so tall and so gray
It hides the world,
the sun, the rain,
life outside this day

Ode to the second cup of
coffee that so
quickly is out
You bring new life, energy

before leaving me without

Ode to the music of MOG
which plays in my ear
Knocking out sound
of others conversations
allowing me to disappear

Have a trashcan kind of day

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There’s something funny that happens when you have children. Well, there’s a lot of not funny things that happen, like gray hairs and stretched abdominal muscles, but there are non-physical benefits to keeping people with a very young sense of humor around: Lots of ordinary things are just .. not ordinary.

The other day when leaving the house the children noticed the trashcan had blown over in the wind. “WOW!” they exclaimed, “I bet he’s never been on his side before! I wonder if he loves it?”

Because seriously, where do they come up with this stuff?

Upon much discussion about the happiness a trashcan feels in his new position, experiencing the world through this new perspective, learning new things about the ground, tires, leaves, they decided today they, too, would have a trashcan day.

So it began that we wish each other a trashcan sort of day. May you find the world renewed through a different perspective. May you experience the ordinary with new vigor. May you find solace in the potentially devastating knowing all things happen for a reason. Or at least enjoy the wind.

Though the Truth May Vary

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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.)

Summer in Seattle

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Seattle is the abusive boyfriend I just can’t quit. Most of the time he’s a complete dick. He’s moody, reclusive, a complete downer. My inner “solar powered unicorn” dies a bit every day I wake up and look outside. “Um, rain and clouds again, Dick?”
Then, just when I’m starting to get the courage to really leave him for good, he pulls out his best charm. The mountains are visible. The sun peaks in the window at 6AM gently nudging me awake. He tells me I’m lovely and he woos me again. Everything is shiny and bubbly. He brings me flowers. He kisses me on the cheek with warmth.

I remember a real estate lady telling my friend V when she was looking at moving up from California, “It’s not lovely a lot of the time but when it is? It’s amazing.” I used to tell my friend she was “sun entitled” because she would actually STAY INSIDE on a sunny day. “Oh, no, here we don’t do that. People call in sick. There are accidents on the freeway because of the sun. We slow down over bridges to look at the mountains.”

It’s true. Looking at the mountain on my way to work, I soften a bit, second guess my ability to leave. I nearly forget, in just a day or two, how miserable my boyfriend makes me on a daily basis.

Seattle? I quit you. I love you. I want to have your babies. I want to leave you.

How I got here in the first place

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Kids, I’m going to tell you a story*. This is a story about how I ended up sitting in an office outside of Nuremberg in a tiny town called Erlangen, Germany, which happens to be less than an hour’s drive from where I was made. It’s a true story.

I get this question a lot lately, “What do you DO now, exactly,” and I can not answer in full. I work on demos for automotive software companies. I create websites, mostly front-end now, for larger companies that know more than I do. I help organize strategies for content management, marketing communications, branding and messaging. I travel to a lot of amazing places and I meet a lot of amazing people. My job does not suck. I can tell you that.

This particular story happens in Las Vegas, Nevada, where I was working with two automotive software companies. For one, I was finishing a demo on a mobile device, let’s call it the iPad, for their sales and marketing team to show Ford, Audi, VW and Toyota. And the other, let’s call it Big Awesome German Company, I was helping out with branding and messaging and content strategy. That is to say, I was at CES for work and I got to party with some really awesome companies.

Like Microsoft, for example.

I ended up, not so much on accident, at the Microsoft party at CES. I asked a co-worker there to watch my drink: A gray goose and diet. She promised to do so as I went to the toilets. However, since I ended up meeting four people on my return, when I arrived back to the bar I looked at her quizzically. “Um, where’s my drink?” She glanced over her shoulder, “I gave it to This Guy since you took so long to get back.” “Uh,” I stammered, “Who is This Guy? HE owes me a drink.”

The Precipice

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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.

10/10/2011

On living other’s dogma Stories

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The alarm went off at 7AM for the first day of fifth grade. My dad was in his suit walking out the door as he heard me grumble and get up. “Life sucks and then you die,” he greeted me.

This is the first of a thousand similar morning greetings he would say as he suited up and walked out the door to work.

Me 10 years old

I always thought this was just my Dad’s “thang.” Like he loved the Aggie’s football or playing war games on the computer. I thought it was sort of just something he muttered like when he sneezed “Jesus Christ on a commode.” It was one of his quirks, those parts of Dad that made him… well, Dad.

Years and years later, at thirty-five, I sit talking across an impossible valley. As it turns out, my dad is not the only one to say this as he went to work each morning. In fact, it’s something many dads said as they embarked on their early morning trek. It was not just dads in suits, or dads at mills, or dads with fancy cars or frequent flyer miles. It’s an attitude of a generation. The norm for our children’s grandparents is a rut-filled expectation of misery and eventually death. Our children’s parents, now in their mid-thirties or early forties, are just now rebelling against mid-life. We are just coming in to our own careers and now, as we walk out the door in the early morning dawn, we are asking why. WHY do we have to live our father’s mantra “life sucks and then you die.”

My Mind Enema

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“Um, do you have sage?” I ask at Whole Foods. It seems logical that if one would need something to cleanse spirits, Whole Foods would have it.

You know: Hippies and all that.

“You mean for burning?” I clearly don’t know what I’m talking about. I think you burn it. I’m not sure what I’m looking for but I’ve been told by at least four people to try a sage cleanse for our house so this year will be infinitely better than the last. Sage cleansing. I couldn’t even bother to look it up before I go marching in to Whole Foods to buy it.

Sage

“Here you go,” says the thin, purposefully unkempt girl working at the Yuppy-Hippie-Overpriced-Grocery-Store. She leaves and I’m faced with a decision; two small sage sticks or one large stick?  “We need all the cleansing possible,” I mutter and grab the biggest sage stick I can find.

On Making Pro You Decisions

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There’s a theory of mine. Ok, it’s not just *my* theory, I’ve actually read a book, watched a documentary and heard a famous comedian talk about it. It’s called the “Pro You Decision” theory.

See, I’m a big believer of making your own fate. I think there’s a lot of self fulfilling prophecy out there. If someone is always feeling like a loser who can’t lose weight, I’m fairly sure they’re going to be a loser who can’t lose weight. If you take that same person and shift their mind in to a positive “I can totally lose weight! I’m able to make those decisions to move in that direction!” I think eventually it will happen. It’s been my own experience in many areas of my life at least.

To get out of a spiral of despair, I try to make a Pro Me decision. It’s a small decision, can be seemingly inconsequential, but necessary. This morning I chose to get up early, take a brisk walk, and start work early with a todo list in hand. It has shaped my entire day. One Pro You decision leads to another Pro You decision. It’s not cosmic magic. It’s the simple fact that by placing your mind in a positive position, you’re more able to see the positive choices presented to you in a day. By working out in the morning I’m more willing to select healthier foods during the day. By selecting healthier foods I’ll have more energy. The afternoon will be more productive because I have more energy and my productivity will boost my self confidence at work and help me feel satisfied when I return home. One small decision this morning will set the stage for an entire day of awesome.

What is your Pro You Decision?

On Publishing your life on the Internet

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“How can you share everything from your life to The Internet?”

This is a question I’ve been getting asked since 2003. I give the exact same answer I gave before blog ads existed, conferences were popular or marketing pitches went out en mass: “I don’t.”

There is a vast difference between sharing all your personal information and sharing fun, personal stories. Believe it or not, most bloggers still filter their content.  As personal as the stories I have shared throughout my time online, there are many details of my life nobody knows except those involved.

It’s a false sense of closeness you’ll get from reading someone’s blog. You might feel that you understand them entirely, could be best friends, have the EXACT SAME thoughts. The wonderful truth is that you might have or be all those things, but you can only find that out by experiencing a true friendship. In the past few weeks I’ve reached out to many of the wonderful women I’ve met online. They have shared snippets of their lives and I know them well enough to understand the bigger picture that lies underneath. The amazing fact is that if you ask, offline, off record, in earnest, you can share things so much more intimate than what The Internet can ever know. “I had no idea,” a friend might breathe over IM. “I didn’t realize,” you might whisper when you read an email in return.

Many of us blog because we love to write and express ourselves best in this medium. Many of us find it therapeutic to work out the inner ideals we’re unsure of here on this screen where others can help guide or encourage the enlightenment. This form of communication, while cathartic, is still limiting.

9/9/2011

Bird by Bird - A business plan Front-end-developer

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Bird by Bird - A business plan

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds,  immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.’ -Anne Lamott

I’m overwhelmed to a ridiculous state. Somewhere along the path of amazing, whilst traveling and producing and speaking, my cart became full of expectations, deadlines and impossibility.

“If you say no too often, Leslie, they won’t ask you back to babysit. Be careful when you turn down a job opportunity.” -Oma Flinger

I was 7 when I started my first business. A friend from down the street and I ran in to the woods beyond our houses and collected rocks, interesting twigs and other “potentially beautiful” items. We ran home, painted each carefully, and set out knocking on every door asking if they wanted to purchase our art for ten cents each. I made about a dollar that day peddling my work amongst the neighborhood.

At 10 I decided to run an in-home daycare for an hour a day at my parent’s house. My mother wasn’t a fan of having 12 children in our small home, so I set up the garage as a small “school” setting and offered to take children who lived near by at a small fee to teach them a play that we would perform at the end of the week. It was a cabbage patch kid reenactment set to the tunes of a record I owned. At the end of the week, parents came to watch the play and praised the sweaty mess of children I directed in the two car garage in Houston.

Having recently decided to take life by the unicorn horn (if you will) and start a new, more amazing, better freelance business than I’d ever had before, I opened up my contacts to accept new work. Happily, Joyfully, Thankfully work flew in the front door, even more than I knew I could take. My mother’s words bubbled to the surface and her years of an incredibly strong work ethic and high expectations of her own life replicated in my own. I took the work, even when the deadlines were smashed together, with travel booking both ends, and said yes to it all.

9/8/2011

At twitlight Balance Parenting

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I hear my family upstairs. There are squeals, laughter, delight. The radio is blaring through the built-in speakers of our bedroom window, opened even though this last August air is chilly. There is chasing above. I sit on the patio as Ben Folds plays via iPhone. I work a bit. I delight in my job. I ponder the day. I drink a good beer.

I once read, “To be in harmony with the universe is to be like floating: Doors open, opportunities arise and you take them without thought.” That is happening to me as of late. Doors seem to bust open. Life seems to beacon me. COME! COME LIVE!

“When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.” -Anne Lamott

I am exceedingly happy at my upcoming opportunities. I am living a day job of merriment. I am watching my children ride their bikes without training wheels and smiling at their accomplishments. I am aging in my own body and appreciating it more daily. I am realizing the future may not be as I always expected but that the universe offers more than I can ever hope or dream. Without being cosmically ridiculous, I can say without a doubt that those who dream big live big.

I want to dream big.

8/12/2011

On darkness.. and light Stories

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One of my favorite episodes of my favorite TV show ever is “Northern Lights” of Northern Exposure Episode 4:3. It’s an analogy of light within the depths of darkness.

Goethe’s final words: “More Light”. Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime,  that’s been our unifying cry. More light. Sunlight, torchlight, candlelight, neon, incandescent… Lights to banish the darkness from our caves, to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the nigthgames at Soldier’s Field. Little tiny flashlight for the books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep.
Light is more than watts and foot candles. Light is metaphor. Thy word is a lamp under my feet. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Lead kindly light, amid the encircling gloom. Lead Thou [You] me on. The night is dark and I am far from home. Lead Thou me on. Arise, shine for thy light has come. Light is knowledge. Light is life. Light is light.

We’re entering the darkest time here in the Pacific Northwest. The time where the sunlight dips to unseen beds at 4pm and doesn’t rise again until 8AM. The hibernation of man becomes a reality and people in coffee shops talk about the endless darkness.

We are a collective bear’s den: Nestling down for the winter months, comparing caves and scarves and nuts.

It is during the darkest hours of winter that we seek the Light. To me this is found in humanity. In the imperfect solace of friendships, of community, of tree lightings and holiday festivities. Later we will find this in the houses of those we know: lights of comfort, of discussion: of future plans. This is the time of reflection, of seeking, of finding. And hopefully, as the new year comes upon us, even in darkness, it is a time of light and hope; however that may look in a different new year light.

Forget that “Back to school” preparedness. Here’s a more practical approach

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Right now there’s a lot of people posting about “Tips for being prepared for the school year.”  Let me be the first one to share with you my strategic plan: “How to lose your shit prior to school starting.”

Y’all, it’s how I roll.

Here, in no particular order, is my recipe for a complete meltdown:

1. Plan a trip prior to school starting including long international flights.

2. With 14 hour layovers in Holland.

Missing: French Maid Uniform

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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.

When mommy bloggers and brands connect in Seattle

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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.

Seattle

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.

8/4/2011

Sticky Notes ADHD Parenting

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I have these sticky notes. They line my computer background, they clutter my virtual desktop, the travel in my portable office. They are text files I keep open to remind myself of my goals, todo lists, small notes. I have one that I keep open nearly all day, every day. It is titled, “People I want to emulate.” 

On this text file I keep a very short list of people I admire and dare to imitate. It’s like my own version of the, “What Would Jesus Do” bracelet.

What would Amanda say to this quest I’m on?

Would Scott Berkun forget to submit a speaking proposal?

I bet Emily Lewis would take the time to code this correctly, without shortcuts.

7/10/2011

On turning seven. Alternate title: HOLYCRAPYOUARESEVEN Parenting

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I remember the day I peed on a stick and shockingly read two lines. I remember the day we found out we were having a girl. I remember the long, difficult struggle of birth and the weeks and months following. The transition to being your mom wasn’t an easy one but those are all memories now.

Toddler LB

I have completely, utterly, hopelessly, passionately fallen in love with you, my daughter, my pixie, my joy, my pride.

You grow every day to be a person I am proud of. You create, you laugh, you rejoice. You show me what living with imagination is. You teach me to ride my bike in the grass because cement isn’t necessary. You invite me in to your imagination of talking horses and pet shops. You warm me with your arms and your impossibly long legs, mygod how did they get so long, wrap around my waist when I lift you for possibly the last time of your life.

