Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Am I in the right career? (Yes, Bliss, another quiz :) )

Ok... honestly... when you take this - and who are you fooling - you know you are going to click through and take this - how well do you think your results match who you are in RL as well as SL?

We spend a lot of time lamenting boredom in SL. I read about it on blogs all the time. We shop constantly for the perfect something or other to wear, to go with remodeling, to fit a new build. We look for new clubs, new places to explore. Most who I have met in SL are very passionate, yet rugged individual types. I can't wait to see the results other find as they take this.

Are you a Talent, a Lifer, or a Mandarin?

Here's mine:

I'm a Talent!

You're a risk-taker, and you follow your passions. You're determined to take on the world and succeed on your own terms. Whether in the arts, science, engineering, business, or politics, you fearlessly express your own vision of the world. You're not afraid of a fight, and you're not afraid to bet your future on your own abilities. If you find a job boring or stifling, you're already preparing your resume. You believe in doing what you love, and you're not willing to settle for an ordinary life.

Talent: 64%
Lifer: 23%
Mandarin: 54%

Take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

In Defense of Rose-Colored Glasses

I have often been accused of being too positive, too cheery, and too pollyanna-ish. Not surprisingly, I do a hair flip and skip away when facing such criticism (insert laugh here). Seriously, I do an internal check and try to figure out what makes me decide to be happy when the reaction should be anything but.

In RL, I have one of those faces that smiles automatically. I smile when I'm sad and crying even. I even find myself laughing when I cry sometimes - yes, for those of you wondering, you can now OFFICIALLY declare me NUTS. However, since I have had children, though, I have come to realize this is a genetic trait - smiling and being nuts. My oldest son is often in trouble for smiling when he is getting redirected for torturing his younger siblings.

I did a search for cranky, bad mood, negative thinking, and anything else I could think of on Google. I read a few blogs. I tried to get in the skin of someone who chooses this outlook or at least can communicate it well on the web. I dispute my husband's bad moods enough that I simply cannot go there to get into character :) but I have to say I think we make a good yin-yang and he tempers my pollyanna-ish views.

What I found was a whole host of individuals and organizations trying to move out and away from negative thinking. People don't write about staying in bad moods, they publish how to overcome them. I suppose this speaks to the huge industry that is self-help and wellness. It is the ultimate in-search-of-a-happy-ending Hollywood factor that childrens books and movies end with.

Happines is associated most heavily with the left (i.e. logical) side of the brain, while anger is associated with the right (emotional, non-logical) side of the brain. From a Society for Neuroscience article on Bliss and the Brain:

"Furthermore, studies suggest that certain people's ability to see life through rose-colored glasses links to a heightened left-sided brain function. A scrutiny of brain activity indicates that individuals with natural positive dispositions have trumped up activity in the left prefrontal cortex compared with their more negative counterparts. "

In other words, happy people are better able to think logically.
-Creating Passionate Users blog, 4/17/2006

I would like to challenge you, if you are taking the time to read this, to consider the above passage I found in another's blog (Creating Passionate Users), and take the additional effort to follow the link and read up. Being happy makes you HEALTHY. Heck, with my whole family - all 6 of us - battling asthma, the flu, pink eye, you name it I think we are due for a little happiness or maybe a BIG happiness. For those of us in SL who choose to enjoy our pixelated freedoms, why not choose happiness there as well? SL is built around the text communication that takes place between individuals and groups. We talk talk talk talk talk. But when, does one, as a person and as an avitar decide to walk the talk? Easy to say, much, much, much harder to do.

Is a happy ending possible? Can someone REALLY wear rose-colored glasses and survive in the big bad RL and SL worlds? I say yes. If you took the time to read the link I included - I hope you read far enough down the screen to realize that happy people feel bad too, happy people experience sadness and unfortunate experiences, but happy people choose to look at those experiences and process those feelings in a different way.

Ironically, I'm coming full circle here. I ask you to look at the name of my blog (not the typo name, smartass) and think about what it means to be resilient. I have to say... another way to be pollyanna-ish... is to be resilient. It is super hard. It makes you crazy. It is not the way the rest of the world would like you to think. But hey, I never was much for trying to do what the rest of the world wanted me to do anyway.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


This post idea found me the other day. I held off on blogging for a long time because I was never sure I'd have anything to say. Now that I have joined the blogosphere, I realize there are so many post opportunities I have to harness them because there are not enough hours in the day to post what has come across my path. Ultimately though, I tend to roll posts around in my head for hours or sometimes days before I know it will come out right. Sometimes you just know when the time is right.

