Monday, June 30, 2008

Lots on My Mind

I started a post last night about my SL work with U2inSL all weekend long on my stay-cation but didn't get it finished. I'll try to finish that up and share it later in the day.

My post was interrupted last night by a phone call from my mom who is spending most of the summer in Flagstaff, AZ where it is much much cooler (7,000 ft elevation). By now you might have seen the news. (NBC Today Show clip here) Mid afternoon yesterday two medical helicopters collided in town near the hospital. 6 of the 7 passengers/crew/patients were killed. Our good friend is a fireman/EMT who just recently began working on the rescue helicopter. Thankfully, I was able to contact his wife - one of my best friends from Flagstaff and teaching days, and he is ok. He was on the unthankful duty though of rescue and putting out the brush fire. We are still waiting word for who the crash victims were. I'll hold my breath. Even though it is a town of 60,000 - it is still the size where you tend to know so many. Having taught there for 10 years, and lived there for 17, I worry that the names will be familiar. Either way, no matter what the names are, it is a horrific tragedy.

Then, my morning this a.m began with another doctor appointment. Sometimes it seems like that's one of the purposes of stay-cations, don't you think? Get all caught up on everything you put off the rest of the year? Anyway - I saw the dermatologist. It has been about 10 months since I was there. I finished a 8 month series of Accutane ending last September. Having battled with acne my whole life, it was an incredible solution. Super intensive with scary side effects - but I have been so happy with the results - it was totally worth it. Anyway, I went not because of that, but because I had this weird mole thing that just appeared one day near my temple but up in my hairline. It grew almost overnight and Dave and the kids teased me I had an antler coming in! We all laughed and I got my butt to make an appointment right away. It never grew bigger than the size of um...the size of a small pencil eraser - in fact it was probably 1/3 of that - and hidden in my hair. But - last week... it just fell off!! LOL TMI? Grossed out? Sorry - couldn't resist sharing that :) Anyway I kept my appointment.

The good news - this silly thing that was there and now gone is... "all a part of the aging process!!!" GOOD LORD! EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! "Ok... so how long do I have to wait for the next horn to grow?" was the first thought running through my mind. Then, since I was wearing a sleeveless cami/tank, I noticed she kept looking at my left shoulder. I asked her to look at a spot that she had once told me was nothing - just all part of having babies and hormones... about the size of a dime on my left shoulder... red and white and shaped kinda like an upside down pear. She freaked out. Well, freaked out in a doctor-type way. "How long have you had that? That must be a scar? Are you sure that isn't a scar? You've never had any injury there?" After I reminded her she had looked at that about 2 years ago and told me it was nothing - when it was about 1/2 its size, she said "Well, it needs to come off. It could have 'finger' type things under the surface of your skin and we need to biopsy it ASAP." Well... reassuring huh? I went from having an antler to being a natural aging 39 year old to having something that is hideous and needs to immediately be extracted from my body. The part that scared me was learning the procedure they will biopsy it with had the word chemo in it.

So... I await the results of my head CT to see what in the world is living in my sinuses and if I truly do have a brain knocking around up there. I will have to wait for the biopsy until July 17 and then results days after that. But in the meantime, I have to just be thankful for all I have and remember that life is short and I suppose I could be hit by a bus at a moment's notice, right? Ok - I'm on my stay-cation not near any busses - but you get the idea.

Thanks for listening. I added a new sidebar addition called Punkymoods that I thought was a perfect compliment to my blog on a day like today. Cheers to finding good news and blessings in the rest of my day - and for you doing the same.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stay-cation Update

Yesterday - the balloon popping continued and Dave taught the kids the joys of helium inhalation. We spent considerable time talking like Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Does this mean my kids will grow up to do drugs...???? YIKES! Cancel Cancel.

We had early morning bike riding - I think I mentioned that yesterday. We also had plenty of time outs and screaming that all comes from tackling and laughing and chasing and then ultimately crying. My dad always used to tell us "You kids are laughing so hard soon you'll be crying - settle down!" No truer words were ever said.

I had family tech support in my adventures with the U2inSL concert yesterday. We all rocked out and Rach did her patented wiggle :) Noah made 2 kinds of cookies and there were plenty of discussions about whether or not to eat raw cookie dough. Of course, he decided the twins were TOO YOUNG to try any or it would make them sick :) Needless to say - all 4 ate WAY too many cookies after they were baked and felt sick later. Gotta love the life of a kid!

It continued to be hot. (Newsflash? NOT!) I have decided that our summers are the equivalent of many other places' harsh winters. Inside forts with sheets, computer games called "Club Penguin" and PBS Kids, and Nick... and Barbies! The Barbies swam in the swimming pool and looked extremely fashionable in their suits. And.. the tv/cable dvr box remote remains missing. Sigh...

This morning? 5:30 am = sunlight streaming in = 2 wide awake pouncing and bouncing around in bed with me. We played race car - Simon sitting up between my legs - watching himself in the mirror while he made noises like Lightening McQueen and then puppets - without the puppets - just our hands telling stories. Simon's idea actually. We had a lengthy conversation about kindergarten and backpacks and teachers. He seems to think that he will most certainly have Noah's 4th grade teacher for kindergarten since he will be going to "Noah's school." It makes me smile on one hand and feel totally mind boggled on another - these little ones are now ready to go to kindergarten. When they were born we used to tell Noah someday he would get to help them go to school for the first time - and that seems like lifetimes ago.