Baby Big Sister

7/10/2011

On fifteen minutes Parenting

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Four

“Mamma, will you play with me?” There are three other children at school outside playing under the careful eye of their pre-school teacher. I briefly consider the deadlines, the emails, the phone calls. “Yes, Buddy, I will.” His face lights up and he runs to select a ball from the bin. We play “kick the ball” which could also be called soccer if we were a little more agile.

At first we are tame, kicking softly, rolling the light red ball across the cement in the covered area back and forth from my large feet to his tiny ones. One of us kicks it a bit too hard and the other laughs as the ball bounces off the divider and the wall. We kick with a twirl. We kick with both feet after jumping. We kick until the ball flies over our heads and we giggle. I am there, at the preschool, in the crisp autumn air with my son laughing while the inbox sits and the clock relents.

Finally it is time for me to leave. I hug, I kiss, I smother with so much love I hope he holds on to me forever. I pull away in my car and I see his small familiar face peering out from the fence. He waves, I wave, he blows a kiss and I blow one back. He signs I love you and as I sign it back my eyes fill with tears of gratitude and thanksgiving. Sometimes fifteen minutes can heal even the most busy of todo lists.

Life Impractical

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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.

Noise

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My Grandfather was an electrician in a mill. He often explained his lack of hearing from years of being around loud machines. “GRANDPA! TURN DOWN THE TEE VEE!” He would wave a hand in our direction, mutter something completely incomprehensible and turn the volume on the TV up.

Last weekend a friend of mine spoke of reducing the noise in his life. As a single man who enjoys many activities outside the computer, I thought it was a strange, though admirable, statement. So often the level of noise in my life is beyond was I can tolerate. Children whining and needing immediate attention pulling on my arm, Co-Workers on IM, twitter, facebook, email, friends asking about this weekend. It’s not that the noise is bad, each in of itself, it’s that together there isn’t a single conversation occurring in full.  The noise fractures my relationships in to compartments. Not a single person gets my full attention.

Having the opportunity to be with people in real life, to sit across a table with community members from work, to enjoy watching the children throw rocks in the water with a friend, to sit together as a family each night at dinner, helps. It helps bring the level of noise to something manageable. But during each of these interactions there is almost always a phone, a computer, a noise-producer. I’m pondering the long term effect on our relationships and if one day I’ll be waving my arm in the general direction of those I love muttering things they don’t understand.

sun

Chicks, Bunny Ears and Sugar. (This is not about the playboy mansion.)

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Like last year, the year before that, and the year prior to that and so on, it rained on Easter here.

Shocker.

I did manage to click some pretty terrible photos with my iPhone for you.

You’re welcome.

Behold! The creepiest bunny in the history of all bunnies!

May your holidays be everything you asked for and then some

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I am blessed with people in my life whom I share traditions with. We watch our children grow together. They bring me joy well beyond a generic word like “blessed.” Each year, for as many years as my youngest has been alive, we gather at Christmas to exchange gifts and create christmas memories to hang on our trees. These memories: beaded off-center balls, reindeer with too much glue, pictures of children years younger under glitter and foam; are treasures of magnificence. We hang each on branches every year in prideful spots. These ornaments, complete with thumbprint-smeared reindeer heads, go in the front of the tree. We’re proud of our inability to craft at our house. To visitors it appears we’re all a bit special-needs with glue but we see laughter and disastrous glitter accidents and children aching to be with their friends.

2009

2011

This year I drew my friend’s seven year old son. This kid is an old man trapped in a young-person’s body. While my children run around in their own imaginations, this kid talks like an adult. Since I was completely stumped as to what to get a man-child of 70 trapped in a 7 year old’s body, my friend tells me to just get an iTunes gift card. It’s what he wants, she says. I’m thrilled. “You kidding? Easiest Gift Ever.”

On the way home, this quiet, polite young man opens up to my friend. He said, and I quote:

6/8/2011

So I’m going to England in a few days… Travel

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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.

The Red Stapler around the world

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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.

I love this community more than I can express to non-bloggers. People like Suebob keep this community alive and nurtured. Please go tell Suebob happy birthday today.

Suebob: WE LOVE YOU!! Happy Birthday!!


Other posts from some of the people who love her:

The Future of Web and Visions of Equality

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For years I’ve been a minority in our field. In graduate school I was one of two females. The program pushed Java but I studied PHP and my co-female-student studied XML. Why is that? Why would the two women select another language than the standard object oriented fare served to the students? Is it possible there is a feminine friendly language that helps retain women in computer science?

This is the future of our field. The is the future of the web. Bringing technology, the joy of development, the art of mobile application development: these are the true places women can excel and find balance in a male dominated field.

WebVisions 2011 is about “exploring the future of the web” and I can see no better reason to join those who are passionate about the future of a field we’re growing from the ground up. After ten years of developing sites and recently joining the dev team at EllisLab, Inc., the chance to attend WebVisions is a dream come true. That and because Aaron Gufstason is begging me.

But maybe I can be your sunshine?

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He watches the truck with a camper pass us on the road. “I wanna go camping again. Are we EVER going to go camping again?” My three year old is a drama queen sometimes. I laugh. “Yes, we’ll go camping, I promise. We’ll go when it gets sunny again.”

“It’s NEVER going to be sunny again!” He whines. He also loves to whine.

“Oh, it will,” I assure him, “Probably July 5th.” The classic NorthWest joke doesn’t mean anything to him.

“Hey, I’m wearing yellow! Maybe I can be your sunshine?” he beams a little.

He starts to point out all the yellow. There’s a yellow sign! And a yellow truck! And yellow flowers!

Like the Red Tent but without the tent or ancient rituals

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I’ve written about The Red Tent before. I loved this book about womanly camaraderie based in fictional ancient biblical times. It’s the sort of book that makes a lady a feminist. You practically wanna shout to your random sisters-of-the-hood from across the street, “YOU GO HONEY! YOU CAN DO IT! WE FUCKING BLEED ONCE A MONTH AND STILL TACKLE THE WORLD!” Then you high five a million angels and she high fives them back. Lady angels, of course.

Or maybe that’s just me and possibly Liz Lemon.

Consider this the eloquent transition from The Red Tent and 30Rock to how my friends ended up in a kitchen with our underwear on.

Some good friends of mine decided to do a weight-loss challenge together. A few of us gained a few pounds (cough seven) over the holiday and wanted to get back to our sleek, healthy selves but with some good ol’ competition with money involved. Nothing strengthens friendship like placing money between it.

So we gathered together in the kitchen of my friend’s house with a scale, a camera, and a tape measure. We stripped down to our “summer” selves, bathing suits, small tanks, bare tummies. We measured and weighed and posed.

On #EECI2011

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We are over Deluth. We are leaving the Big Apple behind in sunset lights and long shadows.  I ponder the past few days, how a few days can be such a grand event, how every group of few days provides alternate versions of life. Carrying my camera down the streets of Brooklyn, watching with the eye of an observer, I pictured myself walking to the cafe to meet a friend on this sunny morning. I would know the cafe barista because this is what we do most Saturdays. I’m not sure if I own a dog, a small one, in this alternate life,  but if I do, he walks with me as the kids run ahead. I can see this all through my lens, and my eyes tear up for a brief second with the thought of my children, how wonderfully in love I am with them, how deeply I miss them every single trip, and how desperate I am to show them these lives, even if we do not live them.

Jen L and Me
*I should always wear a Jenn Lukas as an accessory.*

It is not that I have such a wide array of worldly experience that these new places are becoming familiar. No, though I never travelled to Brooklyn or NY City before, there is an air of comfort to it. The subway is a strangely wonderful experience. The buildings are twice as tall as they seem on TV. The shops are so crowded, a way I only experience at holidays, I squeeze and bump body parts with several strangers in a stretch of three minutes. But they speak English, and for some reason this catches me off guard. The city, this experience, the bustle and tousle of humans in small spaces, the colors, the bricks, the small shops with outside seating: these qualities feel so European to me, my only experience in this environment having happened thousands of miles across an ocean or two.

Robert E
*A Robert Eerhart and Louis sandwich, the founders of EECI.

No, I’m not sure if Brooklyn and New York feel familiar because of my traveling experiences or if they feel like home because of the people I see within moments of arriving. There is a band of brothers waiting for me at the nearest pub, ordering beer and waiting up well past the appropriate hour of dinner. There is greeting, smiling, hugging and limbs flying around necks. They are people I know beyond work, they are part of a bigger picture I can not possibly explain without bringing you with me. It is impossible.

My Unicorn lives in a Yoga Studio

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I’ve had a partial written summary of my time in Austin at SXSW for over a week. As I’m not one to over edit anything (if you read me very long you’ll probably call out grammar issues and typos in comments) it is a puzzle to me why I didn’t just hit submit when I finished writing.

Maybe this is called “Personal Growth.”

Or laziness.

Since coming home I’ve been in such a funk, such a god-awful-terrible-no-good funk, Mr. Flinger is threatening to ship me back to Austin permanently. I’ve talked to my co-workers about our time there, each who managed to write about the experience. We reflect on the talks, the discussions over coffee, bacon, and port. We reach back in the archives of our notes pulling bulleted items back up trying to apply each to our regular work day.

The experience is an overwhelming one. Think Christmas morning for your four year old every hour of the day for four days.

Picking your battles

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This morning my daughter came down decked out in layers of plaid skirts, short tights, polka dot socks and crocks. Her paisley purple shirt topped off the entire outfit with a proper bow at the neckline. She illuminated joy from every ounce of her 7 year old tiny body. “Wow, hon! You’re a party!” She beamed at this compliment from me and sat down all sorts of matter-of-fact at breakfast ready for the day.

My kid? She has the pizazz.

pizazz

I remember someone cooing over her as a baby. “Doesn’t she just bring you so much joy?” It was an innocent question from a perfect stranger, but at the time she was a three week old leech taking every ounce of my sanity in chunks of 45 minute sleeping blocks. I looked up, bleary eyed, and tried to smile a genuine smile all the while thinking, “Mister, have you HAD babies?”

It turns out? He had. His kids were grown now and he was looking at my three week old baby girl with eyes of decades of memories. Memories like the one at the breakfast table this morning.

4/8/2011

BlogHer 2011: a usual recap Travel

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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.

If I look 19, you’re a purple horse

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Saturday we had a small going away party for some friends of ours. They’re moving back to LA after two years of this

shitty weather

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.

On Motherhood

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Six Mothers’ Days.

Two children.

Thirty-five years of life.

Nine years of marriage.

856 diapers.

4/2/2011

Did I ever tell you about the time… Parenting

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My children were playing “little fucker” at Home Depot?

Now, look, before you get all judgy, let me just preface this with a post I wrote two years ago to prove I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. Ok? I had a plan. I had a theory. That theory sucked.

In retrospect, the “time and a place” mantra could work. Teaching your children that anyone can say anything as long as it is the appropriate time and place is rather discerning. I don’t want to shield my children from the world but would rather teach them how to navigate the gray areas of society including cussing, standing up for oneself and when an appropriate toilet joke is funny.

I guess at 5 and 3 they’re not discerning yet.

Case in point:

3/9/2011

Like a bird Travel

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“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

prayers

There is so much for me to tell you. There’s the conference I spoke at in Manchester with some pretty fantastic people last week. There is the amazing opportunity for work that I have right now pushing my own boundaries to places a sherpa is necessary. There are the stories from Japan, where I am now, working with a team of people who are brilliant and outspoken, winning clients and conducting business in which I am proud to be part of.

I’ve been on 8 planes in less than two weeks. I’ve touched three continents, four time zones. If I was to write down my perfect life, it would include these two weeks of chaos, exhaustion, work, people, sleeplessness. I am happier than I have been in a long time, finally actualizing dreams.

“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)

Burnt Toast

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Alternate Titles:

1.  When your priorities are all effed up.
2. Pondering ways to move the earth’s orbit so days are 31 hours each.
3. I have a blog??!?!?!?!?!!11111!?!?

Years ago Mr. Flinger and I found a book called “Burnt Toast” while dragging our new 3 month old daughter around Powells in Portland. Forgetting that it was written by a pretty famous actress who probably never struggled with baby weight five, no six, years after her first child was born or had to wander the bookstores at 10PM because HEY WHY NOT WE ARE ALL AWAKE, the book made an impression on us both.  Having only read the excerpt of the book from the flap, we still talk about how easy it is to give your priorities to things other than what you find important: your family, your health, maybe, I dunno, breathing deeply every so often. The book’s premise is that while you are giving the best parts of the loaf to everyone else, you’re taking the burnt toast for yourself.

Throughout the years we find ourselves saying, “I’m not going to be all burnt toast about this.”  About a week ago we decided to spontaneously give our family three entire days together. We’ve been working insane hours, never seeing each other, hardly ever in the same house more than 2 hours aside from sleeping time. The children see us both, but never together. The four of us spending time together is as mystical as Santa or that damn Tooth Fairy that always forgets to put money under the pillow. Three entire days to be a family, while ridiculously short, is more than we’ve experienced in months.

And so we went to Wenatchee. Why? Well, why not?

3/2/2011

It’s like starting all over again. You can be whomever you want to be. And other lies. Stories

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It’s funny the things people will say when you enter a difficult situation. My family was uprooted from the upper-middle-class subburbs of a major metropolitan city with 300 days of sun at the end of Jr. High.  We settled in a mill town in a small rural area of a state that sees 30 days of sun a year. The entire time my parents sang chorusses of “But you can remake yourself! You can be anything you want! You get to start fresh!”

Dude, I was 13. I was fresh. I had no idea who I was in the first place. Also, these people don’t peg their pants like we do and why aren’t they wearing neon?

Did I mention it was 1989?

Similar in a way only I could make the metaphorical leap, learning Java in grad school brought me to tears. I remember telling people I’d rather have sharp pins stuck under the bed of my toe nail for fun. “But you’ll refresh yourself! You’ll learn something so useful! You’ll be renewed!”

Did I mention it was 2004 and Java was the de facto language for All Things Ever? And oh, memorize this chart and create a program like pong. Thank you.

Shuffle: No longer with EllisLab, now freelancing again

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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.

On being S.A.D.

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rain

The heat kicks back on and I know it won’t warm me. The walk to the car will be wet and cold. I wear a layer of my body like an extra coat of energy, just waiting, hoping to be used. I drink another cup of coffee and turn the heat as high as I can while I drive.  I will struggle with children, putting coats and hoods and boots on and splashing back to the car again. The effort nearly crushes me.