As you know, I have a long daily work commute. I fill my commute with music, and enjoy the DJs banter. One day in particular, the RL DJs were discussing how people treat each other and what we are teaching our children. They came to the conclusion that if Mister Rogers was still around - departing his love and kindness over the airwaves - that perhaps our future world would have a better chance. The RL DJ talked about how she had called the PBS station and asked specifically about why the show was no longer on. The station representative explained that the show had not been on for several years because Mister Rogers had officially retired prior to his death. This then led to a discussion on people dying shortly after they retire from a career they are passionate about... but I digress that is another blog post altogether :)

Anyway, I took some time once I got to work to pull up the YouTube clip they had played the audio from on the air. They had suggested that listeners watch it periodically throughout the workday when they are having a tough time with their bosses or colleagues. Not bad advice LOL! I watched it. I thought about the things my kids like to watch. I thought about the things PBS airs now. I thought about the timeless themes about life and friendship and caring that Mister Rogers brought to the world so plainly in his cardigan sweater and tennis shoes. The messages are still there in other things we watch and fill our heads with. We just have to dig deeper for them.

Spongebob still teaches friendship and tolerance with his undying love for Patrick Star, his best friend, and his continued attempts to love his neighbor, Squigward. Elmo teaches us to laugh and ask questions when we don't understand. Even Ben10 teaches us to find the right tool to do the job when conquering evil and be persistant in the persuit of doing the right thing on behalf of our friends.

All these messages impact us. However, it is how we internalize the messages and act on others behalf that speaks to the type of people we are. Those are basic principles no matter if you are in RL or SL. I know the median age range in SL is 25-45. With that in mind, I would bet that most know who Mister Rogers is. Mister Rogers wasn't just an American PBS phenominon. The principles that he taught most certainly are not just American. Either way... I hope you take the time to watch this clip. Laugh at his goofy style. Shake your head at his simpleness and naivity. But... for just a minute... open your ears and listen... and take another moment to reflect. See if any of what has to say rings true.

I have to catch myself every day and redirect my thoughts and redirect my actions, if need be. I try my best to be a good friend and to work toward making life a little better for those around me. I am so thankful for those who do the same in my life as well.

Thank you Mister Rogers :) /me digs in my 12,000+ crazed inventory to find my rose colored glasses and slips them on. The world looks much better with them on. /me hands them out so others can enjoy the view with me.

Friday, February 22, 2008


What's in it for me? On a Friday afternoon, this crazy SLife is sounding like a nice place to be. Quick - someone carry me away!

Too old to be wild and free still
Too young to be over the hill
Should I try to grow up
But who knows where to start
So I just ...
Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Do my best to waste another day
Sit right here and have another beer in Mexico
Let the warm air melt these blues away

-Kenny Chesney

The best part about Mexico (Puerto Penasco a.k.a. Rocky Point) is you forget what time it is, you enjoy the warm sand, the good food, the cheap beer, and you just laugh and relax. The rest of the world melts away. Even if it is only for a few days, you get away. Even our little ones enjoy the escape from the craziness of RL when we go. No shoes needed. Bathing suits and flip flops are always in fashion. Meals are more like snacks because everyone simply spends their day snacking. Sand invades everything. Your soul breathes and your skin soaks up the warm sun and salty air.

I haven't found a SIM yet on SL that totally replicates what we have found in Mexico just yet. Perhaps there is an idea in the making there... tidepools for catching little hermit crabs, spear fishing, crazy banana boat rides, margaritas so big you could swim in them, and just places to relax and enjoy. Oh yeah... and Thrify ice cream :) Cheap, mmmmm ice cream.

Happy Friday afternoon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Closing Time

I had the privledge of attending a final event at Sporks last weekend. Sporks became the clubhouse of sorts to those of us who needed a home after OneWorld closed. Borday and Blissie made it a warm, fun, crazy place that allowed everything from ballroom dancing, coffee drinking, pole dancing, pillow fighting, spanking, and most importantly picture-taking. Borday was always gracious enough to let Blissie put out the high prim spread of delectable treats and anyone could throw down a tip jar if you felt so inclined to shimmy the pole in your skivvies. Borday's sexy voice would accompany his great mix of music and anyone and everyone was always welcome.