All in all, I think the stay-cation is shaping up nicely. It is good to take a break from the craziness of work, and hideous commute, and just focus on multitasking in one area of my life rather than 12 (not really 12 but it feels like that sometimes). Thank you for humoring me and letting me share - I wanted to capture some of this. I want to make sure I remember this when someday I am at home all alone thinking the house is way too quiet and I have to beg people to get out of bed closer to noon.

Brush Fire update: Now at 5,400 acres... This newsclip shows some of what we culd see from the upstairs bedroom window.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Is stay-cation supposed to be exhausting?

So with gas prices double and triple of what they once were, the latest trend in family vacations is a stay-cation. My sister-in-law was sharing that tidbit with us from her vantage point in the central coastal area of California. Apparently California economists are predicting a severe loss of revenue because the drop in tourism will be larger than ever this year due to fuel costs. Makes sense really. I'm opting for a family stay-cation as well.

Running crowd control is an interesting way to spend my stay-cation. I'm just now at the start of day 3. The first day was filled with the radiology appointments and then all the festivities for D's birthday. Helium and balloons and streamers with 4 enthusiastic kids is an exciting thing. Mexican food take-out and birthday cake, and specialty milkshakes made my Noah (his contribution to the birthday celebrations) made for extremely full bellies. Back to back parties on SL for D completed the evening.

As with any vacation - there are the highlights and quieter moments. There are also the songs that will always remind you of the good times. Should I be concerned that the following song will forever ring through my head? This catchy tune is the latest favorite of my 5 year olds...

I must caution you. Once you have heard the tune... it may be hard to forget. And... I can't recommend it for background music for chores, etc. It makes me feel rather frenetic personally. But... if it buys me some solitude with the twins, then I suppose I am all for it. Should I also mention I have seen High School Musical and The Little Rascals movies about 3 times each - highlights only, of course. What did we do before the invention of the TiVo.

It is important to note that each day of the stay-cation begins by 6:30 am at the LATEST. Most days it is more like 5:45 am. The sun coming up equals little ones wide awake and ready to go. Dave took them for a bike ride this morning all before 8 am. That can be seen as a good thing though because it was already 87 degrees by 7.

We've also had a huge brush fire. Sparked by lightening from the summer monsoons we are waiting to officially begin, the brush fire provided upstairs window entertainment for all. We could see the flames from our vantage point at times and the fire, burning in the Gila River bottom, grew from 100 acres to 1,400 acres by last night. The remote area makes it difficult for crews to get in and fight, as well as the fact that hot shots are already out to other parts of the state, and the West fighting larger brush fires. Smoke has not been a good thing for my 2 with asthma, but we're trying to take preventative measures with them both.

The stay-cation agenda for today, you might ask? Well... there is NOTHING better after an early morning bike ride than listening to... THE HAMSTER DANCE for the 10,000th time. I'm enjoying coffee and waiting for it to kick in. And then, I'm on to work my first ever U2inSL concert. I have a security badge and everything. It is a huge operation and I am hopeful I'll remember all necessary details while wearing the hideous newb, low prim hair.

Hiding out in the air-conditioned inside will probably be our best bet. 112 is the high today, with poor air quality because of the fires. Maybe a water fight will be in order for later in the afternoon. Nothing better than a run through the sprinklers. Should I close by mentioning my daughter actually admitted to being cold after running through the sprinklers the other day when it was 114? Only a Phoenix kid would say something like that!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Make it a priority!

I went for my first mammogram yesterday. I had been warned by my female friends and even had a cautionary call from my mom wondering if I knew what to expect. A few weeks ago I had even been on an email joke string that showed cartoon drawings of women's breasts. Intimidating? LOL

So I went armed with my knowledge and stories and hoped for the best. It had to be better than breast cancer and all that comes with battling that horror.

A grandmotherly-type woman called my name from the waiting room area. She took me to back to change into a gown. She then asked about my family history of breast cancer and explained that NO ONE should be lulled into a false sense of security - ONLY 4% of breast cancer victims were a result of heredity. As she was emphasizing the importance of self exams with me I thought to myself how she is really on the front lines dealing with women as they learn of the horror of possible breast cancer detection.

My procedure was a digital mammogram. The entire time she worked, I could see the images on her screen. I asked her questions as she positioned me and took extra angles of pictures to make sure there were no potential spots in thicker tissues. It was not painful - but admittedly I have a high pain tolerance and digital mammography is supposed to not require the pressure as past procedures. So - thankfully - I DO NOT have breasts now like the woman in the cartoon. WHEW! LOL

I remembered Blissie had found some awareness tools on SL for breast cancer a few months ago when we were working on our Relay for Life fundraiser. I came home and set out to find them. I am always ready to also dispel myths that Second Life is only for oversexed deviants and this seemed like yet another opportunity to do just that.

