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I think John has it nailed. I came from a PHP/web background and it took me about a month to get comfortable with Flex.
You cannot connect directly from Flex to MySQL though, so it's either SQLite or a web service wrapper.
I got lazy once I discovered the wonderfully handy dreamweaver AIR plug-in, and have stopped (for now, at least) trying to wrap my head around Flex .
For the data, it looks like SQLite should be pretty quick to pick up(?), since I'm already familiar with mySQL !
It's looking like I can just write a web-app as I normally would in DW, then click-click package it as an AIR desktop app and I'm good to go! Amazing.
Thanks again for the help (and thank you Adobe!!),