I felt kind of sad last weekend as we laid on the couches and listened to Semisonic's "Closing Time." It was bittersweet. None of us need a home base any more like we did in the newbie days. We all have our own land or places we crawl into to spend the night. (I think EVEN Spanker Ehric now has a home other than Help Island :)- go figure!) But all of us still need that sense of community and belonging. Blissie did that with the Spank Pack and Borday did that with Sporks.

"Closing time - you don't have to go home but you can't stay here... Closing time - time for you to go back to the places you will be from... "

Saying goodbye to Sporks reminded me of a Sunday afternoon a few months ago RL but seemingly years ago SL when we all said goodbye to One World. The fairwell impromtu rooftop dance was captured by many of us in pictures and shared in our picks in our profiles for weeks to come. It was the end of an era in some ways.

One World brought us together. It was the birthplace of outfit challenges and DJ fanclubs. It was the place we could go afk and feel the fear of being pushed in the water. It was the place we could pillow fight and laugh so hard we almost pee our pants (speaking personally of course LOL). One World allowed for us to meet others from all over the globe and learn to say hello in other languages. We practiced with our new lag-enducing toys like sparkles and fireworks. We parachuted from Borday's machine and Hot Rocks.

"So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits - I hope you have found a friend."

I'll miss Sporks like I miss Sunday afternoons at OneWorld. But I know with these doors closing, others will open. Most importantly I know I'll have my friends to share those new open doors. We have all grown so much and I'm so thankful for each of you and what you have brought to my life - through SL - and into RL. A final toast to Sporks, and a cheers to all the new adventures in store.

"Closing time - every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end... " - Semisonic

P.S. For those of you who loved "Friends" - you might enjoy this video version of "Closing Time."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Unanswered Prayers

At the risk of frightening those that know me, I have to quote another country song. :) Hold on people - I won't sing it for you - I'll just share a small piece of it..
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs
That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care
Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

- Garth Brooks, Unanswered Prayers; written by Pat Alger/Larry B.Bastian/Garth Brooks

I find myself a lot of times praying for things, asking for things, and outcomes that I hope will happen, that I want to happen, that I think is for the best. It is sometimes a huge paradigm shift to step back and realize that when prayers aren't answered it is because something better is headed our way.

SL has taught me alot about myself and a lot about realizing sometimes things happen because something else is coming along. SL is not different from RL in any way when it comes to emotional capacity and introspection. Afterall, we are all the spiritual driving forces behind our pixelated avitars. It helps so much to remember we can simply turn something over, resolve within ourselves that a situation or problem is bigger than we personally know how to handle, and allow for it to be solved in time, with assistance from whatever higher power you choose to believe in. Without fail, it never disappoints.

I've been given much food for thought in SL in terms of relationships. Friends lists, group memberships, and the locations I frequent all build a sense of identity in SL. When is it right to remove yourself, when is it right to just wait, when is it right to fight for them and hang in there? I know I am a pleaser by nature. I try to make sure any and all in my life are happy - and I know that sometimes making everyone happy makes no one happy, including myself. I am also someone who likes to solve problems. There must be some way to make it work, some way, some how. With both of those viewpoints - happiness and solutions, it has been reaffirming to remind myself that sometimes I am capable of neither and I need to just turn it over and let it be resolved in a different way - a way perhaps I haven't even thought of yet.

So what the heck does this all have to do with unanswered prayers and that ridiculous country song quote I began with? If I feel lonely in SL, despite the abundance of events, avitars and constant opportunity, perhaps it is time to sit back and realize my immediate unhappiness is an unanswered prayer. It is a time to learn more about myself. Do I take a break and resolve to not log in to SL for a while? Maybe. Maybe that is where the answers will find me. Do I resolve to explore new places and meet new people and look for new opportunity until the answer comes along? Perhaps. Do I remove people and groups from my profile and cut ties? Perhaps that is the answer too. But maybe, just maybe, I sit and wait.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Balance out all that chocolate with a little... fruit?

Ok you survey crazed blogger friends. I have found another. I feel a little lazy posting this but what the heck... maybe I have a chocolate hangover :)

You Are an Orange

You have a zest for life, especially for anything colorful, wild, or dramatic.
You have a unique take on the world, and you're not afraid to be a little funky.

You are a bit reserved toward people who don't know you well.
You have a thick skin, which can protect you from anything that goes wrong in your life.