The first area that came up in SL search was a Breast Cancer Awareness Center. The center housed all sorts of SL fundraiser items on sale, as well as freebie packs of ribbons and tshirts and ball caps with the patented pink ribbon logo. Upstairs in the center there was a wall filled with tribute ribbons. Each of the ribbons had floating text associated with it that was a heartfelt tribute to a friend or family member that had been affected by breast cancer - either as a survivor or sadly, someone who had lost their lives to the disease. It was solemn to just sit and read and reflect.

I was on a mission though to find the mammogram machine that Blissie had found months ago so I continued on. I figured the American Cancer Society sim of all places would have one. Unfortunately I didn't find one but I did find a couple other things I wanted to share. First, I found an interactive self-exam. Bigd even did it with me LOL... but as I am laughing I am reminded that men can also get breast cancer - just fyi. We explored the whole sim. There are lots of meeting facilities there and a conference coming there sometime in June (unless it already happened - couldn't tell). There are also lots of educational pieces on cancer - including video terminals that take you to the American Cancer Society website.

The most touching pieces of the sim though, are the pieces that are designed to honor the cancer survivors and the memories of those who lost the fight. Bigd and I took some time to soak up some time under the memory tree. Bigd posted a touching note honoring my grandmother who died of ovarian cancer.

Please make it a priority to be preventative with your health care. Share your time or your funds with efforts that help educate people. Offer up your prayers for those who are battling cancer. Together, we can all make a difference for those around us.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Blissie, America, Parenting and Apple Pie? Wait...

I know Blissie might be embarrassed - but I have to just post a short note to tell you to please pause from your day today sometime and read her blog post from yesterday, Tuesday, June 24. As we approach the 4th of July, and think about being an American, and think about our freedom, I hope you will really let her story sink in.

Blissie and I reversing roles at a SL club last Fall

I am finishing up my last day of work before 1 1/2 weeks off so I have neglected my blog. For some reason - knowing I am away from work makes me feel as if I must do everything on my to do list from now until the end of August or later, all before I shut off the lights in my office this afternoon. And, unlike so many of my colleagues - for me - going on vacation will just mean I'm at home. I should take the word "just" out of there. I am not "just" home. I am home. With my kids. Being a full time mom and wife. Cleaning the places in our home that have been neglected since my last "vacation" and just enjoying time.

I refereed a water fight via my cell phone this morning on my way into the office. I was literally about 5 minutes away from work, out of my usual 40+ minute commute when my oldest called to tell my youngest had the squirt bottle and had started spraying everyone. It sounded totally chaotic and as fun as it probably was - when I know all 4 are that wound up I know tears can't be far behind. Isn't that Murphy's law of being a kid with siblings? Anyway - I did the patented mom angry voice and gave it my best shot "You guys need to put that water away and find something quiet to do! This is my LAST day before vacation with you all. I am ALMOST to work! Don't make me turn the car around and come all the way home to end this situation! It won't be good if I have to!"

The quiet voice of my oldest quickly said, "No no mom - we have it handled. Don't turn around" I smiled to myself in my commute knowing hopefully my motherly instincts had been successful.

Just now as I am writing this - they called again. My oldest said, "Mom, I sent you a text message did you get it?" and then "I'm sorry Mom - we didn't mean to get out of hand. We'll be good, I promise." It made me smile from head to toe, and warmed my heart.

Parenting is such hard work. You never know if you are really doing it right or not. You never know if you have said and done the right thing. Some of it is intuition, some of it is those crazy parenting books or the way you were parented, and a heck of a lot of it is faith. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. This morning was a gift - a little gift to just remind me I'm doing ok, as a mom, as a parent. I think that will enjoy my time with my kids even more now :) Water fights and all! Hoo! Oh... and the Apple Pie part from the title? I'm not partial to apple pie anyway - let's go for chocolate merange or berry or something like that :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blog Candy for a Friday

What Your Pink Outfit Means

Unsurprisingly, you are very sweet and cute.
But you're also a bit of a tease - and not that innocent.
Shy but sexy, you're an alluring mix of contradictions.

Designer match: BCBG
Signature accessory: Tortoise shell sunglasses

So I think this is pretty accurate (grin). I'm wearing a pink scoop neck silky patterned top today with black cropped pants. I couldn't bear to wear a suit today - it is supposed to be the hottest day of the year yet - 114 or something unbearable. Looking forward to some time to catch up with you all in the blogosphere this weekend! Hoo!

Should I admit I have Tortoise shell sunglasses in RL that are large - the size you see celebrities wearing as they come and go from rehab or hide from the paparazzi? I got them last summer in Seattle from Black and White. I love them. I even have a pair like that I wear in SL... called Hollywood Glasses.

And... most of my favorite outfits in SL are pink. My latest big giant dress is pink. I wear it to host at the Savoy Jazz Club quite a bit. (maybe I'm in a rut?) Anyway, the shop is aDiva. As soon as I pull the picture out of my SL account I'll post it. Hugs to Parker - she actually bought it for me knowing how much I love pink! Hoo!

My baby girl's favorite color is pink too. Is it an inherited thing? What does this mean? Does it mean that despite the fact she has 3 brothers she is still a girlie-girl?