It is May. The realization nearly takes my breath away.

It is May.

Seattle just finished the coldest April on record.  Even after two amazingly sunny days this weekend, we return to the usual rain and high of 55 degrees.

12/8/2010

It’s good to do uncomfortable things. It’s weight training for life. Parenting

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image

“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”.  ~Isak Dinesen

The first time I went in a boat, a canoe, I cried. The little boat would rock too much. I was too young. The water was too wet. I didn’t want to fall in.

The second time I went in a boat, a sweep, I wept with pain. My teammates and I pulled and pushed and pulled and pushed as our coxswain yelled the tempo. It was an ugly love, but I found it there on Lake Samish in Bellingham.

The third time I went in a boat, a kayak, I found joy. Pure solitude, soft gentle rocking, swaying of heart and soul. I may have been on something, but I swear dolphins swam with us and sea otters bobbed their heads to greet us. Birds sang specifically to us and little animated hearts floated out of my head like a cartoon.

A girl and her boat: Oh, to be one with the water.

My son is four today. I’m officially 48 months postpartum. See also: WTF and HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

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Baby O,

Last night as you were falling asleep, you could barely keep your eyes open (much like your mother after 9pm on two glasses of wine) and you asked for your story. “You want to know about the day you were born?”

First day of school 2011

Your eyes lit up and you stuck your tongue out in that way you do when you get excited and I think you’re sort of proving evolution isn’t just a theory.

O at three

Why Three Year Olds Don’t Blog

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“Actually, I don’t wear boobies right now because I’m a little kid. You wear boobies because you’re a mommy. When I grow up and are a Mommy I will wear boobies, too, right? And OH LOOK my race cars just crashed that was funny. Whoever gets to the side of the closet first wines. Are you still getting dressed? Oh, you’re wearing a red shirt like I am! Look I’m wearing red, too! Did you see? Now can you see? I’m wearing red, too! SEE? IT IS RED? DID YOU SEE IT? RED. RED. Oh, can we do pizza tonight. Now can you play race cars with me? Why are you still getting dressed. It takes FOR EVER TO GET DRESSED, hu. Why are you brushing your hair? I brush my hair, too. See? Now can we do race cars?”

Buddy

11/7/2010

It’s funny, the things you regret Stories

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We got married on the top of a small mountain on a tiny island off the north-western corner of the “lower forty-eight” states. My dress was twenty dollars from Ross and I wore my favorite combat boots I purchased at a consignment store for six dollars. It was November and a tiny group of our closest friends stood outside in the freezing cold with us.

I have never, once, ever regretted not having a big fancy white-dress wedding.

Ever.

With increasing frequency, however, the subject of my Dissertation has entered casual conversation. I submitted a proposal I still have a passion for, so much so that when a poor soul asks me about it I launch in to an entire discussion until their eyes glaze over and they begin to drool. It’s a great topic, honestly. I deferred after getting pregnant with my first and again when we moved from Oregon to Seattle. It was at this point I had our second child and safely placed that dream on a high shelf in the nursery.

I keep going back to that shelf, however.

EECI Wrap up with Slides

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It was a quest of mine to have the new version (vs 9.11) of this website done before I posted my slides. My plan was to integrate HTML5, CSS3 and some Major (echo: MAJOR MAJOR) Cool (echo: COOL COOL) Scripts! (echo: SCRIPTS SCRIPTS).

Instead you just get my slides. Bah.

The intent of my talk was to focus on those people who administer the websites we build. So much of our time/energy is focused on the front-end development and user strategy but how often do we go through the same process on the back-end? Our administrators often want a site that’s easy to manage, easy to update and even easier to train other people on. We use ExpressionEngine for that very reason: It gives us a flexible tool to build a site around and an easy management area for our clients to take over. And while EE is great at what it does, it can be overly robust, and thus intimidating, for some of our more inexperienced users.

I presented four real-world experiences in which I’ve utilized add-ons to make the back-end more user-friendly while solving some difficult requests. The end result is a happy client and a fantastic frame of knowledge to continue building upon for those strange requests of “Can We Just….”

I hope you enjoy the presentation in PDF format. If you’d like to see the entire workshop as well as the conference, you can purchase the DVD for sale here.

Carb Swap- A Great Alternative Pancake

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I’ve started reducing our sugar intake thanks to The Belly Fat Cure and half a dozen other resources that have scared the ever-living-shit out of me in regards to sugar.

51-HsTT94EL._SL160__.jpg


DEATH IN A PACKET ZOMG.

Sweet, lovely, death.

Anyway, so I’ve cut back on our sugar. Turns out? You only need about 15g of sugar A DAY to live. I KNOW! RIGHT? Crazy effers. But it’s true. I started this and am living to talk about it.

Proud to be the bacon - or alternate title: If I was gay I’d totally be in heaven right now

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You know how silly these things are, right? Especially when there’s a list for the list after the list of 50 best mommy bloggers (which, frankly, I am so proud to see so many of my friends on there because yea, I have great taste and it’s obviously all about me), so really this is the list for like, the 51st - 100th best mommy blogger?

Dude. Rawkin’ the Bacon.

See, during this brief moment in time, before word gets out there and people actually take notice that this list exists and that you can vote once a day, I’ve snuck in between two of my most favorite, most adored bloggers out there. The Bloggess and SesameEllis.

image

Do not ask me how this is possible. I. Do. Not. Know.

On Love: AKA It’s our anniversary today

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My young son sat on the log outside waiting for snack. The older kids poured out from the Kindergarten room and I see his eyes follow a little blonde girl. He stands up, runs to her and says, “I’m here, Piper!” The little girl, Piper, doesn’t hear him. She has another friend of ours talking to her and my young son is standing behind her. “Here, Piper, I’m here!” I hear Piper ask where he is and finally she hears him, the third time, and turns around. “Oh! There you are! I missed you!” She sits down and pats the seat next to her. My son sits beside her and wraps his arm around her waist and gives her a snuggle I know well.

A moment flashes and I see a time I’m not my son’s only woman. It is only a moment, as he turns to me, smiles, and says, “I wuv you, Mommy.”

———————-

Later that same day my phone rings. I answer the unfamiliar, but local, number. A little girl asks who I am. I hear her dad in the background say, “no no, sweetie, you need to say who YOU are. Ask for LB.” I smile, “Are you looking for LB?” “Yes, is LB there?” I hand my daughter the phone and listen to her squeal to her school friend in delight. They talk about school and petshops. There’s a lot of giggling and a lot of repetition but I smile realizing this is the first of many many phone calls my daughter will be receiving from fellow schoolmates. For now, it is a girl. I see a day, though, when her first boy call comes and smile, shake my head, and remember.

———————

Lessons I learned while traversing the world {Part 1: Holland}

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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.

Mother’s Day 2010: Epic Awesomesauce

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Mother’s Day started early. Saturday night my friend Ashley picked me up in her awesome mobile to head to our favorite local restaurant.

Ashley's Car

We met Trix there and she totally smelled my hair.

Purple- The Night Before

It was great girl-time in which we talked about wine and sex and being a mom. Not in that order. Or maybe in that order. I forget because the wine was first.

{W}rite Challenge- The Job

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image

My husband stepped out the door and I kissed him good-bye as he headed to work. It wasn’t an unusual scene, but a new one. This particular day was his first heading back to work after the birth of our first child. I was starting a new job as well, as a mother, taking care of an entire human being that had no idea how to hold her head, move her hands with fine motor skills or even that she had hands at all.

I was home taking care of a screaming sack of potatoes that shit hourly on the hour.

I was mortified.

So I held him a little too long that morning, my husband, in the door of our rambler. “I love youuuuuuu. Have a gooooooooo daaaaayyyyy. Looks like it won’t be too cold todaaaaaaaaay.”

FAIL BIG OR GO HOME

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I don’t really “DO” New Year’s Resolution, yanno? I see it as just one more thing to fail at by the third week, oh who am I kidding, the third day in to the New Year.

Oddly enough, my boss told me to embrace failing this year. “Try to fail more this year” he said.

Uh. Ok.

There’s a theory to this and it sounded as eloquent as shit when he told it to me. I just can recollect that right now.

But I get the point: Don’t be afraid to fail. You’re not trying if you’re not failing. You’ll never know the limits if you don’t push them too far.

Class Selector by Class Selector

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I’m nearing the end of a freelance project. It’s been an exciting process as my skills develop and I build better and more robust, well planned code. Each site is a little better than the last. But each project comes with a theme song and I hear this one building in my mind as I near the climatic finish.

Bird by Bird, I remind myself. Just take it Bird by Bird.

I recite the title from one of my all time favorite writing books, “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lammot. The story starts with her brother sitting at the table facing a deadline on a paper about birds. Her dad looks at his overwhelmed son and advices, “Just take it bird by bird, buddy. Bird by bird.”

I sit and look at the few bits that are left. Why each project extends beyond my expected finish, how each detail can create a pixel off here or a query fail there is something I should learn to anticipate. And yet, still, I sit here looking at nearly great code sighing heavily as I realize there is that ONE MORE LIST to style, ONE MORE SPAN to fix, ONE LAST SELECTOR to place.

Bird by Bird, I tell myself. Just take it Bird by Bird.

Snow and Stitches: A Flinger Holiday Story

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Get ready for a boatload of snow pics. This one? My backyard.

Wow, y’all. Was that a week or what?

boy in snow

The week started out as usual. Monday morning came with the furry of gathering children to breakfast, rushing them to dress and hurrying out the door. The snow started just hours later and by noon, [all of Seattle] I was in a mass panic to get to Sea-Tac in a [blizzard] light snow storm.

Snowman

In fact, Hallmark DOES NOT have a card for everything

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Summers of my youth were filled with sunny, sticky hot days, swimming parties, bike rides, and friends. Houston weather, relentlessly suppressing, choked your lungs with moisture. Us kids would ride around, ignoring the heat, to each other’s houses like mormons on mission. We would bike everywhere, arriving sweaty, sticky, and breathless ready to play and repeat the entire process.

This summer, as an adult, I’m able to re-live that experience. Or, at least in my own way, reminisce about it.

One of my best friends lives 3.6 miles away. I’ve always been fortunate to have friends near, but this is especially helpful when shit goes down for a dear friend. It’s nice to be able to be close, to have the option of hopping on my bike on my lunch break and literally riding to my friend’s house in 15 minutes or so, just like I did as a child.

Even if those are a hard, hilly, hot, sweaty, sticky fifteen minutes. (This is where I say, “That’s what she said.”) (And you all laugh.)

*Wobly 55 second clip of the process. minus the part where I stopped to fix my pedal or where I walked my bike up a huge-ass hill. Dudes. It’s a fucking big hill, don’t judge.

Things I know

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I have a laundry list of random bits I’ve believed because my parents told me so. Sometimes as an adult, I’ll start to say something, stop, and realize I’m uttering complete and total bullshit. Bullshit which I’ve heard a million times from my parents.

I probably need to see a counselor about such matters but instead, I will tell you.

I’ve posted about the day I realized my mother lied to me. We were on the airplane heading back to Houston after a visit to Portland, OR, and she sighed, “Oh, I forgot to replace the toilet paper in our bathroom.” I was about seven and looked up in her face, “Why? Can’t Daddy do it?” “He apparently doesn’t’ know how, sweetie.”

Seven year olds do not get sarcasm.

And so the minute we landed in Houston, pulled up in to our drive way, I ran inside to see if Dad did learn how to put the toilet paper back on. Apparently, he had. I announced how proud I was to him and my mother laughed saying, “I told her you didn’t know how.”

9/3/2010

Everything I need to know about life I learned in Kindergarten… yesterday Parenting

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In the haste of Monday Morning, we forgot my daughter’s sleeping bag for her Kindergarten rest time. Having the luxury of working close to her school, I ran it over at lunch time and decided to stay for a few minutes to see what life is like for her in her mini chairs eating the lunch we packed with the friend she always talks about.

One four year old sitting to my right started quizzing me immediately. “What’s your name? Where do you work? Why are you here? Are you the one that named her? Did you pick out her clothes today?” I answered some politely and ignored others to talk to my own daughter who was quietly eating and singing a song from their morning music class. My daughter’s teachers came over to tell me what a glorious job she’s doing.

The four year old didn’t stop.

And at this point I turned in to one myself thinking, “Hushit! I’m trying to listen to teachers brag about my daughter you little blabbermouth.”

On Parenting Very Young Children Parenting

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We were at the dinner table the other night, when the conversation turned surreal:

“No, look, Elmo and Zoey would never get along as a married couple. Zoey is way out of Elmo’s league.”

“You think? I dunno, Elmo is pretty famous. Maybe she’d marry him for the money.”

“Do you think people without kids even know who Elmo and Zoey are? And why do we know this shit so well?”

“You think if you asked someone without kids which Wiggle they thought was the hottest, they’d think we were on something?”

What you’re good at and what you enjoy might be two different things

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I recently had a conversation with my president about my future in the company, career aspirations, and plans. It was a two hour conversation, a good one, but ultimately one thing he said keeps repeating over in my mind, “What you’re good at and what you enjoy might be two different things.”

The guy is deep, y’all. Deep, intelligent, and wise. And full of these little gems.

As an 18 year old fresh in college, I had a plan. It was not one my parents thought would provide enough income or direction or job opportunities. In fact, they begged me to go in to Computer Science. “THAT, Leslie, THAT is the future!” My dad has a PhD in Educational Technology, the man can program, has years of troubleshooting experience and taught me BASIC when I was 12. When his oldest daughter declared she wanted to get an Undergraduate Degree in Exercise and Sports Science with a minor in chemistry, and a graduate degree in Nutrition, he rolled his eyes. “But you? You can CODE, Leslie. That’s the future. Not ... PE and food.”

After college I searched for jobs but there was a very big shortage of anything relatively career worthy. In fact, it looked like my parents were right. I couldn’t use my degree. It was useless. I nearly cried, “I learned how to lift weights! FOR TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS.”

senior pic les

Themes: Tomorrow I turn thirty-five and I still don’t know what the hell I wanna be when I grow up

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Have you ever noticed how sometimes a certain theme will pop up in your life at one time? Like when you ask a friend for a DVD she borrowed and she mentions that perhaps you let another friend borrow it and that friend, without prompting what-so-ever mentions that DVD and brings it back? It’s like just by saying the DVD title out loud, all of the universe collectively worked with some weird underground energy current and subconsciously effected the mind of your friend?