Once someone does get to know you, they totally get and appreciate you.
Your friends see you as a bright person with a refreshing take on life.

And hey - we grow citris in this sunny state :) In fact, it is one of the 5 c's we learn about in 4th grade when we learn about Arizona. Guess I was destined to be an orange. Mmmmmmmm anyone for Swensen's Swiss Orange Chip Ice Cream (chocolate, chocolate chip with orange in it)? Yes, sadly, I'm back to thinking about chocolate.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Enjoy Your Valentine Today

As you smear that chocolate all over your face today, don't forget to hug all those you love tightly and wish them Happy Valentines. Even the old dog that leans on you in the backyard needs a valentine (speaking of my own back yard of course :) ).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Network of Support

I am continually amazed by the generousity and kindness on SL. I have been fortunate to have several experiences where people went out of their way to be helpful to me, even though I didn't know them. Today, however, I experienced a new facet of the support network on SL.

I put in my profile online earlier in the week a note in my picks about Sandy Clary, creator extraordinarre of Pillow Talk. I might have included it in a blog post as well - but since my memory is extremely short today - I'll not commit. Anyway... She had sent out a note about her pending surgery to remove a large brain tumor and - not to alarm her group - but rather give her customers a point of contact if they had concerns or questions about her products. Totally amazing. But, it doesn't stop there.

This afternoon she posted a simply message. It was something along the lines of "Please don't forget me while I'm gone." I was stunned. How in the world would we forget her? Almost immediately, some replied wishing her well. I couldn't help but do the same. I saved the posts to show how amazing the kindness of strangers can be:

[13:05] Ande Slade: god bless you sandy, my prayers are with you
[13:06] Stormy Moonlight: Mine as well all of us are are rooting for you!
[13:06] AprilStars Flannery: Gods Blessings Sandy, we will NOT forget you, and wait for your quick return~!
[13:06] Suteruni Susanto: mine are wth you too Sandy, Im not sure what is wrong , but be back soon , huggsss!!
[13:07] Kimala Kohime: good thoughts and prayers are with you Sandy - hurry back to us in SL!
[13:07] Minea Auer: you're in my thoughts, Sandy <3
[13:07] AprilStars Flannery: We will tightly hug your pillows till you get back and start with some new designs..." Hugs n Prayers"
[13:07] Aryon Dagger sends angels and good thoughts to watch over Sandy and her family at this time and always. God speed, Sandy.
[13:07] Belle Milland: Best wishes Sandy :) you will be in all our thoughts :)
[13:08] Soleil Beam: our hearts and prayers are with you for a swift revovery . . . god be with you and guide your surgeon . . . god bless
[13:09] nadira Bailey: my prayers are with you as are my Masters sandy...see you when You return to us
[13:09] nadira Bailey: my prayers and good thoughts to you sandy as are my Masters thoughts and prayers with you
[13:13] Sabrina Hoyer: Prayers and wishes for the best Sandy...hb

I'm familiar with RL prayer chains. They can be powerful things. My husband's parent's church has a notoriously successful prayer chain :) at least when it comes to the requests we have made for our friends and family needing spiritual support through illness and surgery. They have an A+ record. I'm sure there are other prayer chains that are equally powerful. Collectively sending good thoughts and prayers can make a huge difference. If you don't believe me, I dare you... try it :)

Anyway, there are so many silly things that happen on group IMs, and so many maddening things that happen on group IMs, and spam and and and... BUT, how often, do you see that kind of outpouring. SL is an amazing connector of human beings from all over the world. Today was a day that I was really proud to be a part of the SL community.

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Monday... I'm tired... Diversion anyone?

I have started sending myself text messages with blog topics as they flit through my brain when I am commuting. Inching traffic makes that a possibility. No, I don't attempt to text and drive 75 :P

But... it is Monday. It has been a great day! However, my blog ambitions from 7:30 a.m. today have wained.

How about simply considering this little clock below as food for thought. It is mind-boggling enough to entertain even the most conservative of you. And, just so you don't think I believe EVERYTHING I find on the Internet... take a look at the sources of information for this amazing invention.

Cheers to 5 o'clock somewhere! (soon here hopefully)

Click the Link below - Just be careful you don't get sucked in!