Ok... back to work :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hump Day! Overdue Post of Randomness

I got an email this a.m. that went something like this...
Did Crightonitis catch? haven't posted since Sunday. Do you have a fever? Are you sick? Omg! /me calls a doctor!

The pressure worked :) I was forced to reply with a "Help - I can barely keep my head above RL water this week with to do's and work craziness!" but I worked really hard all morning - actually until now - to get things caught up at the office so I could have a few minutes to indulge in blogging. Bet you didn't know blogging could be seen as an indulgence, eh? Well, lunch at my desk :P and no chocolate in sight - a little bit of time to myself and my blog is a luxury.

So Happy Hump Day everyone! I added a new link to my blogsidebar I hope some of you will explore. I have decided if I ever come into unlimited supplies of cash I will begin a foundation similar to this one - The Foundation for a Better Life. They simply exist to inspire and promote good things. How cool is that? In my own imagination, I like to think that they are out there just handing out dollars to people who really need it too.

A homeless man was on the sidewalk outside the conference where I was at the past several days working, in a wheelchair, in the scant shade of a very slim tree, at 112 degrees in the Phoenix afternoon asphalt jungle. He asked if we could spare anything because he hadn't eaten. All we could give him was the chocolate candy from our booth that day - but we gave it to him. I wish I could have also given him a bottle of water - but I have to hope that came along next.

What have you done recently to help someone in need out? There is a spirit of abundance and sharing in SL - but I often wonder if that translates into RL very easily. I have noticed that we immediately begin to dig through our inventory to see what we can share with newcomers who are sporting newb hair or prim-free clothing. We pass out pixelated goodies endlessly. Most are also equally generous with Lindens - filling tip jars. But do we take the time to do the same in RL? Even if you don't have a wallet full of cash, see what you might be able to dig up next time you pass someone less fortunate than you and obviously in need.

Giving is part of that ever-present big karmic wheel. The more you give, the more it really does come back to you.

I'm off to finish off my Wednesday afternoon hump day work activities. I hear that it is still hot out so it was good I stayed at my desk for lunch. What's the point of erupting into flames getting in and out of a hot car at 114 outside and who knows what inside! Doesn't seem worth the effort for a quick salad or subway run. Cheers to your Wednesday and making the world - SL and/or RL a little better for those around you. Share with me in a reply to this post how you gave a little this week :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dedicated to the Oak Tree in My Life

My dad has given me lots of advice over the years. He is my favorite phone call in the morning on my way into the battlefields that my workplace on some days. He is the reassuring hug and the one I know will be the first to kick me in the butt to get going. He pumped "achieve, achieve" through my veins and taught me to never settle for anything less than the best. He'd pick me up and dust me off when I fell and let me cry a little. He still does that in so many ways some days.

Squaw Peak - Now Piestewa Peak, Phoenix, AZ

He is a mountain climber. He used to run this mountain sometimes more than once a day. He taught me there is no mountain too big to conquer. He taught me to breathe deeply and stay focused and just keep on keeping on. He still reminds me of that when the going gets tough.

He is a risk taker and a dreamer. He is a goal setter and achiever. He is a critical thinker and a questioner - a scientist and a man of tremendous faith. He is a man of heritage and family. He has held each one of my babies through all sorts of moments good and bad, and stood side by side with my husband, in supporting me as a mom, as a career woman, as his daughter. He is my oak and I am so proud to be his acorn.

I spent the early hours today watching the tributes to Tim Russert. He was an amazing man as well. The stories touch my heart because he was so much like any of us. He was incredibly human. He summed up fatherhood so well in his book. I imagine my dad having written these same words as he left me at college so many years ago:

Before I drove off, I gave him some simple advice: “Study hard. Laugh often. Keep your honor.” I hope I’ve taught him to make good decisions and that I’ve given him a strong moral foundation to do the right thing. When my life is over, I know that the most important thing I’ll be judged on is what kind of father I was.
~ Tim Russert, Wisdom of Our Fathers

Hug your dad. If he is not close enough to hug, call him. If he is no longer around, say a prayer. He made you who you are today.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It's Genetic

My thoughts and prayers go out this morning to the families coping with loss - from the tornadoes, from the flooding. My window to that part of the country is through the eyes of the media. But, I was born and spent part of my childhood in Ames, Iowa so I am familiar with tornado warnings and watches. So, I know what it is like when the air gets extremely still and quiet and the sky is pitch black in the middle of the day. But flooding is not something I know that well. I know of flash floods and walls of water that rush through in moments and then are gone. Those are from my time in the Southwest.

My heart goes out to the young men who courageously rescued their fellow scouts while waiting for emergency personnel to work their way through the storm damaged roads to rescue. Watching young men talk calmly of the disaster they experienced is almost unfathomable.

Many lives will never be the same.

It is human nature to want to know how to help. I emailed a colleague of mine this morning first thing who has family in Cedar Rapids to see how we could help. The media here is saying to just donate to Red Cross. It is important to remember that is something we should do ALL the time. Even when you hardly have 2 pennies to rub together because they are going into your gas tank or to cover rising daily expenses, it is SO important to remember to give. Just give what you can a few dollars here or there and most importantly - prayers and hope.