Or is that just way too new age bullshit?

It’s happened a lot to me. Ok, maybe not “A LOT” but it happens. I’ll mention something to a friend and suddenly that same thing will pop up again in other places. Sort of like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden EVERYONE has that same new car. I know they all had that car before and you just never noticed it because it wasn’t on your radar, but still. You have to admit, it’s kind of weird, right?

When I was in Germany, my host Betty and I had lengthy discussions about being a working mom. It’s hard to explain to someone without kids, or a mom without a job, about the stupidity of combining the two. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but when you talk to a corporate woman who is successful and driven and chose to put off chlidren because she was good at her career, and when you talk to stay at home moms who put off career to be with their children, you end up looking like a buffoon for claiming you can have both. Like a naive asshole buffoon.

I sort of feel a little like a buffoon some days.

Six. My daughter turned six on Sunday

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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.

Eating Europe

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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 will never judge someone drinking a single malt at 10 AM at gate S9 ever again

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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 Add Spandex

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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.

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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.

8/6/2010

Having a mid-life-crisis at thirty-three thousand feet Travel

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I tell people I’m going through a small mid-life crisis. They look at me, judging. “HmmMMmm,” they start, “I bet you’re not nearly mid-life. What are you? Thirty? You really expect to only live until sixty?”

To these people I put a pox on their eyebrows and ear hair.

Funny thing: Mid-Life can mean any time in which you wake up and look in the mirror and immediately proclaim “HOLYSHIT! WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WHILE I WAS SLEEPING.”

This is exactly how I feel right now.

Last Thursday I travelled to Utah on SouthWest Airlines. This means I was part of the cattle call to find my own seat on a plane with a bunch of other livestock. I sat in row seven on the isle next to two people who, by the end of a two hour flight, would be my partners in crisis.

I asked for a barn.. I got a barn.

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A long while back, I asked for a barn.

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Today, I have a barn.

There’s something about moving to “the country.”  And by “something” I mean A HECKOFA lot of work.

There’s the septic system that can be blocked by trees.

My Very Own Jillian Michaels

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Funny thing about Teh Interwebz: You just might find out someone lives 1.1 miles from your new home. And that someone just might be like SO SUPAH AWESOME that you trade emails and find out you’re eight thousand shades of the same. Maybe you even share the same tummy issues and love of wine and eating clean and working out.

So maybe you start hanging out.

Funny thing about hanging out with someone sorta like you: It freaks people out. You mean there are TWO OF YOU?! Yes! YES THERE IS. And that somone maybe happens to attend the same boot-camp class you do at the YMCA and probably has seen you there before but now you know to look for each other. And maybe you sort of wish you didn’t, but not until after the fact.

Last week I went to bootcamp with my new friend Ashley. We’ve exchanged tweets, emails, IMs and a few games of Facebook Scrabble, and a beer. Then, suddenly, I find myself knee deep in sweat and cussing at my new friend. Swearing, actually. To her face.

It’s a little surreal to have your ass kicked by a former twitter stranger. And by surreal I mean painful. But comparing sore muscles the next day and realizing what a great workout it was. The girl? She kicks my ass. In a good way.

I do alcoholism like I do politics: half-assed

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Remember the time I said I was going to quit drinking? Yea, that didn’t work out so great. In fact, that lasted roughly a week, maybe.

So I googled, “ALCOHOLISM” because I like to be all dramatic and diagnose myself with things from Dr. Google. It validates every ache and pain and makes me appreciate the fact that I do, indeed, have roughly 4.23 months to live according to some scientific study based on rats in England.

Apparently, though, I’m only a half-assed alcoholic.

Can’t a girl get some pity around here? Jeeze.

This is an approximation of what Google taught me:

A plea from a mother of a toddler who will not sleep

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You wouldn’t think someone this adorable could cause any trouble.

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And oh, you’d be wrong. And also a suckah.

I can remember sitting behind the recliner listening to the theme song from St. Elsewhere. I remember my mother, without looking back, yelling, “GO TO BED” and wondering how she even knew I was there. I was so quiet! The woman had eyes on the back of her head. She till does.

The theme music has changed, the recliner is different, but the person sitting behind the chair refusing to go to bed is reminiscent of 1982.

Have I mentioned I’m going to Holland tomorrow? Travel

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Maybe this is old news to you because you talk to me daily, in real life, and I don’t go three point eight seconds without saying, “OHHMYGOD I AM GOING TO EUROPE IN $variableTime(‘9/28-currendDay()’);”

P.S. I actually speak in code.

But in case you don’t happen to talk to me daily in which I call or text you begging you to go boot shopping with me because A GIRL NEEDS BOOTS, then maybe this is actually news for you:

I am going to Holland tomorrow.

Remember Holland?

Moving is making giving me the narcolepsy

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My body has a funny reaction to stress. You’ve heard of “fight or flight?” Well, I have “Fight/Flight or Sleep” with the latter having a weighted pull. I spent most of college sleeping. I never made it through an “All nighter.” Hell, I hardly make it through an “All Day-er.”

I find myself walking around our new house looking at things I want to fix. I walk around the empty house in circles. Living Room - Dining Room - Kitchen - Family Room - Den - Living Room - Dining Room and so on… I wander and pretend that I’m calculating the next step, the next priority, but really, I’m sleep walking in an effort to shut out the ToDo list.

And then I curl up on the floor and go to sleep oh.my.god. in the middle of the kitchen between the cabinets I want to stain and the refrigerator we need to move OH.MY.GOD.

I’m comforted by the sounds of laughter from the children digging in the dirt outside and my husband’s whistling as he measures for the brackets in the garage. It’s a lullaby to me, the sound of my head spinning with THINGS.TO.DO and the sound of my family being in our new space.

The children don’t really get it yet. They ask, “Can we come back to play here tomorrow?!” “Yes! You can come here and play EVERY SINGLE DAY for the rest of your lives!” My five year old’s eyes bulge. “It’s true! Our stuff will be here soon! THIS is our new house!”

Because there are huge images on this blog

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Wow. Apparently I think you’re all blind. Or slightly blind. Or have the terrible eyesight I have.

500 pixel mix tapes. HELLO!

Really, I just wanted to push that huge tape down a post. I have posts. In my head. And all you get is some hopped-up-on-pain-killers dribble about the Olympics.

That’s right. PAINKILLERS.

No, wait, THE OLYMPICS ON DRUGS.

The Best Meat Loaf

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My family loves meat loaf. Well, they love this meat loaf. The kids love to help me make it by squishing the ingredients together with their hands. They feel so empowered that they made their own dinner, it’s never a fight to have them finish it.

Truly, you have no idea how miraculous those words are.

I promised you the recipe and here I am delivering. FINALLY. GAWD. (Sorry)

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3/4 cup Ketchup (we use organic low-sugar)
3/4 cup quaker oats
4 egg whites
1c salsa
1 Onion chopped
1 1/4 pd lean ground turkey
1pkg Knorr dry vegetable soup mix

Drishti Balance

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Life is chaotic now. I knew the change was coming but you can never fully prepare for it. It’s like a pregnant mother waiting for the birth of her child. She hears all of you telling her to “sleep while you can” and “Woahboy, your first, hu? Big change is coming!” but those words are simply words. They are not experiences until she is in the midsts of it, and then it is irrelevant.

Words can be meaningless.

Or they can change your world.

The other day my Yoga instructor kept telling us to find our Drishti. Drishti, I repeated in my mind. Drishti. I knew she was telling us to find our focus. Our point of concentration. I looked up the meaning and found this definition: “Drishti is the focus of the eyes in meditation. This is the focal point where one’s gaze lies to attain concentration alignment, and inner and outer balance. One actually does this to prevent distractions, but should be looking inwardly and not concentrate on the physical object. This could be the tip of your nose or in between your eyebrows, depending on your yoga pose.” (source)

“This is the focal point where one’s gaze lies to attain concentration alignment, and inner and outer balance.  One actually does this to prevent distractions.”

6/2/2010

PCOS Signs, Definitions, and a Poem

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For the last 20 ohmygodI’mnotkidding years, I’ve had painful ovulation followed by puffy, painful, uterus-numbing cramps. I’ve been told to “suck it up”, to take an Asprin and call back in the morning, to eat some chocolate and get over it.

When I turned 25 and had my first “real job” with my first “real insurance” and “real boyfriend”, I decided to stop putting up with it and have someone fix me. Mr. Flinger (pre-Flinger days) urged me to find someone to help because sitting on the floor crying in the bathroom for 5 days during your period just didn’t seem right. Either that or suck-it-up and eat a Hersheys.

The doctors told me, after a short conusltation (three times) that having a baby would help. “Are you ready to be pregnant?” “Um, no?” “Oh, too bad, having a baby would really fix this.” “I was hoping for another solution than bringing a child in to the world because I wanted to skip my period for nine months.” “oh.” * (this conversation actually happened. Kaiser Permanente is a joy to be a part of.)

Finally I did have a baby! And oh! She was right! I had no ovulation pain! And then I had a baby cut out of my body, a uterine infection, post-partum depression, and a revenge from my ovaries they could’ve made a movie out of. Rated R.

After another baby and a few more years, I decided I didn’t want to take Birth Control Pills any longer as I near the age of “WOOPS” where hormones are no longer reliable and pills can have more damange to the body and produce tiny people in the mean time.

5/10/2010

The One Where I AM In Germany Travel

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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.”

“DID YOU JUST CALL ME OLD?” I quip.

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

5/7/2010

In Flight: A tale of a mid-life crisis at thirty-four Stories

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A truth I’ve known about myself for years: I have a very strong flight instinct. Some people stay and fight, some people flee. I am of the latter.

I’d make a fantastic bird.

“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free! We can learn to fly!” - Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

There is a culmination of events recently taken place that leads me back to this instinct. When trying to remember exactly what happened, or when perhaps, I can only begin a long list of items bringing me to this truth: I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.

In searching for my most beloved books, as I always do when complex thoughts dominate my mind-space, I realize I’ve read no less than dozens and dozens of traveling books. Essays of people who experience a world, write about it, and sell it to housewives and mothers of small children grounded in their piles of laundry and diapers and weeding. This single fact never yelled at me louder than it does at this time. I want to leave. I want to leave. I want to leave.

Given the Ability to Fail

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A common theme within our family conversations as of late center around the ability to fail. We, the Flingers, believe failure is not only acceptable, but completely necessary. Taking away the ability to fail creates a chasm between lessons ultimately preventing the ability to make the proper choice later.

We let our children fail.

We allow ourselves to fail.

We analyze, talk about, and come back from our failures.

Failing. Is. Ok.

Northwest Profile: Runs Barefoot In The Rain Gal Stories

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You probably don’t know the “northwest profile” commercials from Pemco, unless you live here. Or you listen to Seattle Internet Radio in an effort to step up your coolness. Or you’re a seattle northwest wannabe. (Or, rather, soon-to-be Seattle-ites.)

However, if you’re from the Northwest, these profiles sort of hit home.

Really close to home, actually.

As in: Me.

Here she is, ladies and gentlemen, Northwest Profile #39: Runs Barefoot In The Rain Gal.

Haggard.

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I recently took a full time position with a fabulous design firm as their Director of Development. I work as a small team helping business reach their potential through an online presence that mimics their real life brand. We’re, what you call, all inclusive. Or “yer bitchez.” We answer to everything.

It’s a fabulous job, but it’s an adjustment. Life, though, is an adjustment. The older we get, the more we’ve adjusted and the more adjusting we do. Including our belt notches.

The children have been simply delicious over the holiday.

Playing.

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I can totally pull this off

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I’ve been sleepy since I was 16 years old. The first doctor I saw, during cross country season my Junior Year of High School, dismissed my complaints. “Look,” he leaned forward, his hands resting on this thighs, smelling of soap, “You’re not tired. You can’t be tired. You run 5 miles a day and get straight A’s. You’re not tired.”

But I *WAS* tired.

I continued to be tired and get dismissed for the next 19 years. I slept through college. Literally. I fell asleep regularly on my books in the library, drooling between pages of my Physics book. I went to bed at 9PM every night and fell asleep during movies my roommates and I would rent. I took three hour naps regularly and barely made it through until evening.

After having our daughter, I was attempting sleep following the 24 hours of labor, emergency C-section, medicated debacle. My oxygen monitor kept rining and a nurse would have to run in and reset it. I was frustrated, tired, and not able to sleep after 30 hours of exhaustion. “Has anyone ever talked to you about Sleep Apnea?” one nurse finally asked. “No?”

In fact, nobody would talk to me about it again for years to come. Doctors explored yeast imbalance, gluten intolerance, PCOS, Chronic Fatigue and so on. I’ve taken hormones and pills. I’ve done diet after diet to increase energy.

4/8/2010

My Epic Love Story Parenting

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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.

My son.

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.

The plight of the working mom

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Three year olds are assholes. It’s true. It’s been documented somewhere. Probably on twitter or a wiki or something. Three year olds make 13 year olds familiar. Moody. Cranky. Angsty. Parenting a three year old (or a nearly three in my case) prepares you for the upcoming hormonal swings and mood changes akin to knife fights in gay bars.

Working gives me some perspective. I’m able to look at my adorable children and appreciate their innocence. I can hear their whines and love them because I do not get enough.

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HA! Did you read that? I almost didn’t make it through with a straight face.

In reality, yes, I get to shuffle my children to be RAISED BY OTHER PEOPLE YOU HORRIBLE MOTHER GOING TO HELL HULK SMASH. And while they are gone I think of them and their soft faces and their long long legs and arms wrapping around me when I pick them up. I worry less about them than I used to but still wonder if I am doing the right thing sometimes. The Mommy Guilt: Second only to Catholic Guilt.

Waiting for the Internet Birth

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Hey, remember that time I was all, “OMG WE GOT A HOUSE AND WE GET TO MOVE!”

Fuck that. Moving is hard, yo!

It’s not just the new-ness of the place, or the old-ness of someone else’s dirt, it’s the alone-ness, the “what are we doing-ness” of our lives.