Did I leave you speechless and mesmerized?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

4 Year Old Deep Thoughts

When you live with kids, it important to not only have eyes in the back of your head, but also wear your listening ears at all times. If you do both of these things, you will not believe what you see and here! Our RL house is busy with not one, but TWO four year olds.

Most recently, when asking if she could have some green grapes at 8:30 pm last night, her dad replied, "No honey, wait until tomorrow and I'll wash some up for you." Her answer, "Whatever dad." and she walked away.

This morning bright and early, I am accompanying them downstairs while the rest of our house was still snuggled and sound asleep. This same perky gal says, "Wasn't it a good idea I had, Mommy, to notice it was morning already?"

Not to be outdone, her brother often has moments of profound thought as well. "I'm going to marry you when I grow up, Mommy." To which his sister replies, "You can't marry her, she is already married to daddy."

Both of them enjoy the adventures of SL as well, from the vantage point over one's shoulder. My daughter loves to examine my hair and critique its style. "Too short mommy, different hair, longer hair please." Or, if I abruptly become a brunette, she adamently declares, "That is Blissie hair mommy - change your's back." She is a favorite of dresses and pink. Did I mention she is all girl?

She has convinced her brother to play Barbies. Yes, he gets GI Joe or Ken. GI Joe definitely being the more "manly" of the two. But, she made the mistake just today of saying "Come on girls, everyone ready to go?" as they all hopped in the Barbie car. Then she corrected herself and said, "Oh sorry boys, boys too."

Letters define much of what we do these days. What is X for? Well, my son would say, beyond a doubt, "X stands for marking the spot, mommy." "S is for snapper." Have you had a snapper ever? It involves underwear wastebands, and giggling. Can't get much better than that as far as after-bathtime ritual.

4 year olds also make you believe you can draw anything. Just yesterday I was commissioned by my sweet boy to draw first, a whale for W, then a yak for Y. Ok... WHO the heck ever draws a Yak!?!?! Me of course :) He was quite complimentary of the Yak but told me I had made a funny whale and gave me an encouraging pat. "That's funny Mommy, but that's ok," he said reassuringly.

Our kids are sponges. They soak it all up - the good, the bad, the everything. I'm always relieved when they are playing that I hear them saying things to each other that I would hope they remember - the please's, the thank you's, the let's take turns, the great jobs, and the "I love you's." Unfortunately, they also remember the phrases you wouldn't necessarily want them to remember like "That's fabulous!" (with that special accent), or "What the..." (stopping just short of a nasty word - that I am hopeful is not yet cemented in their gray matter).

But all in all, at the end of a long day, there is nothing better than a 4 year old running to meet you at the front door saying "Mommy, I'm so happy to see you. I was worried about you. It is dinnertime and it is nighttime!" Nothing will ever take the place of these sweet babies in my life, except maybe only to be squeezed over by the other two olders and their dad. There is room for all of them in my heart. Life is good.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Slacker... Tag You're It

Ok - I have been found guilty blogging at work. You know... the creative juice flows you have to Carpe Diem, right? I'll admit it has to be kept in check. I do have work responsibilities. I probably SHOULDN'T spend too long reading or blogging right??

I found this little gem of a quiz in the same locale as the Snob quiz and couldn't resists. And... BELIEVE IT OR NOT... I only took this once (I promise you RL colleagues who check up on me - heehee).

You Are 16% Slacker

You are anything but a slacker. You're truly a go getter.
You never let laziness get in the way of living your life - and you can't stand to see it in others.

/me breathes a sigh of relief with those results, wipes my brow and decides what work might need another look over the weekend before Monday a.m.. /me winks ;)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Never Too Old To Learn

The Once and Future King, Merlyn speaks in his role as mentor to Arthur, a leader in the making, and offers him a cure for his sadness and pain.

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlyn. . . "is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins,. . . you may see the world around you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then--to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the thing for you."

Parker Palmer, adds his gem to Merlyn's wisdom: "If we who lead and we who teach would take that counsel to heart, everyone in education, administrators and teachers and students alike, would have a chance at healing and new life. Learning--learning together--is the thing for all of us."

Ok... after I went back to work I lost blog post focus somewhat... let me see if I can recapture my original intent

I listened to 35 year old, inner city African-American judge, who had been raised in foster care, share with a group of lawyers, policy makers, educators and others, that his foster dad told him education was the only thing that could never be taken away from you. He would watch foster brothers and sisters come and go, and often worried himself about being taken away from the foster dad he loved so much. People and possessions can not necessarily be permanent fixtures, he said. But, an education is something all your own. No one can ever take that away.