My sweet Rachel this morning watched some of the Today show with me. She snuggled up beside me and we watched an interview of a mother and her 9 children (holy cow) that had just been evacuated last night - and only given time to get 5 laundry baskets full of clothes and all her children to safety. They had to leave behind 2 dogs and 3 cats. Matt Lauer shared that he knew someone had illegally re-entered the flooded area with a boat to rescue 2 of their dogs and 1 cat. The woman expressed gratitude for that. As Dave and I were discussing the horror and hell that woman was in, Rachel chimed in. In a very confident voice she said with big eyes, "At least their 2 dogs and 1 cat were safe Mom."

My sweet Rachel. At that moment I knew she has most definitely been blessed with the Pollyanna gene. She has her mamma's "always look on the bright side" kind of perspective that will carry her far in life. No matter what life throws at her, I know she will be able to handle it. Some things are just hard wired from the beginning and I am so blessed to know my little girl has that in her.

Small detail in my personal life - our air conditioner is on the fritz. It is supposed to be the hottest weekend of the year so far for us here in AZ. 109 or hotter in our part of the Valley. We have someone coming to tell us what is wrong with it between 3 and 5 pm today. As you know with repairs, that is no guarantee of a fix in the first service call. Anyway, I have to share that I continue to believe that as long as we have water to drink, and can run through the sprinklers or hop in the pool, we will be fine. We still have our home. We still have our health and each other. We have minor problems compared with those in my prayers today.

Please be kind and gentle with those around you. Things are so hard on so many levels these days... financially, emotionally, and now physically for many many in the United States, and around the world. People who were never facing hardship are now facing indescribable circumstances. Be thankful for the blessings in your life... no matter how big or small. And most importantly, think of how you can give to help make things better. Even if that Pollyanna gene wasn't hard wired into you, see if you can tap into just a little of it to send good things, good thoughts, and a little help to others who really need it today.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Read it slowly... Let it soak in...

I just loved this and had to share. Life has been crazy since I posted quickly on Monday. Several things are percolating but no time to actually blog it. For now I'll leave you with this thought from Jim Rohn:

One of the major reasons why people are not doing well is because they keep trying to get through the day. A more worthy challenge is to try to get from the day. We must become sensitive enough to observe and ponder what is happening around us. Be alert. Be awake. Let life and all of its subtle messages touch us. Often, the most extraordinary opportunities are hidden among the seemingly insignificant events of life. If we do not pay attention to these events, we can easily miss the opportunities.

So be a good observer of both life and the world around you.

~Jim Rohn, "Become a Good Observer" from BeliefNet

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wanna be like... Joonie!

So Joonie has some good questions in her blog. I'm going to take a stab at them and hope some others I know consider answering them as well.

SL Bloggers - If there was one thing on the grid that you could snap your fingers and it would be gone forever, what would it be and why?
  • Mean people - you know who you are

  • Failure to fully log in - that wierd ocean screen and ruthed body - meaning you have to relog again and/or submit a "crash" report (do those go anywhere anyway?)

  • Arriving somewhere with my skirt missing and newb hair on my head - I hate that! What changed in the SL system to cause skirts to no longer rez? Sigh...

SL Bloggers - Where do you go to shop when you just need some retail therapy? Do you suffer from buyers remorse later? What is the most expensive thing in your inventory?

RL Bloggers - Besides your car or house, what's the most expensive luxury item that you have? Did you buy it just to have it, or do you actually use it?

  • My favorite places to shop for retail therapy are Freesoul for clothing, Shiny for shoes, and... surprise surprise... Moxie for furniture. Hoo! Do I suffer from buyers' remorse? Heck no. :) The most expensive thing in my inventory is the Pillow Talk Lighthouse and Lighthouse furniture set. I loved that. It was my favorite spot in SL on my bel Cove island for many many months (and in SL that is like YEARS, right?)

  • The most expensive luxury item I have are my twins. Seriously!! Who has more than 2 kids these days? We JUST finished paying for 2 years of preschool. Out of pocket - is BRUTAL for 4 kids. Diapers, formula (yes I did breast feed as well), air conditioning to keep us all cool in Phoenix, and then Preschool... at $1400/month - is that a luxury? Probably... but I can't deny em... they loved it... and we need a 2 income house to keep things moving... so... daycare vs. preschool... we voted preschool. Glad we are free at last though and summer is upon us. Whew!

Mmmmmm Chocolate

Thank you Parker :) Parker left a few chocolate blogthings in Blissie's blog today in our never-ending search for a cupcake blogthing. This was EXACTLY the food for thought I needed today as I watched my new DVD "When Harry Met Sally" that Dave got me a few days ago. Come to think of it - I think we should have Savoy do a whole night where all they do is play music from "When Harry Met Sally." It might have been Harry Connick Jr's first big break. Cute and talented - how can you not love that? But I digress... I love that movie :) Chocolate + a chick flick... I tell ya... it is JUST what the doctor ordered...
Harry Burns: I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
~"When Harry Met Sally" Best Quotes

And a little chocolate quiz - less calories that way...

What Your Taste in Chocolate Says About You

You are sweet, mellow, and easily satisfied. You don't like anything too intense and dramatic. Deep down, you're a kid at heart... and you're nostalgic for the past.