Disrupting the routine is no good, people. NO GOOD AT ALL.

But not having internet? That’s death.

We made you mixed tapes

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That’s love yo. That’s love.

From Mrs. Flinger to You, The Interwebz
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Right Click and Save As for Download

Songs
Adelaide by Old 97’s
Whistle For The Choir by The Fratellis
High School Stalker by Hello Saferide
The World’s Greatest by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
Sea Green, See Blue by Jaymay
Anyone Else But You by The Moldy Peaches
You Love Me by Kimya Dawson
Bury Me Closer by Palomar
Chariots by Joseph Childress
Birthday Present by Mirah
Fairytale by Sarah Bareilles
If We Go To The West by Nina Nastasia
Pollen by Mirah
Persimmon (Unplugged) by Hot Bitch Arsenal
Simple Song by Emily Arin
You Could Be Happy by Snow Patrol
5 Years Time by Noah And The Whale
Honey Bee by Zee Avi
Remember The Mountain Bed by Billy Brag and Wilco


From Mr. Flinger to The Webiverse
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Nothing Beyond

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The room is hot today. Hotter than usual. I ponder this as my heart races.

Perhaps it is not the room, but my head.

Thoughts pound within the sides of my skull. Anger, frustration, uncertainty. I hear the sound of the room breathing, Pranayama. In. Out. In. Out.

We begin our salutations. I stretch. I try to release. My tummy folds on itself and I judge it. I feel myself tense and I release again. I remind myself it birthed two children that I love dearly and not to hate it for its work.

I breath in again. And out.

Clean Eating Articles: Click Through for You

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I thought I’d share some of the fabulous information I’ve recently come across. Some fabulous people are out there writing about diet and fitness much better than I am. Here’s a snippet of some of the awesomeness.

Leigh’s “How to get fat skinny”.

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First, there is a distinction between getting fit and losing weight. I’ll stick to losing weight in this post since that’s what most people think they want to do (I’ll talk about fitness later):
1.  Losing weight is ALL about diet.
2.  I’m not kidding.
3.  You can lose weight without exercising at all.
4.  Really.
5.  You can exercise like a mofo and not lose an ounce (or any size).
6.  I am not shitting you.
7.  You can do all the crunches you want; abs are made in the kitchen.

I appreciated the take at Life and Times of Stella about letting kids have sugar. I, too, having finished reading both In Defense Of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma appreciate the community, ownership, and value of Real Food. And, also, having been allowed treats on Saturdays only with very little sugar on a usual basis, can see every advantage to allowing children treats as a method for learning moderation, not deprivation.

4/1/2010

A tale of four flingers Parenting

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In her head, “I think we should clean today. Organize. Maybe I’ll get on that vegetarian menu I wanted to try out this week.”

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In his head, “TRAINS. TRAINS. TRAINNNNNNSNSSSSS.”

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In her head, “Candy canes and mice and princesses and ballet and maybeicangetmybrothertogoawaysoicanplayalone and candy canes and coloring and ballet and princesses and…”

Delurking Day twenty-ten

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Confession: I’ve become a complete lurker. When I first started blogging in 2003, I would comment all over the place. I’d say hi, give a “helpful” reply, leave a little love. You might even say I was a comment whore.

Six and a half ohmygod years later, I’ve taken to reading, nodding, thinking and quickly turning to something shiny that’s about to break in the house as my children rush past mom on her computer again.

I’ve taken to reading your blogs on my iPhone while on the toilet, which frankly, does not lend one to want to paw the keyboard at a device that is usually held up to my face.

Just sayin’.

3/10/2010

The One Where I am (Still) In Holland Travel

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I’m sitting at a table in the train station I shouldn't have 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.

OooOOff.

3/3/2010

At some point you start thinking maybe you are pregnant and don’t know it like one of those tv shows Parenting

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What’s that expression? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Think I’m pregnant three times I might as well jump off something very very high.

Is that right?

If you’re not following me on twitter (which, why not?*) you may have missed the part where my daughter’s teacher congratulated me on being pregnant yesterday. I replied, as I have before, “Oh, no, not pregnant” and she stumbled and said, “Oh, I probably look pregnant, too, uh…” and it was awkward, as it always is, and then I went home and cried, like I always do.

Because she’s not in the wrong to think it simply based on appearance.

Here’s the thing: I recently described my body to the doctor as one of those puzzles where you match the head, torso and legs only my torso completely doesn’t match. It’s all round and flabby while the arms are strong and my legs are lean.

Yesterday, we bought a house

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Funny thing: Buying a house. It’s not like buying a new shirt or a new car. It’s more like going to the dentist, having a tooth pulled, and being told all you need is “the gas” and you’ll remember nothing.

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(Incidentally, I did that last week, too.)

Or maybe it’s more like courting a lady; A lady who plays hard to get and toys with your emotion. She gets you all hot and bothered and then backs away and it requires three cold showers to get back to thinking of anything except her, only to have her email you with some great news and get the process started all over again.

Or maybe it’s like buying a house.

Change

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Life is a constant ebb and flow. It is change. I’ve been revisiting my favorite Buddha Book, re-reading the passages I underlined 10 years ago. Change is a big topic in Buddhism. Change is a big topic in my life right now.

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Even if it’s great, change is still…. Change.

Change is leaving a house you brought your baby home in. Change is giving the children a backyard to grow in. Change is watching your baby grow in to a caring little man. Change is watching your daughter learn to read.

I’ve never dealt well with change and yet I seek it almost in earnest. I seek to better our lives daily. I push to find new challenges. I work to bring a healthier lifestyle and a better approach to obstacles. But sometimes, even so, I wish for things to stay as they were. Not physically, perhaps, except in the way my body used to look at 18. No, more on an existential plane. In the way my children snuggled my chest as they slept as babies. In the way my husband looked in my eyes on our wedding day. In the way we celebrated our accomplishments the day we got news we were moving back to Seattle.

The Inner Voice - Mommy Guilt, Family, Work and You

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Expectations are resentments under construction. - Anne Lamott

The Inner Voice. “Your son needs you. His eyes are so puffy. He needs sleep and your arms.”

The Inner Voice. “You better get your work done on time or you will disappoint. You don’t want to be THAT PERSON. We rail against THAT PERSON. Be a better person at work. What if you had no job? WHAT IF.”

The Inner Voice. “Look at those stay at home moms. They love their kids more than you do. Clearly.”

2/7/2010

Being a human is a messy business ADHD Parenting

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I remember telling my old boss, years ago, my plan for vacation. “Well,” I started, “I think we’ll be getting in the car and taking a right on the freeway. After that? I have no idea.” He was surprised at this. “No lists? No plans? YOU?” I was just as shocked that he’d expect me to actually plan until I realized I’ve nicely compartmentalized my life in such a way I can live in two extremes: The To Do List and The Not.

Now I worry less that I’m some sort of bi-polar schizophrenic and more of a well-balanced human being. To be successful at work and organized enough to accomplish the tasks at hand, I’m willing to place my items in neat little boxes. Tiny little boxes all sitting in a row. But at home, in my own space, in my own self, I refuse. I want passion, adventure, and not a single task on my todo list to mark off.

Less dichotomy, more necessity.

Perhaps this is the juncture I sit at now. Life with children and a mortgage and after-school gatherings are prone to lists, todo items, organization. I’ve been failing for five years to be the “organized” mom. To actually get a child to school on time. To pay a bill. To remember every field trip and every sheet of home-work.

I’m less likely to condemn myself for that right now.

Living Ashram, Living Here

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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.

2/3/2010

If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it? Balance

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One of my favorite parts about having children is that sayings you haven’t heard since 1982 become part of daily life again. “You know what? Chicken Butt.” Kids either keep you young or toss you right back in time to create a very large, somewhat over weight ten year old. It’s awesome.

I picture you taunting me as I write this post. “Leslie and Yoga sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes marriage…” Or else you’re just poking your eyes out, “STOP WITH THE YOGA DEAR GOD STOP”

No. You’re not the boss of me.

During this time of transition, we’re all a little wonky. Bat-shit-crazy. Losing our ever loving minds. We’re all bumping in to boxes and searching for things and coming up cussing, “Did you already pack the [insert important item here]?!” HULK SMASH.

It’s like, so totally rad. Not.

The Other Side

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Let’s take this a little further. I believe I’ve stumbled on to one of the basic tenants of the “WHY” portion of my weight-loss dilemma.

I like food.

Here’s where I get stubborn: French Women? Don’t get fat. They eat, the French eat, the Dutch eat, the Germans, mygod do they eat. But they don’t struggle with the same medical issues that we in the US do. I do believe on one hand it’s a simple solution: Calories in vs Calories out. But there is more than just math involved. There’s an entire culture involved. There’s history. There’s the agri-business. There’s an entire western culture built on more, bigger, better, and corn*.

Ultimately I think I should be able to ENJOY food. To truly love food. To savor the community it provides, the atmosphere of joy. Eating should be fun. Hell, drinking IS fun. I cross my arms and pout like a four year old that I should be ABLE to drink and IT’S NOT FAIR because a whole nation of people enjoy the love of red wine and alcohol and nobody things a bloody thing about it; and don’t you watch Mad Men where people drink whisky all afternoon?

So lies the struggle, the internal justification. Why should *I* not be able to have those same things others enjoy?

I’ve been trying to tell you I love you

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I recently posted a photo. The title was, “Such a thin, small window separates us. Literally and Figuratively.” I watched the homeless man wander on the sidewalk as I sipped a latte. I looked for him later to give him a few dollars but he had already left by the time I stepped out to find him.

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It is in this spirit that several amazing people have entered our lives recently.

It’s been a rough year. It’s been a tough month. It’s been a really hard few weeks.

We’ve been discussing our life a lot lately. We both feel that the culmination of events of the past six years have brought us to this point. There’s a boiling point we’ve reached, a cliff, the end-of-a-sidewalk, if you will.

Guest Blogger: Corporate Woman’s Opinion on Working Moms

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I wasn’t going to post this essay by my German Hostess. It’s not only an unpopular opinion, it goes against my own beliefs as a mother who strives daily to HAVE IT ALL. I have cake! I EAT IT TOO. Then I work off the cake in a wave of guilt and promise to not eat the cake again only to fail the following day.

Are we still talking about cake? I forgot.

This morning I rushed to get the entire family out of the house on time, which would have been a challenge on any day but today, especially, each of us having woken up an hour late with massive sugar hang-overs. I ran around, calling to various people, “Are you getting dressed? Are you going potty? GO POTTY BY GOD JUST GO. Yes, stop talking. Go poop. Ok.”

I made lunches, coffee, breakfast. I got homework together and started the load of laundry from my daughter’s nightly wetting of her bed. (still) I managed two tantrums successfully and served everyone. Just as I was running upstairs to brush my hair, I heard the bus roll by. Fuck. We ran out in the rain hoping that was the early bus. My daughter and I stood, in the stream of water, like complete idiots looking down the wet road for signs of a giant yellow bus. Ten minutes later, we gave up, head back in, and find the three year old is in a massive melt-down “I WANNA GO WIFF YOU TO THE BUSS I WANN GO WIFF YOU TO THE BUS.”

There is no consolation at this point.

Reality Check

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I know in the large scheme of things, this will all seem like an over-dramatic reenactment of some time in our life we’ll totally forget. I know there are bigger worries. I’m reminded daily watching one of my dearest friends stay positive in a high risk pregnancy waiting for a blood clot three times the size of her baby to dissolve. I see my sister face a year without her husband as he gets deployed to Korea. I know my mom is going in for surgery on her shoulder and ultimately her neck where they take a piece of bone from her leg and use it to provide space between her vertebrate.

I get this and I’m thankful that this is not a loss of a person, but a house. As upset as my family is, we keep our perspective and we’re thankful.

I do so appreciate all your advice. I feel so Meg Ryan from “You’ve Got Mail” but with a much worse haircut and much less grace. “Go to the Mattresses” “Fight. FIGHT FIGHT.” The end result may not change, but it will not be because I didn’t try.

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I’m armed with some names and a few lenders to try. I know that if anything truly horrid ever happened, I’d come back here and find comfort and support. It’s what you do, “you”, the “interwebz”. But it’s more than that. The community of bloggers jumps at the chance to lift up someone in pain and I will always reciprocate that knowing how much your words have meant.

OHMYGOD I Am One Of THEM. AKA: I’m clearly medicated

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Did I just totally gush out on you? Dearchrist. I just re-read my post and…

I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth.

When I started blogging, I was in grad school. I was plowing through programming which at the time, was akin to having my toenails shaved by the lovely asian gals until my toes were nubbins of bone. I used to envision this as I was studying the Java Sun Packages. I’d think, “SCRRAAAPEEE” toe one. “Scrraapppe” This is probably one of the reasons I never liked Java. I like my toes too much.

But then I got pregnant, finished up my thesis, had a baby and dipped in to PPD. I remember reading people’s blogs who were so thrilled to be mothers.

I wanted to kick their asses.

Inspiring

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I know we’re all busy and yet we somehow manage to maintain this space on the Interweb. We drive to it most nights grasping for some bit of ourselves. It’s our haven.

So know that when I say I’m drowning, I’m not asking for you to save me, but maybe just to toss in some floaties.

And a beer.

Or three.

I could post my todo list for you here. We could marvel at its length. We could giggle, “Wow, what a large todo list you have, Mrs. Flinger” and make 12 year old remarks.

12/7/2009

A tale of a mid-life crisis at thirty-four part 2 Travel Stories

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Part One Here

“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.”

Come out come out wherever you are

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It’s national (Inter-national?) delurking day. All official and stuff. Aimme forwarded the official email from rude cactus and it was signed in to law through congress. Or something.

So, hiya. I know I use my google reader as a crutch ENTIRELY too much. I’m sorry. It’s mostly in a vain attempt to pretend like I’m organized.

Or something.

So let me know you’re out there. I’ll be sure to say a Holla back.

If you’re uncomfortable and need a bone? Why not answer me this burning question in the minds of all Flingers everywhere:

Healthy Pancakes

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My son is a pancake freak. Periodically at night he’ll ask, “MORE PANCAKES.” And by periodically, I mean every so often at 2Am. It’s like he’s having a sloppy pancake dream.

PANCAKES!

I use a recipe from my favorite cookbook, “Eating For Life” by Bill Phillips. I literally have this book tagged in fifty pages of recipes we use often.