Learning is something that drew me to SL. Hard to believe it wasn't shopping or clubbing, I know :) I have been so fortunate to have many SL teachers cross my path. Not "teachers" with credentials, but friendly, patient avis who were willing to show me step by step how to do something. SL offers endless opportunity to be creative - through building, designing, scripting - even mixing and matching an endless inventory of clothes - LOL! It also offers endless opportunity to reach out and teach someone else. Never assume you are too old or have too much experience to learn something - and never assume you don't hold knowledge valuable enough to share. SL also offers endless opportunities to learn about ourselves. Opening up your heart is also a learning experience. Don't miss out on the array SL puts before us. Be the first to say hello, be willing to offer friendship, be willing to share without regret.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

What'cha Gonna Be When You Grow Up

Some days I try to figure out if I have finished growing up yet. It is hard to be achieve, achieve girl. What the heck, who the heck is that, you ask? First born sure. Parents who believe life can be perfected. Parents who raise you believing anything is possible, and by the way, get going and accomplish it, would ya. I've blogged before about all the blessings in my life - and I'm holding to that. But... in the grand checklist of lifelong to do's, what remains?

Days like this I feel like I have entered that zone where you are in-between stops, in-between goals. Something is coming. Change of some sort. I'm cocooning myself for something that lies ahead. The problem is I just don't know what that is. All I know is I feel like something is unfinished.

Maybe it is just a transition time. Our kids are shifting into an older stage of independence. Far from leaving us, but ready and able to play outside with friends without me hovering and stay up late watching movies on the weekends without me hounding them. My husband has told me I am far too young for a mid-life crisis - so that can't be it ;)

I always grew up knowing what would come next. I knew the goal I was heading out to achieve and did just that to the best of my ability. College, teaching, marriage, kids, house. I've even passed the 20 year high school reunion life marker. I was recently reading a book from my mom, Robert Fulghum's From Beginning to End - The Rituals of Our Lives and in it the author specifically addresses the power of high school reunions.

I was one who didn't go. I thought about it. I connected with a good friend that the reunion invitation reminded me of and then googled a few names. Robert Fulghum writes of how the reunion process - whether participated in publically, or simply visited privately in reflection - is all a very necessary part of life. I found it reassuring that there must be others that only experience reunions through personal reflection. I didn't take the time to dig out my high school yearbook like I had at the 10 year mark. Those that are vivid in my memory don't need me to gaze at their yearbook picture for me to remember how important they were to me. I wonder where they are and wonder if they ever think about me. One in particular I remember wrote a message in my yearbook a year after I graduated because at the time I did graduate he couldn't think of something significant enough to write in exactly then. All he wrote was a simple "Let's see where we are 10 years from now." Ironically. as in all yearbook sentiments, that never happened.

He told me he knew I would make a great teacher. He knew it was in my heart to live and breathe teaching and kids and small towns. He could see me being happy in the same place 10 years from now and that would be enough for me. I can't say he was all that right on all accounts. But he did know one thing - I would be happy and I would live and breathe teaching - if not directly, indirectly through my husband and the aspects of my career that touch teaching. He promised me that day he would go on to be famous and I remember laughing saying if that is the case, I need to have him promise he'll come back and visit my students so they believe me that I really did know a rock n' roll man. I found a clip on YouTube where he drums for Dick Dale. He has gone on to other successes with his own bands - but this is the one moment I remember reading about in the newspaper, seeing his name in print, and knowing he had made it.

Cheers drummer man. The years have treated us both well. What does all this have to do wtih SL? Really nothing. Just the connection I suppose I make to music in my SLife. And the connection to resilience. To get this far in life - on any path - requires resilience.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A big ol' pile of........ shift work

A time gobbler I have befriended the past 3 almost 4 years is a 50 mile round trip commute. It is a daily task I face head on - taking about 45 minutes to 1 hour each way depending. I attempt to breathe and enjoy the sunrise, the sunset, or entertain myself by imagining things about the fellow commuters who join me in the inching motion across the Valley. Having a hybrid for the past year extended the rights to me to drive in the HOV (carpool) lane. Joining the HOV lane drivers was extremely liberating and added a new twist to my commute entertainment.