You are mellow, spiritual, and philosophical. You are a true humanitarian. You enjoy helping people. Your heart can be too open at times. You sometimes over-extend yourself.

You love to be in love. You crave romance, whether you're single or not. You feel lost when you don't feel passion... you need someone to adore.


Don't you think waiting at the doctor's office is just the worst? I love our family doctor - she is the best and a working mom of 4 kids too - what more could I ask for? But waiting to see why the pressure in my head won't go away after my really bad migraine makes me nervous. I'm trying not to be a hypochondriac - and Dave has told me I am in super big trouble if I get any sort of news that would threaten to leave him alone with 4 kids. BUT that isn't going to happen - he couldn't be that lucky :) heehee.

So in the meantime I was wishing Joonie would throw up a bubblegum quiz for me to take my mind off things. Blissie's shopping success from the weekend has helped some :) In her email updates, she says there is nothing like a new Ann Taylor dress to help you beat the NYC heat wave they are facing. How can I not agree.

Ok back to waiting and seeing if this really posts :) Cheers!
Sent from my BlackBerry Smartphone provided by Alltel

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Why Bother?

I had an interesting conversation with someone on Friday about the point of Second Life. He is an educator who works with technology - and very much into cutting edge things. He had all sorts of great information about something called SLoodle which I need to Google. It combines a course management open source software called Moodle with the Second Life interface.

I have worked for the past five or more years with Moodle and educators. It has wonderful potential for bringing communities of educators together in a one dimensional way, synchronous or asynchronous - discussion boards, chats, shared websites, etc. But the idea of integrating it with Second Life and making it a three dimensional learning experience is really intriguing to me.

So I went on to discuss this idea with him further and he began to share, unsolicited really, his thoughts about Second Life. I listened attentively while he described someone he knew who taught scripting in SL and had helped students create whales and other things. He laughed and said frankly he didn't see the point. He was a gamer. He loved games like War and Conflict but SL? Really... why bother. All he could see was that it was all about sex.

Another colleague of mine was listening in as attentively as I. He knows I enjoy SL but didn't give me away. We would smile at each other from time to time throughout the monologue. He was worried I was offended. I have much thicker skin than that. I laughed after the War and Conflict SLooder left. I appreciated his perspectives and loved the SLoodle tip. But, I will not believe as he does that SL exists only for sex. In fact, I made that comment to my colleague who endured the conversation with me. I said.. you know... how does he KNOW about all that SEX STUFF in SL? LOL! Really...

What is it about those crazed sex maniacs that always gives them the edge in new technology? They were the first to over-inhabit the World Wide Web. I remember in the early 90's wanting to use the Internet in my teaching and being cautioned that all that was out there was sex. So here we are now in the 21st Century... in virtual 3D worlds... and who was there first? Those darned crazed sex maniacs! LOL

I think you will find what you are looking for on the web and in Second Life. If you go looking for a good time that involves several X's, then you will find it. If you go looking for exploration and amazing sites, then you will find that too - ancient Greece ruins, New York City slums, beautiful beaches. If you go looking for friends, you will find that too, without even trying. And, I'm not just talking about the friends who want to have sex with you. (joke there). I have made friends from all over the world. I have met people I probably never would in RL. I enjoy them. I don't try to have sex with them. Sure we have wardrobe malfunctions from time to time and show off our beautiful breasts inadvertently... but frankly with the scooped necks these days - I see a lot of breasts that I can't ever figure out if women meant for them to be seen or not.

So... SL isn't for everyone. I know that. If you prefer to shoot em up and blow em up and call it a day, then by all means. Just make sure you leave room for the rest of us who enjoy a little shopping, a little conversation, and some great sights without being clothed head to toe in combat gear.

Happy Sunday! Cheers to some R & R in whatever form you'd like it in. Hoo!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Cute Chick Flick Worth Renting

I have gone a long time without seeing movies in the theater that weren't of the cartoon/kid genre. I would be lying if I told you I didn't miss seeing movies I would choose. I love them. I love the escape. I love the tingles and getting swept away for just a few hours. I love being a part of a world that is bigger and more glamourous... just for a little while.

I wouldn't say this movie is one of those by any stretch of the imagination but it is cute. It will make you smile. I might get you a good snuggle or a second date. It might make you feel old too - just so you know what you are getting into - since they make fun of how old the 1980's pop genre is and how goofy women are who are attending a high school reunion from the Class of 1987. (cough cough)

Needless to say... Hugh Grant has those cute dimples you just can't resist and Drew Barrymore is so fun and scattered and loveable. I mostly posted this for myself. I want to be able to enjoy it on command. Thank you again YouTube! Hoo!


My week ended on an abrupt note. Friday afternoon my head lifted off. I was afraid it would never be able to be put back on. I think I had slept poorly two nights in a row, awake at 3 am for no reason, that probably let me to the headache in the first place. But it wasn't until my day was well into full swing at a busy but successful educator conference exhibit and sessions. The headache that had crept up on me now exploded from the flashes of projector light I walked in front of one too many times. I had unconsciously exacerbated the situation. I was in for a wild ride with a full blown migraine.