Here’s our pancake breakfast that keeps me from feeling too bad about indulging his passion.

You’re just going to have to take my word for this. I wouldn’t make this shit up.

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We have a.. how do we say this? ... “tight” community. Or “compact” if you’re a car salesman. Or “bumfucking close” if you’re us.

Whatever, people are everywhere always up in other people’s grills here.

Last night our neighbors had a tiny party.  (Nice people, really, smoking Christians with a cute little white fully dog that always wave high and say “how are you” before jumping in their car and doing what people without kids do: LEAVE HOME.) It so happens that this particular two weeks has been warm enough to open our windows which is helpful for hearing every conversation from a three mile stretch. You’d be amazed at what you hear. (As a side, there is always this ONE LADY yelling at her kids to GO TO FUCKING BED ALREADY, IT IS SIX O’CLOCK. What kind of mother does that? Gawd.)

Anyway, the party had moved outside and took to smoking their cigs while I leaned in to the netting on the window and enhailed, deeply, listening to their converstaion. It went something like this:

One: So, you like it here?
Two: Meh, it’s ‘aight.
One: Yea, you have a pool, that’s nice.
Two: Meh, it’s always families and fat people. LIke WHERE ARE THE CHICKS.
One: Oh, that’s too bad. ...
Pause
I fly by the window to go get my phone
One: You can really see in to everyone’s homes, hu.
Two: Yea and it’s not pretty when it’s hot out. Those people (I assume gesturing toward our house), the chick always goes by in her underwear.
One:Dude, gross. Really? Is she hot?
Two: No.
One: Dude, Brutal.
Pause.
I fly by in my PJ’s which, whatever, MAYBE shot my “bags” of hooters flopping around a bit.
(Another side: My son, my two year old BRILLIANT child who knows all letters, sounds, etc? Called my boobs eggs. “EGGS! EGGS!” I corrected him: TITTIES!)
When I return to listen and snap a photo, for posterity, they had stepped inside.

Facebook, you’re forgiven

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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.

Happy (ish) Mother’s Day!

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I’m honored to be part of Mothers Day Rally For Moms Mental Health” today. This is my fourth mother’s day. The fourth year I’ve been figuring out how to be a mom, who I am as a mom, and what the hell got me here.

As someone who blogged her way through depression with her first child, the decision to stop medication during the pregnancy of her second, and the subsequent love and disgusting mush in a complete turn of events after the birth of her second, I’m honored you are here. I’m honored to be part of a diverse group of woman standing up and calling out that IT IS OK.

It is ok if it sucks.
It is ok if you cry.
It is ok if you aren’t sure what the hell you’re doing.
It is ok if you can’t nurse.
It is ok if you hate people that tell you your child is a joy when you are just SO MOTHER EFFING TIRED.
It is ok if you seek help.
It is ok if you decide to take medication.
It is ok if it takes you three months to honestly say you love your baby.
It is ok.

I know. Because I am ok.

It doesn’t last forever, the fear and pain and sadness. You won’t always roll the word “mom” around in your head like it’s someone else and not you. You won’t always sit and stare at your child and think, “Where did you come from?”

10/2/2009

How Blissdom helped me understand my daughter Parenting

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I stepped down off the panel, my legs shaking so much I had a touch of paulsy. I’m pretty sure the sweat on my face could be seen from the back row. I stayed to answer a few questions and meet a new client so the room was nearly empty. I was actually a little relieved that nobody was left to see me taking deep breaths and stepping carefully. One. Two. Three. Breath.

I push thoughts of over-analyzing the panel out of my head and focused on food. I need it. Bad.

The feedback is great. People respond well to watching a complete and utter spaz on stage. I think it’s like a train-wreck. So cliche and so true. Or reading the fail blog. I? Am one Giant Fail Blog.

Word.

I start to think back to those times in my life I’ve lived up to my reputation. The sidewalk I tripped on with my arms full of books in college. Twice. The time I broke my friend’s wedding decor the night before the event. The day I spilled red wine on another friend’s white carpet. The wine I spilled at BlogHer (Sorry Guy) and the glass I broke at the SMB Method Party.

History Repeats Itself Part 4

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I’m starting with part IV of a series. Think of it like Star Wars. I’ll be bringing you up to speed in installments. Trust me, it’s better this way.

The story of my daughter’s birth week is one I don’t often try to remember. It’s full of painful memories I feel are best kept locked away. I hate not being able to say her birth was The Moment I loved her. It’s hard to explain the circumstances surrounding that first week that landed me in the ER 12 hours a day, two days in a row, until finally being re-admitted for a three day stay. Perhaps one day I’ll share this story with her so she can avoid the same fate, should it come down to it, but for now, I’ll wait to dispense that information until necessary.

The next part of the story, however, is one I’ll share only in-so-much that I hope it’s helpful to her and anyone who may find it.

With such a rough start to motherhood, it’s no surprise I struggled to gain my footing. I was lost for a very long time, angry, hurt. I had expectations of coming home with my daughter and holding her to my breast and feeling a gush of love and emotion. None of this transpired as I’d pictured, not the birth, not the week following, and most certainly not the gush of emotions of love.

Instead, I was afraid.

Where have all the good blogs gone?

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Remember back when Writing Well Was The Best Revenge? It seems that in the wake of the millions of bloggers coming online in the past five years or so, everyone forgot what we were here for: Writing. Community. Challenge.

I look through my own archives and see when I used to write. People would spur me on, challenge me to be a better communicator, to relate a story in a more dynamic way, to share a piece of our lives in a way that touched you. Then it became about money, stats, popularity. The rise of “monetizing” seemed to crush the spirit of the well-written blog. Bloggers no longer needed to write well because the goal is traffic, which comes via selfish motives seeking deals, a quick feel-good popcorn laugh at an “LOL Cat” or train-wrecks addicted to drama. It’s not as much about writing as it is about selling your site, and yourself.

Recently, I reached out to some close blog friends* who have also maintained their stance and continued to write over the years. I asked a simple question, “Will you help me to write again?” Their reply was overwhelming. The community is there, in private, aching to spur and be spurred on. The fire is beginning to flare and we’re reaching out to each other begging to be accountable for our content.

We know that our websites are often passed over by those looking for the 10 second hit. We understand, and are simultaneously conflicted, that the community values 140 characters over well-written posts. And in some ways, I not only take notice, but am also proud of the fact, that it does not take a well-written blog to reach tens of thousands of people.

Anissa is proof of that.

The Working Mom: Improv #239

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It took a long time for my brain to switch to work mode. I was so used to carrying around diapers and fourteen days worth of crackers that I often walked in to client meetings and sighed as I shoved aside four diapers, wipes, three fruit leathers and a nondescript item from what appears to be of a “gummy” family. Or once was.

I can’t tell you when it happened that I actually stopped carting around my child’s extra pair of panties in my purse, but I did. I started feeling like a woman again, not just the mom of two young children. At some point, I started leaving for work with just my laptop and a yogurt. I mean, how sensible is that?

Apparently, it’s just SO sensible that I forgot my child still craps himself. Frequently.

Talk about sensible.

Fluffy green tutus: Time truly is liquid

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It’s a cliche, how history repeats itself.

It’s true, at least in our family, as life motors on I see glimpses of my past squished with my present or projected in my future.

Time truly is liquid.

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My daughter started ballet a few months ago. She loves the pink outfit, the tights, the shoes. She prances around the house doing pirouettes now. “Watch this move!” she’ll yell gleefully as she swiftly glides by the family in our living room.

9/8/2009

Ellis Stories

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I have a sound clip from 1997 that features my college roommates and I interviewing each other on “what we wanted to be doing in five years.” I’ve stumbled across that clip a few times since graduation, always giggling to myself and wondering if any of the other girls thought about those goals.

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(1997)

“I’ll probably be teaching” G stated, matter of fact.
(She was.)

“I’ll be hiking or something,” Nicole mused. (She was.)

“I’ll be servicing humans,” (insert fits of laughter here for our Human Service Major friend wasn’t kidding) Paige giggled.

Good Luck With That

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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.

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Outside: Congrats On Your New Bundle! They don’t sleep through the night until they’re teenagers.
Inside: Good luck with that.

My brush, literally, with fame (a blogHer tale) Stories

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**April, 2013** Hello and welcome! If this is your first time here, I’d love to meet you. I’ve recently written about being diagnosed with Adult ADHD, spent much of last year traveling and went back to work full time as a Program Manager for Media at a large global company. My children are 8 and 6 and I love talking to people with similar stories. Be sure to say hi and pull up a chair. I’ll grab the coffee. (Or tea for my UK friends with milk and sugar.)**


I walked in to the keynote, searching the thousands of faces to find “my people.” I wonder in and out of tables bumping in to elbows and computers. I recognize a few features but I continue to bump, walk, bump, walk looking for my table.

I spot the table of women more familiar than their pictures or email addresses. Vivaciously, as only I am known to do, I yell out, “There are MAH BEESHES! Wuz up Mothah Fuckahs!” I glance around the table taking in each face that I adore. I see Angie, Dawn, Molly, Shonda, Sam and Karen and…. who’s this? I don’t recognize the lovely lady in the red hair so poised next to my flamboyant friends. “Hi! I’m Mrs…” It hits me about the same time Angie pipes up, “This is Ree Drummond? THE PIONEER WOMAN.”

There is a silence and my mouth hits the floor.

I stumble over to hug her, gush, possibly lick her feet. She says in her polite southern accent, “I was just admiring your belly.” I laugh as she touches my two year postpartum belly. “This?” I exclaim, “This is old left over from before.” I can tell she feels bad. She recovers and says, “At least yours is in the front, mine is all in the rear.”

My boobs just got me free fruit.

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I’ve mentioned probably half a MILLION times that I’m not comfortable in my boobs. I don’t like my bras, I had them sliced off, I had them mis-interpreted, and still, the World At Large loves bewbs.

Damn you people.

So today I put on my ONE pretty bra because I get to play grown up and meet with a client. I didn’t realize, though, the busted-ness of this shirt. I somehow managed to forget that when I wear this bra I have cleavage. And by cleavage I mean I feel like I’m being choked by two fat fisted babies clutching for my wind-pipe.

I take The Girls up to the cashier to order a small sandwhich. Cashier: Tall, Young, Male, Single. Me: Scarred from two children being ripped outta my gut, not as thin as I once was, possibly bleeding at this minute but I couldn’t be sure… changes stance… yes bleeding at this minute, with roots from hair-color grow out. Oh! And boobs.

Me: I’d like a Tuna Sandwhich. Can I get that grilled?
Cashier: Glancing at chest Sure! I can grill that for you.
Me: And No chips please. I will just eat them.
Cashier: Laughs heartily. HOHOHO. Glances as chest Would you like a fruit replacement… leans in free?
Me: SURE!
Him: What’s your name?
Me: Getting slightly uncomfortable at the power of my boobs Um, uh.. Er… Uh…
Him: Your name? For the order? To call out?
Me: Oh! Right. Yea. Leslie. Sorry.

How to change your blog background purple for Maddie

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We’re going purple for Maddie. If you’d like to know how to change your blog background to purple, this is the place! If you don’t know me, my name is Leslie and I’m a geek. I mean, really really geeky.

And I want to share my geek with you.

If you’re using Blogger:

1. Log in to your account.
2. Click on Layout.
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3. Click on Fonts and Colors.
——Some templates let you change using the pallet. If you see the the following, you can use this method here. If not, skip to #6
4. In the “hex#” box, place 6969a0
5. Click Save.
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—-
6. Click on HTML.

When Pigs Fly

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The last vacation the mister and I went on was August 2003. People? Do the math. That’s over five years ago. FIVE FUCKING YEARS AGO.  In that time we’ve a) purchased a house b) got a masters degree c) had a baby d) sold the house e) moved to portland f) moved to Seattle g) had another baby h) started a business.

My god, people, who out of anyone that you know, needs a vacation more than we do? Don’t answer that. This is about me, after all.

So now we’re finally going to Las Vegas for a conference and we’ll be staying an extra two days to play. TWO WHOLE DAYS. We’ll be gone a total of five days without children. :: brain explodes :: I’m not sure I know what to do with that information. FIVE DAYS. NO KIDS. :: kaplow ::

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So am I at all surprised by this SWINE FLU news? No. No I’m not. And I’ll tell you why, we’ll vacation again when pigs fly.

Flight of the Conchords offers Parenting Tips

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Some parents need help. As the old saying goes, “There is no manual.”

No, but there are videos.

Flight of the Conchords is a great example, as the fourth largest parody folk band in New Zealand, on teachable moments through the magic of You Tube.

*In this video, we learn that being pretty isn’t a full time job, only a part time job, thus enforcing the “BE COOL STAY IN SCHOOL” philosophy.

*Here we learn healthy expectations in regards to sex: 2 minutes in heaven is better than 1 minute in heaven.

Insecurities

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Most of the time, I walk around feeling confident, tired, irritated, strong. All these emotions cover my thirty-three year old self. I’m a mother, a wife, and a million other roles, almost all at the same time. Insecurity isn’t something I have time for most days.

Sometimes, though, it seeks me out. It finds me when I least expect it. And it brings me to my knees.

I can recall very insecure times in my life. These times are something I don’t dwell on, don’t want to relive. It’s part (or all) of why I left facebook. There are relationships I’ve moved on from that I don’t need to invite back. I’ve grown. I’m not the same person I was in high school, in college, in church. I’m much happier with where I stand today and where my life is. I’m pleased with the decisions, over all, and my marriage is a good, strong pillar in my life. My kids, my career, my friends: All these things I value and hold dear in living as the person I am today, not twenty years ago.

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So why can something from ten years ago kick me down in one fell swoop? I. Do. Not. Know.

Feedburner Invalid GET DATA fix

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I was recently having some issues with my feed after, what I thought, was the update to this site.

When clicking on the link to the feed, you would see the following error:

Invalid GET DATA

The URL would have come through the feed google proxy which added invalid characters to my URI:

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Glazed Sweet Potato Wedges- Cooking Light

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Here’s the recipe we used for our Sweet Potatoes. I have to say, this is always one of my favorite parts of thanksgiving. But this recipe really made it so I didn’t miss the yams from a can one bit. The kids ate it up as well.