Anyone who rides in my car knows I enjoy the stereo very much. But... I admit.. I abuse my privledges. I torture passengers by switching songs on CDs or my iPod or changing radio stations much in the same manner men use the remote control to watch television. I'm in constant quest of the perfect song for whatever the mood. I have my favorite DJs on the morning commute and enjoy the banter - to a point of course. SL DJs have helped make my commute more interesting. The sex song triology is one that I would imagine most of my fellow commuters never enjoy. It adds an odd sense of release to the drive - LOL!

So... one day... in this trek... I switch to the country station. Yes - I admit it... the country station... and I listen to a cutie - favorite Kenny Chesney. He is singing about 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7. A pretty good song... and ode to the working man (and woman). A song about how somebody has to do shift work. A song about what that somebody might do if he or she didn't have to do shift work any more.

I thought about my job. It is a far cry from shift work. I feel fortunate for that. I have a creative position that allows me to write, conduct trainings, and connect - people, programs, dots in general. For years I have worked double shifts. I poured my heart and soul into it. My family supported me in that endeavor and I worked so hard I accummulated TOO much vacation and sick time. A few months ago our organization was faced with a hostile takeover of sorts. My colleagues and I have likened it to a rape. Those who were victorious took everything from us - including our pride in all we had and the success we had shared. We were left with nothing. Those long shifts I had worked... they seemed to be all for nothing. I began a ride I hadn't expected.. a rollercoaster of grief.

It was about that time - of the initial shock - that I found my way onto Second Life. SL offered me a much needed solace for creativity and fun. My husband had more time to explore being home from teaching for the summer and he would scout out things for us to do and enjoy. It became something fun and an escape from the 110+ degree summer temperatures. We didn't try to find any shift work to earn Lindens other than suntan and walk the catwalk. But surprisingly, there are many opportunities for work. My favorite Linden conversation with a DJ not too long ago was about how proud he was he hardly ever had to pay real dollars for Lindens. The friend of mine I was with and I both had a good laugh about all the Lindens we pay for. Our RL shift work helps fund his SL shift work :) (and all those clothes and shoes we are so crazy about too!)

I'm not quite sure what I wanted to say here. I think work takes up so much of our lives it is important to find SOMETHING we like about it even if it is a job we as a big ol' pile of shift work as Kenny sings. It doesn't necessarily have to be the task or project. It can be the people. It can be the breaks :) or lunches. It can be fun... even if that fun requires your imagination to work overtime.

Ultimately though, life is too short to not enjoy. I personally am saving my shift work pennies and heading off to that tropical paradise where Kenny parks his boat. But in the meantime, I'll enjoy my SL island escape and sing really loudly in the rush hour commute.


P.S. Our organization is making an amazing comeback - flexing our muscles in new ways and seeing what we can become. It is exciting to be in on the ground floor of redesigning what we can become. We are RESILIENT :) (kind of a theme in my life - SL and RL huh?)

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Loss..

I learned today of a loss. It was a loss that had occurred quite some time ago (February 2006) but I just learned of it today. Having been once removed from the writing and teaching community in Northern Arizona, I suppose it is no surprised that it didn't make big news. He was someone who made a big difference locally and a small difference in the world as a whole. Either way, he was someone who touched my life as a teacher, the lives of my students, and inspired both me and my students to write what was in my heart and tell my own story the best I knew how.

Take It Back
Maybe it's different
with you.
How I grew up
there was always some kid
bigger than me, some lug,
some stupe, some Ronnie Boone
with fuzz over his lip
and those muscles you get
squeezing tennis balls,
skulking on the playground
before homeroom or glued
behind some trees somewhere
I have to pass alone
and-boom-he's on my chest
like a stump,
slapping me daffy, his knees gouging
gopher holes in my arms
as he croons take it back,
so soft and close and sweet
he could be telling me
a secret or kissing me on the mouth, take it back
if you know what's good for you.

Some things I did I didn't
take back. I could
say one, embarrass us for all time. Then you
could take your turn, then
somebody else, until
the bullies inside us
get bored and go home;
till we're each of us smack
on his back by himself
in the same stupid life,
and we do it again-
the whole thing pathetic
as a push-and-go-round
where I stick to my guns,
and stew, and spin-the same
tune repeating itself,
the same verse, the opus
of Ronnie Boone: take it
back, take it back if
you know what's good for you.
Which I don't though I do.