One Relpac that morning seemed to help the pain subside. Then, the conference had a free head/neck massage station. I wasn't going to try it but it was quiet and figured what did I have to lose. It helped. I was on the mend. But by 2 hours later, my headache was back and worse. I had a session to present so I took another Relpac. 2 is the limit I think. Session went well - and hopefully my sentences were coherent. A few times I know I couldn't think of the word I needed. Luckily I have a fantastic colleague I was co-presenting with and he could carry the ball for me.

A few additional unintentional walks through the projector light stream and then we were out into the 105 degree heat. Loading up my car with the booth and other items, then getting into the car to drive home that had been in the hot parking lot all day (probably 140 degrees) sent me over the edge. I had texted Dave earlier to let him know I had taken 2 Relpacs so he knew what was going on. My head was throbbing. I had my sunglasses on but the light was killing me. I blasted the air conditioning on my face and just prayed I'd make it home. Dave told me I needed to talk to the doctor - that they wouldn't tell him much - so I called while I made it the 25 mile trip home on surface streets full of Friday afternoon rush hour traffic... figuring the freeway would be the death of me.

The doctor's secretary was super nice. She said "Oh honey - just go to Urgent Care and get a shot." I explained I was really needing to know if there was anything else I could take and that a 2 hour plus wait in the waiting room wouldn't cut it. I was close to physically sick and my head was pounding harder and harder. She talked to the Nurse Practitioner who was still there to say Relpac is the strongest over the counter meds you can take and they don't stock narcotics in the office. I would need to go to an Urgent Care or ER for a narcotic shot and anti nausia and just get knocked out for the night. I appreciated her kind words to get better and focused on driving home. Getting into bed with a bag of ice on my head was all I could focus on. The rest of the drive was in slow motion and I don't remember pulling in the driveway.

Dave and the kids had sprayed something that smelled incredible in our bedroom. Later he told me it was lavender. The icepack in a dark towel was ready for my head and I pulled off my clothes as fast as I could to climb under the cool sheets. It was surprisingly quiet in my part of the house and I tried to just focus on the ice and the feel of the ceiling fan whooshing soft cool air on my body. I had some anti-nausea medicine I took, I guzzled some SmartWater, and rubbed Vick's Vapor Rub on my temples. I drifted off after what seemed like hours but really was probably only minutes.

I awoke about 3 hours later. I had only the dark towel over my eyes. My youngest, Simon was peeking under the towel at my face and kissing my arm softly as he wrapped himself in my arms sliding in beside me. The pain was gone. He smiled and kissed me again and said "Mommy, you're beautiful!" in the sweetest little voice. He told me he had missed me and kissed me some more and told me he loved me. Dave came in a few minutes later to retrieve Simon so I could go back to sleep but with the pain gone, the love was just what I needed. A five year old's affection can run deep and is so honest. I am most certain I looked like hell. Who wouldn't have after having an icepack on their head and and and...

Thankfully these things only happen a few times a year to me. Relpac has been an amazing medication solution to me, that I can take as soon as I have the first few symptoms. Yoga stretches and all the other things I mentioned often can curtail an experience like what I had. I'm not sure how to halt them though once they spiral as they do. I'm just relieved I avoided the vomiting and ER trip that has ensued in the past when it was this bad. I'm also thankful my husband knows just what to do and made it all happen.

Those first few moments with Simon, I knew I had to find this clip to put in my blog. Waking up after the pain is FINALLY gone feels somewhat like this. I probably looked just as good :) Heehee.

So needless to say, Simon and I are having a quiet day today at home with Rachel and I'm just sore. It is hard to imagine a migraine taking that much out of you, and giving you almost a hangover of sorts, but it does. Light and sound sensitive still, quiet cool rooms are my choice of location. Cat naps and more kisses from Simon will have me back to new again in no time.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Interesting Results

I haven't done blog reading in a few days. I am behind. I miss it. I was glad Joonie gave me some new bubblegum for my blog. I love these little quizzes - I think they are like brain candy ;)

Anyway - my results prove interesting. The first paragraph frightens me - but see for yourself:

What the Beach Test Says About You

You are a loner, and you're fine with that. You find the most fulfillment in solitude. And you never feel more lonely than when you're in a crowd.

You fall in love with ease and confidence. Even if you've had bad experiences in the past, each new love is a reason to start completely over.

You are a passionate person. You are free wheeling, fun loving, and ruled by your emotions.

Your sense of humor is goofy and silly. You are good at making almost anyone laugh.

Could it be that I am a loner in personality tests because I have a busy RL house with 4 kids who all insist on being in the same room with me most of my waking hours at home? And yes, they follow me to the bathroom too? SERENITY now :) Hoo!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sometimes Making Everyone Happy Makes No One Happy

I have been bombarded with emails today when I sent something through our work email system by mistake with my personal login sending everything that bounces back to my personal work email address. Needless to say, ever since 3:00 pm, my email inbox has been filled hour after hour with returned mail. Much of my job is email based depending on the day, and this afternoon's email bombardment of nonsensical messages made for an exhausting end of the day. I made my boss happy though, she needed it done and even though I sent it as myself, it got sent.