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup unsalted butter
3/4 Cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 Cup water
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half length-wise, and cut into 1/2 inch wedges
Cooking Spray

yams

Prep:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cranberry Sauce: Clean Eating Style

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Thanksgiving was a freakin’ success here at Casa-de-Flinger. Here is the cranberry recipe I used. Recommended: Use ALL the honey (I ran out) otherwise add some sugar otherwise it’ll be so tart you’ll suck your cheekbones in to the insides of your brain.

But aside from that: Delicious.

Cranberries

Ingredience:
4 cups Fresh Cranberries - picked over
1 hard tart apple, peeled cored and cut in to chunks
1 cup Orange Juice
1 cup Water
1/4 cup Organic Honey
Rind of one orange, pith removed, minced

Cranberries and Apples Baking

This is the way to Grandma’s house

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It’s quiet. It’s too quiet. I never realized you can hear the upstairs clock from the living room. In fact, I never realized you can hear each clock’s second hand tick in an off-beat pattern together. Three clocks in all ticking loudly.

You can hear the refrigerator hum, too. And a plane from outside. And the DVR always crunching its hard drive.

The house is missing the children. I am missing the children. They left about three hours ago in a car with their Grandparents. They’ll be staying with my In-Laws this week so that I may take a trip to The Netherlands for business and Mr. Flinger can take his structural engineering test. It’s so nice of them to offer.

But god it’s so fucking quiet.

“IT”

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I sat on the plane next to a young gal, mid-twenties she would tell me later, who reminded me a lot of myself at her age. Realizing “her age” wasn’t so far gone, but knowing it was still long enough away to form distant memories and wistful longings in my mind.

“You’re married? With two kids? When did you get married?” she asks with wide brown eyes and a smile that reaches her ears.

“When I was 26. But I knew him for years and years. He was my best friend.” I reply trying to condense our 13 year pre-story in to a sentence.

“How did you know he was the ONE?” she asks.

8/9/2009

Change- A Type A Mom Con Story Stories

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I stepped off the plane in Seattle to a cold wind and sun. When I left, only four days earlier, summer was still raging and children played in sprinklers. However, fall noticeably bustled in during my absece, taking over the breezes and leaves, making the air chilly and my unused jacket necessary.

I felt just as different as the weather.

Four days ago I stepped on a flight to Ashville, NC. The 48 hours I spent at Type-A-Mom was a transcendent experience.

I met some fantastic women. I found some wonderful opportunities to grow and expand, both in my career and in my personal relationships. I held deep and wonderful conversations with some of my most favorite bloggers. These women, plus some new favorites, and old friends, friendly faces, and encouraging smiles, gave me the courage to stand up during the “Town Hall Meeting” and say something that is near and dear to my life as a blogger:

Be who you are and you will find companies who will want to work with you because of it. You can dress it up a touch, maybe make it a touch classy, but don’t change yourself. The companies that love you for who you are will be a much better, long lasting relationship than the ones that require changes to you or your blog.

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Photo copyright Rick of Tiny Prints used with permission

Family Expectations And The Grass That Is Truly Greener

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I grew up in a suburb of Houston in a neighborhood with sidewalks and manicured lawns. I have fond memories of children riding our hot-wheels on the sidewalk, zipping up each driveway to someone’s house we all knew. Denise, Paul, Mercy, Carol. Kids spanning from 2nd grade to 6th, all mingling in the street playing basketball, riding bikes, coloring with chalk. The caste system of maturity as the older kids teased the younger and the younger kids gathering around toys.

This is my childhood and I love the memories. I can almost smell the air of a humid Saturday morning in October when the children begin to take to the sidewalk playing, knocking on doors, asking if so-and-so can come out to play.

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My husband has a different memory.

My husband grew up on acreage in a tiny town in Washington State. Where rain and mud and large trees dominate his childhood. Where boys could explore for hours in a barn, watch the horses, and roll down large hills. He smells the pine and fresh air and instantly turns 8 in his head, playing trains and bikes and GI-Joes.

Layoffs

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I’m handing out pink slips.

Tiny pink slips to parts of the list, the giant list of “things I do.”

Tiny pink slips to excuses.

Tiny pink slips to not setting expectations.

Tiny pink slips to missing out on field trips.

8/7/2009

I love you, even if you are two Parenting

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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.

8/6/2009

Confessing ADHD Stories

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I’ve been sitting here ignoring most everything a grown up should focus on: Kids, Bills, Work, Laundry, Dishes, Life. I’ve been sitting here scouring the Internet looking for something.

Or someone.

I’ve been retracing the last thirty-three years of my life and watching images of memories. I’ve been seeking people I know and love online and the community I’ve grown so fond of. I’ve been re-reading comments and emails from my college friends looking for any signs of endings.

I can’t find them.

I can’t seem to focus on anything today.

For Maddie

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Mrs. Flinger will be back online tomorrow, today, we have a moment for Maddie

Heather and Mike Spohr’s daughter Madeline Alice died yesterday, April 7, 2009.

If the sheer power of twitter and internet could heal broken hearts and bring Maddie back, she would be here as strong as Wonder Woman.

From Serenity Now Sunday - March 29, 2009

The words communion, commune, community all come from the same root. We are members of a community. (Whether we like it or not, sometimes.) If we RE-peat, RE-run or RE-do, we do something again. When we RE-member someone, we are, in a way, being with them again. Even the Big JC talked about it “Do this for the remembrance of me” (BCP, p. 362) Re-Member.

Memories

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Some memories can change: They are as fluid as their outcome and depend heavily on it. They can sway to the right or left with the brush of feather, a second of change, one tiny instant of uncertainty.

Thankfully for us, our memory is a good one.

Looking back through some old photos of the children, I came across some of Buddy’s days in the Nicu.  Buddy (formerly Baby O, see notes) was born nearly a month early. This isn’t extreme by any standard and he was strong and fought for air. Literally. The nurses in the Nicu loved and cared for him while he learned to breath on his own and we watched from a rocking chair holding his tiny hand and snuggling his oxygen-masked tiny face.

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We knew he would be ok. Of course we knew. But in those moments, those times of uncertainty, where a brush of a feather to fate could make the outcome something unavoidably horrible, we held our breath and pictured him toddlering about, giggling, laughing, running.

7/10/2009

Community and The Stuff We’re Made Of- Reflecting on EECI2009 and Mommy Bloggers Travel Women in Technology

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I have so many wonderful photos and stories to share about being at the EECI2009 conference. Community. The Spirit of Lifting Each Other Up. Truly inspirational.

I’ve been to a lot of conferences as of late. Blog Conferences, Development Conferences. Twestivals. But the conferences surrounding the ExpressionEngine Community is by far my favorite experience to date. I wish you could all experience this.

It’s a drastic change from the mommy blogger drama.

I had meals with the “stars” of the EE community. The Geeks that create modules, plugins, extensions. The people who extend the fabulous code EE already offers. It was like sitting with people whose brains should be too big for their heads.

But more importantly, they are people. Not overly geeky, not overly egotistical. Just funny, amazing, hilarious, real, friendly, beer-drinking people.

5/8/2009

Words We Aren’t Allowed to Say Parenting

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Words. They can be powerful. They can be meaningless. They can send chills down your spine. They can go in one ear and out the other.

Perplexing, yes?

Or is that just me getting all giddy to use a word like “PERPLEXING.”

Probably.

So why is it that we have all these “RULES” about words? They’re just… words. Meaningless until someone attaches a feeling around it.

3/11/2009

Mid-Life Crisis Stories

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As a little girl, I wanted to be a famous ballerina. All little girls want to be famous ballerinas. We dance and twirl and pretend we’re beautiful and light as a swan.

Then we grow up.

We graduate college with a single task in mind: Make a living.

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Maybe we add on there to “Have a house! Get married! Make babies!” and then we happen to meet someone who has the same dreams and you work together to make them come true.

3/5/2009

The Acorn and Me Balance

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Upon much recommendation, I recently read “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert. (It was a #1 best seller and what’s that? I’m slow on the uptake? Yes, I know.) Today as I was struggling with my strep throat.. again… and feeling just pretty much the lead in my pity party, I finished the last chapter on the porch of our tiny condo in Seattle.

She explains something the Zen Buddhists believe, that an oak tree is brought in to creation by two forces: One being the actual acorn and the other being the will of the future oak tree. That during the growth, the older version of the oak tree leans in and whispers “GROW” to its younger self urging it on to the final version of itself. She says she feels much the same way through her spiritual journey, that her self confident, peaceful self breathed wisdom to her younger, more uncertain self. She found that all along she knew it would be OK in the end, that God or Self or Universe is forever finding the balance of truth and happiness.

I grew teary reading this.

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Perhaps it’s the hangover of antibiotics and the insane amounts of water I’ve had, or delusions from the fever itself, but there is a simple clarity to this ideal. Something inside me clicks. Something whispers “yes.”

1/10/2009

Sunrise over Amsterdam Travel

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Did you know that if you look on a map, “Holland” isn’t there? NO. What’s this bullshit about me going to “Holland” then? Well, apparently I’m in The Netherlands which is just sort of in the middle of all the peace-keeping, fence-sitting, pot-smoking countries. And BYGOD I love it here.

I’m here on business which means I’m here representing Engine Hosting who, along with my new friend WHOOOOOZE, sponsored my trip here so that I could speak at the EECI2009 Conference.  I will not only buy them a beer but also possibly shout out their company names in the streets of Holland, I mean, The Netherlands whilst smoking pot and holding the hands of gay and lesbians.

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Bygod I love it here.

And what’s this buillshit about everyone speaking English in Holland, I mean, The Netherlands? Because the ONE PERSON I asked, “Did she say Leiden? Leiden? Is this LEIDEN?” He shook his head no, so I stayed on the train, only to find out HAHA SUCKER, that WAS Leiden and he was saying, “NO, I have no idea what you American Lady Is Saying. LEIDEN LEIDEN. WTF”

33 flavors and then some

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Today I turn thirty-three. Thirty. Three. I’m boggled. I’m blinded.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

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Most average days I just get by. I email, I make lunches, I make dinner, I do the dishes, I tuck covers in over tiny people. I try to remember a life before this and I can’t.

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Quite Frankly, I’m sick of it

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Popularity. Fame. Money. Drama.

I think Mom101 said it best, “We don’t have to be ashamed about what we do or why we do it. Whether we blog for money or friendship or approval or attention or magical beans. I said it in the first Momosphere panel and I meant it: It’s all good.”

The hate blogs, the jealousy, the gossip; It’s a bi-product of mixing fame, money and popularity in a tiny tiny space called Your Computer. We’re exposed. We’re sharing. We’re being “honest” except we’re not.

I can not tell you how much it means to me to know that really great writers with great sites know who I am and are just as amazing in person as in their blogs. But this does not bring me fame. It does not bring me money. It does not bring me popularity.

It brings me community.

6/1/2008

Appropriate and not-so-much: Names we call our children Parenting

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I taught preschool for a few years. Did you know this? No? I did. It was the year I switched from Elementary Ed and went for Computer Science. That’s how profound the experience was for me. P.R.O.F.O.U.N.D.

Anyway, so I had this kid in my class, this really cute little guy named Evan. Evan was 4 years old when we met. He had a tremendous crush on me. “Miss Leslliieee” he’d say, “I made you a necklace!” He once told his parents he was going to marry me. “No, son,” his dad said, “She doesn’t make enough money.” I loved his parents.

He was the kind of kid everyone wants to have in their class, the kind of kid everyone wants to be friends with and the kind of kid that would befriend the shyest girl in the class because she was always alone on the playground. The guy was a hero. His parents called him “Big E” because he was. He was a big little guy.

I always wanted to call my son Big ___.  But instead, we had a “baby O”. Because? Big “O” just didn’t sound right.

Not that we don’t call our children completely innapropriate names out in public. There’s Doodiehead, pooper, stinker. Doodiehead is one of those things that flew out of my mouth one day and kept flying out of my mouth for three years.

Feminism barefoot in the kitchen

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I’ve been rolling around ideals about my identity for some time now. Struggling with my decision to stay at home. Struggling with the images I put in my daughter’s head. Struggling with a place for a strong, empowered woman in a traditional home context. I’m educated, I’m strong, I’m willful. I’m also a woman who cries, gets irrational and stays home to clean the house and care for her children.

I no longer think these things are mutually exclusive.

I’ve recently started reading The Red Tent and find the role of women almost empowering. The community of females working together to care for the families; The work, actual hard labor, it requires to be in this role of caregiver: That alone is empowering.

But to find a group of women, online and in person, who share your views, help raise your children, walk through life with you: that is where empowerment becomes confidence. And while I appreciate, and admire, and respect and live up to, the role of being a strong woman, that does not include being a woman for woman’s sake or working in a job because “it is my right”. It’s also my right to choose to stay home, to care for my family and to be a woman.

Did you hear that? I’m ok with being a WOMAN. I’m ok with being a GIRL. I’m ok with having boobs and hormones and PMS. I’m ok with makeup and wine and shaving my legs. And I love that I’m a woman and that means I am not a man and I’m more emotional, hormonal, and social. I love that I care about hair and makeup. I’m ok with that. Being a feminist does not mean I have to be equal to a man in every way, but rather as a New Feminist, a feminist of the 2000’s. It means I am strong, confident and capable with being a woman: A life-giving, home-making, emotional-at-times woman.

5/10/2007

Are we all bumbo bumbling idiots?

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Seriously? As in ... Seriously? You’re kidding, right?

These are the first thoughts that ran through my head upon hearing about the Bumbo Seat Recall. I have a Bumbo Seat. We love the Bumbo Seat. Baby O sits up in his Bumbo Seat. It’s a blue, soft, squishy seat of wonderfulness.

Baby O give it a thumb up. Or down. He’s really not sure what those things are on the end of his hands yet…

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Here’s the thing. Apparently if you place a child on top of a table or other high surface and leave them THEY MIGHT FALL OFF.

2/3/2007

Herding Buffalo ADHD

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I have this disease Mr. Flinger calls “Herding Buffalo.” It usually occurs when life is in complete chaos and there is little time for anything.  It usually happens when an idea enters my busy brain and suddenly it can’t get out. The single idea turns in to fifty things that need to be done RIGHT! NOW! and suddenly there is the sound of herding buffalo in my head.