—Jim Simmerman
Moon Go Away I Don't Love You No More
Miami University Press (1994)

While the university did post something to honor him, I found this entry from a colleague and the outpouring of responses from friends, colleagues and students more compelling. Joseph Duemer - Reading & Writing.

One other note about the poem I share with you - how timely that it deals with bullies. All of us face them - starting as children, and then throughout life. How important it is for all of us, when facing bullies, to realize we can only do the best we can with what lies within ourselves. And... ultimately... I am reminded that our time here is so short... we have such a small window of time to make a difference. Wasting precious moments on those who wish to prey on others is simply not worth it.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Heavenly Beds

Find your perfect sleep number. Decide the right temperature. Have just enough covers - but not too many. Drug your children. (joke) Snuggle in and let your body do the rest. Zzzzzzzzzzz

Just thinking about that soft snuggly bed, the light airy comforter pulled all up around my face, the pillows positioned just so - one to lay on and one to snuggle in to... even thoughts of my daughter cozying up to my back telling me "I'll rub your back Mama" instantly transport me to a happier place.

Why tell you all this? Why do you care? Ironically, I woke up thinking about this amazing experience and how the heck it all connects to my SLife. After all, I try to obey a decent SL bedtime (except the non-school nights - Hooo!). Saying good night to each other on SL seems to be important. People are always ready to offer an enthusiastic g'nite, sleep well, or sweet dreams as you leave a club or venue - even people you don't know. I like that. I love sleep. I can appreciate the fact they are wishing me well - even if superficially - LOL. Then, there is the act of going home from the club or venue. New avitars, mind you, don't really have this option unless they move into a furniture store. It is funny to think about - I take my little Kimala self home and then log off. In the beginning, I even went home and went to the bed I had purchased for myself. I was so excited to have found one I loved.

Beds are a particular craft on SL. I had a freebie bed at first. The mattress was so hard all you could do was sit properly on the edge. I was too new to realize that it was worth the lindens to buy a good bed. Then... I found Pillow Talk. Oh man. The BEST SIM EVER! Everything there was about sleep and snuggling. The store was on a cloud and made up primarily of PILLOWS... pillows for one... pillows for two... pillows for snuggling... pillows for massages... pillows for... em em. I was in heaven. Heck, the sim store even looked heavenly. The sim creator Sandy Clymer MUST have been friends with Westin and the Heavenly Bed RL people. She MUST have connections. I was enthralled with my find... a Heavenly SL Bed. The sheets were the perfect texture, the mattress was the perfect firmness, and, better yet, there were spots for 2.. to snuggle. What about it WASN'T heavenly? Needless to say, it was a purchase I made without thinking twice.

As my time on SL has evolved, I found I wanted to be more creative with my island space and did away with my bed altogether. Most of the time I log off quickly to return to RL and try to make good use of my RL bedtime. I have plenty of perfect snuggle spots but the SLeeping ritual has lost its lustre. I no longer feel the need to tuck my avitar in to that warm Pillow Talk bed (shhh don't tell Sandy) and I rarely even put on my SL pajamas any more unless it is for an event. (Please note though - good nights are still very much appreciated and enjoyed!)

So... I woke up this morning in my RL sleep number bed... (i'm a 35 btw) snuggled under the flannel sheets (I know - how lame is that - we live in Phoenix!!) and the comforter, next to the pillow, and thought ... "WOW! I LOVE SLEEP! I love my bed. I need to remember that!" LOL Now why in the world would I need to mentally note I need to remember that? Well.. because that little nagging thought of SL pulls me away from sleep sometimes. Keeps me up. Draws me in. Wakes me up at random hours to try to lure me away from this amazingly warm comforting RL spot. I thought about people who don't need as much sleep - my husband being one of them. Ok you secret middle of the night SLers... you know who you are. It pulls you away from sleep - a good RL sleep, now doesn't it!

My thoughts jumped mentally around remembering research on sleep - loss of memory from lack of sleep, drugs to help you sleep, sleep walking, and my personal favorite - sleeping in your own bed (yes, small friends in my home - that one has your name ALL over it!). We should honor sleep. My dad taught me the best way to solve problems - really tough ones - is to ask yourself to figure them out - just before you fall asleep. It works, btw. But I digress.

I'm glad some on SL have decided to honor this very important part of being human. Sure it helps they come with sexy poses and menus (em em). But ultimately, all of us, at one time or another, in our SLives need to power down and wish everyone else good night.