I've started working a lot in SL too. I hostess at 2 clubs primarily. I enjoy the tips and being welcoming and chatty. In some cases I have helped grow interest in a club that was struggling from day to day. I have noticed though that it has changed SL for me. It has added pressure and obligation where there used to be none. I enjoy it, but I find myself wondering if I have taken the fun out of it.

I suppose if it gets right down to it, I need to decide who I am making happy. If it is no longer fun, then it is time for a break. I always had a strict rule for myself in my first few months of SL that I would pay for Lindens if I really wanted them because SL was entertainment - and I work too hard in RL to not just enjoy SL. Good policy, I thought. I was really good about it for almost a year. Then, I put my toe in the working world of SL. I'm a work-a-holic. I admit it. I work long hours at my job in RL to get things just right. I can't turn my brain off sometimes. Once I started with some work in SL, I found the same applied. Achieve, achieve kicked in.

I don't want SL to lose its magic. I need to do some thinking. If I am working for me, because of what it can do to improve the things I want to do and own and be in SL, then it is worth it. If I am working to make others happy, or for the attaboys, then it isn't.

My RL life is very hectic right now. Having everyone home for the summer is a blessing and a curse. It means that we don't have the hecticness when I leave in the a.m. - I only have to worry about myself getting out the door. But on the other hand, when I hit the door at night, they have had all day without me at home. They need me and want to tell me about everything they did all day, and want me to be ready to entertain them for a bit. I haven't been good lately at that. Working in SL makes it harder to multitask like I used to in RL. I can't go AFK for very long or I feel like I am not doing a good job (see told you I was achieve, achieve).

Tonight ended on a tired and cranky note. It is only Hump day. Two more days to go and Friday is a busy, full one in RL that I can't be tired and cranky for.

Thanks for listening. Sometimes it helps to write it all down. Makes it easier in black and white. Makes it easier to see what really matters. I'll make better decisions in the morning after a good night's sleep but a heartfelt blog post was much needed for my psychie this evening.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

So Much Cooler Online

Don't let the cowboy hat keep you from watching this video :) I PROMISE you... this ballad is for all my SLfriends... ok... and the ones who love Seinfeld too! Go George Go!

This is a post in the making - but I couldn't resist sharing this. I heard it for the 2nd time today - even though it has been out since last Fall. It is the perfect SL ballad :)

‘Cause online I’m out in Hollywood
I’m 6 foot 5 and I look damn good
I drive a Maserati
I’m a black-belt in karate
And I love a good glass of wine
It turns girls on that I’m mysterious
I tell them I don’t want nothing serious
‘Cause even on a slow day
I could have a three way
Chat with two women at one time
I’m so much cooler online
So much cooler online
~Brad Paisley, "Online"

Cheers and thank you Brad Paisley!

Plus, I thought this might give Bigd some summer job encouragement. Not a bad ballad for your new work locale, eh? Hoooo!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What a Journey

A few weeks ago Bigd and I enjoyed an excursion to SL's Journey Island. We hung out in each of the pavillions and soaked up music from decades ago. We connected by sharing where we were and who we were at the time each of the hits had prominent places in our lives. Honestly, Bigd was never a Journey fan so he humored me. He always claimed to like "old" Journey - the members individually who then went on and formed Santana.

Evolution Escape Frontier
We made a second trip then to Journey Island a couple of weeks later because I just HAD to see if and when there were ever going to be live performances there. Could it be that the REAL Journey would ever perform on SL?

We found all sorts of new freebies and a scooter! We found a huge arena where we could watch live concert clips of the newest Journey. We could dance and rock in and Hoo it up and nobody was around.. but the sweeties I had swooned over as a teenager had aged just like me - but well I must say :)(did I mention my first RL concert as a teenager was Journey on the Escape tour?).

I asked Jocelyn Sands if she thought they would ever perform live in SL. Jocelyn is one of the sim creators and fabulous DJ in SL. Since they are on world tour now - there is no telling. But a girl can hope :) Now that would be sLomething to look forward to! I sure hope Jenda Starbrook has those prim panties and prim bras ready to wave proudly in our hands and throw at the stage for that event! But I digress...

Seriously... what fascinates me is how they found the new lead singer... through YouTube! We saw a fantastic interview with the band today on CBS Sunday Morning. The story was touching and inspiring. It was truly a "Don't Stop Believin'" kind of moral. (Sappy I know - but true!). Say what you want about Journey - but they have had 9 multiplatinum albums. The new set comes out this week - new material, re-recordings of old hits, and a concert DVD. Incredible musicians with incredible talent and the ability to be resilient over time.

Please enjoy the story from CBS Sunday Morning A Journey Back. It even includes the links to the YouTube clips that uncovered the amazing new voice of Journey.

And I must come clean. I admit - I had a crush on Jonathon Cain. How can I not? Have you heard Faithfully? Oh my. Have you seen that handsome man play the piano? And... write those beautiful words? *Sigh* How can that not melt your heart - even those of you who are the most hardened SL DJ critics... LOL WINK. I realize though I should leave you with something that is of their new look and their new singer. Enjoy! (Bradley's cue to dance and fold laundry - *smiles and hugs*)