Right now, I have Herding Buffalo.

I last got Herding Buffalo when we were moving to Seattle. It came up often during the moving process, since moving is a bit stressful, especially moving states and jobs. Instead of writing a list of simple things such as “Sell House. Get rid of Crap. Buy House. Get moving truck. Move.” I started getting dizzy with details. Once the “sell house” entered my head, I was crazy with lists of things we had been meaning to do for two years. “Fix stairs in backyard to playhouse” “get rid of dog pot-holes” “plant flowers” “re-landscape!” “Add on second story!” “Have roof replaced!!”

Each item gets louder and bigger. Each item grows from necessity to complete obscenity. Each time there is another buffalo and suddenly I’m crying under the kitchen sink because OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH WE HAVE TO DO. Mr. Flinger would look at me and say, “I have “sell house” on my list. That’s. It.”

Sometimes I wish I was a simple man.

Internet Explorer and my two year old: a toss up Front-end-developer Parenting

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I can’t decided which I am more frustrated with today. IE or LB. They both throw tantrums when asked to behave. They both push my buttons until I’m ready to yell. Neither of them plays nicely at times and neither of them gives a rats ass about web design.

Look, let me come right out and say it here. I gosh-darn strongly dislike Internet Explorer. (LB threw out the word crap the other day followed closely by damnit. I am now speaking only in “rated LB” terms around the house and it gets so. bleeping. irritating. But really, do I need my two year old saying fuck? I obviously hit my fuck quota for the year.) Ok, it goes like this….. I get frustrated and unsettled at life in general. Perhaps it’s a mom who is prettier and not gagging hours a day over her sink that makes me wish I wasn’t me. Or maybe it’s the car’s “check engine” light that appears on a random basis having nothing what-so-ever to do with getting gas or a gas cap like one would hope. Or maybe it’s the two year old being very two-sie and me being very preg-sie and we just collide a little too long. It is times like this that I really want to escape to my happy place. You’d never guess where that is? (No, it’s not partying in the bathroom while the 6 month old sleep in the hotel room, but that was a fun memory…) My happy place is my blog. It’s the escape I get when things just are too .... real.. in real life.

Y’all are my happy place. (Sounds of people going “ahhhh” followed closely by gagging.)

It’s no surprise that I come here looking for a warm feeling in my heart but when I see the ick template, I decide it’s time to change it. Then I obsess for a couple of days about css rules and why you have to use javascript to get your sidebars to align correctly and I nerd out in my happy zone. When I step back, it’s pretty (enough) and I like it (for now).

Until I load the page in Internet Explorer and there is blood and shrieking and violence in my happy place.

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I wanna Stories

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I silently prayed that I would not spend my 31st birthday this weekend sitting in a dark corner bawling over a baby I lost. I prayed every day since I found out I’d be seen this week, that I did not want to hear bad news days before my birthday. Not that 31 means anything. Actually, it means pretty much nothing. Just another year in the bag, another day in the pot, an excuse for a pregnant lady to eat cheesecake, maybe, but over all just not much more than 24 hours and 31 years of life marked “finished.”

As fate would have it, I’ll be bawling any way.

I’ve been crying most of the past two weeks or so. This is very confusing for LB. “Mommy sad?” she’ll ask. “No. Mommy is happy, sweetie. See?” I cry when I remember I’m pregnant. I cry when I’m so tired I feel woozy and dizzy. I cry when I’m nauseated, which is about 20 hours a day, and I cry when I see a tiny baby, or baby clothes, or baby socks, or baby blankets (you get the idea here) because I want another one. And I get to have that.

And oh my god we are having another baby.

I read tonight that there’s now less than a 10% chance of miscarriage. Guess what? I cried. That’s awesome. I’m thrilled. I’m relieved. I’m also crying. I cry because I’m so tired already, so impatient with LB now and so fragile to my core. Who is this weepy lady? Who is the thickening woman sitting on the couch crying at a commercial. It’s so stereo-typical, it’s a bit sad.

6/11/2006

And a parachute Stories

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I admit I’m a wee bit preoccupied with things of the uterus, gagging, farts and boobs (mostly mine). You wouldn’t think this would be the prerequisite for the line, “which reminds me of that time…” but it is. Did I ever tell you about that time… (stop me if you heard this)...

One Thanksgiving a long long time ago, perhaps 15 years or so, The Pre-Flinger Family were in Salem (that’s in Oregon.. pronounce OR-GAN) visiting the Ancient Flingers. As it was, the Ancient Flinger’s home was booked full of relatives so the Pre-Flinger Family stayed in a hotel. Oma Flinger was so enjoying her time with Ancient Flingers that Pappa Flinger and I decided to head back to the hotel early with my sister to catch some TV and relax without the old people chatter. (You know how you really care about old people chatter at 16? Or 42 if they’re not your parents?)

So there we are in the hotel, Pappa Flinger, my sister and myself. Now, Pappa Flinger had some bad gas. Like Paint-Peeling gas. Like “OH MY GOD I AM GOING TO PASS OUT” gas. You think pregnancy gas is bad? This is gagging power without high levels of HCG and Estrogen causing your nose to inhale at 500% maximum power. The man could work for the CIA as a natural toxin. He’s proud of this fact.

As I recall, the gas was horrid that night at the hotel. In fact, it was so horrid we opened up the window in between yelling, “Dadddd! GROSS!” The heavy hotel drapes weren’t letting enough of the sub 40’s air in, though, so I took off my bra and tied the drapes with it to allow more air in. That’s right, Internet, I tied my 38 Double D, pre-breast-reduction bra around the curtains to let in air.

About thirty minutes later Oma comes in laughing so loudly we heard her coming down the hall. “What’s so funny?” we ask her. Between her gulps and giggles she spits out, “I didn’t have to ask which hotel room was ours. I pulled up, saw the braw around the curtains and knew where to go.”

Officially wearing lycra since 2004 Parenting

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You know how your balance is off during pregnancy?  And you know how I already have issues with being a klutz? Disaster is sure to follow.

I won’t list them out for you (trying to keep some level of pride here) but lately? I’m not just off balance, I’m off kilter, off skilter and hilter.  I’m a loose hinge. I’m a leaning Christmas Tree. I’m.. well, you get it.

Already my belly is big enough to make my back ache. Already laying on my back or stomach is painful. When I lift my arms above my head in public (don’t ask me WHY I am doing this, just go with me here) my belly will shove out from under my shirt and show the entire world just how white and stretched out it already is. SEXY!

So it’s not a huge surprise that our leaning tower o’ treeza completely tipped over yesterday when my BOOBS brushed, ever so softly, against it as I tried to plug in the lights.

Between my belly, my boobs and my ass? I’m hopeless. I don’t think I’ll be sitting in LB’s little table and chair set she gets this Christmas. *sigh*

I will never be your Great Aunt Marcy

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My Grandfather’s sister, Marcella, lives in San Antonio. I grew up in Houston so we’d go there every so often and Uncle Charles would tell us about the pecan trees in his backyard and Aunt Marcy would make us pecan pie and we’d eat brisket and mash potatoes. It was always cooler in San Antonio than when we left Houston and the adults would talk about humidity while my sister and I did cartwheel and handstands in the yard. I have this memory etched in my brain from a variety of visits spanning years and years. It was always the same.

After we moved to the North West, Aunt Marcy still sent us birthday cards, promptly, starting in 1989. There are a few things you can count on in life. Death, Taxes, and your birthday card from Aunt Marcy. She is timely, she never ever forgets, and there is never any money or a gift card in it. It’s a card. That’s it. Every year. And I love it.

Right now, with the move and all the puking and nausea, I go to the mailbox a lot less often. The trek up the hill to the group of boxes is a major undertaking and even then, the stash of mail gets piled in the “in box” until bills are (past) due. We’re living a new, very unorganized version of ourselves. (This is saying A LOT, people.)  I could’ve titled this post, “Please don’t let me hold your baby or I will drop it like all the other balls in my life right now.” ‘Cause that’s about right.

I’m losing it quickly.

Friends have had birthdays, anniversaries, children, moved locations, graduated, won academy awards, the lottery, and lost relatives all while I sit in the midst of my boxes with my laptop and my two year old running around my silver puke-bowl and say, “Ummmm… Errrr…. Uuuhhhhhhhhh…......” and then I go take a nap because I can’t imagine what I was going to do.

101 reasons I think this baby will stick

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I know I’m only five weeks past the miscarriage but I feel weirdly optimistic. And sick. Very. Very Sick.

Here’s how I break it down:

Reason #1: Hormonal. Wheee! Care to join the “I’m so excited to be preg…. WTF ARE YOU DOING ON THE DVR! I SAID TO NOT STAND ON THE DVR! ... gawd I love my kid…” ride? ‘Cause I’d like off.
Reason #2: Stuff stinks. Bad. The house? Smells like ass. That beer you’re drinking? Also like ass. My Pad Tai? Totally like wet dog. I’m not kidding.
Reason #3: Ralph. I’m feeling slightly pukey. Excuse me but your beer is making me want to hurl (and I like beer).
Reason #4: Sore boobies. Damn. ‘Nuff said.
Reason #5-100: I. Am. So. Fucking. Tired. I. Am. Going. To. Die.
Reason #101: Why not?  It’s our turn.

4/10/2006

Heartbeats and ultrasounds Parenting

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We’re heading to the doctor today for my first checkup. I know I’m nauseated, I’m weak, I’m dizzy and weepy. These are all fantastic signs.

I just want to see a heart beat. Then I’ll be able to just be pregnant.

So if you see me doing some sort of sacrificial dance to the gods of all things baby heartbeats, you’ll know why. No need to panic. Just join in.

I gave her more than butt dimples Parenting

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It’s really obvious that my daughter is her father’s kid. I knew it from the 20 week ultrasound where we got a profile shot and realized she had her daddy’s pug nose. (Incedentally, this did not keep me from having dreams that she was a black baby four feet long when I birthed her.) The first thing we noticed when we saw her, just minutes old, was her olive skin tone and perfectly shaped mouth, all thanks to Daddy. She was perfect. She was everything you’d see if you pictured Mr. Flinger as a little girl. With hair.

This bothered me somewhat as all I got to contribute was a large scar on my belly, some wicked post partum depression and butt dimples. Yes, I have two dimples above my ass and now, so does my only child. I’m so proud to pass that on.

I know many families that always say, “Oh, she looks just like so-and-so” while the other side will say, “She’s a spitting image of you-know-who.” I hate to tell you this but one of you is wrong. Obviously the child looks more like her mother (or father) and you’re reaching for straws with “but her eyes look just like Great Aunt Jane’s.” Does anyone even remember Great Aunt Jane? I didn’t think so. Nice try.

I don’t have that luxury. When Mr. Flinger’s family goes on and on and on and on about how she looks JUST LIKE HE DID when he was little, I have to bite my lip because, well, she does. Mr. Flinger, with his long seventies flowing golden hair, really would’ve made a very pretty little girl. And now he does.

So when my family wants to contribute something in LB’s personage we stretch it a little far. “Oh, her personality is so like you. Oh, the way she rolls her eyes? SO TOTALLY YOU. Oh mah gah, did she just give me sass? That’s you!” Thanks. I gave my daughter her bitchiness. Add that to butt dimples and I’m a real genetic winner.

Conversations from the backseat Parenting

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Today, as we were driving home from playing at the park with Paige, I decided to go through town so LB could go on a bridge over water and see the big buildings. We drove by Mr. Flinger’s Alumni and I pointed out that is where Daddy went to school. LB was quiet, and I repeated, “See? That is Daddy’s college. Daddy went to school there.”

We drove a bit more and she could see it better so I told her again, “That’s where daddy went to school.” And again after we rounded a corner and could see a different view.

About ten minutes later as we’re passing a mall and the surrounding stores, LB gasps and says,

“Oh! I see! Daddy’s school is Target!”

*sigh* Now I just need to inform her that when I tell her she will go to college after high school, I don’t mean be a cashier at Target.

The problem with a “go baby” Parenting

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When LB was three weeks old, I decided she would be a “go baby.” I’m not one to be happy at home for very long and the thought of staying in the house with this new person who cried and pooped and ate all the time made me roll my eyes constantly and weep in to piles of tissue. I needed out and she was going to go with me.

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I started walking with her every day in the Bjorn. I was determined she’d figure out this whole “day time is for wakey and night time is for sleepy” thing.  Also, I needed to walk off the sixty pounds I gained during pregnancy and figured hauling her around was a sure way to do it. 

LB's first outing!

We visited the Jelly Bellies, we went to the park, we went to playgroup. We never stayed home for an entire day without going somewhere, even if it was just a ride to Starbucks so she could flirt with the Baristas. I prided myself on this child that could go most places, enjoyed being out and craved people as much as I did. I thought it was fantastic.

Oh, my three foot knight in shiny armor

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We purchased a garbage can today.  [I’m sorry, did you just roll your eyes and mutter, “that is not blog worthy”? You are *obviously* not aware what this garbage can means to me. Or what it took to get it. Or why we went two and a half months without one at all.]

It’s all because of the mister. [And love squabbles are always blog worthy. :: eye roll :: ]*

First there was the $4.99 garbage can I picked up at Target the week we moved in. We chose not to bring up our old garbage can since it was broken and had several tears in the plastic that didn’t seem strong enough to make the 250 mile uhaul trip. Plus? It’s a farking GARBAGE CAN. FYI. At any rate, I chose the most reasonable and cheap garbage can that struck me. Hey! It costs just a little more than a latte! Go me.

Mr. Flinger poopooed it almost immediately. “It doesn’t have a lid. We need one with a lid. Plus it’s too small.”  “It fits under the sink where National Garbage Can Law says it must go.” “It’s too small. I don’t like it. Let's (you) take it back and find one together.” MmmmK. Didn’t know the man wanted a say in the garbage receptacle.

Three weeks later we head to Bed Bath and Beyond specifically to find a garbage can. We spend, no kidding, three hours in the store. We debate size. Color. Peddle Popup? Or lid you lift? What about this $109 chrome dilly that you wave your hand in front of and the lid pops open for you? LB pooped twice while at the store and I had to take a seat when I started getting gaggy. Finally we settled on a black, medium size, plastic garbage can with a lid. “Think it will fit under the sink?” he asks. “Sure. Whatever. I need to eat again.”